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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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.

Book Review: Updated and Expanded LIES WOMEN BELIEVE

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free stimulated discussion among Christian women when it came out in 2001. I read the first edition many years ago. I looked through it again as I read the new and revised edition.

Lies Women Believe

I am so pleased with the new and revised edition. It has been updated and expanded. Running through both editions is this theme: When we believe lies about God, ourselves, sex, marriage, etc., we are in bondage. The truth of God’s word has the power to set us free.

The recently released edition displays a deep understanding of the complex issues that women face in the current culture. I have truly enjoyed reading it. I know I will go back to review the truths that are confirmed by Bible verses, listed at the end of each chapter.

A chapter on sexuality has been added to this new edition. Dannah Gresh participated in writing the chapter. She shares her personal story and perspective. Dannah provides examples of the way that women are wounded in sexual relationships, along with the forgiveness and healing that is offered through Jesus

In the chapter about marriage, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth discusses the difficult and often misunderstood concept of submission. What does it look like in a marriage?  God created Eve to be a helper suited to Adam. The Hebrew phase [ezer]  means  “a helper matching him”  or a  “helper  corresponding to him.” p. 169

Nancy gives examples from the lives of a variety of women, including her mother. She shares insights that she has garnered in her three years of marriage. She also addresses domestic abuse.

The chapter about children has been revised. Mary Kassian participated in the rewriting.   I am  glad  that a brief history  of  contraception is included. The birth control pill became popular in the  1960s  and  led to the  sexual revolution.

It would be hard to overstate the far-reaching, lasting effects of Margaret Sanger’s life and influence. Our culture has embraced wholesale the idea promoted  by  Sanger  and  Planned  Parenthood—that  controlling  our  fertility is a basic human right. p. 198

The reader is encouraged to know the way contraceptive methods work and to seek wisdom about marriage and family from the Bible. Couples should prayerfully seek God’s guidance when making decisions. I appreciated the inclusion of Holly Elliff’s experience as a mother.

Many aspects of motherhood are opportunities to grow in relationship with the Lord. Financial worries, parenting challenges and the mommy wars are addressed.

In the chapter about circumstances, Nancy explained that a friend had sent her a framed calligraphy with these words:

Coram Deo
Living all of life
In the presence of God
Under the authority of God
And to the glory of God. p. 270

In a world that is broken and full of deception we need to be pointed to the truth of God’s word. This book does that. It is useful for personal or group study.

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free

In full disclosure,  I received a copy of this book from  the  publisher  in  return for an honest review.

For more information click here.

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Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood is hard and self-sacrificing. As I look back I remember the fatigue, the laughter and tears, the hard questions and my shortcomings. The years have passed by quickly.

Now I am a grandmother and I realize that God was refining me. I was blessed by the Lord’s guidance, the prayers that were answered. I am thankful for the great joy that my family gives me.

Two recently released books bring attention to the role of mothers. Erica Komisar has written Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the author, who is a psychoanalyst, and reviewed her book. Ms. Komisar pursued research into the hormones released during birth and breastfeeding. She discussed the love hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produce in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk. 1 //

Oxytocin: Love Hormone

I am currently reading Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys. The author looks at the confusion in our culture over sexuality, marriage and gender. Ms. Roys goes back to scripture for direction. One chapter in the book is titled Marginalizing Motherhood. She writes:

Many moms today need to hear that motherhood is worth sacrificing some of their best years. Unfortunately, that’s not what they are hearing—not from society and not from the church.2

Women are struggling with the demands of mothering. But it is a God given role. A few pages later Ms. Roys continues:

God values motherhood because he values children and is critically concerned with transferring the faith from one generation to another.3

Children need mothers, and mothers need God’s help. They need encouragement from friends and family. One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”                  Luke 2: 39-45

Mary & Elizabeth
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Luke 2:56

If you are a young mom, be encouraged. God is faithful to answer prayers. If you are older, like me, you can encourage a young mom. As women of faith we can seek ways to come alongside women that have experienced miscarriage or infertility. There are joys and sorrows in motherhood; we can share them.

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: NEED Visit the Five Minute Friday Community here.

  1. Taranto, James, “The Politicization of Motherhood” The Wall Street Journal, October 28-29, 2017 A11
  2. Roys, Julie, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood, Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2017 p. 148
  3. Ibid. p. 155

High School Homecoming: Guidance for Our Daughters

This coming weekend is homecoming for a couple of local high schools. My grandson will be in the marching band for the homecoming parade and football game. It’s an exciting weekend for him.

I am remembering the years that my daughters participated in homecoming at their high school:  decorations for the dance, the flag team, powder puff football and the homecoming dance.

