Friday, July 24, 2015

am i embarrassed to be pro-life?

Did you see this video going around the interwebz last week?


 I did.

Did you re-share it on your preferred social media site?

I didn't.

I realized that the reason I didn't share it was because I was afraid I would come across looking like this:



I was embarrassed to be pro-life on social media.

But the truth is that I am very pro-life. And abortion so blatantly defies so many of my core beliefs: life begins at conception, all life has value, sex is important, holy, belongs within marriages, and should be life giving. True, it's not always convenient to be pro-life, just like it's not always convenient not using contraception, and it's not always convenient to have kids. The right thing is not always (and often isn't) going to be convenient. Our actions have consequences, being able to do whatever you want isn't being free, it's being a slave to selfishness.

Those are my pro-life beliefs, and while I don't want to condemn anybody to hell, I am tired of feeling like I need to apologize to the greater public for them. Abortion is so disgusting to me, I'm done worrying about who might I offend by saying so.

As someone who has suffered miscarriage and infertility, who has painstakingly charted and timed, ahem, marital intimacy to try to achieve pregnancy, and who has endured a total of 10 months of shots twice a week in my posterior to keep babies alive inside of me, this culture of disposable pregnancies is insulting to me, and a mockery of everything I have been through over the last 4 years.

I'm not much of a news junkie, or a fact-finder. I can't tell you what is or what isn't a federal crime. All I know is that this doesn't compute. How can I rejoice at the sight of a heartbeat at a 7 week ultrasound appointment while someone else says there's no baby there? How can I grieve the loss of my baby at 11 weeks, who had fingers and toes and ears and eyelids, and someone else can abort a blob of cells?

How can a baby that has fully functioning organs not have value as a person, but those fully functioning organs are valuable and can be harvested? As I feel my own baby twisting and turning inside me, and can even see her fists and feet bulging against the skin of my belly, it's truly nauseating to think about a baby with fully functioning, fully alive organs being crushed to death.

Planned Parenthood has responded to the release of this video, saying that their actions are legal, involve the consent of the pregnant woman, and that they are not profiting from the sale, only covering costs associated with tissue transportation. But instead arguing over the fine line of what is legal and what isn't illegal, can't we just pause for a minute and think about how disgusting the conversation is?

I think we need to allow ourselves to be disgusted and nauseated more often. I think we need to allow ourselves to be repulsed and fed up. I think especially that people of my generation need to stop apologizing for being pro-life. If we're trying to fit, well, I think that ship has sailed. If we're trying to not ruffle any feathers, well, that's not what we're called to do. We're called speak the truth, in love of course. But we need to speak it.


Some speak it more eloquently than others. Like Bonnie, or Jenny.

Or one of my very faves, Blessed Mother Teresa:

The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion, which is war against the child. The mother doesn't learn to love, but kills to solve her own problems. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.

//

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

garden patch spirituality

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden...
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it 
~ Genesis 2:8 & 15 ~



I don't know much about life, and I can't claim to be an expert on anything, really. But I do know that it feels good to keep a garden. It feels good to get down on my knees and work with my hands in the dirt. It feels good to plant, to tend, and then to yield a harvest. 

I planted my 6th garden this summer. After 6 years of gardening I am learning a few things, mostly through trial and error, and asking my grandparents for advice. But the more I garden the more I am learning that growing vegetables is really just a byproduct.  The real value, for me, is in the time spent in quiet, peaceful labor. As I work in my garden, God is working in me and revealing truths to my heart. 


It feels good to foster life. I believe we are hard wired to choose life. I'm not trying to get political here.  There is a political side to this, but just forget that for a moment and think about what it feels like to see the destruction of life. Whether it be a house plant that has withered, a bird that has crashed into your sliding glass door, or a human being who has passed away, it hurts to see a loss of life. Conversely, the first blooms of spring, green grass after a hard rain, a new baby welcomed into the world; life feels so good! And in gardening, you are laboring to bring about life.

Weeds grow faster than seeds. And if we don't get out there and pull weeds on a regular basis they are going to completely choke out those little sprouting seeds. In the same way our souls need constant examination, otherwise it is so easy for sin to take root and take over our lives.


