Don’t Get Sidetracked

The Fact, Faith Feeling Train

Life is much like a train and we certainly don’t want to have a train wreck for any reason.

I can’t believe the difference I feel from one day to the next. So much depends on getting proper sleep and not falling into the worry abysses. I’ve done research in the past that shows that 85 % of what we worry about never happens. When counseling friends, I share this statistic with them. But when it comes to myself, it’s a different story.

For instance, I have a daughter with colon cancer and I find myself often going down the rabbit hole of worry about her even though her doctors believe she will have a positive outcome. By October, she will be done with her chemotherapy treatment. She lives in Bozeman Montana and I’m in Chicagoland. Every day, I fight worrying about her. I put her in God’s hands again and again.

The fact is she has colon cancer. Faith is praying that God will use all means to bring health to Deborah again and the feelings change from day to day for many reasons.

The weather in Chicagoland has been beautiful and I’m very much an outdoor person. I’m writing this blog today sitting on my deck looking at a plethora of beautiful flowers, a blue sky ahead and occasionally a humming bird flying from flower to flower enjoying a variety of nectar. I have every reason to be content. But I often battle with my feelings-the caboose-wanting to run my life train.

What’s the problem with feelings running my train? Yesterday I had a bundle of energy and happiness. I got so much accomplished including ending my day with a 10-mile bike ride. I felt like the eagle described in Isaiah 40:31. In fact, I didn’t want the day to end since I enjoyed it so much. But I couldn’t relax enough to fall a sleep until around 2:30 AM and then I know the next day will be difficult. I will lack energy and will fight worry and depression.

I want to accomplish so much more with my life than I have. After retiring from teaching, I stepped into many volunteer programs. It’s important to find one that fits the individual. I love playing the piano once a week during Thursday lunch hour at Good Shepherd Hospital. But it’s not enough for me. I would like to play the piano more, teach more and help children.

My adult children and my grandkids are at the time in their lives when they don’t need my help much at all. It’s a sad time for me, but it’s reality, a fact, and I need to find other ways to engage with those who could use my gifts of listening, teaching and music.

So, there you have it—the train of Fact, Faith and Feelings. I try to run my life by the engine of Facts and Faith that God will use me to help others. I’ve learned not to trust the caboose-feelings. They change from day to day and can’t be trusted. Stay well and enjoy the Labor Day Weekend.

The beautiful bay in Hawaii

A New Bike for Larry??

After finishing two cataract surgeries. Larry was now ready to ride a bike with me again. He bought a new bike that was more adaptable for his foot problem. Today we went on his first maiden voyage, but he could not get his feet out of the cleats. Yikes! I could just imagine him crashing again and needing another surgery. He has had 25 surgeries already. We were ready to finally engage in activity again—- And now this? But we are resourceful and came up with this idea. He made his way to a fence in the nearby grave yard and grabbed onto the fence coming to an abrupt halt in his 4 mile journey. I got his feet out of his size 12 bike shoes and he walked home wearing his colorful bike socks. As for his shoes, they were still attached to the clips. Yes, another moment—an adjustment solved the problem. Now how many times has God given us a fence to grab on to while catching us before disaster strikes. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of need. ” Psalm 46:1

Stranded But Not Alone

It was a very hot day close to 90 degrees and after our volunteering obligations were over, I suggested to my husband that we take a motorcycle ride toward Lake Geneva, WI. We have new helmets that I’m learning to take on and off. Our communication devises have not arrived. So, we listened to the radio on the way to WI and ended up finding an outdoor supper club just over the Illinois border. It was a delightful ride and we had a delicious fish fry. On the way out, a friend from our past tapped me on the shoulder. It was a surprise to see Rosanne and her friends at the restaurant. We hugged and visited for a while and she said, “Now I’ll pray for you that you have a safe trip of about 50 minutes home.” Larry helped me adjust my helmet and then he jumped on the motorcycle. I started getting on the left side, but I said, “Honey, I’ll get on the right side instead.” Larry didn’t hear me and thought I was on the back. “Wrong” He took off without me like a strike of lightning. I yelled out and ran frantically towards him shouting, “I’m not on.  Stop! Stop!” but he never heard me with the sound of traffic and the sound of his radio. All my belongings were in the back trunk. I didn’t have a nickel to my name, nor my phone.  I walked a couple of blocks to the nearby gas station just over the border between IL and WI, and waited patiently for him to come back and get me. Surely, he will soon know that I am not on the back of his motorcycle. But after 20 minutes my hope depleted. Here I was on a hot summer evening walking back and forth along the highway with my helmet on. There were many who stopped to help me. They would say, “Would you like to call him.” You can use my phone. There were three wonderful people that offered their phones but Larry did not answer. I tried to take off my helmet since now I was sweating, but I couldn’t get it off. Finally, a young man helped me and yeah, I was now helmet free. I decided to walk the two blocks back to Rosanne at the restaurant. They burst out laughing that I was left behind. She also tried calling Larry. I then went back to my post by the highway hoping he would return. Larry made it all the way home to Fox River Grove, IL before he realized I was not on the back. He contacted Rosanne and came back in his Ford truck to pick me up. It was another lifewithlarry story that we will never forget. I’m really looking forward to the communication devises. And I’m so happy there are people like Heidi and Scott who tried to help me that night.

