Sunday, May 30, 2010

Finally...a decision

It is so good to know I made a decision about something. I didn't realize how much it had been draining me until after I made an action plan and stuck with it. I am re-energized and actually looking forward to the summer when I'll have too much time off. I found something I am excited to do in those slow weeks which fits my passions and the causes I want to help succeed. Are you ready for it?

I'm organizing.

Yes, that is right. I have talked about my organizing hobby before and I watched Oprah last week (something I never do but won't go into why - too long/controversial) because Peter Walsh was on it. What? He doesn't have the name recognition of Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts? Well he does in my book because he is my favorite professional organizer and he used to be on the show called Clean Sweep.

Okay, well I guess I'm not "professional" because I am a volunteer, but I am helping at a pregnancy center. The director asked for my personal help and said she has had difficulty organizing her office since things got rearranged in the beginning of the month, do I have any organization skills? How perfect! It feels a little like God is rewarding me for making a hard decision and sticking with it. Maybe it is more an answer to my prayer and an opportunity to serve, but I'm loving it all the same. It is good to know that my random talents/interests are needed somewhere.

Can't wait to help someone else and get out of the self-focused, decision making mode! I think I made a good decision but, unfortunately that came at the cost of being a little more self-absorbed than usual. Hopefully I find a way to serve others today instead of mope about because my husband will be gone for a week.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day and thanks to all our veterans and service men and women!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Friday Reflection (one day early)

Well I'm a bit early, but I thought I would write today. I am the type of person that wants to see things through. I don't want to leave work with a project half finished and I definitely don't want to leave a group when I feel like accomplishments have not yet been made. It has been a stressful decision for me to make and I feel like no matter what the outcome it will be wrong.

Wrong for me to stay because I'm not being supported and wrong to leave because I don't want to abandon anyone. But abandon who? Who has done the work that I have offered as a way to move forward? I have made a difference in my pro-life group? I'm not sure. And yet, I was basically offered to be president of the group for the second time. Everyone else is too busy...and then there is me without a full time job or kids.

My pride says I should stay and get everyone excited and involved. My pride says I'm the only person for the job and it would be wrong to walk away. My emotions say run! The meetings are making you weak emotionally and spiritually. No personal goals have been achieved through my involvement in this group and I should promote NFP more. Afterall, I am most passionate about that since it provides an educated way to regulate family size without the chance of conceiving and miscarrying because of artificial means. Isn't that what I talk about most?

I can't just wait this out anymore...that is exactly what other officers are doing I realized. We're all waiting it out to see who steps up. So I'm down to this, either I should step up or step out. No more halfway. Either decision is going to be hard and I think I know which one it should be - I just don't like it.

Ok, I know we have all had tough decisions like this. Where did you find comfort and wisdom? I'm running out of places to look.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy 50th Anniversary

Many of you know the 50th anniversary of the pill was this month (at least widespread legal use of it). I'm a little late, but at least I'm in the right month. Many people have also written about this topic and what is popular or common belief now. Mainstream culture may have celebrated the anniversary, but at least one WSJ article talked about a lot of the facts. Seeing those facts brings me back to the summer I spent on researching the topic before the pill was widely available - all the way back to the 20s. Basic conclusion is still the same - contraception won't and can't solve all the social problems it promises to do away with (i.e. unexpected pregnancies). And as I linked to earlier in the comparison to smoking - there are also serious health risks.

Some other promises of birth control have also not been realized. "Sexual freedom" is not a reality because the physical bonding ties us to our "partners" and the more partners we have, the less satisfying the "bond" experience. Freedom should not limit bonds and trust. Artificial BC can do both. Not to mention the fact that women still must deal with unplanned pregnancies even if using the pill. It's a hard truth to face, but here is another one:

NFP never seems to get noticed. A scientifically based method of spacing/preventing births is ignored or seen as backward church talk. People don't think about the lack of side effects, free cost and life benefits received by practicing self-control. Even so, some sex-therapists recommend periodic abstinence as a way of rekindling romance. If it's available every day - no big deal. If some random days are picked to abstain the waiting builds anticipation (and maybe romance) and anticipation leads to greater satisfaction. If only that could be combined with a natural way of postponing pregnancy.....oh wait, that is exactly what NFP does? Amazing!


Sometimes it is hard to stick with the same cause if you feel like you are going nowhere. I'm sure just about everyone in politics or other social movements have felt that way at some time or another. You can't change people - they have to want it and you definitely can't change society overnight. I may not see all the change that happens, but it is nice to get some positive feedback.

