The Wisdom of The Time Changer

The Time Changer MovieI was talking to a girlfriend not long ago about the changes in our society, and she recommended and lent me the movie called The Time Changer. It was produced in 2002, so you may have already seen it, and the acting is not stellar, so if you haven’t seen it, I have to warn you that neither the pace nor portrayals are mesmerizing. In fact, I had to wait until Mother’s Day to get any takers to join me in persevering through it, but the basic message of this sci-fi drama did ring true in my heart, and so I want to recommend it, especially if you have young kids in your home. 30-9-330 The Time Changer is a worthy 95-minute, PG-rated movie that might produce some profitable discussion, especially if flavored with a bowl of popcorn.  :)  The Time Changer The plot and point are simple: A Bible professor from 1890 is transported to the future (present day modern America) and is aghast at what he finds. The biblical principles of morality (on which our country were founded) had been separated from their authority (God) and eventually considered invalid. I’ve lived through the truth of this movie. Although the name Madalyn Murray O’Hair may mean little to those of you born after 1970, she was a notorious atheist and dissident who had a primary role in eliminating Bible reading and prayer from our public schools. I was born in 1950, and we used to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the Lord’s Prayer every morning at the beginning of our school day. (Yes, in the public schools.) Praying together and any official reading of the Bible ended in 1962-3—my junior high years, and the time when I became a believer. The changes in our school system since that time have been profound, so much so that I went from loving public schools to home schooling my children just to protect them from the degeneration of the public system, not only morally, but academically and socially as well. Since America went off the gold standard, it’s been floundering in a morass of rule by public opinion that’s as unstable and changeable as quicksand. Where there is no God, there is no foundation for moral law. Our country desperately needs a return to godly wisdom.loadimage

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

May Your Memorial Day Memories Bring You Peace

Army 2Today is “Memorial Day” in America…the day we remember all the heroic men and women who sacrifice their security so that the rest of us can enjoy security. Turkey Nest 5.15.15+3And, I will say, our family does have the great blessing of security right now. It’s so peaceful here that a wild turkey laid her eggs snuggled up against our home! Wilderness St. ParkAlan and I went camping up north to Wilderness State Park for two nights. TrilliumThe woodland floor was covered with trillium. Mackinac Island Birches Saturday we walked all the way around Mackinac Island. It was so peaceful! Worship ServiceYesterday we were free to enjoy our church’s worship service, Popcorn and last night we watched a movie while sharing a bowl of popcorn.Racoon on waterfrontToday Alan and I have been working hard washing up and cleaning up. GeraniumsMy job has been laundry, weeding the gardens, and planting flowers, Wisteriawhile Alan’s been hard at work cutting the grass and washing vehicles, Daniel and Samuelbut after we’re done working, we’re looking forward to a relaxing evening with some of our kids and one of our grand babies. Memorial RemembraceNone of these wonderful, simple pleasures would be possible if our world was at war, and so I want to say a huge “THANK YOU” to our military!!! Rocky Ride home from Mackinac IslandI also pray for peace and good will for everyone around the world, knowing that for many people, life is very rough and rocky…for some…terrible. Wild Turkey eggs in nestRegardless of our outward circumstances, my our spirits snuggle up in the bosom of our Father and find a place of peace and safety.

“Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.” (Psalm 84:3)

(* The two pictures of military were saved from email forwards, but the rest were taken around my house and up north.)

Rise Up, My Love (138): Blessings after Trials

Classic Downy Pose 2.19.15 copySong of Solomon 5:1 “myrrh with my spice…” (Written in 1998) Speaking of God’s blessings after our trials, our baby woodpeckers have since grown up. Although two died without our understanding what was wrong, three survived and have been returned to their wonderful outdoor home. But, the three who grew to adulthood have become permanent friends! I hear them singing right now, and they still fly down and sit on our heads and shoulders when we go outside! They know that they’ll get a free ride inside and some fresh mulberries or a few bits of tasty walnut, and a little companionship before being taken back outside. If we’re too long in answering their calls, they’ll hop on the railing of the deck or land on the screen of our sliding back door, and look inside to see who might come out to play! For the children—and for all of us—it has been a great delight to watch a batch of babies grow up. We’ve learned together lessons we’ll never forget: how demanding and tiring it is to supply the needs of babies; how challenging it is to teach “teenagers” to fly and feed themselves; how emotionally difficult it is to release young adults and let them fly free; and how thrilling and comforting it is to watch adults become independent, but still love to come home for visits!

