Mercy in a Children’s Book

A terrible accident took place in the hills of Switzerland. A child sustained a debilitating injury and one boy, Lucien, had provoked the accident.  This is how the story begins in Patricia St. John’s book, Treasures of the Snow. This book for children was first published in 1948.

As I continued to read, I was startled by the clear themes of sin, anger, and bitterness—and the way sin makes barriers between people. The story was told with gentleness, but was bringing a clear message to children about the human heart.

The grandmother has nuggets of truth for Annette who struggles with bitterness.

Every day of your life, ugly, angry selfish thoughts will knock at the door and try to get in again. Don’t try to push them back yourself. Ask Jesus to help you by filling you with His love. Read about the love of Jesus every day in your Bible. If you keep your heart full of it, there won’t be room for those bad thoughts to stay. [p. 172]

As the story continues Annette and Lucien both realize their own sin. This is the beginning of mercy, compassion and healing. //

Patricia St. John’s story has lingered in my mind because of the deep truths embedded in the words.

In the book of Hebrews we find this guidance.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14 – 16

Linking this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community and Heart Encouragement.

Text edited: Correction made to scripture reference. The scripture text is from the book of Hebrews.

The Right Life-map

This past week I skipped my morning Bible study a couple of days. Instead I read a few articles in the newspaper at the breakfast table.

The tension of our current time put my nerves on edge. I felt irritable. I drank more coffee and spent too much time on social media. I pondered the effects of the pandemic and the various theories and recommendations. The current state of politics upsets me too. I didn’t sleep well.

Yesterday I pulled out my Bible and spent time in prayer to begin the day. I was reminded that my hope is in the Lord. God is sovereign and He knows what is happening.

With calmness and focus I went outside to work on the yard. I pulled weeds and trimmed bushes. I prayed for our neighbor who lost a sister this week.

The wild rose bush was a challenge but I stayed with it. I chopped the thorny branches until I was tired. Then I came inside for a cold drink of water. It felt good.

The fall season that is coming will be a challenge. There are many uncertainties and we need God’s guidance. He is faithful. I need time reading the Bible every morning.

The revelation of Yahweh is whole and pulls our lives together.

The signposts of Yahweh are clear and point out the right road.

The life-maps of Yahweh are right, showing the way to joy.

The directions of Yahweh are plain and easy on the eyes.

Yahweh’s reputation is twenty-four carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.

The decisions of Yahweh are accurate down to the nth degree.

Psalm 19: 7-11 MSG

Linking this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Todays prompt is: RIGHT

Are We Making Progress?

Perhaps you saw it in the news. Two people from the Students for Life organization were arrested last Saturday for writing with chalk on the side walk outside of a Planned Parenthood building in Washington D.C. What did they write? Preborn Black Lives Matter.

Remember that the Mayor authorized the painting of Black Lives Matter on the street in Washington D. C. Others painted Defund the Police. 

Students for Life received a permit to be on the side walk outside of Planned Parenthood and had requested permission to write on the sidewalk. They were told to use a temporary paint. When they got there the police told them that they couldn’t paint on the side walk. So they used chalk. Two of their group were arrested and taken to a jail cell. Why were their voices shut down? 

Are we making progress in the health and wellbeing of all women and children?

 “while Black women accounted for 38 percent of reported abortions, population estimates for 2016 (like 2015) show that African Americans made up just 12 percent of the population. This news comes on the heels of deliberate efforts by the abortion lobby to market abortions among women of color as a positive.”

Planned Parenthood was started by Margaret Sanger who had ties to eugenicists. I read her biography and wrote a post comparing the passion of Margaret Sanger with the passion of Lilias Trotter.

Recently I saw an article about Dr. Mildred Jefferson who was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard in 1951. She was also the co-founder of the Right to Life organization. She made these assertions:

I would guess that the abortionists have done more to get rid of generations and cripple others than all of the years of slavery and lynchings.

There are now more abortions than live births in Washington DC, and the same is true for New York City,” 

It seems to me we should review the steps government policy has taken to “help” women in need. What are the longterm consequences? Have we made progress in the health of black lives? 

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing group.

Respect in Marriage

Marriage is a refining relationship, My husband and I are in our 44th year of marriage. We have had low points and high points. A number of years ago we read the book, Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, with our small group.

The book gave me pause. I understood the importance of love in a marriage, but respect? The dictionary defines respect: to consider worthy of high regard: esteem.

When we had disagreements did I still demonstrate respect? It was helpful to consider this as it encouraged me to see things from my husband’s point of view, respecting his knowledge and experience. Trusting him. He once said to me, “Please trust me.”

There are learning curves in marriage. Both love and respect are important ingredients in a healthy growing marriage.

God designed marriage and family as the foundational social unit. 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1: 27-28

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2: 24

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: RESPECT

Nine Tips for a Young Woman

As a mom, grandmother and nurse What advice would I give to a young woman?

Learn about life practices that support your health: nutrition, exercise, rest.

Pay attention to the rhythm of your body, because your cycles give insight into your health.

Don’t share your body intimately with a young man outside of marriage. Sex is a sacred bond between a man and a woman.

Trust your body. During pregnancy and childbirth lean into your faith in God with prayer.

As a parent, trust your instincts and remember that you will always be the best advocate for your child.

Ask questions when you visit a doctor. Medical practice is moving towards one-size fits all policies. If we go to socialized medicine this will increase. It is important to remember that all medicines and vaccines have side effects and risks. Learn about the risks and benefits as you make decisions for your child.

