Petite Purple Irises and Stinging Nettle

It is the last day of February and my dwarf irises are blooming. I was surprised to see their purple petals as I returned home from a weekend trip. Winter isn’t over, but my tulip and hyacinth bulbs are sprouting leaves.

Dwarf Iris

What will our spring be like? My thoughts turn to garden plans. Every year I like to introduce a new plant to my herb garden.

It is so convenient to have fresh herbs for the kitchen. I have thyme for chicken and broth, sage for turkey, rosemary for potatoes and soups, chocolate mint for coffee, tarragon for salad dressing and basil for pesto and tomato sauce.

This year I want to add stinging nettle. I am familiar with nettle tea, having read about it in the Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.

The common stinging nettle is a uterine tonic and general nourisher with a special ability to strengthen kidneys and adrenals. Its high mineral and chorophyll content makes it an excellent food and tonic for the hormonal system.*

The New American Herbal has more information about this plant. It is called stinging nettle because the leaves have fine hairs that cause pain and inflammation when touched. It is important to wear rubber gloves when harvesting the leaves of this plant.

Properly handled with gloves and long sleeves the leaves can be easily gathered and then neutralized by the heat of cooking . . . Once you know how to respect them, you’ll find nettles deliciously mild with a deep nutty green taste and a slightly minty finish. **

I saw a recipe for nettle soup in a Swedish cookbook. I think the nettle leaves would be a good addition to broth—adding good mineral content as well as flavor.

And so I will order some stinging nettle seeds from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. Then I have to decide on a safe place to grow them—perhaps in a container.

Do you have some garden plans?

*Susun Weed, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, Ash Tree Publishing: Woodstock, New York, 1986, p. 2

**Stephen Orr, The New American Herbal, Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2014, p. 330

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Watching Our Words

It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: SLOW

We are so blessed. God is patient with us.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8

At a time when emotions are running high in our country,  I can  gain   wisdom from the Lord. I can always learn more patience.

The book of James offers this instruction.

Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1: 19-20

I am reminded of the word that I chose for this year, attentive.

In my conversations I can be more attentive, listening and taking in the point of view of others before I respond.

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

Social media is a challenge. Can we be attentive and slow to anger on Facebook?

Find inspiration at Five Minute Friday by clicking here.

Refined and Blessed by Marriage

Someone was ringing the doorbell persistently. My husband went to the door and I looked on, curious. A deliveryman handed a wrapped florist parcel to him. Who is sending flowers? I wondered.

The enclosed card was inscribed, Happy Anniversary.   It was from our   sister-in-law. And then I remembered. Our 40th anniversary was just days away.

We have been blessed and refined by many years of marriage. The day after the flowers arrived, my husband and I attended a world-view conference led by Dr. Frank Turek. During the course of his presentation he spoke about the benefits of marriage between one man and one woman—and the reason why the government has had an interest in marriage historically. Here are the benefits I jotted down;

  1. Creates children
  2. Children are raised by a mom and a dad
  3. Civilizes men
  4. Protects women
  5. Perpetuates and stabilizes society

Dr. Turek covers this topic in his book, Correct, Not Politically Correct. He also has a website: cross-examined.org

When God set down the pattern for marriage it was for our good, as a couple, and for society as a whole.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Marriage

Jesus affirmed this view of marriage: Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” Matthew 19: 4-5

In our marriage, my husband and I have grown in our faith and helped each other with new skills. We have had good times and hard times. We have sometimes communicated well and at other times not very well. We have learned forgiveness and self-sacrifice. We have raised children and now have three married adult children and seven grandchildren.

How can we pass on a healthy view of marriage to children and grandchildren?

1.  When the Bible is a part of our daily life it becomes a guidebook for healthy living. Regular Bible reading and prayer at home is a good thing.

2.  We need to discuss sexuality with the children God has placed in our influence. God’s design for sex is healthy and fulfilling; it requires boundaries. Surveys have shown that teens wish that their parents would discuss this topic with them.

3.  We can give our testimony as a couple, explaining how God has worked in our life.

4.  We can pray for the young people in our circle of influence and look for opportunities to offer words of guidance and encouragement. This morning my husband and I prayed for our grandchildren.

Can you think of additional ways to promote healthy marriages?

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A Verse for Each Child

It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: WEAK

Above my writing desk I have a frame with a picture of each  of  my   children. Below their picture is the verse that my husband and I chose for their dedication. Our desire was for each child to know and depend on the Lord.