My father, who was a retired English professor, always wanted to write a book on “the good life,” and one of his chapters was to be on “the good life is varied.” Variety is truly the ‘spice of life.’ How dull our lives would become without the “divine interruptions” that the Lord puts in our path! It is the unexpected that is often so trying; but it is also the unexpected that produces the most change and growth. Was James insane when he wrote, “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (James 1:3)? Of course not! He was divinely inspired to see things from God’s perspective, and he understood (at least for that moment…I’m sure he struggled to live out the truths he knew just the way we all do) that, “knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:4).

Oh, precious heavenly husband, who gathers into our bundle of sorrow and suffering his spice, those little unexpected variations that bring out flavor and make our life experiences deeper and richer…His blessings, which make our lives full and cause us to overflow with thanksgiving and praise for his goodness! Our spice, our blessings—given by him, become his spice, our thanksgiving—given to him! Thank you, thank you, dear God, for you do all things well!

 

 

Bless Your Baby (Ideas for their Twelfth Week)

  1. Music and Patience AppreciationBook. Baby sleeping“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17

PRAYER: Dear Lord, Please keep me from ever making Baby suffer needlessly! Give me great discernment to understand the difference between his immature behaviors that need training, and his true needs that require compassionate care. Please bless me with wisdom and patience to bring up Baby in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Thank you for the assurance that the work of righteousness will indeed be peace for Baby, and that the effect of righteousness will be quietness and assurance forever. May Baby be blessed with a long life of righteous living and quiet confidence in you!

THOUGHT: By the time Aaron was this age, I used to complain that his attention span was only forty-five seconds, and I just didn’t know enough one-minute routines to keep him occupied. (This was a major motivation for me to write a book for you!) Many babies will be more than happy to commandeer almost all of Mom’s attention while awake, but mothers have too many other responsibilities to be able to provide for their infant’s desire for companionship and entertainment indefinitely.

ACTIVITY: It is fair, reasonable, and healthy for Baby to be required to entertain himself for a little while now and again, and it is absolutely essential for the mother’s long-term sanity! So, don’t feel guilty if Baby is full, clean, dry, warm, safe and secure from all alarms, has been loved up, entertained, and has a toy in hand but still pitches a fit when you turn your back to wash dishes or need to lie down for a half-hour nap. These are the perfect times for “music appreciation.” Give Baby a wide exposure to fine music!

  1. Take a Time Out for SicknessBanana. Cooking with baby in pack“Thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” Psalm 71:5

PRAYER: Father, we are in awe that you know the number of hairs on our head and are aware of even the tiniest sparrow when it falls. We acknowledge you as “the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” How we’re looking forward to the blessed hope of your return, and we wait with great expectation for your glorious reappearance when all the world will be made right…when there will be no more tears or sorrow or sickness or death. Dear Lord, please shield Baby from illness, and when she is ill, please heal her quickly and completely. You are truly our only hope, O Lord GOD. You are our trust from our youth. Bless Baby, Lord. May she live a long and happy life, and may she be able to say all along her way, “Thou art my trust from my youth.”

THOUGHT: How do you make any forward progress when your baby gets unexpectedly sick? Cuddly carriers where Baby can be held close to your chest are great (if you have the back for it). They also make carriers for the front so the baby can face in or out, and papoose-style carriers for the back so the baby can face toward you, etc. Experiment and find something that fits your body. This is probably the easiest way of keeping Baby upright so she can breathe and feel secure when she’s sick but you need to work.

ACTIVITY: Obviously, the best “activity” for a sick baby is for you to take a “time out” and cancel or defer as many of your plans as possible. Hold Baby, rock her, sing softly to her, let her nurse as needed and explore your face with her hands…just let her feel your quiet love. A sick baby needs nurturing, peace, security, and rest as much as possible.

