12 Year Old Girl’s Anti-Abortion Speech

Yesterday, I posted a long perspective on Why I Am Pro-Life. Shortly afterward, I came across the following video of  a 12 year old girl’s anti-abortion speech. This is most definitely worth 5 minutes of your time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOR1wUqvJS4

“A person’s a person no matter how small”

(Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss)

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Why I Am Pro-Life…

I have always been raised with an anti-abortion outlook because of being raised in a Christian family.

However, just because I was raised a Christian doesn’t mean I actually was a Christian. I had to choose to have a relationship and believe in Jesus as my God. And although I made that decision at a young age, I continually study God’s Word and I love researching culture, history, archeology, and science that affirms my faith.

In the same way, when it comes to abortion, I have researched from a medical perspective and from a personal experience perspective. I have several friends who have had abortions and they either regret their decision and are pro-life or they do not regret their decision and are pro-choice. I have had many debates with the friends who are pro-choice but even though we disagree, we still have great friendships.

Due to a recent conversation with a friend, I started to think about why I am pro-life. There is not one defining moment. Instead there are several circumstances throughout my life where I have had the opportunity to contemplate the pro-life perspective. The following stories are some of the significant experiences that contributed to why I am pro-life. For further reading about the truth of abortion you can go to my list of blog posts relating to the topic (including my opinion on if the mother’s life is at risk). After reading the following stories, I would love to hear your input and opinions relating to my experiences. Feel free to comment respectfully. Any rude and inappropriate comments will not be posted.

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twinsI was first exposed to “abortion” when I was around age 5. Although, I fully did not understand what was going on until later. My mom was pregnant and while she was doing a marching band performance during a pro-football game half-time show she started bleeding. Her doctor recommended a D&C (dilation of the cervix then scraping or suctioning out the tissues inside the uterus) because he thought the baby was not going to survive. My mom questioned if this was an abortion and the doctor decided to do an ultrasound to confirm his suspicions and reassure my mom. He immediately was able to see why my mom was bleeding. He saw that the baby was tearing off of the uterine wall because a second baby was pushing him. He told my mom that if one baby died, the chances of the other baby surviving was slim. He put her on strict bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. She was in and out of the hospital and consistently being monitored as high risk. My mom, family, & friends prayed fervently over the babies and they were born one month before their due date and survived. I would not have my brother and sister if the doctor had not done an ultrasound that day.

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I lost my virginity when I was in college and still living in my parent’s home. I went into panic mode not only because I had been planning to wait until marriage but also because I imagined how getting pregnant would affect my entire life. I assumed that everyone around me would judge me for not being the good Christian girl that I claimed to be. I assumed I would be asked to leave my parent’s house.  I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to finish college. I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to financially support myself. A couple of days later, I called an OB-GYN office to ask how long it would take for me to know if I got pregnant or not. The nurse gave me the usual “based on your period” response and she recommended Plan B. She told me it would keep me from getting pregnant if I had not yet conceived but she could not assure me that if I had already conceived that it would not cause a miscarriage. I told her I needed to think about it and I would call her back if I decided to make an appointment. I never called her back. I decided that because I made a stupid decision, I would hope for the best but I would have to live with any consequences. I could not justify causing an abortion even if I did not know for sure if I was pregnant. A couple of weeks later I was relieved to know that I was not pregnant. Shane and I got married several months later in August 2002.

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2003-2004 I was working as a nurse (LPN) at an OB-GYN doctors office. At the time, the office had 9 doctors and a Nurse Practitioner who were apart of the practice. When I went to the office for my interview, the head nurse saw, under volunteer work, on my resume’ that I had gone to Brazil for church mission trips and she assumed that I probably would be against abortion. During the interview, she confided in me that there were a few doctors in the practice who sometimes did surgical abortions at the surgery center. She also said that on occasion, some of the doctors would give abortion causing pills in the office. She made it very clear that the nurses who are morally against abortion could ask another nurse to take over during the time these patients were in the office. I really wanted to be in the OB-GYN field so Shane and I prayed about it and decided that I should still work there. When I was hired, I confirmed with the head nurse that I was very against abortion and that I would not participate in it at all.

During my time there, I cared for women during their pregnancies, including when they miscarried. I remember one woman came in to confirm her miscarriage and brought the passed tissues in a baggie. I think that she was about 11-12 weeks along. The baggie was given to the nurses so that we could send the tissues to the lab. In the bag, there was a perfectly round circle of tissue (about the size of a half dollar). The nurses gathered around and we held it up to the light. We could see an amazing outline of a baby. I will never forget that image. My heart ached for the woman and for the tiny baby that I held in my hand.

