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.

Imperfect Families

The Bible has stories about families. Our pastor reminded us that some of the stories show the dysfunction in families (Genesis 27 and 28).

In the account of Esau and Jacob, the lies that were told when Jacob received the blessing of his father Isaac demonstrated the divide between family members. Jacob deceived his father at the encouragement and planning of his mother. He had to flee from Esau.

Yet God met Jacob along the way to Paddan Aram. Jacob recognized God’s message that came to him in a dream, and he made a vow, seeking to follow God.

Bible

God is merciful to us when we pay attention to his call on our life and seek him.

As a young adult I had arguments with my parents and didn’t always treat them respectfully. We had dysfunction in our family. When my older brother developed schizophrenia, we didn’t know how to respond his behavior.

I (oldest daughter and graduate nurse) was relied on to help my father. My mother withdrew, and I was burdened and distressed. Although everyone in the family desperately wanted to “fix” Glenn’s illness, we had lapses in kindness and communication.

My brother’s illness was a downward spiral. It is a long and complicated story–too much to address here. It crushed my parents, my siblings and me. During his long battle with schizophrenia my brother became bitter. Each of us, in our own way, wanted something or someone to blame.

I have come to realize my own imperfections and sins. I can now see the limitations and imperfections of my parents with forgiveness.

God doesn’t always heal illness. Later, with my son’s illness I learned that God walks with us through suffering. He can heal our emotional and spiritual wounds.

God has been faithful. He has forgiven my sins and given me guidance through his word, through prayer and through the church. God, through Jesus, desires to heal the wounds we receive in a fallen world. He is ready to meet us where we are.

I wrote a chapter in the book, Illness, Resilience and Spirituality. It is an anthology and my chapter is titled “Prayers through Illness and Loss”. It is a record of my prayers and God’s answers. I learned so much about God.

At every stage of my life I have looked for a church, for a family of faith. The church is composed of sinners that need grace, and sometimes the church falters. But we can’t give up. In addition to the Word of God and prayer, Christians need a community of believers to thrive. 

Jesus said (recorded in Matthew 18:20), “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.”

Write for 28 Days: I am accepting the challenge

Anita Ojeda is sponsoring a #Write28Days challenge for bloggers. For each day in February (except Sundays) I plan to write a post for my blog, focusing on women and families.

Women and Families

Women face many challenges, have many different roles. In this series I will look at family issues. This will include experiences that I have had as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I will point to women that have had a positive influence on me as a Christian and a nurse. God has gifted us to nurture the family. As women we can support and encourage each other. I hope you will pause with a cup of coffee or tea and visit. I welcome your comments!

Each day I will post a link to my blog post on this page. See below.

Friday 2/1: Mary and Elizabeth

Saturday 2/2: Imperfect Families

Monday 2/4: Pierced and Embraced – Book Review

Tuesday 2/5: Wanting to Control – Learning to Release

Wednesday 2/6: Simple Measures for Family Health

Thursday 2/7: Women in White

Friday 2/8: Building a Home

Saturday 2/9: First Aid for My Husband

Monday 2/11: Evidence Not Seen – Book review

Tuesday 2/12: Seasons of Life

Wednesday 2/13: Birth in a Hotel Room?

Thursday 2/14: Verses About Love

Friday 2/15: A Joyful Answer to Prayer

Saturday 2/16: A Remarkable Woman Doctor

Monday 2/18: The Scent of Water – Book Review

Tuesday 2/19: Two Are Better Than One

Wednesday 2/20: Traditions and Heritage

Thursday 2/21: When Health Care Becomes Perplexing

Friday 2/22: A Mother’s Role

Saturday 2/23: It’s Okay to Be Different

Monday 2/25: Mothers, Girls and Flowers

Tuesday 2/26: Celebration with Finnish Prune Tarts

Wednesday 2/27: When It Is Time to Speak Up

Thursday 2/28: Faithful Poet and Hymn Writer

An Ancient Call to Holy Living

In this new year our women’s precept group has begun to study the book of Deuteronomy. As the book begins Moses is reviewing the history of Israel’s release from slavery in Egypt and their years in the wilderness. Then he goes on to give them specific instructions.

In chapter six he gives God’s command for the families. Orthodox Jews recite these verses daily as a part of the Shema. Click here for explanation of the Shema.

These verses apply to us as Christians. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today  shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

My eyes cloud with tears as I think about our culture and the state of the Church in America. 

This is a reminder to me— a verse that I want to memorize. The Bible needs to be a consistent part of daily life. It is important to notice God’s hand in our lives.

We need to tell our stories of faith to our children and grandchildren, to the people in our circle of influence. Do you have a story to tell? 

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. To read more inspiring thoughts based on the prompt, INFLUENCE, click here.

