The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

So today was my mom’s funeral.

Kind of a little strange typing that.

But it’s okay and I’m okay. I’m actually better than okay . . . . . I told someone today that I never gave God and His grace enough credit. He hasn’t left me all alone to deal with the grieving by myself. He’s there every step of the way. I had an overwhelming sense of “we’re going to be just fine” today. And I know it was Him whispering it to my heart. We will heal and we will yearn all the more for heaven. But in the meantime, we’ll live, love, laugh and be happy.

I think I’m going to take a bit of a bloggie break for awhile. I just need some time to chill out. Tyler doesn’t have to go back to work until September 2 and we’re not starting school until the 9th. I didn’t realize what a toll Mom’s sickness had taken on me until she was gone and the relief that she wasn’t suffering anymore had set in. I feel like my family has me back and it’s time to focus solely on them.

I’ll leave you with what I said at the funeral today. I had been working on it for weeks, knowing if I just got up there cold turkey I’d never remember everything I wanted to say.

I’ve wondered for a long time what I’d say today or even what I’d want to say. I guess what I want everyone to know and what I want to publicly thank God for is the amazing woman and mother my mom was. Her love was selfless, caring and sacrificial. The very best parts of the person I am today are because of her. She taught me through her actions, not endless lectures, what it was to be a true and loving person. As a child – and much older if I’m completely honest – I remember marveling at her ability to love everyone. Everyone. Nice people, jerks, everyone. That was the legacy she left all of us. Her unconditional love and acceptance. I am blessed beyond measure to have had the relationship I had with Mom for 40 years. I realize that some people don’t even have 40 minutes of a good relationship with their mother and for the gift I was given I am eternally grateful.

She gave me many life lesson gifts. One of the biggest I got from her was her sense of humor. She taught me how to be independent, serious about my convictions, but also how to see the humor in everyday life. No one could make me laugh as hard as my mom. I remember one time laughing so hard on my cell phone with her (when it was still completely legal to drive and talk on your cell) that I had to pull into a parking space because I could neither see nor breathe.

But probably the biggest gift my family ever got from her and my dad was when they packed it all up and headed south from Alaska to Vancouver to be near their grandkids. I will never be able to put into words how grateful I am that they cared enough to invest in the lives of all four of their grandchildren. The overnighters, the camping trips, the spoiling in general will never be forgotten by Austin, Amber, Hahhan, and Matthew. And the spoiling will be carried on in grand style by their Poppy.

As I close, I’d like to read an adaptation from the tradition and book of Esther. **One day on the hillside of the New Jerusalem, surrounded by a crowd of glad hearers, the divine Narrator will tell the story of one woman’s life. The story will begin something like this:

Once upon a time, in the days of the great and glorious Jesus, King of the vast empire of heaven and earth, there was a little Alaskan girl who grew up to be an amazing woman. Her name was Connie, but Cecil called her his wife, Mark and Cheri called her Mom, and Austin, Amber, Matthew and Hannah were blessed to call her Nana, but her King called her His beloved. And with all the drama and emotion a great storyteller can muster, the divine Narrator will read the congregation her whole story. The listeners will groan. Bite their nails with suspense (Mom liked to live on the wild side). It will be a raucous affair – just like Mom likes. Then at the height of the story, when cancer makes its appearance and all hope seems lost, He will remind us yet again . . . . . . can cancer overtake her soul? Absolutely not. And all will be relieved.

Then He will show one and all the rest of the story, the part we didn’t get to see on earth . . . . . . they will see Connie in her royal robes, for she is a daughter of THE King. She will stand in the inner court of His palace and when He sees her, He will be pleased.

And she will approach. And cast her crowns at His feet.**

The Esther part was adapted from a much more gifted writer than I. It’s taken from the Bible study, “Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman” by my dearly loved Beth Moore.

And all of those who know me well can now say, “Of course it was.”

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Go in peace and laugh on glory’s side

Today my mom took her final breaths this side of heaven. I was blessed to be in the room with her as she passed and it was very peaceful. I am so thankful for so many things today. But the biggest thing I’m thankful for is the fact that I know I’ll be reunited with her in heaven one day.

Thank you all for your support during the last 16 months as she’s battled cancer. My family and I are in a really good place now and are doing well.

I’ll post links to her obituary on Saturday.

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You Found Me When No One Else Was Lookin’ August 15, 2009

It’s the long awaited return of YFMWNOEWL. So without further adieu . . . . . . .

cherri + partypeople
Thank you for not putting partypeople in sarcastic quotation marks of shame. The last person who did that kind of ticked me off.

renee scott mrs alaska
After my darling friend, Renee’ Scott, won Mrs. Alaska, I blogged about it. Holy heck. I got dozens of hits from people looking for her. And dozens of hits is a big deal for my little bloggie. She has her own blog now.

jammed finger picture
Must’ve been Googled by a 12 year old boy. Who really doesn’t know what that looks like?

she’s super sweet she knocks me off my feet
Why thank you!

