Saturday, January 31, 2009

by georgie


Friday, January 30, 2009

it's friday...

This is guaranteed to make your Friday better.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

more values


I think Dina made a good point in her comment on the previous post that you can't always make judgements on what people value based on your outsider's view of their lives. "For man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart."


Though I said this yesterday in a comment, I want to reiterate that I do not negatively judge people who own large homes, new cars, and clothing from fancy stores. I know wealthy people who own nice things and they also use their wealth and time to serve others. They seem very happy and I'm happy for them. What I would judge as not effective in achieving happiness would be racking up debt or working long hours at a job you don't like to pay for such things. I reject the idea that the pursuit of these things makes us happy. I worry that sometimes I am like the rich young man who wouldn't give up his wealth for something far sweeter: the opportunity to learn at the feet of the Savior.


Sunday our Relief Society lesson was on simplicity, specifically the General Conference address by L. Tom Perry on that topic. I was really excited about this topic as I've been on a simplicity kick since the beginning of this month. It turned out that many other women in our class were excited about it too. They had so much to say the teacher could hardly get a word in edgewise. I'm adopting a simple way of applying simplicity to my life. I'm making room for the things I really care about by eliminating from my busy life the things I don't. Doesn't that sound simple? It is, but there is nothing easy about it.


Confronting spending habits is scary and hard. It gives me anxiety. However, I need to summon the courage to do this if I'm going to become more efficient and more passionate about how I use my resources. I'm sad to say that tracking my spending habits and following a budget is not something I'm in the habit of doing. Though we do pay tithing and other contributions, sometimes other opportunities come up to help people. I would love to be able to say, "Yes! I can help and here's how much." Because I don't keep track of my spending, I'm often unsure how much is available. And I overspend, too.


Reading the examples of other women in the Money and Happiness book as well as looking at my family and friends' values has helped me realize what it is I really do value. sometimes by discovering what I don't. I despise shopping, so I'm not going to do much of it to find a good deal and save money that way. Instead I will shop at places where I can consistently find low prices when I force myself to go out and shop. I value health but not enough to pay through the nose for organic or drive downtown to buy local. (I do buy local at my neighborhood grocer when it's there.) I might have my own garden some day.


I do not like large houses, mostly because I do not like spending my time cleaning them and I dislike wasted space. We have three bathrooms plus a half, and I would prefer just two. We have a separate formal dining room and I would prefer an office--preferably very small. Besides a living room on the main level we also have a family room and then a large basement rec room. Instead, I'd like one "quiet" room for reading or visiting with quiet friends and then one "loud" room for t.v. and loud friends. Our bedrooms are much bigger than necessary. I think I could easily remove 500 square feet from our living space and not feel much difference in our quality of life. Maybe even close to 1000.
P.S.--The above photo is not my house.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

values


"Your values come from who you are, not from the things or services you can buy. Your values are integral to your character, to your life's purpose, to the way you create your future. Your lifestyle, attitudes, choices, and habits; the way you see the world; your goals for the sort of person you want to be--all come from your core values. Defining your values empowers you to make meaningful choices and gives momentum to your actions."

~ Laura Rowley, Money and Happiness: a guide to living the good life.


It was trickier than I thought to identify my values. At the very top of the list are my relationships with my children and spouse, my faith, education, and health. Those are at the top now and they always have been. However, I see that other core values have changed throughout my life. Or maybe there were values I wanted to be core but they never really made it. (Like tidiness and organization?) There are other values I really want to incorporate because I think they will somehow enhance those top values.


Throughout my twenties I was greatly influenced by the values of the people around me and I also didn't quite get it that choosing one thing often means giving up another. I thought I could have it all--I thought I could value everything good in the world. Maybe this sounds stupid to you, but that's really what I thought. I also felt a heavy burden of "should." I thought there were certain values I was obligated to have. I should probably give an example, because I don't think I'm explaining myself well.


When we were looking for our first home, we began searching in the suburbs immediately bordering Minneapolis. Everything in our price range seemed so old and rundown. Since we had zero do-it-yourself ability or desire, we became a bit discouraged. I can't believe I'm admitting this publicly, but what bothered me the most about homes we saw was the smell. I didn't want to move into a house that smelled like other people. It's okay, you can laugh and you can even tease me.


Eventually we found out that there were other suburbs further away from the Twin Cities, where people actually lived. We were shocked to discover a new home in one of those distant suburbs that was in our price range. We went to see the house and fell in love. There was a beautiful, sun-filled kitchen with gleaming new cabinets. And it smelled so human-free.