Yesterday I was quite productive, but two of the highlights among many house chores were talking with a fellow NFP teacher who is very excited about the first set of classes she taught which resulted in friendships and finishing my first series of classes by having a couple over for dinner (then class) who missed last week. It was nice to have that social outlet after cleaning all day and got me motivated enough to come to this blog :-)

Another "highlight" from last week's class is that I caught a student making a comic strip about smoking and asked how it was related to class. He tried hard to make it fit, and I remembered that I read something linking the two subjects. So here is that link written by thatmarriedcouple - always finding great resources and making my life a little easier!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Patience and Acceptance

Well, I don't feel like I have solved all the world's problems or figured out what I am going to do with the rest of my life. I didn't have an ah ha! moment but I've had a few small ones. Unfortunately the small ones seem to tell me I do have to work on patience (can that lesson speed up already?) and a bit a acceptance. It seems to be possible that I already "know" what I am called to do but I don't like it as much anymore.

It is easy to be excited when you are just starting out and there are new people to meet. the new pro-life group that was so young and enthusiastic, hasn't gotten very far and seems to be dwindling. I don't live in the city where they meet and I'm not the most outgoing so I don't seem to be the best fit for the job - luckily I didn't become president and feel comfortable in my role as secretary, but I am itching to do something new and exciting. I'm anxious to reach more people with my message. So right now all I know is I can't give up and I'm searching for inspiration. If anyone has a good book recommendation or other insight let me know. In the meantime, I still love reading your blogs :-)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Living a Calling

I don't know about you, but sometimes I can get a bit overwhelmed. I just went on a cruise and briefly visited a third world country. It is such a difference and reminds me of how blessed I am. However, I'm only one person so I can't save that country - but what can I do? Yesterday I read from the book Here and Now by Henri Nouwen and the excerpt was on this topic exactly! What a lucky coincidence or sign.

It is easy to get so overwhelmed by all the good that needs to be done - save the poor, care for the sick, educate the uneducated, donate to a gazillion charities and then try to enjoy time with friends and family. How can it all be done? Easy answer - it can't. Henri Nouwen put it just that simply - you can't do it all. Oh the nerve of him to assume I can't give myself to eight charities at once while also going on trips to help communities in Africa which is all very true. That much was easy to accept, but what should I do?

This was the hard part. Be patient and wait to be led to your calling. Discern where you need to be and give your all to that vocation. Not everyone is called to the same vocation so that we can all have an impact where we are instead of all being spread too thin. Problem is, I prayed and prayed and God gave me direction. Yippee! I know what to do - but that was a year ago and I feel lost again. I haven't changed the name of this blog yet even though I'm 25 because I don't know if I will stay with it or if the topic will change slightly. It has already changed because when I started I tried to keep religion out of life issues but without it there just isn't a compelling reason to make sacrifices like caring for a baby when you hadn't planned on it - if only for 9 months until you give it up for adoption.

In any case, I seem to be back in a period of discernment and so I don't get distracted I probably won't post again for a while until I know there is a purpose for it. Hopefully I find/realize something soon because I really don't like working on the virtue of patience ;-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back to Reality

Well I definitely enjoyed my trip. It was nice to live in the moment for 2 weeks. I didn't have to think about how we were going to make it to a new destination - I just went to sleep and woke up in one. Oh the wonders of cruising I discovered, but I won't rub your face in it much longer. Just for the time it takes for a short reflection.

While every spot was great, my favorite was Pompeii because you really got a good idea of how people lived as opposed to seeing an ancient site in the middle of a modern city. The picture above is actually a hot food restaurant, think ancient McDonald's. I met some great people including a number of newlyweds who were pretty close to us in age and I got spoiled with the tea selection on board - at least two cups a day. I went to the store today and didn't find the kind I was looking for :-(

Okay okay, actual reflection now. It was nice living in a fantasy world, no worries and amazing experiences like our fabulous window overlooking the shopping area of the ship (great people watching spot). No responsibilities like laundry and planning things to do - everything is taken care of for you. It was nice to feel loved and care for, but the ship doesn't really care for your spirit. There was a chapel but there were no Christian services for the two Sundays we spent on board. One was at sea all day so we definitely couldn't get to Mass and the other was in Egypt - just as unlikely, so we had a service ourselves with the Sunday readings and boy were they needed! Other than that, I got really lazy and I'm paying for it now. I'm too wired to sit and reflect even thought that is something I love doing.

