We had a breakfast birthday party this year for my sister and brother-in-law. It was a new thing for us but it seemed with everyone’s busy schedule it was the only time we could get together until Thanksgiving, which of course we will do anyway.

My sister, Renee, with great niece, Ellie.

We attempted to have healthy alternatives, which is not real easy for breakfast. But we managed. Egg beaters, turkey sausage quiche, fruit, cheese grits (I chose to believe they are healthy). Then there were cinnamon rolls (well not exactly rolls but cinnamon-like roll thingies) and muffins. Not healthy but one ever once awhile isn’t bad, is it?  We rounded it out with juice, coffee and Diet Coke (my drug of choice).

It reminded me a bit of Saturday morning breakfasts at home. Mom would make eggs and sausage. There might be cinnamon rolls and juice.  Of course, there would always be coffee. Which, for the record, I detest.

My sister is one of those people who makes every party perfect, just by her presence.  I can remember when she was born. I was eight. Mom and Dad brought her home and I thought she was the most beautiful baby in the world, until I had my own, of course.

I can remember so many things about her. She bounced in her baby bed so much that one day she bounced out on her head. Yes, that IS what’s wrong with her.  Every Saturday night we had to take a bath whether we needed it or not. My mother would make all of us kids take a bath in the same water. I always wanted to be first because Randy and Renee played outside and got filthy. By the time I got in the water it was mud! My favorite memories of her include a dirt smudged face.

Renee strangles her kitten while Randy sits idly by acting as if it this happened every day, which it did.

Every week, she would wail as my mother tried to brush her hair after it was washed. I remember one night I had to brush her hair but she screamed so loud I told her to do it herself. She wailed as she brushed her own hair. I didn’t realize a person could really do that.

She loved her kittens. She would carry them around by the neck. They survived, I guess, because she had toughened them up. She would even eat her afternoon snack with the kittens on the back porch. Yes, she DID eat Meow Mix for snack and loved it.

She never could sleep on her own side of the bed. She would kick me all night. So I would make her sleep in her own bunk. But she didn’t like it. So, she would go creep into bed with my brother. He was such a sound sleeper he would never notice. She got upset though when he got old enough that my Dad told her it was inappropriate for her to sleep in his room any more.

She ran away from home when she was 8 and I was so mad at her I could scream. I was watching her so I was the one that had to go find her. She swears she wasn’t running away. But her and her friend had each packed a bag and were all the way out on the I-70 outer road when I finally found them.

All the way home I told her she was so going to get it from mom and dad.  I did scream when all my mother did was confine her to her own yard for two weeks. She says that was worse than a spanking. Did she ever get a spanking? I’m not sure. She was so darn cute my mother didn’t want to spank her.

She was a star basketball player until she hurt herself and had to quit. West Junior High School 7th grade girls never could win after she had to quit.

Her high school years were spent arguing with my Dad over whether or not she could wear jeans to school. He preferred she wear a dress. But after he left for work, she worked on Mom and got her way.  I still don’t know how she did that. I never could win with Mom.

When she found herself a single mom with only a high school education and having to provide for two daughters, she got a job easily. One of the first people she interviewed with saw her potential, bonded with her and took her under her wing.

She recognized her stellar personality and winning ways with every person. Even kids and babies light up when she walks in the room. That’s because my sister genuinely loves every person she meets, especially kids and babies.

The family: Renee, Randy, Dad, Mom and Teresa.

When my sister was growing up, my mother was sick a lot. I’m sure there’s a better name for it but all we were told as kids was she was very depressed and at one time had what was termed a nervous breakdown.

My sister, though, being the youngest was the one we protected. I especially felt a sense of being responsible to shield her from the reality that was going on around us.  As I think about it now, though, it was really she who did me the favor. She gave me a cause to focus on, a reason to go on every day, light in a dark world. If I focused on making sure she was OK, I found myself to be better as well.

If there is one thing my little sister can do is brighten up a room just by her presence.  She is joy personified.  She doesn’t just think the glass is half full, she knows it will be full very soon and probably never, ever empty again.

She faces each day with the overwhelmingly assured faith that it will be a great day.  And even when it isn’t, she rises to meet the challenges and finds the faith to believe things will get better.

Happy Birthday to the best sister in the world.  I’m rewriting a scripture just for you.

“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like a sister.” Proverbs 18:24 The Message


Teresa Shields Parker is a writer, editor, publisher, journalist and business owner. She is an award-winning writer with over 35 years of journalistic experience. In addition to many other positions, she was editor and publisher of the 100,000 circulation Good News Journal and 50,000 circulation FAMILY Magazine. She and her husband, Roy, have two grown children and have served 11 teens and young adults as foster parents. Their two Birman cats reluctantly allow them to share their home but only because Roy feeds them. Her passion is recognizing and writing about God at work in the lives of people.
Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.