Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Being Compassionate

This is hopefully going to be a short posting.  I really have only one thought, and that is "Be kind." I think it's an appropriate message given the time of year, but that message just continues to resonate with me lately.  It's really more than being kind; it's "be compassionate".  I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, or our society is getting sicker, or it's just weird timing or luck, or whatever, but it is probably a combination of all those factors.  I personally know many people who are suffering.  Within this past year, I have known people who have lost their spouses, their great life-long friend, their co-worker, their cousin, their father, their mother, their grandmother, their brother…as well as others who have been diagnosed with various cancers or MS …and yet another whose child was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Yes, each of us is suffering through our own daily mundane trials and sacrifices, and then there are those who are suffering more than others can even imagine.

When you go about your day, try to make eye contact with everyone you meet and share a smile or a kind greeting.  It might be the only bright spot in that person's day.  You just do not know what is behind anyone's smile.  We all are hiding something.  We go about our days trying to hide what ails us, but it is always bubbling within our psyche.  For some, the pain is immense.  It can be a physical pain, an emotional scar, or financial troubles.  In being kind to one another, we Christians have the opportunity to minister to others about Christ's life…simply through our actions.

We, Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week.  I do hope each of us takes more than a moment to truly thank God for ALL the blessings in our lives.  I do hope that each of carries that gratefulness within our hearts into the Advent season. We must be like Christ and tend to the poor, the widowed, the weak, the sick, the elderly, the abandoned, and the lonely.  When we think of Christ tending to those people, do we see ourselves in those stories?  It is us he is tending to. Don't you see?  WE are the poor, the widowed, the weak, the sick, the elderly, the abandoned, and the lonely.  It is each of us.  Each of us has a broken heart for one reason or another.  Christ is telling us we must tend to EACH OTHER.  This Advent season, be compassionate.  Be like Christ.  He is the light of the world, so go light up your corner of the world with compassion and love for others.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28

Etching by Rembrandt: "Christ Healing the Sick"
"The print depicts multiple events from Matthew 19, including Christ healing the sick, debating with scholars and calling on children to come to him. The rich young man mentioned in the chapter is leaving through the gateway on the right"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dignity: The State or Quality of Being Worthy of Honor or Respect

That title is the definition of "dignity".  It is a word that is being used now in conjunction with suicide.  I had promised myself I would not write about the Brittany Maynard case because I figured everyone and their brother would, but I cannot help but put a few thoughts down here regarding this.  I am not writing this for the ardent Catholic who knows euthanasia is wrong or for the pro-euthanasia person who feels Brittany's decision was a "brave" one, but for the Christian who is sitting on the fence regarding Brittany's decision.

It wasn't that long ago that I was "pro-choice", "pro-euthanasia", and "pro-capital punishment".  It still seems a little strange to hear myself saying that I am no longer any of these.  Is this a radical viewpoint? Am I radical for thinking that humans were made in God's image, that He knew our names before we were born, that He knows every hair on our heads, that we are His children, and thus because of all this, we are supposed to stand for LIFE from conception to natural death?  Okay, if society deems saving human lives a radical concept, then I am a radical by today's standards.

In suffering, we are given lessons interwoven into the threads of pain.  In death, we learn to succumb to God's will and not our own.  We learn to let our loved ones pass back into God's eternal resting place.  For those who are dying, they come very close to heaven or hell - staring death down in the face.  Some even have the grace given to them to survive death and be cured of their sufferings.  Through others' end-of-life experiences, we take a glimpse into God's exponentially wide arms of mercy and His ability to work miracles in our lives.  Those of  us who have bounced back from the brink of death know what it is like to be held in the palm of His hand and given a second chance.  Our lives are not for naught.  Each of us has a mission and a God-given purpose to use the gifts He gave us at conception.

