The pie is served.

Life is a pie chart. Some women and mothers cannot only divide up their pie chart with astounding efficiency and fairness, but they create more slices of the pie out of thin air, just because the situation calls for it.

Someone named Tenneva Jordan (a Google search still doesn't tell me much about who she is or was) is quoted thusly saying:
"A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
I don't dish pie well. My slices are uneven. And being pregnant means I'm likely to want about four pieces for myself.

All this pie talk, besides making me crave my dad's homemade vanilla whipped cream, comes from realizing it's been about a month since I've sat down and written something online or posted a timely article to my Facebook page.

The hiatus began as a result of pie, of course. Thanksgiving at home in California meant time to escape the cold, bake gluten-free sweet potato biscuits and watch The Sing Off with my parents. No time to blog when Pentatonix is rocking "Video Killed the Radio Star."

Returning back to life in Spokane meant we immediately began a new phase of Sean's treatment--low dose allergen shots. For three days surrounding the shots, Sean had to eat a strict diet: cooked carrots, yams, celery, turnips and potatoes, seasoned with only salt, and no oils or butter.

Oh. And he could also eat lamb, rare fish, venison, and rabbit. Yes. Rabbit. For three days.

So my Thanksgiving vacation of avocado and turkey sandwiches and creamy green bean casserole ended with me calling our local Spokane butcher shop and meekly asking, "Um, yeah, do you guys carry... rabbit?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Ok, how much does rabbit cost per pound?"


"Ah, great. And, um... how much does a rabbit usually weigh? And can you cut one up for me?"

"They're about two pounds, ma'aam. And no, we can't."

After three days of fish patties "fried" in water, fatty lamb chops and one attempt at rabbit stew, Sean's diet mercifully ended. He's feeling no different, though he has a new appreciation for his wife after watching her hack off the hind quarters of Bugs Bunny.

I thought my pie might begin to empty out again. It hasn't, really.

Various other distractions and blessings have filled the days since--a good and much-missed friend returning to town and staying with us a bit; a slew of OB appointments and babysitting swaps, and a grueling traveling work schedule for Sean.

I'm maintaining daily life with my little man, preparing for Christmas, praying and working toward the day when we get to live closer to my family, and fostering the 20-week-old who kicks and fidgets hourly in my expanding womb. The pie is still full. But at least I dished out a slice to you today, dear reader.



You are my Costa Rica.

My always-adventurous, twenty-something cousin is spending some months in Costa Rica this semester. A free spirit in the best sense, she loves cooking organic food from her garden, sewing everything from aprons to ski suits, and has a deep affinity for dogs. A bridesmaid at my wedding and the only daughter to her parents (my godparents), she's a darling girl with a bright future.

I spent a few moments today perusing her latest online photo album from her exotic experience--scenes of lush plant life veiled in drifting fog, snapshots of food I doubt I could pronounce let alone recognize, and sweet pictures of her fellow young travelers.

It's enough to make this stay-at-home mom feel a bit, well, plain. My own decisions in college (ones I certainly do not regret) kept me stateside while friends ventured to Florence and Mazatlan. Even my hubby has been to Europe twice, both for World Youth Days. My older sister went to Oxford for a semester, and came back with a penchant for dark coffee, dark beer and good cigars.

Did I miss out, then? Where's my adventure?

My answer came as Baby J tugged at my jeans. "Up," he asked, and onto my lap he climbed. As I continued flipping through the pictures, he sat on my lap, fascinated by the images.

Then I noticed his reflection on the glossy surface of the laptop screen. His little face was near-perfectly framed by each photo, so that instead of just seeing happy kids in a hammock in the rainforest, I saw two big, green eyes and a little nose too. Instead of seeing just a plate of fried plantains, I saw chubby cheeks and a mouth smeared with pizza sauce.

That kid is my Costa Rica. He's my adventure.

And since he's got a new baby brother or sister on the way next year, I'm remembering to take as much time as I can to treasure his new words, his always-inquisitive hands and feet, his priceless hugs and goodnight snuggles.

A trip around the world, he ain't. But the Lord entrusted all of his exploits, his escapades and his own adventures to me and his dad. And I'm thankful for this journey.


Bishop Dewane, high five.

The 40 Days for Life prayer vigil is an important opportunity for people to stand as a witness against “this scourge in our society,” said Bishop Dewane.
He certainly gets it, doesn't he?

Bishop Frank Dewane, for the Diocese of Venice in southwest Florida, I give you the Domestic Apologist High Five.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane joined a group from Epiphany Cathedral Parish on Oct. 12, the mid-point of the 40 days vigil. He thanked them for coming out expressed how important it is to have a show of numbers each day throughout the 40 days. 
“It is our responsibility as Catholic [sic] to do this. We stand to defend life from conception to natural death. By coming out here, you make a difference,” Bishop Dewane added.
Calling prayerful vigil outside of abortion clinics a "responsibility" for Catholics. How refreshing.


So long, Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Ah shucks. Just when Baby J starts showing interest in watching a little "The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That," the American Academy of Pediatrics puts out a press release slamming the use of "media screens" to entertain kiddos under age two:
In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said their children under age 2 watch some form of electronic media. On average, children this age watch televised programs one to two hours per day. By age 3, almost one third of children have a television in their bedroom...