We bought that house and it didn't bother me at all to live so far from the Cities. I loved it. This new house was in a very different ward than the ward we'd previously been attending while we lived in an apartment. (For the non-Morm readers, ward=congregation. We do not choose where we attend. We are assigned geographically.) This new ward was full of Mormon yuppies. They had big, uber-tasteful homes and new cars. Or if not, they aspired to that. They were on a certain track. They were upwardly-mobile. There was this whole pecking order based on who was the coolest and had the most money. Er, maybe that last sentence was a bit much. I shouldn't call it a "pecking order." These were very nice people. Really, they were! Much nicer than I am.


I totally absorbed these values. It seemed so obvious to me that material success--the perfect home (as large as possible), new cars, clothes from the right stores, the "right" activities for my children, the fancy vacations--was a manifestation of inner, personal success. I think both Jorge and I had these same dreams and values.


In 1999 we were called as missionaries to an inner-city branch of our Church. Our values started to change. Once we had a little distance from that peer group, we saw that the material stuff and the hope for greater material stuff in the future was not making us happy. We began to rediscover what our real values were. I started homeschooling Georgie and found immense satisfaction in that. I continued with my own education, formally and informally. I found friends who were interested in talking about books and ideas. We spun new dreams.


I've found it is one thing to recognize that materialism does not bring happiness, and another to actually live it. It takes a lot of work to get off the hedonic treadmill and stay off. This book mentions several disturbing studies that show exactly how irrationally we all act and why. We are poor recallers of our past feelings and poor predictors of our future feelings. There is something called the "hot/cold empathy gap," which means that "when people are in a 'cold,' or neutral emotional state, they often have trouble imagining how they would feel or what they would do if they were in a 'hot' state--angry, hungry, in pain, or at a Prada sample sale with 200 other women."


This post is now officially rambling, so I should probably cut it short. Here is what I think I value right now, though with less priority than those already mentioned in the first paragraph: simplicity, adventure, and variety. And maybe a cheeseburger. It's been a long time since I ate red meat.

Monday, January 26, 2009

how modern law makes us powerless

It is impossible for me to say how much I agree with this opinion piece from today's WSJ. If Phillip K. Howard were giving this as a speech I would be there pumping my fist and cheering.

Here is where I would scream out, "Yes!" and "You said it, man!":

"All this law, we're told, is just the price of making sure society is in working order. But society is not working. Disorder disrupts learning all day long in many public schools -- the result in part, studies by NYU Professor Richard Arum found, of the rise of student rights. Health care is like a nervous breakdown in slow motion. Costs are out of control, yet the incentive for doctors is to order whatever tests the insurance will pay for. Taking risks is no longer the badge of courage, but reason enough to get sued. There's an epidemic of child obesity, but kids aren't allowed to take the normal risks of childhood. Broward County, Fla., has even banned running at recess."

I'm going to start a group named, "Mothers for Dangerous Playground Equipment."

"The idea of freedom as personal power got pushed aside in recent decades by a new idea of freedom -- where the focus is on the rights of whoever might disagree."

Here is another thing we are free to do: not get hurt. If we do, you can bet it's someone else's fault and we are free to make them PAY.

"The flaw, and the cure, lie in our conception of freedom. We think of freedom as political freedom. We're certainly free to live and work where we want, and to pull the lever in the ballot box. But freedom should also include the power of personal conviction and the authority to use your common sense."

"We need to abandon the idea that freedom is a legal maze, where each daily choice is like picking the right answer on a multiple-choice test. We need to set a new goal for law -- to define an open area of free choice. This requires judges and legislatures to affirmatively assert social norms of what's reasonable and what's not. 'The first requirement of a sound body of law,' Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, 'is that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community.'"

This is the kind of political action I could get into.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

living the good life


"In 2001, my company laid off 400 people after a merger. I loved my job, and the layoff was a huge disappointment. But I have a peculiar worldview: I am the tenth of 11 children. In most families, I would never have been born at all. As a result, I tend to think anything is possible. Growing up in that lively environment, I saw my parents overcome many challenges by staying committed to their values and taking a longer term view rather than sweating the details. My mother's classic line was: "This too shall pass"--a philosophy that carries no small amount of hope. When I experienced a setback, such as losing a scholarship competition, she would insist there was something more worthwhile waiting for me. Because of this I have spent my life trying to figure out the hidden opportunity in the crisis. (It beats weeping in public.) I looked at my layoff as a challenge to restructure my work life around my kids, and it turned out to be a wonderful gift: I published my first book about a year later. Did I mourn the loss of my job? Sure. Was the transition terrifying at times? Absolutely. Did I despair? Never. My worldview made the difference."

