Monday, December 19, 2011

Please hang in there with me!

I could officially win a blogger award.  The "Worst Blogger Ever" award, if anyone is giving them out.  I've been completely out of the loop the last few months.  I apologize especially for not having been reading and commenting on everyone's blogs!  I really do love reading all of you wonderful ladies' blogs, I'm just not very good at forming coherent thoughts that I think are worthy of being read lately.  That, and I'm operating on near-zero sleep.  I really need to get Marshall's birth story down soon before I forget it all, but I'm making notes at least!  I hope to have a real post up here soon.  But please don't forget about me!  I really do love you all!  :)

In the meantime, enjoy a little Christmas cheer from Marshall!  He's one month old today!!  (And he's giant.  He was 10 lbs, 11 oz at his appointment today!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marshall's first week

Marshall had a busy first week since he was born the weekend before Thanksgiving!  Here are some shots of the excitement!  (Birth story to follow soon, once I get some sleep!  It was an emotional roller coaster that kept me in the hospital for five days!  No worries - everyone was healthy.  Will document soon!)

Hello world!

So many lights!


Baby's biggest fan!

Heading home from the hospital

Pretty much all I do!

Best Thanksgiving ever

So snuggly
I am one undeserving lady.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Worth the wait

I'd wait 3 1/2 years all over again for this...

Marshall C.  11/19/11

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Morning in the Hospital

Thursday is my bio-physical day. They usually start at 10am but today's was at 9am.  For the first time ever, baby ornery didn't pass.  So they sent me up to labor & delivery and hooked me up to the monitor to measure his movements.  After about 10 minutes of just a few small movements he started going completely nuts!  I felt him, I saw my stomach moving, his movements were off the charts, and it was around 10am...the time of his usual bpp's.  So I was feeling pretty good.

However, the doc on call wanted to have my follow up bpp right away.  They usually do a follow up bpp 6-24 hours after the first one to give the baby time to rest and get moving again, so I thought it was weird that they wanted to do it so soon.  But hey, I'm not a doctor so I did what they said.  Well...HE FAILED AGAIN!!!  I guess he was so tired from performing earlier that he fell asleep again!

So the nurse told me that there was a possibility that if he failed his second bpp, they might talk about inducing me.  I DID NOT want that!!  I'm 36 weeks so I'm sure the baby would be fine, I'm just not a big fan of induction before the baby is ready to come on his own.  So they sent me BACK up to L&D, but before they hooked me up to the monitors again they called my doc.  Luckily she knows so much about me that she said she wasn't concerned enough to induce, but she does want to start having 2x/week bpps.  ARGH!

I'm glad they're being so cautious, but I'm really frustrated since I don't think they waited long enough for my follow-up bpp, which could have made a huge difference.  Oh well.  I guess we'll see how it goes!

On the flip side, I was exactly a month from my official due date YESTERDAY!!  I can't believe it!  But I really don't think I'm going to be anywhere close to it.  I had a little labor scare a couple of nights ago with some contractions and nausea but I'm blaming braxton hicks and Halloween candy.  He just has to hold out 2 more weeks so Mike's paternity leave extends through December!!  C'mon buddy!  Hang in there for mom!  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Pink Link

This article was supposed to run in our Diocesan newspaper, but despite efforts from our director of pro-life activities going to bat for me, it was turned down by our bishop.  I'll never understand why, but I do want to share this.  Please feel free to send it to anyone you may believe needs to hear this message.  It's an issue I firmly believe we Catholics need to be educated about.

The Pink Link

Every October, the nation turns pink.  Friends and neighbors wear pink ribbons, NFL players wear pink shoes.  Even the White Housereflects pink flood lights onto its exterior in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

We in the Catholic community also know October as Respect Life Month.  It seems these two life-saving efforts should go hand-in-hand right?  Not so fast.

In general, the color pink raises awareness for breast cancer – a worthy cause.  But the biggest beneficiary of pink-related events is Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity.  Some of you might even support Komen in your charitable giving.  And why not?  Breast cancer is a tragic disease that far too many women battle every year in the U.S.   It’s a worthy cause to support.  Unfortunately, just not through Komen.

Why “unfortunately?”  Komen financially supports the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood (PP).   How can that be?  Why would a life-affirming organization like Komen financially support a death-peddling organization like PP?  Komen refutes the claim that they directly support abortion, but let me give you the details.

According to the Bioethics Defense Fund ( Komen has a policy of explicitly allowing its state affiliates to give monetary grants to abortion providing facilities.  Not all state affiliates give grants to PP using the 75% of the funds that they raise in a state. However, each state affiliate must forward at least 25% of funds raised in their state to the Komen National office. These funds are under the discretion of a board that refuses to disassociate itself from PP, thus the money goes into a pool to be potentially distributed to PP.

Komen gave over $3 million to PP between 2003 and 2008 (though the amount is insignificant).  So why does Komen give funds to an abortion giant?  They claim they give the money as grants for breast exams.  There are two problems with this claim.  Number 1: It doesn’t matter what you give money to PP for.  The dollars are fungible and it just frees up money for them to use on abortions and other operating costs to keep their doors open.  Number 2: PP is a level 1 breast center.  It is only allowed to perform manual exams.  Despite its implications - it DOES NOT PROVIDE MAMMOGRAMS!

Desperate following the House of Representatives’ recent vote to defund the organization, PP CEO Cecile Richards used the claim that the organization should continue to receive federal funding based on their breast health services.  “If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning – you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer,” she said.

