Feeding the Fish in Ottawa Canada

Now that our daughter, Julie, and her family are going to Canada this summer, I thought I’d post our adventure  in 2013. We drove to Ottawa and then to Quebec City. It was a North America European experience. But before we got there, we took a boat ride and a scenic hike which included both of us jumping off a 15 ft. cliff.  Larry jumped off and forgot he had Canadian money in his pockets; so now he is feeding the fish. The rest of this entry is directed towards my grandchildren but gives you some insight into the provinces.

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(He forgot about the money in his pocket.)

You’d enjoy seeing the money here especially the $5 bill that has a picture of kids playing hockey. It looks like toy money but it is very much like our $5.00 bill. The exchange rate is close to the same by a few pennies to the Canadian advantage.

Ottawa was our second place to stay. We toured the friendly city by bicycle. Ottawa is the capital of Canada. There are canals running through it with a bicycle path all around it. There are many old picturesque buildings here—the Parliament building is where the government is located. Next to the Parliament is the Supreme Court building. We met a man who spent some time in jail before he turned his life around. Grandma talked to anyone and everyone. She conversed with to a high school student who said he works hard at the grocery store and then spends the rest of his time playing ice hockey. He said people come from all over the world including Russia and the US to play hockey in his town of Prescott/Russell. He hopes to be a professional someday. Ottawa’s border is shared with Quebec. The people in Quebec speak French and have talked about seceding from Canada because the Canadian people are connected with Britain and honor Queen Elizabeth II. Their loyalty is to France. When you study history you will find out that France and England have always been at odds with one another. The man we talked to from Quebec said they were thinking of seceding again since the vote to do so was so close at the last referendum.

I have been studying French while on this trip.  I took two years of high school French and one year of college French. But I haven’t used it in years. Being here in Canada, everything is in English/French. It’s a great opportunity to learn again. In Quebec the signs are only in French. Grandpa is doing fine following the French road signs .  He drove in Italy so he can drive anywhere with attitude.

We love getting a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s. It’s the Mc Donalds of Canada. Grandma tried ordering in French but Grandpa was impatient for his coffee and there was a line. We finished the order in English.

Ottawa had a free light show on the Parliament building. It was wonderful—I never saw anything like it. They told a story with pictures accompanied with English/French dialogue. It was about the diverse  provinces, the Indians, the various Olympic stars, celebrities and the animals like caribou, seals and whales. We all clapped with enthusiasm and respect for this great country.  Canada claims to have a heart for all people no matter where they come from. It was a wonderful show that gave us a superb education. We talked to a man from Pennsylvania who said he likes the Canadian people because they are not so viciously angry about politics and religion.

We are now on our way to Quebec City. It is like a European city. Tune in next time.

I Have a Bone to Pick with You

CIMG4345Now that fishing season is almost upon us, I’m reminded of a lifewithlarry experience. Our daughter, Deborah, who resides in Bozeman, Montana taught Larry how to fly fish one summer. He took to it like a bee to honey.  He can be see practicing on the road here in Fox River Grove, IL.  People come from all over the world to fish in Yellowstone and pay enormous amounts of money for the adventure. Deb took Larry to a small spring creek near a railroad track and Interstate 90.

“There can’t be anything in here. It’s too small.” Larry reacted. But it turned out to be a fishing supermarket.

He caught 32 fish in a manner of a few hours. They hit any brown fly Larry threw at them. He was bursting with excitement like a kid in a candy store while cleaning and gutting the four he decided to keep.

“It was going to be a great dinner,” he said knowing we were going to have company that night.

When visiting Montana, we often camp at Hyalite National Forest—–one of God’s most magnificent creations. We tow a 19 ft.  trailer and that is our home for 3 weeks. People come and visit us in our beautiful, pristine surroundings. Our daughter-in-law’s parents came up that evening for a fish dinner. By the time the coals were hot and dinner ready to be served, it was dusk. Ravishingly hungry, we devoured our food until we heard Larry gag.

In the darkness of the evening, he had mistaken a bone for fish. Coughing, bread, water—–nothing seemed to dislodge it. So the next morning, we headed down the mountain to the medical center.

