#WomenWork and Strike for Justice

 

I don’t usually post about work, but I am today because it’s a #DayWithoutWomen at some workplaces. This campaign was created to encourage women to go on strike from both paid and unpaid work today to “demand justice” in honor of International Women’s Day. But I’m not going on strike today. I commuted in just like normal, and will leave just like normal right before the sun sets.

There are lots of interesting things I do in my work for the Catholic publisher #Iworkfor. I get to bring my faith to countless people while earning a living. This is #whyiwork

I am so grateful for the stay at home and work from home women and moms out there who do the valuable work of raising families in loving homes. Maybe I’ll do that one day. I’m also grateful for the women in workplaces making a difference in that way. I’m grateful that I have a full time job to support myself. And I wouldn’t disrespect the women who came before me by sticking it to the people who gave me a job.

On this #DayWithoutAWoman, I just wanted to encourage you to show up. Like Edith Stein said,

“’The world doesn’t need what women have. It needs what women are.”

It needs us, and whatever our unique personality brings to the world. It needs our compassion, our creativity, our knowledge, our passion, our empathy, and our perspectives. The world needs us to be there in the office, in homes, hospitals, schools, laboratories, studios, and wherever we are.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

So wherever that is right now, give it your all. Show up. Work hard. Be a strong and brave example. Demand change when necessary, of course.

And know that you are needed for who you are, not what you do. Going on strike to make people miss you takes away the unique and unrepeatable gift you have to offer. Give. Love. Show up.

[I posted this on Instagram earlier, but it was so long I thought I’d put it here too.]

To Life,

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On defunding Planned Parenthood

Leading up to the nationwide Protest Planned Parenthood rallies (which occurred last Saturday), I spoke with a reporter about why I am one of many people who support stripping the group of federal funding. I appreciated being able discuss my position, one that many people in my local vicinity would consider ridiculous. And I truly respect journalists who take time to listen and include both sides of the issues they cover. But when the article came out, the pro-life position was sorely misrepresented and under-represented.

So here’s my response.

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There seems to be this prevailing mindset in America that Planned Parenthood is the primary healthcare provider for low-income women. It’s true that according to PP, 60% of their patients rely on programs such as Medicaid to receive services. And I want to be clear that my goal is not to take away ethical and needed medical care from anyone. Quite the opposite, I am in full support of resources such as the developing app Help Assist Her, which will make affordable healthcare resources more easily accessible. But most of the arguments, if you can call them that, coming from Planned Parenthood supporters center on this point.

There are several problems with this narrative:

Relatively speaking, Planned Parenthood sees a minuscule number of Americans. Out of ~320 million citizens, they see about 2.5 million/year, so about .7%. Saying millions of women will lose their healthcare is at best a gross exaggeration. Of course some people have had cancer detected and STD’s caught at PP clinics. That’s not what I’m talking about though.

People need far more comprehensive healthcare than what Planned Parenthood offers. We know from recent videos released from Live Action that Planned Parenthood is dishonest about many of their services. Most recently, we’ve realized how they’ve exaggerated the prenatal care only a few of their clinics offer. Most facilities will only see pregnant women who are seeking an abortion. It’s no surprise, then, that abortion equals about 94% of pregnancy outcomes for PP patients.

We also know that Planned Parenthood has been involved in extensive Medicaid fraud. See results of recent audits starting on page 311 of this document. Shouldn’t this be part of the conversation? Especially since a LOT of their funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements, I think we need to be honest about how the funding they receive is billed and used.

One of THE most important parts of this conversation, I think, is that while abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive services have been increasing in number over the last several years, PP’s other (less controversial) services such as prenatal care, STD tests, breast exams, etc.) have steadily been decreasing (details). If we want to have a logical conversation about policy and federal funding, then I need to know why our government should fund an organization so focused on a limited number of controversial services.

And finally, if serving women and families and impoverished individuals is a priority for Planned Parenthood, wouldn’t they find a way to do so without federal funding? This is how many non-profits work. They depend on people who believe in their mission to keep the doors open. So why is PP an exception? Why would federal funding being taken away from PP stop them from seeing the patients they care so much about? You see, it wouldn’t. They’d just have to do it on their own dime, not mine. That’s obviously a scary thought to an entity whose budget is funded over 40% by our government.