But the truth is that PP does NOT provide breast exams.  They simply provide referrals for breast exams – the same type of referral you can get from you primary care doctor, urgent care center, free clinic or GYN.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek did some research and found that not a single PP in America performs mammograms.  PP’s own website says, “Ask your local health care provider, health department, or staff at your local Planned Parenthood center about where you can get a mammogram in your area.”  [emphasis mine]

Aside from the fact that PP does not provide mammograms, Komen continues to ignore the ominous fact that abortion is the #1 avoidable cause of the very disease they’re fighting.  It doesn’t make sense that they’re financially abetting an organization that contributes to the tragic rise in breast cancer.

From the Abortion/Breast Cancer Coalition (

“The breasts grow considerably during pregnancy while under the influence of high levels of the hormone estrogen, a known carcinogen. Estrogen causes the woman's normal and cancer-vulnerable breast lobules to multiply. If she has an abortion, she's left with more places for cancers to start in her breasts. If she has a baby, then other pregnancy hormones mature her breast lobules into cancer-resistant lobules during the last months of pregnancy. She's left with more cancer-resistant tissue than she had before she became pregnant.”

It’s heartbreaking that an otherwise very worthy organization could negate all of the good work that they do by funding an organization that exterminates 332,278 unborn children per year.  And this is a fact that, as Christians, we cannot ignore.  We cannot overlook the evil that is perpetuated through this partnership by using the false justification that we’re doing a “greater good” by funding breast cancer research.   In this situation, there is no greater good.  The ends do not justify the means.  The murder of over 300,000 innocents does not justify a few mammogram referrals.

Fortunately there are alternative organizations that do beneficial work for the same cause through morally acceptable means.  If you’re currently a Komen supporter and would like to divert your funds to an ethical breast cancer research organization, please consider the National Breast Cancer Foundation ( and the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute ( 

Also, please keep in mind that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is far from the only disease-research organization that funds morally objectionable groups.   Many well-known disease advocate groups support Planned Parenthood as well as embryonic stem cell research.  Just to name a few: The American Cancer Society (including Relay for Life), Alzheimer’s Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and American Lung Association.  For a comprehensive list of organizations, their positions on life issues, and alternative options, please visit

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Me & Shawn. We go way back.

Phew!  So glad last night is over, but what an AMAZING night!!!  It was DE Right to Life's annual banquet.  We had several guests/presenters and it was fabulous!

First we had music from a local singer/songwriter, Caitlin Jane.  This girl is so dang beautiful and makes the most beautiful music!  Please check her out and order her new CD!  If nothing else, AT LEAST watch this video.  Dare ya not to cry.  (I'm featured in an interview on the DVD that's coming out soon!  Can't wait!)


Next was Special Guest speaker, Miss Delaware 2011, Maria Cahill!  She's a brilliant and convicted 20-year-old woman who's not afraid to stand up for life!  She's the 2nd of 7 kids from a devoutly Catholic family.  She spoke at our Women's Conference earlier this spring and when the video of her talk went viral, she suffered a LOT of backlash for it.  "Beauty queens shouldn't be talking about such controversial topics, etc etc."  The usual.  She hadn't even competed in the Miss Delaware competition yet, but she wasn't going to be silenced (and obviously it didn't hurt her chances at winning!!).  She's still offering her services to us at any event she can be of help.  Root for Miss Delaware in the Miss America pageant in January!

I hesitated to post a picture of my 8-month-pregnant-self next to a beauty queen, but I'm working on humility.  Figured there wasn't a better lesson than this.  Ugh.

Then, the coup de grace - our keynote speaker, Shawn Carney!  O. M. G.  You guys, I had heard that he's an amazing speaker, but I was NOT prepared for this!!!  If any of  you work with a pro-life organization of any kind....HIRE this man for your next event!!!  I wish we'd been able to record his talk, but it didn't work out.  All I can say is that I've had more compliments on our event in the last 12 hours than I think I've had combined in the last 3 years I've been president!!!  Here we are...old buddies!  :)

Somehow I look way better in the pic next to a dude than next to a 20 year old beauty queen.  Odd.

Funny sidenote: dude is YOUNG!!  He walked up to us in the hotel lobby and there were only 3 of us there at the time (we were setting up).  I was the oldest at 33, the banquet coordinator is 32, and the other board member there with us is 20.  He goes, "Wow, y'all are young!"  We just kind of looked at him like, "Ummmm...look in a mirror much??"  He says, "What?  I'm gonna be 30 this year!"  Yeah.  Like we said.  Anyway, he's accomplished so much at such a young age.  And he's got the greatest personality and sense of humor.  It was such a fun evening!

Now on the docket for today - a giant nap!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Warning - baby photos & stuff

I had to title the post with a warning because my IF wounds are still fairly fresh.  I remember how difficult it used to be for me to see others' baby and ultrasound pics on their blogs.  Not that I wasn't happy for anyone, but, well, you all know what I mean.  I haven't posted much news or even any pics because of this.  Plus it's emotionally been an up & down pregnancy so I've mostly just kept private.  But I've had a few requests for photos lately so here goes.

I had BPP #3 today.  Baby has passed every one with flying colors!  Today I even got to see him sucking his hand and grabbing his foot.  Truly miraculous.  It never gets old.

