Our Son Will – Making A Joyful Noise on the Pipe Organ!

Our son, Will Schlueter, is playing an organ recital in Chicago at St. John Cantius church this Sunday at 3pm. Here is his program.

1) Piece Heroique- C. Franck
2) Trio Sonata 6- Moevement 1. Vivace -J.S. Bach
3) Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue- J.S. Bach
4) Variations on Old Hundreth- Denis Bedard
5) Romance from Symphony #4- Louis Vierne
6) Allegro from Symphony #6- C.M. Widor

About the organist: Will Schlueter is a sophomore at Wheaton College, where he studies organ performance with Dr. Edward Zimmerman. A Wisconsin native, Will has had a passion for the pipe organ since he was very young, and began lessons with Sr. Mary Jane Wagner (S.S.S.F) in 2011. Since then he has performed many times at the finest venues in the Milwaukee area, including St. Joseph’s Chapel, St. John’s Cathedral, and Gesu Church, home of the largest organ in Wisconsin. He particularly enjoys liturgical music, and has played for many  services over the last five years, in addition to participating in the 2013 AGO Competition for Young Organists. Will believes that music is a form of prayer, and strives to share the “joy of the Lord” (Psalm 98) through the wonderful gift of the pipe organ.

You can get more information here about the recital.


Voices From the Past

sltcI am a conservative, because I believe some things are worth conserving. Like hymns that speak of  faith in God, faith that carries us through this ever darker world.  These hymns, passed down, remind us of God’s eternal verities–the same though heaven and earth pass away — and they lift us out of ourselves to look up at Jesus.

Our Savior doesn’t evolve, he doesn’t change with the times. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Things are getting darker around us in this world, but that only means that the light of our Savior shines brighter.

I was looking for a recording of Beautiful Savior earlier, and heard many beautiful contemporary arrangements of it. Then I heard this one, and it caused me to stop. Out of the past, 1941, these voices from St. Olaf’s rose up and turned my heart to praise.  This is the signature piece the college has used for their well known Christmas programs that air on PBS. But this 1941 version has something in it that I love. For once, I can’t put it into words exactly.

The first verse is just humming the familiar old melody,  then the female soloist, then the choir.  These choral students who recorded this so long ago never dreamed someone would be listening in 2016, but their gifts bring a blessing all these years later, because they sing of the  beauty of our Savior whose light never dims.

Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

Amen, Amen.


Raising Children in a Porn-Filled World

picWe have no idea what even young children are exposed to in this age of technology. The tidal wave of video pornography, made available thanks to things like mobile phones, has swept over our heads in this country, directly impacting our children. So great is the effect of  mass porn consumption that even secular mainstream media is covering the damage and dangers of it. (See recent Time Magazine cover story on it.) Also, see this article from Relevant Magazine, This is Your Brain on Porn. It’s a drug, and a dangerous one.

Chronic use of pornography, brains swimming in it from as young as 9 or 10, has created a health crisis where young men are finding their bodies can’t even function normally without the stimulation of porn, leading to use and abuse of medications once used only by middle-aged men. Porn changes not only brains but bodies. The damage to relationships with women, who are now expected to look and perform like porn stars, and the destruction of marriages are also tragic consequences of America’s obsession.

The Barna Group has just released a study on this. You can read about it here.

If you are concerned about what is coming into your home via the internet, please check out this video below from Covenant Eyes. This company produces software to filter out porn, and it’s available to homes and businesses.

This is not a time for passivity if we love our families. Awareness is the place to start. Wisdom sees a danger to our families and provides for it.  Nothing is more important.

Also, Focus on the Family has a series called When Children View Porn that may be of help to you. If you or someone you love is struggling with porn, back in my radio days I interviewed the Gallaghers, a couple with a ministry that helps those who want to be free from the bondage of pornography to get help.  I highly recommend Pure Life Ministries.

Warning about Hidden Nut Allergens

epiFor those who have or have family members with tree nut allergies, I came across this post today, and wanted to share it. It could save someone’s life. Our son has a nut allergy that is very serious, and I know how careful we have had to be about ingredients. The mother in this blog post warns of peppercorns and how  some can trigger a tree nut reaction in those afflicted. Parents or individuals think to check ingredients, but would never stop to ask about this. You can read the post here.

Book Treasures for Children


Emily reading a very old book from my friend, Donna. We treasure it.

Emily with a very old book from my friend, Donna. We treasure it.

