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Dear Heidi,

I remember being in the 2nd grade...you were in the 4th.

Your friend Theresa, was over for a slumber party.  And oooohhh, what a night we had!! I mean, we made coooookies....we watched a mooooovie...it was ah-mazing.  I followed the two of you around with the full annoyance of a baby-sister.

It came time to make the beds and I remember walking into your room holding my sleeping bag, never questioning for a second that I hadn't been invited.  Theresa looked at me, rolled her eyes, and then said with full disdain, "Oh my gosh...she is not sleeping with us, is she?!" I stood in shock as I began hoping the tears I could feel welling up, wouldn't spill-over.

I looked to you, not knowing what to think...feeling extremely hurt in that moment.

I don't know if it was that you didn't hesitate for a second, or the words you said that I NEVER EVER EVER FORGOT.  You said,"Tami is sleeping with us.  I want her here with us."  Theresa walked out of the room and you looked right into my eyes and said, "That was mean of her...she shouldn't have said that.  I want you here."

Even now, Heidi, that makes me tear up and my heart beats a little stronger as I write that.  You have NO. IDEA. what that did for me as your little sister.  I already adored you, but you absolutely had me from that moment.  I have and will never forget that.

Both you and Rebekah have always been the sweetest older sisters I could ever ask for or imagine.  You modeled kindness, loyalty, and consistency, at an age when girls in particular are generalized as being catty, overly-dramatic, and mean...you were never those things. You looked out for me.  I thought this is how all people acted, until I learned that I just grew up with two extraordinary girls.

You are one of the most beautiful people I've ever known...it actually astounds me...and I'm your sister.  I know you...like reeeeaaaally know you, and you continue to inspire and push me by your genuine example of serving and love for others.

You're one of the most unsung heros I know.  You have been ever since you were little.  You are so often who I go to when I am at my weakest and most vulnerable.  You've made a home for me...I don't think I could ever tell you and Jarod what that has meant to me.  Your little boys hold my heart and they've taught me a new depth of love...as they are just little reflections of you and J.  I recognize you in all their best qualities...Will's kindness...Ollie's love of adventure. I can't ever seem to tell others how much I love you enough and how proud I am of you in every way.  I look to you in every area of life.

Heidi, I know that recognition almost makes you uncomfortable...you'd NEVER expect it or want it.  But, just for today, on your birthday, I wanted you to be "sung" a little...I wanted you to know how you've impacted people...and how much we all simply adore you.  You are so easy to love...so along with me, some of the closest people in your life wanted to tell you what you mean to them:

Jarod (husband) - 
"The thing I love most about Heidi is her patients and love for me and the boys. I am very blessed to share my life with someone so kind, fun, and happy (her constant good mood is like a sickness!!!). The best way to describe her is how her mom used to..."Angel Baby".

Daddy - 
"When Heidi was a little girl, she seemed to be a spacey and dreamer but while she was growing stage, she became such wise and steady woman. She is not only extra beautiful looking woman but also even more beautiful inside person. I am so proud to be her dad. Thank you to be my daughter, Heidi."

Rika (stepmom...translated by Rebekah) -
"Something I love about Heidi is that she seems to always be looking for ways to make others feel special and usually seems to know what will bring others delight. I will often notice Heidi showing acts of kindness to others...especially the kids when no one else is watching. She is doing things for others and doesn't want to get credit or praise from others for it. In fact, she seems to think it's her reasonable duty. Ha! I am just touched by how thoughtful Heidi is about others."

Rebekah (sister) - 
"I love Heidi's extremely generous heart...giving and thinking about others all the time. I love her boldness to speak truth and not sugar coat it (sometimes painfully so :))...I love her humility to look at what she can do better even when it seems as if the other person should be making the changes. I love how she is so classy and talented in so many ways...but still approachable."

Jodi S. (friend) -
"What I love about Heidi.....Her laugh! And her smile. I can be real around her and she is real with me. I have treasured her Godly wisdom ever since we met, even though she is QUITE a bit younger than me. I don't know why she considers me a friend, but I'm so thankful and blessed that she does!"

Jessica L. (friend) - 
"I appreciate how she shows respect and honor to everyone. I notice often how she finds the beauty in everything. And I will ALWAYS remember how she handled herself at one of the most seemingly difficult times in her life. When I commented that she was so strong she immediately said "anything strong in me is from Jesus, I am so weak". Jesus shines through her in bucketfuls and she truly is a great friend and a beautiful example to me."

Emily S. (friend) -
" I love that Heidi has a genuine love for others. Every time I talk to her, I know she really cares about what I'm saying. She is truly beautiful inside and out!"

Frank + Kathy S. (family friends) -
"We love Heidi's joyful, loving personality. Over the years, she has happily done anything she could to serve us in love. She brings sunshine to our lives when we are around her."

