This past summer my husband and I traveled to Finland. We visited the village where my grandmother grew up, north of the artic circle.
We enjoyed seeing the pristine forests, rivers and lakes.
And we saw reindeer roaming freely. They graze in the forests, fields and even in yards adjacent to cabins. The lichen growing in the forest is a favored food.
We were amazed to see a couple dozen reindeer run past a strip of stores.
During the summer it is always daylight. But now as winter approaches the sun makes a much shorter appearance, skimming along the horizon. The reindeer are gathered in herds and taken care of by Lapland herders.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son . . . John 3:16
As I think about Christmas and God’s great gift to us, I find it meaningful that Jesus came to a family. He came as an infant to Mary and Joseph, to the family unit. From the beginning, starting in Genesis, God planned the family unit.
We have fractures and brokenness in family life, but it is God’s design for nurture. Jesus came to heal the brokenness. The church family is called to be a place of healing.
My daughter and her husband are taking in two children for foster care, hoping to adopt. This is a stretching experience. We have limited insight into the heritage and health history of the children. We simply know that they need a loving home.
It gives me joy to see my daughter and son-in-law welcoming them into their home. I am blessed in being able to help. As I swaddle and feed the baby he cuddles up against me.
And so I have new insight. As part of a church family my willingness to extend love needs to be stretched. God’s desire is for us to bring healing to those in need.
Five Minute Friday is a community of inspirational writers. Every Friday Kate Motaung gives a word prompt. And then we write for five minutes. Today’s prompt is ONLY.
The Bluebird Café and Bookstore is a charming shop, located on Main Street in Hutchinson, Kansas. Whenever I visit my daughter we make a trip to this bookstore. As I walked through the aisles this time a colorful picture book caught my eye.
Christmas in the Barn was written by Margaret Wise Brown. My daughter and I paged through the book, enjoying the rhythm of the words. The animals came near the birth of the babe in the ancient barn.
The pictures enhanced the story told in poetic form. After the shepherds came, the bright star shining above the barn guided the wise men to the barn. The words are a lyrical version of the story recorded in the book of Luke.
So many wonderful parts to the record of Jesus’ incarnation. I like to think about the shepherd’s response.
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us”. And they went with haste . . . Luke 2:15-16a
The shepherds saw God’s plan of salvation beginning to unfold. Now we have the Bible with the full story and the opportunity to draw near to the Savior.
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 NEAR. Visit this community and join the fun by clicking here.
This year I cooked the turkey on Wednesday, a day before Thanksgiving. I scooped out the stuffing and put it in a casserole dish. I deboned the meat and placed it in a large baking dish. I put the bones in the freezer, planning to make broth sometime in the next week.
When my daughter and her family came for Thanksgiving my meal was ready. I said to her, “This worked well. I think I might want to do this again.”
She gave me a peculiar look and said, “You cooked the turkey on Wednesday last year too.”
“Mom, the baby was due and we didn’t know when I was going to go into labor. You made the turkey ahead and brought it over on Thanksgiving.”
And then I remembered. She did go into labor late in the day on Thanksgiving. Sometime during the early morning hours of the next day she went to the hospital with her husband—and I went along as extra support.
The birth of my youngest grandson was beautiful. The doctor commented that he wasn’t really needed. Everything proceeded smoothly.
I remember the birth of this little boy, now turning one year old. Memory of the Thanksgiving dinner has faded into the background.
But I think I will keep the tradition of cooking the bird on Wednesday.
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 FAMILIAR. Visit this community and join the fun by clicking here.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 //
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
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.
Taranto, James, “The Politicization of Motherhood” The Wall Street Journal, October 28-29, 2017 A11
Roys, Julie, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood, Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2017 p. 148
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 Mountainsis here.
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.
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.