Heart & Soul Surrender

Pre-marital counseling ~ Weddings ~ Spiritual Direction ~ Speaker~Funerals~Baptisms

About Me

  Who I am and what 
  do I have to offer?

   My name is Cheryl Haukom Schindler.  This is a picture of
   me and my better half; Dave.  Dave and I've been together
   for over 40 years.  We met the summer before my 9th grade
   year and he was a much older man; going into 10th grade.
   We've been through unbelievable challenges and so much
   joy in our lives.  Both of us have been blessed beyond
   measure.  People ask us, "What is your secret?"  It's no
   secret;  we have a God centered marriage and life.  Does
   that mean our lives are perfect, not by a landslide; however
   do we manage?  God's ALWAYS  been there, we're never
        Since a young age I've always had a strong relationship
   with Christ. My first memory I have is me at Sunday school
   when I'm 3 years old.  My mom was the teacher and she was 
   sharing a flannel board story, way before LCD flat screens
   and tablets. 
        Music has always been a huge part of my spiritual life. 
   When I was in 1st grade our class made a record of Jesus
   Lead me Day By Day (Author Unknown).  Later in the 4th
   grade our group sang several songs at the Northrup   
   Auditorium and the song that meant a lot to me was, Let
   There  Be Peace on Earth, (Jackson-Miller & Miller, 1955).
        My life took a turn in 8th grade when I attended Bay Lake
   Camp, in Deerwood, MN.  This is where I truly gave my life to
   God.  I was confirmed in 9th grade at Trinity Lutheran Church,
   in Stillwater, MN.  
       In the 10th grade during career days the counselor was
   talking to us one at a time in the hall by the library.  He asked
   me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said, "The best
   mom in the world!"  He told me that wasn't a goal and that I
   had to pick a career.  I told him it was the only goal that
   mattered to me.  My life at home had become pretty

         The only place I felt safe but never like I fit in was at
   church as throughout my childhood and junior and senior
   high school years and into young adulthood I was always a
   part of a church choir or teaching Sunday school or VBS.  
   Today the  Christian Radio Station KTIS , 98.5 FM is part of
   my daily oxygen.  Talk about being filled with the Holy Spirit
   and letting Him feed you!  Give them a try!
         Due to issues at home I didn't rely on my strong
   relationship with God and this is when I needed Him
   the most.  

        I became a teen mom and knew I had to rely more
   upon God than I ever had before.
        At this time in my life instead of the church becoming a
   refuge it was  a very judegmental and unloving place.  The
   pastor was unkind!  I felt guilty and judged for many years! 
        I was a stay at home mom except for selling Tupperware so
   that either Dave or I could be home with our 3 amazing
   daughters!  I loved children and started doing daycare to
   supplement our income.  We'd built a brand new house
   when we were just 23 and 24 years old. 
        We had the American dream; a schedule that worked for
   us, church for me and the girls as Dave worked Sundays for
   time and a half pay, preschool and competition dance lessons
   for all of our girls, along with volunteering, social and school
   activities.  Life was wonderful!
        I went to work when our youngest daughter was 4 and 1/2
   years old.  I worked at a car dealership in town and I swear
   Satan was poisioning that place.  I continued  to move up in
   my position at the car dealership. 
        Many devastating blows eruppted our lives one right after
   the other.  I miscarried, we lost our home due to several
   operations I had to have, Dave lost a day a week of paid work
   due to new union regulations.  Dave was in 2 car accidents
   and I had a car accident.  My 53 year old dad was
   diagnosed with Cancer and was given 3-8 months to live.  Our
   American dream was crumbling all around us!
        I started questioning my relationship with Dave.
        What was I doing in a car dealership anyway?  I hated 
   cars except for to jump in them and go somewhere. 
        I went to work at a business downtown as an office
   administrator.  I learned a lot and liked what I was doing but 
   my boss was not easy to work with.  I knew life was too short

