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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Haven of Rest

Pear blossoms waiting for their friends, the honey bees.

These last several days we have been having an over abundance of snow here in Minnesota.  It seems that when we get scooped out, another snowstorm hits and we start all over again.  I guess it is the price one pays for living in the North Country.

Soon with the advent of springtime coming our way, the snow we now see will melt and spring will be beckoning us to be apart of the new beginnings found in nature around us.  We eagerly await the first signs of the returning blue birds, gold finches, gross beaks, blue buntings and of course the colorful hummingbirds.  Our bird feeders get rather busy in April and May with so many families wanting the needed nourishment found in the food we place before them. 
Visiting the Honeysuckle

Are these ramblings considered trivial in light of what is going in the world today, perhaps, perhaps they are not.  We need to take our heavy hearts to the Lord in prayer, and ask him to guide us in all things, especially those life altering events that demand our immediate attention.   But, we need also to take time to rest by finding a place of calm for our souls. 
Queen Anne's Lace

When Jesus was tired and desired a place of peace, when he felt pressed in and overwhelmed by the needs before him, he would retreat to a garden or some mountain to collect him self and find calm in these surroundings.  In these serene settings, he understood that being alone was what he needed most at that time.   Jesus loved nature, in so much as he even used the analogy of the sparrow in that God is always near by, noticing us and caring for each of his children.  If his attention is focused on this lowly brown songbird, how much more are we in his view?  

Since Jesus is the author of all life, I am sure that he did take time to listen to the sounds of nature around him.  For he, along with God, created this world as well.  All creatures of our lord were created for us as is written in Genesis 2:15.  God told Adam that he was to care for the garden and all that was in it, this included the animals that God had Adam name.  Do you suppose that God’s plan was that they would bring us as much joy as they did for Jesus? 

Take time to walk through a park or woods this week and enjoy nature and still your soul before God.  When your heart is at peace, ask God to speak to you and he will.   In John 10:27 Jesus declares, “My sheep ‘listen’ to my voice.”  He waits to speak to us in his very gentle soft voice.  

Walk in peace!  Augie 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Finding Peace in the Storm

Early morning fog over the Mississippi River Valley

Yesterday we experienced an abundance of sunshine here in Southeast Minnesota, but while the temperature was a bit cooler than the beginning of the week, it was so nice to have the sun out with blue sky’s overhead.

When driving to breakfast as I do every Saturday morning to be with my two friends, Dick and Gerry, I noticed a wonderful harvest moon just over the bluffs.   It drew my attention away from the day and made me want to just stop and enjoy the beauty of the moment.  I find myself so many times grabbing my camera to get a photograph of something that catches my eye, that perhaps is missed by some in their busyness of carrying on with their day with all the demands put before them.  I find at times it is good to stop and “smell the roses.”   Many of us are filled with demands that seem almost overwhelming at times.  We think, “If I get one more thing laid upon me, I am going to scream!”   During these times if it is possible, walk away from what is bothering you, and go to a place that brings you peace of mind.  If you are a mom or dad with a small child that is struggling with a need, and you find yourself not able to think anymore, close the door if possible (that is if the child is safe alone, as in a crib), and walk to a room that is quiet and collect yourself.  I don’t know how many times I did that with our children when they were small.  It kept me from raising my voice and saying things that I would perhaps later regret. 
Cardinal weathering the storm

At work it might be a different story for many of us. For myself, I found that in running an Alternative school in educating At-Risk children, the best place for me to cool down and collect myself was walking on the sidewalk outside the school.  Sometimes I just visited my secretary’s office and I sat and chatted with her for a while, all in order to relax, get my mind off the problem and later to gain perspective as well.   For those of you working in factories or companies where there are many individuals all around you, it might be more challenging to find a quiet place.  Rest rooms might be a good place to get away, lunchrooms or the pop machine area to name just a few.  When I was working in a big building overseas in the Army, I found going to a friend’s desk and talking for a period of time helped to distract us both and allowed me to refocus on the problem I was facing when later going back to my desk.

Female Cardinal during the storm
When my soul is distraught, my thoughts purposely go back to a time when I was muzzle loader deer hunting on the prairie near a body of water called the Little Sioux River.  (There is a special deer hunting season in Minnesota for those that want to use guns and equipment from the time period of around the 1830s and 1840s.)  One day while hunting, just after a blizzard, I sat down near a tree to rest. Since I had been walking many miles that day through heavy snow and tall blue stem grass, I became very tired.  While relaxing my weary body, I looked up to see an open pool of water amidst the ice and snow.   The water flowing from a small creek to the river left me almost lulled to sleep when listening to the bubbling stream reaching the surface.  As I relaxed my eyes, I spotted something unusual, a mink coming up out of the water sitting near the edge on the ice.  I watched it without moving around, knowing that if I even breathed loud, it would be gone, back into the depths of the flowing river.  The whole scene captured my attention, and at that very moment, I found so much peace and joy in my surroundings and with God as well, that I go there in my heart when my soul is troubled. 

