Friday, December 17, 2010

7 Quick Takes - As We Wait in Joyful Hope

Hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary 

Reasons to Hope

1. It's been a pretty good year, all things considered.  I thought this was beautiful... and true.  Sure, there's some awful crap going on in the world today, but at the end of the day, we're still profoundly blessed to live as free men and women in the greatest nation on earth, where our freedoms far outpace those of most of our brothers and sisters elsewhere around the globe.

2.  It's nearly the 4th and final Sunday of Advent.  That means we are finally going to put the ornaments on my poor, dying Christmas tree which is now sporting about the same number of needles on its branches as my vacuum is holding in its dump tank (for lack of an official descriptor).  My dear husband and I came to a liturgical compromise of sorts whereby I was permitted to select our (live!) Christmas tree on the first Sunday of Advent, though we've been decorating it in stages.  So last Sunday was garland, the one before that was lights, and we've finally arrived at ornaments, though the aridity of our apartment has all but strangled the life from our poor, mostly-naked evergreen.  (Note: I realize Christmas trees are non-liturgical entities, and my husband is really not the hard ass this makes him out to be.  Our negotiations over Advent/Christmas decor and protocol have actually been nothing short of hilarious...)

3.  My little brother is home from college for the month and he waits tables at a karaoke bar.  They have Journey's entire discography in their system.  My high school babysitte... ahem, sisters are also on Christmas break.  Need I say more?

4.  It snowed last night in Denver!  Granted, it looked like fake fluff from the set of the Full House Christmas special and it melted by 10 am, but it was there!  I saw it!

5.  I have a new job.  A wonderful, incredibly providential and exciting new job, which I'll share more about after the New Year.

6.  My baby sleeps through. the. night.  He is 11 weeks old and he sleeps through the night.  Praise the living God for my dear friends Brigette and Eliz who pointed me toward Babywise while Joseph was still just a twinkle in our eyes.  It hasn't always been easy, but man oh man has it been worth it.

7.  I wake up to this face every morning.
Yeah, I've got hope.  And it has nothing to do with the dude in the White House.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tap, Tap

Hello out there... is this thing on? 

So it's been 2 months.  2 glorious, difficult, rewarding, enthralling and exhausting months... but my baby is now sleeping through the night (with some rare exceptions), I've started running again in anticipation of this year's Colfax half marathon, and somehow my best friend Eliz beat me back to the blogosphere, though her Jude is more than a week younger than Joey... consider me officially shame-based.  

So far this whole motherhood gig is pretty much what I expected... but with way more joy.  I knew I would love my baby, in fact, I loved him in an intellectual sense for 9 months (okay, 8.25 months) before he made his debut.  But I had no idea the depth and intensity with which that love would manifest itself, allowing even the most hellish of experiences (labor, the first 6 weeks of nursing) to become redemptive in some way... to become acts of the will rather than acts forced against or upon me.  I think I'm getting my first real taste of redemptive suffering in this new role, and while I can't say it's enjoyable, exactly, it has actualized my faith in a way I couldn't have imagined before baby.  I'm pretty sure my husband would agree, though the times I've left my boys for a little mommy tlc, I've come home to tears of angst... and sometimes the baby is crying too.  Kidding.  Sort of.  Dave's an amazing father, but there are some things only mommy can do... particularly where a breastfed baby is concerned. 

As we gear up for Christmas at our house, we're praying for snow, (which is unlikely, thank you global warming.  Denver is a balmy 55 degrees today, and I've been running in shorts:) anticipating the arrival of family from around the country, and making room in our hearts for Christ in His most vulnerable form - that of a tiny infant, one who cried, who needed to be changed and nursed, and who probably had a bummer of a teething experience without the availability of ice packs...dang.  Mary was awesome, this much I knew already.  But only motherhood has shown me how awesome.  I've been listening to this song the past couple of days and looking down at my little guy, imagining how it must have been for our Blessed Mother all those years ago. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Introducing Joseph Kolbe

The reason blogging has been - and will continue to be sparse for now.  Behold his cuteness!  We are supremely blessed and grateful for God's gift to our family.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's Be Honest, We Were All Raised By Wolves...

I've gone round and round with my mom about this topic more times than I care to recount, but I was gratified to see this piece featured on CNA earlier this week, because it points out a rather obvious defect which deeply wounded the Church these past 4 decades, but which is often ignored or unacknowledged by those who rail against her failure to preach the Gospel of Life. 

As the article indicates, the majority of our priests have indeed been too silent on matters of contraception and sins against life.  But I'd like to highlight what's not mentioned; namely, the reality that throughout all the poor catechetical formation many adult Catholics received at home and in their schools... sitting beside them were the majority of the priests who serve the Church today. 

So what does this mean for us?  It means an entire generation or two of adult Catholics (read: priests AND laity) came of age during a time of moral confusion, contradiction and poorly-communicated Catholic teaching.  However pitifully our priests have failed to communicate the teachings of Humane Vitae from the pulpit these past 40 years, the fault is not completely theirs. 

The formation they received at home and in the seminary was probably no better than that which has informed the consciences of the 90-something percent of adult practicing Catholics today who choose to live in open dissent from the Church's teachings on contraception.  Does this excuse our spiritual fathers from their duty to form and shepherd their flock?  By no means!  But does it explain some of the deafening silence from the pulpit for these past decades?  You bet. 

It's one of the reasons that Theology of the Body is so necessary, and not just for married couples, but for all Catholics, for all persons.  There is a fundamental disconnect in the modern human psyche, a great divorce which has severed our understanding of our very selves as bodies and souls, as bodies with souls.  The great modern mistake is not to think too much of the body, as some puritanical prudish types might insist, but to think too little of it.   We have been fed a dangerous lie indeed, one which insists that our actions need not match our intentions, and that we can somehow separate our mental and spiritual existences from the physical realm. 

This is what the practice of contraception shouts from the rooftops: "I am in control, and my intention determines the reality of my actions."  The actions themselves are meaningless, until and unless I inform them. 

Can you see the arrogance?  The asininity?  The utter falsity of such a way of living?  To presume that "I can, because I will it to be so" is to presume equality with God... and by so doing, reject His "version" of reality for one which better suits that which you have determined to be "right for you."

Our priests aren't alone in having fallen into this deadly way of thinking.  Neither are they excused, however, from crawling back out of the pit and leading their congregations with them.  Let's pray for our priests, and particularly for those who are currently studying and undergoing their priestly formation, that another generation doesn't slip through the cracks without hearing - and being equipped to proclaim - the truth.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting Close!

