Dear Diary

I have a lot to tell you today!  Yesterday was a busy day and I got to play with some other people who were my size.  Mommy calls them fun size and says I’m fun size too.  We all played in a big room with toys and stuff.  Mommy and Daddy left me there and went to the big people room.

We do this all the time, and it’s called church.  Sometimes I go in the big people room and just make a lot of noise and people smile at me.  I like that.  And I like playing with all the toys in the little room too.

But then later when we got home I played more with Mommy and Daddy and then, when I woke up from my nap, I got to talk with my Grammie!  She lives really far away and I only saw her once in my whole life.  Well, we get to talk sometimes but we don’t get to play together and I don’t get to pull her hair because she’s so far away.

Daddy called her on his iBad and we talked for a long time and made faces at each other.  She got to see me crawl and then she played peekaboo with me.  And I heard her tell Mommy about a food to make that is really yummy and sweet and I hope Mommy makes it soon because I want some.  Daddy said Mommy should make it soon too.

I did get to eat some sweet food, because when we were done talking with Grammie Daddy went and got some stuff from the freezer and let me have a little.  I’ll show you a picture.

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It was yummy and now I want some more.

Today I’ve been playing by myself and with Mommy and soon Daddy will be home.  Then maybe he’ll put me on his shoulders!  I hope so.

Sincerely,

Me

That “A” Word

Abortion.  We all have our fixed beliefs about it, don’t we?  We’re pro-choice or pro-life, and the ugly disputes rage.

Below is an article by a woman who’s opinion was “strongly in favor of legalizing abortion.”  Please read it through; her once-fixed belief is opposite what she now believes, and she’ll tell you why.

That “A” word is a nasty thing.  I pray that God will touch your heart through her words; He certainly touched mine.


