Is There Something We Can Learn from Nazi Germany?

At the back of the book there are 57 pages of notes. Erik Larson has written a meticulous history based on government documents, letters and diaries. 

The book, In the Garden of the Beasts, provides a view of Nazi Germany through the eyes of the American ambassador. William Dodd was a history professor. He was an interesting choice for ambassador to Germany.

The Dodd family (William, his wife, daughter and son) arrived in Germany in 1933 when Hitler was ascending to power.

As I read the book I was dismayed to see the difficulty that the Dodds had in picking up alarming signs. Dodd’s daughter viewed the atmosphere in Germany with warmth and cheerfulness.

Rabbi Wise was listening to accounts by refugees in London and Paris and informing Dodd. The American consul general, George Messersmith had been in Germany longer and was sharing his concerns.

At first the Dodds thought that perhaps the Jews had brought this on themselves. Violence against an Aryan woman who was engaged to a Jewish man was passed off as an isolated event.

At the end of the first year William Dodd began to be troubled. He raised concerns with the U.S. state department but he wasn’t taken seriously.

After the defeat in WWI the German people wanted to believe that their country was on an upward trajectory. The German government began to censor any unfavorable news. What happens when news and different points of view are censored?

It scared me to see how deception moved forward like a mist. Can it happen now?

Currently there are topics that are censored and policies are being forced forward.

If you have been following my blog you know that I have concerns about the current vaccine schedule. More and more vaccines are being added without concern for side effects and longterm consequences. I sympathize with parents of a child who was disabled or died as a result of vaccination.

My children had side effects from the MMR. My daughter developed fibromyalgia after the Hep B vaccine.

On Monday (September 9) a bill was signed into law in California despite the protests of hundreds of parents and grandparents. Sb276 mandates the vaccines recommended by the CDC for all children who attend public school without concern for their health history. No exemptions. If a doctor writes a medical exemption, the exemption must be approved by a government bureaucrat. If a doctor writes as many as five medical exemptions in one year he will be placed under surveillance.

Over the past few years fear of the measles has been ginned up. Measles is a common childhood illness that lasts 1—2 weeks. It is a serious illness in third world countries because of nutritional deficiencies and sanitation issues. We have learned that vitamin A supplementation during the illness helps with recovery.

The vaccination program has actually created an issue. When children developed the illness and their God given immune system was exercised in fighting the disease, they developed lifetime immunity. The vaccine does not give lifetime immunity. That is why we are seeing adults get the measles now.

Instead of listening to concerns of researchers, doctors and parents, legislators are bowing to pressure from the pharmaceuticals. (Pharmaceuticals are the largest lobbying group in the U.S.)

Have you heard about the protests in California? None of the news outlets are covering it. And Google is censoring the topic of vaccines in its search engine.

Del Bigtree covers this issue on his website: theHighWire.com.

Also this week, on September 10 Steve Scalise held a congressional hearing on infant born alive protection. Jill Stanek testified and you can read about it here.

The Speaker of the House has blocked the bill, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, from going to a vote multiple times.

What do we do? Are our convictions important? We must be willing to speak up and stand for what we believe.

Seven Gutsy Women

Our pastor has begun a series of messages from the book of Exodus and he pointed out the strong women mentioned in the first two chapters of this book.

When the Egyptian King decreed that the Hebrew midwives should kill all Hebrew male babies Shiprah and Puah did not obey the decree.

Shiprah and Puah
Pharaoh and the Midwives by James Tissot circa 1896-1902

But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. Exodus 1:17

So they were called before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and questioned.

The midwives explained that the male babies survived,“because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” Exodus 1:19

Were the midwives lying? They were circumventing the king’s command. Their answer indicated that they had experience attending Egyptian and Hebrew women. 

Women that are physically active—the Hebrew women worked hard as slaves— are in better physical condition, more likely to have a labor that progresses well—more likely to walk, squat and change position throughout labor. The Hebrew women may have given birth with the assistance of relatives that had learned basic skills from the midwives. 

And then Pharaoh made a new decree. He asked the Egyptians to be on the alert and to throw any Hebrew male babies into the Nile.

One Hebrew woman (Jochebed) realized that her three month old baby boy was becoming increasingly hard to hide. So she made a little basket sea worthy, and asked Miriam (the baby boy’s sister) to place him in the river.

Illustrators of the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach us by Charles Foster

Jochebed instructed the Miriam to watch him.

Pharaoh’s daughter saw the unusual floating basket and asked her maid to bring it to her. The Princess realized that the baby was a Hebrew boy whom her father had ordered to be drowned. She ignored her father’s decree.

When Miriam saw the Princess holding her baby brother she offered to get a nurse from the Hebrew women to breastfeed the child. She offered to bring the baby’s mother, and Pharaoh’s daughter agreed.

The five women (midwives, Jochabed, Miriam, King’s daughter) were disobeying the King’s order. They were defending life! Despite the possibility that harm might come to themselves, they nurtured the baby boy who would one day be a leader of Israel.