Between January of 2013 and May of 2014, I lost three babies all at different stages of life.  Each of them was precious, but they were brought back to heaven for reasons beyond my earthly understanding.  I suffered immensely, not only emotionally, but physically.  The second one landed me close to death passed out on my bedroom floor after hours of pain and blood loss that are beyond description.  When the paramedics arrived and revived me, my heart rate was very low and my body was numb.  It was a very calm and ethereal few moments as they prepped me for the stretcher.  I really couldn't care less about what they were doing.  My eyes were on God and thanking Him for my life, my husband, and my four beautiful healthy children.  Laying in the hospital for two days with no visitors (outside my immediate family at the onset of my admission), gave me so much time to pray and think.  Briefly touching death's door allowed me a very intimate time with God.  In a way, I wouldn't take that time back.  There were so many lessons of thankfulness, forgiveness, and healing that were learned there.

I would imagine all who suffer, and all who are near death, experience God in this intimate way and feel His love and grace if they allow Him in.  As painful as death is, it is a part of our lives and it is a step to life-everlasting with our Creator.  We don't know how each of us will go.  We don't know if we will suffer.  We do know that God has a plan for us and that our pains and struggles here on earth are temporary.  We know that through our sufferings, we are united to Christ on the cross and His sufferings.  We get a glimpse of God's immense love for us through the pain on the cross and through our own crosses.

Brittany and her family do not know what graces would have been given to them through her death from cancer.  They will never know that nor will they know if a miracle would have occurred.  Miracles can and do happen; they are not fairy tales.  What I do know is that we are not allowed to play God.  It is not our role here to determine who gets to live, who doesn't, and for how long.  Our society tells us that it is merciful to kill and calls it "death with dignity", yet God tells us in no uncertain terms that murder is a sin and "thou shalt not".  We must pray for our world that we see murder in all its forms and reject it.  Suicide is never the "brave" option.  It is far braver to stare down your death sentence and grow through it moving ever nearer to God.  It is far braver to teach those around you about death, suffering, strength, forgiveness, healing, prayer, God's graces, and God's miracles.

Simply, each life in its entirety has meaning and should be cherished and protected from conception to natural death.  We must trust in God's plan for our lives ...and not plan our lives and deaths and play God.

Here are three pro-life messages from a very brave teenager, a a very brave thirty year old seminarian, and a very brave middle aged woman all diagnosed with terminal brain cancer…

A letter from Philip Johnson, a North Carolina seminarian, who has terminal brain cancer:
Letter to Brittany

…and a story about Lauren Hill, the nineteen year old college freshman basketball player, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer:
ESPN reports Lauren Hill Fulfills Dreams

…and a video message from Maggie Karner, a Connecticut woman, also diagnosed with glioblastoma like Brittany was:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Four Visions During Mass Today: An Angel, the Infant Jesus, A Suffering Jesus, and A Crucified Jesus

Recently, I have been praying to my guardian angel and asking him to help guide my thoughts and actions.  I have been trying to "reach out" to him, if you will, like how one gets to know a new acquaintance and hopes it turns into friendship.  Only, I already know my guardian angel is my friend, so it's more about me reaching out to him.

During mass today, my pastor was telling a story during the homily and I was trying with all my might to follow him, but finding it very difficult.  I, oftentimes, will close my eyes during the homily and various times during mass so that I can listen intently without the distractions of what's going on around me in church.  Today was one of those days.  I closed my eyes to better hear my pastor, and I instantly saw a pair of massive wings bowing before me.  I was so focused on the massiveness and power of the wings that I failed to see the figure attached to them in the middle for quite some time.  All of a sudden, my focus shifted to the wings' owner….and I gasped just a bit.  He was an angel…bare chested and very mighty in his muscular stature.  He was bowing but looking straight ahead.  His face was rugged and even though human looking, somehow otherworldly.  His stare was peaceful, yet mighty all at the same time.  He wore a rugged short beard and his hair was light reddish brown, wavy, almost unkempt looking - like he could go to battle at any moment.  I thought, "Am I seeing my guardian angel? Am I seeing him or another angel?"  And at that moment I opened my eyes … and felt an overwhelming sense of joy and gratefulness to God.