When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense

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At the time of the Roe v. Wade decision, I was a college student — an anti-war, mother-earth, feminist, hippie college student. That particular January I was taking a semester off, living in the D.C. area and volunteering at the feminist “underground newspaper” Off Our Backs. As you’d guess, I was strongly in favor of legalizing abortion. The bumper sticker on my car read, “Don’t labor under a misconception; legalize abortion.”
The first issue of Off Our Backs after the Roe decision included one of my movie reviews, and also an essay by another member of the collective criticizing the decision. It didn’t go far enough, she said, because it allowed states to restrict abortion in the third trimester. The Supreme Court should not meddle in what should be decided between the woman and her doctor. She should be able to choose abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
But, at the time, we didn’t have much understanding of what abortion was. We knew nothing of fetal development. We consistently termed the fetus “a blob of tissue,” and that’s just how we pictured it — an undifferentiated mucous-like blob, not recognizable as human or even as alive. It would be another 15 years of so before pregnant couples could show off sonograms of their unborn babies, shocking us with the obvious humanity of the unborn.
We also thought, back then, that few abortions would ever be done. It’s a grim experience, going through an abortion, and we assumed a woman would choose one only as a last resort. We were fighting for that “last resort.” We had no idea how common the procedure would become; today, one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion.
Nor could we have imagined how high abortion numbers would climb. In the 43 years since Roe v. Wade, there have been 59 million abortions. It’s hard even to grasp a number that big. Twenty years ago, someone told me that, if the names of all those lost babies were inscribed on a wall, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the wall would have to stretch for 50 miles. It’s 20 years later now, and that wall would have to stretch twice as far. But no names could be written on it; those babies had no names.
We expected that abortion would be rare. What we didn’t realize was that, once abortion becomes available, it becomes the most attractive option for everyone around the pregnant woman. If she has an abortion, it’s like the pregnancy never existed. No one is inconvenienced. It doesn’t cause trouble for the father of the baby, or her boss, or the person in charge of her college scholarship. It won’t embarrass her mom and dad.
Abortion is like a funnel; it promises to solve all the problems at once. So there is significant pressure on a woman to choose abortion, rather than adoption or parenting.
A woman who had had an abortion told me, “Everyone around me was saying they would ‘be there for me’ if I had the abortion, but no one said they’d ‘be there for me’ if I had the baby.” For everyone around the pregnant woman, abortion looks like the sensible choice. A woman who determines instead to continue an unplanned pregnancy looks like she’s being foolishly stubborn. It’s like she’s taken up some unreasonable hobby. People think: If she would only go off and do this one thing, everything would be fine.
But that’s an illusion. Abortion can’t really turn back the clock. It can’t push the rewind button on life and make it so that she was never pregnant. It can make it easy for everyone around the woman to forget the pregnancy, but the woman herself may struggle. When she first sees the positive pregnancy test she may feel, in a panicky way, that she has to get rid of it as fast as possible. But life stretches on after abortion, for months and years — for many long nights — and all her life long she may ponder the irreversible choice she made.
This issue gets presented as if it’s a tug of war between the woman and the baby. We see them as mortal enemies, locked in a fight to the death. But that’s a strange idea, isn’t it? It must be the first time in history when mothers and their own children have been assumed to be at war. We’re supposed to picture the child attacking her, trying to destroy her hopes and plans, and picture the woman grateful for the abortion, since it rescued her from the clutches of her child.
If you were in charge of a nature preserve and you noticed that the pregnant female mammals were trying to miscarry their pregnancies, eating poisonous plants or injuring themselves, what would you do? Would you think of it as a battle between the pregnant female and her unborn and find ways to help those pregnant animals miscarry? No, of course not. You would immediately think, “Something must be really wrong in this environment.” Something is creating intolerable stress, so much so that animals would rather destroy their own offspring than bring them into the world. You would strive to identify and correct whatever factors were causing this stress in the animals.
The same thing goes for the human animal. Abortion gets presented to us as if it’s something women want; both pro-choice and pro-life rhetoric can reinforce that idea. But women do this only if all their other options look worse. It’s supposed to be “her choice,” yet so many women say, “I really didn’t have a choice.”
I changed my opinion on abortion after I read an article in Esquire magazine, way back in 1976. I was home from grad school, flipping through my dad’s copy, and came across an article titled “What I Saw at the Abortion.” The author, Richard Selzer, was a surgeon, and he was in favor of abortion, but he’d never seen one. So he asked a colleague whether, next time, he could go along.
Selzer described seeing the patient, 19 weeks pregnant, lying on her back on the table. (That is unusually late; most abortions are done by the tenth or twelfth week.) The doctor performing the procedure inserted a syringe into the woman’s abdomen and injected her womb with a prostaglandin solution, which would bring on contractions and cause a miscarriage. (This method isn’t used anymore, because too often the baby survived the procedure — chemically burned and disfigured, but clinging to life. Newer methods, including those called “partial birth abortion” and “dismemberment abortion,” more reliably ensure death.)
After injecting the hormone into the patient’s womb, the doctor left the syringe standing upright on her belly. Then, Selzer wrote, “I see something other than what I expected here. . . . It is the hub of the needle that is in the woman’s belly that has jerked. First to one side. Then to the other side. Once more it wobbles, is tugged, like a fishing line nibbled by a sunfish.”
He realized he was seeing the fetus’s desperate fight for life. And as he watched, he saw the movement of the syringe slow down and then stop. The child was dead. Whatever else an unborn child does not have, he has one thing: a will to live. He will fight to defend his life.
The last words in Selzer’s essay are, “Whatever else is said in abortion’s defense, the vision of that other defense [i.e., of the child defending its life] will not vanish from my eyes. And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?”
