About Me

Hi, I’m Sherri & welcome to my blog!

Greetings to you from me!

Greetings to you from me and thank you so much for reading my blog!

Here is my story in brief (famous last words, ha!)…

A born and bred Brit widowed at the age of 21, I remarried and moved to the US with my American then-husband to the Central Coast of California in the mid 1980s. There, we raised our three children for the next seventeen years.

But it was a marriage beset with insurmountable problems, and after 22 years, we divorced.

Trials and turns have twisted in and out of my life, leaving behind their footprints.

For one, my dear jailbird dad has left a few of those footprints on the cold, hard floors of the many prisons and halfway houses where he has lived for most of his adult life, thanks to an addiction to alcohol that he cannot defeat. *

But please know this blog isn’t about blame and recriminations:
it is about forgiveness and healing and living joyfully in a New Day.

Returning to my ‘home’ in the UK in 2003, I faced life as a forty-something single mum with the prospect of finding paid employment,  And then, life took  me completely by surprise the day I met the man who is today, my lovely hubby.

He took my hand and led me back into the sunshine.

We are now settled in the West Country of England with my youngest of thand assorted pets which, to date, include two cats, a grumpy bunny and  a family of Chinese Button Quails.

Not a good idea to get too complacent though.  After all, life never stops throwing those curve balls.

Turning fifty wasn’t so bad (rocking out with your grown up kids is great pay back), but things took a bit of a downturn afterwards.  For one thing, my youngest child struggled for years to find help for debilitating social anxiety, and was eighteen before receiving a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (High Functioning Autism).

Job loss (mine), financial reversal and two car accidents followed. That old ‘black dog’ became my constant companion and for a long time I felt pretty damn worthless, insignificant and washed-up.

So I got down on my bended knees and prayed.

Not one, but several doors, slammed firmly shut in my face.  Well, don’t ‘they’ say that when one door closes another opens?  This is true, but it’s no good if you stand still and don’t actually walk through that open door.

It took me a long time just to get the self-belief that I could actually attempt it, never mind achieve any measure of success, but one day I said, “Enough!” I got up off my knees.

With renewed courage and faith, I stepped over the threshold of that doorway to follow a new path towards my life-long dream, in which I dared to call myself a Writer.

What's at the end of your path?  Selworthy, Quantocks, Somerset (c) Sherri Matthews

What’s at the end of your path?
Selworthy, Quantocks, Somerset October 2012
(c) Sherri Matthews

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands.  Take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4

And it was on the other side of that door that I was at last able to find the answer to the question I had asked myself all my life: how can I turn my life experiences into something that others will hopefully find valuable, worthwhile, and maybe even inspiring?

Is it even possible? Risky, yes,  but as I always say, better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. So here I am.  Writing.

Weaving stories from the past, making sense of the present,
giving hope for the future.

Why the name, ‘A View from My Summerhouse’ you may well ask?

Summerhouse in Spring

My Summerhouse in Spring

Some of my most endearing and happiest memories from my childhood are of playing in my grandparents’ summerhouse at the back of their glorious garden in Cheshire, and I longed for one of my own one day.

I had to wait a long time, but a couple of years ago, lovely Hubby built one for me in our garden as my office.

My summerhouse is my writing haven.

My hope is that in sharing my stories here, you are encouraged and inspired to chase your dreams and to never give up.

No matter how side-lined or insignificant you feel, or how dark your days may seem, I urge you to remember that there is always hope, always a light shining in the darkness, always the knowledge that you are not alone.  And if I can change my life for the better, so can you!

The view from my Summerhouse may not always be rosy, but I hope you will share it with me, rain or shine.

Love Sherri x

*At the time of writing this page, my dad was 81 and living in a half way house.  He returned to prison almost a year later for breaking parole – he had ‘a few pints’ – and remained there until, very ill, he was taken to hospital.  He died peacefully, five days later, surrounded by the love of his family, on 17th July, 2016, three weeks before what would have been his eighty-fourth birthday.  He gave me the one gift he could: his blessing to write his story. My blog is dedicated to him.  Be at peace darling dad.