Several months later, one of the doctors had given a teenager (I don’t remember how old she was but probably 17-18 years old) the abortion causing pills. She went home to complete the process but the pills did not work properly so she came back into the office. The doctor completed the process in the office. We heard the girl’s cries of pain from down the hallway. And of course, it was the responsibility of the nurses to send the tissues to the lab and clean the instruments used during the procedure. I was not prepared for the wave of emotions I felt. I was angry at the doctor who did the procedure in the office. I was in shock that it had actually happened the way it did. I felt bad for one of the other nurses who had no clue that some of the doctors did occasional abortions. I resigned later that week making sure my boss knew that I felt that the whole situation was completely unacceptable.

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16weeks500x379In February 2005; I found out that I was pregnant. I had always wanted children and was very excited. I called and told a lot of my family and friends as soon as I found out. My excitement was soon crushed with pain and bleeding. At first the doctor didn’t say for sure that I was having a miscarriage. But as a nurse who had worked in the OB-GYN field, I knew what was going on. In my pain and while I was still hoping for the best; I wrote a poem called My Valley. We chose the name Kendal during this time, based on the poem which I wrote “as I walk through the valley of death”. In one name book; the meaning for Kendal is: “Ruler of the valley.” When I found out that I was pregnant again in November of 2005; I was cautious and did not let everyone know. So when I miscarried again; I did not have to explain to a lot of people who offered their congratulations like the first time. During that time and for several months after; our marriage was in turmoil and we almost got divorced but during the time we were trying to reconcile we got pregnant for a third time in May of 2006 and Kendal was born 9 months later. I believe that God used that pregnancy to keep us together.

During my time of grieving, I found it very difficult to read articles or hear news related to abortion. It physically & emotionally hurt to know that there were babies being discarded when there were people like me who wanted a baby so badly. Yes, I was eventually able to have my own children but there are many couples who for whatever reason cannot have children and would give anything to adopt and love an unwanted baby. Some day I would love to do the same.

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Audrey was induced and born in 2009. I had a smooth delivery but after the epidural wore off and I tried to get out of bed for the first time, I started hemorrhaging and passed out. The doctor determined that I had retained placenta and they manually tried to get it out. I was in extreme pain and went in and out of consciousness. I stayed in the hospital an extra day because I had lost a lot of blood and they were making sure that I wouldn’t need a transfusion. At my 6 week postpartum exam, I was still bleeding on a daily basis since the delivery. The doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound which was several weeks later. The ultrasound showed that I still had placenta in my uterus so she gave me Misoprostol (abortion pills) in order to cause my uterus to contract and hopefully expel the remaining placenta tissues. I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly painful this process was. I was in a lot of pain for several days that even Percocet could not alleviate. I have experienced the physical pain of abortion without actually having an abortion.

When this process did not work, I ended up having a D&C to scrape the retained placenta out of the uterus. This procedure is often used after miscarriages and for 1st trimester abortions. I had general anesthesia during the procedure. Unfortunately, anesthesia is often not used during abortions. When I went to the doctor for my follow-up, he did an ultrasound to make sure that the procedure worked. It did not. There was still retained placenta tissue still visible. So I had a second D&C (the doctor used an ultrasound during the procedure to confirm that it was completely removed). Finally, after 6 months of bleeding, medications, surgical procedures, pain, depression, etc, I was able to recover from Audrey’s delivery.

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Sometime in 2010, I started this blog website. I used my writing to help me get through some difficult times in my life and marriage. I started interacting online with other bloggers and following pages that interested me. A few of those blogging friends kept me updated on abortion related statistics, politics, news, etc. Although I have always considered myself pro-life, I started feeling burdened to be a voice for the unborn. I started posting about abortion on my blog and on facebook. I started having real conversations with friends who disagree with me in order to know their perspective. I had a desire to help women who are contemplating abortion or who have had them in the past.

When we moved to New Mexico, I found out that there is a Pregnancy Resource Center in our town. They provide free pregnancy tests, counseling, resources, classes, etc. to women and girls who have unplanned and/or crisis pregnancies. I have not yet been able to volunteer directly with the clients (due to timing and other commitments) but I have taken the peer counseling training, have helped raise money, helped with the fundraising banquets, etc.