At the time, there was limited data on the subject, but the AAP believed there were more potential negative effects than positive effects of media exposure for the younger set. Newer data bears this out, and the AAP stands by its recommendation to keep children under age 2 as “screen-free” as possible...
 The key findings include:
  • Unstructured play time is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Children learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages through unstructured, unplugged play. Free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.
  • When parents are watching their own programs, this is “background media” for their children. Itdistracts the parent and decreases parent-child interaction. Its presence may also interfere with a young child’s learning from play and activities.
 The report recommends that parents and caregivers:
  • Instead of screens, opt for supervised independent play for infants and young children during times that a parent cannot sit down and actively engage in play with the child. For example, have the child play with nesting cups on the floor nearby while a parent prepares dinner. 
This all makes me chuckle all the more at Jennifer Fulwiler's recent trip down no-kids-yet lane, remembering what she misses about not having kids--which is knowing everything about perfect parenting:
Now that I’d dealt with the errors of that woman’s mothering, Old Jen Who Had it All Figured Out moved on to friends who let their kids watch TV. Had they not read the research? I wondered how to inform them politely that it is not ideal for young children to watch television, even for just an hour a day. “Instead of taking the easy way out and plopping your kids in front of the television,” I imagined myself saying to my unenlightened friends, “find some classic toys for them to play with—perhaps wooden blocks, or a wagon—or, better yet, read a book with your children to nurture their growing minds! ...
 All of those thoughts came flooding back as I looked at that old picture yesterday afternoon. Then a crashing sound caught my attention, and I turned around in time to see two of my kids dump out a box of books and begin throwing them at one another. My oldest child shouted from upstairs that he wanted to know if, theoretically, puddles of black ink are hard to get out of carpets. Then the baby started crying. I gathered the middle kids, put on an hour-long episode of Dora the Explorer, and implored them to LOOK AT THE NICE GLOWING SCREEN, ignoring their protests that they’d already seen it twice today. Then I tossed some formula into a bottle and popped it in the baby’s mouth, since even five lactation consultants had not been enough to help me to figure out breastfeeding.
Everything in that AAP statement sounds right. I know that having the news or What Not to Wear on distracts me from each and every playtime moment of Baby J if he's up and toddling around. But I also know that he points out animals, dances to songs and points to characters he likes in those PBS Kids shows. 

But, I'll plop Joey down next to me with some nesting cups tomorrow when I prepare dinner. We'll see how long his "unstructured play time" can last before I implore him to just go look at the NICE GLOWING SCREEN.


Who do you go for?

Of all the accusations hurled at pro-lifers though the years, I find this one most curious: that those against abortion care nothing about women or the issues surrounding pregnancy:
Think past the fetus and consider the systemic issues of children living in poverty, think of the women who died unnecessary, bloody and painful deaths. Pro-choice is not an immoral stance, it is a stance, which holistically considers multiple layers of moral decisions and the impact they have on others. People will find a way to have abortions whether or not you ban them, but that does not mean they will be safe.
"Pro-choice...holistically considers multiple layers of moral decisions." Wow. There's a stretch.

But that thought came to mind as Baby J and I arrived at Planned Parenthood yesterday during our 40 Days for Life time slot. A woman drove up and parked behind me as I was unloading the stroller from my trunk. She later introduced herself as Robin from a local parish, and we had a pleasant little pro-life tête-à-tête, as most of the prayer volunteers do.

Baby J and I then commenced our little ritual: I pray a rosary while pushing the stroller and, if good baby behavior and good weather permit, a Divine Mercy chaplet; he eats Cheerios and plays with an old cell phone, giving the occasional wave to a passing motorcycle.

At the end of our time slot, I saw that another woman had joined Robin, who was praying a rosary. The second woman didn't have a rosary, and as I was passing, I asked if she'd like to pray with my spare. She took me up on the offer. Robin then introduced her as Sandy, also sharing that she worked at the local crisis pregnancy center.

Wonderful, I said! But then Robin gave me a bit of a wink, and said, "Hey, show her those signs I saw in your trunk, Mary."

Hmm. Robin had sharp eyes. Inside my trunk, I keep two signs from the Silent No More awareness campaign--a subgroup of Priests for Life who encourage post-abortive men and women to share their pain and bring to light the bitter truth that yes, abortion really does harm women. While I had no qualms giving away one of my two signs, I didn't want to force a sign reading "Women Do Regret Abortion" on an unsuspecting gal. I said as much to them.

But then Sandy, in a voice low but firm, said, "Well, I am post-abortive, so I'd love to hold it."

Bam. Bam bam bam. Few times in my life have I gotten to talk with, pray with and hug a woman with an abortion in her past, but every time I do, I feel the grace of God's divine, healing, fulfilling, heart-filling love.

I am inspired by their courage. I am awed by their humility. I am chastened that my own heart can be so quick to judge. And I am renewed in my resolve to be at that abortion clinic.

You never know who are out there for: pregnant mothers, scared teenagers, or post-abortive women suffering silently. You never know who God is about to put in your path.

We must think past the rhetoric that an abortion is ever a good solution for a woman and her baby. We must think past the idea that poverty, poor medical conditions or other "hard cases" of moral severity justify the taking of innocent life.

Do pro-lifers stand in peaceful protest outside of abortion clinics because they care about unborn children and not pregnant mothers? Ask Sandy.


G-free review: Breaded shrimp. Yum.

Baby J and I ventured out to our local grocery store last night to pick up some dinner. My intent had been to buy a box of Starfish's delectable Gluten-Free Frozen Battered Cod, then scoop up some cilantro, cabbage, corn tortillas, pepper jack cheese and limes, making a fish taco feast.

But what did I find next to the cod? A treat I haven't had in about five years, since going gluten free.

Shrimp, my friends. Crispy, breaded, fattening, serve-me-with-crinkle-cut-fries-and-cocktail-sauce shrimp. It's possible I drooled on the freezer door.

There's no four-tiered rating today for gluten-free battered shrimp, though. And why? I've never seen a like product, at least not on the West Coast.

G-Free Gold Star: Besides being a bit smaller than the jumbo breaded shrimp I ate growing up, these little delights fit the bill just fine. Starfish sells crispy, battered, gluten-free versions of both cod, haddock and halibut, and even makes an Italian-breaded sole fillet. All are equally tasty to me, and all crisp up beautifully in a hot oven. 

Regular price at my grocery store, the battered fish sells for about $6 a box--not cheap, but all seafood in the Inland Northwest is already pricey, anyway. My store priced the breaded shrimp at about $7.50 a box, but had them on sale for $5.99. I splurged and picked up two: one box of the regular panko style, and one "salt and cracked black pepper" flavor. Both kinds reduced our dinner-table conversation to a steady stream of "oh man, that's good" and "ah, yum ... pass that cocktail sauce." 

Baby J took a bite of the breading and seemed to like it, but stuck mostly to the fries. 

One-third of Starfish's product line now consists of gluten-free items, and I sure hope they're selling them like hotcakes--or crab cakes, which I hope they'll start making.  


