Pray for Our Elected Officials

Whew, the election is over.

The mood in our country has been intense.

For the first time I went door to door,

passing out flyers, in support of my state representative.

Now there is time to pause and reflect.

People have many different burdens and concerns.

Many are hurting.

We are all sinners in need of forgiveness.

The government can’t save us.

Only Jesus can.

The issues facing our country are complex.

Now is the time to pray for our elected officials.

Pray that they will seek wisdom from God.

It is Friday and I am joining the Five Minute Friday writers. The prompt today is: BURDEN

Finding Moments of Respite

The crazy news cycle and the deep divide in our culture over political policies are emotionally exhausting. The distortion and actual lies about my state rep’s record are upsetting. I know Tom.

I need moments of respite. Morning devotions in Proverbs with my husband, prayer and time outside are refreshing.

In prayer, we can give thanks for God’s sovereignty and pray for peace.    2 Chronicles 7:14 has instruction for our prayers.

When I work in the garden I experience joy in God’s creation. Most of my plants have stopped producing—except for the herbs.

I am harvesting and drying calendula for tea and recipes. Calendula is also known as poor man’s saffron.

Calendula

I am still harvesting thyme and rosemary for soup, chicken and potato dishes.

Thyme
Lemon Thyme

The farmer’s market also refreshes me. Today is the last market of the season and I picked an assortment of beautiful apples.

Farmer's Market

 

I stopped by the French nuns’ booth one last time and bought my favorite pastry, an apricot nest.

French Pastry

How do you find joy and respite?

It’s Friday and I am participating in Five Minute Friday, a community of writers. Today we are writing on the prompt: MOMENT

Linking to Sue’s image-in-ing.  Visit Sue’s page for photos from around the world.

Save the Turtles but Not the Babies

If you go to see the movie, Gosnell: the Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, you will understand the title of this post.

Gosnell Movie

My husband and I saw this movie today. The movie is based on the actual court documents from the trial. It was riveting and held the attention of the audience. We were in a small theater; probably three fourths of the seats were occupied. The later showing was sold out.

The film showed the condition of the abortion facility. The abortion procedures were described but not shown on screen. The focus was on the trial, and the hesitation that the health and legal systems have in overseeing abortions.

Gosnell Movie

There are some things in life and in our culture that we would rather not think about. Babies who are born alive have their neck cut with scissors to kill them. Because it is legal, is it kinder to suction the gray matter of a baby’s brain (insuring death) prior to delivering the baby?

We should weep for our country. How can we think that we are solving human problems with abortion? I do not fault the desperate women—I fault the solution that we are offering them.

I hope you will make time to see this movie. It presents a real picture of a complex issue.

Forgiven, Healed and Redeemed

For the past month I have been studying the book of Leviticus. It is a study of God’s holiness and his plan to redeem mankind. The sacrifices and offerings that God required of Israel point to man’s sin and the need for payment in blood. Sinful man cannot approach God.

Psalm 15 raises these questions.    Lord who may dwell  in  your  sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?

God had a plan from the very beginning. In Leviticus we see the outline, or shadow, of a plan that is completed through Jesus.   Jesus  provides  forgiveness for our sins and redemption by his death on the cross  and  resurrection.

The Psalms look ahead to our salvation and declare the love and compassion that God has for us.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits—
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies you desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.   Psalm 103: 1-5

The book of Leviticus and the Psalms lead me to reflect on God’s holiness and his loving plan for us. So many reasons to give thanks and have praise on my lips.

The troubles in the world can weigh us down; we need to keep our focus on God.

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday community of writers. Every Friday we write for five minutes (or a little more) inspired by the prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Today’s prompt is: WHO

Praising God During Troublesome Times

This past week I read Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin. It’s a story about three Swedish sisters that immigrate to Chicago. I enjoyed the character development, especially the youngest sister, Sofia.

Sofia is tried and tested by circumstances but her faith in God gradually grows. The Bible verses that guide Sofia’s faith are woven into the text. The story holds a  message of hope. In troubled times, when we don’t see an answer to problems, we can to turn to God in faith and with praise.

