Thursday, January 22, 2015

March for Life!

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the 42nd March for Life.  Hundred of people are expected to march on Washington to protest the legalized deaths of 56 million unborn babies now, nearly 3,000 every single day.

I remember the original ruling of Roe v. Wade, probably because of the outrage expressed by my parents when it was handed down.  They had been very involved in the efforts to defeat a 1972 ballot initiative in Michigan that would have decriminalized abortion in our state.  The measure was defeated by 63% of the voters.  I remember the disgust and disbelief expressed by my father.  The people of Michigan had voted!  We said we did not want abortion illegal in our state.  And the Supreme Court invents a Constitutional right and overturns the expressed will of the people??!!??  He was mad, as was every life respecting American.  Perhaps the court thought these reactions would subside with time but boy were they wrong.  Today, 42 years later, some 500,000 people are expected to descend on Washington.

I have been to the March with my daughters many times.  These are photos from previous marches.  As anyone who has ever been there can attest, the March is full of women, young and old-- especially young.

This was a number of years ago.  I was so proud of them.  I still am.

One year I even met Denise Hunnel, a doctor and longtime blogging friend.  She blogs now at Kitchen Table Chats and is a fellow for Human Life International.  If you ever see something written by Denise, be sure to read it.  She is ardently pro-life and writes with intelligence and a wealth of knowledge.

The sheer number of people, hundreds of thousands of people, is what is so amazing about the March.  And yet, we always seemed to run into 20 or 30 people we knew!

Speakers at the March today included Rev. Joseph Kurtz, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, members of Congress-- Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL).  Kudos to Congressman Lipinski for standing up for life in spite of his party having abandoned the unborn.  Takes a lot of courage to take the opposing stand.  Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) also spoke as well as Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, and a number of other people.

The March for Life is the largest pro-life event in the world.  It is SO impressive.  And, as a Catholic, I have always been very proud of the prominent Catholic presence there.  So many nuns, priests, statues and banners of the Blessed Mother.  It's very beautiful.

It was thought that our Congress would pass today the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill would have banned abortions after 20 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest of a minor, and the life of the mother.  Because of the opposition of a group of republicans (yes, the ones who are supposed to be on our side), most notably Renee Ellmers (R-NC), the bill was tabled.  Ellmers objected that the bill says that a rape victim can get an exception for an abortion past 20 weeks, only if she has filed a police report.  Of course, she can still get an abortion any time up until 20 weeks for any reason whatsoever, but if she wants it past 20 weeks she has to have filed a police report about the rape.  Is that really such a huge obstacle?  Come on.  Rep. Ellmers was endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony list and she even said that if the bill were brought to the floor as is she would vote for it.

I am happy to have just read that there is a protest planned for Representative Ellmers office today. reported that 84% of Americans would support HR36 the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

God bless everyone at the March and the millions of pro-life people who continue to defend the unborn!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Does the President Have Against Stay-At-Home-Mothers?

The President, in his State of the Union address, announced that he would propose a $3,000 per child tax cut for every middle and low-income family with young children.  He said that it was time we stopped treating childcare as a side issue and treat it “like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”  Mind you, it is not all care of children that concerns the president, only care given by people other than the parents.  The credit will go toward the covering of childcare costs, not to the family raising the child. says that the president will also propose a $500 tax credit to two earner families to help cover “the additional costs faced by families in which both spouses work.”  This tax credit seems to have not made it into the final version of the State of the Union speech, although it is still listed on the White House website.  One wonders if it was perhaps deemed just too great an affront to the mother raising children in a traditional family.

The president says “having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families,” and that he is helping women with the extra cost of working outside the home.  The care of children represents a cost not only to mothers outside the home, but to the stay-at-home-mother as well.  For those households with a parent at home caring for children the cost of childcare is the entire income that parent would earn outside.  The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) cites a figure of $11,666 dollars as the average cost of center based daycare in the United States.  One can infer that the average cost to a family of having a parent care for the children is considerably higher.

According to a 2012 Pew Research Study, 29% of all mothers or 10.4 million women, were stay-at-home in 2012.   Two thirds of these mothers were “traditional,” defined as “married with husbands working.”  Of these traditional mothers, 85% said they are not working because they are caring for their families.  What about these families? Why do these families not deserve the benefits of tax credits?

