Category Archives: Inspiration

Not Without Hope

A day at Chicago Botanical Gardens.

  by Karen Klotz, my neighbor, who has had MS for 39 years and yet lives a joyful and fulfilled life.

There are many things I can do no more

Like bake my cookies or scrub the floor

Or even run on the ocean shore

Yet a quiet calm is in my soul

For the peace of God I’ve come to know

His love and caring guides my way

And in His arms, I long to stay

As I sit in my chair quietly and still

Watching the birds as they eat their fill

The feeder is hung by the water bath

Bringing a smile as they splash and splash

My body has slowed yet my soul expands

Forever nurtured by His loving hands

A Winter to Remember

Camping at Kettle Moraine, WI 3/4/2002
Sue Schuerr winter camping for the first time.

The polar vortex arrived this morning with a vengeance. It was -26 in our little town of Fox River Grove, IL. It brought back memories of our time winter camping in 2002 up at Kettle Moraine, WI. Larry talked me into winter camping up at Kettle Moraine, WI after our first night in a motel. It had been a relatively mild winter and after begging me to camp, I finally agreed, half heartedly. The advantages he said were as follows: No bugs, no mud, no loud obnoxious campers, almost free lodging and our choice of campsites. We had bags that went down to zero degrees and a tent used on Mt. Everest. During the night, I was cold and put on his stinky sweater. He had been X-country skiing in it for the past two days. I spent the night ducking in and out of the sleeping bag. Under the bag, I would gage because the sweater smelled like stinky feet. Outside the bag, it was freezing cold. We woke up at 6:30 AM to -12 degrees and rushed over to our favorite coffee shop in Oconomowoc where our teeth chattering while drinking our hot coffee. Like a homeless person, I made my way to the bathroom and brushed my teeth once they settled down. This was another lifewithlarry adventure but my heart goes out to homeless people who be looking forward to much warmer temperatures at the end of the week.

Creating a New You in the New Year

In a life time, the heart will beat 2.5 billion times. What is your heart beating for? What is your vision? What keeps you up at night? These are questions I ask myself. I strive to make each day a masterpiece. I have found that my greatest joy comes from helping others attain their vision. Without a vision, the people perish. If you listen well to others, you will know what makes their heart skip a beat. Then I can come along as a mentor and help them climb their ladder. We cannot remain stagnant if we want to grown spiritually, mentally or physically. John Wesley has worded it so well. “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”Just think of Forest Gump as he ran across the United States inspiring others to run. Fictional, but it had a point.

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it, is your gift back to God.” Have you noticed that the talent you have been given needs to be developed and honed by hard work, sweat and tears. My goals are to be a better writer, to improve my piano skills, to speak Spanish and to be in good physical condition to accomplish my goals. You may ask. Why these goals? These are the tools I can use to further the kingdom of God. . To bring others into the abundant life I am experiencing. Our purpose is the change the world. Now that is a lofty goal. “In this life we cannot do great things, we can only do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa. That is true but Helen Keller had another way at looking at life. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. “ Continue to check my blog, www.lifewithlarry.org for tips about stepping out of your comfort zone and into the person God created you to be.

Laughter A Cure for the Winter Blues

There is so much to do in the month of December. It can be a stressful time as we prepare for the holidays. But my advice to you is to take time to laugh at yourself and with others.  Larry and I love to laugh. No matter what trials we have faced, we can’t stay blue for long.  And that is a good thing. “Laughter is good medicine.” 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 a day. No wonder grandparents enjoy being with their grandkids. I watched a group of three-year-olds today. I was the big bad wolf who was trying to blow their house down.  They called themselves the piggies and ran from one house to the other. They squealed with laughter and brought out the child in me.

Did you know that 85% of what we worry about never happens; and if the problem occurs, our excellent coping skills help us to manage successfully?

So find people that make you laugh.  Play with kids. Pass around good jokes.  Be like the Proverbs 31 woman who smiled at the future.   “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” Victor Hugo

Share a laughable moment on my website. I have a great one to tell you called Sweet Delusions.

