Cheri McCall

Cheri McCall
Episode 121

Join host Japhet De Oliveira for a fun conversation with Cheri McCall, the human resources leader at Adventist Health Columbia Gorge in Oregon as they discuss her love for hiking and kayaking, her role as a preschool teacher, and her passion for coaching youth sports.
Libsyn Podcast
"I think it is so important that we as adults grab onto those youths and give them hope in an icky world right now."

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I'm delighted to be here at Adventist Health Columbia Gorge in Oregon, a phenomenal place, sitting across with a leader that you're going to get to meet very soon. And we have 100 questions. Obviously, we don't cover all 100, but they become more progressively interesting as you get close to 100, and they're about stories and experiences that shape this person into the leader that they are today. So I'm going to begin with the first 10 real quick, and I'll just ask, could you tell us your name? Does anybody ever mispronounce it or lose it or tell us that?

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes?

Cheri McCall: Oh, yes. So my name is Cheri McCall, but I have been called Cherry, Cheri because it is spelled uniquely, it's C-H-E-R-I so it's the French spelling.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice. Nice, nice. So do you have French heritage?

Cheri McCall: I do not. I actually have Irish heritage.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, a little rebellious. All right.

Cheri McCall: There you go.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, Cheri. Tell me, Cheri, what do you do for work?

Cheri McCall: So I am the human resources leader here at Columbia Gorge, and so I get the privilege of working with all of our workforce. And then I also oversee the Planetree philosophy and program. I also oversee the childhood, our daycare center. So I love that, that is our best recruiting and retention tool ever.

Japhet De Oliveira: I just heard about this.

Cheri McCall: Yes, it's brilliant. And that's actually where I started. So I started as a preschool teacher there, did large motor development, and then when I had kids, I decided I wanted to go play in the big kid sandbox and move to human resources. And guess what? Those skills transcend, they just go right on over and you use the same tips and tricks with your workforce. So I love it. That is one of our special places. And then I also oversee volunteers in gift shops, so I get to be the people division and I love it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes. That's great.

Cheri McCall: Just love it.

Japhet De Oliveira: I heard about this today, just today, and I didn't realize that you guys offer that, it's like working for Google.

Cheri McCall: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: From what age do you guys cover childcare?

Cheri McCall: So we start at six weeks, and we go up to 12 years. So we have a school age program in the summer, and all of our teachers are actually accredited through the state. They have to do CE hours-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness.

Cheri McCall: ... they are licensed through the state. So it's almost like going through a mini joint commission when the state comes through, and they look at it. The really cool thing is moms can go over and they can be with their kiddos, they can nurse, they can have that close connection. You'll often see parents in the windows of the hospital looking down-

Japhet De Oliveira: Ooh.

Cheri McCall: ... at the kids playing in the playground. So it is just an amazing place. The teachers there just become second families. But it really has helped remove the stress. We're in a childcare desert and our childcare center is actually 42 years old.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's amazing. Wow.

Cheri McCall: So many, many, many months ago our CEO got a brilliant idea that said, "Hey, we have a lot of nurses that are working for us that need childcare. Why do we not offer that?" And so they built one on site and it's just been-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's amazing.

Cheri McCall: Yes. And it's wonderful. Lots of curriculum. So the kids that come out ready for school too. They are prepared for kindergarten and oftentimes we hear they're a little bit ahead.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. That is a great recruiting tool.

Cheri McCall: And I do have to share, we have hired many of the kids that grew up at Great and Small.

Japhet De Oliveira: No.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, is that what it's called? Great and Small?

Cheri McCall: Yes. Great and Small.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, I love that name.

Cheri McCall: Yes. And it makes me feel old because I used to be their teacher and I'm like, "Oh, why are you here?"

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. We're never old. We're just wiser.

Cheri McCall: There you go.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Hey, how long have you been in your current role?