I immediately thanked God for this gift of prophecy He has given me and promised Him I would continue to be open to this gift. I promised, as I often do, that I would give any message He wants me to give.  Not long after that, my pastor began the part in the mass that is the Liturgy of the Eucharist and I closed my eyes to better focus on what was happening on the altar.  In that moment, I was standing amongst people in a field.  It was night, the air was cool, and I was having trouble seeing beyond the heads of the people in front of me.  Just then, a bright light appeared about 20 feet in front of me and I was looking at a baby in a wooden trough.  It was the baby Jesus laying in the manger just before me …and I was one in the crowd who came to pay Him homage.  The people were absolutely silent.  The silence was almost deafening as they came in awe and joy to see the Savior before them.  Love, respect, reverence, and submission abounded that night. I was focused, however, on the wood of the manger for some reason.  It seemed so rustic - dirty even - and yet there He lie.  

Immediately, I was standing in another crowd.  This time, I was on a stone street.  It was daytime and hot.  All of a sudden I was five feet from Jesus as he passed before me carrying his cross. He was severely struggling.  Again, I focused on the wood of the cross beam of the cross.  The massiveness of the cross.  The wood piece was enormous and I wondered how any human being could ever lift that. I could see the roughness of the wood.  It was not only heavy and awkward, but painful to touch.  I looked into Jesus' face and saw the pain.  There was extraordinary physical pain, yet also frustration - like how could His Father in heaven create him to be human and feel this torture? I saw Jesus turn slightly to his left and appear to look up.  He fell before me.  The crowd did nothing. People were yelling.  Women screamed.  The crowd was not there to pay him homage. God's people had ordered the brutal killing of God's son and they were there to see it happen.

All of a sudden, I was two feet from Jesus' face and the massive cross beam.  That wood that he was birthed into, he was now nailed to.  I watched the agony in his blood-stained face as they lifted the cross from the ground.  I was right there with him - loving Him and feeling His agony.  Why was He wanting me to see this I thought?  The cross, as they lifted it, slightly and quickly fell to his right side, and he closed his eyes, his head fell to his right shoulder, and he let out a guttural sound from the excruciating pain.  They straightened the cross and then slowly raised it into position.  The crowd behind me was calling out at him.  The air was thick, His pain was unbearable and punishing, and the people were relentless in their mocking of Him.

I opened my eyes.  My pastor had just finished consecrating the host and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  The crowds of people that I saw and stood amongst had all drastically changed from one vision to another.  God had shown me my Guardian angel, and then brought me into the birth, suffering, and death of our Lord today.  As He was born into a wooden manger, he died upon a wooden cross.  He entered and left this world upon a mighty tree.  The people who came to pay him homage when he was born were there out of love, respect, and knowing the babe in the manger was their Savior they had always prayed for.  The people in the street, as Jesus slowly passed through, were not there to pay him homage.  The people beneath the cross were the worst as they jeered and yelled.  How odd that Jesus would be born to a crowd who loved and revered him and would die to a crowd who hated and mocked him.  

I can tell you that when I looked into the face of Christ, I saw a human being with a heavenly understanding of His Father.  He knew this was to be and submitted, yet felt the pain the same as you or I would feel it.  My words can never do justice to the pain he felt in His death.  

Later today, I looked up and read about today's readings because I really didn't hear them or the homily.    I learned today's Gospel reading was the parable that Jesus taught about the landowner of a vineyard and his tenants who killed his son.  (Mt 21:33-43)

'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ 
When Jesus was asked what the vineyard owner would do, he replied…

"Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

The kingdom of God was taken from the Jewish people and given to the Gentiles.  Many of the people who came to pay homage to the infant Jesus in the manger would have been Gentiles.  The people who ordered His crucifixion were the Jews.  This is what God was showing me today.  Perhaps my guardian angel had a hand in helping me see the aloneness of Jesus, His beautiful birth, His horrific death, the people who praised him in his birth, and the people who rejected him and crucified him.  I saw the wood that cradled him as an infant and the wood that he was nailed to in his death,   the difference in the crowd who welcomed him to this earth and the crowd that sent him from it.

