Edna pastor, syndicated columnist pens second devotional book – Victoria Advocate

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Updated: November 7, 2021 @ 1:43 am
The Rev. Andrew Schroer holding his latest book, “364 Days of Devotion.”
The Rev. Andrew Schroer holding both of his books, “364 Days of Thanksgiving” and “364 Days of Devotion.”
The Rev. Andrew Schroer’s two books, “364 Days of Thanksgiving” and “364 Days of Devotion.”
Features Editor
The Rev. Andrew Schroer holding his latest book, “364 Days of Devotion.”
The Rev. Andrew Schroer holding both of his books, “364 Days of Thanksgiving” and “364 Days of Devotion.”
The Rev. Andrew Schroer’s two books, “364 Days of Thanksgiving” and “364 Days of Devotion.”
The Rev. Andrew Schroer, 48, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Edna, has penned his second book, an eight-year labor of love titled “364 Days of Devotion.”
With unique devotionals for all but one day of the year, this follow-up to his first book, “364 Days of Thanksgiving,” offers readers an even more extensive experience of devotion and thanksgiving.
For each of the 364 days, Schroer begins with a Bible passage followed by a devotional. For the devotionals, Schroer draws from his eloquent, insightful “Breadcrumbs” columns, which he has written weekly for the Victoria Advocate and other newspapers for many years. He then includes a prayer and a place where readers can enter a blessing for which they are thankful each day. Identifying a different blessing every day is key to the book’s concept.
“If you are depressed, you focus on the negatives in life and fail to see the good things, which always outnumber the bad,” Schroer said. “This is a good exercise to do, especially if you are struggling with depression or anxiety, because it forces you to look around and see the good things in life, the good things God has given you. It’s a very good practice.”
Both of Schroer’s books were published by Northwestern Publishing House in Milwaukee, Wis. Schroer’s first 150-page journal of thanksgiving was published in 2015 and sold 8,000 copies, which aside from hymnals and Bibles, made it one of the company’s best-selling books. The first book begins with three chapters that emphasize the importance of being thankful and the benefits of recognizing and recording those blessings.
Throughout the remainder of his first book, Schroer intersperses 26 devotionals with areas where readers can enter the blessings for which they are thankful each day.
The second book, with more than 700 pages, includes devotionals for all 364 days.
A quote by Charles Dickens inspired the titles of both books. Dickens noted that Americans have the idea of thanksgiving backwards. Instead of having one Thanksgiving Day, there should be 364 days of thanksgiving and one day for whining and complaining. Better yet, with a journal of thanksgiving, that one day can be used to recognize the goodness of God by reflecting on almost a year’s worth of recorded blessings.
The idea for the book developed from an experience Schroer had with a Spanish-speaking woman who attempted suicide years ago. Her distraught husband, who had taken English classes at the church, called the pastor, who is fluent in Spanish, to find help for his wife. Schroer discovered that not many resources existed for Spanish-speakers, so he reached out to his friend, a Christian counselor, for advice. Of all the advice he shared with the woman, the practice of recording a different blessing every day in a journal was the most beneficial.
“I got to thinking that I wanted to share that with other people,” Schroer said. “They can put the book by their bed, and go back and read through all the good things in life and realize how blessed they are.”
Mary Beth LaPier, 80, of Pasadena, Md., lived in Edna from 2000 to 2016. She met Schroer when she took Spanish lessons at Redeemer Lutheran in 2009, and she came to know him well when she approached him for help in dealing with her husband’s terminal illness that same year. LaPier’s husband was not affiliated with a church, so she asked that Schroer eventually preside over his funeral service.
The pastor agreed to conduct the service on the condition that he get to know her husband first, and he enjoyed lunch at the couple’s home the very next day. He visited with her husband at least a dozen times before his death.
Schroer pulled from his experience with the woman who attempted suicide to help LaPier manage the difficulties in her life. Long before his first book was published, he advised her to keep a journal of thanksgiving. When LaPier later lost her daughter and her mother in the same year and health issues surfaced in her own life, the journaling technique continued to bolster her. She has accumulated a pile of notebooks full of blessings, which she has held onto for her children to read when she is gone.
“Pastor Andy was so wonderful. He told me how to cope with death. He told me to write something positive down every day, something I was thankful for, and not to repeat any,” LaPier said. “If you’re having a down day, you can go back and read some of the things you’ve written. You can look at all the things you’ve got to be thankful for. Why stress over one thing when there are all these things to be thankful for?”
When Schroer’s first book was released, LaPier made certain she obtained a copy. She now looks forward to reading his second book.
Schroer has been a pastor for 22 years, and he has served 18 of those years in Edna. He also served in Mexico and Miami, Fla.
He and his wife, Clariza Schroer, have two children, Isabel Schroer, 17, a senior in high school, and Andy Schroer, 13, an eighth grader.
“It is my hope and prayer that people find the book encouraging. When you ask people what devotion is, what a life of devotion looks like, what a year of devotion to God looks like, I’m hoping to get people to have a life or at least a year of devotion through this,” Schroer said. “They can sit down and get into God’s word and get encouragement.”
Elena Anita Watts is the features editor for the Victoria Advocate. She covers faith, arts, culture and entertainment, and she can be reached at 361-580-6585 or [email protected].

What: Book signing at the Adult Spelling Bee to raise money for the Jackson County Memorial Library
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 16
Where: Jackson County Services Building, 411 N. Wells St., Edna
What: Public reading and book signing
When: 1 p.m. Dec. 4
Where: Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main St., Victoria
What: Public reading and book signing
When: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Jan. 14
Where: Carl & Mary Welhausen Public Library, 810 Front St., Yoakum
“364 Days of Devotion” is available for $29.99 at Amazon.combarnesandnoble.com, Kindle and the office of the Jackson County Herald Tribune, 306 N. Wells St., Edna.
Features Editor
“I’m glad to be reporting on the events that bring people in my hometown together for fun, culture, camaraderie and good causes.”
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