The Changing Ways of Birth

I was born in Michigan, and so was my mother. My grandmother was born in Finland.

My grandmother gave birth to her children at home. My mother gave birth in the hospital during the obstetric practice of twilight sleep and delivery with forceps. I gave birth by cesarean section.

As a nurse I worked in labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care. Hoping to help women avoid unnecessary interventions, I taught Lamaze classes.

Finally after many years in the hospital I worked with a home birth practice alongside doctors and midwives. I learned new ways to assist a woman during labor and birth. I gained new perspectives, able to see the spiritual side of childbirth more clearly. Sometimes, while caring for a woman during labor, she asked me to pray for her. Sometimes I observed the husband praying.

Every birth is unique. Every baby is a gift of God. I have been blessed with seeing the birth of my grandchildren at home and in the hospital.

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: BORN

Remembering with Hope

Today we went to the cemetery and tended the family graves. We planted flowers and walked among the stones marking family members. As I read the names I was recalling family history.

My husband’s grandparents immigrated from Holland in 1911. In 1918 they lost three of their children when scarlet fever and the Spanish flu afflicted the family. William was a young adult, Winnie was a teenager and Cornelius was school age.

The family had worked hard to adjust to life in America and pay back the debts incurred during the first year. They had a deep faith in God and persevered. With support from a community of faith, they persevered through the grief of losing three children in one week.

We are blessed to have a family history written by my husband’s uncle. He wrote about his family and each of his sisters and brothers. He described the faith of his parents and siblings.

 I reflected on this as I thought about our Steven. The years of his cancer treatment were tough. He kept a journal, continued with school work and Awana lessons. He memorized many Bible verses. Three verse are listed on his gravestone.

The first one was chosen for him when he was dedicated as a baby.

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

The second one relates to his participation in Awana, his Bible study.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

The third verse is one that he talked about in the last weeks of his life.

He [God] shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

As a family we are bonded together in faith and hope. We remember those that have gone before us to eternal life.

If you, dear reader, are not a part of the family of God, you can be. The word [of faith] is near you . . . because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God, raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

New Ideas for the Garden

With lots of time at home I have been able to focus attention on gardening. My neighbor and I have shared tips and little plants across the back fence. I am looking forward to garden produce.

This year I have added mushroom compost to the garden to help break up the heavy clay soil. In some places I have added earthworm castings as a fertilizer. 

In the past I have lost squash and pumpkin plants to vine borers—the caterpillars that eats the inside of the plant’s vine. So I did an internet search for ways to prevent this problem. One suggestion was to place aluminum foil around the base of the stem—I tried that before without success. Or wrap the stem with cheese cloth. My squash and pumpkin plants now have cheese cloth around their stems.

Another suggestion was to companion plant nasturtium, chives, calendula or tansy around the squash/pumpkin plants. I have tansy and calendula growing next to the pumpkin plants and nasturtium and chives next to the squash. I also planted the squash in a new area, because rotating location of plants is a good idea. We’ll see how this experiment works.

For the tomato plants I put a mix of banana peel, crushed egg shell and coffee grounds deep in a hole, covered with some soil, before placing the tomato plant in.

I am thrilled that some of my herbs wintered over. The sage and thyme were in sheltered areas outside. My rosemary plant did well in a sunny bay window during the winter and is now outside.

I am looking forward to the time our state opens up—our district of Illinois is still shut down. I am anxious to have time together with friends and family. In the meantime gardening gets me outside, into the sunshine. I look in wonder at endless variety of plants and flowers that God has created for our enjoyment.

Do you have gardening tips for growing healthy plants?

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: FORWARD

Finding Joy in a Difficult Season

In so many ways life is not normal now. High school seniors are graduating without ceremony . . . the elderly are isolated in nursing homes without visitors . . . completely unexpected job loss . . . health care workers are furloughed.

Currently I am reading the biography of John Adams by David McCullough. The book is giving me a picture of what life was like leading up to and during the American Revolution. There was disruption, suffering and many challenges. Yet, Abigail and John Adams persevered.

The little book of Nehemiah in the Bible describes the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. The people were challenged and threatened. They guarded the wall by night and labored during the day. Nehemiah kept his focus on the grace, mercy and faithfulness of God. He set an example for the people and provided leadership. In the midst of difficulty there was thanksgiving.

We have great examples of faith to encourage us. God’s word and prayer are resources for us.

The LORD is good,

a stronghold in the day of trouble;

he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7

The joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

Every Friday Kate Motaung gives a writing prompt. Today’s prompt is: NORMAL. Linking this post with Five Minute Friday and Heart Encouragement.

The Pandemic and A Story in Genesis

During the current pandemic the existence of level 4 biosafety labs has come to light. It is in the news that the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease invested money in the Wuhan Lab. We wonder what happened at the lab in Wuhan. And we learn that level 4 biosafety labs exist in our country as well as other countries. 

What is the purpose of these labs? Studying and manipulating viruses is hazardous work. An interview with a scientist familiar with the dark side of these labs is now available on the internet. Click here.

Because of this pandemic we have groups of scientists, some funded by Bill Gates, rushing to develop a vaccine. 

Over the years I have had concerns about the side effects of vaccines and the one-size-fits all approach to vaccination. For all other medications we assess the individual for allergies and need. What are the risks and benefits?

Long after my children received the MMR vaccine I learned that it was developed from aborted fetal tissue. It took years of research on many aborted fetuses to achieve the vaccine. You can see a chronology of the fetuses used in the research for vaccines in this article.

Many universities seek aborted fetal body parts for ongoing research. How do we justify the sacrifice of infants, created by God, for the purpose of scientific research?

In the book of Genesis there is a brief story about an amazing tower.

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as the people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.Then they said, “Come let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. . . So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:1- 4,8

From the text it appears that the people were looking to glorify themselves, ignoring God and his design for life.

Matthew Henry comments on this portion of scripture: God has various means, and effectual ones, to baffle and defeat the projects of proud men that set themselves against him, and particularly he divides them among themselves.

Do we have our own Tower of Babel now?

How Do We Overcome Fear?

Fear can distract us from a life of faith.

In my morning Bible study I have been reading about Nehemiah’s leadership in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, the city with a temple for God’s presence.

The Jews had enemies that did not want them to rebuild the walls. At first these enemies jeered and mocked them. When that didn’t stop the work on the wall, the enemy made a plan to attack.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. Nehemiah 4:7-8

Nehemiah prayed.

And we prayed to our God and set a guard of protection against them day and night. Nehemiah 4:9

Some of the people let fear take hold of them.

In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10

Nehemiah responded with a plan to guard every section of the wall as they rebuilt it. With prayer and dependence on God, with a strategic plan, the work continued.

As I mused on this text I thought about the way fear can be a controlling force. How is the cloud of fear surrounding the pandemic affecting me?

I can follow Nehemiah’s example of prayer. Nehemiah also had a practical plan, and then he stayed focused on the work God had called him to do.

More and more I have recognized my need for God’s wisdom. The time I spend in prayer is growing. My family has decisions to make regarding my mother’s care in the nursing home. The lockdown, the inability to visit is hard. 

We are encouraged to pray. Jesus is ready to intercede for us.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

 Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community and Heart Encouragement .