This issue is about so much more than abortion. Yes, Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. But this is also about people being able to find good healthcare from ethical and responsible providers. It’s about being able to voice where my tax money should and shouldn’t be spent.

There are a number of perfectly reasonable reasons I support redirecting federal funding from Planned Parenthood to Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers. My voice matters. Yours does too. And it’s time reporters and the media started listening to people like me and including us in the conversation.

To LIFE,

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Protecting our sanity in a media saturated world

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I don’t know about you, but my head has felt on the verge of exploding lately. Like many millennials, I’m on social media and enjoy the interaction. But scrolling through Facebook makes me feel restless, and often frustrated with the world (especially lately). I know I’m not the only one who feels like that, because many acquaintances have recently decided to delete various accounts.

But don’t freak out! I’m not suggesting we all up and leave social media and form a compound where we can create a perfect world. In fact, I think we should keep our social media accounts. Here’s why.

We’re called to be artisans of culture. 

Now I can’t for the life of me remember who said that. I think it was JPII, but can’t find a reference. Anyway, how are we supposed to promote the good parts of our culture and challenge the bad parts if we run away from it? We have to be in the world, just not of the world. Unless your vocation is to join a cloistered religious community, chances are we’re going to have to continue dealing with whatever the world throws at us. So we might as well be smart and informed about it.

BUT, being informed doesn’t mean we have to know everything about everything.

We’re plugged into news 24/7. It’s easy to get sucked into that and scroll through Facebook or Instagram until 1am (*AHEM* ask me how I know). I think we have to remember that’s not a requirement. We can put our phones down. And it’s okay to not know every single pop culture reference. Trying to stay up on everything is just too much. Has there ever been a time before this when people knew about every single world event within minutes? No! It’s a recent development with the internet.

Trying to stay on top of every single thing makes me feel insane. So here are a few specific things I find helpful to maintaining sanity:

1. Create a morning routine where checking your notifications isn’t first.

Have you noticed how much this sets the tone for your day? I find that if I ignore my phone before work and make intentional time to pray in the morning, life is just better. If you struggle with this too, you could try using an old fashioned alarm clock instead of your phone so that it’s not the first thing you reach for. Or you could disable wifi and data until later in the day.

2. Pick and choose who you follow and what you click when you’re digesting your newsfeeds.

I sorted my Facebook friends into three lists: family, school friends, and then other people I care about seeing things from. Instead of just scrolling my newsfeed, I click on the friend list and only see things from that group of people. This means I don’t see updates from a lot of my “friends”. When I’m being smart and actually follow my own rule here, I don’t see updates from pages on Facebook either. I don’t really care about many pages I liked in the past, so it’s a win for my sanity.

On Instagram, I don’t automatically follow people who follow me. I’m following a little over 100 people right now, and have been needing to narrow that down.

One feature that helps with this is the “save” option on Facebook. When I see something interesting during the day, I usually save it for later instead of clicking and reading it then. When I have time to look at it later, it often isn’t interesting enough to read. Win for my sanity! Be ruthless about what you choose to click. If there are people or pages that ruin your sanity, just unfollow them. #SorryNotSorry

3. When something makes you mad on social media, stop and think before you respond.

Did your distant relative just post something stupid about Trump? How about vaccines and global warming and religion and politics and all the other things that make people mad. It’s okay to not engage, especially when we know the person isn’t interested in actual dialogue. Will this conversation bring both of you to a deeper understanding of each other or the issue? Think before you type. And I’m telling myself that too (LOL so much). I’ve participated in my share of Facebook debates and know how they can go…

4. Find things offline that refresh you and bring you joy.

I enjoy cooking and reading and have been loving local trails for hiking. I met some new friends at a brunch recently, and have been learning calligraphy. So fun! Things like this always refresh me and restore my hope in the world. Find what does that for you.

5. Whatever you do right before bed, make sure it’s offline.

. . . to which we all cackle, because who doesn’t check their phone before trying to sleep. Guilty as charged. But I have to say: putting away my phone, laptop, and tv for a while before bed makes me feel so much more refreshed than scrolling till my eyes droop. Try journaling, praying, reading, or something creative.

