Pro-Life Ads to Air During the Superbowl

Randall Terry Campaign to Run Pro-Life Commercials During Superbowl Game

I know many people are uncomfortable with graphic images of abortion.  I know many people think that displaying the horror of abortion will not change hearts and minds.

I am uncomfortable with graphic images of abortion.  I don’t like to see them.  I don’t want my children to see them.

But I also don’t like to see the photos of the Nazi death camps: the piles of bodies, emaciated to nothing; the naked men and women, shockingly still able to walk despite quite literally being nothing but skin and bones.  But I think everyone, at some point, must see these images.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  We must be horrified, or we risk becoming numb to the reality.

When I read Unplanned by Abby Johnson, I found it very interesting that in her first chapter she described her horror when she had to assist in an abortion by holding the ultrasound wand in place.  She had to watch the abortion so that the doctor would be sure to have a good image.  It is one thing to “assist” an abortion by shuffling paperwork in another room or by walking women to and from their cars.  It is quite another to witness an unborn child fighting for his life.  That event had her fleeing the clinic and seeking comfort with her enemies – the pro-lifers’ office down the street who had been praying for her, specifically for her, for years.

Yet, by the last chapter, she seemed to argue that graphic images were not as effective as kind words and prayers.  Now, I am confident that the years of praying for her and reaching out to her were very instrumental in her conversion.  But it seems clear that witnessing that abortion was shockingly and immediately effective in changing her views.

Randall Terry is running for president only because TV can not edit a presidential candidate’s ads.  These ads will be graphic, and I will be sure that my younger children are protected from viewing them if they air in our area.  However, I do support their airing.  I do think America needs to see what is happening, legally, every day in this country.

To view the ads, and to support their airing in additional cities, go to Terry for President

Better than "Yo, Dude"

Fritz has to write a letter to the bishop as one of his confirmation requirements.  The topic is: how my home life has influenced my religious formation.  I asked him if he had considered what he would write.

“Yeah.  I’m going to say that I’m homeschooled, so my mom’s my teacher, and we have religion class every day.”

“Hm.  Okay.  You know you’re going to have to expand that to about 150 words?”

“Yeah…”

“Okay…”

“I know what the first four words will be: Dear Mr. Bishop, Sir:

Well, at least he nailed politeness and respect.  Only 146 more words to go.

Gingerbread Houses

I am back-dating this post to January, because that is how old the pictures are.  The post really belongs with Christmas, and if I don’t put it close to that time frame, I’ll never find it in the archives.  Those who read me via a reader will probably see it.  Those who go straight to my blog probably won’t, so I hope to do a summary post after I finally publish all these old photos, so my mom and others don’t miss them.

The kids were given a free hand with their gingerbread houses.  I bought kits, because I did not have the energy to make them myself.  Bill assembled them one night, and then the next day we just let them go to town.  I think I know which belongs to whom; I definitely know three of them.

This one is Katie’s house.  There is lots of activity.

 Please note the man burying his friend in the snow.  One shovelful left to go.

 I can not identify the owner of this house.  Fritz? Mary? Jenny?  Fritz was very apathetic to the whole project, so lack of skill is no indication of artist in his case.

 This house with the Star Wars battle scene is definitely Billy’s.

 Note the figure impaled on the top of the Christmas tree.  Because nothing says “Christmas” quite like fantasy death and destruction.

 I don’t even know who the good guys are.

 But I trust that St. Nicholas is offering an appropriate blessing to the right side.  The angel, though, has more important things to look after.

 Rooftop duel.  Never take a light saber to a blaster fight.

 Not sure who made this house.  If I had to guess, I would think this understated one was Fritz’s and the really goopy one was Mary’s.  I think Jenny did a gingerbread train.

And now for Peter’s house.  Another one with lots of interesting things going on.  I think this one has a cop and robber theme.  Again, why such violent drama is included in what was supposed to be Christmas decorations is unknown.  I did mention that the kids were completely unsupervised on this project, right?

 When Peter showed me the house, I mistook the red icing going up the side as flames.  “The house is on fire?” I asked him.

“No, Mom,” he said in that offended tone of a misunderstood artist.  “That’s not fire.  That’s blood.”

Uh, Merry Christmas to you, too.

