I Made My Voice Heard: I Spoke at a School Board Meeting!

“We can no longer stay silent!  We must speak out!” says one impressive leader.

                “We can no longer hide inside the church walls!  We must take the kingdom of God into every mountain of culture!” says another leader.

                “As Christians we have access to the most powerful, creative, intelligent and compassionate being in the universe.  We should be at the top of every mountain!” says another.

                I whole heartedly agree! God put us on this earth, not to find comfort and happiness for ourselves, but to bring His kingdom into this war-torn battlefield.  Whenever I hear a call to action, my first reaction is guilt. In my estimation, I haven’t done very much to impact culture.  Second, I feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the job and the smallness of me.

                How CAN I make my voice heard?

                How DO I make a difference?

                I try to be connected to the Holy Spirit everyday and simply obey what He is telling me to do.  Most days obedience is spending time with Him, serving my family, educating my children, and researching important topics. I know that if I can love my family and teach my children God’s ways, I have accomplished my destiny.  There is nothing more powerful than being part of a living, breathing example of God’s Love.

                Sometimes I feel pushed to do more. Over a year ago I began emailing my school board and superintendent.  This has led to great conversations. I have started to learn about our school district and follow the school board meetings.

                I didn’t want to enroll my three older sons in public school this year.  I had a bad feeling about it. They were adamant about wanting to attend in person school rather than cyber school.  My husband felt that we should give it a shot, since masks were optional. 

                I took my son to the “New Student Orientation” at the High School. We all sat in the auditorium for a message from the principal.  He seemed like a good leader, and I loved his message. 

                “This could be a good place for my son,” I thought to myself. 

                My opinion changed as the principal started giving the parents and students medical advice.  Because of a new quarantine protocol, he advised all students to be vaccinated and wear a mask.  That way, no one would have to lose days of school.  Any student who had been in contact with a sick student would have to quarantine for 10-14 days if they were not vaccinated or not wearing a mask.  His advice had nothing to do with health.  From his perspective, his job was to see all his students successfully through to graduation, and this was the most effective way to do that.

                It was obvious that the protocol was designed to push students to vaccinate.  This is not the place of a school district.  And here was a principal advising that my student get experimental gene therapy with no idea what the short-term or long-term effects would be, simply for the sake of CONVIENIENCE!  How could I let this go unchallenged?

                “You should speak at the next School Board meeting,” I felt the Holy Spirit whispering to me the following weekend.

                “Really!  I don’t think I am ready for that.  Is it really that important? Couldn’t I just email them my views,” I whispered back.

                I COULD NOT shake the feeling.  It got stronger Sunday morning in worship. I asked God for a verse.  He gave me Eph 5:8-11

                “…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as Children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

                These words made me certain that I would please the LORD if I would speak the truth at the school board meeting.  It may not change the dynamics or decisions of the school board that much.  It may not make a huge difference in my children’s schools.  But at least I could please God!  At least I could speak out truth and know that it would not return void!

                I had watched school board meetings over the summer, and the high school auditorium was empty except for the school board members in the front and a few people in the audience.  The last time there were only two public speakers. It would likely just be me and the school board, no big deal. I could do this!

                Monday morning came and I planned on spending most of the day working on a 5-minute speech. I asked my oldest if she could manage the younger children so I could focus.

                I looked on the district website to check the agenda for the meeting. Close to the beginning was time for public speakers.  There were already nine speakers scheduled to speak!  Most appeared to be in favor of universal masking.  One was someone I knew who had previously ripped into me for supporting the Republican platform.  One was the principal himself!  The man who was to be the central focus of my speech to the school board. 

Instantly arrows of palpable fear ripped through my body!

It wasn’t just me and an empty auditorium anymore!  I would have to stand up in front of those who oppose me. What if I was the only one? What if I was attacked?  Public speaking can be daunting. I used to be petrified of the mere thought of it, but God had healed me of that. I wrote about overcoming my fear of rejection in my article, “Fear Won’t Steal my Voice.” I have been able to speak in front of others by His power, but I had never done it in such a circumstance as this.

I retreated to the bathroom to be alone.  My heart was thumping! 

“I don’t think I can do this! How am I going to do this?” I asked God.

God impressed upon me that it was even more important that I speak up. I HAD TO BE A VOICE FOR MY CHILDREN. In fact, my children had a voice also.  If they were going to attempt to thrive in the public school system that was designed to persecute them, they would HAVE to find their voices.

I called on some close friends for prayer coverage.  I told the three boys that they would be speaking tonight and to write out something to say.  I prayed that God would give me a strategy for the day.  He did!  Step by step I followed what I felt He was telling me to do.  I was trembling literally and figuratively, but I couldn’t stop to think about it, I had to keep moving forward.

I looked at the entire agenda again.  Sure enough, right after the public speakers, a new health and safety plan would be approved or denied.  I called the school district to get myself and my boys on the agenda.  The woman told me that the new plan should be uploaded to the website soon. I only had to wait a half an hour before my hunch was confirmed. The plan contained universal masking for every person inside school buildings.

After I had gone to the trouble of registering my students for school and one week before school was to begin, they wanted to change the plan! 

I decided to call the school board members who had given me their phone numbers.  I got through to one.  We had a long conversation, and I learned more than I was bargaining for.  Previously I had thought the board was populated by good meaning people who cared about my students. Perhaps they were just misinformed.  I learned that it is much bigger and much deeper than that: A political and spiritual battle with political and spiritual forces.  Thank goodness I had a prayer covering!

I also learned that 90% of the parental feed back had been pro-mask.  Come on PRO-FREEDOM parents!  We must make our voices heard!

I called two families in the district to ask for their support.  They didn’t realize that a new plan was going to be voted on, probably like most parents in the district.  They couldn’t come to the meeting, but they would pray for me. 

I figured that I should talk with the principal who I was going to reference in my speech.  He actually answered the phone, and we had a great conversation. I first thanked him for his strong leadership. Then I explained to him my position:

We could have in person school and STILL give students medical freedom.

He said that they all had to follow the protocols given to them by the Dept of Education.  I explained to him that those were not laws but guidance, and that our school board had the ability to create their own protocols. He didn’t think that was true: they had to follow other rules given to them by the DOE like the requirement for all 11 graders to get a physical or be prevented from graduating.  I replied that the physical requirement was state law. It had been a bill that was passed by the Senate and the House and signed by the governor years ago.  This new protocol was NOT law, but rather something that the Dept of Health and Dept of Education were telling them they should do.  He admitted that he never realized that there was a difference.

I knew that this battle was not about health at all.  It was about politics.  It was about freedom.  I asked God to show me exactly what He wanted me to speak.  I could have spoken for hours, but I only had five minutes.

I started typing and it took a long time to express all that was rolling around in my brain.  Once I was done, it was way too long.  I cut it, cut it, and cut it again. I had certain objectives:

To please God

To speak truth that had power behind it

To address the concerns of the school board (personal and district liability)

To treat everyone as my advocate or future advocate.  I didn’t want to build a wall. I wanted these people to work for me and with me!

I then researched information on the Senate hearing where the Secretary of Health and the Secretary of Education both stated that the details of the Health and Safety plan were up to the local school boards to determine.  I found the videos and sent them to every school board member and the superintendent. (Since then the Gov. and Sec. of Health have issued mandates that they promised they would never issure, but those mandates are ILLEGAL!)

                I read and reread my speech out loud to make sure it sounded right and was within time.  I read over my boys’ speeches and gave some pointers.  I had them read them out loud to practice.