Our culture has some major problems, but I don’t think the solution is to run away. Please stay on social media to the degree that you can keep you sanity! The world needs your reasonable voice to challenge it. And we need to protect our sanity so we can be those reasonable voices. Let’s transform our culture together.

[But first, coffee. We gotta stay sane, right? 😉 ]

How do you keep your peace in the age of social media? Have any tips or tricks?

To Life,

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Thoughts on Trump’s refugee order

You’ve probably heard by now of Trump’s Executive Order on a seriously controversial issue:

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THE NERVE.

Okay, but in all honesty, my head hurts from all the conversations and fact-digging and thinking about Friday’s EO regarding refugees. Talking about controversial issues is one of my favorite things to do. But this area of dealing with refugees (also immigrants and illegal immigrants) is one I find particularly challenging. There’s so much being said about this, and I’ve been trying to piece together as much as I can in the last couple days. This is my attempt at adding some sort of reasonable voice to the conversation.

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We’ve all seen the photo of Omran, right? He’s the little boy sitting in the back of an ambulance after being pulled from bombed rubble in Syria. We’ve seen the videos of people looking for their relatives in makeshift hospitals after bombs were dropped. We’ve heard the stories of people losing family members and fleeing violence that is unspeakable. I’m fairly certain that any reasonable person with a heart finds those types of situations heartbreaking and horrible. So I don’t think this discussion is about are they suffering, or do they need help, or should we help – but about what our policies and procedures should look like.

Living during this time of constantly new and changing news is, I think, a huge challenge when it comes to issues like this. I started learning about this EO from friend’s posts on social media. What I heard at first pulled at my heartstrings and led me to read up on this. I’m no expert, but after a few days of clarifying information, I realize that most of what I saw others assume at first, and what many reasonable people would emotionally respond to, was actually wrong.

I’m not going to go through the text of the order line by line. But here are some of the key issues and/or objections I’ve seen:

How does a President have the power to just issue this?

Well, I thought it was kind of weird at first too. But he’s got the power. According to US law,  “whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” Scroll almost halfway down this page to see that part of the law. So yes, it’s legal. And not rare. President Obama used the same means of establishing temporary restrictions on visas and travel during his time in office. It’s apparently just what presidents do. And Trump was very clear where he stands throughout his campaign.

Trump selectively chose countries to ban people from where he doesn’t have business connections.

Honestly, where did this come from? Do we just assume he has business connections in every country? This list originated from a list of countries needing “further travel restriction”, per the Obama administration.

Trump is just trigger-happy issuing all these orders.

Did you know Obama issued his first EO the day after he took office? It’s apparently one of the most widely-know presidential actions. This is a really interesting table showing how many each president has issued.

Look at all the US citizens and green card holders being held up and not allowed to travel!

Yes, there was a lot of confusion about this. I was flabbergasted why, even if refugees were going to be paused, why on earth citizens and green card holders would be. Apparently the departments who enforce this kind of thing weren’t given much warning, so nobody was entirely clear on who and where people were being stopped from traveling. There were apparently 109 people detained at airports for further questioning, most of who were quickly released. This was, as far as I know, resolved the next day. It does not apply to green card holders. In fact, the order allows for people to still be cleared on a case-by-case basis.

This is just Trump being afraid of people who are Muslim. Stop the ban!

If this were an across-the-board ban on Muslims entering the US, wouldn’t that have been clear? Wouldn’t he have banned all people from all Muslim majority nations for an indefinite period? This is a temporary pause to evaluate screening methods. So this argument really doesn’t stand. I absolutely think we should allow peaceful people who are Muslim in our country. Nobody’s arguing that a peaceful person who wants to come here and has no ill intention toward the US (and happens to be Muslim) should be turned away.

Okay, actually, some people think all Muslims should be banned because of their adherence to Sharia law.

True. I think we can agree that Sharia law is incompatible with US values and government. After all, it’s a religious set of laws. Some of them are highly problematic and contrary to human dignity and free will. BUT, in a country without a national religion where we’re allowed to practice what we believe, I have a hard time believing allowing Muslims here would mean Sharia law will soon become law of the land. So while I don’t want that to happen, I don’t think it’s a good argument.

