Tuesday, February 22, 2011

wearing shorts in February

I have this note taped to the door in my bathroom
so this image is reflected in my mirror.

Today has been a super long day. I was exhausted even when I woke up after sleeping for 9 hours (which stinks) but everything ended up leading to a really random blessing. The more I think about it, pretty much every blessing lately feels pretty random, but whatevs.

Getting dressed for my weightlifting class this morning (I'm so cool) I was unaware that it was cold outside. I only realized this after I was walking out of my apartment and I didn't have time to change... therefore, I wore shorts.

It was chilly for most of the day as I went to weightlifting, social work, etc. Then I had to go to the airport and, being an occasional punctuality freak, I gave myself a lot of extra time to make sure traffic wasn't bad. Turns out traffic was fabulous, so by the time I got really close to the airport I had an entire extra hour before I needed to be anywhere.

I'd considered going to pray at the abortion mill while I was walking to class this morning but I didn't know if time would allow or if it was something I was supposed to do today, but considering I accidentally took the exit for the mill, I thought, OKAY!

I've never been to the abortion mill when there's no one else there. I rarely use the word nervous to describe how I feel, but I definitely was like super aware of my surroundings standing there with just me, the sidewalk, the few cars in the parking lot, and the mill.

Quick note: I use the terms "mill" and "facility" because it has been pointed out to me that the word "clinic" implies that people leave better than they were when they arrived or that some kind of beneficial service is taking place and I don't feel that facilities that commit abortions offer any sort of healing for anyone- mother, father, or child. Sometimes I almost say "abortion clinic" just because it's so commonly used and thrown around, but this year I've been making an effort to use more appropriate terminology. jtlyk (new favorite acronym).

Like I said, there were very few cars in the parking lot- so that was good. A car pulled up with a couple inside who looked to be in their late thirties. I just smiled at the man and he smiled back and then they went inside. There's no way to know why they were there, but the woman looked very broken for one reason or another. They came back out about 20 minutes later right before I left and the man and I exchanged smiles again while the woman kept her head down.

in case you wondered what my shorts looked like...
or you really wanted to see how messy my
bathroom counter is...

Two women came out later who appeared to be mother & daughter, but that's just what they seemed to me. It was really heartbreaking. One of the women held onto the rail the whole way from leaving the building, walking down some steps, and across the little bridge to the parking lot. The other woman (in my mind, "the mom") held onto her while she made her way to the car. They never smiled or talked to each other, they just looked broken. It was really sad...

The biggest moment of my time on the sidewalk today was when a taxi pulled up. Usually, the taxis will pull up as close to the building as they can which leaves very few opportunities for sidewalk counselors to reach out to the women or share information with them. I wasn't going to try; I was just feeling called to pray today. The taxi driver got out and opened the door for the young lady when they arrived, which made me chuckle. Chivalry is a lost art and it was ironic to see a chivalrous display in the abortion mill parking lot. The woman went inside and as the taxi was leaving the lot the driver rolled down the passenger side window (the side I was nearest) and yelled something at me. I looked at him kind of surprised and asked What? while PRAYING that this wasn't a confrontation- PLEASE God, don't let this be something mean!

He said, "Aren't you freezing in those shorts? I'm wearing a jacket and I'm cold!" So I approached the taxi and said, "Well, it's cold but I need to be praying so I'm trying not to think about it, ha ha." He asked me why I was praying out on the sidewalk and I said, "well, this is an abortion facility and... I really don't like abortion." He had no idea it was an abortion mill. He said "I don't like abortion either... Oh no, I really hope that wasn't what that girl was after. I asked her a couple questions and she said she just had to stop in for a minute... you don't think...?" and I told him what I knew about the procedures that take place inside that building. He was devastated. He told me he thought it was great that someone would be out there praying but asked,
"but my question is, since people know what's going on in there- why aren't there more people out here?"
(I like got chills when he said that. It's so true though- if we know about this injustice, why aren't more of us out there more frequently? The way he asked was just so like- how are we letting this happen oh gosh it was so powerful to me. okay emotional mini-rant= over.). I told him about 40 Days for Life and how there will be way more people out there starting March 9 and that even on Saturdays there tends to be groups of people praying.

I have no idea how long I talked to this man, but it was probably the most amazing thing to happen to me in a while. Once I told him about the Pro-Life group I'm working with he immediately got out his business card (which is so funny- has a cute joke on the back) and said to call him if he can ever be of any help. My day = made. The most touching part was when "Dave" (I've never really changed names in a story or anything, not really sure why I am now, but I guess I should start changing real life names?) opened up and told me about a girlfriend he'd had back in the day (I'm guessing Dave is in his late fifties). He said his girlfriend was a model and a dancer and then one day she just casually told him that she'd had 5 abortions. Heartbreaking. Dave's comment on that was "just like blowing your nose on a tissue and throwing it away like it's no big deal." I can't imagine the emotional, and even physical, brokenness someone would experience after 5 abortions.

