talent

My niece, Chelsea Hadlock came into our lives when she met and then married my nephew, Ryan. None of us knew then how much she would change our lives…especially the lives of my sister, Allyn Hadlock; her husband, Chris; and their girls, Jessi, Lindsay, and Kellie. They received something they didn’t know they were missing. It wasn’t really a thing, but rather a person…Chelsea. They received a daughter-in-law/sister-in-law, who is so caring! Chelsea cares about each of them and each baby. She loves this family she has joined, and she goes out of her way to show each of them just how much she loves and cares about them. Chelsea is an excellent mother to her children Ethan and Aurora, a wonderful aunt to Adelaide and Makenzie, and an awesome sister to Jessi, Lindsay, and Kelli, as well as a wonderful daughter-in-law to Allyn and Chris. We are all blessed to have her in our lives!

Chelsea is super creative. She loves to go to garage sales to see what treasures she can find. You and I might see junk at garage sales, but Chelsea sees furniture and other items that are just waiting to have someone bring out their true beauty. Chelsea is just the person to do so too. She might find a piece of furniture for $5.00, and when she is done, it looks like something out of a magazine. She’s also really thoughtful. If she’s out shopping and she sees something that reminds her of you or of a story or inside joke, she’ll pick it up.

Chelsea has been taking her designs to the various Comic Con events too. She sells them there, and does very well on her trips. She makes all her costumes for the event too. She designs the dresses, cuts the fabric, and sews the entire costume. I know lots of people make clothes, but not many design them too. Chelsea is a very capable designer, who can make her designs into a reality. Now that’s talent.

Chelsea and Ryan bought the house Ryan grew up in from his parents, Allyn and Chris, who had built a house on Chris’ parents land after their passing. They house was filled with all the memories of the Hadlock children’s childhood years. While they love those old memories, they also need to make new memories for their family. Chelsea has been busy adding her personal touches to make the house their own home. The kids all say that the house doesn’t seem like the same house at all. She is adding her own decorations and furniture layout designs. Ryan’s sisters say, We only knew that house as ours growing up, so it’s fun to see them put their touch on things. We love to see how excited she gets and the ideas she has for their home.” Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I don’t think my grand-niece, Jadyn Mortensen plans to be a rodeo rider or an equestrian for a living, but she definitely is good at it as a hobby, or as her sport of choice. Jadyn has loved horses since she was just a little girl, and as she grew, her talent with them really began to shine. She really loves horses, and they respond to her by doing their very best. I don’t know what her future plans are, but she could be a great veterinarian or veterinary assistant.

I’m getting ahead of myself, and for that matter her life. Right now, Jadyn’s life centers around a few things…family, school, and horses, with a new one on the horizon, I’m sure…learning to drive. These things fall in no particular order that I’m aware of…with the exception of her number one priority…family. Jadyn is friends with both of her parents…Amanda and Sean. The family does lots of things together, as well as with friends, and Jadyn is never left out. And she still gets plenty of time to practice riding for her competitions. Anyone who thinks that champion riding just comes naturally, doesn’t know anything about it. It takes hard work and diligence. You must be dedicated to becoming a champion in order to accomplish your goals. That describes Jadyn perfectly…dedicated!!

It is so hard for me to believe that little tiny Jadyn is now 15 years old. I remember when she was born. And now her childhood years are behind her, because she is a young woman, who has a keen sense of self, and just exactly what she wants out of life. Jadyn recently competed again, and did extremely well. As her mom says, she’s living proof that hard work pays off. Jadyn has several championships to her credit, and I’m sure that many more will follow, because Jadyn does work hard and her horses work hard for her. There is a mutual love that they have for each other, and when they are competing, it is like watching a symphony…everything is in sync. Jadyn is growing into a beautiful young lady, with a heart of gold, and everyone in the family is very proud of her accomplishments. Today this girl turns 15 years old. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Michelle Stevens sees things that most of us would miss. Of course, when I say that, I am talking about seeing art in things most of us couldn’t even imagine. Not all of these things were her ideas, but she could make them work, because she is very talented. Her artwork is truly prize winning. Michelle has studied every form of art in her pursuit of her art education degree, and I think she could do any of them and will no doubt create some in the future.