                All of this took most of the day.  My stomach was churning, and I didn’t feel like eating, but I made myself eat all three meals.  Finally, the time was drawing near.  I didn’t see how I was going to be able to function as nervous as I was.  I had been praying all day, but I finally decided to pray out loud the scripture I had put up on my mirror, Jer 1:7

The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy,’ for you will go to all to whom I send you.  Do not be afraid of them for I am with you to deliver you.”

                As soon as I spoke out that scripture, a peace descended.  My nervous trembling stopped. I felt confident. God would do it!

                I encouraged my boys to speak loud with confidence.  I told them how very proud of them I was!  My husband and oldest daughter were able to come along for moral support. As we pulled into the school parking lot, a good friend (who is also my sons’ youth pastor) pulled in next to us.  What an encouragement!

                We entered the building and there were many more people than I had ever expected!  It seemed half were wearing masks and sitting alone, and the other half were showing their faces and sitting in groups. We found seats and were joined by another friend from church. 

                It seemed to take forever for the meeting to start and to get through all the boring stuff.  Finally, it was time for the public speakers.  One speaker after another lectured on the same theme: we have to protect our students and staff by instituting universal masking.  Nine speakers all had this opinion, and the meeting was very boring.  My confidence had grown into a burning desire.

                “Let me up there!  Let me speak a different word!” my spirit was screaming. I was excited when it was my turn.  I began in a loud and enthusiastic tone. (My family told me later that the audience roused from their stupor and looked up at this point.)

                When I mentioned that I had 6 children in the district and 10 children in all, I felt a small shock wave ripple through the auditorium.  A man sitting close by who had been on his computer got up and began recording me with his phone.

                “At least they are waking up!” I thought. 

                I was able to speak out truth! For the first time that evening, I heard exclamations from the audience.  Outbursts of support! My sons spoke next (the only students to speak) and they all did an excellent job.  Thankfully after that, many others spoke for freedom and truth including parents, the county coroner, a lawyer, and a bus driver. It was a wonderful discussion, and a few points became very clear.

Freedom was the primary issue.

Students are not at risk from this virus.

Masks are only effective if they are N95 and properly fitted and there are no child sizes.

The board listened to everyone respectfully and then began to discuss their own views on the subject. One board member asked the district doctor to come and explain the situation.  It was very clear that she was uncomfortable, nervous, and was gasping for air under her N95.  She hemmed and hawed around the point, and I couldn’t understand how the school board found this testimony compelling enough to support universal masking.

        When it became clear that most of the board had already made up their minds before the meeting even began, anger erupted from the audience. This was quite distressing for the board. When the vote was taken, 7 voted for the new plan and 2 voted no.

        Praise God for those 2 glorious, rebellious NO VOTES! 

        I counted the evening a victory and an important step in winning the entire war. Here is why:

  1. I spoke the truth and truth will prevail.  Who knows where all those truth seeds have landed?  For some they are just an irritant.  But for others they will take root and grow!
  2. I got to meet many of the other speakers and audience members and expanded my knowledge and sphere of influence.
  3. My children learned how to participate in the process of freedom.
  4. In the weeks following I have heard from many people who were watching the recording and who were cheering me on!
  5. A father saw my speech. He reached out to me to explain how he is devoting a good portion of his time to fight for freedom in our school district.  He has been talking with school board members and lawyers.  He has been talking to parents and community members to pull us together into a larger force.  He told me he has a “fire in his belly” and he is not going to stop.  What an answer to prayer he is!  I don’t have the time to do what he can do, but I can support him!
  6. One school board member emailed me, “Thank you and your children for having the courage to speak.  Although I was prepared to say something, I didn’t feel it was necessary after you all spoke.  Your words have power.”
  7. Another member emailed me, “You and your incredibly well spoken, thoughtful and intelligent children did an amazing job of driving home so many important points… you can be so proud of your family and the wonderful human beings you are raising. It can be so difficult speaking up when you find yourself holding a minority opinion- but it is so important that we have these dialogues, and we voice concerns about giving our government more latitude than they may deserve out of propagandized fear.” 
  8. Most importantly, I experienced in my own life that God’s words are true, and He will do what He said He would do.

The Lord said to me, “Do not say ‘I can’t do it, I am only a mom with no credential or experience.’ I will put my word in your mouth.  You will go to all whom I send you.  You will not be afraid for I AM with you!”

                Those words were true for me that night at the school board meeting.  Those words are true for me every day.  Those words are true for you as well!

Here are the words I spoke that night (modified to take out specific names).

Members of the school board, thank you for all you do for our students!  Thank you for responding to my emails and talking with me on the phone.

I am the mother of six children in the school district. I have 10 children and have been studying nutrition, health, brain development, and education for the past 23 years. I concentrate on building their health from the inside with good food and good habits.  We never have to go to the doctor for being sick.  We have no asthma, allergies, or take any medications.  We didn’t change anything about our lifestyle when this pandemic began and have continued to be extremely healthy.             

Thank you, High School Principal, for your wonderful leadership at the high school new student orientation.  Your speech is what inspired me to come tonight.  You encouraged the students to come to you if they had a conflict with another student. You said that we could work out any situation if we just get together and talk about it. 

                It is pretty clear that we have a situation now, and I know that we can protect our students and staff while still protecting their most sacred rights.  The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the foundation of our country.  To protect life, we must insure medical freedom.  Life is in the breath, and my students have the right to breathe fresh air.  I have seen many studies that prove that masks are not effective in stopping the COVID virus. I have never read a study proving that they are. 

Masking violates that very way our immune systems were designed to work.  The respiratory system is an open system, always receiving foreign gases, particles, and microorganisms along with oxygen.  The way our body cleanses out the bad is the exhale.  To trap my child’s exhale against his nose and mouth in a warm, moist environment doesn’t allow his immune system to work properly.

                I have heard from many in the district that we may have to return to mandatory masking and that is just the way that it is.  Whenever you say, “That is just the way that it is”, you eliminate all discussion, all questions, all research, all individual freedoms. That is not what I want my children to learn when they are in school.  I want them to learn to think for themselves, to question, to study, to research, to come up with new and better answers.

                This is what the Principal talks about when he calls on his students to “BE Great Every Day!” This is the way of all inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs.  When we issue one size fits all mandates, it is not teaching our children to be great and to make informed decisions.  We are teaching them to comply to a socialist system.

                I have heard it recommended that all students be vaccinated and wear masks, so they won’t have to miss important days of school to quarantining.  It is not the virus that is interrupting school, it is the quarantine protocols. It is very clear that the unvaccinated students would be the ones denied their right to a public-school education even if they are perfectly healthy. With all the talk about inclusion and equity these days, I am very surprised that you would discriminate against one group of students.

My entire family probably had COVID in the past year. For us it was a mild cold that didn’t even slow my boys down.  Yet now they have a robust and durable immunity.  Did you see the recent study that looked at people who recovered from SARS 19 years ago?  They are still immune to SARS today along with SARS-CO-V2!  Our natural immunity not only lasts but recognizes all 29 proteins on the surface of the corona virus, rather than just one spike protein as with the vaccine.  The vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission as the head of the CDC recently admitted. There were over 10,0000 breakthrough cases reported before the CDC stopped counted them. 

                I sent you all links to the Senate Hearing where you can hear both the Secretary of Education and The Secretary of Health state that the details of the Health and Safety Plan are in the control of local school boards and will not affect the Esser Funding.

                Please correct this illogical protocol of masking and quarantining healthy students. Please protect their freedoms.  Thank you!

Science Testifies that Life Begins at Conception

A large contingent of people who support abortion contend that an unborn baby is not a life, therefore has no rights and cannot be “murdered.”  Is life something that is up for debate?  Or are there specific parameters that define life.

