DON'T MISS OUT!

Life

"The child must know that he is a miracle..." Great pro-life quote from Pablo Casals

Today is the March for Life in DC and today is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn.

I haven't always been passionately pro-life, I must admit.  I spent the first 25 years of my life not thinking much about pro-life issues, and the next ten or so years, entrenched in day to day motherhood and life in general, and wondering what I could do about something that seemed hopeless anyways.  It seemed easier to not think about, it expended less emotional energy.

And then one day I read an article in National Geographic of all places.  It wasn't about abortion at all, it was about something I had never heard of.  It was something about some tribe in a country in Africa, who was still practicing some horrific act-it is called mingi-and for something as little as a toddler having a chipped tooth, or their top teeth coming in before their bottom teeth, the tribe deems them evil, and will take them out to the bush and leave these little children, in the middle of nowhere to die. To die of starvation or dehydration or the elements or wild animals. I threw the magazine down when I read that, wishing I hadn't filled my brain with that information, knowing I would never forget it and would haunt me.  I looked at helpless, sweet, trusting, loving, totally vulnerable Janey, my toddler, standing next to me, the same age as what these little children would be and cried.  How many days would it take?  How long would she be crying for me?  When would she just give up? What ignorance I thought, what stupidity, what uncivilized, barbaric people are we talking about, who could kill a sweet baby in this way?  How could they treat a child as if it was disposable, at is if was responsible for evil, as if it could be just thrown away, and what reason could be "good enough" to justify this?

But as I was sitting there, I thought, halfway across the world from me, or maybe one hundred years from now, someone is or will be just as horrified as I was, and use the same words to describe legalized abortion in 2015 in the country that I live in. We have been conditioned to think otherwise, we have been spoon fed lies, we have been convinced, and attempt to convince ourselves, that there is nothing wrong with killing our young.  We do it in barbaric ways, we do it when we want to do it, we do it when a human is at it's most vulnerable state and not able to fight back, we do it and we justify the act in a hundred different ways. How have we come to this?  Mothers killing their young, in the name of convenience, in the name of anything, in one of the richest, most educated, civilized countries in the world?  How have we perpetuated lies and ignored science this blatantly?  We don't have an excuse anymore.  Not believing that life begins at conception is like still believing the earth is flat. Science has long proven that fact, but we find a million ways around it.  We need only to look at an ultrasound and we can see with our own eyes, but still we deny.  I could easily see why any society who truly respected women and treasured children would consider us ignorant, uncivilized, and barbaric.  They would consider the act of intentional abortion another horrific atrocity against human life.

I pass no judgment on those who have been desperate or scared or backed into a corner, or pressured or fearful and are led to believe they have no other choice or aren't worthy of motherhood abort their babies-and I think that has to describe all women who have an abortion.  I can't imagine the pain they live with when they make that choice and then forever after, and truly my heart breaks for their loss.

And I do like to believe that the majority of all mankind mean well.  But I can't wrap my head around the lies that are being told to women.  I can't wrap my head around that fact that we women will play victim to a sexual culture that results in our babies paying the price by death, and us paying the price physically and emotionally.  Do they not know the pro-creative power they hold?  Have they not been told how their bodies work?  Do they not see they are paying the price in that clinic as no man ever will?  It seems that some women are so busy waving their signs about choice, they haven't stopped to think of how completely, for lack of a better word, crappy those choices are? All for what?  Sexual freedom?  We have the power to control our bodies, we are not victims, we are not weak, we are not inconvenient, nor are our babies, we are educated, strong smart women. We deserve better.  By denying our fertility, by pretending that our bodies don't function as they do, by not demanding commitment and love from the man who wishes to perform an act of procreation with us, we are, in a way, desecrating ourselves and our bodies. Feminism?  No, just the opposite. Self-hatred.  (Here is a beautiful article, that explains my point more thoroughly.)

And our babies-our babies, our unique, gorgeous, lovely babies.  There is nothing like a mother's love.  Have you ever tried to describe it to another woman who hasn't experienced it?  It's impossible. How often do we say we'd die for our children.  But right now there are other women convincing a scared, vulnerable, desperate women that her best choice is to kill her child, not knowing that once she had that baby in her arms, she'd fight tooth and nail if someone would dare threaten her baby.  Or worse yet, they tell her that her child is a mass of tissue instead of the wonderful unique human being she could hold in her arms one day, and love for it's perfection, and think no other baby must be as wonderful as hers.

