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.
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.
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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“.
Then I moved home to California, started training for work 4 days later, bought a car and BAM. I am officially a real adult.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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!
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!
Have a great weekend everyone! Gotta go take some ciabatta rolls I made out of the oven for our housewarming tomorrow 🙂
In case you haven’t heard, one of evangelical Protestantism’s most well known leaders, Jen Hatmaker, recently announced her support of gay marriage.
Her belief was revealed in this interview, where she agreed that “any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love”, and that a LGBTQ relationship can be “holy”. She came to this conclusion after a few years of study, her husband said in a follow-up Facebook post.
It’s disheartening, but not surprising. In reading about this, there are a few valuable things we can take away, I think:
1. If you study the Bible to figure something out, and your conclusion doesn’t match thousands of years of Biblical tradition, you’re probably the one who’s wrong.
It’s good and beautiful to know the Bible. But you know what? It can be confusing. False conclusions can be drawn. And I think it’s important to look beyond words on a page into the historical context, word meaning, and traditions surrounding any teaching. You can pray and research yourself into perfect heresy, and you might not even know it: a good reason to look at what’s been consistently taught over time and not try to twist scripture to mean what you want it to.
2. This is why I’m grateful to be Catholic.
You see, problems happen when everything is open to interpretation. That’s what you get with sola scriptura. It must be difficult to feel the weight of having to figure everything out yourself! I consider it such a gift to be be Catholic. I don’t have to figure out everything myself, and can trust the well educated explanations of thousands of saints, philosophers, bishops, theologians, popes, and doctors of the church who came before me. They’re not perfect. But they’re smarter than me and can help me understand issues I might not agree with.
3. We do need to talk about how we treat people who struggle with homosexual tendencies.
This, I think, is actually my biggest takeaway. I think Jen is right that we need to be sensitive to people. But she’s wrong that treating people better involves acquiescing to sin.
We can and should welcome people into our families, workplaces, and churches regardless of what sin they have, are, or will commit. We’re all sinners after all. This is part of what I think Jen was getting at, probably because some people still have a stone the gay people attitude. I hope it’s obvious that stoning people is wrong, as is wishing them ill will. That’s not a good way to love people.
Loving people means we do what is best for them. And since marriage-like relationships with people of the same gender violate how we were created to express our complementary sexuality as men and women, that’s not loving people right. Neither is it loving to endorse things like pornography, incest, or polygamy. Even if people want it. I don’t care if it’s consensual. Can we please agree on that? We can’t base our decisions on what people want because, let’s face it, we all want things that are bad for us sometimes. What we can do is treat people with respect, even when we disagree with them. The answer is not to endorse the sin, but to embrace the sinner.
If we base our “love” for others on satisfying what they want, regardless of if it’s good for them, how on earth is that loving? You tell me.
It’s been a while since abortion made me cry. Perhaps it’s because I talk about it often. But this week (after Hillary Clinton defended partial birth abortion) has brought up stories that I simply cannot ignore. This is a hard topic, but one I think we need to talk openly and honestly about. I’m linking up with Kelly and sharing seven points about this topic.
1. Contrary to what liberal media will tell you, the majority of Americans think abortion in the last trimester should be illegal. Please note that I did not link to a biased pro-life source. This is Gallup. And I think their numbers represent the American people more accurately than Hillary Clinton or Planned Parenthood. Most people are simply not okay with abortion being free for all without limitations.
2. Let’s be very clear: late term abortions do happen in America. Yes, it’s a small percentage of all abortions. But there are abortion doctors who are very proud of this work. Just watch the documentary After Tiller. So, you might say: what actually happens during a late term abortion? In some cases, they inject digoxin into the amniotic fluid so the baby will overdose and die. Then they induce labor or surgically remove the baby. Other times, the baby will be partially delivered. They will deliver feet first and sever the spinal cord while the head is still inside and remove brain tissue through the hole to ensure success. This is what partial birth abortion is. This method, as far as we know, is rarely used (except for people like Gosnell).
3. These procedures are never necessary to save the life of the mother. If a mother is faced with a crisis situation which puts her life at risk by continuing pregnancy (preeclampsia or eclampsia, for example), doctors will deliver the baby early, probably by c-section, and do everything they can to save both the mother and child. When we’re talking about late term abortion, we’re talking about when the baby is beyond the viability point. This means even if chances are slim, they have a chance of living if they’re born early.