                As it turns out, there is a science that studies just this subject: biology, the study of living organisms. How does biology define life?

A distinctive characteristic of a living organism from dead organism or non-living thing, as specifically distinguished by the capacity to grow, metabolize, respond (to stimuli), adapt, and reproduce

Dr. Steven Jacobs was doing research for his dissertation:

Since these sources suggested the most common view was that a human’s life begins at fertilization, I designed a survey to understand biologists’ assessment of that view. I emailed surveys to professors in the biology departments of over 1,000 institutions around the world.

As the usable responses began to come in, I found that 5,337 biologists (96%) affirmed that a human’s life begins at fertilization,

with 240 (4%) rejecting that view. The majority of the sample identified as liberal (89%), pro-choice (85%) and non-religious (63%). In the case of Americans who expressed party preference, the majority identified as Democrats (92%).

From the article: I Asked Thousands of Biologists When Life Begins. The Answer Wasn’t Popular

Biologist aren’t the only ones who observe that life begins at conception. So do doctors.

Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, stated:

“I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception…. I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life….

I am no more prepared to say that these early stages [of development in the womb] represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty…is not a human being. This is human life at every stage.”

“Dr. Bernard Nathanson, internationally known obstetrician and gynecologist, was a cofounder of what is now the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). He owned and operated what was at the time the largest abortion clinic in the western hemisphere. He was directly involved in over sixty thousand abortions. Dr. Nathanson’s study of developments in the science of fetology and his use of ultrasound to observe the unborn child in the womb led him to the conclusion that he had made a horrible mistake. Resigning from his lucrative position, Nathanson wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that he was deeply troubled by his “increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths.” – from Why Life Begins At Conception

“Modern technologies have convinced us that beyond question the unborn child is simply another human being, another member of the human community, indistinguishable in every way from any of us.” – Dr. Nathanson

These two men and many others testified before the Senate as outlined in this article: Why Life Begins At Conception

The article also states, “A prominent physician points out that at these Senate hearings,

“Pro-abortionists, though invited to do so, failed to produce even a single expert witness who would specifically testify that life begins at any point other than conception or implantation. Only one witness said no one can tell when life begins.”

ABSTRACT: The predominance of human biological research confirms that human life begins at conception—fertilization. At fertilization, the human being emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in order to grow and develop. The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is one of form, not nature. This statement focuses on the scientific evidence of when an individual human life begins.      

American College of Pediatricians – March 2017

Even more proof that life begins at conception found here:Life begins at fertilization. Thanks, Science!

I am no scientist, although my favorite class in High School was AP Biology.  However, I have a qualification to comment on this subject.

  I have spent a little over 7 years of my life carrying other lives inside of my body.

At conception they have a unique genetic code and immediately begin to grow and develop. Soon their heart begins to beat and I can hear it at my first appointments with the midwife.  Soon they have their own brainwaves and thoughts.  They begin to move and react to the environment.  Boy, do they begin to move! They cannot feel my pain and I cannot feel theirs, because we have totally separate nervous systems.  I cannot control their decisions or movements.  When I am getting to my due date, all I can do is ask nicely, “Baby, please be born today!” but I cannot make them drop into the birth canal head first.  And before they are born I get an idea of their personality by how and when and with what intensity they move. 

Each pregnancy was different and each life that was growing inside of me was different. Each one was a miracle that science can only begin to understand!

What does the Bible Tell us about the Unborn Human?

Luke 1:41-44:

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

The Greek word used to describe Elizabeth’s unborn baby is the same word used in Luke 2:12 and 2:16 to describe the newborn baby Jesus and in Luke 18:15 to describe the babies that the people were bringing to Jesus to touch.

The Bible makes no differentiation between a baby in the womb and a baby that has been born. 

Elizabeth also called Mary the mother of her Lord.  Mary quickly went to see Elizabeth when she received the news from the angel that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  She was most likely in her first trimester.  The Jesus inside of her was referred to as Lord, the same word for Lord that was used hundreds of times in the New Testament to describe the man Jesus.

The Bible makes no differentiation between Jesus in his fetus form and Jesus in his full grown man form.

Exodus 21:22-24

“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

Old Testament Law also viewed the unborn as a life. Striking a pregnant woman was a punishable offense.  If there was injury to her or the baby as a result, then it was a life for a life.  In Num. 35:9-15 there is a law that says anyone who kills someone accidentally may flee to a refugee city.  The life for life penalty was not in place. 

So accidental injury to a pregnant woman or unborn baby was a more serious offense to God than other accidental deaths. Accidentally causing the death of an unborn child carried the same weight as intentional murder.

There are other scriptures that show God’s special care of pregnant women, babies, and children.

Is 40:11

“He [the Lord] tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Matt 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Luke 17:2

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

The formation of a human is not just the result of biological forces. God is present in the womb, crafting the new life Himself.

Psalm 139:13-14

“For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

God has a destiny for each child before they are born.

Jer 1:5 “And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Gal 1:15 “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…”

Scriptures Affirm the Purpose and Destiny of a Life Exists even before Conception.

Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

Eph 1:4-5 4 “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,…”

Romans 9:10-12“Not only that, but Rebecca’s children were conceived by one man, our father Isaac. Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s plan of election might stand, not by works but by Him who calls, she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

The Bible is clear. Abortion is the murder of a life that God created, the ending of a purpose and destiny, and violates God’s special favor on pregnant women and little ones.

America, Are We Just a Bunch of Germophobes?

No one would want to be accused of being a homophobe or a xenophobe today! Yet being a germophobe has rapidly become so popular and politically correct that you could be persecuted if you are not “a person who has an abnormal fear of germs or contamination.”

                This germaphobia that has come over the world is being instituted by “the world system.” We know this is not the Kingdom of God, nor does it operate with the wisdom of God.  The wisdom of man dominates. Since the fall, the wisdom of man has been short sighted and selfish, usually touting “the greater good” while hiding selfish, harmful agendas. 

                A good example of this wisdom of man is the “germ theory” made famous by Louis Pasteur.  This theory blames germs for every disease and calls for the eradication of the germ to cure the disease.  Germ Theory Versus Terrain: The Wrong Side Won the Day states that,

“Both at the time and thereafter, the public and most fellow scientists found germ theory easy to embrace, perceiving Pasteur’s model of life and health to be not only ‘superficially plausible’ but also ‘financially exploitable.’ In fact, most of the big-name pharmaceutical companies that we know today got their start in Pasteur’s era, often by merging with chemical firms, united in their goal of developing and selling synthetic products to ‘selectively kill or immobilize parasites, bacteria, and other invasive disease-causing microbes.'”   

                A lot of people feel that pharmaceuticals are the wonder of our modern age with the United States being one of the top consumers.  Yet the US is at the top of the list for degenerative diseases as well. It appears drugs have made us sicker rather than healthier.

Winkey Pratney warned that the Babylon in Revelations (who deceived all the nations by her sorcery), is in fact the pharmaceutical companies. In his book, Fire on the Horizon, he stated,

 According to Scripture the power of Babylon is pharmakia, the word translated “sorceries” or “witchcraft,” the thing that gives this principality its world power.  It is that which people have used from the first roots of rebellion as a substitute for the power and wisdom and provision of the living God.  It is the word from which we derive the words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceutical.” What is the great economy at the end of the world? The one we have now: The power of Babylon is drugs…Legal pharmakia alone is the biggest industry on earth, a multitrillion-dollar business unlike any other in human history.