Michelle has taken up crocheting. I did that once, but I don’t think I was nearly as talented as Michelle. She made a beautiful blanket for her little niece, Elliott Michelle Stevens. It is beautiful in gray, pink, and white. Little did Michelle know at the time she was making the blanket, but her sister-in-law, Kayla was decorating Elliott’s room in pink and gray. The blanket fit in perfectly. Of course, becoming an aunt to Elliott has been the biggest change in Michelle’s life for this year. She doesn’t get to see as much of little Elliott as she would like, because she and her parents live in Sheridan, and Michelle lives in Casper, but she is still Aunty Michelle, and that is very cool. Michelle has also taken up sewing with a sewing machine her mom, Alena Stevens gave her. She wants to make quilts and things. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few little baby outfits make their way to Elliott for her Aunty Michelle either. Michelle sees many different things as art, and she is very good at all of them. She makes wreaths, pottery, and is planning to take up mosaic glass art. Even Michelle’s fur babies, dogs Obie and Leia got gifts. She made them stockings, because she loves those puppies like babies and I hear they are spoiled rotten. Michelle is an artist in every sense of the word. Oh…to have such talent!! Unfortunately it is not in my sphere.

On top of all her artwork, Michelle is a great cook. When we had our family Christmas party last weekend, Michelle made crab stuffed mushrooms. They were amazing. Michelle loves to cook, and like everything else in her world, she considers it a form of art too. The more creative she can get with it the more she likes it. Oh…to have such talent!! Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Amy at 2 years oldWhen Amy got madHaving my daughter, Amy Royce live so far away, is something that will take a lot of getting used to. I am used to seeing her every day, and now that is not possible. I’m sure that I can count on one hand the number of times I have missed being with her on her birthday in her 39 years. In fact, I if I had to guess, it would be maybe two times. Even then, I saw her within a day or so of her birthday. We have always been a close family, and so this degree of distance between us seems very foreign to me.

Of course, my dear Amy, you have been on my mind a great degree lately, and when I think of you, I find my mind flooded with visions of you at every stage of your life. You were my teeny little girl who always felt the need to defend yourself from the other little kids who thought you were a baby doll to be played with. Wow, did they have a shock when they tried to pick you up. You could make it very clear with your ability to scream at the top of your lungs, that carrying you around, would not be tolerated. When you where still very small, with your small amount of blond hair, and your great big eyes, we called you Tweety Bird, because you reminded us so much of the bird in the cartoon. And you were Strawberry Shortcake, because at that time, the currently back in the popular zone toy, first came out, and the term fit you so very well. Of course to your dad, you will always be Squirt. You were such a sweet little girl, and yet you had a stubborn streak that came out when you didn’t get your way or you felt like someone didn’t give you the proper degree of respect in any given situation. Daddy's Little HelperYou Stepped On My ToeThen your little face would set in anger and determination to win, and pretty much everyone knew to give you some space. You had a funny way of pronouncing some of your words, and somehow, my little Wyoming Girl, sounded just like a Texan…which we always found pretty funny, unless you were trying to explain that you had “dirt” in your eye by saying the you had “dot” in your eye. Boy you could sure get irritated whenever you were misunderstood.

