“Cheri”, “Aunt Cheri”, “Honey”, “Babe”, “Mom”, “Mama”, “Mommy-O”, “Mama Mia”, “You’re the Best-est Mommy in the Whole Wide World”, “Hey Honey, Can you get XYZ done for me today”, “No, She’s My Mommy. Her not your Mommy-Her MY Mommy-O”, “Mom-I love you and Daddy the same, but I just like him a little bit more”, “Mom can you take us to Game Stop or Play n’Trade so we can get some new games?” “Just one more time Mom”, “Hey Babe, What’s for dinner?”, “Look Mom-I can do it all by myself” “Can you make some homemade oatmeal cookies, cuz’ no one makes them better than you do”, “Oh Mom, do we have to start school-ughhh”, “Mom, we’re leaving to walk the dogs”, “Babe I’m leaving to go pick up…, do you and the kids want to come along?”
So who am I-What defines ME?
I guess, if you have clicked on this button you are at least interested enough in my blog to learn a little more about who I am and my G-Force family, so grab a lemonade or a cup of coffee, if you prefer, because here we go. I actually wish we were meeting face to face and able to chat and get to know each other better but since that isn’t possible, I’ll do my best to give you tidbits of info about me and keep you entertained.
I am the oldest child in my family, born on Christmas Day. What? You didn’t think we would go that far back-Oh Yeah. If you want to know me, you have to start at the beginning and besides that I’m a chatter bug. As I grew up, God was not only molding me into who I would become but He was also molding Prince Charming, to be my Prince. Prince Charming was the youngest of 3 boys and I am the oldest of 3 girls. Let me just say, I am not perfect, Prince Charming is not perfect and our marriage is not perfect but we both believe that we each have to give 100% to our marriage, it’s not a 50/50 deal. If I only give 50% what am I investing the other 50% in? With God by our side, and constantly working at our marriage, we are who we are today. Ecc 4:9-13(NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Prince Charming and I are opposites in many ways. He has dark hair, I am blond. He was the youngest, I was the oldest. He had 2 brothers, I had 2 sisters. He lived in the same house since he was 2 years old, We moved a lot. When we first got married he did not define colors by their specific names-which, you know, creates a picture in the person’s mind as you describe the color. Burgandy was red and taupe was brown, Ahhh but now that he has been around me, he now knows the importance in defining color and he can do it quite well.
Prince Charming was very athletic and excelled in sports. He was involved in football, track, wrestling, swimming and gymnastics and was great at all of them. He also, held the highest office he could hold, for his class each year from 6th grade all the way through 11th grade and his Sr year he was Student Body President (in the fastest growing town (at that time) in our area). I guess you could say I married the All-American guy, the most popular guy in his school. What I have learned about him, through his stories, his friends and other high school classmates, is that he befriended everyone. He saw it as his mission to draw out the shy or lonely kids. He wasn’t too good to associate with the kids on his street or befriend the unpopular group of kids. He could just as easily hang out with the popular crowd and the jocks. He was respected by his classmates and teachers. I have told him many times-No one gets voted to the top office in their class every year-it just doesn’t happen. I think this speaks VOLUMES about his character. He was a man among boys, while still a teenager. I am proud to call him mine.
I grew up in a family with my 2 younger sisters. Before they were born I had an imaginary friend, Lisa. We had to have a place for her at dinner. If my Dad shut the car door to0 quickly and Lisa was still standing outside, he had to get out, walk around and let her in before we could leave the house. What can I say I am a social person. I was a true and loyal friend to Lisa and I am still that way with my real life friends. I am a girlfriends friend. We lived in the Detroit and Cleveland areas, when I was young. I was 4 1/2 years old and I remember my Dad waking me up very early in the morning to come watch some men take off because they were flying to the moon. That was Apollo 11, July 16, 1969 by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. I was too young to even understand what I was watching at the time but it did make an impact on me.
