Joy in the Garden

It is a challenge to grow plants from seed, but there is a reward. I am delighted by Heirloom Bells of Ireland. This is the first year I have successfully grown them.

As I walked around watering plants I noticed the first calendula bloom.

This heirloom tomato plant is growing tomatoes in a bunch.

What is growing in your garden?

Linking this post with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday and Marci’s Star Blog Hop

Smiles Behind the Mask

Our library is open again! Yesterday I picked out a stack of books and a few DVDs. When I went to the desk to check out, the librarian commented on my stack. “Ah.looks like you are catching up on reading.”

And I responded, “Actually I had a couple thicks books on my shelf that I planned to read someday. And someday arrived. But I am so glad that the library is open again.”

She chuckled and I could imagine the grin on her face. I had to imagine because we were both wearing masks.

In this age of mask wearing our smiles must come with the words we speak. We have opportunities to share cheerful thoughts with cashiers, waiters, waitresses and postal workers.

I am thankful that my neighbor and I can share smiles and gardening tips over the back fence. We don’t need to wear masks in our backyards. 

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

Amazing Microbiome

Linking this post with the Five Minute Friday writing group. Today’s prompt is: SMILE

The Joy and Puzzle of Gardening

One of the benefits of the pandemic has been more time for gardening. More time to enjoy beautiful blooms, more time to think about soil, fertilizer and watering.

This year the peonies were especially lovely.

Japanese Peony

I did try to transplant one peony plant that wasn’t getting much sunlight. The plant wilted in protest and I have tried to save it. My hope is that it will come back next year. (Peonies don’t like to be moved—and maybe the springtime was the wrong time to try.)

In the past few years my squash and pumpkin plants have failed to produce because of the squash vine borer. This year I chose a new location in the yard to plant squash and I may get some.

Zucchini Squash

I’m looking forward to nasturtiums blooming around the yard and in this basket.

Nasturtiums

I don’t have great success with tomatoes. I am trying to grow them in containers. Not sure if I am fertilizing them too much or too little. But they do have little tomatoes.

Tomatoes

I have concluded that I need to water them more frequently than if they were planted in the ground.

These garden issues are a pleasant puzzle and simpler than the problems that face our country.

Do you have a garden? What have you learned?

Sharing this post with Sue’s image-in-ing .

When and How to Compromise

What comes to mind when you hear the word compromise? With the division that we see in politics, compromise doesn’t seem possible. In fact the divisiveness is so bitter that I have to limit my intake of news.

I have been musing on this today. Certainly in marriage my husband and I have made compromises. Some are easy. We like different TV programs. So I will watch Oak Island with my husband and he’ll watch Father Brown with me (but not Call the Midwife).

Other decisions—like household projects—are more difficult. We have to spend more time in discussion, listening to each other. I will confess that sometimes I don’t listen carefully, sometimes my husband doesn’t listen or talk enough. We are both flawed human beings and need to forgive each other.

Good communication and mutual respect is essential for issues that require compromise. 

Currently I am reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas. It is a slow read because the theologians that supported Luther and those against him are described as well as theological views. But the chapter on Luther’s marriage is a great read—and I read some of it aloud to my husband. Martin was 42 years old and had been a monk. Katherine was 26 years old and had been a nun. Both found joy in marriage as God designed it.

One other take away from Martin Luther—as Christians we must never compromise the truth of God’s Word. We need to read the Bible and know what it says. God has given us a design for life in the Bible that is good.

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt is: COMPROMISE It took me much longer than five minutes to gather my thoughts on this word.

The Cherry Tree and Martin Luther: Life Lessons

My husband has offered to cut the cherry tree down. Several times.

I was thrilled when the tree offered a bountiful harvest of cherries, sweet with a little tartness.

Then came the year of brown rot and mold. We spent a week picking all the rotten fruit and cleaning up the mess. 

Another year a late snowfall came while the tree was in blossom. There were no cherries that year.

Over the past few years Japanese beetles have discovered the tree. They eat the leaves on the tree, weakening it. So I tried picking them off, dropping them in a bucket of soapy water, as some fell down my shirt. Last year I treated the tree with neem oil.

This year is a recovery year, but the robins honed in on the ripening fruit. I have to admire their zealous pursuit of the cherries. I hung a couple of garden shop owls in the tree and also shiny CDs.

The cherries were of such great worth to the robins that they played out a dramatic scene.  I can see the tree—it is just outside my kitchen window. 

The robins showed acrobatic moves, twisting their necks to reach a cheery hanging below a branch. They would fly in with a focus on a cherry, see an owl and flutter like a hummingbird. Then they would seize a cherry and speed away.

I picked a quart of cherries. The robins consumed the rest. I have been thinking about the focus and determination of the robins (and also my determined attempts to save the cherry tree lol). What are the things of great value, deserving my focus? //

During this time at home I have pulled some books off the shelf that had intimidated me by their length. Currently I am reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and changed the World by Eric Metaxas. 

