Lessons From My 20s: Life is Sweet.

As you know, I am turning 30 next month. So each day in November I am posting a lesson I have learned in this previous decade. Today's post is a bittersweet one. Three years ago today Sweet Hopkins lost her battle with cancer.

Sweet Hopkins with her daughters Kendall & Ivy.

Sweet's daughter Kendall was on our team that went to Seattle & is  a dear friend. Having gotten to know Sweet over those years was such a blessing to me. I don't think I have ever met a more accurately named person. Sweet was the very definition of her name. My friend Erika & I were talking about it yesterday, and we decided to write this post together. Here are her thoughts:

My life was sweet with sweet…

She loved life, family, and friendship.   I loved hearing Kendall talk about her childhood, how most nights of the week children from the kids ministry, her best friends, their neighbors, or her moms’ best friends were at their house.   Their family had wonderful traditions like cheesy chicken and cornbread casserole, telling hilarious stories and huge Christmas dinners with friends of 10-15 years.  I can’t say I’ve seen friends more devoted then the friendships Sweet built. Even in the seasons when they got bad news I always felt like their house was full.  Ladies sitting in the bedroom reading magazines, praying, making jokes, Kenny in the kitchen cooking up something wonderful with friends, Kendall and her friends, Ivy and hers. She loved to build and make connections and this is the way she did life, open, genuine, hope-filled and full. 

She loved presents, prizes and treats. I was Kendall’s roommate for almost 3 years in Seattle. When we first moved into our apartment I was sincerely amazed at all the lotions and pajamas that FILLED the bathroom we shared.  It wasn’t long before I started realizing why.  Sometimes it was a holiday like Valentines or Easter, and sometimes it was “just because”, but Kendall would get this huge package several times a year filled with large bottles of Philosophy lotions, pajama pants, always some yummy treat (sometimes homemade) and sometimes sentimental keepsakes.  Sweet loved gifts and she loved beauty and it nurtured, loved, and filled our house with wonderful smells and pretty things.  I’ll never forget the time she sent an antique family piece, an extremely fragile glass candy dish filled with candy and pajamas, dresses and lotions (of course )one Seattle Spring.  
       -Erika Kraus

When I look back at my 20s I remember one specific lesson Sweet taught me. Kendall had accidentally stabbed her hand and had to get surgery up in Seattle. Sweet couldn’t come up to be with her, but she called me daily (sometimes multiple times a day) to check on her. She coached me on what Kendall needed and ideas of how I could help her. It was incredibly helpful actually. Sweet showed me how to love Kendall better. Sweet taught everyone how to love others better. That is why she herself was so loved.

Sweet also taught me that who you have around you is more important that what is going on around you. She was the same hospitable woman when she was healthy and when she had just come home from a chemo treatment. I remember sitting next to her watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 while she laid there exhausted from chemo. She talked to me about Sophie and the importance of loving kids…She never stopped investing in people regardless of her situation. She never forgot about others.

Today, I remember her. I remember what she taught me. Life may be short. But it is sweet.