The mild fall that we have had has allowed me to spend more time in the yard. I have been planting and transplanting and raking leaves. My husband was working also, creating piles of branches.
He has a chain saw and after he took down one tree he found lots of branches to trim. Something about climbing ladders and using the saw—I saw the boy in my husband. The clean-up was not as interesting, so I became involved.
As I cut up branches and filled yard bags I discovered something I hadn’t noticed before. All the branches had buds for the spring. I looked at the cherry tree and the maple tree and saw the promise of spring already on the limbs.
I walked around to the cottonwood tree. The buds weren’t as noticeable, but they were there. When winter comes, God is already planning for spring.
The promise of spring is in the Bible. Can you imagine what it was like to be a disciple at the Last Supper with Jesus? After Judas left Jesus explained that he was going away.
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow me afterward.” John 13: 36
The winter was coming, but not without the promise of spring.
“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14: 1-3
We may become depressed with the chaos in our culture. It may be like winter. God is still sovereign, and Jesus asks us to be obedient. God has planned the seasons of life and the return of Jesus Christ.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The mild fall weather is so welcome! Yard work is pleasant and I have found some fall raspberries to savor while I work.
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.
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.
*Alice Cooke Brown, Early American Herb Recipes, Japan: The Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., 1966. p. 114.
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.
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.
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.
Consider having a midwife for birth attendant. Do some research on home birth, freestanding birth centers, and midwifery practices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The trees in Upper Michigan are in splendid color. It is like a song of praise to the creator.
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.
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
The sage in my garden is thriving. This summer it flowered.
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.
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!!
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?
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)