First Snowfall

Friday night we had our first snowfall and by Saturday evening up to a foot of snow had fallen in some areas.  We had a family event,          celebrating our son-in-law’s 50th birthday. The roads were open but snow packed and icy in places. The scene was beautiful. Snow coated the trees, making a white wonderland.

First Snowfall

Will the snow last through Thanksgiving? The children would be delighted. The forecast is for warming temperatures this week.

Happy Thanksgiving to friends in the U.S. and best wishes to all!

Linking with Tuesdays with a Twist,  A Little R & R and Sue’s Wordless Wednesday

Thanksgiving and Ancient Questions

 

Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am aware of so many things to be thankful for—family, church, blogging community and home.

On Thanksgiving my husband and I will have one of our daughters and her family, our son and his wife, at our home.  I have ideas for   activities for the grandchildren and a couple new recipes from fellow bloggers. I am looking forward to this day of celebration.

We will read some Bible verses together.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exalt in you;  I will sing praise to your name,  O Most High. Psalm 9: 1-2

God’s greatest gift to us is the offer of salvation.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.        Ephesians 2: 4-5

In the midst of preparations for Thanksgiving, I am aware of difficulties among extended family and suffering that is happening in many places around the world. Perhaps you see things that prick your heart.

Praise and gratitude is mixed with questions and doubt.

The Psalmist was able to give praise and thanks in one moment. And then later wonder how God allowed some things to happen.

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1

There are no answers except the character of God.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13

God is just and righteous.

As I give thanks, I will also pray for mercy and grace, lifting the circumstances beyond my control to the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4: 4-6

Bible

Linking with Essential Fridays,  A Little R & R,  WholeHearted Wednesday,  Titus 2sday,  Words with Winter and Word of God Speak

Passion of The Suffragettes: What About Today?

Picket_line_of_Nov._10,_1917_276023v

We went to see The Suffragettes. It was tough to watch the daily life of women who worked long hours in a laundry. The setting in this movie was the early 1900s in London. The main character was gradually drawn into the suffragette movement and became willing to fight for the women’s right to vote, at great personal cost.

I understand the passion of the women that were portrayed on the screen. They were fighting for respect and a voice. I was saddened that they felt compelled to use violence to make their voices heard. They wanted the right to vote and it was a long fight.

Are there issues worth fighting for today? I have been pleased to see that women and parents are coming together to have their voices heard.

The need for improvement in maternity care has been documented. Countries that have a higher percentage of midwives have better outcomes than the United States.

This is from an article published by  the  Global Health Work Force  Alliance:

When midwives were the main providers of care during pregnancy, women were less likely to give birth prematurely or lose their babies before 24 weeks of gestation. Women were reported to be happier with the care they received, had fewer epidurals, fewer assisted births, and fewer episiotomies – or surgical incisions to reduce the risk of a tear. Finally, in midwife-led settings, women were no more likely to have caesarean births, but they tended to be in labour for about half an hour longer on average.

In Illinois the Home Birth Safety Act is going to be introduced in the state House of Representatives. Research has shown that healthy women attended by a certified midwife have births that are as safe as hospital births, with less interventions. The midwives in Illinois have been working hard to promote this bill. You can see the petition that they have posted on change.org here.

In Indiana, parents pushed back against the aggressive promotion of the HPV vaccine for girls. The state health department had entered the vaccination records of children in a state registry and then sent letters out to parents that had not had their daughters vaccinated with the HPV vaccine.  Yikes, when I worked in the hospital the health records of every patient was private, and any violation of privacy was punishable. The following is an excerpt from an article by Jefferey Jaxen about this practice in Indiana.

It took exactly one month to the day for an activated Indiana population to turn back efforts by their state’s health department to coerce and pressure parents, outside of law, into having their children receive the potentially dangerous human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). Independent health journalist, Jefferey Jaxen, was contacted by two separate families telling of letters they received by their state’s health departments regarding their child’s HPV vaccine status. An article chronicling the incidents was immediately published to raise awareness on October 5th, 2015.