Male cardinal on the willow branch during the snow storm
During these times of stress, I seek God and ask him to still my soul and mind as I go back to that one moment in time that brought me so much joy and peace, when I was sitting beside the gentle flowing waters.  In the Bible, David relates how God calmed his soul when he was troubled.  He writes in Psalms 23:2  “he leads me beside quiet waters.”  God will calm your heart and soul when you ask him.  Find a quiet place whether in a physical location, or even from your past.  Seek God and he will meet you there and you will find peace for your troubled soul.

May God's peace find you this day,  Augie
Photos:  Taken near our home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Gift of Love

The Gift of Love

Will and Abby finding fun in the snow.
My thoughts go back to the last several days where the temperature here in Minnesota reached as high as the middle 50’s.  This is quite unusual for the month of February and just as rare for the month of March still ahead.  With this warmer weather, I spent several hours outside with the kids playing on the remaining snow.  Later in the evening, I also found myself taking pain relievers for sore shoulders and my back as well.  Sliding on the snow was done at great speeds, and stopping I found was just as fast, especially when you left the snow and ended up on the street.  I reflected later in the day how it was rather crazy to do such things that would afterward bring so much pain.  Do it again, yes definitely!  My love for my children is so deep that I would not hesitate to do it all over in having so much fun with them. 

One wise person once said to me, “Augie, when you are on your death bed, who do you want to be there?”  I didn’t hesitate to know that it would be my family.  I remember my uncle that I adored so much, telling me about his children being around him when he had a severe heart attack.  He later related to me how much his children loved him and wanted him to get better.  He conveyed that he was so much a part of their lives that for him to go would be such a great loss for them.  At that moment, he decided that he wanted to get better fast, to be with them again.  A man of God who desired to follow Jesus in whatever he did, this man chose to minister to his children first. 

Our early morning visitor
1 Timothy 5:4 and 5:8 the Bible talks about caring for family, and ties this equally to one’s faith.  Caring for one’s family is very important in the eye's of God and we should strive to do the same.  In this mobile society it is hard sometimes to do this since we are so spread apart by distance.  Phone calls, letters, emails and cards are so very important to family, especially family members who live far away.

As I sit here typing, my little daughter came up to the table and started wrapping a birthday present for her grandma.  She colored a sheet of paper with pretty designs and found Christmas wrapping paper to put it in.  I have a hunch that her grandma will love this very much, especially knowing that her granddaughter came up with this gift all on her own.  Expressions of love we give to our children are indeed passed down to the next generation.  What better legacy to give our children, than our gift of love to them.  I remember reading about a little girl who was concerned about giving too much love away for fearing it might run out.  She asked her mother about her problem and being a wise parent, she said to her little one, “ Sweetheart, the more love we give to others, the more love we are given, thus our hearts will always be filled with love.”  Share your love today with a family member and you will be blessed in so many ways.

Have a wonderful day!  Augie

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Walls and Doors

 As I walked out unto the deck this morning, it was easy to see God's beauty in a breath taking sunrise.   I was reminded that even in the dark days when it seems that the sun will never shine again, we have the hope that Christ gives us in his word, better times are ahead!  
Growth is at times hard to accept when it requires that we have to make changes that allow for these transformations to take place.  With every trial we face we can choose to side step it, ignore it, or face the challenge and discover parts of ourselves that we never knew were within us. 
Beautiful Red Sky in the Morning
 God will open these doors in our lives if we allow him to. Just as the apostle Paul found that Jesus opened a door for him, he will do the same for us.  (2 Corinthians 2:12)  Jesus did not say that house cleaning would be at times easy or fun, but the end result is a person who is more complete and at peace with himself and his world that he lives in.  When walls do confront our lives, we are then able to face and overcome them. 
 My thoughts retreated inward to the time when I had watched carpenters building the walls of our home not to long ago.  They first built the wall on the ground, and then they put the entrance into the wall before setting it in place.  Christ does the same for us; he always builds an entrance and exit into the walls we face in life.  It sometimes takes Jesus though to show us the way through each wall. 
 We can though, look at our walls as barriers that keep us from where we want to go or we can step back and reassess.  Each wall in our home is for support and protection.  They keep the bad from the outside left on the outside, and protect what we treasure safely on the inside.  But, again just like when carpenters prepare to build, Jesus has a plan in place for every wall and every doorway in our lives.  If you are facing a wall today, take a minute to pray and allow him to take your hand and reveal to you his way. Jesus says in his word in Matthew 7: 7 - 8, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
 Have a peace filled day, Augie