Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When does life start?

Recently I was looking through some different pro-life pages on Facebook and ran across a discussion about when life begins. Most of the people participating in the discussion agreed that life begins at the moment of conception, when sperm meets egg. This is the view I agree with and it is what the Church teaches as well. If it doesn't begin there, it gets harder to say that any moment after that is when life begins, because it becomes harder to explain what the union of sperm and egg was from their first meeting until that later moment when life is suddenly there. It's completely logical: life has to start at the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg in the falopian tubes; not at the moment of implantation, not after the first trimester, nor at any other moment.

What was really interesting and disturbing to me was when someone brought the idea of when the soul enters that life. The person who brought this up said that she could not believe that God would create a life and give it a soul only to have it die while still in the womb; therefore she thought the soul probably came later. This totally upset me! Where there is a life there is a soul. And yes, sometimes those babies die. I know that first-hand.

Lately, these issues have been much more on my mind and they have caused me to contemplate more on a TV show I saw a while back, maybe a year and a half or more ago. The particular episode of this show was amazingly pro-life in its message and at the same time addresses an issue that many pro-abortion (or pro-choice) people use to support the killing of unborn babies.

The TV show was House, a medical drama about a doctor, Dr. House, who has a drug addiction but is still incredibly intelligent and does medicine his way, taking risks that others won't take while at the same time working with three residents. In the episode that I remember, he has a patient who is mysteriously sick and pregnant. I don't remember all the details, but essentially, Dr. House feels that the baby is actually killing her and she should abort the child. She refuses and insists that there must be a better way. The entire episode he won't call the baby anything but a fetus. The patient even calls him on it. Finally a solution to her problem is found and they have to perform a very risky surgery (it wouldn't be good TV otherwise). During the surgery, for some reason, they have to go into the womb without hurting the baby. And there is this amazing moment when the baby's hand reaches up and Dr. House notices it and things seem to slow down. As he watches this baby's hand reach up, he reaches out and the little baby fingers wrap around his finger. It is totally an amazing moment!

In the end the surgery is successful, the woman lives, and her baby was not harmed. Before she is discharged from the hospital Dr. House comes to see her and during their discussion he mentions "the baby." She notices right away that he has changed his vocabulary from fetus to baby!!

Most of today's media and certainly most of Hollywood is very liberal. To see a show like this that has such a powerful pro-life message is so rare and something we should be advocating for more of.

For anyone interested in more good pro-life entertainment, go see the movie Bella. Also, if you want to know what movies, books, and other forms of entertainment have good Christian messages and what don't, go check out Catholic Media Review, a blog that reviews all sorts of entertainment.

And, spread the word about life!! Life is precious and should be protected from that very first moment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Updates

It's been a long time since I made any changes to this blog. So I have done a few updates the last couple of days.

I did some minor editing. But more importantly I updated the links on the left side bar. I took away some things and added in some different links. In particular you'll notice the section of Catholic/Pro-life blogs and websites. Lots of great info there!!

Also, I finally started using labels (or as we like to call them in library-land: tags)!! Further down on the left side you'll see a list of tags ... I mean labels and at the bottom of each post the labels for that post are listed. I tried my best to go back through all my old posts to add labels, but I tried not to read every old post, so I'm sure I have missed some things.

Hope you find some nice new things to look at here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Saving the Earth: Plant a Seed

Okay, it's not Earth Day (that's in April) but we all know that taking care of our environment is increasingly more important to everyone. Not only that but taking care of our bodies/health is also a top priority for many (and should be for us all).

Do you recycle/reuse as much as possible?

Have you started driving safer to try saving on gas? Which has a bonus of keeping you, your passengers and other drivers around you safe!

Do you think about the energy you use at home? Electricity, running the washing machine, etc.?

Have you considered public transportation? Walking to work? Biking to work? Carpooling?

Do you buy organic? Shop at your local farmer's market? Or do you grow any of your own vegetables?

We are all thinking about ways to keep our bodies healthy, our families healthy, and our environment healthy. Some of us do more than others, but I think everyone I know is doing something or has at least considered doing something. Just knowing that someone has thought about something means a seed has been planted, it might take a while to germinate but it's there. And that's good!!

So I would like to plant a seed with all of you. While you consider what foods you buy, skipping fast food to eat something healthy and homecooked, and buying local produce rather than produce shipped across the country (or from other countries); and while you consider changing lifestyle choices rather than having to start taking medications/drugs for high cholestral or whatever, have you ever given any thought to Natural Family Planning?

There is an awful lot in the news and online about alternative ways of caring for your body rather than using drugs. Some drugs are good, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all forms of medication are bad, but maybe we don't need everything we put into our bodies? I can't see how pumping extra hormones into women's bodies to suppress their natural fertility can be healthy in the long run (and there is lots of research out there to support this).

This week is Natural Family Planning Week. Also, on July 25 is the the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) (follow the link to find the text of the encyclical and other related documents). This is a week to celebrate natural methods of family planning. I encourage everyone reading this to do some internet searching to find out more. With an open mind you might be surprised at how effective NFP can be and how much better for your health (and your marriage) it can be.

Briefly, for those who have never heard of it, there are several forms of NFP. My husband and I learned the sympto-thermal method through the Couple to Couple League. This method tracks temperatures, mucus signs, and cervix position to tell a couple when they are fertile and when they aren't. In addition the couple must communicate very openly about their mutual fertility and decide on a very regular basis whether they want to add to their family or if they need to postpone. By this method they are working in collaboration with God in creating life.