  1. Frightening FeversMom and Baby Yawning“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” James 5:14-15

PRAYER: Dear matchless Savior who is the health of our countenance, and our God, why should we be so terribly frightened and anxious when Baby is ill? Forgive us for being so frail! You say to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let our requests be made known to you. Father, give us the grace to do so!

THOUGHT: Sometimes the best activity is a call to the doctor or even take a trip to the emergency room. Illnesses are very scary to every parent, but even a simple cold can be extremely frightening to a young mother…and to a young baby as well! If your baby loses his appetite, seems lethargic, has a fever, or exhibits any other symptom that could signal a serious health problem, call your doctor immediately! Don’t be afraid your pediatrician will think you’re stupid. Even a common cold can be serious for an infant if it isn’t treated properly. Better a doting parent than a dead baby. Never take a chance.

ACTIVITY: If Baby isn’t too lethargic but just wants to sit on your lap, try entertaining him by dangling various toys (one at a time) on a string right in front of him while you’re holding him on your lap. He can practice trying to grab at toys without much effort, or at least he might find the various visuals interesting. Also, always remember that music is very soothing. Even if the New York Metropolitan Opera hasn’t presented you with a contract, sing to Baby. Your voice will comfort him, so lull him with gentle lullabies.

  1. Appreciating Those Who Help Us9 weeks, 10 pounds!“Blessed be…the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4

PRAYER: Dear God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for being the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. We are so grateful for who you are! Thank you that you reveal yourself to us as a father. Thank you for allowing us to be parents. It gives us a tiny inkling about the fellowship of your sufferings when we understand your father’s heart and all that Christ endured for love of us. Help us to always trust you completely and be compassionate comforters for others who are struggling. And Lord, thank you for every time you heal our Baby! Truly, you are the Great Physician!

THOUGHT: My sister used to say the only man she adored besides her husband was her child’s pediatrician. A wise and compassionate doctor is a huge blessing. Do you have a pediatrician that you trust? If not, make it a priority to ask around and study up until you hear repeated good stories about someone, and then try to get that doctor for your child. Don’t wait until there’s a crisis. You need to have someone you can count on in a crisis!

ACTIVITY: If you trust and respect your pediatrician, consider writing a brief note telling your doctor how much you appreciate his care for Baby, being as specific as you can. Your doctor will cherish the card, and he will be especially happy to help you the next time you need to call for advice! As Mark Twain said, “A man can go a whole month on a good compliment.” May we gratefully acknowledge those who help us.

  1. How to Make the Medicine Go Down Without a Spoonful of SugarLooking around“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:3

PRAYER: Dear Sun of Righteousness who arises with healing in your wings, thank you for all the healing you did while you were here on earth, and for all the healing you have already accomplished in our lives and in Baby’s life. Thank you for all the medicines—both old and new—that are available to us. We pray that you would bless and keep Baby in good health…physically to be sure, but most importantly spiritually! Help us to be wise in our acquisition of just the right medicines to meet Baby’s needs when they arise, and give Baby the grace to accept medicines from our hand. May she grow up to be discerning of what is good and what is bad, carefully accepting what is best for her, but soundly rejecting anything that would be bad for her!

THOUGHT: Some days your big activity is just going to be just getting medicine down an unwilling customer’s throat. When Baby’s old enough for solids, you can grind the pill to powder and put it in something sweet, like applesauce, but what can you do for your infant now?

ACTIVITY: The best way we found to get medicine down was by filling to the prescribed line the plastic eye dropper that came with the bottle, then placing it gently into Baby’s mouth close to one cheek while Baby was sitting in a half-reclining position as if she were going to nurse. That way the fluid is more likely to go down her throat rather then back out, but it’s less likely to choke her if she doesn’t recognize it as nourishment and voluntarily swallow.

 

  1. Introducing BooksBaby with his books“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

PRAYER: Thank you, dear Father, for redeeming us to yourself and rescuing us from trouble! Thank you for all the times you’ve kept Baby safe…during the long months of pregnancy, through the trauma of birth, and now through these first critical weeks. In many countries, infant mortality rates are so high! Thank you that we live in a country where we enjoy ample clean water, nourishing food, warm clothing, a secure home, and fresh air. May we always be grateful for your countless blessings. May we be mindful to share our material blessings with those who are less fortunate. Help us to be aware of the needs of those around us and learn to love others in very practical ways.