It was also a stretching experience for me as mom. When I was in high school I did not attend school dances and had limited participation in school activities. My family attended a fundamental Christian church that believed dancing was a sin.

My husband and I chose to guide our girls in school activities. Homecoming can be a memorable time in high school, learning about relationships. Some things I did well,  and some things I could have done better. Always learning.

The most important piece was communication, and more communication. I wanted to know about the plans and the boy escorting for the dance. My daughters weren’t always pleased all the questions and advice. But when I was driving my younger daughter to events she was stuck in the car. She couldn’t get away and had to listen to me.

Years later she has thanked me for the conversations and advice.

As homecoming approached we had to find dresses. We had some boundaries for price and modesty. It took lots of shopping to find suitable dresses.

My daughters always went to the dance with a group of couples. They took pictures together, had a meal together and then went to the dance. The group setting took pressure off the couple—they were just learning about dating.

Underlying all the advice, I hope I the message of loving concern love was clear. My husband and I set boundaries because we did not want them to be hurt. We let them know when we expected them home.

The final instruction that we gave them: if at anytime they were in an uncomfortable situation, they could call us. We would come to pick them up with no questions asked.

After my girls finished high school and went on to college I continued to learn about issues in our culture and the confusing messages about sexuality. (A parent never stops learning!) One daughter went to Marquette University and was introduced to the theology of the body—taught by Pope John Paul II. We discussed the theology of the body at home and the sacred bond between a man and a woman in marriage.

These discussions helped steer my daughter to a healthy marriage.

Through one of my daughter’s friends I became aware of a group that is pushing back against the policies that are harmful to women, Women Speak for Themselves. In 2016 I attended a conference in Washington D.C. I am convinced that Christian women need to have a voice about sexuality. We have a positive message as we share God’s design for men and women.

You can check out the website for Women Speak for Themselves here.

Healthy Thoughts About Parenting

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: FUTURE

When I look back over my years of parenting, I realize that I have made mistakes. I would do some things differently. But I have also done some things right.

I prayed for my children consistently.

We made dietary changes. The combination of vaccines and courses of antibiotics led to health problems. I removed all refined sugar from our diet for a period of time.   And then I removed wheat.   We  learned  to  appreciate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains.

I found ways to include garlic in my cooking and made garlic tea for colds. Garlic has antibacterial qualities.

When I think about the future, I have concerns about children and the number of medications they receive. If you have read my blog, you probably know that I am concerned about the number of vaccines recommended for children. I support informed consent for parents. //

The Bible says that we are wonderfully made.

Psalm 139

God has given us a body with an amazing immune system. We can support it with a healthy diet, regular hours of sleep, exercise and sunshine.

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Listening to the Children

It’s Five Minute Friday! I am joining Kate Motaung’s community where we gather to write like crazy for five minutes on the one word prompt. Today’s word is: sing

Our granddaughter’s school held a Spring Sing in their new gymnasium. People filled the seats, the bleachers and the space along the walls.

The Children

The children (first, second & third grade) sang with enthusiasm with motions that they performed in unison. The theme of the program was songs from countries around the world. The opening song was We Are the World. Here is the chorus:

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me.

The children are the future. We are blessed to be the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We have a sacred trust to guide, nurture and advocate for them.

We are imperfect but we can seek God’s help. We have the avenue of prayer.

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5 Questions About Vaccines

Over the past week I have been watching a documentary series, The Truth About Vaccines. Because one of my children had varying vaccine reactions—first to the MMR and then to the hep B—I continue to follow this issue. I am concerned about the health of the next generation.

One of the key issues is the inclusion of mercury and aluminum in vaccines. Mercury is used as a preservative for multi-dose vials of vaccine. Mercury is in the flu vaccine. Aluminum is an adjuvant. It is added to a vaccine to increase the body’s reaction to the virus in the vaccine. Both mercury and aluminum are neurotoxins, meaning they can cause nerve damage.

By watching the series I have developed a list of questions to pursue when making decisions about getting a vaccine.The flu vaccine is being recommended for pregnant women. Does the benefit of the vaccine (might be effective in preventing the flu) outweigh the risk of harm to the developing baby?    At this  point  no    research has been done on the safety of this vaccine during pregnancy.

Why does a newborn infant need the hepatitis B vaccine—commonly given the first day of life? Hepatitis B is transmitted by sexual contact or by needle sharing.

Have any studies been done to look at the effect of giving multiple vaccines in one dose? (The MMR is three vaccines: measles, mumps and rubella.) We usually do not fight three diseases at one time. It has been documented that when a child did get both the  measles  and  mumps  naturally, in close proximity, the child developed inflammatory bowel disease.