My mother gave me my love for reading. We didn’t have a TV until we were much older, so she read aloud to us from her brown, upholstered rocking chair that had seen better days. As girls, Mom read to my sister, Lisa, and me from Anne of Green Gables, Mandy, The Secret Garden, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, the entire Little House series, and many more. She also bought us books for Christmas every year, some of which I still have on my shelf.


Those are cherished memories with my sweet mother, and I will always be grateful she introduced me to wonderful children’s literature.

Our youngest is now reading some of the Little House books and visits my bookshelves of children’s literature I have saved through the years from our older children. She pulls them off the shelf and asks me what each book is about. I look forward to her getting to know all my old friends.

I came across this post from the Deep Roots at Home blog. The author gives 100+ book titles, age-appropriately listed, for your children or grandchildren. She writes:

We are all aware that there is a battle raging in our culture for the minds and hearts of our children, but how do we as parents prepare them to live in the world? How do we teach values and build character at home on a day to day basis to equip them for a lifetime?

One of the best ways is to choose and read books that will champion and uphold what is noble, good, right and true. Most of these will be found at your library, or you can request they get it in for you, but I’ve also included Amazon links so you can see what the book looks like and read reviews, etc.

The author has compiled  a fantastic book list, and it is right in line with the literature used at our youngest daughter’s school. (I can’t say enough about the classical approach to education. No reading textbooks, just real books! But that’s another post.)

In our post-literate age when being able to read well and understand can’t be taken for granted anymore, we must give our children not only the treasures of literature, but pass on the essential values the books convey.

Dad and Emmy reading before bed. Christmas 2014

Dad and Emmy reading before bed. Christmas 2014

Troopers Rescue a Birthday

Nothing hurts worse as a parent than to see your child hurt, whatever age they are.

watchingI wrote a post several years ago about how one of our sons invited some friends from school for a Christmas party. He’d never had a party of any kind, so we laid out some plans for what to eat, and I got the house ready, finished up our holiday decorating and ordered food from the BBQ place. The day before the party,  he came home looking dejected and announced that all the kids but one had canceled, so the party was off. He had gotten up the courage to do  it, kids had committed and then dropped out, one by one.

He emailed the one friend still planning to come to tell him it was off, but his friend said, bless his heart, “Hang on, wait, don’t cancel!” He got several others to come with him, and the party was saved. The kids had a great time, and our son will always have that memory of the get together. I was so grateful that all was not spoiled, thanks to the kindness of one boy.

A little guy, aged 10, in Arkansas had a birthday party planned by his mother, and 21 kids were invited. The excitement over things like this is off the charts for children that age. But the few who said they would come never showed that day. Just thinking of the child watching  and hoping, only to be disappointed, brings me to tears.

Then some state troopers heard about it, showed up a few days later and gave this little boy a birthday to remember! Here’s the story.

Thank you, kind troopers, for taking time out from your work to do this for a child. This is America at its best, and humanity at its finest. How we need more people like this to show kindness. It can have an impact that lasts a lifetime.

He Washed Their Feet

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”  Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant  is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.  I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’  I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

The Gospel of John, Chapter 13

For a Bookish Birthday

I saw this idea floating around on social media. As a book lover, I think these are the perfect cupcakes. I don’t know what books you’d like on your cupcakes, but I can think of a lot I’d like on mine. I’ll have to see if Tom could make these for me. (LOL!)

cupcake books

Forest Songs

If you like the sounds of birds singing, here you go. My little grandson, Peter, was walking to the park near our house the other day. He and Max were each holding one of my hands in the spring sunshine. “What are the birds doing, Peter?” I asked. Peter answered immediately. “They’re talkin’ to God, Grammy.”

Singing Nurse Brings Comfort

If you have ever been in the hospital and in pain, you know the difference having a great nurse can make. Sometimes an extra special nurse walks in and does something above and beyond to ease your suffering. One nurse I had when hospitalized in 2009 for three days was one such angel. I’ll never forget what she did for me.

The nurse in this video below has an especially compassionate touch in working with elders in a hospice setting. I can only imagine what it means to have a kind touch and to have someone sing to you, as this video shows. God bless this man and all nurses who bring help and comfort to hurting people of all ages, despite the workload many of them have.

P.S. 27 years ago, when one of my children was repeatedly in the hospital, sometimes for three days at a time, a woman named Carmen became our son’s regular nurse on second shift. I have no idea where she is now, but we were always delighted to have Carmen assigned to us. That’s why we still remember the angel on 7th floor south.