Five habits for highly peaceful Catholics

Peace. Isn’t that the elusive thing we’re all after? It’s sometimes a feeling of satisfaction, or the act of letting go. You can’t necessarily make it happen for yourself, but I am convinced that most us are regularly doing things that hinder our ability to feel at peace. Know what I’m talking about? It’s the restless feeling after scrolling for too long. The afternoons when you’ve been going nonstop and suddenly realize you forgot to eat. Or maybe it’s the crushing weight of all the problems in the world riding on your shoulders.

We might know intellectually that God is the Prince of Peace, that his plans are good, and that so many things in the world aren’t actually that important. But do we live like that? How do we concretely combat that feeling of restlessness and truly be at peace resting in the knowledge that God is with us?

Here are several basic ways we can cultivate peace in our everyday lives. I am no expert, so these are as much personal goals for myself as they are my recommendations for you.

Read the rest of my piece on our monthly topic of peace over at Everyday Ediths.

Death and life and why I’m staying Catholic

It’s been weeks since we learned about (formerly Cardinal) McCarrick, and long enough since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released that the initial shock has dissipated. But now we have letters and statements and accusations renewing our dismay. My response to big events is often clear and immediate. Other times I want to read and be clear on facts before addressing it. But in this case, things just keep coming. If we ever get full details on the corruption currently rotting in our clergy, it’s going to take a while.

I’m not waiting for that day to talk about it.

To be perfectly honest, I am not entirely surprised by what we are learning. The sexual abuse, rape, use of pornography, and homosexual activity that has occurred is disturbing and wrong. My heart goes out to victims of these crimes, and I believe it should be a major priority in our Church to heal these wounds. Victims deserve justice. And so do any perpetrators or enablers of these atrocities.

Learning of the horrific experiences of some seminarians, especially in the 70’s and 80’s, is disturbing. Is this part of why our number of priests declined? I wonder. If the testimonies are true, which I am inclined to believe, then whistleblowers were sometimes removed from seminaries. Good guys left out of disgust. This was not acceptable.

And the cover-up.

This is what makes my blood boil.

It remains to be seen exactly who’s right about what. Archbishop Vigano’s testimony is being attested to as accurate by a growing number of credible people who are calling for an investigation. At the same time, Pope Francis has been silent for the last few days. This part of the story has been the most personally disheartening to me so far because of this: if one is innocent, it should be easy to simply state that upfront and discredit false accusations. And if one is guilty but repentant, it should be the obvious course of action to admit wrongdoing, clarify details, and accept consequences.

I do not want Pope Francis to be guilty of covering up these things. I don’t want to know that there are wolves wearing shepherds clothing. But we know too much to let this breeze over. I want the whole truth and nothing but the truth put out into the light of day. Besides actually being found guilty, silence seems like one of the worst reactions by clergy at this present moment, and I struggle to interpret this in a positive way. I think the Church deserves answers to these serious allegations, and that a full investigation all the way up to the Vatican should have been publicly started days ago.

All these details are difficult to follow. My mind has been running like a hamster wheel and I’m not sleeping enough (not that I ever do). I can’t stop thinking about this and reading everything (yes, both “sides”). This is a stunning moment to be Catholic, but I am profoundly grateful for what’s going on. This evil needs to be exposed, and I hope that with how big this has become, it will have to be dealt with.

But Laura, you might say, these things are so heinous and despicable. How could you ever remain a Catholic?

I’m glad you asked.

You know how people talk about the fight or flight reaction we usually have in the face of danger? I think if this was new to me, I might be more likely to be stewing in and blinded by disgust and anger. But sadly, clerical corruption is not an unusual topic of my reading. Besides committing crimes, bishops, priests, and even the Pope are dead wrong sometimes about theological, practical, and pastoral things. And no – I’m not a “far right” Catholic who thinks Pope Francis is the AntiChrist. It’s not everyday they’re covering heinous crimes, but they sure are wrong about some things on the regular. I don’t talk about that often here because it’s depressing and feels prideful to talk about how I think they’re wrong.

