“To be selected as the Stronger than Stone recipient is humbling. The love any mother has for her family cannot be severed by time, distance, or even our physical body’s limitations. I have learned that the prayers of my grandmother are still being answered, my mother’s love and our relationship continues past her time on this earth, and I am continually strengthened by all those whom I love and who have ever loved me.”

While searching for my next Stronger Than Stone bride, Laura, sent me an email nominating her sister Shannon. Laura’s words were passionate and filled with gratitude for all that Shannon does and represents for the entire family. Self-sacrificing, supportive, hard-working, and resilient are some of the attributes Laura used to describe her big sister.

I just had to learn more.

Although every family experiences challenges and loss, some may feel that Shannon and her family have faced more than most. And through loss, Shannon has been the continued source of strength and resilience, for which many depend on. Her selfless sacrifice and dedication through service and action for others is the light that shines through much of Shannon’s journey. She leads with her heart and through this her actions ease the burden for others.

Inspired, I sent off on a journey of discovery. I received emails from Shannons children, Whitney, Bo, Beth, and Wes, and from her husband, Chris. With each email, there was a common thread; service, light, and strength.

The theme of my moms life is working hard to help other people even when shes going through heartbreak.” – Daughter, Whitney

“Recently I have gone through a big life change that has also affected her but she was able to be cool, calm, and collected in order to get me through these hard times.” – Son, Bo

“When she is surrounded by darkness, she’s always knows how to find the light.” – Son, Wes

“She stayed strong for us so that we didn’t have to carry all the heaviness alone.” – Daughter, Beth

“Shannon is “stronger than stone” because she can hold the weight of the burdens of others.  I have seen for more than 30 years Shannon is one of those unique people that everyone seems to just love being around.  The closeness that comes from that invites so many people to use her as a sounding board for advice or to just be there as a supportive friend.  She certainly has been that way to me.” – Her Husband, Chris Hendrix

Shannon met her husband, Chris in 1987 at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. She remembers shopping with her mother for her wedding gown. She only tried on three dresses and her dream wedding gown turned out to be the the first once she tried on.

32 years have come and gone since their wedding day with many joys — such as  the birth of her four children, all born in the 90s — along with some challenges and life-changing losses. Shannon’s father passed away suddenly in 2000 followed by her mom’s in 2003. Her sister, Laura, also had a baby, Ella Faith, in 2003 who lived only a few months due to a condition called Hypoplastic Left-Heart Syndrome. Through the best of times and worst, Shannon did not waiver in the love for her family and used that love to lead the way to comfort and healing those around her.

“She was the person who always showed up, who cooked the meals, sent communications to a support team of family and friends to field questions, and ask for prayers. She was the one that stocked the pantry at the Ronald McDonald House with snacks and staples, not just for her family,  but for everyone staying there. She is the one, who,  while caring for 4 young children, did all of this while traveling back and forth from Michigan to Tennessee to care for her dying mother.  And somehow, she continued to maintain her fabulous sense of humor that has the ability to lift the mood of the most desperate situations.” – Sister, Laura

And as we know, life is never predictable and can deliver devastating blows. This year, while Shannon was planning and preparing for her daughter Beth’s wedding the family faced the shattering and untimely loss of her beloved daughter-in-law, Lisette who would have been a bridesmaid. At age 22 she died from an undiagnosed heart condition known as perinatal cardio myopathy, leaving her son, Bo, and 13-month-old granddaughter, Nova.

Shannon as always, was there for her son and entire family, making sure needs were met and plans were in place for the healing for her son and granddaughter.

“Through all the ups and downs in life— seasons of abundance and joy as well as loss, the truth is that life is precious.” – Shannon

Shannon holds events like her own wedding on June 22, 1991 — as well as the ones she helps coordinate locally — as celebrations that bring encouragement, support, comfort, tolerance, and love. She holds to the happiest of times to lift herself and others through seasons of heartbreak and loss.

I feel we can all be inspired by Shannon’s unending and unconditional love for her family. Her smiles is contagious, her actions are healing and her love is powerful.

Welcome to the Stronger Than Stone family Shannon. We are so lucky to have found you!