Thankful for Good Books During a Hospital Stay

There is a kind of comradery on the hospital elevator. I recognize the tension on the faces of men and women. We make a little conversation about the weather. Then we smile and wish each other a good day as we exit the elevator.

For almost two weeks I have made the daily trip to sit at the bedside of my brother. My role is simple. I answer questions and advocate for him. My brother doesn’t talk much, so I have had lots of time to read.

The Best of A. W. Tozer, a collection of excerpts from his books, is inspiring. The book was compiled by Warren Wiersbe. The first chapter, Following Hard After God, is from The Pursuit of God. I have been reading a chapter each day.

A dear friend loaned me some books by Sandra Dallas.   I thoroughly   enjoyed Prayers for Sale.   It is a novel about two women—one in her   eighties and the other in her late teens. The story is set in a mining town in Colorado, in the 1930s. The importance of women’s friendship is the underlying theme. Forgiveness and redemption are also a part of the story.

I borrowed Night by Elie Wiesel from my sister.  The book is the true    story of Elie’s survival in a Nazi concentration camp. His father died in the camp a few months before liberation took place. It is a heart wrenching story, but so instructive.

In his book Wiesel documents the warning that was given to his town by a man that had escaped from the death camps. No one believed the man. They couldn’t fathom it. They discarded the plea that he made for them to flee.

I wonder if there are warning signs today that are considered beyond belief. Independent researchers, some doctors and parents are raising the alarm over vaccine injury. The number of vaccines given to a young child has steadily increased with more being planned.

No one wants to believe that vaccines could have a negative impact on health. Yet, the pharmaceuticals have no liability for vaccine injury. The National Vaccine Information Center is a good resource for parents that want to be well informed.

My sister has some books by Dorothy Sayers. I love a good mystery so in the evenings I read Strong Poison. The main character, Lord Peter Wimsey, is quite taken by a young author, Harriet Vane. She is accused of murder, and Lord Peter is determined to prove her innocence.

Do you have a favorite mystery writer? I’d love to read your comment.

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Raquela: Book Review

Flag of Israel

Raquela Levy’s family had lived in Palestine for nine generations. Did you know that Palestine, referring to Israel, is a name derived from Philistine? Historically the Philistines were enemies of Israel. Raquela was a nurse midwife during the final years of British rule in Palestine.

Ruth Gruber spent nine months with Raquela, gathering information and insights into the life of this remarkable woman. The resulting biography is a story of the babies born to holocaust survivors—and the birth of the nation of Israel. Raquela was sent to refugee camps as a midwife to minister to women that were refused entry into Palestine.

The vivid detail describes life in Israel during the war years: Israel’s War of Independence (1948), Six-Day War (1967) and Arab-Israeli War (1973). The book describes events through the experiences of Raquela and her family.

I could picture Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus,  the scene of       Raquela’s developing romance with Dr. Brzezinski. The description of the delivery room at the Hadassah Hospital reminded me my first        experiences as a labor & delivery nurse.

I could feel the sadness when Mount Scopus was lost to the Arabs of     Jordan. The hospital was lost, and Israel had to build a new medical     center.

Perhaps the most moving was the description of the ships filled with Jewish immigrants fleeing Europe. They were refused entry to Palestine by the British. One of the refugee camps that Raquela served at was on the Island of Cyprus.

I have a much better understanding of Israel’s modern history from reading this book. The book engaged me—it was hard to put it down.

* Ruth Gruber, Raquela: A Woman of Israel, New York; Open Road Integrated Media. 1978.

Linking with Christian Blogger link-upSeasons, Literacy Musing Monday,  Booknificent Thursday and Thought Provoking Thursday

The Passionate Work of Lilias Trotter and Margaret Sanger

Recently I completed reading books about two women that demonstrated different kinds of passion. I have read the Autobiography of Margaret Sanger, followed by A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter. The lives of these two women had some similarities and some great contrasts.

Lilias Trotter & Margaret Sanger

Both women came from large families, though Lilias Trotter (1853–1928) had more nurture and resources as a child,  growing up in      England. Margaret Sanger was born in New York and lived her later years in Arizona (1879–1966). Each eventually became involved with social causes.

Lilias attended Christian conferences, taught a Bible Class at the Welbeck Street Institue (which offered a hostel for young women), and opened her own home to provide social hours for working women.

Margaret Sanger was one of eleven children and when her mother died at the age of 48 she had to take on many responsibilities. Eventually she left home, went through nurses’ training and did home visits for maternity care. She saw difficult situations that poor women faced.

As Lilia continued her outreach to young women she was also developing her skill as an artist. She was invited to spend time polishing her gift under the guidance of John Ruskin.

Margaret left nursing, married Bill Sanger, an architect and artist. The couple faced challenges—Margaret’s treatment for tuberculosis, the loss of a home to fire. They had three children. When they settled in an apartment they became involved with radical groups. Margaret writes  “Our living room became a gathering place where liberals,    anarchists, Socialists and I.W.W.’s could meet.”*

Lilias’ passion was to bring the message of the gospel to people by      living with them and loving them. Although she was a gifted artist, encouraged by John Ruskin to devote herself to art, she chose to establish a mission in Algiers.

