Should the Flu Shot Be Mandated?

Flu shots

Everywhere I go I see signs for the flu vaccine—at grocery stores, drugstores and in advertisements. Many hospitals are making it mandatory for their staff to get an annual flu shot. When that          happened at my hospital, I applied for a religious exemption.

I had received vaccines in the past, but because one of my children     experienced significant side effects from a vaccine, I studied the issue. Over the years our family has made dietary changes, increased our use of vitamins, garlic and herbs. It made sense to develop a lifestyle that supported the immune system. God has given us an intricate     immune system to fight infection.

Why did I need an annual flu shot? Not to mention that the flu shot is not dependable. Every year the CDC is making a guess when developing a vaccine. The CDC has already admitted that this year’s vaccine probably won’t be effective.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.

Despite uncertain effectiveness hospitals are under pressure to get their employees vaccinated.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Healthy People 2020” initiative states a goal of vaccinating 90% of the nation’s healthcare workers with the influenza vaccine annually by 2020,[1] a goal well underway. A separate DHHS goal aims to vaccinate 80% of all U.S. employees annually with the influenza vaccine by 2020. Read more here.

My religious exemption was allowed. I have learned that nurses at the University of Michigan can decline the flu vaccine because they have a clause in their union contract.

Some hospitals have required nurses to wear a mask if they refuse to get the flu vaccine.  And some hospitals have fired nurses for refusing the vaccine.

Nurse
Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The nurses’ union in Ontario took up the matter of masks and an       arbitrator declared that the policy could not continue.

The Ontario Nurses Association says hospitals will no longer be allowed to shame health-care workers into getting a flu shot following an        arbitrator’s ruling striking down a “vaccinate or mask” policy. Read more here.

 I have never been a member of a union, but perhaps nurses need a union to preserve their right to pursue health with personal freedom.

It isn’t just nurses that are questioning the flu vaccine. A doctor at John Hopkins is speaking out against the aggressive marketing of the flu shot.

For most people, says Dr. Blaylock, flu vaccines don’t prevent the flu but actually increase the odds of getting it. The mercury contained in       vaccines is such a strong immune depressant that a flu shot suppresses immunity for several weeks. “This makes people highly susceptible to catching the flu,” he says. “They may even think the vaccine gave them the flu, but that’s not true — it depressed their immune system and then they caught the flu.”

He explains that the flu shot should not be given to children under five years old. Read the entire article here.

The National Vaccine Information Center has an article about the amount of mercury present in the flu vaccine. Here is the analysis provided in the article:
2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water.
20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).
200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste.
25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in the Hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth in the U.S., from 1990-2001.
50,000 ppb Mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990’s to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age.
50,000 ppb Mercury = Current “preservative” level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi- dose vials.

According to a chart prepared by the Edgy Truth the amount of      mercury in a contaminated whitefish is 500 ppb by comparison.

How much influence do the pharmaceuticals have in promoting vaccines? According to the Wall Street Journal (11/09/2015) the highest number of government lobbyists, among industries, are pharmaceuticals/health products.

 My biggest concern is that we are systematically replacing common sense and healthy practices with a shot that may not help and has      significant risks. I am in favor of health education, informed consent and personal choice.

Linking with A Little R & R, WholeHearted Home and Tuesdays with a Twist

Country Road with Unknown Destination

When I visit my sister in Michigan, we frequently have an adventure.

Last weekend we had both driven to a community college event.
When we left the event her car wouldn’t start. So we hooked up jumper cables from my car to her car, and after a half hour her car was running. She needed to keep the engine running so I followed her to her place of work. She had to pick up some files. She left her car running while I parked next to her car.

After another half hour we were on our way to her home. Or so
I thought. I followed her car, passing by the expressway
ramp that I thought we should take. My sister was going down
a country road that I did not recognize.

What's Our Destination?
photo credit: pixabay.com

It was a beautiful day. She kept driving and I had no idea where we were going. I thought about pulling out my cell phone, but I’m trying to avoid using the cell phone while driving.

I was a little irritated, but she’s my sister. We are family and so I just followed. We finally stopped at a cider mill. It was worth it. The cider and doughnuts were delicious. Why didn’t she tell me? She had the idea while driving. We used to go to a cider mill with our parents when we were kids.

