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Archive for October, 2008

Story time…

Once upon a time, I was a pregnant 17 year old.  I had always been pro-life, but I was absolutely petrified and had no clue how on earth I would be able to finish college with a baby or even how I’d START college.  Then I found an organization called The Nurturing Network and they gave me the message that I needed to hear: “do not be afraid.”  They told me that yes, things might be hard, but if I wanted to choose birth and parenting they’d be with me every step of the way.  6 1/2 years down the line, they have been with me every step of the way and where I am is a tribute to the love that they offered me.  Today I am the mother to my 6 year old son (as well as his 3 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and 2 month old brothers and sister!)  I graduated college on time, as did my husband and both of us are now working in jobs that we love.  Who we are is a direct result of the love and compassion that we received, thanks to a woman named Mary Cunningham Agee.

The Nurturing Network (TNN) was founded 23 years ago by Mrs. Agee after she suffered the loss of her first child, a daughter named Angela Grace, in a 2nd trimester pregnancy loss.  Mary is a life long Catholic, and TNN is the result of her search for meaning in the wake of personal tragedy.  Mary left behind a successful career in corporate America, and literally sold a vacation home to have the start up money to fund TNN.  She has been the unpaid President of TNN for over two decades, working to make sure that carrying a pregnancy to term is a viable option for any woman who visits TNN’s website or calls TNN’s 800 number.  It is inspiring to know someone who would be willing to give so freely of herself for others, and I am honored to call Mary one of my closest friends.

TNN exists outside the debate regarding legality of abortion, and instead chooses to focus on the majority of women who experience unplanned pregnancies: women who have abortions in the absence of other meaningful options.  In particular, TNN exists to serve the college or working women for whom abortion might seem to be their only “choice.”  Whether it’s a home with a Nurturing Family so that a woman can live in an environment supportive of her decision for birth, the help of caring medical professionals, counselors, laywers, a facilitated transfer to another college or university, a meaningful employment opportunity or even just a friend to talk to for encouragement along the way… TNN will do whatever they can to make sure that a woman can choose to nurture her child’s life- and make the most of her life as well.

Please spread the word about this wonderful organization.  You never know who you could help by posting in your journal or in other communities or websites, and feel free to cut and paste what I’ve written here.  If you are pregnant and need the help that TNN can offer, do not hesitate to fill out an application for help.  It’s right in their website, completely free and confidential  and they get back to people pretty quickly.

http://www.nurturingnetwork.org

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I really love my job

Another client application in for someone I know we can help.  I ❤ The Nurturing Network!

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A monument of muffins

Flour, oats, sugar, honey, eggs, cider, butter, cinnamon, baking powder.  Mix and stir.  Bake and cool.  The rhythm of the home.  Every home has a heartbeat, a living and carefully timed dance of productivity.  The laughter of children, the cry of infants looking to nurse.  Home is not just a functional space, nor is it some lofty ideal to be tenuously grasped.  The rhythm of the home is the heartbeat of the living domestic Church.  Simple things are miraculous.  The every day becomes sacred.

I am not one who can do anything great on my own strength.  There will never be a building built in my honor.  My stories will never be in any history book.  The best that I can hope for is a monument of muffins baked by my daughter’s hands.  But in the end, maybe that’s all I really need after all.

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Here is my obligatory political post in honor of the upcoming elections.

So, for a few years there I tended towards liberalism.  I see a lot of overall societal problems that I wish could be overcome, and it makes sense that a government entity would take a large part in this.  There are many neglectful parents, people stuck in poverty through no fault of their own, people without basic needs like health care being met.  I used to think that government involvement could help in a lot of these cases.  As time went on, though, I became more and more convinced that this was wishful thinking.  The reason for the paradigm shift has been my strengthening conviction of the Christian belief in Original Sin.

Frankly, I wish that government COULD take all of those problems.  I wish that we could all come together to make sure that everyone had what they needed.  However, government is a purely human institution.  Even if it were founded by saints, the very nature of how government works would cause immense difficulties.  I believe in a flawed human nature.  In looking at our current economic crisis, where government still has fairly limited power, it’s clear that government enterprises like Fannie and Freddie became black holes of corruption.  I think disasters like that are inevitable when government becomes involved in things like ensuring minority access to housing.  Having minorities who have been economically impoverished enough to be unable to buy a house put into a position where property ownership is possible is a tremendously important goal.  That race and economic status are linked is an injustice.  It’s just not an injustice that I think the government could actually fix.

I don’t think that we can build the City of God on earth.  I just don’t think it’s possible.  I don’t think a purely human institution such as government can address the results of the wounded nature that all human beings share.  That doesn’t mean I’m an anarchist.  I do believe that government has a legitimate role in enforcing the natural law tenets that we agree on (such as “do not kill” and “do not steal.”)  I think it works well as a wall to keep people safe, including safe from things such as discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.  I don’t think it works very well as a road to get to the destination of a just society.

To resolve most of the problems that society faces, I think that one person helping another is still the best way of fixing things.  I see it in the work that I do, how sometimes just one person reaching out to another can immediately resolve a tremendous personal crisis.  I think we make present the City of God on earth by focusing on the City of God in Heaven, being willing to bear the crosses in our own lives for the sake of others.  Do we know the poor?  Do we give to them not just by writing a check but by giving ourselves?  It’s a really disturbing anthropology where gift of self can be accomplished by economic redistribution whether through charitable gift or taxation, and as Christians we are called to a gift of self.  I hope we all see ourselves as more than our bank accounts, at least.

Charity is attained in the gift of ourselves to others, recognizing in the face of those who are poor, hungry, and needy the face of a suffering Christ.  That is the call that we are given, and it is on a personal level.  I don’t think that government redistribution really fits that call.  I think that one absolutely can be a Christian and a liberal, but I don’t think that I’m called to be one of them.

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I’m a long time reader of Fr. Philip’s blog, and I had to speak out.  Father Philip says that he cares about freedom, but does he?  Does he really care?  As a long time student who has known Fr. Philip for ages… like, two whole kids ago, I had to speak out.

The rumors are true.  It’s all true.  Father Philip forces his religious beliefs on other people.  Here he is, horrifying onlookers as he and his conspirator seek to force their religious beliefs on an innocent child.

Kind hearted Dominican friar, or EVIL MASTERMIND????

Onlookers react with horror

Onlookers react with horror

Can you imagine a more terrifying picture?!  What is the world coming to?!?!?!?

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