Blog

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM by: Becky Cerling Powers

Yesterday’s story: My grandfather Thure (pronounced Turry) Cerling grew up poor and scrappy in Chicago in the early 1900s. Although he had to quit high school to help support his family, he was determined to become a millionaire by the time he was 30. He started a construction company and met his goal. But then came the Crash of 1929. He lost his fortune and more. He was over his head in debt. His story helps me understand what Jesus meant when he said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.”     

Thure was 34 years old with a wife and five children. Many businessmen filed for bankruptcy in those days, and Thure could have done that too. But he felt he should pay his debts in full, trusting God to help him. So he set to work with a new goal: to survive with his family in a way that honored God while paying off all his debts. Somehow.

He scrounged for work. During the worst times, he slept in his Chicago office on week nights because he couldn’t afford daily transportation from Chicago to his home in Elmhurst. At week’s end, he walked the twenty miles home.

He made a point not to work on Sundays, though. That was his day for worship at church in the morning and for playing with his children in the afternoon.

His family ate a lot of beans and oatmeal, and they did what they could to put food on the table. They planted a big garden on the vacant lot he owned next door, and they fertilized it with kitchen scraps and ashes from the coal furnace. They raised chickens. They learned to harvest “weeds” like dandelion greens for salads and Lamb’s Quarter to substitute for spinach. Thure’s oldest son – my Uncle Chuck – hunted pheasants, rabbits and squirrels for meat.

During the Great Depression, both my grandparents rediscovered the power of their childhood faith and the importance of passing on sound values to their children. More than once, after her children were grown, Grandma remarked, “It’s a good thing we lost all that money. It would’ve been bad for the boys.”

Grandpa died when I was 18. But ever since my siblings and I grew up and started our own families, watching my brothers relate to their children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren always made me think of Grandpa. The way they joked and kidded around, their pleasure in simple activities and conversations, their easy way of taking firm control when discipline was needed…it all reminded me vividly of the way my dad and uncles and grandpa played with us and kept us under control when we were kids.

My four brothers continue to remind me of Dad and Grandpa in other ways, too. They are hard workers – almost workaholics, except that they do seem to know how to relax and enjoy their families. They’re inventive, adventurous and resourceful -- good providers who do well in their work yet still put the needs of their families ahead of their career ambitions. They all struggle with – or cave in to – perfectionism. Yet they can see the jokes in life and laugh.

Our two sons are the same way. They’ve grown up, married, and given us our precious grandchildren. They relate to their children and us and the world beyond their families with the same values as Grandpa Thure, the great-grandfather they never had the privilege to meet.

A father holds great power to influence his children and his grandchildren for health or for harm. Whether a man accepts this or refuses it, the power remains. His values, his priorities, his choices will shape the lives of generations, as my grandfather’s did.

Today’s prayer: “Lord, I want to leave a legacy of peace and integrity for my children and grandchildren. Please help me be an example to them of someone who hungers and thirsts to be right in God’s eyes. In all I do and say today, direct me to the fulfilling of Your purpose for all of us. Amen.”

© 2020 Becky Cerling Powers

Reprint with attribution only

For the next few months I will be posting stories that help us understand the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mountain. For faith-based family stories to share with friends and older children, check out my books: Laura’s Children: the hidden story of a Chinese orphanage and My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family in the Bookstore.


Previous Posts

The Father's Blessing: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Hill of Woman's Fidelity: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/1/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

In Praise of Naps: from the Parent Powerline
9/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Music Enriches the Family
9/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Pre-School at Home During Covid-19: tips from the Parent Powerline
8/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Parenting in the Mess: Tips from the Parent Powerline
8/16/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Way We Homeschooled, Part 1 Balance: from the Parent Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Temptation: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/23/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

A Simple Way to Help Kids with School: from the Parent Powerline
7/21/2020 9:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Honest Abe Lincoln: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/14/2020 11:00:00 PM  by: Randy Limbird

The Most Conscientious Hunter I Ever Met: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/24/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Washing Feet: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/17/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers and Lee Merrill Byrd

No Parking: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/3/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/2/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Raising Fluent Readers: tips from the Parent Powerline
5/29/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Unwanted Baby: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/26/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Eileen as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Family Funnies: Tips from the Parent Powerline
5/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Joey's Letters: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Alzheimer Valley: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

New Bride Confusion: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/12/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Amaris Luz, Light from Darkness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/28/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Losing Poetry: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Let Kids Cure Their Own Boredom: Tips from the Parent Powerline
4/15/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Naaman, Rich in Money and Presumption: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/14/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs and Becky Cerling Powers

David, Bathsheba & Psalm 51: a faith based story story from the Story Powerline
4/9/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Hundred Chart: math lesson tips from the Parent Powerline
4/8/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Beer Would Call Me: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/7/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Beatriz Balcort as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Turned Around: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/2/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Brian Bolton with Becky Cerling Powers

Toddlers Helping During COVID-19 and Beyond: tips from the Parent Powerline
4/1/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Elijah & the Captain of 50 Men: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/31/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

Fear in Residence: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/24/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Household Management During COVID-19 Time: tips from the Parent Powerline
3/23/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dreaming of Anita Jo: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/12/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

No Complaint Dinners: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/10/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

DIY Plumbing: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

A Brother's Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/3/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part three: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/27/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part two: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/26/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part one: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/25/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma's Apron: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/20/2020 12:45:00 PM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Colors of the Beetle: a retold faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/13/2020 12:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Cantaloupe Crop Disaster: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Glen Hinshaw

The Grumble Family: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/28/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Anonymous

Afraid to Sleep at Night (Psalm 91): a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Camel Got His Hump: a retold faith based story
1/13/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Growing Up With Polio: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/9/2020 10:01:00 PM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

All Things Bright and Beautiful: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/7/2020 6:20:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers, poem by Cecil Frances Alexander

One Dollar for a Donut: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/1/2020 6:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Star of Wonder
12/26/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Shepherds
12/24/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Mary and the Angel
12/18/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Zechariah
12/17/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Slow Down for Christmas: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/13/2019 10:35:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Christmas Cookies: a a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/10/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

First Thanksgiving, Part 2: Beginning in Weakness (a faith based story)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 3: Gifts & Gratitude (a faith based story from the Story Powerline)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 1: Enduring the Sea Voyage (a faith based story)
11/27/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 3: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/22/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/19/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/12/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Nodji (Néaouguen Nodjimbadem) as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Preventing Parent Burnout: from the Parent Powerline
11/4/2019 5:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma Time: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/1/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Safe Amid Snakes and Semi-Trucks: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/30/2019 3:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Love & Diaper (Nappy) Connection
10/25/2019 6:30:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Avon Perfume Surprise: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2019 7:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Saving Butterscotch: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/16/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Karen M. Pickett Ward

The Patient in Room 116: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/8/2019 9:10:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/2/2019 6:45:00 AM  by: Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs

Reading to Babies
9/30/2019 2:37:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

My Mysterious Relative & the Missing Paycheck: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/26/2019 3:17:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Keeping in Touch with Cousins: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/24/2019 3:20:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Ostrich Got His Long Neck: a faith based retold story from the Story Powerline
9/9/2019 3:49:00 PM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

When Life Goes Up in Smoke: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:28:00 PM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Focusing on the good stuff: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:24:00 PM  by: Joe Herman