But I’ve worked in a less than perfect diocese. I went to a Catholic college. I’ve gone through Safe Environment Training twice. I work for a Catholic organization now. I am a well-informed Catholic, and I know our history is rife with scandal. I know the gates of Hell will not prevail against the universal Catholic Church, but I also know there’s no one country where God said it would remain strong. Whatever happens, though – I’m here for it. I believe this is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic faith established by Jesus Christ, and I’m not leaving him because of modern day Judases.

I can look at Jesus on the cross and ask why people make atrocious decisions. But I cannot look him in the eye and walk away because of them.

Do you believe Jesus came to conquer sin and give us the Church and its sacraments? Do you believe he is holding us in the palm of his hand through this? Do you believe he is with us in the Eucharist and present among us? Do you believe in the beauty and necessity of the sacraments regardless of who’s ministering them?

Then join me. Stay and fight for the Church you believe in.

“Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.” Mother Teresa said.

And it’s true. I feel like I’m carrying a weight and just want to know the truth and get this over with. But I also want the Church to experience a deep purging and cleansing that will take time.

Some of the best words I’ve seen recently come from a German radio broadcast by then Fr. Ratzinger in 1969:

“From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members . . . And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

With death always comes resurrection. May the extent of this rot be exposed and burned down to allow new life to flourish. May our faith in Jesus be stronger than any storm. And may new life come from this death.

To LIFE,

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A Litany for Our Church in Crisis

Abuse and crisis within the Catholic Church I call home are unfortunately nothing new. But every time abuse previously unknown to the public comes to light, it is a reminder of a festering, rotten, wound that has not yet been fully healed. We’ve learned recently of decades of evil abuse. And understandably, many of my fellow Catholics are feeling powerless to make this change. What can we do? Where should we start?

To begin with, let’s pray. Prayer is more powerful than it feels. And prayer is always essential to rightly order ourselves in determining concrete action moving forward. We need to commit to fervent prayer for our Church, the people tasked to lead it, and those who have failed us. When I pray for other people and causes, I like to have specific intentions. So I present to you:

If you’ve not prayed a litany before, it’s a style of prayer with a list of intentions and responses. The response for each group of intentions is given in italics after the first line and is repeated after each individual intention. It can be prayed individually, or in a group where one person reads the intention and other say the response. It is meant to be prayed slowly as we reflect on each specific intention.

A Litany for Our Church in Crisis

Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.

In the midst of darkness, confusion, and outrage, God we ask for your guidance and right judgement in revealing what is hidden, righting what is wrong, and healing what is broken.

From apathy when faced with evil. DELIVER US, O LORD.

From covering up of sin within our Church.

From systems which allow the continuation of abuse.

From cowardly and sinful leaders.

From despair and hopelessness.

—-

For every individual who has personally suffered at the hands of a clergy member or lay leader. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER

For every victim not taken seriously.

For every family member and friend of those who have suffered.

For healing and restoration.

For those who groom individuals to become victims of crimes and commit grave sin, particularly abuse, rape, and molestation.

For those who abuse the power of their office to violate the dignity of other people in an effort to placate their selfish and sinful appetites.

For those who violate the trust of those they vowed to lead to Christ.

For those who aid and abet grave sin among our clergy and lay leaders.

For justice to be served.

For sincere repentance and conversion of heart.

For those coerced and blackmailed into silence.

For those who remain silent in the face of evil.

For good and holy clergy and lay leaders working to heal the wound of abuse and prevent it in the future.

For good and holy clergy as they continue to perform their duties and provide access to the sacraments.

For good and holy lay people working in parishes and religiously affiliated organizations.

For courage on the part of all leaders entrusted with the protection of members of the Body of Christ.

For the formation of current seminarians.

For parents concerned for their children’s safety and wellbeing.

For those tempted to leave their home in the Catholic Church because of abuse and scandal.

For those experiencing feelings of betrayal.

For perseverance in combating evil.

