Thankful for the Mender of Broken Things

On the eve of Thanksgiving, a brief thought. The other day I broke a little figure that meant a lot to me in sentimental value. It was part of a pair I had for years and years, a little touch of continuity through so much change. Tom heard me lament that it was broken beyond repair, in jagged pieces. I made too big of a deal of it probably.

Tonight I went to pull the blinds in the living room, and there it was, next to its twin on the table. I thought I was seeing things. It was perfect. Tom said he had fished the broken pieces out of the trash and said he felt bad about it, so he gave it his best shot putting it back together. He did a beautiful job. I was moved so much with that small act. It was more than just an act of love. It was a metaphor for all he has done for me and our children. He has represented Jesus in my life through the years. Constant, faithful, caring about even the small things and heartaches. A true Christian man.

God mends us in many ways, and often through the love of others. I am grateful. Tonight, I think of those who have really been the healing hand of kindness to me and a great encouragement in tough times. Thank you. I will never forget it.  There is so much to be thankful for, and I thank God for his mercies every day. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day, friends.




A Special Blessing this Thanksgiving

In God’s perfect timing, today I am going to pick up my new hearing aids with our son, Will, back from college, coming along. We had no means, no way to do this. My hearing has been dropping into a zone where I can’t hardly hear the articulation and voice of my loved ones next to me. Through God’s vast mercies, I was able to get tested and to purchase new hearing aids with the latest technology to replace old ones that never worked correctly. The audiologist put them in last week, and tears just welled up. I could hear the voice of my Tom and Emmy standing behind me. Every word, as clear and crisp as can be. I heard things I haven’t heard in years, like floors creaking and when the audiologist took me outside, I heard the leaves crunching under my feet.

Emmy left this little piece of paper on my desk last night. She does this constantly, writing notes about God or bursting into song. (The other day she sang out,”Thy hand, O Lord, in days of old, was strong to heal and save!” just at the right moment.)

So this will be a very special Thanksgiving for me personally. Emmy’s note says all I can say from a full heart. I am so grateful to the kind people who made this possible, that words don’t really express it adequately. Thank you, dear people. Thank you, God. Soli Deo Gloria.


Little Things

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder”. ~ G. K. Chesterton

It’s the little things, done consistently in love, that make life sweet. That’s what I’m thankful for most this year. Life has its Big Moments. The life-changing, earth shaking events, positive or negative, that shape us, and when we rise to the occasion and help others through those times, it is never forgotten.


Will and his baby sister back in 2011. Will calls her from college just to talk.

Most of life, however, is made up of small things and small moments. The daily grind, we sometimes call it. It can seem monotonous, day after day, doing the same things for our family, going through the seasons with the same tasks in front of us. But the days we have with our family can be sweet or not, depending on what is done in those small moments. It’s a consistent theme in my writing lately, because it is frequently on my mind.

Sam and Laura came over with the babies the other night and set up our Christmas tree. They knew Tom has been working until late at night playing a long-running show and the tree simply wouldn’t have gotten brought down from the rafters and set up without help.

They had the job done quickly between them, and we were grateful for their help. It was a “little thing”, but it meant a lot. The next morning I woke up to find that Tom had shoveled the drive and sidewalks, put all the bins back in the attic, vacuumed up the living room after the tree decorating, and had hung up the mistletoe for good measure, all while getting ready for work. All those “little things” added up to a big blessing, as I am limited in my physical strength right now.

When I make Emmy’s lunch, I put little notes in to surprise her. It’s a little touch and a little thing, but it brings a smile to her face. Some day she’ll remember that. I message Tom and my kids with a reminder of my love during the day. Just a little warm thing in a cold world. A little decoration on the dinner table, a little laugh with a child. Life sweeteners.

Thank you, dear friends and family for the things you do in love. Some of us don’t feel we have much to give, but the “little things” are so very important. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for all the little things you allow us to enjoy through the hands and hearts of those around us.

My son, Sam, wrote this about his wife, Laura, and I wanted to share it.

LauraWhat makes a good husband or wife? If you ask most people, it is the intense excitement of being in love. And yet, as any couple who has had a successful marriage will tell you, emotional fireworks have almost nothing to do with true, enduring love. True love, in its essence, is found in the many small sacrifices spouses make for one another. Sometimes these are acts of self-denial, other times they are positive acts of kindness. But they are all characterized by generous self-giving, which is the heart of love.

Far too many couples catalog faults and slights and wrongs. Bitterness and resentment set in, and all too soon, the smallest slight has erupted into an angry shouting match. How different our marriages would be if we instead noticed and cataloged these small acts of sacrifice! Gratitude for and appreciation of our spouses would increase, and we would find our hearts overflowing with a new affection.

I give thanks for my wife. In countless ways little ways that are, in fact, heroic, she is a blessing to me and our children. From making breakfast early in the morning to patiently instructing a screaming toddler to surprising me with coffee on a cold day, her life is almost a constant act of self-giving. To my dear wife, I say thank you. You show me the meaning of true love. I hope I too can be as generous as you.

“Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.”

~ Samuel Guzman

(Emmy, giving my friend, Esther, a hug when we visited her a few months before she passed away. It was a little thing Emmy could do and willingly did, but it meant much to Esther who did not often get hugs.)


A Turkey Full of Blessings

turkeyofthanksEmmy came home from school with a poster board with a turkey on it. She is supposed to decorate the turkey with all the things she is thankful for. It’s sitting on our dining room table, and tonight we’re going to work on the project together.

My daughter-in-law, Laura, is helping me with Thanksgiving dinner this year, and today I went shopping for the things I’m going to make. I was standing in the aisle deliberating over an item when I was overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness for just being in the store, able to buy things for our family, let alone a nice dinner like we’re planning. It’s a blessed thing to be able to have anything with which to feed our families, isn’t it?

As important as material things are, life without friends and loved ones would be a sad thing. Our gratitude this year centers around the people in our lives who are a daily reminder of our deepest blessings. They give us hope and joy, as we hope we give them.

My son wrote this the other day, and I thought it was simple, yet profound.

“True heroism is found in small but consistent deeds of love to those closest to you. God’s view of things is often the exact opposite of our own. While we fawn over the big deeds, God is paying attention to the ones we deem insignificant. It is those “small things” that will be revealed before the throne of judgement. Above all, love is the ingredient that gives worth to all our deeds, big or little. Without love, it is so much straw that will be consumed.” ~ Sam

(Son Samuel and grandson, Max and my little grandson, Peter with his frog this summer.)




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.



Thanksgiving Notes

I have a turkey thawing in my fridge, and now I am off to the store for a few items I still need for our feast. William has requested green bean casserole, so I will make one. Tom wants “real” mashed potatoes (as opposed to the Hungry Jack variety), and Jon wants cornbread stuffing. Lisa and Russ are bringing the pies, so we should be in good shape!

In keeping with the Thanksgiving theme in my music posts, here’s a lovely improvisation of For the Beauty of the Earth with organist John Hong.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

So Thankful

When the children were younger we often had them fill a decorative bowl with little pieces of paper at Thanksgiving. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving they would write what they were thankful for on the slips of paper. At Thanksgiving, we would read out what they had written.

This year especially there is much to be thankful for in our family.

God willing, Tom and I are going to be grandparents as Samuel and his wife are expecting a baby in June! (I am waiting eagerly to be a grandma…)

God has taken us through some very difficult circumstances this year and continues to provide for us in unexpected and amazing ways. The love of true friends and family has encouraged and blessed us beyond words.

Will’s music continues to amaze us as he develops into a musician. He played for a worship service last night, his first, and although nervous, he managed the hymns and liturgy very well on short notice as a fill-in at  a local church.

Emmy continues to grow and change, and her speech is coming alive. I love her matter-of-fact pronouncements. “Gettin’ dark, Mama,” she always tells me each evening. In the morning, no matter what kind of weather it is, she says, “Nice day out there, Mama.” (She’s always hoping for a trip to the park.) Like most little girls, she adores her daddy. She has her own song invented that goes, “I love daddy, I love daddy, I love daddy…” Great lyrics. She’s a sweet-tempered child. Yesterday she patiently sat in her car-seat for a total of 5 separate trips and just sang and talked the whole time.

I am thankful in a special way for my husband Tom who has taken care of our family and all the challenges of this year with his usual faithfulness. Whether it is giving advice to an adult son, helping William with his music, playing with his little daughter, listening to me, managing the maintenance on our home and yard, practicing his own music and working many, many hours a week, he just gets on with it without a complaint. The whining “occupiers” of America could learn much by watching my husband.

It will be a wonderful Thanksgiving. Russ, Lisa and the cousins are coming over, so it will be a bustling household. The ‘love light’ will be on. Thank you, Lord.

Here’s another Thanksgiving medley for you.

O Give Thanks – Psalm 136

The music of the East sounds strange to Western ears. I enjoy listening to the music of the Eastern church because it is, of course, closer to what the original music of the early church sounded like. Our Western scale is very different than the ancient Byzantine scale.

In keeping with my Thanksgiving music theme here at the Hope Blog, here is a portion of Psalm 136 (the Orthodox Church uses a different translation of the Old Testament – from the Septuagint -than Protestants and Catholics – the number I gave it for our reference is 136, they have it numbered as 135) chanted in Greek,  as it is still done today in the Orthodox Church. It is sung without instrumentation. This is only a portion of the Psalm as it would take nearly an hour to chant the entire passage. Little wonder that Eastern Orthodox worship services can be three hours long. In the ancient church, there were no pews to sit in either.

“O give thanks to the LORD, Alleluia. For His mercy endureth forever, Alleluia.”