Updated: May 7
SO HAPPY for these two beautiful humans. Our son, Jacob, and future daughter-in-law, Hailey, celebrate their May 1 graduation from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. We're so sad that we can't gather for a traditional commencement ceremony and celebrate their great achievements as one would when not in the middle of a pandemic. We look forward to their bright future and other opportunities to celebrate.
It’s cliche, but gratitude is an attitude. You have it or you don’t. It’s a lifestyle. It can be acquired, cultivated.
This doesn’t mean always remembering to say please and thank you. Sometime we forget. And though they do play an important part, gratefulness is more than just words.
This character quality is closely related to generosity, grace and mercy. When we are aware of how good we have it, and that it’s not all because of our own efforts, this posture of humility lends itself to a heart of gratitude.
Do we spend time daily taking inventory of our blessings, thanking the Creator, the giver of all good things? It’s easy to forget if we don’t make this an intentional habit. Do we pause to acknowledge others, not just for things given to or done for us, but for how they are—thoughtful, patient, joyful, talented?
I am grateful for my wonderful mother, who though raped and pregnant, chose to protect me and allow another family to raise me. I am grateful for my blessed parents, who lovingly adopted and raised me. I am grateful for my beautiful siblings, amazing husband and our four lovely children and all their precious cousins. By marriage, I blessed with an extended family full of moms, dads and siblings.
Besides all the fantastic family the Lord has blessed me with in Messiah’s holy community—dozens of close-knit spiritual sisters and brothers--I have many special friends who enrich my life, bless and challenge me.
I could fill pages with specific things for which I am grateful, but here’s a short list: water, the sun and all the starry hosts, Earth, soil, plants, trees, animals, delicious food, good clothing and housing, music, books, theatre, art, movies, technology, modern transportation. The person I treasure most is the Creator of all and His redemption through the Messiah, which gives me ultimate peace, joy and hope—in this life and eternally.
This allows me to be grateful in the midst of confusion, pain, sorrow and disappointment, for I know that my life has purpose—now and forevermore. I know that he is using me to proclaim the good news and bring the message of The Kingdom: forgiveness, abundant life, living water, real food, a vine and fig tree.
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
This quote above is oft-attributed to Mark Twain, though he is not the first person to have penned it. After my last blog post was published, my dear husband noticed an apparent discrepancy in the statistics on two graphics.
PragerU cited wordometers.info as its source for the top four causes of death—abortion being the number one at 41.9 million. LiveAction cited the same statistic at more than 61.5 million. I used screen shots of each from Instagram. I did not research the sources or compare them.
Wikipedia, under the heading “Abortion” cites a 2016 article published in the British medical journal, The Lancet: “Around 56 million abortions are performed each year in the world, with about 45% done unsafely.”
One-hundred percent of those 56 million abortions were unsafe for the fetus/baby.
The statistics on how many babies die from abortion each year will vary depending on the source. IF he or she could talk, each baby killed from abortion would tell you, that her/his abortion was one too many.
And besides never being safe for the baby, abortion is not safe for mothers. Contrary to the rhetoric of pro-abortion advocates, killing a living human inside a mother is never good for her. Health care involves healing not destruction. There are always physical, emotional and spiritual consequences.
From Illinois Right to Life:
"If abortion is empowering to women, then it must not hurt women. Let’s see what science and women themselves have to say. A new study, Abortion, Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Early Adulthood, was published in July of 2016 in the peer-reviewed journal of Sage Open Medicine. The study finds a significantly increased relative risk of mental health disorders for women who have abortions and a link between abortion and 'affective and addictive disorders, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and abuse of marijuana, alcohol, or other illicit drugs.'"
Praise God, there is a way to have authentic healing after an abortion. There is a way to restoration. However, it must include true repentance, otherwise it is a useless bandaid over a gaping wound.
Beautiful Blessed Birdies
During this last week, spring has truly arrived in Michigan with sunny skies, buds popping and birds singing. We have been able to enjoy weekends at our property in Paris, walking, riding and just siting, observing our surroundings.
On Saturday mornings we like to spend time together in Bible study and singing praise songs. When we have a good cell signal, we have enjoyed plugging in to Shabbat services and worshipping online with Congregation Shema Yisrael.
Last Saturday we weren’t able to connect, so we did Rabbi Loren’s study on the Book of John, prayed and sang some songs. As we sang The Doxology acapella, our son Aaron said he looked out on the deck and saw three songbirds alight on our deck table and stay while we sang. I think they were joining us in this song of praise to the Creator.
Later, Scott shared a very cool story after returning from doing some hopeful deer-enticement clover planting in a couple of fields he had plowed and prepared. Driving along, he noticed a woodcock sitting right next to the trail. He stopped within two feet of the bird. This is very unusual as typically it would have flown off quickly.
Delighted, he watched two baby woodcock hurry out from under the utility vehicle following their mother. He checked under the vehicle to ensure there were no stray babies. After pulling up about 20 feet he stopped to look behind and saw one more baby bird skitter across the trail towards its mother. The mother then began faking a wing injury, flopping away trying to lure Scott farther from her babies. How cool, a mother with her chicks, gathering and protecting them.
Chick-fil-A and Other Edible Bird Stories
We are a meat-eating family, including venison, beef, various poultry and fish. I am concerned about the way animals are treated and try to only eat animals that are responsibly-sourced and treated with care. I wish the animals we ate were all treated ethically and slaughtered in a conscientious way. However, I know this is not always the case.
Scott has recently been enjoying native Michigander Steve Rinella's show and cookbook, MeatEater
Though we try to buy kosher and organic, we don’t always. Wild game is rarely bled out as it dies. And eating fast-food is one of the least responsible ways to eat meat, but wow, can it be delicious! So, like millions of others, we have an affinity for Chick-fil-A (two sauces please).
It’s a good thing for us (and the chicken) that there aren’t any near us. But when we go through Lansing, we occasionally pull through the drive-thru for dinner. Yesterday, thanks to Katelyn in the car ahead of us, our meal was cost-free for us! We took her lead and paid for the customer behind us. The joy of this experience long outlasted the pleasure of that chicken sandwich. What a cool thing to do! Thanks so much dear-Katelyn-whoever-you-are for blessing and inspiring us.
No turtle soup, thank you. Check out this cool Eastern Painted Turtle. Bella noticed him far from the lake and called me over. He let me get close but was in a hurry to get away. After a brief photo session, I left him alone.
Bella found this egg in the field while planting maple trees with her dad. Scott thinks it's a turkey egg. They hunted for turkey this morning, May 1, the last day for the spring turkey hunt in Michigan. They saw a hen, but no toms or gobblers as they are called for their signature utterance. One more chance to bag a big bird for dinner this evening. Turkey tacos anyone?