For renewed faith in Jesus Christ.

For renewed hope in the saving power of a life lived for heaven.

For renewed charity towards our brothers and sisters.

For renewed commitment to rightly ordered sexuality through the virtue of chastity.

For purity of heart and action.

For transparency and collaboration in forming a solution.

Jesus, giver of life, purify your Church plagued with the rot of sin. Spur on faithful leaders to courageously take decisive action knowing full well the personal sacrifice required. Give the grace of humility in admitting wrongdoing and working towards a long term resolution. Enkindle in the hearts of our laity the perseverance to endure the scandal of sin and the faithfulness to defend all that is good about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, Divine Comforter, be with your children who are suffering. Inspire the reform needed so desperately in your Church. Be with every faithful member of the Body of Christ as we determine how to move forward. God the Father, remind us of your goodness. Bring peace to every weary soul and justice to every hidden corner of sin. Shine your light on all that is hidden and wash it clean with the blood of your Son offered in reparation for the sins of your children.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.


You are welcome to share this litany and pray it with other people or your parish. I’ve created a PDF for easy printing, which you’re welcome to use for that purpose. Click below to download and print.

Printable Litany for Our Church in Crisis PDF

To Life,

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When God’s generosity meets the demands of conscience and science {Freedom’s Calling, part 7}

Today, please welcome Leslie Sholly for the final and seventh part in Freedom’s Calling – my series commemorating Humanae Vitae’s 50th anniversary and sharing the journeys of Catholics who have come to understand and embrace the truth of its teaching. For more information on the series, you can read part 1 herepart 2 here, part 3 herepart 4 here, part 5 here, and part 6 here.

~

I’m a cradle Catholic, born in 1967. And I recall hearing a lot about the birth control pill growing up. I doubt I had any idea how it worked, but I had the general impression from the books I read, the media I consumed, and the people I knew that taking it was just what people did.

I knew that Catholics weren’t supposed to use contraception, and I personally knew many families who appeared to take that teaching to heart. In my Catholic school at that time there were still many big Catholic families with seven kids or more. However, in twelve years of Catholic education I don’t recall EVER hearing this teaching explained. The Church, as I experienced it, taught it was wrong but not WHY. I definitely had the impression that this was some old-fashioned idea that was safe to ignore.

As I became more educated about abortion in high school, I learned about the abortifacient potential of the birth control pill and IUD. It was easy for me to see that those forms of birth control were wrong since they could end the life of a newly conceived baby, but there were still plenty of other non-abortifacient methods of contraception. Maybe the filmstrip about Natural Family Planning we watched as high school seniors referenced the teachings of Humanae Vitae, but all any of us heard were the embarrassing references to cervical mucus.

I did not live against this teaching, but only because there was no opportunity for me to do so. I remember having conversations about birth control with my college roommate and even looking at what was available in the local drug store. I didn’t have a boyfriend and I planned to wait until I was married anyway, but I figured I’d need this information in the future.

When I was a junior at Georgetown University, I took a course called Christian Marriage as part of my minor in Theology. I had been dating my now-husband for over a year then, and it was already pretty well understood that we’d be getting married when I graduated. Taking that class felt like a good step in preparing for marriage, but I had no idea how life-changing it would be.

This class was taught by a Jesuit priest named Father Kaifer. The texts I recall were Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, The Art of Natural Family Planning by John and Sheila Kippley, Certain Declarations Concerning Sexual Ethics by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI.

Somewhere earlier in my life I had picked up the understanding that I was free to follow my conscience if I did not agree with Church teaching. But no one had ever mentioned the necessity of properly forming my conscience first. And oh, did my conscience start pricking me more and more as I read through these books! How I wish I could go back and thank Father Kaifer. He must have been a very clever man to teach us why contraception was wrong and then, no doubt anticipating our arguments on the necessity of using it, to supply us with a solution in the form of Natural Family Planning!

