Weekly Photo Challenge: Aspie Girl On The Move

It occurred to me recently that where I live now is the longest I’ve lived in one house (six years) for the past 35 years.   Up until now, it would have been five years but the average ‘stay’ was about three.

When my children were young, we lived in the same area on the Central Coast of California for over a decade so although we moved house a few times,  we always managed to stay within the same school catchment area so that the kids didn’t have to move schools.

This week’s theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge  is ‘On the Move’ which gives an added definition to the kind of ‘moving’ I’ve been thinking about.

As Cheri explains over at the Daily Prompt:

‘Whether on foot, in a kayak, or on a train, we can document our lives easily. More than ever, the moments of our in-betweens are photo-worthy and shareable.’

With both trains of thought (no pun intended!) coming together on this theme of ‘moving’, my ideas for this post drifted towards my twenty-one year old daughter, Aspie D:

To her younger years when she was so often ‘on the move’, as defined by the challenge, and happy,  healthy and content within her family’s safe bubble:

Aspie D enjoying a day out on her scooter Beach walk just off the Pacific Coast Highway, Morro Bay, California 1990's (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Aspie D enjoying a day out on her scooter
Beach walk just off the Pacific Coast Highway, Morro Bay, California 1990’s
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Before the challenges of being a female with Asperger’s Syndrome and the resulting severe anxiety which blights her daily life took hold and for which she is now receiving professional support.

She has made great strides recently in many ways and I couldn’t be prouder.

But it isn’t easy.

Aspie D on Holiday Mount Shasta, California, 1990's (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Aspie D going on holiday heading to the lake
Camping near Mount Shasta, California, 1990’s
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

I think of when we bought our last home in California.  It was our dream home but our dream became our nightmare. If my marriage was bad before we moved in, it deteriorated at breakneck speed almost as soon as the removal van pulled away.

I promised my daughter, who was eight years old when we moved in, that we wouldn’t move again, if I had anything to do with it, that we would stay there until she graduated from high school when she was 18.

The move was hard on her, she detests change and did so then but of course we didn’t now that she had Asperger’s and just how vast the impact of having to change her routine, never mind her home, really had on her.

What she needed, what we all needed, was stability and security, not more upheaval.

She was happy in her new home, with her freshly-painted bedroom with the wallpaper border decorated with tropical Tree Frogs. Just what she had asked for…

Two years later, upon seeing the ‘For Sale’ sign on our front lawn, she took one of her shoes off and threw it at the sign.  Then she ran into the house and up to her room where she cried her eyes out.

That’s the true reality of divorce.

Before we left, I took my children, who by then were 20, 14 and 10, on holiday to San Diego.  We had wonderful days out at the Zoo, Sea World, and the Wildlife Safari Park.

We also had fun ‘playing’ at Paradise Point where we stayed, including riding about on what is known in America as a ‘surrey’ (defined in the US as ‘a light four-wheeled carriage with two seats facing forwards’):

Aspie D and brother  Nicky Paradise Point - San Diego 2003 (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Aspie D and brother Nicky on a Surrey at Paradise Point – San Diego 2003
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Then came the day to leave our California.  Time to head out to the airport and take to the skies, to move to our new life in England.

But not without Aspie D’s newly acquired Beanie Baby cat to share the journey.  Just one of many to add to her collection, now stored away in a big box somewhere up in my loft. Probably worth a small fortune…

Aspie D on the moving walkway at San Francisco Airport, 2003.  What new life awaits? (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Aspie D with friend on the moving walkway at San Francisco Airport, 2003. What new life awaits?
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Life moves on, new adventures awaited us.  I returned to England as a single mum, having  living away for almost 20 years, and had to find a new home,  new friends, re-enter the workforce, and begin again.

Then I found someone I didn’t expect to in a million years; my hubby.

Together we formed our new family. We went on holiday together, explored new places, had exciting adventures.

Aspie D & Nicky on a hair-raising camel ride.  Not Morroco, no, but Lanzarotte believe it or not!  2008 (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Aspie D & Nicky on a hair-raising camel ride. Not Morocco, no, but Lanzarote believe it or not! 2008
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

I was unable to keep my promise to Aspie D.  Yet we kept moving forward, not allowing the brokenness of the past to overwhelm us.  We pressed on and I know that my daughter will find her way.