“Hi Larry”, the doctor said. You see Larry, from Illinois, had visited the center other times in past years for one malady or another.   He looked down his throat and said, “I haven’t seen anything like this in twenty years.” This was all I needed to hear. My hopes of a problem free vacation were quickly vanishing.

Next he said, “If I cannot dislodge the bone, it will mean surgery.” Surgery——- for a fish bone! Whoever heard of such nonsense? Larry suppressed the cough instinct and allowed the doctor to lunge down his throat with a pair of round pliers with a round tip. After a couple of attempted, he captured his prey.

“In addition to teaching and construction,” Larry said, “I could now have another career as a professional  Sword Swallower.” We all agreed.

Now when eating fish in the dark, I insist that he put on one of his many REI head lamps, or I’ll have a bone to pick with him.

The Resurrection-Fact or Fiction? April 2015

My heart goes out to those at Garissa University in Kenya today where militants stormed in when students were gathering for prayer. They separated the Christians from the Muslims and killed the Christians. Paul said in I Corinthians 15:30 “And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour. For I swear, that I face death daily. If there will be no resurrection from the dead—Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.”I Corinthians 15: 20 That is what this weekend is all about. Let’s remember those who have paid the ultimate for their faith this Easter.

Every year the media focuses on Easter and its significance to the Christian community. Questions are raised about Christ’s life, death and his resurrection. “Was he the King of the Jews?” “Did he walk the Earth after his resurrection?” ”Was he truly the Son of God?” Certainly Christians live by faith, but is there also conclusive proof of Christ’s resurrection throughout the Bible and history? “If there is no resurrection from the dead,” said the jailed Apostle Paul, “then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is our faith (1 Corinthians 15:12).” Hopefully, my research will help you draw your own conclusions. The most powerful argument for the existence of Christ is changed lives as seen recently in the book and movie Unbroken. My own life is also an example. The world quit revolving around me when I gave Christ my life looking at a sunset one evening as a freshman in college. The prophecies of Christ first coming are powerful. In addition, there are prophecies about his second coming and I encourage you to do your own study. I was a skeptic myself and understand the many questions and concerns you may have. 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.

To begin, let’s explore the prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming and his crucifixion. No person could possibly script his life to fit where he would be born, how he would die, and where and how he would be buried. These prophecies can be found throughout the Old Testament. But for the sake of brevity, we’ll center on two books. First, the book of Isaiah which was written in 740-680 B.C. Isaiah was born into an upper-class family where he rubbed shoulders with royalty and gave advice concerning foreign affairs of the nation. He also attacked the social ills of his day like many of us who are concerned about the welfare of our nation. He viewed these social abuses as symptoms of spiritual declension. To give you a flavor of his writing, see Isaiah 1: 23. “Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.” Today, we can throw our corrupt politicians/governors in jail. Unfortunately for Isaiah, who lived most of his life in Jerusalem, his outspoken word got him martyred by being sawed in two while inside a hollow log (Hebrews 11:37) under the reign of Manasseh. Here are the statements of a God inspired man. When reading Isaiah 53, one would think he was reading the lyrics for Handel’s Messiah. Many of these verses will resonate with you.

  • “He was despised and rejected by men-a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Is. 53.3
  • “But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds, we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all……he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Is. 53.5-7
  • “He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Is. 53:9
  • “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life, and be satisfied: Is. 53:9
  • “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Is. 53:12

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered on January 28, 1949. The whole Old Testament was discovered except for the book of Esther. The book of Isaiah was relatively intact and is 1000 years older than anything found previously. The Isaiah scroll dates back to the second century B.C. which would make it impossible to falsify to fit the life of Christ... The Dead Sea Scrolls also called the Qumran scrolls (Qumran is the main location in the Dead Sea area where the scrolls were discovered) demonstrates unequivocally the fact that the Jews were faithful in their transcription of biblical manuscripts. The Jewish writers were extremely conscientious about copying the biblical text, and memorization was a key component of their education. The Old Testament books from Qumran are those which we find in our Bibles. Comparing today’s scripture to those found in the Dead Sea Scrolls speaks of the accuracy found in the text.       

