Morning Prayers

Morning Prayers
Daffodils at a roadside rest stop in Michigan

The lives of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Lilias Trotter are a great               inspiration for me. Both spent much time in prayer.  Here are quotes from each.

The morning prayer determines the day.

Squandered time of which we are ashamed, temptations to which we succumb, weakness and lack of courage in work, disorganization and lack of discipline in our thoughts and in our conversation with others, all have their own origin most often in the neglect of morning prayer. Order and distribution of our time become more firm where they originate in prayer. Temptations which accompany the working day will be conquered on the basis of the morning breakthrough to God. Decisions, demanded by work, become easier and simpler where they are made not in the fear of men but only in the sight of God. “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men”  (Col. 3:23). *

The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. May it not be that the human impossibility is just the very thing that sets His Hand free?–& that it is the things which are possible for us to do that He is in a measure to let alone. **

daffodils_5295

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the     Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.                              Ephesians 6: 14-18

This is a practice that I want to embrace. Let me start each day with the Lord!

*Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms: Prayer Book of the Bible, Augsburg Fortress: Minneapolis, MN. 1970

** Miriam Rockness, A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter, Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI. 2003  

Linking with Us Coffee & JesusSeasonsLiteracy Musing Monday, Sue’s Wordless Wednesday,  Weekend Whispers, Word of God Speak,  Grace & Truth,  Thought Provoking Thursday and Whole Hearted Wednesday

Periods, Pills and Home Birth

Some of the common practices in our culture are worth questioning. As a nurse I like to keep track of health news. I am a firm believer in women learning about their bodies in order to pursue health. I have collected some articles related to women’s health.

sweet-pea-blooms-1

Verily magazine published an article, 4 Things Your Period is Telling You About Your Health That You Shouldn’t Ignore. Menstrual periods have negative connotations for us, but they are a part of a rhythm of health. It is good practice to pay attention to signs from the body. Click here to read the article.

A new documentary is being released about the risks and side effects of the pill. The film is produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein and is based on the book, Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg-Spall. Late and Epstein also produced the film, The Business of Being Born. To read about the documentary click here.

ID-10077247

When I was growing up, the fundamental Finnish Lutheran Church that I attended frowned on birth control—but it wasn’t a topic for     discussion. By the time I married, it was assumed at premarital doctor appointments that a young woman would get a prescription for some form of birth control. Birth control has become routine.

When I came across an article by Chelsen Vicari, an Evangelical Protestant, I had to agree with her as she raised questions about birth control. Evangelical Protestants don’t talk about contraception. She states: It was almost as if Protestants were sworn to secrecy when it came to discussions about chemical and hormonal contraception. Is it an issue that we should seek God’s guidance for?

Vicari examines both religious views and the health risks of hormonal contraception. To read the whole article click here.

I am glad that I was able to have open conversations with my daughters. One of my daughters introduced me to the Theology of the Body as taught by Pope John Paul II.

My personal experience with home birth demonstrated to me that many women are able to give birth with a minimum of interventions. The approach to birth is different from the hospital, yet involves safe practices.

The article, 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Home Birth, gives an accurate picture of midwife practice in the home. Click here.

Linking with Titus 2sday,  Tuesdays with a Twist and A Little R & R

Sunshine Muffins: Gluten Free

Last weekend I added some apricots to cornmeal muffins.  I enjoy    creating muffin recipes, a healthy treat for the grandchildren. Muffins are so easy to make.  These muffins were moist and tasty–they were a hit on Easter Sunday. Here is the recipe.

First prepare the apricots. Simmer one cup of dried apricots in a cup of water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Then drain the liquid.

Sunshine Muffins

Melt ¾ cup of butter and allow it to cool.

Preheat the oven at 375˚ F.

