No Thanks Birth Control

On Wednesday, November 15th, a social media campaign called #ThanksBirthControl went live on twitter. It is interesting that this was taking place while so many stories of sexual harassment were coming to light. What has happened to the way men treat women?

All through history there have been problems in relationships between men and women. We keep trying to figure this out in our human way, and some things have changed. In the United States we are blessed with equal opportunity for girls in our school system. In fact more girls are going to college than boys. (Why is that?)

Women have opportunities in sports, government and corporate jobs. But the area of sexuality is a big problem. Where is the respect for a woman’s body?   Do women appreciate  the  potential  they  have to carry new life?

Amazing Microbiome

I grew up during the sexual revolution.     The  birth  control  pill  was  released and quickly became popular while I was a teenager. It was claimed that men and women would have sexual equality. Women could enjoy sexual relationships without worrying about becoming pregnant. How has that worked out?

The birth control pill ushered in the need to legalize abortion. If the pill was not effective in preventing pregnancy, then there had to be another way.

Since the widespread use of hormonal birth control, the rate of breast cancer has increased. The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute (BCPI) has an article that explains the link between hormonal medication and breast cancer. You can access the article here.

Men were more than willing to leave the responsibility for the consequences of sexual intimacy entirely on women. It gave them a free pass. Casual sex became common.

I don’t think this climate has led to men being more respectful of women.

In truth, the only way for men and women to be truly equal is to follow the precepts of the Bible. Men and women have been created equal, but with different roles. A sexual relationship flourishes in a marriage that is centered on the love, sacrifice and forgiveness demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

#ThxBirthControl #ButNoThx

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A Mouse in the House

It is Friday and the #FMF community is writing and posting their thoughts on the prompt given by our gracious leader, Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: EXCUSE  You can visit the community and join in the fun by clicking here

The cold weather has arrived, and I have found evidence of a mouse on my KITCHEN COUNTER! I washed the counter and placed cotton balls with peppermint oil along the inside edge of the counter.   I  told  my husband that we had to get rid of the mice.

My husband dutifully brought out a mousetrap and set it with a piece of cheese for bait. And the next morning the cheese was gone . . . no mouse.

Dear husband set the trap again. This time he used caramel sauce for bait and set two traps. And the next morning the caramel sauce had been licked off both traps . . . no mouse.

I looked at the empty trap—I am a little skittish about handling a mousetrap. I took a metal knife and set the trap off and then picked it up. I was determined that we were going to catch the critter, no excuses.

I took a small chunk of cheese and worked it in my fingers to make a soft ball and then smashed it on the bait holder. Then I turned the trap this way and that as I figured out how to set the trigger. I set the trap on the floor.

That evening, while we were watching TV, we heard the trap go off. My husband went to look and he came back with surprise written across his face. “You caught one.”

So he took care of disposing of the mouse. I asked him if he was going to set the trap again. He looked at me and gave this excuse, “Well, you’re the one that knows how to set the trap.”

So I set the trap again. We have caught mouse number three. At first my husband’s pride was hurt, and then he realized he had a partner in catching mice. Sometimes we have these little difference to work out as husband and wife. I am glad that he takes the mouse out of the trap.

A Song of Home: Book Review

This past October I met Susie Finkbeiner at the Breathe Conference for writers. I went to her session on dialogue and picked up helpful tips for my writing. I learned that Susie writes historical fiction. When given the opportunity to be on her launch team for A Song of Home, I signed up. It is the third book in the Pearl Spence series. Having finished this book, I will go back and read the first two.

A Song of Home

The book is set in 1935. Pearl’s family has moved from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to Michigan. Pearl is a thoughtful girl, eleven years old. Through her eyes we see the complex troubles in her home and town. Her relationship with her mother has painful wounds.

Will Bliss, Michigan ever feel like home? She attends school and church, but has deep distress over her mother’s choices. She is a reader and finds comfort in the local library. Stories linger in her mind; her musings about life are touching.

Opal Moon brings some order to the Spence household. She offers friendship to Pearl and gives her an outlet for her energy. With music streaming from the radio, Opal teaches Pearl the new dance steps. (I learned about the Swing Era.)

Other women provide guidance for Pearl.   Aunt  Carrie  is  a  rock  of  stability. Mrs. Trask, the librarian, has a gentle kindness. Meemaw isn’t physically present, but her words of wisdom come back to Pearl. Pearl makes a connection between lessons from the Bible and events taking place in her life.

A Song of Home is a well-crafted story of love, forgiveness and hope.

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A Song in the Forest

What come to mind with the word silence? We live in an environment that is filled with noise and distraction. The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: SILENCE. Bible verses have directed my thoughts.