My lovely and talented friend Jenny of Jenny Hanlon Photography did some fabulous "maternity" shots for Dave and I on campus at the University of Denver one stormy afternoon earlier this month... and I will forever love her for making me feel pretty for the first time this trimester...  Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hit Me Up, Doc

Oh NPR, even when I have no time to blog, no time to breathe... you come through and give me something worth pondering.  (Hat tip to Jen for the fabulously-disturbing link)

Just think if this stuff were being marketed to men.  Anyone guess how long it'd stay on the market then?  But we're so "progressed" as a society, right? 


Friday, August 13, 2010

7 Quick Takes On The Idiocy of Our Times

Well okay, there are only 5 today ... because it's almost 5:00 here in good ol' Denver, and I need to get on the road for some seriously enjoyable I-25 Friday-afternoon-commute-mania.  But first, I would like to briefly and bluntly share some stupendously asinine news bits from this week in history.  Enjoy your weekend!

1. Women who are pregnant, or suspect they are pregnant, should not use this product, the FDA said.  Riiiight.  So would sterile virgins be the intended market they're trying to reach here?

2. Marriage is fundamentally unconstitutional.  Read on for this and other brilliant conclusions being handed down from "impartial" benches 'round the nation. 

3. "Wow, you are getting HUGE."  Delivered with utter sincerity and a goofy smile by an unsuspecting male coworker/postal worker/sales clerk/random stranger.  Thank you, men of the world, for saying aloud what I have long been quietly fearing in the silence of my heart.

4. There is one full teaspoon of sugar in every tablespoon of ketchup.  Maybe this isn't as shocking to the rest of you as it was to me, but I feel positively violated.

5. According to a recent study by the NIH (National Institute of Health), the sexual habits of gay, underaged males are being tracked using online journaling technology to... oh wait, who the hell cares?  And why exactly are our tax dollars being spent to fund this ridiculous garbage?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

At the Altar of Convenience

I was thinking about child sacrifice this weekend.  Specifically, of the god Moloch and the practice of ritual infant sacrifice by incineration, as practiced in ancient Carthage in order to ensure the "continuing prosperity and well-being of the community.  From Diane Karkosh's  article "Child Sacrifice: Nothing New Under the Sun:"

"When a mother, willingly or not, released her infant onto the out-stretched arms of Moloch’s bronze statue, the baby consequently rolled off the arms and fell headlong onto a fiery brazier pit."

Sounds familiar.

Admittedly, I've got babies on the brain of late, what with the little one inside of me constantly making his/her presence known through a series of kicks, punches, and jabs to the ribs.  And I've had plenty of opportunity to wonder at the inconvenience and the real sacrifice demanded in order to bring new life into this world.  But in spite of every ache and pain, the idea of ending this little one's life in order to continue with mine, uninterupted, has never occured to me.

But I can understand how it might.  And I can definitely see how our cultural preoccupation with pleasure, success, convenience and wealth has programmed us to intensely resent any hindrance to our daily lives, and to resist it mightily... even unto death.

Because it's convenience that we worship in our society, and there is nothing sacred when that's at stake.  Not even the life of an 'other'.

For 2,000 plus years of progress, we sure haven't come too far.  We may not be offering ritual sacrifice to ensure the success of our military campaigns or our harvests... but is the abortion industry really so different?  Aren't the promises of freedom, unhindered future prosperity and atonement for 'sin' one in the same?  And aren't we as women still being assigned the same, tired second-class citizenship.  It's frustrating as hell, particularly in light of the lies most of us have swallowed as the gospel truth.

A feminist whose thought I greatly admire stated it thus: “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Friday, July 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

I've finally caved, figuring that an uninspired post is better than the post I write in my head and never finish and/or publish, and joined the other legion of mommybloggers whose actual responsibilities far outpace their alloted 24 hours per standard day.  So, here are my 7 truly random, non-unifying thoughts...

1. I am going to be pregnant forever.  I was pondering this while perusing the Walmart junior's department last night, fingering the fine poly/rayon blends of summer frocks and wondering if a size14 XL designed for a chunky high-schooler would look good drapped over my pregnant belly.  The answer, it turns out, was yes.  And I don't shop at Walmart.  But apparantly my alter-ego, big-bellied-Bertha, couldn't care less about the working conditions of slave children in China.

2. I've been listening to Laura Ingraham on my morning commute, and NPR on the way home.  I'm anticipating a schizophrenic psychotic break any day now...

3. Is there anything more deliciously ironic in the world than the posturing of our president who wants so badly to be taken "seriously," yet simultaneously feels the need to "connect" with his inferiors.  Pathetic, BHO.  Just pathetic.

4. I've recently forayed into the world of crafty DIY bloggers, and I don't ever want to turn back.  In other news, my unborn child may have spraypaint fume-induced brain damage.  My covered apartment balcony is only so ventilated...  Check out All Things Thrifty for a complete and utter thrill. 

5. Despite what I've read about decreased fetal activity as baby gets too big for his britches, so to speak, it feels like I'm hosting a World Cup rematch in my abdomen, and my child is apparently so territorial, that so much as the slight pressure of an errant coffee mug or a gently-resting book can set off a furious string of roundhouse kicks visible to the naked eye. No wonder the guys in my office look at me with such a mix of wild-eyed panic and awe.  At least I think it's awe...

6. The more I read on the lives of the Saints, the more I'm becoming convinced that ours may not necessarily be a "saint-making age," despite the superabundance of evil all around us.  I'm pretty sure St. Catherine of Siena never would have watched the Hills, and probably would have been stunted in her prolific written correspondence by the existence of Netflix Instant Cue.  Are we too busy to be holy?  Too distracted?  I know I sure feel like I am ...

7. I've almost died while driving twice this week.  The first time involved a dropped lipgloss and the back of an SUV.  The second time could only have happened in Colorado, or possibly Wyoming, when a huge ass horse in a partially-enclosed trailer tooka  flying dump on the interstate at 65 mph and... let's just say the gate wasn't quite high enough to contain all of that equine glory.  I made a rather hasty lane change to avoid physical trauma, but the psychological scarring will remain for years.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Contempt Shown to Parents of Large Families

So, so fabulous.  I wish I had time to treat this properly, but please take a minute to read it and pass it on... this guy is spot on!

I'll pull out my favorite quote, however: "Contraception has become a synonym for civilization."


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feathering the Nest

In a radical departure from standard content, today I'd like to talk with you all about something very close to my heart: the Dollar Store.

I know what you're thinking.  The Dollar Store is for 3 year olds.  Or old women seeking faux flowers and crates of expired, off-brand Oreos.  But I'm telling you, there is more there.

So much more.

