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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Was there quicksand in the Garden of Eden?

(Early in the Morning)  Winter visits us one last time.

Today we are experiencing the remnants of winter trying desperately to hold on for few days longer.  It seems to say, “I don’t want to go, it is so nice here and I will miss Minnesota so much!”  Spring though is urging it on by gently bringing the sun into view more each day and allowing the flowers and trees to slowly nudge winter to its summer home in the northland.  There winter must wait for its time to reappear once again.  In the meantime summer and fall must make their appearances here as well.  For everything there is a season, and for change sometimes though not wanted, must come to make room for the newness of life and the beginnings of rebirth. 

Spring gently asks Winter to leave.
So many times in life it is hard to experience change when it comes.  Sometimes we see it from afar and we are given a chance to make alterations that will accommodate the changes that are about to arrive, but while there are these foreseen experiences in life, others come that we are not prepared for.  A family member passes away from an unexpected illness, or a child is lost in an accident.  For some it is the loss of a job that they have had for many years.  These changes are the most challenging of all.  They shock the system into numbness and paralyze one from making life’s demanding decisions that need immediate attention.  One is left in total devastation and it seems that a cloud hangs over our eyes so that we cannot see to make even the simplest of decisions.  One is left wondering, “why?”  “Why did this happen to me and what did I do to deserve this?”

Abby "Look daddy, a coyote!"  An early morning visitor.
This morning Will brought up to his mommy and myself the question, “Was there quicksand in the garden of Eden?  I asked him why he had thought of that.  Will responded by saying that he wondered that if Adam and Eve had found quicksand, could they have walked across it, that is after they had eaten from the tree of good and evil.  I told him about how after man’s fall that all of nature was affected by Adam and Eve’s decision.  Things like quicksand came into being and many other bad things developed in nature as well.  We talked to Will about how even nature groans for things to be as they were once intended, as related from Romans 8:22.   Will responded in his innocence by saying that he would like to build a time machine and go back to the garden and convince Adam and Eve not to bite that apple.  We quietly listened to him explain his theory of how that would change the future by going back to the past.  When he was done with his explanation, Anne told him that it was a noble thought, but God knew what would happen long before it took place.  That is, what Adam and Eve would do since he could see into the future, present and past.  Anne shared with Will that God is not limited to any point in time.  We then explained to Will about how God wishes for each of us to come to him by free choice and how our Lord does not force anyone to make decisions that are against our own will.  We explained further that that is what love is, desiring the best for others while not wanting to change them into our image of what we think they should be.  We told Will that God wants us to come to him by “our” individual decision, he invites us to be his children and we make the choice on whether to accept or decline his invitation. 

Abby, "look daddy, a brown thing!" Female (hen) wild turkey.
Will then told us about how he witnessed to a friend of his the other day.  He shared with us that he had told his female friend all about Jesus and that he was the only true God.   Anne gently held Will and spoke with him about how he could witness by his kind acts and that Will could tell his friend how Jesus helped him in his life when witnessing to her. 
Anne then asked Will if he ever stopped to smell a flower?  Will responded with an enthusiastic “yes, I have.”  She continued by saying that the aroma of flowers are so very nice when walking by them sometimes, that it makes us want to stop and smell their fragrance.  Anne then spoke to Will about the Apostle Paul in what he said in 2 Corinthians 2:13 that “we are to be a sweet fragrance to those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”  She went on to say to Will that like the flowers that smell so sweet, we by our actions of love and kindness make others ask themselves the question, “what makes this person so nice?”  Anne finished by saying to Will that our greatest witness sometimes is by who we are inside and not always what we say to people.  Others see those changes that Jesus has made within us and are drawn to us because they want what we possess in our hearts.

Early Spring Sunrise
This made me think, Christ did not ask us to change the world, he wants the change to occur within us.  By allowing Jesus into our lives, we will experience the peace that passes all understanding, even in the most difficult of circumstances.  Christ is our refuge in our most turbulent times, a person who listens to us and will always be there to help us and comfort us.  Jesus did not take us out of the world, but wants to transform the world within us.  He gives us new eyes to see life through his vision for us.  He gives us hope when we have none, and he loves us with a love that goes beyond our understanding.  He is our refuge in the storms of life and he wants us always to know that he is there for us. 