The second book I examined was the book of Psalms which was also found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The following are some of the prophecies of the Messiah.

  • “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads; He trusts in the Lord let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Ps. 22: 7-8
  • “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me…my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; Ps. 22:14 (Medically this is an accurate description of what takes place when a person is crucified.)
  • “They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Ps. 22:16
  • “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Ps. 69:21
  • “Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy one see decay.” 16:1

There are hundreds of prophecies concerning the coming Messiah which Jesus has fulfilled. Here are a few more.

  • Bethlehem was named as the birthplace of the Messiah seven centuries before the event. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”(Micah 5:2)
  • “See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
  • “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” Zechariah 12:10

I welcome questions and discussion on this all important topic.  It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make.

 

Sue Schuerr (sschuerr@gmail.com) or www.lifewithlarry.org/The Resurrection/Fact or Fiction?

Rattled by Earthquakes-2.9 earthquake hits Lake in the Hills/Felt in McHenry County

 (Larry visits Haiti in 2006/2007)

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I was told this morning (3/26/15) that a small earthquake happened in the Crystal Lake IL footprint. My good friend Sue Scorzio said she actually felt it. It reminded me of when Larry, my husband, woke up at 4:30 AM in 2010 to a rumble which he thought was caused by a large branch hitting our Fox River Grove home. Listening to the news, we soon realized it was actually a mild earthquake in the Sycamore area that caused the rumble. We were still reeling from the earthquake footage we were seeing on TV of Haiti. We worried about the people we knew there and the huge task it would be to rebuild this already impoverished city. What was especially vivid was the footage of the Squatter’s Ravine, the place in Port a Prince where the poorest of the poor lived pancaked one hut upon another. “Peering down a very steep ravine, I could see 400/500 huts with a mass of humanity living in them. The roof of one was the partial floor of another, recalled Larry. One little shake and everything would be at the bottom of the ravine collapsing like a deck of cards.” The structures were made with cement cider block but the average person could afford only a little cement. Larry remembers on his 2007 trip that he was able to crack a block with the palm of his hand—-no wonder the Haiti Earthquake of 2010 was so devastating. The people living in the ravine were entombed as the earth swallowed them up. But from here on, I’ll let Larry relate his story.

I had recently retired from teaching Industrial Arts at Dundee Crown High School and it had always been my desire to find more avenues to use my gifts, talents and skills.  So when Bright Hope International asked me to help in Haiti, I was excited about the opportunity.  Could I make a difference in what to me seemed a hopeless situation?

I flew with several others from Miami to Port a Prince where we could see UN soldiers and police all over the place. We waited for the safe house driver to pick us up to stay for the night. The road took us up and down huge crevices somewhat like driving through a quarry with a four wheel vehicle. I looked to the right and saw a huge concrete slab that had been the floor of a building at one time and people were crawling under the slab to capture water coming from a spring below the slab. Iron Bars fortified the city buildings. Garbage was everywhere—electricity was sparse. Everything we took for granted was rare for them. After spending the night in the fortified safe house, we flew 80 miles inland to the town of Pignon. Today the town has doubled in size with refugees from Port a Prince.

One of the first things we did in the town of Pignon was to help deliver Hope Packs (small gift boxes) to the children.  As a former teacher, I was deeply moved because all I saw were children with pencils and spiral notebooks. In Haiti, there were no textbooks, and the only tool the teacher had was a worn out blackboard and a piece of chalk.   The children laughed with delight at receiving their Hope Packs, which contained school supplies, small toys, a T-shirt and even a Bible.  Later, Cary-Grove Rotary club sent a shipment of Creole/English picture dictionaries which became a treasured teaching tool.

As I toured the village, I met a man who was doing carpentry work and I handed him a donated hand tool. Delighted with the gift, he invited me into his tiny Haitian home which was smaller than my garage to see some of his handcrafted work and meet his family.  No welfare system exists in Haiti and the people are looking for hope and opportunities to improve their lives.  With the earthquake, this will be even more difficult.