It was around this time in my life, I became fearful of motorcycles. We were at a stop light. There was a car in front of us and a motorcycle in front of that car. The light changed and the motorcycle began to go and the car in front of us began to go as well. The motorcycle quickly stopped because a car was running the red light and heading right in his path. The car behind him didn’t stop quickly enough and hit the motorcycle lunging him forward and then he was hit by the car running the red light. I saw him fly off that motorcycle and die that day. For the next several years I would not allow my Dad to drive in the same lane as a motorcycle, even if they were a mile ahead of us on the highway. It didn’t matter if my Dad needed to turn at the next street, he had to get out of that lane of traffic.
My Dad is an artist and worked in the world of ART advertising and I can remember seeing billboards that my dad did, as we drove down the highway. How many kids can say that?
God has placed some amazing people in our lives and each and every person has had some part in molding us into the people we are today.
(Yes, that would be me the dramatic oldest child.)
We lived in that house (the picture above) and the church we attended was just up the road,and that is where I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. It was also in that house that we meet our neighbors Uncle Buz and Aunt Judy and their girls Deb and Julie. They are very dear friends to this day.
I asked a few friends to tell you a little about me from their point of view-I had no idea what they would say. Deb was so kind to offer a little insight into ME:
“I have known Cheri for 39 years & am enormously blessed to still have her in my life. Since as long as I can remember, I have seen in her enormous Faith, courage, motivation, dedication & creativity beyond measure. There is nothing she can’t do when she sets her mind to it. She is devoted to God & her family & accomplishes more in a single day than most people do in several days running. She astounds me with her energy & enthusiasm, not to mention her inspirations, ideas & talent when it comes to crafting clothing & decorations. Cheri is So Very…AMAZING…all the way around!”
My Dad’s job caused us to move back and forth between Ohio and Michigan a few times. One of the times we moved, school only had about a month left and I attended public school for the very first time,but it was only for a month. I have been blessed to be able to attend Christian school my entire K-12 years, with the exception of 2 times. One of those times, I just mentioned and the other time was for about 5 weeks, just before we moved to Kansas City. I have been able to re-connect with some of my Christian School friends from elementary school. Isn’t the internet amazing?
I remember so much about our home, the one we lived in, just before we moved to Kansas City. It was a big older home. There was a huge apple tree and lilac bushes that filled the backyard with a wonderful aroma. The house had a big, beautiful, wooden, front staircase and in the kitchen, which was in the back of the house there was a back staircase that lead to the servants quarters. All the doors were heavy solid wood and had the old skeleton key holes. The front porch extended across the entire front of the house. The neighborhood had alleys behind the houses and that was so the trash trucks didn’t come down the front of the houses. My bedroom was upstairs and I had a huge walk in closet. The servants quarters became my Dad’s art studio. The basement was huge-the entire size of the house with a BIG old furnace that sat right in the middle, dividing up the basement. Oh, and it had a laundry shoot. That house had so much character. Maybe it was a combination of that old house and the crafty gene from my Dad’s artistic abilities that began my love of decorating.
My Dad took a position with Hallmark Cards and moved our family out to the Kansas City area. He actually went first while our house was on the market.
The summer before we moved to Kansas City, was quite eventful and God must have had something planned for my life, otherwise my life would have been cut short that eventful day. My Aunt had invited us to come to their lake house and so we got up and got ready that morning. We lived in the Detroit area at the time. We got a late start that morning, because my Mom couldn’t find her keys. We were excited to play at the lake and see our cousins and we were thrilled to finally get on the road. It wasn’t long before we got on the highway, it was around 10:00 in the morning. We 3 girls, were all a little drowsy. My 2 sisters were sitting in the back seat and had both fallen asleep. I was in the front seat with my Mom driving. It was 10:00 am on that eventful day, when we were hit by a drunk driver and our car flew all the way across the highway. This was before everyone wore seat belts. My 2 little sisters were thrown by angels, into the floor of the back seat and angels literally threw my mother sideways, on top of me, preventing me from flying threw the windshield. As our car flew across 6 lanes of traffic we hit a van that went into a tailspin. Thankfully they were not hurt that eventful day. Our car continued flying across the highway, weaving between cars. We got all the way across 6 lanes of traffic, only hitting the one van, our car then went through the median-cutting a path of tall grass that didn’t even slow us down, we then began heading across the other 6 lanes of on coming traffic. We were weaving in and out of traffic, our car carefully maneuvered it’s way around the huge metal pole, without hitting the guard rails. That huge metal pole held the sign, telling us we were heading in the opposite direction of our intended destination. Amazingly our car just stopped before entering traffic again. All the while, my mother thought she was steering the car, while screaming “Oh Lord, I’m going to kill my kids, I’m going to kill my kids”, but absolutely everything in that car was busted and it was angels that threw my Mother on top of me that day, it was angels directing our car around every vehicle and guiding it around that pole and it was angels that stopped the car before heading back into oncoming traffic, that eventful day in my life. What is it that I am supposed to accomplish, that only I can accomplish for Him?