Cheri McCall: I have been the leader here for about five years now, but I actually started in Human Resources '97. I started as the receptionist, moved to recruiter, moved to the consultant, then senior consultant, and then stepped in interimly a few times for the director. And then Dennis Knox, our CEO, just asked me again. He said, "Would you please just look at the permanent?" And I said, "Well, going to go back to school. I want to get my degree in human resources." And he said, "I still want to have you do it." So he believed in me, he empowered me. So I'm loving the journey. It's ups and downs and some challenges, but I like the challenges.

Japhet De Oliveira: From the sound of it, is there anything in HR you have not done? You've done all the roles?

Cheri McCall: I have.

Japhet De Oliveira: You have? Okay.

Cheri McCall: I supported even employee health a little bit just through the reception side. So it gives you a different window though. You get to understand each position and you can help guide and support and grow each person in that position. So I have enjoyed that piece and it helps you connect the dots faster when you see gaps and things, you can track it back to maybe where it started.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good.

Cheri McCall: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. Beautiful. All right. When you woke up this morning, drink of the day, did you start off with water? I see you have some water here. Water, coffee, tea, liquid green smoothie?

Cheri McCall: I am a water girl.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. All right. All right. Tap water? Bottled or-

Cheri McCall: We have fresh well water at my house.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. Okay.

Cheri McCall: So I fill up two of my YETIs every day and bring them to work because-

Japhet De Oliveira: [inaudible 00:05:42].

Cheri McCall: ... I have well water.

Japhet De Oliveira: You feed everybody else. [inaudible 00:05:46]. That was great. Cheri, where were you born?

Cheri McCall: I was actually born in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Japhet De Oliveira: No way.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know it.

Cheri McCall: Do you?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: So the tulips, Skagit Valley. My parents grew up in Sedro-Woolley, which is a small little town. So I was born there and then we moved to Longview, Washington when I was about a year old.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Small world.

Cheri McCall: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's very interesting. Brilliant. And when you were a child, you grew up there, right?

Cheri McCall: Mm-hmm.

Japhet De Oliveira: So when you were a child, what did you imagine you wouldn't grow up to be?

Cheri McCall: That is a great question. I think when I first was a kid, I wanted to be a professional athlete.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Cheri McCall: Yes. I either wanted to-

Japhet De Oliveira: Like the Olympics or-

Cheri McCall: Yes. I was going to be a track star, or I was going to do tennis because those were the things that I really loved. My dad definitely ingrained the love of tennis. So did that and then started to lean towards maybe a nurse. And then actually when I got into high school, my ASVAB test said, "You should be a police officer." And I was like, "Oh, I don't know about that." So I don't know. I never really have. I just go where God takes me. He opens doors and I jump through them. So-

Japhet De Oliveira: Takes a lot of faith. That's good. Yeah, I like that. All right. Personality. Would people describe you as an introvert, extrovert? Would you agree?

Cheri McCall: They would describe me as an extrovert. I like to get people into the pool, and I like to have fun. I like to bring energy. I would agree with that. I get my energy and passion from people. Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is good. And are you an early riser or a late-night owl?

Cheri McCall: I can do both. I have to.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right.

Cheri McCall: But I do both.

Japhet De Oliveira: You should talk to the person in charge of HR.

Cheri McCall: Yes, I know. Life balance week. Great, wouldn't it? I love life and I don't want to miss time with family. I don't want to miss time. And my dad was the same way early-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Cheri McCall: ... late to bed.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Good for you. All right. Then this morning, first thing that went through your mind when you woke up. What was that? Today?

Cheri McCall: I want today to be a good day.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Cheri McCall: We have some things. We're going live and first paycheck and so it's like I want today to be a good day. That's where I woke up thinking.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. It's a big deal, right?

Cheri McCall: It is a very big deal.

Japhet De Oliveira: You want the best experience for every employee.

Cheri McCall: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. All right. Well, the floor is open, so where would you like to go? Or number?

Cheri McCall: Let's go 14.

