Celebrating Springtime

Green is the color of spring time.

The snow is melting and snowdrops are raising their white petals to the sun. I am looking forward to tulips and daffodils. I give thanks for the seasons and all that God has created in nature.

In the soil, below the surface, plants are awakening. Some things happen outside of our view. It is the same in the spiritual world. God is at work in the world even when we don’t see it. The disciples were confused when Jesus was crucified and then amazed, filled with joy when Jesus appeared to them, having risen from the dead.

On this side of the cross, we celebrate Easter. What if we had been there with the disciples? What are the unseen workings of God now? 

This morning I read the account of Peter’s arrest during the week of Passover. James had been killed and the persecution of Jesus’ followers was increasing.

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out [releasing him to those who would kill him], on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold an angel of the Lord stood next to him . . . Acts 12: 5-7

The angel leads Peter out of the prison, but Peter is thinking that he is seeing a vision. He doesn’t realize what has happened until the angel leaves him along a street. Peter did not expect this miraculous work of God.

Neither did Rhoda or the believers that were praying for Peter. Rhoda was so surprised that she forgot to open the door for Peter when he knocked. She recognized his voice and ran to tell the others. No one believed her. When finally someone opened the door, all were amazed.

God is at work in the world. We don’t know specifically how God will answer our prayers. We do know that he has a plan that is constantly moving forward. 

We can celebrate with joy: springtime, Easter and the continuation of God’s plans for his people.

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

A Path of Peace and Joy

My husband and I are committed to reading through the Bible in one year. We have a schedule of texts that our pastor provided. We read out loud to each other, two selections in the morning and two selections in the evening.

Currently we are reading a chapter from Exodus and a chapter from Acts in the morning. In the evening we read passages from Psalms and Proverbs.

The Bible is consistent. It demonstrates God’s holiness, righteousness, justice and love. The people in the Bible have human failings. Their sins are recorded transparently.

Woven through the human story is a message of love and redemption. The Bible records God’s plan of redemption from promise to fulfillment.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

When we seek God and confess our sins, he hears us.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

God enables us to live a life of peace and joy.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Do you know the story of Queen Esther? Esther was courageous in taking steps to save her people from the plot of Haman. Mordecai motivated Esther to take action, and Esther asked her people to pray. The people prayed and called out to God. He heard their cry. Today God’s deliverance of the Jewish people in Persia is remembered. Today is the celebration of Purim.

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Todays prompt is: ENABLE I’m also linking up with Heart Encouragement.

Quercetin: A Flavonoid in Onions

Onions are a staple in my kitchen. If I am frying a portion of salmon. I like to have sauteed onions in the pan. Onions add flavor to almost every kind of meat. I place onions in the cavity of a chicken or a turkey before roasting. I have a nice recipe for a skillet cornbread with onions.

The Bible mentions onions also. The children of Israel recalled the food they had enjoyed in Egypt and missed as they traveled through the wilderness.

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic. Numbers 11:5

What is the nutritional value of an onion? According to my Nutrition Almanac cooked, mature onions are a source of minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium) and a little vitamin A and C.

They also contain a flavonoid, quercetin, that has been discussed in relation to covid-19.

Molly Knudsen, MS, RDN wrote an article titled, What Makes Onions So Healthy? It’s Quercetin. Click here to read about the health benefits of onions and quercetin.

I have read that quercetin assists the absorption of zinc into cells, assisting the immune system to fight off viral infections. 

An article on web MD lists six foods that contain quercetin. I was happy to see apples and blueberries on the list.

Although the practice of medicine offers many treatments for disease, I believe my role as wife and mother is to encourage diet and nutrition that supports the immune system. God has designed our body with an intricate immune system and has given us resources in fruits and vegetables. 

My husband and I are in the age bracket more susceptible to covid-19. We are taking vitamin supplements in addition to having a healthy diet. 

A large percentage of people in the United States have an inadequate level of vitamin D. A few years ago, my doctor noticed that my vitamin D level was low (insufficiency) and prescribed a supplement. Since then, I have continued to take a vitamin D supplement. 

A blood level of 30 to 100 ng/mL is considered sufficient. Greater than 100 ng/mL is toxic. Over the past three years I have been able to bring my blood level up to 49 ng/mL and have noticed improved health of my mouth/gums. I have less bleeding gums and improved dental appointments.

Some studies have shown that people with a good blood level of vitamin D are more likely to recover from a covid-19 infection. 

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist , Hearth and Soul link party and Inside Me Monday with Anita .

We Need to Sing

Prayer and Bible study are ways to be observant of our faith. Singing hymns is another way.

On Christmas Eve we could not attend an indoor church service. Our family—our children and grandchildren—met in a church parking lot with others. We were standing outside, and it was freezing cold. We held candles and sang Christmas carols. 

The children will remember Christmas Eve in 2020.

This past Sunday we attended our church. We sang the hymn, To God Be the Glory. The hymn brought back memories of a Bible study group that I attended while in college at the home of an older couple. The song leader was very enthusiastic in expressing his faith. He sang this hymn with great joy. The memory has stayed with me.

Hymns are a part of my family heritage, and I am grateful. I remember the hymns that my Dad sang at home. I remember the words to hymns that we sang in church on Sunday mornings  The words that are sung help to instill faith and joy. We need to sing. The children need to hear us and to sing with us.

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

Any Truth in Fairy Tales?

Many fairy tales begin with once upon a time. It is interesting that these children’s stories can include suffering and waiting. 

Cinderella was treated harshly by her stepmother and stepsisters. When the fairy godmother makes a way for her to go to the Prince’s ball, she has to leave at midnight. And days, perhaps weeks, go by until the prince finds her.

