When It Is Time to Speak UP

When should we get involved in the political discussions in our country? Should moms and grandmas be activists? The book of Peter offers instruction:

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of fools who think you are a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. 1 Peter 2: 13-17 MSG

For a number of years I have participated in the March for Life to express my support for all human life. It has been a positive experience; I have met people that share my concern. Another way that we peacefully express concerns is through letters, e-mails and phone calls to our legislators. 

Three years ago I participated in a seminar with the group, Women Speak for Themselves. A young woman who had worked on staff for a congressman told us that letters and e-mails matter. They have an impact.

When we have a concern it is important to become educated on the topic. After doing our homework we can clearly state our position with facts to back it up. Today there is a hearing scheduled on the measles outbreak and the status of vaccines. The commissioner of the FDA has suggested having the federal government mandate vaccines, doing away with exemptions.

A young woman has openly shared a letter that she wrote. Here is a portion:

I am writing to you out of concern for threats to our medical freedom and our ability to choose what goes into our bodies and the bodies of our children. Are you aware that since January 1, 2019, over $72,657,067 has been spent on vaccine injury/death? You can confirm this with the Government Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Just like any medical procedure, vaccines offer both significant risk and reward. Deciding on a procedure while weighing the risk versus reward is a matter of personal opinion based on each individual’s own health situation, personal values, and fears. We must protect that choice instead of falsely portraying vaccine efficacy and value as one-sided with only rewards and without significant risk.

As a country we face complicated issues. As women we can participate in the discussion, respectfully. Our experiences and perspectives are important.


This post is part of #Write28Days. Click here to see all the posts in the series.

Mothers, Girls and Flowers

As a nurse and mom I follow news about life and health. I am encouraged because New Jersey has a new campaign, Nurture NJ, to improve the health of mothers and their infants. One of the goals is to reduce unnecessary cesarean sections by employing midwives to attend women throughout their labor.

Another move to support life occurred in Ohio. Ohio recently passed a bill to prohibit abortion based on a diagnosis of possible down syndrome in an unborn baby. It was good to see adults with down syndrome testify before legislators.

I enjoy books that point to the value of all life. Hazel Gaynor has written a novel, A Memory of Violets, about the flower girls that worked on the streets of London.

Violets

The book is based on the true story of a philanthropist, John Groom. Mr. Groom organized an orphanage for crippled and disabled girls during the late 1800s. The ragged and destitute girls had been supporting themselves by selling flowers.

Mr. Groom instituted an artificial flower business. The girls employed by Mr. Groom were trained to make artificial flowers. These young women, many of them disabled, produced the flowers for Queen Alexandra’s Rose Day. This is the background of the novel.

We hear about human trafficking in the news. Girls and young women are trapped in a sex trade. It is an evil business. This novel, in contrast, is a story of goodness.

It was refreshing to read about the efforts to build up the skills and independence of impoverished young women. The story has interesting twists and turns. The characters, Tilly, Florrie and Rosie, are nicely drawn.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see all the posts in this series, click here.

It’s Okay to be Different

Currently I am studying the book of Deuteronomy. The nation of Israel was about to enter the promised land and Moses was giving instructions to the people.

In the book, the word— fear— appears 29 times. Israel is instructed to fear (revere) God and NOT to fear man.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Fear has the ability to paralyze or control a person. We might be afraid to speak up and go against the politically correct view. Politically correct views are determined by men. Instead we should follow the standards set by God.

It is good to become comfortable being different. When I was a child we didn’t always have a TV, and when we did, I didn’t watch programs very often. Sometimes I didn’t know what my classmates were talking about. I invested time in reading books.

My daughter had a funny experience being different. When my children were young they were on allergy diets. At the time it was unusual for a child to avoid wheat and sugar, even for the classroom parties. When a first grade boy brought cupcakes for the class on his birthday, he brought my daughter some raw carrots and cauliflower. He really liked her! She was impressed and amused.

Some of the choices we make may go against current trends. It is okay to stand for something that is not popular. Our relationship with God, our reverence for him is more important.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Vesper Service

This post is part of #Write28Days. To view more posts in this series click here.

Building a Home

It is day eight for #Write28Days.  I am joining the Five Minute Friday Community and will write with Kate’s prompt for today: BUILD.

One of the Songs of Ascents in the book of Psalms mentions building a house. The Hebrew word for house in the text is bayith. The definition, according to Strong’s concordance is: house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).

The Hebrew word for build is bânâh. The definition according to Strong’s Concordance is: to build, obtain children, repair, set.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. 

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127: 1-3 ESV

Family - Bouquet

Here are these same verses from the Message. 

