A Reward with Added Dimension

Her name was Naomi, but she said, “Call me Mara”. Mara means bitter. Her husband and her sons had died and left no heir. She was impoverished.

Ruth saw the great sorrow of her mother-in-law and chose to stay with her. She was willing to travel from Moab to Judea, to leave her own country and go to a foreign place. The two widows had to walk north along the east side of the dead sea until they could cross over to Judea on the west.

When they arrived in Bethlehem Ruth had to work hard to provide food for them to survive. Widows were allowed to glean grain that was left over after harvest, so she spent long hours gathering grain.

A man named Boaz noticed her and spoke to her. Ruth was surprised because she was a foreigner in Judea. 

But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and your mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2: 11-12 

Ruth eventually married Boaz and had both a home and a son. The blessing extended to Naomi, because she had a grandson. Ruth was rewarded, but did she know that she would be the great-grandmother of King David? Did she know that the Savior would come from her line of descendants?

We have the Bible now and we can see the promises that God has fulfilled, but we see in part. We don’t know all that God is doing. There is always more.

NOTE: I took the picture of the Dead Sea when I was in Israel in 2012. We were on the west side of the Dead Sea, looking east.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: REWARD. Join in the fun and inspiration. Click here to visit this community.

Spring is Here : Looking Forward to Flowers and Herbs!

It is the first day of Spring and I am looking forward to the appearance of flowers and herbs. The snowdrops are up, and the robins have returned. The hyacinths are beginning to poke through the thawing soil.

Before long the violets will be blooming. I plan to gather these delicate flowers from an area of the yard that has not been sprayed with any chemicals to make candied violets. See a recipe here.

Every year I add another herb to my gardens. Herbs are a source of vitamins and minerals that support health. Rosemary, thyme and sage all grow easily. Here is a recipe for potatoes with rosemary and thyme.

I have planted some stinging nettle seeds in a container. I hope to plant them in a corner of the yard that has little traffic. The leaves of this plant sting—similar to stinging ants. The young leaves must be harvested carefully (gloves). When the leaves are boiled they lose their sting. The benefit of this herb is the rich mineral content. Nettle tea is sold in health food stores. I first noticed a recipe for nettle soup in a Swedish cook book. Here is an on-line recipe for nettle soup.

In a time period when many worry about infectious disease, it is a good idea to think about ways to improve the nutritional support of our immune system. Herbs are a source of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. At one time I thought the purpose of herbs was flavor, but now I know they enrich our food.

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The Church: A Place for Spiritual Growth

In the Old Testament of the Bible we see how God guided the Israelites through the tabernacle with Moses speaking for him. God demonstrated his desire to speak to his people and teach them how to live in peace.

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 ESV

The tabernacle and later the temple in Jerusalem gathered the people together to worship God.

In the New Testament Jesus reminds us of the importance of gathering together.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” Matthew 18:20

My husband I have been blessed by a heritage in the church. I was brought up in the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church and my husband in the Dutch Reformed Church. Recently I found a picture book that was given to him by the Sunday School when he was four years old.

We met in a Reformed Church on the campus of the University of Michigan and we were married there.

When we established a home in Illinois we became members of the Evangelical Free Church. We have also had encounters with the Baptist and the Catholic Church.

Because the church is made up of humans with a tendency to sin, we need to pursue truth and forgiveness, We need to bring difficulties before the Lord in prayer. In our walk of faith we need the church. The church is the place where we can grow.

Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive . . . And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians: 12-13, 15-16

This post is participating in Five Minute Friday. Today’s prompt is: PLACE

I am also linking up with writers at #GraceFullTuesday.

Making Sense of the Vaccine Debate

The number of vaccines on the CDC list is continually growing. When I was a child I had just a few vaccines—polio and DTP. I had the measles, and so did my siblings. We now have lifetime immunity to the measles. When I breast fed my babies, they received protection from getting the measles as infants.

My children received approximately 18 doses of vaccines by age five. They received more doses of DTP and polio than I did. And they received the MMR vaccine.

A doctor visit often included a shot. We had a book that my daughter enjoyed. It was titled It’s Your Turn Doctor. The child in the story imagines what it would be like to give the doctor a physical exam. In the final page the child is chasing the doctor with a syringe.

The book was funny and we laughed. It made doctor visits easier. As the years passed I have become more concerned about the content of the syringe than the needle stick.

In 1982 I didn’t know that the MMR vaccine was developed from an aborted fetus. I was puzzled by the stomach pain, digestive disorder and pause in language development that I observed after this vaccine was given to my daughter.

The immunity offered by the MMR does not give lifetime immunity. Some cases of measles are caused by the vaccine and can infect others. A blood test can determine if a case of measles is the wild form or the vaccine type.

The CDC now recommends 35+ doses of vaccines for children by age five.  Each injection contains additional substances; aluminum, formaldehyde, DNA fragments, mercury. You can find the ingredients in each vaccine here.

