7 Quick Takes: The Leaving on a Jet Plane Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes: The Leaving on a Jet Plane Edition

— 1 —

Things have been quiet around here. Let me take that back. Things have been quiet around my blog, but it’s been quite the opposite in my house. Here’s what I’ve been up to in between the normal domestic and homeschooling duties: Packing, making lists, making more lists, walking around my house mumbling a speech aloud, packing some more, waking up at odd hours in the night or early morning and remembering something else I need to do.

 

— 2 —

Why all the packing and prepping?

Because by the time you read this Thomas, my mom, and I will be on a plane bound for Peoria, Illinois where the Behold Conference will be taking place. Hopefully, there will be no explosive diaper incidents, inconsolable crying jags, or major delays. Back in Georgia, my husband will be juggling three little girls. Good thing two out of three now have a bob because my husband is the first one to admit he doesn’t do girls’ hair.

I can’t begin to express how honored I am to be a part of this incredible weekend. I just want to say a big thank you to all the hard-working Behold volunteers. I joked with one of them that I feel like a movie star because I’ve actually been assigned a personal attendant for the weekend. Everyone has made me feel so welcome from afar. I know I’ll feel even more at home once I’m the presence of so many warm, Godly women.

I do plan on giving occasional updates via Twitter, so feel to pop in over there. I can’t promise I’ll have a blog post up immediately upon my return to recap the event. My babysitter’s spring break starts on the 10th, and I know I’m going to be behind on everything from laundry to homeschooling. However, please do stay tuned for details about the conference. I’m going to have a lot to say.  They’re expecting 600-plus women from all over the country. Do leave a comment if you plan on attending, so I can keep my eye out for some of my readers.

— 3 —

I’m reading Interior Freedom 7 Quick Takes: The Leaving on a Jet Plane Editionthis Lent, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. I feel like the book was written for me and all my issues. Seriously, it’s chock full of good stuff, but I thought this quote provided some good for thought during a season when we’re supposed to tread down the path to holiness. It can seem so unreachable – to be holy – but this wisdom reminds us that it’s not beyond our reach. Not at all.

“If there is one area where nothing will ever be forbidden to us, it is holiness, provided it isn’t confused with external perfection, extraordinary feats, or a permanent inability to sin. If we understand holiness properly, as the possibility of growing indefinitely in love for God and our brothers and sisters, we can be certain that nothing will be beyond our reach. All we need do is never get discouraged and never resist, but trust completely the action of God’s grace. We don’t all have in us the stuff of sages or heroes. But by God’s grace we do have the stuff of saints.”

 

— 4 —

She’s electric.

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— 5 —

 

This is what happens when X chromosomes outnumber you. You get a pretty pink gemstone earring.

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And your new pink bling makes you smile because you’re a sensitive guys who is very confident in your masculinity. (Plus, nothing makes you happier than being around your doting sisters.)

photo137 1024x768 7 Quick Takes: The Leaving on a Jet Plane Edition

— 6 —

We really are turning to big Star Wars geeks around here. A very generous uncle is making sure of it by sending costumes and other Star Wars paraphernalia at regular intervals. This week’s packages resulted in a smiling Yoda and Princess Rae-a. (Madeline Skywalker received a brown Jedi robe, which she wore out to the grocery store. However, we didn’t capture it on film…yet.)

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— 7 —

Please keep a close friend of mine in your prayers. She’s scheduled to be induced this morning.

That’s all for now, folks.

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! Come tonight I’ll be hanging out with Jen and others in Illinois. Woo-hoo!

7 Quick Takes: The “Of Breast & Women,” Discernment, & More Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes: The Of Breast & Women, Discernment, & More Edition

— 1 —

Thank you to everyone for your prayers on behalf of my mom. The recovery has been agonizing, but this was expected. My dad sent me a photo of her scar. It’s a nasty and Frankenstein-like. Yesterday I posted a photo of it onto Facebook. The image was really small on my phone, but the new time line format made it humongous. I apologize to anyone who caught a glimpse of the gruesome incision site. I removed it when I saw how big it was!

I beg for more prayers that the surgery was actually effective in curing her trigeminal neuralgia pain (it’s too early to tell) and if it wasn’t, that we can remember that Christ came to heal – not necessarily cure – the sick.

— 2 —

I’m thinking of changing the name of this blog to “Of Breast and Women.”

Not really, but I do find it fascinating that the two posts of mine to receive the most traffic have had to do with breasts. One listed my top 10 reasons for nursing a toddler. The other examined the Komen debacle. Crazier still, my most infamous freelance article to date discussed how I overcame my reluctance to nurse at Mass.

— 3 —

I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the Komen discussions, but a good friend of mine did have several Facebook friends argue, charitably I should add, against some of my points made in my post.

One such individual wrote (and also commented after the original post),

“I think the reason that Planned Parenthood is a necessary ‘middleman’ is because women go to the clinic for services (let’s just assume that they aren’t there for an abortion), receive a breast exam they might not otherwise have performed (either on themselves OR by another doctor), something abnormal is detected and they are then referred on to another location where they can receive a necessary mammogram (thereby benefiting from that Komen grant). Without the ‘middleman’ those women would probably not proceed directly to a mammogram clinic at all thereby making the Komen grant reach fewer women.”