 I am encouraged by these positive actions.  We can use some of the passion that the early suffragettes demonstrated.

The definition of suffrage is: 1 an intercessory prayer, supplication      2a vote given in deciding a controverted question or in the choice of a person for an office or trust.

The definition of a suffragette is:  one who advocates extension of     suffrage especially to women.

How can you participate?

  1. Stay informed—even when the news is unpleasant. The issues that may impact our religious freedom may be uncomfortable. But it is wise to become educated on new policies and laws that affect our families. Then pray with an informed mind, seeking guidance from God.
  2. Write letters to people of influence and to representatives in congress. Change in the Indiana policy came with people writing letters.
  3. Use social media to express opinions with clarity and civility.
  4. Ask questions about health care: medications, treatments and vaccines. Medical history demonstrates that we don’t often realize the negative impact of medication until years down the road.   After a   national study the common practice of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been reduced  because of links to heart disease and cancer. Read about the risks and benefits of HRT here.The birth control pill is also getting more scrutiny. Read this article that explains why one woman stopped using the pill. Science and medicine have provided cures, but they are human institutions. We shouldn’t just follow medical trends. An educated public that asks questions may bring problems to light sooner.
  5. Be an advocate for each member of your family.   We can’t  simply  accept that one type of birth, one medical protocol, one type of treatment, is good for all people.   We have a right to be informed  and  participate in decisions about health care.

Update: the flu vaccine is just 18% effective this year. Click here for link.

Linking with Tuesdays with a TwistA Little R & R,  Friendship Friday,  WholeHearted Home,  Titus 2sdayHope in Every Season, and the Art of Homemaking

Promise of Spring as Winter Approaches

The mild fall that we have had has allowed me to spend more time in the yard. I have been planting and transplanting and raking leaves. My husband was working also, creating piles of branches.

He has a chain saw and after he took down one tree he found lots of branches to trim. Something about climbing ladders and using the saw—I saw the boy in my husband. The clean-up was not as interesting, so I became involved.

As I cut up branches and filled yard bags I discovered something I hadn’t noticed before. All the branches had buds for the spring. I looked at the cherry tree and the maple tree and saw the promise of spring already on the limbs.

Promise of Spring

I walked around to the cottonwood tree. The buds weren’t as noticeable, but they were there. When winter comes, God is already planning for spring.

The promise of spring is in the Bible. Can you imagine what it was like to be a disciple at the Last Supper with Jesus? After Judas left Jesus     explained that he was going away.

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord where are you going?” Jesus        answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow me afterward.”  John 13: 36

The winter was coming, but not without the promise of spring.

“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14: 1-3

We may become depressed with the chaos in our culture. It may be like winter.  God is still sovereign, and Jesus asks us to be obedient. God has planned the seasons of life and the return of Jesus Christ.

Let us always look for the signs of spring!

Promise of spring

Linking with Weekend Whispers,  Essential Fridays,  Thought Provoking Thursday,  Words with Winter,  Word of God SpeakFriendship Friday and Faith Filled Friday

Should the Flu Shot Be Mandated?

Flu shots

Everywhere I go I see signs for the flu vaccine—at grocery stores, drugstores and in advertisements. Many hospitals are making it mandatory for their staff to get an annual flu shot. When that          happened at my hospital, I applied for a religious exemption.

I had received vaccines in the past, but because one of my children     experienced significant side effects from a vaccine, I studied the issue. Over the years our family has made dietary changes, increased our use of vitamins, garlic and herbs. It made sense to develop a lifestyle that supported the immune system. God has given us an intricate     immune system to fight infection.

Why did I need an annual flu shot? Not to mention that the flu shot is not dependable. Every year the CDC is making a guess when developing a vaccine. The CDC has already admitted that this year’s vaccine probably won’t be effective.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.

Despite uncertain effectiveness hospitals are under pressure to get their employees vaccinated.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Healthy People 2020” initiative states a goal of vaccinating 90% of the nation’s healthcare workers with the influenza vaccine annually by 2020,[1] a goal well underway. A separate DHHS goal aims to vaccinate 80% of all U.S. employees annually with the influenza vaccine by 2020. Read more here.

