The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

Just Enough to be Dangerous, Part 2

A while back I blogged about a Spanish conversation I overheard.  And while it was funny it made me think of the same sort of thing on a bigger scale.  Like how we who claim to be Christians offer God our service, our money, our mouth, etc., but never really give Him access to our hearts.  We let pride, hate, anger, jealousy, lust, superiority, unforgiveness and an even longer list of sins percolate just under the surface of who we are.

We figure if we serve God on Sundays, but never get over our pride, we’re still okay.  All God really cares about is what we do for Him.  We think if we give an extra $10 to a missionary then God’s happy.  Who cares that we yell at our family all the way home from church?  We just know if we work in Vacation Bible School this summer (even though we hate it) then we’re getting heavenly brownie points all the while we lust uncontrollably over that cute barrista at Starbucks.  We think that by “proclaiming the truth” to our unbelieving neighbor and pointing out how wrong they are, that God likes that and we’re going to get even MORE heavenly brownie points when we shame them into coming to Christ.

What God ultimately wants is access to our heart.  Access and “permission” to clean out all the ugliness.  Yes, I believe serving God is important, but it’s not the only thing He wants.  He wants to radically change our broken, self-centered hearts into hearts that radiate His love.  Hearts that serve Him because we love Him.  Hearts that don’t scream at our kids when we want to because we love Him.  Hearts that realize the barrista is stinkin’ cute but stop there because we love Him.

Hearts that are so transformed that we can’t help but love the most unlovable.  Hearts that pour out with love for those whose ideologies, politics, lifestyle, etc. are in 100% direct opposition to what we believe is the truth. But we love them anyway.  And show them the respect they deserve as God’s creation.

Because we love Him.

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The Dogs

Okay, I guess I’m having a moment of weakness and I’m thinking my dogs are pretty darn cute.  I might as well share this with the world because I’m sure one of them will do something in the next 10 or 15 minutes that will make me want to wring their necks.  So without further adieu, I give you Belle and Gwen.

“The Showdown”

They spend an inordinate amount of time staring each other down.  It can be from across the room, nose to nose or anywhere in between.  This day they were choosing to do it on my bed.  Because who doesn’t want their dogs on their 98% white comforter.

“Beagle in Repose”

Again in her favorite spot . . . on my bed.  It makes me want to crawl in there with her.  But she’s a bed hog.

“Pensive”

I actually don’t remember her being very pensive.  In fact, she’s never had a pensive moment in her life.  She was moving about 90 mph and I happened to get this shot.

“Follow the nose, it always knows”

As anyone who has a hound can tell you, their life is ruled by their nose.  I know she’s smelling something right now and deciding if it’s snarky enough to interrupt her sunbathing. I have taken her on walks before where she’s never looked up . . . . nose to the ground and tail wagging for the entire time.

“Greatest Invention Evah”

Thanks to my ingenious neighbor who suggested it in the first place and my husband who installed it, the dog door is one of the best things to come along!  Since the beagle is obsessed with anything that moves in the back yard – birds, squirrels, children, a single blade of grass – she’s in and out about 98 times a day.   And we can leave the dogs for hours and not worry that they need a potty break.  Thank you Dog Door Inventor!

“It’s My Favorite”

If Gwen were a person, she’d totally be Buddy the Elf.  The endless optimism.  The endless annoyance.  The ability to ruin things.  The ability to make things great.  It’s all her.

“Please don’t make me move because I really am diggin’ the sunshine and as much as I love you and will move, I really don’t want to move because I only weigh six and a half pounds and the ability to keep myself warm escapes me most times and this sun feels goooooooooooood, really, really good and it feels even better because the littlest human who worships me brought me this sweet blanket to lay on so I wouldn’t be subjected to the horrors of  cold Pergo on my semi-hairless underside and that’s how I know she worships me which I’m sure all of you do.”

I so know that Belle talks in run-on sentences.  And it always ends up being about her.

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They got it from ME?

I went to the doctor today for my yearly check up and if you’re my Facebook friend, you know that the nurse was all to happy to tell me that I’m not shrinking.  Because obviously being 40 years old makes my bones frail.  Whatever.  On to the real purpose of this post.

I am apparently sick but I feel great.  My doctor looked in my ears and said, “Oh my gosh!  Do your ears hurt?  They’re all infected.”  Then she proceeded to prescribe me horse pill sized antibiotics so it must be kind of bad.  Which reminded me . . . .

When the kids, especially Austin, were small and would get ear infections, their ears would never hurt until it was bad. And by bad I mean screaming-by-Mom’s-side-of-the-bed-at-3:00 a.m. until I had no recourse but to go to the emergency room.  And it did happen a few times during the day.  Inevitably when the doctors looked in the kids ears, their eyes would get really big and they always asked me the same question.  “Is this the first time they’ve complained about their ears hurting?”  To which I would reply, “No, but I always ignore the kids when they tell me their ears hurt because it interferes with my Jack Daniel’s swilling, Marlboro smoking, bon bon eating, Jerry Springer watching afternoons. Yes.”

Who knows?  Maybe they got their high ear pain threshold from me.  Yes, me . . . . .the world’s biggest pain wimp.  The only issue I have with tattoos is the fact that pain is involved.  But maybe now I’ve found the one thing that I can actually stand.  Ear pain.

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Savoring the years

In just 8 school days, I will have finished my ninth year of homeschooling.   Here’s a timeline of the last nine years:

Year 1 – Sucked

Year 2 – Sucked even more

Year 3 – More sucking as we have another unhappy student join our ranks.  At one point I even recorded how bad one of the children was so their father could see what I went through daily.  There was a huge “come to Jesus” moment for one student and that student shaped up somewhat.

