The stage was set for counting the ballots of President-elect Biden who won the election after numerous recounts of ballets. As the process was going on, President Trump was having a rally a mile down the road. He incited violence in his rhetoric saying “Fight much harder against bad people and show strength at the Capitol—-and be there, will be wild!” Also, he still insisted that the Presidency was stolen from him even trying as last resort to get Secretary of State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to find over 11,779 voting ballots to go his way. Thank God Mr. Raffensperger stayed strong to protect our democracy.
As I write this, the flag is half-mast today in DC in remembrance of Brian Sicknick, a veteran police officer, who died after being hit on the head with a fire extinguisher by a Trump supporter. It’s hard to believe so many have been poisoned by the lies spread by conspiracy theorists. But democracy will prevail and our country will heal. We are one nation, not two, under God. “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
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I’ll be Home For Christmas like so many of you. But hope is on the horizon as a vaccine is near. I read a book in November 2019 called As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner about the flu epidemic in 1918 coinciding with World War 1. I closed the book and was very thankful that we conquered that one. My mother, who had the flu as a child, told us many stories about losing many friends and family members to the flu.
We traveled to Hawaii in February 2020 and had a wonderful time staying at the Hale Kola, military bases and a B&B. Then March rolled around and the country closed down taking drastic measures to save lives. I took walks and bike rides with friends in the neighborhood where people seemed friendlier and more eager to smile and say hello. I could no longer volunteer playing the piano at our local hospital so I began posting music on Face Book and Instagram. We took trips in our trailer to Picture Lake National Lake Shore, Door County and lastly to New Orleans to see our foster daughter, Donna and her family.
Larry and I both have been volunteering at Humble Design Chicago where our daughter Julie Schuerr Dickinson is the Director. To learn more about Humble Design and what they are doing for the homeless, see www. humbledesign.org/chicago@humblechitown. This has been a great way to help 4 families a week get on their feet. Larry also volunteers at Conference Point in Lake Geneva and occasionally at Habitat for Humanity. While purging our home from unwanted items, Larry came across an old bread maker which has been a source of pleasure—waking up to the aroma of fresh sourdough bread. He has become a wonderful cook. As a result, I must get more exercise time in with a former teacher Rose Blake and her Get After It program. Face Time and Zoom is now how we communicate with friends, family and online church.
Our son Aaron’s 2020 art schedule was completely canceled, but he began selling his pastels and oils online. His work came to the attention of Kelly Clarkson, an American Idol winner and afternoon talk show host. By zoom, she interviewed him and showed his work to the American audience on TV increasing his footprint in the art world.
Deb, who continues to give private piano and voice lessons, also teaches at Headwater Academy in Bozeman MT where student enrollment continues to grow. She loves her exercise-dance classes and playing tennis.
I was happy to get published in Chicken Soup for the Soul/Laughter is Good Medicine edition this past year. This is a fitting edition for Larry and I since even in this pandemic we always find time for humor.
We think of you my friends and how you have made it through this difficult year. “Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12).While our nation bleeds from so many deaths, racial tensions and untold political divisions, we have hope as followers of Jesus, to demonstrate a better way to live
Why I Believe the Christmas Story-Day 1
Many think that the Bible stories were passed down like the game telephone where the message changed from one person to another— therefore full of inaccuracies. But God entrusted his word to the Jewish people who were meticulous in not missing a (Jot or tittle as they would say). So begins Luke 1 written by Luke, a physician. He said,”They were handed down to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seems good also to me to write an orderly account—so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Not only do we have Luke’s story, but we have the accounts of Matthew, Mark and John whose foundation lies in the prophecies of the Old Testament, a beautiful picture.