Prepare the muffin tins. (The recipe makes 20 to 24 muffins depending on size.) I like to grease my heavy iron muffin pan. I place the pan in the oven about 5 minutes before I am going to add the batter, preheating the pan.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl:

1 + ½ cup yellow corn meal
1 cup gluten free flour (or unbleached flour if no gluten sensitivity)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Gluten free flour from Costco
Gluten free flour from Costco

Add the remaining ingredients to a blender:

1 cup softened apricots
¾ cup melted and cooled butter
1 medium carrot, cut into pieces
1 cup rice milk
2 eggs
¼ cup honey

Gluten free muffins

Blend until smooth.

Gluten free muffins

Then add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until combined.

Glen free muffins

Place about ¼ cup of batter in each muffin cup.

Bake at 375˚ for 22 to 24 minutes.   The edges of the muffin will be    beginning to brown. Let stand for 5 minutes and then remove muffins and place on a cooling rack.

Cornmeal muffins with apricot and carrot

Enjoy!!

Linking with Art of Homemaking,  Tuesdays with a Twist,  Real Food Friday, Mom to Mom Mondays,  Friendship FridayWhole Hearted Wednesday,  A Little R & R and Classical Homemaking

A Primitive Path at Tent Rock National Park

Rejoice & Pray

We visited Tent Rock National Park in New Mexico. I was easy to see how the park had gotten its name.   A rocky trail weaves through   narrow canyons and continues upward to the peak of the rock formations.

A sign at the beginning of the trail was accurate—as we found out.

Tent Rock National Park

We climbed, slipping occasionally. Sometimes large rocks lay across the path. The Christian life has similarities. We encounter troubles and challenges. But we also have a good shepherd.

Psalm 23 reminds us that Jesus is with us, guiding us.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Valery of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Tent Rock National Park

When Jesus is our Savior we have access to the Lord in prayer.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.   Let your     reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and    supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.           Philippians 4: 4-7

Linking with Weekend WhispersWord of God SpeakFaith Filled Friday, SusanBMead,  Grace & TruthThought Provoking Thursday,  A Little R & R,  Seasons and Sue’s Wordless Wednesday

Easter: A New Covenant

A New Covenant

 

Memories of the week leading up to Easter stretch back into my childhood. I was blessed to grow up in a home where we read the Bible and attended church regularly. Like any family we had problems, but the foundation for my faith developed from hearing the Word of God.

In past years I attended Maundy Thursday services. What is Maundy Thursday? It commemorates the day of the last supper. The following scripture describes this event.

And when the hour came, he relined at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.   For I tell you I will not eat it   until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he said, Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body that is given for you.   Do this in    remembrance of me.” And like wise the cup after they had eaten, saying , “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22: 14-20

Communion was served on this quiet day of reflection. Communion symbolizes the new covenant.   God offers us forgiveness of sin and   salvation through Jesus. 

When my husband and I traveled to Israel we visited the site of a deep pit. The theory is that Jesus was held in this pit prior to the crucifixion.

Church of St. Peter, Jerusalem
The Church of St. Peter was built on the site of this dungeon in Jerusalem

It is hard to take in fully the pain and confusion that the followers of Jesus must have felt in the days between Jesus arrest and his triumph over death. Peter’s denial of Christ gives us a little glimpse.

St. Peter's Denial
Sculture in the Courtyard of the Church of St. Peter

Out of deep sorrow comes great joy. So much wonder and joy in the scene that the apostle John describes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look in the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means teacher). John 20: 11-16

 

New Covenant

One of my favorite songs on Easter morning is Christ Arose.

Death cannot keep his prey—Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away—Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

I am praising God for the new covenant of grace.

Linking with Soul Survival,  Weekend Whispers, Word of God SpeakFaith Filled Friday and Friendship Friday

Review of Latest Mitford Book

Clouds over Farm

As we drove across the plains of northern Texas we were listening to a book on CDs. John McDough was bringing the characters in Come Rain or Come Shine to life. The book, written by Jan Karon, is the latest in the Mitford series.