If Yahweh doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. 

If Yahweh doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.

It is useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?

Don’t you see that children are Yahweh’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?

Children

Prayer: Lord God you are the Creator, our provider. Your love is amazing. You are merciful and have given us salvation through Jesus. We praise you and kneel before you. You give the gift of new life. We ask that you guide us and build our home.

Women in White

On Tuesday evening a large group of women in congress were dressed in white for the State of the Union address. They functioned as a group; they sat stoically quiet or they looked to each other for cues for when they would clap. They all stood and chanted “USA” when the President noted that congress now had the largest number of women ever.

Certainly we can glad about the participation of women in congress. My prayer is that they will examine the issues carefully. Their job is to participate in legislation that benefits the health and safety of the men, women, children and infants in this country. 

As I watched the cheering women in white I wondered where the role of motherhood stands in America.

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

The role of a mother is sacrificial and often looked down on in our culture. Yet a mother can have a tremendous influence on the future by nurturing the family.

In the years that I have been blogging I have met many women that are focused on the health and well-being of the family. 

Jacqueline is an American nurse and mother. Her website, Deep Roots at Home focuses on  homemaking, parenting  and healthy living.

Tehila lives in New Zealand and writes about faith and family life at Women Abiding.

Leslie Leyland Fields is a mother of six and lives in Alaska. She is a writes books and essays in addition to her blog. Many times her words touch on family life. Click here to visit her blog

Anna lives in Israel and has a young family. She writes books and blogs about family life on their homestead. She blogs at Domestic Felicity.

I am thankful for women who are sharing the wisdom they have gained through motherhood.

This post is part of #Write28Days. For a list of posts in this series click here.

Wanting to Control: Learning to Release

It feels good when we think we are in control. As a mother I  pursued the health of my children vigorously. I had been trained as a nurse at the University of Michigan. I believed in the medical profession and my ability to protect the health of my children.

The mental illness of my brother and the impact that it had my parents, my siblings and me, infused me with fear. As a mother I was devoted to maintaining the physical and mental health of my children.   

Women and Families

At first I put my trust in the medical field, going to the pediatrician with every concern.The pediatricians and gastroenterologist that we consulted did not resolve the repetitive ear infections and gastrointestinal disturbances of my twins, despite the antibiotics and medication to relax the gut.

So I pursued answers and treatment with a doctor practicing alternative medicine. With allergy testing we made changes in our diet and the health of my children improved.

Soon I was putting all of my energy into allergy diets and nutrition. I was was gradually depending on my own abilities for the health of our family. I wanted to be in control.

When one of the twins developed leukemia I continued to pursue nutrition and supplements to support him through chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. My husband and I studied research. We prayed, and I was sure that Steven would be healed. We saw God’s love for Steven and our family, but Steven wasn’t healed.

Although we have tools for health we are not in complete control. Medical science is not perfect and does not have all the answers. God was teaching me to trust him. Could I let go of my fears? 

I have learned lessons (and I am still learning). God does not want me to be motivated by fear.

Nutrition and medical interventions are tools. It is important to learn about an illness that we encounter and possible treatments. It is important to ask questions and prayerfully make decisions.

God will guide us as we seek him and pray for appropriate care. He will stay with us during times of suffering.

As a grandmother I see the importance of supporting the immune system with a healthy life style—nutrition, adequate rest, physical activity. God has designed the human body with an amazing immune system. It is good to pursue a balance of prayer, healthy lifestyle and medical intervention when necessary. 

Although I started out with fear and a desire to control our health, God has blessed my study of nutrition and support for the immune system. My daughters have learned and their children have been healthier as infants and young children than they were.

One of my daughters is now a pediatric nurse practitioner helping families reach a better level of health.

This post is part of #Write28Days. You can find links to all the posts in the series on my landing page.

Should We Fear the Measles?

News reports about the measles are appearing in several states including Michigan and New York. The tone of the reports is fearful. It urges everyone to be sure they have been vaccinated . . . unless they were born before 1957.

Everyone born before 1957 is assumed to have natural immunity. I had the measles as a kid, and so did my siblings. We had a fever and a rash. We stayed home from school for a week.

Research indicates that a healthy diet and vitamin A supplementation is beneficial in recovering from this childhood illness. The immune system is put to work, is exercised, and that is beneficial to health. The result is natural immunity.

The development of a vaccine for measles has been considered a great step forward in health care. It might be time to review the science and the long term results from a vaccine that was introduced in the 1960s.

An article in BMJ, a British medical journal, discusses the effects of the measles vaccination program on a population.