If you have any comments that you feel would encourage others, feel free to write them down in the comments section.  Have a wonderful peace filled day.  Augie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Helen Keller

Our April Snow

I look out into the early morning light and see the snowflakes gently falling to the ground.  It brings me peace in knowing that snow like all of nature, knows its purpose, for snow is given to replenish the earth with needed moisture.  I also see the spring birds now sitting on our feeders filling themselves with sunflower seeds.  Only two days ago they were feasting on insects and seeds from the ground nearby.  Now we have approximately 5 to 9 inches of snow blanketing the trees and shrubs.   Only hours ago our trees were in the process of budding out and forming the new leaves of spring.  How things change unexpectantly, we do not foresee such a drastic transformation this time of the year, but it did happen and we must go along with these changes, for we have no choice.  Our choice though is in how we will look at these changes. 

Who me?  I don't eat flowers!
The other day Will and Abby asked me to read to them the book on Helen Keller for their bedtime story.  What a remarkable woman she was.  In the beginning, Helen as a little girl could not adjust to what had just happened to her in losing her sight and hearing.  She fought, hit, bit and pushed away the ones that were trying to help her.  She could neither hear nor see those around her and so she did not know how to respond.  All Helen knew was that once she could see and hear and now she could not.  Throughout the years, Helen was taught and helped by a woman named Anne Sullivan.  Anne was a woman who like Helen had lost her sight.  Anne, in time went through a series of eye surgeries and was able to regain partial sight.  She knew what poor little Helen was going through and was able to get beyond Helen’s outbreaks of anger and frustration and eventually teach her how to communicate by gestures.  Eventually Anne got Helen added help from a specialist who taught her how to speak and read braille.  Years later, Helen went on to college and graduated with honors and she became an inspiration for many.  She traveled throughout the world telling her story and how this one woman, Anne Sullivan, changed her life.  Helen Keller gave hope to many people throughout the world.  They too understood through Helen’s experience, that it was possible for themselves and their family members with the same handicap as Helen’s, that life beyond their physical limitations was possible.  Helen became a light in the darkness for so many people who were blind and deaf.

Just one little bite.
When I finished reading this story, I sat with Will and Abby and we talked about Helen’s experiences.  They did not know that one could do so much with such a handicap as Helen’s.  About that time their mommy entered the room.  I then began to tell them that these miracles still happen to this day.  I pointed over at Anne and began to tell our children about their mommy’s handicaps.  Anne was born with a traumatic birth disorder.  She had lost the hearing in her left ear and most of the hearing in her right ear.  The processing in the brain that would allow her to read and write was gone as well. 

When Anne was a little girl growing up, she did not want other children her age to know of her handicaps.  I imagine she was afraid of being made fun of or not seen as normal by some of her peers, this I have observed many times with other children in the schools that I worked in. 
I am certain it was not me that ate those flowers.
Anne wanted to do well in all that she did.  When she attended her local church Anne got involved in AWANA.  She would memorize scripture verses in AWANA with her mother’s help before each meeting and it amazed her teachers that she could know her bible so well.   When it came to bible reading time, she would look at her assigned bible verse when it came her turn to read in class, and she would appear to read flawlessly.  She knew by each student’s seating arrangement what verse was going to be assigned the next week and would later go home and with the requested help of her mother, and memorize each verse.  Anne would then act as if she was reading the Bible during the classroom reading time. 
Anne was home schooled and she received extensive help from her parents and from a particular teacher who took interest in her.  Through their efforts and Anne’s unfathomable determination, she started to be able to read at 12 and write passably at 15.  Anne started college at 16 and went on to finish with the highest honors her college could bestow on her.  She then went to complete her master’s degree in “English” and now she teaches writing and research courses at Winona State.  Her classes continually overfill and some students ask Anne’s superiors to have her as their teacher.  I believe that with Anne’s past and present handicaps, she is able to understand her students that come to her with their many needs, and because of this, Anne sits with them individually and work out ways for them to succeed in English.  Each student knows that when they step into her office, that she cares about them and wants them to succeed.  Anne has been such an inspiration to her students. 

