Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All Grown Up

Last weekend the last of the Sarver boys entered adulthood ... it's hard to believe that Jonathan is now 21! His big brothers took him to Vegas so he could legally gamble ... I'm not sure Mom would be totally excited about her three boys running wild in Vegas, but she would be proud that they were very excited to celebrate together. Actually ... I took her to Vegas with Kathy and Suzi for her last birthday in 2007, so maybe she would be excited about it after all!

I'm so proud of Jonathan and how he is growing up and maturing ... he's doing well in school, has taken on a leadership role in his fraternity, is working as a Cutco knife salesman and is a regular "manny" for two kids in Austin who adore him. I do think Mom would be very proud of the young man he's shaping up to be. I just wish she were here to watch him grow up in person.

I often tell him how I remember when she told me she was pregnant with him ... it was our little secret and I was VERY excited at the prospect of having a baby sister. Well, as it turns out, he would have made a very ugly girl, but is an adorable young man. When I first saw him and they were weighing and measuring and getting his little footprints, I fell in love. He still has the baby blanket I picked out for him ... it had to match my room after all, since I insisted his crib be in there with me. Mom did an excellent job raising him, and I was happy to be "junior Mom" following in her footsteps. I haven't tried to fill her shoes (I would fail miserably), but I'm happy to offer helpful advice and counsel to Jonathan (and Jason and Justin, if they'd listen!) along the way.

So Mom ... your baby boy is all grown up. He's a bright young man with a bright future. You'd be very proud.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How time flies ...

The saying goes ... "time flies when you're having fun." That's not applicable in this situation, but it is true that time has flown by. It's hard to believe that Friday will be the one week anniversary of Mom's "graduation," as we like to call it. But as quickly as time has passed, that day is frozen in my memory, like a slow motion movie playing again and again. The fateful e-mail, then a phone call from my Dad saying "Jeni your mother was in a car accident. Your mother is dead." That call plays over and over in my head ... I was so disoriented and in such disbelief that I said, "You're joking, right?" Of course, it wasn't a joke. It was reality. And the last 12 months have been getting used to that new reality. One where I don't have a Mom to laugh with, talk to, cry with ... one where her smile is frozen in pictures, and her laugh only echoes in my head. I still struggle with trying to understand WHY. I know God has a purpose and a plan, and I don't second guess him. I just miss my Mom. I want to see her, talk to her, hug her ... I know I will again, but forever seems a long way off. So this week as I go about the busy-ness of life, with time flying by, I'll try to slow down. I'll remember the good times, and I'll make an extra effort to tell the ones I love how much they mean to me. Time flies, after all, and we never know what's around the corner.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day


You taught me to walk.
You taught me to read and write.
You taught me to pray.
You taught me to swim.
You taught me to love.
You taught me to sing.
You taught me right from wrong.
You taught me to bold.
You taught me compassion.
You taught me to accessorize.
You taught me to laugh.
You taught me that true beauty is on the inside.
You taught me confidence.
You taught me to lead by example.
You taught me to serve others.
You taught me that success isn’t measured in dollar signs, but in the number of lives I impact.
You taught me that character counts.

And when you died you reminded me of life’s greatest lessons:
This life is temporary.
Live every day like it’s your last.
Love everyone like you’ll never see them again.
Live a life that makes a difference for others every day.

Happy Mother’s Day

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In Service to God, Community

Last month the City of McAllen honored mom with the inaugural "Community Service Award". Above is the page from the program, and if you can't read it, it says:

"The McAllen Mayor's Prayer Committee introduces a new dimension to the luncheon's program, The Community Service Award. After a review of potential awardees, the Committee unanimously selected Mrs. Cheri Sarver, former Principal of Covenant Christian Academy, as the first honoree of this award. Cheri's commitment of faith, love and inspiration was demonstrated daily to the students, parents, faculty, and staff of the Covenant Christian Academy, as well as to her church (Baptist Temple). Mrs. Sarver has been named posthumously to receive the award. Her husband, Mr. Barney Sarver, will accept the award on her behalf."
The keynote speaker at the event was William P. Young, the author of The Shack, a wonderful book about God's love and mercy; a book that had actually ministered to many people in my family over the course of the past eight months.

Overall, it was a wonderful event and we were so pleased that the city chose to honor Mom in such a public way. It is a great opportunity to continue her legacy and share her story and her life with others. It was also a great time to see the family! (see photo) I think one of the outgrowths of this tragedy has been a renewed appreciation for family; a desire to spend time with them whenever possible, and a reminder to always say "I love you," because you never know when it will be your last opportunity.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blood is Thicker Than Water

It's been too long since I've update this blog, so I thought I'd add a couple of pictures from a recent Sarver sibling ski weekend. We are so blessed to be such a close family. We all enjoy each other's company, and spend most vacations trying to get together. It's a closeness that was instilled in us early on, and nurtured throughout the course of our lives.