Remembering 9/11

I remember teaching a class in British Literature where we were studying Beowulf on 9/11/01. A student went to the nurse’s office and came back with the news about the twin towers. Beowulf is about the nature of good and evil and we read the rest of the book with this thought in mind. In the end, good overcame evil but not without sacrifice. I thank God for the protection he has provided our nation since then. Let us stop and remember and pray for those who lost so much that day.

On our block, we lit candles in remembrance of those who died. The silence of no planes overhead was eerie. The nation was in mourning. The churches were full as many were looking for direction and answers.  One of our teacher’s husband, a fireman,  volunteered at Ground Zero.

We rejoiced the day President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden.  Just like in Beowulf, justice was measured out with the help of the Navy Seals.

Sometimes I wonder why we get so upset over a triviality we experience. One way I measure problems is to ask myself this question,”Is this a first world problem?” If it is, I can deal with it and thank God it isn’t something worse.

Just One Byte by Sue Schuerr

We entered the first cathedral

On a cold winter day.

The room was filled with patrons

All in silent repose

Hovering over their beloved treasure

Like a sea of urchins looking for bait.

The prize that would take them out of the world

of loneliness and connect them

in one vast symphony.

Just one byte.

But the walls were white stone

The faces glued on an  endless search

for significance and meaning

in a world of endless chatter.

Just one byte.

Silent chatter with bodiless faces

Paying homage to

their screen god.

Just one byte

They silently drifted out of the first cathedral

hopeless and greeted by

harsh winds of emptiness.

 

 

 

Never Never in the Everglades Feb. 2017

We decided to escape our Chicago winter by flying to Miami FL to visit friends and see sites,  but how ironic that winter in Chicago turned into spring with temperatures close to 70. Nevertheless,  here we were in the land of sun, flowers and yes alligators. We took a gorgeous hike through Fairchild Botanical Gardens where streams gleamed and pink, red and purple flowers adorned the paths. But now Larry was ready for something meatier or should I say downright scary—-a hike in the FL Everglades. As we walked along the boardwalk, we were greeting by large, healthy alligators enjoying a sun bathe in the river below. I had never in my life been that close to them.

Everglades in FL Feb. 2017

 

 

Larry soon returned with our hiking information, and a large burly man handed each of us a long thick stick. I wondered why we would need one for the boardwalk hike. But he pointed across the street where our hike was to begin. Just like Ruth and Naomi in the Bible, I followed not Naomi but my man remembering the line—-“Wherever you go; I will go.” But wait— it’s not a boardwalk but the beginning of a narrow path on very soggy mud.  “Yeaks,”  I thought. How am going to keep my tennis shoes clean here? “Where are you taking me?” I shouted as the path got progressively muddier and the stick stuck deeper.  Yellow flowers lifted their ominous heads mocking me. “Come on,” said Larry who was quite a bit ahead of me.  “Quit your whining.” Now I have followed Larry through caves, up mountains and down steep ski hills. But soon the mud turned into a stream and my imagination went viral while slouching through yet deeper, muddier water.  Now those big, huge alligators were napping across the street. What could possibly keep their cousins from habituating here?—-and, how about their relatives the snakes and lizards.  A childhood song came to mind. I’ve been eaten by a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor! Oh no, it’s up to my toe; oh geez, it’s up to my knee; oh heck. I wasn’t going to let it get up to my neck. I yelled out. “Larry, I can’t do this. I’m going back.”  I headed toward the sound of the traffic but I  with my sense of direction I was afraid I’d get lost.  I called for Larry again—  now pleading. After sometime, he appeared wet up to his thighs. “If I had followed you, I’d be swimming in the muck with baby reptiles and who knows what else,” I said.  I happily returned my thick muddy stick to the ranger who was impressed that as first timers in the Glades we had even considered this arduous, insane hike. We gave ourselves and our shoes a hosing off and made our way back to civilized Miami. Now Ruth may have followed her Naomi. But I’ll think twice about following Larry and of course–Never, Never in the Everglades

A Witches’ Brew for a Tasty Fight

 

I am one of those people who loves mornings. I’m looking out the window as the morning wakes up. We have a dusting of snow and a pink horizon with a canopy of purple blue sky. The days are getting longer but the squirrels are not yet scampering up and down the trees in their game of hide and seek. My heart is full of love for my Lord and for my life as I greet another day of promise.