Pray for wisdom and trust God to guide you.

No one is perfect. We all have human failings. Confess your faults, forgive yourself and others.

Respect moms that have made choices that are different from yours.

Linking this post to Heart Encouragement, Inspire Me Monday and the Five Minute Friday writing community.

Joy in the Garden

It is a challenge to grow plants from seed, but there is a reward. I am delighted by Heirloom Bells of Ireland. This is the first year I have successfully grown them.

As I walked around watering plants I noticed the first calendula bloom.

This heirloom tomato plant is growing tomatoes in a bunch.

What is growing in your garden?

Linking this post with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday and Marci’s Star Blog Hop

Smiles Behind the Mask

Our library is open again! Yesterday I picked out a stack of books and a few DVDs. When I went to the desk to check out, the librarian commented on my stack. “Ah.looks like you are catching up on reading.”

And I responded, “Actually I had a couple thicks books on my shelf that I planned to read someday. And someday arrived. But I am so glad that the library is open again.”

She chuckled and I could imagine the grin on her face. I had to imagine because we were both wearing masks.

In this age of mask wearing our smiles must come with the words we speak. We have opportunities to share cheerful thoughts with cashiers, waiters, waitresses and postal workers.

I am thankful that my neighbor and I can share smiles and gardening tips over the back fence. We don’t need to wear masks in our backyards. 

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

Amazing Microbiome

Linking this post with the Five Minute Friday writing group. Today’s prompt is: SMILE

The Joy and Puzzle of Gardening

One of the benefits of the pandemic has been more time for gardening. More time to enjoy beautiful blooms, more time to think about soil, fertilizer and watering.

This year the peonies were especially lovely.

Japanese Peony

I did try to transplant one peony plant that wasn’t getting much sunlight. The plant wilted in protest and I have tried to save it. My hope is that it will come back next year. (Peonies don’t like to be moved—and maybe the springtime was the wrong time to try.)

In the past few years my squash and pumpkin plants have failed to produce because of the squash vine borer. This year I chose a new location in the yard to plant squash and I may get some.

Zucchini Squash

I’m looking forward to nasturtiums blooming around the yard and in this basket.

Nasturtiums

I don’t have great success with tomatoes. I am trying to grow them in containers. Not sure if I am fertilizing them too much or too little. But they do have little tomatoes.

Tomatoes

I have concluded that I need to water them more frequently than if they were planted in the ground.

These garden issues are a pleasant puzzle and simpler than the problems that face our country.

Do you have a garden? What have you learned?

Sharing this post with Sue’s image-in-ing .

When and How to Compromise

What comes to mind when you hear the word compromise? With the division that we see in politics, compromise doesn’t seem possible. In fact the divisiveness is so bitter that I have to limit my intake of news.

I have been musing on this today. Certainly in marriage my husband and I have made compromises. Some are easy. We like different TV programs. So I will watch Oak Island with my husband and he’ll watch Father Brown with me (but not Call the Midwife).

Other decisions—like household projects—are more difficult. We have to spend more time in discussion, listening to each other. I will confess that sometimes I don’t listen carefully, sometimes my husband doesn’t listen or talk enough. We are both flawed human beings and need to forgive each other.

Good communication and mutual respect is essential for issues that require compromise. 

Currently I am reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas. It is a slow read because the theologians that supported Luther and those against him are described as well as theological views. But the chapter on Luther’s marriage is a great read—and I read some of it aloud to my husband. Martin was 42 years old and had been a monk. Katherine was 26 years old and had been a nun. Both found joy in marriage as God designed it.

One other take away from Martin Luther—as Christians we must never compromise the truth of God’s Word. We need to read the Bible and know what it says. God has given us a design for life in the Bible that is good.

This post is linked to the Five Minute Friday writing community. The prompt is: COMPROMISE It took me much longer than five minutes to gather my thoughts on this word.

The Cherry Tree and Martin Luther: Life Lessons

My husband has offered to cut the cherry tree down. Several times.

I was thrilled when the tree offered a bountiful harvest of cherries, sweet with a little tartness.

Then came the year of brown rot and mold. We spent a week picking all the rotten fruit and cleaning up the mess. 

Another year a late snowfall came while the tree was in blossom. There were no cherries that year.

Over the past few years Japanese beetles have discovered the tree. They eat the leaves on the tree, weakening it. So I tried picking them off, dropping them in a bucket of soapy water, as some fell down my shirt. Last year I treated the tree with neem oil.

This year is a recovery year, but the robins honed in on the ripening fruit. I have to admire their zealous pursuit of the cherries. I hung a couple of garden shop owls in the tree and also shiny CDs.

The cherries were of such great worth to the robins that they played out a dramatic scene.  I can see the tree—it is just outside my kitchen window. 

The robins showed acrobatic moves, twisting their necks to reach a cheery hanging below a branch. They would fly in with a focus on a cherry, see an owl and flutter like a hummingbird. Then they would seize a cherry and speed away.

I picked a quart of cherries. The robins consumed the rest. I have been thinking about the focus and determination of the robins (and also my determined attempts to save the cherry tree lol). What are the things of great value, deserving my focus? //

During this time at home I have pulled some books off the shelf that had intimidated me by their length. Currently I am reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and changed the World by Eric Metaxas. 

Martin Luther was totally focused on understanding the Bible, learning the true meaning. He pursued faith in God with his whole heart. Luther demonstrated in his life the most worthwhile goal—an example for us to follow. The greatest treasure in our lives is a relationship with God through Jesus.

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: WORTH