I am still just really amazed at Dave's openness and true care expressed towards life. Like, he really cared and really wanted to talk about it. There was no fear behind his words, only sincerity and concern. The way he reacted when I told him that this building was an abortion facility is the way that everyone should be reacting when they find out about the tragedies taking place all around the world. 81,000 abortions in Texas in a year... 35,000 a day in China... this is not right.

Dave gave me his contact information and my plan is to get him some material about abortion and some brochures about Pregnancy Resource Centers and hotlines that he can potentially distribute if a woman or man ever gets into his taxi and asks to be taken to an abortion mill. I've seen a lot of taxis pull up in those parking lots- but what if the driver could talk to her on the way there? I'm just giddy about this. He was seriously so nice. I've just been meeting the most random nice people lately. Stop blessing me, God! It's getting incessant! Jk totally keep up the blessings because it rocks.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

little miracles

I bought this book while on a mission trip to New Orleans. The title is fitting for the work we did in New Orleans and the title is ALSO fitting for things that have been going on in my life & in the Pro-Life movement the past week or so.


Friday, February 18, 2011

krackel & Pence

I thought the highlight of my day was going to be the bag of Valentine's day candy I got half off at Target.

I hate having to buy the Hershey's miniatures bags that have all the different kinds of candy in it, but I've never been able to find Krackel all by itself. Krackel is the best. I ate a lot of Krackels.

Then I checked up on da news and... oh, no big deal, but... we're one step closer to removing all federal funding from Planned Parenthood. BOOP BOOP WOOT YEAH! The Pence Amendment passed in the House with a 240-185 vote. The whole "I'm Just A Bill" School House Rock video has really been helping my life comprehension this week.

Today can be summarized as beautiful thanks to 2 wonderful things: Krackel & the Pence Amendment.

My Rep. Mike Pence Limerick
There once was a man named Rep. Pence
Who paid attention to where our tax dollars went.
He said, "it is wrong to fund PP along"
and was a voice of common sense!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

but wut does dat even mean?! SB 16 & HB 201

how unborn children feel about
the Sonogram Bill
I've been so stoked about the Sonogram Bill (street names: Senate Bill 16 & House Bill 201) ever since I heard about it and every Texan Pro-Lifer I know has been excited about it too! But... what exactly makes up the bill that is behind all this excitement? These are my findings!

So- This isn't the first time the Sonogram Bill has come up in Texas. Apparently it has gotten out of the Senate the past two sessions but hasn't been able to be heard in the House. BUT this year, Gov. Perry & Speaker Joe Straus declared that legislation to require a sonogram before a woman has an abortion would be an EMERGENCY ITEM. I love the Texas Alliance for Life, just f.y.i.

but wut iz an "emergency item" anywayz?
An "emergency" bill is simply a bill that can be acted upon within the first 60 days of session.  Bills are normally not allowed to be voted on the floor until the end of filing (60 days into the session).
-Sen. Dan Patrick's website

I was kind of surprised by Straus' support on this because I'd been under the impression that he is not a supporter of right to life issues... so I checked up on his voting records and it seems kind of shady to me still. Finding ties between Straus and NARAL/Planned Parenthood just kind of make me uneasy. I guess at this point, for me at least, I'm like whatever because the bill got emergency item status so I'm just going to be happy with that and deal with Joe "not really sure if I'm completely Pro-Life apparently" Straus later.

Sen. Dan Patrick
 So one of the big important people behind this bill is Sen. Dan Patrick. He filed a similar bill in 2009 (but it never made it to a hearing in the House). He's super Pro-Life and great and I got to meet him at the Austin Coalition for Life Banquet- cool! Another big important guy behind this is Rep. Todd Smith who filed the bill this year.

but wut does da bill even do?!

Rep. Smith's bill initially included that prior to an abortion, a doctor must do the following:
(1)  perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman on whom the abortion is to be provided;

(2)  display the live, real-time obstetric ultrasound images in a quality consistent with current medical practice in a manner so that the pregnant woman may view them;

(3)  provide, in a manner understandable to a layperson, a simultaneous verbal explanation of the results of the live ultrasound images, including a medical description of the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of arms, legs, external members and internal organs; and

(4)  make audible the live, real-time heart auscultation, when present, for the pregnant woman to hear, in a quality consistent with current medical practice and simultaneously provide, in a manner understandable to a layperson, a verbal explanation of the live heart auscultation.
more info.
Some amendments were made to the bill before being approved by the Senate. Rather than the initial 2 hours before an abortion, now a woman must be given a sonogram of her unborn child 24 hours before her planned abortion time. Also, the woman must be given the chance to see the baby (she can close her eyes if she wants to) on the sonogram and she must hear a description of the baby (she can tune it out or cover her ears) and the baby's heartbeat. Exceptions can be made if the woman is a victim of rape or incest or if there is a serious abnormality in the unborn child, in which case the mother would not have to hear a description of her unborn child's development.