I have read all the books in the Mitford series, but I don’t think it is necessary in order to enjoy this one. My husband followed the story with as much enjoyment  he can acknowledge in a fiction book. (He is an engineer! lol) Of course I have gotten to know the characters and know their histories.

As puffy white clouds rolled across the blue sky, my husband and I listened to the wedding plans of Lace Harper and Dooley Cavanaugh. We passed scenes of cattle grazing, and listened to the description of Meadowgate Farm. Dooley was setting up his veterinary practice there. We could envision the heifers that Dooley was purchasing.     Husband took note of the bull, Choo Choo.

Covenant of marriage

As wedding plans move forward the event is definitely a community project. Dooley and Lace have loving friends. I enjoyed the give and take, between people with varied backgrounds and  experiences. Each character is unique and brings color to the story.

Father Tim, a retired Episcopal priest,  has memorable words throughout. I was pleased to hear the term, covenant of marriage, in dialogue.

The perspective on marriage is thoughtful, holy and realistic.

The simple wedding turns out to have a variety of complications–like most weddings.  It is a celebration of marriage and family and a child. It is a great read—or if you are going to travel, a great story on CD.

Thanks for visiting. I would be most happy if you followed me on Facebook. Just click here— and then click on the like icon.

Linking with Cozy Reading SpotLiteracy Musing Monday, The Art of Homemaking,  Booknificent Thursday and Friendship Friday

It’s About Religious Freedom

Little Sisters of the Poor

On Monday night our PBS station aired a documentary about Pope John Paul II. As I watched I was remembering the discussions that I had with my daughter about the Theology of the Body (writings by Pope John Paul II).

Julia was attending Marquette University and was introduced to the Theology of the Body, God’s design for male and female, for marriage and sexuality. She brought home some tapes for me to hear, and we talked about them.

I am not Catholic, but this teaching on sexuality makes sense to me. I have great respect for the Catholic position on life. I understand the position of the Catholic Church, opposing contraception and drugs that cause early abortions. As a nurse I have concerns about the        effects of hormonal drugs on longterm health.

So when the Little Sisters of the Poor refuse to be providers of         contraception, I am with them. This is the teaching of their church. They have a right to live out their faith.

My own right of conscience was tested during my first year of nursing practice. I was working in a large city hospital, affiliated with a        university. I was shocked when I realized that an abortion was taking place in our labor/delivery unit—a saline induction. I could not participate. That night I wrote a letter stating my conscience objection to abortion, gave it to my manager and it was kept in my file.   I was     never called to assist with an abortion.

Later I would choose to work at Catholic or Lutheran Hospitals.

In the United States the first amendment guarantees the freedom of   religion—the right to live according to one’s faith. The Little Sisters of the Poor are living out their faith as they minister to the elderly.

Can the government force the Little Sisters to provide free contraception in the health insurance they give their employees? The mandate goes against their faith. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on this case today. I am praying for the right of conscience to be upheld.

If SCOTUS rules against them the Little Sisters will be heavily fined and may be forced to discontinue their work.

The Little Sisters minister at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in my community. I am participating in a day of prayer and service as a sign of support. Let them serve.

Women Speak for Themselves
www.womenspeakforthemselves.com

Addendum: A good sized crowd gathered in front of St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine. We were positioned along Northwest Highway and were encouraged by cars and trucks honking as they saw the signs. We received many waves of approval.

Little Sisters of the Poor

Little Sisters of the Poor

Maria Goldstein led in prayer and Bible reading. We sang the servant song together.

What do you want of me, Lord
Where do you want me to serve you?
Where can I sing your praises?
I am your song.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, you are the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

You are the light in my darkness.
You are my strength when I’m weary.
You give me sight when I’m blinded.
Come see for me.

I am your song and servant,
Singing your praise like Mary.
Surrendered to your Spirit,
“Let it be done to me.”

