Lenten Meditation

I so wanted to post this by Ash Wednesday, and here we are ~ a day late.  There is always so much I want to say and so much I wish I could accomplish.

I have been struggling with my own cross, my infertility.  It's always there, lurking over me and at times can really bear down on me.  I know that I need to focus on the gifts of these three sons I've been so blessed to mother and concentrate on what I have ~ not on what I can't do.  I often wonder how this cross of mine is like a woman who finds herself pregnant with an "unwanted" baby.  The complete and utter lack of control, the wondering why, the sadness, the frustration, the ache.  I don't know if it's at all the same or not?  So often apparent opposites aren't as different as they seem.

I know the answer to that "why" question when I look at my boys.  And, I am part of the answer to their birthmother's "why".  We have fulfilled a need for each other.  The other part of their "why" can only be explained by God, but I do know that it has something to do with their finding their way to Him.

We each have our own crosses to bear and I find great comfort in knowing exactly Who mine came from and His whole purpose in sending it.  Not to mention the three incredible boys He's sent to help me carry it.  As we make our way through this holy season of Lent, I pray that all of you will find your way a little closer to Him, too.

Splinters From The Cross

Little headaches, little heartaches
   Little griefs of every day.
Little trials and vexations,
   How they throng around our way!
One great cross, immense and heavy,
   So it seems to our weak will,
Might be borne with resignation,
   But these many small ones kill,
Yet all life is formed of small things,
   Little leaves, make up the trees,
Many tiny drops of water
   Blending, make the mighty seas.
Let us not then by impatience
   Mar the beauty of the whole,
But for love of Jesus bear all
   Asking Him for grace sufficient
To sustain us through each loss,
   And to treasure each small offering
As a splinter from His Cross.


Abortion Statistics

All of the following statistics are from the Guttmacher Institute (GI) or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or from Johnston's Archive (WRJ).  I have linked you to their source.
The Guttmacher Institute is the research arm of Planned Parenthood, who is the largest abortion provider in the United States.

Since 1973, when abortion was legalized, there have been approximately 50 million abortions in the United States.  (GI)

In 2005, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 1.21 million abortions performed in the United States.
That is 3,315 abortions per day.  (GI) (WRJ)

There were 4.14 million live births in 2005 in the United States.  Taking into account the 1.21 million abortions that same year, about 23% of all pregnancies ended in abortion.  (WRJ)

89% of abortions occur in the first trimester (first 12 weeks) of pregnancy.
before 9 weeks: 61.3% = 741,730
9-10 weeks: 17.8% = 21,380
11-12 weeks: 9.6% = 11,616
13-15 weeks: 6.7% = 81,070
16-20 weeks: 3.5% = 42,350
21+ weeks: 1.1% = 13,310
all abortions: 100% = 1.21 million

Half of all abortions are performed on women 24 years old or younger.
less than age 15: 0.5%
age 15-19: 16.4%
age 20-24: 32.6%
age 25-29: 23.4%
age 30-34: 14.5%
age 35-39: 8.7%
age 40+: 3.2%

Blacks and Hispanics comprise 28% of the population, yet they account for nearly 60% of all abortions.  A black woman is three times as likely to have an abortion as a white woman.  A Hispanic woman is 2 1/2 times as likely to have an abortion as a white woman.
White: 34%
Black: 37%
Hispanic: 22%
Other: 7%

Women living below the federal poverty line abort at a higher rate than women living above the poverty line.  A single woman having an annual income of about $11,000 is four times more likely to abort than a woman making at least $30,000 per year.  (GI)

Research indicates that 98%  of all abortions are related to issues of "personal choice".  The primary reasons women give for having an abortion include:
not feeling emotionally capable: 32%
not financially capable: 25%
having a child would drastically alter her life: 16%
(GI) (WRJ)

The three most frequently cited "hard cases" in which abortion might be justified are rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother.  However, women rarely report that they are seeking an abortion for any of these reasons:
Rape: 0.3%
Incest: 0.03%
Protection of mother's life: 0.2%
Out of 1,000 women that seek an abortion only 3 cite rape as their reason, and only 2 cite protecting her life as the reason for abortion.  Out of 10,000 women that seek abortion only 3 cite incest as a reason.

