Finding Rest Through Prayer

It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: BREATHE

Go . . .

For many years I taught breathing patterns for Lamaze classes. When wave after wave of contractions come, breathing patterns can help a     laboring woman with relaxation. Slow breathing seems to be most effective.

Take a breath in and slowly release it,   like you are making a candle    flicker. Then take another breath and release it slowly. A steady rhythm of breathing.

Prayer is spiritual breathing.

Currently I am in a stressful situation. I am spending days at the hospital advocating for my brother. A couple nights ago I was restless and overwhelmed. I was struggling with worries.

I needed to do some spiritual breathing. Jesus has offered us this access to rest. We can offer up our burdens as we whisper a prayer.

“Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28

Come join the inspiration at Five Minute Friday!

Sharing this post with Grace & Truth

Surprised by God’s Plan

Today I am joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday: We write fast and free, for five minutes flat. The prompt is: CONTROL

To be honest I wrote my story a few days ago as #MyUnintendedJoy. I spent five, maybe ten minutes revising it for this post.

The birth control pill was legalized across the nation when I was a teenager. When I married, the conventional opinion was that a couple should have two children. My husband and I could plan and control the size of our family.

As a nurse I was always concerned about the side effects of hormonal pills, but knew that I could avoid pregnancy with a diaphragm (if used consistently!)   I wasn’t sure that I was ready to have children, but became pregnant in our first year of marriage. Our daughter brought joy. After our daughter was born I became pregnant again. To our surprise I was carrying twins.   So God had  determined our family size—three    children, I thought.

My twins were born via cesarean section. We were thrilled with this baby boy and girl! We brought them home to a big sister who saw her siblings with wonder.

Three weeks after they were born I developed severe complications—disseminated intravascular coagulation. I was bleeding heavily and my doctor sent me to the operating room.   He did a D & C.    Then he   considered doing a hysterectomy, but first asked another doctor’s opinion.

The consulting doctor advised my doctor to watch and wait. So I received blood transfusions, and over the next twelve hours we waited for the decision. The consultant advised against surgery. I did not have the hysterectomy and recovered. God had more plans for our family–even though my doctor advised that I not become pregnant again.

Over the next few years I sought to control the health of my children. They had allergies and food intolerances. I kept notebooks, followed elimination diets and provided vitamin supplements. I was sure that if I did everything right my children would be healthy. It didn’t turn out that way. Instead I needed to lean on the Lord for help.

When the twins were six years old,  our son was diagnosed  with  an     aggressive form of leukemia. We supported Steven through a year of chemotherapy and then bone marrow transplant. We walked through days of painful procedures, hope, endurance and reversal.

God demonstrated his love for our family through the hands of friends and the church community. I learned so much about God and his care for us during that time period. I learned that I was not in control, but God is good.

When Steven passed away, the grief I experienced was heavy.

We had family discussions in the weeks and months after Steven’s death. We received medical advice and dared to pray for a child, for new life. Eight years earlier I had been saved from a hysterectomy. We experienced God’s grace.

When our fourth child was born we rejoiced. My husband and I never imagined that God would increase our family in this way, bringing joy and blessing. God desires our good and walks with us through difficult times.

Five Ways to Support the Choice for Life

On Friday (1/27) the March for Life will take place in Washington D.C.  Every year, after the ruling on Roe v. Wade was handed down, people have marched to the Supreme Court in protest. God is the giver of life. We should support all life.

Events recorded in the Bible emphasize the value of human life. When the maid servant, Hagar, became pregnant by Abraham, tension grew between Hagar and Sarah. Hagar ran away to the desert, but God sent angels to watch over her.

And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.”

March for Life

 

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16: 11, 13

When Hanna struggled with infertility she wept and prayed.

She [Hannah] was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

March for Life

And in due time Hanna conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him from the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1: 10-11, 20

My heart goes out to women who are struggling with infertility.   I am    encouraged that NaProTechnology has made progress in diagnosing the   underlying health problems related to infertility.

My hope is that as a nation we will value human life. There are ways that we can assist women that are in difficult circumstances and need support.

  1. Pray for our country and a message of life. The Colson Center has an app available, 21 Days of Prayer for Life.
  2. Pregnancy care centers provide support. Care Net is nationwide. Volunteer at one of the centers.
  3. Often these centers will have a fundraiser. Participate in a fundraiser for a pregnancy care center. In my area Informed Choices has a fall banquet and Hike for Life in the spring.
  4. Some centers have a resale shop. Proceeds from the shop support the services of the Pregnancy Care Center. Donate to the resale shop or volunteer to work there.
  5. Write letters to your Congressman and Senator to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect taxpayer dollars to community health care centers that provide full services for women’s health.

