The world is not our safe space

You probably heard about the men who recently intervened between a man and two women he was verbally “racially harassing” (one of the women was black, the other was wearing a hijab). Three men intervened and two ended up being killed. The other was injured.

In response, Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler has been addressing free speech on his Facebook page. He addressed the people behind two unrelated upcoming events (Trump Free Speech Rally and March Against Sharia):

I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled . . . I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.

Now hopefully any reasonable person would agree that harassment, murder, bigotry, racism, and hatred are all terrible things. There’s no place for those anywhere. I have no idea what the purpose of those two events is, or if they plan to be peaceful. A more recent posting in reference to the event says:

We need to reckon with the fact that racist attitudes lead to racist words, and that racist words lead to violence. And we need to decide what we’re going to do about it.

What are we going to do about it? There’s this growing idea that to prevent violence, we have to prevent people from holding and expressing certain ideas and attitudes. Now, we can agree that certain things are always wrong and terrible to even think.

But what do we do when the thought police go after people with opposing views who are reasonable and not murderers? When we get to ideas and attitudes, who gets to decide which ones we’re allowed to have?

In comment sections, articles, and everywhere on social media, I see people saying it’s “hate speech” to believe in traditional marriage or be against abortion. To some, it’s not just a personal or religious belief. Those are beliefs that personally offend other people, and they want to get rid of that uncomfortable reality by getting rid of your idea.

I think it says a lot about us when we’ve become so sensitive to differing viewpoints that we want to remove those people from our communities instead of attempting to live in peaceful disagreement.

This is not about murder and racism and violent, terrible crimes. This is about the thought police trying to appease people who disagree by silencing the people they disagree with.

I’d like to ask such individuals when we started thinking the whole world was our safe space.

Because it’s not.

When we walk out the doors or connect to the internet or have contact with another human being, we are going to encounter people who think differently than us. Of course we all think some people hold ridiculous opinions and beliefs. I’m Catholic, so I think people who are Atheist are wrong about God. I think people who are pro-choice are wrong about abortion. I think people against the right to bear arms are wrong about gun control. I think Scientology is creepy and that some animal rights activists need to chill.

But you know what?

Here in America, we are free to express and live out our beliefs, no matter how wrong we may be (as long as it doesn’t hurt people). None of us are entitled to lives without having our ideas questioned or opposed.

If you are after an eternal safe space, I’d recommend never getting on the internet or leaving your home, because there probably isn’t anyone you agree with 100%. We can’t deny that and try to live in a bubble by ostracizing people we think are wrong or ruining their livelihood.

We can disagree. We should shut crime down. But free speech is something I hold dear as an American, and infringement on that has got to go. If my ideas bother you, great. I’m glad that you have an idea too. Let’s talk and see if we can figure out what’s right. Or if it doesn’t matter. Ideas exist to be debated and researched and challenged and embraced. We can’t do that if we ignore or purposefully stifle ideas different than our own.

To Life,

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7QT, Vol. 66: Jury duty, summer, and adulting

Time for some quick takes on this Friday afternoon! Head over to Kelly’s place for more.

1. This week I served jury duty. I was on standby the night before. Then when I checked back, I had 1:30 to report downtown. We all sat in a giant room (at least 200 people), and then I was one of 84 people called into a courtroom to start the jury selection process. The charge was read to us, and we filled out a questionnaire about related past experiences of ours. The next day, I was one of 24 called up to the jury box to begin questioning. It was a loooooong day. And I was SHOCKED at the number of people who had difficulty following instructions. I had to come in for a third day, and was thankful to be excused then. It was fascinating to see part of the process, but I have a trip coming up and it would have been too much time away from work.

2. Speaking of, I’ve officially been at my job for a year! It was quite the experience ending up where I am, but it’s good to be here. It’s not what I expected, and who knows what the future holds. But I’m thankful to be gainfully employed.

3. In other adulting news, my sister and I have been thinking of starting an Etsy shop with greeting cards and prints. We’re experimenting with watercolor and calligraphy. Anyone have a favorite quote or type of card you’d like but can’t find?

4. Have any favorite summer recipes? This salad is the bomb diggity. This lemon ice is refreshing and light and originally from an American Girl cookbook.