Other methods include the Billings method, the Creighton Method, and several others.

No drugs, no side effects, 100% natural, 100% effective, and many bonuses besides! It's a beautiful way to live your marriage and completely, 100% pro-life!

So I know this is an incredibly hard thing to understand and I know no one is going to suddenly jump on the NFP train just from reading this post. But I hope to plant a seed and if you are interested (even just for the sake of knowing more) then do a little looking around, do some reading, and let me know if you have questions. I may only be able to point you in the right direction, but I will do what I can.

In addition, I am updating this blog and off to the left side I have added a section for Catholic Blogs/websites. One is an NFP blog with lots of great info. I've only looked at part of it, but I can't wait to sit down and check out more.

As this week in celebration of Natural Family Planning continues and as we get closer to the anniversary of Humanae Vitae I hope to post a bit more about NFP things of interest. Stay tuned!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Catholic Carnival #181

Go check out the next Catholic Carnival!! It is full of interesting posts from around the Catholic blogosphere. Check it out for some thoughtful insights on life and all things Catholic; it'll make you think, bring tears to your eyes, and laughter to your day.

Check it out here: Catholic Carnival #181

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Carnival!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Catholics Not Welcome

Apparently the city of San Francisco has condemned the Catholic Church! What?? Condemned the Church?? Yes, that's right. The only article I can find on the topic is from World Net Daily. See the whole article here:

I was shocked to read that by issuing this resolution the city was asking the Archdiocese to disobey the Vatican!! What in the world is that all about!! Obviously the city government in San Francisco doesn't understand the relationship between the Vatican and its archdioceses.

After reading this article I am amazed that a city thinks it can openly discriminate against an entire religious group based on different moral principles. This is blatant discrimination!

What amazes me is that the liberal people who hate the Church and want to rid San Francisco of it are the same that push for "equal rights" for every other group under the sun, as long as it's not a religious or conservative group. On the other hand, the Catholic Church (and other religious groups, I'm sure) don't "hate" the people who oppose them. The Church prays for all people. The Church wants all people to find love and holiness. Why is that bad?

It comes down to misunderstanding. The Church is misunderstood. In the United States of America a city can not kick a Church out. And a city has no right to tell any organization what it can and can not believe. And what the city of San Francisco has to understand is that the Church is not telling the city what to believe either. The Church is a teacher; it teaches with the hope that others will listen and even if they don't agree will be open to understanding. The Church acts through faith, hope, and charity. Is that such a bad thing that the Church has to be condemned!

Be sure to read the article to the very end. This is not an isolated case. Other things are stirring around the world and it is very scary.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Celebrating Life

I heard something on the radio on the way home from work today that I have to share. It was such an amazing story with a happy ending that will take place with a wonderful celebration of life this Saturday. At the same time we'll be having our own celebration of life!!

On Saturday July 12 at 8:00am we will be attending mass at our home parish with many family and friends as well as members of our church community. During the mass the life of our baby, Casey Marie, will be remembered. Although we never got to see or hold our baby, Casey was still a precious life created by God and given to us for a very short time. We feel blessed to have been in cooperation with God in the creation of a new life for His kingdom. And we're looking forward to this opportunity to celebrate Casey's life.

I heard today that at 8:00am on Saturday morning in Bethleham, PA at the Church of Notre Dame, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life will be baptizing two babies who were saved from abortion. I was listening to him tell the story about how these mothers chose life instead of abortion and he mentioned that he would be baptising them this Saturday. One of his points in telling the story was to show how effective sidewalk counselors and those who spend time praying outside abortion mills can be in helping to change peoples minds to choose life. One mother changed her mind after talking to one of the sidewalk counselors outside the abortion mill she was about to enter. The other mother took a flier from the counselors outside the abortion clinic, started looking at it after she was inside and once she read the flier she immediately decided she couldn't do this to her child and she got up and walked out.

So on Saturday morning, we'll be remembering the small life of the child we have in heaven and up in Pennsylvania two mothers will be celebrating the baptisms of the babies that they chose life for. It is important to celebrate every life and to recognize that life begins at the moment of conception. Every life is important and this Saturday several of us will be recognizing that fact.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Our July 4th Weekend

We left last Thursday and drove to Remington, IN to visit Chris' paternal grandmother. We spent the night there and then headed to MI. It took us an hour longer to get to Grand Haven than expected due to several road closures and not very well marked detours, but we did get to see a bit of Valporasio. We spent Friday in Grand Haven visiting Chris' maternal grandmother and then drove to Grand Rapids to spend the night.

Apparently a very large storm moved through the area on Thursday, cutting off power all over the city and flooding areas around the river. So there were a lot of power trucks in the hotel parking lot. All the people brought in from other areas to help restore power were staying at our hotel.

Saturday morning it was off to Detroit where we attended Rita's wedding! It was gorgeous!! We were so glad to be able to be there and witness their wedding vows. It was quite a party too!!

Sunday morning we headed out to a church we had found online. We went to the National Shrine of the Little Flower. It was an incredible church, interesting sanctuary, and gorgeous grounds; the pictures on the web don't do it justice. After church we started heading out of Detroit, careful to avoid the closure on 75 in downtown Detroit. After finally getting past that and back on I-75 Chris discovered that he had left his suit in the hotel room. So it was back through Detroit and north to the hotel, locate the suit, and get back on the highway for the roundabout route around Detroit and back onto I-75. But I have to say that the detours in MI were much better marked than in IN.

It was definitely an adventure!! But we had a good time and we survived many, many hours in the car together!