The Conversation about Abortion

With all of the abortion talk going around, I have been feeling so sad. There is so much pain on either side. It’s hard for me to take a side because I feel like I understand the arguments and feelings on either side. I have felt unwanted and that feeling is devastating, and I have seen how that particular painful feeling wreaks havoc in the lives of other people who have felt that way. I can understand why someone who has experienced that would want abortion to be an option, to avoid that deep all consuming pain.

I have also experienced pregnancy that scared me out of my mind. When I was pregnant with my first, we were not prepared financially or emotionally for her. We were terrified and emotional and taken aback by the amount of crazy hormones I was experiencing and we lost her. Later, after losses and fertility struggles, when I was pregnant with my first rainbow baby, I was devastated to find out I was pregnant. I was so sure I was going to lose her that I sobbed when I saw the test and cried that I didn’t want to go through that again. I didn’t really believe she wasn’t just another loss until I stepped into our apartment and realized we could keep all of the baby stuff. What’s more is I was very very sick the whole time I was pregnant, so I also felt that pain. I know what a surprise pregnancy feels like and how scary it is. I know what a painful pregnancy feels like and how scary that is. I understand the desire to make a pregnancy go away. I think a lot of pro-life women have experienced this, but the guilt of feeling that way while believing the way they do is unimaginable-at least it was for me.

That being said, I understand that if you believe that the baby in the womb is a baby, abortion is the most monstrous act that could possibly happen. A womb is traditionally supposed to be the safest place in the universe for the baby(not that it always is-there can be issues with it-but you get my point) to take a baby who is snuggled away that safe and end it’s life is horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. (( side note- again, I have never known a pro-choice person who believes they are actually killing a child, and it doesn’t help the argument to say that to them. Accusing anyone of being a murderer is a real quick way to end charitable conversation.))

I have also experienced pregnancy and pregnancy loss and these changed the abortion narrative completely for me. My first miscarriage Emma, had a distinct beautiful personality. She was wonderful. I was terrified to have her, but I loved having her with me. I doubted this strong understanding of who she was for a long time, but both of my now-loving daughters have exactly the personality I perceived from them when I was pregnant. Willow is just as determined and clear about what she wants as I told people she was, she loves music, she loves dancing, these were all things I saw about her before she was born. Sage is calm and serene most of the time. She is a happy peaceful little one, and it shows. She was so peaceful when I was pregnant with her that I was afraid that maybe I just didn’t have a good connection with her at all. Knowing these girls, and experiencing pregnancy, has me completely convinced that they are little humans and completely seperate from me.

All of that being said, there are so many mitigating factors to the abortion argument that distance me from the pro-life movement and make it hard for me to connect to it at all.

First of all, even as a Catholic, I have seen firsthand how little help is available for families and how hard and emotionally taxing it is to get that help. I have been in situations so stressful I hated the idea of having a child. A lot of Catholics say there is so much help out there, but a lot of it has a catch to it, and the catches tend to be really big. Our culture is not set up for families right now. I had help in a lot of ways and still was completely exhausted and miserable at times. Mothers need a better village if we are going to be pro-life, not because a life without money is not worth living but because a life of financial strain can be absolutely terrifying.

Second, The people who believe in abortion ARE NOT MURDERERS!!! This makes me crazy. For years, many many years, the human race did not know when a baby had a soul, some didn’t believe they had it until they were born. There is an article St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that basically insinuates that a child doesn’t have a soul until it is born. There just was not a lot of scientific evidence for when life as a human started. Science is starting to find some amazing things about babies in the womb that are arguments that the pro-life side uses to say that the other side is ridiculous, but there are HUNDREDS of years of debate about when exactly life begins, and it takes time for new science to prove itself. It also takes time for old knowledge and traditions to die out-so there are still a lot of people who do not believe it is a child in the womb. Just because the pro-life side believes they are right does not mean that the pro-choice side is savage monsters.

Third, most pro-lifers should not even be called pro-life. They should be called anti-abortion. I have heard vicious talk about war from pro-lifers, and talk about the death penalty that scared me, and that should not happen. If every life is sacred, then a 30 year old man should be too, a bad man should be too, anyone should be. If it is so evil to end any life in any circumstances, then you should believe in preserving it under any circumstances.