Thursday morning I heard part of the Midmorning show, whose guest was author Laura Rowley. I had to run some errands and missed the last half of the show but when I got home I immediately listened to the rest online. I picked Rowley's book, Money and Happiness: A Guide to Living the Good Life, Friday at the library. Though I'm only on chapter three, I felt like posting about it.

I know I've said I loathe self-help books. Maybe it's one of those things that I outwardly dislike while within my heart lurks a little implicit bias in their favor! Not too long ago I read a book in some ways similar to this one, having to do with women and finances, and it made me livid. Though I could not dispute most of the depressing statistics on women and money, I did take offense at the persistently alarmist and victimist (I don't think that's a word) tone. I hate victim novels, but this nonfiction book seemed even worse as its purported purpose was to help women. As you can tell from the above quote taken from Rowley's book, she's no victim and doesn't think anyone else should be. I have to admit I openly like this self-help book.

Laura Rowley has a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master of divinity. She has written personal finance columns for several publications and teaches a religious studies course. Isn't that cool? Rowley's take on personal finance is to align your money with your values, so you spend on what is most meaningful to you--your passions. Chapter two helps you to identify your values. Seems like I should know what my values are, wouldn't you think? It turns out I don't! I do know a few of the very top, like my children, my husband, and my faith, but after that it's really hard to prioritize what comes next. I must have competing passions. I may have to write another post about that tomorrow.

I like the real-life stories in the book of women who make money work for them to facilitate their happiness.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

what?!

Is it just me, or is blogger all wonky today? I put up five Pinewood Derby photos, but sometimes when I click on the post, sometimes two appear, then four. What's going on? Do all five photos appear on your screen?
[Edit: Thanks for your replies! It turns out J changed and updated our internet explorer without letting me know. Problem solved!]

our first derby!

"El Escorpion." An orginal design by Marcus.
Nervous and excited before the races. The competition.


Here we go!

The glory.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

harvard's project implicit

Take an implicit association test, the kind used to identify unconscious bias. Wanting to believe we are free of racial bias is not the same as being free of racial bias. That is not to say we shouldn't act in every way we can to fight racial prejudice in our society and in ourselves.

I remember when I was kid I learned a new vocabulary word when I went to visit my grandparents in New Mexico. That word was "wetback," and I loved the sound of it. Whenever I saw someone who looked Mexican, I would say to my grandmother, "Look, Grammie! There goes another wetback!" like I'd just seen a roadrunner or something. I definitely did not understand it as a racial slur. In fact, when someone explained the why of "wetback," that some Mexicans swam across the river to get to the United States, it only made it seem cooler to me. After my mom heard me casually tossing off this choice little word, she said it was derogatory and I shouldn't say it. "Do you think they like to be called that?" I remember her saying. "Well, I sure would," I thought. "I wish I could swim across a river to get to another country and I wish they'd call me wetback for it."

morning thoughts

As I reread yesterday's post, it seemed bitter and a bit dramatic. I hadn't realized that when I wrote it--I really wasn't feeling bitter or dramatic when I wrote it. I just meant to point out something I've noticed in our culture. My experience is that there is more denial in the U.S. about racial prejudice than in other countries. Do you think that's true? (Although now that I think more about that, it could be because people in other countries don't see racial prejudice as necessarily negative, at least to the extent that we do, and are thus more open about it.)

Yesterday I was thinking that this would all make a really good SNL skit. And maybe they've done something with it already. I don't watch SNL anymore so I wouldn't know. (It's weird how being married to someone from a different culture can change your perception of what's funny. There are some shows I could possibly enjoy on my own, like SNL and The Daily Show, but when I've watched them with J they seem so heavy-handed, crude, and aggressive. Our sense of humor in the U.S. can be quite naturalistic.) Anyway, one comedy we do watch sometimes is The Office, and Steve Carell does an excellent "prejudiced but in denial," doesn't he?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

let's not pretend


Yesterday much of the hype surrounding the inauguration centered on the fact that we've elected our first black president. One media commentator pointed out that the White House was built "on the backs of slaves" and that not far from where Obama was taking his oath, black people once stood in chains in the slave market.