Our team stayed with Pastor Jephthe Lucien, Bright Hope’s Haiti partner.  Pastor Jephthe is well respected in his church and among the villagers. His great sense of humor makes him popular with everyone he meets.   He gave me the job of building school desks with the Haitian men.  We communicated through pantomiming and humor. “Laughter like music is a universal language.”

On the last day I was there, Pastor Jephthe asked me if I would consider working with him to help build a trade school.  I returned again the following spring with a team of men and we built a school which now serves as housing for displaced earthquake victims. The picture above is of a little girl in the process of making cement by breaking up rocks I now have a vision that a team can make a difference in what I had at first thought was a hopeless situation.

After the earthquake of 2010, much attention was centered on Haiti. I was proud of Americans who helped in so many ways. Yes, one person multiplied can make a difference in this world.

By: Sue and Larry Schuerr

Costa Rica/ A Bit of Paradise

“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25

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It was with great joy that I connected with Eric and Caroline  and their lovely children, John and Evie. Eric was one of my students at Cary Grove High School where he was the valedictorian of the class. Caroline was Kate, the lead, in our school play,” The Taming of the Shew.” I had heard that they were working in Costa Rica.  My husband and I began supporting them a few years back. So it was interesting for us to visit them in a different relationship. We actually knew little about their ministry and their role in Central America. I emailed Eric and asked if we could visit. He graciously invited us and set up a two-week agenda for us.

Our first morning in Costa Rica, I woke up to the sound of birds, the crowing of roosters and the smoke from the nearby volcano dotting the pink clouded horizon. Eric took us on a tour of the campus which is a taste of paradise. The flowers, palm trees and large pines spoke of God’s presence in nature. We were able to pick oranges, lemons and grapefruits off the trees. I had been transported from below zero temps in Chicago to the warmth of the sun. With tears in his eyes, Eric shared the wonderful story of how God provided this unique campus. The day in CR begins and ends between 6 AM and 6 PM.  A lot is packed into that framework which included joining a visiting Pennsylvania church group in jobs like cutting down trees, varnishing doors and windows and taking down a termite infested building. Serving and eating together helped us develop close relationships.  Our cook, a little size 2 dynamo woman named Marlin,  cooked up a storm for us. It was not all work. We were part of the bus tour to La Paz where we saw waterfalls, animals and tropical plants; we also enjoyed a wonderful buffet. From there, we visited a coffee plantation.

When the Pennsylvania group left, I mentored some of the staff members in English while my husband continued working with the grounds’ team. As a former English teacher and now a writer, the role fit me perfectly. I also loved hanging out with the many children on the campus.  I’m uplifted by their energy, imagination and pure love of God. I encouraged little Evie to speak Spanish with me and she occasionally corrected my pronunciation—nothing like learning from a four-year old, smart cookie.  John runs like the wind just like his father did in high school. They both enjoy playing and watching soccer.

We then rented a car for three days at $50 a day which included a Garmin. We spent our first day at Jaho beach, our second in La Fortuna, home of backpackers and volcanoes. We stayed at the Arsenal Palace, a suggestion by a local, that gave us a great view of the volcano and a  full breakfast—all for $60 a night, no tax.  Our last day, we took a boat trip on the Rio Frio near Nicaragua  to see monkeys, sloughs and birds in their natural habitat.  Larry said he has a muse in the  slough who sleeps in a tree and comes down once every two weeks to relieve himself.

It was inspiring to watch Eric and Caroline follow in the footsteps of Jesus by developing disciples. Eric has a heart for the youth and Caroline is devoted to women’s small groups. This took on the form of stepping into Bible studies with them and taking pictures of their soccer games. God uses so many means to draw people to himself.  We also joined in the evening meetings where the Pennsylvania group processed their working day and shared what they learned in their personal devotions.

After our two weeks in CR, we were convinced that this is a wonderful ministry to support with our work and finances.  We hope to encourage others to be part of a team with us next year.

Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes. I got a call from Northwest Herald saying that a friend of mine wrote a letter recommending me as an Everyday Hero. Since my retirement, I have volunteered for various organizations including Adaptive Adventures which is featured here. My thoughts were that this award should go to my husband Larry instead who in the past has fixed up more than 2,000 bikes for the needy. He also has used his construction skills with Habitat, Willow, Bright Hope and Conference Point as well as helping many individuals. But I was chosen since I accompany him on many of these outings. It definitely is a time in our lives to give back and it is what has given us so much joy. If a person is wrapped up so much in his own life, he makes a small package. Enjoy the video and look for Larry as well.

