Many years ago I worked the night shift in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan. We had 12 hour shifts, and I worked from 7 pm to 7 am. Around 5:00 am as daylight crept across the sky, we were weary and needed to get our second wind.
We would take turns, going to get coffee and a muffin from the hospital cafeteria. But what we most appreciated was walking down a hallway of windows that looked out to the sunrise. Morning had come and we would complete our nursing care and documentation. The light of a new day sustained us and promised rest.
We have challenges and a spiritual battle taking place in our world. The battle requires focus on God’s word and obedience to his commands. We must stay alert and look for God’s touch on our life. He will renew our spirit and give us rest.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130: 6-7
Perhaps there is a right time to read a book. I started The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge some years ago, but I didn’t finish it. This time as I read the book I was thoroughly enjoying the writing. I lingered over the descriptions of setting, and the interesting choice of words, the unique phrases. I looked up some words in the dictionary.
The story follows the main character’s move to a village town in England. Mary, like the author, is single and has inherited a cottage from a cousin. She meets the endearing members of the village, each with their human quirks and flaws.
Throughout the book there are glimpses into a diary of a woman who suffered from mental illness. Mental illness is portrayed with insight and compassion by this author.
There are children in the story also. They are portrayed in a lovely, understanding way.
I would guess that Elizabeth Goudge understood and delighted in children. I enjoyed the special collection of “little things” that captures the imagination of the children.
The Scent of Water is a gentle story about people with flaws, the pursuit of faith, health and relationship. You have to read the book to catch the significance of the title.
One of the women I admire provided care to childbearing women in their homes. For four years I worked in a home birth practice that followed the principles of care taught by Dr. Beatrice Tucker.
Dr. Beatrice Tucker was the remarkable woman who directed the Chicago Maternity Center from 1931 to 1973. She had been the first woman resident doctor at the University of Chicago Lying-In Hospital in 1922.
She studied under Dr. J. DeLee who had opened the Chicago Maternity Center. It is ironic that Dr. Tucker once worked under Dr. DeLee.
As Dr. DeLee’s career progressed he promoted the use of forceps for delivery, twilight sleep (an amnesiac type medication) and episiotomies. He was highly influential in the developing field of obstetrics, and sadly he was outspoken in his disparagement of midwives.
Even though obstetricians were moving toward aggressive control of labor and birth, Dr. Tucker supported the natural progression of labor and birth. In her management of the Chicago Maternity Center she set a standard for safe home birth.
During the Maternity Center’s peak activity (between 1929 and 1941) an average of 360 births took place each month. During her tenure at the Chicago Maternity Center she participated in over 100,000 births.
The Tuscaloosa News (12/3/1975) ran a story about Dr. Tucker. The article begins: “Shortly after her 78th birthday, Dr. Beatrice E. Tucker reluctantly came out of quasi-retirement to deliver a baby at the mother’s home. It was a rather easy affair in a clean apartment . . .”
Later in the article she is quoted as saying “Most doctors have never seen a baby born at home and they don’t know how to do it.” Dr. Tucker was a strong woman willing to go against the current of medical trends to provide safe and economical care to women.
During the reign of Queen Victoria in England (1819 – 1901) women had less freedom, less rights than women today. Susannah Spurgeon lived during this time period (1832 -1903). Yet, she was well educated, developed her literary gifts and was an active partner with her famous husband.
I found it fascinating to read about her, the wife of Charles Spurgeon, in the setting of Victorian England. Although I have heard of Charles Spurgeon, I did not realize the extent of his popularity. I did not know that Susannah was vital to his ministry. Despite physical frailty she was a constant support for him.
The book, Susie: the Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes, shines a light on the marriage relationship of a gospel centered couple, living out their faith.
Susie helped her husband with his sermons and assisted in getting them written down so they could be shared with others. She read theological books with him.
She was also a writer. The inclusion of quotes from her diary and devotional books showed that she was a wordsmith.