Case in point; yesterday, I made off with the following:
  • 4 adorable, teeny maroon and gold glass hanging lanterns (made in China, of course) complete with 4 candles (lead filled, no doubt...  I solemnly swear never to light them)
  • 3 unfinished natural wood-framed 8 x 10 mirrors (which I am spray painting burnished bronze and hanging in a staggered series on the blindingly-white blank wall in our living room - poof, DIY interior design!) 
  • 1 perfect-shade-of-green-for-the-nursery oval tub which now houses Baby Bing's growing library (currently featuring such titles as "Guess How Much I Love You" and "Goodnight, Moon: an apologetic for nihilism - at least according to Chris Gilbert"
  • 3 precious glass tea light candle holders in turquoise, clear and cobalt blue, now sitting pretty on my espresso wood armoire-turned tv/dvd/wedding china receptacle)
  • oh, and a gallon of spring water, which I carried around and swigged out of the rest of the afternoon.  Mama was thirsty.
All for the low, low price of $14.99.   


At least, that's what my husband must think when I lug home yet another flimsy plastic bagful of cheap, foreign-made goodies that help to add that "finishing touch" to various rooms in our home.  In my defense, I am of the opinion that the phrase "finishing touch" is somewhat of a misnomer when applied to any other domestic pursuit save for cooking, as the process of decorating a home is essentially a dynamic, not a static process.

I mean, I'm not the same person day to day, month to month...  so how can I be expected to keep my guest bathroom from undergoing a gradual, inevitable thematic evolution?

Impossible.  But also cost-prohibitive.

Enter: the Dollar Store.  Or Dollar Tree.  Or heck, even Dollar General (though don't let the name fool you, not everything sells for $1).

Whatever name your local discount knick knack retailer operates under, I adjure you pay a visit.  But you must be prepared to enter with an open mind, an open wallet (full of singles), and the understanding that a little high-end spray paint can, indeed, cover a multitude of sins.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Hurt, Therefore I ... Am?

:"Fetuses don't feel pain!"  A group of government-commissioned UK doctors proclaimed triumphantly at the end of a recent study on pain reception in utero.  This causes two strong reactions in me simultaneously.  First, my unborn child starts kicking me furiously, probably in response to the surge of rage-fueled adrenaline coursing through my/our system. Second, a more philosophical question bubbles to the surface: what the hell where they thinking when they set out to measure this, and how in God's name would you go about conducting such a study?  I mean, aside from asking an aging Nazi how they did things back in the day.

I can see the wheels turning in the minds of the government morons who conceived it: "hey, let's combat the growing pro life sentiment in Great Britain by ordering a torture trial on unborn babies, and then record the very earliest that they appear not to react to painful stimulus.  Then we can justify abortion at any date prior to 'pain consciousness'."


Except that, if pain consciousness were the determining factor for one's humanity, then there are a few football players, little brothers and quadriplegics out there who don't deserve to be walking around under the guise of 'humanity'

Wow.  If this isn't cutting-edge scientific theory, I don't know what is.

If pain reception is indeed the humanizing factor which determines one's right to life, then let's throw everything else we know about autonomy out the window and just start slapping people until they cry, thus tangibly demonstrating for us their viability as a person.

This is just another disgusting example of junk science at its lowest level, but sadly it may well prove to be fodder for some idiotic arguments favoring later term abortions.

To read some intelligent, repeatable and long-standing facts on fetal pain sensitivity, read this, or go to the World Health Organization's site and check out, oh, just about any other study to date.

And pray.  Because this is twisted, this is wrong, and this is a very, very slippery slope we're teetering on.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Deadly Measures: Aborted Fetal Cell Line Vaccines

Whew, long time no blog!  After an incredible 2 weeks of vacation time out on the East Coast, I'm back and ready to write.  I'll have a longer post as soon as I've finished my research, but my latest reading has taken me into the deep, dark world of fetal stem cells utilized in the development of common vaccine lines.

It's pretty horrifying stuff, but nonetheless essential for all of us - especially parents - to know.  The following sites have been on my browser lately:

It's not just a matter of morality, either, though that ought to be our primary concern.  Recent research has linked the use of fetal stem cell derived vaccines to increased rates of autism, a finding that should have ALL of us wondering:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Cost of Convenience

SCPI Study on Aborted Fetal DNA in Vaccines Presented at International Meeting for Autism Research
(Seattle, Washington)  Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute's (SCPI) founder and lead scientist, Dr Theresa Deisher, presented their ongoing study into the possible link between aborted fetal DNA in several childhood immunizations with Autism and Austim Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia, PA May 20-22, 2010.

The study which was met with both shock and gratitude for her work, focused on "improper integration of the residual DNA as a possible contributor to autism, particularly in genetically susceptible infants."
"It is known from gene therapy studies that injected naked DNA can be transported to the brain (Wang et al. 2001); that improperly integrated therapeutic DNA has caused cancer in young children (Hacein-Bey-Abina et al. 2008); and that shorter DNA fragments have a higher probability of entering the nucleus [of the cells] (Lechardeur et al. 2002)", noted Dr Theresa whose company recently received a $500,000 grant from the Murdock foundation for their research.

Dr Deisher, along with Physicist Marissa LaMadrid, PhD are investigating whether improper insertion of DNA into the vaccine recipient cells can cause autism.  Four major areas of the research involve:


(1) measuring the amount and length distribution of residual human DNA in vaccines;
(2) predicting sites of DNA insertion via homologous recombination (HR) and measure insertion rates;
(3) modeling how brain cell function might be affected, either via loss of the ability to make proper connections or via selective growth of cells with improperly integrated DNA at the expense of healthy cells;
(4) conducting epidemiology studies comparing autism rates in children injected with vaccines containing human DNA residuals. 

The results reported thus far were startling, to say the least.
"Changepoint analysis of autism disorder demonstrates a temporal correlation with events associated with human DNA residuals in vaccines. The levels of residual DNA are well over FDA-recommended limits", stated Dr Deisher.  "Meruvax-II contains >140ng/vial ssDNA and >30ng/vial dsDNA, with average lengths of 215bp. Havrix contains >270ng/vial ssDNA and >30ng/vial dsDNA. The FDA-recommended amounts are 10ng/dose." 

While research has been conducted in the past on a possible link between thimerosal and autism, no one has ever looked at the contaminating DNA, something requested for years by Children of God for Life, a pro-life watchdog focused on the use of aborted fetal material in vaccines, medicines and other consumer products.

"Until the advent of AVM Biotechnology and their non-profit arm SCPI we had little hope that anyone would invest the time and money to do this study", stated Children of God for Life's founder, Debi Vinnedge. 
"Dr Deisher's work is a blessing to hundreds of thousands of families, if not millions worldwide.  She is a direct answer to our prayers for a biotech company focused solely on moral research and ethically produced vaccines and therapeutics."

SCPI's work on ethical alternatives to aborted fetal vaccines was recently highlighted in the Puget Sound Business Journal. For more information, including the Washington news story and scientific data from their study see

Monday, May 24, 2010

Because I'm Still Too Emotional to Cover it...

