Friday, November 18, 2011


Calvin Lee “Bud” Sherrow, 70, of Hagerstown went home to Heaven on November 16, 2011.  
 He was born January 7, 1941 in Richmond, Indiana to Joseph Sherrow and Betty (Sherrow) Parrett. 

Bud earned his GED and went on to serve in the United States Army.  He served overseas and had fond memories of his time spent in Germany and Korea.  Following his service to his country, he returned to Richmond.  He worked at Kemper Cabinet Company for nearly 38 years, retiring in 2003.

Bud married Judy Hunter Sherrow on October 7, 1967 and welcomed three children into their family.  Bud was a loving husband, father, and grandfather.  He was a loyal brother, uncle, and friend.  Bud was happiest spending time with his family, making memories with his grandchildren, reading, and gardening.

Bud is survived by his children: Jeff (Laura) Sherrow of Hagerstown, Tony Sherrow of Richmond, and Christina (Brad) Johnson of Wilmore, KY;   his nine grandchildren: Ashley Sherrow, Morgan Kincaid, Zackery, Grace, and Lillee Sherrow, Sam, Luke, Caleb and Matthew Johnson.  Also surviving are his siblings: Harriet Clark of Franklin, IN, Charlie Parrett (Carol) of Richmond, and Carl Parrett (Sandy) of Richmond.  He also leaves an aunt, several cousins, nieces, and nephews.    He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, his stepfather, Ed Parrett; his sisters, Joan Clapp, Carol Simpson, and Brenda Riddle; and his grandsons Dylan Sherrow and Austin Sherrow. 

A celebration of Bud’s life will be held at First United Methodist Church at 318 National Road West in Richmond on Saturday, November 19th at 10:00 am.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gleaners Food Bank at 3737 Waldemere Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46241 or

This is my dad's obituary that will appear in our hometown newspaper.  The words are all accurate and true...but very inadequate.  He was much more than the information contained in those paragraphs.  

I have been thinking about how by "worldly" standards, my dad lived a pretty unremarkable life.  Aside from his military travels, he lived and died in the county where he was born.  He got married to a nice girl, raised three kids, worked at the same job for 38 years...nothing really "exceptional" about his life - in fact, he would seem to be a very ordinary guy.  

However, what most folks don't know is that my dad really was extraordinary.  He and my mom were the most generous people I have ever known.  While they were never wealthy - they always gave as if they were.  Honestly, I can remember my folks giving/loaning money to people my entire life.  My mom was always volunteering my dad to do things - like delivering Christmas gifts/dinner to someone who had none, helping to fix someone's leaky sink who couldn't afford to pay a plumber, restoring an old bicycle to give to a little neighbor girl who didn't have one, driving my grandmother to play bingo with her friends (grin), fixing someone's car or furnace, and he even helped to paint my mother-in-law's home.  My dad's heart was broken when our childhood friend's young son died of SIDS...the only child and apple of his parent's eyes.  They wanted to donate all of his things.  They gathered up his crib, his toys, his clothes...and my dad went to pick them up and deliver them to the donation site.  He told me about how sad he was for the young parents and how difficult it was to see all of the things that this little guy should have used for a long time to come.  

My dad was much more than a blue collar guy from Indiana...he was a care-giver, he was an encourager, he was a story-teller, he was decent, he was loyal, he was a good man, he was the most patient person I have ever known, he was a very attentive grandfather - he really knew his grandchildren, he was amazing.  He was more than just an "ordinary man" - he was my dad.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


My blog has been silent for the past few months.  Not because I lack things to write about, rather there is too much going on in my heart, my mind, my life...words don't come easily.  However, sleep wouldn't come easily tonight...and words seem to.

My dad had a heart attack in June.  I got the phone call that no one wants to receive from my oldest brother in the early hours of the morning.  I packed a bag and made the drive to Indiana.  Ten months after my mom's sudden death, I found myself in another hospital room.  Listening to the sounds of monitors, watching the blinking of lights on machines that were delivering medications, and did my best to take in what was really happening. 

Later that afternoon, I met with my dad's cardiologist.  He shared the ultrasound images of my dad's heart.  It was not good news.  I listened as he gently explained that the damage was severe, that blockages had gone undetected, and then he stopped.  He collected his thoughts and then went on to tell me that my dad's case was very different than any he had seen before.  My dad's heart was severely enlarged - not a normal symptom related to the heart blockages.  The doctor asked if my dad had experienced any traumatic emotional event in the past few months.  I felt my throat tighten and my eyes began to burn...I could feel the tears coming.  I explained that my mom had died earlier that year.  He told me that my dad was probably suffering from Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or "broken heart syndrome" in addition to the other cardiac issues.  He smiled and said, "Your dad must have really loved your mom."  He mapped out what the next few days would look like...tests to be run, meds to be administered, and questions to be answered.  It was all just the beginning of a long journey.