My religious exemption was allowed. I have learned that nurses at the University of Michigan can decline the flu vaccine because they have a clause in their union contract.

Some hospitals have required nurses to wear a mask if they refuse to get the flu vaccine.  And some hospitals have fired nurses for refusing the vaccine.

Nurse
Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The nurses’ union in Ontario took up the matter of masks and an       arbitrator declared that the policy could not continue.

The Ontario Nurses Association says hospitals will no longer be allowed to shame health-care workers into getting a flu shot following an        arbitrator’s ruling striking down a “vaccinate or mask” policy. Read more here.

 I have never been a member of a union, but perhaps nurses need a union to preserve their right to pursue health with personal freedom.

It isn’t just nurses that are questioning the flu vaccine. A doctor at John Hopkins is speaking out against the aggressive marketing of the flu shot.

For most people, says Dr. Blaylock, flu vaccines don’t prevent the flu but actually increase the odds of getting it. The mercury contained in       vaccines is such a strong immune depressant that a flu shot suppresses immunity for several weeks. “This makes people highly susceptible to catching the flu,” he says. “They may even think the vaccine gave them the flu, but that’s not true — it depressed their immune system and then they caught the flu.”

He explains that the flu shot should not be given to children under five years old. Read the entire article here.

The National Vaccine Information Center has an article about the amount of mercury present in the flu vaccine. Here is the analysis provided in the article:
2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water.
20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).
200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste.
25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in the Hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth in the U.S., from 1990-2001.
50,000 ppb Mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990’s to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age.
50,000 ppb Mercury = Current “preservative” level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi- dose vials.

According to a chart prepared by the Edgy Truth the amount of      mercury in a contaminated whitefish is 500 ppb by comparison.

How much influence do the pharmaceuticals have in promoting vaccines? According to the Wall Street Journal (11/09/2015) the highest number of government lobbyists, among industries, are pharmaceuticals/health products.

 My biggest concern is that we are systematically replacing common sense and healthy practices with a shot that may not help and has      significant risks. I am in favor of health education, informed consent and personal choice.

Linking with A Little R & R, WholeHearted Home and Tuesdays with a Twist

Country Road with Unknown Destination

When I visit my sister in Michigan, we frequently have an adventure.

Last weekend we had both driven to a community college event.
When we left the event her car wouldn’t start. So we hooked up jumper cables from my car to her car, and after a half hour her car was running. She needed to keep the engine running so I followed her to her place of work. She had to pick up some files. She left her car running while I parked next to her car.

After another half hour we were on our way to her home. Or so
I thought. I followed her car, passing by the expressway
ramp that I thought we should take. My sister was going down
a country road that I did not recognize.

What's Our Destination?
photo credit: pixabay.com

It was a beautiful day. She kept driving and I had no idea where we were going. I thought about pulling out my cell phone, but I’m trying to avoid using the cell phone while driving.

I was a little irritated, but she’s my sister. We are family and so I just followed. We finally stopped at a cider mill. It was worth it. The cider and doughnuts were delicious. Why didn’t she tell me? She had the idea while driving. We used to go to a cider mill with our parents when we were kids.

In the bigger picture, I sometimes don’t understand the path that God has for me. Some things don’t make sense. My brother has had a     tragic struggle with mental illness over the last 47 years. His health is    fragile, and I am his guardian. It is difficult.

My son was just eight years old when he lost his battle with cancer. It doesn’t make sense now. But I believe I will see him again someday. The puzzle pieces of this life will make a complete picture in eternity.

God’s plan of salvation is woven all through the Bible. The prophecies and promises have been fulfilled, are still being fulfilled. I have seen answers to prayer. I have a relationship with Jesus. I have faith in God.

So if I can trust my sister on a puzzling drive down a country road, I can trust God with all that I encounter in this life.

Linking with Word of God SpeakWeekend WhispersThought Provoking Thursday and WholeHearted Wednesday