Fourth, pro-life people condemning unwed mothers and talking bad about them, judging them, making nasty comments to people about how many kids they have, or ignoring them because they are exhausted and have PPD, is a real thing. Maybe not everyone, but there are a lot of pro-life people who really hurt people when it comes to children, and it is ridiculous to me, because that kind of treatment is exactly the kind of treatment that could make someone want to end a pregnancy. Motherhood needs to become something of value in our country again, and that will make people excited to have babies instead of depleted and exhausted. This doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t be able to work outside the home, on the contrary, the way we work needs to change, for men and women. Some workplaces are already getting that the persons health and happiness needs to come first, and their work second, because the work is better if you take care of the person. More need to do this.

I guess the most important point of what I am trying to say, is both sides need to calm down and really understand the other sides point of view. Yes, it is important to protect women’s rights. Yes, it is important to protect children. But we are not getting anywhere with calling each other names and hurling our own facts at each other. What the world needs is honest discussion about what each person believes and a constant effort from both sides to take care of each other.

Surprise surprise, “what the world needs now is love, love, love.”

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“The Elusive Nature of God”

*title by Patrick O’Donnell

The hard thing, the impossible thing, about God, or really I guess about a true relationship with God, is that He is not physically present in the way that our other relationships are.

The philosophical question as my husband phrased it is, “Is it even possible to have a relationship with someone who is not accountable to us? Is it possible to have a real relationship if He won’t just come down and talk to us?”

I have struggled with this time and again throughout my life.

The analogy I use for my relationship with God most often is that of a Bridegroom and His bride, but to be honest if my earthly bridegroom left me some letters and ditched me with some stuff to remember him by, while he had the ability to stay with me, I would hate him for it. I would never forgive him. I would swear he did not love me. Basically, that’s what sucks about a relationship with God. He left us a book, and the Eucharist and we are supposed to believe He is present in it, and we do or do not believe that, but we still have to put that forward, we still have to believe that, and worse, we are taught that we HAVE to believe He is there or we are going to Hell for it, because that’s equivalent to not choosing Him, but again, if my husband left me alone in the midst of people who wanted to love and/or hurt me without letting me know what the heck was going on or where he was, that would be unconscionable.

It’s hard for me to write this, because this year, I have had consolation after consolation. I have read Scripture and I have felt God’s presence in ridiculously tangible ways that I know are Him, but the thing is that even in those moments, I know how crazy I sound. I joke about how God uses the GMC Acadia as a comfort for me because as we are Dave Ramseying our future I needed a visual, and it has been the symbol of the “covenant” so to speak that God has made with me this year-I know Catholics may balk at that because it seems irreverent, but a covenant is a promise, and I believe God has made promises to me from the time I was born, and I believe I am meant to believe in them, and I believe He has sent the Acadia to help me through a very difficult year.

It’s not just that either, I have a million stories of crazy things God has done in my life or asked of me or how He has revealed Himself, but there is always that question in the back of your head, “Was He really there, or did I just make that up? And if I made that up, then what about all of these things I believed in because of it?”

That is where Faith comes in, whether we like it or not. Faith is the decision to believe that the weird crazy relationship you have with God is real. In order to have faith as a relationship, you have to believe in your own experience of Him, even when it seems crazy. And my way of solving the fact that we will never know the truth for sure is that I have told God that the minute I get to Heaven the first thing I’m going to do is ask, “What the heck?!?”

Academy Nicholls, Here I Come

I did a thing last night.

It might be crazy. It may be a little arrogant? It takes a lot of arrogance to be an artist, or at least that’s what I tell myself so I won’t hide all of my work under a rock. Yes, this writing of mine is a conscious decision in favor of pride in the face of possible humiliation-in a way at least.

Anyway, the thing I did is bold if you say it nicely, foolish if not. We have been struggling so much with money. Last week I decided that I would use my fun money that I’ve been saving for months and all of my returns for our emergency fund and debt payoff. It was more important that little rewards right? I’m so discouraged about money, maybe that is what would make me feel better.

Then I found out that I hadn’t missed the deadline for the Academy Nicholls Fellowship.

For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is the most prestigious film competition out there for new writers. But that’s not what matters to me(although it’s the first thing I tell people so they get the context of what I did.) What matters to me, is that it is the answer to all of the prayers I’ve said this year if I get it.

It is just enough money that Patrick could stay home or work part time while he finishes school, so he could have some time to breathe, which I have been begging God for all year.