In the bigger picture, I sometimes don’t understand the path that God has for me. Some things don’t make sense. My brother has had a     tragic struggle with mental illness over the last 47 years. His health is    fragile, and I am his guardian. It is difficult.

My son was just eight years old when he lost his battle with cancer. It doesn’t make sense now. But I believe I will see him again someday. The puzzle pieces of this life will make a complete picture in eternity.

God’s plan of salvation is woven all through the Bible. The prophecies and promises have been fulfilled, are still being fulfilled. I have seen answers to prayer. I have a relationship with Jesus. I have faith in God.

So if I can trust my sister on a puzzling drive down a country road, I can trust God with all that I encounter in this life.

Linking with Word of God SpeakWeekend WhispersThought Provoking Thursday and WholeHearted Wednesday

Hope in Chicago and at Home

For Chicago baseball fans, the Cubs are symbolic of hope. The excitement over the National league playoffs was vibrant this fall. Then four straight losses to the Mets.  Once again the refrain is wait till next year.

Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field: Wikimedia Commons

In my garden I have many opportunities for hope. I have been      struggling with brown rot in my cherry tree. This year showed some improvement. With additional treatment will my cherries ripen      without rot? I’m looking forward to next June with hope.

Hope in the Garden

I transplanted some peonies and raspberries. Will they take well? The bulbs for three purple prince lily trees and some guinevere pink tulips went in the ground this fall. I will wait with anticipation for them to grow, looking forward to the spring.

Tulips for the Garden

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.     Hebrews 11:1

Family circumstances are a challenge. (Perhaps not more of a challenge than hoping the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series! lol)     Illness and problems that we lift in prayer through the years require trust in the Lord to sustain hope.  Maybe God gave us the seasons of the year and the seasons of life to teach us to trust Him, to illustrate hope. God has given us guidance in the Bible.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our      instruction, that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.     Romans 15: 4, 13

Linking with Words with WinterSunday StillnessWeekend WhispersGrace & Truth and Faith Filled Friday

Preserving Herbs: Thyme Vinegar

The mild fall weather is so welcome! Yard work is pleasant and I have found some fall raspberries to savor while I work.

Preserving Herbs

Wilting vines
And a layer of leaves
Yard clean-up
Sweetened by fall raspberries

My calendula is still blooming and my rosemary and thyme are still growing.

Thyme Vinegar
Lemon Thyme

I plan to bring the rosemary and thyme inside for the winter. Last year they survived in a south bay window. But I have been also         preserving the thyme in vinegar.

The thyme vinegar is good for salad dressings. I also add one or two  tablespoons to vegetables and bones for broth that I prepare in my crockpot. The vinegar helps to leach out minerals from bones with the    additional benefit of thyme.

I found this recipe for thyme vinegar in Early American Herb Recipes*.

A very delicious flavour of thyme may be obtained, by gathering it while in full perfection; it must be picked from the stalks, a large handful of it put into a jar, and a quart of vinegar or brandy poured on it; cover it very close—next day, take all the thyme out, put in as much more; do this a third time; then strain it, bottle it and seal it securely. This is greatly preferable to the dried thyme commonly used, during the season when it cannot be obtained in a fresh state.*

I followed the recipe. I put 3 Tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves in a pint of white wine vinegar. The next day I strained it and added fresh thyme. The following day I repeated the straining and added more fresh thyme. While I was adding thyme leaves and straining the vinegar I used canning jars. Then I strained it a final time, returned it to the original bottle and capped it.

thyme vinegar

*Alice Cooke Brown, Early American Herb Recipes, Japan: The Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., 1966. p. 114.

Linking with Healthy, Happy Green and Natural,  the Art of HomemakingFriendship Friday, the Homestead Blog Hop,  Healthy Living Link Party,  Wake-up WednesdayTuesdays with a Twist

Lovely Aroma in a World of Conflict

A Sweet Aroma
Last rose in my garden

Are you discouraged by the conflicts and moray decay all around us? I am. The study of the book of Acts is giving me hope. I am glad that this book was chosen for the fall Precept Bible study.

Sometimes political issues stir my emotions. Can political action groups solve the problems? They may have a place, but the problems in our country are spiritual.