How I Met My Soul Mate

 “The Eyes are the Window to the Soul”

Being a child of the 60’s, I remember vividly a group of students and teachers hovered around a radio with the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I came home from my school on the south side of Chicago that evening to my family in tears as we watched the news. It was the beginning of woes—soon after Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot. The world was a different place—-the rug of security was pulled out from under us. But life goes on for a girl on her way to the university.

 My best friend Carol and I set out for Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. We were roommates in the first coed dorms, Lincoln and Douglas. We actually made a list of rules for ourselves which included no kissing on first dates. The other mission in our collegiate life was to visit various churches in our search for meaning and independence.

 With our meal ticket in hand, we stepped into the coed lunchroom ready to refine the art of flirting. Carol was a master. Eating dinner, by the way, was a secondary activity.

  “Looks don’t matter to me,” said Carol, “I’m more interested in dating a man with intelligence and personality.”           

In contrast,  I felt rather vain as I pointed to the picture of my dream stud muffin pinned on the wall by my desk. Glancing at George Hamilton made for a good study break. He was tall, dark, muscular and handsome—all my required ingredients in a man.  I had my eye on a collegiate who fit that description. Eventually, Rick asked me out.  But his handsomeness palled when he opened his mouth. I guess Carol was right. I needed to look beyond my poster dream boy.

 Pledge time came; I watched intensely as  Carol put her eyeliner on with a sharpened pencil; I was afraid she’d poke her eye out. We dressed in our best attire; piled our hair high and went to sorority teas. It was an adventure we could not afford. Sororities cost money we didn’t have; when we were invited back, we said “thanks” but we wanted to remain independent of any particular group. 

 After the tea, we went to the Union where students gathered nightly to dance. Looking to my left, I saw a tall and handsome young man. His engaging smile spoke volumes about his love for music and dancing. I dreamt of peering into his thoughtful, romantic eyes with lashes that would be the envy of any girl. OK, he didn’t have dark hair; he was blonde like me. I imagined myself encircled by his muscular arms. Other than that, he was my poster boy. Now there is someone I would like to meet, I thought. But the evening evaporated and Carol and I sauntered back to our dorms before opportunity knocked.

My rigorous and difficult classes kept me busy and often overwhelmed. I was thrown into advanced French with a Parisian teacher who spoke very little English. I survived my math class by rewriting my notes over and over again.   Now speech was my specialty. I joined the speech team at NIU and was confident in my abilities. But I was disappointed in my first speech performance. It didn’t go well. I began my dialogue with God while gazing at the beautiful pink setting sun canopied in purple. 

 “I don’t know if you are there or not, but if you are—- show me you exist by making something wonderful happen. Right now, I wish I were a cloud floating along carefree. But if you are there, you can have my life,” I cried out.

 My older brother, Bill, and I had many conversations on summer nights as we sat on the lawn looked up at the stars.  

 “There is no way we could ever know if God exists or not,” he said. I really valued the opinions of my intelligent older brother. 

 If God did exist, I thought, couldn’t he communicate with me, a human being? Couldn’t he reveal himself in some way?

 My roommate, Carol, had a date the following Friday. Determined not to spend a Friday night in the dorm alone, I shyly ventured to the Newman Club for the Valentine Day dance alone. The band was in high gear when I looked across the crowded room of dancers. There he was, my poster boy, the very same one I had noticed at the Union the week before. He would stand out in any crowd. “You’re going to meet him tonight,” I heard but wondered where the inaudible voice came from. Fat chance I thought. He had a girl pasted on each side of him.   When I came out of the bathroom though,  he was standing alone. It was now or never to make a move before the pasted sisters returned. His picture was in the newspaper that day along with a comment on his views of the Vietnam situation. I starred at his picture for a long time earlier that afternoon peering into those mesmerizing eyes. 

