As a blogger, there are certain blogs you find yourself coming back to, again and again. The reasons for your return vary. They may have a story that tugs at your heartstrings, like Megan and Baby Cohen. They may have the gift to turn an ordinary story about their dog into a laugh-out-lot riot, like Taylor. Or maybe, you admire their ability to share both their faith and their family with readers, like Kelly.
Sometimes, you stumble across a blogger and think “we would be such great friends in real life.” That is how I felt about Leslie Sisti. I stumbled across her blog, A Blonde Ambition, about three years ago, maybe a bit more. I don’t remember how I found it, maybe through her Confessional Friday linkup or perhaps through Kelly’s blog. Leslie and her precious husband Stephen were one of Kelly’s “couples,” one of the 10 or so couples who have met through Kelly’s Show Us Your Singles days.
How I found Leslie’s blog doesn’t matter. I simply remember thinking, a few posts into reading her archives, that she and I were meant to be friends. She was witty and clever, down to earth, and honest. She pulled me in and let me – and countless other readers – into her life in a way that was organic and honest. She brought us along as she became a mother, first to Caroline and then to Ainsley. She had a penchant for posting photos of her dogs, Ruby and Ari, right alongside food photos that left you salivating.
My heart shattered yesterday afternoon when I learned of Leslie’s passing. A heart condition worsened during her second pregnancy and on Monday, she went home to Jesus. Her last post, shared nine days before her passing, was brief, but revealed that she was on her way to Cleveland for treatment after a few setbacks. She thanked her readers for continuing to pray the Sisti family through their trials.
I spent some time on Leslie’s blog last night, re-reading her words and re-visiting some of my favorite posts. I cried a bit, thinking of her husband and her girls, her beloved parents, her family and friends. She had such a vibrant life, a soul that shined. I never met her personally, merely traded blog comments and social media posts, but I knew, if I ran into her while visiting my aunt and uncle in her corner of Arkansas, she would invite me to coffee and ask about my life, just like we were longtime friends.
Leslie introduced us to Ainsley Catherine in December and shared Caroline Rose’s first birthday with us in October. She wrote about how important it is for us to indulge in our creative whims. There were anniversary celebrations and Razorback football tailgates. I pinned a post on how she made Caroline’s baby food as I want to make my kids’ food one day and her post was straightforward and helpful. There were a lot of fashion posts – the girl had incredible style – and beauty routines, not to mention recipes.
There was a cheeky post about how to reply to those nosey relatives when you are the single one during the holidays that I may or may not have forwarded to some of my own well-meaning relatives a couple years ago, as well as shared with a few single friends. But there was one post in particular that I was looking for last night in order to read it again and in turn, share it with you – “Wanted To Share.”
I will let you read “Wanted To Share” for yourself, but I have thought of this post often. I regret not letting her know that she inspired me, with that one post, to start journaling again. It also propped up my faith on more than one occasion.
While I never crossed paths with Leslie “in real life,” I felt like I knew her. I feel like I lost a friend. I know my sadness to learn of her passing is but a drop in the bucket compared to what her husband and family are feeling. Stephen and their girls have been heavy on my heart as I look back on what is ultimately a mere fraction of Leslie’s life, the part she shared with her virtual friends. Her life was cut short, right in the midst of soaking up days with her girls and playing with her new Vitamix, but she enjoyed every moment of it while she was here.
With Whitney’s passing a few weeks ago, I feel like I have been writing about that a lot lately – lives cut short in the midst of living it to the fullest. I hope you will join me in praying for Leslie’s family, especially for her girls who will grow up without their momma.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Ainsley and Caroline Sisti College Fund, as Leslie wanted her daughters to live a full and happy life. If you are so inclined, you can donate here. Additionally, bloggers are sharing tributes to Leslie today by using the hashtags #beblessedlovelies (how Leslie always signed off her blog posts) and #rememberingleslie.
And so, in the words of Leslie,
Be blessed, lovelies.