Here you go, party people.  My mind is still reeling with amazement, gratitude, grief and shock...and yes, I am aware that none of this is actually based upon reality.  So sue me.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Worth a Repost

What does the Church really say about homosexuality?

(In response to a reader's comment):

Too many Christians - including many Catholics - put the cart before the horse and insist that Biblical reference is the standard of truth ... yes, it is... but what is true was true before it's inclusion in Sacred Scripture, and not only because of it's inclusion - make sense?

Your questions about homosexuality are quite valid too, in our society which teaches that tolerance is actually acceptance, and which dismisses the idea of absolutes - in the moral realm or elsewhere - as archaic.

The Church's stance on homosexual behavior (note: the behavior, or the action, being the locus of the sin, and not the desire itself, nor the person suffering the attraction) stems from the reality that we as human persons are created in God's image to love as He loves: totally, faithfully and fruitfully.

All moral and theological arguments aside, the stark biological reality is this: homosexual "love" can never be fruitful, and so it cannot rightly be called love.

The Church isn't trying to prevent people who struggle with same sex attraction from finding fulfillment/happiness/companionship ... she (the Church) is simply unable to teach something that is false. She will never recognize the validity of homosexual "marriage" because no such thing exists.

Marriage is, by nature, the permanent, fruitful union of two persons: a man and a woman, united in sacramental purpose for the begetting and education of God's children and for the mutual sanctification of each other. The Church won't change her stance on this because she can't. She didn't create it - He did.

We exist to be in communion with one another - to give and receive love so fully, so completely, that in the giving and receiving an entire other person may come into existence... much the way the Holy Spirit, though co eternal with the Father and the Son, is nonetheless an outpouring of the Father's love for the Son, received and returned with such perfection that the love, in essence, becomes an "Other." This Trinitarian exchange of love is mirrored - dimly - in the conjugal act between husband and wife, whose love can also incarnate, or make physical, the reality of their spousal love.

Kinda heady stuff for a comments section, but it is what we profess to believe as Catholics, and not simply because it is in the Bible or because it is socially acceptable at some juncture in history. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reaching Across the Tiber

Encouraging proof that all Christians are beginning to question the morality of a contraceptive mentality.  Good stuff.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Post Abortion Syndrome

In the flesh.  Is this anyone's idea of a normal, healthy response?  No, but for someone who has spoken publicly about her own half dozen abortions, it's to be expected.

Pray for this poor woman, and for the millions like her who have chosen to end the lives of their own children, and who live daily with the pain and guilt.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We've Got a Pill for That

I was flipping through Time magazine last night during a lull in dinner preparation, and let me tell you, if you haven't picked up the recent edition, it's really quite something.  The cover is dominated by one word, much as my blog is: The Pill. So small.  So powerful. So controversial.


Except the article, in all fairness, wasn't particularly balanced.  There were a few bland suppositions positing the theory that maybe this miracle drug isn't really "everything we've made it out to be," but for the most part, it was clear that the author - along with the culture at large - had long ago arrived at the forgone conclusion that the Pill is, unquestionably, one of the greatest inventions in human history. 

But is it really? 

The author cited a famous and oft-quoted 40 year study which followed selected women for 4 decades of contraceptive use, and whose statistics are regularly touted as proof positive that the pill is perfectly safe, and that any risks associated are perfectly acceptable.  But there is a critical, fatal flaw in the applicability of the research in question; it doesn't take into account the drug's effect on younger women.

The drug companies are aware of this, of course.  But they're also aware of their largest client base, and loath to put off potential customers with frightening and, in their minds, irrelevant information, so it's buried deep within the text of the manufacturer's insert included in every box. 

To quote directly from Ortho-Tricyclen's manufacturer's information: "prolonged use of the Pill, particularly if taken for 5 consecutive years prior to a woman's first pregnancy, may increase your risk of being diagnosed with certain types of cancer."  (Emphasis mine)

As it turns out, according to a study recently released by the Mayo Clinic, titled "Oral Contraceptive use as a Risk Factor for Pre-menopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis" and authored by Dr. Chris Kahlenborn:
"There is a measurable and statistically significant" connection between the pill and pre-menopausal breast cancer, re-enforcing the recent classification of oral contraceptives
as Type 1 carcinogens."
That ruling from the International Agency for Cancer Research was supported by the report published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings last October.

However, the study that found that the risk association was 44 percent over baseline among women who had been pregnant who took oral contraceptives prior to their first pregnancy has been, to a large degree, ignored by many media organizations.

Hmmm, wonder why that could be?  Aside from the obvious answers concerning profit margins and quarterly sales goals, one must at least acknowledge the fact that we want this, as a society and as a gender.

We want to control our bodies, our fertility, our lives... and it's evident by the way our culture lives, extolling progress and performance at any cost.

But there are consequences, particularly in this instance, for the convenience we seek.  Serious consequences for our health, for the health of the environment, and for the health of society.

Because if fertility is a commodity, than we ourselves become machinated, to a certain extent.  We expect great things from our bodies, and yet when they fail us in some way, we are often unable to correct the malfunction, to undo the damage we've done.  Case in point: the ungodly rates of breast and cervical cancer we've seen in the past 40 years. 

More on this later in the week, but I'll leave you with some points to ponder:

1. If there were a drug on the market directly correlated to rising rates of prostate cancer in men, would it be one of the top selling pharmaceuticals?

2. Why has so little research been publicized about the risks of contraceptive use in younger women, when girls between the ages of 15-22 are the most likely to be set on a regimen of oral contraceptive usage of any other age group? 

3.  Why aren't women angry - or even aware - that this is happening?

Think about it...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tap, tap, hello?

I'm here... just treading water and trying to balance work, home, moving, travel... you get the picture.

Anyway, had a fabulous time speaking to the students at Eastern Illinois University last week, where we discussed "Green Sex" for Earth Day... can't wait to tell you about it, just have to get dinner ready first.  In the mean time, please enjoy this little gem.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook - Hat tip, Kristine

Outside my window - Blue Colorado skies and a thermometer that is (allegedly) going to hit 80 degrees today... in March!  How I love thee, Rocky Mountain springtime.  I can see a lovely artificial lake from my office building, and the walking path surrounding it is already filling up with strollers, dogs, and a man who sells hot dogs and snow cones... bliss.

I am thinking - By this time tomorrow, I will be en route to flyover country to visit the in-laws, and loving the Midwestern hospitality and cuisine that awaits us!

I am thankful for - A husband who willingly dug my suitcase of summer clothes out of the garage this morning at 6 am so that I could wear a "modified" sundress to the office (don't worry, I dressed it up).

I am hoping - That the Mexican dive I've been dreaming about hitting for lunch today has extra, extra hot green chile to satisfy my insane capsaicin cravings... can't get a high enough Scoville unit to satisfy this kid!