Aspie D - horse riding American Style 1990's (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Aspie D – horse riding American Style in California 1990’s
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

She is Aspie Girl ‘On the Move’.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Asperger's Syndrome, Family Life, My California, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Aspie Girl On The Move

  1. A nice trip down memory lane! Love the photos!

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  2. What a great job you did with this challenge, Sherri! I was sad to read your daughter’s reaction to the “For Sale” sign, but in the end, the move was best for you and your children. I love all of the photographs, especially the camel ride in Morocco. 🙂 Your daughter sure is a cutie sitting on that pony…she looks so proud of herself. Nice job, Sherri! xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Jill. Yes, it broke my heart for her, but as you say, it was all for the best in the long run. I have a photo of me and hubby on our camel too…haha, not going to see that one though! 😉 I have to say it was quite scary, you feel as if you are going to fall off any minute! xo

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  3. jennypellett says:

    Great pictures if not such happy memories – your daughter’s reaction to the for sale sign is text book.
    But here’s to all the exciting adventures to come – both for you and Claire. Small steps, not big strides – I’m sure she’ll get there with the loving support of her wonderful Mum.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Jenny, and yes, despite all the problems, putting it mildly, we had many wonderful family times. It is one day at a time and we can build on what I do believe is a good, solid foundation. Really appreciate all you say… 🙂

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  4. What a tough journey it must have been for you and your family! I am so impressed and amazed at what you have accomplished in spite of it all. Your beautiful children are so lucky to have you as their mom! Great pictures! 🙂

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  5. Beautiful! A wonderful combination of honest sharing and precious pictures.
    Aspie children–and all children–need stability and appreciate continuity of home, school and friends. But when they have a loving, strong, determined mother–which is what your children have–they have the most important piece to their life puzzles.
    Happy day-after Mother’s Day to a loving, strong and determined mother! Blessings on you and your lovely family, Sherri.

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  6. Lovely memories, Sherri, and Aspi is so cute sitting on that beautiful pony. Moving house can be very traumatic, and moving to a different country, double so. We do get over it though, and hopefully settle down again before too long. I’m so glad you found a new love in your life. You have a lovely family. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Sylvia. Yes, moving and also internationally is stressful and a major upheaval at the best of times…as you know only too well. Life does indeed move on though and then comes the renewed stability and security once more and who knows what better things are around the corner? Life really is about second chances… 🙂

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  7. tieshka says:

    That was a fun read. You have me beat on moving around… but we tend to move around in the same area- been married 10 years now and we’ve lived in 3 places together since we became engaged. I love those surreys- and recently learned how much WORK they are to ride (future blog post).. and I had to look up where Lanzarote is…. nice. Take care.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tieshka and glad you enjoyed it, thank you! Yes, that’s what we did, moving around in the same area so it didn’t impact the change of schools for the kids. Look forward to reading your ‘surrey’ post. They aren’t easy to ride and do take a lot of work, hence Aspie D’s red cheeks, lol 🙂
      Yes, Lanzorete is in the Canary Islands, a volcanic island, very interesting… 😉

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  8. I don’t blame a child for being upset over moving. After all, she had no input into it. If I were me, I’d be kicking and screaming as I hate being f.o.r.c.e.d. into ANYthing and I don’t have an added challenge. Anyway, she’ s a cutie and most likely a beautiful young woman. 🙂
    Love your ‘moving’ idea for the challenge. ❤

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  9. This brought back memories of the moves we had when I was a kid in an RCAF family. Nicely told, Sherri. Cute photos, too.

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  10. Amy says:

    It takes so much strength to make physical changes, and it even more challenging when one has to deal with the emotions. Aspi looks so confident on the horse 🙂

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  11. I hate moving and my heart goes out to you having to pick up and change continent, and with three children to cope with. I hope you all had a little more stability in England, even of the moving didn’t stop completely.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Jane, and yes, since moving back we have had much more stability and security. I have been able to give to my children what they needed and for that I am eternally grateful…

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  12. Denise says:

    The best bit for me was the happy ending and finding your hubby. Just what you deserve, and my favourite part was that was not what you were expecting at all.