Here he is: I am at 32 weeks (blurry photo taken by a 5 year old):

Praise God for our little miracle!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal

Better late than never, my summer prayer reveal!!  Over the past few months I've been praying for BRENDA at Life as We Know It!  I've loved getting to know Brenda through her blog and read about her wonderful family!  I certainly hope she and I will keep in touch!

I also found out that I have been prayed for by Jen at Crowley Coupledom!  I can't express how much Jen's prayers have meant to me throughout these months and this roller coaster pregnancy!  I felt those prayers, Jen!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Decreased Fetal Movement" and BPP's

So I had my regular OB appointment 2 weeks ago and I had some concerns because I hadn't felt the baby move a whole lot in the previous 24 hours.  Of course, the day of my appt, he was thrashing around like a squirrel on crack, but my doc was concerned nonetheless.  So she ordered a bio-physical profile, or BPP.  A BPP is an ultrasound, but they don't do the typical measurements like usual.  The baby has to "perform" certain functions and it gets a score, with an 8 being perfect.  They look at fluid levels, he has to do certain things like practicing breathing, motor skills, etc.  I got it scheduled for the next day, and the results were perfectly fine.  He had a half hour to perform his tasks and I was back in my car with an 8/8 within 20 minutes.  So I thought all was good.

Well, today I had my follow-up appt. with my OB and she asked about his movements.  I told her that he's been moving a lot, it's just a lot less predictable than it used to be.  I used to be able to kind of count on when he was going to move, especially at night.  But the last couple of weeks have been less scheduled.  And all morning today he was a total nut in there, so I wasn't worried.  But I guess my doc was.

She said she just wants to be precautionary and have me get BPP's every week, as well as follow-up OB visits.  Ugh.  Not only is this kind of annoying to do on a weekly basis, but I'm totally freaked out now!!  She said, though, that if I had had a "normal" pregnancy, she wouldn't have ordered the BPP's.  But because of my history of "blighted twin" (that's what they call it) and placenta previa, she just wants to be extra cautious.

I know she's just looking out for me and my baby, but I can't help but think she's not telling me that there's something she's really worried about.  I'm probably just being paranoid.  But I'd still sure appreciate your prayers.

On a positive note, I'm THIRTY...30...weeks on Friday!  Where has the time gone??  December 2 still seems so far away, but when I think of it in terms of weeks, I cannot believe I only have about 10 left.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Excitement in my diocese

I. Am. Thrilled!  I'm on the pro-life committee for my diocese, which is basically a compilation of pro-life activists in the diocese and we all get together and keep each other abreast of what's going on with each of our groups, brainstorm new ideas, etc.  

After decades of fighting with the diocese (not me personally, but my organization!) because of (from what I understand) a falling-out between my organization and the former head of pro-life activities, I now have a wonderful working relationship with the new priest who holds that position since the retirement of the former employee.  It has been such a blessing to have this priest in this position and be so open and supportive of our work.

Well, because of this great relationship, I have also been able to discuss with him some other ideas I have that don't necessarily pertain to DRTL.  Specifically I have approached him about the possibility of creating an infertility support group within the diocese as well as NaPro education and catechesis!  And he's 100% open to the idea!  In fact, at our last meeting it was an agenda item!!  Father's counterpart (they broke the position up into 2 different responsibilities when the last employee left) is already working with the Couple to Couple League on making NFP mandatory for pre-cana classes!  This is such great news in a diocese as liberal as ours (the Vice President receives Communion in this diocese, if that tells you anything).  

I need to begin working on a proposal for these issues.  Has anyone out there started something like this in their diocese?? Keep in mind, I'm not even remotely a Creighton practitioner or NaPro physician!!  My idea is to have a two-pronged approach: support and education.  My first order of business would be the IF support group, with references to nearby Creighton/NaPro resources.  Unfortunately we don't have any in our state....we'd have to refer to Pennsylvania.  But the most important thing is having a forum for Catholic women suffering from IF to have a place to go and talk to others...something I didn't have through 4 years of suffering.  Then, I would hope to get some pro-life physicians on board after that takes off and hopefully demand increased.  

Anyway, these are all just kind of pipe dreams right now.  It's great that the diocese is on board, but needless to say I have a LOT of discernment to do.  I'm swamped right now with my Right to Life responsibilities as well as getting ready for baby and running a kindergartner all over the map.  I'll be getting more involved with Jack's school, and he wants to join 4-H and Cub Scouts.  So I really need to figure out where I'm supposed to be and how I'm supposed to be using my talents.  But I do feel as though I'm being called more into diocesan catechesis (pro-life and its tangential issues) as opposed to non-denominational pro-life work.  We'll see.  Much discernment ahead.  If you could say a quick little prayer that I can figure all this out, it would be utterly appreciated!  :)  God bless!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creighton Practitioners - Need Advice!!

All you FCP's out there, I need some help - and fast!  I have a friend who is on BC due to acne and facial hair, and although I have successfully talked her into throwing it out in the past, she's desperate because every time she goes off of it, her problems come back (I've explained to her that it's because BC is just a mask...not a solution.  But again...she's desperate) and she re-orders it.  I've told her about NaPro, which I know she needs to find a real solution to her problems, but there's not an FCP in her area (or even close by really) and she has a job that requires a lot of hours.  And I'm sure, since she's not TTC or IF (she's not even married), that she wouldn't be willing to travel very far for the process.

I guess my question is, can she do consults over the phone, get bloodwork done remotely or through her local doc, etc?  I need some advice.  I really need to get her off this toxic pill before she has a stroke!!!  Help!!!