It is not wrong to stand up for a point of view—in fact we must pursue truth.  Every life is valuable.  God designed marriage as one man and one woman. This truth comes from the word of God.

As I spend time studying the Bible, I realize that God’s plan of            salvation is woven through the scriptures and this message is most important. The gospel changes hearts. The apostles spoke about Jesus:

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.      Acts 4:12

The apostles and early church were focused on the message of the gospel. Even when persecution began they prayed for boldness.

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.       Act 4:29

Followers of Jesus, the church, have a specific role for this time. We are called to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Through our words, our    attitudes and actions we have a responsibility to have a message that points to Jesus and salvation. Sometimes we fall short. We need to be in the Word, in prayer and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Jesus has     given the Holy Spirit to be our helper.

I know that I am more sensitive to the Holy Spirit when I am studying my Bible, spending time in prayer and joining in fellowship in my home church. These are necessary activities. I encourage you to       embrace these practices.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the        knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God, among those who are being saved, and among those who are     perishing. 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for completing the plan of salvation. Thank-you for forgiving my sins and giving us your Word. Guide me by the Holy Spirit to be a witness for you.

Linking with Thought Provoking ThursdayWholeHearted Wednesday,  A Little R & R,  Titus 2sday,  Hope in Every SeasonWords with Winter,  Sharing His Beauty,  Sunday Stillness,  Grace & Truth and Faith Filled Friday

Beauty in His Grip Button

Birthdays!

Birthday Gifts

Autumn is a season of birthdays. My granddaughters, plus one       daughter and one daughter-in-love all have a birthday in September, October or November.

I was blessed in being able to attend the birth of each granddaughter—one at home and the rest in the hospital. To watch each of these    babies grow into little girls is a delight.

As I look back, each labor and birth was unique. My daughters were prepared for labor and still encountered challenges. In each situation the goal was to minimize interventions, while being open to               appropriate medical care. When the moment of pain and exhaustion came during labor, their husbands and I prayed with them. God blessed them with healthy births.

We have well equipped hospitals in the United States. But along with medical care, wisdom and guidance from the Lord is an invaluable help. I have witnessed and participated in prayers that took place during labor when I attended home births as a nurse. Less often (rarely) prayer was included in the hospital labor and delivery unit where I worked.

My own first labor/birth was an unexpected cesarean section. I still remember the name of one nurse who was supportive during labor, but her shift ended before the cascade of interventions and cesarean section took place. The communication from my doctor was cold and unkind. My daughter was healthy but it took time for me to put the    experience into perspective.

According to Post Partum Support International some women suffer PTSD following childbirth.

Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. Most often, this illness is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum.

Emotional support and encouragement are vital during labor and birth. Prayer provides spiritual support. Here are some ways that an expectant mom can plan for good support.

  1. Consider having a midwife for birth attendant. Do some research on home birth, freestanding birth centers, and midwifery practices.
  2. Choose a doula to attend the labor and birth, in addition to the doctor or midwife. Doulas are trained in comfort measures for labor and     positioning techniques to assist the progress of labor. Some doulas will attend hospital births.
  3. Have a close family member go to prenatal classes with you, being prepared to give support during labor. While Lamaze classes have typically expected the husband to be the support person, sometimes another woman is more able.
  4. Develop a practice of prayer and trust in the Lord.

My daughters’ husbands were with them throughout labor. I was the extra support. Assisting my daughters and praying with them has been a wonderful experience.

If you have a daughter or friend who is pregnant, perhaps you will have the opportunity to pray with her and encourage her.

 

Birthday Candles 2_edited-1

Linking with Tuesdays with a Twist,  Friendship Friday,   Wedded Wednesday,   the Ladies Collective Link-up,  A Little R & R  and WholeHearted Home

Autumn Praise

My husband and I spent a few days in Upper Michigan. We were working on projects at an old farmhouse—a place I have visited almost every year, as far back as I can remember. We also enjoyed the peak fall color while driving and hiking.

Near Baraga

The trees in Upper Michigan are in splendid color. It is like a song of praise to the creator.

Forest Path

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Psalm 98:4

The Lord God is magnificent. He holds every detail of our world in his hand. He is sovereign over all things. I look forward to the completion of his plans for us.