5. Did you see that video preview yesterday from The Center for Medical Progress? Well, a judge ordered it to be removed from YouTube. Ask me more about it if you want to hear a rant/rage. I have no patience or tolerance for killing babies, profiting off of it, and then people trying to cover their butts. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

6. In better news, this is an interesting article about the boom in young Catholic women starting initiatives and organizations. I’ve noticed this trend, and am grateful for so many fellow young Catholic women living out their faith and fulfilling needs of our world hungering for our authentic witness. I do honestly wonder if guys have the same wealth of resources, though. Hmm. Any thoughts on that?

7. Lastly, Happy Memorial Day. Let’s give special thanks this weekend for those who have given their lives for our country.

That’s it for now! What have you been up to lately? Have any thoughts on my takes?

To Life,

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Judging people vs ideas

We hear it in the media, our cultural sensitivity training, and even from the Pope: who am I to judge?

Tolerance, open-mindedness, and understanding of people with different beliefs is the anthem of the correct, the battle cry of those fighting for the love and acceptance we all long for (right?).

But there’s something about this 100% acceptance rate that bothers me: we forget to differentiate between people and ideas.

We can probably agree that the appropriate attitude toward people is love. Sometimes love challenges and confronts, because it cares for the good of the other, right? It can call people out and change us. Love doesn’t stay the same. Think about a marriage or good friendship. Do you stay on the same level forever? No. The relationship grows and stretches with highs and lows. And that’s beautiful. We sacrifice and do hard things when we love people. We accept and love people because they are people, whether or not we agree with what they think and believe.

Now, we might disagree on how to handle ideas. I think we have a major problem when we treat ideas the same way as people. Ideas are concepts that we should examine, not accept because of what they are. We need to think deeply about and ask ourselves if it is true. Ideas can be wrong or disordered or stupid, and it’s okay to recognize that. Many people, I think, have lost this distinction, and assume that if you hold a disagreeing belief you must be the thing that is stupid, not your idea.

I recently made the mistake of entering a comment box regarding the redirection of funds away from Planned Parenthood. I replied to some (false and stupid) ideas in the comment section with facts and sources, explaining my belief and backing it up. I had to laugh at some point about the replies, because they were absurd.

For example, people assumed I was a mean-spirited Republican who voted for Trump, just trying to defend my stupid political affiliation. I am not a Republican and did not vote for Trump. But even if I did, that wouldn’t make me stupid. It’s the same concept about how we tell kids nowadays “that was a bad choice” and not “you are bad”. There’s a difference.

According to those people, I am an “embarrassment to intelligent women” because I have a belief different than theirs. But that thought out position of mine is on an issue I have researched and continue to read about extensively. I’m happy to talk about it. And I understand why people think differently. So let’s talk about and see what’s right.

When we put up walls between us and people we disagree with, we can’t talk about the issue we’re facing. We’re not going to get anywhere except our own heads, which are already filled with ideas we think are right. But what if we’re not right? If our idea is wrong, and we believe things that aren’t true, we’re never going to realize that if we stay stuck in a bubble. And doesn’t that matter?

I will listen to you and your story. I will love you and try to understand you. I might call you out if you have a stupid idea too. And you know what? I hate being told I’m wrong, but I’d want to know. It’s important to judge whether or not our ideas are right, or we’ll be stuck in our own heads forever.

Who am I to judge?

I’m a person who wants to know the truth.

So I’m going to keep researching and judging ideas in order to reach the truth.

Recognizing truth and providing evidence to support your belief isn’t an accusation of your being stupid. It’s an invitation into debate and truth-seeking that is only possible if we admit we might be wrong.

May we all increase our ability to admit that.

To Life,

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P. P.S. Have you been judged to be a stupid person because of a belief? Did you do that to someone else? Please share in the comments and let’s chat! Even if we disagree 😉

A year after graduation

A year ago I was paining over finals for the last time. My future was so uncertain. But then all of a sudden, I had a job, graduated, and roadtripped home. Now it’s been just about a year since graduating college.

Work started 4 days later, and though it was a lot to adjust to, I’ve learned. Most of my prior job experience was summer internships, so it’s an odd and nice thing to be committed to a long term job. I moved closer to work in October. And since then life has just been plugging along.

