Category Archives: Inspiration

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

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

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.

Stay Calm during Covid-19

I woke up this morning and checked the amount of deaths in the US. As of April 19, 2020, it was 45,075. And even if we are making progress according to Governor Pritzker and the President, it looks like social distancing will continue through the summer and there is even talk of a possible upsurge in the fall with the combination of influenza and Covid-19. That might even make it difficult for young people to go back to school. This prognosis causes a cloud of depression to engulf me. On top of the news, my left foot has been giving me problems. What has kept me sane during the shutdown is my faith in God and my ability to take long walks while enjoying nature.

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I’m doing what I can to take care of my left foot and I’m thankful for the many blessings that have come my way as a senior citizen. These have been the golden years for Larry and I. We have traveled to Germany, Spain, Italy and Hawaii. We have biked throughout Illinois and Wisconsin and skied the hills of Wilmot and Colorado. We have been blessed with a good pension and a wonderful financial planner.

Now, we are called to sit on the shelf of life for awhile. This is not an easy task for the Schuerrs who have a bit of Bohemian in them. We love to travel and to enjoy new experiences and meet new people. We are gregarious. But what are we thankful at the time in life. We were able to visit our Montana family at Christmas and we have our daughter and her beautiful family 48 miles away from us. We were able to travel to Oahu, Hawaii in February and stay at a military resort called Hale Koa and a base called Hickam AFB. We spent 10 lovely days strolling this beautiful island and enjoying wonderful hikes and scenic ocean views. I close my eyes and hear the ocean, see the flowers and enjoy the beauty that surrounded me.

Skiing in beautiful CO.

Now we are learning new ways to deal with the stay at home order. We are finding that we can find happiness in simple ways. We have time now to enjoy the birds at our feeder, to cook delicious meals, to give to others in need and to develop our talents. We are getting to know the people in our neighborhood and to Zoom with friends and family. We hope that during this time we will become a better version of ourselves.

We have so much to be thankful for. Everyday, we find something to laugh about. Humor is of upmost importance. In fact, I wrote a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul, Laughter is the Best Medicine that was published. I love reading the stories before bedtime. At breakfast, we are planning our dinner menu. Larry has taken it to new heights creating tasty dishes. We can have an extravagant meal with wine and candle lights right here at home. We can enjoy our own yard as we watch the flowers bloom. I can write and play the piano and share it with friends and family. Right now, we are reading the book of James to glean morsels of advice on living a better life. That has led us to finding ways to give to people who are struggling financially at this time. We find that helping others has taken the focus off ourselves as it brings unexpected joy to others. We are following the guidelines to keep Covid-19 at bay.

An evening at the Hale Koa

Zoom has opened up a new world. I’m part of a book club that has 7 members and now 2 international members from Australia. Technology has opened up so many new doors for us. What can we learn to be a better version of ourselves during these days. What are you doing to brighten your days? Feel free to comment.

My wonderful book club friends
Julie and family in Lake Geneva, WI
My daughter Deborah with granddaughter Natalie at a concert near the Bean in Chicago.
My son Aaron Schuerr

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National Lake Shore Indiana

easter 2020-a most unusual time

I heard a flock of sand hill cranes overhead beckoning the end of winter. I even saw three fox pups frolicking in our yard. Despite seeing snow flakes today, April 9th, the trees are budding, the crocuses have pushed their faces toward the heavens and the days are getting pleasantly longer. Yes, what looked like death is certainly now alive. Nature is such a beautiful picture of the resurrection of Christ. In the background, I love listening to Handel’s Messiah and the song, I Know that My Redeemer Lives”. It is the perfect Passover/Easter message.

This has been a very difficult month with the unseen enemy lurching in all corners of our nation waiting to prey on young and old alike. It is no respecter of social economic status-willing to target even the likes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and actor, Tom Hanks. The stories of it’s capricious nature is the subject of our daily news. Covid-19 as of April 11th has infected 423,135 and killed 14,390 just in the US. Worldwide 105,722 have died from the virus. We are making progress in remedying the invader by practicing social distancing, isolating ourselves in our homes and wearing masks. We hope these activities will vanquish the enemy. At this point, all of our idols are being torn down and we are scrambling like Humpty Dumpty to put the world back together again. Many of us are resorting to Zoom to celebrate Easter this year. We can’t help but reflect on our lives, our families, our occupations and our relationship with the living God. We are cornered. The distractions have been relegated to the four walls of our homes, our yards and occasional walks in our neighborhoods.

But there is hope. God loves you and has a plan for your life. “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10. Just like nature is filled with a diversity of flowers and trees, so God has many ways to call his own to himself. Most of us have a thirst for more than this life can offer. We know deep inside that the end of life is not the end. It’s written in our hearts.

I was an agnostic at the University asking God,while watching the sunset, to bring meaning and purpose in my life. I told God if he was there, He could have my life. Then I added, “Make something wonderful happen, if you truly exist.” That night, I met Larry, my husband and soul-mate, at a dance. I was intrigued that maybe there really was a God. I dusted off the Bible tucked away in the corner of my dorm closet and began reading the book of John. Jesus was just an historical character to me, not a living and resurrected being. I started keeping a journal of how He demonstrated his existence to me. Over the years of our marriage, we have seen the hand of God in our own lives, our families’ lives, and so many others.

My search for God, brought me to a study of the Old Testament prophecies pertaining to the coming Messiah. We are thankful to the Jews who faithfully and accurately penned the Old Testament with the prophecies of Christ. (See Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and google the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) Also read Acts 10 and 1 Corinthians 15.

I was a skeptic and understand the many questions and concerns you may have,especially in this politically charged atmosphere where I’d rather refer to myself as a follower of Christ rather than as a Christian. Regardless, I have spent years as an educator with a Master’s degree from Concordia University. If you are feeling like something is missing in your life….could it be because you were created for so much more——a relationship with the living God? He has a significant plan for your life. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12).” If Christ was the Messiah and there is such a thing as abundant life here and life after death—————–wouldn’t you want to know? Anything this important cannot be ignored.

My thoughts and prayers are with you this unusual Easter 2020 as we deal with Covid-19 and the many fears that lurch around the corner of our lives. You can find peace if you search God with your whole heart and put your life in his hands. This is the perfect time to do your own search.

By Susan Schuerr

Pearl Harbor February 2020
The Hale Koa in Oahu Feb 2020

sschuerr@gmail.com

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