After a week long hospital stay, my dad was released.  The docs told us that he was gravely ill and would most likely not survive a month.  The next few months would bring a decreased appetite and dramatic weight-loss, the placement of a permanent pacemaker/defibrillator, changes in his diet, and incredible fatigue.  The lack of energy seemed to bother him most.  We determined to take advantage of the time we had with him.  He shared time between his home in Indiana and our house here in Kentucky.  Making lots of memories with his grand kids, having really rich conversations about the past and the future, and just loving one another.  What a tremendous gift God had given us.

Nearly five months later, we find ourselves at another crossroads.  The hospice nurse tells us that he will most likely meet Jesus in just a matter of days now.  I find myself so thankful that his suffering will end and the joy will begin...but, my heart is also filled with sadness.  I will miss him. 

Although I am overwhelmed, I know that God is with me.  He loves me.  He is able to bear my burden.  He will carry me.

"The Lord your God goes with you; 
He will never leave you nor forsake you."  
Deuteronomy 31:6


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sweet Gift from Heaven

Today is my birthday.  I am not really certain exactly why I have been missing my mom more than usual today...I mean, other than the obvious fact that she gave birth to me.  {grin}  I guess few people get as excited about your birthday to the degree that your mom does.  I have just been missing her...wishing I could talk with her or work on some "project" around the house together or just sit and delight in my little boys as they play.  My day has been full of blessings.  Sweet hugs and birthday wishes from my little boys, tender kisses from my biggest boy, and cards from dear friends arriving in the mail.  I just miss my mom.

After picking Luke up from school {he is in a half-day kindergarten program}, we needed to make a quick trip to get some dog food for Rocky.  On our way home from the store, Matthew and I had the following conversation:
Matthew:  Mommy, I am sad.
Me:  Why are you sad, buddy?
Matthew: Because I miss my Gran. {whimpering}
Me: Oh, sweet boy, I miss her,too. 
Matthew:  I want to hug her.  Do you want to hug her, Mom?  {wiping tears from his sweet cheeks}
Me: I sure do, Matthew.  If Gran were here with us, she would want to hug us, too.  Maybe we will feel better if we hug each other.  Do you want me to hug you when we get home?
Matthew:  Yes!  Is Gran in Heaven, Mom?
Me:  Yes, she is Matthew.  She is having a wonderful time there.  No one ever gets sad, or sick, or scared.  It's such a great place, no one ever cries. 
Matthew:  Is she with God and Jesus?
Me:  Yes, she  is.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to be with God and Jesus?
Matthew:  Oh, yes!  I want to be with God and Jesus in Heaven.  What is Gran doing in Heaven?
Me:  Oh, she is singing songs about how wonderful God is...she is singing with her friends, with all kinds of other people who love God.
Matthew:  {very excitedly}  I want to sing songs with God and Jesus!  I want to do that after I am old and I die and go to Heaven.  That would be great!  I will sing with Gran, too!
Me:  That sounds wonderful, Matthew.  What a special gift to be with God and everyone else you love in Heaven one day.  I want to be there with you, too.
Matthew:  Yes, Mom!  And Daddy, and Sam, and Luke, and Cal.  We will all be singing in Heaven. 

So, that is how my Mom managed to give me a gift on my birthday...reminders of the sweet promise of Heaven spoken from my sweet three-year-old's heart.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you, too. {grin}
This photo was taken on Caleb and Matthew's second birthday...January 25, 2010 (incorrect date on photo)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quiet Time

The title of the blog post makes me giggle a bit.  It's not often quiet at my house.  It seems that my boys are gifted in physical movement and other words, they are always on the move and always making noise of some sort.  The little cuties can't help themselves.  They are practicing being brave, bold, adventurous, and fierce protectors...defeating "bad guys" and "big bad wolves" at every turn.

So, in the midst of the madness at the Johnson home...this momma's heart seeks a little bit of "quiet" each day.  I need some opportunity to think....or complete a task without interruption...or just to "be"...and if I am being completely honest, I'd just like to go to the bathroom alone.  {snicker}  The days are long and sometimes difficult.  I often run out of patience before my little men run out of energy or questions to be aanswered.  My work is often undone before I am fully able to enjoy know, like when the freshly mopped floor is immediately marked with little muddy footprints.  Thankfully, I am wise enough to know that these are some of the sweetest days of my life.  Full of blessings like:  chubby little hands that want to hold mine, sweet little voices to tell me that they love me, mischievous little grins and twinkly eyes, and hugs that melt my heart and cause me to fall in love with them all over again.    