Don't leave room for the weeds.  Sometimes it's not enough to just pull the weeds out, leaving big empty patches of dirt. Those weeds will be back before you know it. Instead, when you pull up weeds, put something good and life-giving in their place. It's not enough to get rid of a sinful habit, you have to put a virtue in it's place or that habit will just come back.

Sometimes you need to thin things out. There is such thing as too much of a good thing.  If your carrots and beets are crowded in their rows you're going to end up with very small and scraggly carrots and beets. Don't try to cram too much into one space. Pare down, spread out, focus your energy and resources on a less things, but on growing those things really well.

Gratification is not instant. In this day and age instant gratification is everywhere. But it's good to have to wait for a reward. Waiting cultivates patience, and patience cultivates character. The rains will come, the sun will shine, and little by little leaves will grow and flowers will turn into fruit. And when it does it tastes that much sweeter for the time and labor you have put into it.


I hope all of your gardens are producing beautiful fruit. 

//

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Friday, July 17, 2015

7 quick takes vol. 17

linking up with Kelly for some quick takes!

//1//

This set of quick takes is brought to you by my dad, who came over to take Johnny to the park this evening.

Johnny likes to look through the pictures on my phone. Yesterday he saw this one of him and my dad.


And then for the rest of the day kept asking about "mampa" and running to the front door.  It was very cute but also sad, because he didn't understand why grandpa was not there. So today he got to see grandpa. Thanks dad! 

//2//


28 weeks pregnant. 3 weeks left of Alex's first semester. It's all going by so fast. 

But then again, so slow. 

I'm getting to that point in pregnancy where everything just hurts. It hurts to sneeze, it hurts to roll over in bed, it hurts to get up off the couch, it hurts to put pants on. So much belly. 

As far as grad school goes, we've actually fallen into the groove of Alex being in school pretty well now. The hardest part is probably bath time (so much bending). And knowing that Alex's studying is really hard and there's not a lot I can do to help him. 

//3//

My brother got married a few weeks ago. It was a a beautiful wedding and I have a beautiful new sister-in-law. Also, they are super cool, so they sawed a log at their wedding. 


Johnny was a ring bearer so I was having all kinds of proud mama moments, even though he ended up going down a side aisle  and had to be retrieved and set back on course by Alex.


My sister curled my hair so I felt very put together. And we snapped some family photos.




//4//  

Trader Joe's has become one of my favorite places.  I do most of my grocery shopping at Aldi. Now I've heard that there are some nice Aldis out there, but the one by us is ghetto. Like, armed security guard ghetto. So when I go to Trader Joe's it's like going to the Ritz. They bag my groceries for me, they give my samples, they give my kid stickers. Many a witching hour have we just packed it up and gone to Trader Joe's.

The last 5 or so times I have been there I have seen these yummy looking things.


But have refrained from getting them by telling myself I shouldn't be eating sugary sweets anyway. Well, last week I passed my gestational diabetes test so I am letting loose. The Fruit Jellies are mine, and they did not disappoint.

//5//

I'm watching Friday Night Lights, again. After I finished The West Wing I told myself that I would try watching a new show.  But it didn't happen.  Part of it is because I knit while I watch TV so if it's something I've seen before I can do more listening than watching and get  a lot of knitting done. But if it's a new show then I kind of just need to watch. I though that I just didn't want to take a chance with something new.  I want to watch something that I know I will love.  

And even though I don't like football, I love Friday Night Lights. I love Coach and Tami. I think they are one of the greatest TV marriages.  Whatever happens, you always know Coach and Tami are going to be ok. And I love the southern accents. And I love the small town vibes. Maybe I need to write a whole post about why I love Friday Night Lights. But until I do I will just give you this.



and this


//6//

I don't know much about photography, but I'd like to know more. You always hear people talking about "the golden hour", and the other night I think we were outside during it.  So I grabbed the camera and took some snaps of my little guy and I think they turned out ok.  Except that it's nearly impossible to get him to smile. 

He's still sweet though. 





//7// 

The last post I wrote was about solo parenting, and one of the things I wrote about was lowering expectations. This is a real struggle for the girl who likes to get all the things done every day. But between a toddler and 28 weeks preggo it just is not going to happen anymore. One of the (many) things I have let myself off the hook from is blogging. As much as I love it I'm realizing that sometimes a nap is more important than a blog post. If I have something I feel is worth saying I will say it, But if I don't then I'm not going to stress it, go under the radar for a while, and hope that you still like me when I resurface. 