Why so many doses of vaccines–which ones have more benefits than risks? What has happened to the immune system that God provided us with? We can support the immune system with good nutrition, adequate hydration (pure water), rest and enough sleep. Sufficient rest might be a problem is our hectic lifestyles. It is worth it to slow down.

Because sexual behavior has changed dramatically over the past five decades, a vaccine was developed for an infection that can only be passed by sexual intimacy, blood or body fluid contact. The vaccine for hepatitis B was developed in the 1980s and in 1991 it was added to the recommended vaccines.

It is curious that a decision was made to give this vaccine to all newborn infants—despite the fact that all women are screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy. As a general practice the vaccine is given when the baby is 24 hours old. We don’t know if there are any longterm consequences from giving this vaccine to a newborn. We don’t know how long this vaccine is effective. It may wane by the teenage years.

The HPV vaccine is also developed for a sexually transmitted virus. It is recommended for girls, 11 to 12 years old to prevent cervical cancer. The truth is young women can be monitored by a pap smear when they are sexually active and treated appropriately. The problem with the HPV vaccine is the severe side effects some girls experience. The HPV vaccine has the largest amount of aluminum as an adjuvant. 

It is interesting to note that other countries have omitted the MMR vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine from the recommended schedule. Japan does not give the MMR or the HPV vaccine. Instead Japan has an individual measles vaccine with less side effects. Japan, Finland and Denmark do not give the hepatitis B vaccine. In Sweden all vaccines are voluntary.

In 1992 New Zealand did a study comparing the health of vaccinated children against unvaccinated.

A study from the 1990s has come to light, proving that compared to unvaccinated children, vaccinated children were more likely to suffer from asthma, eczema, ear infections, hyperactivity and many other chronic conditions.

Another study was done in the United States and published in 2017.

The vaccinated children were also more likely to have increased healthcare utilization – to have had ear tubes placed; to have used antibiotics, to have used allergy and fever medications; to have visited a doctor for a health issue in the previous year, and to have been hospitalized.

In response to the current controversy over vaccines, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon has stated their strong opposition to mandatory vaccines in the U.S. I hope you will take the time to understand this issue.

We can sign a petition to ask the President to establish a Vaccine Safety Commission. Click here to see the petition.

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The Good Shepherd: A Story to Share with a Child

My husband and I are book lovers and book collectors. We have books in most rooms of our house. Over the years we have gone to library book sales, used book stores, bought books on line and at conferences.

We need to reduce and pass books along. I have been going through some of my stacks of books and came a cross a yellowed copy of a book that was first published in England in 1948. It was published by Moody Press in 1951.

The Tanglewoods’ Secret was written by Patricia St. John. I opened the book and read the first few pages and decided that I would read the whole book before I decided what to do with it.

It is a tender story about two children that love to explore nature—trees, wildflowers and birds.

The author shows us that they need a Savior and she weaves the Bible account of the good shepherd into her story. It is a clear description of a relationship with Jesus that a child can understand. It is a book to read with a grandchild. I am glad that I rediscovered it.

Sharing this post with Literary Musing Monday and Booknificent Thursday

Sunrise of Hope

Many years ago I worked the night shift in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan. We had 12 hour shifts, and I worked from 7 pm to 7 am. Around 5:00 am as daylight crept across the sky, we were weary and needed to get our second wind. 

We would take turns, going to get coffee and a muffin from the hospital cafeteria. But what we most appreciated was walking down a hallway of windows that looked out to the sunrise. Morning had come and we would complete our nursing care and documentation. The light of a new day sustained us and promised rest.

We have challenges and a spiritual battle taking place in our world. The battle requires focus on God’s word and obedience to his commands. We must stay alert and look for God’s touch on our life. He will renew our spirit and give us rest.

photo by Cristina Gottardi via unsplash

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130: 6-7

It is Friday and I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: MORE

What Happened at Senate Hearing?

The U.S. Senate held a hearing on March 5, 2019:  Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?

Vaccine Safety
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I watched the hearing and saw pictures of the lines of parents that hoped to attend the hearing.There were more security guards on site than those present for the Kavanaugh confirmation. Parents were being herded into a separate room.

The committee chairman read an opening statement that claimed vaccines were completely safe. Senator Rand Paul was the only Senator who acknowledged BOTH benefits and risks of vaccines. The only citizen witness was a teenage boy who painted concerned parents as mothers picking up wild ideas from facebook.

The truth is that scientists, some doctors, nurses and parents have concerns about the current vaccine schedule and the risk/benefit assessment. They have invested much time in research. 

The government vaccine court has paid out more than 4 billion dollars to parents whose child died or is severely disabled following a vaccine. In 1986 legislation was passed to remove all liability from the pharmaceutical companies. If the vaccines they produced caused side effects and injury, the pharmaceutical companies could not be sued. Instead parents could petition the vaccine injury court and be compensated with tax payer dollars.