I’ve been studying the life of Frederick Douglass, (1818-1895) a fugitive slave who learned to read and write and became a great orator, writer and statesman dedicated to ending slavery and to ensuring the right to vote for women. He wrote his autobiography that got into the hands of Abraham Lincoln, who greatly admired him. At one time, Douglass along with a large crowd was waiting for an audience with President Lincoln. Can you imagine waiting in line to see a President? But when Lincoln heard that Frederick was waiting to see him, he invited him in. As Douglass was granted an audience, he heard someone say, “Damn it, I knew they would let the n—r though.” Lincoln was standing and Douglass described him as being “like a mountain pine high above all others…in his grand simplicity, and home-like beauty.” In Lincoln’s presence he said, ”I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.” Lincoln said about Douglass, “Here comes my friend Douglass. I’m glad to see you. There is no man in the country whose opinion I value more than yours.” At one point, along with being whipped, he was made to eat his meals in a pig trough. As Frederick waited for an audience with the President, I thought of James 2:1 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring, and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you, but say to the poor man. “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet.” Have you not discriminated among yourselves, and become judges” with evil thoughts?—Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith—–
My background in literature and history is making me fearful that we are not learning from our past; and if we ignore our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them— which will have catastrophic consequences for our future freedoms. I taught 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451-all futuristic books worth reading now—and Animal Farm, a picture of the Russian Revolution. The books are all about dumbing down society so society will believe lies that are dispensed like gum balls falling out of a candy dispenser. I encourage all of you to open your eyes to the lies you may be swallowing perhaps being dispensed by your favorite guru. Please listen to more than one TV or radio station for your news. Trust experts instead of false prophets. Are we so stupid as a socierty that we are ignoring facts such as our election results and Covid 19 as a real disease while our hospitals are filling up to capacity? I beg you open your eyes and “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32. Also remember—-“For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3.
I would suggest starting with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. He was born on August 12, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and died in CA on June 5th 2012 at the age of 91. Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20-21st century writers. You will see our society through his eyes.
“Like a tiny candle in a dark room, even just a little bit of positivity can cancel out a whole lot of negativity.” Let’s be that light as the world grows literally darker and the days grow shorter. We were created for so much more than the daily rambles we hear that have divided us. I’m looking forward to seeing the sun today. In the Midwest, we often wear a cap of gray that engulfs us making the sunny days very special. How about a day of no negativity coming out of our mouths? Perhaps we can make a call or send a message to a friend or bring over a treat to a neighbor—something that shares our humanity with one another. One of my favorite verses coming from the words of Jesus while talking to his Father in prayer before his crucifixion. “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me (John 17:20-21)”
So now, as I look out my window witnessing the sun rise in the pink sky, I pray for you my friends that you will have a heart of forgiveness and that you will find joy in your relationships with family and fellow brothers and sisters who were created like you for so much more. Have a wonderful day!
Last night, I stepped out on my deck at midnight to see the best show on Earth. At first I spotted the brilliant moon and then looking South where I saw Mars, a red tinted spectacle brightening our sky like a rare jewel. I could see it just above the trees in our front yard. I imagined God looking down at our world and wondering what we were going to do next. “ Would we turn the other check when we were wronged or would we be like children in a sandbox throwing sand and shouting names at one another. When did civility go out the window of life? I could just imagine a tear in God’s eyes as He looked down at our world. I remember being taught that we were given two ears and one mouth so we could listen more and speak less. Did it ever occur to us that our perception could be wrong? “Every man is right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6. Why is it so important to be right? Are our egos that fragile? Instead, can we wake up this morning and see the beauty of a magnificent day—an opportunity to love on another and to enjoy a week of fantastic weather.
How many of you remember singing the song, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Have we forgotten how to love one another? I ask myself these questions. We can do better with God’s help. This has been a very difficult year. More than 3,100 people have been shot in the US this year compared with just 2,000 during the first 9 months of 2019. That’s a 56% jump in statistics as reported in last Sunday’s Tribune. We have lost over 210,000 lives to Covid 19 and babies are aborted everyday to would-be mothers who have no way to support them. We need to stop throwing sand at one another and work at fixing our families, our neighborhoods and our communities. Who knows like Esther in the Bible who was used to stop the annihilation of the Jewish people in her time– “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.”What is God calling you to do to better our world and draw significance from Him. I challenge you as one who has seen many years, to be a shining spot in the sky like Mars working at being a voice of hope and love in our turbulent world.