What’s Happened to Our Mother Tongue????

I grew up with a mother who was a stickler for good grammar. Being raised on the south side of Chicago, i would hear lots of incorrect grammar which I started to blend into my everyday language. Thinks like, “I seen” instead of “I saw” and “She ain’t” instead of “She isn’t”. And swearing wasn’t even in our vocabulary at home. We’d probably get out mouth washed out with soap. “Swearing is a feeble way of expressing oneself forcibly.” But today it’s just part of an ongoing dialogue. What’s happened to all the wonderful and creative expressions we could use instead? Yes, I am my mother’s child and when I hear “F’ this and “F” that, I cringe. I walk into high end stores now and I see it on cups and plates, etc. What’s happened tp our mother tongue? Is our vocabulary so limited?” “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” Matthew12:34.

Granted, I might not use the “F” word, but I use others which I’m ‘ trying to weed from my vocabulary. We are judged by the words that come out of our mouth. When my husband, Larry, worked with his dad on the North Shore, his father told him to be sure he doesn’t swear while on the job.” His go to work when he made a mistake in construction was, “Rats” from Peanuts. That continues to be his go to word. So do you want to join me in improving our limited scope of creative language? My mother sure would like me to carry on her torch for better use of the English language. i

Easter 2023

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. Even Kelsey Grammer has spoken about the power of his faith to get him through life. He tells of the uniqueness of Christ who taught us to love our enemies.

Looking at the sunset one evening, I began my dialogue with God. “I’m not sure if you are there or not; but if you are, show me you exist? If you are there, you can have my life.” 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 figure to me, not a living and resurrected being. I started keeping a journal on how He demonstrated his existence to me. I was a skeptic but I saw Jesus as someone worthy to commit my life to if he was who he said he was. 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. We have a God shaped void in our lives without Him. Nothing will fill it. How do you find Him? He said, “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.

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. “God has set eternity in the human heart.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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. 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.

My thoughts and prayers are with you this Easter season 2023 as we deal with a divided nation, record levels of violence and the war between Russia and Ukraine. But there is hope and peace when we open our lives to Christ. This is the perfect season to do your own search. I will post more on my research about why I believe Jesus was the Messiah in the coming days. For now, enjoy what might be our last snowstorm for the year. Let’s hope.

I Felt the Earth Move Under My Feet

Have you ever had the sensation of being upside down when you are squarely on your feet? Have you had to have someone hold your hand while you’re spinning around uncontrollably? That is what I experienced not long ago. You may think you are right when you are in truth wrong. John F Kennedy Jr thought he was right when flying a plane into the ground with his wife and her sister. The probable cause of Kennedy’s accident was spatial disorientation-which results in a person being unable to determine their position or relative motion, commonly occurring during periods of challenging visibility. The auditory system within the inner ear and other sensory receptors work to coordinate movement and balance. My experience with Vertigo, caused by a problem in my right inner ear, made me think of how perceptions in life can be skewed. We cannot trust ourselves and our own perceptions or we could make a decision that could have dire consequences and plunge us into an abyss.

I was taught that we have five senses, but indeed we have many more. Here’s what happened when I had my experience with Vertigo.

When I woke up not knowing I had Vertigo, I stepped on the ground, but the world was spinning and I crawled on the floor calling for my husband, not knowing what was happening to me. After two days of Vertigo/nausea, I got the help I needed. A pill took care of the nausea. I reached out for my husband’s hand when we worked on a medical exercise to correct the problem in my right inner ear which was caused by the calcium crystals coming loose from their normal location on the utricle, a sensory organ in the inner ear. It was scary, as we tried the procedure, because the world was spinning but when i stood up, the problem was corrected and the world once again was normal.

We need a compass to tell us which direction is correct when driving. We cannot say that any direction is fine in order to get home. And for me, the Bible is my moral compass giving me the directions for how to live a fulfilled life. It tells me the way to live and how to have the abundant life I now live. I find the words of Jesus fill my heart with wisdom, love and peace. He said, “The thief comes to kill and destroy, : but I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10.

We have seen first-hand the damage the thief has done to our world, but know that there is a better way to live.  If you want to communicate further, leave a comment on my blog. or Sue Schuerr Face Book.

Damean Bivin’s Life Gives Hope

After all the political division these last couple years, with supposed Christians cozying up to threatening organizations and questionable un-Christlike people, I was very dismayed that there would be a large fall out of believers.  Our churches are down in attendance by a third from pre-pandemic days. If Jesus walked the Earth today, would many who call themselves Christians embrace Him? He lived a servant’s life and had a heart for the poor and marginalized. He warned about how difficult it was for the rich to inherit the kingdom of God.

But I turned on the radio, and while listening to part of the football game, Damean Bivins went down and without intervention would have died. I watched as both teams were on their knees rallying around him in prayer. I was so grateful to see the demonstration of faith and team support. The real Jesus still inspires people to reach out to him in time of need.  Yes, the Spirit of God is still moving on Earth. People do believe in prayer and in miracles. We are the hands and feet of Jesus and God wants to use us as he used those who resuscitated Damen and the wonderful doctors who helped bring him back to health.. Damean’s doctors are calling it a miracle.

