GNO: Cher Curtis’ Favorite Things

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I am Cher Curtis, a daughter of the King, and a stay-at-home grandmother. A  REALLY  stay at home grandmother. In June I developed a serious knee infection that has required two surgeries – one more to come in February – and months of recuperation. My experience has changed me from a Martha to a Mary, from “doing” to “being,” from giving to receiving.

I have been blessed to be served by the faith community at CPC, friends and neighbors, and my amazing family.  My precious husband Lee never complains about cooking, doing laundry or bringing me green tea in bed.  My daughter Libby and granddaughters, Cate and Addie, my son Doug as well as son-in-law Todd and daughter-in-law Emily have organized, cleaned and loved me well as I have embraced the life of a couch potato! My disabled daughter Sarah still comes home for her weekly overnight, and has really bonded with her daddy who cares for her so tenderly. The experience of the past four months has definitely colored the selection of my favorite things!


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My Favorite Picture:  One of the things my enforced leisure has given me is time to go through boxes and boxes of old photographs; reliving precious memories.  I especially love the photos that are slightly faded, for they speak of transience and the passage of time. This picture of our family on a float trip on the Current River 28 years ago includes our New Zealand exchange student, Katrina. (I can’t believe we brought Sarah – what we’re we thinking? – but she had a blast!)

What was amazing to me was how many of my photographs were of children’s ministry events and people! I retired from my position as Director of Children’s Ministry at Central Presbyterian seven years ago, but I still delight in remembering –and praying for – children and volunteers from the 20+ years I was on staff! (And yes, it was my favorite job EVER!) Here is one of my favorite photographs from one of our summer productions of “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Christian and Christiana are about to set off on their journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City.

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My Favorite Place to Travel:  Without a doubt, it is Pier Cove, Michigan. My husband’s great-grandfather purchased the property on Lake Michigan in 1904. We honeymooned there in 1967, and have vacationed there every summer since.

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The beach is spectacular, but for us, the heart and soul of Pier Cove is the old farmhouse. The original cabin (now the kitchen) was built in 1837 and the rest of the house in the 1860s. My son and his wife spearheaded the remodeling project, organizing teams of Curtis cousins into work details. (I became an expert IKEA cabinet assembler!)

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The farmhouse is the site of our most memorable “Little House in the Prairie” Christmas 30 years ago. Three feet of snow fell shortly after we arrived, insuring a white Christmas (and no last minute shopping!). The kids were delighted as we trudged through the winter wonderland to find the perfect Christmas tree from the back orchard. We placed the tree in the kitchen and festooned it with homemade popcorn and cranberry garlands. Everyone in the Cove walked to the farmhouse Christmas Eve, and we sang carols and read the Christmas story by candlelight. Pure magic!

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Me with my sister, Janet.

My Favorite Book (s): I’ve had plenty of time to read during the past four months and I have enjoyed it immensely. My granddaughters, Cate and Addie, are huge Harry Potter fans, and I didn’t know the difference between a Muggle and a Weasley. I am now about to start the seventh book, and, much to my surprise, I am enjoying them!

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My favorite books, however – The ones I read over and over again – are the  “Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien and “Emma”  by Jane Austen. They also happen to be my favorite movies, especially the 1996 movie of “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow. Really great novels are able to speak truth into our lives.

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“The Lord of the Rings” was begun by Tolkien during the darkest days of World War II and the three volumes depict the epic battle between good and evil and the ability of ordinary people (Hobbits!) to make a difference in the world.

“Emma” has relational insights that resonate with me – my favorite scene in the movie is the picnic near the end where Emma is needlessly unkind to poor Miss Bates – and is called to account by Mr. Knightly, Emma’s future husband. He chastises Emma for her cruelty, and ends with, “Badly done, Emma, badly done.”

To me, that is what true love looks like – loving someone enough to reprove when she is not living up to the highest God created her to be. My husband, Lee, has had to call me to repentance in similar fashion many times during our marriage. I remember every instance and grew from them.

Favorite non-fiction authors and books: Eric Metaxes’ “Bonhoeffer,” anything by Paul Johnson, and Erik Larson’s “in the Garden of the Beasts,” Isaac’s Storm,” and “Dead Wake.”

“To me, that is what true love looks like – loving someone enough to reprove when she is not living up to the highest God created her to be.”



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Favorite Restaurant:  The Crossing in Clayton. Without a doubt, our favorite special- occasion restaurant! I was just two weeks out from my first surgery on our anniversary this year. Jimmy Fiala made sure we had all of our favorites (including the beet salad and scallops) and Lee brought them all home for an extraordinary dinner! Lee.  also brought the makings of our anniversary drink, a champagne cocktail! (We believe anniversaries are to be celebrated!!)


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Favorite Bible Passage: All of Romans 8, which I am trying to memorize. From the freeing first verse, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”  to the last two verses, “for I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things  to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” this passage encourages my heart, and ensures me of my ultimate destination.

I am sneaking in a favorite song here, Sandra McCracken’s “We Shall Feast in the House of Zion” from her album, “Psalms.” To me, it is a vocal picture of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb!


“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”  Romans 8:38-39

Your friend,
Cher


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