We had a wonderful time meeting friends at Cantigny Park located at 15151 Winfield Rd. Wheaton, IL 630-668-5161. It cost $5 to enter and free for military active or retired personnel. Not only does it have beautiful flowers and trees and plenty of places to sit and soak up the sun, but it is also a war museum. But the best way to demonstrate the beauty of Cantigny is to show you my pictures. These pictures were taken in late summer. We look forward to visiting again in the Fall.
I’m waking up this morning to birds at my feeder, to flowers that enjoyed soaking up the rain and now are prepared to bath in the sun. I have learned not to trust my emotions-they go up and down with the weather, but to give thanks for everyday I have on Earth. I also have learned not to put my trust in man to right the wrongs in our country. During Jesus’ time, he looked to his Heavenly Father for the help he needed in life. He said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:1. Caesar was the ruler at the time. The people were looking for someone to free them from the tyranny of the Romans and that was what they had hoped for in their Messiah. But that was not Jesus’ purpose. He put his trust in his Heavenly Father and not in the arm of flesh. He woke up early each morning and sought wisdom from God. Today, we are so focused on politics and not enough on changing our own hearts and those around us. No wonder we are making a mockery of Christ. Before we do anything, we should ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” He was humble and cared for the poor and not for how much he would be paying in taxes if the wrong Caesar got into office. His focus would be on his Heavenly Father to give him wisdom, and not on some internet guru. Shame on us all who call ourselves Christians and shame the face of Jesus with our own selfish motives. Instead, we should look to His word for wisdom and not trust in man—the arm of flesh. We should be asking the question, “What can I do to make the world a better place?” Can you imagine a world where everyone asked that question? Maybe so many of our problems would be resolved.
With all the chatter going on in the media, I thought it might be good for me to look into God’s word for a foundation to stand on in such a time as this. I came up with this acronym to help us remember it. The word is FLIP. Don’t FLIP out in a PANIC. Sue Schuerr
FEAR-”God has not given us a spirit of FEAR but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Fear Not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 9-11
FRUIT-”By their fruit you will recognize them. Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:16
LEADERSHIP-”And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35;
“All nations shall serve Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence.” Psalm 72:12
ITCHING EARS-”For a time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their OWN DESIRES, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3 “Every fact shall be sustained and confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 Corinthians 13:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.”2 Peter 2:1-3
PRIDE-”But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches.” Jeremiah 9;23
“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. “ Proverbs 13:10
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” Proverbs 26:12
Here you have the result of my study. Please use this as a spring board for your own study of scripture as you judge the chatter coming into your social media, etc.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES daily, whether those things were so.” Acts17:11
We were looking for a safe adventure so we traveled to the UP. On our way up through Escanaba MI, we could see Door County across the bay. The weather was beautiful in Gladstone where we camped for a few days. You can take a bike ride from Gladstone into Escanaba. There is a beach, a boat dock and a beautiful park. We camped at Gladstone Camp for $29 a night. From there, it’s easy to either hike or take a bike ride along the Michigan bay and enjoyed the beach before coming up to Lake Superior where it’s too cold to swim. But I saw lots of kayakers. Here are some pictures of our adventure in UP Michigan.
We have a trailer where we can sleep and cook our own food. Normally, we would visit Door County WI but we had a desire to see Picture Rock in Munising MI. We were not able to purchase tickets for the boat ride but we are seeing what we can by hiking. It has been windy and cold for the summer near Picture Rock. After having very hot weather in Chicagoland, it was refreshing. As we hiked to see Picture Rock, we had fun with other hikers on their way to see the Miner’s Fall. We said, “I believe the fall is closed for cleaning.” Yes, I said, “It’s being sanitized.” They would pause and stop and look at us for a moment thinking it was true before we all laughed. Life with Larry is all about humor. We love traveling and engaging with strangers.
PS While you are on your way home, stop at the Swedish Pantry in Escanaba for an award winning meal and very interesting decor.