There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7

We are commanded to have times of silence.

Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling. Zechariah 2:13

This gives me pause. Do I spend time in awe, quiet before the Lord? My day always goes better when I begin with prayer.   My prayer time can  improve with a period of silence, waiting to hear the Lord.

We are encouraged by the Psalmist to be loud in praise and worship.

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Psalm 33:1

Someday there will be a great song of praise.

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

The trees sing for joy

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it ;
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
Before the Lord, for he comes,
For he comes to judge the earth.

Psalm 96: 1-2, 11-13

May our times of silence be broken with praise and worship.

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Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood is hard and self-sacrificing. As I look back I remember the fatigue, the laughter and tears, the hard questions and my shortcomings. The years have passed by quickly.

Now I am a grandmother and I realize that God was refining me. I was blessed by the Lord’s guidance, the prayers that were answered. I am thankful for the great joy that my family gives me.

Two recently released books bring attention to the role of mothers. Erica Komisar has written Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the author, who is a psychoanalyst, and reviewed her book. Ms. Komisar pursued research into the hormones released during birth and breastfeeding. She discussed the love hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produce in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk. 1 //

Oxytocin: Love Hormone

I am currently reading Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys. The author looks at the confusion in our culture over sexuality, marriage and gender. Ms. Roys goes back to scripture for direction. One chapter in the book is titled Marginalizing Motherhood. She writes:

Many moms today need to hear that motherhood is worth sacrificing some of their best years. Unfortunately, that’s not what they are hearing—not from society and not from the church.2

Women are struggling with the demands of mothering. But it is a God given role. A few pages later Ms. Roys continues:

God values motherhood because he values children and is critically concerned with transferring the faith from one generation to another.3

Children need mothers, and mothers need God’s help. They need encouragement from friends and family. One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”                  Luke 2: 39-45

Mary & Elizabeth
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Luke 2:56

If you are a young mom, be encouraged. God is faithful to answer prayers. If you are older, like me, you can encourage a young mom. As women of faith we can seek ways to come alongside women that have experienced miscarriage or infertility. There are joys and sorrows in motherhood; we can share them.

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: NEED Visit the Five Minute Friday Community here.

  1. Taranto, James, “The Politicization of Motherhood” The Wall Street Journal, October 28-29, 2017 A11
  2. Roys, Julie, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood, Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2017 p. 148
  3. Ibid. p. 155

Meeting Life’s Challenges

In the past few weeks I have read a couple of books about women overcoming difficulties in life. Sue Detweiler’s book is about the value of prayer. My review of Women Who Move Mountains is here.

Mountain View

Kristina Cowan wrote about birth trauma and post partum depression. She has included research as well as her experience as a woman of faith walking through this most difficult time. The number of women experiencing birth trauma seems to be rising. My review of When Post Partum Packs a Punch is here.

When Postpartum Packs a Punch

Currently I am reading Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood. Our culture has so many mixed and confusing messages about sexuality. The author takes us through her own misconceptions and what she has learned. How do we recognize error? How do we guide the young women in our area of influence?

Julie Roys’ book is thought provoking and worthy of discussion. When I have finished the book I will write a review.

Every season of life has challenges. We can be victorious through prayer, study of God’s word and thoughtful discussion in the community of believers.

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Every Friday Kate Motaung gives a word prompt. And then we write for five minutes. Today’s prompt is OVERCOME.  Visit this writing community by clicking here.

Linking with Booknificent Thursday

My Third Trip to Grand Rapids

This past Monday I made my third trip to Grand Rapids in two weeks. I sat at my mother’s bedside in the hospital through the day and through the night. She has dementia and the hospital stay was traumatic and disorienting. I am thankful that she has been released from the hospital and is back at the nursing home. Questions remain about whether her condition will stabilize.

She was encouraged by the presence of my sisters and me. I was glad to pray and sing for her. Driving home I enjoyed seeing the beginning of fall colors along Michigan highways.

It is hard to deal with end of life issues. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. When I arrived home I noticed the zinnias along the front walkway. They are continuing to bloom and have a certain majesty.

Majestic Zinnia

Beauty of creation and sorrow of approaching death. This is a great mystery that can only be resolved by God’s promises.

Then last night I sat on the floor with my 10-month-old grandson. He crawled around the family room eager to examine every item available to his touch. (Toys were not his first choice.)

I was delighted when he crawled over to me and smiled. As he tried to vocalize sounds I repeated what I heard. This brought joyful giggles. We were communicating and he was thrilled.

Zinnia

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Every Friday Kate Motaung gives a word prompt. And then we write for five minutes. Today’s prompt is DISCOVERY.  Visit this writing community by clicking here.

