18 02 2019

Happy Birthday Terri!

Last week my dear wife Theresa celebrated her Birthday. Whenever I asked Terri what she might like as a gift, she said, “Nothing! I have everything I need.” I truly wouldn’t expect my wife to say anything different. As a Preacher, I knew that we weren’t going to make millions doing what we do for a living; at least not in any significant monetary gain. Over the years, Terri has settled for a house that has been nicely furnished but with Thrift Store Specials and Bargains shared from Family and Friends getting rid of their old stuff to upgrade. We have been married for 37 years and we still use the bedroom furniture given to us by a Teen from Mendham, NJ who was in our very first Youth Group that we worked with.  I know other women might just complain, but not Terri. She has never whined about not having the latest gadget or the newest fashion. I did buy her a Salad Shooter for Christmas years ago, but that appliance was more hype than action.


I am beyond blessed because Terri always makes everything beautiful and turns the ordinary into wonderful as she mixes it with her devotion and love. Terri is an expert at multiplying much from a very little. This doesn’t mean that I wish I could shower her with something very special. She is not a big Traveler, so a Trip wouldn’t do the trick. I gave up buying my Wife and Daughters’ any kind of clothes years ago. I bought Terri a dress when we were back in College and she informed me that she would wear it the next time she visited Laura Ingalls on the Prairie. I am not very gifted with my hands. If you need something torn down, I’m your Man. If you need something built up, you would be much better off calling anybody else. I retired from cooking after giving almost 500 people salmonella poisoning when I served the Turkey Special in the Philadelphia College of Bible Cafeteria one Thursday in late April of 1982. I had no idea that the Bird was bad and so it wasn’t until after the fact that I discovered what I had done. I didn’t get sick. I never used to eat what I cooked. Now, I just never cook. On a positive note, Terri didn’t eat the turkey either. She got smart early in the game and so while the rest of our College Friends were battling the remnants of their stomach bugs, we got engaged! Now try to top the romance in that move!  


God did give me a talent with words and so that’s what I humbly offer today to pay tribute to one of the most giving women that I have ever met. Terri and I are opposites in just about every way. On paper, we don’t make a very good match. I am loud, she is quiet. I am aggressive, she is cautious. I love my music on always and am passionate about the artists and stories behind the songs, she likes tunes but picks her spots. I am a dreamer, she is a realist. I am people oriented, she is task driven. I lead others via vision and motivation, she serves behind the scenes. I may look successful but Terri makes the engine run. I couldn’t do squat without her. I am her biggest cheerleader and her biggest admirer. I know that when it all comes down; the Lighthouse Church is much better off because of all that Terri has done through the years. I might be able to see it happening, but Theresa makes it happen and for that I am forever grateful.


What would have done in so many other marriages have only made us dig in to our commitment to one another deeper. Terri has been through 9 pregnancies. I was by her side through the joyous birth of four of our Children, the birth and sudden death of two of our Children, the pre-mature birth and death of the last of our Children and the two miscarriages that occurred before Rudy, our oldest Child, was ever born. Terri is the Mom every child wishes they could have had. She is fiercely loyal to Rudy, Leah, Abbie and Joel and has always been there to support them in every endeavor. The Kids knew who to go to for help with their homework. I might have taught them the joys of Motown and Rock and Roll but Terri taught them the lessons they would hold on to for a lifetime. Together, we now have 4 Grandchildren and Terri is Nana to Jude, Gideon, Eden and Lucia. Let’s just say Pop-Pop may be the noisemaker but Nana keeps the pieces in place. She is tender yet firm. She is sacrificial with her time and her heart. I marvel at how much this Woman gets done in any given day.


Terri gets up about 5 AM every morning. She hopes and prays that I sleep in so she can have her quiet time with the Lord before I come bellowing along. She lovingly prepares the nuts and bolts necessary to make the Sheptock Family run. Terri also prepares the meals at home because mine would taste like nuts and bolts! Whether Terri is leading a Bible Study for Women, attending one of Joel’s Games at Tech, helping Leah with Lucia, sending Care Packages to Johnstown, Pennsylvania to Rudy, administrating the duties at TLC, she does it all with everything she has and more. If you have Terri Sheptock on your Team, you know her area of supervision is in good hands and will be done.


Terri is my Best Friend. I not only love her, I like having her around. As a Couple, we have been married 37 years, and we actually also work together daily in the same place. I always feel complete with Terri by my side. Not because she patronizes me because Terri doesn’t laugh at all of my jokes, if any of them, and she will always tell me what I need to hear and not just what I might like. I preach and teach better when she is out there in the Congregation. She is my sounding board and safety zone. She is the One that I would want in that Fox Hole with me! First because I know she would have my back and second because we might be able to sneak a kiss or two while we’re there!


One of our first dates ever was to Veterans Stadium when I took her to see a Mets vs Phillies Game. It was that night I learned that Terri grew up a Phillies Fan and also that she was deathly afraid of heights. Our seats were up in nose bleed land and the only way I could get her up there was by carrying her. Normally, I wouldn’t be that forward but when I put my arms around her, I knew I was never going to let this Girl go! I bought her a Mets Batting Helmet and the rest is history. She looks much better in blue and orange than she ever looked in Phillies red anyway.


Dear Terri, Thank You for being the best wife a man could have. You are way too good for me and to me. I don’t deserve your unfailing love, constant sacrifice and appreciated companionship. We may not have a barrel of money, maybe we’re ragged and funny, but we’ll travel along, singing our song, side by side! Thank You Jesus! Please continue to bless this Woman and hold her near and dear to Your side as You graciously share her with me. I know a Good Thing when I see One and I’ve got the Best! Happy Birthday Terri!




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