Archives For March 2012

Image courtesy of Meggar via Wikipedia

By Lisa Cherry

We are blessed to have three bathrooms, and with our large family we put them to remarkably good use.  

With our twenty-something, four teens, a tween and two younger children jockeying with mom and dad for position, we have to be organized and cooperative to get everyone scrubbed and coiffed etc. on a daily basis.

Our problem began a few weeks ago when the third bathroom in the basement developed a leaky valve. 

With one toilet out of commission, we felt the sting.  But as a family, we rose to the challenge and pulled through.

So last week when Josiah accidentally flushed one of his favorite little toys down toilet number 2, we were officially upgraded to minor crisis… Or at least that was the response of the teenage girls.

Having to traipse through mom and dad’s bedroom to access the one remaining commode was cramping their style. I chuckled to myself at their reaction.

How about a little gratitude for a modern, flushable toilet?  Didn’t they remember hearing about the primitive facilities on the mission field in Africa?  Our friend Greg Ford told us about them.

Squat Toilet image courtesy of Wrightbus via Wikipedia

They’re appropriately called “squatties.”  But I digress.

 Business was brisk in the last working bathroom, but we were managing to “go with the flow.” (Sorry.)  Then we took one more turn downward, and I was no longer chuckling! 

With one final toilet melt down, we were loo-less…and utterly discommoded.

It was evening, of course, when the services of a plumber would have been extremely dear. In a wonderful burst of husband/dad heroics, Doug got to work. The toy in the upstairs toilet was clearly beyond a lay-plumber’s reach, so he decided to tackle the leaky basement problem.

I guess he didn’t count on the risk of breaking off the sealing ring after the last plumbing supply store was closed down for the day.

When I arrived home after tending to a sick relative, I was met with the latest news. Not only were we potty-less, we were also waterless.

Oh, calamity! Can you imagine the wailing that arose in the teenage girls? How many places they could not possibly go unless dad got the shower restored!

But the boys, hey, they thought it was actually pretty neat. Making do seems to be in their blood. That is until Josiah reported he had to have a potty NOW…and the woods outside the back door were not going to do!

My idea of an emergency homemade potty chair drew looks of horror. So we loaded up the troops and headed for some pre-bedtime relief at Doug’s office nearby.

The overnight results?   Deep in the garage, Doug found a critical spare part.  He improvised and… we had water by morning!  But alas that only put us back up to one working pot again.

The trail into mom and dad’s bedroom bath was still quite hot, but we were kinda grateful even for that! Amazing what a luxury we felt when dad conquered potty #2! As for potty #3?... We are still waiting with eager anticipation!

Image courtesy of Alex Ling

By Lisa Cherry 

It was not a good day for my mothering. In fact its memory still makes me cringe with remorse. A special handmade gift with a homemade card was waiting on my pillow when I retired to my bedroom. My heart was truly touched with the thoughtfulness of effort and tenderness of sentiment. I was so proud.

So why did I even take note of the glaring misspelling on the outer cover? Oh, I guess that is my job. To take note of the imperfections and shore up those weaknesses by skillfully addressing and eradicating them. But, why, oh why, did I not simply file away my correction for a teaching moment at another time?

I engaged my mouth before I engaged my brain. That is my best explanation of that horridly painful moment played out in front of not only the author and creator of the handmade treasure, but also his entire sibling gang.

I don’t even want to tell you the words I spoke. I will simply leave them and the resulting tears to your vivid imagination.

Parenting errors. I hate them. They leave me so guilty and concerned for my child’s future. I dread the thought of one of my children coming back years from now as an adult to remind me of how much I had wounded his or her heart as a child.

I pray earnestly for the wisdom and self-control not to inflict more pain. But still it seems I am waiting for the perfection I desire. So in the meantime perhaps I also need to have a backup plan for when I fail.

Delivering a well-constructed apology is my best strategy. Would you need to improve in this area also?

Recently we filmed a new video for POTTS, in which we discussed some new skills that are helping me in my home.  I will be sharing about them over the next few posts. And perhaps together we can avoid some messy scenes with adult children in the future!

Learn more about POTTS and how to subscribe here.

tepping into your grandparents’ home feels like stepping back into time.

At least that’s the sensation I always felt when going to their homes in Small Town Illinois. The pace was just a little slower. The distractions were few. The time always free to indulge the creative mischief of grandchildren bent on “play.”

There was usually one exception, though, when my sister Lisa and I were at Ging-Gi and Grandad’s house. If Paul Harvey was heard on the radio, we would get, “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

About all I remember of the late commentator was his famous promise to give “the rest of the story” and his dramatic pause at his tag line, “Good Day.”