Snow White flees from her stepmother and goes to live with the seven dwarfs, keeping house for them. When the witch gives her the poisoned apple she falls into a long sleep. The dwarves are convinced that she has died. Eventually the prince finds her and awakens her.

These stories tap into a truth about life in our broken world. 

Currently I am reading through the book of Genesis, taking in the account of Joseph and his brothers once more. Joseph went from favorite son, to slave, to wrongly accused. He spent two or more years in jail before he was brought before Pharaoh.

Suffering is part of the human condition. 

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  . . . Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5: 1. 3-5

We will meet difficult times in our life. I can testify that God hears our prayers. He has helped me. Sometimes we wait for the answer, and sometimes the answer is different than what we expected. God hears the prayers of his people.

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt for today is: ONCE I am also sharing this post with Heart Encouragement and Hearth and Soul.

Herbs in My Bay Window

During the summer I have a bounty of fresh herbs. Sage, chives, oregano, mint, lavender and lemon balm are perennials in my yard. Sometimes thyme survives the winter and it comes back for a second or third season. Each summer I plant dill and basil.

I am fortunate to have a southern facing bay window. Some herbs continue to thrive in pots on the window ledge. The Italian basil has flowered and produced seeds.

Italian Basil

In another post I wrote about the different types of basil with links to recipes.

Lavender is also flowering indoors.

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs.

In the featured picture at the top of this post, you can see that it has flowered in my window. When I make broth I add rosemary, thyme and parsley along with other ingredients. The broth is a healthy base for soups. In another post I provided directions for making broth–and for freezing or canning it. Find the post by clicking here .

This weekend I made a batch of broth. I canned some and used some to make a delicious pea soup.

Do you have a favorite herb? Or a favorite nutritious recipe for this winter?

I’m sharing this post with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday, The Hearth and Soul and Inspire Me Monday.

Sunrise and Refreshed Faith

The first chapter of Luke provides the only details about Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist. They are described as righteous and blameless. Elizabeth is barren.

The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the temple and astonishes him with the announcement that he will have a son. Because he is an old man, Zechariah doubts that this is possible. In response Gabriel tells Zechariah that he won’t be able to speak until the baby is born. Is this punishment? Or discipline?

In the quiet months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Zechariah had the opportunity to search the scriptures and gain an understanding of God’s plan. I like to think that God gave Zechariah an intermission to prepare for the birth and parenting of John.

Zechariah’s song demonstrates his new understanding and his faith.

“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 into the way of peace.” Luke 1: 76-79

Sometimes we may benefit from an intermission. When the world around us is confusing, we need time reading and meditating on God’s word. It is good to pause and be still, knowing that Jesus is our sunrise. 

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

Enneagram: Understanding Others

All around us there are designs and patterns that are pleasing to look at. I enjoy the vast array of flowers that bloom indoors and outdoors. Lately I have been reading about a different kind of design/pattern.

In the book, The Road Back to You, Ian Morgan Cron describes the enneagram as a map of the human personality. The enneagram describes nine different personality types. Each type sees the world in a slightly different way. The nine types are motivated in unique ways. 

My primary goal in reading a book about the enneagram was to get a tool to help with character development as I worked on my novel, but . . .

As I read each chapter, I was able to see myself and my husband with new understanding. There is value in spending time to see another way of interacting, another way of learning and communicating. 

Concurrently I am reading, Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall, participating in a group study. Chapter 4 in the book is titled, “Playing God”. Our group had a lively discussion about judging others. We compared and contrasted judgement and criticism. 

As I thought about the two books, I realized the importance of spending time communicating with people that are different. What is motivating the behavior that I don’t understand? I might be too quick to judge.

Have you read a book about the enneagram? What did you think?

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

Also linking up with Heart Encouragement .

A Divided Country: How Do We Fix it?

We can’t fix ourselves. We know that. The Bible explains our situation and our nature.

My husband and I are following a plan to read through the Bible in a year. We are reading about the faith and failures of people. The problem of sin.

God promises to send a Savior. The New Testament records the arrival of Jesus, the Son of God incarnate. Jesus explains God’s plan for our redemption. He offers himself as a sacrifice for sin. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Our nation cannot fix itself. George Washington once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

King Solomon prayed for his people and God replied. If My people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The book of Hebrews teaches that we must hear God’s words, believe Him and act according to his precepts. 

It is time to hear and obey. Pray for our country.

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

Also linking up with Heart Encouragement.

Beginning in Detroit

There is benefit in having fresh perspectives. I want to be a life-long learner, seeking truth.

Many years ago, I started my nursing career at a Detroit hospital. I worked in the labor/delivery unit, learning the medical aspects of childbearing.

When I was expecting my first baby, I was introduced to Lamaze classes. Eventually I became a Lamaze instructor. I gained an understanding of relaxation skills and ways to guide a woman through the stages of labor.

Years later, while working for a home birth practice, I saw limited medical interventions during childbirth. And I saw the tension between home birth attendants and hospital staff. Home births and hospital births, both have benefits and risks. I believe hospital-based obstetricians and home birth midwives could learn from each other and find synergy, if they were open to greater communication.

During our years of parenting my husband and I had different views and ideas. We needed to communicate and learn from each other.

Life lessons continue. When controversial issues arise, are we willing to listen to different viewpoints? My hope is that we can listen well and observe carefully without prejudice. Let’s be open to fresh perspectives. 

This week I have been participating in a writing challenge with Hope Writers. Each day I have been posting a picture with some thoughts on instagram. This is my take on today’s prompt: FRESH

I am sharing this post with Five Minute Friday .