                I read Fire on the Horizon years ago.  At the time, I told myself to remember this book because it contained a recipe for something that I believed would one day save my life or my loved one’s life. It was a recipe for Master Tonic, a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal remedy.  This was included in the first Chapter titled “Outbreak” with headings such as “AIDS, Ebola, and the Coming Plagues of the Twenty-First Century”. In his twenty-year-old prophecy that is coming true today, Winkie warned of super-bugs that would be resistant to drug treatment. Yet, treatments like Master Tonic that came from the wisdom of God, are still effective.

He also warned that, “every biblical mention of drugs is in a context of despair, mourning, grief and danger.  They are never connected to healing.”

                The Germ Theory article also states,

“Many of the disease phenomena making news headlines these days underscore the deficiencies of the pharmaceutical model and reveal challenges that are the direct result of our take-no-prisoners assault on germs. For example, dangerous superbugs23,24 are emerging—largely due to overuse of “anti-everything” drugs such as antibiotics and antifungals—and are ushering in a potential return “to a world in which infectious diseases drastically shorten lives.”25 Some have estimated that drug-resistant pathogens will become a bigger killer than cancer by 2050.25  If the medical community were honest, it would be forced to admit that the model of disease that catapulted Pasteur to fame has played itself out and is pushing us to disability and death.”

It is time to move away from the Germ Theory that gives drugs their allure and power and explore another theory.

                The Terrain Theory was developed around the same time by Antoine Béchamp.  Béchamp’s various discoveries led him to conclude that our bodies are, in effect, “miniecosystems.”

When an individual’s internal ecosystem becomes weakened—whether due to poor nutrition, toxicity, or other factors—it changes the function of the microbes that are naturally present in the body, producing disease.

“In other words, microorganisms only become pathogenic after environmental factors cause the host’s cellular ‘terrain’ to deteriorate.”

                Most of the world is adhering to the germ theory which leads us to believe that the COVID-19 virus is the enemy and must be destroyed at any cost.  Anyone who might be a potential carrier of the virus is also a threat and must be controlled. 

The problem with this approach is that it does not address the actual problem – why do some people get sick from COVID-19?  Why do other people barely show any symptoms? Why do some suffer greatly?  Why do some die after being infected?  The answer to these questions is – it all depends on the health of each person’s inner ecosystem.

The answer to the COVID pandemic is to heal the body.  The answer to any disease is to rediscover God’s wisdom for what brings the human body the most abundant health and life. 

The answer certainly is not social distancing or isolation.  It is not hospitals and medications.

                I have read that 7 hugs a day make a person less likely to contract a virial infection.  Living in community with close relationships with multigenerational family and friends (which includes physical touch) builds your immune system and leads to long life.

                So while the CDC is issuing all types of warnings to keep you away from the dreaded germ and the media is working people into a frenzy of panic and paranoia, they should be educating all of us on true health and life. 

This would help every person at every age in every country establish and maintain good heath for a lifetime, not just until the pandemic is over.  It would protect you from chronic conditions and degenerative diseases as well. It would give you the life that God always intended for you to have without fear.

This video called, “A Bigger Problem is Coming: I promise it is not what you think.” details how the current recommendations to avoid infection (the New Normal) are actually making people sicker.

Instead of striving for a New Normal, we should be reading articles such as Top 10 Ways to Boost the Immune System Naturally.

Hey, I understand what is happening, I used to be a germophobe! 

I loved everything clean and sanitized.  When I only had one child, I could keep up with sanitizing all the toys and wiping down everything in the house with bleach water.  I could keep my precious baby Areli from playing in the dirt or putting things in her mouth.  I could take the time to wipe off every book that we brought home from the library.

                After I had four more children, I had to let go of control. 

It was an extraordinary day when I remembered to have the children wash their hands before they ate. They played in the dirt outside, and I don’t know WHAT they put in their mouths!  However, we had begun to eat healthier foods and stopped vaccinating.  I noticed that the children were healthier than Areli had been at their age. They didn’t get sick as often and when they did, they recovered quickly. 

Now I have 10 children, and we continue to get sick less and less. 

Nothing in our home gets sanitized anymore, but I am constantly learning about how to get rid of the toxic and obtain more of the health and life. And guess who has the strongest immune system of them all? Ashlyn!  My special needs daughter who is missing a piece of her 6th chromosome, who is still crawling on hands and knees at age 16 and rarely washes her hands!  Other children like her are on medications and have been hospitalized multiple times for respiratory infections that just won’t let go.  Not Ashlyn!  Even when the rest of our family is sick, she is still healthy.  Why?  I think it was because I did everything I could to build her immune system naturally.

  And all the dirt and germs she has encountered just made her stronger.

                I read a study that proved that children in large families have less asthma.  Another study found that children in large families have less allergies.  They are exposed to more at a younger age and grow stronger.

                Cleanliness is still dear to my heart, but it is not the chemical, antigerm kind.  It is the fresh air, sunshine, essential oil kind of clean.  The Jewish people avoided many plagues throughout history because of the sanitary laws outlined in their Holy Scriptures.  The United States is pretty good with most of these things. Clean, filtered water is always important as is good bathroom facilities and a separation from anything unclean such a human waste or dead bodies.  It is also good to separate from anyone with an infectious disease, of course, but I am not afraid of the germs that they are carrying.

                The Maker’s Diet is a wonderful book by Jordan Rubin who studied why the Jews were so healthy and outlines a healthy diet and toxin free lifestyle based on what he found. Other good resources for finding God’s wisdom for health is thehealthyhomeeconimist.org and westonaprice.org. They both adhere to the wisdom of ancient societies that experienced no degenerative diseases.

In the Old Testament if you touched the unclean, you became unclean as well.  But in the New Testament, when Jesus touched the leper, it was the leper who became free of his infectious disease!  We carry that same resurrection life inside of us if we are His followers!

                The LORD is Jehovah-Rophe, the Lord who heals you. Blessing Your Spirit book states,

 “He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’

The context of the name Jehovah-Rophe is not about healing the sick but staying healthy by following the principles that God gave Israel. This is preventive health through getting clean and staying clean.”

                They are talking about following God and His wisdom:

eating clean food

living in a clean home

keeping our bodies, souls, and spirits clean from sin.

This means putting what is good and pure into our mouths, into our bodies, on our skin, and into our minds (through our eyes and ears). This is a struggle in a toxic world, but His grace is with us and His blood covers us and forgives us.

What promises belong to us if we believe in Him?

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His kind deeds— He who forgives all your iniquities, and heals all your diseases,” Ps 103:2-3

“I will say to the LORD, “[You are] my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” He is the one who will rescue you from hunters’ traps and from deadly plagues.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor. You do not need to fear terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day, plagues that roam the dark, epidemics that strike at noon. No harm will come to you. No sickness will come near your house. He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways.” Ps 91:2-6,10-11

These are just a few of His promises for us!  Let us trust Him in confidence and know that germs are just a small but integral part of this world that He holds in His loving hands.

Her Room Looks Empty

Her room looks empty.  Her dresser is bare.  Her bags are packed.

This is happening.  My firstborn is leaving home.  It isn’t her first adventure, but it is her longest so far.  Seeking God and helping others is her mission, taking photos along the way.

                How can I say goodbye to my right arm, the joy of my heart, and my best girlfriend?  I fear I will be overcome with testosterone and daily tasks without her.

  But I know that it is her time to fly. 

God’s timing is perfect, and His grace is sufficient for me.  She graduated two years ago, an amazing student.  She stayed to save money and help me through my hardest pregnancy and recovery yet. 

                She is a second mother to the others.  She diapered them, fed them, washed them, dressed them, educated them, had fun with them, and loved them.  They are the children they are today because of her.  I am a sane and happy mother of 10 because of her. She had a job and was a leader at youth group.  Many have been blessed by her! 