My hope is that someday I can truly make a difference in the life of a woman with an unplanned pregnancy. There are other options available to women that are not often talked about (adoption and keeping the baby). There is counseling, resources, and help available for women who choose options other than abortion. And there is counseling, resources, and help for those who have had abortions in the past. My purpose for being pro-life is not to condemn or judge those who have had abortions but instead to help others see that there is value to all life born or unborn, young or old, etc.

Have you taken the time to think about why you are pro-life?

Observing Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday… the day that many observe the Lent season. I was not raised in a family that participated in Lent. I always thought that Lent was a Catholic ritual. In high school I asked several friends why they came to school with ash on their foreheads and they could never give me a good reason for why they “observe” Lent. They seemed to be doing it because they were told to do it or because that is what they have always done. I never actually participated in an Ash Wednesday service until 2010 when we were living in Japan. When the pastor of our church did the service, I found that I really liked the concept behind Lent.

 Got Questions?org gives this definition of Lent:

“Lent is a period of fasting and repentance traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations in preparation for Easter. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 40 days. During this time, participants eat sparingly or simply give up a particular food or habit. Ash Wednesday and Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves to repent of their sins in a manner similar to how people in the Old Testament repented in sackcloth, ashes, and fasting (Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3; Matthew 11:21).”

I have found online that there is great controversy between Christians who think it is okay or not okay to observe Lent. It is important to note that Lent or any other Christian tradition or act of faith is NOT required in order to receive God’s gift of salvation and it will not win God’s blessing or make us more holy. It is not required for salvation and it is not commanded in scripture to celebrate Christmas or Easter but we do so because it brings us joy to celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. While participating in Lent or other traditions, some people may have wrong motives or they will be doing it because that is what they have always done. For me, it is a time of reflection and a time to remove something from my life that is hindering a closer relationship with God or to add something to my life that should have been doing already.

A friend linked to this graphic yesterday and I think that it gives a good representation of how I choose to observe Lent:

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This, of course, is something we should keep in mind all year and not just in the weeks leading up to Easter. I think that observing Lent is a humbling way to focus our thoughts and actions. We also need to keep in mind that while doing any type of fasting/abstaining/self-denial that it should be personal between you and God. While there is nothing wrong with telling others that you are observing Lent, it should not be used as a way to bring attention and glory to ourselves. Instead, we should be humble and desire to bring glory to the Father.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 NIV

This year, I prayed about what God would have me do (or not do) during the Lent season. The church that I attend does not do an Ash Wednesday service, so I will not have ashes on my forehead today. I found my Ashes to Fire Lent devotional book that I received from my church in 2011 and I plan read through the daily reflections. I also am starting “The Love Dare for Parents” a 40-day challenge to daily demonstrate love to my children. My prayer is that during this time I will purposely be focused on Christ and with His help also purposely make time to show my love to my girls. My daily prayer is for the Lord to give me patience and wisdom and help me to be slow to anger.

Do you observe Lent? Why or Why Not?

As 2013 Ends…

Here is our Christmas Letter for this year!

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Dear Family and Friends,

As you all know, we moved to New Mexico in December 2012. We found a home and moved in just in time for Christmas. We closed on our house in January. In February, we became members of Central Baptist Church. It is a much larger church than what we are used too but we connected with the people in our Sunday School class and there are many programs, activities, and ministries that have allowed us to feel at home there. By summer, we all had adjusted to our new home and with autumn came busy schedules. Throughout the year, we have met amazing friends and are grateful that God has given us family away from home so quickly!

Shane has finally completed his training to become a Flight Engineer. It was a long journey but he is now enjoying his career more so than he did before. As a part of a flight crew, he travels more frequently but he has already traveled to some amazing places in the past few months!

Alysa is currently not working outside of the home but has been keeping busy with many activities. She is in the church choir and helps in the church library. She is also a women’s core-group leader with Community Bible Study and she teaches a Crafting Through the Bible class for the homeschooling co-op kids. She is still a Juice Plus+ Distributor as well.

Kendal and Audrey will be turning 7 and 5 in January. Both girls are also involved with many activities. They are in Awana clubs, Kid’s Central, Community Bible Study, and they play soccer on local teams. We started out the year homeschooling but after a lot of prayer and wise counsel, we decided to put Kendal in a public elementary school. So far she is enjoying the classroom setting but we are still in the process of getting her caught up academically. Please keep her in prayer as she adjusts to the new routine. Audrey is now able to have more one on one time with Alysa and Shane which has been a blessing.

