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A Voice from mars

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.

Why visit cantigny park?

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.

A light in dark times

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.

Gladstone, MI

Don’t flip out stay grounded

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

Check out UPPer Penisula Michigan for a fun and inexpensive trip

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.

Picture Rock in UP Michigan
A bike in Picture Rock
Gladstone, MI
Gladstone, MI
Hiking along Lake Superior
Hiking in Picture Rock
Biking in Gladstone MI

PS While you are on your way home, stop at the Swedish Pantry in Escanaba for an award winning meal and very interesting decor.

Where are we now in our fight against covid-19

While taking my morning bicycle ride, I noticed that nature has no idea what humans are going through with Covid-19. The egret, who lives in a pond near my home, flapped his huge white wings while flying over head. The mother duck, across the road, was proudly parading her set of five duckling behind her. The turtles, sparkling on logs in the sun, promptly protected themselves by slipping into the murky water as I passed. But that was fine, because the wildflowers displayed an array of pink, purple, and yellow blossoms. What a wonderful greeting on a summer day. Truly the psalmist said it best, “ The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 For nature, it’s business as usual showing off her beauty in fashions of splendor.

But for humans, like me, this summer is different. As much as I love summer, there is a dark cloud planted in the horizon whose gloom has been circling the world with a pandemic that has sickened and killed many. It’s dark shadows have limited our freedoms, curtailed our relationships with family and friends, and has caused havoc in every spear of our lives. We have had to invent new ways to live, to work and to connect. “ Although this pandemic is manmade, we can look to God for wisdom and strength. “Dear Friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12. We have need of patience until a working vaccine is discovered. The race is on for that to happen but as humans we come up with all kinds of theories, home made remedies and a chance, through pride, to parade our own ignorance by ignoring legitimate facts by those epidemiologists who have made it their lives work.

Our temporary trials are but a speck in our average life span. So how do we learn to cope in such a time as this and not fall into a pit of man-made myths and falsehoods in our impatience for a cure? That will be the subject of my next blog. See www.lifewithlarry.org

Hawaii February 2020

Can Larry outsmart a squirrel?

Larry vs. Squirrels

Life with Larry has been about an outgoing battle with the squirrels who are after his fast food bird-feeder concession stand. The squirrels were definitely winning. First, he invested in a squirrel deflector cover. I saw one of them on top of the cover upside down enjoying a seed-cake lunch on the side of the feeder meant for the woodpeckers. They would also bi-pass the cover and jump from the deck banister to cling to the bird-feeder. In utter frustration, Larry said, “I’m not going to be outsmarted by a squirrel.” He then added Plexiglas where the guilty party left his paw marks, and sad face print. Since then, the squirrels quit coming after many futile attempts. Larry—the Winner.

Larry puts up Plexiglass and extends poles

But one day, while social-distancing at his favorite store, Home Depot, he came home with a bird-feeder to attract beautiful orange and brown Orioles. He asked me if I had any grape jelly. I vaguely remembered having it. To keep him from running to the store, I sorted frantically through the mayonnaise, the mustard and the pancakes syrup to finally discover–Yeah-Grape Jelly- which was probably a year old. But what bird cares? He installed the bird-feeder but to his dismay, the grape jelly was gone with no sight of a bird. This happened twice before he realized the squirrels were back enjoying the dessert he put out for them. Once again, he said, “I’m not going to be outsmarted by a squirrel.” Now Larry has a lot of tools—more now with his frequent trips to Home Depot. He bought a longer pole and extended it beyond even the capabilities of an Olympic Squirrel Contender.

Larry vs. the Squirrels
Three birdfeeders and another one coming up tomorrow.

Then while eating our dinner on our deck, Larry froze in disbelief and whispered, “Hold still, we have our first Oriole visitor.” Yeah for Larry; Sorry Squirrels. But who knows where the den of intellectual squirrels resides? And when they will make a comeback. Stay tuned into the squirrels vs. Larry!!

An Unexpected Event

Memorial Day Weekend May 23rd-2020

We woke up to a beautiful morning. I took my 10 mile bike ride and thought to myself I’d bet Larry would enjoy a motorcycle ride today—somewhere local since it was suppose to rain at 1 PM. He loved the idea so we decided to visit our friends in Palatine, Carol and Chris Benson. Chris was working on scraping the house to prepare for painting.

We were on Rt.68 (Dundee Rd) near Deer Grove Forest Preserve on our way home. We were heading straight and had the right of way when a car making a left turn out of the Preserve collided with us. At first I thought we’d miss him but the next moment Larry and I and the bike were on the ground with bike parts scattered all over the road. My prayer was that we would not get hit by another car. My hip and leg hurt but I was able to walk to the curb where some wonderful people greeted me and wanted me to sit in their car. I chose to lean against a fence instead, and put on my mask. I was concerned about Larry, who has had two past back injuries. He was standing by the bike in the street and I wanted to make sure he was OK. His thumb was out of joint but he pushed it back in. He was scrapped, had a swollen hand, and some surface wounds. I had heavy gloves on and we both were wearing our helmets. Our helmets were dented, but without them we would have suffered probably for me a broken chin and for Larry, a head injury.

The policemen, Tim and Eddie, did a great job making sure we were OK and gathering all the information they needed. We both had up to date insurance. Tim said he hated seeing motorcycle accidents since he has one too and loves riding. The young man who hit us was so sorry and told us he did not see us driving straight ahead when he made the left turn. It was his first time being in an accident. Haven’t we all at one time or another had a situation where we came close to an accident but fortunately were able to avoid it. We walked into the ambulance and the paramedics checked our blood pressure and asked if we wanted to go the the hospital. We decided our injuries were minor. They too were very professional and caring. The Bensons, great friends, took us home and were very comforting.