Martin Luther was totally focused on understanding the Bible, learning the true meaning. He pursued faith in God with his whole heart. Luther demonstrated in his life the most worthwhile goal—an example for us to follow. The greatest treasure in our lives is a relationship with God through Jesus.

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

How to Have Hope

The Bible does not shrink from telling us the ugly side of human history. God’s word tells us the truth, and clearly states that God’s desire for us is good. We need to seek God and His ways in every aspect of our lives. 

“How you have helped him who has no power!
How you have saved the arm that has no strength!”
Job 26: 2

Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
Psalm 31:19

O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Psalm 104:24

During this time of unrest and turmoil we have the opportunity to spread the hope of God’s word.

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Isaiah 52:7

photo courtesy of unsplash

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

Lessons from History: Esther, Adams & Jefferson

My days are spent in the garden, in the kitchen and with a book. I begin with Bible study—currently the book of Esther. The drama of King Ahasuerus, Queen Esther, Mordecai and Haman is colorful, frightening and humorous. But I am most struck by the steadfast calm and faith that Mordecai shows. The effect of prayer and fasting. Esther’s courage and her plan for the appeal to the King. 

The other book that I am slowly making my way through is John Adams by David McCullough. It has 656 pages. Perhaps because of the stay at home orders, that have been in place for months, I am fascinated by John Adams’ travels. 

John Adams made several trips to Europe in an effort to get support from France during the Revolutionary War. His first trip was in February of 1778. The ship he was on encountered a fierce storm and the mast of the ship broke. The trip took six weeks.

On another trip the ship sprung a leak and all hands, even passengers, were required to help pump the water out. The ship reached a port in Spain. John Adams did not want to wait for the ship to be repaired and against advice went by mule from Spain to France.

Adams traveled throughout Europe. He did not have much success in his appeals to France, but did much better with Holland. Holland was the first country to recognize the United States.

The other aspect of the book that has caught my interest is the relationship of John Adams and  Thomas Jefferson. They worked together on the Declaration of Independence and enjoyed a great friendship when both were in France.

Later that friendship was eroded by politics. Jefferson was working at cross purposes to Adam’s policies while serving as Adams’ vice president. In 1800 Jefferson and Adams were pitted against each other in the presidential election. The author shows the human flaws of both men.

Nations led by flawed human beings will always have inner conflict. I am reminded of the importance to pray for our country. We always need to pray. At this time in our country we must seek God’s help as we listen to each other.

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

Confusion and Alarm About A Drug in Use for 60 Years: Hydroxychoroquine

With all the alarming talk about the President taking hydroxychloroquine, I decided to look into the side effects. If my husband or I was exposed to covid-19, would we consider taking it?

I did an internet search and the first site to pop up was drugs.com

When I looked at the list of side effects I was astonished. I had never seen such a long list for a medication. I counted 52 side effects. It was noted that the incidence of these side effects was unknown.

Because this medication has been around for a long time I decided to look in the 2003 Nurses Drug Guide that I have on my book shelf.

This reference listed 20 side effects that occur 1% of the time or more. It listed 2 rare side effects. Hydroxychloroquine was approved for use in the United States in 1955.

Hydroxychloroquine is given as a preventive medicine (prophylaxis) in places where malaria is common. It is also used to treat malaria. It works by inhibiting the replication of the parasite in the body. It is thought, that in the same way, this medication may inhibit the replication of the corona virus in the body. 

A second use for hydroxychloroquine is in the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. This treatment is longterm. This drug guide instructs: Learn about adverse effects and their symptoms when taking prolonged therapy.

As a nurse I realize that dosage, timing and duration of use of a medication are important considerations. If hydroxychoroquine is used as a preventive medication after exposure to cover-19 it is important to study dosage for a short term use.

Today (6/2/2020) an article in the Wall Street Journal echoes the questions and concerns that I have about the confusing messages regarding the use of this medication, which has been safely used for over 60 years. The article by Allysia Finley titled “The Lancet’s Politicized Science on Antimalarial Drugs” includes this observation.

In an open letter to the Lancet’s editors and the study’s authors, some 120 doctors, statisticians and epidemiologists write that the headlines about the study “have caused considerable concern to participants and patients enrolled in randomized controlled trials”evaluating the drugs. Thus many researchers have scrutinized the data, and the “scrutiny has raised both methodological and data integrity concerns.”

In light of the great number of vaccines given to children that have not gone through adequate safety studies and the known vaccine injuries, I find the exaggerated concern over hydroxychoroquine to be mind boggling.

Doctors need a good study that looks at dosage of hydroxychloroquine and the correct timing for prescribing it. Is it a good prophylactic?

Photo credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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