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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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,