I heard lots of people talk about how hard the transition into real adulthood can be. But honestly, I was already living in an apartment before graduating, paying for groceries, and taking care of myself. Being self sufficient isn’t hard for me.

What I have found extremely strange is how boring this season of life can be.

Since college was halfway across the country, friends and organizations didn’t come back with me. I loved living with four other people (and some honorary roommates who frequented our place). I was constantly busy doing something. At first it was going to ALL the things freshman year. Then I led the campus pro-life group for the next two years. Senior year I’d passed on the head role and participated by receiving requests for baby items I then delivered to families around town. I taught CCD and helped a mom out once a week, more than occasionally got up at 4:30am on Saturdays to be on the sidewalk outside the nearest abortion facility, and always had an assignment or project to work on. There was always something.

Now I go to work and come home.

For the first time in my life, I’ve had huge amounts of time where there’s absolutely nothing I’m expected to complete and no one to report to. It is weird and wonderful. Mostly weird.

I feel a certain sense of responsibility to spend my time well. But oh my goodness is that HARD. I can’t just walk across campus to adoration. I don’t know families near me I can go help. Places don’t respond when I ask about volunteering. Church doesn’t have much for young adults. Life isn’t what it used to be, and I have to rebuild with new people, places, and things.

Even though I’m somewhat of an introvert, it is incredibly tiresome to have so much time to myself. Who knows how long this season of life with so much stillness and quiet will last. While it does, I want to give my time away. It’s too boring keeping it to myself.

So what am I going to do about it?

My sister and I hosted a Blessed Brunch, and have had people over. I joined a gym recently and rediscovered my love of group exercise classes. Perhaps the Etsy store I’ve thought of for months will finally launch. The sky’s the limit. So one awkward get together at a time and attempt at building life all over again, it’ll happen. It takes a lot of patience and wow-I’ve-tried-that-and-will-never-do-it-again, but it’ll happen.

And just like other times in life, I’ll look back and smile, realizing life was happening, all of a sudden and all along.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people in this season of life? I’d love to hear from you!

To Life,

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7 Steps to Become a True California Driver (and a giveaway!!) – 7QT, Vol. 65

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It’s been forever since I blogged joined in the festive 7 Quick Takes with Kelly and lots of other fun people. So here goes!

Growing up in the Bay Area, I knew drivers around here were a little cray cray. But I did not come to fully appreciate the true depth of the California driver brand until I went to college in Kansas and realized some people actually kind of follow the rules of the road. These people may move out of the right hand lane when cars are pulled over and sometimes wave at you just because (I know, what?!). Anyone who visits this great state (or big cities in general) might be a bit shocked upon witnessing our driving. So I thought I’d throw together a little how-to in case you ever need this vital information.

Here are 7 commandments to follow if you want to become a true California driver (or more specifically, Bay Area, because every area has their special brand of crazy):

1. Thou shalt lose thy s#!% at the sign of any type of inclement weather.

Which in California includes rain and . . . yeah, rain. Maybe fog if you live close to the coast? Let’s be real, guys. It can ruin your hair, AND HAVE YOU HEARD OF HYDROPLANING?! You need to go at LEAST 33mph under the speed limit for a drizzle, and slow to a crawl for anything heavier. It’s basically this, except in cars:

2. Thou shalt chillax in the left-most lane at 29 mph under the speed limit to teach those entitled speed limit breakers a lesson.

This is especially advisable if you’re driving a Prius or electric vehicle. Oh! And while you’re at it- don’t pay attention to the carpool lane rules.

3. Thou shalt significantly reduce speed and gawk at any unusual sights near the road.

This includes accidents, tow trucks, fallen branches, and rabbits. The best technique is to brake abruptly so you’re going slow enough to get the low-down on the situation. As soon as it’s out of sight and you’ve backed up traffic enough so evvvveryone can stop and see, resume normal highway speeds.

4. Thou shalt work thyself into road rage when traffic is slow and let others know about it by revving your engine and speeding in a zig-zag through said traffic, slamming your brakes only occasionally enough to narrowly avoid an accident.

When in doubt, resort to lightsabers.