   for this and I financially needed to find something else.  I went
   to work for an accountant in town who helped us do our
   books.  It was a great job with fun people but again doing
   accounting and math was not my idea of a good time.
        My dad continued to get sicker and I helped do a lot of the
   hospital and clinic runs as my dad became an experimental
   patient at the U of MN.  We called him our "Energizer Bunny"
  as he just kept going and going...  I also helped with a lot of his
  and my mom's caretaking while also caring and being torn
  between my husband and our 3 teenage daughters. 
       I took another job as the finacial stress was becoming too
  much and worked for another rapidly growing CDR and
  electronics company in town as an administrative assistant.  I'd
  never been paid what I was worth before, that was great!  I did
  like the people and the job.  It was close in town and I could
  be at mom and dad's in under 2 minutes.  Unfortunately and
  fortunately this job was too good to be true as we were bought
  out by a company in San Jose and they wanted all of us staff to
  move there.  Well that wasn't an option with my family
  circumstances and CA was a very fast paced lifestyle, not for
        We used the severance from my job to purchase a home
  and I took time off to discern what I really wanted to do in life.
  I'd already been volunteering as the youth director at our
  church and they offered me a paid 20-25 hour a week  job.
       I've never felt more alive than when I was teaching the
  word of God and spending time watching children and
  families being  transformed by the love of God.  I did this for 6
amazing years!
        I decided if I was going to get somwhere in my life I'd have
   to go back to school so I went part time to Century College, in
   in 1999.  Much later I received an AAS with an emphasis

        I know we've all been there.  Each of us comes to a crossroads
   in our lives wondering which way do we travel?  Do we continue on
   the  path we're on or  trust, surrender, and listen to what God has
   for you?   Jeremiah 29:11, is written, "For I know the plans I have
   for you says the Lord..."

  What's your journey
  been like?  

         I was there almost 5 years when my  boss told me I could
  no longer sign my emails with hugs and blessings.  I'd been
  working with these people for several years and they're the
  reason we were thriving.  My heart began to sink and I knew I
  needed to find something more satisfying to my soul, I needed
  to give God the glory!  
       Again, I knew I had to go back to school if I were to get the
  kind of job I was searching for.  I kept telling myself, "You're
  too old to  go back to school.  You've got 6 grandchildren,
  where are your priorities?"  But what was my passion?  Really? 
  My passion had always been God. I went to Bethel University
  and I received a Bachelor's Degree in Christian Ministries and
  graduated in May of 2014.  I was contemplating going on to
  seminary to become a pastor or on to more schooling to
  become a spiritual director.  Either way I needed a year off
  from school.  We were blessed with another grandchild! 
       And the blessings kept coming!  I was offered a new job in
  March  of 2014 and I knew this is where God had planned me
  to be all along.  I was working for Church World Service (CWS)
  I was  able to preach ichurches, work with selfless people
  who were passionate about helping those in poverty, and I
  was finally living in my sweet spot!  Serving MN, ND, SD, and
       So when I became laid off from my job at CWS in May of
  2015, I was devastated!  I had some discerning to do.  I knew
  I'd be okay as God had a plan.  I also had great colleagues and
  friends to support me.   
        "Hi Cheryl, I know you didn’t ask, but I wanted to write a
   letter of reference for you.  I have been very impressed with
   you, your passion, your energy and the grace with which you
   approach everything in life.  Attached is a general reference
   letter.  If you ever want one that is written specific to a job to
   which you are applying, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Thanks
   for all you have done and will continue to do to make the
   world brighter.  Blessings,  Mary Catherine" - CWS, National
   Community Event Strategist
        I have many letters of reference and wonderful email
   accolades.  I always tell them it's not me, it's God!
        Well, here I go again!  It's not just me as most of us are
   seeking answers to the hard questions about life.  Are you
   trying to stop this unstoppable world?  I too was on a road of
   chaos until my health said a resounding, "STOP!"  I knew God
   had a better plan for me.  I needed to find rest, solitude,
   peace, and balance.  Where do you turn?  "Be still and knothat I am God" (Psalms 46:10).
       Until I seriously started seeking out God's direction for my
   life through solitude and prayer; I wasn't getting anywhere. I
   took a couple of days off alone at my brother and brother-in-
   law's trailer to discern where God wanted me.  I'd re-read
   some of my college papers, "No, I didn't want to be a pastor, I
   was called to do spiritual direction." 

