13 02 2017


In honor of Valentine’s Day which is February 14th and my wife Terri’s Birthday which is the 15th and since she is my Funny Valentine and the Love of my Life, I thought I would dedicate this article to pay tribute to her. Theresa Ann Sheptock is originally from Lebanon, Pennsylvania but since she married me, besides New Jersey, which is my home State, we have also lived together as a family in Ohio and Nebraska. We were married on December 4th in 1982 at Avon United Methodist Church which just happened to be right across the street from Terri’s house. It was a warm 70 degree day which worked out for both of us because Terri told me that if it was snowing that day, she was not going anywhere! Let’s just say that Terri was very timid about many things back then like trucks on the highway and elevators that ventured beyond the second floor and even that was only scratching the surface!

 I am older than Terri by two years although we both share February Birthdays. I actually took Terri out on our first date on April 24, 1981 during my Junior Year at Philadelphia College of Bible. The funny truth is that it was Terri’s Dad who predicted that she would marry me after his first encounter with me although I was totally unaware of this until much later. I used to be Cook in the College Cafeteria and loved “Working the Dinner Crowd” so to speak! I was even dating another girl at the time my future Father-In-Law made the call but he would turn out to be right and I have never been upset by his prophetic utterance. Although it took his Daughter a little bit longer to buy into the idea that she would eventually become my wife. After the evening that our first date was over, Terri told her roommates, “Never again!” Our next date would not be until September of that same year but by April 24, 1982 we would be engaged. On April 24, 1983, our first Baby would be miscarried but as God always seems to do, the Lord redeemed that day when on Easter Sunday April 24, 2011, our first grandson Jude was born!

 Terri and I are complete opposites but we complement each other quite well. I am much louder and enjoy being in the forefront while Terri makes her presence known behind the scenes. I know that most of all that I have ever accomplished would never have happened without my amazing Wife’s expertise and input. We are both firstborns and tend to be obsessive with keeping things orderly and neat. We both admit to ruining our firstborn Rudy III, so much so that he is pretty sloppy and we finally surrendered to his chaotic room by just shutting the bedroom door. We knew that Lindsey was the Girl for him when she didn’t run and hide after getting a glimpse of what just might be in store for her future home with our Son.

 I love that my Wife is athletic and has a great throwing arm from the outfield when it comes to playing ball. One of our early dates was a Baseball Game at the old Veterans Stadium to see the Mets play the Phillies. I figured that she might need to know pretty quickly how passionate I was about the Orange and Blue Team. I bought her a Mets Batting Helmet that night and she’s been cheering, “Let’s Go Mets” with me ever since!

 We both like singing and even have done a few duets together along the way.  When it comes to music, Terri is not as over the top as I am when it comes to knowing everything about who is singing the song, what year the record came out and how high it made it on the charts. Our relationship almost came to a sudden halt the day that she told me in the car that she wasn’t a big Beatles fan. I almost stopped the vehicle right then and there but thought better of it. I figured, “Nobody’s perfect!” Terri did accompany me to Citi Field to eventually see Sir Paul McCartney in concert and I caught her singing along that night to all the classic hits.

 When it comes to other forms of entertainment, Terri and I both love to laugh although she doesn’t find the Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges as funny as I do. I do know that she has been blessed with a wonderful sense of humor exhibited by the way that she has put up with me all these years. We also just like being together and it no longer matters so much what we do but that we get to be with one another while we are doing it. A walk on the Ocean City Boardwalk with a stop for coffee and a seat on the bench is a treasured getaway for us both.

 Theresa is a devoted follower of Jesus. She faithfully gets up early every morning, long before daylight and has her quiet time with the Lord. She makes it very clear that she doesn’t want her noisy husband interrupting! Terri is an amazing Mom and Nana and the kids all know how she has gone above and beyond what any Parent would do in providing her children and grandchildren with so many tangible acts of love. She is so much better at showing patience than I ever could be. She stays with projects all the way through to completion and I am honored to have her as my Helpmate, my Love and my Best Friend this side of Heaven.

 We have been through so much together. Five of our nine children are already in Heaven. Statistics show that this should have done in our union long ago but Love found a way to keep us not only together but growing even stronger through the pain and the disappointment that living life sometimes brings. I do know this much to be true. I married way over my head and there is never a day that I regret my choice. Anybody can love somebody who is picture perfect. But it takes a real depth of devotion to still be committed and even head over heels in love in spite the scars and wrinkles the seasons of life have compiled. We continue to share and share alike. She cooks and I vacuum. She does the laundry and I clean the toilets. She does the bills and I trust her in spite of the fact that I never see my paycheck. I may Pastor the Lighthouse Church but Terri is a key component of why we are so successful. I know that in the long run, our Congregation would miss her much more than me. But I am glad that we work as a Team. We always have and I pray that we always will.

So my Funny Valentine will also celebrate her Birthday on back to back days. I will buy her flowers and do my best to shower her with affection to make it clear that I don’t take her for granted. I wrote her a song for our Wedding Day and I am grateful that I still get to sing it today. “Terri’s Song, Lord I want to sing it strong. It’s the prettiest song that I have heard, that I’ve ever heard. It’s Terri’s Song and I don’t want to sing it wrong and Lord I won’t have to; No, Lord I won’t have to, if You just give me the words!” Thanks God for Theresa! Happy Valentine’s Day My Love! Happy Birthday My Wife!               



One response

13 02 2017

That was a BEATIFUL tribute to your wife. God has blessed you both! Praise God.

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