The Midwife’s Story

A number of years ago I read an article about a Finnish midwife. In 1909 she had been at the center of a court case, determining the legality of midwifery in Massachusetts. She had been arrested a number of times (despite the fact that her statistics for live births were better than most doctors practicing in the area).

I was struck by her determination, her sisu, in serving childbearing women in Gardner, Massachusetts. Why did she persist after multiple court appearances and a three-month sentence in the House of Corrections?

Her persistence fascinated me. So I began researching her life. I visited Gardner, Massachusetts and found her burial place in the Crystal Lake Cemetery. During the trip that my husband and I made to Finland, I visited the parish where she lived. The church records listed the significant dates in her life.

The court cases that were brought against Hanna influenced the decline of midwifery in the first half of the twentieth century. I am in the process of writing her story.

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Every Friday Kate Motaung gives a word prompt. And then we write for five minutes. Today’s prompt is STORY.  Visit this writing community by clicking here.

High School Homecoming: Guidance for Our Daughters

This coming weekend is homecoming for a couple of local high schools. My grandson will be in the marching band for the homecoming parade and football game. It’s an exciting weekend for him.

I am remembering the years that my daughters participated in homecoming at their high school:  decorations for the dance, the flag team, powder puff football and the homecoming dance.

It was also a stretching experience for me as mom. When I was in high school I did not attend school dances and had limited participation in school activities. My family attended a fundamental Christian church that believed dancing was a sin.

My husband and I chose to guide our girls in school activities. Homecoming can be a memorable time in high school, learning about relationships. Some things I did well,  and some things I could have done better. Always learning.

The most important piece was communication, and more communication. I wanted to know about the plans and the boy escorting for the dance. My daughters weren’t always pleased all the questions and advice. But when I was driving my younger daughter to events she was stuck in the car. She couldn’t get away and had to listen to me.

Years later she has thanked me for the conversations and advice.

As homecoming approached we had to find dresses. We had some boundaries for price and modesty. It took lots of shopping to find suitable dresses.

My daughters always went to the dance with a group of couples. They took pictures together, had a meal together and then went to the dance. The group setting took pressure off the couple—they were just learning about dating.

Underlying all the advice, I hope I the message of loving concern love was clear. My husband and I set boundaries because we did not want them to be hurt. We let them know when we expected them home.

The final instruction that we gave them: if at anytime they were in an uncomfortable situation, they could call us. We would come to pick them up with no questions asked.

After my girls finished high school and went on to college I continued to learn about issues in our culture and the confusing messages about sexuality. (A parent never stops learning!) One daughter went to Marquette University and was introduced to the theology of the body—taught by Pope John Paul II. We discussed the theology of the body at home and the sacred bond between a man and a woman in marriage.

These discussions helped steer my daughter to a healthy marriage.

Through one of my daughter’s friends I became aware of a group that is pushing back against the policies that are harmful to women, Women Speak for Themselves. In 2016 I attended a conference in Washington D.C. I am convinced that Christian women need to have a voice about sexuality. We have a positive message as we share God’s design for men and women.

You can check out the website for Women Speak for Themselves here.

A Lifeline for Our Soul

The September heat wave is over. While the temperature soared into the 90s we did not get any rain, and my herbs needed frequent watering. I grow thyme, basil and dill in pots.

The basil was always first to alert me. The leaves would begin to droop and I would get out the watering can. Just an hour after watering the basil was revived.

Lifeline for the Soul
Basil

With all the discord in our culture, my spirit can get dry. When my spirit is dry I am short tempered; my words are not gracious. I may miss an opportunity that God has placed in my path.

I need the refreshment of God’s word and I need time in prayer. I am glad to participate in a weekly Bible study. I am motivated to spend time in the Bible each day, working on the lesson.

The Bible and prayer refresh my spirit—it’s like a drink of water. //

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Psalm 42: 1-2

I was fortunate to see Rep. Scalise’s speech to the House of Representatives when he returned to the House floor. Just happened to turn the TV on. He had been shot at a baseball field where congressmen were playing a baseball game for charity.

He talked about the power of prayer. As he lay wounded on the ground, waiting for the ambulance, he prayed. He prayed for himself and the others that were on the baseball field. During his speech he gave thanks for the way God answered his prayers.

We can bring every situation to the Lord in prayer, remembering to give thanks for God’s faithfulness.

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This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Many thanks to Kate Motaung, our gracious leader. Today’s prompt is DEPEND.  Visit this writing community by clicking here.

I am also joining Grace & Truth link-up and Lyli’s community of faith, Faith on Fire.