    I think all the moves must have been hard for your little Aspie, but you’ve always been there to love and support her and make it as easy as you could.

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m glad that I had a happy ending yet the consequences of our family split do continue to bear down heavily on me at certain times. Yet, my primary goal when we returned here was to provide as much security and stability for my kids as I was able and meeting hubby was not something I envisioned! Yes, all the moves have been very hard and when I was able to say to little Aspie that we were buying our own home at last, after 5 years back here, and that she could once again decorate her bedroom any way she wanted,which was so important to her, I was elated. She has changed it a few times since then but it has helped her so much to be able to do so, even when the colour scheme has been, how shall I say, a little wild!!! Think that is a blog post in and of itself! But thank you Denise for your kind words, they mean a lot… 🙂

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  13. Heyjude says:

    Dare I say it? Ok, I will. What a ‘moving’ post Sherri. No, seriously, I enjoyed reading about your moves, although I understand more than you know how devastating moving can be. From place to place, country to country. I am surprised how well my four have turned out, though they have been in some very dark places along the way. Since I met my OH we have moved too many times; for work, to be nearer the grandchildren and then back to support his mother. I’d like to settle down and enjoy the rest of my life in one place, as you are well aware. But I sometimes wonder if that will ever happen. I wish your lovely daughter all the best. I am sure with you as her mum, things will turn out well.
    Jude xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jude, yes I am very aware that you have moved so many times and I thought of you especially when I wrote this post, knowing that as with me, your moves include just a few international ones too, and with the kids in tow. And they can be devastating, heart-wrenching putting it mildly. Yes, I also understand just what you mean about your kids, same with mine…..I do hope that you find your peace and solace in that ‘place’ you seek, with a nice beach thrown in too, wouldn’t that be lovely? To be able to settle down at last…I really hope things work out for you. We certainly don’t intend to remain in this house, always seeing it as a stop gap but of course we have Aspie D to consider and the one good thing is that we have been able to give her the stability and space she needs and we have been able to take a breather…
      And yes, I’m glad you found this post so ‘moving’ Jude, thank you, and also for your very kind wishes for Aspie D 🙂 xx

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  14. What an adventure! What a story…. you have so much wisdom to share from all your experiences. I’m so glad you’ve committed yourself to writing. 🙂

    And I sincerely hope you’re not giving yourself guilt-trips about how hard things were for your daughter…. we can’t protect our children from the hard stuff of life. If it hadn’t been a move, it would have been some other upsetting things happening to her. The important thing is that our children know that we love, respect and believe in them.

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    • Sherri says:

      Well Tracy, you always know how to hit to the core, read between the lines, get to the nub of the written word…and I have the deepest respect for that! As much as we want to protect our children from all the ‘hard stuff of life’ we simply can’t and my daughter’s problems were already coming to the fore, which we’ve come to learn is very typical with females with Asperger’s at the age of around 11, so the last thing I wanted was to have to uproot her, and my sons, when other problems were already brewing. Since my parents also split when I was 10 it was the last thing I wanted and it broke my heart to do so but I had to try and make good from a very bad situation. But of course, and again, you are so right…so long as our children have our love, respect and belief in them then there is no room for guilt, none whatsoever…thank you Tracy… 🙂

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  15. Life is indeed a journey and your journey looks like a love filled, interesting one. Filled with beauty and big challenges. Lovely pictures. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      A challenging journey, that it is Sharon! No matter what, and with all the upheavals and distress, my family life was and is filled with beauty and love and so I share these photos here with everyone so that all that is good can shine through! Thank you so much 🙂

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  16. Aspie’s story and yours my friend are truly an inspiration. A revelation of the pain, the heartaches, the laughter and hope, the love lost and love gained, of looking back to let go so we all can move on ahead freely, happily. I too move so many time and my last dream home turned my worst nightmare almost breaking me and my wife. In the end, we chose to save us, gave up the house so we can find our true home, “each other.” Everyday is one step forward to healing and living the life we always dreamed but has forgotten because of the false illusion of the material world. God bless you, Aspie and your family. The journey will be an amazing one my friend because you have each other and someone up above blessing your every move.