Four hundred and eighty physicians have signed a public declaration stating: "I agree that there is never a situation in the law or in the ethical practice of medicine where a preborn child's life need be intentionally destroyed by procured abortion for the purpose of saving the life of the mother."


My Valentines

The following poem is special to me because it expresses the kind of mother my mother was to me (Thank you, Mom!) AND the kind of mother I desire to be to my boys.
I want my boys to know they're loved every single day . . . no matter what!  Time goes too fast to take for granted.  I'm not as good at the little things in this poem as my Mom was (I have a serious uneasiness with disorder that my mother didn't have), but learning how to love from the best has helped me tremendously.
I have to thank my valentine-husband for loving me for being the kind of mother I want to be! He knows what a gift motherhood is to me and he knows how much I love my boys and he loves me for it.
Happy St. Valentine's Day to all of my Valentines!  I am soooooooo blessed! 

Mother, oh Mother,
come shake out your cloth,
empty the dustpan,
poison the moth,
hang out the washing
and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house
is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery,
blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little
Boy Blue (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done
and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing
will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up,
as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep. 

~Author Unknown ~


Precious Feet

Have you seen the "precious feet"?

It's a lapel pin that's become the "international pro-life symbol".  They're the size of an unborn baby's feet at ten weeks after conception.
The back of the card that they come on says:

When people see your Precious Feet pin you have the opportunity to share about the humanity of the unborn.  At 10 weeks an unborn baby is perfectly formed - right down to the toes!  All that is needed is time to grow.  The unborn cannot speak for themselves.  You speak for them by wearing your Precious Feet.
I've been wearing mine over my heart.  It's one more simple way to remind others, to make them think and hopefully wonder, about the unborn.


Red Envelope

I found this at Are We There Yet.  It's a GREAT idea and so simple.  Hopefully it will also turn out to be a powerful statement to the recipient. 

Dear Friends and Intercessors:

This afternoon I was praying about a number of things, and my mind began to wander. I was deeply distressed at the symbolic actions that President Obama took as he began his presidency. Namely, that he signed executive orders releasing funds to pay for abortions, permission to fund human stem cell research, and federal funding for contraception.

I have been involved in the pro-life movement for nearly 20 years, and it pained my heart to see a man and a political party committed to the shedding of innocent blood. This man, and this party lead our country, but they do not represent me or the 54% of Americans who believe that abortion is wrong and should no longer be legal.

As I was praying, I believe that God gave me an interesting idea. Out in the garage I have a box of red envelopes. Like the powerful image of the red LIFE tape, an empty red envelope will send a message to Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue. It will be quiet, but clear.

Here is what I would like you to do:Get a red envelope. You can buy them at Kinkos, or at party supply stores. On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington , D.C.

On the back, write the following message:
This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.

Put it in the mail, and send it. Then forward this email to every one of your friends who you think would send one too. I wish we could send 50 million red envelopes, one for every child who died before having a a chance to live. Maybe it will change the heart of the president.

John Otto

Glorious Mystery Meditations

The Resurrection ~ As the soldiers stood guard in anticipation of Life triumphing over death . . .
I ask that my prayers be as soldiers guarding the hearts of any mother considering abortion and that life will triumph over death.   

The Ascension ~ I'm always struck by how bittersweet the Ascension must have been.  The hope that carried the people, who were present, away from that spot had to be a mighty and powerful hope!
I pray for a hope that powerful for the unborn baby of any mother considering abortion today.     

The Descent of the Holy Ghost ~ The Holy Ghost, also called the Comforter, infused ALL that was necessary for the apostles to go forth and do God's will in starting His church and spreading His faith.
I pray that the Comforter will infuse all expectant mothers with ALL that is necessary for them to go forth and do God's will in
bringing their babies to life.

The Assumption ~ Death of our body is a result of original sin.  Since our Blessed Mother was immaculately conceived she did not suffer death, but was assumed into Heaven body and soul.
I pray that our Blessed Mother will wrap Her heavenly arms around any mother who is struggling with thoughts of abortion, and comfort her
with the peace of God's will.

The Coronation ~ Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy intercession was left unaided.
I pray that any mother contemplating abortion will find our Blessed Mother's protection, help and intercession through this rosary.



