Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving Day! We’re thankful here at the Schlueter house for a multitude of things. Ten weeks ago, one of our sons had a catastrophic fall from a truck at work, breaking his hip and femur in 2 places. They later discovered 2 additional fractures in the hip area, complicating the healing. He was in the hospital for 2 weeks and has been in a nursing home for 8 weeks for rehabilitation. He isn’t going to be able to go back to work for six months. What we are thankful for today is that he is able to leave the nursing home to have Thanksgiving with us and that he is up and using a walker now. It’s wonderful to see his improvement.

Emily woke up this morning and her first words to me were, “Happy Thanksgiving, Mama!” Yes, happy thanks to the Lord for so many, many things. For every meal, every friend, for every hug, for every laugh, and yes, for every tear and trial he sends, we can still be thankful, as God works all things out for our good and ultimately, for His glory.

I haven’t been able to write much here at the Hope Blog lately, but will hopefully have more to add soon!

Psalms 116:17 – I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

 

pilgrimhat

Advice from an Old Farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.

Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.

Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.

Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.

Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

~ unknown

 

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Paul Gerhardt’s Counsel to His Son

Paul Gerhardt is remembered for his beautiful hymns. He was a German pastor in the 17th century who suffered much loss. But he is remembered today as the “Sweet Singer of Lutheranism” for both his unwavering faith in Christ, his beautiful hymn texts and his personal integrity.  He wrote this “testament” on his 70th birthday to his young son, the only surviving child of his five.

Now that I have reached the 70th year of my life and also have the joyful hope that my dear, holy God will soon rescue me out of this world and lead me into a better life than I have had until now on earth, I thank Him especially for all His kindness and faithfulness which, from my mother’s womb until the present hour, He has shown me in body and soul and in all that He has given me. Besides this, I ask Him from the bottom of my heart that when my hour comes He would grant me a happy departure, take my soul into His fatherly hands, and give my body a peaceful rest in the ground until the dear Last Day, when I, with all of my [family] who have been before me and also may remain after me, will reawake and behold my dear Lord Jesus Christ face to face, in whom I have believed but have not yet seen. To my only son whom I am leaving behind I leave few earthly goods, but with them I leave him an honorable name of which he will not have to be ashamed.

My son knows that from his tender childhood I have given him to the Lord my God as His possession, that he is to become a servant and preacher of His holy Word. He is to remain now in this and not turn away from it, even if he has only few good days in it. For the good Lord knows how to handle it and how sufficiently to replace external troubles with internal happiness of the heart and joy of the spirit.

Study holy theology in pure schools and at unfalsified universities and beware of the syncretists [those who mix religions or confessions], for they seek what is temporal and are faithful to neither God nor men. In your common life do not follow evil company but rather the will and command of your God. Especially: (1) Do nothing evil in the hope that it will remain secret, for nothing is spun so small that it is not seen in the light of day. (2) Outside of your office and vocation do not become angry. If you notice that anger has heated you up, remain still and speak not so much as a word until you have first prayed the Ten Commandments and the Christian Creed silently. (3) Be ashamed of the lusts of the flesh, and when you one day come to the years in which you can marry, then marry with God and with the good advice of pious, faithful, and sensible people. (4) Do good to people even if they have nothing with which to repay you, for the Creator of heaven and earth has long since repaid what humans cannot repay: when He created you, when He gave you His beloved Son, and when He accepted you in Holy Baptism as His child and heir. (5) Flee from greed as from hell. Be satisfied with what you have earned with honor and a good conscience, even if it is not all too much. But if the good Lord gives you something more, ask Him to preserve you from the burdensome misuse of temporal goods.

In summary: Pray diligently, study something honorable, live peacefully, serve honestly, and remain unmoved in your faith and confessing. If you do this, you too will one day die and depart from this world willingly, joyfully, and blessedly. Amen.

Source: Christian Bunners, Paul Gerhardt: Weg Werk Wirkung (Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006), 301-302. Translated by Benjamin T. G. Mayes, 5/4/2007

Here is one of his hymns. Find the full text of the hymn below the video, as there are more verses than what is sung in this clip.

 

 

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Christ is near with His cheer,
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the Heaven
That God’s Son for my own
To my faith hath given?

Though a heavy cross I’m bearing
And my heart feels the smart,
Shall I be despairing?
God, my Helper, who doth send it,
Well doth know all my woe
And how best to end it.

