Say Thank You, It’s Important

I’m writing this blog for a marketing class I’m currently taking and I honestly could not come up with anything I wanted to write about, even after asking multiple people over the past week or so, the writer’s block prevailed.  As it came down to the wire, I thought “I should call my Dad, he always knows what to say.” And then it hit me, why not write about that? Why not talk about my parents? Weird way of getting there? Yes, maybe! But I realized that a shout out to my parents couldn’t possibly be a bad idea.

I’m not generally the most emotional person, or even the most sentimental, but I understand the importance of telling someone how much I love and appreciate them. With that being said, I realized that I really have never said thank you to my parents for shaping me into the woman I am today. So with that, here it goes!

Where to begin? My parents have never been the pushy or overbearing type. They’ve never forced sports or student council or even straight A’s, they simply planted the seeds and watched me do with them what I wanted. I still remember having discussions with my dad in elementary school about becoming class president in high school and how cool it would be to experience something like that. From that moment forward it wasn’t a question of if I wanted to become class president, it was an assumption and a goal. These little seeds were planted over the course of my childhood through casual conversations on the drives home from soccer practices, or nights sitting in my dad’s art studio chatting about politics and the art world. My parents were the best at just letting me be independent and make the decisions I felt were necessary to learn and grow.

Now that I’m away at college, these conversations aren’t quite as common and are definitely more adult in their nature, but they still have the same impact. I call my dad for literally anything school or professionally related. If I’m stressed, or overwhelmed, he always knows what to say to talk me down. He always knows what advice to give me when it comes to that job interview or when I have a breakdown about what I’m doing or where I’m going with my life. How he handles it? I’m not entirely sure! Especially considering I have 3 little sisters he also has to deal with at home. Regardless of how he manages, I can’t express enough how thankful I am to constantly have him there to guide me through life’s challenges.

As for my mom, she’s definitely a cool mom, more of a friend one might say! She’s always there like a mom should be, constantly the first one to ask how my day was and question me about the experiences I’m having at college. She encourages me to take time for myself and to make sure I’m sleeping and eating and all that jazz. She never tells me I’m being a child, even when I throw the occasional tantrum or have an attitude fit for a spoiled teenage girl. I call her when I need advice or guidance in my personal life, whether that’s boy drama or I’m feeling unappreciated and need someone to remind me that everything will be okay. She never fails to tell me how proud she is or to say she misses me and wants to know when I’m coming home. She always knows how to comfort me through my emotional ups and downs and lift me up when I’m feeling depressed from the heaviness of my responsibilities.

So Dad, thank you for always taking the time to advise me, to encourage me and to remind me that the chaos is only temporary. Thank you for constantly showing your support and never ending a conversation without an “I love you.” Thank you for talking with me like an adult and also for occasionally forgetting I’m actually a grown up. I know that’s just a dad thing to do, but it reminds me that even though I’m away at school and living on my own, you’ll always be there to protect me from the monsters in life. Thank you for showing me that sometimes it’s worth it to take risks in order to get the things you want in life. And ultimately, thank you for inspiring me through your hard work and dedication to your career and the obvious passion you have for what you do. And through everything, thank you for never failing to put Mom, me and the girls first.

And Mom, thank you for never doubting me and laughing at my relentless sarcastic comments, even when they’re really not that funny. Thanks for listening to my drama and pushing me to make the best decision and do right by the people around me. Thank you for showing me what it means to truly give your life to your family and your time to your children. Thanks for offering to drive to Missoula when I’m having a rough day and thank you for being positive through the difficult times in life. Thanks for never being afraid to express your feelings and reminding me that sometimes showing compassion and empathy are the best things anyone can do.

These are only a few of the aspects of my relationship with my parents that I’m happy to brag about. But really, thank you Mom and Dad. Thank you for creating balance and stability in my life. Thank you for never pushing, but always nudging me to succeed. Thank you for showing me that I’m really my own worst critic and to lighten up sometimes. Thank you for encouraging me to set my goals high and and my standards higher. Thank you for supporting me and inspiring me every day. I am so appreciative of every ride to practice, every long day spent at tournaments, the academic assemblies, late night phone calls, shopping trips, serious life discussions, gossip sessions, book suggestions, dinner dates, and a whole lot of patience.

I know I used the word “thank you” approximately 212 times and this really only pertains to my parents, but I think it’s important to take a moment every once in awhile to actually express your appreciation for the people who love and care most about you. I’m beyond grateful for the relationship I have with my parents and I’m blessed to have such wonderful role models in my life. Take the time to tell someone you love them, send them a text or leave a simple note, and never forget to say thank you because it’s important! I love you Mom and Dad, thanks for raising me to stand strong and be confident in who I am. I’m forever appreciative of everything you do for me.