What is the cumulative amount of aluminum and mercury that a child is having injected into their system when they receive all 69 doses of vaccine recommended by the CDC?

Have doctors and pediatricians been trained to recognize signs of vaccine injury? Some studies are also associating tics with vaccines. A medical journal describes the relationship  of  pots (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) with the HPV vaccine. Read the article here.

The National Institute of Health has a report on the increasing number of boys that have developed tics–with association to mercury in vaccines. Read the article here.

Please take the time to educate yourself about vaccines, and be prepared to ask questions!

I’d love to read your comments.

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Making the Transition to Motherhood

It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: EMBRACE
Five minutes ends at this mark: //

Last week I was at the zoo with my daughter and granddaughter. At the gorilla house we saw two mama gorillas with their infants—one 7 months old and one 3 weeks old.

7 month old gorilla in his mother’s arms. See his head?

The mama gorillas were carrying their infants around as they swung from the ropes or as they sat. The 7 month old baby was allowed to be with one male gorilla but the other males were chased off. These female gorillas had embraced motherhood.

So I have been thinking about the human experience of transitioning to motherhood. In our fast paced culture we don’t give much support to the enormous changes that take place in a woman’s life when she makes the transition to motherhood. //

South Korea has begun establishing post partum care centers. An expectant mother can book a two-week stay at the center. Nurses will care for her infant and bring the babe to mom for feedings. Meals and special treatments like massage are provided for mom. You can read more about it here.

I am grateful that women from my church brought meals and even helped clean my house during the weeks after my twins were born. My mother and mother-in-law came for periods of time. New mothers need to be nurtured as they embrace motherhood.

How can we help the women in our circle of influence with the transition to motherhood?

  1. Bring a nutritious and hearty meal or bring a frozen meal that she can have on hand.
  2. Offer to help clean, do laundry
  3. Listen to her as she processes her experience of childbirth

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Moms for Vaccine Safety

At the beginning of the 19th century, in the city of Chicago, the health of young children  was in  perilous condition. The health of both women and children needed focused attention.

In 1916, for example, Chicago’s death rate for children under 2 years of age was 141.4 per 1,000 live births, as compared with 129.3 for Detroit, 88.3 for Philadelphia, 58.1 for New York and 49.4 for Boston.

“Enteritis under 2” remained as one of the top ten causes of death reported by the Illinois state Board of health each year from 1902 to 1913, and dramatic increases in childhood diarrheal diseases continued to be identified in the hot summer months.*

 Lack of proper sanitation and hygiene contributed to the illness. Malnutrition was another factor. The educated women in Chicago responded to this health crisis. Women from Hull House, the Chicago Women’s Club, women physicians and social workers became involved.

A broad coalition of public health practitioners, social welfare advocates, and women’s rights supporters argued that a sound and democratic future depended on mother’s ability to produce and maintain a robust citizenry.**

Since that time improved sanitation, indoor plumbing, purified water, pasteurization of milk and improved hygiene have made a difference. Public health classes on infant care and nutrition have benefited young mothers.

In addition, the discovery of antibiotics to treat infections has saved lives. These wonderful medicines were eventually overused. Doctors have learned that not every ear infection should be treated with antibiotics. When antibiotics are overprescribed they lose their effectiveness: bacteria become resistant and increasingly difficult to treat.

Is the same thing happening with the heavy use of vaccines?     Is  the  immune system—intricately designed by God—being impaired by too many vaccines?

VAXXED: A Powerful Message
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently 1 in 68 children has been diagnosed with the autism spectrum. Children have more allergies and are being diagnosed with immune system disorders. It is shocking that research data indicating a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism was destroyed. Click here for a news article.

The number of vaccines recommended for children by age six has dramatically increased. If you count up the doses of each type of vaccine, there are 39 to be administered by age six.  Click here for the recommended vaccine schedule.

Each vaccine injection contains adjuvants. These are additions like mercury and aluminum, which stimulates the immune system to respond. What is the cumulative effect of these additives? We are concerned about mercury in the environment—and yet it is injected into the bodies of young children? Click here for an interview with Robert Kennedy Jr. regarding his research into mercury in vaccines.

Vaccines should be evaluated by their benefits and risks. Why does an infant need to receive a vaccine (hepatitis B) for a sexually transmitted disease? Click here for a school nurse’s concern about the hepatitis B vaccine.

A group of researchers, doctors and parents are working together for the robust health of children in the United States.    A petition  for  vaccine  safety is available on-line.

Click here to join the voices of many others who have concerns about vaccine safety.

*Lynne Curry, Modern Mothers in the heartland: Gender, Health and Progress in Illinois, 1900 – 1930, Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1999. p. 19.

**Ibid. p.1

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