4. Most stories I’m seeing about parents choosing late term abortion happened because the baby had a problematic diagnosis. This, I think, is what got to me the most this week. It’s dangerous territory to deny someone a chance at life simply because their life would be hard. Yes, sometimes you know a baby will only live a short time after birth. But sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes serious problems can be fixed. And if they can’t? A short life is still worth living. A short life can change hearts forever. Here’s a beautiful example. We honor heroes who go through hard things, and I think parents who lose their children or raise kids with severe medical issues are some of the most powerful quiet heroes we know.
5. There are options for palliative care when babies are given an adverse diagnosis. Ending their life is not the only option. When a baby is given an adverse diagnosis, it is the medical professional’s job to do everything possible for their patient. And thankfully, there are high quality NICU’s around the country who will. In the event that there’s no way to prolong life for babies with grave medical conditions, there are ministries like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who help parents treasure the few moments they have together.
6. If you or someone you know has been involved in an abortion or a difficult prenatal diagnosis, I want you to know there are resources out there for you. I’ve heard good things about Project Rachel and Bethesda Healing Ministry for post-abortion healing. I’ve also heard of Faith’s Lodge being an incredible place for families who have lost children. You can also call 1-800-712-4357 or text “HELPLINE” to 313131 to find a center near you that might be able to help find local resources.
7. Do you know of other resources that might be helpful? I just want the world to know there’s hope in such difficult circumstances. And I also want people to know that even though these situations are some people’s worst nightmares, we’re capable of getting stronger and living through our worst fears. And every person, no matter how long or short their life is, can make an impact on this world.
Hello world! There have been so many thoughts going through my head lately and posts I’ve wanted to write. But obviously that hasn’t happened. I’d like to spend more time writing deeper things, but you know what? You gotta start somewhere. Here are 7 random things about life lately. Join in with all the fun people today.
1. Life has both been a whirlwind and super slow since graduating in May. Being back here blogging reminded me of this scene in Mulan:
On the one hand, I had my first day of work 4 days after getting home and jumped right into real adult life. That felt crazy fast. On the other hand, that’s mostly what I’ve done since May: drive to work, work, go home, eat, sleep, repeat. Compared to college life and everything I was doing, real life can actually be quite boring. I’m working on finding ways to spice it up and do new fun things . . .
2. Speaking of finding new things, now that I’ve moved (as of almost 2 weeks ago), I feel like I can finally do that. My sister and I found a place between our workplaces and are close to feeling mostly moved in. It’s both weird and super awesome to have our own place. And SO nice to have a commute of about 40 minutes compared to over 2 hours.
3. One of my favorite parts of the apartment? My bed. It’s probably the single thing I spent the most $$ on, which I think is worth it. Here’s a little sneak peak complete with my messy Craig’s listed corner desk, $7 Ikea lamp, and wrinkled pillowcases for a little extra pizzazz:
4. Another fun thing about being an adult is cooking. Tonight I’m going to make a polenta + veggie + cheese casserole. I’ve never made polenta before, so we’ll see how that goes. Anyone have fun squash recipes or others appropriate for fall?
5. We all know how crazy the world is, so I’m taking this opportunity to remind you there’s still good stuff out there. Remember that. Just take a look at the sunset! I took this the other night stopped at a red light after picking up a tree from Craig’s List, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. We can choose to focus on the bad stuff or look for the good. Focusing on good stuff (even though we do have to deal with crap too) really makes life better. Also, who wouldn’t be happy with an awesome new tree in your car?
6. I don’t know if this quote is legit or not, but I found it recently, and love it: “Teach us to give and not count the cost” Words to ponder from St. Ignatius.
7. On an interesting note, I really like this article from earlier this week: The New Culture of Life. It’s about the growing trend of people who are feminist and/or non-religious within the pro-life movement. I find the reaction to this quite interesting. What do you think? I’m a big fan of a consistent life ethic, regardless of other beliefs we might disagree on, and am looking forward to doing more with that soon.