THOUGHT: What’s a good activity for a day when Baby is still sick but on the mend and feeling social? Have you tried any books yet? There are two types of books that are pretty indestructible: the small, thick cardboard types, and the ones with plastic pages that don’t rip or dissolve in saliva (although they do wrinkle). Give Baby a chance to examine a few books and discover that books are worth a look (as well as a chew).

ACTIVITY: Perhaps my son Joel’s most cherished book was a small, plastic-covered photo album I made for him with simple photos in it. If you tape the picture slots closed, the pictures are fairly resistant to saliva. A picture book for Baby with photos of all his favorite people—Daddy, Mama, himself, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and close friends—can really be exciting for him. You might also include favorite food and clothing items, pets, your home, favored toys, or other things that Baby especially enjoys.

  1. An Interactive Game for Baby and ToddlersCousins visit“He led them on safely, so that they feared not.” Psalm 78:53

PRAYER: Dear omnipresent Father, who watches over us by day and night, guarding us more tenderly than a shepherd defending his sheep, please keep Baby safe from instant death or any of the frightening syndromes that exist. Thank you for the knowledge “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Lord, we cling to that hope! We pray for Baby to live a long and healthy life, but we submit to your wisdom, resting in the knowledge that no matter what happens, you love our baby even more than we do. We surrender her again to you and entrust her to your loving care.

THOUGHT: There will be plenty of times when you and Baby are around other young children who are interested in interacting with your infant. Try engaging them in a game!

ACTIVITY “What’s This?” is a good game to involve eager toddlers with you child. Point to something on yourself such as hands, feet, arms, legs, chin, hair, shirt, pants, shoes, ears, fingers, toes, (but not eyes) and various colors or types of clothing, helping the toddler name the item, and then asking him to point to the same place on himself (if it exists…obviously some colors and clothing may not), and then allow the child to gently touch the same spot on Baby. This keeps Baby securely under your protective care but will satisfy both Baby and his buddy and give them some happy time “playing” together.

 

How’s it Going??

Losing Weight 1Alan showed me this great cartoon the other day. Dog diet joke BTW, several of you said I shouldn’t stop encouraging weight loss altogether, and so I’m checking in with you today with a couple of tips…  :)How to Lose Weight Fast I’ve lost 12.6, which is about halfway to my goal of losing 23.  How is it going for you? Does your weight go up and down day by day like the totally unpredictable moods of a 13-year-old? diet-joke Mine sure does, but I’m learning to hold steady and not get too bent out of shape if I’m absolutely positive my weight will be down when in fact it goes up overnight. Isn’t that so disappointing?  However, if we keep at it, eventually we’ll lose those extra pounds, right? dieting-tip-joke Got any good jokes, insights or stories from your journey to share? 11182203_765769403535809_1047693636002726147_n Blessings as you work!!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

Bangkok’s Most Spectacular Landmark: The Grand Palace

Chao Phraya River, ThailandNestled in the heart of Bangkok along the banks of the Chao Phraya River Grand Palace. Bangkok Walls is a gorgeous complex of buildings known as the Grand Palace, Religious Service Grand Palace. Bangkok which is the pulsing heart of Thailand’s political and religious life. Elephants guarding entrance to Grand Palace in Bangkok The walls for this 2.3+million sq.ft. park were built in 1782, Grand Palace. Bangkok 1 and since its inception, the Grand Palace has not only been Royal Residence Grand Palace. Bangkok the official residence of all the Kings of Siam (now “Thailand”) Grand Palace. Bangkok but also home to the nation’s most sacred Buddhist temple, Grand Palace. Bangkok Wat Phra Kaeo known as the Wat Pra Kaeo, the “Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha.” Emerald_Buddha_Photo_Wiki Commons by WPPilot The Emerald Buddha was actually carved from a single piece of dark green jade, is 26″ high, and can only be touched by the current king, who changes his robes at the beginning of each of their three seasons: summer, winter, and rainy. Buddhist Monk Grand Palace. Bangkok The Thai people believe the Emerald Buddha will bring them good fortune and prosperity. Steps of Chapel of the Emerald Buddha Grand Palace. Bangkok The Emerald Buddha has a history somewhat similar to that of the Golden Buddha (which I told 2 days ago). Grand Palace. Bangkok 2 Although much of it’s long history is legendary, the factual part that can be substantiated is that its true value was lost for centuries…until 1434, Ornate Buildings Grand Palace. Bangkok when a lightning storm struck the temple where it was housed, Mosaic Inlays Grand Palace. Bangkok toppling and chipping the statue’s nose as well as washing away some of its stucco exterior to reveal gemstone underneath. (Photo of wall of Wat Phra Kaeo)Gardens and Wall Grand Palace. Bangkok Now, I welcome anyone to correct me, but my understanding has always been that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion which teaches there is no creator-god and tries to encourage people to overcome suffering through enlightened perspectives. Grand Palace. Thailand Buddha didn’t believe in God, but it looks to me like he’s been turned into a god. Intricate Mosaiacs Grand Palace. Bangkok Please refine my thinking if you are a Buddhist and would like to explain what’s really happening at Buddhist temples. Grand Palace Vistas. Bangkok Are people worshiping Buddha? Thank you!

