Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Abortion and Class Discrimination


When we think of discrimination we often leap to an image of race. Yes, race discrimination is certainly an atrocity and we see it often - even in the choice of location for abortion facilities and the percentages of those affected. That abortion centers are primarily located in poorer, black neighborhoods has been documented. After all Margaret Sanger's intent was to eliminate the 'human weeds' among us - all the way to eugenics.

There are other classes of people who are cast aside when it comes to shielding babies from abortion, however. As a society, we've come to accept the abortion 'exceptions'. That small, but nonetheless worthy, segment of society is those who were conceived in rape or incest.

This is a deeply flawed attempt to deflect from the real issue of the humanity of any unborn child, by employing hypotheticals. “What about the rape or incest conceived child?” we are asked. If we allow ourselves to be distracted from the main issue - the humanity of all of the unborn - we do a diservice to humanity and to the unborn.. If we stray from the reality of the humanity of the child, we endanger our message – all life is precious. In the eyes of God, the wanted and the 'unwanted' are equally worthy. We must not allow our message to be diluted or we surrender to a world that will always allow abortion in some instances.

Classes of Discrimination


A child conceived in rape is no less human; she is no less a child of God. She is a gift to the world, brought about in a horrific way, but not at the expense of her worth. Her mother underwent a traumatically violent experience, yet this has no bearing on her right to live. The sins of the man who violated her mother could never be justly rectified by another act of violence against an innocent.

And what about the complete, yet developing baby before she hits the 20 week milestone? Again, if we allow our resolve to become dependent on specifics, our message is diluted. If the child couldn't feel pain, would it be okay to kill him? Of course not! That's why I'm uncomfortable with setting criteria for the worth of preservation. A child will turn away from a prodding tool in the womb when he is much younger than 20 weeks, but even if he didn't would he be any less human?

Tools of Division


Divide and conquer. Deflect and confuse. These are the tools of abortion advocates. We must not allow them to weaken our case. It's easy to become distracted but, in order to do the most good on behalf of our littlest brothers and sisters, we need to stay on course. All unborn children are human - at fertilization. They all have a God-given right to life, as individual people with souls. 

Whether they are at the earliest stages of development, how they were conceived, and if they feel pain really isn't the issue. These are simply details that can be applied to their description - just as they can be described as black/white, male/female, blue/brown eyed, Catholic/agnostic, or heterosexual/homosexual. These descriptive details have absolutely nothing to do with their worth or their rights. 

Let's support all humans. No exceptions, no distractions, and no compromise!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Amazing Facts About the Miraculous Life of the Unborn


My passion for prolife advocacy is pretty obvious to anyone who even marginally knows me. As an art major in college, I honed not only my creative side, but my public relations skills. These two gifts made the perfect combination for all of the jobs I have ever held - from Executive Director (x2) of a prolife organization to Field Representative for Congressman Ron Lewis (R-KY) who was truly prolife.

Back in the day my favored media consisted of pencils and paper or paint and canvas. As the world become more computerized, the use of graphic design and photography stepped up as the media of the day.

As our family grew and extended into grandchildren, I picked up my camera and compulsively documented their every move. Those babies just make me smile. So it was a natural progression to seize the day and share my images in an effort to win hearts for life. 

This series of 10 Amazing Facts about the unborn was born of an effort to modernize my prolife posters. I experimented with dimension while using photos of now 6 year old Simon. The facts were taken from an article that appeared on LifeSiteNews (my favorite prolife publication).

The first step to changing hearts for life, is educating the public with facts and soft images. We need to humanize the unborn.

I hope you enjoy these posters and consider sharing them to your Facebook friends from my album here.











Monday, January 19, 2015

Is Designs by Birgit Sheenazing?


WoooHooo! Sheenazing! 


I don't know what else to say about being an official nominee for the 2015 SHEENAZING Awards! The nomination for an award with such an amazing (Sheenazing) name is certainly an honor and I want to give many thanks for being included.

You can vote here. Designs by Birgit is listed under the 'Smartest Blog' entry. I know, LOL!

You may or may not know the specifics of Designs by Birgit so I'll introduce myself as a Catholic, prolife, mother, wife, and Nana. My aim is to share my faith, through creativity, with anyone who reads or views my offerings.

The topics on the Designs by Birgit blog range from encouragement to fellow Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to a bit of homespun fun. An experience in my youth brings a fervent need to share the prolife message. And my love of family drives attention to posts about homeschooling, crafts, sewing, cooking, and such. As an Art Major, I like to share my own creative work - especially photography.

All of the posters and most of the photos you see are my own work and can be freely shared - as long as my copyright/watermark stays in place. So far my prolife posters have been used all over the US of A as well as in other countries such as Ireland and Brazil.

