Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day


My daughter, Erika, wrote this poem and created the accompanying graphics in commemoration of the four children she lost through miscarriage. These little saints in heaven, known only by God, are waiting for us!

Millions of women are silently grieving for unknown lives.
These quiet women walk among us averting their eyes
from expectant mothers with proudly rounded bellies
And arms full of healthy happy babies.
For reasons unknown, these women are left alone without recourse,
while 'pro-choice' women claim 'buyer's' remorse.
Their 'choice' rips and tears the life other women mourn.
That is the pain that can not be borne.
With no precious babes or children dear
These women feel adrift and neither there nor here.
Daggers such as these keep tears unshed.
Pain swells and grows and knows no end.
Guilt builds with each arrow and sling
until finally it becomes it's own thing.
Eventually, children may grow unencumbered in the womb,
but the memory of the lost ones remains beyond the tomb.
Long after acceptance creeps in,
the mother finds herself thinking, "I wonder when...
When did I know?
What could I have done?
Who should I have told?
How should I have been?"
Yet in her heart of hearts she knows,
Her child is near her still, beneath God's arms in his rainbows.
God blesses her little saints, she counts them Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier.
Never again, that pain of loss, will she fear.




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Reflections on my Cancer-versary

It's been 9 years since my younger sister badgered me into resuming my annual mammograms. I had been in fearful denial for several years. It's also been nine years since my diagnosis with hereditary BRCA-1 breast cancer - the worst possible scenario. A look at my family history tells the grim tale.

My great-grandmother died in her 40's, my grandmother at 42, my mother at 58. I was diagnosed the very year my sis urged me - one more time - to get another mammogram. Even my 28 year old daughter joined the 'party' when she was 20 weeks pregnant. Our prognosis as part of the BRCA-1 'club' is not good. Agressive breast cancer, a propensity for ovarian cancer, and a life expectancy that is far from ideal. Yet life goes on.

I was lucky (blessed) to have learned from my dear departed mother's demise. It's foolish not to go to the best possible cancer treatent center - in my case, MD Anderson Cancer Center, where they're working to 'make cancer history'. The forward-thinking doctors there know better than to fool around. They take this monster at face value - it's a killer. They are on the cutting edge of science, spot on for personal care, and wonderfully spiritual in their support.

All of this inside baseball information brings me to a couple of important points for those reading this.

1) Awareness and vigilance is vital. Go have that annual checkup for whatever may ail you. It may just save your life.

2) No one should die so that another can live! Before you get lost in a filmy cloud of PINK awareness, find out how to best serve those who struggle with breast cancer. Susan G Komen and the American Cancer Society are NOT the answer. Their use and advocating for embryonic stem cell research and acceptance of abortion for pregnant cancer victims, disqualifies them. To find out more, check out Six Things to Consider During the Pink Month for the details and ethical alternatives.

So happy 9th Cancer-versary to me! God has blessed me with another year and a loving sister. May I use my remaining time on earth to His Glory!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ProLife Designs by Birgit - How Can We Make a Difference?

My small, ProLife Designs by Birgit, apostolate needs YOU!

March 14, 2006 marks the day I launched a Facebook page called Designs by Birgit. Although I also dabble in cooking, sewing, and gardening my main focus is winning hearts for the unborn. Since that day, I've created over 250 memes (posters) concerning the topic of abortion and the prolife cause.

There have been some measurable successes, such as the Pro-Life Display for Your Church - Approved for Diocesan Use - (created for 40-Days for Life and used in several different states), but for the most part I don't know how much advocacy I've inspired. That's okay! I know from Blessed Mother Teresa that God doesn't require us to succeed, He only requires that we try. So I'll keep prayerfully asking for inspiration and continue to share the products of my imagination, coupled with nudges from the Holy Spirit.

Human nature begs the question though. How are my efforts being received and how can I become more effective? This is where your input comes into play.

I know that prolife advocates come from many different life stories. Some of my friends have lost children though miscarriage or abortion. Some have not. I have friends who haven't quite healed and also those whose passion could be termed as off-putting to some. My personal approach has been toward the more gentle, positive side. The photos I use in my designs come mostly from my own work - using family as subjects. A few come from Facebook friends whose permission has been granted. I try my best to evoke thoughts of the humanity and beauty of our unborn brothers and sisters.

So what stirs you prolife heart?
Is it the quotes? The photos? The stories?
Do you seek only the positive side?
Or are you driven by righteous anger at the outrageous stories that show the inhumanity of those who profess to adhere to choice?