                “What will we ever do without her?”  my heart keeps asking.  “How will I bare the emptiness?”

                The truth is, we are not becoming smaller as a family, we are expanding.

We are not losing Areli, we are going to be seeing a whole new world through her eyes.  Her room won’t be empty!  Two little girls will being filling the space with feminine joy and enthusiasm soon.  And what a good change it will be.  Four year old Annalise is still in a crib in her brother’s room.  10 month old Aria will be a wonderful roommate now that she sleeps like an angel.

All the children will take a step up and grow in maturity. They will learn new skills and take on new jobs.

                Areli will be going to the same missionary school that I attended just a brief 25 years ago.

  25 means double grace, and there is double grace on her life.

To live…to love…to learn…to grow…to embrace each moment!  Our hearts are going with her, and our prayers are surrounding her. 

 One of her walls looked awfully bare. So I pinned up some photos of Areli and the family. Aria will be able to lay on her new changing table and see that beautiful smile everyday. 

We are so proud of you Areli!  It won’t be long until we are all together again.

The Hunted Becomes the Hunter

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

Sometimes living in this world overwhelms me.  One of those times happened recently.  Concerns and fears were pressing in on me, and I was trying to hide.  I realized that I had spent most of my life avoiding any person or situation that I thought would hurt me. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself.  I was a pitiful, little field mouse.  I was running from one hiding spot to another, not wanting to be in the open field.  I knew that if I ventured there, the powerful birds of prey would pick me off.  I felt like a victim, too small to fight back, too lowly to be confident.  I felt ashamed of all that I was not.  The snakes of shame were hissing reminders of what I was – a pesky, dirty, little rodent.

                Then I felt the slightest breeze of the Spirit.  The picture in my mind flipped.  I rose from the ground and began to ride the wind.  I was an eagle.

I WAS THE BIRD OF PREY.

I saw that pesky vermin running on the ground. 

THAT WAS MY ENEMY.

The enemy was so small, yet I could spot him from a mile away.  I could easily hunt him and swoop down to finish him off.  And all the shame?  Those filthy snakes of shame?  Those were my food!

The Hunted had become the Hunter!

                How glorious it felt to fly above the ground!  How freeing and beautiful it was to be who God had made me to be!  How wonderful to not be afraid!  Then I remembered a passage of the book I had been reading by Rick Joyner, “The Valley.” In this prophetic allegory, a group of sojourners were making their way to the Mountain of God.  They had to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death in order to get there.  Elijah had come to give them guidance.

“You do not defeat an enemy by just getting past him.  You defeat fear by growing in faith.  You defeat despair by growing in hope.  You defeat death by growing in life.  True life is only lived by those who no longer live for themselves, but for The King, and do all things for His sake and for those He gave His life for.

                “This valley is here to help you find true life…but to find that path, your goal must be greater than getting through the valley.  You must resolve to seek out and destroy the enemies that are in it,” Elijah continued…

                Finally Charles spoke up:

                “This would be a radical change of not just our strategy, but my understanding of our purpose.  So the path of life is found by seeking the enemy?  And then to be on the offensive and attacking?  I am sure most of us were thinking we needed to do all we could to avoid the enemy, to just get through it.  I thought finding the path of life was done by seeking the path of life, not fighting.”

                “To do His will is the path of life for everyone.  This is His will for you here.  This valley has a high purpose, and part of it is to prepare you for the rest of your journey to the mountain, and then to be of use to The King in the great battle to come.  You must become true warriors, and no true warriors seeks to avoid the enemy…

                “In this valley lie your greatest fears.  They are your greatest threats and your greatest challenges.  That gives the potential to be the place of your greatest victories…

                “The Lord created this valley, but men made it the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  So He uses it to seal in His people who they are called to be – warriors that do not kill, but impart life. They do not wound, but heal.  They do not oppress, but set captives free.”

                The enemies that I am to hunt and destroy are fear, doubt, and shame (just to name a few) in myself and others.  But when I flap my great wings, I will bring the wind of healing and refreshing to people.  People are not my enemies.

                A few days later I randomly opened my Bible and started reading Esther 8.  Again I found an example of divine reversal.

The Hunted becomes the Hunter!

                The King had given Haman permission to draft a law that authorized the enemies of the Jews to rise up and kill them.  The King didn’t realize that his lovely queen was a Jew.  Her people were facing utter annihilation.  The queen went to the king and in one moment, with one decision of the king, the entire picture flipped.  He allowed Mordechai to draft a law that permitted the Jews to strike back.  Fear of the Jews fell on all the other people.  Just the day before Esther was praying for the courage to reveal that she was a Jew.  But in that day:

“In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.” (Esther 8:17)

                Esther was bold, and she and her people fasted and prayed.  But it was God who gave them victory over their enemies.  I went back to reading Psalm 18.  I had been reading it for a few weeks and I just wasn’t getting it.  Why did I keep returning to it? What did God want to tell me?  Finally it became clear.  God was taking me from being the prey to being the predator.

The Hunted becomes the Hunter!

34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes. (NIV)

                As I was pondering all these things in my heart during the next week, I encountered this scripture on Facebook and then Pandora.

Psalm 2 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Why do the nations gather together?
Why do their people devise useless plots?
    Kings take their stands.
    Rulers make plans together
        against the Lord and against his Messiah by saying,
            “Let’s break apart their chains
                and shake off their ropes.”

The one enthroned in heaven laughs.
The Lord makes fun of them.

As soon as I picture God up on His throne, laughing at my enemies, I am up there in the sky with Him.  I can see how small and weak the enemy is compared to my God.  I can see the joy on His face, the fire in His eyes.  He isn’t worried.  Not about the mice or the snakes.  Not about me either.  He is laughing because He knows all that there is to know. He sees all that can be seen.

He is laughing because He sees His eagles rise and begin to hunt.

(Recently David Lebo released a prophecy confirming all of this.  “I am setting My Eagles Free.”)

A Surprise Visit from My Marine, a Family Picnic, and another Eagle Sighting

It was 7pm and dinner was still not ready! I was working in the hot kitchen as the children were running all over the house and yard.

“This just does not work!”  I lamented to Areli, my oldest daughter.  “It is simply too late to be eating supper.”

How did it get so late, and why was I so unprepared today?

“It is alright, Mommy” she said sweetly as she helped.

I was putting the finishing touches on chicken chili (why did I decide to make soup on such a hot day?) when I heard a voice behind me.

“Mom! Mom!”

                I turned around and to see a face I hadn’t seen in four months.  The grown-up, handsome face of my oldest son, Cole.  It took a few seconds to register in my brain.  Then I rushed to hug him, and hugged him, and hugged him, and hugged him some more.

He had just graduated from his Marine MOS training school that morning.  We had all texted him congratulations, and his only reply was that he was off to his next duty station.  He had told us earlier in the month that he didn’t have enough time to come see us, and that it could be quite a while before he did.  Little did we know that he had bought a car and had gotten enough leave to drive home.  Areli knew all about it and had been in communication with him the entire time.  My heart was so happy, so thrilled, so blessed that I couldn’t put my emotions into words. Suddenly I was thankful that dinner was so late and I simply said.

                “Cole, you are just in time for supper!”

 

That Saturday we decided to take the whole family to Little Buffalo for a picnic.  We had many happy memories of day trips and camping trips there, and it was a beautiful day!  As we started the journey in our 12 passenger van, my heart was overflowing.  Our van was full, and I was so thankful that all 12 members of our family were together again.  I sent up a little prayer.

                “I would really love to see an eagle today since we are all together and Cole is here, since Cole is an eagle too.”

