Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today while sitting on the deck and watching
the sunrise and seeing the birds flying to and fro, I am amazed how God has
created such a wonderful world filled with such intricacies.  As I sit and
watch this all unfold, I see tiny little seeds floating by no bigger than a pin
point.  They would gently glide by, some landing softly on the deck while
others were seeking other places to be.  God has a plan for each of them,
some to be food for a small bird flying by, while others will become a plant or
perhaps a great tree somewhere; they are wonders of nature, each seed will in
turn sustain life for God's creatures.  

Yesterday while recuperating from my
illness I was sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds and the little
baby cardinals on our porch lattice.  Anne planted vines of honeysuckle
near them and they have grown on the lattice, thus providing homes and food for
our feathered friends.  As I turned my gaze over to the woods, I noticed a
small opening there in the forest.  I could see into the deepest part of
the woods where the sun did not shine.  I wondered what creatures were in that
part of the woods where I could not see.  

While gazing intently into the forest my
thoughts went back only a short time ago to the day that Will, Abby and myself
were looking for leprechauns in those same woods. We would call out for them to
show themselves, but to our discouragement, none appeared.  We then found
signs of their presence.  Abby found a large strange looking mound of dirt
located in an open spot near some sumac trees.  Will noticed that it had an
entrance hole so we called down for the leprechauns to come out.  Much to
our chagrin, they did not appear.  Looking around further, we found
another hole and surmised that they must have escaped through that exit.   We did find evidence though of the
leprechauns being there. Green moss was located in spots near the mound.
 Each place where the moss was found, we found that it was the exact
location of where a leprechaun had sat. The children had located several places
where the moss was growing and both Will and Abby became very excited in seeing
that the leprechauns had been close by.     

Another day we noticed fairy dust on a
branch of a tree, a silvery crust on the bark.  I told my children that
here is where a fairy sat down to rest.  Will wanted to scrape it off and
bring it back to Mama, but after Daddy stopped sneezing from holding it, I
convinced them to show her by having Mama come up to the site. They now hold
our woods as a very magical place filled with wonder and awe.  I too wish
with all my heart for a leprechaun or fairy to appear.  

This summer I am going to take Will to
the top of our 500 foot hill behind us because that is where Shawnasee the king
leprechaun lives.  There is a small cave entrance there, but as I told
Will, it is closed most of the time and is only opened when the king decides to
come out and run through the forest with the other leprechauns.  Will
still looks for the pot of gold in the woods.  

We sometimes as a family, go to a local
cemetery (Woodlawn), which was constructed with over 70 different species of
trees, not counting all the wonderful bushes and shrubs growing there.  It
is at the edge of the forest and has an abundance of wildlife walking, playing
and flying in it.  The original design for Woodlawn Cemetery was to build
it as an arboretum and cemetery. In carrying out the traditions of the German ancestors,
they built cemeteries like Woodlawn in much of Germany.  They used these resting places for
parks and picnic areas as well.  Space was at a premium in Germany and so
by combining the beauty of a park with that of a cemetery, it became very
functional.  The German immigrants
carried on this tradition here in Winona as well. People today walk, run and
bike through the cobblestone and narrow roads leading to the terraced hills of

We as a family like to visit Woodlawn
because of the beauty of the trees and shrubs when blossoming in the spring,
and also because leprechauns live in the woods that border the cemetery.  I quite often roll down the windows of
the car and holler out for the king of the leprechauns, “I know your out there
Shawnosee, show yourself!” in an Irish accent. Abby and Will then follow with
the same calls. 

Along with calling and looking for the leprechauns,
we have also discovered that they are very fast and hard to see. Well, this is
always so much fun for us, even Anne gets into the role by telling the kids she
hears the leprechauns running by us because of the rustling leaves we hear, the
origins, (which will never be revealed) are from the wake of our car. 

It was such fun, except for one Sunday,
while we went through the same routines at Woodlawn, upon entering the
cemetery. I hollered out as I always do for Shawnasee the king leprechaun, and we
all got excited in anticipating what would happen next. What transpired though
was not expected.  I hadn’t seen the
two ladies walking above us on the terraced hillside.  When approaching them, I greeted each lady with a good morning
and much to my surprise, they just looked at me as if I were dangerous and/or
deranged.  I could not figure out
why they looked at me the way they had. Then finally they both hesitantly
responded with an unsure greeting in reply as they were passing.  