Please feel free to leave a comment or email me privately with any suggestions at: nmlehe(@)gmail(.)com.  Thanks in advance!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Santorum Interview

My husband sent me this interview with Rick Santorum by CNN's Piers Morgan. Unlike Christine O'Donnell, Santorum stayed on camera and answered the tough questions! What a concept for a politician!

My favorite line of his is when he's pressured by Morgan to basically recognize that "hey, sure you're Catholic and so am I, but times have changed" (I'm paraphrasing) regarding gay marriage. Santorum responds,
"I don't think -- Piers, I don't think the truth changes. I don't think right and wrong change based on different eras of time. Things are -- there are some truths that are in fact eternal and are truth and based on nature and nature's law. And that's what the church teaches and that's what the Bible teaches and that's what reason dictates." 
Can I just say, BRILLIANT!! Such a breath of fresh air to hear a politician talk about objective truths and not try to dance around them, or appease the masses with some sort of, "Well, I believe X, but I don't think the government should be involved..." baloney. (He does get into a little bit of "the government shouldn't be involved" stuff, but I think it's used in the appropriate context.)

This reminds me so much of what's been going on recently at Leila's and Stacy's blogs.'s so nice to hear about objective morality from a politician! The one thing I didn't like about the interview is the fact that he makes abortion exceptions for life of the mother. Of course, we all know, it is never medically necessary to perform an abortion (enter principle of double effect). But he did give a brilliant answer in the Fox News debate on abortion in cases of rape and incest. When pressured by the moderator to cave on those tough cases, he responded brilliantly,
"That child is an innocent victim. To be victimized twice would be a horrible thing. It is an innocent human life, genetically human from the moment of conception. We in America should be big enough to try to surround ourselves and help women in those terrible situations who have been traumatized already. To put them through another trauma of an abortion, I think is too much to ask. So I would absolutely stand and say that one violence is enough."
Santorum also addresses Morgan's asinine question about abortion when Morgan implies that because Santorum had a child who died shortly after birth, and another one who is severely handicapped, that somehow now he would be more lenient on abortion rights.  Ummm..seriously?!?!?  Did Morgan really think Santorum would answer by saying, "Oh yeah, Piers, you're right actually.  I DO wish my handicapped daughter was dead!"

Will the media EVER get it????

I think he also addresses other issues like economics and foreign policy like a champ.  Even if you don't agree with his policies (which I do), you can tell he's extremely experienced and well-versed on the subjects (again...what a concept for a politician!).

I think the unfortunate case for Rick Santorum as a presidential candidate is that the majority of Americans doesn't like conservative Catholics.  The Biden/Pelosi variety??  Oh yeah...people LOVE them.  And why not?  They don't espouse an objective morality.  Their "Catholicism" is all about emotions and feeling good, moral relativity, and individual happiness.  Theirs is the "easy Catholicism."  Santorum's (the real kind) is about true fulfillment, doing the objectively right thing for God and country even if it means self-sacrifice, and finding happiness in God, not self.

I pray that more politicians stand up for faith, family, and values unabashedly, like Rick Santorum does.  And I pray that America listens.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pure Ignorance

Did anyone catch Nightline the other night?  The guests were the Bates family from Tennessee.  They have 18 kids and are still working on more!  They're a wonderful family with great kids and they're (obviously) open to life!

At one point they were chatting about the mother, Kelly, having had a couple of recent miscarriages and how the doctor had put her on progesterone during her next pregnancy in the hopes of saving the baby. I was appalled and taken aback by the interviewer's next question.  She asked, "If you don't believe in birth control to avoid a pregnancy, why is it OK to take medicine to help a pregnancy along?" jaw dropped at this point.  I jumped my DVR backwards several times to make sure I heard it correctly.  Is this just complete ignorance by the liberal media or was she trying to get a point across?  I'm not sure if she truly could not see the difference here, or if she was trying to "educate" us right-wing religious freaks out here in the audience.  It almost seemed like she was looking for a "gotcha" moment.  Either way, it was not only insulting to Kelly, but it was an apples-to-oranges comparison!

Naturally, Kelly answered the question more than gracefully and explained that it's completely different to do something artificial to avoid creating a life, than it is to use means to sustain a life that already exists.  Brilliant!  And, might I add...DUH.

Anyone else happen to catch that?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So proud this guy is from the state in which I'm a pro-life activist (sarcasm).  I'm so speechless I can't even do a proper analysis of this statement.  Remember, VP Biden is supposedly Catholic (I've seen him at mass and other events several times) and here he is supporting China's one-child policy.  I only hope this was another of his stupid gaffes and not something he really believes and thinks is a good idea to implement here.  Just...speechless.

**UPDATE: At least his brainless comments aren't going unnoticed.  Romney and Perry have responded. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Not to beat a dead horse,'s my post on food production

**Disclaimer: This post is not directed at one person or group of people in particular.  It is meant to address some words and phrases I've seen thrown around on many different mediums by many different people.  I'm sure most people have their minds made up on this issue, but I feel obligated to present a side that you may not hear in the pop culture.

There's been a lot of blog and facebook dialogue going on since Mary's post last week on nutrition.  I'll leave the science to the professional, but there are three specific issues that have jumped out at me in particular.  Those three issues are: 1) that poor and underprivileged people are too stupid or don't have the resources to make healthy eating decisions; 2) the demonization of corn and soy; and 3) the demonization of factory farming (which I’ll touch on here briefly, but intend to write a whole separate post about).