G-Free review: chocolate chip cookies!

If it's good, it's not cheap; and if it's cheap, it's not good. My beloved Nebraskan-Polish grandfather lived by that line (along with "Rest when you're dead, dammit"). For the vast majority of things in life, his line rang true--cheap cars break down; cheap hair dryers last until you've got an 8 a.m. meeting and could really use a good hair day.

But for off-the-shelf gluten-free items, a gross, crumbly, textureless chocolate chip cookie can cost just as much (or more) as a delicious one. Here are my winning--and losing--picks for that immortal sweet snack.

G-Free Gold Star: Hands down, the best chocolate chip cookie on the g-free market comes from Udi's. Chock-full of chocolate chips (no carob here), Udi's cookie dough has a barely-baked quality to it, making for a chewy, hearty bite each time. At my local grocery stores, though, they retail for about $5.99 for a container of 10 cookies. Paying nearly $6 for 8 oz. of cookie joy is asking a lot from my wallet. But when they go on sale...yuuuum.

Cheap G-Free Gold Star: Arguably as expensive, but packaged in a smaller quantity and a corresponding lower price, I give the WOW Baking Company single-serve chocolate chip cookie the cheap gold star. WOW (for With Out Wheat) works under the same philosophy as Udi's--that creating baked goods sans gluten doesn't mean they should leave out the eggs, sugar and butter as well. Fred Meyer sells these goodies for $1.89 per cookie, making it a quick, cheap treat. 

G-Free Passably: Nearly every store with a gluten-free section carries something from Pamela's Products, and rightly so. From baking mixes to cheesecakes, and biscotti to granola bars, they run the g-free gamut. As for their cookies, the only one I find tolerable is from their "Simplebites" cookie. Think of them as the g-free Chips Ahoy counterpart--crunchy and, well, just standard. At around $3.69 for a 7 oz. package, they work in a pinch. 

G-Free Miserably: Poor Pamela takes my bottom slot with her line's other chocolate chip cookie. Dense and crumbly with an almost powdery aftertaste, I'm not a fan. 

What are your g-free cookie favorites? Tell me what I missed!


Practically gluten free.

The short story? I live a practically gluten-free life.

Practically all gluten is gone from my diet (but the teeny amount in soy sauce treats me just fine).

But, I cook practically too--you won't find eight jars of varying gluten-free flour in my kitchen which I measure out by the gram to create my custom all-purpose flour mix when I bake my homemade graham crackers. Many kudos to those who can. That just ain't me. These do just fine.

The long story involves many years of upset stomach, misplaced lactose-free fanaticism, the purchase of a few IBS cookbooks and many lonely months without coffee. In the end, it all led to the real culprit, gluten. Someday, if I have time and energy after doing the dishes, I'll write about it.

But until then, here's what I'm sharing: The best off-the-shelf gluten-free items I've purchased. I have four levels of praise:

G-Free Gold Star: It's delicious and is the best product I've tasted in the category.

Cheap G-Free Gold Star: It's delicious, it's the best product I've tasted in the category, AND it's reasonably priced--meaning I'll buy it more than once a week, instead of once in a while as a treat.

G-Free Passably: Yeah, it'll work in a pinch.

G-Free Miserably: Don't waste your husband's hard-earned money. Ha!

Gluten-free reviews forthcoming. Hope your tastebuds are already craving pumpkin-spice donuts... I know mine are.


Life, chains, and Life Chain Sunday.

Three items to wrap up my weekend:

Life: My sister just gave birth to our family's newest little darling--a boy, a sweet, precious, mellow little boy. Upon seeing him for the first time on the day of his birth, I couldn't help but cry. One day, I'll get to say to him, "I've known you since the day you were born." Granted, that means I'm getting older. But what a wonderful time of life it is. Praise God.

Chains: Sean is still enchained with his persistent pain. We're to the phase with his treatment that we expect to see, any day now, some improvement. We'll continue looking for that first little glimmer of relief over the next few months. In the meantime, he limps and struggles when he's at home, and puts on one hell of a brave face when anyone else is looking. A dear old family friend (one who has known me since, yes, about the day I was born) sent us a watercolored card with this message on the front: Don't quit before the miracle.

Life Chain Sunday: I wish I would have brought a camera with me to Life Chain Sunday today. Unlike last year's rather weak attendance, this year, at least 60 pro-life signs dotted Ruby Avenue. Standing on the corner, holding a "Women Do Regret Abortion" sign, I couldn't help but smile: We were men and women, young (15 months) and old (maybe 75 years), Catholics and other Christian faiths. We all stood in the beautiful October sunshine, publicly defending life, waving to those driving by with happy honks, and smiling at those with flipping middle fingers (to which I always think, "Stop flipping me off and steer").

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman for the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement marking the 40th anniversary of "Respect Life Month." In it, he condemns the recent decision of the Department of Health and Human Services to call both surgical sterilizations and all FDA-approved abortifacient drugs as "preventative care," making them mandatory in private health care plans:

The decision is wrong on many levels. Preventive services are aimed at preventing diseases (e.g., by vaccinations) or detecting them early to aid prompt treatment (e.g., screening for diabetes or cancer). But pregnancy is not a disease. It is the normal, healthy state by which each of us came into the world. Far from preventing disease, contraceptives can have serious health consequences of their own, for example, increasing the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, such as AIDS, increasing the risk of breast cancer from excess estrogen, and of blood clots that can lead to stroke from synthetic progestin. Mandating such coverage shows neither respect for women’s health or freedom, nor respect for the consciences of those who do not want to take part in such problematic initiatives. 
Here's the part I'm still thinking about (emphasis mine):

The founders of our nation understood that religion and morality are essential to the survival of a freedom-loving society. John Adams expressed this conviction, stating: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” 
That's just it: Secular society today would happily see both morality and religion vanish (or be persecuted out of existence). 

And so life, chains, and Life Chain Sunday all have their part to play in building a culture of life. Bringing new life into the world means that we try and raise those people who are happily bridled by both morality and religion--I know I am. The chains of suffering in life keep us close to the Cross, waiting for our miracle. 