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    • Sherri says:

      I know that we have shared before about our dreams turning into our nightmares, and how we have both had to walk away from our material life (the ‘false illusion’ you so aptly call it) to find the true life, in love, joy, and freedom in God’s grace and blessing. You found your wife and with your little boy you have treasures beyond compare. As do I with my hubby and my two boys and Aspie D and together we have moved forward in this life, even with continuing challenges.
      Your words brought tears to my eyes, such is the blessing and beauty of them. Despite all the pain and heartache, love, joy and laughter has reigned within my family and today I share a most beautiful relationship with all three of my grown children because of it. We grew strong together as you and your family are doing now, and continue to do so, remembering yet looking forward and gaining your healing and your true life back.
      God bless you IT, thank you so much my friend for the hope and joy you send my way, and here’s to both our amazing journeys, starting this minute… 🙂

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      • Your story and that of your family gives me comfort and renewed inspiration my friend. It’s only through blogging that I learned to open up to my blogging community the heartaches of a broken dream, of going through a hellish situation from being scammed by someone me and my wife trusted several years back, of realizing so many so called friends are not really friends when the storm hits. That in the end, all we’ll ever need is God and our family. We will always be rich in something more valuable in this Earth and that we will always have the most beautiful of home because we are with them. Home is when we are together with the ones we love. Take care and best of blessings always.

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      • Sherri says:

        What a beautiful testimony to the healing power of the blogging community. An incredible story you tell here IT, and you in turn bless, encourage and comfort so many, including me! I am so very sorry for all you and your beautiful family have suffered in the past, but I am equally so very thankful for the way you are being so blessed now.
        Thank you again for all you share here, I am deeply honoured and moved.
        God bless you my dear friend, always…

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  17. lilkaraphael says:

    Sometimes God moves us when we are willing and when we are not. My husband and I moved five times the first eight years of our marriage including across country and back again! I can relate to your daughter’s apprehension. I lived in the same house for as long as I could remember twenty years and then I met the hubby riding along on a wild ride.. Stability is good but when we are forced to move on any level, we grow 🙂 Loved this post, Sherri. You daughter will also “move” into the best place (mentally, physically and emotionally) for her.

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    • Sherri says:

      You are so right about that Lilka, when God has other plans than our own!! You know all about moving then! A wild ride indeed, but as you say, when we are forced to change, and even when stability is good, there comes the growth, painful though it is sometimes. Your wisdom never fails to amaze me my friend! And yes, that is what I wanted to convey, that my daughter is ‘moving’ into her right place, one day at a time, in every way…thank you so much 🙂

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  18. restlessjo says:

    Your writing is always from the heart, Sherri, but a special quality creeps in when you talk about your daughter. She is so lucky to have had you beside her to fight this battle with her. But then I guess you feel that you are so lucky to be her Mom.
    Happy for you that Mr. Right was out there waiting all along. You just had to move often enough to find him, huh? 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Well Jo, you make me smile, thank you my friend! Yes, I think it did indeed take a lot of moves to find hubby 🙂 Interestingly, there are many parallels in our lives, even though we grew up in different parts of the country (me Surrey then Suffolk and he Dorset and Somerset) yet both our fathers had roots in London. We lived our lives across the sea for many years, unaware of one another and then we met and married in our mid-forties. I couldn’t have asked for a better step dad for my kids either and yes, you are right, I am so proud and honoured to have Aspie D as my daughter… nothing will ever change that 🙂

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  19. simplyilka says:

    Thanks Sherri for taking me on another very special and personal journey with you. Your daughter is fabulous for sure 🙂 And I am very happy that everything worked out for the best in the end and that you enjoy finally such a special marriage.