I've been a bit frustrated of late. The new Facebook analytics are doing quite the number on the Designs by Birgit fan page. If my work is only seen by 10% of my followers, how will the prolife message get out? In your charity, please consider 'liking' the Designs by Birgit page and encouraging your friends to do the same. Give a quick comment, share, and/or like when you see something that might inspire love and respect of the unborn.

In the mean time, I'm making an effort to 'brand' my work. Below is the logo I created this morning. Share your thoughts in the combox and share your suggestions with me. We're in this together and the babies are depending on us!




If you'd like to ask your church to display some of the prolife memes I've created, check out the link to Pro-Life Display for Your Church for instructions, links to posters, and a sample bulletin insert. Here's the one we used in our diocese:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marriage: God First, Spouse Second, Children Third

The world is filled with talk of marriage lately. Around this time next year the Church will take on the topic during the World Meeting of Families, the definition of marriage is being challenged all around us, and the nuclear family is being attacked by the secularized world. The topic of marriage is important enough to warrant participation by Pope Francis himself.

In a recent post, 12 Thoughts On Marriage As We Approach Our 40th Marriage Anniversary, I ponder the things my husband and I have learned about the Sacrament of Matrimony. Yet, to my surprise, I met a bit of conflict concerning my order of priorities.

One of my twelve points reads:

2: Children come third, after God (#1) and spouse (#2).

God’s nature definitely created an unbreakable bond when it came to offspring. The instinct of protection and nurture is a formidable force. This ensures the safety of the little ones and the furthering of the human race. As strong as these impulses are, a worthy spouse will never let children displace the primary earthly spot given to spouse.
According to the instructions my husband and I received before our wedding and Catholic sources to which I've referred, this should be a no-brainer. Imagine my surprise when I receivd quite a bit of push-back on this order of priorities.  After a few spirited exchanges, I further deepened my reasoning. To read the comments of others go to the combox here.

In this post I will share my response to those who advocate for children coming before spouse. After you've read these thoughts, you may want to kindly weigh in as well in the combox. I'd love to know your thoughts. The following are mine:

Children come third, after God (#1) and spouse (#2)


Although the Bible doesn’t specifically lay out an order of relationship priorities, there do appear to be some general principles that might be helpful in understanding what I’m attempting to share. Obviously, there is no disagreement with the fact that God comes first.

In direct relationship to this, however, comes the instruction for a married man to love his wife as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Similarly, the wife is to submit to her husband ‘as to the Lord’. (Ephesians 5:22). This appears to support the perspective that spouses are second only to God. Since they are ‘one flesh’, this should be a two-way street.

Further, under the heading “The marriage bond” the CCC states:

1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.[141] From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society."[142] The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love."[143]

As a logical conclusion, this places the fruits of this divine love (the children) as the next natural priority. In this context we find the institution of the Domestic Church.

1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

marriage, matrimonyWhat makes for well adjusted children is that their parents take the covenant to which they have sworn seriously and place it high on their priority list. Without a stable marriage, children suffer from maladjusted lives or even divorce. Further, while Holy Matrimony is one of the seven sacraments, having children is not - it is gift of that sacramental covenant. Marriage is the institution that brings godly children, children aren't the institution that bring a godly marriage.

I must admit that some may be thinking of this in different terms. Naturally, the physical needs of children (whether infant or disabled) must be dealt with on a practical, earthly priority scale. A grown man or woman can certainly deal with their own physical needs – food, shelter, etc. That really isn’t the point I was attempting to make. But even in this instance, care must be taken as to the soundness of the marriage. After all, the natural product of a good marriage is healthy, happy children who are given all they need whether it be spiritual, mental, or physical. Further, when the children mature and go their own way, the covenant that was first established between husband and wife remains.

God bless all marriages and families. As the family goes, so goes society. May we ever preserve our godly relationships!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Mito Family - Stuck Between Obamacare and a Hard Place


I first met Pattie through the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies. She was an inspiration and tireless font of knowledge for us, as Owensboro citizens planned their event - all the way from North Carolina. Since then, I've gotten to know her as a fervent Catholic who advocates for LIFE and as a staunch believer in justice. The superhuman effort necessary to maintain some semblance of a 'normal' life for her family is daunting. A lesser woman might be found, in fetal position, wailing 'why me?!' Instead, Patti's two sons, who suffer from not one, but two, 'orphan' conditions play baseball, soccer, and gather with their many friends to enjoy life as teens. Her life can only be described as inspirational - even though, it makes me tired to just read about everything she manages to squeeze into the same 24 hour days so many of us squander.