Japhet De Oliveira: 14. All right. Oh, tell us about what you enjoy doing outside of work?

Cheri McCall: That was a great question to pick.

Japhet De Oliveira: Cheri's like, yes.

Cheri McCall: What I love to do the most is hiking, kayaking, being with my husband, spending time with grandkids and my kiddos, they are my world, they are my heart. They brighten me up. And just getting out into God's nature always makes me feel so much better. I'm not a sitter, so I am always moving. My husband was a baseball player in college, and I turned him on to tennis. So now we go out and we have a little fun competition, and he has learned not to hit it over the fence and the goal is not to hit a home run. And he's like to turned out to be pretty good. He thinks we should do some couples tournaments.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Have you guys tried pickleball?

Cheri McCall: We haven't tried pickleball. We haven't.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. [inaudible 00:09:24] the craze.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. We've watched people do it and I don't know; we'll see where that goes.

Japhet De Oliveira: We'll see where that goes.

Cheri McCall: We'll see where that goes. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Try the couple competition first.

Cheri McCall: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Cheri McCall: Not against each other 'cause we're both very competitive.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good insight. All right. We're next off that.

Cheri McCall: Let's do 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21. All right. Oh, share the best compliment you've ever received.

Cheri McCall: Oh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Cheri McCall: I think the best compliment I've ever received is just, "Thank you. I appreciate your kindness and your response." I think that means a lot to me; is how I make people feel about the interaction. That is probably one of the things that warms my heart the most. I am one that doesn't like a lot of accolades out front, so private words mean the absolute most to me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. Are you comfortable giving lots of accolades to others upfront?

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Huh? So you just don't like it for yourself. All right.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Just wanted to clarify that.

Cheri McCall: I love to give accolades to other people.

Japhet De Oliveira: I think I've heard that. All right. That was 21. Where would you like to go next? Up or down?

Cheri McCall: I'm trying to think of all my kids' college numbers. How about 39.

Japhet De Oliveira: 39. All right. If you didn't need to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Cheri McCall: Oh, boy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: I would probably spend it with family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. Capture the moments that you can't get back. I've always said, "I wish there were more hours in the day just for your family." You spend a lot of time at work, so I would definitely spend it with my kiddos and my family.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's true. Capturing them is good.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. You've got to tell us what's your best way of truly capturing them? Do you write about it? Do you take photos? Do you record videos? Do you just keep it all in your brain cells?

Cheri McCall: I diary.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you diary. Okay.

Cheri McCall: And in fact, with each of my kids when I was pregnant with them, I started their own diary.

Japhet De Oliveira: Ooh.

Cheri McCall: And so I had, "What was it like to be pregnant with you? What was the birth like?"

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness.

Cheri McCall: And then some of the childhood positives and negatives because I always felt like if I was gone, I want my girls to have something that says, "You're being a good mom. Things aren't perfect." And so as they get married and grow up and go out of the house, I hand them their diary and I say, "Here's your diary."

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you, really? I was going to ask you. Okay.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. So I give them the diary-

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow.

Cheri McCall: ... and they have it and it's fun because they'll send back pictures of it and they'll say, "I found this page mom." So that's how I do it, is I like to journal and diary just because then you can go back and look at it. Especially when you lose a loved one, you can go back and see those fun memories.

Japhet De Oliveira: True. That's true. That's really good. I like that a lot. Beautiful. Good. All right. When next?

Cheri McCall: How about 50?

Japhet De Oliveira: 50. All right. Here it is. Share about who has influenced you professionally?

Cheri McCall: Ooh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Ooh.