The all caps fascinates me. Do you REALLY want a Donny Osmond Garmin voice? Or do you REALLY want to get rid of it on your Garmin?

Jackson beres and michael jackson beri
Got a bunch of these after Michael Jackson was murdered by an unscrupulous doctor died. I even tried Googling it and got nowhere.

what is the ending of cheri?
Uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh, not so sure I want to know?

“it knocks me off my feet” means
It means you’re no longer standing up. You’re welcome.

white trash shade
It’s called a blanket, some nails and a sturdy heel of a shoe.

will memory foam mattress make me hot
I don’t know . . . on a scale of 1 – 10, how ugly are you now?

memory foam mattress making me too hot
Ahhhhh, you give the above Googler some hope.

book and giveaway and child
Hmmm, giving away a book and a child? Wow. I might be running a whole new giveaway of sorts in the near future.

“pittsburgh pirates” “entertainment book” coupon terms
What? How would I know? That’s like an entire continent away from me. Seriously Google, let’s step up the results or I might just make the switch to Bing.

can i be white and proud
You betcha’!

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WFMW: Goody Ouchless Updo Barrette

I haven’t had long hair in a very, very long time. And I have never had shoulder length hair in this hotter climate I now call my home. So this summer, I’ve needed a way to get my hair off my neck. Typical elastic bands hurt. The big clip things are just that – big. And I have to hunch over all funny if I don’t want to hit my head on the headrest in my car. I also tried EZ Combs. EZ combs are okay – they stay in your hair by pulling on each other. Which means it’s really easy to get them too tight on your head.

I was at the store one day and saw the Goody Ouchless Updo Barrettes. (I wear mine like the picture on the link.) I figured I really had nothing to lose so I bought one. Oh my gravy! These things are amazing. When they say ouchless, they really mean ouchless. I love them and they work flawlessly on my thick, curly hair.

Another good thing about them is that since they’re plastic, you can use them when you go swimming. You might have to readjust them a time or two if you get your hair wet, but they still work great.

The Ouchless Updo Barrettes work for me!! See what else works for other bloggers at We Are THAT Family.

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WFMW: Turning 40 Gracefully

You can join in the WFMW fun here.

WFMW happens to co-incide with my 40th birthday. Yep, August 5, 1969 welcomed me into the world. And an earthquake (I was born in Anchorage, Alaska). My mom says all she remembers was the doctor yelling, “Secure the baby! Secure the baby!” Oh well, that’s not where I’m going with this blog.

About six months ago, I watched an Anita Renfroe video (the William Tell overture Mom song lady) – I can’t remember which one. She had a song on there about aging. One of the lines went something like this:

‘Cuz every wrinkle tells a story, Every laugh line is a smile.

Twelve little words that rocked my world. I decided right then and there I wasn’t going to fight the inevitable signs of aging. I’ll take care of myself, but I’m not going to go crazy. I am surrounded by women who fight nature at every turn and corner. It’s exhausting just watching them.

And Anita is right. I got my wrinkles around my eyes because of all the reasons I have to smile. I have my laugh lines because the Lord had blessed me with much laughter. Dang it, I’ve earned my wrinkles. Most of them are a result of all the joy I get to react to.

Oh I’m still going to color my hair – I haven’t completely lost it. But I’m not going to try every anti-aging product there is in hopes that the next one will finally be the one that works. I’m not going to complain to my family that I look old (although sometimes pictures of myself really do shock me!). I’m not going to tell people, “Oh you’re so lucky, you’re young . . . . you can do ANYTHING!” I’m going to accept who I am as a gift from God.

He really is what it’s all about. It’s not about my vain attempts to look younger. It’s not about an obsession with youth. It’s not about anything other than Him. My 30’s were great. I got my spiritual act together and have grown in ways I never thought possible. As I was wistfully thinking about that very thing a few months ago, God whispered to my heart, “You know, you can grow just as much all over again in your 40’s. And 50’s. And on and on . . . . ” I’ll be honest, my heart soared.

So hello 40! Here I am!

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And my heart overflows

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today. Don’t really know why . . . . . other than I have a lot going on in my life right now. I turn 40 tomorrow. My mom’s cancer is progressing and she’s been moved into a skilled care facility, with the hopes that the physical therapy program will help her with her walking. My kids are gone until Saturday with Tyler’s parents. Just lots going on.

And yet I’m sitting here on my couch watching a rerun I’ve seen 34 times of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and my heart is overflowing. I am just so thankful. Thankful that God has blessed me with the kids He has. They are amazing and I am so thankful I get to be their mom and watch them grow. They aren’t perfect. Quite frankly, my son broke my heart yesterday with something he said to me. But it ended up facilitating a great conversation between the two of us. And my daughter is getting mouthier as she ages.