Both Charles and Susannah valued books. Susannah wanted to make books with sound doctrine available to poor pastors. She developed the Book Fund a program that reached out to hundreds of pastors. In her day Susie was a beloved woman of God, using her gifts for God’s glory. Ray Rhodes has done thorough research for this book. It is an inspiring read.
For information on purchasing this book click here. #susiebook #moodypublishers
In full disclosure I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
The local library is a great institution. When I was a child my parents brought us to the public library regularly. I have always enjoyed reading stories.
Now I read widely to be informed, to learn and for enjoyment. I read to become a better writer. Today I picked up a book on canning and preserving in small quantities. I enjoy making jams and jellies from the berries in my yard.
I also picked up the latest book in Laurie King’s series about Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell. The title is Island of the Mad. I have read all the previous books in the series and appreciate Mary’s influence on the character, Sherlock Holmes.
Another series of books that I have thoroughly enjoyed follows the life of a character, Maisie Dobbs, from WWI through WWII. Maisie participates in WWI as a nurse. Following the war she becomes a private investigator. The development of her character kept me reading. Jacqueline Winspear is the author of this series.
Recently I finished reading a fascinating story of a young woman fleeing from grief and loss in the aftermath of WWI. Emeline leaves northern France and finds a small town on the Mediterranean, a town on the border between Spain and France. The rich description of place and culture kept me interested. Laura Madeleine wrote Where the Wild Cherries Grow.
The Wonder Years, edited by Leslie Leyland Fields, is a collection of essays written by 40 women over 40. (This is a book that I picked up at a literary conference.) I recognized the names of some of the 40 women: Luci Shaw, Lauren Winner, Joni Eareckson Tada, Madeleine L’Engle. Other names are new to me. The writing is excellent.
Do you visit your public library? It has much to offer!
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Over the years I have often participated in the Hike for Life on Mother’s Day weekend. It has been a family event, children included.
In the 1990s we hiked along the shore of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. Yesterday my daughter reminded me of her first hike. It was the beginning of her concern for mothers and their infants. The years that we hiked together have now been passed along to the next generation.
Now my grandchildren participate in the Hike for Life. A couple years ago we all went together.
This year they will hike, and I will go visit my mother who is in a nursing home in Michigan.
All women need support during the transitions of life.
The money raised by the Hike for Life goes to pregnancy care centers. These centers provide ultrasounds, parenting classes, infant clothing and diapers. The staff at the pregnancy care center come along side a woman that needs assistance.
It is wonderful when a woman has the support of family and friends during pregnancy. Sometimes she needs another source of support. //
I am grateful, too, for organizations that help women adjust to the roles of motherhood. The Mother of Twins group meeting was my favorite evening out when I had three children under the age of three.
My daughters have benefited from MOPS (mothers of preschoolers), and I have enjoyed being a mentor mom for MOPS.
When we were in Finland I was happily surprised to learn that the parents of young children ride the buses in Helsinki for free.
Flowers and cards for mothers are nice, tangible help is better. Perhaps, there is someone that you can encourage.
As Planned Parenthood celebrates their 100 year anniversary, I choose to mourn the lives lost and the wounds that many women carry. Although Planned Parenthood portrays itself as woman’s health care, its most lucrative business is abortion. It masquerades as compassionate care.
I give thanks for the growing number of pregnancy care centers and for support groups that help women heal from the trauma of abortion.
Our community held a march for life, proclaiming that life is a gift. Together we offered this prayer:
O God, our Creator, all life is in your hands
From conception until natural death,
Help us to cherish our children.
Help us to understand and respect the awesome
privilege of our share in creation.
May all people live and die in dignity and love.
Bless all those who defend the rights of the
unborn, the handicapped and the elderly.
Enlighten and be merciful toward those who fail
to recognize the sacredness of life.
Give us courage to speak with truth and love
and with conviction in the defense of life.
Let freedom be tempered by
responsibility, integrity and morality.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Psalmist did not have the tool of ultrasound, yet he offers a clear understanding of life. These verses convey a deep truth.
Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; All the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared Before I’d even lived one day.