Margaret’s passion was to relieve the suffering of poor women by making birth control available. She left her husband and young children to travel the world, researching the topic of overpopulation. As she pursued contraception she joined forces with people promoting eugenics.

The difference that I see in these two women is this. One was devoted to prayer and loving service; the other was out to solve human problems through her own intellect and effort.

As I consider the initial goal that Margaret Sanger had, I am saddened. Did she improve the status of poor women? Our culture has become dependent on contraceptives. Are marriages more stable? Are women better off?

Forty per cent of births in the U.S. are to single mothers. (See statistics from the CDC).

What was the impact of Lilias Trotter’s work? She  wrote about legacy in a book, Parables of the Cross. “The results need not end with our earthly days. Should Jesus tarry our works will follow us . . . God may use, by reason of the wonderful solidarity of His Church, the things that He has wrought in us, for the blessing of souls unknown to us.”**

Here is the link to an interesting article about the focus in Lilias’ life (written by the author of the biography).

*The Autobiography of Margaret Sanger,  Dover Publications, Inc. :     Mineola, New York. 1971. p. 70

**Miriam Huffman Rockness, A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter, Discovery House Publishers: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003. p. 325.

Linking with Literacy Musing Monday,  Grace & Truth, Friendship Friday and Booknificent Thursday

Review of Latest Mitford Book

Clouds over Farm

As we drove across the plains of northern Texas we were listening to a book on CDs. John McDough was bringing the characters in Come Rain or Come Shine to life. The book, written by Jan Karon, is the latest in the Mitford series.

I have read all the books in the Mitford series, but I don’t think it is necessary in order to enjoy this one. My husband followed the story with as much enjoyment  he can acknowledge in a fiction book. (He is an engineer! lol) Of course I have gotten to know the characters and know their histories.

As puffy white clouds rolled across the blue sky, my husband and I listened to the wedding plans of Lace Harper and Dooley Cavanaugh. We passed scenes of cattle grazing, and listened to the description of Meadowgate Farm. Dooley was setting up his veterinary practice there. We could envision the heifers that Dooley was purchasing.     Husband took note of the bull, Choo Choo.

Covenant of marriage

As wedding plans move forward the event is definitely a community project. Dooley and Lace have loving friends. I enjoyed the give and take, between people with varied backgrounds and  experiences. Each character is unique and brings color to the story.

Father Tim, a retired Episcopal priest,  has memorable words throughout. I was pleased to hear the term, covenant of marriage, in dialogue.

The perspective on marriage is thoughtful, holy and realistic.

The simple wedding turns out to have a variety of complications–like most weddings.  It is a celebration of marriage and family and a child. It is a great read—or if you are going to travel, a great story on CD.

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Linking with Cozy Reading SpotLiteracy Musing Monday, The Art of Homemaking,  Booknificent Thursday and Friendship Friday

Spiritual Mothering: Book Review

L of L

Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt was published in 1992. I have had it on my shelf for a while, but the time was right for me to read it now. I have enjoyed the examples of relationships provided in the book. The purpose of the book is to shine a light on relationships between women that lead to a growing faith and maturity.

Each chapter is preceded by a real life example of a relationship.  The lessons are  developed from the example. Biblical women and scripture verses are included. The beautiful relationship between Mary and Elizabeth is referred to in several chapters.

The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

The  chapter on  forgiveness  highlights  Abigail, the wife of Nabal. Her story is told in the 25th chapter of 1 Samuel.    From Susan Hunt’s  perspective, Abigail had an attitude of forgiveness toward her rude husband who was prone to drunkenness. She was free to focus on the dramatic events when David, the future king of Israel, was requesting food for his men.

I had never thought of Abigail in that way. It is true that a forgiving heart has freedom. An attitude of unforgiveness/bitterness is a burden that impacts relationships negatively.

The  book  points  out  the value of women’s  relationships  and the   potential for mentoring. In our culture we have much busyness and competition between women. The loving encouragement in a friendship, modeled by Mary and Elizabeth, is a gift. This is a season of life when I am thinking more about the way I relate to younger women.

As  the  book concluded I thought about the pattern  of  a one-on-one  relationship—the intensity of this manner of mentoring. A few years ago I participated  in  a discipleship group with two other women.    Although I led the group, we were learning and growing together. We shared our lives and challenges with transparency. We prayed for each other. We all benefited.

I am blessed to have two daughters and one daughter-in-law. It was wonderful to spend four days, all together, during the holidays. We have good relationships and will continue to learn from each other.

This book makes the point that a woman does not need  to  have  a   biological daughter to have a mentoring relationship; she doesn’t need to be a certain age. A godly woman can bless a younger woman by taking an interest in her and making herself available. The book is organized for group study, with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I recommend it!

Linking with Make My Saturday SweetLiteracy Musing Monday,  Essential FridaysGrace & Truth,  Faith Filled Friday, Friendship Friday,  Booknificent Thursday and Thought Provoking Thursday