A Reward with Added Dimension

Her name was Naomi, but she said, “Call me Mara”. Mara means bitter. Her husband and her sons had died and left no heir. She was impoverished.

Ruth saw the great sorrow of her mother-in-law and chose to stay with her. She was willing to travel from Moab to Judea, to leave her own country and go to a foreign place. The two widows had to walk north along the east side of the dead sea until they could cross over to Judea on the west.

When they arrived in Bethlehem Ruth had to work hard to provide food for them to survive. Widows were allowed to glean grain that was left over after harvest, so she spent long hours gathering grain.

A man named Boaz noticed her and spoke to her. Ruth was surprised because she was a foreigner in Judea. 

But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and your mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2: 11-12 

Ruth eventually married Boaz and had both a home and a son. The blessing extended to Naomi, because she had a grandson. Ruth was rewarded, but did she know that she would be the great-grandmother of King David? Did she know that the Savior would come from her line of descendants?

We have the Bible now and we can see the promises that God has fulfilled, but we see in part. We don’t know all that God is doing. There is always more.

NOTE: I took the picture of the Dead Sea when I was in Israel in 2012. We were on the west side of the Dead Sea, looking east.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: REWARD. Join in the fun and inspiration. Click here to visit this community.

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Making Sense of the Vaccine Debate

The number of vaccines on the CDC list is continually growing. When I was a child I had just a few vaccines—polio and DTP. I had the measles, and so did my siblings. We now have lifetime immunity to the measles. When I breast fed my babies, they received protection from getting the measles as infants.

My children received approximately 18 doses of vaccines by age five. They received more doses of DTP and polio than I did. And they received the MMR vaccine.

A doctor visit often included a shot. We had a book that my daughter enjoyed. It was titled It’s Your Turn Doctor. The child in the story imagines what it would be like to give the doctor a physical exam. In the final page the child is chasing the doctor with a syringe.

The book was funny and we laughed. It made doctor visits easier. As the years passed I have become more concerned about the content of the syringe than the needle stick.

In 1982 I didn’t know that the MMR vaccine was developed from an aborted fetus. I was puzzled by the stomach pain, digestive disorder and pause in language development that I observed after this vaccine was given to my daughter.

The immunity offered by the MMR does not give lifetime immunity. Some cases of measles are caused by the vaccine and can infect others. A blood test can determine if a case of measles is the wild form or the vaccine type.

The CDC now recommends 35+ doses of vaccines for children by age five.  Each injection contains additional substances; aluminum, formaldehyde, DNA fragments, mercury. You can find the ingredients in each vaccine here.

Why so many doses of vaccines–which ones have more benefits than risks? What has happened to the immune system that God provided us with? We can support the immune system with good nutrition, adequate hydration (pure water), rest and enough sleep. Sufficient rest might be a problem is our hectic lifestyles. It is worth it to slow down.

Because sexual behavior has changed dramatically over the past five decades, a vaccine was developed for an infection that can only be passed by sexual intimacy, blood or body fluid contact. The vaccine for hepatitis B was developed in the 1980s and in 1991 it was added to the recommended vaccines.

It is curious that a decision was made to give this vaccine to all newborn infants—despite the fact that all women are screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy. As a general practice the vaccine is given when the baby is 24 hours old. We don’t know if there are any longterm consequences from giving this vaccine to a newborn. We don’t know how long this vaccine is effective. It may wane by the teenage years.

The HPV vaccine is also developed for a sexually transmitted virus. It is recommended for girls, 11 to 12 years old to prevent cervical cancer. The truth is young women can be monitored by a pap smear when they are sexually active and treated appropriately. The problem with the HPV vaccine is the severe side effects some girls experience. The HPV vaccine has the largest amount of aluminum as an adjuvant. 

It is interesting to note that other countries have omitted the MMR vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine from the recommended schedule. Japan does not give the MMR or the HPV vaccine. Instead Japan has an individual measles vaccine with less side effects. Japan, Finland and Denmark do not give the hepatitis B vaccine. In Sweden all vaccines are voluntary.

In 1992 New Zealand did a study comparing the health of vaccinated children against unvaccinated.

A study from the 1990s has come to light, proving that compared to unvaccinated children, vaccinated children were more likely to suffer from asthma, eczema, ear infections, hyperactivity and many other chronic conditions.

Another study was done in the United States and published in 2017.

The vaccinated children were also more likely to have increased healthcare utilization – to have had ear tubes placed; to have used antibiotics, to have used allergy and fever medications; to have visited a doctor for a health issue in the previous year, and to have been hospitalized.

In response to the current controversy over vaccines, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon has stated their strong opposition to mandatory vaccines in the U.S. I hope you will take the time to understand this issue.

We can sign a petition to ask the President to establish a Vaccine Safety Commission. Click here to see the petition.

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Celebration with Finnish Prune Tarts

There are special holiday treats in the Finnish tradition. One of them is the prune tart or joulutorttu (Christmas tart). My mother and my aunt made these at Christmas time.

Aunt Syl and Mom in 2010

My Aunt Syl made them for my wedding reception.

During the last summer vacation with my Dad (he was 89 years old) we enjoyed family projects. I wrote about that summer in Upper Michigan. The story was published in the Kippis Literary Journal. Here is an excerpt:

One day Mom and the kids made the special family recipe of prune tarts. It was fun for the family to bake together. My nephew caught onto the process of pressing butter into the dough, folding the dough and rolling it out. We had a passionate debate over how long to leave the tarts in the oven. When they came out of the oven we barely let them cool before tasting this special family treat. The group consensus was “the best tarts ever”.