Reflection

We should have reconsidered going out on Memorial day weekend in a populated area.

In the past, we have taken trips to WI on back roads.

Warning to others—accidents often happen close to home and wearing the proper motorcycle gear is important at any time.

We thank God that we are here to embrace another day—hopefully wiser.

We are both so thankful for our wonderful friends and family.

A Sunday Reflection may 20

I woke up this morning to the sound of heavy rain and I began to grumble forgetting that I had just enjoyed two days of sunshine and outdoor beauty. Then it came to me. “I’m not any different from the children wandering in the desert complaining about the manna God gave them.” It’s Sunday, a day of rest, and I should be happy to have some time to write, to read and to reflect.

Voices are shouting over the internet, the TV and the newspapers. Each voice is shouting, “Follow Me. I know what we need to do during Covid-19.” And yet as I reflect on this rainy morning what comes to my mind is all the grumbling the Children of Israel did while wandering in unchartered deserts. The Voice that did come in clear was, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.

As I gaze at the picture of my granddaughter drawing pictures of birds, I think of verses in Matthew 6 – Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they . Who of you by worrying, can add a single hour to his/her life?”—-“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

I hope you find peace today and hope for the future, compassion for one’s fellow human beings, thoughtulfness and prayer for our vulnerable demographic and appreciation for essential workers, respect for teachers who care deeply for their students, and for students who now treausre their teachers, and finally love for your families, friends and your Creator.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. A sound mind—not a grumbling heart while walking through the maze of unchartered waters.

Better Days are ahead

Hi Everyone,

How are you all doing in our lockdown? It is May 11th and we are in Phase 2. We have been shut in since March 26th. People seemed to do quite well in Phase 1 but now the herd is restless. I am too. I do well when the days are warm and it’s not raining and I can get out. But yesterday, Mother’s Day, was hard. Fortunately, we saw family, Julie and Geoff and kids, on Saturday. We sat in their backyard at a distance away from one another and enjoyed seeing their new puppy, Mauve. But no hugging, nor eating each other’s food. We did enjoy great conversation and the joy of seeing one another. Julie and Geoff live in Chicago where there have been 1,000 deaths due to Covid-19. Following the rules is necessary for survival.

I came home with tears in my eyes knowing we could not hug each other and that school, childhood friendships, etc would be different for my grandchildren. But we need to be patient and resilent in these days working on finding new ways to connect and to even thrive.

It rained all day yesterday—so no walk outside. I recorded some songs on the piano which I posted on Face Book, spent time communicating with friends and family on line and worked on planning my week. We are getting quotes on landscaping our backyard and going through and discarding those items we no longer need.

Larry has been dealing with back pain and I work on his back by popping in the verebrate. Larry is 6′ 2″ and I’m not quite 5′ so I actually stand on his back to do this procedure. He loves to stay busy and after reading the Tribune decided to make a banana cake and bread in our breadmaker. I have been trying to cut down on carbos from my diet, but with Larry as a baker this is impossible. How can I not have a hot piece of bread with butter when the delicous smell permeates the house. This means that I’ll do a lot of walking today and exercise on Zoom with my teacher friend, Rose, in her program called Get After It. Now I need to modify my exercises since my teacher is much younger than I am. But I do what I can and love connecting with her and her young daughter, Heleyn.

A Wonderful Backyard Party Last Year 2019

God has given us hope and encouragement by helping us focus on others rather than ourselves in these unprecedent times. There is always some one to reach out to with words of encouragement, acts of kindness or just a listening ear. Last time I took a walk a stranger smiled and said, “It’s so good to see people again.” Yes, we need one another as the song says, “People who Need People are the Luckiest People in the World.” I find seeing children playing freely with puppies by their side and parents behind them gives me hope for the future. And our land and air quality is improving. These are the positives of staying home.

Almost every morning, my daughter from Montana, sends us a series of jokes. Larry continues to play practical jokes on me like putting his size 12 shoe under my pillow when I lay down to sleep. He always pleads that it wasn’t him who put it there. It mut have been an intruder. And we laugh a lot about ourselves and how we need each other to find our lost items and to finish each other’s sentences these days. Our favorite words are “What” “Where” and “When.” Physically, laughter triggers the release of endorphins that cause a sense of well-being. Studies have demonstrated that children laugh on average more than 300 times a day. We adults only laugh a dismal 15. Times of levity are important.

I encourage everyone to write and reach out to someone new each day. Writing is a catharsis for me as is playing the piano and working on my Spanish lessons. I guess I’m saying having goals for each day is very helplful. I can be thankful for so much and be cognizant of my neigbors nearby.

A pleasant vacation memory.

The sun will shine today. I have wonderful food to eat and a husband who loves me, Zoom meetings to attend, social media to connect, the joy of seeing flowers bloom and trees developing their foliage. I can look back at pictures and sense a well of happiness for the days of freedom in the past when we didn’t think of family and friends as being a carrier of a contagious deadly disese. We have wonderful scientists who are working on a vaccine. We have doctors and nurses who are saving lives and need our encouragement. Although the future looks bleak, better days are ahead and we will get through this time with new appreciation for things we once took for granted

Tips on how to live a long and fulfilled life