All posts by Sue Schuerr

I chose lifewithlarry.org because it's about my life with this remarkable and unique man named Larry. We met at Northern Illinois University in 1965 and have been married for 46 years. We have three adult children and five grandchildren. Our motto in marriage is to learn to serve one another and put God first in life. We hope through our many experiences in life that you can gain some wisdom about how to have a happier marriage or a better life as a single person. "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with-----plenty or little." Phillipians 4:12

Our Daily Battle with Covid-19

About three months ago, I read a book entitled As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner. It described in detail the effects of the flu epidemic in 1918 coinciding with World War1. More people died of the flu than those who died in the war. As I read about the schools and churches being closed and no place to bury or commemorate the dead, I was so thankful that I was living today where we have a better scientific understanding of infections and a vaccine for the flu. But then Covid-19 hit us with 10,000 deaths in the US and 70,000 worldwide according to a John Hopkin’s study 4/5/20.

The novel based on research helped me to understand what is going on today. It was an eye opener for me since my mother being the 12th child in her family, talked about her oldest sister, Belinda, who lost her husband. leaving her as a widow with a son. I heard a few stories from my mother about that time. One day, as a child, she was walking in the dark from the barn to the house in Valders, Wisconsin. She was trembling with fear until she noticed an angel by her side. Her sister said, “That was probably your cousin who died in the flu pandemic.” Whether it was her imagination or a guardian angel, she grew up well aware of the many lives taken by the flu. She was even told that she had the flu and was spared when she had a nose bleed. These were stories I heard as a child.

And here we are on Sunday, April 5th, taking drastic measures to save lives as we practice social distancing and limit our trips to the store. What are we learning about life? Yesterday while we worked in our backyard, we had a lengthy talk with the neighbor behind us. I learned more about his life than I did in the 20 years I knew Dale. As I take my walks, people seem friendlier and less consumed with self and more ready to smile and say hello. We realize now how precious life is and how soon it can be taken. “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4

I leave you with a poem.

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” By Kitty O’Meora

My Artist son/aaron Schuerr

I have been blessed with three wonderful children. My youngest is Aaron Schuerr. It wasn’t long before we noticed he was left handed. I had been told not to give them coloring books, but let them explore art on big sheets of block paper. I would share bible stories with them drawing pictures on the block paper. After having two wonderful girls, I was told a boy meant trouble. But that was not true, Aaron could entertain himself drawing and role playing various Star War characters. When he was 8 years old, my neighbor Lori Indovina-valus and I decided to exchange lessons. I gave her daughter piano lessons and she gave Aaron art lessons. It was a win– win arrangement for both of us.

One day while in high school, Aaron and his friend Kent Albin asked if they could paint the wall in Aaron’s room. I said, “No” but Larry said, “Why not?” It wasn’t long before they happily painted the wall with figures that looked like Dr. Seuss characters in a prairie and pond. Aaron would come home from high school and pick up a large art book with pictures and stories of famous artists. He’d say, “Now my real education begins.” Next, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was not totally content with the Institute, and when an opportunity came to go to Scotland for a one year exchange program, he applied and later ended up graduating from the Dundee of Jordonstone College of Art and Design. He worked diligently Monday thru Friday, so he could take off on the weekends with an outdoor/hiking group. Aaron fell in love with the luscious landscape. He connected so well with his hiking pals from Scotland/England. They became lifelong friends and a couple of them stood up in his wedding in Bozeman, Montana—all wearing kilts, of course.

Aaron and I at the Legancy Gallery in Bozeman, MT

It was a slow start to becoming a notable artist. He was married to Lynelle, also an art major. She has been Aaron’s backbone giving him artistic advice and helping him with framing, etc. Soon their first child, August, was born followed by two more boys, Jasper and Isaak. Aaron supported his family by selling his art at a local gallery and by waitering. He approached his art like a job-working numerous hours a day. But weekends were made for hiking and exploring the mountains of Montana. His inspirations came from unending hikes and trails through the Gallatin Valley, Paradise Valley and Yellowstone National Park. His creative imagination was unleashed not only in art, but in his writing and acting. I’m proud to say that family always came first with Aaron and Lynelle. They have learned the life lessons of how to handle times of need and times of plenty.