I looked on-line and saw that there are a number of recipes for Finnish prune tarts. And then I found a blog that describes the process of making prune tarts the same way our family made them–with pictures and a recipe. The writer describes meeting the Finnish lady in Northern Michigan. It is a long story, but at the end there is a wonderful description of the joulutorttu.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see other 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.

A Mother’s Role

It is a blessing to participate in the Five Minute Friday writing community. We write on the prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Visit the site to meet other writers and to read their posts. Today’s prompt is: JUST

The dictionary offers these definitions for just: conforming to a standard of correctness, morally upright or good.

When I read the news about things taking place in our country or around the world I can be overwhelmed. What is my role?

As a mother and grandmother my first responsibility is to my family and church. As I spend time in prayer, I need to be sensitive to God’s guidance in interactions with the wider community. When we have a willingness to serve, God works through us to accomplish his purpose.

Micah 6:8

This post is part of #Write28Days.  


Traditions and Heritage

My mother picked strawberries and wild blueberries with her mother, and so did I. My Finnish heritage has given me a an appreciation for berries, wild and cultivated. 

Berries are abundant in Finland (37 types of edible wild berries) and an important addition to the diet. Enjoyment of berries is a family tradition.

According to a website about Finland: Nordic growing conditions are harsh yet productive. The berries and mushrooms that grow in Finnish forests are part of the traditional Finnish diet, and gathering them is a pastime for many families that has been passed down through generations. The fruits of the northern forests are coveted by gourmet chefs, and are increasingly exported.

When my children were little, thimbleberry jam had become popular in Upper Michigan. The wild thimbleberries grow along ditches and creek beds, sometimes not far from the rugged glory of Lake Superior.

When we visited Grandpa and Grandma in Upper Michigan, we joined them on excursions to find and pick the berries. We cleaned the berries as a family project. Grandma made jam and I learned how to make it too.

Bowl of Thimbleberries

Thimbleberry jam is lovely treat during winter. It brings back memories of the summer, hiking in Upper Michigan.

I have gradually added to the berries growing in my back yard, discovering which ones flourish. Blueberries and thimbleberries don’t do well. I have strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, elderberries and currants. The grandchildren delight in picking them, especially the raspberries and currants.

Raspberries
Currants
Elderberries

I pick and freeze the elderberries and in the fall I make elderberry juice.

Gooseberry
Gooseberries

Gooseberries are a nice addition to apple pie, adding a rich flavor.

This post is part of Write28Days. For a full list of posts click here.

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Seasons of Life

There are season of the year and seasons of life. 

Being transformed from a young professional to a mother . . .

The wonder of motherhood and being stretched in mind and body.

So quickly the days scurry by with play groups, preschool and                       kindergarten. The joy and fatigue of running with young children.

Like a hurricane unexpected and unwanted illness blows into our life. A year plus of chemo . . . then all attention focused on bone marrow                      transplant and hope is on a roller coaster.

I enter a season of grief.

Pregnant again and almost 40.

Moving forward with new life. I treasure another season of nurture.This time neighbor children playing at our home and once again volunteering at the local elementary school.

 Now an older parent. The boyfriends and girlfriends have come to our        home.Late night discussions about friends, books, viewpoints . . .

Weddings and son-in-laws . . . and then a daughter-in-law. We are so blessed with our expanding family.

Grandchildren!!!

Every season of life is better with faith in God.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see all of the posts for 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.

Simple Measures for Family Health: Herbs and Nutrients

Moms make many health decisions for their children. When someone in the family gets a cold there is a wide array of over the counter treatments to choose from. The pills and elixirs treat the symptoms but don’t help the immune system overcome the virus.

Over the years I have discovered foods, herbs and vitamins that support the immune system. These include: elderberries, ginger, garlic, bone broth, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc.

I have elderberry bushes in my back yard and I make elderberry juice to have on hand in the winter months. (If you don’t have access to fresh elderberries you can purchase dried elderberries from the Bulk Herb Store.) When colds are going around my husband and I have 2 tablespoons of elderberry juice with raw honey daily. (NOTE: Honey should not be given to a child under one year old.)

Most people are deficient in vitamin D, which helps in fighting infection. It is good to have a vitamin D supplement. 

Vitamin C  and zinc also help in fighting infection. 

If I cook an organic chicken or turkey I save all the bones and make a broth (adding vegetables and herbs while it simmers for 24 hours). The broth is a rich source of minerals that our bodies need. The broth can be canned or frozen.

When I develop a cold, ginger, lemon and garlic are helpful. Ginger tea helps to clear the sinuses. To make ginger tea: grate 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger and simmer in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add raw honey to sweeten.

Garlic helps fight viruses and bacteria. I make garlic toast. I cut up 1 or 2 cloves of garlic into fine pieces. I butter the toast and top with the garlic. If this doesn’t appeal the garlic can be added to a spoon of raw honey or applesauce. (This works with children.)

At the same time there are foods that we should limit or avoid when we are ill. Foods with refined flour and sugar reduce vitamin availability; the vitamins are used up metabolizing the refined flour and sugar. Avoid sugar rich sodas, cookies and candies.

When a cold produces a lot of congestion it is wise to avoid dairy products. Dairy products increase the amount of mucous and phlegm. 

Finally, our bodies need rest when we are ill. We live is a busy world. I know that when I was working I sometimes went back to work too soon. We are in a hurry to get better and keep up with our responsibilities. Our bodies need rest to recover. 

The quick fix is appealing, but taking time to give the immune system support is good for improving health and well being.

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.