I'll start with #1, not only because it’s numerically obvious, but also because it's the easiest to tackle.  First of all, I grow tired of this "blame the fast food industry" mentality.  Does anyone think that poor people really and truly don't know that a bag of apples at the grocery store is healthier than a Big Mac?  It's not a matter of being uneducated.  I watch the Biggest Loser.  Those people didn't get on campus out of pure ignorance.  Most of them are obese due to deep-seated emotional, self-confidence, and self-control issues.  Sure, not everyone understands the ins-and-outs of nutrition like Mary does, but that's why she's a professional!  But there is also a lot of common sense that factors into eating healthy.

So why do some people continue to eat unhealthy fast foods?  Chalk much of it up to personal responsibility, please!  There's no government conspiracy at work here.  In fact, I'd argue the government is trying to overregulate us in the opposite direction with all the overreaching they do with trans-fats, salt, menu labeling, and such.  But I digress....  I'll add that even fast food restaurants are catching on to consumer demand for healthier options!  You can get a salad at almost any fast food chain.  They even have options for apples, oranges, yogurt, and bottled water!  So even if you do need to eat at a fast food restaurant, you have choices.  Anyone who argues otherwise is just making excuses.

Since I’ve started eating healthy, I’ve been utterly shocked and pleasantly surprised at the options available to us in 2011.  There are healthy swaps for almost every food out there!  There are dozens of free online nutrition journals available with recipes, fitness tips, and calorie counters.  Don't know how to cook?  I was at the library with Jack recently.  The internet is free at the library.  Cookbooks and cooking magazines abound.  They hold classes and workshops.  Mine even has a brochure noting all of the area's farmers markets.  There's so much information there, it's almost overwhelming (in a good way)!

Then I got home and checked out our local Cooperative Extension office.  I noticed there is an extension agent for a Food & Nutrition Education Program.  So I looked for more information and found this plethora of information from my alma mater.  Especially check out the topics they teach and the participant comments.  If this isn't the perfect opportunity for the underprivileged to learn about nutrition, I don't know what else to tell you!  It's 2011.  Most “poor” people even have cell phones they can use to call their local extension office.

So if poor people aren't making healthy decisions, I have to believe it's because they choose not to, whether out of apathy or laziness.  Either way, it's none of my business.  I mean, if someone asks me for information, I'll certainly give it to them!  I've helped my own brother lose 56 lbs by showing him how to make better and healthier choices!  And I loved every minute of it!  But short of more government regulation (enough already!), I'm not sure what some of you are proposing we do to get people to make better choices.

So…that was a tad longer than expected.  Sorry!  Now on to #2.  Corn and soy.  I've heard a little bit about how evil soy is because it affects the thyroid.  I'm also aware that soy possesses a specific allergen that affects about 10% of the population.  Mary addressed this really well in the comment thread of her post.  But I'll just add that, while I'm sure soy does affect certain people adversely, many other foods do too!  That doesn't mean soy is harmful all-around!  If it were, I would think there would be a major thyroid epidemic in Asia.

And as for corn.  It's hard for me to believe that humanity survived beyond the early settlers in this country, since corn is pretty much the only crop they grew back then. 

"But corn and soy are different now!  They're genetically modified," you say (this is the only other reason I can think that corn and soy are demonized, besides the whole subsidies issue, which I'll get to later).  Why, yes, they are.  The world's population is also exponentially larger than it was back then.  We've evolved past the days of backyard gardens and we need to feed the masses now.  We also need to export to third-world countries, and we do that extremely well in America!  It's something I'm very proud of our food production industry for continuing to innovate!

Biotechnology or GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) has been invaluable to America's food production in the last decade.  There is a lot of outcry about GMOs, mostly stemming from political agendas overseas and environmental activists.  But the ironic part about this outcry is that GMOs have enabled us to create more pest-resistant crops, which means fewer pesticides and chemicals being used on our food!  There have been no significant health or environmental issues associated with using GMOs.  I’ve seen some stories about animals dying after eating fields of GMO crops, etc, but literally ZERO of those stories have happened in the U.S.  They all happen in countries that have little or no regulations, so who knows what these animals are really eating.  In fact, the GMOs in the U.S. must meet very high safety standards prior to commercialization.

In fact, another ironic twist on the environmental argument is that GMO actually helps to protect natural wildlife habitats.  When we can yield more crops from existing acreage, we eliminate the need to infringe upon wildlife habitats with more acreage to produce lower-yield crops.

From the National Corn Growers’ Association’s Agriculture Biotechnology Reference Guide:

"Biotechnology (GMO) allows farmers around the world to help feed a growing population. It helps increase yields while decreasing the need for inputs such as water and fertilizer. It provides improved pest control methods that are more compatible with the environment, including drastic reductions in the need for pesticides.  And it helps to produce more with less – less land use, less labor and less risk of total crop loss, a key issue in many parts of the world."

  "With a world population projected to top 8 billion people by 2030, farmers need to produce enough food to feed an additional 2 billion people. In fact, according to the United Nations Population Fund, farmers will need to produce about 75 percent more food per acre by 2020 to meet the anticipated demand.  Biotechnology increases crop yield, lessens the negative effects on the environment and decreases stress placed on existing cultivated land.