The truth of what he saw disturbed me deeply. There I was, anti-war, anti–capital punishment, even vegetarian, and a firm believer that social justice cannot be won at the cost of violence. Well, this sure looked like violence. How had I agreed to make this hideous act the centerpiece of my feminism? How could I think it was wrong to execute homicidal criminals, wrong to shoot enemies in wartime, but all right to kill our own sons and daughters?
For that was another disturbing thought: Abortion means killing not strangers but our own children, our own flesh and blood. No matter who the father, every child aborted is that woman’s own son or daughter, just as much as any child she will ever bear.
We had somehow bought the idea that abortion was necessary if women were going to rise in their professions and compete in the marketplace with men. But how had we come to agree that we will sacrifice our children, as the price of getting ahead? When does a man ever have to choose between his career and the life of his child?
Once I recognized the inherent violence of abortion, none of the feminist arguments made sense. Like the claim that a fetus is not really a person because it is so small. Well, I’m only 5 foot 1. Women, in general, are smaller than men. Do we really want to advance a principle that big people have more value than small people? That if you catch them before they’ve reached a certain size, it’s all right to kill them?
What about the child who is “unwanted”? It was a basic premise of early feminism that women should not base their sense of worth on whether or not a man “wants” them. We are valuable simply because we are members of the human race, regardless of any other person’s approval. Do we really want to say that “unwanted” people might as well be dead? What about a woman who is “wanted” when she’s young and sexy but less so as she gets older? At what point is it all right to terminate her?
The usual justification for abortion is that the unborn is not a “person.” It’s said that “Nobody knows when life begins.” But that’s not true; everybody knows when life — a new individual human life — gets started. It’s when the sperm dissolves in the egg. That new single cell has a brand-new DNA, never before seen in the world. If you examined through a microscope three cells lined up — the newly fertilized ovum, a cell from the father, and a cell from the mother — you would say that, judging from the DNA, the cells came from three different people.
When people say the unborn is “not a person” or “not a life” they mean that it has not yet grown or gained abilities that arrive later in life. But there’s no agreement about which abilities should be determinative. Pro-choice people don’t even agree with each other. Obviously, law cannot be based on such subjective criteria. If it’s a case where the question is “Can I kill this?” the answer must be based on objective medical and scientific data. And the fact is, an unborn child, from the very first moment, is a new human individual. It has the three essential characteristics that make it “a human life”: It’s alive and growing, it is composed entirely of human cells, and it has unique DNA. It’s a person, just like the rest of us.
Abortion indisputably ends a human life. But this loss is usually set against the woman’s need to have an abortion in order to freely direct her own life. It is a particular cruelty to present abortion as something women want, something they demand, they find liberating. Because nobody wants this. The procedure itself is painful, humiliating, expensive — no woman “wants” to go through it. But once it’s available, it appears to be the logical, reasonable choice. All the complexities can be shoved down that funnel. Yes, abortion solves all the problems; but it solves them inside the woman’s body. And she is expected to keep that pain inside for a lifetime, and be grateful for the gift of abortion.
Many years ago I wrote something in an essay about abortion, and I was surprised that the line got picked up and frequently quoted. I’ve seen it in both pro-life and pro-choice contexts, so it appears to be something both sides agree on.
I wrote, “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.”
Strange, isn’t it, that both pro-choice and pro-life people agree that is true? Abortion is a horrible and harrowing experience. That women choose it so frequently shows how much worse continuing a pregnancy can be. Essentially, we’ve agreed to surgically alter women so that they can get along in a man’s world. And then expect them to be grateful for it.
Nobody wants to have an abortion. And if nobody wants to have an abortion, why are women doing it, 2,800 times a day? If women doing something 2,800 times daily that they don’t want to do, this is not liberation we’ve won. We are colluding in a strange new form of oppression.
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And so we come around to one more March for Life, like the one last year, like the one next year. Protesters understandably focus on the unborn child, because the danger it faces is the most galvanizing aspect of this struggle. If there are different degrees of injustice, surely violence is the worst manifestation, and killing worst of all. If there are different categories of innocent victim, surely the small and helpless have a higher claim to protection, and tiny babies the highest of all. The minimum purpose of government is to shield the weak from abuse by the strong, and there is no one weaker or more voiceless than unborn children. And so we keep saying that they should be protected, for all the same reasons that newborn babies are protected. Pro-lifers have been doing this for 43 years now, and will continue holding a candle in the darkness for as many more years as it takes.
I understand all the reasons why the movement’s prime attention is focused on the unborn. But we can also say that abortion is no bargain for women, either. It’s destructive and tragic. We shouldn’t listen unthinkingly to the other side of the time-worn script, the one that tells us that women want abortions, that abortion liberates them. Many a post-abortion woman could tell you a different story.
The pro-life cause is perennially unpopular, and pro-lifers get used to being misrepresented and wrongly accused. There are only a limited number of people who are going to be brave enough to stand up on the side of an unpopular cause. But sometimes a cause is so urgent, is so dramatically clear, that it’s worth it. What cause could be more outrageous than violence — fatal violence — against the most helpless members of our human community? If that doesn’t move us, how hard are our hearts? If that doesn’t move us, what will ever move us?
In time, it’s going to be impossible to deny that abortion is violence against children. Future generations, as they look back, are not necessarily going to go easy on ours. Our bland acceptance of abortion is not going to look like an understandable goof. In fact, the kind of hatred that people now level at Nazis and slave-owners may well fall upon our era. Future generations can accurately say, “It’s not like they didn’t know.” They can say, “After all, they had sonograms.” They may consider this bloodshed to be a form of genocide. They might judge our generation to be monsters.
One day, the tide is going to turn. With that Supreme Court decision 43 years ago, one of the sides in the abortion debate won the day. But sooner or later, that day will end. No generation can rule from the grave. The time is coming when a younger generation will sit in judgment of ours. And they are not obligated to be kind.
— Frederica Mathewes-Green, found here.