And Life Chain Sunday? It shows, among other things, that morality and religion are far from vanishing. In fact, they're right there, on the corner of Ruby and Mission in Spokane, Wash. 

Bishop Burbidge, high five.

Over in North Carolina, they've got a winner (and advocate) for their 40 Days for Life campaign:
On September 30, about 30 pro-life advocates gathered for the Fall Vigil of the national pro-life campaign, 40 Days for Life, outside “A Woman’s Choice” clinic in Raleigh. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, and Mrs. Jacqueline Bonk, Director of the Diocesan Office of Pro-Life, gathered with the faithful to pray the Rosary. Among those participating was a group of students from Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School in Raleigh.
High five, your excellency.


Domestic entropy.

The debate comes every night around 8:50 p.m.

From the kitchen sink cry my stinky dishes (it's the worst when there's raw garlic involved), wailing to be scrubbed before bedtime.

From the living room, Baby J's toys sit, strewn about like colorful wreckage, pleading to be put in the toy basket.

And a trail of baby-safe bathroom toys (hair brush, hand-held mirror, kid-proof vitamin bottles) stretches from the hallway to my bedroom, just mocking me with a final mess.

And the question is: Do I clean it all up? Or do I let it wait until tomorrow?

The answer? Entropy. Domestic entropy, to be exact.

To not clean it all up is to allow the "gradual decline into disorder," as one dictionary puts it. And after the kitchen goes to pot, the living room decays into a Fisher-Price sink hole and my bedroom becomes little more than an unmade bed buried under a mountain of clean yet unfolded underwear straight from the dryer, I'd regret the decision of that one, fateful Tuesday night, the night I was so tired and thought, "I'll get to it tomorrow..."


Bishop Soto, high five.

From the Sacramento page of 40 Days for Life:
Rosary at 6:00 pm, and the Holy Mass at 6:30 pm, Celebrated by Bishop Soto and con-celebrated by many Priests from throughout the Diocese! Please plan to join us and then attend the Opening Prayer Gathering afterwards! Opening Prayer Gathering and Memorial Service- that same evening, Monday, September 26th, at the Sidewalk in front of the abortion business at 1750 Wright Street, beginning at 7:45 pm ...
That's him on the far right, praying in front of a Sacramento abortion clinic last year. And get this--he even leads processions to and vigils at various Planned Parenthood clinics when during 40 Days for Life is in its off season:
On the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Saturday, July 16 [2011], Bishop Jaime Soto celebrated an 8 a.m. Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Sacramento, and later led a Rosary Procession to the city’s main Planned Parenthood abortion business at 29th and B Streets... 
Some of those who attended the Mass stayed at St. Francis, praying before the Blessed Sacrament while about 120 walked with Bishop Soto and several priests in the Rosary Procession to the Planned Parenthood abortion center just northwest of downtown Sacramento.  
Bishop Soto celebrated Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after the Rosary Procession returned to St. Francis Church.
Bishop Soto, I give you the Domestic Apologist high five.


"Something Borrowed" should stay something unrented.

Ah, it had such promise. One of those treasured, light-hearted, Seth Rogen/Jason Segal-free "romcoms."  It even had John Krasinski in it, for pete's sake!

But alas, even Krasinski, eternally channeling his Jim Halpert cool, couldn't save Something Borrowed. I credit him with delivering the movies two best lines, but other than that, the New York Times movie review acurately sums things up:
Are people in movies supposed to be interesting? This is not a rhetorical question but rather an expression of genuine puzzlement occasioned by “Something Borrowed,” a well-meaning comedy of marriage that seems ardently committed to the blandness of its characters. The principal would-be couple (one of whom is engaged to someone else) consists of Dex (Colin Egglesfield) and Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin). They are pleasant and nice looking and utterly without distinguishing features. Watching them flirt and kiss and bicker is like witnessing the passionate romance between a canned Bartlett pear and a cube of tofu — a handsomely chiseled cube of tofu, to be sure, and a perfectly sweet pear, but still.  
And aside from the blandness, the plot demands that viewers suspend any notion that people live lives with any problems, other than their romantic entanglements. Hubby and I found ourselves asking each other: Do people really become lawyers, live in beautiful New York apartments, vacation every summer weekend in the Hamptons, and sleep around frequently and casually without a) contracting STDs or b) suspecting each other of sleeping around or c) becoming pregnant?

Actually, option c does become a factor toward the end of the film. Mercifully, the situation plays out with a high value on pre-born life--had it not, this would have been a much more scathing review.

So save yourself $1 at the ol' Redbox.


Bishop Cupich's office releases a statement.

Posted today on the diocesan website:
During his first visit with the Respect Life Committee of the Diocese of Spokane Bishop Cupich expressed his gratitude for the commitment of the members. He also shared with them his plan to place emphasis on education. Surveys show that Catholics by and large mirror the general population when it comes to attitudes and decisions made about life issues. The present political environment has become very toxic and polarizing, to the point that people have become fixed in their positions, especially in regard to abortion, and are unwilling to talk to each other. The pastoral challenge is to get people to take a second look at the issue of abortion. 
It was on the occasion of his visit with the committee that the prospect of having the 40 Days for Life operate in the Diocese of Spokane this year arose. He expressed admiration for the many lay men and women dedicated to keeping the protection of the unborn a priority in society. While the 40 Days for Life program is not a Catholic initiative nor endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he concluded that participation in it and in vigils by individuals or associations of Catholics was possible. At the same time, he indicated that he would not consider it under the umbrella of the respect life efforts of the Diocese. The Catholic Church is concerned about a broad range of respect life issues and has a pastoral tradition which shapes its approach. It is critical that we rely on programs initiated by the Church, lest our concerns and our pastoral approach be defined too narrowly. The committee expressed support for this approach and their eagerness to work with the Bishop towards the goals he outlined. 
When visiting with the presbyterate, the Bishop asked the priests to approach respect life issues as teachers, for that is what they are. Teachers create new openings for learning and reduce obstacles. Their intense passion to share the truth leads them to greater patience and prudence and not frustration with and disdain for students who fail to respond appropriately. Their witness to the faith through teaching becomes all the more powerful when the presbyterate works together in unity and solidarity. 
It is also important, the Bishop noted, to keep in mind that oftentimes decisions about abortions are not made primarily in clinics. Such decisions are made around kitchen tables and in living rooms and they frequently involve a sister, daughter, relative or friend who may have been pressured or abandoned by the man who fathered the child. Attitudes too are formed in homes and families. This would seem to suggest, the Bishop told the priests, “that our primary efforts as teachers need to be focused on our families and our parish communities, always demonstrating solidarity with vulnerable women.” 
As for the specific question of the priests’ participation in the 40 Days for Life vigils, the Bishop recognizes that a given priest in good conscience may feel the need to participate in the vigils and he should never be forced to go against a good and informed conscience. The Bishop only asked that all priests prayerfully reflect on what he has told them, commit themselves to making teaching effectively their first priority and keep in mind the irreplaceable power of the witness of their unity with each other.

