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Fascinating Friday

Every Spring when I see the Dandelions pop up I'm reminded about my dear Grandmother who passed away in 2012, but I can still hear her voice and I remember her smile. She would always send me things, one of them was this poem on Dandelions. As a kid I pulled maybe millions of dandelions and I thought of them as a terrible weed to be exterminated. My Grandma thought they had an unfounded bad reputation. For that Godly woman they reminded her of the resurrection of Christ.

Grandma's Poem about Dandelions

Here is something cool I saw on Facebook with a couple facts about dandelions:

The topic of flowers always makes me think of bees. One of my favorite books to read the kids is In the Candle's Glow. The bees do their work. The beekeeper does hers. And little Felicia, with the honesty and faith of a child, takes the fruit of the bee and the beekeeper's efforts and lights her candle and prays. She prays once, she prays twice, she prays three prayers, then watches the breeze from the window carry her prayers from the candle heavenward.

The gift of life that we witness in spring is fascinating and amazing to me. Recently I was reminded about something I read long ago about what happens between a developing and baby and her mom during pregnancy. You can read the whole article here. But the highlight I wish to point out is this part:

Pinctott calls the evidence “striking” that a baby’s fetal cells “repair and rejuvenate moms.”

Genetics specialist Dr. Kirby Johnson of Tufts Medical Center, Boston, and professor Carol Artlett, a researcher at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University, back up Pinctott’s ideas. Their research shows that when a woman becomes pregnant she acquires an army of protective cells - what might be called a gift from her child - that remains with her for decades, perhaps till the end of her life.

Johnson and Artlett spoke to NPR’s Robert Krulwich in a 2006 interview. In their research, Johnson found that a teaspoon of blood from a pregnant mother contained “dozens, perhaps even hundreds of cells… from the baby.” Science has shown that at the end of a mother’s pregnancy, up to 6 percent of the DNA in her blood plasma comes from her baby.

“One would expect them [the fetal cells in the mother’s body] to be attacked fairly rapidly. You would expect them to be cleared within hours, if not days. What we found is that that is not the case, not anywhere near the case,” Johnson said.

Artlett pointed out that even if a woman miscarries or deliberately aborts her child, the cells of the unborn child nonetheless remain with the mother, even for decades.

Both Johnson and Artlett defend the hypothesis that the baby’s fetal cells have a beneficent purpose, not to hurt the mother, but to protect, defend, and repair her for the rest of her life, especially when she becomes seriously ill.

“There’s a lot of evidence now starting to come out that these cells may actually be repairing tissue,” said Artlett.

During the interview, Johnson told the story of one woman who was admitted into a Boston hospital with symptoms of hepatitis. She was an intravenous drug user with five pregnancies on record: one birth, two miscarriages, and two abortions. Johnson speculated that she would be carrying a lot of fetal cells.

In the process of examining her, the medical team performed a liver biopsy. A sample of her liver was sent to a lab to see if any fetal cells had congregated in the diseased area of her liver. What they found surprised them.

“We found hundreds… and hundreds of fetal cells,” said Johnson, adding that they saw “literally sheets of cells, whole areas that seemed to be normal.”

Scientists are still trying to determine what causes the baby’s cells to work with the mother’s body in such a synergetic fashion.

Pinctott wonders how many people have left their DNA in a mother’s body. “Any baby we’ve ever conceived,” she concludes.

Pinctott sees something “beautiful” in this. “Long post postpartum, we mothers continue to carry our children, at least in a sense. Our babies become part of us, just as we are a part of them. The barriers have broken down; the lines are no longer fixed.”

Perhaps it is not at all poetic to say along with Pinctott that a baby lives a lifetime in a mother’s heart and mind.

The way that God has designed our world and our bodies to work together truly amazes me! How glorious it will be in the resurrection when all things will be made new!

Transhumanism - On that note of the body, one of my favorite writers on medical ethics and other ethical topics is Wesley Smith. I learned about him from Lutheran Public Radio years ago and I eventually learned he is also a convert to Orthodox Christianity. His recent column at National Review showed how eternity is wired into the heart and soul of every person, but without God we look for weird ways of finding salvation. Transhumanism is one such way, a so-called next step in evolution. I highly suggest his article: Transhumanism: A Wail of Despair in the Night.

But let’s see the transhumanism philosophy for what it really is, a wail of despair in the night, a desperate yearning to escape what most true transhumanists bemoan as an all too brief and maddeningly restricted existence, that will be utterly obliterated once their heart stops beating. That’s depressing! As Istvan writes, embracing transhumanism offers the prospect that he and other atheists will “become godlike” transhumans. No wonder transhumanists are such true believers. Transhumanism offers them purpose — and the comfort that their salvation is simply a technological detail away. - Wesley J Smith

Archaeology News - It's amazing to me how much we are still learning about the past through archaeology. As a kid I wanted to be one and of course I loved the Indiana Jones movies, although X does not usually mark the spot ... ahem. But this is a cool story, they found a secret passage used by Christians to hide from the Roman government during periods of persecutions in Syria. Check out the rest of the story here.

History - SHAME ON ME! I missed a huge historical note last Friday and I must atone for it today. Last week on May 11th it was the birthday of the great city of Constantinople! Check out this tweet from Byzantine legacy. The city turned 1,688 years old last week and her history is one of my favorite topics to learn about in history. I have been captivated ever since my AP World History teacher in high school suggested that the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Turks was the most important date in world history. With all the competition for such a title, she got my attention and I've been interested ever since.

This picture below has been making the rounds. A friend sent it to me but I also saw it on the Catholic memes page on Facebook. I learned from Lutheran Satire that theology can be done to a degree by humor and wit, I think this one speaks for itself.

Happy Friday everyone!

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