Living in Kansas City was quite different. We were used to being with all of our extended family for holidays and now it was just us. My Mom began making our own family traditions-new ones. ( Prince Charming and I have created NEW family traditions with our children, as well, it’s fun to have something special for your family). One tradition we started a few years ago, was to let each child pick their favorite decorated house during the Christmas season. As we go places our children will watch for their favorites. We will makes special trips, just to go looking for houses. Each child gets to choose a house. We then take them a plate full of homemade Christmas cookies and goodies, on Dec 23rd or 24th, with a note that they have won the best decorated house by: G1, G2, G3, or G4 with some scripture about the real meaning of Christmas. People are so appreciative that you have noticed the effort they have put into their decorating. It is good for our children not to think the holidays are only about them and the gifts they will receive.
When we got moved to KC and settled in, we attended an ultra conservative church and Christian School and although I am grateful for many things I learned, my views have changed on a lot of issues, although I still consider myself to be pretty conservative.
My Sr year in high school, I decided to try out for the very first time, for a singing ensemble and I got the part. Towards the end of the school year the music teacher came to me and wanted me to try out, as a vocal soloist for state competition. I had to choose 2 songs. I worked with the music teacher on these pieces and prepared for the competition. I was thrilled to be a part of all of it but never expected to win anything. After all, most of these kids had been trying out year after year and had much more experience than I did. I was truly shocked when I won 1st place as the Vocal Soloist for our state. After graduating from high school, some friends who owned a beauty salon asked if I would go to cosmetology school and come work in their salon doing nails and I did. A couple of years later I decided to head to college.
I attended a Christian University studying Interior Decorating and Marketing. I decided to try out for the TV choir. I was told not to get my hopes up because Freshman rarely make it into this choir but I was granted a spot in this choir. While I was in college my Grandma was dying of cancer and I came home and took classes at the local University. My Grandma was only expected to live 3 months but out lived any of the Doctors expectations and the following semester I continued taking classes while at home. I knew the Regional Supervisor for a jewelry store and was offered a position at one of his jewelry store as a sales rep. I meet my husband 2 months after starting my new job and 7 months later he proposed. He took me to a four star restaurant-actually the same place as our very first date and he requested the exact same table as our first date (yeah, he’s a romantic). After dinner, we headed out-unknown to me where we were heading, Prince Charming had chartered a plane and had us flown all over Kansas City. We went over the Country Club Plaza, which had just had their Christmas lighting ceremony-It was truly romantic.
We began making all the plans. I could not find a wedding dress and so I designed my own and had it made, as well as my tiara headpiece. I was involved in every aspect of the plans. I pre-recorded a solo that I sang to him, as a total surprise, at our wedding. I pulled it off without him having even a little idea. He was totally surprised.
This was 1989 you know the year the BERLIN WALL came down.
I instantly became an Aunt to my husband’s 4 nephews and niece. My sweet niece Jennifer has this to say about me: (she was only 5 when we got married and now she is married.)