  in Human Services as I really wanted a career where I
  could make a difference in people's lives. 
       With dad's health declining, work, school, my health and
  mom's health declining, and my family responsibilities, I knew
  I needed to take a break from school.  I quit my job at the
       Then the light of my life was born; I became a grandma to 
  Jena Jo!  She was my dad's first great-grandchild and he'd 
  say, "Jena Jo, I'm just going to squeeze a little life out of you
  today; if it's okay." 
       Dad, my best friend, died 8 months later and God had
  given me the joy of grandparenthood to get me through this
  unbearable pain!  I was able to watch Jena 3 days per week,
  what a joy!
       I finally graduated from Century College in 2005.  I went to  
  work at a non-profit as a volunteer coordinator, I loved it! 
  After all, I'd been volunteering all my life as far back as I can
  remember.  I was in a career where I was truly helping people
  and making a difference in other's lives.  I also worked with
  the MFIP program in WA County to help place unemployed
  persons in volunteer positions.  You should've heard their
  heart wrenching life stories.  
       I stayed there for 5 and 1/2 years.  Close to the end of my
  time there I was feeling like I needed to be where God wanted
  me to be so I started to work part-time at my local church as
  well as the paid lay ministry coordinator.  All was well with my
  soul. I so enjoyed partnering with the team leaders and
  helping our congregants with their needs.  I became head of
  the small group Bible studies as well.  I planned and
  implemented several programs for the congregation.  I even
  attended training for Leading Life-Changing Small Groups at 
  Willowbrook, in Chicago, IL. During this time I felt called by
  God to become a pastor. 
        It had gotten more difficult to work 2 part time jobs so I
  had a hard desicion to make.  I'd always wanted a job at a
  nearby transitional housing program as I believe God wanted
  me to work with people in poverty.  I went to my pastor and
  he told me they'd hired me too soon and weren't ready to
  keep staffing this position so I thought, "Okay God, I'll go
  where you'll lead." 

      I became a volunteer coordinator and childcare
  supervisor.  I was in my element! I grew my volunteer force
  from 350 to over 1,000 volunteers per year to offer more
  programs for the families.  I knew with committed, dedicated
  volunteers we could do more but more importantly, I prayed
  daily for God to give me the people and resources to make
  these programs flourish.  I relied mostly on schools, the
  community, and congregational members.  God always
  provided what I needed. 
       He also blessed us with 5 more beautiful, precious little
  people!  I also had several surgeries as one year I worked for
  only 5 months.

        I searched places where I could be trained as a spiritual
   director and immediately felt God's presence at Christos and I
   began their Tending the Holy program. 
        I've also been meeting with my own spiritual director and  
  attending small group sessions.  It's apparent to me that
  all I needed to do was to stop and listen to what God had
  planned all along for my life.  I've learned through discipline,
  prayer, presentations, and several resources that I'm truly
  where God has planted me to grow His kingdom. 
       I know He's planted me here because I so enjoy doing  
  weddings and pre-marital counseling sessions.  I'm an official
  minister with the Universal Life Church and licensed
   through Washington, CO., MN.  I thrive on meeting people,
   building relationships, and creating a personal and unique
   wedding ceremony where God receives all the glory!
        If you're looking for a funeral officiant who'll truly
   celebrate your loved one's life, contact me as I'm a member
   of the National Home Funeral Alliance. 
        Baptisms are a blessing and we'll make your day special! 
        The blessings continue as we've recently been blessed with
   2 more grandchildren!  I call them my, "Favorite Little People"
   and you'll hear more about them in my upcoming blog; God
   1st, family second, then for me reading, writing, canoeing,
   camping, quilting, making cards, walking, and then all of the
   other things we choose to treasure in our lives!
         I'd worked as the Assistant Volunteer and Operations
   Coordinator for the Hope for the Journey Home, in Oakdale,
   MN. with homeless  families as my heart holds a special place
   for the needy.  It's amazing to see them move on to a better
          God has recently called me to serve at Prelude Memory
   Care full-time as the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator.  I
   love working with the resident's families, and the staff.    
         Today, I'm taking time to listen when God speaks.  I'm
   enjoying a calmer demeanor and I remember how much I
   loved speaking in churches and leading small groups and
   sharing my stories and hearing others stories as well.  
        Can you hear God's invitation to you to come to Him for a
   closer  relationship?  Join me,  spiritual direction may be what
   you're looking for.  Pray about it.  Not sure how to or what
   exactly to pray for.  Need some tips?  I can teach you 
   numerous ways to become more connected through prayer. 
        Maybe you have a group who could benefit from a positive
   voice in todays uncertainty.  Do you need to hear someone
   talk about their journey and what helped them through what
   seemed like insurmountable obstacles?  What's it like to have
   a strong faith that never lets you down?  Jump into some of my
   chapters in my journey and I'm certain we've at times been on
   similar paths. After all, we are all a part of God's great gospel
   story!  Thanks for listening to some of my story.  I look forward
   to meeting you and hearing your story!