In the video, 'A Mito Mother's Plight', we are made privy to some heartbreaking facts - both about what her family is facing, health-wise, but also the terrible scourge that implementation of Obamacare is on families like hers. Life-saving medication, vital to their survival, is being denied this family because of Obamacare. She makes perfectly clear that she isn't seeking pity, she just needs for the citizens of this once great nation to be aware and to "stand up and push back against a government that is overreaching".

We need to be aware, we need to be proactive. Pray, yes! But also stand up and do something!

+JMJ+

Please take the time to watch the video below. In an accompanying description we read...

by Nicole Revels - Journalist
This is the story of a North Carolina mother of three sons, two of whom have a rare bone marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond syndrome combined with a secondary mitochondrial disease. Pattie says that she has witnessed her family's insurance coverage slip away as premiums, deductibles, and medication co-pays have drastically increased with the implementation of mandates contained within the Affordable Care Act. Pattie has now been notified that her sons' life-saving compounded medications will be dropped from coverage all together as of September 15, though her family's medications and treatments were covered with no denials for years prior to 2011. Pattie fears that her family may soon lose their employer-provided health insurance completely, forcing them onto Obamacare exchanges under which they would be denied access to their current specialists. Having read the Affordable Care Act legislation prior to its passage, Pattie says that it was evident that the mandates would generate exactly the detrimental impacts that she is now experiencing. She asserts that the ultimate goal of the legislators who adopted the Affordable Care Act was the extinction of private health insurance companies, giving rise to a single-payer system of substandard healthcare.
Read the full article, , "Obamacare Has Destroyed My Family" - A Mito Mother's Story,  here.  



http://youtu.be/9RAhCDzs-hY


Friday, September 5, 2014

Homosexual Madness - Is It Affecting the Church?

Campaigns supporting the homosexual lifestyle and 'rights' seem to be all the rage these days. In a world gone mad, this biologically and morally repugnant type of 'relationship' is being touted as just another type of loving union. Yet we, of the Catholic faith, have always had an unbroken line of teachings that prompt us to love the sinner but hate the sin. We are encouraged to make judgments, every day, about actions - all the while not judging the souls of others. So what's going on with some prominent figures in the Catholic landscape?

It has just been announced that the LGBT crowd will be allowed to march under a banner, for the first time in the 250 year history of the St. Patrick's Day parade in NYC. Although these groups have never been prevented from marching, the fact that they are now able to further, and ever more obviously, flaunt their deviant lifestyle is abhorrent. It's small comfort that pro-life groups will also be allowed to march under a banner as well. Yet Catholic League's Bill Donohue seems blasé.

"Never in the history of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have homosexuals been barred from marching, anymore than pro-life Catholics have, but in both cases they were not permitted to have their own unit. I have been assured that the rules have been formally changed to allow both of these groups, as well as others, to march under their own banner. That being the case, there should be no controversy. One would hope that all the new entries will conduct themselves in a manner that honors St. Patrick, lest another round of controversy emerges."
Since when are the LGBT advocates and pro-life champions of equal moral heft?

Timothy Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York appears to be unconcerned as well. He will carry out his plans to act as Grand Marshall of the parade.

I found encouragement, however, from the reaction of Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington. He penned quite the post on the diocesan website, concerning both the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner. Sadly, and rather discouraging, his piece was promptly taken down. It was fortunate that he had given LifeSiteNews permission to share his piece as well. Along with a screenshot of the original entry, BuzzFeed also shared his words. And faithful words they were!

Concerning the Al Smith Dinner he lamented, “...we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love …”

He added, ‘...the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.’

His admonition to 'cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world’ is sound on the face of what they have become.

Catholics, faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church gain sound advice as he added, "Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age."

What we appear to have here, is a failure to communicate Christ's true teachings, on the part of some, and the silencing of those who seek to uphold it. Perhaps I'll wear purple this Lent - especially on Saint Patrick's day. It's only right to offer reparation for the sins of this mad, hypersexualized world.

As Msgr. Pope ended his thoughts, "For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!"

UPDATE: Msgr. Charles Pope addresses the question,  What happened to the St. Patricks Parade Post?

Screenshot and quotes from Msgr. Pope's article.