Questions about limiting respect life and other materials dealing with social policy issues to publications of the diocesan bishop, USCCB and the WSCC

When the three diocesan bishops, all of whom are new to their dioceses in Washington State, met to review policies of the WSCC, they were asked if they wanted to reaffirm the policy of limiting distribution of respect life and other materials dealing with social policy issues to those published “by the diocesan bishop, the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB.” This policy has been in force for at least 20 years. The bishops decided to continue this policy.
First read through, it looks as if he has reversed his decision to forbid priests from praying outside of Planned Parenthood. He doesn't admit ever telling his priests otherwise, though: 
The Bishop only asked that all priests prayerfully reflect on what he has told them, commit themselves to making teaching effectively their first priority and keep in mind the irreplaceable power of the witness of their unity with each other.
This runs contrary to what many other diocesan priests confirmed, prior to this statement being released.

Also, word of a "policy of limiting distribution of respect life and other materials ... to those published" exclusively by American bishops--and its apparent 20-year reign--comes as news to me. More digging on that to come.


Stanek's "bullets of interest" on Fr. Pavone.

That pro-life wonder woman Jill Stanek has always got something worth reading on her site, and last night, that was especially true.

From what I could see, she had first dibs in publishing a letter from the Vicar for Clergy in Amarillo, Tex., publically stating that Fr. Pavone: "is a priest in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church" and that:

"because there is dispute about the auditing process and the complete audit for all the entities of Priests for Life, Rachel's Vineyard, and the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, does not mean that Fr. Pavone is being charged with any malfeasance or being accused of any wrong doing with the financial matters of Priests for Life."
I like the sound of that. It's a heck of a lot better than “I have reasons to be alarmed at the potential financial scandal…” and  “… incorrigible defiance to my legitimate authority…” and “… his fame has caused him to see priestly obedience as an inconvenience to his unique status…”

But one post previous to this big news, Stanek collected some "bullets of interest" regarding Fr. Pavone's situation in Amarillo. Particularly of note:
  • Bishop Zurek wrote his letter to bishops on September 9, ordered Father Pavone to report for duty in Amarillo on September 13, and then left for vacation on September 13, according to a diocesan rep I spoke with. He will be on vacation until September 28.
  • While 83 U.S. bishops wrote or made statements opposing Notre Dame inviting pro-abortion/pro-infanticide President Barack Obama to speak at its May 2009 commencement, Bishop Zurek was not one – although his predecessor, pro-life stalwart Bishop Emeritus John Yanta was. (Zurek was installed as Bishop of Amarillo in February 2008.) As a Texan Catholic pro-life leader told me, “This was low hanging fruit, an easy pro-life stand to take. When the entire pro-life Catholic nation was outraged, Bishop Zurek would have garnered great favor with pro-life Catholics in his diocese had he taken a stand.”
  • Thanks to Bishop Zurek’s letter, the liberal press has labeled Father Pavone as the “third high-profile conservative Catholic leader this year to face charges of misconduct,” linking him with two well-known priests who lost or resigned their ministries over sexual impropriety.
It's that last one that is, in my opinion, the real kicker. 


Action, accusations, and being apathetic.

Word of change for our diocese has kicked up quite the dust storm here in the past 48 hours. Through all of it, there's a battle in hearts and minds: take action? Or just be apathetic?

Just to add more turmoil to the mix, news of accusations against Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life came to light today. And in mere hours, statements released by Fr. Pavone's Ordinary--as well as response from Fr. Pavone, who is now appealing to the Vatican--have ignited the next Catholic commotion. 

It's sad and discouraging to see stories of seeming defeat in the pro-life movement. I'm sure there's plenty of agreement there.  

But the important thing is to know what we're fighting for--and that being apathetic isn't, or shouldn't be, an option. All who fight for the right to life know that through prayer and perseverance, the Truth will prevail. We must also remember that no battle with Satan is easy. After all, they don't call him the "Father of Lies" for nothing. Confusion and disappointment come because the devil wants babies to perish, and for their mothers and fathers to be dragged into the pits of despair.

We remember that reality as we stand in the rain praying for just one little child to be saved. We remember it too as we have discussions about this very topic through online forums. We remember that if remain loyal to the Lord, this battle for the right and sanctity of human life will be won. 

God wins, that we know. He will lead us to the Truth, who is Jesus Christ; the Word made Flesh. It's nice to know how the story ends. 


UPDATED. The Bishop and the pro-life brouhaha.

As a former seminarian for the diocese, Sean maintains firm ties with both his former brother seminarians--many who have gone on to be ordained--and the many older priests that enriched his experience.

And so with great sadness, we have been informed by priests that at the all-priest diocesan meeting last week, His Excellency Blase Cupich announced that no Spokane priests will be allowed to peacefully pray  in front of Planned Parenthood.

In addition, priests are not allowed to promote or organize peaceful protests outside of Planned Parenthood through their parishes (40 Days for Life was specifically named as a no-no).

And the kicker? No pro-life material may be distributed in parishes unless it is published directly by the USCCB or the Washington State Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The obvious question to all of these sudden, baseless restrictions is "why?" (I think my immediate reaction was actually "You've GOT to be kidding me. Seriously?")

Bishop Cupich stated his aversion to any of his priests, "who represent" him, being associated with the group of "extreme" pro-lifers that demonstrate with large, graphic photos of aborted babies.