About five minutes pasted.  We drove across the Susquehanna River and there it was.  A big black bird.  Flying across the road right in front of us.  It had a white head!

It was a bald eagle!

“There is an eagle!” I screamed 5 times as I pointed frantically.  Most of the children saw it before it flew out of sight.  Cole didn’t spot it, and he started laughing at me.  The other children looked at me strangely and someone said, “Mom, I don’t think I have ever seen you so excited!”

“I was definitely more excited to see Cole when he came home…but you guys don’t understand!  I just prayed and asked God to see an eagle today.  Literally 5 minutes ago I asked Him, and there was an eagle!”

Chris had just been telling me how he had to drive this route many days to deliver packages.  It was a lovely drive.  But he had never seen an eagle before.  The rest of the day I spend in gratitude and wonderment.  Why would God so quickly answer my frivolous little prayer?  What had I done to deserve to be surrounded by such beautiful and handsome faces?

DSC_0002DSC_0010DSC_0018DSC_0071DSC_0127DSC_0156DSC_0191DSC_0209DSC_0211DSC_0216 (2)DSC_0218

These people made up my whole world, all my hopes and dreams. They are large portions of my heart walking around outside of my body.

They are all so precious, so special, and so important to me.  They were all here together on this perfect day.  Finally we had to head home, clean up and make supper. The perfect day was fading into twilight, and I wanted to hold on to it.

Cole would be leaving for his first duty station soon.  Would our entire family ever be in our van together again? I began to worry.  It is easy for a mother to worry.  So many details for each child.  So many hurdles stand between them and accomplishing their destinies.  Sometimes one of those hurdles is me!  (Did I check all their school papers?  Did I look that child in the eyes today and see his heart?  Will this one overcome my bad parenting techniques in the past?) A hundred fears began to pop up their ugly heads, and I began to play whack-a-mole with them in my mind.  Not a fun game because they just keep popping back up again.

                Finally I remembered that God had just shown me an eagle.

He had done that twice before, and both times He had used the eagle sighting to tell me something very important.  The first time was in response to a very specific prayer of mine.  He showed me that I do hear His voice, He does hear my voice, and that He created me to be a spiritual eagle.  (Details in “A Hawk, A Vulture,and an Eagle” Part 1 and Part 2.)

The second time I was on a long drive and He told me that I could trust Him with my Children and that He loved me more than I could imagine.  Then I saw the eagle.  Right at that moment this scripture came on the Bible CD I had been listening to.

So don’t lose your confidence. It will bring you a great reward. You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised.

“Yet, the one who is coming will come soon. He will not delay.

The person who has God’s approval will live by faith. But if he turns back, I will not be pleased with him.”

We don’t belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved.

Hebrews 10:35-39 (God’s Word)

                It was clear that these fears had no place in my life.

God loved me, He was holding my husband and my children in His hands, and had given me the faith I needed to stand firm with confidence.  Then I was reminded of something He had been showing me a few weeks ago.  Frankly I had kinda forgotten about it, because it was just too hard to wrap my brain around, so against my normal way of living.  However, this third eagle sighting had convinced me that this was truly a message from God that I had to believe and attempt to live.

It is called, “The Hunted becomes the Hunter.”

To be continued….

A Tricky, Sticky Kickball Game

My husband, Chris, and I were sitting at the dining room table as night was falling.  We were having dinner with most of our ten children.  The relative calm was interrupted when our middle three boys came bursting into the house with the delicacy of a herd of elephants.  They had been at the park and were returning home late. The chilly November air usually reminded them to return home much sooner than this. 

After much banging, clanging, and slamming of doors, the three of them stood before us.  Chai, age 13, was tall and muscular.  Cooper, 11, and Calvin, 9, were often mistaken for twins because they were so close in height and both wore glasses.  The resemblance ended there, however.  Cooper had dark hair and was very passionate.  Calvin, with his light hair and generous sprinkling of freckles, had a milder personality.

“Did you guys have fun?” Chris asked.

“Not really,” Calvin answered.

“Then why did you stay so long?” I asked.

Cooper, the natural comedian and storyteller began, “Well, we got the kickball stuck up in a tree.”

Cooper went on to recount the story of a very tricky, sticky kickball game.  Chai and Calvin chimed in with extra details now and then.

The boys had walked to the charming neighborhood elementary school just a block from our home. There they met many of the neighborhood children and had decided to play kickball.  All was fine until Isaiah made one powerful kick that landed the kickball in a tree. 

No problem.  Isaiah would simply launch his basketball and dislodge the kickball so they could get back to playing.  Except it turned out to be one sticky kickball that had perfectly wedged itself in between three branches.  After several failed attempts, the basketball got stuck in the tree too!

                No big deal.  Cameron had his basketball.  While Cameron threw his ball again and again, trying to hit one of the wedged balls, Jacob decided to climb the fence to see if he could reach the tree.  He was unable to get close enough, but he did get hit in the back by a wayward basketball. Unfortunately, Cameron fared no better than Isaiah, and his ball found a permanent perch in the tree as well. 

                No worries.  Someone offered their football.  This would surely work.  But alas!  It had the same fate as all the other balls.

                Now things were starting to look grim.  Desperate times called for desperate measures.  Cooper took off both of his shoes.  Maxwell took one of the sacrificial shoes and with strength and accuracy aimed at the kickball.  The shoe missed its intended target and landed right on a branch.  Cameron tried with the other shoe with the same result.  At this point Cooper was reprimanding them with rather high-pitched screams.

                Chai and Maxwell decided that they needed backup.  They walked back to our garage in search of more balls to throw.  All they could find were four deflated basketballs, but that was better than nothing.  While they were gone, Cooper’s feet were getting very cold.  He managed to fit one of his gloves onto one of his feet. 

                Just then Cooper noticed the School Principal, Mr. Stewart, walking to his car after a long day of work.  Cooper ran up to him and asked, “Is Mr. Dan [the janitor] still here?  Can he help us get our balls out of the tree?”

                Mr. Stewart glanced down and noticed Cooper’s feet.

                “What happened?” he asked with a funny look on his face.

                “I got my shoes stuck in the tree.” Cooper replied. 

                I am not sure what thoughts were going through the mind of the kind and wise Principal, but he simply replied, “We will have to get them down tomorrow,” and continued walking to his car.

                To Cooper, this was not an acceptable answer.  So what brilliant solution did Cooper devise with the help of his younger brother?  To throw this brother’s brand new shoes up into the tree, of course! When both of those got absorbed into The Tree, Calvin resorted to running across the street in his stocking feet to enlist the help of a neighbor friend.  This friend was not home, so it was back to square one.

                Janice, our energetic and joyful neighbor, had walked to the park with her young grand-daughter. She had been watching this entire drama unfold and found it quite amusing.  She took out her phone and was documenting the event with photos.  Her grand-daughter took on the role of cheerleader and kept saying in her cute, little girl voice, “You almost got it!  You almost got it down!”

                Chai and Maxwell returned with fresh ammunition and the tree received further battering by the four flat balls.  The tree proved to be a worthy adversary and claimed all but one of those balls. Thankfully, one of Calvin’s shoes was dislodged, so he returned it to one of his very cold feet.

The score was:

Elementary Playground Tree: 10  (1 kickball, 2 basketballs, 1 football, 3 flat balls, 3 shoes)

Seven Determined Boys: 2 (1 flat ball, 1 shoe)

                The boys were not to be defeated, however.  They continued with their strategy until eventually…slowly…one by one… each ball and each shoe had been knocked from its nesting place.

When Cooper finished his narrative, we were all consumed with laughter!  Finally the hilarity died down and Chris asked a question.

“Why didn’t you boys just get the ladder out of our garage?”

