What Do We Tell the Children?

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my grandchildren. I was happy to join the family for dinner. As we were eating dinner the second grader said, “We might be having world war three.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“A boy in my class said that.”

The granddaughter who is in middle school said, “My teacher spent two class hours talking about what is happening.”

We had a discussion of the current news. The grandchildren listened attentively–they were concerned.

I am very glad to be studying Paul’s letters to Timothy at this time. I explained that  Paul had sound advice and encouragement for Timothy during a very difficult time.

As I mentioned Paul’s letter to Timothy, the words came to me. “God is sovereign. He knows what is happening. We can pray for our leaders that they will do what is right.” 

As I thought about our conversation I am reminded of the importance of time studying the Bible. We can direct our children and grandchildren to be grounded in the Word, sharing scripture with them. We can encourage them to participate in prayer for our country, our President, his cabinet and congress.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: DIRECTION

Family Fun in Missouri

Between Christmas and the beginning of the new year our family had a mini vacation in St. Charles, Missouri. It was such a pleasure to have our children and their families altogether for a few days. The nine grandchildren enjoyed time with their cousins.

We learned that Lewis and Clark left from St. Charles for the Corps of Discovery Expedition in 1804. The town has the Lewis and Clark Boat House Museum with boats that are a replica of ones used by the expedition. The museum elucidates the historical facts about St. Charles, the people of the town and the expedition.

As we walked around town we noted a number of sculptures of a large dog. Meriwether Lewis had a black Newfoundland dog that he brought along on the expedition. 

The appearance of the town is reminiscent of New England towns, with quaint shops.  St. Charles was the capitol city of Missouri in the years 1821 to 1826. 

St. Charles is just outside of St. Louis so we also enjoyed the St. Louis zoo and museums (many have free admission).

The grandchildren had fun climbing on this bronze gorilla.

There was so much to see at the zoo. I only captured a few of the birds and animals.

Linking this post with Sue’s image-in-ing and Tuesdays with a Twist

The Birth in Bethlehem

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

God’s amazing design is before us in the birth of Jesus. Jesus did not enter our world as an adult. He came as an infant, fully human and also God. 

He wasn’t born in a palace or a hospital equipped with modern technology. His birth was dependent on the natural physical ability of a young woman to give birth.

God didn’t need human intervention to carry out his plan for our good. This fills me with joy and trust. We can rest, knowing God is sovereign over our world. 

Luke, the physician wrote in his gospel: And while they [Joseph and Mary] were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in manger because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2: 6-7

Birth in Bethlehem
Painting in a Cathedral in Finland

Have a blessed and joyous Christmas!

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: BIRTH

Also linking with Sue’s image-in-ing and Inspire Me Monday .

The Light of Christmas

Christmas, the day that we commemorate Jesus’ birth, is coming. Last night we attended a concert titled Night of Glory. It was good to pause from my errands, cookie baking, and card writing. I listened to the story of God’s amazing gift, told in song. The concert began with the orchestra playing Farandole (March of the Kings).

The wise men had a star in the night sky to lead them to the promised Savior. We have the Bible—old and new testament. In both prophecy and in the gospels, Jesus comes into the world bringing light. 

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2

The gospel of John tells about the Savior coming to earth.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. . .  John 1: 9-12

I remember the times that the electricity in our home was disrupted by a storm. When the power was off we looked for flashlights and candles. We needed light to dispel the darkness, to see where we were going. 

In the same way we need a relationship with God through Jesus.  We live in a world darkened by sin. Jesus gives direction for our life.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt is: DARKNESS

Making and Canning Healthy Broth

Whenever I cook a naturally raised chicken or turkey I want to make the best use of it. After the turkey (or chicken) has been carved and served I save the bones to make broth.

The procedure is simple. I put the bones, a few vegetables (a carrot, an onion, a couple stalks of celery), slices of lemon, garlic cloves and fresh herbs (parsley and thyme) into a large crockpot. The lemon provides acid that will leach calcium from the bones.

Then I add water to cover. It is important the crockpot lid does NOT have a vent, because the broth is going to cooks for 20 to 24 hours. All the ingredients contribute to a mineral rich broth.

Throughout the day the crockpot is set at high, and then overnight at low. 

Around 24 hours I turn the crockpot off and ladle the broth through a strainer. The bones, vegetables, lemon and herbs are discarded. The broth goes into a large pot  and is allowed to cool down. If there is fat in the broth, I place the broth in the refrigerator for several hours and skim the fat off the top before beginning the canning process.

NOTE: If you don’t want to can the broth, you can freeze it. Pour the broth into a canning jar, leaving head space. (The broth expands a little when it freezes.) Place it in the refrigerator to chill, and then place it in the freezer.  

Berries and applesauce can be preserved with water bath canning, but broth requires pressure cooker canning.  A couple years ago I wrote about my first experience with the pressure cooker.