Like Cinderella, I had very few clothes and a very limited budget.  However, my fashionable roommate was out to change my image. We went shopping the morning of the Valentine dance; she talked me into buying a bright red sweater with drawstrings that gently dangled over my breasts and a red and white checkered skirt.      

 “Red, unlike drab blue, will compliment your blonde hair and capture a guy’s attention,” she assured me.  

Here I was a few feet away from my dream man. I was not going to let this opportunity pass by. I boldly walked up to him turning as bright as my red sweater and said, “What do you think of the Viet Nam situation?” He laughed knowing that I was making reference to his picture in the paper. He looked down at my five-foot frame and in a deep voice said, “Aren’t you Sue?” I was ecstatic that he knew my name. He had seen me for the first time that morning walking with his friend, Graham. He had me confused with a fast-moving girl named DeKalb Sue who was dating Graham.   I melted when he asked me to dance to a medley of Beatle songs and even the cramp in my foot didn’t stop me.  At the end of the evening, he asked if he could walk me back to the dorm. We held hands on the long walk back to the dorm. Girls had to be in by midnight on the weekends. I’d be grounded the next weekend if I was even a minute late whereas the men had no hours at all. At last, we arrived with minutes to spare. Placing me a step up, Larry starred into my eyes and they melted into mine. “Can I kiss you goodnight?” he asked. I very much wanted to be kissed by my prince charming. I don’t remember saying “Yes,” but Larry remembers and it was the softest gentlest kiss I had ever experienced. “I can’t believe you kissed me,” I said. I then remembered my vow to not kiss on first dates and this wasn’t even a date. It was a pickup. But Cupid’s bow had landed in our hearts and I ran down the hall shouting, “I’m in love; I’m in love”—-knowing that at 18 years old, I had found my soulmate.  Yes, I do believe in love at first sight. Shakespeare was right when he said, “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

 He called later that evening and we talked about our families. “Would you like to go out next weekend?” he asked. I held my breath hoping he would say Sunday instead of Saturday since I already had another date. “How about going to the Hootenanny on Sunday night at the Union?” Our dating relationship and mutual love for music began.            

 As I found out later, Larry was majoring in Dating 101. He had dated 32 different girls and still reserved Friday’s for pickups like me. He was making up for all the time he missed as a shy, overworked young man in high school. Larry’s classes were getting little attention. When people asked him where he would be living next semester. He would say, “Off campus,” Yes, I thought, way off campus. He later joined the Marines as an air controller.

There were ups and downs in our ongoing relationship. Larry was afraid of getting serious at nineteen years of age. I was very upset when he quit calling. When someone else asked me out, I said “yes” and ended up at the Newman Club dance yet again. It was Friday—Larry’s pick up night. He saw me with my new date and danced right next to us. My heart was throbbing uncontrollably.  About 12:30 AM that night he called saying,” I didn’t like seeing you with that other guy.  I think I’m falling in love.” We spent the next day talking, laughing and enveloped in each other’s arms. We knew there was something very special about our relationship and we didn’t want to lose each other.

 God had answered my prayers by making something wonderful happen in my life. As a result, I gave my life to Christ and soon after Larry did as well. We know that we are gifts to one another and even after many years of marriage, the flame grows stronger. There is a God who designed us for one another and each Valentine Day is special to us.

 The fairytale romance blossomed into marriage and the rearing of three children. Presently we have five grandchildren and we have had many foster children. Regardless of circumstances,  our prevailing state is happiness. The scriptures say that “Two are better than one.” That has certainly been true in our lives. Larry built a beautiful high ceiling home for us filled with our son’s artwork, family pictures, and plants too numerous to count. We are so blessed and about to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary July 6th, 2018. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Family that Plays Together

  We enjoyed a wonderful family time in Montana with the unseasonably warm weather.  We stayed at a cabin in Silver Gate near Cook City and skied in Yellowstone with Aaron and Lynelle and grandsons. It was a late Christmas celebration. We had no Wi-Fi and no telephone service… just electricity. It’s the greatest way for family bonding.  Praying with your kids and grandkids is important but playing is as well. I have memories of running up and down playground equipment playing tag. Larry has been described as a little boy in a big boy’s body.  Camping is another wonderful way to bond. There is something wonderful about our memories of camping at Devil’s Lake while sleeping out under the stars as a family. But we have even slept in our backyard minus a tent well before mosquito invasions. I guess the main point is breaking the routine. Yes, the family that prays and plays together stays together. Now how do you create memories with your loved ones?

