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Jill's Fall 2018 Newsletter
"The Three R's"






How do you relax, rest, and rejuvenate?

For many of us, summer is a whirlwind—a busy time filled with family gatherings, vacations, and all sorts of other activities that don’t normally happen during the rest of the year. Schedules are tailored to the kids and grandchildren that are home from school and available to participate in family outings.

For me, it seems that summer arrived, the tornado of activities happened, I blinked, and now fall is here. I resonate with that familiar phrase: I need a vacation from my vacation! My body is depleted, my mind is tired, and I simply need a bit of rest and renewal.

Fortunately, in mid-September, the hubby and I were able to take a week of his vacation allowance and spend it up in the mountains at our family’s lodge. The peace and quiet of the forest, coupled with many relaxing hours reading, praying, talking, and napping, allowed us both to find a measure of calm. We came home well rested, rejuvenated, and ready to face this next season of life.

I urge you, one way or another, to find times and places where you can relax, rest, and rejuvenate. We all need this. Maybe a leisurely cup of coffee in the local donut shop will do it for you, or possibly a weekend alone at home while the kiddos are at the grandparents. Find a way to make it happen. And above all, remember The One who gives us true rest.

“[The Lord] makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”
(Psalm 23:2-3)

Wildlife Wonders


A few weeks ago I observed this intriguing phenomena up in the

Pennsylvania mountains. Mud-puddling, or simply puddling, is a behavior

most conspicuous in butterflies, but occurs in other animals as well, mainly

insects. They seek out certain matter, mud, and carrion, and they suck up

the fluid.


Where conditions are suitable, butterflies or other insects form groups

on wet soil, dung, or carrion, where they obtain nutrients such as salts

and amino acids that play various roles in their physiology and bodily

needs. Mud-puddling has been observed many times on crocodiles and



(Photo credit: Noah Lonthal)

Writing Updates

  1. Job: Shlobberknockered With Suffering is a Bible study booklet for individuals or groups and is now available! The amount of sales since this book released have surprised me, convincing me that many people seek answers about their suffering. It can be purchased on my website in the online bookstore.

  2. Twisted: Mindful Pretzel Consumption is my current writing project. This fun little book will include all sorts of information about pretzel making. Origins, legends, ingredients, baking methods, recipes, and trivia. You name it—if it has to do with pretzels, it’ll be in there. As a 5th generation descendant of Julius Sturgis, the first pretzel baker in America, Jill has a lot to say about pretzels! Visit the Tom Sturgis Pretzels website!

  3. The Day My Son Fell Out of the Sky is the latest idea gurgling around in my mind for a future book. This book will recount Caleb’s recent accident (see in the Family News section of this newsletter) and lessons learned from the catastrophe. What do you think? Is this something you’d want to read?


New Word of the Season!



Those annoying banana strings.

Their job is to distribute nutrients up and down the banana as it grows.

Its root comes from the Greek word for “bark.”

Alone, they taste bad.

Now you know.

Fall Adventure

At the end of October I’ll be boarding a plane to initiate the realization of a long-term dream of mine – to visit Israel. Along with my husband and a group of travelers from our church, we’ll be touring in the area, “Following the Footsteps of Jesus.”

After the 11 hours 52 minute flight (ugh!), our sightseeing will commence. Sites we will visit include Tel Aviv, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, the place of the Sermon on the Mount, Cana, Nazareth, Caesarea, Jerico, the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Pool of Bethesda, the Via Dolorosa, the place of
Jesus’ Crucifixion, the garden tomb and more.

I’m sure the trip will be an incredible experience, seeing and exploring those
places I read about in the Bible on a daily basis. Please watch for my recap and some pictures from this adventure in the next newsletter!

Family News

On Monday evening, July 16, 2018, the hubby and I got that phone call that we never wanted to get.

“I need you to come find me; I crashed.”

Son Caleb had been out flying in his powered parachute, and due to still unexplainable circumstances, his parachute collapsed and he fell into a local corn field from an altitude somewhere above 500 feet.

It is still nearly incomprehensible that he survived the crash having dropped from higher than 50 stories. Doctors are incredulous that he sustained only several fractures in his spine.

Since that day, I have made many notes of things Caleb said about the accident– his thoughts before it, during it, and afterwards. The idea of a book “The Day My Son Fell From the Sky” keeps rolling around in my mind.

Thankfully Caleb survived the catastrophe. As you can imagine, the aircraft is demolished. Although he is unable to do his regular physical work for a while, he is doing emotionally well, and his body is healing. Thank you for your prayers for him.

In Closing

I leave “An Autumn Petition” with you:

As summer into autumn slips,
O give me grace today
To rise and turn as summer’s leaves
Draw life and strength from heavenly rays.

(Credit: first line from Emily Dickinson, the rest from Bob Hostetler.)

In Him,
Jill Marie Thomas