A photo from a play

Yes, it was sad to have Aaron move from Bozeman/ Livingston Montana after living in Chicagoland; but it has given him the outdoor studio he needed to paint his masterpieces——and it provided a wonderful vacation spot for his father and me.

My advice to parents is to pursue your own creative outlets because by doing so, you are a role model to your children. God has given us each gifts and now due to Covid-19, many of us have time to develop them. See <www.aaronschuerr.com> for more information.

Aaron’s art work along with his article in the Feb/March 2020 issue

A Word from Martin Luther

I grew up as a Lutheran. My mother played the organ in two different Lutheran churches. As kids, we sang in the choir and performed on the stage for Christmas pagents. But I really didn’t know much about Martin Luther or his life struggles until I saw a movie about his life. When I went to NIU in DeKalb, IL, I was searching for meaning and purpose in my life. I remember walking back to my dorm and looking up at the sunset. I said, “God, I don’t think you are there, but if you are—- you can have my life. Maybe you can show me you are there by making something wonderful happen in my life.” That evening I met my husband at a Newman Center dance. He too had been searching for God. It wasn’t long before my roommate took us to a Cru meeting where we became follows of Jesus. The blindfold was removed from our eyes and we saw Jesus in a new light. We had a desire to read his recipe for an abundant life—-The New Testament. The once boring book came to life for us.

Now back to Martin Luther—He posted these words which I find very meaningful as we fight Covid-19. Let’s all do our part to keep it from spreading.

Even Martin Luther who was born in 1483 and died in 1546 knew what to do during the back plague. Words of Wisdom for us.When Martin Luther was dealing with The Black Death plague, he wrote these wise words that can help inform the way we approach things happening in our world right now…“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Italy in Better Times.

Please stay hopeful and connected, maybe on line or in Zoom Cloud Meetings, to one another. Can you imagine how excited we will all be when life, as normal, will return. We will appreciate all the little things we took for granted.

The World as we know it

I woke up this morning to the Illinois statistics of 95 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of March 16th, 2020. This statistic is changing hourly. In Italy, there has been 24,747 cases and 1809 deaths. To avoid statistics like this, our governors have taken drastic measures by closing schools, churches and restaurants. It’s for our safety and not government suppression of our freedoms as some would say.

As you hunker down, isolating yourselves from this unseen enemy, it’s as though something very strange is happening. This might not be too difficult for the introverts; but for many of us, depression and loneliness could soon kick in. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you. as though something strange were happening to you.” I Peter 4:12. Indeed, it’s a very strange time. Can you remember a time in our national history where schools, churches and jobs were shut down and your nation told you to live on line while isolating yourself from one another. . A microscopic virus has brought us to our knees. But by following the measures given to us, we will be able to save lives.

Be a creative cook!

Let’s find creative ways to live and to help others at this unprecedented time in our US and global history. Remember——–” God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7—–yes, a sound mind. What can each of us do to safeguard each other and our neighborhoods?

When our kids were young, one thing we liked to do in the winter was to go caving or spelunking near Bloomington, Indiana at a place called Sullivan’s cave. We brought supplies to spend the night. The temperatures could be below 0 degrees above but in a cave the temperatures stayed at 56 degrees. It was a weekend adventure to explore the cave with our family and friends. One time on our way down to Sullivan’s cave, my daughter, Deborah, broke out with red, blotchy skin—it was a rash that looked very much like measles, even though she had been vaccinated against the disease. We wondered what to do next. We carried her into the cave and got her comfortable and warm in a sleeping bag and fed her warm drinks. We had read that one should stay in a dark place when fighting measles; and what could be darker than a cave? We spent the night there and she quickly recovered.