It is just enough money that we could cover everything. We wouldn’t be rolling in the dough by any means, but we would be ok. I have been asking for help with that.

I would be getting paid to write MY work. I would be getting paid to do what I always wanted to do, and not on someone else’s terms. I’d have a mentor, but I wouldn’t have to write a story fitting their guidelines. It would be mine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with getting paid to write for someone else, but this is a whole other level.) I have been asking God for this since I was born.

I would have a mentor to encourage and help me to improve my work and it would be their job to help me write another screenplay. I’ve got one almost done, one done, I’d have time to do another one. I’ve been praying for that this year.

I would have more time with Patrick and more time to breathe. I’ve been praying for this since Willow was born.

This year has been so hard. It’s hard to express how hard because some stupid things don’t make any sense if you describe them, but they can devastate you if you are having a hard enough time. I’ve noticed sometimes if I stub my toe I don’t even care, but if a day is bad enough it’s enough to resort me to a sobbing mess, or a cursing sailor. This year, has made the smallest issues into mountains that make me feel completely helpless.

It took over year for me to build the courage to do this. God has been working in so many ways in my life to prepare me. He healed my trauma about miscarriage and spiritual abuse through a hellish year teaching at a Catholic school and a horrific birth that was still the most amazing thing that could ever have happened to me. He healed the trauma from that birth a little over a year later with another birth. He healed the wounds from the Catholic school by bringing me to a new Catholic Church and Bible study.

My first time at the Bible study, I hated it. I was never coming back, until I saw the back of one of the books. “I am looking for a deeper relationship with you.” I knew without a doubt it was God talking to me. Every single time I have made it to this Bible Study He has shown up for me. He has taught me SO much. He brought me back to myself through the women that I met, the readings they supplied, and the time out that I got because of the study. I am incomprehensibly grateful for what He gave me in them.

If I tried to list all of the lies and fears that God came down and disproved this would be the longest blog in the universe, but suffice it to say that He worked on me hard, and that is exhausting and hard, but it was amazing in so many ways too.

Holy Week was like that point in labor when you decide you can’t do it and you are totally ready to give up. I started to think there was no point to anything that I had heard all year. I felt myself fading away, and I was so angry. Easter was, surprisingly, even worse.

It was awful. God sent me a free Christian concert(yes I believe it was from Him because it was my favorite Christian band and I had been longing for a Christian concert and mourning that we couldn’t afford it and this was free) and I was so excited, but then it was actually a Protestant service. I was raised that you don’t go to those, so I was in a tailspin of enjoying it, and being terrified of the guilt and shame of being there. They talked about “taking your place at the table” and “the battle is already won,” and I loved it, and I heard Jesus in it, but then I became lost in sadness about the Catholic Church and the fact that I couldn’t accept their message because I’m Catholic.

I fought that, because none of what they said went against the Church. They had a message that we are supposed to be giving and arent. And sure, I believe there are things Catholics have to offer too, but Protestants have some amazing gifts. So I prayed away the guilt and shame a little bit more everyday.

And I found out about Academy Nicholls.

Part of what I have learned this year through Dave Ramsey is that I have been serving money, not making my money serve God. I’ve got a whole lot more coming about that, and how it doesn’t always look like Scrooge hoarding money, but for now suffice it to say that I was convinced I couldn’t try for this fellowship that I believed God wanted me to try for, because money said no.

I prayed every day for the money, but I was convinced it would be a no.

Then I got the money, and I fell into despair and misery because I became sure I wouldn’t win it.

Then I went home and I read the reading from the Bible Study. Ephesians 6, about putting the armor of faith on to conquer evil in the world. And I knew.

So I entered the Academy Nicholls Fellowship competition, and I probably will not win, but, I could. With the money I spent to enter it, I bought freedom from fear financially, I bought hope, I bought one of the greatest acts of faith of my entire life, I bought a new life. So wish me luck, and say a prayer when you can for my dream job. ♥️♥️♥️

My Worst Nightmare

I had every writers worst nightmare happen to me today. I got a good look at everything I don’t have. I don’t have writing credits, I don’t have many connections, I don’t have time, I don’t have so many things it hurts. I posted my own rec post, but I don’t know that it’s really meant for people like me. The other writers all seem to have something more than me, confidence, support, experience, again, time.

It’s an age-old problem for artists. I know this. Ive been trying to tell myself that all day today. This is the curse of being an artist, feeling like you have nothing to offer, and offering it anyway, and sometimes even acting like you have the world to offer, and sometimes thinking you do.