The kind of quiet I need is not just "alone" time.  As a matter of fact, I need to be with Jesus so desperately.  Time with Him restores my soul, rejuvenates my heart, stirs up His love within me again, and helps me to find some perspective.  My time with Jesus gives "shape" to my life.  It brings peace in the midst of the madness.

I have been in the habit of having this "appointment" with Jesus for years, now.  I don't want to age myself, but...for over 20 years now I have sought out this time with Jesus.  Over the years, this "appointment" has taken many different forms.  There have been times of tremendous learning - when God was showing me things in scripture that profoundly affected me and shaped my heart.  There have also been "desert" times...when my heart was hurt or my mind was too full to focus.

When our first son was born, I was learning to mother and balance a full plate of responsibilities.  With the addition of each child, it became more of a struggle to keep all of the balls I was juggling in the air!  During this season of my life I was far too "legalistic" about my quiet time with Jesus.  It was as if my time with Him was just another "thing" on my to-do-list for the day.   If the day was nearly gone and I hadn't "gotten it in" - I would flip my Bible open and read anything...and try to find some sort of applicable nugget of truth...then close in prayer.  Ahh...the satisfaction of another "thing" accomplished.  I had to learn the hard way that it was my pride at work - I wanted to be a "good christian" and having a daily quiet time was part of what good christian people do.   gulp.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  I was so focused on accomplishing the goal that I didn't allow room for being authentic, for allowing the Holy Spirit to move, or for trusting God's love and not trying to "earn" His approval (or the admiration of others, for that matter).  It was a pride I had to die to. 

 With the addition of each little blessing into our rigidity in quiet time became more apparent.  I was scrambling to keep it all together...and it was all seeming to fall apart.  {grin}  So how does a mom of four young children find time to be quiet?  I love the days when I manage to muster the energy to get my keister (is that really a word) out of bed before my little ones arise to spend some time talking to God and digging into the Word.  However, my  children are very early risers so this doesn't happen as often as I'd like.  Most of the time, my quiet time happens late at night...after everyone is in bed and my house is silent.  Usually, I have a few books I am reading...I always spend time praying (I have kept a prayer journal for years - it helps me to see and remember God's faithfulness)...and I always read scripture (if I am not doing a more formal Bible study book).  Every day, I am praying (often just to make it through the day).  When our first son was born, a dear friend shared this sweet promise...and it  has been such a comforting word to my weary-momma heart.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
   He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
   he gently leads those that have young."
  Isaiah 40:11

What a sweet thought that God knows and understands the challenges that face "those that have young" and He is so kind to be "gentle" with them.  He knows I need to be led gently!  Little stolen moments with the Lord throughout the day are my "fuel" and provide some sanity and levity to my days.  We usually have a "Praise Dance Party" after lunch.  It's simply a matter of crankin' some praise music the kiddos like and dancing around the kitchen.  I am amazed at how restorative it is for all of us.  It's hard to be cranky or unkind when you are singing God's praises.  {grin}  Above all, many years of having a quiet time with God have taught me much...I am loved much, I have grown much, I have been given much and I can trust Him fully.  What an amazing thought that  the creator of the universe longs to be with me...and I desperately need to be with Him, too.  Having quiet time with Him makes me a better wife, a better momma, and a woman growing in grace and wisdom.   
Thanks, Jodi, for inviting me to join the conversation about quiet times.  You can find some more perspectives here.

A four boy pile-up in the hallway makes for one of my favorite pictures.  {grin}


Monday, May 2, 2011


If the boys didn't sleep...I don't think I would blog at all!  The days seem to be so full and I have more duties than energy to complete them.  This is the story of every mom's life, right? {grin}


The day seems to go by in a whirlwind of activity.  Then, when the boys are all in bed and the house is quiet...I collapse into a heap on the couch.  If I am fortunate, my hubby sits next to me and we watch something mindless on TV and chat about the events of our day. 

     Brad has been working in the evening...trying to keep up with the many classes he is teaching this semester and ministering to his students.  The house is a mess.  The toys strewn about the house are evidence of a hard day's work by our little boys.  The messy kitchen is evidence of a meal prepared with love and shared around the table by our tribe.  There is a pile of books near the rocking chair in our living room...further evidence of how this momma spent her afternoon.  Sam has a new chapter book from the library resting on the table near the couch...evidence of the independent reader he has become.  The evidence is everywhere....they are signs of life in this place.  This is what makes this house our home.   