So how do we cope with this?

My greatest challenge personally is that I want to help people. I see the pain and violence and it’s horrific. I don’t know that as someone living in a non-violent part of the world, I can truly appreciate the gravity and terror of living in the Middle East right now. I firmly believe we have a duty to help our brothers and sisters throughout the world. I believe that as a rich nation (guess that’s debatable) who is also powerful, we must help the less fortunate.

What that looks like is up for debate.

It makes sense to me that we would take some time to evaluate our current processes. We should ensure, to the best of our ability, that we are keeping our country safe, right? I do think the abrupt nature of this EO’s implementation could have been far better. But overall, as I learn more and more about what’s going on, I am agreeing more and more with it. Perhaps we can find ways to aid our brothers and sisters from afar during this pause.

How are you coping with this? Did I leave out a point you think is important to discuss? I would love to hear your thoughts.

To Life,

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Why Planned Parenthood Shouldn’t be Federally Funded

Planned Parenthood is at risk of loosing their federal funding, and people are losing their minds. People with lower incomes won’t be able to access healthcare, right? I agree that we shouldn’t take healthcare away from people. But I also think Planned Parenthood’s impact is thoroughly overrated. So, in no particular order, here’s why I think it’s a sensible decision to redirect PP’d federal funding to other healthcare providers.

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1. The healthcare they provide is extremely limited. They’ll provide a pregnancy test, pap smear, morning after pill, STD test, abortion, sterilization, manual breast exam (which you can do yourself), and contraception. As far as healthcare goes, that’s a small scope of care. Saying people will lose “healthcare” without PP is grossly inaccurate, because PP doesn’t provide a comprehensive scope of care.

2. They aren’t actually the primary healthcare provider for many people. The self-reported number of patients they see in a year? 2.5 million. Out of somewhere near 320 million Americans, that’s . . . not very many. If you want to know the exact number, that’s .7% of Americans who go to PP in a given year. So will “millions” of people lose their care? No.

3. According to their annual reports, their abortion, sterilization, and contraceptive services have consistently been increasing over the last 10 years. All of their non-controversial services (STD tests, breast exams, etc.) have been steadily decreasing. [see info] I think this shows a significant bias. And I think taxpayers have every right to demand our hard earned money isn’t going toward biased and controversial organizations.

4. As they’ve proven recently, PP supporters are quite capable of financially supporting the organization themselves. Why force taxpayers to fund a controversial organization when they have supporters to keep doors open? I think if they tightened their budget a little and didn’t spend $30 million on trying to get Hillary Clinton elected, they might be able to survive just like any other nonprofit: with private donations.

5. They’ve over billed Medicaid and financially benefited from the program by over $8.5 MILLION. And that’s a conservative estimate. See section starting on page 311 of this report. Since much of their government funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements, I think we need to get real about how much they’ve abused that program.

6. There are thousands of federally qualified healthcare centers to help people facing low incomes. Actually, there are 20 for every PP facility. If funds are redirected from Planned Parenthood to these centers, lower income individuals will have more access to more comprehensive care. So to say people will not have access to healthcare is a blatant lie.  Take a look at this map from the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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But what is a Federally Qualified Health Center? It’s a healthcare provider that “must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors”. By meeting these requirements, the center qualifies for federal funding. Is that what everyone wants?

Looking at this information, I don’t see a logical objection to redirecting money from Planned Parenthood to Federally Qualified Health Centers. There are thousands more FQHC’s, which makes them more accessible. They provide a much more comprehensive scope of care, so we’re giving people better care. And they come without the controversy of being America’s #1 abortion provider (who’s been referred to the FBI for possible prosecution and found to be guilty of many crimes). This looks like a win-win situation to me.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk in the comments!

To LIFE,

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Planned Parenthood officially a criminal organization

It’s January – which means the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is coming up. So let’s talk about abortion. Let me preface this by saying that if you or someone you know is considering abortion, you can get immediate help by texting “HELPLINE” to 313131, calling 1-800-712-4357 (they’ll connect you to a local center), or live chatting here. If you or someone you know has experienced abortion in the past, you can find healing through Project Rachel (for women), Project Joseph (for men – availability depends on location), or by connecting with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

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The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which has been investigating the industry of fetal tissue procurement and research for over a year, concluded their investigation recently  with a grisly final report.

