Morning Brings Hope

As a nurse I have worked through the night and welcomed the morning. Before my marriage I worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan (Holden Unit). I worked the night shift, 7 pm to 7 am. 

Around 5am we took turns walking along a corridor with windows overlooking the sunrise to get coffee and a roll from the cafeteria. The light streaming in the corridor gave us renewed energy to finish the shift.

In another season of life, I was a birth nurse. Over a four-year time period I attended 62 homebirths, and also five women in labor who were transferred to the hospital to give birth. My role was to assess the progress of labor, listen to the baby’s heart tones, keep the doctor informed and provide supportive care to the laboring mother.

Sometimes labor lasted through the night, but with the morning came a refreshed outlook, the time of birth approaching. The sunrise brought hope. 

In the gospel of Luke, Zechariah’s prophecy about John and the coming Savior mentions the hope of sunrise.

And, you, child will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79 ESV

Katholisches Gesanbuch wrote the words for When Morning Gilds the Skies. The hymn was translated into English in 1828 by Edward Caswall.

When morning gilds the skies, my heart awakening cries

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Alike at work and prayer to Jesus I repair

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on unsplash.com

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Still Believing in Difficult Times

During a difficult season of life our faith in God can be shaken. What has helped people in the past? We have examples in the Bible that point to communication/relationship with God and the experience of love and acceptance. We are blessed to have God’s word—the Bible.

Moses and Elijah led the people of Israel through very difficult situations. They spoke with God and listened for his guidance.

Moses received direction again and again from God as he led Israel out of slavery. Sometimes his nerves were frayed but he continued to seek God and obey.

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight’. Now therefore if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Exodus 33: 12-13, 17

Elijah was called to be a prophet but endured times of great hardship. 

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives , before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word. And the word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. 1 Kings 17: 1-5a

Ruth, the Moabite, chose to leave her country and travel with Naomi to Israel after her husband died. Neither Ruth nor Naomi had a living son or daughter. I believe that Ruth experienced loving acceptance from her mother-in-law. 

Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Ruth 1: 16

The Bible was a sustaining resource for my son, Steven. He learned many Bible verses, encouraged by the Awana program at church. During the final weeks of his life he was comforted by these verses.

And I heard a loud verse from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will 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.” Rev. 21:3-4

Relationship with Jesus and access to God in prayer. Experience of love–giving and receiving. The Bible. These are the tools we have for a difficult season.

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An Old Irish Hymn

The garden is a place where my mind is at rest. Sometimes when I am troubled the words of a hymn come to mind. A hymn that I sang as a child–the words imprinted in my memory.

It is good for the church to sing hymns. It is good for individuals and families. Children are able to learn deep truths that will stay with them. Truths that may come to mind in a season of difficulty. 

This morning we sang Be Thou My Vision, an old Irish hymn translated into English by Mary E. Byrne.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art.

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,

Thou my inheritance, now and always.

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

What a marvelous gift we have been given by God through Jesus, when we accept it.

Every Friday Kate posts a writing prompt for the Five Minute Friday writing community. This time it took a couple days (and a hymn) for inspiration to come. The current prompt is: TREASURE

A Rainy Afternoon at the Post Office

It is a complicated time in our country. I want to be gracious and patient, but . . .

In the middle of the afternoon on a rainy Wednesday, I went to the post office. I expected few people would be there and my errand would be quick, but there was a long line. Just one postal clerk at the counter.

The postal clerk and the man at the desk were in a discussion about the envelope he had chosen. She asked him to fill out a different one, while she looked over what he was doing and we waited. Ten minutes later the same detailed procedure took place with the next customer.

The manager came out from a back room and asked the next in line if he was just mailing packages. The man said, “yes.”

The manager said, “Come with me.” He led the man into the back room. The customer never reappeared. After a while, the manager led another customer away. He never reappeared. My imagination began to take over. Was there a back exit to the post office.? Maybe I read too many murder mysteries.

Meanwhile, the two men behind me began a discussion of supply chains, the southern border, inflation and gas prices. To be honest I chimed in at one point. Was it incompetence or by plan that we are heading toward a crisis? The two men held differing points of view.

I was relieved when it was my turn at the counter. 

There are many complicated issues in our country. I am concerned about the mandate for the covid vaccine—especially for health care workers. Consider this. If you were in the hospital which nurse would you prefer to have for your care?

  1. The vaccinated nurse who could be infected with mild symptoms and able to transmit the virus.
  2.  The unvaccinated nurse who has had covid and has robust immunity.
  3. The unvaccinated nurse who is being tested weekly for the virus.

We live in a time when critical thinking is important. We need to be in prayer, seeking God’s guidance and help. I surely need God’s help to be gracious and patient. I need His help in decisions.