     The pace of life is hectic...but, so incredibly rich.  We're blessed.  Brad has a job that he has been called to and he enjoys his work.  He is blessed to work with some amazing colleagues and students who challenge and inspire him.  We're parents to four healthy, happy, rambunctious little boys who are growing in stature and in faith.  The laundry is never done, the kitchen is always littered with dirty dishes and crumbs on the floor, and there are toys scattered around the house...but, I honestly love it.  Life is not without it's challenges...but, I wouldn't have it any other way (most of the time).

The Dynamic Duo (Caleb on left, Matthew on right) enjoying a book together.

Sam working on a masterpiece.  The date is incorrect...the little boy is wonderful.

Luke celebrated his 5th birthday on March 9th.  I can hardly believe how quickly the time has passed.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick

The beautiful prayer of St Patrick, popularly known as "St Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:
I bind to myself today The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity: I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism, The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial, The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension, The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day
I bind to myself today The virtue of the love of seraphim, In the obedience of angels, In the hope of resurrection unto reward, In prayers of Patriarchs, In predictions of Prophets, In preaching of Apostles, In faith of Confessors, In purity of holy Virgins, In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today The power of Heaven, The light of the sun, The brightness of the moon, The splendour of fire, The flashing of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of sea, The stability of earth, The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today God's Power to guide me, God's Might to uphold me, God's Wisdom to teach me, God's Eye to watch over me, God's Ear to hear me, God's Word to give me speech, God's Hand to guide me, God's Way to lie before me, God's Shield to shelter me, God's Host to secure me, Against the snares of demons, Against the seductions of vices.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

These Two at Three.

I remember the day well, three years ago (January 25th, to be exact) body breathed a sigh of relief and my heart nearly doubled in size when we met our sweet boys.  I can vividly remember being amazed to see that there were two pink little babies...not that I hadn't been aware of the fact that we were expecting twins, but still shocked.  I don't have words to describe how it felt to see those two babies...hard to take it all in.  I can't imagine how mom's of higher order multiples must feel.  gulp.

Bringing them home from the hospital was such an overwhelming experience.  Months of joy, diaper-changing, round-the-clock-feeding, crying (both mine and theirs) and trying to keep our heads above water followed.  Sleep-deprivation left Brad and I in a fog...but, with hearts full of gratitude.  What a gift we'd been given.

Fast forward three years and today things look very different in our home.  We're now the parents of four little boys...not a baby in sight.  Gone are the diapers, we mostly sleep through the night, they are eating non-stop during their waking hours only, and we're coming out of the fog.

Here is what the dynamic duo is up to these days:

  • Loves to talk and have conversation.  He loves to make people laugh.
  • Eats a tremendous amount of food...yet, still weighs less than Matthew.  
  • Some of his favorite foods are: oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, blueberries, bananas, beans, quesadillas, pizza, salad and he always requests a second helping of meat!  Such a carnivore!
  • Loves to dance.
  • Loves to go to church.  He asks several times a week if we can go.
  • Says, "Amen!" with gusto!
  • Loves to be tickled.
  • Enjoys playing "rough" with his dad and older brothers.
  • The library is among his favorite places to visit.
  • Has really good manners.
  • Screams/squeals loudly when his brothers take things away from him.
  • Likes to pretend he is a doggie...and threatens to "slick" (lick) you.
  • Almost always identifies himself as Matthew in a picture.
  • Loves to ride his scooter and swing on our playground outside when it's warm outside.
  • Loves his "Pa" (my dad) and always asks for "my Grace" (his cousin)
  • Doesn't like to sit in time out.
  • Can recognize nearly every letter in the alphabet (gets b and d confused, struggles with Q), knows his primary colors, can sort things according to size, understands spatial concepts (over, under, beside, etc), can count to 20 (sometimes skipping 16), and sings a ton of songs.
  • Melts my heart when he asks to "snuggle up with me" on the couch.
  • Weighs in at 31 pounds (80th percentile) and stands at 31 1/4 inches tall (81st percentile).
  • Has completely stolen my heart...I'm wacky about that boy!
  • Has a quick smile and loves to make people laugh.
  • Loves to be tickled.
  • Enjoys a good soak/playtime in the tub.
  • Likes to pray before our meals.
  • Almost always identifies himself as Caleb in pictures.
  • Loves to read book and play games.
  • Loves to play in the snow and jump on the trampoline in warm weather.
  • Shows great remorse when he has hurt someone/broken something.
  • Loves to go "bye bye" - anywhere!
  • Enjoys fruit, salad, rice, quesadillas, fresh salsa, macaroni and cheese,green beans, and always requests desert.
  • Loves to sing and dance.
  • Enjoys dressing up and "playing" characters - pirates, buzz lightyear, or a superhero of some kind.
  • Loves, loves, loves his daddy.  He is by far the biggest "daddy's boy" in our family.
  • Gives the sweetest kisses.
  • Recognizes all primary colors, understands spatial concepts, can count to 19,
  • Weighs in at 39 3/4 pounds (81st percentile) and stands 35 inches tall (89th percentile).
  • Has stolen my heart...I am totally crazy about him.