I’ve been listening to “The Time Traveler’s Wife” the last week or so. I decided I needed to read it before the movie came out and all the library had was an audio version. It’s been interesting, but it lets me “read” in the car which is great. Well, only when I don’t have the kids – there’s language and other stuff. I’m not giving anything away because on the previews on t.v. show her pregnant belly. So I’m at the part of the book where the daughter is being born. And it’s bringing back lots of memories of my kids. Lots.

I’m not one of those moms who wishes her kids were small again. The tween and teenage years are proving to have their own challenges, but it has something the younger years don’t . . . . authentic relationship. I have a relationship with my kids that didn’t exist in the “mommy” realm. And it’s so great. I like to think about them when they were small, but I really love to focus on the here and now and think about the future and where their lives will go. And yes, I realize that may be away from me.

And I am at the happiest point ever in my marriage. Ours has been a rough road and maybe some day I’ll talk about it. And maybe someday I won’t. All I can say is that it has not been the “happily ever after” Disney screwed me with I had planned on. But life never does turn out the way we think it should, does it? All that withstanding, I have never, ever been as happy as I am right. now. as far as my marriage is concerned.

If you need a little encouragement today, maybe you can get some from the verse I’m memorizing for the first part of August.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you,
He rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait on Him!

Isaiah 30:18

Maybe you need His graciousness today. Maybe His compassion. Or His justice. Maybe you just need to know that you’re blessed for waiting on Him. Whatever it may be, God is so infinitely able to provide.

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It really was that good

Tonight after church, I took Tyler and the kids on a “surprise drive.” Usually, Tyler is in on the surprises, but this one was for all of them. I proudly drove them to Walgreens in hopes of buying everyone the coconut M&M’s I went wacko over last week and posted all over Facebook. When we got there, the M&M’s were gone. Oh no!! So everyone just picked out another candy. And Tyler proceeded to choke on his Swedish Fish – I swear I saw him putting 6 in his mouth at once.

We got home and I ceremoniously opened my Harry and David Dark Chocolate Moose Munch Bar. If you haven’t had one, get one. Although they used to be more Moose Munch than chocolate, they’re still good. I was standing in the kitchen eating it, minding my own business and watching the kid’s tv show.

Both the kids suddenly looked at me and Austin said, “Mom, what ARE you doing?”

I replied, “Uh, eating my candy bar.”

Austin looked concerned and said, “And what else were you doing?”

I said, “Nothing,” and Amber started giggling.

Austin said, “Mom, you were going, ‘mmmmm, mmmmm,’ and moaning.”

I looked at Amber (who is the worst liar in the world) and said, “Did I really do that?”

She said, “Yes.” (She wasn’t worst liar-ing.)

I burst out laughing so hard that Tyler heard it upstairs over his Law & Order marathon. What the heck? I was completely unaware I was making any noise. Which made me panic. Have I done this before? In public? In front of friends who are too nice to bring it to my attention? In front of strangers?

Seriously people, I’m going to be 40 this week but isn’t that too old to lose it? I thought it was.

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Make this for dinner soon

I am no Martha Stewart. In fact, The Martha freaks me out. Have you ever watched “Whatever, Martha” on FLN? Her daughter has major issues with her and I don’t really ever want to be associated with The Martha. I’m more of a Rachael Ray type of gal, even if her voice does grate holes in my soul.

But, despite my wariness of The Martha association people tend to make if you like any of the homemaking arts, I will tell you this: I love to cook. I mean seriously love to cook. If I’m stressed out, put me in the kitchen. If I’m happy, put me in the kitchen. If I feel any feeling at all, put me in the kitchen to either celebrate or cheer myself up. I love to cook – not bake. I think baking is for more The Martha types and I just love to get a meal on the table.

Despite my monthly meal plan, I’m still on the lookout for new meals to make. Some of the meals have turned out to be clunkers or suddenly no one likes them and I want to replace a few. I found Stephanie O’Dea’s blog a few months ago and the girl is just downright inspiring in her love for her crock pot! She posted a new recipe a couple of days ago and I knew in an instant I had to try it.

We had it tonight and it was delicious. It’s knocking Beef Stroganoff off the monthly rotation – this pesto chicken and sweet potatoes are here to stay! The only change I made was using store bought pesto from the refrigerator section, Biutoni to be exact, because I really am not The Martha. I used frozen chicken breasts and cooked the whole thing on high for 4.5 hours. Chicken (for me at least) tends to dry out badly in the crock pot. I have found that the key is the shorter cooking time on high and using frozen breasts. The chicken tonight was perfecto!

I have high hopes for this recipe of hers – I’m trying it out in a couple of days.

So maybe The Martha should watch out. I’m pretty handy with a crock pot.

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