Women have been entrusted by God with the gift of bearing and nurturing life. These five women offer examples of faith and courage as they persevered, defending the life of a baby. They were gutsy women.

World Magazine recently published the story of a missionary woman who stopped the practicing of killing twin babies in a Nigerian tribe. In her mission to save lives she adopted children. She lived in the 19th century, and her name was Mary Slessor.

In our own time nine men, Supreme Court Justices, decided that a woman has the right to abort (kill) her unborn baby based on a right to privacy. Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973. The law opened the opportunity for boyfriends and family members to urge a confused and panicked woman to end an unplanned pregnancy with abortion.

Exactly one year after the Roe v. Wade decision 20,000 people showed up in Washington D.C. for a March for Life. Nellie Gray, another gutsy woman, organized this first March for Life that took place on January 22, 1974. The protest of Roe v. Wade has taken place every January since then. Icy cold weather, snow and wind, have not deterred thousands of men, women and teens from participating in the March for Life.

The moms in California fighting for the health of their children are also gutsy women. Who are the strong women that you know?

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The Blessing of Family

The Bible often mentions the importance of family. The second chapter of Genesis refers to the beginning of a family. Therefore a man shall leaves father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

Frequently throughout scripture the genealogy of a family is recorded. The first chapter of Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to King David to Joseph. 

Birth of Jesus

Jesus, Son of God incarnate, was born into a human family.

Currently my husband and I are reading a chapter from the book of Joshua each morning. As Israel entered the promised land each tribe was allotted a specific portion of land. That struck me as interesting. The people were still considered according to their family of origin. They had ties to their heritage over many generations.

I have thought about my family. I am grateful to know about my ancestors in Finland. My husband would like to trace his heritage in Holland. It is helpful to understand the links we have to the past, but our focus is on the present.

As a family we have experienced illness and the loss of a son, but my testimony is that our family has been blessed by God’s grace and intervention in our lives.

This past weekend our children and grandchildren traveled home to celebrate my husband’s birthday. The nine grandchildren, age 18 months to 16 years, give us great joy. We delight in seeing our children as parents, aunts and uncles.

We are blessed to belong to another family, the followers of Jesus (the Church).

It is Friday and the Five Minute Friday community is writing with the prompt: TESTIMONY

Breathe, Pant, Blow

The Lamaze method of birth has been known for breathing patterns that help a woman to relax and keep pace with labor contractions. I taught breathing patterns to my students. Some women reported that they used the technique during labor. Others said the hospital procedures interfered with their ability to maintain paced breathing.

When I made the transition from hospital to home birth I learned about the value of a calm supportive environment. The menu on my website has pages under the category of Healthy Birth Practices. On one page I wrote about the benefit of a calm, encouraging environment during labor. 

After thirteen years as a labor/delivery nurse, three cesarean sections and 17 years of teaching Lamaze, I saw birth from a new and holistic perspective when I attended home births. 

While present with women from early labor through birth I was able to observe the natural positions women assumed to assist the progress of labor. My knowledge of comfort measures increased, and I realized the value of adequate nourishment. I also became aware of the spiritual nature of labor and birth.

Sometimes the laboring woman’s husband prayed for her during labor. Sometimes I was asked to pray. It was a blessing to feel free to pray and ask for God’s help.

When I returned to the hospital setting, I found myself between two philosophies of birth. Women in labor need to be nourished and well hydrated. Recently a young woman came to the hospital with a birth plan. We provided the environment for her to walk and change position, as she desired. I monitored the baby intermittently. 

To read more click here. 

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday community is: PACE

Extending Hospitality at Home and With the Church

During WWII children were being evacuated from France and Paris. I just finished reading Until We Find Home, a historical novel by Cathy Gohlke. It is a story of unexpected hospitality.

When Claire arrives at her aunt’s home in Windemere England with five French Jewish children she completely surprises her aunt who has become somewhat of a recluse.

Everyone is challenged in making this household work. England is rationing food and petrol. Three more children, this time from Germany, arrive. The household has cultural differences that all must learn to accept.

It is good to look back at difficult times in history and learn from them. The book has lots of meaning for my daughter (she recommended it to me). She and her husband are involved in foster care. They have adopted children from foster care.

Our situation is different from WWII. But we have needs for hospitality and self sacrifice. The church has a great opportunity to grow in hospitality by participating in or supporting foster care. There is a great need for foster care families in the United States.

Today the Five Minute Friday community is writing about: HOSPITALITY

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Rhythm of Life

The mint in my backyard has flowered; tiny white flowers make a wreath around the stem. I pause to wonder at the delicate loveliness.

The phlox are a bright spot of color. I can see them from my kitchen window.

The elderberries are getting ripe. I will make elderberry juice/syrup from them. 

The flowers are blooming. The vegetables and fruit are ripening. It is the bounty of summer. And then autumn will come. Again.

The rhythm of the seasons provides order to our lives and points to God’s faithfulness. After the great flood God made a promise to Noah.

While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

God is sovereign over the earth and we can trust his promise.