If the bill makes it through the House with a 2/3 majority, which I am thinking it will because there is a lot of Pro-Life support in the House right now, then it'll be a law and it'll be awesome. Only hindrance I've read about is just the whole Joe Straus as Speaker thing... read more here if ya wanna, even though the article is from before he was elected. Oh p.s. I love Texas Right to Life. Here's a little picture I found on the Texas Legislature website that shows where we are right now.

People are getting all angry about the bill because somehow it is invasive and wrong and hurts the doctor-patient relationship, but I'm pretty sure it hurts the mother-child relationship a little bit more! And, if it's not a life, as Planned Parenthood and a lot of people would like to think, then what's the harm? If it's not a life then there really should be no issue with performing the sonogram anyways. Sonograms are windows into the womb and if there isn't life in there then you're just looking through a window at an empty room, so I don't understand why the opposition is getting all pestered and uptight IF it isn't life after all. Around 81,000 abortions are performed annually in Texas... imagine how many lives this bill could save. I get giddy just thinking about it! Now, for the foster care reform issue... kidding... saving that for another day.

One person getting all mad about this is Sen. Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio. Her thing is that: "We seem to worship what we cannot see, but once it’s here there is little support to keep the child healthy, educated and protected." Even as a Pro-Lifer I agree with her- I don't think that's a very good argument on her part to oppose this bill. She's kind of saying that we should kill what we can't support... why not LOVE what we "can't support" and instead of making changes to increase abortions let's make changes to eliminate the "need" for abortions (in quotes because there is no need for abortion, but there is need for some changes to support young mothers, foster care reform, the adoption process, etc.). Sen. Van de Putte has been quoted as the Pro-C opinion in pretty much every article I read about the bill and that kind of bothers me because her opinion is compassionate in a way (like, just the part that involves helping children after they're born, not the "it's okay to kill unborn children" part) and I, in all my infinite 19-year-old political knowledge, think she should refocus her attention from making Pro-Lifers look heartless and focused on unborn children and find the common ground we all share- LOVE.

If you really want to get fancy & knowledgeable, read the full text of HB 201 here!

sho close!

this is my face on the day when the Sonogram Bill made it through the Senate- aka today.
just wait to see what happens to my face when it gets through the House.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

love is a special way of feeling

Last year I bought a little vintage children's book called Love Is A Special Way of Feeling by Joan Walse Anglund and it has been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months since I last read it. Today I took it down and it reminded me of some of the simple ways we are called to love others.

The simplicity and innocent sweetness of this book reminds me also of Pro-Life ideas. Why is our world so quick to help a lost cat or a frightened colt but we fail to help the tiny humans, the unborn children? Anyways, I just really liked this little book and reading it while thinking about Life made sense to me.

Love is a special way of feeling...

It is the safe way we feel when we sit on our mother's lap with her arms around us tight and close.

It is the good way we feel when we talk to someone and they want to listen and don't tell us to go away and be quiet.

It is the happy way we feel when we save a bird that has been hurt...

or feed a lost cat...

or calm a frightened colt.

Love is found in unexpected places...
It is there in the quiet moment when we fist discover a beautiful thing...
when we watch a bird soar high against a pale blue sky...

when we see a lovely flower that no one else has noticed...

when we find a place that shelters us and is all our very own.

Love starts in little ways...
It may begin the day we first share our thoughts with someone else...

or help someone who needs us...

Or, sometimes, it begins because, even without words, we understand how someone feels.

Love comes quietly...
but you know when it is there, because, suddenly...
you are not alone anymore...
and there is no sadness inside you.

Love is a happy feeling that stays inside your heart for the rest of your life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

chaos & blessings

Today was so long and so many ups and downs in a matter of 24 hours, but it's amazing how many blessings can appear out of nowhere and blend in so naturally with the everyday chaos of life.

One moment I am dancing & squealing for joy, the next I am near tears in an elevator, then sharing a nice moment with a stranger on a golf cart, and then feeling dizzy and feverish.

But in the end, it's always a beautiful day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I've made progress in the prioritization department! Small progress... but HEY, a little is better than none. I decided not to have a Pro-Life meeting last week because it would've been super unorganized and, although I hate canceling meetings when people are actually excited for them (and people randomly were really enthusiastic about it last week!), it would've been unproductive. Therefore, this week I developed elaboarate, effective, and detailed plans for this week's meeting while at the same time KEEPING UP WITH MY SCHOOLWORK (and, um, rocking my Philosophy Logic test... I'm really proud.)!

