HEART TO HEART’S AUTHORS
Get to know the authors behind the parenting column
My husband, Michael, and I have a blended family: my two 20-somethings, Anna and Philip, and his preteen son, Sam.
Anna (23) is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in painting at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Phil (21) is finishing his Bachelor of Music in theory/composition at St. Olaf College. Sam (11) plays whatever sport is in season plus piano and trombone. Reggie, our handsome bichon-poodle, offers sweet furry friendship to all.
My present parenting load is pretty light, actually. Anna and Phil are independent, living mostly at school. Sam already has two wonderful parents, so as his stepmom, I simply add to the love, offering whatever he needs, from clean sheets to cheers from the bleachers.
St. Paul, New Ulm, Minn.
My wife, Becky, and I met in college and married almost 6 years after we met on July 27, 2002, which means that we’ve now been together longer than we’ve been apart. God has blessed us with four wonderful boys: Josiah (10), Jacob (8), Judah (4), and Joel (1). We also have a family cat named August who loves our boys, but me . . . not so much.
Grace, Kenai, Alaska
I started dating my husband, Thad, when we were both freshmen at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, and we married the December after we graduated. We have three boys: Ethan, Micah, and Jonah. Micah and Jonah are both students at Wisconsin Lutheran College, where Ethan recently graduated. Thad is the director of career development at Wisconsin Lutheran College, and I am the director of marketing and communications at WLCFS-Christian Family Solutions in Germantown, Wis.
Shepherd of the Hills, West Bend, Wis.
Husband Juerg—a German national. We’ve been married 10 years.
Sophia (9)—loves to read, especially historical fiction. Loves science and math and horses. Speaks German and English fluently and has been blessed to spend all of her summers in Germany. 11 trips there and back so far. Liam (7)—A happy, social little boy who learns something new every day. Liam loves books, especially Pete the Cat. Liam has Mecp2 Duplication Syndrome, which causes severe cognitive and physical disabities. Miriam (almost 3)—Miriam is a precious gift to us through adoption. Every day we marvel at the amazing plans of God in bringing her to our family. Miriam loves to take care of and play with her big brother. She works hard to keep up with Sophia too. As a result, Miriam also loves horses, and she pretends to read all the time! Miriam has only been to Germany 3 times, but she hopes to catch up to her older sister some day!
St. John, Lannon, Wis.
I’m married to Melanie nee Rathje now for almost 10 years. We have a two-year-old daughter named Elliana. We also are the happy owners of a 6-year-old Goldendoodle named Callie. We love to read books together, sing songs, take walks, and have dance parties in the living room either to Cold Play’s It’s a Sky Full of Stars or basically anything from Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. Yes, it’s ok to admit that as long you do it only because you have a two-year-old daughter . . . right?
Peace, Aiken, S.C.
I have been married to Tad for almost 18 years. We have 5 children—4 biological and our niece, who we welcomed into our family in January 2017. Our children range in age from 8-16. Sometimes we have other children under our roof as well because we are licensed foster parents. Our children have attended parochial school, home school, charter school, and public school depending on their needs. I am a life coach, Bible study leader, and speaker.
St. Mark, DePere, Wis.
My husband of 38 years is a pastor at Grace, Tucson. My son and wife, Ben and Karyn Clemons, along with their children Olive, 4; Ramona, 2 1/2; and Julius, 6 months, reside in New Ulm, Minn. My daughters, Bettina and husband Kent Winfrey and Meg and Paul Smith and daughter Azara, 6 months, live in Los Angeles, Calif. We enjoy visiting all three of the very different WELS churches they attend.
Grace, Tucson, Ariz.
Married to my lovely and patient wife Kelly. We have two awesome and fantastic kids—Josh (almost a teenager) and Kayla (now suddenly a teenager). No pets—haven’t found a hairless animal that we like yet. We love long walks on the beach as long as the garden hose stays in the sandbox long enough. But most importantly we all know Christ crucified and his perfect love for us.
Calvary, Thiensville, Wis.
Married to Andy for almost 11 years; daughter Anna; son Henry; and a cat that fancies himself a pillow with four legs.
Grace, Milwaukee, Wis.
Married since 1972 to Sharon; three daughters and eight grandchildren
Siloah, Milwaukee, Wis.
A graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis., Sarah is a licensed professional counselor. She received her MS in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah has 15 years of experience counseling individuals, couples, and families both in her own private counseling practice and as a counselor for WLCFS-Christian Family Solutions. Through her work with WLCFS, Sarah givespresentations on bullying and a variety of other topics.
Ann M. Ponath and her husband, David, and their four children, ages 20-11, may be found poolside, courtside, fieldside, concertside, or napping in Stillwater, Minn. They are members of Christ, North St. Paul/Hugo.
Sheryl Cowling is a licensed clinical social worker who is also board certified as a professional Christian counselor and expert in traumatic stress. She provides counseling services at Christian Family Counseling, a ministry of WLCFS—Christian Family Solutions.
Crown of Life, Hubertus, Wis.
Aaron and his wife, Sara, have four children between the ages of four and eleven. The couple has been teaching Love and Logic parenting classes for the past eight years. Aaron teaches at Garden Homes, Milwaukee, Wis.
Carly and her husband, Joel, live in Bozeman, Mont. Joel is the pastor of Shining Mountains Lutheran Church. In addition to teaching piano, Carly is a freelance writer. She and Joel have two children—Ella, who is seven, and Benjamin, who is three.
Rachel is married to Pastor Paul Learman who shepherds Divine Peace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wis. They have four children: Cadence, age 8; Hudson, age 6; Thatcher, age 5; and Everett, age 2.
Brian and his wife, Sue, have four children and are members of Mt. Olive, Las Vegas, Nev.
Emily and her husband, Johnold, have been married for 17 years and have four children–Lydia, 13; Julia, 9; Kurt, 4; and Claire, 2. They are members of Crown of Life, Hubertus, Wis., where Johnold serves as pastor.
Sallie Draper and her husband of 24 years, Kevin, live in New Ulm, Minn., where they both work from their home for the WELS Technology office. Parents to three sons, they are excited to add two daughters-in-law to the family during the summer of 2017.
Gail and her husband, Phil, have three adult children—two daughters and a son—and eight grandchildren.
Kristi is in her twelfth year of teaching mathematics at Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis. When she isn’t in the classroom, Kristi enjoys assisting with worship planning and communications at St. John, Wauwatosa, Wis.
Dave and Joyce Payne are blessed with an active family of four children and two grandchildren. Dave just finished his 36th year of ministry at Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, Wis., where he serves as the Communications Director.
Rachel spent the first seven years of her career teaching first, second, and third graders in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District. She and her husband, Matt, decided that she would start staying home with their children when they had their third child in 2016. Avery is age 6; Levi, age 3; and Haley, age 1. Matt took a new job in Green Bay, Wis., in May 2017, so the family is chasing its dream of living in the country and having some animals.
Sarah and her husband, Frank, live in Merton, Wis., with their four children—Mateo, 11; Zoe, 9; Adalyn, 6; and Lucas, 3.
Rev. Stephen Geiger and his wife, Anna, have been married for 11 years and have been blessed with six children – Eliana, 10; Isaiah, 9; Micah, 7; Josiah, 5; Mariah, 3; and Elisha, 1.
Amanda and her husband, Frank, are high school sweethearts, and she notes, “We wouldn’t have believed you if you told us where we would be today. God works with simple people in unexpected but glorious ways! Through many adventures and life lessons God has led us through the country and even China to serve his kingdom.”
Liz Schroeder declares herself “one of God’s messy children who has been shown grace upon grace.” Her mountainside retreats include CrossFit, journaling, and hiking . . . on mountainsides. She lives with her husband, John, and five kids in Phoenix, Ariz., where they passionately serve as lay leaders at CrossWalk Church.
Adam and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 14 years and have been blessed with four children–Samuel, 12; Joel, 10; Alexis, 8; and Micah, 5. They are members at St. John, Wauwatosa, Wis. He is supervisor in the Ministry of Christian Giving office at WELS Center for Mission and Ministry.
David is a member at Christ, North St. Paul, Minn., and a graduate of St. Croix Lutheran High School. He is currently in his last semester at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he is working towards a Health and Fitness Promotions degree. He is pictured with his mom, Ann, and dad, David.
Ann Zuleger and her husband, Matt, have four children—Zachary, 18; Faith, 16; Isaiah, 13; and Ellis, 10.
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