Monthly Archives: January 2012

Whisper

match light

Before January 2012 makes its final exit, there’s an anniversary to remember.

This month marks the 39th year since the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States.

The hair on the back of your neck is rising as you read this, isn’t it?

Some of you are tuning out. Others are mentally rushing to your battle stations. Ready to defend your position in this divisive fight.

Regardless of which side you’re on, abortion inhabits a tragic, tender place.

The numbers are staggering. No one seems to know the exact figure. Most estimates agree abortion has ended more than 54 million pregnancies in America since Roe v. Wade.

That’s a lot of abortions and a lot of women. The Guttmacher Institute reports about half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, and nearly one-third will have an abortion, by age 45.

The stakes are high. Abort73.com estimates providers take in more than one billion dollars annually for abortion services. On top of that, pro-life and pro-choice groups raise millions of dollars each year to support their causes.

Commonplace. Clinical. But still not openly discussed.

When was the last time you heard Jane or Mary or Lana flippantly drop, “Yes, I had an abortion last week,” in passing at the grocery store? More likely that conversation is shrouded in secrecy and whisper if it happens at all.

We whisper because this is a delicate subject. Maybe, despite our rights and choices, we recognize abortion ends human life.

Feminist writer Naomi Wolf acknowledged this way back on October 16, 1995, in The New Republic. Click here to read a full repost. Wolf writes:

Abortion should be legal; it is sometimes even necessary. Sometimes the mother must be able to decide that the fetus, in its full humanity, must die.

Ayelet Waldman did. In her 2009 best-selling book “Bad Mother,” Waldman writes a chapter entitled “Rocketship,” the nickname she gave her unborn child.

Waldman painfully recounts how she knew she was killing her baby. But she thought it was worth it. Better to choose to end his life than risk giving birth to a child who tested positive for possible birth defects. Waldman writes:

Although I know that others feel differently, when I chose to have the abortion, I feel I chose to end my baby’s life. A baby, not a fetus. A life, not a vague potentiality. As guilty and miserable as I felt, the only way I could survive was to confront my responsibility. Rocketship was my baby. And I killed him. (p.131)

Now we can carry out this choice in near-complete privacy. No accomplices but an inanimate pill. Clean and quiet, or so we think.

Enter Jennie Linn McCormack of Idaho. Sometime in December 2010 or January 2011—news reports vary—this unemployed, unmarried mother of three ended her pregnancy with RU-486, the abortion pill, her sister obtained online. Only McCormack didn’t realize how far along she was.

Frightened and confused, she put the corpse of her baby in a box and set it outside on her porch. The cold, winter air preserved the remains until they were discovered by authorities following a tip. A whisper.

An autopsy concluded the baby was between five and six months gestation.

Can you imagine the horror of facing the remains of your own child? Placing them in a box? Leaving them alone outside in the cold?

McCormack was arrested under a 1972 state law making it illegal for a woman to induce her own abortion. The case was dropped due to lack of evidence.

Now McCormack’s defense lawyer has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 1972 law and Idaho’s 2011 “fetal pain” law banning abortions past 20 weeks.

Meanwhile, McCormack’s been ostracized in her town. Can’t go out. Can’t work. Her private actions making her a pawn in the public battle to decide whose rights, whose life will be protected.

I’m not interested in condemning women who’ve had abortions. I’m not qualified to do so. We all sin, myself included. In Christ, there is the gift of forgiveness for you as much as there is for me and my transgressions. Take hold of it.

extinguished

Encroaching on your rights or privacy isn’t my concern either. I believe it’s most often in brave, lonely, silent moments of desperation you make a choice. You try to set things right in a tragic, tender place.

Yet we can’t turn a blind eye to the mass killing of a muted people. Little ones who have no means to defend themselves. Who have been blotted out of existence. Snuffed out like tiny match lights.

We are American citizens, born and unborn. Hold fire for a moment on this bloodied battlefield and listen. They are your countrymen. Hear them whisper.

How will we answer?

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 NIV

Dear Father, hear and bless
Thy beasts and singing birds;
And guard with tenderness
Small things that have no words. —Anonymous

 

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Nothing Good Gets Away

My mother once remarked on the differences between two of her children. While one said, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” the other said, “There is no tomorrow.”

self check-out

Guess which one you’re reading.

Brace yourself. This may come as a surprise.

I’m a little high-strung.

