Category Archives: Using your Gifts

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

Music the Great Connector

Larry and I love music, and our house is filled with it.  Our time with friends and family often centers around the piano as we share the universal love of music. I encourage everyone to develop your passions and see how God opens doors for you as he has for me. “When your passion and purpose are greater than your fears and excuses, you will find a way.” Your love will help you to seek the help you need to develop your talents through friends, classes and even the internet. Be a blessing to others in this world that needs connection. Music is one of those connectors.

Open your home for a potluck and music fest and see what happens as everyone brings a developing talent to the table. Music, the great connector, bridges the gap among all people regardless of backgrounds and political persuasion. It’s so much fun as well.

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Fill Your Home with Life and Laughter

 

Do you have the gift of hospitality and enjoy having your home filled with life and laughter? Would you like to enjoy the company of your friends but fear all the work and preparation it would take? Then learn from our years of experience having potluck meals. It’s an easy way to gather friends and family and connect in fellowship with one another. We send out an Evite invitation with a theme such as A Time to be Thankful or Celebrate Spring. Then we ask our guests to bring their own meat (sometimes we provide it) and a dish to pass. We provide Ice Tea, lemonade, pop and coffee.

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Next, we fire up the grill and wait for the scrumptious dishes to arrive. It’s always exciting to see what the guests will bring. We would never have time to prepare the food that comes through the door. It doesn’t matter who does or doesn’t show up. When they arrive, I give everyone a name tag so they don’t have to remember each other’s names. But most importantly, on the name tag include something about that person. Here are examples of what I write on them with their permission: Hart, the gardener, Joe, the biker, Carol, the Super Mom, Rick, the guitar player,  Helga, the reader and Rachel, the nutritionist, This immediately gives strangers a chance to strike up a conversation.  If someone looks disengaged, I ask them to help me set up and keep up a lively conversation with them about our various guests.

For summer potlucks, have simple games for people to play. Bean toss, badminton and bocce ball are a few of our favorites. We also enjoy having a Music Fest where we will ask people to bring guitars, keyboards and noise makers.  We provide words for songs ranging from show tunes like The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and the Beatles to hymns like Amazing Grace and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.  Fortunately, we have a piano and guitar but it’s not essential. Your guests will enjoy sharing their talents with other like-minded music-lovers. But music is not the only way to connect. They may have a poem, a favorite Bible verse, and a mini-message or life experience they want to share. It’s kept short and focused.

An added benefit is that my husband will tackle unexpected house projects. One time, though, he re-sanded our wooden kitchen floor, stained it and put three coats of polyethylene on them. I couldn’t clean the house until the last day for fear of stirring up dust—–but now I have a beautiful, new floor.

For summer potlucks, don’t worry about cleaning the bedrooms or basement.  Your guests will be outside enjoying your deck and the beautiful weather.   Around Thanksgiving, we ask people to prepare a short three minutes talk about something they are grateful for.  At Christmas, we gather around the piano and sing carols and enjoy delicious homemade cookies.

By following these simple steps, your gift of hospitality will be in full swing with little labor and cost. Your home will be filled with joy and laughter and your guests will be begging you to do it again. Now feel free to add your ideas to my blog entitled www.lifewithlarry.org.