Sharing this post with Grace & TruthThought Provoking Thursday and the Christian Blogger

The Irony of Refined Sugar

Today I am joining Five Minute Friday. We write fast and free for five minutes. Today’s prompt is REFINE.

The dictionary gives these definitions: to reduce to a pure state, to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing, to become pure or perfected.

When I think about refined white sugar I notice great irony. Cane sugar is refined to a white sweetness that we add to food. The irony is; the refining process depletes the nutritional content of sugar.

When sugar is refined the byproduct is molasses. Molasses contains the minerals and B vitamins that have been stripped from the white crystals. Blackstrap molasses is richest in mineral content.

Blackstrap Molasses

Refined white sugar makes baked goods less healthy. Our body must use up its store of stress vitamins to metabolize the sugar into energy. I recently came across a recipe for healthy ginger muffins that includes blackstrap molasses. You can find the recipe here.

Words are sometimes misleading. The descriptive term may be deceiving. It is important to search for the truth. The Bible will always point us to truth.

When the Bible mentions refinement it likens it to purifying silver and gold. The result is truly better. When we are refined, we are becoming more like Christ. The book of Malachi looks ahead to the coming of Jesus Christ.

He [Lord] will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver . . .   Malachi 3:3

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist

The Women’s March on Washington

A friend of mine is going to participate in the Women’s March on Washington that will take place on Saturday (1/21). I have seen pictures of pink hats that women are knitting for this event on instagram. I don’t plan to go, but the event has captured my attention. The following paragraph is taken from the mission statement of the march:

The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

This statement sounds good—defend the marginalized. Who are the most marginalized? What rights are human rights? Life is the most basic right. The organizers have issued a statement. The march is for pro-choice women only. Pro-life women are not welcome. This saddens me.

As a nurse I am concerned about reproductive health.

According to World Magazine chemical abortion (pills that terminate pregnancy) is becoming more widespread with less medical supervision. The FDA published a report of adverse events following use of abortion pills in 2011. Fourteen women died. Another 339 women experienced blood loss requiring transfusion.    Young  women  need  to  be  fully educated about medications and treatments that they receive.

More needs to be done to rescue the girls that are caught in the web of human trafficking. Abortion clinics enable abuse when they don’t report the pregnancy of underage girls.

Women need complete information about the side effects and risks associated with hormonal birth control. An article published by the BBC News Magazine was titled “My Nightmare on the Pill”. Vicky Spratt wrote:

We can’t make informed choices without information. We need better research into how hormonal contraception can affect women’s mental health, better ways of monitoring reactions in patients, more awareness and support for those who do experience serious side effects. No woman should feel dismissed or ignored.
To read the whole article click here.

Midwifery Today published statistics on maternal death following childbirth. Almost all countries are seeing the rate go down. In the U.S. the rate is going up. In 2015 the rate was 14 deaths per 100,000 births.

Women would benefit from an increase in the availability of midwives. Illinois could move forward and license certified professional midwives. Midwives educate women on healthy lifestyles and childbirth care at lower cost.

Pray for the women in our country and across the world. Pray that they would find their identity in Christ. Pray that every woman could grow and mature with support, health education and good healthcare.

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist,  Grace & Truth and Thought Provoking Thursday

Healthy Potato Salad with a Finnish Twist

Today I am making some potato salad for dinner. I read an interesting article that listed the health benefits available in potatoes and rice which are cooked and then cooled. According to the article: The process of cooking and then cooling potatoes and rice leads to the formation of resistant starch, a type of dietary fiber. The article goes on to state the benefits of resistant starch to colon health. You can read the article here.

So I am reposting a recipe that I have shared before–a Finnish recipe.

6 medium size yukon gold potatoes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 apple (I like pink lady for this recipe)

1 large dill pickle

2 Tablespoons of chopped chives

1 garlic clove, peeled and diced (optional)

1/3 cup whole milk yogurt

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Steam the potatoes until tender. Immediately peel them—the skin will slip off with a little effort. (I use a fork to stabilize the potato and a knife to gently remove the skin.) Chop the hot potatoes coarsely. Mix the olive oil and vinegar and add it to the potatoes. Mix. Then add the mayonnaise. Mix. A southern chef taught me this process of working with the potatoes while they are still hot to preserve the creamy quality of the potatoes.

Then refrigerate the potatoes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel and chop the apple, dice the dill pickle and garlic clove. Add the apple, pickle, garlic and chives to the potatoes and mix.

Make sure the potatoes have cooled down before adding the yogurt. When it is cool add the yogurt, salt and pepper.

If you make the salad a day ahead the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Enjoy!!

Healthy potato Salad with a Finnish Twist

Potatoes have these nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin B-1, Niacin, Potassium and Iron.