Cheri McCall: Ooh. Boy. I've had a lot of people. I would say the first person that encouraged me to get into business would be Donna Nelson. She was at Evergreen Aviation, and I really learned a lot about international business. I learned a lot about pushing yourself and not putting yourself in a box and just going for it. So I think she was probably one of the first people that tapped in and said, "You can do this." Then I would have to say, currently probably Dennis Knox. He definitely, he'll tell people, "He twisted my arm to take the job." And he did. And so he asked me about three times and I finally, I prayed about it and I said, "Okay, God, if he asked me one more time, then I know this is what you want me to do." And he really has challenged me. He picks you up when things aren't maybe perfect and he says, "You keep going on." So I think he really has definitely believed in me, which helps me then believe in myself. And then more recently, I would say probably Shane Vassell has actually-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Cheri McCall: He is connected in-

Japhet De Oliveira: He's fantastic.

Cheri McCall: ... and he's definitely a teacher and he is definitely a supporter. So I've really appreciated getting to know him as my new leader. So just a lot of people had little tendrils.

Japhet De Oliveira: This is really good. This is really good. Hey, I like that you had so many, that's fantastic. We are the sum of many others, right?

Cheri McCall: We are. We are. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. And I think it's a great skill to be able to receive and also teach others that lean into those who actually invest in you.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. And I think if you really step back, if I look at my dad, he was the person that I learned my work ethic from like watching him. He has a servant's heart, and he gives everything he's got to whatever he's doing. I remember always thinking he was my rocky because he could do anything. And so he again, was also another person that said, "Don't put yourself in a box and just go do what you want to do. God will take you. So follow him."

Japhet De Oliveira: I love that. That's good. Brilliant. All right, that was 50. Where next then?

Cheri McCall: How will we go with the age 57.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. This is good. This is fun. If you had to endorse a brand, what would it be and why?

Cheri McCall: I had to endorse a brand.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: Nike.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nike.

Cheri McCall: Just do it. Just do it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a little bit unfair. We're in Oregon.

Cheri McCall: Don't put yourself in a box. I know.

Japhet De Oliveira: But I like it. I like it.

Cheri McCall: Don't put yourself in a box. Go get it. If you want it, go get it. Don't put boundaries on it. Be open-minded, be wise, but just go do it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Brilliant.

Cheri McCall: Don't hold back.

Japhet De Oliveira: Brilliant. Like it. All right, good. All right, we're next then?

Cheri McCall: Oh, boy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: How about 64?

Japhet De Oliveira: 64. When you look back on your life, tell us a moment in your life where you were thinking, "What was I thinking?"

Cheri McCall: Oh. Wow. That's a tough one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Cheri McCall: I would say probably as a kid, when you try to get away from your parents, it was like-

Japhet De Oliveira: [inaudible 00:15:55].

Cheri McCall: ... "Why am I having to stay home? I want to be with my friends." And now as of my parents have aged, I do step back and go, "What was I thinking? Why didn't I spend more time when they were younger? And why didn't I learn more? Why didn't I diary back then to capture their words and their moments and their advice and their phrases?" And so I think that's probably one of the things I would step back and look at more and say, "Why did I think time with friends was so important and time with family wasn't." So I think that would probably be my biggest moment.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. That's good. That's good. All right. Where next?

Cheri McCall: How about 68.

Japhet De Oliveira: 68. If you could learn, and of course I believe you can, but if you could learn one new professional skill, what would it be?

Cheri McCall: I would love to learn to speak Spanish.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, oh.

Cheri McCall: I would love to learn to speak Spanish because we have some workforce that are Hispanic, and they speak Spanish. I would love to speak to them in their native tongue. And I just feel like it's a language that we really need to learn so that we can all communicate better with one another.

Japhet De Oliveira: Have you tried yet or-

Cheri McCall: I haven't.

Japhet De Oliveira: You haven't tried?

Cheri McCall: I haven't.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've got to tell you, friends of mine have said the same thing and they're using DuoLingo.

Cheri McCall: Oh.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's an app apparently. It's amazing for learning another language.

Cheri McCall: I may have to look that up. Next time we'll do this in Spanish.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I will say, "I didn't say I was learning Spanish," but I do appreciate the offer. Thank you. Put me to shame. All right. Where next?