Establishing the Habit of Exercise

About five years ago, Bill had to leave for work by 530 am.  He usually didn’t come home until 7 or 8 pm or later, and was frequently out-of-town.  I was 1 year post-partum with Peter, and Fritz was only 8.  We didn’t own a treadmill or any other exercise equipment.  I was feeling the beginning effects of middle-aged, metabolism slow-down, and didn’t feel that I had fully recovered, physically, from Peter’s birth (in other words, I hadn’t lost the baby weight or the baby bump).  I had been walking or running several times a week before Bill had started that job with long hours, and was unhappy and resentful that this seemed no longer possible.  It was easy to blame circumstances for the extra 10 pounds and lack of exercise.

Eventually, I grew tired of blaming everything but myself, so I brainstormed what to do about my situation.

Exercise tapes?  Little floor space, presence of whiny children, and not my style.
Joining a gym with babysitting? Too expensive, required hauling 5 kids in and out of car.
Buying a treadmill?  Too expensive, little floor space, presence of whiny children.

I wanted to hire a babysitter so I could continue to walk or run, but that seemed expensive and once the kids woke up and the day began, life’s issues of school work and laundry and cooking always seemed more important.

Finally, what remained was the idea that I would have to walk or run early in the morning or late at night, whenever Bill was home.  I quickly opted for early in the morning.  For me, by the time it hit the kids’ bedtime, I was exhausted myself.  The only exercise I wanted to do was the crawl from the kitchen sink to my bed.

So, this is where I started my habit of running in the morning, first-thing.  Back then, the alarm went off at 415 am and by 430 or so, I was outside pounding the streets, with my running partner – Greta, our dog, who was young and very high-energy.  It was not long before she knew what that alarm meant, and as soon as it went off would start hopping madly around the room wondering why I wasn’t moving yet.  On the days I lacked personal motivation, I still managed to get up “for the dog.”

*******

Greta is now over 6.  She doesn’t like the heat, so in the summer, she dragged.  But once the weather got cooler, and especially now that we cracked down on the children giving her too much food so her weight is more within a normal range, her energy has picked up and she really enjoys running.  If I walk, she pulls on the lead, and I have to remind her to slow down.

But it has been years since the morning alarm has gotten her excited.  And it’s not even at 415 anymore.  Now, it’s 5 am before it goes off, and often it is 10 or 15 minutes before I get up.  Then I like to have a cup of coffee to gear myself up for the run.  The dog just stays in her sleeping area in our room until I get my shoes on.

Even then, I have sometimes had to say, “Come on!” before she gets up.

*******

This is the time of year when people resolve to give up bad habits and start good ones.  The thing is, it takes weeks to change our habits…not two or three weeks, either.  More like 6 or 8 or more.  Any plan for change has to account for this in order to be successful.  Based on my experience, here are the steps I think are necessary to develop an exercise regime that will be maintained and not discarded:

1. Schedule a time of day to exercise.  “Whenever I can” isn’t going to work.  “During the baby’s morning nap” might work, if the baby is a regular and sound sleeper, but think ahead to when he gives that up and what you will do.  Think about what time of day is best for you.  Experts say to not exercise close to bedtime, but if you are a night-owl, then working out at 8 pm might be fine.

2. Start small.  Sore muscles are a great excuse to skip the next day’s workout.  If you aren’t looking forward to exercising, you will be tempted to do anything else but it.  Better to establish the habit of an easy one mile walk every day first, and then take on the challenge of trying to run that distance – or to go farther – then to push yourself to run hard and fast, and give up in frustration.

3. Pick your workout wisely.  I love to walk.  I love to run, even if I am slow.  Biking hurts my tush.  I don’t have a pool or easy access to one, and I really can’t do much more than doggy paddle.  I’m not into group classes at the Y.  Sometimes I will bike, sometimes I will go to an exercise class.  Maybe some day I’ll learn to swim well.  But for now, for me, a program that centers on walking and running is one that I like, so it is one that I will do.

4. Set a goal.  Back when I started running, I decided to run the Army 10 Miler.  I had never run farther than 6 miles before that (and that was many many years prior), so I found a training program (I like Hal Higdon) and I followed it.  I reminded myself often that I wouldn’t be able to complete 10 miles for that race in 3 months, if I didn’t run my scheduled 3 miles today.  I trained for nearly a year to do that race – first working on the 5k plan, then the 10k plan, then the 15k/10 mile plan.

And after that, I stopped running for a long time – months.  But that’s ok.  I set another goal and got back out there when I started to miss it (and when I added 5 pounds). 