On my mind - Lent was so, so brief this year.  I blinked, and it was Holy Week.  I think being married had something to do with how "easy" it seemed; there's something to be said for accountability.

Noticing that - The media is continuing to surprise me with shockingly balanced reporting on Obamacare: the aftermath.  Last night even NPR (of all outlets) had some scathing words for our Commander and Thief.  Here's hoping America's wake up call hasn't called come too late...

A few plans for the week - Lounging around mom and dad's casa and enjoying some quality time with my other set of younger siblings.

From the kitchen - Heh.  Nada.  We were considering eating condiments for breakfast, but settled on freezerburned Ezekial bread toast with peanut butter. 

Around the house - My clothes.  Everywhere.  In a desperate attempt to find any pair of pants that fits comfortably, I've searched everywhere.  The one pair of maternity pants I've purchased were cheap, and they look and feel that way.  Also, in a startling turn of events, I hate my Bella band.  Hate it.  It's the least comfortable thing I could imagine putting on my body right now, when everything feels confining against my tummy and baby is just hanging out down low.  Whoever designed that thing was either a sadist or 6 feet tall and carrying much higher.

One of my favorite things - My daily catch up calls with my little sister, thousands of miles away but as reliable as the morning commute.  Lizzie + Mikey screaming in the background like a pterodactyl + a tall half-caf with cream = drive time bliss. 

A picture I am sharing - Honeymoon bliss...can we go back now?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Say it Again, George

Happy Holy Week, everyone!  As we enter into the mystery and majesty of our Lord's passion and death, let's keep in mind that the same forces who sought Him nailed to a cross 2,000 years ago are still very much at work today, and let's pray for our Holy Father as he, too, enters into the passion of Christ.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself

My dear readers, and particularly those of an anti-Catholic ilk, please enlighten yourself by means of the following piece from an unlikely source

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Hangover

Okay, not really.  Clearly the unborn one wouldn't take kindly to that... But if I ever needed a drink in muy life... whew.

Our Constitution: spat upon.  Our legislative branch of government: squabbling like a pack of wild dogs... or the British Parliment.  Our nation: bitterly divided over an issue bigger than any "hope" or "change" ... and yet the sun still rose on the land of the free this morning.  Perhaps a little less free than we were yesterday... but perhaps a little more sober.  Awake.  Aware that this is really happening.  And will continue to happen, so long as we are complacent.

As the newscasts rolled tape this morning, a few glimmers of hope: Virginia.  Flordia.  Lawsuits challenging the unconstitutional nature of the circus - the freak show - that took place on Capital Hill yesterday.  And, unexpectedly: Rep. Stupak.

I was as angry with him as with any of yesterday's perpetrators, but I heard news this morning that gave me pause: Pelosi, according to a source on the Hill, had the votes she needed, with our without Stupak.  And so he made a last ditch effort, a mere footnote in the saga of how America committed moral suicide really, which may have been for nothing, but which was something.  He secured the Executive Order.

In exchange for this concession on the President's part, Rep. Stupak was required to pay a heavy price: his own "Yes" vote for the abhorrent bill, perhaps putting the nail in his own political coffin.

If all that is necessary for evil to flourish is the silence of good men who do nothing... it's good to know that one man did something.  Not enough... but something.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:1-4

Friday, March 19, 2010

Call Your Representatives... Today!

The final ObamaCare call list - I know you're sick of hearing about it.  God knows I'm sick of talking and writing about it.  But those bullying thugs on the Hill don't - or won't - hear our voices.  Pick up your phone and cast your vote, while the right is still ours.

(Please note: Most representatives' email contact forms require you to enter a zip code and address located within their district.)

Talking points: Americans for Tax Reform (PDF)

House Democrats on the fence:

Brian Baird (WA-03)

Lincoln Davis (TN-04)

Glenn Nye (VA-02)

John Tanner (TN-08)

Harry Teague (NM-02)

Jason Altmire (PA-4)
202-225- 2565

John Boccieri (OH-16)

Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)

Scott Murphy (NY-20)

Tell Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) not to give in to Obama.

Here's The Hill's latest whip count

Here's the NRCC's Code Red target list

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Obama vs. Jefferson

"I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedures are in the House and in the Senate." - Barack Hussein Obama

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.  The people themselves are its only safe depositories." - Thomas Jefferson

"By the time the vote has taken place ... (on healthcare reform), not only I will know what's in it, you will know what's in it..." - Barack Hussein Obama

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

"This notion that this process has been not transparent, that people don't know what's in the bill... everybody knows what's in the bill!" - Barack Hussein Obama

"He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do Your Thang

Call list: 16 Dems who voted NO and now may switch their votes to YES
(Please note: Most representatives' email contact forms require you to enter a zip code and address located within their district.)

House Democrats who voted against ObamaCare the first time but are still on the fence this time around:

Brian Baird (WA-03)

John Barrow (GA-12)

Allen Boyd (FL-02)

Travis Childers (MS-01)

Lincoln Davis (TN-04)

Betsy Markey (CO-04)

Jim Matheson (UT-02)

Michael McMahon (NY-13)

Glenn Nye (VA-02)

John Tanner (TN-08)

Harry Teague (NM-02)

Bart Gordon (TN-6)

Jason Altmire (PA-4)
202-225- 2565

John Boccieri (OH-16)

Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)

Scott Murphy (NY-20)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Save the Children

What won't the (mostly) democrats stoop to in their quest to "overhaul" health care?  You've gotta love the guts it took for Harry Reid to parade a bereaved 7 year old in front of the Senate earlier this week, feeding him lines carefully designed to tug on the right heartstrings and deliver the appropriate key words to communicate his sorrow over losing his mother due to (sob) "insufficient health care coverage."

But then, from a collective hell bent on the destruction of children at whatever cost, what wouldn't they stoop to?  Children are disposable and void of personhood while they're inside the womb, so why not pimp out a grieving toddler to make your point? 

Here's hoping that the American people recognize this pathetic and indecent posturing for what it is: smoke, mirrors, and wildly inappropriate behavior violating the rights of a child, all in hopes of a sympathy bump in the polls.

Nice try, but I think we all know that the rights and well-being of children are matters well above these people's paygrades.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Selectively Tolarant

"Either you are with me, or you are my enemy." - Anakin Skywalker 

Ever notice how the concepts of "rights" and "freedom of speech" get tossed around like so many other buzzwords of our time, only to be rescinded the moment you say something with which the champion of said concepts takes offense to/disagrees with?

Such is the state of our cultural and political milieu.  In a society which publicly extols tolerance as virtue and relativism as the only absolute truth... it's absolutely mind boggling to watch what happens when one tries to carry either to its logical conclusion.