Cooper responded as though the answer should be obvious, “A bunch of boys walking to the park with a ladder?  That would just look silly!”

The Naming of Aria Iolani

It was an early Sunday morning in July.  Most of the family was still in bed.  I was on the computer Googling “names meaning eagle” and hoping no one would come down the stairs and see what I was doing.

I felt rather silly, looking up baby names.  I was 41.  I already had 9 beautiful children.  I had no reason to think that I would ever be blessed with another one.  I would say from time to time, “I think I would like to have a baby in my 40s.”  My husband would always respond, “You’re crazy.”

I felt a little crazy just then, but I felt compelled to do it.  I just had to know what names were out there that meant “eagle.”  Over the past few years God had used many amazing encounters to convince me that I was meant to be an eagle.  I was beginning to let go of who I thought I was (a quiet girl who was deathly afraid of heights) and believe who God made me to be.

I found many names that fit the bill.  However, I needed an “A” name for a girl and a “C” name for a boy to follow the pattern of all our other children.  I could find no suitable boy name, try as I might!  A girl’s name struck me as though it were jumping off the computer screen .

Aria Iolani

 Aria:

Hebrew from Ariel – lion or lioness of God

Italian – air, melody

Sanskrit and Persian – noble, honorable

Teutonic – intelligence of an eagle

Iolani (ee-oh-lahn-ee):

Hawaiian – hawk of royalty, bird of heaven, to soar like an eagle

How perfect!  How beautiful!  A dream had been planted in my heart; a tiny seed carrying the perfect name. A dream that I would one day have a daughter who would bear this name.  A daughter who would have the vision and intelligence of an eagle.  A daughter who would know her identity from the womb. She would not have to live 40 years on the ground before it began to dawn on her…she was meant to FLY!

A few months later, in December, I found that I was pregnant.  The revelation came at a time I didn’t expect.  It didn’t seem like the right time for another baby.  But …perhaps this dream in my heart had been a dream in God’s heart all along.  Perhaps now was THE TIME!

My oldest daughter, Areli, loved the girl’s name I had found!  The boys did not like it, mostly because they wanted the baby to be a boy.  Chris liked the named “Aria” but wasn’t sure about “Iolani.”  It was too hard for him to remember and pronounce correctly, and he thought it would difficult for others as well.

I checked out a bunch of books from the library about Hawaii since Areli was planning on going there for school in the next year or so.  I discovered that there is an Iolani Palace in Hawaii, the only royal palace in the United States.  That settled it.  “Iolani” was THE middle name!

I was excited but told myself that this baby could easily be a boy.  Soon sickness and other pregnancy discomforts (that I had never experienced before) came upon me.  The dream of “Aria Iolani” was still a lovely thought, but it was overpowered by the thoughts of a victim pleading for release from her prison.  I understood that all that was going on in my spirit was being experienced by my baby’s spirit as well.  I tried to be thankful and upbeat.  I tried to speak over my baby love and peace and truth.  Half the time I doubted the truth myself.  That God really loved me and that someday I would feel good again.

Many fears started to plague my mind.  What if there was something wrong with this baby?  What if there was something wrong with my body?  And the worst fear of all, what if this child had a chromosomal abnormality like Ashlyn had?  I love Ashlyn and I am still amazed that God would trust us with such a special child.  Still, I always thought that having two special children would be absolutely too much to handle, and I would break under the strain of it.  With each pregnancy there has been a small chance, and each time this fear rears its ugly head.  This pregnancy the fear was worse than usual, almost suffocating me at times.

I didn’t go to church for two months.  Finally I was feeling well enough to go to a Sunday morning service.  As I entered the balcony of the sanctuary, I heard the Helsers leading worship.  I felt the sweet presence of God, and I longed to linger there forever!  They were singing, “Mt. Zion.”

We have come to Mount Zion

City of the living God

Heavenly Jerusalem

By his blood we have come

I felt God’s presence.  I felt peace and joy.  I felt safety and security.  The fears dissipated.  Hope started rising.  This is where I should have been living this whole time.  This is where I wanted my baby to live, even in the womb.  I felt sad that I had been such a bad mother so far.  I had tried to abide in the presence of God in my own home.  But most of the time I just felt sick and discouraged.

Here at church I could feel His presence, as though Mount Zion was a reality I was dwelling in. The song continued:

Thousands of angels dance around his throne

Thousands more sing out new songs

And elders throw their crowns down

As all of heaven sings out

 

“Baby, this is where you are to live all the time,” I told the precious little one.

                “I know, mama.”

I heard a sweet little girl’s voice say these words.  At least I thought it sounded like a girl. I knew it was my baby.  This was very unexpected and unusual.  It wasn’t said in a sassy voice as if to imply that I was being dumb for thinking my baby didn’t already know this.

It was said in a comforting voice as if to say, “Mama, you worry too much.  I am just fine.  I just recently came to you from heaven.  I could see those angels in person, and I can see them still.  I am still surrounded by His presence.”

I felt more at peace than I had in a long time.  My baby was more aware of spiritual realities than I was.  She was most definitely an amazing child.  I began to remember all the fears I had confronted during previous pregnancies.  One by one those fears had fallen by the wayside, replace by peace.  Almost across board just the opposite had proven to be true.

I didn’t need to worry about this baby’s health, well-being, or intelligence.  She (or possibly he, I had to remind myself) was extraordinary…a super baby!  She (or he) had just spoken to me from the womb for goodness sake!

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On March 30th we had an ultrasound that revealed a perfect and beautiful baby girl!  My dream was growing inside me.

Aria Iolani

About four weeks before my due date, Aria dropped.  She was sitting low and I was uncomfortable.

“At least she is head down and in the right position.  She is getting ready to be born, and it won’t be long now,” I thought.

Each week she dropped a little lower.  Each week I was more uncomfortable.  I kept having signs that labor was near, but no real labor would come.  The last week, each day felt exponentially worse than the day before.  My due date, August 16th came and went, and Aria became my first baby that was actually late.

Finally my water broke the night of August 17th.  The next day labor still had not started, but my homebirth midwife came over to check on me.  I was already dilated to 5 cm and Aria was at +3 station.  The midwife said that babies normally are not that low unless the mom was already in labor.  We both thought that once labor started, Aria would be born quickly.  We were wrong.

Labor finally began around 3pm on August 18th but it progressed very slowly.  I was listening to worship music, scriptures, and birth affirmations.  I was enjoying God’s presence.  He was speaking to me and showing me visions of Himself.   Before I knew it, it was evening.  I didn’t feel like I was in transition even though I was dilated to 10.

Then it got difficult.  I never really had a difficult labor, so it was a new experience.  Aria was so close to being born, yet she wasn’t being born!  I am sure it was difficult for her too, but her heart-rate remained steady.  Finally after an ambulance ride, an epidural, Pitocin, and some sleep; Aria supernaturally came into the outside world at 2:33 am on August 19, 2018.  I felt no pain and consciously did nothing at all.

I simply slept and prayed, “Jesus, you do this because I can’t.”

I woke up to the slightest bit of pressure.  My midwife looked under my covers to see that Aria’s head was crowning!

She was born quickly and placed in my arms.  The rest of the room faded away.  There was only my baby.

Aria Iolani

She was beautiful and peaceful.  I noticed her eyes first.  They were open wide and moving slowly back and forth, scanning and taking it all in.  To me they looked like the eyes of an eagle.

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She is now six weeks old.  Aria had not been as sleepy as my other newborns.  She is more alert and her eyes are always looking.

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The midwife saw her at three weeks and said, “She seems more like a 6 week old that a 3 week old.”  At 3 ½ weeks she began to really look at our faces and smile! The most adorable smile.

