We Found the Wild Life

“Is there wildlife?” she asked over the phone.

After moving from the midwest where deer and antelope play and seldom is heard a discouraging word, I paused just a moment to consider. 

Well, there is my husband, I thought. 

“Deer,” I replied. 

We are supposedly retired here in the east. Wildlife no more. But, my husband worries about being lazy. When I see any signs of that I’m pretty sure it will be afterlife. 

I don’t know what it is inside this man I married that inspires him to rip up walls with his bare hands, pound nails and re-wire receptacles. I’m not sure when the projects will end, when the carpenter’s walls will be in place and actual living begin.

His work intensity has mutated, not slackened.  

My resilience has gone into hiding. I jump at 2×4’s hitting the floor. I shoot out of my chair when in quiet reverie of a good book the air compressor decides to let off steam or whatever it does. I always appreciate the finished product. It’s the journey there I’m not so fond of. 

He has hobbies too, subtle reminders to relax. 

My son bought him a fishing rod. I bought him flies and fake worms. 

We bought him a camera, which he picks up for quick shots in between chopping wood, installing plumbing and tiling a bathroom in our unfinished basement. 

He takes pictures of deer. 

He has an app on his phone that calls birds. He converses with them. He feeds them. They all love him. For an in-depth look on his bird watching, see: Birds, Brains and Semi-Retirement. 

He is the Footaeatasaurus to the grandkids and the fixer of what’s broken.

While he pounds nails and puts up another wall, I’m looking out the window, comfy on the couch, still talking with my friend on the phone about our wildlife. She is in Kansas. There is a trash can at the end of the driveway which reminds me, “Keep the lid on the trash or the bears will get into it,” we’ve been told. 

“Oh, and bear,” I tell her. 

Bear is intriguing for a Kansan.

My late mother-in-law asked every time we talked to her, “Have you seen any bear yet?”

Bear will be the ultimate sighting.

This Christmas our son-in-law bought my husband a trail cam to watch for the bear in the trash can. My husband puts it in a new spot almost daily.

The intensity with which he relaxes wears me out.

And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I recognize, this is not just retirement, this is marriage. A number of years ago, quite a large number now, we stood before God and all the friends and relatives we could pack into the Kansas church and promised each other to love and cherish. Years layered with things we never imagined when we stood at that altar have passed through our lives. Joys and sorrows. And one thing alone has made the difference. 

Jesus has walked beside us across oceans and over hills and into valleys. 


 Way back when before we married, a pastor counseled us. “Your marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church,” he said, speaking of Ephesians 5. “It’s going to be a portrait that either testifies of that relationship or shows a different kind of picture.”

Then he asked us, “Are you ready to portray the image He intended to the world?”


Ephesians 5 puts a lot of people into crisis, but I love the tender way Christ intended the marriage relationship, the high regard, and honor He gave both to husbands and their wives. He appreciates male and female uniqueness, yet designed marital unity different than all other relationships in its “oneness.”   

For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:30-32 NKJV

Like most, our portrait has its beautiful strokes, and some chipped paint. But, the faithfulness of the Heavenly Father who joined us has been magnificent.

What can be sweeter than being pledged to this man who works far too hard, runs between his millions of projects and loves Jesus and family so deeply? I am so very proud of him and grateful for the example of Christ he is to me. Happy Valentine’s Day, Philip Schroeder. 

The good news is, we found the wildlife.


Recently published article by Sylvia:

at Crosswalk.com

Where Does the Bible Say “He is Not Here, For He Has Risen?”

24 Replies

  1. Janet Certalic Reply

    You always make me smile. I can picture your face when I hear your words. That’s a testament to your great writing skill.
    It’s good to know that Phil is not idle. He has so much life to live and give.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Janet! Nope. Not idle. I appreciate so much hearing from you. Thanks for reading and responding!

  2. Julie Reply

    Wow, our husbands are so much alike! I cherish the sounds of saw blades cutting wood and a nail gun compressor but I also love when it’s quiet and we are calling the evening our own. We are blessed, aren’t we? Thanks for reminding me.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Julie! We are definitely blessed. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Nancy E. Head Reply

    Our husbands make our homes nicer. And yes, if you stay in the east long enough and look out the window often enough (even the car window) you’ll see a bear. Enjoy!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      You sound like you know from experience! I do hope I see one but don’t necessarily wish to meet one! I am grateful for a husband who is also a handyman. It’s been such a blessing! Thanks Nancy for reading and commenting!

  4. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Sylvia, your entertaining post reminds me to “go with the flow” when my husband and I differ on the best ways to use time. God has knit our hearts together.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Jeannie! Grateful for the gift those men are to our lives!

  5. Anonymous Reply

    My clearest memory of your wedding is that the pastor talked about Romans 15:7 Accept one another just as Christ also accepted us, for the glory of God. That spoke powerfully to my young heart. I am thankful that you have gone through like accepting each other, and also many others along your path.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much for responding! I am really thankful for the body of Christ and its impact and support through the years. So fun that you were at our wedding!

  6. Lois S. Reply

    The thing I remember best about your wedding is that the pastor talked about Romans 15:7–Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us, to the glory of God. I am thankful that you and Phil have gone through life extending that acceptance to each other, and also to many others along your path.

  7. Carolyn Eumurian Reply

    Oh my, I visited during the bird calling stage, but you’ve certainly progressed since then! And I so highly value the way you two do love each other unconditionally, even if you do tease him now and then. 🙂

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Carolyn. I do always have him read and give input to the things I write. I do want to honor him. He gets a kick out of “my point of view.” Clearly skewed…

  8. Annie Yorty Reply

    I smiled at this post, Sylvia. I didn’t know about Ephesians 5 when I married, but I have since come to appreciate God’s plan and purpose for marriage.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Annie, thanks so much. The idea of Christ and the body has become so much grander than it used to be to me, and so much more sweet. I appreciate you reading and responding!

  9. J.D. Wininger Reply

    What a delightful post Ms. Sylvia; and I can sure appreciate Mr. Phil’s “retirement.” I chose to take up cattle ranching and farming. I think the line I loved the most though was, “The intensity with which he relaxes wears me out.” I can sure appreciate that thought, yet can say the same for my Mrs. While I may seem busy with repairing or building fences, pulling calves, cutting, baling, or putting out hay, and planting in-between, Ms. Diane spends 14-18 hours each day working on greeting cards for seniors, birthday and get well cards for church family, and other cards for various women’s shelters. It’s her ministry. So, like Mr. Phil, while my retirement may be noisier, hers is certainly more productive. I bet Mr. Phil thinks much the same about your Christian writing and other ministry ventures. We’re just trying to keep up with (and keep out of the way of) our wives. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet couple.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I’ll bet she does lovely cards. I know the ones people have made for me are ones I keep and treasure. Thanks for pointing out that while retirement changes life, ministry is always about people. May we continue to serve Him well. As always J.D. I appreciate your encouragement and comments.

  10. Katherine Pasour Reply

    What a lovely tribute to your husband. I understand his need to be busy in retirement, to be productive, to contribute. I fear I have that genetic make-up as well. In addition to all the other positive descriptors you used in reference to your sweet man, I’d add, “He is a blessing.”

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      He truly is a blessing. Thanks Katherine. I find I am busy as well, it just looks a bit different! Thank you so much for your sweet comments!

  11. Charla Reply

    I love this post! And the video at the end is perfect 🙂

  12. Katy Reply

    This was fun to read. And precious. By the way, you promised wildlife in the video, and your husband is in it more than once. 😆😇