Because when those persons who claim to champion choice and acceptance as universal entitlements are faced with an idea, circumstance or individual they find unsavory, they do what comes naturally to the human mind: they make a judgment of their own, and do indeed beg to differ.

If you don't believe me, examine with an unbiased eye (if you can) the cultural showdown issue of the moment, Christianity vs. homosexuality.  It would appear that the Church, on the one side, is considered hopelessly outdated, hypocritical and hateful in her opposition to homosexual behavior, and in her refusal to officially condone or sanction such behavior, despite pressures to do just that.

On the other hand, the champions of the homosexual agenda, gay activists and the media, are portrayed as heroic and somehow revolutionary in their attempts to bully the Church into doing exactly that: changing.  The very thing they claim they cannot - or will not - do, they are demanding of their perceived adversary.  The irony is stark and might even be entertaining, were the stakes not so high.

Because it's not enough, it turns out, to live and let live.  When someone believes something to be true, holds it as dogma, extols it as reality ... they can't stand to be contradicted or disagreed with.  Besides shaking the foundation of certainty upon which their knowledge rests, it irks them that someone should beg to differ on something so dear and so true for them.  Despite every protest that "what's true for them isn't true for me... they won't rest until they reverse the adage and make it so, force it to be so.

Hence the push for curriculum overhaul and revision in our school systems.  Hence the agenda-driven entertainment programming on the big and small screens.  Hence the inability to rest until rights are not simply guaranteed for those who believe as they do, but the rights of those who disagree are eradicated.

How's that for tolerance? 

It begs the question really, quo veritas?  And whether or not true veritas can be discovered, if we're all operating from subjective positions of experience and personal belief.


What's a post-modern, globally-minded citizen to do?  If only there were some, I don't know, higher Truth to check our beliefs against, some immovable yardstick agaisnt which we might measure the assumptions and certainties of our age. 

If only...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gay As I Wanna Be ...

Between Boulder and Mississippi (there's an unnatural pairing if ever there was one), the debate over "gay rights" is raging hot and heavy in the national and local press right now, leaving many wondering what all the fuss is about.

The Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuality, scarcely explored and oft-misrepresented, have come under particularly heavy fire in my neck of the woods in light of Archbishop Charles Chaput's affirmation of the archdiocese of Denver's - and the Church's - enrollment policies for Catholic schools.  In a press release given earlier this week, the Archdiocese eloquently and firmly stated that:
To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching.  Our admission policy states clearly, “No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school’s philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese.”

Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment. To allow children in these circumstances to continue in our school would be a cause of confusion for the student in that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they experience in the home.
 Accusations of hatred, bigotry, intolerance and slander have been sent flying, and GLBT activists in Boulder - and nationwide - have been stirred into a frenzy, but is there cause for such distress?

Let's examine the reasoning behind the decision to refuse re-enrollment to these kids.  According to the above statement, prospective parents are fully aware of the implicit adherence to Catholic teachings upon enrollment of their offspring in a Catholic institution.  I suppose that Jewish, Muslim and heck, even Montessori schools have some kind of "code of conduct" or "system of belief" to which they ascribe, and from which they inform their academic curriculum.  If not, then what would be the point of attending  a specific type of school?

Catholic teaching, however difficult to swallow in a multicultural milieu such as ours, has remained consistent, if nothing else, over the millennium.  Why then all the shock and disbelief over the school enforcing their own clearly stated policy?

Because it's "intolerant."  Of course, that same argument could be turned against the parents in this situation, seeking to enforce and superimpose their beliefs upon the Catholic Church... but I don't suppose that's going to be a popular argument.

Because the Church is one of the last remaining scapegoats of our time.  It is perfectly acceptable - laudable even - to demonstrate the most outrageous anti-Catholic bigotry in the media and in common conversation at cocktail parties.  It's acceptable to advocate for the advancement of anti-Catholic legislation in our government.  And it's becoming increasingly popular to pressure Catholics into abandoning their practices of faith in public... in short, it's the last acceptable form of discrimination.

But isn't that precisely what the Church is attempting to do to gays?

In a word, no.

The Church views the practice of  homosexuality as just one disorder in a long list of conditions which afflict the human person.  (Consequently, until recent decades, so too did the American Psychological Association, but you'll have to score a copy of DSM-II if you don't believe me.)

Let me be quite clear in stating that the Church does not - nor has she ever - condemned the homosexual person.  Partly because she staunchly refuses to identify the person by the disorder from which he suffers.  A person is never just an alcoholic or just a cancer sufferer... the condition does not the man make.

I'm sure blood pressures are spiking at this point because, yes, I just drew the analogy between homosexuality and disease.  But hear me out.  Or rather, hear us out.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2357:
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
Hard words, those.  But read on.  Paragraph 2358 concludes:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.(emphasis mine)
 Respect.  Compassion.  Sensitivity.  Three values that any human person - however he or she might identify sexually - longs to be viewed in light of.

Do I contradict myself, then?  Am I foolishly advocating for an archaic institution which is in regular violation of all three of the aforementioned values?

Again, no.  It is not the Catholic Church who commits the grave sin of giving the suffering person over to their difficulty, to their compulsion... it is our culture.

Study after study has revealed the loneliness, depression, hopelessness, and instability which mark the homosexual lifestyle... but we now advocate for it as a "civil right," insisting that it is intolerance of the behavior - not the behavior itself - which is causing such anguish.  It's funny though, because in the Netherlands, arguably one of the most pro-gay places on the planet, a place where the practice of homosexuality has been widely and unquestioningly embraced, the suicide rate among individuals identifying as gay is 8 times that of men in heterosexual marriages.

I return then to the Denver Archdioceses' statement, focusing now on the closing paragraph: "To allow children in these circumstances to continue in our school would be a cause of confusion for the student in that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they experience in the home."

Odd that the Church, the very "cause" of such suffering in persons identifying as homosexual, would base a decision upon the purported well being of the students.  I'd wager many would argue that's not at all the case.  But it is, much as our confused and troubled world would like to deny it.

The Church recognizes the grave disservice done to a child who is being taught one thing at home and another in school... and with that, the autonomy of the parent.  Now, does this mean the Church should cow to the beliefs of the individual and adjust her doctrine accordingly to suit the will of the people?  Again, no.  It doesn't work that way.  I've said it before, but "man does not his own reality construct."  Well, except on reality TV.  But that's really another matter.

What this couple is essentially asking of the Church is a renouncement of belief on the Church's part.  Notice that the Church does not respond in kind, does not demand from the couple that they renounce their beliefs.  It is quite simply a difference of opinions ... on the nature of sin.

Our role as Catholics, as Christians, is to preach the Gospel, not to enforce it.  I know a million people would argue that this is precisely the Church's policy ... but they misunderstand the nature of sin and of the human person.  The Gospel, after all, speaks for itself through Christ and His disciples, through their lived witness, and much of what is contained "is a hard teaching... who can bear it?"

