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.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Change of the Seasons


Autumn Breeze
Today the wind is blowing very hard for this area.  When living in the Mississippi River Valley, we have relatively no wind most of the time.  Today though, we are experiencing the wind as those that live on the open prairie.  I came from southwestern Minnesota while Anne came from Fargo, North Dakota and in both places the wind never seems to let up.  We both grew up having the wind as a constant companion.  I remember as a child looking over the wheat fields and watching the grain gently sway to and fro as each new gust of wind would caress the wheat with its invisible fingers.  In some ways I do miss the breezes, and being on the open prairie as well.

Don't mind me, I can sleep anywhere!
My thoughts now go back to my childhood and to some of the snowstorms that we had back home.  I recall the windows rattling from the strong winds, and the drifts of snow gathering around the buildings and trees.  As a child it was a time of excitement when a blizzard would arrive during a school day.  My brothers, sisters and I would go out and make snow forts and tunnels in the new snow, all the while trying not to get wet so we would not have to go into the house early.  At the end of the day our appetites would be hardy, and it would not take long for any us to go to sleep.  The wind on these special snow days was our friend.  On the other side of the coin, my brothers and I would have to scoop our long driveway out by hand after each snowstorm.  Sometimes it would take more than half the day to complete the job, but again, we would sleep very well that night. 

My thoughts still go back to being a boy on the prairie.  As a child growing up, many of the children in the community would look for extra work during the course of the year.  In the winter, we would ask neighbors if we could scoop their driveways and sidewalks and in the summer we mowed our lawn and that of our neighbors as well. When the spring arrived, my brothers and I along with many other boys from my hometown would volunteer to pick rocks for farmers in the area.  We picked rocks in the spring, walked beans and detasseled corn in the summer, as well as picking rocks again in the fall.  This was our pocket money in which we could buy a bicycle or some item of clothing that we wanted.  Along with these jobs that we would do, many of us would deliver papers for the Minneapolis Star and the local Livewire in our hometown of Jackson, Minnesota. 

Today with the advent of computers, news is immediate on the World Wide Web, and newspapers are struggling to survive in our fast changing world.  Farmers are changing their practices as well, they are using more chemicals in controlling weeds, so for today, there is less need for young children to pull the weeds.  Today riding mowers replace push mowers, and snow blowers have replaced the snow scoop.  Sometimes I look back nostalgically and wonder whether progress is all good.  Children, when I was young had many avenues to be industrious, but now with the advent of technology, kids today are struggling with boredom and lack of inactivity. 

Autumn Moon
In many cases, with both parents working, it saddens my heart to think of children coming home to an empty house.  The question one might ask, is it possible to go back to the days when families were together more, and children all had chores to do to help out the family and others?  I believe that it can be that way again if adults look to find an approach that will allow for them to live on less.  I was talking with my wife Anne and she was relating to me how much families spend on eating out, and ordering and buying prepared foods.  Anne has now for a couple of years been getting farm produce (no chemicals added) from two local growers.  This has reduced our food bill considerably and has allowed for a much healthier diet.  We have found that Anne and I have lost weight since this food change.  Oddly enough, when we eat processed foods at times, we struggle again with weight gain.  Anne has analyzed the ingredients found within the preservatives in processed food and has realized that we consume chemicals that are not healthy for us, as well, many have fats and sugars within them that are excessive.  For instance, one day Anne was looking up the ingredients in shredded cheese that one buys from the grocery store.  She read to me an article from her computer which contained a startling discovery.  In this article it related that (powdered cellulose) or wood fiber in this case, an ingredient that helped the cheese from clumping together was found in large amounts.  My imagination ran wild after hearing that, I had thought, what if our excessive amounts of preservatives have anything to do with the high rate of cancer today?

Playing in the Autumn Forest
It is interesting to note that since the 1950s until today, that on the average, the house size has more than doubled and many households now have two or more cars whereas in the 1950s, it was limited to one car at best.  Larry Burkett, a Christian financial advisor, wrote about how with wise financial planning and conservative changes, we can make lifestyles that allow for  living on less to be very enjoyable and fulfilling.
In looking at the high cost of child care as well as eating processed foods more extensively, vehicle costs, the added expenses in having large homes, not to say the least, heating and cooling costs, insurance factors, health costs, and the general lack of family time, one must ask, have we advanced  since the 1950s or are we heading in the wrong direction completely? 

Winona in the Fall.
Today, more and more people are buying smaller homes, or moving to the country and purchasing small acreages where they can have large gardens to raise their own produce.  Some are even raising their own animals that will offer them the meat that we find is so expensive in the grocery store today.  Many of these animals are raised on pastures as opposed to being in a stall all their natural life as is done with most livestock today.  These families have children that are doing chores by working in the gardens, barns and kitchens to help out as a family unit.  More people are choosing to home school their children as well, so that they can raise their kids with Godly principles, and with the knowledge that is based on a Christian philosophy.  In many cases, at least one parent stays at home to work with the children in their education, and collectively parent and child do the farm chores together.  These people seem to be happier and feel that they have more control in their lives than ever before.  Today there are many blogs that relate to this lifestyle.  One such blog is:  http://homejoys.blogspot.com/   I would encourage each reader to search blogs that relate to the above concerns, and to seek out the course that will take you and your family in the direction that God is leading you.  
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