   A recent report from the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy (NCFAP) summarized the results from 40 case studies of 27 biotech crops. Agricultural biotechnology increased yields by 14 billion lbs., improved farm income by $2.5 billion and reduced pesticide use by 163 million lbs."

Not only do GMOs cut down on the need for pesticides, but they also actually produce better-tasting and more nutrient-rich crops.  Some GMO crops have already been created to contain 35-45% more protein, a soy allergen has been nearly eliminated (see quote below), and even more health benefits from GMOs are currently being explored.

In addition, GMO corn is lower in mycotoxins, which is a toxin that kills horses and pigs and is a probable carcinogen in humans.

Some quotes from the experts:

“The responsible genetic modification of plants is neither new nor dangerous. The addition of new or different genes into an organism by recombinant DNA techniques does not inherently pose new or heightened risks relative to the modification of organisms by more traditional methods, and the relative safety of marketed products is further ensured by current regulations intended to safeguard the food supply.”
Statement by 20 Nobel Prize Winners and 3,200 international scientists, 2003

  “This is probably the first time a dominant human allergen has been knocked out of a major food  crop using biotechnology.”Elliot M. Herman, USDA plant pathologist, on a 2003 report that the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is one step closer to removing the allergen in soybeans that impact 6-8% of children and 1-2% of adults.

  “If imports like these [biotechnology crops] are regulated unnecessarily, the real losers will be the developing nations. Instead of reaping the benefits of decades of discovery and research, people from Africa and Southeast Asia will remain prisoners of outdated technology. Their countries could suffer greatly for years to come. It is crucial that they reject the propaganda of extremist groups before it is too late.”Former President Jimmy Carter in The NY Times, August 26, 1998 (and you know I must really mean it when I quote Jimmy Carter)

Bottom line, there's a market for GMO and a market for non-GMO.  Crop biotechnology is highly regulated and overseen by the proper authorities, so no, there's no "Frankenfood" going on (sure there are some rogue growers out there who do their own genetic modification w/out regulation, but those growers are not approved by the USDA or FDA).  And again, it must meet very strict health and safety standards to be able to enter the food supply.  Be very careful about what you read.  Most of the anti-GMO information is a bunch of speculation about what might happen decades down the road.

But without GMO, many countries would greatly suffer, and the scare tactics are just that - tactics.  Do you want people to starve tomorrow, or do you want people to eat tomorrow on the very off chance that they’ll be affected 20-30 years from now?  Much of the outcry from oversears is just geo-politics, not what’s in the best interest of starving people.  GMO has brought us so far in food production and it IS a GOOD THING.  (And I’ll be more than happy to provide any more info for anyone who is interested.)

Getting on to #3 – factory farming.  I’m actually going to do a whole separate post on this because there are SO many lies and myths out there regarding this industry.  My sister actually works in this industry and is going to do a guest post on it for me.  But let me just dispel a couple of the major myths quickly with some bullet points:

  1.     Please remember – farmers are not running petting zoos.  They’re running businesses.  So yes, animals are kept in tight quarters as opposed to frolicking in a meadow.  Think of it like a field: You wouldn’t just throw some seeds out in the dirt like you throw a baseball, you plant them tediously in rows because they’re easy to tend and harvest.  To farmers, livestock is like a crop.  They have to raise them tediously and efficiently.
  2.      In fact, my family often jokes that the pigs have it better than we do!  When the power goes out, we get a phone call and there’s an elaborate security system that ensures the pigs are able to be fed and stay cool/warm when the power goes out.  Meanwhile we’re all sitting there freezing in the ice storm!
  3.      Regarding grain-fed animals – yes, livestock is MEANT to eat grains!  If they weren’t, they wouldn’t eat it!  Pretty simple.  It’s not like we’re feeding livestock broken glass and acid.
  4.      Yes, farmers are trying to turn a profit!  No secret there.  This IS a job, after all…not a hobby.  I’ll contend that unlike my husband’s law job, farming is much more than a job, it’s a way of life.  But it IS still a business that puts food on the table. 
  5.      But just because farmers need to make money doesn’t mean they’ll go to any extreme for the almighty dollar.  Farms are highly regulated, and when those rules are broken, there are extreme consequences.  Do you really think that in the age of animal rights and gov’t regulation, that farms would be exempt from these??  Seriously.
  6.      Sure there are some bad practices out there, but that’s true for any industry.  Is it perfect?  No!  But what human institution is??  Not even the Catholic Church!
  7.      Please don’t watch Food, Inc. and think it’s without an agenda.
  8.      Without factory farming, please provide a solution on how to feed 7 billion people.  Please!

Finally (honestly), I’ll very briefly touch on the elephant in the room – farm subsidies.  I’m generally against farm subsidies.  I’m generally against any subsidies.  I don’t believe it’s the government’s job to save the family farm.  I believe it’s up to the free market that any industry survive or cease to exist.  But farm subsidies do not determine the price of food.  The market determines the price of food.  And the price of food determines subsidies.  Corn and soy appear in a lot of our food not because the government subsidizes them.  They appear in our food because they grow well on our land, they’re cost and land efficient, they’re high yield, and they’re versatile.  And I still can’t understand why that’s so terrible!  Again – I’d love to know – how would YOU feed 7 billion people?

I’m sure that some of you will easily dismiss some of my facts here, just due to my sources, but I tried to provide some not-so-obvious sources as well.  And as usual, my main source was my dad.  He’s not only my dad, but he’s owned and operated a corn, soy, and livestock farm for over 40 years, he’s won numerous awards for outstanding farming practices, and he’s the chairman of the Indiana House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.  I can only hope that’s enough street cred for ya!