As you grew up, at least in every way but in height, you learned to have a sense of humor about things, especially when it came to reaching things in high places. I remember the time you bought a t-shirt at school that was marked in such a way as to explain to a blond, the proper way to get dressed, because of the blond jokes that have persisted over the years. I found myself shocked, because as a blond, who was almost always not a blond in the intellectual sense of the word, you had decided to embrace that joke. You used to get so angry about being called a blond, so I couldn’t believe that you would buy such a shirt. I guess that you decided that if you couldn’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em. Because of your small stature, no one could ever really believe your age either. Upon receiving your first traffic ticket, the officer first questioned not if you had you license, but rather if you were old enough to have one at all. And I often wondered if you would need a booster chair to see over the steering wheel in your first car, a Camaro, because back when they were a pretty big car. In fact, I went so far as to give you one that I came across, only to find that you did not agree with my logic concerning this matter. Go figure!!

While you have always seemed younger than your years in looks and size, you have proven yourself to be a Amy graduation editedAmy and Carynwise and very talented girl when it comes to most things in your life. You are a very capable insurance agent, and one that I have been not only proud and happy to work with, but upon your move, an agent that I have been proud to send to your new agency, because they have received a great asset to their company. Your ability to learn the nuances of insurance is amazing. Sadly, our loss is their gain, and we miss you every day…especially your mom. Today in Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday Amy!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!! And ET, don’t forget to call home often. We really need that.

Together AgainWhen I think of my niece, Chantel’s husband, Dave Balcerzak, I am always reminded of how suited they are to each other. Chantel has told me that she liked Dave when they were kids, and had planned to marry him then, but you never know how things will turn out from the childhood years to the adult years. I’m sure that everyone, and even Chantel thought that was simply a childhood idea, as she grew up. Children, or even teenagers, rarely marry someone they knew as a child. Our ideas of the perfect mate change so much. Nevertheless, Chantel never forgot Dave, and after her divorce, she ran into Dave again, and the romance was rekindled. The rest, as they say, is history.

Dave has been such a great addition to our family. He is a loving dad to his children and to Chantel’s. He has a great sense of humor and keeps laughter in their home. Dave is a whiz with computer repairs, which is great to have in the family. With his talent, a computer can last a lot longer than it normally would have. He can even rebuild them completely…which he often does free of charge for people in need. That makes him a hero, in my book, and to those he has helped. These days, it can be a real handicap to have no computer in the family. They have become a necessary item.

I find it strange to think that Dave and Chantel liked each other as kids, and then…years later, Davethey found each other again and got together. That is the stuff that romance books are made of, but you never expect it to happen in real life. I suppose it does sometimes, but it still feels unlikely to me. Most people can barely remember the kids they went to grade school with, but these two not only remembered each other, but still had feelings for each other. I wonder where their lives would have taken them, had they not reconnected. I suppose they would have survived, but would they have been as happy as they are now? I very much doubt it. They make a good team, and they are both just exactly what the other needed. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Aunt RuthI have long admired this scanned picture I have of my Aunt Ruth, but until I went to visit my cousin, I didn’t know the whole story about it or about my aunt and uncle. The original for this picture was taken a long time ago, when my aunt was a young woman of 18 years, and there were no color pictures. That was a fact that hadn’t occurred to me until my cousin, Shirley told me that my Aunt Ruth had painted the color painting from the original black and white photo. I was shocked. It was so good. It really looked just like my aunt. I had no idea that she was so talented. Then to add to my surprise, Shirley told me that this was only one of many paintings my Aunt Ruth, her mother had painted. She told me that she never liked still life, like fruit bowls or vases of flowers, but preferred live subjects like wildlife, scenery, and people. I can see why that was. Still life would have been a horrible waste of a great talent. Shirley tells me that she painted a moose, a bear, an elk, and big horn sheep, as well as a painting of my Uncle Jim, that looked just like him. Unfortunately, in the years following my aunt’s death, their home was burned to the ground, and all the paintings, except this one that Shirley has, were lost. That is such a tragedy, because these paintings simply cried out to be seen.

Aunt Ruth’s talent didn’t stop at art, however. She could pick up any musical instrument and within a couple of minutes, she could play it like a pro. For anyone who couldn’t play an instrument, no matter how hard you tried, the idea of someone picking it up and just knowing how to play is beyond belief. Shirley told me that she almost felt jealous of her mother’s talent sometimes. I know how she feels, since I have the distinct talent of making an instrument sound like a sick duck, and that is about the extent of my musical ability concerning all musical instruments. They are best left to others.