Sorrowful Mystery Meditations

The Agony in the Garden
~ Our Lord's agony in the garden can parallel our own struggles as we face obvious difficulties just ahead of us. His prayer was, "not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke ch. 22 v. 42)
I pray that any woman facing an unexpected pregnancy will have God's will made perfectly clear.

The Scourging at the Pillar ~ The gut wrenching brutality with which Our Lord was scourged and the strength with which He endured
is testimony of His perfection and His love.
I pray that His suffering will give strength to anyone who is considering abortion, to endure their struggle and to let their baby live.

The Crowning with Thorns ~ The mortification and humiliation the King of Heaven and earth must have felt while they crowned Him with thorns, spit upon Him, and mocked Him is hard to imagine.
I pray that His mortification will give all women the courage to overcome anything that might keep them from carrying their baby to

The Carrying of the Cross ~ Just as Our Lord had Simon of Cyrene to help carry His Cross, we, too, need help many times through out life.
I pray that anyone carrying the cross of an unexpected pregnancy will have a "Cyrenian" in their life to help them carry their cross and give their baby life.

The Crucifixion ~ This, for me, is the most amazing miracle Our Lord ever performed. This must be where "actions speak louder than words" comes from, because there are no words for His actions here. They're not even necessary, are they? No greater love than this!
I pray that the miracle of His death will give those who are contemplating abortion today the grace to continue the life He has created in their unborn baby.


Joyful Mystery Meditations

The Annunciation ~ Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary said, "Yes" to our Lord when faced with an unexpected pregnancy ~ I pray that women today who find themselves in the same situation will follow Her example.

The Visitation ~ In perfect charity, and right after receiving the news that She was with Child, the Blessed Virgin traveled to Her cousin Elizabeth to assist her as she waited for the birth of St. John the Baptist.
I pray that anyone contemplating abortion today will be given the grace to put their unborn child before themselves ~ in perfect charity.

The Nativity ~ The seeming poverty in which the Baby Jesus was born to this earth was no indication of the richness and fullness of His Life or His impact on all the people of the earth.
I pray that no matter how poor the situation seems that women contemplating abortion
today will realize that it's no indication of the
possibilities that come with a new life.

The Presentation ~
 Forty days after His birth, our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph 
brought the Baby Jesus to the temple, according to Jewish law, to present Him to the Lord.  It just so happened that Simeon (who "had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord" - Luke ch. 2 v. 26) was at the temple. Upon meeting the Baby Jesus Simeon said, "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word, in peace: Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of they people, Israel." (Luke ch. 2 vs. 29-32)
I pray that just as Simeon recognized his salvation when he saw Him that any woman facing an unwanted pregnancy will recognize it as part of her salvation and choose life.

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple ~ The only words we have to
describe Our Lord's childhood are, "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth: and was subject to them.  And his mother kept all these words in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men." (Luke ch.2 vs. 51-52)
I pray that the unborn today will be given the chance to grow in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.  


An Engaging Thought

I love to cook and I love to eat AND I love to eat what I cook. I'm not sure if I know anyone who enjoys their own cooking as much as I do. With that said, when I take a dish that I've made to share at a potluck I get a l-i-t-t-l-e over excited about others tasting my food. I usually end up teasing people, even perfect strangers, about how very much they're going to like what ever it is I've made.

As twisted as this may seem, it brings me to the point of this post. Here is a story about a woman going about her business which ends up saving the life of an unborn baby. Please read the story before you go on.

Most expectant mothers have ultrasounds done at some point during their pregnancy. Many people ~ Mommy-to-be, Daddy-to-be, Grandma-to-be, etc. ~ carry a picture of that ultrasound with them to show off their new bundle of joy. So . . . what if people started showing off their ultrasound pictures in the same way that I show off my culinary creations - in an engaging, playful, (and yes), proud way - to perfect strangers. There's the grocery store checker and bagger, the pharmacy technician, the postal worker, the bank teller, the dental assistant, the teacher, the person next to you in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, anyone you come into contact with.  The possibilities are endless.

Who wouldn't be happy for you?
What's the worst thing that could happen?
They might think you're a bit crazy, but who cares!
What's the best thing that could happen?
Like the scenario in this story . . . you could be instrumental in saving the life of an unborn baby!
Now that is worth taking a risk for!