What we can look forward to.
Within the next two years Anne will have completed her doctorate in Education Leadership, the highest degree that a college can bestow.  I am so proud of her, she not only inspires her students, she is an inspiration to her children and to me as well.  I believe Anne to be a humble person in so many ways, it's one of the reasons that I love her so.  She has told me that she sometimes shares her handicaps individually with her students so that they can gain hope in their efforts to overcome their struggles.   Anne has shown her students that she genuinely cares for them in that she continually wants to help her students to see where each of their potential will take them.  Each day before Anne leaves for work, she asks me to pray for her when she is working with her students.  She knows that it is not through her strength alone, but God’s wisdom and guidance that she is able to help those in need of her talents that our Lord has given her.  Anne also knows that those same talents were gained through trial, perseverance, and hope in a God who loved her and wanted Anne and now, her students to succeed as well.

Anne and Abby
We each have gifts that God has given to us.  Some of us are not aware of these special talents, and yet sometimes we are afraid to step out for fear of failure and rejection.  As with Anne, God knows each of us intimately and he will not abandon us.  Turn to him today and ask him what he would have you do with these special gifts he has given to you.  God will not disappoint you and he will not let you stumble.  A man once said, “Just remember that it is not the end result of our journeys that make us who we are, it is in the journey itself that we evolve.”  Start today and ask God to help you to use your wonderful gifts he has given to you.

If you have any comments that you feel would encourage others, feel free to write them down in the comments section.  Have a wonderful peace filled day.  Augie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Brings New Life

Today was a wonderful warm sunny day here in South East Minnesota.  The temperatures were in the upper 50s and I could see and hear all the signs of spring. 
Anne and Abby had visitors on Saturday morning.
Abby and Will went outside this morning to play with their younger cousin Eric whom they really adore.  While watching the children play, I sat drawing chalk figures of Veggie Tales characters on the cement; I was reminded that only two weeks before I was scooping snow off this same driveway.  How seasons change so quickly here in the Northland and how wonderful it is that they do. 
 Today I noticed that we had our first flowers budding and when looking up I could see the woods were filled with birds calling to one another.  They were excited I imagine, about being back from the southern United States and Mexico.  Nest building is number one on their agenda right now.  I can just feel their enthusiasm the moment I step outside when hearing them talking to each other.  It makes me realize that with spring, it brings a new hope and vigor that has its origin from a long winter’s sleep.  Everything from worms to butterflies are moving or (crawling) about, preparing for the next few months of living in the warmth of summer and all that this new season has in store for them.  It also reminds me that in about a month, our little friends the hummingbirds will arrive and will be looking for nectar that the spring flowers are waiting to give to them. 
Making the most of the Mississippi's flood, fishing in the park.
Just sitting and viewing all that is coming to light around me, I see a wonderful design that God has made for nature.  It reminds me of the plans that he has in store for his children as well.  Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 
So it becomes evident to me that God has individual plans for each of us.  It might not seem like it when we are going through times of turmoil and unrest, but God does have a plan in all that is taking place.  As God says in Jeremiah, we need to come and pray to him and seek him with all our hearts.  When we have close personal friends, we want to get to know them, all about their lives, their thoughts and their hopes and desires.  These friendships did not take place instantly; they grew over time and commitment to each other.  Our relationship with Jesus can be the same as well if we desire to put in the time to get to know him by reading his word, spending time in prayer and by listening to God speak to us by his Holy Spirit. 
When floods enter our lives, God can help us find another way.
God cares for you and he does want to have a personal relationship with you.  He cares about all our trials and concerns that we have as well.  In Psalms 55:17 David says: “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”  And again in Psalms 55:22 God lets us know that we can cast our cares on him and he promises us that he will sustain us and he will never let the righteous fall.  Let us take time today to pray and get to know our Lord better.  Share your concerns and cares as well; he will listen, as does a good friend.  God has the power to help, support and nurture you and your family.  He is standing at the door knocking right now, open up your heart to him and he will come in. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another Day and Night at the Thurmers

Sunrise Over the Mississippi Bluffs

What a beautiful sunrise we had this morning.  The weather is looking like we will have blue skies and I understand that the temps will reach into the upper 50s today. 