As Msgr. Pope so aptly stated in this week's homily, "Either we accept the offer of the Kingdom and thereby yield to the Lord’s work and bring forth a harvest, or we face judgment for the fact that we have chosen to reject the offer of the Kingdom. God will not force us to accept His Kingship or His Kingdom. We have a choice to make and that choice will be at the heart of the judgment we will face."

These were only my personal visions.  I share them as I promised God I would.  I pray I do my visions justice and send forth the images correctly.  God bless you all ~+

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stevie Nicks' "Sara"

Today, I read that Stevie Nicks publicly announced that her famous song, "Sara", was written about the baby she aborted back in the late 70's.  This was a baby conceived from her affair with Don Henley, of the Eagles.  This story has absolutely shook me to the core, and I have not been able to get her, the song, or baby Sara out of my mind all day.  The sadness I have felt for Stevie, Sara, and Don has just overshadowed my day.  Fleetwood Mac is probably my all-time favorite rock band, and truth be told, I wanted to grow up and be a female rocker with a kick*** voice like Stevie Nicks or the Heart sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson.  One well-recorded night (in my memory) in 1977, my family went out for pizza and immediately after wandered into a nearby record store.  My parents bought two albums that night, I believe.  One was Heart's "Dreamboat Annie" and the other was Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours".  I played those albums over and over and over.  I memorized all the lyrics.  I, of course, belted out those songs day after day …for years to come.  Stevie Nicks was a personality I kept up with all these years, and every time I heard one of her songs I was instantly transported to my childhood - the warm Tampa, FL air, the dancing and twirling, the singing, and the emulating.


"Sara" was released a couple years later in 1979 on their album, "Tusk", and "Sara" became my favorite Fleetwood Mac song…but I wondered about the lyrics. I remember my father telling me that the band members were kind of all dating each other and it wasn't really working out.  That was a lot for my child brain to wrap around.  Of course, children see the world so simply.  In years since, I have come to find out that Stevie Nicks has struggled with a heroine addiction, has had an abortion, has had failed relationships, and on and on.  Will celebrities ever really be able to put fame in its place? It always seems to have a stranglehold on its victims.

Pro-lifers have long been speaking about, writing about, marching about, and shouting about the horrendous side-effects associated with abortions.  Addiction, depression, suicide, failed relationships, miscarriages, infertility, breast cancer, a life of regret, and various other internal physical problems - including death - these are the side effects that we are legally bestowing on the maternal life-givers of our society.  This is what we are encouraging women to do to themselves…and their babies.  Yes, that's right.  We are encouraging this. Millions of women have suffered through this barbaric, torturous, and deathly experience, and most suffer in silence for a lifetime.

I don't know what Stevie Nicks truly feels about her experience, as I am not in her heart.  Only God knows what is in her heart.  I can tell you that writing a song about the baby she killed is not just a ditty about a blob of cells.  The "pro-choice" camp will tell you that it is, and that every woman has the right to expel that blob.  Sadly, they just don't see the whole picture.  They are seeing the trees and not the forest.  This is such a bigger matter than a medical procedure.  Stevie Nicks wrote a song about her baby girl, "Sara".  Every time she sang that song - every performance she ever gave - she thought of her baby and the death of her baby at hers and Don's own hands.  Clearly it was a "choice" she has lamented all these 35 years.

I had read somewhere else (I can't remember where) that she was surprised at Don Henley's sort of indifferent reaction to her decision.  I think that was the hardest part for me to read.  This is an all too familiar scenario for women and their "choice" to abort.  Of course, we have heard of the heinous crimes men have committed against women literally dragging them to abortion clinics or forcing abortifacient drugs on them.  We don't hear the millions of stories of women who kill their babies because their lover, boyfriend, or husband simply is indifferent …leading the woman to believe she will have no help in raising this beautiful gift from God and sending her into disparity and a "choice" that will have deathly results and lifelong harm for her.  No, we don't hear those stories.  This is profoundly sad.  These women whisper everyday in their cavernous wounds of regret.