**Disclaimer 2- I wholeheartedly believe in a family's right to choose to eat organic, free-range, foods, or even processed and fast foods!  Do what's best for your family!  But please don't demonize the alternatives with half-truths and pseudo-science.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The fake opt-out

OSV has a great article with more information on the fake opt-out of the mandatory insurance coverage of contraception ruling by fake-Catholic, Kathleen Sebelius.  It's a great read.  Know this stuff in case anyone tries to tell you that the Catholic Church is exempt from this nonsense.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ha! I wasn't the only one with bible school issues!

Remember this?  The left-wing politicization of my son's "bible school"?  Well I guess I'm not the only one who had issues with it.  Now I knew that the curriculum they used was protestant in nature, because I've seen the same exact program advertised in front of local Presbyterian and Methodist churches.  But I felt like they did a pretty good job last year of "Catholicizing" it.  But, as you can see in my post and the one I linked to, all they did a good job of this year was "lefticizing" it.

I know the summer's almost over, but if any of you have children signed up for Pandamania bible school at your church, get your money back NOW!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Awww...An Abortionist Sob Story

Awww...this "poor, humble man."  At least that's the message you'd get reading this vomit-inducing Washington Post piece about murderer (late-term abortionist) Leroy Carhart.  It's so disgustingly sympathetic, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  It's the mainstream media.  Read the sob section, "From ashes, a mission."  After I vomited, I read this:
"Carhart, who once dreamed of becoming a hand surgeon, said he witnessed how abortions often went bad when he was a medical resident in Philadelphia in the 1970s. In emergency rooms, he saw women who had tried to self-abort with knitting needles and coat hangers. Many required serious surgery; some died."
So instead of actually helping these women by getting them post-abortion help and joining the pro-life cause to help women not have abortions in the first place, he decided to "help" them continue to kill their children unnaturally and with dangerous procedures and instruments??  Brilliant logic.  My husband commented, "If you are trying to abort your baby using sewing needles or coat hangers, isn't that a sign of mental illness [or at least desperation]?  Normal people wouldn't do that.  We shouldn't be facilitating crazy."  He should be getting these women real help.

Not to mention, the whole "coat hanger/back alley" argument is a total sham.  Before 1973, women got abortions in the same clinics they get them now - it's just that after Roe vs. Wade, the doctor was allowed to legally put the word "abortion" on his sign.  Oh, and remember this story?  How is this any safer than a back alley?  It's not like most abortion clinics are regulated any more than their "back alley" straw men!  And why, if the abortion lobby is so concerned with womens' health and safety, does it fight, tooth and nail, any abortion clinic regulation laws that are presented??  Hmmm...

Then there's this line:
"“I decided I wasn’t going to just be a provider, I was going to be an activist.”"
Oh what a passion for the cause!

And this quote, from an anonymous abortion provider:
"Abortion providers say they often feel isolated because of the stigma surrounding abortion..."
THE STIGMA?!?  Way to trivialize the murder of innocent children!!!  I don't think it's the stigma people are angry about!  It's the murdering!!  God help us.
"All the late abortions Carhart has done in Germantown have involved fetuses with anomalies, he said. One patient last week was just under 21 weeks pregnant; the fetus had spina bifida and would have been paralyzed from the navel down, he said."
Oohh...well clearly that baby is better off dead then.  What a compassionate man!  "Saving" a baby from paralyzation!  No one has ever lived a full life with that before!!  I mean, it's not like you can be paralyzed and the President of the United States or anything!  Oh, wait...

Not only does Carhart come across as some poor, targeted old man grandfather just trying to help women, but of course the pro-lifers are made to sound like they're lurking around corners waiting to jump out of the bushes with AK-47's pointed at this guy.  Let me tell you - I know the Maryland pro-life group and they are the humble ones.

The Maryland Coalition for Life recently opened a pro-life counseling center directly across the parking lot from Carhart's office - much like the Texas Coalition for Life that Abby Johnson fled to when she decided to leave PP.  They're living paycheck to paycheck just to pay the rent for this place, but they know it's what God has called them to do.  So if you can possibly help them out with a small donation, I know they'd be eternally grateful.  But as always, they need our prayers.  As the WaPo article states, this man who kills children at full-term is looking to train some new doctors, which would make the Coalition's job even harder. And with VA's amazing new abortion clinic regulation laws (Praise God!), patients will likely migrate to MD for their late-term abortions.

So please, pray for this organization and if possible, donate.  They're a group of amazing men & women putting themselves on the front lines to really help women.  And they need us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Exciting Things Happened Today!

First, I had my 20 week ultrasound this morning.  I was a little nervous because it was a follow-up from my 16 week to check on my previa and to do a Level 2 u/s, which just takes a lot more measurements.  She took close to 100 pictures!  Took forever.  Luckily everything was a-ok with Baby C, and the tech told me my previa had moved and was out of the way!  But...then the doc came in and double checked.  I had gone to the restroom before she came in and apparently when I emptied my bladder, it turned out my previa had not moved as much as they thought.  But the doc did say that it moved a bit (just not totally), and is confident it will be out of the way by my next u/s, in 4 weeks.  It's supposed to be 2cm away and it's 1.72cm.  Phew!  My OB had also said that previa can affect the growth of the baby, but the u/s doc assured me that that isn't the kind of previa I have.  Well, she said it in far more technical terms than that, but I was relieved!  At worst now, I'll have to have a C-section.  Which isn't preferable, but after the way the first few weeks of this pregnancy started, if this is the worst that can happen, I'll take it.  Thanks so much for all your prayers.