Discovering the teachings in Humanae Vitae marked such a turning point in my life that I can remember exactly where I was when I was reading it. My husband, John, is from Baltimore, just an hour away from Georgetown. We had gone to his hometown for the weekend, and I was sitting inside studying while John was outside helping with an oil change. I remember being excited by what I read, thinking WOW! The Church doesn’t just make stuff up! It makes sense! There are reasons! But at the same time I was filled with discomfort and dismay, knowing that my conscience and my then non-Catholic boyfriend’s were not going to be in tune on this issue.

Here’s where The Art of Natural Family Planning saved the day. When the uncomfortable conversation that I was dreading took place, I was already armed with an alternative to artificial birth control that not only satisfied the demands of conscience, but was backed by science and was aesthetically superior to barrier methods as well. He reluctantly agreed that when the time came we would try things my way.

I charted my fertility signs for an entire year prior to our wedding. We were blessed with a phase III honeymoon. It would make a better story if it ended right here, but the fact is that our practice was less than perfect, AND I turned out to be super fertile, which meant that we welcomed three babies in four years. There was friction and disagreement and periods of dissent for a couple of years before I finally recommitted to what I knew was right.

My advice to anyone who struggles with this teaching: Start by reading Humanae Vitae, please. You cannot dissent from something you don’t fully understand. Then take an actual class in Natural Family Planning and get your spouse on board. We never did that—I was self-taught AND I took on all the responsibility for it. I can’t go back, but if I could that’s something I would change.

Online support groups or forums weren’t really a thing back then either, and I’m sure they can be very helpful to anyone who is struggling today. I know that there are sometimes life-and-death reasons for avoiding pregnancy, but if that’s not your situation I’d also like to add that you are far more likely to regret not having more kids than you are to regret having one you didn’t expect. We have a six year (planned!) gap between our third and fourth children, and I often wish there was another child in the middle of that gap. Leave room for God in your family planning, and He will give you the grace to live according to His design. He can never be outdone in generosity.

I describe myself on my blog as Catholic and Southern, Wife and Mother, which gives a quick but accurate snapshot of who I am and what is important to me. I was born and still live in Knoxville, Tennessee. I graduated from Georgetown University, majoring in Honors English and minoring in Theology, and meeting my husband in the process! We have been married for almost 29 years and have five children aged 13-27. In addition to blogging, I work at home as my husband’s legal assistant, and write grant proposals and do editing for a non-profit run by my mother. In the past I’ve worked as correspondent for our Diocesan paper and I wrote a column on life issues for several years. I was a charter member and long-term chair of our Diocesan Respect Life Committee, via which I helped to design a pro-life CCD curriculum, sponsored a conference on end-of-life issues, and gave many talks on abortion. My blog is now my primary ministry. My niche is hard to define because I write about what I care about, which covers a lot of territory: Faith, Politics, Education, Parenting, Graveyards, Gardening, Hiking, and the occasional recipe or product review!

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Want more of this series?

Part 1: My Introduction

Part 2: Celebrating the responsibility of our creative power with Amy Thomas of Catholic Pilgrim

Part 3: Self Control and Our Ultimate Mission with Kristi Denoy of Hail Marry

Part 4: The Ripple Effect of Chastity in my Life with Katie Herzing of Becoming Perfectly Myself

Part 5: Moved by NFP with Heidi Indahl of Work and Play, Day by Day

Part 6: Freedom in Surrender with Laura Durant of Healing Heart of Jesus

This brings the series to a close. Thanks very much for your ongoing support of these important conversations!

Translating faith into action

Faith. I think about my Catholic faith everyday. It’s part of my job, my gallery wall, and my car. It’s obvious in the crucifix I wear, the books I read, my bumper stickers, music choices, and social media presence. But it’s easy for faith to become automatic for me, to forget to have a deep appreciation for the gift of faith, and to neglect to translate that into concrete action.

Read the rest of my take on our topic of faith over at Everyday Ediths.