I read some entries for contests I was going to enter last night too, which didn’t help. On some level, I knew I was not at the same level as these people. I’m not a genius with dialogue, I don’t write character studies-yet. I’m not the perfect seasoned writer. But I did think my movies were worth seeing. Now I don’t know.

Today, I don’t know why I even bother. Today, I wonder if screenwriting was just a fantasy I made up in my head because being a kid was too hard. Maybe my parents and everyone who told me not to dream were right. Maybe what I have to say really doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m supposed to give it up. But I don’t want to. It is in my blood. It was my hope and my dream my entire life, and it never leaves me. No matter how hard I try to shut it up, or pretend I don’t want it, I breathe this.

It is what gives me hope while the entire world seems to be falling down around me. It is what gave me shelter when the whole world seemed too bleak to survive. I prayed, yes, and prayer matters, but deep down amidst the despair I need my voice to be heard, I need to do what I’m meant to do, and I do believe I’m meant to do this. God knows me, and He knows my heart, and He knows I have this in me. Even if I sound like a complete idiot to everyone around me.

I am terrified that I have this need and desire for no reason, that it’s some sort of joke from my own stupid psychosis and a God that doesn’t care. There have been times when my entire life is defined by this fear. I want to believe that God gives us our desires for a reason, and that He will fulfill them. On this, I place my hope, and I pray everyday that I’m not wrong.

Tuesday of Holy Week: Notre Dame Still Stands

I have seen pictures now. The Church still stands. It may not technically be a miracle because it wasn’t actually burned down to the ground, and I don’t even know how bad it got, but as far as I knew, it was a total loss. In my life, it is a miracle that Notre Dame still stands. The despair I felt yesterday, at knowing I would never see it is gone. It is still there. I can still go see it one day. It may be burned in spots, but it is still there.

In the meantime:

A writer quoted scripture “Oh Death where is thy sting?” alongside the picture of the Cross and the Pieta statue shining out from the rubble, proclaiming their strength.

Another talked about how St. Francis was told to rebuild the Church, and he did, but then he found out he was supposed to rebuild the Church as a whole, not just the one building.

Even more talked about how in the Middle Ages if a Church burnt down people believed that God wanted it built again, even greater this time.

I think pretty much everyone would agree that the Catholic Church and even the world is struggling right now. It is burning. Can we take this as a hint to build it back up better than it was?

Let’s destroy the hypocrisy, anger, despair, and judgement in the Church, to build a home of love for everyone.

Let’s destroy the hurt in the world, the slavery to debt, the misery, and replace it with love for others.

Let’s destroy the despair in our own hearts and misery, and light a fire of hope and joy that burns so big the whole world can see it.

St. Paul says “They shall know you are Christians by your love.”

Make it so.

The Power of Unity: a review of Grey’s Anatomy on Abuse(TRIGGER WARNING EXPLICIT CONTENT AND SPOILERS)

Tonight, on Grey’s Anatomy, I witnessed, in my opinion, one of the most powerful moments of television in all of history. It may get missed, because we are in season eleventy hundred at this point, but it shouldn’t. It was an episode about abuse and assault, and there a million things to talk about about how masterful everyone involved was. The pivotal moment of the episode was a message of unity, a message to every single survivor of every single kind of suffering or trauma. “You are not alone.”

The episode begins with Meredith’s traditional monologue, this time about trauma, and how it can hide in the most banal moments of existence. Just as a memory of home can appear as quick as the wafting smell of apple pie, a flash of light at the wrong angle can send a person back to the moment they were dead, or wished they were. Immediately, Grey’s is letting us know that the episode may be about one kind of trauma, as we all know from the trailers and warnings, but it’s also about every kind.

Next, we see Jo in her aftermath of whatever she discovered with her birthmother, though we haven’t been clued in yet. She finds a woman who is clearly experiencing severe suffering, and helps her to the ER. This was the first life-changing moment of the episode. Jo looks in the woman’s eyes, and instead of telling her where the emergency room is, she drops everything, all of her own struggles, the busy-ness she is using to escape, and her work for the day, to help this woman to get to where she needed to go, and to keep her safe.

