Feel free to cozy up with your favorite beverage (if you're like me, then maybe it's an espresso over ice with a splash of cream, or a warm matcha latte if it's cold outside!) and stay awhile. This is my place to share not just beautiful weddings or sessions, but to share my life. My hope is through this, you'll get to know a bit more about me and all the beautiful people that make it worth living!
Today is Sheri’s birthday. Growing up I always included January 21st & August 24th as dates that were celebrated every year. No, they weren’t dates of birthdays of my siblings, but I thought of them as my true brother and sister.
One fall Sunday afternoon right after my fourth birthday, my parents chose to open our fruit stand at the end of our driveway. This was the first time I could remember that my parents did anything on Sunday besides going to church and having family time. Looking back, God obviously prompted them to try to sell some fruit that afternoon as little did we know that some “customers” would become lifelong friends. I was four years old at the time and meeting Bret and Sheri are some of my earliest vivid childhood memories. They had stopped by to look at buying some apples to take back to their home in Bellingham on their way over the North Cascades. They stopped their trailer at the bottom of our driveway. Well, hours later, Bret, Sheri and I were eating oreo cookies and drinking grape juice in their trailer talking and getting to know each other while our parents were fast becoming friends outside.
I’m not sure how much time went by. . .maybe a month? But, I remember heading over the mountains to help sift through ashes of Bret and Sheri’s house that had just burnt down. I remember the smell and seeing little pieces of legos that were still in tact and hadn’t melted. I was too little to remember the emotions and understand all that Roger and Sue (Bret and Sheri’s mom and dad & my “second parents”) must have been going through. Looking back, it must have been devastating. A very long story short, they ended up moving into a little house right next door to us while they built a new house about a mile away. . .my very first & only neighbors that I remember! We lived in a very rural area, so this was a HUGE treat! From that point on, our families did everything together. Most of my childhood memories include Bret and Sheri.
Sheri was truly my big sister. I looked up to her even though I was annoyed with her when she mothered me & Bret. Looking back, I think that Bret and I probably annoyed and pestered her! :) Bret, Sheri and I spent hours together riding back and forth for three and 1/2 years to the Christian school with Sue. I have many fun memories of cars rides and was always excited when they got a “new” car. I especially remembering riding in a white van with cool seats that didn’t require seat belts! One memory I have is when Bret and I were probably in 2nd grade, Sheri opened her bedroom door across the hall and asked me to come to her room and acted very secretive. Bret and I hung out in his room all the time, so it was a huge treat to be asked to go into her room as it was “off limits”. Looking back, it was so cute. . .she was excited to show off her new bra. . .I remember thinking how incredibly cool she was. I remember having some frilly matching handmade dresses. . .mine was white with little pink rosebuds. I remember the time she just blurted out that there wasn’t a Santa Claus and I was mortified and went crying to my mom and dad. I remember her first boyfriend and what an exciting time that was. I remember babysitting her grandma suffering from Alzheimer’s with her. I remember the times of butchering chickens, raising sheep to take to the fair, going to church retreats, watching her play volleyball. . . .the list goes on and on. Almost every memory I have growing up includes Sheri and Bret. And to think my parents almost didn’t open the fruit stand that day. . .
The sad thing is that I don’t have many adult memories of Sheri other than her wedding day, a baby shower, seeing her at a St. Patrick’s Day parade with her precious kids. That breaks my heart that we don’t have more memories. I guess that when Sheri left for college and her family moved 30 miles away a few years later and Sheri and I just didn’t stay in touch. We all got married, started families and life just was busy. Bret and his family are still some of our very best friends in the world, so I would hear of updates of Sheri’s life. I remember getting the news over Thanksgiving weekend of the dreaded word “cancer” and it feeling surreal and not even beginning to understand what the family must feel like. Sheri was a young mom full of life. This just wasn’t “fair” or right. . .
Sheri went to be with Jesus the end of May this year. I sat in her service filled with over 800 people and listened to stories about the lives she impacted. She was a 1st grade teacher and obviously an amazing one. It made me realize that her “mothering” ways towards me and Bret were a God given gift as she would be mothering and teaching and impacting hundreds and hundred of kids over the years. She was an incredible wife, mother, daughter and sister. I listened to Bret share his memories of Sheri (I was so proud of him) and couldn’t stop the tears from flowing as I remember almost 95% of everything he shared. I sat there and cried as I missed out on an amazing friendship with an amazing woman because life just got too busy. It has made me re-evauluate life and how I want to live. . .how I want to be remembered when I die. Sheri lived her life for Jesus. . .He was glorified in her life and is in her death. Her last words she wrote in her journal were “I know my name is written in the lamb’s book of life”. She is missed greatly, but I know she is with Jesus and is no longer in pain. One of the ladies who shared about Sheri at her service finished with the words from “In Christ Alone”. . .
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand
At the end of the service, they released over 1000 white and pink balloons in honor of Sheri. Words can’t begin to describe what it felt like to watch those balloons floating up into the sky. . .