Love,

Your Favorite Daughter

Jordyn Kronenberg

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Growing Up in Glacier National Park in the 1930’s

I will begin this memoir by introducing my grandmother, Nancy Peck, who has shared with me the many extraordinary stories of her life. From growing up in Glacier National Park to shooting coyotes out of a plane at age sixteen to owning a business to serving in the Peace Corp at age sixty, my Nana has had some extraordinary experiences. Some of my favorite stories are the ones of her growing up in Glacier National Park in the 1930’s. The following are a collection of glimpses into her life in Glacier that she shared with me throughout the years of cozying up on the davenport.

 

I recall how peaceful and interesting growing up in Glacier was. While the park was always lively in the summer with interesting people from all over visiting, we were always ready for the quiet the winters brought.

It wasn’t like living in “small town USA”. People from all backgrounds came through the park, some stayed and some would move on after the summer months. The place was full of artists and authors, each adding to the unique culture of the park.

I remember all the girls saying how boring it must be living in such a rural place. Joanne would always answer by saying, “Are you kidding?! The summers brought in all the college boys!” Glacier was always real lively. All sorts of interesting people visited the park, from all over and we would learn so much from them. Friends of ours would come and stay throughout the year. There never was a dull moment around our home with the nine of us kids and then our visitors.

I still remember the day President Roosevelt came through the park for the dedication of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, in 1933. We were all out on the road waving as he drove by. We had quite a few celebrities come through the park when I was growing up, like Piper Laurie and Rory Calhoun.

My little sister Joanne and I would make the walk to the one room schoolhouse in Apgar together. I remember every day we’d stop at the corner before the schoolhouse and I would fix her up, straighten her coat and push her hair back over to the right side. I was always jealous of Joanne’s haircut growing up. Mine was a blunt cut, while she had a longer cut on one side that would sweep across her face.

Our first schoolteacher was horrid. She had this horsewhip that hung on the wall behind her desk and would always threaten to use it. The only time I can recall her using it was when a little girl couldn’t work out the athematic on the board. I went home that day absolutely shocked and told my parents.

We would put on these fantastic Christmas plays. Dad would make the stage every year. Everyone had to play two parts because there were so few of us. Oh, and the singing…my god, we were horrible! The community was very supportive though and we always had an audience.

We never ran out of things to do, no matter the season. In the summer I was a young entrepreneur. I had a stand set up with cans of worms to sell to the fishermen, as they’d walk by our house on the way to the river. I was going out of town one time and asked my neighbor to watch my worms for me. When I came back he had stolen all my worms and was running his own business. What a crook. In the winters we would continue to play outside. McDonald Lake would freeze over in some of the bays just enough for us to put on our ice skates, which just strapped onto our boots. We did a lot of cross-country skiing around the area on skinny wooden skis. Oh and the ice cream parlors we’d make out of the snow and then pretend to sell ice cream to each other.

 

I had once asked my Nana if she felt Glacier was still her home when she would return to visit. Her reply—“If you’ve lived somewhere and have felt a strong sense of happiness while there, when you return that well of happiness is filled once more. I loved growing up in Glacier and it will always be a place I call home.”

 

 

Written by— Ivy Duncan

Told by—Nancy Peck

Life Of A Cops Daughter

Stay Strong. Be Safe. Come Home.”

 

The words above may be simple, but have so much meaning. My dad is a Police Officer and has been for more than 20 years. His dedication and passion can be seen not only while he’s at work, but at home as well. It takes an incredibly strong person with so much determination and compassion to put on that uniform everyday and head to work, knowing he might not come home. He’s taught me how to be strong, how to be kind and compassionate and most importantly how to throw a mean punch and a swift kick to any man’s groin who tried to hurt me.

I always get asked, “How was growing up with a dad who was a Police Officer?”, “Has he ever shot someone?”, “Does he tell you all the cool stories?”. Being the sarcastic person I am, I have to bite my tongue to refrain from getting myself in trouble. To answer those questions, yes my dad has told me stories and no, not all of them were “cool” some were heartbreaking and disturbing, yes my dad has shot someone but only because his and his partners lives were in danger and growing up with a dad who is a Police Officer, I didn’t know any different. He was just my dad and did anything any other dad would do, the only difference being that he worked a range of long shifts and wore a bulletproof vest and badge to work. What people don’t realize is the family I gained because of my dad’s career choice. Those men and women became my aunts and uncles, the people who showed up to my birthday parties, school events, the ones who have attended my graduations and most importantly the ones who have seen me grow into the person I am today and helped solidify my appreciation for those in Law Enforcement.

When I was little I knew that my dad’s job was dangerous but didn’t truly understand what he went through everyday until I got older. My dad has always been my best friend, my hero and my number one supporter. So everyday when he’d get ready for work I would try my hardest to make sure he wasn’t able to go; whether it was clinging to his leg for dear life, tying the laces to his boots together in a zillion knots and on the rare occasion throwing his gun belt into my pool. The fear of something happening to him was always in the back of my mind, and became more prominent as I grew older.  