There is a fact rarely considered by public health officials: vaccination is not an intervention that eliminates disease exposure for individuals. Vaccination replaces wild exposure with artificial exposure, and they are not equal. We are many decades into mass vaccination campaigns, and it is alarming that instead of the medical and scientific community stepping back to examine the overall impact on public and individual health to see if current strategies should be reevaluated, the focus is on those who question or refuse vaccination.

Science must always be open to questions and re-evaluation.

Dr. Semmelweis argued that hand washing was important for doctors tending to women in childbirth, but it was decades before the truth of his claim was realized.

Women were given thalidomide during pregnancy to treat symptoms and later it was realized that thalidomide caused birth defects.

Hormone replacement therapy was common for women in menopause until a national study showed an increased risk for heart disease and cancer.

Currently the media is bashing people that have concerns about the vaccination schedule. The topic has become so hot that objective discussion seems impossible. For the sake of the children in this country we need to address the concerns and pay attention to independent research (free from conflict of interest).

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Always More to Learn

On Fridays I respond to a writing prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Over the past 24 hours I have mulled over the word given and am finally tapping the keys of my computer. The prompt is: COMPLETE

We spent a week at my daughter’s home—taking care of the grandkids, the dog, the cat & kittens, the fish and the butterflies. We had a good time, although we felt our age.

My daughter and her husband were at a medical conference while we were caring for their household. I thought about what she told me about the conference. She told me that the conference sessions affirmed the choices I had made as a mom when she was a toddler.

When she was 15 months old her health deteriorated after multiple courses of antibiotics and the vaccines given on schedule. I wrote about the stomach pain and the way her speech and behavior regressed after the MMR on this page of my blog.

At the time the pediatrician advised more medications. The gastroenterologist said that I was an over involved mother. He wanted me to admit this child to the hospital, leave her in his care for a week. This doctor told me I should stay home with my other children.

My husband and I took her to a different gastroenterologist who performed an intestinal biopsy while we stayed at the hospital. He said there were red patches on the lining of the intestine but he found nothing that he could diagnose.

During this time I was praying for God’s guidance.

I continued to journal all the meals and snacks that I offered. I wrote down the timing of the episodes of gas and abdominal pain and adjusted her diet.   Through a friend in the  Mothers  of  Twins  Club  I found  an  allergy/alternative medicine doctor. He guided us in treating the food intolerances and choosing supplements that would help.

I am thankful for the answers to prayer.

Now my daughter, as an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, is grateful for the path we took.

As a nurse I am aware of changes in practice that have occurred because someone challenged accepted practice. It took many years for the importance of hand washing promoted by Dr. Semmelweis to be accepted. He observed that doctors were going from patient to patient and sometimes from an autopsy without washing their hands. He said that the failure to wash hands was causing childbirth fever. Despite the papers that he wrote, the lectures that he gave, he was ignored by many in the medical profession.

When I started working in labor and delivery making a cut in the pelvic floor—an episiotomy—during delivery was routine. Midwives have shown the benefit of delivering without an episiotomy. Routine episiotomy is no longer the rule.

Antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s. They successfully treated infections and before long they were being over prescribed. It took many years for the medical profession to see the effects of the over use of antibiotics.

Science is never complete. There is always more to learn.

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When the Church Responds to Foster Care Needs

On most Fridays I join the challenge to write for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Visit this inspiring community by clicking here. Today’s prompt is: PROVIDE

My children are grown and married. Currently we are taking care of my daughter’s children while she and her husband attend a seminar and celebrate their anniversary. As grandparents we are being introduced to foster care—we have two foster grandchildren. My eyes are being opened to the circumstances that many children face.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, 437,465 children in our country were in the foster care system in 2016. The most common reason a child is placed in foster care is neglect (61%). The second most common reason is drug abuse (34%).

I was talking with my son-in-law and he said that poverty is a factor. He has participated in a poverty simulation course and was awakened to the stress that poverty places on a family.

Some children bounce back and forth between foster care and their biological family. It is heart breaking. But I have been encouraged to see the way the church in this community has stepped up.

Last Sunday we attended church with our daughter’s family. A dedication service took place for a young couple and their foster daughter. The children’s pastor invited people that wanted to  support  this  young   couple to come to the front of the church.

About thirty people, from teenage to elderly, walked to the front. They encircled the couple. The young mother had grown up in the foster care system and had been befriended by a family in this church.

My daughter’s family is part of a community of believers who are taking in foster children, providing support to families (children’s clothing, furniture as needed, meals as their family grows suddenly).

The community provides material and emotional support. The love and compassion for children is palpable.

It has blessed my heart to see this faith community engaging in the needs of children. I am so grateful that my daughter’s family has this support system.