And with that, I end the aspect of this blog post that contains just the facts, ma'am, and progress with my train of thought after "Seriously?"

Bishop Cupich is no stranger to defending life. As bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City, S. Dak., he penned many articles defending an unconditional right to life. And especially during election the 2008 election season, he promoted a South Dakota bill which would have significantly restricted abortions.

And for heaven's sake, he's even featured on Priests for Life. And on top of that, 40 Days for Life is supported--and featured in writing--by the USCCB. They're not exactly a "fringe" operation in Catholic circles. And bishop after bishop across the country support, endorse, and participate in 40 Days for Life, year after year. Bishop Aquila, anyone?

For this alone, I find his recent decisions confusing and inconsistent.

Next, I'm no stranger to journalism and sources. I understand that what I heard came from "someone familar with the matter" and not from a published, public document. Should the bishop recant what he said, change his mind, and issue a public statement to the contrary, well, that will be a different matter. But at the moment, this is the information we have.

That leads me, then, to obedience. At his ordination, every diocesan priest vows obedience to the bishop and his successors. I, as a lay person, also must show obedience to our bishop. But he hasn't instructed me, or any other lay person in the diocese (that I know of) that I cannot or should not be praying in front of Planned Parenthood--praise God for that.

Lastly, beyond the incongruity of his decisions, the issue of hearsay, and the bond all priests have to their vows, this whole account makes me feel left in the cold by the bishop, my local shepard.

I have never stood outside of Planned Parenthood holding a picture of a dismembered fetus. I have never accosted or verbally assaulted anyone entering or exiting the building. I have never threatened violence against anyone associated with the abortion industry.

However, I have been verbally attacted while praying peacefullly outside of Planned Parenthood with my infant son.

I have been threatned physically by enraged customers of the abortion clinic.

And to hear that my bishop, whether privately or publically, has instructed his priests to unconditionally avoid the very place where children are slaughered, one by one, week by week, is appalling.

With all respect due to the bishop and his office (and it is quite a lot) I sincerly say: You need not endorse 40 Days for Life. You need not join me nor your fellow brother priests out there on the sidewalk. You need not even agree with this specific tactic of engaging the culture, witnessing to the public, and, as happens not-too-infrequently, saving a life (or a few hundred).

But to effectively shut down the pastoral apparatus behind this peaceful campain in this diocese is insulting to the many Catholics who pour their heart and energy into pro-life work.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

UPDATE: We've heard a clarification today that the bishop is asking that all pro-life political material be restricted from distribution in parishes. However, material from 40 Days for Life, a non-political organization, is still included in the restriction.


The "last" hurrah.

A comment to an expecting mom recently made me chuckle. Past-her-due-date Mother: This baby better come soon! Commenter: Enjoy your days of quiet and rest while they last!

It made me remember my own days of hearing, for the umpteenth time from store clerks, "Wow, you're just ready to pop now, honey!" During the last, heavy days of my pregnancy with Baby J, I sat down (with a thud, I'm sure) and created a "couple's last hurrah" list for Sean and I, ensuring that we enjoyed doing everything we couldn't do once the baby arrived.

I think I came up with two things: Go out to a nice dinner, and curl my hair. I should've added "Shower daily. And enjoy having time to shave your legs."

It's easy to take your state in life and bemoan all that's denied to you. As I picked up our online P.F. Chang's order tonight, I thought back to the days when Sean and I dined out together weekly, when I curled or straightened my hair each day for work, and heck, when I used to actually wear all the high heels in my closet.

But now, we are three. And while it's tempting to extend that list of baby-related vetoes, I'd be lying if I said that I don't thank God every minute for my little man. Because as long as the list is of couples-only activities, the list can be just as long for a family of three, four, five, seven or 10.

Got one kid? You can easily stick 'em in a grocery cart and enjoy, with some peace, an easy shopping trip. Got two? Well, you can finally buy those "I'm the Big Brother" shirts from Carter's--and, you get to enjoy babyhood, another precious time. Got three? Ahh, that means you probably have one old enough to help pick up the living room before dinnertime. Got four? Man, lucky you! You can finally fill up your minivan! Five and more--heck, throw dad and mom in the mix, and you've got, as a dear friend of mine says, "a basketball team and two subs."

The grass is always greener--fewer weeds, nicer outdoor furniture, or more red wagons and water guns--on the other side of your life. And there certainly is much to be said for escaping once in a while to your former state in life. My parents recently provided Sean and I with a night out, and I'm not sure when I've savored a meal more. But in returning home to Baby J, I return to who I am now: mom to my little boy. And as lists of "hurrahs" go, he tops any list.


No, seriously--up ALL night.

Well. Here I am again--4:19 a.m., and I'm sitting at my laptop, rather than snoozing in my bed. Baby J, now pushing a year and a half, has decided to continue his streak of fretful night wakings. We weaned about a month ago, and while the freedom to wear bras that don't have several sets of snaps and hinges has been oh-so exhilarating, it's times like this that I miss the ability to do a quick nurse and go back to bed.

I keep seeing commercials for that new Will Arnett/What's-Her-Name Applegate show, "Up All Night." Commercials include a little kiddo who looks to be about 10 months old. And every time I see it, I think, "Nah! When the kid's that old, parents aren't up ALL night! Kids are easily sleeping through the night by that stage."

Well, sweet Baby J. You've proven me wrong again, little love.... yawn.


A little light-switch encouragement.

I'm not a classically "tidy" person. I like order and cleanliness, oh yes! But I also like leaving bits of memories scattered about my home, just like I used to do in my work office spaces (when my life included them).

So on my bookcases, I leave pretty note cards, sent by friends and family. In the frames of my bathroom and dresser mirrors, I deposit holy cards from funerals, weddings and ordinations (truth: I picked this habit up from my mother). And on my light switches, I tape up scrap paper bearing words of wisdom I should remember.

Here's what caught my eye tonight.

Oh Jesus, my Lord, help me.
Let what you have planned before all ages happen to me. 
I am ready at each beckoning of your holy will.
- St. Faustina Kowalska


In thanks of suffering.