    I hope you will enjoy your view from your summerhouse much much longer 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, dear Ilka, thank you so much my friend, and I am honoured to have you by my side in this journey. The view from my summerhouse, when shared with you and all here is a true blessing indeed, rain or shine… 🙂

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  20. Sherri I was right to look forward to your entry in the challenge and I haven’t been disappointed. I know how your daughter felt being removed from home at that age (and I didn’t have the added challenge of aspergers) as we moved from the country to the city when I was 11. It took me a long time to forgive my parents. In reality it was probably the best thing that could have happened at that time but kids aren’t capable of that kind of insight.
    Love out of the blue is wonderful and glad to hear your daughter is making forward progress. Time for a walk my friend. Cheers Irene

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Irene, your words and wisdom always encourage me greatly. I can well imagine how you felt about your move at 11. What is it about that age? I was 10 when my parents split and we were uprooted from our family home in Surrey, which I loved, to Suffolk, which at the time I hated but then grew to love. I’m so glad that your own move turned out to be a good one for you. As children we are powerless and have to do what our parents make us do and I was so happy to be able to at last tell my daughter when we moved back here that we could have our own home again (5 years after moving back) and she could decorate her own room and have her own space. I’m so grateful for the stability we’ve had since then and the decisions I’ve taken to help her along her journey.
      And yes, love out of the blue really is wonderful!
      Your stories continue to bless me greatly Irene and I look forward to sharing so many more with you…so yes, get on your shoes and let’s go for a walk right now…I think you are up now? Cheers to you my friend 🙂

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  21. TBM says:

    I can picture her throwing her shoe. Moving is hard and adding divorce on top of it, that’s a lot of change for someone who doesn’t like change. I actually like moving to new places (not the actual moving process: boxes, wrapping, cleaning–yuck!), but it’s still hard. Thanks for sharing your memories. Love your writing.

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    • Sherri says:

      I know what you mean about the newness of a place, once all the horrible part of moving has gone. As you say, yuck!!
      Thank you very much TB, I’m honoured…

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  22. I too have moved many times, with 6 years being the longest I’ve stayed in one place. I think it was hard on my family. But they did learn that we can quickly make any space our home.

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    • Sherri says:

      It is hard on the family, yes, but we can only do what we can do and you are so right, wherever we are is home, if we make it that! Thanks Marlene 🙂

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  23. There is a lot in your post, Sherri, that will touch many women. The ones who have moved a lot, the ones who have a child who struggles with mental illness, the ones who lost a love and had to divorce, the ones who left their native land and returned, the ones who found love again, and the ones who have an exact same picture in their album.
    Yes, the last picture stopped me in my tracks. I have two similar shots of my two oldest daughters on a pony just like the one Aspie D. is riding. Same outfit. Same everything. The pictures were taken at their nursery school in the Bay Area in the early 90s.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Evelyne. Loved hearing about the photo! Aspie D did in fact take horse riding lessons for a while and enjoyed them…nice to have the good memories 🙂

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  24. thirdhandart says:

    Aspie D looks so cute, and content, in all of the photos… especially while posing on the pony. In spite of the unfair hand that life has dealt your daughter, I hope and pray that she will find her way. With a loving mom like you at her side, I’m sure that Aspie D’s journey will be a lot easier.
    A beautiful, heartfelt entry Sherri! You, and your wonderful husband, must have done many things ‘right’ in order for Aspie D to be ‘On the Move’ in the right direction. You and your lovely family all deserve a little respite and a lot of happiness!

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Theresa, you always say the kindest things and I take your lovely sentiments straight to my heart…bless you, means so much… 🙂

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  25. Ahhhh-loved seeing the photos of your precious girl and of your son too!! You’ve come a long way and made another lovely home filled with those you love. It seems home is not a building but where heart and soul resides whether across the seas or in the land where you were born. You’ve done well my friend through it all, not giving in or giving up. I loved what thirdhandart wrote especially the end bit. I echo her sentiments! ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahhh…you will remember so well my dear friend 🙂 And yes, of her brother, remember those days? We have come a long way indeed and yes, home truly is where the heart it. Although home for us was very much in California…once upon a time. And my heart lives there now…thank you so much for your loving words and sentiments, means the world.. 🙂 xoxoxo

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  26. Lovely family photos Sherri, I particularly love the ‘cowgirl’ photo! You’ve certainly had a lot of upheaval in your life, which must have been so much more challenging with you daughter’s need for steadiness, but things – and people – have a way of getting to where they should be.:-)

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you so much Andrea and you are so right with your very wise words. Somehow, we do get there in there in the end and I am a great believer in knowing that no experience is ever wasted and that they can be turned to good… 🙂

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