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission has these tips for storing potatoes:

  • Handle gently. Bumps and bruises can lead to rot.
  • Store at a temperature between 40 to 50 degrees. Storing in the refrigerator may be too cool, causing the potato starch to turn to sugar. (I don’t really have room in my refrigerator for a bag of potatoes.)
  • Store in a dark dry place. It is a little challenging to store potatoes in the summer! Any ideas?

I am sharing this post at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party

 

 

 

When You’re in the Middle You Need to Pray

Today I am joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday:  We write fast and free, for five minutes flat. The prompt is MIDDLE.

Middle of the Grandchildren

In the photo above my husband and I are sitting in the middle of our grandchildren. This is a wonderful place.

In our extended family we are in the middle of youth and aging. My mother is gradually drifting away as dementia progresses. This is hard. Our family is facing change.

As a nation we are in the middle, between the current administration and the next.   Next week we will have a new president, but divisiveness in our country continues.   We are in a period of change. How will it work out?

There is bright spot. The new administration is planning to take a careful look at the controversial issue of vaccines. As a grandmother (and nurse) I am concerned about the health of children. I am encouraged that Robert Kennedy Jr. will be leading a commission on vaccine safety.     Vaccines have their place, but are children receiving too many, too soon?

You can read about my experience and concern regarding the MMR here.

In all periods of change we need to pray for wisdom, pray for our families, pray for our nation, pray for our government leaders.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Thanks for visiting! Please visit my Facebook page.

I’m sharing this post with Grace & Truth

Blessed by People of Faith

Today I am joining Five Minute Friday, writing on the prompt: connect.

In December my husband and I  traveled  to Philadelphia  where  we   connected with the history of our country. We saw the Liberty Bell.

We walked through Independence Hall where the founding fathers wrestled with the formation of a nation that would provide liberty and religious freedom.

The Liberty Museum is a few blocks from Independence Hall. On the third floor we viewed artwork and stained glass that connected the pursuit of liberty with the people of Israel and the Puritans.

Deborah was a judge in Israel that participated in the fight to free their people from oppression by the king of Canaan.

Connect with history

John the Baptist baptized people and pointed them to the Savior who could free them from their sins.

The Puritans came to America with the Bible in pursuit of religious freedom.

Puritans

In America we stand on a foundation laid by people of faith that came before us.

Sharing this post with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday and Grace & Truth

Attentive is my Word for 2017

Instead of a New Year resolution, I have found it beneficial to choose a word to focus on. It is a spiritual practice for me.

Attentive is my word for 2017. The dictionary gives this meaning: heedful, observant, paying attention. The events taking place in the world can be fearful. I want to keep my eyes on the Lord.

I have been musing on the way that Mary,  Simeon  and  Anna were      attentive to God’s word and the events taking place around them  ( as described in the first two chapters of the gospel of Luke). Mary praised God with faith when the angel told her that she would bear a son.     Simeon and Anna were there when Jesus was presented at the temple in Jerusalem for consecration. Simeon was watching and waiting for the promise of a Savior and praised God for the salvation that would come through Jesus. Anna gave thanks to God.

I am encouraged by the faith and hope Mary, Simeon and Anna displayed. They did not doubt the sovereignty of God! The words of the Psalms were real to them.

My heart is steadfast, O God: I will sing and make music with all my soul.

Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the people.

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth.     Psalm 108: 1-5

There are three ways that I can actively be attentive.

    1. Study God’s word. I am delighted that one of the gifts we received for Christmas is a devotional that will take us through the Psalms, The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller.
    2. Spend time in prayer. I do pray, but I can increase the time  praying and listening.
    3. Seek the Lord in loving others. We live in a divisive culture and I need the Lord’s direction in showing His love.

May God guide you through 2017. Thanks for visiting!

Sharing this post with Grace & TruthThought Provoking ThursdayChristian Blogger,  Word of God Speak and Glimpses of his Beauty

Merry Christmas!

Here is a portion of the Christmas letter that I wrote on December 4th and sent out with our cards:

The homes in our neighborhood are decorated for Christmas, and today we had our first snowfall. The trees sparkle with white icing. At church we sang Christmas carols and wrote cards for Christians that are currently imprisoned for their faith.

Our hope for this beautiful world, created by God, but broken by sin, rests in God’s plan of salvation through Jesus. Job, a man of faith in the Old Testament, has words of hope. For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25

The apostle John wrote about about God’s plan of salvation in his gospel. John recorded the words of Jesus. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16   This is the gift of Christmas.

Many thanks to all my readers and my best wishes for joy in the New Year!

Christmas Pointsetta

The nativity image is courtesy of FreeVintageArt.com