Hopeful, cheerful, and undaunted
Everywhere they appear
Who in Christ are planted.
Death itself cannot appall them,
They rejoice when the voice
Of their Lord doth call them.

Death cannot destroy forever;
From our fears, cares and tears
It will us deliver.
It will close life’s mournful story,
Make a way that we may
Enter heavenly glory.

What is all this life possesses?
But a hand full of sand
That the heart distresses.
Noble gifts that pall me never
Christ, our Lord, will accord
To His saints forever.

Lord, my Shepherd, take me to Thee.
Thou art mine; I was Thine
Even ere I knew Thee.
I am Thine, for Thou hast bought me;
Lost I stood, but Thy blood
Free salvation bought me.

Thou art mine; I love and own Thee.
Light of Joy, ne’er shall I
From my heart dethrone Thee.
Savior, let me soon behold Thee
Face to face—may Thy grace
Evermore enfold me!

~ Paul Gerhardt

Meet a Man Who Has Helped Save 1,000 Babies from Abortion in 3 Years

baby1Need to see what Christian love looks like? This wonderful story from Lifesitenews.com should bring a smile and praise to the Lord!

“Between cancer that required four surgeries, two brain aneurisms that required two more surgeries, and an accident when someone ran into his back with a vehicle, leading to yet more surgeries, it’s a marvel that Barros is standing, let alone maintaining the grueling schedule that he does.

Nine hours a day, six days a week, Barros holds vigil outside one of the country’s most notorious late-term abortion mills – the Orlando Women’s Clinic – where he preaches the Gospel and reaches out to abortion-bound women.

But for him, it’s beyond worth it. After all, in the past three years of sidewalk counseling, Barros has helped over 1,000 women change their minds, and keep their babies. But, for all of the hours that he has spent in prayer and outreach outside the clinic, Barros insists that he deserves none of the credit.

The story of every girl who comes to the clinic is different, “but the answer is the same,” he says. “The answer is always found in Jesus Christ. That’s what we’re here for, to lead them, point them to Jesus Christ.” Read full story here.

Remembering the Little Things

It is time again to be thankful for simple pleasures. For some reason, in the last few days, God blessed us with a flurry of them.

My beautiful friend Paula stopped by on Saturday and we had a front porch chat. My valkommenporch was all marked up with sidewalk chalk from my daughter and snaked across with a hose and populated with bikes, a wagon and a stroller, but we sat and talked. There is nothing like a good friend chat, clutter around us and all.

I’m still reflecting on how wonderful it is to see the generations mix. Yesterday, I took Will to a church to play an organ concert. There were about 42 senior citizens who turned out to hear the music. They surrounded our son afterwards to talk with him about all sorts of things, not just music. Will is friendly and he genuinely likes people, so both he and the seniors enjoyed talking together. Good music was the catalyst that brought them together. Our son came home enriched for the experience, and I know the people enjoyed it as well. Simple things like this bring real joy.

This morning, Emmy asked to wear a pink summer dress that she normally wears to church. The summer is waning, the dress is getting short, so she dressed in her pink flower dress today just because. All day, she made me smile watching her.

I worked hard today. The house looks nice. That always makes me happy. Our home is a busy place, and clutter, fingerprints and dust are a reality sometimes, but doesn’t it feel awfully nice when for a few moments, things are shiny and clean? All ten minutes worth of it!

chocolate chip cookiesThis afternoon, Em and I made some chocolate chip cookies, and then, a pan of brownies for the man of the house after dinner tonight. Em made the dough balls, and I stirred up the brownie mix. The air is autumn like today, hardly like August at all. The beautiful cool breeze is carrying the aroma of the cookies and brownies through the house and outside again. The house is going to smell awfully nice when Mr. Schlueter walks in tonight.

These are simple pleasures of daily life, pleasures that many do not have. I am very grateful for each and every blessing from the Lord’s hands.

The Eli Project

Once in a while one single story has the power to make you forget a lot of the ugly for a little while. This is it. God’s  work done through human hands.

Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Katie was an orphan in Bulgaria, and at the age of nine, she weighed just 10.5 pounds. She and the other children in the orphanage were left Katie-in-orphanage-eli-projectin cribs at all times, fed a liquid diet (on which many choked, and some even aspirated it to the point of death).
KatieBecause of this abuse, Katie had severe protein-energy malnutrition, severe anemia, severe osteoporosis, multiple spinal compression fractures, scurvy, and atrophic skin. But even with all of these medical concerns, Katie was still a wanted child.

