Here is a photo of their awesome family from about two years ago...
Shawn and Sherri Critser live on Fort Myers Beach and pastor the First Baptist Church--www.beachbaptist.org. They moved here from Henderson, Kentucky, near the area of Indiana where I was born and where my roots are. Needless to say, we hit it off right away.
I met their two daughters, first, at soccer practice at Bay Oaks Recreation Campus last August, nearly a year ago to the date. Their youngest played on my youngest daughter's team and their oldest daughter was goalie extrordinaire for my oldest daughter's soccer team. It wasn't until the season actually started that I met their family and all of the folks they usually brought with them.
To say that Shawn and Sherri are very vocal at sporting events, especially when their children are participating, is a HUGE understatement. It drew me to them right away. I tend to get very loud in support of my girls, as well. When I found out they were "old home folks," I immediately bonded with them and felt like family. It took some time for us to find space to interact and build on that "I've known you my whole life" kinda feeling, but it eventually worked out.
Now, I find myself living on their property in an RV they are letting me use...because they are just that kind of people--loving, kind, considerate and compassionate folks (though don't tell Shawn he's compassionate)!
To give an example of what I'm talking about, I asked Sherri if I could wash my first load of laundry in her house. She's basically said what is theirs is mine and to help myself to anything. Well, she not only said that I could, she offered to wash and fold my clothes for me. In fact, she insisted on it. That's the kind of friend you want in your life.
Beyond that, they have shown their true colors to me in many other ways. They are what I would call authentic people--genuine, forthright and honest--and "true" Christians. They have loved and supported me through the most difficult summer of my life, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Nor would I trade Friday breakfasts with Shawn at the Heavenly Biscuit for all the money in the world.
I adore their children, their extended family and the good-hearted people at their church. It's been a pleasure getting to know them and become part of that circle of trust (i.e. their wolfpack of many). Well, that's all I had to say. It's good to have friends like that in your life.