Sandwiched in between seemed an old-fashioned message preaching morality, sprinkled with a few quirky pauses and dramatic intonations. I must confess: I never quite got his message.

But Ging-Gi and Grandad did … and now, decades later, so do I.

I nearly gasped a few days ago when I heard a replay of his famous, “If I Were the Devil” essays.

Like my grandparents telegraphed to us, Paul Harvey articulated to millions of listeners: the moral, spiritual and political decay in our nation comes from a demonic hand.

To the young I would whisper, ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that ‘man created God’ instead of the other way around. I would confide that ‘what is bad is good and what is good is square.’”

Harvey continued with a laundry list of the devil’s schemes to pollute media, subvert families, infiltrate unions and the workplace, and debase schools … until our children faced a world of “drug-sniffing dogs” and metal detectors.

Then in churches I’d substitute psychology for religion and deify science.”

“…I would take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.”

This was 1964, although he updated versions of it until 1996.

I look back now and see how the Lord used our grandparents to drop crumbs along in our childhood to lead us to discernment as adults.

I urge you to take a moment…listen to the crumbs dropped in our youth…and prayerfully consider what trail you’re leaving behind for your children, grandchildren, or other precious little ones in your life.

Linking up this  week with

Beholding Glory

By Lisa Cherry

My family is quite enthused with my monthly menu system. On any given day for the next six months, I can tell you what we will eat for each family meal. Ah, the power of organization!

But I have to confess that my system keeps me hopping. I must thaw, mix, and bake at the right times or alas, we still might have to order pizza.

Recently I had planned chicken rollups for the next day’s lunch on the run, so the night before I needed to throw some chicken strips in the oven.  Once they are done I quickly cool them, stuff them in a zip lock bag and the system works like clockwork.

Well, I remembered to bake the chicken, but it was a little later in the evening than I hoped it would be. I got sidetracked on a late night computer project and Doug headed to bed before I did. When I got there about an hour later, I found the most interesting handwritten note on my pillow.


Remember the chicken….and cat’s wife.

Ber (a sweet nickname I call him.)

I was so grateful for the chicken reminder! Lunch would have been ruined without it. But I could not for the life of me figure out the other strange part of the message.

Did I have an appointment with someone named “Cat?” Was it a pastoral need for his poor wife?

My tired, middle-aged mind could not solve the puzzle at that late hour. As I was on my way to awaken him, it suddenly hit me…

Remember Lot’s wife! It wasLot’s…not Cat’s!  I had taught a lesson on that scripture the week before!  AHHHH!

 Perhaps Doug needed a slight penmanship adjustment, but I sure did need the late night laugh!

Image courtesy of Patita_rds

My idealistic side…visions of teens cheerfully deep cleaning the house and organizing the garage.

My realistic side …keeping TV and/or video games to a bare minimum.

That’s why my ears perked when I heard of a practical, yet creative, project for our boys to tackle.

It’s a do-it-yourself mechanical device for making pulp fire briquettes out of scrap paper, grass clippings, and dried leaves. Compact and free fake “firewood” for urban dwellers.

OK, so it doesn’t sound very glamorous. In fact, it’s downright obscure.

But it is practical. And that’s where my heart is as a mom these days for our children: Prepare them for the unexpected.

We live in a city prone to weather extremes—tornadoes, ice storms, hail and recently, earthquakes. So we’ve learned the hard way the inconvenience of going days without a heating source. (Small suburban lots offer slim pickings for firewood. These little “bricks” are a mini insurance policy.)

A lesson in physics, engineering, and carpentry? Yes. A lesson in instilling “ownership” for providing emergency provisions for our family? Yes. A little creative fun? Yes.

Spiritual applications? You bet.

Our goal as Christian parents should be preparing our children to face this life, yes, but also keeping a foot in God’s kingdom. I call it parenting for eternity.

We need to teach our children to face life’s unexpected hardships, not only physical ones, but spiritual ones that could challenge them in tomorrow’s faith walk. We must teach them to see what is unseen. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

While the idealist in me wants to imagine a world where our three children will have a better, easier life, the realist in me sees a global economy stretched too far, and a culture that is increasingly hostile to a biblical worldview.

We could ignore the warning signs—certainly a tempting notion.

Or we could face them head on and start asking ourselves—and our children—tough questions.

For us, it started with a simple, “What if we were without power for more than a week?” We brainstormed our answer.

What would our answer be to this one…“What if someday you lived a time when you would be an outcast to express your faith? Or faced trials like the first century Christians? How would you stand?”

Ouch… tough questions. But brainstorming an answer, guided by Scripture, may prepare them to better face the uncertainties of tomorrow.