Bonus points if you’re driving an expensive car because then everyone know you mean BUSINESS. There’s also the option of flashing your brights to shine some light into the souls of people who annoy you. Weaving in and out of cars on the road is an art. So release your inner Bob Ross.

5. Thou shalt not learn how to merge.

How does it work? One car from their lane to every two in mine? Big spaces between each other? Who knows! Who cares! Go when you want and don’t look.

6. Thou shalt catch up on social media and texts while driving.

Seriously, when was the last time you texted your Grandma? She is overdue for some love from you! Driving is the perfect time to check your notifications. Bonus points if you can do Facebook live or an Insta-story about the latest political upheaval without rear ending the person in front of you. And if you do hit ’em? You will get tons of responses and shares and followers so yay!

7. Thou shalt basically do whatever you want on the road. It’s about getting from point A to point B, not what happens in between.

So let your hair down and get there! Drive on the shoulder if there are too many people in your way. You got places to BE for crying out loud! And if the people turning in front of you weren’t fast enough during a green light, just go during the red one. People will avoid a collision. Most of the time. Talking and yelling at other drivers is also awesome, especially if you use the universal Italian hand signal.

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Okay, but in all seriousness, I’m glad to have only been involved in one real accident in my life (plus a recent person who rear ended me with no damage). I’ve come very close to increasing that number more times than I care to count, but thankfully haven’t yet. And no, I’m not claiming innocence from doing some of these crazy things myself. This is a crazy area to drive in, but it’s kind of nice that this is where I learned. I just expect people to be crazy and un-courteous.

I also pray the rosary going to work each morning, so that helps me take deep breaths and enjoy the scenery instead of swearing. And I’m giving away an identical rosary CD! Because I have two. Would you like it? I prefer a CD over an app so that I’m not messing with my phone. It’s a simple version (just the prayers, no meditations), and their voices are thankfully not annoying or too slow.

To enter, leave me a comment about driving! Do you have a lovely commute? What crazy things do people do while driving in your area? Have a pro tip for other drivers? A funny story? One comment/entry per person. I’ll choose a winner at random on Sunday, so leave your comment by noon pacific.

To Life,

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Planned Parenthood is scared of 40 Days for Life

Do you know something kinda fun? Being on Planned Parenthood’s email lists.

They’re feeling very defensive right now (obviously, they’re going to be funded!), and are constantly asking for money. I found this email today a bit hilarious, but also sad: they feel threatened by 40 Days for Life.

If you don’t already know, 40 Days for Life is a pro-life campaign that happens twice a year where people commit to prayer and fasting, holding vigil outside abortion facilities, and community outreach for that time period. People literally stand outside praying, holding signs, or offering life-affirming resources (or a combination of those). It’s peaceful and prayerful if you’re into that.

I find it lame that they use scare quotes around this legitimate organization’s name. They can’t even give 40DFL the dignity of calling them by name. Their contempt for this peaceful, prayerful, campaign goes to show how deeply wrong they are about how we should approach this issue. Shouldn’t women be treated with this peace and understanding and empathy instead of these hideous and tiresome fundraising emails? What speaks to the heart of who we are as people? Yeah, not the emails.

Also, wow. Totally makes me want to back off from ending abortion when they use this campaign to raise $5,000. (LOL, nope, I’m not intimidated either.)

They are correct that this isn’t letting up, though.

Planned Parenthood is going to be defunded, I hope very soon. And we’re not going to rest until then, and until abortion becomes unthinkable. This is not an attack on women’s health, but our desire to see human rights for all – and BETTER healthcare that doesn’t kill people and lie to women. You want to know what good healthcare looks like? Check out The Guiding Star Project. I’ve known about them for a while, but was so impressed and inspired listening to their founder Leah Jacobson in this podcast yesterday. I’ll definitely be writing more about some things she said.

Also, peaceful, prayerful, vigil isn’t harassment.

Get yo facts straight, PP. Anyway, I just popped on to talk about this because I don’t want PP to keep doing what they’re doing without being called out. I see them. I see you. And together, we’re bringing down this lying Goliath one step at a time.

To Life,

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P.P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’m not affiliated with 40 Days for Life, though I have participated in the campaigns in the past.

#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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