I looked over at Anne and then realized
what had just happened, they must have thought I was hollering out at them or
some imaginary foe, either way I do believe they wanted to leave the cemetery
very quickly.  Either way, the leprechauns did not
appear that day.  Only a red-faced
Daddy appeared to his family. 
Being children though, they were not fazed by Daddy’s embarrassment.  Each child wanted to find either a leprechaun
or a fairy that day.  
How we need to be children at
times.  To have their unfathomable
faith and belief that the impossible exists and that the unseen is

The Sand Pile

I imagine that everyone is enjoying the beautiful sunshine today. We have had rain for about a week straight and it is nice to see the sun again.
This morning I was out on the deck enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun while reading my daily scriptures. I was reading Matthew 18 when the disciples asked who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps they were vying for places in the world to come or just curious to know. I believe the answer surprised everyone including the disciples. Jesus said, "I tell the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."
These verses remind me how important and precious children are and how important it is too . So many times we look at the problems of adulthood and we try to solve a particular problem by looking at all the possible solutions and then hoping our choice is the best one. So how does being like a child come into play with the adult world?
The other day I was asked to go out to the sand pile by Abby and Will. I wasn't excited about the idea of getting sand in my shoes and socks, but I went anyway. I sat there and thought of the many things that were holding my attention back at the house and wondering how I was going to get them done. At that moment I looked down and saw that Abby had built a large hill out of sand.  In looking over at Will I saw that he had dug a sand tunnel and was carefully removing the remnants of sand from his tunnel. He was already to start driving his trucks through his creation. Abby on the other hand was decorating her sand hill with sea shells, rocks and sticks. They were happy having daddy watching them build their creations. Then Abby at that moment looked up and said, "Daddy, will you play with me?" I realized that my body was there with them, but my mind was in the house. I hestitantly said yes and began to look for sea shells for her sand hill. As I did this I began to notice that I was enjoying myself and Abby was very excited about having her daddy help. Will at that time asked if I would help him move some sand for his project. I began helping Will as well and found that we all were having time of our lives.  In making the sounds of the bulldozer and dump trucks I found Will starting to do the same. Psychologists say that I was modeling for my children and they were following suit. I would say that I was doing just the opposite, I was modeling my children and following them. My worries and concerns left me and I enjoyed myself more than I could say. The thought would occasionally enter my mind that what some adult would think to see a grown man making bulldozer sounds. I pondered this a little while, and only to come to the conclusion that they don't know what they are missing.
In retrospect, in looking back, I was putting my cares in my pocket and enjoying the moment. My children were teaching me that it was ok to take time and have fun with them.  
My mind now goes back to the other day, Abby and I were at Starbucks standing in line when I looked back and noticed that Abby had started talking to two young women standing behind us.  She was inviting them to come to her house and see her kitty and play with her.  They were very kind to her and said that it would be fun.  What surprised me even more was Abby's next statement.  "I like you" she said to the two ladies.  They looked a little surprised and responded by saying in unison, "we like you too."  And so, I am learning from my children to be a child again.  Perhaps this is how we should come to Jesus in the same way, as a child.  
I encourage you to be a child today, have fun in the sand pile.  Augie


How many times do we struggle with contentment?  

I know that I do indeed strive at times in being grateful
and thanking God for all the blessings that he has given to my family and me.   If I am being honest with myself
at these moments, I am focused on what I do not have and not on what I have been blessed with.  During those times that I am self-absorbed, I have a
tendency to look at life through filtered lenses.  I see all the inadequacies there are in life and ask myself,
why am I being shorted again?  Why
don’t I receive what others have?  
Then, God opened my eyes recently.

I received a pray request for a little boy that was very ill.  I could see by the request that his parents were hurting
very much.  As time had passed the
little boy’s health had continued to deteriorate and it looked all to clear
that God was going to take him home to be with him.  The parents were grieving deeply over the unfolding events
and I am sure they felt helpless to change anything.  The doctors told the parents that they could do nothing else
for their son.  In a short while the
little boy went home to be with Jesus, leaving his mother’s arms only to be
gathered into Jesus’ gentle hands. 