Dear Diary

Guess what?  Mommy gave me new toys!  They’re big and shiny and when you hit them or throw them they make loud noises.  They’re great.  She got them from the kitchen, and she said she’s been waiting till I’m bigger so I can play with them.  So that means I’m bigger.

Mommy made me sit in my saucer for a really long time today, because she needed to clean.  I told her she could clean when I’m out of the saucer, because that works too.  She said no and said it would be faster if I stayed in the saucer.  Well, I don’t think that’s true because I was in there for SO LONG.  Besides, I could have helped.  I’m good at helping.

When she was all done cleaning she got me and then I helped her put away the proom and things.  And then she took me to the kitchen and got me the noisy things and so that’s what I’m playing with now.  If you throw them on the floor they make even more noise!  And you can also hit them together too.

One of them is really big and hard to pick up but maybe if I push it into the couch… no that doesn’t work.  I’ll try again.  Nope.  But I just saw Mommy again so I’m going to go get her.  She loves it when I climb up her leg.  ;)

Sincerely,

Me

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O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8

Have a great weekend!

Dear Diary

I was going to write yesterday but Mommy and Daddy said I had to go to bed.  And then I was going to write this morning and then I got hurt.  I was running around Grammie’s house with Mommy and then her hands and my hands slipped and I fell on my face.  It really hurt and I couldn’t breathe for a time, and it was scary.

Mommy picked me up and held me and hugged me and it just hurt so bad.  My chin especially, which Mommy said I got it scuffed and it was bleeding a little.  I’m not really sure what that means…

But Mommy fed me and laid me down and it feels better.  And I wanted to tell you other things too, not really how I got hurt!  You see, Mommy got me these new cups to drink out of and I LOVE THEM.

They have a thing at the top that I put my mouth on and go “sllllluuuuuurp” and the water comes out!  I don’t even have to tip them back and tip my head back like my other cups.  Oh, and they are really fun to throw on the floor.  They go all over the place.

I told Mommy we need some pictures of me with my cup so I can share them with you.  Then you can see how happy I am and how great the cups are.

See?  They’re great.  And you can see the thing on the top of them — I love to pull it and then it flings water everywhere.  If you don’t have one you should probably ask Mommy and she can get you one.  She gets all the things.

Well, now I want my cup again and I want to play.  I think I’m going to try to climb some things too because Grammie and Grandpa have a lot of things to climb.  :)

Sincerely,

Me

To Love – Part 2

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend.  I wanted to share some more thoughts in regard to my last post, in case you haven’t peeked at the comments or come to any other conclusions yourself.

A friend commented,

When you give with only the thought of pleasing the Lord … it feels very okay to give. When the expectation is for someone to respond appropriately … it gets so hurtful. I try to look up to Heaven and say, “Did I please YOU just now?” … because sometimes there is no way to “please” a difficult person. But if my goal is to act in a way that makes God happy with me … then I “succeed” even if the other person doesn’t respond even remotely the way I would wish.

I love the way she explained it.  As I was contemplating and trying to come up with the best response, I was thinking in human terms — forgetting that God is the one we should seek to please.  When we try projecting responses and emotions, it gets so messy and can be so painful.  Living for an audience of One is all that’s necessary — and what a relief!

If you had/have any other thoughts, I’d still love to hear them in the comments.  I hope this serves as an encouragement to you as you start your week.  :)

To Love

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“To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements.  Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis

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I’ve shared this quote before and found it again today; it was a necessary reminder for me, and hopefully for you as well.  Sometimes stretching our hearts out to others is painful.  There are times we give of ourselves and get nothing in return — or we receive negative reactions and consequences.

It’s something I wrestle with; is giving and giving again worth it?  To see no acceptance, or mutual love — is it worth pouring out anyways?  Even when the negative reaction is foreseen?

Where’s the line between selfless love and self-protection?  Is self-protection valid, and if so, when?  I’m not sure there’s an easy answer.  (If there is, please leave me a comment!)  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to err on the side of always giving than being hesitant or refusing.  Maybe sometimes it’s best to give little bits, while other times it’s necessary to give all that we can.