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday writing community is: AGAIN

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Children Are A Gift from God

Kate’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is: FIVE. Once inspired, we write for five minutes (more or less). 

At first I considered writing about my five favorite herbs, or maybe five summer recipes. And then I made another connection. I have three grandchildren that are five years old. Children are a blessing.

Being a mom is the best thing I have done. There have been moments of wonder. There have been hard times. Sometimes I have stumbled. I have learned my need for God’s help and have been blessed by His presence. My adult children are a source of joy and blessing. And now there are grandchildren.

Children are a gift from God. Here are five Bible verses that instruct us. 

 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

Jesus said, “Truly I say unto you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Luke 18:16

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart . . . Make them known to your children and your children’s children. Deuteronomy 4:9

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged. Proverbs 17:6a

Happy Birthday

The Colors of Calendula

Calendula is a bright sunny flower and a herb. It has been called poor man’s saffron. The petals of the flower can be added to rice. The flowers can be dried for tea. I have enjoyed seeing the range of colors of that the flower displays from bright orange to yellow to mixed colors. Just a few of the many varieties are: Pacific Beauty, Pink Sunrise, Lemon Cream

Calendula
Lemon Yellow Calendula
Calendula

You can read more about growing and using calendula flowers in another post that I wrote. Click here.

The photo of the orange calendula was taken by my son a couple years ago. The other flowers are in bloom now.

Sharing this post with Sue’s photo link-up.

An Honest Prayer

They arrive in the middle of the summer . . .

For the past several years the leaves on my cherry tree and raspberry bushes have been devoured by beetles. Only the veins of the leaf remain after Japanese beetles have had their feast.

So I have been devising strategies to rid my yard of these pests. I tried the pheromone traps that brought more beetles to my yard. Then I did walking tours to tip them off the leaves into a bowl of soapy water. I have shaken branches and jumped when one of the beetles fell down my shirt.

This year I sprayed my tree with neem oil and continued the walking tours with my bowl of soapy water. It is working.

In the midst of my annoyance I have to admit that I have a bit of wonder over the Japanese beetle. They have a metallic green/brown color that catches the light.

Japanese Beetle

Sometime they fall in my bowl of water when I tip a leaf—other times they get their wings out in an instant and fly off. The female beetles emit a pheromone that attracts the male beetles. So a few females on the leaves of a plant soon becomes a party.

The beetles have wiry legs (I have felt them on my hand). The female beetle is able to dig down into the earth to deposit her eggs and then climb out. Over a summer she may deposit as many as 60 eggs. The eggs develop into grubs and in one year—sometimes two—they will be an adult beetle. They are unique insects.

Yesterday, while I was with the grandchildren I showed them how to tip the beetles off a raspberry bush into soapy water. The boys were fascinated, the girls said that beetles were gross. We captured 20 beetles.

A little while later I was sitting with the children while they had bedtime snacks. The two year old pointed to the top of my head. I was in the middle of a sentence when my granddaughter said, “Grandma there is a beetle in your hair.” She giggled when I picked it out of my hair and put it into our bowl of soapy water.

Later that I night I was praying with my grandson. I thanked God for the blessings of the day and the interesting beetles. And then these words slipped out of my mouth, “but God I don’t know why you made them.”

After praying we talked a little more about the beetles. Some things in our world are puzzling. The beetles do so much damage to plants. My grandson said, “Maybe they do something good that we don’t know about.” 

Kate’s prompt for the Five Minute Friday community of writers is: MIDDLE

The Midwife Who Traveled to Distant Villages in France

My husband and I spent a week in Upper Michigan, off the grid. During the day I worked on projects around the old farmhouse. In the evenings we shared dinner with my sisters. After dinner I read books. I was shifting between two books. Do you do that? have two or three books going at the same time?

One of the books was about a midwife who was commissioned by the king of France to teach midwifery skills throughout the country. The mortality rate of mothers and infants was high and King Louis XV was concerned about the prospect of a diminishing population.

Nina Gelbart wrote the book, The King’s Midwife: A History and Mystery of Madame du Coudray. The book has a picture of “the machine” Madame du Coudray used to demonstrate the skillful assistance of birth. Madame du Coudray devised a model of a female pelvis from cloth and wicker, along with a model of a baby. She also wrote a book of instructions that was published.

The midwife was commissioned to travel to distant villages with her assistants. She spent weeks at a time holding classes, demonstrating the movements of birth, watching the students work with her “machine”. 

The common problems of human nature peeps out throughout the pages. Madame du Coudray taught surgeons and doctors—but some felt it was beneath them to learn from a midwife. Matrons that had been the village midwife for years felt they needed no further help. Catholic priests felt that any young woman who was not a member of the Catholic church should not be certified as a midwife—she wouldn’t be able to baptize the infant if its life was in danger.

Madame du Coudray was skillful in relating to women and men. She was able to hold doctors and surgeons in respect, while teaching midwifery skills. She kept her focus on saving the lives of women and children. It is a testament to her abilities that she held classes all across France for more than thirty years (1751 -1783)

The writing prompt for today’s Five Minute Friday is: DISTANT