 I am given hope that after all the horrible division that has separated us as a nation, that there is still hope for the future of true followers of Jesus. 

A view from Hawaii 2019

Looking for Hope?

“God has set eternity in the human heart.” Ecclesiastics 3:11. Solomon penned these words along with the verses made into a familiar song. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” We can all look back at our lives and remember the seasons. We remember what it felt like to perhaps fall in love, have our first child, and the body of an energizer bunny. We can look back at those times with fondness as we enter yet another season of life.  The other day, I watched the parade of cyclists fly by on the street near our house and remembered how easy it was to bike 30 miles back to our starting place, to go out to eat and socialize afterwards, and to get up to teach the next morning. The years have flown by and getting up and having time for reflective thought and a second cup of coffee while glazing at the birds at our feeders is yet another heartwarming season.  Yet, those seasons of intent action were seasons filled with so much adventure.  It’s a time now of losing loved ones like my brother Bob and my sister Ginger. It’s almost as if there is a waiting room where our numbers will be called one day. That is why it is so important to redeem the time, seize the day and love and enjoy each moment we have on planet Earth.  There is a God shaped vacuum in our hearts longing for the time when our soul lives on in eternity. Inside, we know this is not the end. This is not a pipe dream that can’t possibly be true. Just look outside now and see the death of summer as the plants shrivel and look dead, but Spring will once again touch the Earth with its magic wand.  God has given us natural signs to illustrate heavenly principles.  He sacrificed his only Son, Jesus, and sent Him to Earth to show us how to live life by dying to ourselves. He told us to even love our enemies and think of others more than ourselves. Jesus taught us to be servants of one another and to show the world that we are “His” by our love for one another.  He said in John 17, “My prayer is not for them alone, but I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” Yes, that is us. Jesus left the world to prepare a place for us that we may see his glory.  The hope is that this experiment called “Life” will teach us how-to live here and in eternity. He says, “I am come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 and knowing these thoughts make every day of my life richer. So don’t despair because of growing older and fading away like a winter plant; just know that Spring is coming.  GOD HAS SET ETERNITY IN OUR HUMAN HEART.

Manna from Heaven?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” But what about a banana a day? My friend, Carol, was bemoaning the fact that she didn’t have a banana while we were on the forest covered path to Sunset Beach in Door County, Wisconsin. She said, “I wish I had a banana. It helps me sleep and helps fill my stomach when I’m hungry, like now.” The six of us continued up the path with the anticipation of seeing a spectacular sunset on Lake Michigan.  Visitors to the park had already begun setting up their professional cameras and I phones. Chris, Carol’s husband, said, “Look, there’s a banana over there.” He passed it up since it was in the dirt, but I picked it up and rubbed it clean. “Carol, look it’s ‘Manna from Heaven’! It looks good,” I said while peeling it. Her expression needed no words. She was surprised to see a banana, but tentative about eating it. She said, “Sue, you take the first bite.”  When I didn’t pass out or feign illness, she gleefully chumped down the tasty fruit. As we joined the group of about 50 people at the park, I excitingly told the story about ‘Manna from Heaven’ in the ear shot of a woman sitting on a rock nearby. She kiddingly said, “That was MY banana.” We all laughed and had such a good time while continuing to watch the most spectacular sunset we had ever seen. Pink and purple hues streaked the sky as the sun peeked in and out among the clouds making its way until it disappeared from our view.  In the past, every one would clap because a sunset at the beach was the best show in town. We made our way to a local restaurant with stomachs growling, but happy to have had not ‘Manna from Heaven’ but a banana from Door.  

I Am My Brother’s Keeper

Whenever the weather permits, I either take a long walk or a bike ride. It’s October and the mornings and evenings are cold, but when the sun comes out in the afternoon, it’s delightful. That’s when I grab my bike, put on some tunes and take off. Each day I take a different route while listening to tunes on my I phone. I marvel at the beauty of flowers and the trees that are just beginning to fade. It’s Ok that I’m riding alone, because I always talk to God and mainly thank Him for health and happiness. But here is what happened last week.

I took a bike ride last Saturday while a soccer game was going on at the park I often ride around. I noticed a young beautiful woman on the walk/bike path. She was distressed. On my second time around the path, she stopped me to tell me she had lost her keys. I told her if she lived locally, I could ride home and get my car. I noticed she had a thick Polish accent. She said, “Could you just look for a shiny object in the grass? This is where I walked.” I continued around the almost mile circular path and asked again. “Any Luck?” I continued the next time around, and she still hadn’t found her keys. I stopped riding and said, “God sees your keys and knows where they are.” And I prayed with her that God would help her find her kays. No sooner had I finished praying, when an elderly woman holding a dog in one arm held up the keys in her free hand. We were so happy that God had answered our prayer. Now you may say, “This is just a coincidence in timing.” But I say, “It has happened to me so many times. What are the odds?”

Tips on how to live a long and fulfilled life