I realized too, that if I believe what I do, that abortion is the worst human rights violation of our time, how can I stay silent?  How can I bury my head in the sand and go about my daily life?  I was thinking of how I reacted my freshman year in high school when we watched a film about the Holocaust.  I remember going home and talking to my mother about it and saying angrily, "How could people just stand by and watch this happen and do nothing?  What about the people living next to the concentration camps?  They saw the droves going in and no one coming out. What about the people who knew, or knew enough to be suspicious, and did nothing?  How could they live with themselves, do they not hold some sort of responsibility and guilt?"

But now I understand how they could- I have been doing the same thing. They were busy with their own lives, they were afraid to speak up, they didn't know if or how they could do a thing about it anyways. If I believe in my heart that humans, in their most vulnerable state, are being murdered every day by other humans, who have convinced their mothers with pure deception in so many different ways that what they are doing is necessary, than I am the one living like those I questioned, right next to a concentration camp, and going about my business every day, with nary a glance at the ashes falling from the sky.

One day, when I am old and almost in my grave, could I look back at my life, and live with the fact that I did nothing?  I can't, and it took me until I was in my forties to begin to think about this. I realized that I could do something, whether it was as small as speaking up even when it is uncomfortable to do so, or buying a pack of diapers or little baby clothes or sending a check to our local Heartbeat, or one day, when time allows giving more of my talents or time to those fellow women who feel alone and confused and pregnant.  Maybe then, when a young girl reads a history book and says, "How could they?  How could people stand by and let this happen?" I could rest in peace.

Notes on Resolutions and Joy and Heavenly Treasures



This year it was just me with the little ones at home for New Years Eve.  Jeff took the older kids on a special Christmas gift ski trip out to the mountains.  We all had so much fun.

Back here, I picked up a Dairy Queen ice cream cake (because it was my last day of sugar for me, and that was my choice for my "last supper" of sugar, and the kids coincidentally asked for one) and we all were in bed by nine.  That's my ideal New Year's Eve.  I had my calendar all filled out and I reflected on the past and the future (mostly the future) and the kids played with their new toys and it was OH SO EASY.  I remember thinking how exhausting and busy it was having three back in the day!  Oh, three is easy, it's a walk in the park, it's a piece of cake.  Give me eight or ten, and I'll be saying the same thing about having six, isn't that funny how that works?  And little ones vs. teens?  The saying "little feet, little problems, big feet, big problems", it's so true.  It was just a nice reminder for me-not a reminder of "oh how awesome it is with just three kids and no teenagers" but a reminder, that when all six are here I am doing BIG work and I need to give myself credit for that.  And also, that nothing tastes as good as a last supper of Dairy Queen cake.

It's funny how my resolutions have changed over the years also. I  have no new unreachable demands for myself.  I need to eat healthier, more fruits and vegetables and water, and less (which means no) sugar, which I would like to survive on, but it makes me more tired and crabby and is just no good.  I once again have to go cold turkey for awhile till I can eat small treats in moderation and not crave bags of Hershey Kisses morning, new and night.  I also need to do some sit-ups, no, I really need to do some sit-ups!

And on bigger things:
I was reading through a little journal entry I had written awhile ago.  I want to preface with this, please take note:  I didn't write this because this is the who I am, I wrote it because this is who I want to be.  I tend to take things seriously, I have a tendency, as I look back at twenty years of raising kids, to worry, to take things way too seriously, to project in the future.  I think it's a balance, that comes with age-the balance of helping shape them into the best versions of themselves, but also just stop shaping and enjoy them as they are at the moment.  They need us to do both!   I need to do both.

Here are those observations I made a few years ago, these are just scribbled notes, casually written:
(you doesn't mean you the reader, it means me the writer, writing to myself)

1. Pretty much anything you read, or do, isn't going to make more difference in how your kids "turn out", than you having an optimistic, joyous outlook on life and spreading that joy and optimism to them.  Also-showing love in many ways every day.  Making sure you spend time with them and use mostly positive words-making them feel loved.

