Love brought them together, it’s held them together, too.
Love has been ever-present as Larry and Sherdine Daniels raised a family, excelled in their careers, and navigated the heartbreaking loss of a daughter.
Love continues to shine its light as the couple engages in their daily Bible studies and embraces the joy of retirement.
Where it all started
Larry and Sherdine met at Emporia State University. Larry was on a basketball scholarship. Sherdine was earning an education degree. They both lived on campus in Twin Towers and their paths kept crossing. “I pursued this lovely lady vigorously,” Larry shares.
The couple tied the knot a few years after college. Sherdine says, “We made a choice to get married and love each other, so we’re committed to it. You have to work at it,” she adds.
The work has paid off – in November, the Kansas City natives will be married 35 years.
Larry explains how their love has changed over time: “The amorous type of love doesn’t get you all the way through to the end. You need to understand there’s the other type of love – unconditional, agape love.”
Larry advises, “Communication and intimacy are the secret. Share everything that’s in your heart, so you know what each other is thinking.”
En route to retirement
Larry worked for 37 years as an electronic technician at the Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) in Olathe. His job with the Federal Aviation Administration was to maintain operational equipment for the center’s nearly 300 air traffic controllers. Behind the scenes, Larry was instrumental in helping to keep aircraft moving safely and expeditiously.
“When it broke, I fixed it,” explains Larry. “I enjoyed my job, it was a good job.” But now six years into retirement, Larry doesn’t miss working.
Sherdine spent 21 years as a special education teacher. She reflects, “I enjoyed the days when the classrooms were small, and we were able to provide individualized education.” Sherdine went on to teach reading at the middle school level for five years before taking an early retirement. Her novel of choice? Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
A fulfilling retirement
Since they retired, the Daniels spend much of their time engaged in Bible studies. Via Zoom, they connect regularly with their Pastor Mike, and fellow followers from as far south as Texas, as far north as Canada, as far east as Virginia, and as far west as California.
“Sherdine and I have a complete routine schedule of studies we’re involved in, and it never stops,” explains Larry. “Our spiritual health is just as important as our physical health.”
Sherdine has always been health conscious because of her family history of heart disease and diabetes. But with all the time the couple spends sitting at the computer, Larry noticed something. ” My eating habits were causing me to gain weight,” Larry shares.” I didn’t feel like studying because I was lethargic.”
The couple committed to eating healthier and getting more physical exercise. And by cutting out snacks and sugar, they’ve lost weight and feel more energized.
And then a move for the better
Two years ago, the Daniels downsized to a quiet, 55+ maintenance-free retirement community in Kansas City, KS. They’ll never have to mow the lawn or shovel snow again.
The move was stressful, but there’s a lot to love about their new, custom-built home. “I like the size. It’s more manageable, and everything is so convenient for us,” Sherdine says.
There’s just enough space for a treadmill in the basement and for Sherdine’s ever-blooming outdoor container garden.
In cool weather, Sherdine takes advantage of neighborhood walking trails. Larry prefers to use the treadmill and looks forward to the day COVID-19 is behind us, and he can feel comfortable using his SilverSneakers® membership at a nearby gym.
The Daniels’ new home is close to shopping, entertainment – and most important of all – family.
Continually learning to love
The Daniels are close. And they’re surrounded by love.
Sherdine is one of 11 children. Her twin brother Sherwin lives right next door. (Yes, small world.) Her three sisters live in the metro area. The Daniels’ son Nate and daughter-in-law Crystan live in Kansas City, too, with their two young daughters.
“Our grandchildren are a joy,” Larry gushes. “We look forward to babysitting any time we get an opportunity.”
There’s always time to teach curious four-year-old Noriyah – nicknamed “Fire Kitten’ because she’s so smart and strong willed. And there’s always time to cuddle four-month-old Nalani Rose, known as “Fussy Kitten” because she doesn’t want to be put down.
“I love my grandkids,” Sherdine says, beaming with pride.
Larry is a reflective man who speaks from the heart: “The connections we have with family and friends, church members, and everyone we meet, these relationships need to be maintained – they need to continue to grow.”
“We are always learning to love one other,” Larry shares. “If you’re going to love someone, you have to spend time with them. At the root of all our love, is our belief that the greatest love story of all is God’s love for us.”
AND WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT BLUE MEDICARE ADVANTAGE?
The Daniels have been Blue Medicare Advantage members for five years. Larry made the switch from a competitor plan. “I kept seeing all the extra benefits Sherdine was getting with her Blue Medicare Advantage plan.” Sherdine chimes in, “He got jealous.”
They make the most of the Benefit Extras that come with their Essential PPO plan, including earning rewards for getting their Annual Wellness Exams. They tout the over-the-counter benefit and convenience of Blue Benefit Bucks. Sherdine also enjoys Papa, a service that offers up to 40 hours of assistance each year for things like grocery shopping, companionship, and light housekeeping.
“I use Papa Pals for light house cleaning. I put out the cleaning materials, walk them through each room, and explain what I’d like to have done,” Sherdine explains. “They’re here for an hour at least.”
The Daniels don’t look a day over 50 – almost too young to be retired. “Well, thank you,” Sherdine says with a smile. “Staying young at heart helps – but so does a little help with housecleaning!”