Flower Child

Our granddaughter, Gianna, models a brand new bonnet from Comfykids.com, referred to in an earlier post. I think she looks like a little flower in her lace and eyelet ruffles. She is a very smiley and happy baby girl!


Listen, Children, to the (Real) Stories

grandfatherOur son was playing a piano recital at a retirement home, and one of the residents sat down next to me before it began. She looked at the program and commented on the music Will was going to be playing. She then told me she had been a piano teacher out of her home evenings and weekends in Milwaukee for many years and that she had worked in a downtown law firm during the day time. She told of taking a streetcar to work and how much she loved what she did, especially the music teaching.

In those few brief moments, the woman gave me a glimpse of our city’s past and a glimpse into the life of a productive, knowledgeable and hard-working woman. Her story stays with me two years later, and I only wish I could have heard more.

In the midst of worthless, fake celebrity and social media culture, our young people walk around with their heads glued to their phones, uninterested and unaware of the fascinating  life stories around them. If I had to share advice to young people (on the unlikely premise that they would listen), I would ask them to sit down with their elders and listen to their stories carefully.

I don’t know if my adult children necessarily want to hear about my life years ago or their grandparents’ lives, but I try anyway, thinking that someday, they will want to know more about their own pasts which are tied up in the pasts of their own parents and grandparents.  The best stories are real stories. Every life is a story, tragic, funny in ways, and filled with insights into the people we are and the times in which we live.

As a child, I used to pour over the black, antique photo albums from my grandma in Minnesota. Grandma told me about her sister who died of influenza, leaving a husband and two young children behind, she told me about her childhood adventures with her cousin, Albert, who grew up with her, and how they once, as young children, decided to clean their neighbor’s home while she was out. The lady made the mistake of leaving her door unlocked. Grandma and Albert, who were about five years old at the time, even tried to haul out the lady’s feather bed for beating on the line like they had seen their mother do. Unfortunately, they got the feather mattress stuck in the door. Imagine the shock of coming home to that! I think the lady learned to lock her door.

If you have a chance, listen to the stories of older people around you. Encourage your children to do the same. Interest in the lives of seniors is a beautiful gift to them, and you cannot hear the stories of the past without picking up things, the values, ideals and wisdom gained through long years of living.

Here is a bit of my grandmother’s life. A little pristine invitation to a recital one June evening back in 1931 when she was 19-years-old. Her name was Norma Olson. I can almost see the scene at that church where her friend’s piano students were to perform that evening, with Grandma, who studied voice and violin, contributing to the music. A little bit of her life story that I am glad I know.


Bonnets for Babies

bonnetFor some reason, most retailers don’t carry baby bonnets anymore. When Emily was a baby, I wanted to find some, but looked without success. Stores had hats for infants, but not bonnets. I did a search, was happy to find a place online that made beautiful bonnets that were not very expensive, and I bought several. They have them in larger sizes as well. My daughter-in-law asked me where I had gotten them, as little Gianna, my granddaughter, has outgrown the little ones from Em,  and she isn’t quite big enough for the larger ones.

If you are a mother or grandmother who likes babies in bonnets, you will love these at Comfykids. The trouble is making up your mind, they are all so sweet! Rosebuds, and eyelet and ribbons…ah!

Here’s Emmy in her bonnet what seems like yesterday. She’ll be seven-years-old soon. It’s hard to believe!


Warning: Kellogs Now Adding Peanut Flour Across Product Lines

A few weeks ago, I posted a warning regarding peppercorns being used in some restaurants that were from the tree nut family, something that directly endangers those with tree nut allergies, and something nobody would think to ask about.

Today, the site I subscribe to regarding food allergies has a warning regarding the decision by the Kellog’s company to add peanut flour across product lines. This announcement was quietly made on their website, something that will likely be entirely missed by many consumers. Even the smallest amount of peanut product can cost someone their life if they suffer from an allergy – something increasingly common. We have two in our family who will die if they consume peanut products unaware, it’s that serious.

This article here contains the warning, and this additional article sheds light on why they are doing it. This is irresponsible of the Kellog’s company at a time when peanut allergies are on the rise. To make a change that endangers the lives of customers and not make a loud public announcement is a slap in the face to all of us who have trusted these companies. (A bad idea, I guess.)

Please share this as widely as possible for the safety of anyone who has a life-threatening peanut allergy. Perpetual vigilance is needed to protect them. If you want updates on product safety and food allergies, sign up at SnackSafely.com and subscribe to their page if  you are on Facebook. That is where I saw the needed warning. I’m grateful to know it.  Kellog’s has lost our family’s business.




Thanks to my Mother, Freda Eliason

As mothers we are faced with all kinds of circumstances in raising our children. There are stresses and challenges that nobody else may see. The burden of caring for another human being or multiple other human beings, in all areas of need is difficult to express. Yet love carries us through. We don’t see it as some terrible weight we have to carry. It’s our child, those are our children. Our happiness is tied up with their well-being. You can’t separate the two things.

I remember realizing this when my firstborn son, Charlie, became sick over and over again his first winter from a stomach virus he was contracting in the church nursery. (I didn’t make the connection as quickly as I should have!) Until Charlie was well, my world came to a total standstill. As a young mother, I rejoiced over every bottle he took, every spoonful he ate when he was sick. Life stopped being about me completely. When he was hospitalized with the illness, I was literally sick with worry. This other life, this sweet boy, was all that mattered to me.

This Mother’s Day, I remember the sacrifices of my own dear mother in caring for me and my brother and sister. Without the sacrifices and incredible labor of this woman, the ministry of VCY America would never have been possible. Most have no idea what Mom went through to both raise three children and bring her own constant service to the ministry her husband began. She served above and beyond the call of duty. Largely unrecognized and un-thanked, God has seen all that she has done and why. The reward for her faithfulness will be great.

So thank you, Mom, for everything. Everything I know about loving my children has come through the hands and heart of my mother. Most of all, she has pointed us Godward from the time we were very young.

Two weeks after my dad died in December, Mom underwent triple bypass surgery and has been recovering since. All of us pray for her continued strength and for the joy and love she has given all of us to be returned to her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, and to those who have recently lost a mother, may her memory be a blessing to you.


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