I am happy for so many things—-a warm house, a neighborhood of friendly people and a husband who loves and understands me. Over our long marriage, we have learned the secret of being patient and forgiving regardless of life’s road blocks.

That evening, we quit our jobs around the house to prepare for a volunteer dinner at Brave Heart in Popular Grove which is near Harvard. Larry began volunteering at this therapeutic horse farm to help Veterans suffering with PSD and people with special needs. Larry looked handsome in his cowboy hat and boots. I wiggled into my stylish boots straining to pull up the zipper over my ample calves. I felt good in my new green sweater, a Christmas gift from my daughter, and a new sparkling necklace from my South Korean friend. With excitement, we took off for our long journey through scenic farm land.

After over an hour trip, we arrived at our destination only to find the parking lot empty. Something was not right. We figured the dinner was at another site but Larry did not have his phone with him for contacts. From Popular Grove, we went back to Brave Heart’s other site in Harvard and found out the dinner was February 18th. So here we were in Harvard on a Saturday night in January having wasted our time and gas money. It could have been a witches’ brew for a tasty fight but instead of quoting Macbeth’s “Double, double toil and trouble” we vowed to do better.

In the past, I would have said,” Why didn’t you put the date in your cell phone, and why do you insist on never having it with you when you need it? Why do you even have a cell phone? We could have had a really nice Saturday night. But here we are in the middle of nowhere land.” He would retaliate with,” Stop ragging on me, Miss Perfect.” When was the last time you made a mistake? His voice would get louder while pointing his finger. I would begin crying and say, “Just take me home,” and we would drive home in silence.

But after a marriage of more than 40 years, we have finally learned grace. Instead of ragging on one another, we talked about what we should do next.  The night was still relatively young.

The Bensons had called us earlier inviting us for dinner but we declined because of the volunteer dinner. I called Carol and she had a hearty laugh about our dilemma. We’ve all been there at one time or another. We decided to pick up pizzas and get together at their home in Palatine, another 25 minutes East from us.  We went all around the world but ended up having a delightful evening together. I slept well that evening until I woke up to the sound of racoons racing over our roof—–so glad they weren’t in our attic—but that’s another story.

Lessons learned

  1. Check your calendar thoroughly for events
  2. Bring your cell phone.
  3. Forgive one another. We all make mistakes
  4. Salvage your day in some way.
  5. Turn lemons into lemonade.

 

Now, what’s your story?

 

 

What’s Larry Up to Today?

A friend asked what Larry was up to after his knee replacement.  It has been 4 weeks since his surgery on June 1st,2016. Larry was on the roof cutting down limbs from a tree. That is what he was up to. I told him he was crazy to be up there but he just asked me to throw up a broom. He was on his mountain bike last week taking a short ride. The physical therapist said he is way ahead of schedule at this point. But he has trouble sitting for prolonged times so long trips are out of the question.  He needs to still take it literally one step at a time.

He is already planning serving opportunities and helping our daughter who had a massive plumbing problem that destroyed her bathroom ceiling.

Yes, Larry is on the move and I’ll do my best to keep him off roofs but then again I’m not even 5 ft. and he is 6 ft. 2 in. Any suggestions?

Life Without Larry

Less Mess I must confess

No piles of clothes by the side of the bed

No giant work boots to trip over

No stinky socks and trails of drywall

No fudgesicle sticks stuck to the counter

No sugary cream filled coffee mugs

No I-Pod music pipping Carmen and Hank Williams

Yes, Life without Larry is less mess I confess

But the plants scream for hydration

The birds search for seeds

The weeds beg to be picked

My arms miss his embrace

So come home Larry from your trip to Costa Rica

Where tools and cutting boards are your friends

Let laughter and fun reside once again

In this home you build with your very own hands

Bring on the mess I confess

Life with Larry is the best                 001

By Sue Schuerr