Now, it is a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I am cooped up in my apartment cleaning (after an Anti-Valentine's Day party last night. Who knew spaghetti could burn?) and all I want to do is stop doing dishes and scrubbing surfaces and get Pro-Life stuff rollin! Today there were also 4 SAVES in Austin at the mills there- boop boop hoot yeah!

temporary heart tattoo in honor of this loving weekend
 On this Valentine's Day weekend, I'll be meditating on the true meaning of love... no, not chocolate... but sacrifice, the offering of oneself for another.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.  

1 Cor. 13:4-8

Saturday, February 05, 2011

this is life

beautiful things

One of my favorite songs of the moment is "Beautiful Things" by Gungor. A few days ago I wrote down different lyrics from the song and stuck them on post-its around my room. Today I realized how the song can be very closely related to Project Rachel, a post-abortive women's healing organization.


me & Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests For Life
Just to document that this happened, while I was at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC for the Vigil Mass for Life I got to meet one of my heroes- Fr. Frank Pavone!

I'd read on his Twitter that he would be there signing books so I was running around like a crazy woman trying to meet the Priest behind one of my favorite Twitter accounts.

And I found him and I was giddy like a 12 year old girl meeting Justin Bieber and Fr. Frank remembered talking to me on Twitter! It was great. I bought his book Ending Abortion and he signed it for me! I highly recommend his book by the way.

inspired by Lila

After an amazing & hope restoring 5 days in DC at the March for Life, I came back to TX for about 36 hours before I was headed out again. Somehow a spot ended up becoming available to go to the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) conference in Nashville at no cost, so I figured... why not.

Honestly, I was really tired and still trying to recover, catch up, and unpack from DC, but my friend talked me into saying yes and I ended up having a really great time.

The amazing thing about the trip was how incredibly Pro-Life it was. Being a Catholic conference, it would be expected to be Pro-Life but so I've found that far too often we, as Catholics & Christians, shy away from talking about abortion and the hard topics like Life issues. This was not the case at FOCUS. The first night's keynote speaker was Lila Rose. Lila is the President of LiveAction Films and she has been one of my personal heroes for a while now. She is truly an amazing example of the Pro-Life movement among the youth and does an amazing job utilizing the media as she promotes a culture of Life. Just this week LiveAction released a video showing some less than moral happenings in a Planned Parenthood. Lila has done undercover work exposing the illegal treatment of minors within Planned Parenthood also and really just embodies a spirit of morality and justice and bravery... and she has great hair, so all in all she is just awesome.

When Lila spoke that night people listened. As a Pro-Lifer, it made me so happy that they were bringing this issue up at the beginning of the conference; they didn't push it to the side and make it an optional talk or just mention it in a speech- it was the first message people heard. I looked around to watch people's reactions as she spoke and it made me really happy to see the impact Lila's words were having on my friends and the other students. This is what we need to hear, I thought.

After an amazing speech (by the way, Lila didn't look down at the podium a single time during her entire speech; her words came straight from the heart), a friend of mine found me and told me that Lila was upstairs at a booth with some LiveAction info. Well... I was running up there to meet her. It was like meeting Fr. Frank Pavone all over again (have I written about that in here yet? Oh man...).

info card from the LiveAction booth
So I got to meet Lila and it was awesome and she is just my hero.

The rest of the conference was really great too because Lila wasn't the only person to mention Life issues. The topic just kept coming up! It was great to see people, Priests, religious sisters, and even the band L'Angelus mentioning the tragedy of abortion in their speeches, homilies, and in song. Just goes to show that this isn't just an issue for women or for babies, it's an issue for everyone. People in churches need to hear the message just as much as people outside of churches. I was just so proud of each person that mentioned Life.

life's a mess yet I am blessed

"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise." -Oscar Wilde.
Lately God has been doing an excellent job disguising His blessings.
Students for Life Activism Book

Monday, I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Kristan Hawkins from Students for Life of America. What a BLESSING! Of course, simply meeting her would've been too easy for God so he had to disguise it behind a morning filled with confusing phone calls between me and members of our Pro-Life club (while I was also running on no sleep for 48 hours and working and crying over stupid reasons- great mix!) and some weird miscommunications. In the end, the way everything worked out ended up more beautiful than I could have ever planned. About 25 students attended the meeting that started around 9:00 where Kristan spoke to us & answered our questions for about 45 minutes. After that, about a dozen of us went to Whataburger with her and just talked about the movement and she gave us some incredible ideas for outreach on campus. It was such a wonderful opportunity and I am so happy to have met such an inspiring person promoting respect for life!

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