She now lives the United States with her adoptive family and is receiving proper medical care as well as an abundance of love and kindness. Children like Katie are able to find homes thanks to the generous devotion of organizations like Eli Project. Read the full story here.

In the adoption paperwork we evaluated from Eastern Europe, a state social worker wrote in one report about a disabled child, “Not a person of full value.” I’ll never forget thinking what a terrible lie that was. Every child is of infinite value to God and should be to us.

75 Years Together, and Then They Died One Day Apart

I saw this beautiful story today.

A husband and wife who were born on the same day and celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last year have died just a day apart. The couple’s son Les Brown Jr said that 94-year-old Helen Brown died on July 16 and 94-year-old Les Brown died on July 17 in southern California. (Read the story here.)

The couple married out of high school at 18 and eloped after their parents objected to their elderly-coupleworking class daughter marrying the son of a wealthy family. They were afraid it wouldn’t last! Well, last it did, for 75 years with hardly a day apart.

I love the black and white photo in the story especially. The eyes and set of the young man’s chin speak of purpose and intelligence and maturity. Young people sure grew up faster back then. No waiting until 35 for adulthood to kick in. They matured as they took on adult responsibility. They didn’t hook up for 15 years with multiple partners, abort the human consequences, contract a few STD’s, and then decide to settle down. Things have not improved with our adult-io-lescence phase that is destructive in so many areas.

Young couples can still take on adult responsibility at an early age, but there are a lot more obstacles today, including the curse of school debt that plagues many, the shortage of bread winning jobs even if there’s a college degree in place, the cost of housing and medical care among a lot of other things.  But where there is a will, there’s a way. Many couples start out with expectations of what they have to have, including a certain standard of living they have not yet earned. If you have to have all the technology bells and whistles, have to purchase a home, drive newer cars, etc., you will have a long while to afford it all. But modest and frugal young people can still establish their families early if they use wisdom, spend carefully, save money and above all, delay gratification.

Our 25-year-old son and his wife are such a couple. They are careful about spending and don’t buy unnecessary things, they don’t have a television or internet at home, they watch for bargains and don’t have to buy new. As a result, they have been able to build their family together from a young age with God at the center. We are very proud of their maturity and godly priorities, despite the constant siren song of the materialism in our culture.

I hope you enjoy this story as I did. I love the photo of the wife with her hand on her husband’s face. A tender photo of true love between husband and wife after 75 years. They died within a day of each other, because neither could imagine life without the other.

Joy Blips

031Every so often at the Hope Blog, I post “joy blips” — little things that bring a smile to my face  and heart, things that happen in the course of an ordinary day.

Here are a few blips on my life radar.

Emily told me this morning, “I love your more than a cricket can squeak!” That made me smile!

The woman in the red car in front of me at the coffee shop drive-through paid for my coffee this morning.  I got to the window and the lady said, “Your coffee is already paid for!” It’s the second time this has happened to me in the last few months. I returned the favor to someone a few weeks ago. Just a little joy blip, hopefully, on that woman’s radar, too.

Tom had an unexpected night off from the six-week long music job he’s playing. He whisked me away last night, and we had a sandwich and conversation without one, single interruption from anybody in a nearly deserted Arby’s, at a table in the corner. I was reminded once again of how thankful I am for Tom.

School is nearly out! No more taxi mom every morning. Preschool is out, Will is going to be done after 3 days of exams next week. That is a very happy thought.

We have the Crazy Season coming up on a different front, however, but it’s a happy one. We have the most amazing number of birthdays, holidays and anniversaries coming up, it’s nearly unbelievable. We’re doing 2 double parties to celebrate. Sam and Will’s birthdays come first, then Peter’s first birthday party and Tom’s all in one. So we are a partying bunch here for several weeks. Sanity doesn’t resume until after September. And our second grandbaby is to arrive that month, so there will be 2 in September soon!

We are going to shop today for a basket of pink geraniums. I have a black thumb, meaning that I am not very good at keeping plants alive. Emily, however, has asked if she could have some flowers to take care of this summer. She has a small, personal watering can and would like to have some flowers. I figured that geraniums are hardy enough to survive us. Maybe Emily will have a green thumb and flowers will thrive. There was a frost warning last night in our area (unbelievably), but I think geraniums will be OK now that June is almost here.

Here’s joy from Jesus. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” ~ John 10:10

Do you have any joy blips today? Life is mostly made up of many small things, and in these small things we can usually find something to smile about!