Congressman Diane Black said: “Over the last year, the Select Panel’s relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, noncompliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children . . . the findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience”.

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According to the Panel’s findings, Planned Parenthood is guilty of (among much more):

  • profiting from the sale of fetal tissue
  • failure to ensure compliance of affiliates with legal billing practices
  • using “back-of-the-envelope-type” calculations to create prices for fetal body parts, unsupported by an independent auditor or any formal calculation process
  • violating federal guidelines on patient consent with forms found to be “inadequate” and “legally insufficient”
  • committing systemic violations of HIPPA
  • over-billing Medicaid services by over $8.5MILLION (which is a modest estimate from a fairly small sample)

In addition, a Planned Parenthood executive affirms in this report that abortion doctors may change the abortion procedure to “increase the success of fetal tissue donation”. This was a concern raised in one of the Center for Medical Progress’ original videos, in which Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, said:

“Some of our doctors in the past have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens” and “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

The report also outlines the exaggerated benefits and sometimes false claims made by Planned Parenthood and other organizations in regard to fetal tissue research. For example, we learn that fetal tissue was never used to make a vaccine for Polio, Measels, or Mumps. The topic of fetal tissue being used in vaccines is highly debated, and, we can see, not as integral as what we were led to believe by Planned Parenthood.

The Panel found that “in over 100 years of unrestricted research, fetal tissue has not proven to be useful for treating human disease. In contrast, although stem and progenitor cells from non-fetal tissues have only recently been discovered, they have rapidly yielded clinical treatments with proven benefit to patients. The alarmist claims that restrictions on human fetal tissue research would somehow delay or prevent the development of cures are entirely unfounded.”

This isn’t made-up pro-life propaganda. This is a factual, over 300 page, legal report. The media is failing miserably at reporting this (surprise!). But I think we deserve to know the facts. The extensive document, which outlines specific cases, further details, and final recommendations, can be found here.

AND if you didn’t already know, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary recently referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI and Department of Justice for possible prosecution. Planned Parenthood recognizes this is a dangerous moment in their history, as their dirty laundry and illegal activities are coming to light.

My next post on the topic: Why We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood (and Why Poor Women Won’t Die Without Them)

To LIFE,

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I paid for a murderer’s sex reassignment surgery

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California made headlines recently for being the first state to fund sex reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer.

On the one hand, I’m tired of talking about and being mad about stuff like this. But on the other hand, I think it’s important to be culturally aware and well versed enough in current issues to be able to talk about them.

So.

Officials justified this being funded by taxpayer dollars because the state is required to fund medically necessary care for inmates in regards to both their physical and mental health. I get that. But can we also recognize how there’s a huge lack of research into long-term effects of undergoing this type of surgery?

And even if you were one to generally support the decision of individuals to remove their genitalia and try to construct that of the opposite gender, can we agree that the government shouldn’t pay for this? That’s absolutely an abuse of taxpayer dollars. But yes, I paid for this reassignment surgery. I did not consent, and I think it’s a problem how little control the average Joe has over how our money is used.

Another issue I see here is regarding mental health. The discussion surrounding mental health can be tricky. I get it.

But how can we just say that having surgery will solve the very real issues a person in this situation is undergoing?

If we’re going to talk mental health, I want us to talk about this too.

When our minds do not see reality as it is, then we can pursue treatment to change our minds to conform with reality, or change the physical thing in reality that clashes with our minds.

Follow me for a second here: There’s a 30 year old woman suffering from anorexia and she weighs 75 pounds. But because of the mental difficulty that is anorexia, she will still think she is fat. Would anyone who loves her and wants what is best for her encourage her to vomit or refuse to eat? Now I’m not going to recommend a course of treatment for people in this situation, but I think we can agree that help from a trained professional would be needed. The woman is suffering from not seeing reality as it is, and hopefully with treatment and healing, she will see her body as it is one day.