Prayer for wisdom is indispensable.  We never fully know the other side of the story, how our love given impacts others.  When we have the choice in front of us, we might see glimpses — but we don’t know it all.

Loving — it’s what Jesus did best.  He gave, and gave again, and gave until He had nothing left.  He did it for those who would respond with mutual love and adoration, and He did it knowing others would respond with hatred and refusal.  Yet it was still worth it.

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Some thoughts to ponder this weekend.  Have a great rest of your day.  :)

My Resolution vs. The Turkey

At the start of 2017, I determined this year I would work on a specific area.  You may recall the post I wrote; if you missed it, you can read it here.  God reminded me of many ways He’d provided for us last year, and gently convicted me to put an end to my worrying and stress (Matthew 6:25-34).

Fast-forward like, two days.  I’m already stressed and worrying about this coming year.  We want to have more babies.  We want to adopt.  We’d also really like a house.  And next year, 2018, we’ll need to travel out of the country for a very special occasion.  How are we going to save for and afford these things?

I tried talking myself down and telling myself not to panic.

Didn’t last long.

I let the worry consume me and eat me up.  Combine that with a lack of sleep and I started getting ugly.

Then, cue the turkey.

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I sat in my truck on the side of the road hyperventilating, with the baby in the back and little glass shards covering everything.  It had happened fast; one turkey flew across the road so I immediately slowed down in case another one appeared.  It did; came up over the guardrail, fluttered around, and slammed right into my windshield.

The rest of that day was a blur.  Phone calls, emails, phone calls, cleaning, more phone calls, caring for Levi (and thanking my mom for her help watching him!), figuring out what to do.  Who to pay.  How much to pay.  What a mess.

I won’t downplay the damage and chaos caused by an 18-20lb. bowling ball.  But it could’ve been worse.  Levi and I were fine, and the insurance stuff eventually all worked out.  My new windshield is nice and clean.  :)

While the turkey thankfully missed my head, I did get a little mental slap.  My resolution to work on worrying?  Yeah, how was that going?  Terribly?  Mmhmm.

After the dust settled I stopped myself to think and reevaluate.  Ugly stress is just that — ugly.  Regardless of what I may think, it isn’t necessary.  Really; stress isn’t necessary.

What good does it do?  It cripples and binds us, and leads us to believe lies that just spin us downward.  It never brings us up, does it?  Hanging on feels good, and it seems scary to let go and enter the unknown — but we enter the unknown no matter what.  With or without stress.

I mulled it over and over and finally decided I was done.  Yesterday as I wrote Levi’s blog post I purposefully ended with him saying it was going to be a good day.  Why?  Because even when crap hits the fan, the day can still be good.  It’s a choice; and stress is always a choice.

So, I’m starting my resolution again (that’s a new one, huh?).  I’ll probably have to re-start quite a few times.  But I’m not worried about it.  ;)

Dear Diary

Hey everybody, it’s Monday!

You’ll never guess what I did last night.  I got up!  And not just once, I had to get up two times.  And then I made some noises two other times just because.  The first time I got up Mommy came and laid me back down and rubbed my back a little and told me to go to sleep.  Then she got back in bed and waited, but that was silly because it’s not like I’m going to just fall back asleep.

So I kept talking and crying a bit (because I was sad), and then Daddy got up and held me.  And I got excited but then he walked around… and around… and around… and around…  And I fell asleep.  Shucks.

Daddy says he shouldn’t read before he goes to bed because then he thinks weird things.  Like when he got up to get me he thought he was in a book and was so confused because I shouldn’t be awake at 11:00 at night.  Surprise, I was!

Well anyways, I fell back asleep but then I woke up again later and Mommy tried to get me to lay down again but I kept sitting up instead.  And then she waited in bed again (I don’t know why she does that) and then I stood up and looked at her and she finally came over to get me.  And she told me to shush and then she changed my diaper which made me really upset because that isn’t what I wanted.

But then she fed me and I fell back asleep all happy and warm and it was great.  She always kisses me on my head when she puts me back in my crib.  Then she puts my blankets over me and gets back into her bed.

So I’m a little tired but I think today is going to be a good day.  We’ll have fun and Mommy will make me laugh and I’ll get to eat and play.  And I’ll try to make Mommy laugh too, because she’s probably tired too.  Or maybe she isn’t, because she’s a grown-up.

You should have a good day today too, okay?

Sincerely,

Me