Happy Birthday Caleb & Matthew! 

To take a peek at their three year old photos, go to :

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Another First...

    We made it through the first Christmas without my mom.  I am learning that this grieving process is full of strange and unexpected twists and turns.  It doesn't always follow the path you think it will.  For example, the weeks leading up to Christmas were so incredibly difficult and complex, in many ways.  Sweet memories of holiday traditions that my mom created for my family were both a source of comfort and pain.  I loved remembering how she did so many special things to create meaningful traditions that served as an "anchor" for our family Christmas each year.  The pain was a result of traditions not created this year with my own family...I had imagined baking cookies with my mom and my boys, making my mom's famous fudge with her, and paying very close attention to how she made divinity - I have no idea how to create this treat that my hubby loves.  I was looking forward to sharing those traditions with my family...and my mom's death has left all of these things undone. I have never celebrated Christmas without my mom.  It feels strange.  There is still joy - after all, the joy of God's amazing gift in Jesus cannot be squelched by the sting of death.  Our boys were full of joy and excitement...and filled my heart with joy, too.  Such tender little ones full of wonder.  The celebration marched on, but in black and white instead of a rainbow of technicolor.  So much left undone...yet, life goes on.

    Speaking of undone, there are constant reminders of things left undone.  My mom died at such a young age (only 63) and so unexpectedly.  There are reminders of a life in progress all around our house: a Billy Graham biography with her bookmark at the half-way point,   her "Jesus Calling" daily devotional book lying on the bedside table open the day before she died, projects that we had intended to finish, meals we were going to prepare, and the list goes on and on.  It's painful.

    As I grieve, I am keenly aware of how my boys(including Brad) are processing my mom's death, too.  Sam was moved to tears....sobbing...on Christmas Eve.  He knew that Christmas wasn't the same with his "Gran."  It made him sad.  He kept saying, "It's just not the same.  It's not right.  I want her back with me."  Heartbreaking.  Walking through this season of grief with our boys has been the most difficult and tender time.  We've been honest, we've shared tears, we've validated their feelings, and reassured them of God's promises.

    At first glance, Luke appears to be just fine...however, he fearful that I will "go away" like his grandma did.  He is never far from my side and is always seeking my affection.  Several times a day, I hear him say, "I am going to marry you, Mom."  "I am never going to break away from you, Mom."  "I don't want you to leave."  "I don't want you to go to Heaven."  I do my best to reassure him that his Daddy and I are doing all that we can to live a long life with him and that going to Heaven isn't scary - but, wonderful!  A few nights ago, we had just finished reading a bedtime story and we snuggle up close for a prayer together.  After the "amen," I hear his soft voice say, "Mom, if there was a fire at our house, would we all go to Heaven."  Poor sweet boy.  I assured him that Daddy loved us all so much that he made our house safe with fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers.  We talked about calling 911 and how firemen and policemen would come help us.  I reminded him of our family's plan to meet at our mailbox out front if there was a fire.  I tried to empower him to do something...equip him with some skills to help him cope.  I am just so unsure of what to say at times.  Grief is complex...the process is different for each of us.

    Caleb and Matthew continue to talk about my mom as usual.  I wonder if they think that the 8 weeks she lived with us was like a "long visit" and now she has gone back to Indiana.  They remember things that Gran gave them, books she read to them, and things she said, like "Sweet Dreams" before bedtime.  I pray that they will "know" her through the photos and stories we tell them.  My mom loved them fiercely. 

    Sam drew this on the chalkboard in our kitchen.  I love it!

    Watching Matthew open a gift.

    My dad (in the hat) passing out his gifts to the grandkids, Brad videotaping, Caleb (in striped shirt) apparently pulling his pants down.
    So, we have survived yet another difficult "first" without my mom.  Some things were the same as always: gifts, matching pajamas, birthday party for Jesus, and time spent with our extended family.  Many things were very different, her presence was missed....something was "off" with our holiday celebration.  But, God was faithful and Christmas served as a powerful reminder of His goodness.  With God's help, we made it.