The stereotype, of course, is that these are the women who “opt out,” who are home because their family has plenty of money without need for a second income.  But the Pew Research study said that 34% of stay-at-home-mothers are living in poverty, compared with 12% of the mothers who work outside the home.  Can the case really be made that mothers who use childcare to work outside the home have a greater need for economic assistance?

It would seem that the president is not simply interested in helping families with the care of their children.  He also shares the belief with left wing feminists that staying home to care for children is not legitimate work for women.   In October of 2014 in a speech in Rhode Island the president made this position abundantly clear to the moms at home.  He said, “Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result.  And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”  Why is that not a choice we want mothers to make?  Is it not laudable to make sacrifices for children?

Is it legitimate work to care for someone else’s children and be paid for it, but not to care for your own?  Teaching the children of others is acceptable, but not staying home to teach your own?  The legal ramifications of a business’s actions or the accounting of a corporation are worthy of a mother’s attention, but not the nurturing of her own children?  Please. 

C.S. Lewis said it so well.  “The homemaker has the ultimate career.  All other careers exist for one purpose only—and that is to support the ultimate career.”  All income is, first and foremost, for the sustenance of the individual and the family.  Have we come to a place where income is of value in and of itself and the family and its care is secondary?  Is the notion that it is good when a mother is able to care for her own children passé?  A Pew Research Survey done in 2014 says otherwise.  60% of respondents said children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family.  Someone ought to tell the president.

Ordinary Time....

It’s Ordinary Time.  Again.  How the quickly the seasons fly by.  The older I get, the faster they fly.  Once you reach a certain age you realize this is true.  There is indeed a perception that time is passing faster.  As alarming as this may be, it also brings a profound realization that every moment matters. 
My friend with 11 children once said to me after the end of the Christmas season, “I love Ordinary Time.”  I laughed and completely understood as she explained how she loved the peaceful passing of ordinary days.  Yes, our celebrations are wonderful, but so is the quiet of the ordinary day.
I remember my dear sister-in-law Linda when she was very ill.  Fighting for her life with cancer, Linda had for some time been bed-ridden.  After a grueling but necessary surgery, she was able to walk again.  We were talking on the phone.  I said, “Linda, how’s it going?  How are you feeling?”  She answered, “I’m wiping my kitchen counter so it will be nice for my family.  And it’s filling me with so much joy that I am crying.”  I replied, “Oh Linda,” and began to cry myself.

Read the rest of my Catholic 365 article "Ordinary Time" in here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Caryll Houselander's metaphor of a baby's peaceful rest...

In the Meditation of the Day in today's Magnificat there is a wonderful quote from Caryll Houselander.

She is speaking of "Proper Sabbath Rest" saying that " a culmination...of gathered peace, like the fullness and stillness of waters gathered to a flood tide."  She goes on.
Think of a child asleep in his mother's arms: the abandon with which he gives himself to sleep can only be because he has complete trust in the arms that hold him.  He is not lying asleep on that heart because he is worn out with anxiety.  He is asleep there because it is a delight to him to be asleep there.  The mother rests, too.  She rests in his rest.  Her mind and her body rest in him.  His head fits into the crook of her curved arm.  Their warmth is mingled like the warmth of two softly burning flames.  She rocks to and fro, and her rocking is unconsciously timed by his breathing.  Rest is a communion of love between them.  It is a culmination of content: on the the child's part, utter trust in his mother; on the mother's part, sheer joy in the power of her love to sustain his life.
Isn't this passage a delightful description of what is happening when a mother rocks her baby to sleep?  My children are all grown now but memories of rocking or singing my children to sleep remain as some of the most precious moments of my life.

I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mother.  Not everyone is so blessed. The thousands of hours I had to play with my children, to pray with them, to teach them, to help them to sleep and to love them in so many ways will always be among my most satisfying life memories.

Today I heard someone describe herself, a little embarrassed, as a Leave-It-To-Beaver mother.  (For you young people reading this, Leave it to Beaver was a television show depicting a traditional family.)  Yes, I have been a Leave-It-To-Beaver mother too, for some 30 years now.  And I would not have had it any other way.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Some Random Thought on Today's Readings....

From Hebrews 3:7-14

Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today," so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.

At first I wondered what is with the "...daily while it is still today."  Perhaps this is another example of the woodenness of the newest translation of the Lectionary, which I really hope they replace before too long.