Invitation to the Family of God

Today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is complete. My thoughts went to the first epistle of John. My Wednesday morning Bible study just reviewed the first chapter.  And we are writing these things that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:4

John, the beloved disciple, gave us the gospel of John and three epistles. He spent three years with Jesus, following him, listening to him teach and sharing meals. He was at the cross when Jesus was crucified. 

John gave the reason for his gospel. These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31

In 1 John 1 the disciple refers again to the time he spent with Jesus. 

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4 

Across the years John is reaching out to us, extending an invitation to community. He gives us guidelines. We need to believe in Jesus, confess our sins and walk in the light. We must live in truth. This is the way to fellowship with God the Father, Jesus and other believers, even those who have gone before us. In this way our joy is made complete.

Eventually John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will 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 21:3-4

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community.

Why I am Resisting, in Pursuit of Health

The leaves are changing color, flames of red and gold.

The fall roses are still blooming in northern Michigan. God has inscribed color and beauty on earth.

The design of the earth and its seasons, the design of all creatures, the design of the human body comes from God, our creator. We have an intricate immune system to confront infections and disease.

The Bible offers guidance to healthy living. Our daily diet, activity and rest can support the immune system and health. When infection and disease break through the body’s defenses, doctors and medical treatment can help heal. 

I am grateful for the tools that medicine has developed. Recently my husband underwent ablation to correct atrial fibrillation of his heart. This outpatient surgical procedure stopped the arrythmia. Modern medicine is able to assist healing in an amazing way.

We have come to depend on vaccines to prevent disease, but we are still learning about the methods used to produce them, the risks and benefits. The MMR vaccine, specifically the rubella portion, was the first to be developed following experimentation with aborted fetuses. Cooperation between medical researchers at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and in Finland (abortion was not yet legal in the U.S., but had been legalized in Finland) took place in the late 1960s early 1970s.

Timo Vesikari describes his experience with pregnant women scheduled for abortion in this article, “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond” published in Human Vaccine and Immunotherapies [June 2015; 11(06):1302-1305].

Next, in late 1966, I was incredibly lucky to meet Antti Vaheri (later Professor of Virology) who had just returned to Finland from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia with all the latest knowledge in rubella research. Rubella virus hemagglutination had been discovered and with hemagglutination inhibition (HI) test available I was soon running a diagnostic rubella laboratory which not only provided material for research but also created real income for the Department and our group. This set a precedent for my later professional life Grants are good but it is better if the research funding can be obtained from outside . . . Under the seniors I was to do much of work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that.

The article, Isolation of Attenuated Rubella-Vaccine from Human Products of Conception and Uterine Cervix, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1972. Seven doctors (including Timo Vesikari) participated in this study led by Dr. Antti Vaheri.

From the article: “Pregnancy was terminated in 30 cases by hysterotomy and in five cases by curettage . . . Most of the samples obtained by hysterotomy were delivered to the laboratory still surrounded by intact membranes.

It has been reported that just one line of cells from one aborted fetus was used for the vaccine. What is not reported– all the aborted fetuses used in the research leading up to vaccines. Universities who are receiving grants for medical research (tax dollars) continue to utilize baby parts for research. We are sacrificing human life on the altar of medical research.

So, there is the abortion business, but what about about tinkering with the immune system? Early development of covid-19 vaccines relied on research using fetal tissue. But this vaccine is not like any vaccine offered in the past. It does not carry a bit of the virus for the immune system to identify and attack. Instead, it programs the cells of the body to produce a spike protein. It interacts with the immune system in a new way (with unknown longterm effects). 

Doctors and scientists (Geert Vanden Bossche PhD, Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Zelenko) have spoken out against the use of the vaccine, claiming that we have no idea what the long-term effects will be. A recent article by Vanden Bossche, gives a different perspective on the way to treat the pandemic. 

I am concerned that the vaccine is being recommended to pregnant women. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article, indicating that the vaccine seemed to be safe even though the data listed was preliminary and incomplete. Later they posted a correction to the article. More data is needed.

The government and the media are so eager to get everyone vaccinated. We live in a climate of fear. And yet I know a number of people that have had covid and recovered. I am puzzled by the way early treatment is being blocked.

Pharmacies won’t fill prescriptions for ivermectin even though it is being used successfully in other countries for early treatment. Regeneron has shown success but the government is limiting access to it. Only lately has the benefit of vitamin D3 been recognized although a study was done in 2020. A more recent study confirming the benefit has been released.

Three years ago lab work showed that I had an insufficient level of vitamin D. In blood work it is called vitamin D, 25-OH. A sufficient level is 30 to 100 ng/ml. After taking daily vitamin D3 supplements for three years my level has improved to 49. The conclusion of the recent study suggests a level of 50 ng/ml completely reduces the risk of death. 

Another article, Twenty Steps to End the Madness, was published by the Brownstone Institute.

A doctor in Orange County, California gives an assessment of the vaccine and the variants emerging. Because of censorship his comments are recorded on bitCHUTE instead of YouTube.