I read the farm journal cookbook’s information on canning broth. I read the pressure cooker user’s manual from beginning to end twice. I read the directions for using the pressure cooker to can. I washed the canning jars in the dishwasher and the canning lids by hand in soapy water.

Then I placed the lids with their rings in hot water (that had recently boiled). While preparing the lids and jars, I reheated the broth on the stove top. Then I filled the pint size canning jars with hot broth leaving one inch of headspace. I put the lids on and tightened the bands and then did a quarter turn to loosen the band a little.

I placed a wire rack at the bottom of the pressure cooker to keep the canning jars from touching the bottom of the pot and put 2 + ½ inches of boiling water in the pressure cooker. Then I put my 3 jars on the rack—the water was just under 3 inches deep with the jars on the rack. 

Following the directions that came with the pressure cooker I put the lid on and set it to pressure-cooking, making sure that pressure lock button was set. I turned the burner on high under the pressure cooker. When the button on the lid of the cooker indicated that the pot had achieved pressure I began to time the process. The broth needed to be processed for 75 minutes with 10 pounds of pressure. (The Fagor pressure cooker reaches 15 pounds of pressure.) 

I stayed in the kitchen the whole time. Occasionally the pot began to hiss with lots of extra steam escaping and I adjusted the burner a little, feeling a little anxious. I like to see what is happening, but the only thing I could see was steam escaping from the safety valve. Were my jars breaking? Were the lids allowing extra air to escape and no liquid? I had to just wait and see.

When the 75 minutes was complete the pressure cooker needed to cool down on its own. The directions warned me not to open the cool down vent, not to try opening the lid. It took a full half hour for the pot to cool down and the pressure button indicate that the pot was no longer under steam pressure. With a little trepidation I opened the pot and saw that I had successfully processed my jars of broth.

Since then I have become comfortable with the process. I am able to insert the steps of this process into the day as I accomplish other things. The benefit is having a broth that is healthy—I know what is in it. I can to add it to soups, to chili, and use as the liquid for preparing rice.

Sharing this post with Inspire Me Monday and Tuesdays with a Twist

Prayer: the Antidote to Fear

There are times and circumstances that overwhelm with fear. Remember the Bible account of the sudden storm on the Sea of Galilee?

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath, the sea became as smooth as glass. Mark 4:37-39 MSG

When a woman is in labor and gets close to giving birth she may experience a rush of hormones that cause the strong contractions of transition. Some women feel completely out of control. The waves of contraction rush over her. This is the point at which women, whom I have attended in labor, ask for prayer. Sometimes it is a husband or a friend that prays. Sometimes I have prayed.

Throughout life we encounter situations where the stress of a situation may overwhelm us. God provides a place to bring our fears and concerns. We can pray. It is calming to pray with another believer. Jesus said: 

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them  by my father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them. Matthew 18: 19-20

When I meet with women for Bible study on Wednesday mornings we end our meetings with group prayer. Together we bring our concerns to the Lord. We are refreshed and ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Do you have a friend that you can pray with?

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt today is: RUSH

Also linking with Inspire Me Monday, Heart Encouragement and Welcome Heart

The Cost of Steadfast Convictions

When I read the prompt for Five Minute Friday today, I immediately thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote the book, The Cost of Discipleship. His life portrayed the cost of his convictions.

I have read Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas and more recently My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt. Both books describe Bonhoeffer’s steadfast adherence to the truth of the Bible as Hitler ascended to power in Germany. He had the opportunity to remain in the United States as WWII was about to begin, but he chose to return to Germany, hoping to have an influence for good.

It is hard to be steadfast in convictions when you are going against the current. When I saw the number of interventions in childbirth continuing to grow, I chose to take a position with a home birth group with a drop in wages. I was able to see the normal progression of labor with the support of doula, nurse and physician. We were careful to observe for problems, transferring 10% of patients to the hospital. I learned important lessons.

When I returned to the hospital, my goal was to be an advocate for women who desired fewer interventions. Labor is a natural physiologic process that can be negatively affected by interventions. As it turned out,I didn’t always get along with the doctors. It is a lifelong challenge for me to learn to speak up with grace.

My heart goes out to the nurses and doctors who have concerns about the vaccine schedule for children. They believe that too many vaccines are being given at one time, not all of them are necessary for all children, some vaccines could be delayed. But mandates are being passed in a number of states. Doctors, nurses and parents don’t have a choice.

Yet some are steadfastly speaking up, going against the current—and being penalized financially.

As a Christian I need God’s word as a guide for my convictions. I need to read it, study it, and make it my way of life. And I need to continue to grow in my ability to speak truth with grace. 

Being steadfast is not always financially rewarding, but it is spiritually rewarding.

I just finished a study of the book of Joshua. Here is the encouragement that threads all the way through this book.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: COST

At the Mall: The VIE Event

What happened in Washington D.C. last week? The constant drumbeat for impeachment continues and headlines the news. There are many topics, news relevant to parents and families to report. Congress has many issues that should be addressed for the people.