Although she makes a valid point about the possibility of women going to Planned Parenthood and receiving a breast exam and then possibly being referred to a low-cost mammogram, she’s missing a big point* as did so many people when we thought Komen was definitely defunding Planned Parenthood. Komen is a non-profit with limited resources. It has the responsibility to be the best steward of its funds. I think we can all agree on that. So for now, let’s put my pro-life and others’ pro-choice (or pro-Planned Parenthood; that’s one in the same to me) beliefs aside and just look at this issue from a practical standpoint. Planned Parenthood primarily serves women of reproductive age; yet, screening mammograms are recommended to start at age 50 unless you have an increased risk of breast cancer. Thus, Planned Parenthood’s target population is not the women who really should be getting mammograms. Komen has limited resources, so doesn’t it simply make more fiscal sense to give grants to organizations that directly bring mammograms to the population that is most at risk for getting breast cancer such as mobile mammography units, charitable health clinics, and organizations that provide health fairs, etc.?

This doesn’t mean that Planned Parenthood doesn’t catch any breast cancer because maybe a manual breast exam performed there does lead to an early cancer diagnosis and a saved life, but how many more lives could be saved if the money was directed elsewhere?

Likewise, it should also be noted that the kind of manual breast exams offered at Planned Parenthood aren’t much different than the ones a woman can perform in the shower. An individual’s own self breast exam might be even more useful, in fact, because she gets to know her breasts and might notice subtle nuances a health professional might miss.

What’s more, some health agencies have argued manual breast exams are not effective in detecting breast cancer early. They can also lead to unnecessary testing. Maybe a health professional feels something unusual that’s actually not unusual for your breast and refers you for what proves to be an unnecessary mammogram. This drives up all of our health care costs.

Try to put your feelings – whatever they may be – about Planned Parenthood aside for a minute. Shouldn’t what Komen really have done is look at how many dollars it takes to catch a certain number of breast cancers supporting Planned Parenthood’s breast health care versus how many dollars it takes to catch a certain amount of breast cancers at an organization that is actually reaching the target audience that is most at risk for breast cancer? I’m betting less money would be spent and more lives would be saved if the grants were offered to places that actually served the people who need screening mammograms.

Pro-lifers have been accused of making this about our pro-life ideals. But not supporting Planned Parenthood has always been about our ideals (and thus political for us since the issue of abortion has been political ever since Roe. v. Wade). It’s the people who claimed they weren’t pushing their pro-choice agendas and insisted they were only angry at Komen because they didn’t want to deny women of life-saving breast exams who seemed to be being more furtive. Either they didn’t know the facts about how little Planned Parenthood actually does to detect breast cancer early and/or how there would be more fiscally responsible partnerships for Komen to pursue in an effort to save lives. Or they should have just come out and said this was really about their pushing their pro-choice agenda.

*After I shared a lot of the above with her, she left another comment agreeing that I’d made a good point about Planned Parenthood’s target audience not being the women who need life-saving breast cancer screenings the most. It’s been a good discussion for me, but I definitely started doing what I promised myself (for the sake of my kids and family) I wouldn’t do and started feeling like I had to answer every argument against my logic. I can’t do it anymore. Maybe some of my readers will make up for my slack. But I haven’t been as present as a mama as I aspire to be, and these kids entrusted to me are number one priority (and that husband of mine needs some TLC, too, after working over 80 hours in one week).

— 4 —

On another but related note, I turned in my request to leave the BlogHer Network on 2/2, and I received a very gracious note from one of the network’s managers in which she explained that the community needs a voice like mine because BlogHer really does strive to create a forum where we can talk about issues near and dear to us in a “healthy, intelligent way.”

Since then I’ve had many Catholic/Christian bloggers point out that I’m mostly preaching to the choir here on this blog, but that BlogHer might bring some people to this space who would never normally read the musings of a crazy, extended breastfeeding, passionately pro-life mama. I also had someone comment after my Komen post that they found me through BlogHer and that my blog has made her think twice [about abortion].

I’m not sure BlogHer needs my voice, but maybe those unborn babies do.

The manager also sent me two links from the BlogHer main site that offered a different point-of-view on the Komen situation, but neither was passionately pro-life. One was pro-Komen even though the woman was grateful for Planned Parenthood and the other was pointing out all the mistakes Komen made by waffling on its decicion. While the Network may have a diverse range of voices, I still feel the main site needs a more balanced approach to issues and that an email should not have gone out headlining a post that was clearly in support of Planned Parenthood.

Nevertheless, all of this has made me pause. How do I best serve God? And my family? Truth is, as much as my ambitious, little self would love to start a social media revolution and launch a pro-life publishing network or something like that, that wouldn’t be fair to my family or even possible given the other demands of my life.