Palatine_5272

We prayed for the protection of conscience rights:

Father, we praise you and thank you
For your most precious gift of human life
And human freedom.
Touch the hearts of our law makers
with wisdom and courage to uphold conscience rights
and religious liberty for all.
Protect all people from being forced to
Violate their moral and religious convictions.
In your goodness, guard our freedom
to live out our faith and
to follow you in all that we do.
Give us strength to be bold and joyful witnesses.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Linking with Thought Provoking Thursday,   Whole Hearted     Wednesday,  A Little R & R

Bright Colors in Albuquerque

We visited the Botanical Gardens in Albuquerque, New Mexico.   The   viola (or johnny jump ups) were blooming.

johnny Jump Ups

In the conservatory, a Mediterranean flower exhibit was a vivid mix of bright colors.

Mediterranean Exhibit

Mediterranean Flower Exhibit

 

Bromeliad
Bromeliad

Taking a walk through a neighborhood I saw this cross on a door. It is a reminder that we are in the season of Lent, and this weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday.

Cross

Linking with A Little R & R, WholeHearted Wednesday,  Seasons, Sue’s Wordless Wednesday and Tuesdays with a Twist

Solving Social Problems or Shining Light in a Dark World?

Every summer I visit Calumet, Michigan. At one time it was the center of the copper boom with a growing immigrant population. Both of my grandfathers emigrated from Finland and worked in the copper mines. I know that Calumet had many bars to serve the immigrant workers.

Calumet, Michigan

So it is with interest that I am reading Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent.   The saloons and bars were a place of   escape for men working long hours in menial tasks.

That the proliferation of saloons was abetted by immigrants (usually German or Bohemian), largely for immigrants (members of those nationalities, but also Irish, Slavs, Scandinavians and many, many others),  was not lost on the moralists of the WCTU  [Woman’s Christian       Temperance Union].*

The wellbeing of women and children was affected when a husband spent his paycheck on alcohol.

Various groups came together in a fight against drunkenness,          supporting prohibition. The WCTU, the Anti-Saloon League and the Suffragettes joined together in the battle against alcohol consumption. I wonder if a fight for better working conditions might have helped men and their families—less use of alcohol?

In response the brewers and distillers organized against Prohibition and Women’s Suffrage. Women’s Suffrage became a target because the brewers believed that women would vote for Prohibition.

In 1906 a state suffrage amendment in Oregon was defeated when the brewers secretly enlisted Oregon’s saloonkeepers and hoteliers in an elaborate get-out-the-vote operation. Secrecy also prevailed when the USBA [Brewers Association] paid the nationally known suffragist Phoebe Couzins to repudiate her previous position . . . *

It is interesting to me that Finland gave women the vote in 1906 and the Netherlands in 1917. The United States did not give women the vote until 1920.

What a tangled web we weave as humans when we try to solve social problems. The money involved makes it more complex. Until 1913 when the income tax was instituted, the government depended on revenue from liquor sales.

In the New Testament Jesus does not confront government practices or politics. Instead he asks his followers to be a light to a confused and chaotic world.

You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14

Light of the World

Jesus also prays for his followers.

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. John 17: 14-15

In this election year I see the need to spend more time in prayer,      seeking God’s guidance. I can rest in the knowledge that Jesus is interceding for his people.

*Okrent, Daniel, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, New York; Scribner, 2010, pp. 26, 65

Linking with Word of God Speak, Weekend Whispers,  Sitting Among Friends and Faith Filled Friday

Daffodils, Crocuses, Flowering Rosemary, Oh My!

Spring is coming to the southern states. I am enjoying the colors that are brightening the landscape. And I wish rosemary grew as abundantly at my home as it does in New Mexico! Flowering tree

Kansas_5174

 

Kansas_5175

Rosemary
Rosemary plant (bush)

 

Rosemary flower
Rosemary flower

Linking with Friendship Friday,  A Little R & R,  SeasonsTuesdays with a Twist , the Homemaking Party and Sue’s Wordless Wednesday