The story unfolds alongside the story of Jo’s discussion with her birth mother. Jo is angry at her mother because of the scars she has from feeling abandoned and unloved. Her mother is scarred in different ways but is just as strong, and just as wounded. She confesses to Jo that she was raped, and that Jo resulted from that rape. Jo fights back with the wounds that she has, trying to forge some sort of connection, but also clearly struggling with the tension of realizing that her suffering was not the whole story.

Whether you believe in abortion or not, the next conversation they have is a gut-wrenching one. She admits that when she saw Jo she fell head over heels in love with her, but that she couldn’t stop seeing her aggressors face whenever she saw Jo. She tells Jo she didn’t have her best to give when she abandoned her at a fire station. Jo responds by telling her that she had an abortion when she got pregnant by her abuser.

It is an uncomfortable moment. Jo’s mother looks away. The set-up of the conversation is all to real, in its awkwardness. There was a moment that all I could ask was, “Is she angry that her mother didn’t abort her?” There was a sense that Jo did think she should have, and the mother’s reaction was immediate and intense, but vague. Shonda Rhimes’ shows are consistent about this when dealing with abortion, she is very conscious of the differing opinions and the pain associated with it on either side, and in true Shonda form, they allow the uncomfortable moment to exist without answering the questions it brings up or tying it up with a neat little bow. It seems to me that the most important part of it was the divide between the two of them.

Meanwhile, Jo’s patient has been revealed to be a survivor of a sexual assault. She is covered with raw, realistic wounds, rivaling any film depiction I have ever seen. The aggressor himself is not given a single moment of screen time. That is reserved for the woman herself alone. Grey’s breaks the cardinal rule of film/tv,”Show don’t tell,” but in this instance, abuse/assault is all too often used for shock factor or to up the ratings, and I believe that they intentionally refused to indulge that.

Jo encourages the woman to do the rape kit, in a way that taught me things I didn’t know about rape kits. In the person of her character, Camilla Luddington told every survivor of every abuser ever, “You can fight this, and it is not your fault.” The way she said, “You did nothing to deserve this,” is still ringing in my chest, holding up a mirror to every time I blamed myself for every thing bad that ever happened.

“You did nothing to deserve this.”

Finally, it is time for her patient to go to surgery, but she is terrified to see the faces of the men who could be around her on the way. In a perspective altering, powerful moment, they reveal that they have asked every woman who worked in the hospital to line the halls so that she will see only their faces.

Now, I’m going to take a little detour here for a second because I can already here all the defenders of men pissed off because all men are not abusers. That’s not the point. As Meredith’s monologue said at the beginning, anything can set off trauma. The point is that this is what she was struggling with, no whether or not it was right or in her head, or whatever else. It was her struggle, and because it was her struggle, it was worth protecting her from it, while she was in a vulnerable state. I’m going to resist the temptation to go off about the “snowflake” mentality and people who complain about them, so I stay focused but that rant may come one day.

In that moment, when the women’s faces lined the halls, I felt the world move. Shonda Rhimes and the team that she assembled had just brought a new light into the world. In that moment, the entire team of Greys Anatomy told every single one of us, “You are not alone.” They also told, specifically those who have suffered any kind of assault or abuse, but especially sexual assault, “We see you, you matter. You are not alone.”

In this pivotal moment, Shondaland did what makes them great. They answered the pain in the world with hope, not a hope that is shallow and false, but a sure resounding hope in the power of the human spirit and community with others. They gave us the language to heal, and an example.

The episode doesn’t conclude with a pretty pink bow of how we are all happy now because we are not alone, but it does end with one character giving her honesty to her husband and another, not. Jo is not ready to talk to Alex and the pain in her is palpable, but while she is in pain and feels alone, she has given her patient the gift of not feeling alone. It’s a tragic truth that often the one who creates love and hope for others struggles to find it for themselves. I hope that we will see Jo heal, but it shouldn’t be surprising that she needs to.

I am an undying fan girl of Shonda Rhimes and what she has created in Grey’s Anatomy.moments like this are what make her the Mistress of Television in my opinion. She has healed broken spots in my soul more times that I can count, and I pray that she has millions more to come, and that in my own film career I will touch people half as well as she does.

The Bachelor Episode I Have Been Waiting For: Finale Part 1 Review

If you don’t want to know what happened in last nights episode do not read this article!

SPOILERS

I am thrilled with this finale. For years Chris Harrison has promised us an unforgettable finale and every year he has let us down. This year, he promised history making and, at least in the world of the Bachelor, he delivered big time! For the first time ever, The Bachelor lost.