Stevie Nicks grieved, and she is probably still grieving for Sara.  I am grieving for Sara today.  I am grieving for Stevie and Don.  I pray that baby Sara is praying for her parents to grow closer to our Lord and live in His light - not the limelight.  I am so happy for Stevie that she decided to publicly disclose this very personal piece of information.  It puts a very public face on the dark private world of the abortion business.  It is bleak, smarmy, dirty, deathly, at times covert, and always evil.  It has touched the lives of millions of women and men and robbed 56 million people of their lives.  Sara is a precious gem in God's eyes.  She is also - painfully for me to say - common….for she is one in 56 million.  Pray for women around the world every day that they will make the right choice ~ that they will say YES TO LIFE!

If you or someone you know has had an abortion and needs help or has worked in the abortion industry and now regrets it, please know there is help.
Project Rachel/Hope After Abortion :  http://hopeafterabortion.com
Silent No More :  http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/index.aspx
Rachel's Vineyard :  http://www.rachelsvineyard.org
And Then There Were None :  http://www.attwn.org

There are other organizations.  You can search "post abortion counseling".

These are the lyrics to "Sara":
Wait a minute baby
Stay with me awhile
Said you'd give me light
But you never told me about the fire

Drowning in the sea of love
Where everyone would love to drown
But now it's gone
It doesn't matter what for
When you build your house
Then call me home

And he was just like a great dark wing
Within the wings of a storm
I think I had met my match, he was singing
And undoing, and undoing the laces
Undoing the laces

Said Sara, you're the poet in my heart
Never change, never stop
But now it's gone
It doesn't matter what for
But when you build your house
Then call me home

Hold on
The night is coming and the starling flew for days
I'd stay home at night, all the time
I'd go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere
Ask me and I'm there, yeah
Ask me and I'm there, I care

In the sea of love
Where everyone would love to drown
But now it's gone
They say it doesn't matter anymore
When you build your house
Then please call me home

Sara, you're the poet in my heart
Never change, and don't you ever stop
Now it's gone
No it doesn't matter anymore
When you build your house
I'll come by


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kindergarten!!! The Flying Dutch Monkey Swings On In

This one's for all the parents of kindergarteners... 

It is that time of year again…you know, when the loving teachers ask the parents to "let them know" a "little something" about their children.  Well….my youngest son started kindergarten this year, and since I have already dedicated a post on my blog to parenting him (which you can read HERE ), I figured I would write my letter to the teacher and post it here as well…

Dear "My Son's Teacher",

When I was pregnant with this beautiful boy, I kept hearing God telling me that he would be sweet natured, loving, and obedient.  Yes, those were the words I kept hearing.  Those words ran around in my head as my insatiable appetite grew along with my belly.  They grew and grew and grew until I thought I might be carrying Godzilla inside!

Then the kicking began.  This wasn't the ordinary kicking that babies do.  Oh no.  This little boy thought he was sitting on little tiny bleachers in there and he took great glee in stomping in a downward motion, as if he was at a basketball game stomping to "We Will Rock You"!  Seriously, I did not know that babies could squeeze little chairs in there with them!  Those words of obedient and loving kept running around in my head and I really wondered.

After tipping the scales at 200 pounds, I gave birth to the tiny saint only for him to let me know that the same mama's milk that had grown and nurtured two babies prior would not be enough for him.  Don't get him wrong …he loved it, but he'd need another 8 ounces of formula as the chaser.  

By the time he was two years old he had a new baby sister, and his father and I had lovingly nicknamed him "Blonde Destruction" and "The Flying Dutch Monkey" - as seen here in these photos…
THIS is how his days started.