What have you been up to lately? Are you proud of me for not mentioning the election or politics here? That was hard! I have much to say on the topic, but will save it for later 😉
What if I told you that there was so much more to be learned from Mother Teresa’s life than helping the poor?
As a Catholic, there are thousands of people we recognize as possessing heroic virtue, so it might be hard to pick a favorite saint. But Mother Teresa, whom I affectionately call Mama T, is hands down one of my favorites. Let me tell you why.
At first I admired her for giving up everything to help the poor. Who wants to walk the streets helping people who kind of (really!) don’t like you (at first)? Probably most of us wouldn’t jump on that opportunity.
It’s admirable and beautiful what Mama T did to help the poor, and I think most of us could make a greater effort to alleviate the suffering of those living in material poverty. That’s the easy to agree with message that so many people fell in love with Mama T for.
But there’s so much more to her. Here are some of the reasons (beyond helping the poor) Mama T is my homegirl:
She teaches us to trust God with absolutely reckless abandon.
I use those words literally because to most people, how the Missionaries of Charity live is totally reckless. When I spent a spring break with them, I learned that they never ask for what they need or want. Instead, they’ll pray for God to provide. And guess what? He always does – even if it’s not how we imagined. The soup kitchen I helped them run for a week was overflowing with food to share. And they had never put donation bins in churches or asked for people to contribute. They got up around 4am, didn’t have furniture in their chapel, hand washed their sari’s, got through each day helping others tirelessly, traveled around their city to help all sorts of people, AND were able to stay awake for an hour of adoration. We can’t all do this, obviously. But it was a good example of what can happen when we lean on God.
This story is another illustration of how Mama T trusted God (and shows us to!), which I try to remember. I’ve gone back to that story so many times. Her example is such a good reminder that God will never lead us to such deep waters that he can’t carry us across.
She showed me that being Catholic doesn’t mean you have a perfect relationship with God.
It might be scandalizing to some people to know that Mama T felt unloved by God for the majority of her adult life. To me, it’s comforting. It’s proof that being a good person doesn’t come from special spiritual super powers. Yes, she had to have a lot of grace to do what she did. But just like her, I can choose to do what is good and contribute something beautiful to the world even if it stinks sometimes. People we admire have struggles and feel alone sometimes. How awesome to know what we’re all capable of.
She helped me understand that loving is about giving.
Much like the quotable Fulton Sheen, Mama T had some mic drop moments talking about giving. Reading her words have been part of my understanding of Theology of the Body – that life isn’t about getting and having. It’s about being and giving.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
During my mission trip, one of the sisters was experiencing severe pain in her foot. It apparently was getting worse as she was getting older. But we didn’t find out until well into the week, when it came up in conversation. Her response? “You don’t get old until you stop loving Jesus!” She just kept on giving.
She taught me that feeling unloved is a crisis unparalleled by material want.
To much of the Western world, being without a house and food sounds like one of the most horrible things that could happen to you. It is surely a sad thing. At some point, I thought how nice it would be to go to places like the slums of Calcutta and alleviate the suffering there. But having a bit more life behind me now (ha!), I get this. Material want can be fixed. And it should be, by people who have things. Want for love is so different. Whether it’s a broken relationship, a rough upbringing, or something else that’s cause for a feeling of alienation, there’s not as easy a fix. It’s complicated and messy and I hope that throughout my life I can help some people feel a little more cared for.
The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.
She showed me that you don’t have to go to Calcutta to change the world.
If you love Mama T, you probably thought about going to India for a hot second. Am I right? I did. Would it be awesome to see and experience her work? Of course. Yes. It would! I’ve found mission trips to be enriching and wonderful experiences. They’re great. But I think they also run the risk of us failing to see the people around us right here in our neighborhoods who need a helping hand. Mama T issues a challenge to us, which I hope to spend my life working on:
It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
Are we up for the challenge?
“I Thirst” written beside every crucifix in their buildings serves as a reminder to spend our lives satiating God’s thirst for souls by bringing his love to the world.
You can find Calcutta anywhere in the world. You only need two eyes to see. Everywhere in the world there are people that are not loved, people that are not wanted nor desired, people that no one will help, people that are pushed away or forgotten. And this is the greatest poverty.
We’ve heard her words. We love her. Now let’s find our Calcuttas. Where is yours?