I’m so glad my Aunt Cheri has started this page. She is the most creative person I know. Tell her some colors and a room and she will have a theme for you in seconds. At Christmas, a couple years ago I was talking about not knowing how to decorate my kitchen, I said something about maybe black and red. Cheri, instantly said you could do lady bugs. Oh— and there she went, her head went into work mode and she thought of so many neat ideas. She has always made Christmas presents out of different odds and ends. She is amazing, you should see her house at Christmas, well anytime really. I’ve seen chairs she has recovered, herself, dressers, lamps, endless things. Oh little Gabby’s room…adorable.
I lived out of state for a year, and wrote Aunt Cheri to get a couple of new recipes, in no time, I had a tightly stuffed envelope in the mail. She had given me many yummy ideas. Also she has given me tips on saving money and finding the best savings when you shop. I am glad that all of you can share my Aunt Cheri’s creative ideas, yummy recipes, and tips with me. Log in daily and check it out who knows what her genius will come up with next. I love you Aunt Cheri!!! Jennifer*******
After we had been married a couple of years, we found out we were expecting and we were thrilled, only God had other plans. We lost our 1st baby, a couple of months into the pregnancy, and then began a long journey of infertility. Within a week of loosing our first baby, Prince Charming got a call and was transferred. He had to go immediately and I was home trying to get our home listed and sold so we could be together.
I put all my emotions on the back burner so I could get done what needed to be done. Our home was sold and the movers came and packed us up and moved all of our belongings.
So now we were living in New Jersey, near Princeton University. Prince Charming was working a lot of hours and the realization of what had happened began to sink in and the mourning process and healing process began.
While living there, we were able to visit some fun sights in New York City and Philadelphia, PA.We were able to see the Statue of Liberty and climb the narrow stairs up the center of this great symbol. They had just changed out the old flame with the new torch which was now a glowing light. The original was in the base of the statue, by the gift shop, and we were able to see it. We went over to New York City several times and saw the Empire State Building. Sleepless in Seattle had just come out and while we were walking around at the viewing level. We just happened to look down and there was a special floor tile that had a heart and ‘said’ “Sam loves Annie, the date and the Movie title”.
We were not able to go into the World Trade Center Towers because the first bombing of the building had taken place, just before we moved and the buildings were closed. We also went to Philadelphia, seeing many of our countries early buildings and learning about many details of our historical figures. We were able to see the Liberty Bell and that famous crack in the bell. We went to an Amish town and toured many places in the town of Lancaster. All around our home, were signs on roads that told you “George Washington and his troops slept here”. The town of Princeton, NJ is very quaint and charming. When the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed, there was a young mother, Lisa Beamer, who’s husband was killed in one of the planes, she wrote a book, “Let’s Roll”. I often thought of her, just being familiar with the area. While we were living there in NJ-the trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez was going on, the family had a home there in the area, although they lived in California.
We were transferred back to the KC area, actually Lee’s Summit and loved it there. We bought a brand new home and began doing lots of projects to put our personal touches on the house. Prince Charming’s honey do list was always full of projects I needed him to work on. He made frames/shutters for our front windows and I made curtains for the middle of the frames. I like making my own curtains, just something a little different than what is in all the stores. We lived in that house for 10 years and have many wonderful memories there.
The fertility drugs were not doing their job. It had been 5 years since we had lost our first baby and still our arms were empty and aching. We had been married 7 years by this point. (I was not working in the Interior Decorating field, I was a Sales Trainer/Management Rep for a company. I enjoyed my job but worked for a very demanding man who had tendencies towards a Bi-Polar personality (I am trying to be very kind here) and did not go back after having my first child. It would have been impossible to keep up the schedule and routine with a baby.)