I started to feel a little nauseous. Though slavery is indeed nauseating to contemplate, I realized that was not what was making me feel sick in this instance. It was the tone of the commentator--absolutely soaked in self-congratulation. The whole, "look at this amazing, incredible thing we've done."


"Look how far we've come. Man, we've arrived."


"We used to be a nation of ignorant, prejudiced fools, but now we've shown them! We've elected ourselves a black president."


It was remarked upon repeatedly in the media back when Obama gave his race speech that he mentioned that his white grandmother admitted to being nervous when she walked by a black man on the street. When people talked about it, it was always in a condescending tone of, "Poor, old woman. But we really can't blame her because of the times she lived in."


Because we, of course, are beyond all that. Right?


Wrong. Studies show that the vast majority of people, whatever their skin color, have the same reaction to black men on the street that Obama's grandmother did. The only difference is, we're not willing to admit it. We thicken our veneer of politically-correct attitudes and push racial prejudice deeper into the subconscious. Doesn't mean it's not there. It is there and we act on it every day.


Back a couple years ago when all the talk was about illegal immigration, (whatever happened to that topic, folks?) I fairly frequently heard or read statements that were overtly racist. However, the people making these statements would often in the same breath deny that they felt racial prejudice toward Hispanics.


That's not progress, in my opinion. If we really want to become less racist, we need to first admit there's a problem.

felicidades, lidia!


This young lady turns eleven today at 5:45 pm. She was born on a very snowy afternoon, which I've always suspected as the cause of her love for winter. Lidia recently wrote an essay on why she loves winter. I asked her, "Is that really your favorite season?"
"Yes!" she quickly replied, and then thought a second. "Of course, when it's spring I think that's my favorite season, and the same for summer and fall."
That's Lidia--embracing the moment. I've learned a lot from her in that regard.
Lidia recently started playing Seitz's Concerto No. 5 and it sounds so good! That's the second piece in Suzuki book 4. Lidia's teacher has her moving quickly through this book because she wants her to move on to more challenging pieces.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

grateful

Just now on Facebook, an old high school friend said the following, "[I am] saddened to see comments 'I'm proud to be an American today'. I am proud to be an American everyday. I am proud to have been a serviceman." And then someone posted this follow-up comment, "Our pride in our country should come from its people (who are the same today as yesterday and tomorrow), not one person."

I did watch the Inauguration today. My favorite part was John William's breathtaking arrangement "Air and Simple Gifts" played by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill, and Gabriella Montero. As I listened to that inspiring and uplifting music with it's beautiful message of simplicity, I thought, "This is what I need. This is what we all need." A return to what is simple, good, and true. (That last sentence is not meant in a political sense--I'm talking about something way beyond or way below politics. Everything but.)

My favorite part of Obama's speech was his tribute to generations past who have worked hard and fought hard for the freedoms and privileges we now enjoy. And as he so rightly pointed out, they did it for us. I don't know that we measure up to past generations and I'm not sure we're always worthy of their sacrifices. The least I can do is feel gratitude for their contribution now and pray that I can feel more. And pray that that gratitude will influence my actions and make me more worthy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

awesome

I was going to post about this yesterday but our computer contracted a virus. Dr. J cured it last night, so all's good.

Yesterday the coolest thing happened. I don't think this has ever happened to me the entire time I've lived here.

Someone dropped by! Just to see me. A friend was in the neighborhood, so she stopped at my house. She did not call ahead of time. She just knocked on the door and said, "Hi! Can I come in?"

That's what people do in Maine, and according to my friend, in northern Minnesota too. It totally made my day. I know I'm probably making too big a deal out of this (do you think?) but it really made me feel special. She's a very busy lady with lots going on, but she made the time to hang out with me and felt enough confidence in our friendship that she didn't have to call ahead of time. It was so cool! It was additionally cool because she brought a bunch of photos for me to see of Asheville. She was there for eight months of her mission.

Now the question is, would I dare to drop in on someone?

Friday, January 16, 2009

minnesotans for global warming



The wind chill is -40F.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

uh oh

There were the evil angels who followed Lucifer and the wise ones who followed God. But there was also a third group that refused to take sides.

"We'll wait to see how it comes out," they said. "We're angels and above such things as war."

They didn't realize that the very job of angels is to come down on the side of good. There's no room for moderates in Heaven.

