Friday, July 24, 2009

Leah Is Home With Jesus

Hello All,

Today is the day of salvation. My sister Leah has fully realized the breadth of her salvation, as she walked into the gates of heaven, this morning at around 7:50AM. There are no more tears, there is no more pain and there she will never experience death again! We praise the Lord today for His promises and the assurance that while we can never have her with us again, we will eventually join her because of the salvation that we have by the grace of God through our faith in His unique Son Jesus Christ, whose Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and directs our lives toward holiness and eventually, Heaven.

I am going to miss my sister's easy laugh, her simple lifestyle and her carefree disposition. She was so fun to be around. I will always remember how we made each other laugh and carried on archival humor to the "umpteenth" degree. One of my great memories was when Leah and I sat at the breakfast table years ago. She was complaining about her arms being disproportionate to her body. One thing led to another and we began talking about making wooden replacements. We laughed until everything hurt. For some reason, it was so funny to us. For Grandma and Mom, who were witnesses to this, it was just funny to watch us laugh! It was from this moment that we began calling her "Woods."

Then the joke just became a part of all of our interactions. We would talk about her planting herself outside among "her woodland kin" at night. When the Lord Of The Rings trilogy came out, we talked about what had to be her favorite scene, when the trees approach to attack Isengard. I think that you get the idea.

Our kids, who had the great privilege of being around her often, referred to her as "Auntie Woods." They would ask, "When is Auntie Woods coming to stay with us?" The truth was she would come whenever we asked her, which was usually about once a month. She would stay the night and hang with us for a while, which was always an adventure.

One of the times that she came out to be with us, a tire flew out of the back of a truck and struck her windshield on the 91 freeway. She got here and her windshield was fully shattered and just teetering on viability. The next time she came out, fires had broken out in Corona, blocking a direct route home. I told her that she was going to have to drive south to the 76 (the 74 was closed) and then cross over to the 15 north. If any of you have driven on that road, you know that it's a lonely road, especially at night. She blew her back tire just before entering the "Cell Phone Dead Zone." She was literally 2 offramps from being completely out of range! That was a long night, but even that became a great source of entertainment for both of us.

The kids loved having Auntie Woods here. She played with them, took pictures with them and let them wake her up at the most ungodly hours of the morning. She always showed such great love for each of them, and I am so thankful that they were the recipients of that great love.

My sister had the distinction of not just being the only sister in the brood, but she was also the only sibling with whom I never fought! That's pretty tremendous if you know how bull headed I am! As I think about it, Leah was also distinctive in the fact that she alone graduated from High School without any drama! Then, she is the only one of us to finish her Bachelors degree, and that, from the University of Redlands! I remember sitting there that day, a few years ago, being so proud when they called her name, but also wishing that she could have graduated in the Spring! GEEZ IT WAS HOT!!

There are so many other memories. Trips that we took, things we laughed about, trouble that we watched others get in. I have 25 years of memories that I will always keep in the forefront of my mind. Today however, I am asking for you, her friends and associates, to help me memorialize her. I have set up a new email address,, and am asking you to email your stories, memories pictures and adventures with Leah there. I want to use some of it for the memorial that will happen soon, but I also want to share it here, as well as with my family. If you would do that, it would be a great blessing.

Thank you all for your care and concern, both for us and for our sister Leah.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez


Anonymous said...

Frank, Thank you for sharing your heart. Leah was a very special person and had such a sweet God Loving heart, It was so good to know her the 9 years we went to school together. I am looking forward to being reunited with her in Heaven.
Love, Jill Olson- Isaac

Anonymous said...

Frank and Family,

The Carden's send our deepest sympathy and love to all of you during these difficult times. We pray the Lord keep you and bring you comfort of who He is and where Leah is now, perfect and complete with Jesus.