I am deeply saddened by censorship and the division that is taking place between people who have chosen vaccination and those that are pursuing health by strengthening their immune system, planning early treatment if they should get sick.

Over the years, I have read reflections on WWII. I have read a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It has made me think about Germany. Bonhoeffer raised an alarm. How many listened to him? Were people afraid? Did they simply want normal life to continue? Was the evil too great for them to comprehend?

Additional resources that look at the vaccine industry: A former nurse writes about vaccines and Stanley Plotkin (lead researcher at the Wistar Institute). The High Wire provides current information about vaccines, promoting informed consent.

We are at a significant place in time. We need God’s help. 

Updated: The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not contain fetal cells but early research and design of the vaccines used a fetal cell line (HEK293T).

Additional resource, published in News Medical Life Sciences: Research suggests Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine reprograms innate immune responses

Family: A Blessed Purpose

Family is a gift from God. My husband and I have been blessed with four children—one with the Lord, and three that are adults with their own children. We have nine grandchildren and one more on the way.

As I spend time with the grandchildren, I see their individual strengths and weaknesses. I am reminded of the joy and exhaustion of parenting. Providing the guidance and discipline that prepares children to find faith and truth, to develop skills, to meet the challenges of our world, is work! A good and blessed work.

In the life work of family, we need God’s help. He invites us to come to him in prayer. God is refining us all. 

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: PURPOSE

Notable Women in the Bible

The last sentence in the book of Judges points to a time of disarray. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. There was no accountability.

At critical moments in Israel’s history, women’s faithful prayers and actions made an impact on the future. During the period of the judges, the story of a family was recorded. Ruth was a young woman of Moab, who married a man from Israel. After her husband and father-in-law died, she made a commitment to her mother-in-law. She promised: For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16b

Ruth kept her promise and was blessed to become the mother of Obed and the great-grandmother of King David. 

Following the book of Ruth, Hannah is introduced in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel. In sorrow over her barrenness, she made a vow. She asked God for a son and promised to give him to the Lord. After Samuel was born and weaned, she kept her promise and brought him to serve in the temple.

Hannah’s prayer of praise and thanksgiving is recorded. Here is a portion:

My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.

There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none beside you; there is no rock like our God.

Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; For the Lord is a God of knowledge and by him actions are weighed

The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. 1 Samuel 2: 1-4

I am inspired by Ruth and Hannah, also Esther, Elizabeth and Mary. There is blessing in being faithful.

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s word for today is: ACCOUNTABILITY

Herbs in a Nosegay

This summer I have had more time in the garden. The flowers and herbs are flourishing. I picked a nosegay including these herbs with their flowers: calendula, echinacea, feverfew, lavender, mint, lemon balm and marjoram.

Some years ago, when I was working as maternity nurse and Lamaze instructor, I came across a book that fueled my interest in herbs. Susun Weed wrote, Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Her introduction alludes to the history of herbal knowledge collected by women and midwives.

Wise women have used herbs—gathered, eaten, tended, loved herbs—and taught their daughters the wisdom of herbs in the childbearing years.

I became familiar with the benefit of nettle as a nourishing herb and found nettle tea in the health found store. I now have a stinging nettle plant in my garden–grown from seed– and add the leaves to soup stock.

Stinging Nettle

The libraries have books about herbs. I discovered calendula flowers, also known as poor man’s saffron. When the flowers are dried the petals become yellow and orange threads. they can be added to rice or muffins. I make a calendula tea with the dried flowers. I am fascinated by the variations in color in this lovely flower.

Calendula flower
Orange calendula flower
Calendula lemon color

Sometimes I add mint leaves to fresh ground coffee to brew a mint flavored coffee. The leaves of lemon balm can be used for tea. 

When I worked as a home birth nurse, I carried lavender oil to use for a soothing massage. You can read about it here. The scent of lavender has a calming effect. 

lavender

Herbs are nourishing and flavorful. Some are medicinal. Rosemary and thyme are favorites in my kitchen. I am still learning ways to include more herbs in recipes. 

There are many stressful things in our world. It is good to pause in the garden, give thanks for the abundance of God’s creation and pick a little bouquet.

This post is linked with Tuesdays with a Twist and almost Wordless Wednesday at image-in-ing.

Women Establishing Order in a War Zone

In 1917 eighteen Smith College graduates went to France to provide relief measures and establish order in war torn villages. Lauren Willig has written a novel based on the reports about this group. The author read a memoir by one of the members of the Smith College Relief Unit and letters written by the young women. It is an amazing story.

The book mentioned letters being censored and the difficulty in getting accurate information. The women often did not know what was going to happen next. Makes me think of the censoring of information today. Are we in a war?

From a writer’s point of view the story is well written. Conflict, dialogue and inner dialogue are well balanced and keep the story moving forward. It is a good read.

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