~Brother Aiden, The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

no point letting your trousers slip half way




Lately I've been obsessed with English history. I'm not sure how I got into this. I've definitely ratcheted up my anglophilia to a new level. I think I wanted to look up some information about the Anglo Saxons after hearing on audio The Sea of Trolls. And then there are a couple English historical fiction books I'd like to read, but I wanted to get a good overview first. Right now I'm reading Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall and Great Tales From English History by Robert Lacey. Our Island Story is for children and was first published in 1905. It's available to read online through the Baldwin Project. It's a fun and exciting read--very appealing to the imagination. I've heard that many great British historians give this book the credit for awakening their interest in history. It's been great to read Great Tales at the same time because it tells some of the same stories (with a few more graphic details) while looking at historical evidence. I like Great Tales too because Robert Lacey has an entertaining writing style and a sly sense of humor. I look forward to the next two volumes!

Anyone know what the post title, a mnemonic device, helps you remember?

asheville


Auntie got it! My new dream location stateside is Asheville, North Carolina. So she can be my first guest after I move into this little cottage. Anyone (besides Meg) know what famous estate this is?
I have never been to Asheville but it looks like heaven. Mountains, trees, and a mild climate in a small city. Perfect!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

moving madness, part deux




Sunday J hit a patch of black ice on his way to Faribault. He went off the road and hit the guard rails. He's fine, thank Heavens. We don't know if the car is totalled or not, but it looks that way.

Yesterday afternoon it snowed and I spent some excruciating hours in traffic. (I take Lidia to and from school because she attends another district. It usually takes about 15 minutes to get there, but yesterday it took almost an hour.) I also waited one hour in front of G's school for the math team bus to get back. Could someone explain to me why people here do not cancel after-school activities when the weather is THAT bad?

This morning I spent more time in frustrating traffic during the school commute. It's not snowing. In fact, it's bright and sunny, which dupes people into thinking the roads are a-okay. However, they are NOT because it's -10 F, too cold for the salt to melt the ice on the roads. Hit an icy overpass, put on the breaks, and you're toast. I saw at least four cars off the road this morning. After a while I didn't even notice them anymore. Just part of the scenery.

To preserve my sanity in this morning's traffic, I left Minnesota. Calandria's body was there in the SUV (I love you, 4-wheel drive), but her mind went far, far away. Not to Galicia this time, though that is still the ultimate fantasy destination this year. It went to a new dream place, stateside. Guess.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

errr...


Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose - 6. Liz Cook from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.

This is funny--just watch the first 40 seconds.

I found out that this interviewer is Sally Quinn, author of the Washington Post column "On Faith." If it just me, or did Sally very obviously change the topic ("Oh my! Look at the time!") when Rachel asserts that she is a Christian?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

harvard student speaks about her mormon faith


Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose - 3. Rachel Esplin from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.

I found this on Athena's blog. Athena has been helping her daughter research colleges and came across this video of a Latter-day Saint Harvard student talking about her faith. I'm not sure how long it runs [Edit: I see now that it's about 20 minutes], but it is well worth the time if you have a few minutes. This is one bright, articulate, open-minded young lady who answers the interviewer's probing questions (a few made me cringe) with considerable grace and aplomb. She does not shrink from these questions, but welcomes and even embraces them! I especially like how she answers the question about what she doesn't believe is true in her faith. Very well done.

While watching this, it occurred to me that early morning seminary is well-worth the sacrifice. Thousands of high school students of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints get up at dawn (or two hours before sunrise here in the north!) for a before-school seminary class every day of the school year. For four years. I've heard it said that this is how we "brainwash" our children. If this young lady could be called the result of brainwashing, then yes, that is exactly what we do. [Edit: This Harvard student is obviously someone who has given much examination to her beliefs. This is what all members of our church are called to do--to develop our OWN testimonies through study, meditation, and prayer. I meant to say that the accusation of "brainwashing" is without merit.]

Though the girl in this video could be called exceptional, I wouldn't say she is especially so among the youth of our church. I've known many who are, if not yet quite this thoughtful and well-spoken about their faith, well on the way there.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

should burris be seated

or not?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

catching monkeys


Yesterday I read a delightful post by Mama Ava and it reminded me of one of my favorite essays by Spencer W. Kimball. It was published in the June 1976 Ensign, and is entitled "The False Gods We Worship."


In Mama Ava's post, she relates how she was prompted to think more deeply about idol worship when she visited Buddist temples in Thailand. While we may be too sophisticated to bow down to figures made of silver and gold literally called "gods," that doesn't stop us from worshipping idols. As President Kimball said, "Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god; and if his god doesn't also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry."