I rubbed my husband's joints tonight, helping lull him to sleep through the pain of his arthritis--a flare up of which began yesterday and has yet to subside. It's a ritual we've had since our wedding.

In the dark of night, I am alone with four things: my husband, his pain, prayer, and the Lord. With my glasses off and the curtains drawn, I can't even make out the shape of our dresser, or even the Crucifix on the wall. The cover of darkness allows no distractions--no laptop, no television, no tidying up the kitchen, no snacking, none of the convenient play things that adults use to divert their attention from life's harsh realities.

The reality for my husband never changes: He has pain, and he lives with it. Me? I think of him, and his pain, near constantly through the day. But I can run from it when I want--to the internet, to a store. Until bedtime, that is, when the running ends.

Sean's pain, and my corresponding compulsion to help relieve or reduce it while he tries to fall asleep, has created a dependable prayer time for me. Never in my life have I been so consistent in both greeting the Lord and asking for His assistance and mercy. Never in my life have I prayed so hard, for so long. Each night, I feel like I say to Jesus, "Hello again. It's just me, asking for the same thing. I know You hear me. Please answer this prayer, in Your mercy and in Your time."

In the darkness, I give thanks that God has brought me closer to Him through my husband's cross. The darkness, that cross, and the prayer sometimes make me weep. But usually, the tears fall after Sean has fallen asleep--a small but rich blessing at the end of a long day, and another thing to be grateful for.


I am the very model of a modern part-time blogger.

I can now count myself among the legions of bloggers that have taken a leave of absence from writing, only to come back and say, "Hello, I'm back now, sorry for the hiatus."

Only, when saying that, the author generally knows that it was less of the readers missing the author, and more the author missing the fulfillment of completing post after well-researched timely post. We all want to be like those successful writers--the ones who, day in and day out, post something novel, thought-provoking and downright profound on their webpages. But the truth is, most of us are not. I'm not, at least. Not by far. I haven't figured out my life enough to find the time.

Sickness is hard. Motherhood is hard. Marriage is hard but it's not as time consuming, generally speaking, as those first two. In the weeks and months since I first wrote about my husband's illness, I've swapped reading political news for chronic disease discussion boards; religious journals for dietary supplement catalogues; facebook updates for updates from our wonderful internist, who practices two states away. We feel like we're closer to an answer, but results from our current treatment are still many months out. It's an optimistic waiting game, but it's a game filled, nonetheless, with the many pains, aches and sufferings that Sean has endured for over a decade now.

Mixed into that, I continued to try and be the best mother I can. My 11-month-old charmer giggles impulsively, waves to anything that moves, and is fiercely determined to "walk" from room to room, albeit holding both of mom or dad's hands. But crawling? Oh, no. Heck no! Why would he be interested in such an, er, pedestrian mode of transportation when he can be a true pedestrian with mom or dad's help?! Sigh. We all want our kids to be above average, but if they can't be there, we want them to at least be normal. As it is, God has blessed us with a beautiful, healthy little lovebug who may very well be "late" with his baby milestones. So be it. Praise God for it all.

And so, after cutting it out entirely, I'm slowly mixing writing and social reading back into my daily routine, while trying to keep the other balls in the air. Because of all the things you can do "part-time," sickness and motherhood just aren't on that list.

I've missed this blog and the sweet people that have taken the time to read it. Thank you for going through this journey, even if only online, with me and my family. God willing, my self-imposed hiatus has come to a close.


Seeking a cure. And some discipline.

Anniversaries bring memories, new years bring resolutions. My wedding anniversary this year brought some of each. Sean and I recently celebrated two years of marriage, and, as such, the memories of our beautiful day came back just as vividly as ever: the sunny February day, so typical of mild California winters; the white blooming quince and French tulips, the incense as thick as Tule fog during the wedding Mass. 

Those were the memories. Now for the resolutions. For the last two years of our marriage, as well as the year and a half of courtship before that, and for more than 10 years previous to that, Sean has suffered--daily, hourly, each minute, with joint pain. A trooper to the core, he's been a silent sufferer. But lately, his pain is much, much worse. And I (along with the help of my prayer warrior mother and family) are determined more than ever to do something about it. 

But doing "something," or anything, takes time. And as the saying goes, something's gotta give. So on my anniversary, I made a resolution: I would fast from my regular routine of daily posting culturally-significant links to my facebook page. So, no posting the links to the newest Planned Parenthood expose. No posting the shocker feminazi-turned-Christian-apologist article critiquing the Pill. No posting the latest buffoon move by the reigning administration (take your pick). 

And in exchange for all of that, I dedicated myself to finding a cure for Sean. And praying. A lot. 

Thanks to the guidance of afore-mentioned prayer warrior mother, we began saying a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...... (here name your request)
Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
 So many times, the prayers I've said in my life have been heartfelt, but absentmindedly, or inattentively. Matthew Archbold (blogger for the National Catholic Register) summed up my failings in "7 Reasons I Stink at Praying":
Easily Distracted. “Our Father, who art in….”  Art’s a funny word.  I wonder when they stopped using art in every day language?  I wonder when I say “Art,”  Does God think I’m Amish?  Do Amish people say “Art” when they pray?  Wouldn’t “Art” just sound like every day language to Amish people?  I wonder if they say “Is” instead, ya know,  just so it sounds different?  I art to Google it!  Hahaha.  Wait.  Where was I?
 It's hilarious--and it's true for me. In bed one night, rubbing Sean's ankle to help him find sleep through his pain, I tried to commit to saying one Memorare--just one--and meaning every word. But by "inspired by this confidence," I found myself with the following inner dialogue:

  • Did I just hear the baby cry? Well maybe not but...
  • If he did cry I'd get up and maybe check my email and...
  • Tomorrow we need plastic wrap at the store where...
  • I should also pick up some Valentine's Day cards and...
  • I should iron those embroidered heart dish towels as well as...
  • Three dress shirts for Sean and...
  • He could seriously use new undershirts but...
  • STOP! For heaven's sake just stop! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PRAYING!
Argh. I know that the cure to Sean's pain isn't going to be lost or found by own mental discipline, but by God's grace alone. But this is as much his journey toward health as it is my journey toward greater fidelity to Christ, in His plan for my life, and in trusting the goodness of that plan. 
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
 And a cure. We pray the plan has a cure. 


