Warren.

He has impacted hundreds of lives through his choices and character.  I’m incredibly blessed to have him as my one and only older brother. He’s one of the very few people who can look at me and know exactly what mood I’m in as well as simply understanding me and my “contradicting” characteristics. He knows that while I’m compassionate I also have an inner strength that balances out, even though most people just see my soft tender side. He understands that when I’m freaking out and venting, I’m still laid back and nonchalant about the issue. He understands my sense of humor and has never been wrong in choosing a movie, song or story saying I’ll love it.

He was obsessed with saying, “WWJD?” for a year, went through a phase of reading every Consumer Report magazine looking at cars, spent nights eating an apple with a Hardy Boys book until the wee hours of the night and could convince people the value of a penny was worth more than a quarter (at least good ‘ol gullible me). During his high school years he worked harder than any college student I’ve met. Females were infatuated with his 6’2” model stature, males envied his athletic abilities and mothers hoped to someday have a son-in-law resembling him based on his overwhelming honest, loyal, faithful and kind characteristics.  Involved in two sports, swamped with AP courses, juggling friends, family and club obligations he somehow found himself with all A’s, the leader of several clubs and a friend to everyone. He graduated in 2006 being 5th in his class with a full ride to Northwestern University. As an older brother and oldest of six children Warren is without a doubt a role model of mine. However, none of the boasting facts above are why I call him role model or one of my closest confidants.

As a young man on fire for God Warren encouraged me to listen to sermons every night while I fell asleep in addition to reading the entire Bible over the course of three years. He showed me how important it was to have a personal relationship with the Lord and not fall into living the life of a cliché Christian. His conviction on waiting to date became my desire because I saw the importance of singleness and the concept of guarding your heart.

As most sibling relationships go Warren and I didn’t grow closer until he left for college. Growing up I was, I admit, an annoying little sister who loved to disrespect his “rules” of the house. In my defense, his rules were out of control. At the time I hated his rules, but smile now thinking of how preposterous they must look to outsiders. If I left my toothbrush out on the counter in the bathroom I would be greeted with towels, clothes, my tooth brush and anything else left around on my pillow. If I left my lamp on while I went to watch Arthur on PBS I would return to a room with every plug disconnected from the outlet.

One of my favorite “rules” Warren demanded was while watching us siblings during my parents weekly date night he required Patrick and I to eat a plate of raw broccoli prior to having two scoops of vanilla ice cream. I recall Patrick and I sitting at the end of the table, looking at our plates of cold, raw broccoli and Warren standing on the orange linoleum kitchen floor guarding the ice cream. At first Patrick and I sat there laughing, but after tasting the flavorless food I was no longer motivated and turned to complaining to resolve the issue. Needless to say, I didn’t get ice cream.

I know we became better friends when he left for college, but I vividly remember becoming close with him when I entered my senior year at MHS. He was my mentor. Warren walked through the halls of MHS living for God, striving to fulfill His plan for us. Warren left a strong imprint on the school with a reputation of, I hate to admit, being perfect. He set the record of the highest Algebra final exam score, highest number of sit-ups completed in a minute, founded the chess club, led FCA as well as leading the volley ball team to state in 2006. Not only that, but he befriended every single student he came across. From the chess club, football team, gang members to teachers Warren was a dear friend to all.

As he walked NU’s campus he was smitten with the film industry. Graduated from Northwestern, he leaves a similar, if not stronger impression that he did on MHS. Today he resides in Hollywood working for an agency. He has had favor on his life, but Warren has worked extremely hard and I’m excited to see where God will take him in Hollywood.

Stories.

Top 10 random memories that pop into my head:

1.      Our movie nights. I remember it was in the winter of 2005 when we decided to go to Regal Cinemas and see two movies. It would have been the second time I movie hopped and I was so excited to go out on a weekend night with him. It was a week after I saw Phantom of the Opera with Dad and I suggested we see that and Miss Congeniality 2. Phantom was so much better. This led to seeing Million Dollar Baby and Guess Who a few weeks later….which led to a tradition.

2.  When we were younger he took me to Dominicks’ and gave me $3 for a bag of mini marshmallows. Hello three years later and Warren is not $3 richer. Dad said that because it had been so long I didn’t have to pay him back. I did, just five years later. And that people shows how I was an annoying little sister.

3. He waited for me after his TV Apprenticeship class his senior year and walk me to math class. That gesture has vividly stuck in my bank of High School memories and I felt SO loved.

4. Our phase of listing to sermon tapes every night.  This also ties in to the time I got scared while listening to Adventures in Odyssey and ended up sleeping on Warren and Patrick’s floor for a few weeks (months?). Warren was so gracious and understanding with me. He also prayed out loud every night over me and Pappy. It was hilarious. He’d be brushing his teeth in the bathroom and while we waited I would say, “ I wonder if Warren will pray longer tonight or we’ll listen to a sermon.” Patrick (i.e. Pappy) response was almost always, “eh, I’m already half asleep.” Sure enough in came Warren saying “alriiiiight guys. Let’s listen to Mr. Lloyds sermon, even though I know all his jokes already at the beginning.haha”

Over the course of writing this I feel like I need to exhort him in the affirmation he gives me as a sister and person. To put it in a nut-shell, he genuinely appreciates the heart I have. One that’s deep, sensitive and loving. He, however is never afraid to be extremely blunt, which I appreciate because even though I’m sensitive, I have always appreciated honesty, and I can take it. I’ll forever remember the comment he gave me not too long ago. “Mary, you put up with too much. You’re too patient. I’d give up a lot sooner than you ever would. So, yes, I am happy I don’t have your life because I wouldn’t like, live it like you.” I look at his life and see boundaries, ones I need to model in my life. God knew Warren needed me as his younger sister, and knew Warren was the perfect person to be my older brother.

As the oldest of us kids he has done a great job at setting examples, giving advice and “leading the way.” He has worked harder than anyone I know to get to where he is today.

He is one of my best friends. He is my older brother who is one of my biggest fans. And I, one of his. His work ethic and faith is going to take him far and I know he can achieve anything.

I love him so.
I love you Warren. Love, Mary Berry.

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