Not all is prefect of course.  My recovery had been much slower this time.  Aria finds it hard to just fall asleep, and she spends a good amount of time crying when she is tired.  She also had the worst case of thrush I have ever seen.  Then came the baby acne.

But when I nurse her and look at her baby face, I am so thankful for the chance to have her as a daughter, my 10th child.

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What a rare and precious jewel.  When I prayed for her during my difficult pregnancy, God showed me so clearly that Aria is vitally important – to this family, to this world, and to eternity.  She was not an extra baby or an optional baby.  She NEEDED to be here.  Just like every single baby ever to be conceived.

Of course to me Aria is amazing!  Brilliant, observant, and born to fly.

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Aria Iolani

A dream come true.

Prayer Warriors Needed for Ashlyn’s Foot Surgery

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Ashlyn is our special 14 year old.  She was a happy and healthy baby.  We didn’t know until she was 6 weeks old that she had a chromosomal abnormality.  We couldn’t get into a pediatric geneticist until she was 3 months old.  It was then that we learned that a piece of her 6th chromosome was missing.  This was very rare with less than 25 cases in the world similar to hers and none on record just like her.  I felt amazed that God would trust me with such a special little girl.  This also meant that no one knew what the outcomes would be for her.

“Wait and see,” is what they said.  Chris and I were sure that she would be almost normal.

We were wrong.

With each passing month, each passing year it became more and more clear how wrong we were.  I asked God for wisdom.  I read What to do with Your Brain Injured Child by Glenn Doman and it became my guide.

I let Ashlyn lay on her belly all the time.  It seemed like forever until she lifted her head, but she did it!  I made a crawling track for her and eventually she started to scoot!  That is, after many excruciating months in a brace to fix a right dislocated hip.  Still, that right side didn’t seem quite right.  She would drag that leg behind her while using the left leg to move forward across the floor.

300717_240310076004371_2823406_n  It took many years and a trip to the Family Hope Center to get Ashlyn to start the cross-pattern crawling.  Learning to climb up the stairs is what did it for her.  I was overjoyed!  I was ecstatic!  I didn’t care how long she crawled.  I knew she would get up and walk eventually.

                Again, I was wrong.

She didn’t get up and bear weight on her feet.  Slowly, ever so slowly, a mysterious and invisible force inside of her body began to pull her feet inward, the right more than the left.  The legs began to become internally rotated on the hip sockets, the right more that the left.  I didn’t notice and neither did all the doctors and specialists that she went to.

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Finally we recognized a progressive club foot deformity. We employed many different types of therapies and braces which allowed her to stand independently for the first time when she was almost 9 years old and take 11 steps by herself by age 10.

We built her a walking track and she worked up to over a hundred trips a day!  She could walk independently around the house.

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However, that invisible force kept on pulling, robbing her of all the progress she had made.  Now the only option left is surgery.  I hate the thought of surgery.  The pain.  The 8-12 weeks of recovery and non-weight being.  The bulky and difficult casts.  The unknown outcome.  The scar tissue and possible pain and arthritis later in life.  I asked God for wisdom and I figured that we had to give Ashlyn the chance to walk.

No surgery would mean no walking.

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I decided to get two opinions on Ashlyn’s case.  The first with Dr. Sorenson at Hershey Bone and Joint Institute and the second with Dr. Herzenberg at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics in Maryland.  We saw Dr. Sorensen first.  I like him so much!  He recommended a Posterior Medial Release for the left foot and a Talectomy for the right foot (removing of the talus bone.)  He had gotten a medial release when he was 12 years old and it has been great for him.  He thought that Ashlyn would be able to walk just fine!  I was so encouraged and left his office with hope.

I don’t ever remember leaving a doctor’s office with so much hope!

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I researched the two doctors online and my heart sank.  Dr. Herzenber had around 30 years more experience that Dr. Sorenson.  I didn’t want to travel all the way to Maryland to see him, but I felt like I would be a horrible mother if I didn’t.

Thankfully Chris came with me on the day of the appointment.  The drive was long.  The wait in the office was even longer – 2 ½ hours in the room!  Dr. Herzenberg sure knew his stuff!  He said he had done many talecomies over the years but came to realize that a triple arthrodesis produced better results.  A telectomy didn’t leave a joint at all, just scar tissue between two bones that didn’t fit together.  This was not good for a major weight bearing part of the body.  A triple arthrodesis would fuse three smaller joints but reform the talus bone into a working joint.

                I left that visit feeling like this surgery would be totally impossible!

I had to give Ashlyn the best surgeon and the best option, but I could never drive back and forth to Baltimore time and time again for pre and post-op visits.  I could never stay away from my family for the days that she would be in the hospital.

I decided to talk all of this over with Dr. Sorenson.  I didn’t know how he would react.  Some doctors bristle when you question their authority and opinion.  I prayed and prayed.  When I told him that I had taken Ashlyn to see Dr. Herzenberg for a second opinion he said, “Oh really!  He is wonderful.  I actually went to see him for a second opinion when I needed knee surgery.”

I showed him the report of Ashlyn’s appointment and Dr. Herzenberg’s recommendations.  He sat down and read the entire report, WORD FOR WORD!  I never expected that!  It was clear that he admired this other doctor greatly.

When he had finished, he said, “I see his point with the triple arthrodesis.”  He examined Ashlyn’s feet again and declared, “Yes, I think that would really work!  Yes, I agree.  I could do the surgery here for you or you could go see Dr. Herzenberg.  I wouldn’t be offended at all.”

I told him that I would much rather do the procedure here in Hershey with him as the doctor.  We talked about all the details; four weeks of casting prior to surgery to stretch the muscles as much as possible, three days in the hospital, 4-6 weeks in castes, 4-6 weeks in special boots.

“I am so glad you went for a second opinion,” he said at the end of the appointment.

                I was overjoyed!  I liked this doctor and the office much more than the Baltimore option, but I never dreamed that it would work out so well!  I thanked God over and over for this humble and wonderful Dr. Sorenson.  I prayed that God would make him brilliant beyond his own abilities!

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As I thought about writing this article in hopes of raising a prayer army for Ashlyn, I realized something.  I wasn’t really expecting this surgery to work, to actually give Ashlyn the ability to walk.  I was doing it because to not do it would seem like neglect.  But my expectations were of pain and suffering for Ashlyn, myself, and the entire family; not of a breakthrough. There were two reasons for my dismal outlook.

  1. There were other issues that made walking difficult, her hips and the 50% curvature of her spine that would not be addressed in this surgery.
  2. Everytime we had followed instructions that were supposed to help Ashlyn’s feet, it failed to do so. Doctors, therapist, and The Family Hope Center had prescribed 8 different therapies or equipement to use and here Ashlyn is…a 14 year old who can’t walk.

God has been coaxing me away from my expectations rooted in the past.  He is bringing me into faith.

Faith that the future could hold more healing and more promise than I can see right now.

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I am also asking Him for miraculous healing since I know that He is the great Physician and that He would do a perfect job with no pain or scar tissue!  I am taking Ashlyn to a healing room this Saturday and hope to take her To Randy Clark’s healing service on Good Friday.

Ashlyn goes for her first casting on March 21st.  Her second casting is April 4th.  Her surgery will be on April 19th at Hershey Med Center.  Could you please pray for God’s amazing healing to be displayed and for peace and comfort for Ashlyn and the rest of the family as well!  I am not sure how I am going to deal with showers and potty-time with Ashlyn in two casts, unable to stand or walk at all.  Pray for God’s wisdom and grace!  Thank you for standing with us and expecting wonderful things!