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Elementary school was a breeze and issues very seldom arose about the fact my dad was a cop. All my classmates found it “cool” that he was a Police Officer especially when he’d show up to school in his uniform just to have lunch with me or for school events. My dad was awesome that way, even though he had work, he always found time to come to my school events and tried to make my childhood as normal as possible. My middle school years were a different story, the kids were less accepting of what my dad did for a living and as a result I didn’t have many friends. Most my lunches were spent eating with the Resource Officer and my weekends were spent with my grandma because my dad was working undercover cases and didn’t know when he’d be able to come home. As I grew older and high school came around it became more apparent the stigma that came along with being a cops daughter and cops in general. They always assumed I was either a “goodie two shoes” or a “rebel who got away with everything,” the truth being I didn’t. I actually was held to a higher standard than most, getting away with lying was absolutely impossible and disappointing my dad was soul crushing. To this day I’m still held to those standards. They assumed all cops are “pigs” and are bad people, the truth being they aren’t. Just like anything else in this world there is good and there is bad, people unfortunately only choose to see the bad and what the media decides to show.

Today I still feel the way I always have and I couldn’t be more proud of who my dad is and what he does. His choice of a career has saved countless lives, and made him not only my hero but one to many others as well. The acts of senselessly killing those men and women in Law Enforcement breaks my heart, it makes my heart hurt for their families, their friends and their fellow Officers. People don’t realize how it feels to have your heart sink into your stomach when you hear there was a Police involved shooting, the sheer panic that goes through your mind and the sigh of relief when your dad finally answers his phone after the 100th time you call him and lets you know he’s okay. You don’t see the look on those Officers faces when they can breath knowing their fellow brother or sister is safe and how it effects them when they find out a fellow Officer has been hurt.

To Law Enforcement Officers – Stay Strong, Be Safe, Come Home.

 

Kilee Stepper

8 ways my rescue dog rescued me

Driving home from Moab late at night in the spring of 2014, I was doing what we all do on long road trips: thinking. Something was missing in my life. I had just spent a week backpacking around the desert and had an unbelievable trip, but all I could think the entire time was how it would have been better with a companion. The next morning I took a trip to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman, MT to “just look”. I don’t know much, but as soon as we caught each other’s eye I knew I had just met my soul hound. Waker has inflicted monumental impact on my every day life and this canine has made me a better human. I like to say I rescued my dog, but really, he rescued me. Or maybe, we rescued each other. The list of the ways he’s shaped my life is limitless, but here are eight lessons that only Wake dog could have taught me.

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  1. “We” is so much better than “I”.
    Waker is an every day constant now and no matter what it is, it’s about us, not just me anymore. Every decision I make is fueled by what’s best for him and he’s taught me that when you have a teammate in life, you must be considerate, selfless and mindful.

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  1. Dog really is the best co-pilot.
    Waker drastically changed my road trip game. We stop for lots of pee breaks and critter hunting in places I never would have explored alone. We have crossed state lines and time zones together, have witnessed the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I have seen so much more beauty because of him and for that I am fur-ever grateful.

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  1. It’s okay to put your head in a hole sometimes.
    Waker knows the best things in life aren’t always right in front of us nor are they easy to get. Sometimes we need to dig deep to find what we’re really looking for, just like catching critters.

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  1. You can get by with a little help from your best friend.
    Waker has seen my heart break, has watched me endure loss and has been there for significant life changes. I was on crutches for the better part of our first year together, but he didn’t let me sit around and think about it too much. He made me get up and get out to actually enjoy those days and suddenly, it wasn’t so bad.

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  1. It’s cool to be goofy.
    Waker is my little weirdo. He doesn’t do what other dogs do – he doesn’t play fetch, he doesn’t woof down his food at once and he only wants to cuddle on his terms. He walks to the wag of his own tail. He builds nests for himself all day long, he plays with his toys like they’re his actual friends and he catches more house mice than any cat on the block. He’s made me realize that the best thing to be is yourself, and its even better when you’re a little goofy.

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  1. Sharing your bed is a good thing to do.
    Waker likes to sleep like I do – in the middle of the bed with all the covers. We needed a few nights, but we finally agreed upon sleeping positions that accommodate both of us. That means he still gets the middle and I try not to fall off, but hey, it works for us and we’ve never slept better. He’s taught me that the greatest things, like sleep, are shared, and sharing is crucial for feeling fulfilled.

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  1. Take a look at the things around you.
    Waker wonders about everything he sees, listens to every sound he hears and takes his time to pee on everything he sniffs. Pausing to take a look at the things around me has enhanced my quality of life. Life is full of simple treasures and beauty is everywhere. Waker gets full credit for teaching me how important understanding this is.

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  1. Fall more in love every day.
    Waker makes me laugh, encourages me to remain patient and takes me on an unpredictable adventure every day. My heart is full of happiness because of him and each day I fall more and more in love with that boy.