What are some creative ways you are dealing with our current crisis? My daughter, Julie, is home with her family and they are making delicious tomato crème fraise sauce to pour over pasta. The kids have homework but not enough to fill up the day. They are taking bike rides and have instituted a rule that no screens until 3 PM.

We have a ping pong table in the family room; it’s getting more use. In addition to long walks in any weather, I continue to clean the house, read novels, write, play the piano and study Spanish. We hope to work in the yard today, since the temperatures are rising to the 50’s. So let’s get creative and share how we will spend our time.

What can we learn during this time of isolation when the world as we know it is changing daily—as though something strange is happening.

Travels to Honolulu

After serving four years in the Marines and eighteen in the Navy reserves, Larry and I were able to enjoy retirement benefits. One of these benefits was to be able to stay on US Military bases throughout the world. Here are some pictures and videos of our February trip to Hawaii.

Hickam Field
Spent the night at Hickam Field Feb. 2020
This is a memorial to those who were lost in flight. It says,” We keep faith with their memory by standing ever ready in defense of our memory.”
A boat at Hickam
We woke up to the Star Spangle Banner and went to sleep hearing taps.
We woke up to the anthem and went to sleep hearing taps.
Another scene on the Light House trail.

The Lighthouse trail is spectacular

The Faith of a Mustard Seed

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

My husband and I flew into beautiful Bozeman, Montana, to see our daughter, Deborah, and our son, Aaron, and his family. Deb had arranged for us to stay at a pleasant ranch house with an attached garage leading up to a cozy dining room. Her friend, John, even gave us the use of his car while he visited family in Seattle. It was perfect.

We quickly changed into our cross-country clothes and waxed our skies for a day at Hyalite National Forest, just outside of Bozeman. Skiing at Hyalite was like being enveloped in a holiday postcard. The snow was deep and well-packed, the trails took us through snow-covered pine trees, and the clouds cut through the surrounding mountains while the sun peeks through, making the snow glow gold like specks from Rumpelstiltskin’s spinning wheel.

It was a very special day. We were meeting Aaron, his wife, Lynelle, and our 18-month-old Grandson, August. I was entering our car in the garage while Larry, whose 6’2” frame filled the inside doorway, said, “Looks like we have everything.” He then shut the door only to realize that he had left the key to the house on the dining room table.

“What should we do now?,” he said.

The keys and our flight plan were on the dining room table so near and yet so far from our grasp. We trudges through the snow circling the house checking for ways to enter or possibly an unlocked window or hidden key; but the place was like Fort Knox.

Nevertheless, life goes on, and we had a choice to either spend the day figuring out how to deal with our dilemma or enjoying the day. I said a prayer that went like this” “God, you see our problem and in faith I turn to you for a solution. I trust you will give us wisdom to deal with this impossible situation.” We then kept our date with our son and daughter-in-law.

My joy returned at the sight of little August who now could speak in whole sentences. August grinned with delight flying up and down the hills on the sled Aaron pulled behind him. After an hour or so of skiing, he looked up at us with his green mischievous eyes and orange hair sticking out of his cap saying, “Walk a little, walk a bit.” He escaped his cozy cocoon of enclosed blankets and began examining the new substance called “snow.” We threw a few snowballs while munching on delicious homemade revel bars. (See attached recipe.)

As shades of pink streaked the sky making shadows on the mountains,we headed back to our cars. I kissed my dear first grandson’s frozen chubby red cheeks saying goodbye to his mom and dad and thanking them for such a wonderful winter day. But now the dark cloud descended on us as we drove into the garage trying to figure out how to get into the house without a key?

After inspecting the house once again, Larry said, “I might have to dismantle the door.” Being an Industrial Arts teacher and former contractor, I knew he could probably do it with tools—but we had none. I also worried about damaging the house so graciously offered to us. Once again, I prayed for God to help us and to give us wisdom which he promises if we ask.

In a whisper, an impression came to me. “Try your home key.” It sounded absurd but why not, I thought. What have we got to lose? It does say in the Bible, “My sheep hear my voice and follow me.”