Mindy R. (sister-in-law) -
"I love having Heidi as a sister-in-law. She lets me be the bossy sister giving advice, even when she clearly doesn't need it...she smiles and acts like it is just what she needed! I also love getting to love on her CUTE kiddos, which Brandon declared are cute because of her genes....hacking on his own brother!

Carrie K. (friend) -
"Heidi is such a genuine, Godly woman. I so enjoy spending time with Heidi ... I always walk away feeling valued. What a true friend! Love her!

Kendra D. (friend) -
"Heidi, I love the way you take everything in stride. You do not seem to let yesterday or tomorrow get in the way of what you are doing right now. You never have too much or too little...you just work with what you have been given. I've known you for a long time and I really do not remember you complaining about much of anything. My view of you is that you are a very sweet yet very strong person...such a rare combination!!! Happy Birthday."

Tara (cousin) -
"Heidi is truly the most kind hearted person I know. No matter if I need sugar or just time to chat, she drops everything to help me. She literally goes out of her way to do things for others even when it's not convenient for her. She has a great eye for detail and design and I love having a neighbor nearby that I know and trust. It's hard to find great friends and when those great friends are also family, you know you're very lucky!"

Abi H. (friend) -
"Heidi is a classy, fun, real and a Godly woman! She has a heart of gold and has been a blessing in my life! Happy Birthday Heidi...I'm Blessed to know you and be friends with you! :)"

Steph S. (friend and mentee) -
"It's so hard to narrow Heidi down to a sentence or two because I feel like I could say so much but when I think of Heidi I think of wisdom. We have been meeting about once a month for almost five years now and she never ceases to amaze me with her wisdom. She always seems to know exactly when to listen and when to speak truth into my life. When she listens to me I know that she is truly listening and caring about everything I say and when she speaks it is so filled with truth and the spirit. She constantly points me to Christ and inspires me to be a woman who is in full pursuit of Christ. "

Randy + Evie M. (family friends) -
"Heidi chan?? Hummm....she was a beautiful little 5 year old. She wore just the right outfit for our dinner out downtown Tokyo....actually, it was to the 50th floor in the Central Building in Shinjuku. And little Heidi chan knew to raise her pinky when drinking out of a wine glass (with water in it). Next she dabbed her napkin on her lips and asked to be excused to the rest room.......she still is one classy chick.....and we love her very much. She has become a wonderful woman of God. ..and a Godly wife and mom."

Rachel K. (cousin) -
"Heidi is a servant, loyal, beautiful. Heidi has a free spirit in areas that loosen me up. I appreciate that. I also love her consistency and stability...'evenness' in things that matter."

Sharon O (friend) -
"What I love about Heidi: Her sense of style, hanging out with her, that she is trustworthy, her loyalty, her kindness, her servant heart, that she thinks of others more than herself, that she is very talented, that she honors God, and she is sincere. She really is just amazingly awesome!!! Love you Heidi, Hope you have a very special Birthday!"

Candince K. (sister-in-law)
How do I begin to describe what I love and admire about you??? "Your humor, your style, your strength, your loyalty, your resilience, your easy-going nature, your selflessness. And you are who you are because of who you live for...Jesus Christ. And that is what I love the most about you. Your heart for the Lord. You filter everything in your life through that. So thankful you are my sister, so thankful my brother has you as his wife, and that my kids have you as their aunt. Love you."

So, a big kudos to Jarod for recording this of your little men...apparently, they were a little tired so they weren't too talkative, but I couldn't help but post it anyway!!...

And I love you too my dear sister and friend...I hope you have a really great birthday and know how very much you are loved.



J Gutwein said...

Love you Heidi :)..

Klint & Sarah said...

This is such a touching post - love how you honored her! And that slumber party story is too sweet!

Happy Birthday, Heidi!


leah said...

so beautiful, so honoring! happy birthday heidi! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for honoring Heidi in this special way on her birthday Tami! It is very touching!! Love you both. Sharon

Sandra said...

So neat!! Heidi, we don't cross paths much but I will always remember this time when we lived in mahomet Illinois and we were at your house for who knows what. Perhaps Michael and Mindy brought us?? But you.... You were so sweet as you stepped aside from hosting to showing us around and making us feel welcome. You were so hospitable!! I even still make the Parmesan potato recipe that you shared with me that day;). You are beautiful inside and out. Happy birthday!!

L, Ann and boys said...

so sweet! I think the slumber party story is super great ;) Happy birthday Heidi :)

Lauren Wakefield said...

What an awesome post Tami!!!!! Love love it!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful Tami! I hope my girls are as close as you three are! What a gift. Happy Happy Birthday Heidi! Love you!

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