I know several of the nominees and am a fan of some that I don't know. Best wishes and good luck in being as Sheenazing as you can! You can vote here. Designs by Birgit is listed under the 'Smartest Blog' entry. I know, LOL!

+JMJ+

The hostess of these awards, Bonnie from A Knotted Life, has this to say in explaining this award:


"The Sheenazing Blogger Awards are named for Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Sheen was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. I'm positive that Sheen would be a blogger were he alive today and that he is in Heaven, totally approving of this award."

You can vote here.
Designs by Birgit is listed under the 'Smartest Blog' entry. I know, LOL!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Our Other Child – May She Rest In Peace

I first met my future husband, Rick’s, maternal grandmother when he and I began our courtship. Rick was 17 and I had just celebrated my 16th birthday – the dating milestone set in place by my parents.

Ma Peak was a tiny bundle of nervous energy. Her nickname, ‘Step-and-fetch-it’ aptly described her drive to be constantly at the service of others. Dinners at her house found us all seated at a nicely set table, while she hovered. Her plate was a small saucer, set on the counter, so that she could snatch a quick bite. Her main, self-appointed role was to refill the sweet tea in our glasses or press us for a second or third helping of her famous southern cuisine. When Rick’s grandfather, Pa Peak, worked his carpentry magic in the house they occupied for over fifty years, her dust pan was at the ready. As quickly as he could create sawdust, it was swept up and properly disposed.

During our dating years, we saw Ma and Pa quite often. Along with my parents, they signed the consent for our youthful marriage at 17 and 18 years old. Although they were fervent Protestants, they attended every religious milestone of my newly converted husband – their oldest grandson. There wasn’t always total agreement about matters of faith, but they were respectful and supportive.

When our first son was born, Ma watched him periodically, while I completed my Bachelor of Art degree. As we welcomed our daughter into the world, she too was pampered and loved. Son number three was embraced as well – as was the son I had welcomed in my youth. There was never a question of being loved. All were welcome. All were loved.

Rick’s mother was Ma and Pa’s only child. A daughter, whose birth had ravaged Ma’s tiny body. She was the apple of their eye and, when she died as a result of a brain tumor in her 50’s, they deeply mourned her loss. Later that year, Pa would succumb to cancer as well. A grandson, the middle son of three, would enter Eternity that year as well.

These tragic events played havoc on Ma’s sense of well-being. Once an energetic force of nature, she became deeply distraught and depressed. Her faith, however, never wavered, as she fervently prayed to join her loved ones in Eternity. She once told me, “I wish I could go to Heaven now, but I won’t do anything about it because it would make Jesus unhappy”.

Born in 1915, she had survived the depression, the local flood, and many trials – yet she never abandoned her faith. That last visit at her bedside, she had become unresponsive. Dementia had robbed her of her memory several years past. Yet, when I whispered the 23rd Psalm into her ear one last time, her eyelids flickered in recognition.

Since she was Protestant, but unable to voice her thoughts or initiate a bedside conversion, we visited her often and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. She also enjoyed hearing her great-great-grandchildren sing. Six year old Simon, a self-described ‘miniature priest’, faithfully blessed her with holy water at each visit. We were also blessed to have a permanent deacon visit and pray with her.

Amazingly, she lived in the home she had shared with Pa until she was 93. We brought her groceries to her – including the vital supply of Little Debbie’s Honey Buns and ‘little cokes’. We visited often, made sure she kept her doctor’s appointments, and filled her pill box. As her condition deteriorated I was appointed, first her power of attorney, and then her legal guardian. She became our ‘other child’. Trusting in nature, loving, and kind – she was also a spitfire and had definite ideas about the order of things. Like any child, she was her own, unique person. Her development was simply working its way backward instead of forward. As her mind failed, she began to lose her memories and the names of extended family. With prompting, she would remember and regale us with tales of winning a singing contest with her sisters and how Pa had asked permission to walk her home. Later, even those memories faded – but she never stopped enjoying the visits of her boisterous family. As the littles would sing and dance around her wheelchair, she would wave her arms and attempt to sing along.

Ma taught us all – young and old – so much. As our daughter, Erika, shared, “She was a solid part of the family. She definitely taught the kiddos to have no fear or discomfort around old or infirm people. They loved her even when she wouldn't really respond. They always remembered her in their prayers and mentioned her often”.

It was inspirational to see the eagerness of our grandchildren when they drew and colored pictures for her – followed by a request for a visit. Being witnesses to the beauty and dignity of the aged, was a tremendous life-lesson for us all.


Now, 20 years later, Ma has finally been granted the request for which she had been praying all these years. Her earthly life is past and she has entered life eternal.



Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

12 Favorite Posts for 2014 - A Year In Review

Well here we are, another year in the books! In keeping with the premise of remembering the past while ringing in the new, I've compiled a list of my 12 favorite blog posts from 2014. They may not have been the best - or the most popular - but for varying reasons they were favorites of mine.