Noriko has been a part of our family since August! She is an exchange student from Okinawa, Japan (which is where we were stationed for 4 years). She will be staying with us for the entire school year. She is attending the local high school, participates in dance classes at a local studio, and attends youth group at church. The girls absolutely love their new big sister! Shane and I have enjoyed having her here.

This year, we are planning to spend Christmas in Iowa with Shane’s family and New Year’s in Michigan with some of Alysa’s family. We are also hoping to take a trip to Delaware to see Alysa’s family sometime before the school year ends so that we can take Noriko to places like Washington DC. Please pray that we can work out the timing, finances, and Shane’s leave approval so that we can take these vacations!

As 2013 comes to a close, we have been reflecting on the changes our family has experienced throughout the past year. It has been said that “Change is always in your favor when you are walking with the Lord.“ Overall, we have had a very good year!

May “the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” this Christmas season and new year! (Numbers 6:24-26)

Love, Shane, Alysa, Kendal, Audrey, & Noriko

Tough Decision

0ES2We made a very tough decision to find a new home for our dog, Bear, several weeks ago. We asked around to see if anyone knew of a family who might be interested in having him. Having no luck, a friend recommended that we should contact Shooke Unleashed Animal Rescue facebook page to see if they could help. While they do not have an actual rescue shelter, the page owner goes to the local animal control shelter, which is a kill shelter, almost daily and takes photos of the dogs and cats that are there. She then posts the photos on her facebook page and tries to network and find homes for the animals. She often arranges transportation for the animals to other towns and she also makes an effort to help raise funds for military families who can’t afford to take their pets when they move overseas. The page owner posted Bear’s information and photo on the page and after a few days a family said they were interested in him! The problem was that they live in Albuquerque which is 3 three hours away from us. It turned out that the page owner had a friend who was going to ABQ and she was able to take Bear with her to meet the new family. After a couple of hours of him interacting with the family and their pets, they decided to keep Bear! We were in constant communication with them over the whole process and felt really good about Bear staying with them. From the photos I have seen, Bear seems to be very happy!

We rescued Bear when he was 7 weeks old from the Animal Control Shelter. We understood the work involved with owning a puppy. Shane has always been good at training dogs (ours and friends’). We made sure he was healthy and up to date on all vaccines and we had him fixed when he was 6 months old. At the end of July, Shane’s schedule started changing when he moved to a new squadron and he was away from home more frequently. In August and September, my schedule changed drastically because of all of the activities and events the girls and I participate in during the school year. Bear was always kenneled at night and now because of our schedules was kenneled most of the day as well. He was not getting much attention and when he was not kenneled he was being destructive (indoors and outdoors) as a way to let out his pent up energy. When we found out that Shane was going overseas, we made the decision to find Bear a new home.

Surprisingly, we were met with a lot of criticism for making this decision by people who don’t even know us (or the page owner). Comments on Bear’s photo included… “Sad this family is willing to just let him go after they rescued him. When will people quit treating their pets like disposable trash? If your child was hyper, would you rehome him or her??? Hope they never consider getting another dog!” I saw similar comments on other photos of dogs who needed to be re-homed for various reasons. Honestly, I was offended by the rude comments on Bear’s photo and other photos. I love animals and would never do anything to intentionally harm them. We felt that we were doing what was best for Bear and us. While taking him back to the shelter we rescued him from could have been an option, we did our best to find a good family who would love him and care for him so that wouldn’t happen. We didn’t ask for money and we gave everything we had that belonged to Bear to the new family. It is not unusual for people to just dump their unwanted pets on the side of the road or in a field. It is also not uncommon for someone to shoot an unwanted pet. We did neither of those things. We rescued him and gave him a good home for the many months that he was with us. I have a hard time with the fact that we were basically being called bad parents because we found a new home for our pet. Yes, we treat our pets as members of the family but they are not equal to our children. And sometimes finding a new home is what is best for the pet.

This was a decision we made over a period of time and after many tears the process of finding Bear a new home is over. We will miss Bear but we are still okay with the decision we made because it is what was best for everyone and Bear. We hope the new family and Bear will be happy together for a long time.

The new owner posted this photo on the rescue page with the following message:

“Nyla and Bear are bff’s now!

I really can’t thank you enough for helping us out and bringing him to us!”

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We are very happy that Bear has found a good home.

Thank you Shooke Unleashed and volunteers for helping us!