Thus the "flying" part

When he began preschool the following year, I kind of quickly kissed him goodbye at the door …and then ran for my life - praying all the way home that I would not get the phone call from the preschool director that Blonde Destruction was sitting next to her in the "uncooperative chair".  To my extreme bewilderment, the teacher said he was "sooooooo good" and "soooooo quiet".  She said he was the most well-behaved boy in the class!  Had I reached an all-time low??? Were the other boys so bad that my Flying Dutch Monkey's behavior paled in comparison?  No! Apparently, he (upon setting foot inside the preschool classroom) became my sweet-natured, loving, and obedient saint of a child that God said he was.  Wow!  Didn't see that one coming!

So, you see, it seems as though Blonde Destruction saves up all that goodness for you teachers.  As a matter-of-fact, he informs me that he is "the bestest boy in the whole kindergarten"!  

Here are some interesting facts about the Flying Dutch Monkey:

His passions are dinosaurs - the scarier the better - especially when they're terrifying his little sister, drawing and painting, and Godzilla!

He is a "Master Builder" of LEGOS and loooooooved the new LEGO movie.  Blonde Destruction loves to keep all LEGOS in tiny pieces all over the floor just so mom can scream in agony as she's walking across the floor - ahem, I mean, so he can really get those creative juices flowing and build spaceships, monsters, and trucks.

He loves putting on costumes and wearing them in new and innovative ways - as displayed here:

A new version of Spiderman…or a cowboy…or Captain Underpants?

My Flying Dutch Monkey is a funny, creative, intelligent, energetic, sweet-natured, loving, and obedient boy who thinks outside the box.  As his mother, I have learned to be more patient, and my heart has grown immensely from the love this boy gives. 

My hopes and dreams for this year?  I pray he doesn't help you to learn to be more patient, but I do hope your heart will grow from the love this boy gives.

Bearer of the Flying Dutch Monkey  aka Blonde Destruction

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Women: We Are Comrades, Not Competition

A few weeks ago, I happened to be in a waiting room with my 18 year old son.  It was filled with mostly women.  Upon leaving, my son remarked to me that women are very different from men.  I said that was true, but asked him what he meant.  He said that he notices that when women are all in a room together all we do is look each other up and down and give each other dirty looks.  He said that if it were men all in a room together, they'd be instantly talking about sports or something and laughing.  He asked me why women treat each other the way we do.  I didn't really have a great answer other than informing him I had decided LONG AGO that when I enter a room full of women, I look at no one.  I don't want to engage in anyone's stares or nasty looks.

A few days ago, I read this article about a Yazidi Girl who escaped ISIS.  It is a harrowing tale and one that the whole world should read and be extremely concerned about.  She speaks of escaping with another girl and running into the arms of the PKK who helped her ultimately escape.  Do these girls look one another up and down when meeting each other for the first time?  I know you just snorted.  It's laughable.  It's laughable because these people have real problems and are fighting for their lives.  I doubt there is a lot of cattiness involved when women are huddled together praying for their lives.  The Iraqi women are in it together, and by "it" I mean life.  They see the big picture.  They know what is important because so many of them have had it taken away - their husbands, their homes, their children, their virginity, their innocence, their freedom.

So why in the world are we free women so cruel to one another?  Do we have too much? Are our lives so superficial that our mind's most important thoughts revolve around which handbag is on our arm, which shoes are on our feet, which car's steering wheel we're sitting behind, or which fellow female we're being seen with?  Really?  It sounds absurd when I paint this portrait of extreme landscapes - we women in the western free world and the women of Iraq and Syria.

I will say that we modern free women in the U.S. are basically all the same.  When you get down to it, we are simply women created by God.  We are entirely feminine.  We are daughters, sisters, aunts, wives, mothers, and grandmothers.  We probably genuinely care about the same things.  When we encounter each other, we must see a comrade, not competition.  We are all in this together.  Think about how much better our days would be if we all supported each other versus tearing each other down.  We complain that we don't get the same jobs men get or that we're not paid the same, yet we will degrade each other in the workplace and beat each other down to the point where someone loses their job.  We complain that no one listens to us, yet roll our eyes at the the woman who speaks of her "problems" in public.