359 Responses to About Me

  1. mel says:

    Hi Sherri
    This is the first blog I’ve ever commented on. It was the instant connection I felt to you that has inspired me to do so! My daughter (age 9) was recently diagnosed with aspergers, which in all honesty has been a great relief after several unhappy years at school struggling with friendships and bullying. I knew instinctively that something wasn’t quite right and felt so frustrated as to how I could help her. I know some parents struggle with the diagnosis, but for me it has opened a door to knowledge and understanding I desperately wanted to find.
    I was touched by your blog on aspergers and animals as my daughter too has a close relationship to animals. We have two cats, and one of them, Bagheera, is especially ‘moody’. I get the impression he tolerates us humans so long as we feed him, but he certainly doesn’t seek out our company. Apart from my daughter that is. He only ever goes to her bedroom and sits on her bed. It’s most bizarre. Especially given the level of torture he will put up with from her….for example wrapping her arms around him, ‘tucking him in’ with various fleeces and blankets not to mention dressing him up in all manner of accoutrements she deems fitting. It’s as if he understands that she needs him.
    I also smiled to read your ‘about me’ piece as I too have a life long dream to be a writer. Sadly, for me this is unfulfilled as yet – or at least, as my husband tells me, I’m a ‘writer who doesn’t write’. I work full time and have two high spirited children to look after, and somehow all of this has taken over not just my time, but that mental space that’s needed. Not that I’m complaining, as I’m greatly blessed, and thankful for my lovely family – I just wish there was a way to carve out a little time for me. I’m inspired by your courage to not lose sight of the dream, and hope that there’s a summerhouse just like yours waiting in a corner of my future.
    Nice to meet you and please keep writing. You have brightened up my day today.
    Mel

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Mel, I am honoured that this is the first blog you’ve ever commented on; I am deeply moved by all you share. I wish I could give you a big hug! I’m so glad and relieved for you now that your daughter has received her diagnosis at long last. I felt the same way when at last my daughter got hers, but in our case, I just wish she had got it when younger. Things are improving with earlier intervention, as demonstrated by your experience, and I’m very encouraged to know this. I do so hope that now your daughter will receive the help and support she so badly needs at school. My heart breaks reading about her struggles with friendships and bullying, knowing just how that feels as a mum. But understanding what is going on with your daughter means you won’t feel like you’re groping around in the dark, wondering what on earth is happening. This knowledge will help you tremendously.
      As for your cat – what a wonderful name, ‘Bagheera’ (The Jungle Book is one of my all time favourite films 🙂 – I am not surprised at the special relationship he shares with your daughter. I have seen time and time again the way animals react to mine and it never fails to amaze me.
      As for your writing dream, when I read your words, I read myself twenty years ago. I felt exactly the same way, unable to find that ‘mental space’ to write with a family of three kids to bring up and then all the ‘stuff’ of life, the nub of which you have read here! So I would say to you Mel, never let go of your dream, believe in that summerhouse waiting for you and know that oneday it will be your time to write.
      I’m honoured that you would share this with me…thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to do so, to let me know how this blog inspired you (which in turn encourages me no end!) and I wish you, your beautiful daughter and your family nothing but the very best for the future. Hugs…Sherri x

      Like

  2. Annika Perry says:

    Sherri, just to let you know I have included you in a list of favourite / recommended blogs in my latest post. https://annikaperry.wordpress.com It’s the Liebster Award! I thoroughly enjoy your blog and wanted to share it here through this award. Please do not feel under any obligation to accept, however should you wish the ‘rules’ are on my post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Annika, how very kind of you to think of me and the Summerhouse, you are very kind 🙂 Many congratulations on your Liebster award, I’ll be over to read all about it. I’m thrilled you enjoy my blog – as I do yours, very much! -, which is ‘award’ itself. I hope you don’t mind that I won’t participate in the rules due to time constraints, but I will be sure to acknowledge you and link to your blog in a thank you post very soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        I agree, Sherri, I find the comments and friendships formed here on wp the ultimate reward! This award is definitely time consuming and I know you are busy; just to let you I’m thinking of you. Take care.😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn says:

    Lovely to met you Sherri. I look forward to reading and sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Antonio says:

    A life very animated……
    hello Sherri, have a greatest w.e.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice blog. Luv your Selworthy, Quantocks, Somerset pic!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Julia says:

    I loved reading about your summer house, and how it is your writing studio. It reminded me of the author Anne Morrow Lindbergh (wife of the famed aviator) who had a tiny shed she called her “little house” where she went to have space and time to write — which wasn’t always easy, with five children and a frequently-traveling husband. We lived on the Central Coast for some lovely years, 1990-1993. Who knows– perhaps we crossed paths one day and didn’t know it? We were at Vandenberg Air Force Base, between Lompoc and Santa Maria. I really enjoyed your story. BTW our youngest son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 1994, when hardly anybody I knew had ever heard the term. He has other disabilities, though, so he was around doctors enough that the diagnosis did not come as late as it typically does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Julia, please forgive me for my delay in replying to your lovely and very much appreciated comment. I’ve only recently returned to blogging since Christmas, for various reasons. It’s interesting to me that these ‘little houses’ in back gardens have now become something of a trend…yet Anne Morrow Lindbergh certainly had hers out of necessity for some peace and quiet! And of course, as you’ve read here, my desire for a summerhouse goes back a long way 🙂 It gets cold there in the winter, but a little electric fan heater helps with that! I’m’ so glad you enjoyed reading about it.
      I loved reading about your time on the Central Coast. I would be surprised if we had not crossed paths. I know of Vandenberg AFB and Lompoc well, and Santa Maria especially is a place I visited fairly frequently. Ahh…happy memories! I am glad to hear your youngest son received his diagnosis early on and hope that he continues to receive the right support. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your story with me, it is lovely to meet you and I hope we shall meet again 🙂 I wish you and your family the very best ~ Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Chuck says:

    Hi Sherry,
    I followed you through Hugh Roberts (Hugh’s Views). You site intrigues me and I look forward to reading and following you. There are so many writers, including myself, that are writing memoire based books about troubled childhoods. Is the market getting saturated? My original manuscript was therapeutic, yet I wonder is there still a market for mine? I invite you to visit my site and leave me some constructive comments. A recent post I ask the question, memoir or fiction, I would love your opinion. /www.chuckjacksonknowme.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Chuck! How lovely to meet you via our mutual friend Hugh…thank you so much for visiting and following the Summerhouse, I very much appreciate it. Although I am not blogging too often at the moment while I work on the revisions of my memoir, I sincerely hope you enjoy what you do read. I will certainly reply in full to your great comment and head over to your blog later this afternoon when I return from an appointment, but I wanted to touch base with you, apologise for the delay in replying (story of my life, ha!), and to let you know I am looking forward very much to discussing the questions you raise. I will be back! 🙂 Sherri.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi again Chuck, I’ve left a – long! – comment on your memoir vs fiction blog post which I hope you will find helpful. I didn’t address the question of market saturation you ask here, but I wanted to say I don’t think you have to worry about that. If you know the main thrust of your story, what makes it strong and unique as you tell it through your voice, then there is very much a market for your memoir. This is what I tell myself when self-doubt comes knocking at my door, too often for my liking! I would urge and encourage you to write your memoir while reading others that appeal to you. If you feel your story is one for the public and not just for your own theraputic purposes, then you need to write it, not just for yourself but for those who will read it and come away changed because of it. I wish you all the very best 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. delphini510 says:

    Dear Sherri, I am deeply touched by your story, in spite of difficulties I can feel the light shining through the cracks all the way. It has been a great inspiration to me this morning.
    Keep going with the flow and see the light you know is there.
    miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Miriam, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like for a few months now (my last post was in March) mainly due to family circumstances, but I hope to return with a short update post in the next few days. I can’t tell you enough how much your touching message encouraged and blessed me…knowing you feel the ‘light shining through the cracks’ reminds me of my reasons for starting my blog in the first place: to somehow inspire others not to give up and to follow your path no matter what happened in the past. There is always hope! Thank you so much…it’s lovely to meet you ~ Sherri

      Liked by 1 person

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