When Mom made the decision to teach us at home in 1984, she took on an enormous challenge. Educating three rambunctious kids at three different grade levels must have a daunting prospect. But Mom relished the opportunity. She wanted to spend more time with us and hated the idea of someone else instilling values in her kids. She felt it was her God-given responsibility to "train up a child in the way he should go" as we read in Proverbs 22:6. She turned our formal dining room into a classroom, complete with chalkboards, school desks and electric pencil sharpeners. She made us wake up early, get showered and dress and sit down for school time. She took the responsibility very seriously, but she always made it fun. She introduced new games and songs to help jog our memory or turn a complicated idea into something memorable. She helped us with English, science and history, always helping the subject come alive. She had a gift for teaching and nurturing. A gift that was later shared with hundreds of kids at Covenant Christian Academy.

For 12 years she taught her children at home, forgoing opportunities to work full time outside of the home or have much of a life outside of her family and her service. She felt like we were her calling, and we are blessed beyond measure because of her sacrifice. We all excelled academically, and went on to graduate at the top of our classes from Sharyland High School. But it was that early foundation that she laid that created a sturdy grounding for future success. And, it was those early years in which we spent so much time together, morning, noon and night that we learned that the best of friends are those who share our blood. The bond of siblings is the strongest and I'm grateful that she taught us to be friends.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas in Mexico

This year we decided to head South for Christmas. Knowing that this particularly holiday would be especially hard without Mom, we thought a fun, activity-filled tropical vacation was in order. So we planned a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico where we could blissfully ignore all of the holiday traditions and memories that might have caused sadness rather then joy on this happiness of holidays. Well, after a few mishaps along the way (lost passports, wrong names on tickets, 3-hour plane delays) our plan worked. We had a great Christmas in Playa full of fun, laughter and new memories. We snorkeled, swam, canoed, zip-lined, biked, rappelled, cave dived, played beach volleyball, hiked and climbed to the top of an ancient Mayan pyramid at Coba. (We're pictured above at the top of the pyramid.)

As you can see, we were more "active" then a normal beach vacation and spent a lot of time hiking around and exploring the beautiful sites. This is a view from the cliffs of Tulum, another Mayan village we explored. We did spend a day lounging by one of the two huge pools with poolside food and drinks service. Below is a picture of the Sarver Boys horsing around in the pool.

We stayed at the beautiful new Hacienda Tres Rios along the Riviera Maya. The resort was less than a month old, and was built on the site of a nature preserve, so there was lush vegitation, natural pools called cenotes, bike trails, animal watching and of course, there was lots of eating at our luxurious "all inclusive" resort. After all that eating, we had to enjoy some time in the sun (with suncsreen, of course!).

Overall, we had a great time goofing off with one another and celebrating Christmas. We hope to revive many of our family traditions next year...Mom's Swedish cookies and meatballs, a special Christmas breakfast with sausage and gravy, homemade apple sauce and eggs, a night around the tree with crackers and cheese and sparkling wine, sharing our favorite holiday memories. (Boy, it seems like a lot of our traditions revolve around FOOD!) While we missed Mom dearly, and her seat at the table was noticeably empty, we were grateful for the time time together and for the many blessings God has given us. Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The First Thanksgiving

Last week we celebrated the first Thanksgiving without Mom. The Longhorn and Aggie wings of the Johnson family met in Austin for the annual Thanksgiving football match. We enjoyed the cool weather, TONS of bbq at the Salt Lick, and of course THE game. (49-9, Texas won)
As I sat around with my family thinking of all that I'm grateful for...good health, a job that I love, amazing friends and family, a free and democratic country and above all, my Heavenly father, I couldn't help but think of Mom. My heart still aches when I think about life without her. Not an hour goes by that I don't think about her. She loved the holidays. She relished any chance to celebrate, decorate, cook and most of all, spent time with her family. Even if we didn't always share Thansksgiving Day together, we were always celebrating together in spirit. This year, though most of the family was actually together in person, Mom was noticeably absent...but her spirit lives on in all of us.

This year, the thing I'm most grateful for is my Mother. The blessing of her in my life as a teacher, mentor and friend, is above all that I could have ever hoped for. I'm grateful that God gave her to me for 32 years, and I'm grateful for the impact she had in my life and the lives of countless others.