With all our heart,

Eric, Sara, Sami, Amaya, Thea & Gabriel

JamieB said...

i'm so sorry... and so sad for you... while i realize she is home with the Lord, i also realize she is not here, and that is so hard and so shocking.
joanna and i were chatting this morning and were remembering when she was born. what a blessing she was - finally a little girl with 3 big brothers!
love to you guys,

redbullgang said...

Frank, I'm so sorry for your lose today. My heart breaks for you and the rest of the family. I have had the privilege of knowing each of you and I know how special Leah was to your boys. I know how much she will be missed. I'm praying for you and the rest of the family and i know God will see you through this heart-wrenching time.
Love and Prayer
Lisa Salas

Mel (AKA Dad, Grampa) said...

Our deepest sympathy also. What a shock. We too remember when Leah was born. I remember how shy she was in those early years.
Reading your blog I was reminded that love never ceases. One may change to an eternal address, but the love that started here experiences no boundaries. I could feel that love in your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart with such transparency.
Please hug your folks for us.

Samer said...

I am grieving with you and your family. I know some of the pain you are experiencing but each experience is different. My memories of Leah are as a little girl who was shy but had a huge smile. She was the subdued Sanchez, you boys getting all the attention banging on drums, guitars, and each other while she grew up looking up to you and now your children are looking up to her. Speak of her often and know that God feels your pain and he is your comfort. This is a season to mourn but after this season there will be a time of rejoicing. I love you brother.

Sam Khoury

sarah said...

We are so sorry for the loss of your beautiful sister and daughter... 'Our loss, is Leah's gain...' She is with our sweat Jesus, 'I can only imagine...' We pray for you and your family as you grieve your loss and pray God pour out His spirit and comfort upon your family. All our love, Andrew & Sarah Amento

Simone Knepper said...

We are thinking of you guys at this time, and pray for God's comfort and peace to surround you and the rest of your family. We enjoyed reading about your sister and all your funny inside jokes.

Leslie Limon said...

Frank, I am so sorry for your loss. But what a beautiful tribute to Leah! God bless you and your family during this difficult time.



Please know that I and many others are grieving with you.

Leah was a sweet, sweet soul. Her gentle kind smile is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of her.

I wish I was there to give you all a hug, but I know that the Lord is wrapping you all in HIS arms.

May you all hold on to each other through this difficult time as HE is holding Leah! Praise HIM!

Al said...

Dear Sanchez Family...It doesn't seem that long ago Calvary Chapel Redlands really met & worshipped in a converted Packinghouse- -God used that building for so many blessings & memories. One of those distinct memories are all of the "families within The Family" that helped to make that time & place so very special to ALL of our lives.

Leah's sweet spirit epitomized how we felt about our God, our Church & each other...Our family feels she reflected a sincerity & genuiness that God used to reach us all in some unique way.

Our family will always remember Leah as the Sanchez Boys Lil' Sister...& also Mike & Maria's baby girl. Though your hearts ache with sadness & grief - may His Peace take residence in that space Leah has left you all this side of heaven & fill you with that blessed hope of someday soon being together again...

Much grace & peace,

The Cablays

jenn said...

I am glad she is in Heaven, but I am soooo sory for the loss. I had an aunt who had breast cancer for 4-5 yrs and this past December the Tuesday before Christmas she fainted as my grandpa was trying to help her back to bed. She was almost in a coma state.
She had to go to the hospital where she passed away CHristmas day at 11:05 pm. This past month has been hard for me. I miss her a lot. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. She and my aunt are both in Heaven. I know I don't know you and your family but I saw this on a friends fb page.

Thought and prayers,

Patty said...

God is good and does answer prayers. He healed her. Although we wish it could've been a physical healing she has received the ultimate healing and is with our Savior. It's funny how even though I am rejoicing for her it stills hurts in my heart. I really am happy for her but I can't stop crying. All of you Sanchezes are so special to us. Love you guys.

McCulloughs said...

Sanchez family

Praise the Lord for His promise of Heaven and what a comfort to know that Leah is there with Him!
May God pour out His grace and peace on you all through this valley.
"For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow" Jer. 31:13
We are praying for you guys

The McCulloughs

LeeAnn said...