2. FAMILY-it's all about what you do here in this house.  That will be the difference in the world-"Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean" (Goethe).  There are service lessons, all kinds of lessons, right here.  No amount of work anywhere else is going to make the difference as what happens in your own home.

3. Love your "job".  Find ways to love it more-even the stuff you don't like.  Find a way to cook that is easy and serves your family and YOU well and makes it less of a chore.  Find a laundry system that works for everyone, so you don't grow resentful.  Find joy in caring for your home and family, using the talents God has given you.  Manage well, have systems that work so you can enjoy your work, and your days.

4. Worry-it's such a waste.  Explore the worry-it's based on fear.  Worry sucks joy, it's heavy to carry, it clouds thinking.  Meet it head on.  If that means a conversation you need to have with a teen, or a spouse or anyone, have it.  It usually also means time needs to be spent in prayer.  Prayer relieves worry, centers you and builds strength.

5. It's not complicated to know what the "right" thing is.  There is so much talk, argument, debate, fear-mongering in this culture.  The truth is the deepest, purest core of nature-what is right.  The culture is crazy right now.  It's backwards.

6.  Which means your need to be on the hunt for job, for that pure truth, and give it the attention it is due.  Concentrate on the joy, concentrate on the good.  You can switch everything around to find the good when showing the kids that it exists-using compassion and love and hope-remember the truth is obvious this way.  Dwell on the good, find it, point it out.  "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  


7. Be careful of where and how you spend your time.  If you surround yourself with negativity, you will feel negative.  If you surround yourself with positivity, you will find joy.

8. Enjoyment-find the things you enjoy doing and do them.  Life goes so fast-the little things that might drive you crazy now with a busy family life-one day you will look back with the fondest of memories and laugh.  Remember that!

ENJOY LIFE.

After I read what I had written, I was thinking, what if some physician told me I had one year to live? Not to live sickly, but just to live.  One year.  Period.  How would I truly wish to spend the next 365 days?  Stressed?  No.  Worrying?  No.  Going on cruises, traveling the world, seeing this and that, experiencing everything?  No.  Not for me.  

I would spend more time praying and going to Church and reading the Bible. 

I would take care of myself so I would feel good every day-I wouldn't waste time with tasteless garbage food-I'd eat apples off the trees and strawberries off the fields like I did growing up-I would eat real food.  I would get enough sleep so I could spend every day full of energy.  I would go outside every day and listen to the birds in the morning in spring, and the crickets and cicadas at night in the summer and take long walks on the crunchy leaves in fall and watch the sunsets in the winter down by the river.

I wouldn't waste time on the negative-stupid politics, stupid gossip, stupid complaining, the internet and almost all media in general.  The news, blah!  I wouldn't want one bit of it.  It's not reality, it's not the present, it's not what life is made of, it's what drains life's energy, drains the soul.

I would spend more time with my parents, because they are truly the most admirable people, and hold a wealth of knowledge about life that I need and want to know.

I would want to spend every day with my husband and children.  Staring into their faces and soaking them up and truly truly just enjoying my life here at home.  

Having as many of those little moments, when I stopped living logistically, and just talked with my teenage daughter about life, listened to my older boys funny stories, or thoughts about this or that, listening listening listening, and played ball or games, or in the snow, or outside with my little boys, and kissed the face off the "baby".

What is stopping me from doing this NOW?  Nothing.  NOTHING.  There is no excuse!  I have a husband who works hard to provide for our family, my days, my hours, my minutes, are mine, I am doing what I love, there is NO job on earth I would ever love as much as the job as mother, so...
...what gets in the way of how I'd really like to live my life?

It reminds me of this Bible verse, I am NO expert in the Bible, or Catholicism, or Christianity, or anything (well, maybe babies) but this verse just strikes a chord with me:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

The lamp of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be healthy, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. 

If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money."

Do I take the time to center myself every day and remind myself of all that is joyful?  Do I let myself fall into negativity too often?  Do I take care of my body, where my soul is housed, so I feel good, mentally, physically and emotionally, every day and can therefore enjoy my days?  Do I get distracted by "earthly treasures"-what are my preoccupations that take me away from being present every day?

This is what I want to strive for more than ever this year-the habit of making sure my heart is where my treasure is.