Don’t tie exercise goals to weight loss goals.  You will be disappointed.  Your exercise goals should be performance goals.  If you struggle to do even one sit up, aim to do 25 in a row.  If you struggle to find the time and motivation to exercise daily, resolve to walk 30 miles a month – some days you might do none and others you might do 2 or 3.  Maybe you want to run a ten minute mile – or faster.  Maybe you just want to get to the gym 3 times a week on average.

5.  Make exercise something you look forward to doing.  This is easiest to accomplish if it is tied to something enjoyable: great conversations with a walking partner, an energetic playlist or interesting podcast on your iPod, a break from the kids.  Some people watch their favorite show while on a stationary bike.  Some people love a competitive game of tennis.

6. Reward yourself for good behavior.  If you stick with an exercise program for a certain period of time or accomplish a goal, give yourself permission to celebrate.  I usually take off a whole week after I’ve done an 8 week Hal Higdon training schedule or after a race.  One hot fudge sundae in honor of completing your first 5k won’t add 2 inches to your thighs.  Smaller goals might only deserve a self-congratulatory pat on the back, but relish your success for a few days before moving on to the next challenge. 

7. Establish a form of accountability.  Whether it’s your dog or your neighbor, having a workout partner keeps you motivated to get out the door.  Having a sister or a husband or a friend regularly ask you about your progress helps, too.  Signing up for a 5k, hiring a personal trainer, logging your exercise online in a public forum are other ways to keep you going or get you back on track when you have a bad week.

8. Expect curve-balls.  Your whole family gets the flu.  Your husband’s work routine changes.  You get pregnant.  You can’t be so tied to your training plan or to your goals that life’s surprises completely derail your exercise routine.  You may need to take a week or two off, and you may need to decrease the intensity of a workout to deal with a temporary situation.  Other changes may require you to change your routine altogether.  Be committed to figuring out a new plan, whether temporary or permanent, rather than putting exercise on hold for the indefinite future.

*******

Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle that will keep you active well into old age.  If you are sedentary in your 30’s and 40’s, expect to remain sedentary in your 50’s and 60’s and beyond.  That’s not what I want in life.  There’s too much to do and see.

The Party’s Over

Not only is it time to go back to work and school, the unseasonably (even for Savannah) warm weather has come to an abrupt end.  They are actually using terms like “wind chill” – and they really mean it.  Last night, at bedtime, the temperature in my house was 72 degrees…and this was with the heater off, as it has been off for about 2 weeks.  In fact, I almost put the A/C on the other evening so it would be comfortable for sleeping, but we managed to do without, thanks to ceiling fans in every bedroom.

This morning, it was 66 degrees, which I realize is higher than where some of you folks with thick winter blood normally set it, but I am just not that tough.  Plus, I’ll never get the kids out of bed if it’s that cold.  Outside, it is 33 degrees (yes, yes, above freezing – but 20 degrees colder than yesterday morning) with wind gusts making it feel like 14 (which is cold, by most standards).

I’m drinking a hot cup of coffee and contemplating my morning run, which just doesn’t seem very appealing.

Resolutions and Predictions

On New Year’s Eve, we gathered around the coffee table and I had everybody make one resolution and one prediction for the new year.  I wrote them all down, sealed them in an envelope, and we’ll open it next year when we do the same thing.

Some of the resolutions were the standard fare: exercise more, eat healthier.  Some were fun: learn some magic tricks.  Some were challenging: be nicer.

With the predictions, nobody seems to feel a calling to be a seer.  Nobody wanted to guess the winner of the Superbowl or the presidential election – although Bill predicted that the winner would be somebody I, his wife, did not vote for.  Yes, well, we shall see.

Most of us stuck with likely to happen predictions: that the gingerbread houses would be smashed (we generally do that on January 6th), that we would move to a new home, that we would have to resume schoolwork.

Billy predicted that he would have a new brother or sister this year.  That’s another likely prediction.  I’m due mid-June!

It will be an exciting year, I’m sure.

Recent pictures

Finally downloading pictures from the camera.

Mary wanted to help saute onions and peppers, but they hurt her eyes.  We took care of that.

Mary hamming it up for somebody – not me.

Bill gave me a flash diffuser for Christmas.  Here we experiment with its effects.  The first is with and the second is without the diffuser.

My husband makes scruffy look good.

I am glad he’s back to shaven, though.  Ouch.