So lets get back to the pre-baby days. We were talking one Saturday morning, as we got ready to go get a bagel and coffee and do some running around for the day. We had taken a 6 month fertility drug vacation-we decided-no talk about babies or drugs. We were just going to enjoy each other and not think about babies. At the end of the 6 months, we would decide if we were going to start the next drug (at a starting price of $3,000 a month and going up as they increased the dosage-which I am sure is a lot more than that now) or would we look at adoption. So, it is month number 5 and I began the conversation that morning like this-“Tell me if I am crazy (when you have been going through infertility for that long-sometimes you think MAYBE your ideas are just totally insane and you have lost all logical thinking) but could there be some herbs or vitamins that might work?-you know when we get to the 6 month point of all of this.” God had placed the same idea in Prince Charming’s sweet little head and he had been thinking about the same thing that week. We walked into a health food store that day, inquired about specific details that I knew about ME, bought up a sack full of items and 6 weeks later found out we were expecting G1-our oldest son. I can remember standing in his nursery, before he was born, looking at the crib, Prince Charming would walk in and ask what I was doing. My reply would always be “I just can’t believe we are finally going to have a baby. We will have a baby, in that bed, very soon.” We didn’t know if he would be our one and only child. He filled every maternal hole, except the hole that would always be there from loosing our first baby. There is no experience in life that prepares you to have a child die inside of you. It changes you. Be gentle, if you know someone who has lost a child by miscarriage-they were already connected and emotionally attached to that baby.
G1 arrived and when he was a couple of months old, my sweet little sister found out she was expecting. We went on a family reunion/vacation when G1 was 4 months old and when we got back from our trip we found out we were expecting G2. Shock can not begin to tell you the feelings I was experiencing. Prince Charming said those herbs must have stayed in my system for a long time. G2-our second son was born a year and 10 days after the arrival of G1. So, My parents became grandparents 3 times in a matter of 1 year and 10 days. Prince Charming told my Mom she could stop praying for grandchildren. Life was BUSY!!! but we wouldn’t have changed a thing-except a little more sleep. I don’t even remember how long it was before we both ate a hot meal together, at the same time.
Just before G1 turned 2 and G2 turned 1 we found out our Mom had cancer. What a journey that was. Would my kids remember her? Would they get to know her? I went to that first appointment with my parents, trying to remember everything the doctor said, so I could recall things for my Dad. They called and had a cancellation and she was in surgery days after her appointment. She was approved for a case study but had to drop out because she was receiving so much Chemo it was killing her. My Mother is our walking miracle, she made it and is still here today. These things mold you and change you. They knock the rough edges off.
Another event that changed our family forever was the unexpected death of Prince Charming’s middle brother. I can still see his smile and remember his laugh.
After G2, we went back into the infertility loop and we were unable to have any more kiddos. We had both come to a place of contentment that this was the family God had for us. I donated all my maternity clothes and 3 months later found out we were expecting again, only to loose that baby as well. I poured my heart out to God. I do not ask WHY very often, because after all-Isn’t His plan ALWAYS better than mine? He sees the big picture. I have tunnel vision. I know there is a reason but I just didn’t understand why God would take both of us to a place of total contentment with the family He had designed for us, and then have me get pregnant again, only to loose that baby. I asked God, to please, either take us to that place of total contentment once again or show us that He had another baby for us. Over and over again He was showing us that there was another baby in our future and 2 months later I was pregnant and G3-our 3rd son- arrived 3 weeks early by emergency C-section. While pregnant with G3, coming up with a name was a little tricky. G1 and G2 were old enough that they were giving their opinions too. G2 had picked a name he loved but Prince Charming didn’t like it. The boys told us, in no uncertain terms, he had to have a G name. We were throwing out a lot of names and G1 had a favorite as well and of course it was not the same name as the name G2 wanted. We hadn’t come up with anything we loved yet and decided to combine G1’s and G2’s favorite names and create G3’s name. It kept both boys happy and he has a special, unique name that fits his personality. God’s hand watched over him, because he had a knot in his chord and was delivered with no problems at all. There is a 7 year age difference between G2 and G3 and we wanted G3 to have a special bond with a sibling, the kind G1 and G2 had. We had talked about having another one so G3 would have a sister or brother close to his age but decided the economy wasn’t looking so great and thought it was probably the wise thing to stop at our 3 boys. Only God had other plans and he surprised us with Miss G4. She has changed every aspect of our family. We are now blessed with her soft tender ways and love of all things pink to help balance the balls and rough housing of the guys in the house, and she lets them know when they are getting too rough. Because all of our kids names start with the letter G, they call themselves the G-Force. It’s funny to tell people we went through infertility when we have 4 kids in tow. The look on their face says it all “Yah-right”
My friend Amy has this to say:
Cheri is one of the most caring people I have ever met. She is a true friend who takes her time to help someone in need — even though she has a lot on her own plate with 4 kids & a husband. Cheri helped me through a very difficult time with breastfeeding my first baby & offered encouragement, countless tips & support. I am so grateful to know her. Amy*******
In 2007 my dear friend Vonda told me I should start a blog, she had just started one. We had been friends since college. A blog? I was busy homeschooling and chasing a toddler and taking care of a new born baby-what was a blog? It took me several months to get to it, but finally started a family blog. Then, in May of 2009 I began this blog and God’s hand has been on it and He has brought so many wonderful people in to my life.They may not all share the same view points as I do or the same belief system but that is OK. God placed them in my path for a reason. What am I to learn from you?