Now I know the world of gender is a delicate arena. But I don’t see how it’s very different.

A biological woman feels or somehow comes to the belief that she is a man. She is physically and biologically a woman. But somehow our culture has gotten to the point where refusing this woman the opportunity to physically mimic the body of a biological man has become bigotry.

I don’t know about you, but I’d call that biology.

What are your thoughts, and how do you handle this type of situation?

To Life,

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My 2016 in review

Have you seen all the memes about finally waving adieu to 2016? Most people seem to be counting down to saying goodbye to an eventful year. It’s certainly been quite a year for me, with lots of changes and things I haven’t blogged about. So for posterity’s sake, and because I miss this place, here’s what 2016 looked like for me.

January

The end of Christmas break saw me going back to Kansas for my final semester of college. I was beyond excited to be done with formal schooling. But at the same time, there’s so much to say goodbye to when college ends. I can now tell you that it’s quite possible to be crazy excited and terrified at the same time.

For the fourth time in college, we packed up a ginormous group of people to head to the March for Life in D.C.

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Buuuuuut then the morning of the March we turned around and headed back to Kansas early in order to beat a crazy huge storm. It was a hard call to make for our bus company and group leaders. Ultimately, though, I think it was a good decision. The road we had to take heading west was the road many buses got stranded on just hours after us.

February

I treasured many “lasts” of college as the semester went on. At the same time (late Feb/early March??), I discovered that the job I had expected to step into after college was not going to happen. It hadn’t been for sure, but this made the next couple months crunch time to find a job. I was not keen on the idea of graduating without a next step. Anyway, you can imagine what that’s like for someone who likes to plan.

My role in the campus pro-life group senior year was receiving calls from families in need in our town and then delivering items directly to those moms and babies. That was such an enriching experience. I got to literally meet people where they were at and help them through more materially difficult times than I’ve ever experienced. I am so glad that I stepped back from being President that school year to work hands-on with people who needed us. I spent many Saturday mornings outside the closest abortion facility too.

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March

I had a lovely spring break trip with some of my college girlfriends in snowy Colorado mountains. We went inner tubing and just had a blast. The job search continued. And I passed my senior comprehensive exam. Thank you, sweet Baby Jesus.

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April

Things started to get REAL at this point with impending graduation. Applying for jobs got old fast. I do not envy anyone who is job searching, because at least in my experience, it was horrible. There’s the hope of seeing new opportunities and then after submitting your application you never hear back. I actually really appreciated the rejections I received, because at least it was an answer.

Part of the reason this was such a struggle for me is because with my Business Management degree, I was going to be qualified for any number of jobs in the business world. I know I am capable of doing much in the business world. And going home to Silicon Valley you might think that was my ambition. But I didn’t want to work in the corporate business world. To me it felt cold and impersonal and basically purgatory on earth. In my opinion it’s driven too much by money and other things I don’t care about. I wanted to work with non profits that were either related to my faith or the pro-life cause.

Though I didn’t have a next step yet, I started throwing away paperwork and notes from classes that I didn’t need anymore. Sweet freedom was on the horizon.

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On campus our Memorial of the Unborn was unveiled. This was such a wonderful moment for the campus pro-life group, because students had been working on the project and raising money for it for many years. There had been many setbacks, and I was so proud to see it finally installed after much hard work.

It’s in a memorial garden in a nice spot on campus. Here’s what the statue looks like (with some rain on it). The rock wall behind it is a great height to sit and think, and it’s right off of a walkway with a bench directly across from it.

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We hosted a baby item drive where all proceeds go to the ministry I was managing of helping local families. It was wonderfully successful and made me happy to leave the ministry in good hands with resources to work with.

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May

Toward the end of April (I think – sometime around here), I started facing the reality that it didn’t look like I was going to be working in the fields I was most interested in. And I was like “FINE, GOD, IF YOU SAY SO”. Letting go looks much more like that sometimes than a feel-good Hallmark movie. It felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and had no idea what was coming. I applied for many jobs that in my opinion looked lame because it was time to be an adult even if what happened wasn’t ideal.

Then all of a sudden, life worked out.