Rosary woes: "Let's say it fast, I've got other things to do."

Two of my very dearest Christian friends recently attended a vigil rosary service, and came away with the following impressions: 
  1. The attendees attempted to say a "speed rosary" in record time, which amounted to them "mumbling" through the prayers. 
  2. The prayers themselves (or what they could make out through said mumbling) seemed fairly repetitious and lacking emotion. 
For their benefit, here's a starting point for understanding the rosary in the Catholic tradition--rest assured, it should be generally free from mumbling and full of deep Scriptural meaning. If someone can accomplish those two things and still say it in record time, well, good for them!

The rosary as we understand and pray it today is a devotion in honor of the Virgin Mary. It consists of a set number of specific prayers--the first are introductory, but the bulk of it consists of a meditation on Scripture. The rosary within the tradition of the Catholic Church is first and foremost a "personal piety," meaning that the Church loves and approves of its use, but doesn't require it at all (contrast that to attending Mass each Sunday, which is an obligation, not a personal piety).

The rosary opens with the Apostle's Creed--a creed not written by the apostles, but a compilation of their teachings. Non-Catholic Christians can find much common ground in the Creed. Then comes an Our Father (we all love that one!) and three Hail Marys. The Hail Mary is mostly lifted right from Scripture, with the exception of its last line, which is Scripturally based. The last prayer of the opening of the rosary is a "Glory Be," which is a simple Christian hymn of praise to God.

You can find/read all those prayers here.

After the introductory prayers comes the meat of the rosary--the decades. A decade consists of one Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and a concluding Glory Be. There are 20 decades in a full rosary (which takes about an hour to say), but most times, when we say "I'm going to say a rosary," just five decades are said. 

Each decade is devoted to a mystery regarding the life of Jesus or his mother--it's essentially a meditation on the Gospels. As catholic.com says, "Here the word mystery refers to a truth of the faith, not to something incomprehensible, as in the line, 'It’s a mystery to me!'" 

The 20 mysteries are divided into four groups of five:
  • the Joyful (the early life of Christ)
  • the Luminous (Christ's work on earth)
  • the Sorrowful (His Passion and death)
  • the Glorious (His Resurrection and our Blessed Mother's Assumption)
So, for instance, we begin a rosary of the Sorrowful Mysteries by saying: "The first sorrowful mystery: The Agony in the Garden." Then an Our Father is said, then the Hail Marys, then the Glory Be. And during that decade, the goal is to meditate the meaning of that event.

But why the repetition?! Well, I think this excerpt from catholic.com says it pretty well (emphasis mine): 
"First we must understand that they are meditations. When Catholics recite the twelve prayers that form a decade of the rosary, they meditate on the mystery associated with that decade. If they merely recite the prayers, whether vocally or silently, they’re missing the essence of the rosary. It isn’t just a recitation of prayers, but a meditation on the grace of God. Critics, not knowing about the meditation part, imagine the rosary must be boring, uselessly repetitious, meaningless, and their criticism carries weight if you reduce the rosary to a formula. Christ forbade meaningless repetition (Matt. 6:7), but the Bible itself prescribes some prayers that involve repetition. Look at Psalms 136, which is a litany (a prayer with a recurring refrain) meant to be sung in the Jewish Temple. In the psalm the refrain is "His mercy endures forever." Sometimes in Psalms 136 the refrain starts before a sentence is finished, meaning it is more repetitious than the rosary, though this prayer was written directly under the inspiration of God."  
It is the meditation on the mysteries that gives the rosary its staying power.

But why the beads, then? Well, for one thing, it helps us keep on track, and helps us to remember, individually and sequentially, the divine truths of our faith. A blog called "Crossed the Tiber" puts it this way: 
"So the beads hold our place, keep our physical body engaged in an attitude of prayer, the Hail Mary prayers engage our lips in intercession and the mysteries engage our hearts and minds on Christ and the events in the Gospels. What's not to love here?"
And so, to go back to the question that sparked this tome of a note (and its title): Saying a rosary, with its meditation through meaningful, repetitive prayer, brings one to focus on the mysteries in the Gospel, the life of Christ, and the role of Mary as Mother of God. Reducing the repetition to rote recitation, though, strips the rosary of its beauty, and empties it of its meaning (and power).  

I hope that helps! 

Plus: Short, easy-to-read explanations of the rosary which are far better written than mine:

AND, just for fun: Scriptural references for all 20 mysteries. 

The Joyful Mysteries are these: the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), the Visitation (Luke 1:40-56), the Nativity (Luke 2:6-20), the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:21-39), and the Finding of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-51). Then come the Sorrowful Mysteries: the Agony in the Garden (Matt. 26:36-46), the Scourging (Matt. 27:26), the Crowning with Thorns (Matt. 27:29), the Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17), and the Crucifixion (Luke 23:33-46). Next are the Luminous Mysteries: the Baptism in the Jordan (Jn 1:23), the Wedding Feast at Cana (Jn 2:1), the Proclamation of the Kindgom (Mk 1:14), the Transfiguration of our Lord (Lk 9:28), and the Last Supper (Mt 26: 17). The final Mysteries are the Glorious: the Resurrection (Luke 24:1-12), the Ascension (Luke 24:50-51), the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), the Assumption of Mary into heaven (Rev. 12), and her Coronation (cf. Rev. 12:1). 


Wednesday's news from hell.

They said that if abortion is illegal, women will die from back-alley abortions. They were wrong--the women are dying already:
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A West Philadelphia abortion doctor, his wife and eight other suspects are now under arrest following a grand jury investigation.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, faces eight counts of murder in the deaths of a woman following a botched abortion at his office, along with the deaths of seven other babies who, prosecutors allege, were born alive following illegal late-term abortions and then were killed by severing their spinal cords with a pair of scissors.
“I am aware that abortion is a hot-button topic,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “But as district attorney, my job is to carry out the law. A doctor who knowingly and systematically mistreats female patients, to the point that one of them dies in his so-called care, commits murder under the law. A doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is committing murder under the law.”
That's right--a pair of scissors. Abortion on demand, at its finest