One of the verses that Sofia returned to a couple times is Psalm 66:1

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!

The Psalms are a wonderful resource that demonstrates both lament and praise. There are times when I have doubts, when my faith is faltering. I don’t think of praising God. At that time I should turn to the Psalms for inspiration and words of praise to God.

What helps you offer praise to God?

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt for today is: PRAISE  Also linking with Booknificent Thursday and  Literary Musing Monday.

Good Writers are Readers

Good writers are readers. In order to become a better writer, I read extensively. I read fiction and nonfiction books. I read nursing and midwifery journals. I read the Bible. Last fall I thought that I should read a major newspaper to keep up with the events of the day.

If I was going to share my viewpoint on a subject, I needed to be well informed. So I subscribed to a major newspaper on-line and read it daily. Sometimes the views expressed in the paper upset me. But I kept reading.

Then the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh were widely reported, in detail, in the newspaper. I was offended because incidents were reported as if they were factual. It felt like gossip. Gossip about a very sensitive subject.

And so I terminated my subscription to the paper. I am now reading the daily news briefs from World Magazine on-line. As a Christian I want to be well informed. I want to participate in discussions that seek the truth. We live in a confusing and complex time.

I am spending more time in prayer as I try to understand how to live for Christ in a hurting world. I want to share love and light.

What do you read as you search for truth?

The prompt for FMF is: SHARE   Click here to visit the Five Minute Friday. Also linking this post to Literary Musing Monday .

Why Study the Book of Leviticus?

The book chosen for our Tuesday morning Bible study is Leviticus. Yes, Leviticus. The over arching theme, above all the sacrifices and laws for food, is God’s holiness. God is holy and human kind is prone to sin.

Yet, the Israelites were instructed to be holy.

For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus 11:45

The epistle of Peter instructs the followers of Jesus to be holy.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”. 1 Peter 1: 14-16

Is that possible? Jesus came to replace all the animal sacrifice for sin. It is through his shed blood on the cross that we have the potential to become a child of God and receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Like the Israelites who were rescued from Egypt, we have been saved to shine the light of faith in this world.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Events in the world can deceive and distract. We need to remember God’s call to holiness every day.  God is sovereign.  Praise God for his  mercy, grace and love.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: POTENTIAL. I am late in posting this. but have been thinking about this word while working on my Bible lesson. Also linking with Literary Musing Mondays  .

Thoughts About Christine Ford’s Accusation

The Senate confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh and the accusation of Dr. Christine Ford have been playing out in an excruciating way. I have been paying attention and musing about the effect of the sexual revolution on our culture.

If the incident Dr. Ford described took place I am sad about the trauma she experienced. I am sad that it wasn’t dealt with earlier in her life.

Even still I wonder about the expectations of young women in a culture that has removed all boundaries for sexual behavior.  What might happen when a fifteen year old girl goes to a party where alcohol is available, unsupervised by parents?

Certainly boys should be respectful of women.  It should be modeled at home.  At  the same time we need to acknowledge the effects of alcohol on teenage boys in a culture where sexual activity is promoted. I hope that one result of this accusation will lead to discussions with young people about the situations they should avoid.

Another area worthy of discussion is the goals and expectations of the feminist movement which has led to #MeToo.

The feminist movement has allowed women to move into positions once held mainly by men.  I  believe the strides forward  in  education  and  opportunity for women are a great achievement. In fact, the number of young women going to college now exceeds the number of young men. The Atlantic published an article titled Why Men are the New Minority in College.

It seems to me that feminists want equality with men in every area, on every level. Men and women are different physically. Their hormonal system is different. The way they think and process things is different. The differences need to be acknowledged and respected.

The relationships between men and women have been tainted with sin since Adam and Eve. The gift of sex is a deep bond between a man and woman that may conceive new life. But the gift can be misused and women have suffered when men have not shared the responsibility for pregnancy and children.