Larry reluctantly and with little hope, took our house key from my hand and slowly tried fitting it into the lock. We held our breath as he slowly turned the key, and “Voila”—it opened. Did we just witness a miracle? Did we really open a house in Montana with our key from Illinois. We didn’t care! We were so excited—we were like two little kids jumping and shouting for joy.

It was proof that our heavenly Father heard our prayers and that he saw our faith in Him to go on with our day and to trust Him to deliver us from ourselves.

By Susan Schuerr

What Can Your Grandma Do?

Times with my daughter and granddaughter at Milleium park in Chgo

My grandma can stand on her head.

She can make the most delicious bread.

What can your grandma do?

My grandma can barefoot ski.

She loves to bounce me on her knee.

What can your grandma do?

My grandma can juggle three balls.

She plays “Hide and Seek” with me in the halls

What can your grandma do?

My grandma can speak perfect French

She sings Frere Jacques standing on a park bench

What can your grandma do?

My grandma can climb to the top of a mountain.

She runs back down and gets a drink from a fountain

What can your grandma do?

She drives a big red tracker

While sitting next to me and my dog, Hector

What can your grandma do?

She can run in a marathon

And fish with me in our lovely pond

What can your grandma do?

My grandma can kiss me till I turn blue

I think my grandma is really cool

We have five grandkids that keep us moving.

What can your grandma do?

My grandma can swim across the lake

Then make the most terrific cake

What can your grandma do?

She can ride a bike from one city to the next

On her cell phone she could even text

What can your grandma do?

She can knit a sweater in yellow, blue and red.

Then she sings to me before I go to bed.

What can your grandma do?

She makes up stories on the way to school

And teaches me to obey the traffic light rules

What can your grandma do?

She holds me when I scrap my knee

And picks apples from our fruit tree

What can your grandma do?

She gives me hugs and kisses

Even when I make big messes

What can your Grandma do?

She can dance a jig

While mending my favorite stuffed pig.

What can your grandma do?

She shows me pictures of mama as a child

Sometimes I see a tear through her smile—–

My grandma is the best

Now I better get some rest.


Stepping into a new Life

“Someone is sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree along time ago.” Warren Buffet

Stepping Into A New Life

After retiring from teaching, I finally had something I never had before—time. Time for a second cup of coffee, time to read new books, time to spend with loved ones, and time to develop new talents. The world was now my oyster. In an average lifespan, the heart beats 2.5 billion times. What was my heart beating for? I started a blog, a book club and joined Toastmasters. To be fulfilled, I had to have outlets Physically, Mentally and Socially–a new PMS without the emotional baggage.

I stepped through multiple doors of opportunity to see which ones would be the best fit for my personality and talents. The first one was Adaptive Adventures, an organization that provides an opportunity for a handicapped person to downhill ski with an able-bodied person. I peered into the sad eyes of a twenty-five year old tall man with a handsome ruddy complexion and a strong desire to communicate. “Five years ago,” Bob said, “I was in a snowmobile accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. A few years after the accident, I lost my mother.” My eyes filled with tears as he continued to share. “You know what I miss the most,” he said, “It’s the adrenaline rush. That’s why I am here today at Wilmot Mountain, so I can use a sit-ski and ski down a mountain, again.” The following week my husband and I helped Bob fulfill his dream. He learned how to navigate a sit-ski. By the end of the day, it all clicked for him as he triumphantly cruised down maneuvering beautiful turns all the way to the lodge where he shouted for joy. “I forgot I was paralyzed.” He was ecstatic about experiencing a once unattainable dream—–an adrenaline rush!

The Blue Run!

Later that winter, I was assigned to ski with, Mary, a blind girl. Fortunately, she was not totally blind and could see shadows. We immediately bonded going up the ski lift by talking about books she was reading in her English classes and boys she liked. When we finished the day with many successful runs, a young boy about ten-years old came up to me and said, “ Can I shake your hand ?” While extending my hand, he said, “Thanks for helping that blind girl ski today.” I was so touched by his heart for Mary–a seeing boy wanting to reach out to a blind girl. “Wouldn’t you want someone to help you if you were visually impaired?” “Yes,” he said. “ “You can make a difference in this world.” He smiled thoughtfully as we parted.

