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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Roots

Will and I had a wonderful day last week visiting the Jackson County Fair.  In wanting to offer my son the chance to see my heritage, I had hopes that he too would form his ties to our family past.  Today we struggle at times in passing on our heritage to our children and grandchildren since we live in such a mobile society with few roots.  Not to long ago families did not move very far from the homes in which they grew up.  Several generations lived in one house and so traditions and family history were passed from generation to generation, all found with in the one home.  All contributed to the collective family with each giving valuable and necessary contributions to the family as a whole.  Much of this wonderment has passed into history quietly without notice.  We have lost an integral part of our heritage to the ages, parts of us that make us who we are and have become.  Knowing our family past and the contributions that our forefathers have given, help us to see the part we play in today's world.  We have lost that key to our lives in so many ways today.  Pride in the accomplishments of our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers and beyond those to generations before them.  I encourage each of you to take time in sitting down with your families, if you have not done so, and relive the history of your family to your children.  Take them to the places where history was made for your family, perhaps then your children and grandchildren too can understand where they as individual members of your family have come.  Perhaps it will give them insight into their futures as well.  

I wanted Will to have similar experiences that I had when I was growing up in Jackson seeing the Jackson County Fair, and with the hopes of meeting family and friends at the fair grounds.  We had a wonderful day celebrating cousin Mike's inauguration into the Speedway Hall of Fame, seeing cousin Ron and his sons, Adam and Tim driving their antique tractors in the tractor parade and visiting with them as well.  We were able to see part of the fair races, visit all of the animal buildings, and see old buildings with mock ups inside them, the way they were set up around the turn of the last century.  Seeing pioneer reenactments and their families and how they lived when the area was first being settled, as well viewing old farm equipment.  One of the pieces on display was a 1917 thrashing machine that I stood on and cut bundles when I was not much older than Will.  Dad and Bobby's steam engine powered that thrashing machine.  Now I can show Will the pictures from the past and he can say one day to his children that he too became a part of history by seeing Uncle Leroy's thrashing machine and his cousins antique tractors on display.  He will show them Dr. Mayo's buggy that he stood in front of, touching an integral part of Minnesota history and that of his family's as well.  Have a great week ahead, Augie

Through the Eyes of a Child

Curious fawn looking at the kids toys
Today brought a pleasant surprise by Abby saying, "Look daddy, a baby dear!"  I was scrubbing and waxing floors when she delivered the announcement.  I quickly got the camera and was able to snap the shot I am sending you now.  Abby's excitement was contagious and exhilarating, I got very excited watching her get so enthused about seeing a baby deer.  What a wonderful blessing we have when we learn again to be a child through the eyes of innocence.  I sometimes forget to step back and get excited all over again.  In looking at the tasks facing me each day,  I have tunnel vision and forget to stop and take time to focus on the simple things of life that bring so much joy when stopping to notice them.  

Yesterday, Will and I were on a father-son date at Target.  Will had been saving his allowance to get a new lego toy so he was very excited about our trip.  When Will and I entered the store I noticed a mom in the back of Target yelling at her two year old son.  She was threatening him with slapping his fingers if he touched her phone one more time.  Will automatically held my hand and squeezed as hard as his little fingers could.  I quietly told him not to worry even as the mother continued yelling at her son even more.  My first reaction was to think, what a bad mother she was yelling at her son like that.  My next thoughts were, "What do I say to my son?"   I took Will to the next isle and knelt down and said that it would be ok and that he had nothing to be afraid of.  I tried to distract him with looking at the lego toys, but that was to no avail.  He was visibly shaken and I could see that his mind was focused on the mom and child.  I next asked him to look for his choice in what he wanted to get.  He then started to look over the different Legos and was able to focus on what toy he wanted.  The mother by that time had moved to another part of the store.  Will made his choice, but I could see that our time together had been scared by this mother's angry encounter with her son.  

After paying for the toy, we started to leave and I suggested that we could get a slushy and chips if he wanted.  This I had hoped would bring joy into my son once again.  It was not to be, the mother and child were right behind us.  The boy was running away from the mom and she was yelling at her son again in the check out line.  Will instinctively started walking to the little boy and I was able to retrieve him before he made contact with her child.  I then asked him what was he up to, he told me that he was going to tell the little boy to listen to his mother.  I then said that that job was left only to the boy's mom, where by Will then turned to the slushy machine.  After a while we sat at the table and I was praying for what to say to my son that would help him to understand what had just taken place.  The thought came to mind about what we taught both children to do when seeing an ambulance or police car.  They would pray for the rescuers and the people needing help.  I next asked Will what it was he did when seeing an ambulance.  He said that he prayed for those needing help and the people in the ambulance as well.  I then proceeded to use the analogy for praying for this very distressed mother and son.  His reply was a teachable moment for Will's daddy.  "That is what I was doing daddy when I saw her being upset."
Hummingbird visiting Anne's honeysuckle bush
For myself, I did not think of praying for the mother when this was happening.  A child was teaching "me" when to pray.  Christ said that we must become like a little child in order to enter the kingdom of God.  God was teaching me how to do this today.  His choice was not that of a minister's sermon, a friend's advice, nor that of any adult.  He was teaching me through a little child's natural faith.  

As we grow into adult hood we sometimes lose our natural faith in believing that God does care for us and listens to us.  We too many times are like the apostles in the boat seeing Jesus walking on the water, first reacting with fear and then disbelieving what their eyes and mind were telling them.  "No, this can't be Jesus, it must be a ghost!"  They were trying to sort out the unthinkable by disbelieving what they knew to be true.  Only Peter had the unquenchable faith that allowed him to go beyond his fears and he too took the step on water whereas the others sought the safety of the boat.  When in the store, I wanted to shield my son from what I saw as a very troubled mother.  Will on the other hand saw it as an opportunity to pray for this distressed mom.  Through his innocent faith, Will knew who had the power to change the situation and help this lady and son by calling on the author of life.
Peter had this faith, as that of a child.   Seeing Jesus through that of a child's eyes is what I want today.  