As a Christian woman, I implore all Christian women to reach out to other women every chance you get.  We are in this together. We really do get each other.  We have husbands who may be great and supportive or may be abusive or neglectful or just difficult to talk to. We have elderly parents we're caring for.  We have children with multitudes of issues.  We have difficult jobs and responsibilities.  We all have our insecurities.  We all have dreams.  Let us build each other up and build a culture in this country that is truly pro-feminine.  We can never do that without first starting with ourselves.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Western Women are Free - Yet Enslave Themselves?

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about a Syrian woman who had been pushed from her home along with her seven children due to terrorism.  She had no husband as he had gone out into their town to fight and never came back.  She described the "tent city" in which she was now living, and told the harrowing tale of many mothers who were marrying their young daughters off (some as young as 9) to wealthy older men from foreign lands so they would be taken care of and not raped by strangers passing by the tents.  They were all terrified to bathe and definitely could not bathe alone.  The details of the lurking male eyes gave me the chills.

I cannot imagine living in her reality.  That is not a reality here for us in the United States.  Girls are not married off in their preteen years so that the family does not have the burden of raising them anymore or the burden of watching them like a hawk to prevent rape and violence.  These girls on the other side of the world are enslaved to men and their own sexuality.  They are seen merely as sexual objects of a man's desires and the one who will bear children, clean the house, and cook the meals.  If they are single into their teen years, they will most likely be raped and/or murdered.  It is the genuine hope of the parents that their daughters will be married at a young age in order to "protect" them.  This mother in the article went on to include her fears for her daughters as they marry.  What will the nights be like with the new husband?  Will he treat her well?  Will she be cared for?  Will she be forced to move to another country and never seen again?  Very real fears …and a very harrowing tale.

Her story would not leave my mind.  Day after day, I thought of all the middle eastern women - millions of women - who are enslaved by men and valued only for their sexuality.  I thought how these women might act given true freedom from their brutal environment.  I surmised that so many of them must be bright and creative - yearning for the opportunity to share their God-given talents with the world.  …Then I opened up Facebook, and my teenage son's page popped up (since we all share the same computer in our house).  I was going to log out and log back into my page, but the top story on his newsfeed was a picture of three girls with whom he grew up.  They had taken a "selfie" of their group dressed in stripper-worthy bikinis and jacked-up high heals.  It was like a bomb exploding before my eyes.  Truly.  I could not take my eyes off the photo in disbelief.  I kept saying to myself, "I can't believe that's so-and-so", and "I can't believe their mothers don't know or don't care this photo of their daughters is on the internet!"  The photo was so disgusting that I thought to myself, "they are enslaving themselves.  No one is doing it for them."

Why, you say, are they enslaving themselves?  Most women are, and we don't even know it.  In our attempt at "freedom", we have adopted the attitude of, "I can dress however I like and men had better keep their eyes in their heads and their mouths shut."  Looks good on paper.  Doesn't translate to reality very well.  If we as modern free women have a desire to be truly free, we must begin with the way we present ourselves to the world.  What are my son's friends really saying by dressing like that and advertising it on Facebook?  Are they saying, "Look at how smart I am?  Look at what a very accomplished young lady I am about to embark on my higher studies at the University?"  When we dress in revealing ways, we are saying the complete opposite.  We are not celebrating our freedoms, we are enslaving ourselves to continue to be merely sexual objects.

I have been saying for YEARS that we women dress too scantily and we bring all kinds of negative attention on ourselves.  If teens and young women were to dress more modestly, don't you think others around them would concentrate on their faces and the words coming out of their mouths?  We mothers have allowed society to dictate to our daughters how they can/should look in public.  Recent role models have included:  Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, JLo, The Kardashians, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and Hugh Hefner's many girlfriends including Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, and Bridget Marquardt.  Great list!  And that list could go on and on.  Women across America are also tuning in to The Housewives of Beverly Hills, New Jersey, Atlanta, etc.  These are the women we hold in esteem???  I think most would agree we don't (I hope).  Many "keep up" with these people just to watch the train wrecks.  But seriously ask yourself how much you HONESTLY want to dress and look like many of them?  HONESTLY.  Our malls are filled to capacity every weekend with girls, teens, and women looking for clothing, shoes, and accessories that help them emulate all these women they see on tv and in the tabloids.