I cannot count how many times I said I wished this would happen, not because I don’t want them to find love, but because in real life sometimes it doesn’t work out. It was always hard for me that it works out every time. Now, ok sure he’s going to probably work it out with Cassie and all, but the actual The Bachelor formula didn’t work for him. Essentially, he quit, but let them keep filming him.

One of the reasons why I love this so much is that I love that we are finally having contestants that just legitimately can’t handle the format. We have seen that over and over this season. These are real down to earth girls, and they completely can handle the situation. Caelynn(who I love and rooted for the whole time) was completely shell-shocked(as was I), and so was Hannah G. the show itself is talking about the fact that this is not a conventional way of meeting people, and it does not feel good. It’s a hard situation, that works out in the end for many of them but only because of some serious sacrifices.

Another thing I love about this is that it is forcing us to really examine love relationships and how they work. Cassie’s dad said that she should “know” immediately if she were meant to be with Colton, but she is in a situation where he isn’t giving himself to her completely, so how could she know for sure, when she doesn’t know for sure? Many of my friends believe that she doesn’t love him, but I believe that she loves him too much to share him, that she can’t stand to let herself fall for him because she can’t bear losing him: she kept saying “something is holding me back.” I wanted to scream at the screen, ” Well of course t is! He is dating two other women!”

Ironically, Elise left the show for similar reasons earlier in the season. She again couldn’t handle the format of loving Colton while everyone else did too. I think Cassie left for the same reason deep down, but Colton’s reaction is wildly different. He is willing to drop everything for her, just like he said he couldn’t do for Elise.

One more thing that I love about this, is Cassie’s difficulty with the necessity of the proposal at the end. Rightfully so, she struggles with the idea of becoming engaged to someone she hasn’t even ever exclusively dated! This is another show-flaw that has always bothered me. Why does it have to be a proposal? If you are sure about one person, but not 100% like I want to get marrieds, I think it should be ok to pursue a dating relationship instead.

So now we wait to see, will Colton and Cassie be the first couple to date but not get married? Will they get engaged once she realizes he is all in? I for one cannot wait to find out.

The Momo Challenge: Pray for Your Enemies

As mama to two wonderful girls and a lover of teens everywhere, the momo challenge is a huge struggle for me. It comes on the heels of “Elsagate,” (another instance of people using YouTube to hurt young people.) It is hard for me to comprehend that anyone could be so evil that they would try to hurt children in this way. It scares me that we live in a world that is so dangerous.

When I was a kid, and I felt this strongly about things, people got frustrated with me. They said I was too sensitive, and that I was focusing on the negative. They said, “it’s so few people compared to the whole world, everything is fine.” As I grow up though, I am realizing we are given our emotions for a reason, and shutting them down is not the right way to handle them.

A teacher I am inspired by said that our emotions are a sign of something else, something we need to do, or something we want and have been ignoring. At first, when I heard about the momo challenge, I felt absolute despair. I was angry and miserable that the world we live in is hurting so much, and that evil was even a thing we have to worry about. Let’s be honest, I am still angry about it, but I am learning to use my emotions. So what are my anger and sadness about this telling me? What can I do about momo?

The first thing is the most obvious.

WATCH YOUR KIDS. A CBS news article reminded its readers that that is the main message about this story.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/momo-challenge-resurfaces-police-issue-warning-to-parents/

“Our advice as always, is to supervise the games your kids play and be extremely mindful of the videos they are watching on YouTube,” The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) wrote on Facebook. “Ensure that the devices they have access to are restricted to age suitable content.””

The second thing is TEACH your kids to stick up for themselves.

In the same article, CBS says,

“Law enforcement also says parents need to focus on the bigger picture: “Even basic open source research suggests that ‘Momo’ is run by hackers who are looking for personal info,” PSNI Craigavon wrote on Facebook. “The danger lies with your child feeling pressured to either follow the orders of ANY app via challenges,’ or peer pressure in chat rooms and the like … More important is that your child knows not to give out personal info to ANYONE they don’t know, that no one has the right to tell them to, or make them do ANYTHING they don’t want to.””