I absolutely LOVE decorating and DIY projects.
I personally like an eclectic style but really love a lot of different styles, making it easy to give people my opinion on what they should do with a room, even though it may not be what I would do in my room, it is still beautiful and fits their family and their style. I love numbers and lettered items. I like mixing old and new.
I was blessed to be in charge of a HUGE decorating project for our church. It stretched me beyond any project I had ever worked on. We decorated about 20 Christmas trees on the floor, each one in a different theme and then I had huge over head ledges (these were wide enough and long enough to run on, without falling off), I had a dinner to organize for the Lighting of the Trees Ceremony, plus hostesses for each table, table decorations, news coverage for the event, a computerized baby grand piano to get delivered to have playing Christmas music when the services were not going on, the stage to be decorated, music themes to be picked and then cut to Cd for the announcement of each tree, make sure the train was running and set up, the delivery and position of each tree and that is only the beginning of what I did. We made a huge gingerbread house village out of cardboard boxes and it looked amazing. I need to dig for those pictures and post some of that event.(posts were done in Dec 2009-links will be added soon) There was a lot to do and the planning began each May for the late November or Early December event. I meet some dear friends who helped me with many of the stages of this decorating project. Michelle is one of those friends. We are blessed to have our boys and her oldest son share a very close bond of friendship that I hope lasts a lifetime.
My friends Michelle has this to say about me:
“What can you say about Cheri? Cheri and I have been friends for 8 years(written early 2009) and she has been a blessing to me in many ways. Over the years, she has never ceased to amaze me with her creativity and Common $ents suggestions 😉 There is no stain she cannot remove, a project she cannot complete, or an idea she cannot come up with…Hope you have lots of success with your-Its So Very Cheri, Ladybug.” Michelle*******
Prince Charming was working for Lehman Brothers and we all know what happened with them. No, we were not one of the ones with the big exit package. We saw the writing on the wall and decided to send Prince Charming back to school. He got his certifications for computer programming but in this job market the options have been slim so he started a new certification in PMP to add to his portfolio that goes along with all of his management background. Prince Charming is finishing up school and then we will be looking for a job and deciding where we will be living. I look at it as an adventure-and I am thankful that we are doing this adventure together-as a family. I’ve learned that if I tried to plan it all out, the Lord typically has different plans, so I TRY to go with the flow and wait to see what He has in store for us.
I have been BLESSED with some wonderful, amazing, caring, generous, very special people in my life that I am honored to call family and friends. I am making new friends in the blog world, that are changing me, they are carving new details into the design of my life and heart. I am blessed.
Our Family Verse:
Jer. 29:11 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord,” “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
So, tell me, how you have crossed paths with me. What is your story? Isn’t that what we would want to know about each other over a glass of lemonade or cup of coffee?
If your story is too personal or you have questions that you do not want posted in the comments, you can contact me at my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org