Have a great week!  Augie

Quiet Places

Today I woke up to our cat tapping me on my face with her paw, her way of asking me to get up and feed her.  The second attempt in doing this got me out of bed.  I realized that I needed to hit the golf course and try to get  back before everyone got up.  This is a regular routine for me each day and when I don't set the alarm, a kitty of ours has her alarm set in getting me out of bed.  

I find my time on the golf course walking by myself is very beneficial in that it gives me time to pray and praise God.  My everyday concerns and worries seem to wash away, then I find myself becoming more relaxed as well.  My mind seems to clear and my perspective is more inline with that of a follower of Christ.  The times that I don't do this I seem to struggle with the cares of the day.  

In reading in Luke this morning I came across the scripture of Martha complaining to Jesus about her sister Mary not helping her prepare the meal for Christ and the rest of his followers.  His reply was not what Martha was expecting, "You are worried and upset about many things. . ."  Jesus was telling Martha that the cares of this world can be put into perspective if we look to him for guidance and trust Jesus for the outcome.  I have found that the hard part is giving it over to him, I always want to take it back.  I have realized then that I am not trusting in Jesus to handle these difficult challenges facing me.  Sometimes I don't want to let my problems go, I would rather hold on to them, while at other times I am not certain what I am to give to Jesus and what my responsibility is.  The more that I stress and fret over the problem, I seem to get more confused and overwhelmed by it.  

For many us we have our quiet places that we can go to and pray and gain perspective.  For me it is going out to the golf course around sunrise by myself, or walking through our woods near our house and sometimes perhaps, as I am doing right now, sitting on our porch near the flowers that we planted and watching the wildlife nearby.  Today I am sharing this time with Abby as well.  She is lining wild flowers up near the steps of our porch all the while enjoying running back and forth out to the meadow.  Now as I am writing this, she comes nearby me and asks if I would write about her as well.  

I have found that when I do seek the quiet places and times that work in my busy day, it goes well and I am more at peace with the demands that face me.  When I have a difficult time giving my problems to Jesus, I praise him instead and find that my struggles seem to wash off like rain falling from the leaves of a tree.  As I now look out and see Abby picking wild flowers and singing at the top of her lungs, I want to have the same care free life as she has, being a child trusting in her father to take care of her and knowing that life is exciting and full of adventure.  
Have a peace filled day.  Augie 

Storms of Life

Today started with a mix of sunshine and clouds.  It seems that the weather was not sure what it wanted to do.  When the sun appeared it was so bright that it was blinding.  I realized that it had been cloudy and raining so much the last several days that my eyes had not adjusted to the bright light when the sun peaked through. While inspecting the area around our house after all the rain that we have had, I noticed in looking down into my garden from the deck that part of the it had been washed away.  This will make replanting the garden three times this year.  Life seems to be filled with rain and sunshine though.  We start over when we face set backs and we go on from there.  Some of those hardships are not as easy to recover from than others though.  It takes all of our reserve to gather our strength and face another day and we find that over time we gradually get back on our feet again.  At other times, our faith is shaken and we are rocked to the core.  We find that this challenge we are facing is just too much.  We are devastated by what has just lambasted us and we see that our reserve is used up.  What can we do, how can we go on to just get through the day, much less tomorrow and the next.  How can we make it now? Where am to find the place that I can go that offers me strength to face all the other challenges that I will encounter, when I can't even get through the one that stairs me in eyes today?  
> God says that he can be our strength when we cannot go on.  In Exodus 15:2 it says, "The Lord is my strength and my song."  He not only tells us that we can have his strength, but he will also give us his joy as well.  In Psalms 46:1 it says that God is our refuge and our strength.  Here God is telling us again that he is not only our strength, but also our place to go when the storms of life are too much for us to bare.  I am reminded of the other day when Abby fell and scraped her leg.  Abby ran over to Anne and she cuddled Abby while she cried.  Abby first needed to be held and comforted in her pain.  Next, Anne took her and ministered to her injured knee. In watching what transpired here, I too noticed how God works in our lives if we allow him in.  He can comfort us and bandage our wounds if we invite him to be a part of where we are at.   
> Today some of us face overwhelming issues that can be seen as insurmountable, but I know that Jesus hears our prayers and he comforts us if we are willing to invite him to receive his love.  I am reminded of my cousin's aunt who had severe physical distress every day.  She had laid in her bed racked with pain that I can only have imagined what is was like.  My cousin told me that people would come to visit her and they would leave finding that she had ministered to their needs instead, and in turn left filled with peace and joy.  This wonderful lady knew Jesus and in her tremendous pain, she found peace and happiness that went beyond her suffering and reached out to others around her. Jesus was so much a part of her life that he allowed her to be a blessing to those outside of her world.  This wonderful lady exuded peace and joy that went beyond the confines of her wracked body.  I marveled at how God worked in her life.  She chose to not let her physical body limit her love for Jesus and how he wanted to use her.  
> God sometimes does not answer our prayers as we would like, but he does answer them in the way that is best for us, ways we might not understand, yet.  If we allow him to answer our pleas with his will being done, then one will find the peace and joy, just like my cousin's aunt had received.  
Matt 6:10 says, "Your will be done."  Perhaps the hardest thing we have to do at times is to let go, not give up, but let go into God's care and wait for Him to work in our lives by laying down our will before him. A song verse I had learned when I was a child in Sunday school has become my prayer so many times, "Lord I am weak, but you are strong," please be my strength today. Augie