This struck me. In a way it’s obvious, of course, kids need to know they have control. At the same time, how often are we teaching them that they have to do what someone else says. This may have worked in a society when 99% of the authority figures they met would have been a positive influence. In our world today though, kids will be hounded by a thousand different voices telling them who to be and how to do things and what to do. Be a shield against that. Teach your kids that they are in control of their choices, and that they choose to listen to the right authorities, whether that be friends who are trying to help vs. humiliate them, marketing that is meeting a need vs. implantig a fear, online quizzes that promise money or curses, or anything else.

The third thing, which is what I do when something is completely hopeless and there’s nothing else I can do about it, is pray. PRAY for your enemies.

I am angry and full of hatred and vitriol for these awful people that would start something like this, but deep down I believe that negative behavior comes from some unmet need in that person. A while back, celebrities started responding to trolls by looking through their twitter and seeing what their struggles were. It changed those people’s lives. What if we were able to look at things that way? It starts with prayer, it takes an incredible amount of grace to be able to set aside your anger and pray for those who are hurting you, and even more so when they are just a Facebook post in the distance. Maybe, though, they have no one praying for them. Maybe they feel completely alone and scared and it’s turning them into someone they don’t want to be.

Lastly, I just want to say to anyone who has been hurt by the momo challenge in any way, to anyone who started the momo challenge, I am praying for you. This is a sign of some serious pain in the world, join me in praying for the others who are hurting from this. Let’s turn this nightmare into a world of prayer for the victims and perpetrators so big that all the pain from it is erased by the love and grace that we spread because of it.

Workin Moms in Netflix

You guys, hold up.

This is a thing.

Netflix did a show on working moms.

WHAT?!?

Not only that, but they did one on a moms group. Also, Tully came out this year.

Do you know what this means?

This means we are so freaking lucky to live in this current time as moms. We live in a world where people are really starting to get. We are living in a world where people are starting to see that we need to make a change!

That is so freaking exciting for me, I don’t even know how to handle it. It quickens my blood when I see it, my heart literally leaps for joy like a cheesy cartoon ballerina. Because you know what? Pumping milk sucks, but it sucks a lot less when glam-boobs on tv is doing it too. And I hate when my stroller won’t fit in my car, but that girl on Netflix had the same exact problem!

I’ll be the first to admit that I compare myself to other people way too often in a super unhealthy way, but you know what? Either way, if misery loves company, I’m getting happier and happier now!

The Art of Hating and Loving: A Defense of Dan Humphrey

At the end of Gossip Girl, there is a moment when Dan must decide whether to satirize Serena or to write an ode to her. He publishes the satirical denouncement of her character, while he gives the ode to her. She is mystified by how he could be so hateful if he loved her. Throughout the show, he deals with the same problem over and over again with other friends and family members.

I have watched Gossip Girl over and over again, but the most recent time this episode resonated with me. It kept echoing in my mind when I thought of friends I had lost and family I struggled to love. It occurred to me that I genuinely and deeply loved these people who I also profoundly and completely hated. I was as confused as Serena hearing it from Dan at first, but I started to see the similarities between Dan and I that explain how we could hate something and love it so powerfully, and incidentally, why the opposite of love is indifference not hate.

1. The first similarity between Dan and I is that we are both writers. We are living in our own novel/screenplay/blogpost, and everyone knows every written piece has a villain, and every written piece has a hero. If we are the hero then of course whoever we are struggling with would be the villain and vice versus. Moreover, every instant in our lives is a piece of a story and it therefore becomes more intense than it would normally have been.

2. We are both incredibly sensitive people. Dan Humphrey and I both feel things very deeply. Every single thing that happens to us is the entire world. If something is good, then it is a majestic perfect fairytale, if bad, then it is hell on earth. That being the case, when Serena slighted Dan it broke his heart and made his miserable, just as much as when she repaired their relationship it lit him up.

3. We are genuine. I think this is the most important of all. I think that if anyone really is honest with themselves, they sometimes hate the people they love, but there is a lot of fear about being honest about emotions in our society. Dan and I both strive to be honest about who we are and not to create a facade over our lives.(The fact that Dan was Gossip Girl doesn’t disprove this because even as Gossip Girl He was honest about who he was as a person.)

All of the above combine to create a perfect storm of whirlwind emotions. The important thing to note, though, is that the reasons for Dan’s hatred stem from his love for his family and friends. He is angry about what hurts them, or how they hurt themselves. We can see this in how he is willing to drop everything to help Upper East Siders whenever they are in trouble. It makes it obvious that love and hate are so closely related, that they are almost one.