 

Pumpkin Patch

One thing I wanted to make sure that we did this season was go to the pumpkin patch. This is something that Noriko has never experienced. For our family, it has become a Fall favorite. We love to go do the mazes and activities and best of all choose our pumpkins for decoration outside our front door. It reminds me of my childhood, living in rural Delaware, surrounded by corn fields and barns with hay bales.

We went to Davis Farms here in Clovis, New Mexico with some friends on a crisp and windy autumn day. They had a hay bale maze for little kids. A hay bale mountain to climb on with a tunnel going through it. A large corn maze. A hay ride to the pumpkin patch where we picked our own pumpkins. There were not many people at the farm and it was nice to do everything at our own pace. We spent a few hours there and then went to IHOP for dinner and hot chocolate to warm us up! My friend Stephanie took most of the photos (I love the one with the kids in the tunnel)! And yes, this is counting as a field trip/school day for my girls! :)

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Trying New Things!

I am having a lot of fun making Noriko try new things!

When I found out she had never eaten Pumpkin Pie, I had to make it for her. This is an American dessert that is a staple during autumn! She loved it! And of course my girls did too :)

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I also made her try Black Licorice… She did NOT like that!

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Other things I have made her try include: pumpkin cake, homemade tapioca pudding, potato soup, homemade jam (of different flavors), sour patch kids, Big Mac, and much more. She likes most things that I have given her (or at least she says she does :) ). She loves to eat!

 

Busy! Busy! Busy!!!

Busy really doesn’t even describe my life in the past two months! Which is why my blogging time has been non-existent. Noriko arrived and Fall came and all extra commitments started within the same few weeks.

August for the most part went pretty smoothly. The beginning of the month we were preparing for Noriko. When she arrived we eased her into our routine, registered her for school. She started school and quickly started to make friends. She changed a couple of her classes during the first couple of weeks and I met most of her teachers during the open house during the second week of school. (I was frustrated that one of her teachers didn’t even know she was an exchange student but that is off topic). We found out that there is a Japanese teacher at the school. She was excited when we met her and I know that she has been instrumental in helping Noriko adjusting to American High School!

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In September, I was struggling to manage our schedule to point that I could not figure out when I had time to homeschool. We were in and out of the house multiple times a day. We would come home from one thing but since we are leaving the house in an hour or two that there was no point in trying to do schooling. So my days were flying by without accomplishing my homeschooling goals.

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Even though I had two calendars and a day planner, I had to come up with a better way of keeping track of my schedule. During the course of a week, I wrote my schedule several times in several places in the hopes of finding what would work the best. Completely frustrated I went to an office store in town and spent an hour looking at calendars and day planners. I found a day planner that puts each week on a two page spread with spaces for times between 7 am and 8 pm.

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I finally was able to visualize my schedule! I started out using post-it tabs and color coded my schedule. My idea was that I could fill in my schedule for 2-3 weeks then transfer the tabs over to the following blank weeks. I realized that this would not work during the first week. With as much as I was using the planner, the tabs were bending and falling off. So, for following weeks I decided to color my planner! (Yes, I think I have OCD) I even scheduled lunch and dinner for most days! Even though most of the white space is full, I still have been able to be somewhat flexible. I generally know that all white space is free and all homeschooling space we should try to be home. But things do still come up like the lunch invite or the come over for coffee invite. Dinner time needs to be flexible and often is not when I have it blocked off but if I have it on the schedule I can still visualize the time I have (or don’t have) available when scheduling appointments and other things that come up.

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October is now here. Getting into routine has been challenging and stressful but I think we are starting to find our groove! Consistently we have the following out of the house schedule:

Sunday-Church and Awana, Monday-Soccer (K), Tuesday-Community Bible Study (Leadership) and Soccer (K & A), Wednesday- Community Bible Study and Church, Thursday-Library and Soccer (A), Friday-Homeschool co-ops (3 class periods), Saturday-2-3 Soccer games (K & A)

And between all of those times I can schedule meals, homeschooling, house cleaning, rest time, etc. Did I mention my husband is deployed? All the more reason to have a well planned schedule!

Noriko seems to be adjusting well. She is continuing to make friends and finding activities that interest her. Since she has been here, her school assignments and church involvement have lead to several good conversations about relationships, religion, history, etc. (I will share more specific conversations as I find the time to blog…I really should block out blogging time on my schedule). The girls love Noriko and she loves them. Even though we have had some miscommunications and frustrations, I have enjoyed having her here. So far this has been a good experience and I hope and pray that we continue to be smooth for our whole family.