Cheri McCall: 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: 75. Do you remember the first item you purchased with your own money? What was it and why did you buy it?

Cheri McCall: Okay. That was back when I was working in the tulips and my first check was $3 and 78 cents.

Japhet De Oliveira: 10 hours of work?

Cheri McCall: Yes. I probably went and bought a soda and a candy bar 'cause I could.

Japhet De Oliveira: Why not?

Cheri McCall: There you go.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. I like that. Because you could.

Cheri McCall: Because I could.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. That's good. All right, where next then?

Cheri McCall: 78.

Japhet De Oliveira: 78. All right. Oh, tell us about what gives you childlike joy?

Cheri McCall: Oh my gosh. My granddaughters. You turn into the biggest dork when you're with them. They are pure love. They are pure joy. They think you're amazing no matter what. And I wish we could see life like they do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's good.

Cheri McCall: They're so happy and they don't put limits on themselves and there's no drama and gossip and it's just pure fun. So they turned me into the biggest kid ever. Ever.

Japhet De Oliveira: So the childlike joy comes from the children?

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I like that. I like that.

Cheri McCall: Yes. Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, that's good. All right, where next? Up or down?

Cheri McCall: I'm trying to remember what numbers I've done. Let's go back up to 33.

Japhet De Oliveira: 33. Okay. Let's have a look there. Here it is. Tell us about the best gift you've ever given someone else.

Cheri McCall: Well, it's a secret.

Japhet De Oliveira: This is a podcast.

Cheri McCall: I know.

Japhet De Oliveira: Around the world. Okay.

Cheri McCall: I'm actually headed to Hawaii next Tuesday.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Cheri McCall: And my husband has always wanted to do the helicopter tours, but he's never done it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Aah, okay.

Cheri McCall: So I have been secretly saving and-

Japhet De Oliveira: Ooh.

Cheri McCall: ... we are going to do a helicopter tour and I can't wait to see his face.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's amazing.

Cheri McCall: Can't wait to see his face.

Japhet De Oliveira: He will hear this podcast afterwards anyway, so it'll still be a secret by then. Hey, that's great.

Cheri McCall: Yes. Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's great.

Cheri McCall: I'm excited.

Japhet De Oliveira: I take it you guys are both not scared of heights.

Cheri McCall: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Excellent.

Cheri McCall: We're both a little adventurous.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Competitive and adventurous.

Cheri McCall: And adventurous. Not a good combination.

Japhet De Oliveira: Tennis players. Okay.

Cheri McCall: Yes. But I did tell him we were doing some hikes, and he went, "Oh."

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, hey, that's good for you. All right, where next?

Cheri McCall: How would we do 80?

Japhet De Oliveira: 80. All right. Oh, how would you like to change in the future?

Cheri McCall: How would I like... Like myself?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Cheri McCall: I would like to be more patient. I would like to be more reflective on things and learn to enjoy all the small moments and not rush past them. Sometimes I get task driven and I forget to stop and smell the flowers. And so I would like to be a little more reflective in how things work and how I work and what I'm seeing and just learn to enjoy the space.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mm-hmm. I like that.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's very good. Good. Good.

Cheri McCall: How about 85.

Japhet De Oliveira: 85. Oh, describe a role model you aspire to be like.

Cheri McCall: I would have to say I want to be like my Papa John. I remember him as a kid. He ran logging camps in Alaska. And so every summer we got to go spend Papa John time. And so I remember he was this big strong guy, big hands. He could split an apple with his hands.

Japhet De Oliveira: No.

Cheri McCall: And he was the funnest man I ever was around.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Cheri McCall: He loved people, he loved the kids. He had a big meeting with a Japanese company that was coming over to look at some of their logs and kids knocked on the door, the kids from Alaska and said, "Can Papa John come out and play?" And he said, "Hey, we're going to take lunch." And he went out and played and I want to be more like that. And he definitely was who? He was so kind, always kind. And that's what I want to be known. I want people to step back and say, "She was kind." So I aspire to be more like him.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is a good thing to aspire for.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. And a good thing to live into.