All that so say I may not be posting as much for the next, oh who knows how long. And I'm ok with that. 

So until next time! xoxo.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

7 tips for solo-parenting


Our weekend was glorious. Alex does not have a test this week and so he was able to take not one, but two evenings off of studying. He did bath time and bedtime. We watched movies and ate ice cream. It was just like the good old days (all of 5 weeks ago). (Seems like a lifetime ago.)

And now it's Monday and we are back to the class schedule and the hours of studying and after a night of almost zero sleep due to 97% humidity (heart you MN summers) and me being too stubborn to turn on the AC, I'm realizing that I need more in my solo parenting arsenal than over-priced cookies from Wholefoods.

It's only been 5 short/long weeks so I can't claim to be an expert here, check back with me in two years and I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say. But so far here is what I've found to be helpful if you find yourself doing a lot of solo parenting.

1. Keep Expectations Low

This is one I have to remind myself of daily. I love to be productive and get stuff done and see the fruit of my labor. But some days you just can't do anything. And that's ok.  The house is still standing and everyone got fed. That's all and that's ok.  Really, it's ok.

2. Get A Mother's Helper

Here's my mother's helper. My 11 year old niece.



Can I just say that this has been the most AMAZING experience. My more seasoned mom friends have told of the glories of a mother's helper but I never knew just how wonderful it was to have one until, well, I had one.

A mother's helper is someone in that magical age group where they really truly love playing with babies/toddlers.  They're not yet old enough to be home alone with them.  I don't make mine change diapers or get snacks and meals ready. But the trade off is that you don't pay them as much as your high school or college-aged sitter who can be alone with the kids and do all those things.

Every Monday afternoon my niece comes over to play with Johnny. And I can do Whatever. I. Want.

I always make a list of a few things I need to do that are really hard to do with Johnny around, like emptying the compost bucket, or changing sheets, stuff like that.  But I always allocate some time for something enjoyable, like writing a blog post, or working in the garden, or knitting. And that right there is all my hobbies.

I also try to make something good for dinner on Mondays because I have a mother's helper, and I can.

3. Get Out Of The House.

Leaving the house with small children is not easy. I know this. But staying in the house all day long with small children is a recipe for disaster. Sometimes a change of scene does wonders. Go for a walk, hang out in the back yard, go to Trader Joe's. GO SOMEWHERE! Whatever you do, just please, don't stay inside all day.



4. Plan A Play Date

I wrote a while back about my need for community.  It's still there. I need to see other human beings' faces during the day.  And it's a plus if they are friends and not the Target checkout guy. And it's another plus if they have little ones for my little one to run around with.

It is true that the play dates don't plan themselves and sometimes it seems like it would just be easier to stay home, but once I get down to planning one, I'm always glad that I did.

5. Make Time For Rest

Nap time is sacred around here.  If I don't want to do something with you between the hours of 12:00 and 2:30 please don't feel bad. It's because that is the nap time window and if we miss that window Johnny and I are both a hot mess for the rest of the day. He needs his sleep, he's only two. And I need the break. I need that quiet 60-90 minutes to recharge, either by sleeping myself, or doing something refreshing, like reading, or knitting, or just sitting and enjoying the stillness and an iced coffee.


Yeah. We like naps.

6. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For/Accept Help

Some of us stay-at-home-moms are very independent and we like to be able to manage on our own. But we aren't meant to manage on our own. We need support and we need community. When a friend asks "can I do anything?"  or "can I bring a meal over?" take them up on it! Reach out to family in the area. Grandparents for the win!

Don't forget to ask your partner for help! My husband needs to spend A LOT of time studying, but surely he is not too busy to take 45 minutes and do bedtime with Johnny so that I can catch a little break!  I have to remind myself that my husband can't read my mind and doesn't always know when I'm headed for a meltdown. I need to ask him for help before said meltdown has a chance to happened. And he is always happy to step in.



This is usually what happens when Alex takes study breaks with Johnny.


7. Make What Family Time You Have REAL Family Time

For us this is dinner time and Sunday afternoons and evenings. We eat together at the table without screens and electronic devices. We ask about each other's days, we have meaningful conversation. We try to do something fun, like walk to DQ, or go to the park even though it's kind of close to bedtime. We just enjoy each others company and enjoy being a family.


//

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