Autumn Forest

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Psalm 96: 12b-13

Maple Leaves

Linking with Waiting on WednesdayA Little R & R, Whole Hearted HomeTuesdays with a Twist, Wordless Wednesday,  Words with WinterSunday StillnessWeekend Whispers,  Grace & Truth , the Homemaking Party and Spiritual Sundays

Apple-Sage-Cheddar Muffins

The sage in my garden is thriving. This summer it flowered.

Sage in Flower

The beautiful weather this fall has extended our growing season. I have plenty of sage. The texture of the leaves has an artistic appearance, lovely to the touch.

 

Sage leaves

Sage in the Sun_edited-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am going to use it in some in apple-sage-cheddar muffins. The muffins can be gluten  free  by       using brown rice flour instead of unbleached white flour.

1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
½ cup plain yogurt

Heat the oven to 375°. Lightly grease a muffin tin with twelve muffin cups. (I like to preheat the muffin pan by putting it in the oven 5 minutes before I am going to put the batter in the pan.)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sage and salt in a large bowl. Add the grated apple and grated cheese, mixing them with the dry ingredients.

In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, honey, melted butter and milk with lemon juice. Add the egg mixture to the flour & apple mixture. Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Leave the muffins in the tin to cool and then turn out and enjoy!!

sage & tulip_3090

Linking with From the Farm,  Sunday Link-up,  the Homestead Blog Hop,        Titus 2sdays, the WholeHearted Wednesday, A Little R & R,  Art of Homemaking and Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party

Steadfast in Prayer

Maple leaves

Every year as I begin a new Bible study, the book chosen speaks to me in my circumstances. The book of Acts begins with the disciples and a group of believers facing many challenges. Prayer is mentioned        frequently.

All these [disciples] with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Acts 1:14

The news today is full of unrest, globally and in our country. My       family needs wisdom in providing for my mother and brother—their health is declining. I have a leadership role in our church and we need wisdom in making decisions. I need to pray with my family and with my church. The words of the Psalmist resonate with me.

O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!           Psalm 88:2

A verse in Micah is both a comfort and an admonition to wait on the Lord.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7

Paul gives more instruction in his letter to the Ephesians.

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: 16-17

Prayer should be woven through my day, a pattern in my life. When I have joined hands with family, friends and fellow believers in prayer, we have experienced a bonding, a deepening of our relationship.

Are you stressed? Can you join hands with another believer and pray?

Maple leaves

Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards. Give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out. Give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Thomas Aquino)

Linking with Titus 2sdays,  A Little R & R, WholeHearted Wednesday, the Art of Homemaking,  Weekend Whispers and Sunday Stillness

Pasties with Kale: A Meal

The pasty came to the Keweenaw Peninsula of northern Michigan with Cornish miners. The Finns caught on to the hearty meal that was portable. Meat and vegetables wrapped in pastry made a filling lunch during the long hours in the mine.

My grandfathers were miners, and pasties were served for family   dinners. It is a meal that invites group participation for preparation. This year I have had a steady supply of kale and thyme in my garden—and I added them to my pasties.

Kale & Thyme

Filling:

1 lb. round steak, diced or coarsely ground
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1 cup chopped and steamed kale leaves
1 cup rutabaga, chopped
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 + ½ tsp. salt

Combine olive oil, vinegar, thyme and minced garlic. Mix into the chopped meat. Allow the meat marinate in the refrigerator while preparing the pastry and the vegetables.

Pastry:

3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 egg yolk
½ cup + 2 Tblsp. cold water
1 Tblsp. cider vinegar

Combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until it appears as coarse crumbs. Mix the egg yolk, water and vinegar. Gradually add this to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork. Mix just until it holds together. If needed added additional water a tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough into six portions and roll out each portion to a 9” circle. Set aside.

Cut the kale into pieces and steam it for about 3 minutes.

Kale
steamed kale

Chop the rutabaga and potatoes into about 1” pieces. Chop the onion finely. Add the vegetables and salt to the meat mixture. Mix well.

Place a generous cup of filling on half of each dough circle. Fold the other half of dough over the filling and crimp the edges. Place the pasties on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Pasty

Linking with From the Farm,  Real Food Friday and Friendship Friday