Cheri McCall: Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I like that a lot.

Cheri McCall: 90.

Japhet De Oliveira: 90. All right, here we go.

Cheri McCall: I'm getting into the deep ones.

Japhet De Oliveira: Tell us about how you overcame a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Cheri McCall: So when I was a child, I experienced some pretty bad trauma. We took foster kids in and so things didn't go well with a foster child. And I remember feeling like, "I'm never going to get out of this hole. I can't trust people. I can't." The person made me feel like I was garbage and that I wasn't good enough for anything. And I remember playing that in my head, "I'm not good enough, I'm not good enough." And I kept this from my parents for about 15 years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow.

Cheri McCall: So it really pulled me back to be a more reserved, it wasn't who I wanted to be and who I was. And then I remember when things would get real tight, I would go be by myself and go for a run and go into athletics. And that's what I did. I threw myself in these athletics and I kept thinking, "I'm never going to get married." 'Cause I don't know that I could ever trust a man.

Japhet De Oliveira: Man.

Cheri McCall: And I prayed about it. And just before I was actually headed to college to play basketball, I ran into this guy and he's like, "Hey, do you want to go to dinner?" And he was a baseball player, so I knew that he had taken stats, and I took a risk, I took a chance. So he was really my first date. And that was in college because I just didn't trust and fell in love instantly. I did not go on to play basketball at Humboldt State. And my dad was like, "What are you doing?" We were engaged within a month, married within six, and-

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow.

Cheri McCall: We have now been together 35.

Japhet De Oliveira: And [inaudible 00:24:04].

Cheri McCall: And I did not ever think that I would find him in my life and that I would be alone. And I think that was probably the biggest thing I ever had to overcome.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's a very inspiring story.

Cheri McCall: Yes. I didn't let it define me.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. No, that's really good. That's really good. It's easy, right?

Cheri McCall: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's easy to have something difficult change us.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: And at the same time the ability to recognize it and reshape.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. And be careful, the stories you listen to and believe in. Choose what you want to believe, choose what you want to believe in yourself. Don't go down. I worry about kids with social media and all that because it could be so easy to go down a bad rabbit hole and just know you're valued, and everybody is needed.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. All right. That was 90.

Cheri McCall: Should we go for the hard one? Should we try 100?

Japhet De Oliveira: You can, yes.

Cheri McCall: Let's try it.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Cheri, tell us about one question that you don't want to answer.

Cheri McCall: I don't know if I have a question I wouldn't answer. I'm a pretty open book.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Cheri McCall: I don't know if I have an answer for that one. I can't think about it. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's complex.

Cheri McCall: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Even for myself, for people, we are open books in this way, but there are sometimes where we hold back because it's just... It's a lot. And we don't let everything in.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. I think what I learned through Planetree, listening to some of the stories of people that were struggling with, they were passing away, but they were really fighting, passing away. And when we had people go in, what we found is there was someone in their life they hadn't forgiven. And so I've always thought about that and thought, "I need to make sure that I'm always ready to go and that I have forgiven people in my life. And even with the childhood trauma, I learned to let that anchor go." And so I think that's why I struggle with no question. There might be questions that are hard like, "Have you ever failed, or have you ever failed someone else?" That might be hard to answer, but I think it's important that we be able to answer those questions.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's a good word, Cheri. Thank you. Thank you.

Cheri McCall: Yes. So I don't know.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. No, that's good. That's good. All right, we have time for two more.

Cheri McCall: Two more?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. What would you want?

Cheri McCall: Why don't you pick?

Japhet De Oliveira: I would love to, but-

Cheri McCall: But you can't.

Japhet De Oliveira: ... I'm faithful to the process.

Cheri McCall: How about 81.

Japhet De Oliveira: 81. All right. What is something you've given your absolute best effort towards and why was it so important?