For our oldest daughter: The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

For our son who has gone on to be with the Lord: Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71: 3

For our second daughter: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

And for our second son: As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18: 30-32

Each of these verses point to the Lord’s strength. When we chose these verses we did not know the trials that would come and the depth of our family’s need for God’s strength. Now, when I read these verses I can praise God because He has been faithful in providing strength and refuge for each of our children.

It is true. We are weak and have a great need for God’s grace, mercy and strength.

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

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Colors of the Sunset & Seeing Answers to Prayer

The sky had turned a brilliant pink, and the horizon seemed to be in flame. It was gorgeous. But within minutes the color began to fade, leaving streaks of lavender. I was fortunate to be in the car,  my husband    driving, to see the sunset at the right moment. There are other moments that are important to notice.

The word I have chosen for 2017 is attentive. When I am prayerfully seeking the Lord I am more alert to his touch on my life. If I am watching I may see glimpses of his answer to prayer.

Recently my brother was hospitalized and his living arrangement was terminated. As I prayed throughout this crisis, I needed to be watching for signs of the Lord’s care. Here is what I noticed.

My brother had a nurse who looked beyond his mental disability and provided excellent care while he was in the hospital.

Because of this nurse’s attention, problems with his medications were seen more clearly and addressed.

Although my brother would not talk about Jesus or words from the Bible, he began to hum and sing a couple hymns. This amazed me because he is often angry with any talk about faith in God.

I wasn’t alone. My sister was with me. I had friends in the same town as the hospital. It was good to visit with my college roommate and another dear friend. We talked about our faith, and I was able to pray with them.

The bright colors of these moments guided me through a couple of tough weeks.

Isaiah has recorded these words of encouragement:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26: 3-4

Is my brother’s situation completely resolved? No, so I will give thanks for what I have seen and keep on praying.

Have you experienced answers to prayer recently? I would enjoy your comment.

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Thankful for Good Books During a Hospital Stay

There is a kind of comradery on the hospital elevator. I recognize the tension on the faces of men and women. We make a little conversation about the weather. Then we smile and wish each other a good day as we exit the elevator.

For almost two weeks I have made the daily trip to sit at the bedside of my brother. My role is simple. I answer questions and advocate for him. My brother doesn’t talk much, so I have had lots of time to read.

The Best of A. W. Tozer, a collection of excerpts from his books, is inspiring. The book was compiled by Warren Wiersbe. The first chapter, Following Hard After God, is from The Pursuit of God. I have been reading a chapter each day.

A dear friend loaned me some books by Sandra Dallas.   I thoroughly   enjoyed Prayers for Sale.   It is a novel about two women—one in her   eighties and the other in her late teens. The story is set in a mining town in Colorado, in the 1930s. The importance of women’s friendship is the underlying theme. Forgiveness and redemption are also a part of the story.

I borrowed Night by Elie Wiesel from my sister.  The book is the true    story of Elie’s survival in a Nazi concentration camp. His father died in the camp a few months before liberation took place. It is a heart wrenching story, but so instructive.

In his book Wiesel documents the warning that was given to his town by a man that had escaped from the death camps. No one believed the man. They couldn’t fathom it. They discarded the plea that he made for them to flee.

I wonder if there are warning signs today that are considered beyond belief. Independent researchers, some doctors and parents are raising the alarm over vaccine injury. The number of vaccines given to a young child has steadily increased with more being planned.

No one wants to believe that vaccines could have a negative impact on health. Yet, the pharmaceuticals have no liability for vaccine injury. The National Vaccine Information Center is a good resource for parents that want to be well informed.

My sister has some books by Dorothy Sayers. I love a good mystery so in the evenings I read Strong Poison. The main character, Lord Peter Wimsey, is quite taken by a young author, Harriet Vane. She is accused of murder, and Lord Peter is determined to prove her innocence.

Do you have a favorite mystery writer? I’d love to read your comment.

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Finding Rest Through Prayer

It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: BREATHE

Go . . .

For many years I taught breathing patterns for Lamaze classes. When wave after wave of contractions come, breathing patterns can help a     laboring woman with relaxation. Slow breathing seems to be most effective.

Take a breath in and slowly release it,   like you are making a candle    flicker. Then take another breath and release it slowly. A steady rhythm of breathing.

Prayer is spiritual breathing.

Currently I am in a stressful situation. I am spending days at the hospital advocating for my brother. A couple nights ago I was restless and overwhelmed. I was struggling with worries.

I needed to do some spiritual breathing. Jesus has offered us this access to rest. We can offer up our burdens as we whisper a prayer.

“Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28

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