As I read these lines the parents had written, I was torn
in my heart for the grief they were going through.   
I began to weep, and at that very moment, I felt the touch
of my son by my side.  He reached
over and got up into my lap to comfort me.  I was suddenly reminded of how frail life was.  I looked at my son and remembered how
we almost lost him at birth.  He
was in an incubator for several days. 
He struggled for every breath that he took and as he did, I would tell
him how his mommy and I loved him so very much.  During those moments he would reach out and hold on to my
small finger and look into my eyes as if to tell me how much he loved us.  I stayed by his side falling asleep at
times and when waking up, I would find he was still holding on to my little
finger and staring intently into my eyes.   After many hours of prayers and tense moments, the
time came, and after what seemed to be an eternity, his breathing began to
relax.  The doctors examined him
and told us that his other lung had attached to his body and he was going to
pull through.   I broke down
and wept.  My mind raced back to a
few short months before when we lost our first child mid way through Anne’s
pregnancy.  God had now given us a
precious gift, a son to raise and love. 
We have continued to commit him to God each day when lifting him up in
prayer.  Will is now 7 and is growing
up so fast.  He has a gentle heart
and is very kind to his little 4-year-old sister Abby.  

 The other day we were out celebrating Mother’s day at a busy
restaurant, I noticed that it had several TVs going and many
families visiting with one another. 
In the midst of all these activities I looked to my left and noticed
Will had his eyes closed.  I then
asked him if he was ok.  He looked
up to me and said that he was praying to Jesus about something that was
concerning him. I was once
again reminded how mysterious God’s ways are to me.  I was humbled by this little boy’s innocence and how Will
worked out his questions, not by getting frustrated and complaining, he sought
life by first seeking the author of life. 

God was teaching me, through my son, that contentment is
found by treasuring what we have been given and understanding that “all” we
have are gifts given to us by the Lord of life. Take care, Augie



Mother's Day

Today we are celebrating Mother’s Day.  Annually we get together and honor our wives and mothers on this special day of the year for all the wonderful things they have done. 
My thoughts go back to the many times that my wife Anne has gotten up in the middle of the night to answer calls of distress by our two children.  “Mommy, I am afraid!”  She jumps out of bed and immediately goes to the child calling for her.
 Many times in the morning I have woken up only to find that Anne was not next to me.  Upon entering the children’s room I have seen Anne with her arms wrapped around Abby or Will, both soundly asleep.  When she comes home that day from teaching, I can see that she is very tired from the little rest she had the night before.  Anne has never complained or said, “I wish you were the one taking care of the kids last night!”  All she has told me is how wonderful it was that she had the chance to hold our child and comfort them.  She has shared with me a number of times that there is no greater feeling in the world than in having your child reach out and put their hands on your neck or cheek all the while they were sleeping.   Feeling the closeness of mommy next to them has given our children a sense of security that only mothers can give.  
 I also think at this time of another mother who lived about two thousand years ago.   She watched her son in a cradle and wondered what great blessings God had given to her, in seeing her beautiful son laying before her.  This mother watched her son grow up and become an adult.  As with all moms in the world, she watched him leave her cradling arms and become a man.  What thoughts must have gone through her mind as she saw him speak to thousands of people and giving them the gift of hope, watching him heal the sick, deliver them from demons and feed the poor.   She was a woman of little words, it is said that she treasured many things in her heart.  What gentle compassion she must have given to her son while he grew up.  She was chosen to teach him all the things that he must know as a child and to apply these as an adult.  God used this gentle woman to raise our Savior.  She is honored throughout all time as the mother of our Lord.  

 This same mother watched her son hang from a tree and listened to him as he spoke to her from the cross.  He knew of her anguish and love for him and even while dying such an excruciating death, he thought of his mother during this most wrenching moment.   Mary not only loved her son deeply as mothers do, she worshiped him as her savior.  Her son came to her at this most grievous time and ministered to her to broken heart.  Jesus is still reaching out to mothers and touching their lives today.    

May Jesus bless you moms on this most special day!  Augie