Jesus and the Family

This advent season we have attended beautiful concerts. Our grandchildren participated in a Christmas program at their church. The fours & fives sang Away in a Manger. Older children read scripture and sang additional Christmas carols. Advent is a time to share the celebration of Christ’s birth with others. 

I have been writing Christmas cards and receiving messages from friends that date back to my high school and college days. Our friendship continues.

Christmas is a time that ties family and friends together. And yet, some of the deepest pain comes from loss and broken relationships during the holidays.

God sent Jesus to an imperfect human family. This is significant. Jesus lived a sinless life in a human family and then offered himself as payment for our sin. He offers us salvation and the opportunity to become a member of God’s family . . . forever!


Nativity

When we reflect on this truth we see God’s great love for us and find the joy of Christmas.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46: 10

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday community is: STILL

Experiencing the Goodness of Marriage

Thanksgiving is approaching and I have begun some early preparations. Our family has a favorite cornbread dressing, but it is a complicated and time-consuming recipe. I have made it ahead. While in the kitchen I have been thinking about many blessings in my life, especially one.

I am thankful for my husband. We have been married for 41 years and have experienced good times and difficult times. God has helped us through the hard times.

This past summer we became the interim caregivers for our five grandchildren ages 18 months to twelve years. Our oldest grandchild was suddenly in need of emergency care. Shortly after arriving at the hospital he was taken to the operating room for a bleeding brain aneurysm. Our daughter and son-in-law took turns at his bedside for the month that he was in the hospital.

By God’s grace our grandson received amazing medical care and is recovering. I was glad to have my husband by my side as we managed the daily needs in a busy household.

It was the same way when our son was fighting leukemia. We worked together.

As I thought about this I went and gave my husband a big hug. I told him, “I am thankful for you.” He was a bit surprised by the sudden affection but smiled with gladness.

Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for?

Today’s prompt for the Five Minute Friday writing community is: ONE

Crowds and the Confirmation Hearing

Senate confirmation hearings can be boring. Not the hearing for Judge Kavanaugh.

While protests where taking place at the Capitol, groups of Students for Life were holding rallies across the country.

I watched the confirmation hearing for an hour last week and witnessed the loud protests and interruptions that were taking place.

Discussion, questions and clarification of released documents took place. The Judge was questioned and he remained composed, answering questions clearly. At times his brow furrowed as he took notes. At other times he smiled and shared a light moment with a Senator.

Judge Kavanaugh had an interesting exchange with Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin thanked the Judge’s wife for attending the hearing. In turn the Judge thanked Senator Durbin for a book he had given. And then the Judge commented that his daughters would return in the afternoon to see democracy in action.

And here a little back-story is enlightening. On the first day of the confirmation hearing the Judge’s wife and daughters were present. When the hearing chamber became raucous, with chants and shouts, the girls were escorted out. The girls are 13 years old and 10 years old.

Many would wonder why a parent would bring his daughters into such a contentious hearing. And the Judge was having them come back. After observing Judge Kavanaugh’s demeanor and ability to answer hostile questions, I can imagine that he will guide his daughters.

Hard things are happening in the world. As parents and grandparents we have an opportunity to teach children and teens how to handle themselves in the face of adversity. It was the one take away that I had from watching the confirmation hearing.

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: CROWD  Visit the link-up here.

Flying to Finland to visit my Grandmother’s birthplace

In July of last year my husband and I flew to Finland to visit my grandmother’s birthplace and to attend a family reunion. We had a nonstop flight on Finnair from Chicago to Helsinki Finland. Relatives met us at the airport.

My grandmother’s travel to the United States was much more arduous. She traveled by boat from Oulu, Finland to the port city Hanko. From Hanko she took another boat to Hull, England, then a train from Hull to Liverpool. As far as I know she traveled alone in 1903.

In Liverpool she boarded the Ultonia (a former livestock carrier). She traveled third class in steerage. She had a bunk, along with many other immigrants, in the hold of the ship. This crowded space had inadequate sanitation, and many of the passengers were seasick. I can’t imagine what she endured.

She arrived in Boston and was directed to a train  that  took  her  to  Chicago.    From Chicago she took a train to  the  Upper  Peninsula  of  Michigan where she was met by two of her brothers.

My grandmother had told family members that she planned to go back to Finland to visit one day. But after completing her journey to Michigan, she decided that she could never make such a difficult journey again. Instead she asked her daughters to promise that they would one day visit Finland.

Vuostimo Finland
House that neighbored my grandmother’s girlhood home (now gone).

My mother, my aunt and my sisters have all made the trip. We are blessed by the ease of air travel.

Linking with the Five Minute Friday Community. Today’s prompt is: FLY