Another provision of the 1986 bill was that Health and Human Services was to review the vaccines every two years, identify the children that were at greater risk of injury and make reports to congress. This never happened.

I am ashamed of the ignorance shown by Senators who stated vaccines are completely safe. I hope that they will read this open letter to Senator Romney. http://fearlessparent.org/dear-senator-romney-vaccine-coercion-political-leadership/

This morning I spent some time in prayer and decided to look on the CDC site for contraindications for some vaccines. I was surprised to find a page that was in direct contradiction to the way the Senate Hearing took place.

When a parent or patient initiates a discussion about a perceived vaccine adverse reaction, the health care provider should discuss the specific concerns and provide factual information, using appropriate language. Effective, empathetic vaccine risk communication is essential in responding to misinformation and concerns, with health care providers recognizing that risk assessment and decision-making can be difficult and confusing. Certain vaccines might be acceptable to a parent who is resistant to other vaccines. This partial acceptance can be used to facilitate additional communication. Their concerns can be addressed using the VIS and offering other resource materials (e.g., vaccination information from CDC).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend that providers exclude from their practice patients whose parents or guardians question or refuse vaccination.

The hepatitis B vaccine had long term side effects for one of my children. I am wondering why this vaccine is required for a child to attend public school.

All pregnant women are tested for hepatitis B to ascertain that they do not pass it along to the baby. Hepatitis B is an infection that is passed along through contact with infected blood, or by sexual intimacy with an infected person. It is not a disease that can be readily passed to another child.

Parents must be allowed to question vaccine policy. Parents are responsible for caring for their child. They are the ones that deal with vaccine injuries. Why is there a movement to shut down all questions and muzzle concerns?

Book Review: Caring for Words

Over the years I have been introduced to many good books at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. At the 2012 Festival I listened to Marilyn McEntyre speak and then picked up a copy of her book. I am republishing a book review that I wrote.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14

The book, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, raises a concern about words and truth. Marilyn C. McEntyre fears that we are in danger of losing the depth of language as we text and tweet. Throughout the book she refers to the Bible, classic books and poetry, sketching the idea of ingesting words. Her book was a rich meal for me.

I had to read slowly, soaking in the wisdom of an English professor who has a love of language. I learned something about poetry and the value of poetic thought. Poets cherish words. McEntyre explains the good use of words, calling it reclamation. She writes: Everyone who writes with care, who treats words with respect and allows even the humblest its historical and grammatical dignity, participates in the exhilarating work of reclamation.

The chapter, Practice Poetry, gave me new insights into appreciating poetry.

The last chapter offers reflections on silence. McEntyre writes: Silence is to words what water is to the body and to the earth. Words, like food, nourish and support life in ways that reach beyond metaphor to solid fact. But it is in our silences that digestive and regenerative processes can take place.

This book encourages reading and attentiveness to words. I feel blessed that I grew up in a home where we read the Bible together and visited the library regularly. Reading books with the grandchildren gives me joy. Assisting the next generation to value good books is a gift we can give.

Family - Bouquet

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Seeking Guidance for Parental Rights

Parents today have difficult issues to confront. As I was driving home from Michigan today I was listening to Janet Parshall on the radio.She was discussing a case that was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It hit me hard because a friend of our family recently disclosed that he/she is transgender.

In British Columbia the court decided that a 14 year old girl could receive testosterone injections without her parents consent. In addition, her parents could not refer to her with female pronouns or by the name they gave her at birth. If they did they would be guilty of family violence.

This is stunning, but parental rights are being infringed in other ways. 

In Illinois a bill is being proposed that would mandate that all children entering 6th grade receive the HPV vaccine. There has been a lot of controversy over this vaccine. According to the Children’s Health Defense:

. . . during Gardasil’s clinical trials an extraordinary 49.5% of the subjects receiving Gardasil reported serious medical conditions within seven months of the start of the clinical trials. Because Merck did not use a true placebo in its clinical trials, its researchers were able to dismiss the trial participants’ injuries as coincidences, employing the term “new medical conditions,” rather than classifying their injuries as “adverse events.”

Parents should be able to weigh the risks and benefits of this vaccine (which is for a sexually transmitted virus). They should be involved in a decision to vaccinate or not.

It is so important that parents stay alert and informed. Even more important we must bring our concerns to the Lord Jesus. God designed the family, and as we defend our parental rights, the Holy Spirit can guide our words and action.

I am in touch with a group of moms that are very concerned about government mandates. It was refreshing to hear several say, “We need to pray.”

The book of Luke records the Lord’s Prayer. After teaching the disciples to pray Jesus continued with these words: “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

The book of James reiterates this. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Today I mulled over the prompt, SEARCH, thinking about recent events and the radio program.