Haiku: “Puzzlement” Stone Buddha in Garden Grand Palace. Bangkok Great teacher Buddha Worshiping in Buddhist Temple Did you teach there is no God? Altar for Buddha Why are you now gold? Golden Buddha“Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold” (The Bible, Exodus 20:23).

(I took all the above photographs a few weeks ago, except for the picture of the Emerald Buddha, which is by WPPilot, used by permission from Wiki Commons.)

Still Alice: The Movie Everybody Loves about The Disease Nobody Wants

My mom developed Alzheimer’s at around age 75, and I’ll never forget her response when I tried to console her with, “Well, at least you don’t have cancer and feel pain.” Her reply penetrated the depths of my soul: “But emotional pain is even worse, and nobody understands the emotional pain you have to bear.” 150122-editorialStill Alice walks you through one person’s journey into Alzheimer’s, and although it’s a fictional portrayal, it gives an accurate and heart-wrenching look into this devastating illness. still-alice-1024x768Still Alice was written by New York Times best-selling author, Lisa Genova, who is a neuroscientist, earned her PhD at Harvard, taught there, and researched her topic thoroughly before writing. Alan (my husband, who’s an internal medicine physician by background and now the CMO of a psychiatric hospital) read the book and was so impressed that he could hardly wait for the movie to come out. globes-moore_3161675bIn 2014, Still Alice did come out on film and received all sorts of acclaim, especially for Julianne Moore, who won “Best Actress” from the Academy Awards, Globe Awards, etc. etc. etc. (literally) for her remarkable performance.   StillAlice3What’s the plot? In brief, Alice was a brilliant linguist and professor at Harvard (although that was changed to Columbia in the movie version) who was out wk-still0116-1 for her usual jog one day and got lost. Over time, it becomes obvious to her 1401x788-still-alice-03-R2_APPR_STIL and her husband (played by Alec Baldwin) that something is seriously wrong, which her neurologist eventually diagnoses as early-onset, familial Alzheimer’s. still-aliceThe rest of the movie takes you through the progression of the disease and how their family (with 3 young adult children) cope with all the related changes and stresses. Their youngest daughter (pictured above) ends up helping out (which is what I did at first, although because I was homeschooling our 7 children and had an infant, my sister gallantly took over for several years)…and the conversations sounded all too real, right down to the father telling his daughter, “You’re a better man than I am.”-1If you get a chance, I’d really recommend this movie. Frankly, Still Alice gave me the creeps, because it made me face (again) the fact that I may develop Alzheimer’s. Thankfully, if I do, it didn’t happen 15 years ago (as was the case in Still Alice) and is more likely to develop 10 years hence, but I’ve definitely put in a request with our Father to die of a heart attack instead. :)

Meanwhile, are you prepared to cope with your future, no matter what happens? Are you prepared to die? If you’re not, may I encourage you with the “gospel”? It’s the wonderful good news that Christ died in our place, to pay the penalty for our sins, and that anyone who turns to him in faith will receive forgiveness and eternal life with Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(John 3:16)