And Aunt Ruth wasn’t the only one with artistic talent. My Uncle Jim used to make cabinets and cupboards that were Happy Timesbeautiful. He could make that wood just sing. He and Aunt Ruth would design them, to give each one its own special beauty. They made a matching set of beds for their boys, Larry and Terry, that were one of a kind. I’m sure that they were beautiful, and I wish I could have seen some of them, but unfortunately, any cabinets my uncle still had, like the paintings of my Aunt Ruth, were lost in the fire that took all of that beautiful artwork. It makes me sad to think that my aunt and uncle are gone from us now, not just because such artistic talent is gone, but because they were so much more than just the talents they possessed. Even if they hadn’t had one bit of artistic talent at all, they would still have been special to me…because I loved them both very much.

Lacey Louise StevensIt’s a very strange feeling when you no longer have any grandchildren who are teenagers, or at least I think it would be a strange feeling. I won’t personally find that out for slightly more than 5 years from now, but as of today, my mom will know how that feels. Her youngest granddaughter, Lacey is 20 years old today. When your first grandchild arrives, you feel like you will have babies in your life for years to come. Before you know it that first grandchild is all grown up and having babies, so I guess having babies in your life might be correct. Still, they are different, they are great grandbabies. The grandbabies stop coming at some point and then, one day, there are no more of them in their teens.

It is very strange to think of Lacey being 20 years old. In my mind, she should still be a little girl in grade school, or huddled up in a corner of the couch with Siara deep in conversation, because that is what they spent a lot of time doing. But now, those little girl days are gone, and Lacey is all grown up. She is finished with school and is a fully trained Cosmetologist, who just passed her boards…and one my daughter recommends, since she has used her before, while she was still in school. Now she is ready to head out on her Lacey Stevensown, and I’m very excited for her. This career comes naturally to her, and in many ways she gets her talent from her mom, my sister, Alena. While Alena didn’t pursue the same career, she had a natural talent for it, and I believe she passed that on to Lacey.

I’m very excited for Lacey as she begins her new life. No more school…no more being a kid…she is a grown up adult, out in the working world, making her own way. I know that she will have great success in all she does, because she is an amazing person with great talent. Today is Lacey’s 20th birthday. We are all so proud of your accomplishments. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

Every grandchild is special, but you will always remember when your first one arrived. It is a day you most parents have waited for since their kids reached marrying age. I don’t mean that you wanted grandkids since your kids became teenagers, but as they grew, your mind…maybe deep down, maybe consciously, wondered what their children would be like. We were no different. As my girls grew up, I wondered what my grandchildren would be like. No matter how hard I tried, my thoughts of who they might be, came up very short of the great kids they are, or the fact that after having two daughters, I would end up with only one granddaughter, and 3 grandsons.

Every one of my grandchildren is very special and very unique. Christopher, from the beginning, had the best smiley faces. His eyes were so expressive. You couldn’t help but laugh with him. He loved doing goofy things, like dumping all the clean clothes out of the basket they were in, so he could get into the basket himself. Then, he waited to see what you were going to think of it. His great big eyes were always so expressive, and in them you could totally see the delight that he was feeling. And he seemed to be able to play to your sense of humor, because he never seemed to fail to do things that were just funny.

People call people like that a ham or a clown, and maybe he was, but all I can say is that it was just Christopher’s way. Also, I don’t know if he even realized what he was doing, at least at first. After a while, I’m sure he did, and he seemed to hone his skills as he went along. I remember the first time I saw him talking and shaking his head side to side, when he was about 3, and that is something many adults can’t do, but again, on Christopher it just came naturally. And I have laughed at that one over and over, because I can still see it in my memory. He was so funny as a little kid, and still is today. It was his unique talent.

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