In the couple weeks leading up to graduation, I had interviews with both a prominent pro-life organization and Ignatius Press where I work now. It’s funny because I had sent my resume to IP about 6 weeks prior to this, I think. They didn’t have any job listings up, but I figured it didn’t hurt to send my resume around and see what happened. Since one of their staff members was moving on at the end of May, they contacted me. And two days before graduation (I kid you not), it was official. My goal all along was to have a job before graduation. Of course it would have been nice for things to work out a couple months prior. But I just had to laugh at the way it turned out. God is good. And I had a next step after graduating.

I graduated a said bittersweet goodbye’s. At some point I’ll have to write more about college. My cap said “Believe there is good in the world“.

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Then I moved home to California, started training for work 4 days later, bought a car and BAM. I am officially a real adult.

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There’s a lot that goes into big transitions like this, and I felt that. Work was a steep learning curve at first. Taking public transportation was a nightmare the first few days before I got the car. But I have a job and I was thankful.

June – September

I adjusted to my new normal, which included a commute of about 1:40 or so each way. Fortunately driving the hills of San Francisco was just fine. After school started (for OTHER people, mwahahaha), it took over 2 hours to get to work in the morning. I listened to Catholic radio, said the rosary, sometimes jammed to music, and avoided accidents in crazy Bay Area traffic.

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My first nephew was born and I visited him (and my sister and brother in law) and summer was great. My other older sister and I began looking for an apartment together once both of us had things in order. That was an interesting process!

October

We found a place, were accepted, and moved at the beginning of the month. It really had only taken a couple weeks of intense looking, visiting, and applying to find the right place, but it felt super long. The hardest part was finding something affordable, because local market price is about $3,500/mo for rent. Thankfully we found something under that and have enjoyed it ever since. One of my favorite walls is this gallery wall I’ve been slowly adding to:

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Craigslist has come in handy for many furniture pieces, including that awesome chair and bookshelf 🙂 The crucifix is one of my favorite parts, and this phrase from Mama T.

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November – December

Since then life has been moving along as per usual. We had a pretty crazy election. If you’re wondering how I voted, you can read this. Oh yeah, my transmission failed right before Thanksgiving (THANKS semi-new car). That was fun! Thankfully it was under warranty.

It’s nice to have my own place and a job to learn from. But I definitely miss the hustle and bustle of everything I did in college. It was so easy to pop across campus for this or that activity and go to events and volunteer my time. The world is so much bigger and takes being much more intentional now. I’m still looking for volunteer opportunities and social groups and figuring out good ways to spend my time. Oh! One awesome way I’ve spent some time is exploring trails around here. There are so many and I love them.

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Can you believe this has no filter? It’s sooo beautiful in the hills where I live.

It’s been a year of figuring things out, making lots of decisions, and taking big steps into the world.  I am thankful for much and looking forward to whatever the new year brings.

Did you make it this far? Congratulations, that was was long. Cheers to 2016! How was yours?

To Life,

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P.P.S. Check out more people’s years over at Bobbi’s link up!

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 64: In which we pull ourselves together

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Hello again! It’s Friday. Did you survive this week? Because it was a little extremely cray cray if you ask me. Let’s take a deep breath, maybe a chill pill, and pull ourselves together. Linking up with Kelly & Co.

1. Donald Trump is our next president. Ever think that’d happen? The shock has worn off at this point, but I was dumbfounded on my couch watching the results unfold. I said from the beginning that Hillary was going to win, and for once I am a teensy bit glad to be wrong.

2. But, like most Americans, I’m not thrilled about Trump. I didn’t vote for him or Hillary, because they both seemed like dumb options. But I’m not going to protest or disrespect my country. He’s said crazy things that I wouldn’t ever defend. But I’m going to give him a chance to do some good. He might. He might not. But I’m going to be open-minded enough to give him the opportunity. He can’t just do the crazy things people are saying he will. We’re a democracy, not a monarchy.

3. Some people are losing their minds and blocking freeways and hurting people. This is obviously very constructive in unifying our country. All the rest I’ve gotta say about the protests is this:

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4. This video (from a liberal Australian channel?) came up in my Facebook newsfeed, and I thought it made an important point.