Secondly, I'm thrilled at today's news that Archbishop Chaput has been name Archbishop of Philadelphia!  Bishop Chaput has, for several years, been one of my pro-life heroes.  I can't believe he'll be just up the road from me!  (Of course, I wish he was coming to the Diocese of Wilmington.  A girl can dream, right?)  I commented to my husband today that we'll have to make a trip up to see him say mass sometime.

While on the elliptical machine at the gym today, I was reading the captioning of Archbishop Rigali's statements on the announcement.  One line troubled me.  Perhaps I'm just being way too sensitive and hormonal, or perhaps there's really something behind it.  What do you think?  In his statement, he said, "I have tried, always, throughout my ministry, to be faithful to the ideal of episcopal ministry.  If I have offended anyone in anyway, I am deeply sorry.  I apologize for any weaknesses on my part representing Christ in the Church worthily and effectively."

I don't know...upon revisiting it, perhaps I'm just being sensitive.  But does it sound like he's apologizing for evangelizing his faith?  Maybe it was just a sincere apology for any human mistakes.  But when I read it at the gym, it came across differently.

I guess I'll let that one go and just enjoy the fact that I may at some point soon, be able to attend a mass celebrated by Archbishop Chaput!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yep. Pro-lifers don't care about women.

The following is a story I recently received from our 40 Days for Life coordinator:

Back in May one of our parishes celebrated their first Mass for the Unborn, which had a two-fold purpose: to remember and pray for those babies lost to abortion, and to bless those mothers who are expecting, and their babies.

A mother and daughter who were present at the Mass, left church and the mother went to a store near their home with her husband.  They pulled their car into the parking lot and saw a very pregnant girl sitting on the curb. Commenting to her husband that she had just left a Mass for the Unborn, the woman recognized that this was unusual and there was clearly something wrong here.  They gave each other a knowing glance, then walked over to ask if they could help her.

She told them that she was temporarily homeless, 38 weeks pregnant, thought she was in labor and had no one to help her. Without hesitation, the couple took her to the hospital where she was told that she was not in labor. Further discussion revealed that because of the circumstances under which she got pregnant, she wanted to give the baby for adoption, but didn't know how to go about it and had made no arrangements. 

So the woman requested that a social worker from the hospital talk to the pregnant girl before leaving to give her resources to make contact with an adoption agency and get the information she needed.  Before leaving her, the couple gave her money for a hotel for the weekend and made contact with Adoptions from the Heart to start the adoption process.  They then helped her find a more permanent place to stay after the weekend. Before departing, they gave her their cell phone numbers so she could call them for the help she would still need. 

The following Wednesday she called, feeling she was in labor again, and the woman took her back to the hospital.  She asked the woman to be her support coach, and after a few hours she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  The woman was so humbled and grateful to the Holy Spirit that she was able to be a witness to the birth of this beautiful baby boy. The baby has now been adopted by a wonderful couple who had been waiting for several years for a baby.

The birth father of the baby also asked the woman and her husband what church they attend and they invited him to come to Mass with them.
The mother has since been offered a job and is looking for permanent housing.  She knows in her heart that the best gift she could have given her baby was a wonderful home with parents who can give her baby everything he deserves in life, and even in her desperate situation, she chose life for her baby.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Here's where I am

My room is somehwere in the back.
Some of you might know it to look more like this...

It was 118 the day I arrived.  Yesterday we had a massive sandstorm, then a monsoon.  Welcome to Phoenix, Nicole C!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finally - the vacation picture post!

Finally, a few shots from our trip to Indiana and Chicago!  Figured I better at least post them before I have more to post from Phoenix next week!

On Monday we visited the small local zoo.  Beth and her kids came up and met us!  Love blogger meet-ups!

Jack, M, and JP.  JP was not too into getting a photo!

Fighting over who gets their hand pecked by a giant emu.
On Tuesday we went down to Indy to meet a high school friend of mine and my cousin at a baseball game!

Massive cheese

Rolling down the hill, which the security nazi kept yelling at us for.  It's the LAWN seats!

Go Indians!
The next day we visited Great Grandma...

Then the climax of the week - the trip to the "big city!"

"Howdy Pard!" ~ Lego Woody

Lego Darth

That's a real background! Totally looks like a green screen!

Go Cubbies!

Future Chicago fireman?
Mastering the art of chopsticks.  He's a natural.

Lake view

View from the top of the Hancock Building


Top of the Navy Pier ferris wheel!
And finally, farm day!  I'm so honored that this was one of the top 5 days of M's life.  Although I'm not so naive as to think it was because she got to hang out with ME!  I think it had more to do with the little oinking creatures...

Some of the girls were a little shy...

...and some jumped right in!

But not to be outdone...

Ok, this is probaby pig #312387 that she held.  And yes...she's kissing it.

The piggy barn

Seriously...she was fearless

Grampa Farmer Lehe.  Also known to some of you as Representative Lehe!

Getting their tractor licenses.  They'll be haulin' beans by harvest.

He used to be able to stand upright in this.  *sad face*

Goat feeding

Blogger meet-up!  Megan, Beth, me, and Jenny!