Please join me in this brief walk down memory lane. Maybe some of my favorites were your favorites too. Or maybe you've missed one or two that you would have liked - and here's your second chance.




December: 

All Dogs Do Not Go to Heaven: What the Pope Really Said

I have to admit, I've been looking for a reason to use this photo I took of our Dachshund and Beagle for years now. When the claim that Pope Francis said animals go to Heaven was broadcast, it was the perfect fit.



November: 

Necktie Onesie for Baby Boy

After 4 years without a baby over whom to drool, we were finally blessed with Jacob. As much as I love to frufru up the little girls, boys present a unique challenge. That's why I was so happy to find this darling project on Pinterest.



We've all known people who used to 'do' Halloween, only to be frightened away by misunderstanding the Catholic roots of this holiday (holy day) honoring our beloved dead. Here I presented some solid history and facts about this joyful time.



We're often confronted with differing priorities. Who comes first? Is it the worldly view of 'looking out for #1' or is there a more godly perspective?





August: 

Cancer While Pregnant? Both Mother and Baby Can (and Should) Live!
There are so many stories out there about heroic mothers who forfeit their treatment and very lives in order to protect their unborn children. Yet, cancer treatment and a healthy baby are not mutually exclusive. I offer an inside track of the facts - up close and personal.




July: 

5 Ways Facebook Can Bless Your Life
We've all done it. Wondering if Facebook is a virtuous tool or a source of devilish temptation. Here I outline my thoughts on the subject.





June: 

Mom's Mistakes Strengthened Our Faith
Not all choices made by our parents are perfect. Families aren't perfect. Yet what one takes away from living in the messiness of family life can be the perfect guidebook for a virtuous life.









May: 

Veiling and You: 5 Things Catholic Boys and Girls Should Know
The devotion of veiling is gaining ground all over the world. Yet it's still very misunderstood. In this post I address the younger members of the Body of Christ and explain some sound reasons why veiling should at least be considered as a beautiful form of outward expression of our faith.





April: 

I am One of the Faces of Abortion - My Face Looks Just Like Yours
In my work for the pro-life cause, I've made many friends who have experienced an abortion and wish to witness for life. My friend, Emily, shares an intimate look at the face of abortion and how she has blessed others with her witness.




March: 

5 Fabulous Meatless Meals for Lent
Even is you don't abstain from meat all year long, you will need to find creative, meatless ways to feed your family during Lent. Here I share five of my favorite recipes.








February: 

EGG-straordinary Rosary Project for Lent
With Lent approaching, I was looking for a way to encourage children and families to pray a daily Rosary. This little project is both easy and fun for everyone.







January: 

Cancer, the St. Peregrine Novena, and a Miracle
Being a part of a 'cancer family' I have petitioned Saint Peregrine on more than one occasion. I've also been blessed to have witnessed a miracle resulting from prayer!








Well, there you have it - the year in review.  Thank you for spending 2014 with me! I look forward to seeing you in 2015!

Which were your favorite posts? Were you able to catch up on something you liked and missed? Did I leave any of your favorites out?

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

All Dogs Do Not Go to Heaven: What the Pope Really Said

Did Pope Francis say animals go to heaven? That's the title of another great explanation offered by Jimmy Akin for our oft-misinterpreted pope - the Holy Father Pope Francis. Evidently this isn't the first pope to have been misquoted on the subject. That there are absolutely no records - other than secular media about the claim - is quite the barometer of the truth. 

What did Pope Francis actually say about animals, Heaven, and Eternity at his public audience?

His words were devoted to the subject of creation and the new heaven and earth. This is what he said:

At the same time, Sacred Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this marvelous plan cannot but involve everything that surrounds us and came from the heart and mind of God. 
The Apostle Paul says it explicitly, when he says that “Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). 
Other texts utilize the image of a “new heaven” and a “new earth” (cf. 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1), in the sense that the whole universe will be renewed and will be freed once and for all from every trace of evil and from death itself. 
What lies ahead is the fulfillment of a transformation that in reality is already happening, beginning with the death and resurrection of Christ. 
Hence, it is the new creation; it is not, therefore, the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being, of truth and of beauty. 
This is the design that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, willed from eternity to realize and is realizing.

It's appalling that there is so much misinformation out there these days. Reporters are actually using opinion blogs as 'sources' when they report on a story. So much for journalistic integrity! This lack of care for the truth is helping the devil undermine the Catholic Church in the eyes of the unwary - after all, if it's on the internet, it's got to be true right?

Hint: no it's not!

So let's just take a breath, pray fervently, and discern the facts before getting all shaky about Holy Mother Church. After all, Jesus and the Church have never let us down before - nor will they. Even humanity, in the form of wolves in sheep's clothing, can't change that!