Then it occurred to me that the repetition may be intentional.  Do it TODAY!!  Don't delay! Holiness is not something we ought to hope might happen to us over the passage of time, but rather something we must actively work toward today!

And from the Gospel....Jesus healed the leper and then warned him "sternly."  He warned him STERNLY, "See that you tell no one anything..."  The leper then went off and told everyone.  He had just been healed.  Why didn't he follow Jesus' instructions??

Could it be that he just couldn't help himself in his excitement?  Or perhaps he had to tell people as an explanation for why he could now approach them?

As a result, it "was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.  He remained in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere."  Interesting.  All communication about Jesus at that time would have been by word of mouth.  Imagine the enthusiasm, the exhilaration with which this word would have traveled.  Was it impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly because he would have been mobbed?  Too many crowds?  Too much disruption of daily life?

Would that we might spread the word with the same enthusiasm, the same excitement.  It's been over 2000 years.  Yet Jesus is still telling us to encourage each other daily, while it is still today!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I drove my daughter to school early this morning and the weather was exquisitely beautiful.

Our streets are snow covered now, and there had been a light dusting of snow the night before which seemed to cover every little branch on every bare tree.  The dusted branches against the sky were like dainty doilies.  It was winter at its starkly beautiful best.  I wish I had had my camera.  The dusting was so thorough that trees in the distance almost had a fuzzy look to them. (And, no, it's not that I need new glasses.) :-)

Within a few hours the dusted effect had vanished like the morning dew.  Somehow it reminded me of the brevity of life.

A close friend's sister has just died in her fifties, having only lost her good health these last few months.

No one is guaranteed another day.  We only have today.  Let not a moment be wasted.

This is the day the Lord has made....let us rejoice!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

On Sunday my son Jim returned to the University of Dallas where he is in graduate school.

 Jim with his girlfriend Elle.

 Always so hard to say goodbye to this guy.  He is the furthest away of all our family members.

So these pictures were taken on Sunday.

Today I learned that in the last 24 hours there have been 11 earthquakes in Irving!!  ELEVEN!!

Apparently there is a fault line between Dallas and Irving.  There are also concerns about fracking although I've heard that no fracking has been done there in the last few years.

ELEVEN in the last 24 hours.  TWENTY since October!!!  Needless to say there is a lot of speculation about the cause of all this activity.

More information here.

Please pray for Jim's safety and the safety of everyone in the area.  Thank you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree is still up.  We never seem to get it up very early and it's so beautiful I hate to take it down.  I think we put it up about a week before Christmas this year.  My husband has had some serious back issues this past year.

But, thankfully, I have a dear son-in-law who helped bring the tree into the house.  He and his wife, my daughter Anne, have recently moved back here from Marietta, Georgia where Zach finished his doctoral degree in Chiropractic.  (More later on the opening of his office, Foundation Chiropractic.) Suffice it to say he is one good chiropractor.

So the tree was brought into the house and successfully adorned with lights and ornaments.

The first lighting is always a magical moment.  I love Christmas.

As my children are all adults now, the very best part of Christmas is having everyone home, all together.  With Zach and Anne back in town, this has become possible to do more often.  My youngest son, Jim, is in grad. school in Dallas, but he comes home a few times a year.  My oldest son, Mike, is in South Bend, Indiana and he comes home every month or two.  It's just a 3 hour drive or so.

It had been since last Christmas that the entire family had been together at the same time.

Then, to make the celebration even more special, to my husband and me, our three sons, three daughters, and one son-in-law, we added a girlfriend, my sister and brother, three nephews, and my favorite niece!  It is just barely possible to extend our Amish table long enough to seat the sixteen of us.  I love having everyone at the same table!

And so the Christmas tree is still up, as I savor the joy of having celebrated this great feast with the people I love.  Today is the traditional day on which the Epiphany is celebrated, January 6.  I remember that my mother would never take the Christmas tree down until after the Epiphany. So that's my excuse, even though the rest of the culture I live in has long stopped celebrating.

As Catholics we will celebrate liturgically until next Sunday, I believe.

What's the rush.  I have a beautiful, living tree in my living room.  It's fragrance is sweet and I am reminded of the birthday of the precious Prince of Peace for whom I live.

God is good.  All the time.