There are mothers, and there is mine.


{Reprinted from a 2006 LWML Quarterly}

There are mothers, and then there is mine. 

by Adriane Dorr 

The question: What to get Mom for Mother’s Day? My answer: Drinking glasses. Then I saw the Hallmark Showers of Flowers contest. It seemed easy enough: All I had to do was submit a short essay describing my mom, but I couldn’t come up with anything at first. I went to bed, had a thought, grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote down:

There are women with children, and then there are mothers. One smiles when she could frown, gives when she should take, works when she could be sitting, cooks when she wants to order in, cleans when she ought to rest, loves when she wants to discipline, listens when she could talk, reaches out when she could turn away, consoles when she could scold, laughs when she wants to cry, forgets wrongs when she ought to remember, plants flowers when others neglect to buy them for her. There are mothers, and then there is mine.

The next morning, I submitted it and forgot it…until a Hallmark representative called! Of the thousands of people who had entered, I was one of six nationwide winners. Hallmark would send a free bouquet of flowers to my mom every month for a year. It sure beat water glasses!

A reporter from the local TV station interviewed Mom and me for over an hour, and I read my essay aloud in front of the camera. The next morning, people began calling. They had seen the clip and were moved by the simple story of a daughter who loves her mother.

But there’s more I can say about my mother: She is a faithful, pious, Christian woman; she taught me how to love my enemies and pray for those in need; she taught the importance of tenderheartedness and kindness towards others; she showed her faith in action; and she receives the gifts the Lord gives. She is a daily reminder to me that a good tree does indeed bear good fruit . . . and that good flowers aren’t far behind.

The drinking glasses will have to wait.

does fort worth ever cross your mind?

Last week, my six-year-old nephew Oliver and I jumped on a plane for Dallas. My parents met us at the airport, carted us around Fort Worth for a few days, and showed us what life at the annual stock show is like.

While there, we . . .

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cringed at the thought of getting tossed on our heads,texas2 009

watched a cowboy work some calves,

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wondered when in the heck ranch hands started using cell phones on the job,texas2 015

learned what cutting horses do,

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watched their beautiful dance in action,

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decided we should buy one (a horse, not a cowboy. Well, now that I think about it . . . ),

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discovered why milk cows are so boney,texas2 087

stayed a safe distance away from pointy horns,

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got bucked off at 8 seconds,

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winced as cowboys pulled on cows’ tails and then got kicked in the face/chest/legs/any place ever,

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determined Ollie was big enough for mutton bustin’ . . . next year,

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kept my mom from taking down Wild Bill Hickok,

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ahem, moving right along . . .

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found the world’s largest honky tonk,

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and decided we should probably go back again next year.


*And lest you not recognize the reference . . . *

Katie Schuermann, baby smoocher

About a year ago, you could hardly turn a page in the newspaper or a channel on TV without reading or hearing, “Where are the women?” It was an over-used, under-thought-out, misplaced phrase. It was supposed to evoke thoughts of back alley abortions, repressed women and hate groups (that means Christians) whose only purpose in life is to suck the joy out of it.

“Where are the women?” is so 42 seconds ago. The real question is: “Where are the faithful women?”

I’m so glad you asked.

World, meet Katie Schuermann, wife of the Rev. Michael Schuermann, child of the heavenly Father, baby smoocher, song singer, book writer (He Remembers the Barren), chef extraordinaire, intrepid reporter . . .

Ok. Let’s face it: This list could really get quite lengthy if you took the time to list all of Katie’s admirable qualities, and she’s probably already blushing.

But one of her most pious qualities, however, is her gentle humility, especially in the face of understanding what it means to be barren. She commiserates with the women who also pray for children but to whom the Lord has not given them, who suffer when their prayers seem to go unanswered, who are on the receiving end of unhelpful comments and flippant remarks. She listens. She understands. She quietly observes.

But when the time is right, she also speaks. And she doesn’t speak just to be speaking. She speaks because she has something worth speaking up for, worth speaking out about. One of those things is barrenness. Another is children. Still another is the danger of “reproductive technology.” And that, perhaps, is the most difficult to speak about at all.

The world doesn’t want to hear it. Some Christians too. But as Dr. Robert Weise noted in the January Lutheran Witness:

“When a husband and wife or a female parent goes through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or Direct Egg Sperm Injection (DESI) into an ovum (egg), the resulting embryonic human being is graded as to its viability for implantation. If the human embryo is not viable to the naked eye, the embryo will be destroyed. If the embryo is viable, he/she will be implanted with the extra or spare fertilized embryos (4–7 day old) frozen at -3210F in liquid nitrogen. There are more than 500,000 unwanted, homeless embryonic human beings remaining in liquid nitrogen. These may be thawed and used for embryonic stem cell research, which results in their destruction. You cannot parent a frozen embryonic human being. When frozen embryonic human beings are thawed, 7 percent to 57 percent will die. Again, this is not caring for the least of the tiniest human beings amongst us who are God’s creatures with a body and soul. Human beings, regardless of their stage of development or age, should not be frozen, but we should instead ‘defend them,’ according to the Eighth Commandment.”

Katie defends those tiny human beings. It isn’t easy. It’s not popular. But she is faithful. She takes our Lord at His Word that He loves life, that His children are precious to Him no matter their size, that He loved them so much He gave up His own life so that theirs–no matter how young or old–might have value and worth.

And that is why Katie is this year’s Sabre of Boldness awardee. 


Katie, left, and I spent several days at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, interviewing soldiers and chaplains for an issue of The Lutheran Witness. Despite the heat and long hours, Katie listened patiently to each person she interviewed . . . and sported a pretty mean piece of camo headgear while doing it.

Given by Gottesdienst, the journal of Lutheran liturgy, the editors of the journal noted that,

“Mrs. Schuermann is the author of the book He Remembers the Barren, and had spoken to groups of women burdened like her with the affliction of barrenness. In the course of these meetings she soon found herself hearing from women who had turned to in vitro fertilization as a last resort to ease their pain. In spite of the sensitive nature of the matter, she felt constrained to tell the truth in love about the unacceptability of in vitro fertilization. For us who know that life begins at conception, there is really no ethical alternative than to reject in vitro fertilization, in whose process fertilized embryos are always discarded. For her to have the courage to say so in such circumstances, and to speak up for life, for which she has endured much grief and rejection, is commendable.”

Katie’s award wasn’t achieved on her own. She’s the first to admit that. It’s by virtue of her Baptism, because of Christ at work in her, because He has a good plan and a good purpose for her life. She is quick to redirect the attention to the pastors in her life, to her husband, to those men who point her again and again to the comfort and assurance that are hers in Christ, despite of the evidence or feelings to the contrary.

“Where are the women?” was the question of 2012. “Where are the faithful women?” might be the better question for 2013. They’re here. They’re the ones bearing bold Witness to Christ, living in Mercy toward their neighbor, abiding joyfully in a rich Life Together.  They’re the women God is molding and shaping minute by minute, prayer by prayer. They’re the Katie Schuermanns in your life. And for the baby smoochers of the world, well, that’s a pretty classy resume.