We just came home from our older son’s wedding.  He married his best friend and first real love, Ashley.

She is beautiful, smart, funny, sweet, and best of all, she loves our son.  We prayed for her to come along, and we’re so happy she did.

A few years ago, Bryan’s Aunt Patty, upon seeing how happy his younger brother, Steve, was with his girlfriend, Jenny, decided that Bryan should have that same chance at happiness. She brought up to me a young lady she knew at her church.  I told her then that I didn’t really think Bryan was all that interested in a “nice church girl”.   I related the conversation to Bryan, and sure enough, he was not interested.

A couple of months later, at our Christmas party at Patty’s house, she broached the subject with Bryan.  He politely said no, and told her he was already interested in someone else.   When he told me about that conversation, I just had to ask about this mystery lady.  He said he his eye on her for that past few months.  I said, “Well, what are you waiting for?  Ask her out!”  And for once, he listened to his mom and did just that.

Shortly after they started dating, he brought her home for Sunday dinner, white chicken chili.   She was quiet that first day, sitting and listening to us tease and pick on each other (all in love, of course).  I talked to Bryan the next day and said that I hoped we hadn’t scared Ashley away.  He said no, but that she told him that now she knew where he got his sense of humor.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

She came  back, and she kept coming back.   As Bryan got to know and love her, so did we.  I could see him changing, growing, happier than we’d seen him in years.  And now he is attending college to fulfill a long-held dream and his God-given creativity.  He has become the man we hoped he would, and we know that we owe a lot of that to Ashley.

The wedding was beautiful, a true celebration of love and joy.  Ashley’s parents, Sue and Ed, really know how to throw a great bash.  We’re so grateful to them, and for letting us love their daughter.

Welcome to our little, but growing, family, dear Ashley.   We are delighted to call you our new daughter.  We will do our best to be good in-laws, and perhaps someday, grandparents.

Love, Mom and Dad Schuh

 

 


I saw a young man at church yesterday (actually, at first, I wasn’t even sure he was a man).  He was tall and overweight.  He was an African-American man with shiny, straight hair cut like Cleopatra’s.  I fought the urge to stare along with my old habit of judging and walked on by.

It brought back a not particularly good memory from 5 or 6 years ago.  Bryan and I went to the annual classic auto show on a bright Sunday afternoon in August. It was held in Frame Park in Waukesha on the Fox River.  It was a lovely venue.  I loved sharing time with him, and we both had a thing for classic cars.  It had shaped up to be a joyous afternoon – until I ruined it.

A young man walked toward us.  He had the classic Goth look – baggy jeans, a skull-decorated T-shirt, piercings, tattoos, hair dyed black.  I looked at him, and I whispered to Bryan (or at least I thought I was whispering), “His mother must be so proud.”  He heard me and gave Bryan a dirty look.  Needless to say, Bryan was not happy with me, and I was completely ashamed of myself.   I apologized to him quickly, but it cast a pall over an afternoon that I had looked forward to for a few weeks.

I had spent most of the boys’ childhood, teenage and early adult years trying to be a good role model.  I didn’t smoke or use foul language, I’d never even tried smoking pot.  I didn’t watch movies that celebrated evil, and after I accepted Christ as my personal Savior, I stopped watching soap operas.

We visited friends in West Bend one Saturday when the boys were about 9 and 10.  They fed us lunch, and I sat down to chat with our friend, Connie.  She gave me a wine cooler, which I don’t really care for and only drink half of.   We told old stories and started to laugh.  Stephen said, “Mommie’s drunk”.  I wasn’t, of course, but for some reason that comment had a strong effect on me.  Our boys never saw me drink again.  My life revolved around all the “bad things” I no longer did or never did, and I took some odd sort of pride in that.

I thought those character traits, along with them being dragged unwillingly to church every Sunday, would have a positive effect on them, would give them heart for the Lord.

I was so wrong.

It took a switch to a mainstream Christian church to show me how wrong I really was.  By being taught directly from the Bible each week, I learned what a Christian really looks like.  It’s not so much about what we give up when we decide to follow Christ.  It’s so much more about what we take on.

After 37 years in the Catholic church, I finally learned that God doesn’t care so much about whether or not I eat meat on Friday, but He does care about how I love.  Do I show compassion?  Do I treat people with mercy?  Do I give to those who need help, who have less than I do?  Do I spread His word?  Can I forgive those who wrong me?  Am I His hands and feet?  Do people see Him when they look at or deal with me?  Do I bring joy to their lives?

This was a revelation for me, one that I hope to keep growing with.


Welcome to my blog.

One of my Home Instead clients is a talented painter.  She started after retiring as a elementary school teacher.  She watched a friend of hers do a watercolor painting, picked up a paintbrush and found that she had an innate talent.

She has several of her own paintings in her apartment, some of which I had the pleasure to help hang.  She has an exquisite eye for color, composition and light.  I take delight in viewing these paintings 3 mornings a week.

I told her one day, as we were chatting while she ate breakfast, that I have always wanted to take a creative writing course, and that I would probably do so after I retire.  She told me to stop waiting and just start writing, already.  I’ve often thought of that advice, and so I am doing just that.  Just writing, already.

There is nothing exquisite about the way I write.  I am simply recording the things I think about,  people I meet, recipes I want to share, etc.

I welcome your input, your responses, negative or positive (although, I prefer the latter).  At least I’ll know you’re reading.


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