Barbara Curtis left BlogHer and has never looked back. She encouraged me to be still and pray about this, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I really, really want to do put my personal agenda, feelings, pride, etc. aside and make the right decision. I don’t want to seem like a fickle, flip-flopper, but I have to ask myself: Am I giving the unborn more of a voice by making a stand and leaving BlogHer, or did I jump the (emotional) gun and would have more of an impact by remaining in a Network that gives voices who don’t share my ideals a bigger microphone over at their main blog? These are questions only I can answer. I have lots to ponder. Discernment has never been my strength.

At least I know I’m not alone in my confusion. Candace is pondering, too.

— 5 —

Whatever I decide, this whole experience made me aware of the number of women who do share my passionately pro-life position. I was blown away by the outpouring of support and solidarity from the online community, and I’m very grateful for all of the words of hope and encouragement I received. Let’s keep up the good fight! For LIFE!!!

— 6 —

 7 Quick Takes: The Of Breast & Women, Discernment, & More Edition 7 Quick Takes: The Of Breast & Women, Discernment, & More Edition

I just received my copy of Welcome Risen Jesus: Lenten and Easter Reflections for Families 7 Quick Takes: The Of Breast & Women, Discernment, & More Edition, which, ahem, was a good reminder that Lent is right around the corner. Reading Sarah Reinhard’s little book together is a simple but meaningful way for families to make the most of this beautiful, sanctifying season. And it’s only $1.99!!! That’s quite the steal for a book that just might help your children (and you!) grow closer to Christ this Lent.

If you’re still not sold, consider my 4-year-old’s glowing endorsement.

“What’s that, Mama?” she asked me as I pulled the book out of its packaging.

“It’s a book we’re going to read together during Lent. My friend wrote it!”

“Your friend wrote it?” she gasped. She flipped through it. “Wow! Your friend is a good writer-er.”

Word.

(I believe I used the phrase “true dat” in my last QTs post. My kids are consistently and simply stating some big truths.)

— 7 —

Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t somehow marble Star Wars into this post.

My older brother drew this hilarious spoof of some of our family as Star Wars characters. My kids call my parents Gaba and Papa, so we have Gaba the Hutt and Chewpapa. Mary Elizabeth (also known as M.E.) is the “M”peroror (fitting since she bounces around here on a mission and doesn’t let anyone stop her). Madeline, of course, is Madeline Skywalker. Rae, our resident princess, makes a lovely Princess Raea. Thomas is a cute Yoda, but my favorite is our Darth Layla. Layla is our black Lab-Great Dane mix.

jasons star wars drawing1 7 Quick Takes: The Of Breast & Women, Discernment, & More Edition

I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if Madeline signed all of her valentines this year with “Yoda the one for me.”

Some of these “takes” weren’t so quick so if you’ve stuck with me for this long, you’re a real fan.

Have a wonderful weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes: The “Mommy has a crush on Jesus” and More Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes: The Mommy has a crush on Jesus and More Edition

— 1 —

Thomas, who is just shy of five months, has made his modeling debut.

— 2 —

7-year-old: Do you have a crush on anyone, Mommy?

Me: Yup.

7-year-old: I think I know who.

Me: Who do you think?

7-year-old: Jesus!

4-year-old: Yeah. It’s definitely Jesus.

I actually had their daddy in mind, but I’ll take Jesus as my main squeeze any day.

This exchange reminds me of the beautiful quote from St. Augustine:

“To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”

 

— 3 —

After one of Madeline’s homeschool co-op days she confided in me that there was a little girl who some of the other children were excluding. Madeline admitted that this particular child didn’t always listen well and that it wasn’t always easy to be extra nice to her. I encouraged Madeline to stand up for this girl and to do her best to include her during their free play time and lunch.

Following her co-op this week, my daughter hopped in the van and immediately told me that she tried to be nice to this child, but she threw a carrot at Madeline during lunch. I explained that sometimes when a child felt excluded or was worried about fitting in, she might not act like themselves but that Madeline should still be kind even if the girl wasn’t always nice in return.

“Love your enemies,” I added, hoping to turn this into a lesson rooted in Scripture. But then I realized that this little girl probably shouldn’t be thought of as an enemy just because she tossed a carrot at Madeline.

“Not that she’s your enemy,” I hastily added.

“No,” Madeline agreed. “It’s not like she’s Darth Vader or something.”

So much for a Biblical lesson.

The Star Wars obsession continues.

In fact, we couldn’t resist buying these Yoda Robeez shoes 7 Quick Takes: The Mommy has a crush on Jesus and More Edition for Thomas, especially since they were on sale at Stride Rite.

yoda shoes 1024x768 7 Quick Takes: The Mommy has a crush on Jesus and More Edition

Then my uber talented sister-in-law made Madeline a Star Wars dress!

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I just love how she's posing like a little lady but wearing a dress with Han Solo's ship on it.

 

Here’s a closeup of the pattern:

Screen shot 2012 01 26 at 7.54.26 PM 7 Quick Takes: The Mommy has a crush on Jesus and More Edition

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