On November 14th an event took place on the Washington D.C. Mall. It was cold, but hundreds of parents came. They came with concern for the injuries and disabilities caused by vaccines.

It is true that the child mortality rate in the U.S. is increasing. Chronic disease in children is increasing at an alarming rate: asthma, diabetes, allergies, neurologic diseases, autism.

Childhood cancer is also on the rise. Read this article.

A line-up of distinguished speakers was captured on video-tape by The High Wire. I meant to just check it out, but I couldn’t turn it off. It went on for four hours.

The speakers were riveting. Eventually my husband began watching also. A focus of discussion was on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Law of 1986.

The law gave pharmaceuticals complete immunity from any lawsuit brought because of injury to a child by a vaccine. It also set up a government court (VAERS) that would pay out funds to families whose child was disabled or died as a result of the vaccine (if the parents were aware of this vaccine court, if they knew how to bring their case, if they had good documentation). To date the government has paid out more than four billion dollars. 

At the same time it had provisions that were suppose to insure that vaccines were held to higher safety standards. The bill tasked HHS with overseeing safety studies and developing a plan to identify children who are more susceptible to vaccine risk. Somehow the safety studies didn’t take place. We don’t know why some children are at greater risk of injury. Doctors are not trained to look for side effects or injury.

Between 12/1/2007 and 9/30/ 2009 Harvard Medical School did a study to see how well the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) works in identifying vaccine injury. A report of this study can be viewed here.

. . . fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of “problem” drugs and vaccines that endanger public health. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed. Barriers to reporting include a lack of clinician awareness, uncertainty about when and what to report, as well as the burdens of reporting: reporting is not part of clinicians’ usual workflow, takes time, and is duplicative.

Instead the number of vaccines has multiplied.

Childhood Vaccine Schedule

All of the speakers were good but I found these to be the most succinct:

At one hour and 10 minutes into the video a lawyer, Mary Holland, spoke. Dr. Bob Sears at one hour and 22 minutes. Dr. Andrew Wakefield at three hours and 12 minutes. Robert Kennedy jr. at three hours and 21 minutes.  

You can access the video of this event here.

Sharing this post with Inspire Me Monday and #Monday Musings

Celebrating America in Grade School

We settled in our seats to await the beginning of the evening program. We were in the elementary school multipurpose room. The fourth and fifth grade students marched in, led by their teachers, and found their place on the risers at the front of the room.

One of the benefits of being a grandparent is the invitation to special events. Our granddaughter was wearing a sparkling silver dress. All of the students were dressed up. Some years ago we would have said their Sunday best.

The students performed songs from a variety of musicals including The Music Man, The King and I, and Hamilton. The boys and girls had learned synchronized hand motions and executed them flawlessly. They were having a good time!

They also performed a tribute to George Cohan by singing Give My Regards to Broadway and my favorite song of the evening, You’re a Grand Old Flag

You’re a grand old flag

You’re a high-flying flag

And forever in peace may you wave

You’re the emblem of

The land I love

The home of the free and the brave

Ev’ry heart beats true

Under red, white and blue

Where there’s never a boast or brag

But should old acquaintance be forgot

Keep your eye on the grand old flag

I was glad to see children celebrating our heritage in song. Do you remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance at school?

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt for today is: SETTLE

At Last a Child Spoke Truth

Hans Christian Anderson wrote fairy tales that I read as a child. Recently one of those stories has come to mind.

In The Emperors New Clothes swindlers approach a self-indulgent King with a proposal. They have devised a very clever lie with their plot. They tell the King that the magical clothes they produce will only be visible to wise and educated people. People who are fools will not be able to see the clothes. The King is intrigued and agrees to their proposal.

The swindlers go about weaving imaginary cloth and sewing the “cloth” into a suit of clothes.

When court officials are asked to view the progress of the swindlers they are afraid to say that they don’t see anything—because they would be admitting that they are fools. 

Eventually the King parades his new clothes in a procession. The people of the kingdom stare, but are afraid to say that they don’t see the magical clothes. They don’t want to appear as fools.

At last a little boy says, “But he has got nothing on.”

The Emperor’s New Clothes was published in 1837, but it has relevance today.

If a lie is told frequently enough people begin to believe it. Can we distinguish the lies in our culture?  

Abortion has been justified with the the idea that a fetus is just a clump of tissue. 

Biological sex is being dismissed and replaced with gender ideology. 

The CDC in concert with pharmaceuticals lists 72 vaccine doses that children must have by age 18 to be healthy.

What is actually happening to the health of children?

More than 60 million babies have been aborted in the U.S.

The teen suicide rate is rising, and the child mortality rate is rising in the U.S.

We need to pray for our country, for families and for the health of children growing up today.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25: 4-5 ESV

This post is shared with Tuesdays with a Twist, Encouraging Hearts & Home, Crystal’s Heart Encouragement and the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: LAST (In full disclosure, the prompt stimulated my thoughts, but this post took quite a bit longer than 5 minutes.)