He goes on to explain just how we do it: "Many people spend most of their time working in the service of a self-image that includes sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, furnishings, automobiles, and the like to guarantee carnal security throughout, it is hoped, a long and happy life. Forgotten is the fact that our assignment is to use these many resources in our families and quorums to build up the kingdom of God -- to further the missionary effort and the genealogical and temple work; to raise our children up as fruitful servants unto the Lord; to bless others in every way that they may also be fruitful. Instead, we expend these blessings on our own desires, and as Moroni said, "Ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and you notice them not" (Mormon 8:39)."


It happened coincidentally that we talked about this in Gospel Doctrine class today. I found more of President Kimball's thoughts on idolatry he wrote in the book Miracle of Forgiveness. He quotes Brigham Young as saying, "I would as soon asee a man worshipping a little god made of brass or of wood as to see him worshipping his property." He talks about the obvious tangibles, the material wealth that we can readily identify as false gods, but he also talks about the intangibles: "degrees and letters and titles." As Mama Ava noted, C.S. Lewis brings it all back to pride. The things that keep us from being humble keep us from God and thus turn into our idols.


What are my idols? I'm afraid that sometimes it is as Paul put it, my "God is [my] belly." What will bring me immediate comfort? Other times it is the pride of wanting to do things MY way. Another false god I worship on a daily basis is the internet.


The post title comes from an analogy in President Kimball's essay: "I am reminded of an article I read some years ago about a group of men who had gone to the jungles to capture monkeys. They tried a number of different things to catch the monkeys, including nets, but finding that the nets could injure such small creatures, they finally came upon an ingenious solution. They built a large number of small boxes, and in the top of each they bored a hole just large enough for a monkey to get his hand into. They then set these boxes out under the trees and in each one they put a nut that the monkeys were particularly fond of.


When the men left, the monkeys began to come down from the trees and examine the boxes. Finding that there were nuts to be had, they reached into the boxes to get them. But when a monkey would try to withdraw his hand with the nut, he could not get his hand out of the box because his little fist, with the nut inside, was now too large.


At about this time, the men would come out of the underbrush and converge on the monkeys. And here is the curious thing: When the monkeys saw the men coming, they would shriek and scramble about with the thought of escaping; but as easy as it would have been, they would not let go of the nut so that they could withdraw their hands from the boxes and thus escape. The men captured them easily."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

a gift

Thank you for your comments on the last post. Though, as Karen pointed out, this will likely NOT be the first thing that Obama does as president, it is something of which to be aware and informed.

When I read about FOCA, the first thing I thought was, "This would never pass! Most Americans would never be in favor of such a thing." It's simply too radical. However, this is not a democracy. Most Americans can be opposed to it and yet it could still become law. At the time of Roe v. Wade, I would imagine that most Americans were not in favor of broad abortion rights. Correct me if I'm wrong--I'm just guessing this to be true.

I have to say, I am blown away by the number of abortions performed in the United States every year. Supposedly we are a culture that values life. I do not think it's possible for someone to value life and think it's acceptable for people to use abortion as birth control.

Here is something that occurred to me on my walk just now. Since the beginning of time, men have behaved badly. Not ALL of them, but a goodly number. They have had lots of sex whenever and with whomever they want, and the women have been left to pay the price with unwanted pregnancies. When a man has casual sex, he doesn't worry a great deal about the consequences in that regard--he is pretty much free of responsibility. An unwanted pregnancy is not going to mess up his life. However, it is obviously a different story for women. Do women who believe its okay to use abortion as birth control think that helps even the score a bit? As in, "now we can behave like men, having casual sex without having to pay the consequences. We are no longer victims of biology." I mean, is this the actual thinking behind it?

Life is often inconvenient. Heck, it's painful. It's excruciating. And so completely unfair. I'm reading Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke right now, and she writes pain well. What I take from this book (so far--haven't finished it yet) is that in spite of the excruciating pain and terrible injustice, it is so worth it. It is a gift.

Friday, January 02, 2009

freedom of choice act

President-elect Obama has vowed to sign the Freedom of Choice Act as the first thing he'll do as President.

The Freedom of Choice Act seeks to eradicate all laws limiting abortion in any way. A potential consequence of this Act is that Catholic hospitals would be forced to perform abortions. They would close instead. Conscience rights that protect medical professionals from prosecution when they decline to perform abortions could be in danger if FOCA is passed. To me it looks like FOCA denies choice.

Here is some information on this Act as presented by NARAL, Pro-Choice America.

Here is information as presented by National Right to Life.

If you would like to sign a petition against FOCA, go here.