Cheri McCall: So I was a soccer coach for kids. I watched my daughter when she was five, she started playing soccer. And I noticed the coach was just different approach. They weren't as engaged as I'd like to have seen them. And my husband and I looked at each other and said, "We both did college sports, what are we doing?" And so it was on my heart that I needed to... You can't judge somebody if you are not willing to go do it. So I got up and did it and absolutely fell in love with working with the youth. And so I coached all the way up through high school. I would have the high school age and my favorite age group was the... Probably 13, 14.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, wow.

Cheri McCall: I know. Everybody goes, "What are you nuts?" And the reason I loved it is that to me is where you can have the largest impression on these girls that you could help them understand, get rid of the body image, get rid of the barriers, get rid of not believing in yourself. And so I poured everything I had into these girls. They were at my house, they were in my car, they were on the field. We would spend hours, there's girls that would stay after to just get extra help and support, but a lot of times they would just sit and talk. We talk about school, we talk about family, we talk about all kinds of things. And so I worked really, really hard to not be judgmental, to be supportive and help him and guide him in the right direction. And even I have a many soccer team working here.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Cheri McCall: Yes. We've hired so many girls that I was like, "We would have a rock star soccer team." But even now they come up and they hug me, and they tell me they love me.

And I just feel like it is so important that as adults we grab onto those youth and we give them hope. We give them hope in a icky world right now. And so that's where I threw my passion in. And my husband did the same thing. He threw it into baseball. And so we have both between the two of us, we have coached soccer, basketball, football, baseball.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness.

Cheri McCall: There was times we were on the opposite end of the state doing coaching, but we really fell in love with the youth. And I blame my parents for that 'cause they were in the church, they were always-

Japhet De Oliveira: They always take care of the youth and church.

Cheri McCall: ... with the youth. Yep. And they're missionaries and they go-

Japhet De Oliveira: Really.

Cheri McCall: ... "Mom goes into Africa and takes care of the orphans." And-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, wow.

Cheri McCall: ... so I think God has just put a-

Japhet De Oliveira: Wide you this way.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a blessing.

Cheri McCall: Oh, I love it. And I want to get back into coaching. Let's say he's calm back now, and I want to get back into it.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Good for you.

Cheri McCall: I'm missing it.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. All right. Last one.

Cheri McCall: Last one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Last one. Yeah.

Cheri McCall: Did we do 33?

Japhet De Oliveira: Let me go and have a look.

Cheri McCall: Can't remember.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Cheri McCall: Okay, let's do 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17. All right. Oh, share about what day in the entire calendar is the most special to you and why?

Cheri McCall: Special to me, I would say December 17th. That is my wedding anniversary.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice. Nice.

Cheri McCall: And I feel like it is a time to look back and say, "How blessed I am to found the man I found." And that he is a provider. He is an amazing father. Amazing papa. He loves his kids. He would work two, three jobs sometimes to make sure that the kids could do the sports they wanted to do. And it's just a reminder and a blessing that God answers prayers. Because again, when you go back to where I was in that dark place, I wasn't getting married. So I think that's probably one of my most special days is he is my best friend. It hasn't always been easy, but we are two stubborn little mules that are never going to give up. And so we'll probably be that honoring nursing home couple that everybody goes.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm going to hold you to that. All right.

Cheri McCall: Yeah. So that would probably be it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful.

Cheri McCall: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Cheri, has been an absolute pleasure to be able to talk to you. Thank you for sharing.

Cheri McCall: No, thank you for having me. It's wonderful.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. No. It's good. It's good. I want to encourage people to do the same thing. Sit down with a friend, talk to them, ask them good questions, learn about them. And we're both changed by it. We're both transformed by it.

Cheri McCall: Absolutely. Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: We're better people for it.

Cheri McCall: Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: So let's do that. And God bless everybody until we connect again. And again, Cheri, thank you again.

Cheri McCall: Thank you so much.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story & Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.