 

Ever Try Building a Snow Cave?

CIMG5040This past week’s weather brings back memories of the winter of 1978.  The ample amount of snow and cold made it a record breaking winter—the kids had four days off of school.    Larry ordered a sewing kit from Frostline to make his own sleeping bag and coats for the kids.  Yes, Larry is the seamstress in the family.  Construction of any sort is his forte. After constructing his sleeping bag, he wanted to test it out to see if it was really good for -20 degree temperatures as it claimed.  So he built a snow cave in the front yard of our house on Rt. 31 in Crystal Lake, IL. We had so much snow the winter of 1978 that the kids could jump off the garage into large snow drifts. Our mailbox was decapitated by the snow plow — we just stuck the poleless mailbox  in the drift and got our mail that way. The snow plowers were  so far behind in getting to their customers that Larry had to cross-country ski groceries to our friends trapped in their home.

But Larry was made for winter. He relished in it and always grew a beard in the winter to keep his face warm.  It didn’t take him long to build a prize-winning snow cave. He kissed me and our three kids good night and off he went into below 0 weather to test his new bag. Samson, our trusty St. Bernard, lay at the front door as a guard dog in case of an Eskimo invasion.

I was warm and comfortable under my blankets thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t have to join him in this experiment. By 5 AM I heard the door open and my 6′ 2″ husband now in the shape of a pretzel and frozen like a popsicle snuggled up to me and awakened me with frozen pea like toes on my warm toasty legs.  He then said,” My knee was bothering me too much to stay out all night.”  When adventure doesn’t come to you, make your own by winter camping in your front yard. You too can freeze almost to death and live to tell your grandchildren.  Stay tuned in—there were other winter camping experiences that I did not escape.

New Year’s Commitment 2015

CIMG5143“Life is not measured by the breaths we take; but rather by the moments that took our breath away.”

As I was walking through the field house at Northern Illinois University, I felt a large, warm hand on my neck. It was Larry who I had recently begun dating. There was something about his touch that was protective and secure. I turned around and looked up into his beautiful eyes. He walked me to my dorm and pretended to slip and slide on the icy terrain bumping into me and causing me to laugh heartily. Three years later, I began my ‘Life with Larry’. Our 46 year marriage has been filled with humor and adventure. Practical jokes abound. Each night I get up around 2 AM. Just before I rest my head down, my pillow may often go sailing down the hallway. I get even by filling his pillowcase with shoes and other odds and ends. Our marriage is far from boring. Larry is my trailblazer setting us off on one adventure after another. Our partnership has included a tandem kayak and a tandem bicycle. We have a deep love that conquers all. That love has grown by serving one another, by putting one another above ourselves and by forgetting who is right or wrong in matters. We try to follow what the Bible says. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Many times we just agreed to disagree. We can both be very stubborn.  But the Bible continues to be our source for guidance because it never changes unlike the latest counseling advice. Laughter fills our home and we miss one another when we are apart. “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

We have experienced many of the same problems other couples face like financial woes, differences of opinions, and accidents. But we always have lived life to the fullest. Somehow we were certain we could overcome any trial we faced with our own ingenuity and God’s help. We learned to forgive and forget, to concentrate on the positive actions of our spouse and to hope for the best. Larry will always forget to shut doors and leave a pile of clothes by the bed. I will fail to turn off the bathroom light and mess up anything mechanical. But we accept one another with our weak and strong points. We normally go on volunteer trips together. We have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan’s Purse and Love INC and currently, American Blind Skiing Foundation.  But this time I will be staying home. Larry will be going to Galena, Alaska with Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild homes destroyed by the flooding of the Yukon River. They want people who have expertise in carpentry which I do not have. I hope by sharing our secrets to a happy marriage, you also will find wisdom to build a strong marriage as well.

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