Who indeed?

More to follow...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Woman's Place

In a multi-national study of 24,000 adults in 23 countries recently released by Reuters, respondents were asked to respond to the following statement: "A woman's place is in the home, true or false?"

Provocatively worded, yes.  Even more provocative were the statistics it yielded:
"[the survey] showed that people from India (54 percent), Turkey (52 percent), Japan (48 percent), China, Russia, Hungary (34 percent each) and South Korea (33 percent) were most likely to agree that women should not work.

And, perhaps surprisingly, people aged between 18 and 34 years are most likely to hold that view, not those from the older, and more traditional, generation."
Okay all you old school feminists out there, start freaking.  It would seem that the liberated younger generation sprung from your loins are starting to assert their own "freedom of choice," recognizing that sometimes the workplace isn't the greatest place to be.

Now I'm all for women working outside the home... provided that there are not more pressing matters to be attended to inside the home.  And if the family can swing it.  And that's a big if.

And it doesn't just "happen."  Not in this economy.  Not in a financial and cultural system such as ours where dual incomes are assumed and housing rates and the cost of living reflects this, painfully in some cases.  No, choosing to stay home means choosing a whole host of other potential hardships: loneliness, loss of income, career-track derailment... not to mention an interminable sentence of regular diaper changing and laundry folding.  So who in their right mind would choose such a lifestyle?

A mother, that's who.  Because from the moment of conception, her life becomes utterly other-centered, and all those big dreams and career goals necessarily take a back seat to that little bit of immortality you've conspired to bring into the universe. 

Does this rule out a future in the workplace, a foray into politics, a potential professorship one day down the road?  By no means.  These may still be in the cards ... but not in the immediate future.  The here and now becomes much more focused, necessarily given over to the child who depends utterly upon you, more demanding than any boss and more pressing than any deadline.

It is not impossible to be a mother working outside the home... but neither is it ideal, contrary to what we may have had drilled into us growing up.  I can remember so many conversations with girlfriends and classmates which included the phrase "But I don't want to be just a mom," followed by furtive approval-seeking glances cast round the group or classroom.  Because although we were programmed with a deep reverence for choice ... there were some choices that were just unacceptable, not to mention archaic.

Which is odd, all things considered.

As it turns out, at least according to this study, there are more and more oddballs cropping up round the world, women embracing the bold choice to take on a most serious and demanding task worthy of all their training and pedigree: parenting their own child.  Apparently it's a even more specialized market than we realized, and it can't be done by just anybody.

Or rather, can't be done as well by just anybody.  Because although you might be the best lawyer your firm has employed in 50 years, the best pediatric cardiologist in your geographic area, or the most charismatic second grade teacher in your entire district... no one can be a better mother to your children than you can, and that's a fact. 

So the next time somebody tries to bully you into reconsidering your "free choice" to be an at-home parent, be sure to call to mind the nobility of your work, and the specialization required to be the heart of your home ... and kindly clue them into the highly specialized and wildly sought-after market niche you're filling: somebody's mom.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Might As Well Face It

I'm addicted to LOST.

Can anyone else speak into the stunning contrast between the entire series and C.S. Lewis' Perelandra?  Or am I making that up?  Also, if someone could tell me whether or not John Locke is, in fact, Satan... I think I'd rest easier at night.

I can't believe there are a mere 5 episodes left... and I don't know how we'll possibly fill the void of Tuesday nights.  This show is quite literally the only piece of pop culture that doesn't leave me feeling void and sometimes soiled after consuming... and I think about it after it ends.  Every. Freaking. Episode.

Guess I'll have to get a real hobby.  Maybe one like this guy.  Yikes...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Contracepting Vocations

Check out this fabulous piece I stumbled upon during a random google image search for a picture of my 10 week old babe.  I'm sure I'll be reflecting on this for weeks to come.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monster Baby

My nephew and godson, Michael Joseph, is the most precious little man I've ever met... and perhaps the most proficient in growth and development.  He's 5 months old today and tips the scales at 22 lbs.  This, I have been told, is not normal.

Now, be assured, he has the height to match his heft, though the above image is perhaps a tad unflattering to his midsection... but I love his little tummy! 

Suffice it to say, I'm wondering how precocious the development of my own little peanut will be ... and hoping that he or she is comparatively more petite, at least in the beginning. 

Love you Mikey!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Because I Can

I'd like to get a few things off my chest.

First: I loathe our president.  Okay, I don't technically "hate" anyone, but darned if I haven't had to confess feelings of rage and malice for everything that man stands for at almost every visit to the box in the past 14 months....

Second: Universal Healthcare?  Reeeeally?  Remind me who's paying for it again?  And could somebody explain to me how $180 a month for a basic plan is simply out of reach for some Americans, while $300 smart phones and $90 monthly data plans are the status quo?  Here's an idea: You may have free healthcare... if, you can prove that you are actually destitute beyond  a reasonable doubt.  (Note: this means you have neither cable, a cell phone, internet access, nor any of the other myriad "necessities" our culture has deemed essential to existence.  Sheesh.)  I mean, come on people, I've been broke as hell before... but there are some things that you shell out for and others that you go without... and the government isn't there to tell you which is which!

Third: A killer whale dragged a woman to a drowning death by the ponytail, and this is apparently "big news."  For 3 days running.  Now, I am as grieved by the loss of human life as any healthy person would be, but it is not exactly front page news, particularly when the hottest buzz surrounding the incident is whether or not the fricking Orcas are being mistreated at Sea World.  Um, yes.  They probably are.  They are probably very unhappy to be living in fish tanks and not out surfing ice shelves and snarfing down seals.  But seriously, how many humans does this whale have to whack in order to qualify as a credible threat to society?  Put the thing back in the ocean and put it out of its misery.

And finally: I am pregnant.  And this is my blog.  Therefore, I can say preeeeeetty much whatever I want, and you can't fault me for it (well, unless it is immoral or objectively untrue).  Also, please recognize that if you submit obscene, misogynistic, or generally twisted comments for moderation... heh, guess what?  They're not going up.  Period.  Sorry to be so harsh, but I'm not submitting myself or my readers to that abuse.  That being said, please know that I am praying for you, even if you totally freak me out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Families

Last night as I eagerly awaited another frustrating and mystifying installment of the LOST series finale, I stumbled upon a most bizarre juxtaposition of ideologies on the small screen.  Flipping through the channels, I happened upon the latest episode of TLC's juggernaut of the moment, 19 Kids and Counting, and immediately found myself caught up in the storyline.

For those non-familiar with the (in) famous Duggar clan, Michelle Duggar recently gave birth to number 19 of their brood, a sweet micro-preemie they named Josie, delivered at just 24 weeks gestation.  She's alive, but she's got a ways to go, and for better or worse, they're capturing it all on camera.