Dear Sanchez Family,
We are praying with and for you and your family. Leah and I were both at Crafton Hills and University of Redlands together. We would sit in the quad and talk about you and her nieces and nephews. we talked about being teachers and she was the first child to a college degree. She was one f the first people to hold my children in the nursery at Calvary. she will always have my fondest memories and her life will always be a reminder of God's grace is sufficient for our lives. God Bless You and In HIS Love,
LeeAnn. Justin and Dori Rigby

blythe said...

I'm so glad Auntie Woods had a relationship with Jesus and is with him now. Thanks for the stories-- it eases my heart to know your attitude is of celebrating her life and the memories rather than dwelling on how and when the Lord took her home.
I'll continue to pray for the strength of the Lord to be with your family.

Bryan said...

Dear Sanchez Family… We haven’t stopped praying and thinking about you all during these past few weeks. We’re hurting with you as you now face this incredible loss. It’s true that we don’t mourn like those who have no hope. Somehow, we can rejoice that Leah has gone ahead of you… to be home with Jesus…and that, indeed, you’ll see her again! (so glad you posted these photos and stories to remember her until that day)
We love you very much!
Bryan and Susie Sowell and Kids

cleinertson said...

First, I am so sorry for your families loss until Heaven. I only know you through your ministry at Calvary, but I believe that your sister would be proud of what you wrote. It was both uplifting and heart felt. God loves her even more than your family, and He wanted her close to Himself now. How blessed she is.

Jason Dean B said...

Our sympathies go out to you and your family. Your family has been an instrument of God's grace and influence to my Christian faith over the past 25 years and I love you guys tremendously.

May the Lord give you peace, strength, and take to you new levels of faith on your journey and experiences.

peace, Jason, Kris & Jayden Bauernfeind

Tim said...

To the entire Sanchez family,

I am so sorry to hear this news but rejoice with you in the knowledge that Leah is perfectly healed and restored with Jesus right now.

I can remember like it was yesterday all the times we would gather at your family home in Colton when Rich was playing drums with us... Leah was always around and I'm glad I got to know such a warm, funny, and sweet person.

Please know I'm praying for your family and along with you am looking forward to the day that we are reunited with Leah face-to-face in heaven.

Tim Brinkman


Frank, we were out of town a lot this weekend & just found out about Leah. Our hearts are broken with yours. I was reading the other comments, and Sam was right, she was the cutest, littlest Sanchez, but her smile was always the biggest. I know her smile is probably even bigger now that she is with the one she loved most. our prayers are with you guys.
I love you, bro. Mike Andrews

melissa. said...

i am so sorry for your loss, frank, but am rejoicing that she is with her Lord!
i will continue praying for you and your family.

Michelle said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family in this tragic (yet joyful) time. Thank you for sharing....

Michelle (Milam) Kummer

Michelle said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family in this tragic (yet joyful) time. Thank you for sharing....

Michelle (Milam) Kummer

Julie said...

Hi Frank,
Thank you so much for your blog. I just wanted to let you know how much Bob and I love your family. We pray everyday that the Lord will comfort all of you and give you peace. We remember the early days of the Packinghouse when your parents worked with us in the nursery with our babies. They were always such a blessing to us. I am thankful for the hope (expectation) we have in heaven, where we will all be reunited, with no more pain and with only tears of joy. God bless you all.
Bob and Julie Fredericks

Anonymous said...

You don't me, but I worked with Leah at Mervyns from 2006-2008. She was one of the most beautiful people I had ever met. I was shocked to hear of her passing. She was a very inspiring person. I know she was sick late 2007 and she had worried me grately. I was so glad when she finally stablized. Forgive me, but I am still in shock.
Please accept my apology for not attending the funeral or for sending my condolences sooner.
Also know that her love for life and for Jesus altered my life leading me to salvation. She will remain in my heart forever.
Lisa F.