Year 4 – Still sucking along.

Year 5 – Why am I doing this to us?

Year 6 – One of us will probably be dead before Christmas.

Year 7 – Considerably less sucky.

Year 8 – (Dare I say wonderful?)

Year 9 – Hundred fold blessings that I can’t even begin to count.  Desperately hoping student #1 decides against going to public high school and stays home.

Which he does.

Which made his mom cry.

What if I had given up when things got bad?  And by bad I mean horrendous.  One of the kid’s attitudes was so bad at one point that I had to do “RAT” (Remedial Attitude Training) for an entire summer.  Got the kid whipped into shape and I didn’t start the school year in utter defeat or hopelessness.

I am so glad I stuck with it and didn’t miss the blessings.  Trust me, homeschooling is just as much about the parents as it is the kids.  I have learned so much over the years . . . . how to not come unglued when a bad grade is earned, patience, showing mercy, but most of all realizing that education is not nearly as important as my kids’ relationship with Christ and the content of their character.  I’m so thankful that when things were at their lowest, I didn’t give up because it was too much for ME.

Because despite how much it sucked, I would go through it all again to get where we are now.

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In which Tyler gets the girl

Imagine if you will, May 3, 1992.  Tyler had bangs, I had not yet felt it necessary to wax my eyebrows and grunge was beginning to reign supreme (this will explain my clothing choice).

Tyler and I had been talking about marriage for a while.  Because as of May 3, we had been dating about 2 1/2 months.  Yeah.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Tyler had already talked to my parents.  I seem to remember him saying something along these lines to my dad, “I’m not really asking your permission, but I am asking for your blessing.”  For some reason, Dad didn’t punch Tyler and gave us his and Mom’s blessing.  And told Tyler that I wouldn’t be as easy to live with as my mother.  And since Tyler had never lived with my mother this warning made perfect sense.

We had the blessing of my parents so someone just needed to ask the question.  I had told him that I wanted to be asked in front of a group of people.  Why?  I don’t know.  I’d probably be happy with one of those super tacky proposals on a JumboTron at a professional sporting event.  And I wouldn’t think it was tacky at all – I’d think it was magical.

We were at a Bible study that we went to and I was dressed in ghetto sweats (you know, the ones with elastic around the ankles) and an old t-shirt.  This would be where the grunge thing would explain my fashion sense – or lack thereof.  Tyler and I sat on the floor for the whole meeting and he was so incredibly jittery and nervous.  He’d go from being normal to being giggly, to trying to hug me, to laughing, to taking one of my fingers and trying to make me pick his nose.  Yes ladies.  He’s all mine.  (By the way, we were both 22 at the time and hadn’t become the visions of class and sophistication we are now.)  (Quit laughing.)  All I could think was, “What is his problem??”  I was clueless.

I am seldom clueless.

(Except when it comes to remembering what table to move to in Bunco after I lose or win a match.  Yeah, clueless would perfectly describe me at that point.)

At the end of the class, the leader said Tyler had an announcement to make.  I was still clueless.  When he stood up and motioned for me to stand up, too, I knew what was going on.  I honestly don’t remember 95% of what he said.  Something about him loving God and loving me.  He must’ve asked me to marry him because I do remember saying yes.  It was nice because we had a lot of friends there and his parents were there as well.  I’m not a super private person so having people around was not a big deal at all.

Afterward we went to dinner with our “College & Career” Sunday school class from church. In front of the singles department was where we announced our engagement.  Most of whom were bitter about being single.*  And at least two girls who were hoping I would some day be part of Tyler’s past.  And then we proceeded to share a milkshake and giggle.

Because we’re visions of class and sophistication.

*At least the class leaders, who were married to each other, were very, very happy for us 🙂

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Finishing with a fizzle

Yeah, with that whole NaBloPoMo I didn’t even bother to post on the last day of the month.  I’m a winner!!  Anyway, I only missed two days out of the whole month which gives me a 93.3333333333333333333333% average and I’ll take that any day.  And I won’t bore you with the details on why I was so stinking exhausted on Friday the 30th and didn’t post.

But one truly remarkable and wonderful thing did happen on Friday.  Without giving away too many details that would embarrass my son to the point of anger with his mother, I found out that he does have a very soft and loving side.  A side that encourages people, cares deeply for people and tells them he’ll pray for them.  He has gained the respect of adults and even softened a few skeptical hearts in the process.

I don’t get to see this side of him very often, if at all.  Which is fine.  He’s too busy asserting his masculinity around me and working with all his might to make the natural break from his mother.  I get it . . . . . . I understand the natural order of things.  And I’m not upset that I’m not the one he’s saying, “It’ll be okay.  I’ll pray for you.”

I’m just happy that side of him is there at all.  As parents of children who still live at home, we see it all.  We see the good and the bad.  The sweet and the ugly.  The kind and the rude.  And when your child is 14, sometimes the negative behavior outweighs the positive at home.  At least it does in your mind.  And when you homeschool??  Gah!

The below picture is of a recent hike we took.  Austin spent most of it in front of us, blazing is own trail, making his own discoveries, and telling us all about it.  But he also asked Amber and I which direction we wanted to go, he hung back when we couldn’t keep up with him (do you know how hard it is to keep up with a 14 year old boy who is in extremely good shape??) and he shared what he saw.   Pretty much how is real life is right now.  And I love every minute of it.

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