Music was the next door to open. My husband, Larry, had knee surgery. While he was sleeping, I ventured out of the room to the newly renovated main lobby of Good Shepherd Hospital where I saw a grand piano. I removed the cover and started playing to the amazement of the staff who had never heard the piano played. Soon I began volunteering every Thursday. I told my book club friend, Renee, about volunteering and now she and her 90 year old mother play duets on Tuesdays. One patient remarked, “This is suppose to be a place to feel nervous and sad, but you have made it a place of joy.” Another patient before she entered the hospital greatly missed her deceased husband, and was asking God to help comfort her in her grief. As she entered the lobby, I was playing their favorite song, Moon River. She asked the staff member, “Who’s playing the piano?” I joined them at the front desk as we tearfully hugged one another—witnessing an answer to her prayer.

These experiences plus many more have helped me discover the NEW ME. The author Leo Buscaglia once said, “God’s gift to you is your talent. What you do with your talent is your gift back to God.” I continue to strive to inspire the next generation and to bless the current one.

Susan Schuerr

A Very Humorous Winter encounter

My friend, Cleora, and I have been friends for over 30 years. We call each other ‘fair-weather’ friends since neither of us liked talking on the phone too long. We would just make our plan to bike, ski, or walk and off we’d go. Cleora has been a ski instructor at Wilmot for over 20 years and she was excited to tell me about her trip to Breckenridge with her son to ski the big hills of Colorado.

Here’s Cleora with her buddy at Breckenridge and Larry in the background.

As fate would have it, Larry found a deal to ski and stay at a lodge for free in Breckenridge if we went to the time-share meeting. We were excited to be there the same time as my dear friend, Cleora. We called each other in the morning and made plans to meet and ski. Larry and I got dressed and took the elevator down to meet our shuttle bus each morning. At night, we would meet to sit in the hot tub and share our adventures on the hill.

Skiing in beautiful CO.

Cleora mentioned that she didn’t have to take a shuttle since the slop was just outside her lodge door. I thought, “Boy, how lucky!” She doesn’t have to wait for a shuttle each morning like us. This went on for a week–we took our shuttle bus and she just went straight to the slopes where we planned to meet.

On the final day, I was in the process of taking our ski equipment to the van. As the elevator door opened, there was Cleora. We looked at each other in astonishment. “What are you doing here?” she said. “No,” I said. “What are you doing here”? My room is just down the hall to the right,” she said. “Mine is the left,” I pointed. “We laughed until we cried. The whole week we were taking the shuttle and she just walked to the slopes outside her door to the right. All we had to do was walk down the hall where she was. We had been on the same floor without knowing it. What a coincidence that we booked rooms and ended up on the same floor, without knowing it.

Once again, “Laughter is good medicine.” And it seems situations like this happen often. By the way, we did not buy the timeshare. Please tell us about your experience on www.lifewithlarry.org.

On top of the world

Happy New Year! I was on the top of the world looking down on creation being mesmerized by the beauty beneath me. As often as I fly, I still get a thrill looking at untapped, unpopulated land. While traveling from Montana, where we were with family over Christmas, I snapped this photo before landing in Denver, CO.

The picture reminds me of one of my favorite verses in the book of Psalm. “The heavens’ declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” Psalm 19: 1-3.

The language we all have in common is the language of nature. It inspires us to treasure each day as we focus on harvesting the many gifts and skills our creator has given us. What passions do you have? Is it art, music, photography, sewing, knitting, building, or helping others be a better version of themselves. Each day speaks! Are you listening? Each night reveals knowledge. Are you learning? How does the beauty of nature inspire you? Remember, there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. It’s the cement that brings us together regardless of our backgrounds. Be inspired in 2020.

My grandson, August Schuerr, after a day of skiing on top of the world in Bozeman, Montana.