My epiphany of our calling to give

The original Epiphany we celebrated a few days ago commemorated Jesus’ physical manifestation on earth thousands of years ago. Now we think of modern day epiphanies as earth-shattering dramatic moments where we suddenly understand something previously unknown. Or is that just me? My life doesn’t contain too many of those. But there are many times when I’ve come to understand a concept in a way that completely shifted my perspective.

I was on my way to one of those moments in an airplane during spring break. It was a combined retreat and service trip, in a place I’d never been to, without a single soul I’d met before. I’m still not sure why I went, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience during my college years.

Continue reading my piece on discovering the basics of Theology of the Body over at Everyday Ediths.

 

What I’m doing for Advent 2017

Of the many things I love about being Catholic, the season of Advent is definitely high on the list. Advent is the beginning of each new liturgical year. It’s a fresh start (we get TWO new years!), and a hopeful season in preparation for Jesus’ coming at Christmas.

There are so many ways to observe Advent, but much of what I see on the interwebs is how to observe it within the context of family life. As someone that doesn’t apply to right now, I thought it might be nice to share a bit of how I’ll be observing the season.

1. Decorating my apartment
It might be hard if you live with un-festive people, but fortunately that’s not the case for me. We already got a tree (still to be decorated) and set out our Advent wreath with a few other things and will be adding more soon. I think it’s fun to leave the mangers empty in nativity scenes and only add him on Christmas, but otherwise I say go all out. Chocolate calendars are not only for children.

2. Cutting back on social media
It’s a perennial problem for many people nowadays that we just need to put down our phones more. I’m not sure exactly what this will look like, because I like to break self-imposed rules. But my mornings are awesome when I don’t get on anything before work, so that’s where I’m starting. I removed the Facebook app from my phone a while ago. We’ll see how this goes.

3. Making time for extra prayer
First, this includes saying the St. Andrew novena (starts today!). It goes from November 30 to Christmas Eve, and I highly recommend the beautiful prayer if you’ve never said it. My family said it around the lit Advent wreath every night growing up, so I’ll be making an effort to light the wreath more often with my housemates.

4. Making time for extra reflection and reading
This year I was overly ambitious and purchased In the Beginning as well as Rooted in Hope. I enjoyed Blessed is She’s last year – it was an excerpt from the Bible, a reflection, and journal space for each day. In the Beginning is the same format. I’m excited to do Rooted in Hope as well because it gives you space for lectio divina for each day’s Bible excerpt, which I think helps you dig even deeper into it and think about what you’re reading. I’m getting up 15 minutes earlier than normal to give more time to do this in the morning before leaving for work.

5. Confession
Ideally I would be going every month already, but never in my life have I gotten into that habit. Advent and Lent are always times I’ve gone, though, and I want to make this the beginning of a monthly habit.

6. Festive everything
Socks, pajamas, hand soap, FOOD, music (just bought this), earrings, you name it. Bring on the festivities. I am really not at all liturgically observant of the fact that much of the celebration is more appropriate in the 12 days of Christmas. I just can’t contain the cheer and yes, if you’re wondering, I am not yelling in my car at the stoplights. I am rocking out to festive music because Baby Jesus is worth celebrating. Here’s a pretty epic song to check out.

7. Christmas cards
Is it awkward for single young adults to send Christmas cards? If it is, I don’t care, because I’m doing it anyway (along with housemates). Snail mail is timeless and amazing and I love sending Christmas cheer. This year I designed the card by hand, digitized it, and had it printed, which is quite exciting.

Aaand I’m linking up with Kelly & fam for some Friday quick take fun. Head over there for more.

That’s it for now! How do you do Advent? Share below and let’s chat about all the ways we can celebrate the season. Jesus is coming!

To Life,

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When Catholic leaders are in stormy waters

It’s an interesting time to be Catholic.

We have a pope some people love for his focus on mercy and others hate due to his seemingly purposeful ambiguity on difficult issues. I put myself between those extremes. I don’t want to form beliefs about people until I have the whole story. But when a filial correction is sent after many attempts at clarification, and you find out about something like this where the intention is so unclear, it might be time to start thinking and talking about this more.