Even though the weather is going to make it a wonderful day, last night was a little different.  Our daughter Abby who is 5 started calling for her daddy and mommy to come to her room at around 3 a.m.  Abby had a nightmare and she wanted to sleep with us.  After arriving at her bedside, I tried to convince her that I would sleep in her bunk along side her, but she wanted to be with both her daddy and mommy.  Usually when I do sleep with Abby, I lay on the foot of her bed which in turn gives me more movement.  Abby has a tendency to move around a lot which makes for a disjointed night.  After a lengthy discussion with her, I thought I could convince her that for me to stay in her bed was a good thing.  I guess it was not to be though. 
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck. . .

When all three of us were settled in our queen bed I started to drift off and just at that time I felt claws being extended into my mid section.  Our cat woke up with all the activity and found that she was hungry (surprise, surprise.)   Just after being awakened again by our kitty, I got a quick shove in the back of my neck with a foot, and another foot in the middle of my back just after the first push.  I turned over and saw Abby sound asleep, lying across both our pillows with her head next to her mother’s.  Anne was lying on the edge of the bed scooted down to accommodate Abby’s sprawled out body across our pillows.  For myself, I was just about ready to fall off the other side of the bed, (especially after Abby’s last push with her legs and feet.)  Then came Toby’s wake up call, which encouraged me to seek other alternatives.  The cat telling me she was hungry was the final straw; at that point I retreated to the upstairs recliner. 

Upon getting into the easy chair, I covered up with the afghan that Anne had made and I started to fall asleep once again.  In a few minutes though, just before falling asleep, I again received further wakeup calls from Toby.  I made the command decision at that point to feed her and then I resigned myself into staying up, and hence, the beautiful sunrise that I enjoyed so very much. 

Looking for fairies and leprochauns
Before going to bed last night, I made the rounds in securing the house.  On one stop through the kitchen, I grabbed some old hamburger buns that had reached the end of their life span and  I decided to toss them out the window towards the meadow.  At first light, I opened the curtains and I saw a crow staring at me from our silver maple just 20 feet from our window.  The lookout had spotted me and began to warn its compatriot that an intruder had arrived and with that, they both retreated to the edge of the woods.  I stood watching this whole scenario take place and I was curious when I saw that they had decided to perch on a sumac branch and begin a stare down with me.  They eventually won and I noticed later that both of them were once again enjoying their breakfast of hamburger buns by the silver maple.

A couple of years ago we decided to buy a flourmill.  Anne did extensive research on the Internet and found a place in Louisiana that sold German made flourmills; the mill itself was called Jupiter.  It could be hand cranked or use electricity and the mill was constructed of stainless steel for durability.  Earlier, Anne had found a farmer who raises all natural grown wheat, barley, oats and other small grains just across the river in Wisconsin.  We stocked up on several different small grains that are filled in fifty-pound bags and kept in our lower storage room.  Our gentleman farmer uses no herbicides or insecticides.  It has been such a treat and savings to have homemade bread and buns. 

Bluff overlooking the Mississippi
Anne, I feel could have been born a hundred years ago and fared very well.  Not only is she a wonderful wife, mother and teacher, she is the glue that holds our family together.  She has found two growers of natural grown produce and we have stocked our freezers with pasture fed beef and range chickens.  The kids love visiting the farm with the animals, especially the chickens.  Seeing a chicken house with the nests and the revelation of how baby chicks are born and raised was a wonderful experience and adventure for them.  The people who chose to leave their modern day existence behind, and be a part of something closer to mother nature, have found that growing the bounty of the land brings them a completeness that somehow our modern day world with all its conveniences have lost.  I am learning that more people are walking away from technology and are returning to the country trying to escape the stress of modern day living.  Perhaps this is the direction that God is slowly leading us as a family, we will just have to continue with prayers and watch for God’s leading. 

Well, this is our life today, I hope you enjoyed being a part of it.  Have a wonderful day!  God bless you!  Augie