Category Archives: Inspiration

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 <> for more information.

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

I must add to this story that on June 22nd, 2020 Aaron was on the Kelly Clarkson Show where he was featured for putting his outdoor scenes right into the paintings and got the stamp of approval from Kelly. As a result he had 1000 more people on his Instagram account and 500 more people visiting his website. I guess inside I knew he would be popular someday. I worried when for some reason he missed getting his high school picture taken the first time and the second time, someone would be looking for his Senior Picture and not find it. He was wearing a poncho on Senior picture day. But he was on the football team and in the plays and musicals so I guess he would be recognizable in those pictures.

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.

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

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.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I was intrigued by the life of Fred Rogers after reading about him in the Tribune Magazine section. Here’s a man who drank hot cranberry juice in the morning instead of coffee, he swam, played the piano and was an ordained minister using his talents to inspire children.
I invited our neighbors to see the movie with us on Thanksgiving Friday, 2019. I expected to be somewhat bored with a children’s movie. But I was so wrong. Fred Rogers, played brilliantly by Tom Hanks, opened the door to his studio and hung up his jacket, put on his tennis shoes and sweater. Then he proceeded to open a box with a picture of a man who had been punched in the face. The topic was forgiveness.
The movie then takes us to the life of hard-nosed Equire journalist, Lloyd Vogel, who was assigned the task of writing about Fred Rogers. He’s hoping to find some dirt on his life. But Fred notices the wound on his nose and eventually finds out it was the result of a fight he had with his father at his sister’s wedding. Fred Rogers skillfully gets to the heart wound that has plagued Lloyd since his mother’s death. The movie shows us how to live life. I highly recommend seeing it. Here are a few tips..

1. Focus on the moment and the immediate person you are talking to. Show love and respect for that person. 2. Take time to just be silent. In the movie, we were silent for a minute.3. Remember what it was like to be a child. He asked Lloyd what his favorite animal was as a child. 4.Find creative ways to defuse anger. 5. Practice forgiveness.

A Lesson for life from baby emma

We have a teenage couple with an adorable baby staying with us. She is the best baby ever. She wakes up and looks out the window and coos. She rarely cries, but gets so excited when she sees her bottle. One day I waited in the car while her mother went into Aldis to get baby supplies. She was in the carrier behind me, and behold she started to cry. It was so rare to hear her fuss, I knew something had to be wrong. I hopped in the back seat to see what caused her turmoil. It was the first time she had worn a hat. It was a bit big and had slipped down covering her face. I gently pulled it up so she could see again and then she smiled with relief.

Isn’t that the way life is for us? We try to be strong and brave but then sometimes the trials of life cover our eyes and we are terrified because we cannot see. We are blinded with no direction. But if we turn to God, he makes our path clear. “The path of the just is as a shining light, that shines more and more until the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18.