We already know about the ambiguity in Amoris Laeticia which is being interpreted in wildly different ways by different bishops (if you want more details, we can chat!). For any moderately aware Catholic, this can be unsettling and frustrating, which is why we need to talk about it. Ignoring it doesn’t help. These are stormy waters, and the world isn’t exactly for us, so we’ve got to work together to navigate these times.

~

When you’re a child, at least in my experience, you take many things for granted. Often the faith you do or do not grow up with is a default until one takes ownership over it and transitions into a more adult practice.

I have purposefully chosen and embraced my faith over the past several years by learning more about it and putting it into practice. But as I grow more deeply into the truth of Catholicism, I’ve only grown more aware of the challenges Catholicism has faced throughout history and is currently enduring too. It is deeply unsettling to come to the realization that your church is made of fallen people who are capable of making bad, sometimes evil, decisions. And I will never, ever, defend gravely wrong (or just dumb) decisions made by people just because they may claim the same faith as me.

If you’re aware of any pope, bishop, priest, religious sister, or any other person who represents the Catholic Church who has done confusing or frustrating things, you might be disturbed. You might decide religion isn’t for you. But when things like this happen, I think we need to dig deeper, together, as believers weathering stormy waters. We’re members of a church filled with imperfect people. So what is one to do with this realization?

Educate yourself. I think this is the most empowering action we can take, because regardless of what any mistaken individual might think or confusing thing people might say or do, we will actually know what the truth the Church teaches. There are clear and rich explanations for the tough positions we’re called to take, even if a leader doesn’t recognize that publicly. Looking for resources? Comment or email me and we can talk about where to find info on specific topics.

Don’t assume headlines are true. I want to assume the best of people until or unless they’re proven guilty, but that’s hard when headlines give an unproven verdict. So when people start saying crazy things about Catholicism or any figure within the Church, the facts are what gives the clearest picture – not headlines. Look at what the person actually said or did, not just what people want you to believe. Don’t make assumptions or rely on biased reporting (CNN, MSNBC, and LifeNews being respective extremes). It’s easy to get caught up in rabbit holes of despair and worst case scenarios when we don’t have all the facts. But when we have the facts of the case, it’s easier to see what’s actually happening.

Discuss the issues openly. One of the worst things people who are Catholic can do right now is to ignore this, not learn about it, and refuse to talk about it. We are not perfect and nor are our leaders. Being honest about that and not being afraid to talk about it publicly demonstrates our humanity, which I think is important when people have so many misconceptions about what we believe. We should be talking about the good books and articles we’re reading, the podcasts, songs, and projects that enrich our faith – most importantly, engaging in discussions on these tough topics, and arming ourselves with what we know our faith holds.

I can’t make Pope Francis clarify these issues. Nor do I know how to change the minds of misguided bishops, priests, religious sisters, and other leaders within the Catholic Church. There is only so much I can do about other people. And knowing motives behind confusing actions (or lack thereof) is not one of my super powers.

What I can do is educate myself and grow my faith deeper, because my faith ultimately can’t depend on other flawed people. My faith depends on Jesus Christ, who came and died for each of us personally. He is the rock my church is directly built on. He left a perfect church made of imperfect people.

So do Catholic leaders do confusing things? Things that are hard to imagine in a charitable light? Yes and yes.

Should that push us away from the truth? No.

Seeing other people’s flaws should not drive us away. It should drive us ever deeper into the faith we know holds the treasure not everyone sees. Have you found this pearl of great price? Do you know God loves you, even when people do confusing things? He is the glue that holds our universal Church together. He is the foundation of our belief, especially so when people on the same journey as us fall short. And when they do (because we all will fall short at times), we can’t let that rob us of the peace and steadfastness in our faith God calls us to exercise.

Let’s build our understanding of this foundation we’ve been entrusted with. Because if you grew up with some of the same hymns I did, you know that no storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.

Very cheesy picture to illustrate how I feel about God among crazy times in the Church. #BringIt

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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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.