Because you know what? We’re all going to disagree on something. That’s okay with me. I may believe you’re wrong about some life issue or gay marriage. And I’l be happy to talk about my beliefs. I hope that is you’re wrong about something you learn the truth, and vice versa. But that doesn’t change your humanity. Or mine. Opinions and beliefs are part of our identities. But they’re not what we are.

5. Okay, so where do we go from here? I would suggest one step at a time. People are always going to be disappointed and mad after an election. But hey. We’re America. We’ve been through some TOUGH times, and we’ll probably survive a Trump presidency. Let’s keep going to work, raising families, making dinner, reaching out to each other, and living each of our lives trying to make the world a better place.

6. Want a lighter topic? Here’s an article of mine up last week at Live Action News: Why abortion is wrong: the pro-life case. And I’m kidding. It’s not lighter. But it might be helpful if you’ve ever been stumped trying to have that conversation!

7. And now, I believe it’s appropriate to end with a prayer for our country. They’ll know we are Christians by our love, right? Let’s live up to that! And let’s remember in our prayers all the brave souls who have fought for our country since today is Veteran’s Day.

Almighty God,
bless our nation
and make it true
to the ideas of freedom and justice
and brotherhood for all who make it great.

Guard us from war,
from fire and wind,
from compromise, fear, confusion.

Be close to our president and our statesmen;
give them vision and courage,
as they ponder decisions affecting peace
and the future of the world.

Make me more deeply aware of my heritage;
realizing not only my rights
but also my duties
and responsibilities as a citizen.

Make this great land
and all its people
know clearly Your will,
that they may fulfill
the destiny ordained for us
in the salvation of the nations,
and the restoring of all things in Christ.

Amen

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That’s it for now! What do you think? Need to de-stress after this week? Share your reaction in the comments below!

To Life,

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7 Quick Takes, Vol. 63: Tips, Funny Stuff, and Hikes

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Happy Fri-yay! Let’s join up with Kelly and all the other party people today.

1. Let’s just ignore the election, mmkay? At this point, I just look forward to it being over. Because you know what? There’s only so much I can control. And the president is not God and can’t quash my joie de vivre. Also, there’s this if you need some humor about it [rude language warning]. I read that when I was sitting in a coffee shop waiting for an oil change earlier today, and was laughing inappropriately loudly over my iced vanilla latte.

2. Want some cooking tips? My sister and I have been watching Food Network shows lately, and I feel like a genius putting some tips to good use: need to thicken a sauce? Cornstarch. Most people know that. But we also know it clumps up. THIS IS BECAUSE THE LIQUID IS ALREADY HOT. So, mix the cornstarch in a little bit of COLD water before adding it and no clumps. Whoa.

3. Another tip? If you add too much lemon juice to your dish, don’t despair! I accidentally added too much to a creamy lemon sauce for dinner this week, which tasted horribly tart. Do you know what? Add a sprinkle of baking soda and VIOLA. It apparently adjusts the pH level, taking away some of the acidic taste. It kind of fizzed for a little bit, but then went down and was completely saved. Thank you, Google, for saving my sauce.

4. Are you ready for Christmas music? I am, BUT I refuse to play it until the day after Thanksgiving. Gotta be liturgically correct. In preparation, I *MAY* have ordered Pentatonix’s new album after seeing this video. SO BEAUTIFUL.

4. I freaked out for a second this week, because all of a sudden I had a huge increase in “likes” on my Facebook page. I thought some sketchy spam activity was happening. But it turns out a story I wrote for Live Action News was making waves across the interwebs. It’s about a beautiful little girl named Coeli who was born at 25 weeks and lived, after doctors told her parents to let her die. Check it out! And if you’re a new fan, welcome! I’ll be posting more over there now.

5. Want another video? Here’s some priests rocking out while carpooling with a bishop. Yes, Catholics are not all dour old rule followers. We have loads of fun!

6. These are my kind of saints. [source]

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7. With all the craziness out there, guys, I highly recommend going on hikes and getting off social media for the next week. Here’s a picture of a recent hike I went on. No filters whatsoever. Creation is soo gorgeous!

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Have a great weekend everyone! Gotta go take some ciabatta rolls I made out of the oven for our housewarming tomorrow 🙂

To Life,

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