What if women and men could enjoy sex equally without fear of pregnancy? The birth control pill, made available in the 1960s, has given sexual freedom. But when sex is separated from its original design for family bonding, less thought about commitment in a relationship and potential pregnancy takes place. Boundaries for sexual behavior erode.

The feminist movement has been focused on making life better for women. But what has happened?

The #MeToo movement displays anger and rage. The expectations of the feminist movement have not been met. The truth is that both men and women are sinners who need to repent and forgive. It is my prayer that wounded women will seek healing instead of revenge.

Always More to Learn

On Fridays I respond to a writing prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Over the past 24 hours I have mulled over the word given and am finally tapping the keys of my computer. The prompt is: COMPLETE

We spent a week at my daughter’s home—taking care of the grandkids, the dog, the cat & kittens, the fish and the butterflies. We had a good time, although we felt our age.

My daughter and her husband were at a medical conference while we were caring for their household. I thought about what she told me about the conference. She told me that the conference sessions affirmed the choices I had made as a mom when she was a toddler.

When she was 15 months old her health deteriorated after multiple courses of antibiotics and the vaccines given on schedule. I wrote about the stomach pain and the way her speech and behavior regressed after the MMR on this page of my blog.

At the time the pediatrician advised more medications. The gastroenterologist said that I was an over involved mother. He wanted me to admit this child to the hospital, leave her in his care for a week. This doctor told me I should stay home with my other children.

My husband and I took her to a different gastroenterologist who performed an intestinal biopsy while we stayed at the hospital. He said there were red patches on the lining of the intestine but he found nothing that he could diagnose.

During this time I was praying for God’s guidance.

I continued to journal all the meals and snacks that I offered. I wrote down the timing of the episodes of gas and abdominal pain and adjusted her diet.   Through a friend in the  Mothers  of  Twins  Club  I found  an  allergy/alternative medicine doctor. He guided us in treating the food intolerances and choosing supplements that would help.

I am thankful for the answers to prayer.

Now my daughter, as an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, is grateful for the path we took.

As a nurse I am aware of changes in practice that have occurred because someone challenged accepted practice. It took many years for the importance of hand washing promoted by Dr. Semmelweis to be accepted. He observed that doctors were going from patient to patient and sometimes from an autopsy without washing their hands. He said that the failure to wash hands was causing childbirth fever. Despite the papers that he wrote, the lectures that he gave, he was ignored by many in the medical profession.

When I started working in labor and delivery making a cut in the pelvic floor—an episiotomy—during delivery was routine. Midwives have shown the benefit of delivering without an episiotomy. Routine episiotomy is no longer the rule.

Antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s. They successfully treated infections and before long they were being over prescribed. It took many years for the medical profession to see the effects of the over use of antibiotics.

Science is never complete. There is always more to learn.

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Book Review: Born for Life

When I am planning to travel  I  usually  find  a  couple  of  books  for my kindle.  I prefer hard copy books most of the time,  but when traveling   e-books are a great option.

I saw the title online, Born for Life: A Midwifes’s Story, and was immediately drawn to it. It is a gem of a book.

Julie Watson writes a memoir about childbirth, her own and the many women she provided care for in New Zealand. She began her career in maternity care as a nurse aid in a small rural hospital. Some of the scenes reminded me of my early jobs as a nursing assistant.

She includes practices that are now outdated and no longer recommended—sugar water for infants, high forceps deliveries and more.

When she was 37 years old she studied to become first a registered nurse and then a midwife. As she approached her training she wrote this about the Nurses Amendment Act that was passed in New Zealand in 1990 and made the independent practice of midwifery legal.

The emphasis was on the midwife and the woman being in partnership, making decisions together about the care given. It was a model of equal power, rather than of a health professional telling the woman what to do and what would happen to her. Power was now given to women, which was so different from my own [childbirth] experience.

Ms. Watson began her practice in a hospital setting and then moved on to become an independent midwife with her own practice. She attended women in the home and in the hospital. Like so many other places in the world her practice as an independent midwife was seen as a threat to the business of birth.

For women interested in midwifery, it is a fascinating read.

Childbirth

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