Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Conquering the Speckled Monster

Guest post by Shirley Raye Redmond

In between the dances, routs and other social activities, such as taking the waters in Bath’s famous Pump Room, my heroine Prudency Pentyre and the other major and minor characters in my Regency novel, PRUDENCE PURSUED, are involved in a heated worldview debate regarding small pox—the deadliest disease of the age.

Like their real-life contemporaries in England during this time period, some felt the “speckled monster” was a scourge from an angry God and that it was His will so many people should die. Others, like Prudence, felt that the disease was to be fought and if possible vanquished all together.

Small pox killed hundreds of millions of people—more than the Black Death and the wars of the 20th contagious disease to plague mankind. Mortality rates were at a nightmarish proportion. One in three victims died; most of them children under the age of ten. Those that did not die from the disease were often left blind, disfigured, or both. Jane Austen’s dearest friend Martha Lloyd was scarred by smallpox for the remainder of her life. Several members of the Lloyd household died from the disease.

Edward Jenner, a British physician and contemporary of such Regency notables as William Wilberforce and Jane Austen, was the man who eventually conquered the disease by using a cowpox vaccine. Jenner was a Christian. His wife even taught Sunday School classes in their home. He spent an exorbitant amount of his own money to vaccinate his fellow British citizens in an attempt to eradicate the disease.

It was already a common practice to inoculate patients with a small amount of the small pox virus in hopes of inducing a mild case of the disease, thereby preventing a more serious case later on. The procedure involved making two or three slanting incisions in a patient’s arm using a lancet wet with smallpox pus. However, the procedure was not always reliable or sterile. Those performing inoculations were often not mindful of cleanliness. Many were not even physicians, but tradesmen eager to profit from performing the procedure. Smallpox inoculation did not guarantee protection from more virulent infection later on, and it often triggered serious outbreaks in the patient’s home and community.

A safer method of preventing smallpox was desperately needed, and Jenner believed he had found one. Jenner first came up with the idea while serving his medical apprenticeship in the Cotswold dairy country. As he went from one farm to another, he was intrigued by the dairymaids’ flawless complexions. Unlike most people at that time, these women did not bear the usual pits and scars left by small pox. Nor were they worried about contracting the dreaded disease. They explained that once they’d contracted cowpox blisters on their hands from milking infected cows they could not catch small pox. Dairy farmers and farriers who often treated ailing cows and horses also proved resistant. Cowpox was a nonlethal disease common among dairy cattle and easily transmitted to farmers and dairymaids. Jenner seized this opportunity to prove a theory he had been considering for many years: that exposure to benign cowpox could prevent infection from deadly smallpox. He was proved right.

Today, a statue of Edward Jenner, the Father of Immunology, can be found tucked away in a quiet corner of Kensington Gardens. President Thomas Jefferson, who used the Jennerian method to vaccinate his own family, friends, and slaves, once wrote to Jenner: “Yours is the comfortable reflection that mankind can never forget that you have lived.”

As an aging widower looking back on his amazing contribution, Jenner said, “I do not wonder that men are grateful to me, but I am surprised that they do not feel gratitude to God for thus making me a medium of good.”

Shirley Raye Redmond is an award-winning author of women’s fiction and children’s books. Her Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Random House) was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Visit her at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Wind-up: Comment to win My Candy Valentine by Darlene Franklin!

Congratulations to Britney Adams and Deanna Stevens who were the winners of last week's giveaway of The Chamomile by Susan Craft and Laurel, Susan's newest release.

If you are a winner, please contact us here with your address to claim your prize. 


This Week's Giveaway is in perfect time for Valentine's Day:

My Candy Valentine by Darlene Franklin

Gilbert Williams sweeps Catrina Jensen off her feet when he arrives in Loveland, Oklahoma, shortly after New Year’s Day 1916. When the reason for his interest in her delicious candies is revealed, her affection turns to fear. Is her hero a traitor in disguise?

  Check it out on Amazon!

Special thanks to Darlene Franklin for offering her book as a giveaway! Darlene is Writing at the Crossroads of Love and Grace. Visit her at http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/.

This giveaway runs through February 7th. Comment on any post between now and then to enter, and remember, the more comments you make, the more entries you earn!

    Winners will be announced in the Weekly Wind-up.

We look forward to hanging out with you this week!

 Check out our Prizes Galore Page to see all our giveaways.

Balance in an Unbalanced World

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

God's been showing me quite a bit about balance lately. A lot of times with the beginning of a new year, the popular thing is to focus on your body - eating healthy, losing weight, getting into shape, etc. Or it could be on improving your spiritual walk, increasing your mind's ability, dealing with your emotions, etc. The list could go on and on. All are good and important.

One of the things God has been impressing upon me is not just to focus on one area but instead allow Him to assist in bringing all of my life into balance at the same time. When I seek Him, He will help to guide and show me the ways I need to improve and where I need to grow. All He asks of me is to rely upon Him. He longs for each of us to bring our lives under His obedience - to do and follow the things He says.

Are you ready to take a leap of faith and allow Him to help you bring your life into true balance?

Posted by Jodie Wolfe A.K.A. Digging for Pearls