A commercial break jarred me from my reflection on the fact that technology and good medical care can sustain such a tiny life, and I mindlessly flipped through a few channels, stopping on a former favorite.  Now I will be the first to admit, when I was a teenager I loved MTV.  My sister and I would not have missed an episode of TRL for anything, and I was shamelessly up to date on the goings-on in the current Real World house.

I'm no longer a pop-culture consumer, and I've since learned a good deal about the marketing strategies and structure of MTV, along with the truth that basically every second of programming they feature is essentially a commercial.  But in most cases, they're exporting (or distorting) culture, not products.
Nefarious social agenda aside, I was intrigued by the appearance of a spritely blonde high school sophomore tanning beachside with her girlfriends, sporting a bulging belly at least 8 months along.  I immediately had two thoughts: "I will never look like that in my third trimester" and "How in the hell does this qualify as entertainment programming?"

I watched in a mixture of horror, fascination and sadness as the main character narrated her life for the camera, introducing the audience to her mother, mom's live in boyfriend, and the baby daddy himself - a 16 year old punk with a serious vocabularic deficiency and an even more serious drinking problem.  I watched for about 5 minutes in my suspended state of disbelief before remembering the alternate storyline waiting for me on TLC.

Flash back to Arkansas, where all 21 Duggars are crowded into a hospital room, the smallest of the group encased in a plastic incubator and drawing coos and smiles from her prodigious family.  Two women, worlds (and years) apart, both dealing with "complicated" pregnancies... one completely unexpected and the other utterly welcome... it really makes you wonder.
And two tiny lives, both born too soon in a way, one to a child mother, and the other to a mother of many children.  Which one really stands a better chance at surviving, though, I wondered... a better chance at thriving?

I flipped back to MTV a few minutes later and watched as little mama narrated her frustration with baby Jace's deadbeat father, screamed at her own mother, and rolled her eyes (understandably) at mom's narsty looking live in boyfriend who allegorically compared her worth to that of a paper towel, eloquently illustrated by the (you guessed it) paper towel he was waving for emphasis.  It was obvious that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong in this young life... and yet, God had allowed it all.

Why hadn't she had an abortion, some viewers must have been wondering?  Why was she allowed to keep the baby when she was clearly unprepared to parent on her own?  And why was she not on birth control of some sort in the first place, preventing such a tragedy from ever occurring?  I'm sure plenty of people (some of my readers included) would ask these very questions, outraged at the circumstances surrounding little Jace's foray onto planet earth... but I would argue that their questions are wrong-headed... and mis-directed. 

Because no matter the circumstances of one's birth, these alone can never, ever determine one's ultimate worth.

Little Josie Duggar is no less important - or unique - of a human being than is her oldest brother Josh... the fact that there are 17 other siblings in between them holds no bearing on whether or not she "should" exist.  The point is, she does.  Every life, particularly in this culture, is a victory - however brief - over death.  No matter if Josie Duggar makes it to 6 months or 6 years old, she is here, and she is a part of a plan that cannot and will not be executed without her participation.

The same goes for Jace, the MTV progeny.  His mom is an emotionally unstable high schooler.  His dad will probably never give him paternal support in any form... but he exists, and his life is not measureable against the qualities or qualifications of the people who cooperated to create him.

This is what the pro-aborts don't grasp, won't grasp: that every life is valuable, or no life is valuable.

The moment we rule in judgment against someone's "right" to exist based upon financial, emotional, social, chronological, genetic, religious, or racial standards; we all cede claims to these same rights.  Because we, as finite human beings, can never objectively rule on whether or not someone else has the "right" to be here.

Some would argue that the Duggars are irresponsible in their fecundity, that their children are a drain on society that it isn't possible to love and adequately nurture such a large family ... but they are wrong.

The Duggars are debt free.  Their children play musical instruments and travel to foreign countries (not that it matters).  Each child reads above grade level, and converses with adults on an alarmingly comfortable level.  Not only are they well-provided for by their parents, they are known by them.  The 20 minutes of quality time a week each Duggar child averages with mom or dad are worth more than 2 weeks of annual family vacation with 4 estranged members, each plugged into his or her own IPod.

Returning to the second story line, it is perhaps more easily justifiable to argue that baby Jace should have been aborted, that his mom should have been tagged or drugged to prevent her from pro-creating... but these also are wrong-headed assertions.  The problem is not that Jace exists: the problem is not that his mom was able to conceive.  The problem is not that when a man and a woman's body are united in fertile sexual intercourse, a new person is sometimes created.  All of these "problems" are beter identified by another name: reality.

In reality, women can get pregnant.  It means that our bodies are doing something right... and it is perhaps the most tremendous responsibility with which we will be entrusted in our mortal lifetime.  The problem for little Jace goes back further, than one night after the Homecoming dance, and deeper than the contrast between his mama's roots and her peroxide-brightened hair.

You see, at some point, mama's parents checked out.  Dad split, and mom did her best, but is now shacking up with an utterly unsuitable role model who leaves much to be desired in the way of paternal modeling.  What's a 16 year old to do, you might ask, besides get knocked up?

But this doesn't alter reality.  This isn't the way things are designed to function... and when something is broken, you don't re-organize and restructure the rest of the machine - or civilization - around the busted part.  Our culture, and individual families, is tremendously broken.  No amount of birth control or social programming is going to fix that, ultimately.

Pills, patches and welfare checks all treat the symptom, but fail to identify (or even acknowledge) the cause.  Abortion is a far more destructive divergence from reality than a knocked up teenager.  Now on top of parental uninvolvement, a lack of supervision, and sexual sin... you heap death.

The way our culture seems to approach teen pregnancy - or any type of "unwanted" pregnancy - is to wait around until something hits the fan, and then to react, violently.  Are condoms the answer, then?  Mandatory birth control regimens for underage coeds?  No.  Keep going back.  Further back.

Because it will never be sufficient to treat the symptoms of evil, it must be taken out at the root.  And make no mistake: the baby, the human person, is not the evil to be removed.  People make bad choices, people sin... but there is always room for redemption. He left us that option.  How dare we deny anyone else their due?

The very real problems I watched playing out on screen were ultimately rooted in a lack of love, in an unstable and imperfect family environment - and let's face it, who among us were raised in perfect families?

I'm definitely trying to cover too much in too little space, but the juxtaposition of these two families, the Duggars and the cast of "16 and Pregnant," was just too perfect, too chilling.  One child welcomed with love and open arms, despite her physical frailty, the other received as an intrusion and a terrible burden, though blessed with perfect health and good looks.  Who are we, really, to be the judges?  And who's to say which life is more "worthy"

No one, that's who.  Not in this lifetime, anyway.