So I have tried to reflect and think about what is worth writing about. I think my trip came at the perfect time. I stopped over analyzing all the little decisions I am trying to make and remembered to enjoy life in the here and now. No thoughts about buying a house or what to do about where and when I am volunteering (am I in the right place or not?). All I did was enjoy lots of quality time with my husband going to shows and having dinner with different people every night. The ship was also so calming that my mood swings were greatly diminished and I was surprised to have cramps when I got home because my usual early warning signs weren't there. Even though at this point I was most definitely back to reality, I felt grateful. I was given such a blessing that I could handle one day of suffering. I could pick up my cat (whom I missed) and be thankful that I have people (and cats) to love and take care of me. My marriage is great and re-energized by the trip and we get along pretty well even in my trials because he is so good at taking care of me. We are not stressed by the pain (at least not yet) because it does not mean we are infertile. There are many couples that have it worse than us. My reality really isn't so bad and I'm glad to be back.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Angels & Demons

Well this post is more serious than I will be in Sicily, Italy! It is the last stop on our cruise. We will have one day at sea and then I'll be on my way home. Maybe I will take time to do a Friday reflection...maybe not. Hope everyone has enjoyed the blast from the past (year old posts) and update on my location. Can't wait to tell everyone about it!

Usually, you would think those two beings are opposites. Would anyone mistake an angel for a demon? Certainly they wouldn't in pictures - one usually has thorns on its head and the other white wings. One is all good and one is inherently bad.

Unfortunately, in real life, angels and demons can easily be confused. Something may sound really good, but is it just because of the careful wording that is being used? Universal, rights, liberties and justice all look like "angelic" words. We forget that those words can also be used for evil to an extreme - Hitler arguing that justice involved killing innocent people. It is easy to point out the extremes of the past and say "of course that was wrong," but Hitler won political power before he started his radical killing spree. People of the time did not understand everything that was going on and many supported him.

So I ask anyone that reads this - how do you figure out who/what is an angel or demon? How do you explain to someone that something that is seen as incredibly bad by the media is not actually that way? Are we on the right track as a country/world or are there some things that are slipping by us that will have serious consequences later? The dichotomy of angel v. demon may be a bit extreme - but I think calling pro-life advocates terrorists is pretty extreme as well. A true pro-life person is someone who respects everyone's individual right to life - whether a healthy 20 yr old going to school, an elderly grandma, a baby in the womb, or even a criminal. How can standing up for life be a terrorist action? How are we causing terror? I was reminded twice yesterday that pro-lifers are terrorists and that has me wondering why? Any help would be appreciated - the concern of mine is that the movement will be even easier to dismiss once it is widely labeled as a terrorist organization (has that already happened?).

Monday, May 3, 2010


This quote is a bit out of date - but I'm pretty sure she holds the same views now as I do. This was originally posted last May. This May I have just finished an overnight tour of Egypt seeing lots of amazing ancient wonders! Maybe I'll have to post pictures when I get back.

We live in a world today that is full of information. It is staggering how much information you can find on the internet - and I am hopefully adding to that just a bit. In an age with so much information available - and free internet access at libraries - how can we say that people are denied access to information? It is out there if you are willing to look for it. I think this is one of the greatest steps mankind has made in the last century but it comes with a cost. There is so much information out there that the problem is not finding some, the problem is getting too much to go through. I look at something related to sanctity of life every day and I am still far from an expert on all the current debates happening right now. With that as my understanding, I found this comment that Hillary Clinton made at a Planned Parenthood event quite interesting:

[W]e know that Margaret Sanger's work here in the United States and certainly across our globe is not done. Here at home, there are still too many women who are denied their rights because of income, because of opposition, because of attitudes that they harbor. But around the world, too many women are denied even the opportunity to know about how to plan and space their families. They're denied the power to do anything about the most intimate of decisions.

Any time someone says the "world" it is too much for me to process. I do know simple family planning methods have been taught in developing countries and are well received. I don't know where exactly, how often, etc. On the other hand, I can say something with a bit more authority about the United Sates. No one in America is denied the opportunity to learn how to plan their families. There are opportunities online and through books (that libraries lend for free) for women to learn about family planning. Natural Family Planning classes are open to everyone and in my area range from completely free to a one time cost of $75-100. That is much more cost effective for the woman and for the taxpayers. I wish there was a good source to go to for both sides of the story - but each side is going to stick to their own.

The point of the post: don't take anything on the news or from politicians at face value (for either side). Evaluate the facts and do some research before you write them off. That I have done and I finished with more respect for the pro-choice movement. They have good goals: help empower women and improve their health. I just disagree with how they go about reaching those goals. I think empowering women to choose and embrace life while making wise choices in their daily activities is worth fighting for every day. I plan to continue doing just that.