Turn those shows off!  Stop buying the tabloids! Stop buying clothes that barely cover your bodies and scream to the world that you're available for abuse!  That's right. I said it.  You are asking to be abused by dressing in a provocative way.  I would dare anyone to tell me something really great and virtuous that came from wearing a skin tight dress, too short skirt, shorts smaller than a bathing suit bottom, jeans like a second skin, blouse open below the breast line, tank top showing everything, or a teeny tiny bikini to the pool or on the beach.  Seriously.  Tell me! You can't because that scenario does not exist.

Women half way around the world are dying because they are Christian, and they are enslaved to their sexuality because of where they were simply born.  They would give anything to be here in a free country to advance themselves intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.  I am sure many of them go to sleep at night wishing for their chains of imprisonment to be broken.  We women in the West are free, and yet we are choosing to make our statement to the world be a sexual one.  Through our simple daily choice in clothing, we are choosing to promote ourselves sexually and give ourselves away to numerous men - and asking to be abused.  We - OURSELVES - are willingly perpetuating a lack of respect for our daughters, friends, mothers, sisters, and ourselves.  We can change that ...because we are free.  We must begin respecting ourselves as the truly intelligent, creative, loving, nurturing, sentient beings who were intricately crafted by God.

P.S.  This is not the original article I referenced as I cannot find it; however, this is a good article on the Syrian woman's plight.
Syrian Women's Plight

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Saying Yes 2 Life Facebook page!

If any of my readers would like to join my Saying Yes 2 Life Facebook page, share the Catholic faith, and spread a culture of LIFE… please click here:

Saying Yes 2 Life Facebook page!

I will post my blog entries as well as Catholic and pro-life news and events.  Please join - I would love to meet you there!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hail, Full of Grace...

Hail Mary, full of grace….How many times have we Catholics started our prayers this way?  Have we ever stopped right there and thought about just those words?  Those are the words that the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary when he greeted and gave her the wonderful news that she would give birth to our Lord and Savior.

"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" Luke 1:28

Why did Gabriel say, "full of grace"?  This actually goes back to the original Greek word "kecharitomene", which means that Mary was "filled and endowed with grace" from the moment of her conception until her assumption into heaven.  She was sinless from conception.  The word "grace" was a greeting and blessing from God.  It was "God's giving of himself in Christ in order to bring salvation" (Catholic Bible Dictionary).  So when Gabriel greets Mary as "full of grace", he is saying she was completely filled with grace from conception to assumption and by the fact that she was carrying our Lord in her womb.  God literally gave Himself in Christ to Mary "in order to bring salvation".

So many times we overlook Mary in our quest for her son.  Yet it is she who beckons us to know Him.  She calls us.  For me it is a very strong tug in the center of my soul.  She called me to this faith, and once a Catholic, she continued to nudge me closer to her Son.  She is miraculous and glorious; beautiful and serene.  She answered the call to life with a resounding yes.  She answered with a yes because she was full of grace.  She was unwavering in her love for and obedience to God.  She is the prototypical Christian and someone we can look to for help, love, and guidance.

She is our greatest intercessor. She deserves our love, our attention, and our hearts.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.  And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
Luke 1:30-33

Monday, July 14, 2014

Biking For Babies!

Did you know that right now three teams of pro life young adults are riding bikes from Dallas, New Orleans, and St. Augustine all the way to Chicago?  That's right.  They're biking across a good portion of the U.S. to raise funds and awareness for the Respect Life movement.  These young adults deserve our attention, our promotion, our prayers, and our financial backing.  Please take a look at their website and see all that the three teams are doing.  Praise God we are raising up a culture of LIFE in this nation!!!

Here is their website:
Biking for Babies

Here is a great, fun, and short video showcasing getting ready for the start of the ride and Day1!