The only gray in my life is on my head when I miss my salon appointment. I’m black and white—and read all over. Considered by some to be entertaining as well.

Although I may look super cool, my nature is type A. Prone to burnout, breakdowns and digestive issues.

Last post you read about how I drive with intention. You may have detected an urgency in other posts too, and you probably will again.

Live now. We’re not getting any younger. Get those ducks in a row. Just do it. Today, please.

When taken to extremes, our strengths look a lot like weaknesses. So I’m learning with age, motherhood, circumstances, my husband’s encouragement, and God’s gentle prodding to cool it. Take my foot off the gas pedal once in a while. Give myself and the rest of the world a break.

As much as I hate it, things spin out of my control.

Okay. Things were never in my control in the first place.

Pacing doesn’t come easy. But with practice and God’s grace, it’s possible to slow down. To actively wait and rest. As I heard the pastor say in yesterday’s sermon, “The invitation is to trust.”

One of my favorite quotes is from writer John Steinbeck. “Don’t worry about losing,” he said. “If it is right, it happens. The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

God has a good plan for you and me. He’s the driver. Nothing we do or don’t do stands in His way. God’s plan will be accomplished in spite of us.

tick-tock

Time to rest on that.

And I am certain that God, Who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT

Taking My Time, Ashton, Becker & Dente.

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Supersonic

on the Kennedy

The state of North Carolina may have been the first to grant me a license, but I learned to drive in Chicago.

There you better get up and go or you’re going to be run over. They drive at breakneck speeds. Play chicken turning left at intersections. Dodge thousands of pedestrians and maniacal taxis.

Had to take it down a notch when we moved to St. Louis. Some folks there drive fast, only that’s not the real issue. The daredevil maneuver of drivers in the Lou is gunning it through red lights.

See yellow? In St. Louis, that means speed up. Like a bull rushing the matador in anticipation of red.

For the most part, Wichita drivers are safe drivers. They seem to take it easy. Five or ten miles below the speed limit easy.

A new friend I’ve made here is another big city transplant. Like me, she’s adjusting to the Wichita crawl. Her explanation for the slow driving is that it only takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in Wichita, so why hurry?

One morning I pulled out of the carpool line to see my friend’s SUV a few cars up on the road. The light turned green and we bolted through.

My Chicagoan stirred. “C’mon. You can take her!”

20 mph

Chrissie Hynde belted out Middle of the Road on Sirius XM 80s on 8. I knew my friend was listening to the same station in her starship. We built this city on rock and roll.

“Let’s see what you got,” I said under my breath. Me and Cranberry Mary versus her and Silver Fox.

We zoomed around the curve at Hawker Beechcraft. Ducked into the tunnel beside the airfield and whoosh! Out like rockets.

Cruised the four-lane drag down Central. Into the great, wide open. Cranberry and Silver, streaks across suburbia.

It all came to an end when I turned off north toward my house. “Until next time, Silver Fox,” I said as she disappeared into a cloud of cosmic dust.

starship

Two corporate wives. Multiple relocations. Baptized in the guerrilla warfare of city driving in concrete jungles. Set free to roam in slick SUVs on flat stretches of Kansas highway. Wind them up and watch them go.

Truth be told, we were probably clocking 45 in a 40 tops. With everyone else driving 30, we may as well been flying supersonic jets.

We weren’t behaving recklessly or irresponsibly. We were coming home from carpool for goodness sakes.

And we weren’t knowingly racing either. At least she wasn’t.

My days are swifter than a runner;
they flee away; they see no good. Job 9:25 ESV

Fasten your seat belts and coast on into the weekend with J.J. Fad and SupersonicThe S is for super and the U is for unique!

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January Infringements

angry bird

Am I an internet pirate?

While you enjoyed a little Moon Walk, the SOPA deal got me thinking. Is this blog in danger of infringing copyright and trampling intellectual property?

I scoured the images in all 146 published posts of everyday epistle, confirming permissions and source attributions for the handful of photos I didn’t take myself.

Scrapped a few. Replaced others, some with my own pictures. Like this striking candid  of an Angry Bird I snapped for The Lost Art of Tying Shoes.

You may be relieved to know Rosie the Riveter from Crows and Eagles and the mammalian trio from The Three Bears Go House Hunting are public domain.

Celebrities are more complicated. For this blog, I figure covers of books, albums and movies are legit under fair use. So are publicity photos celebrities post of themselves on their own sites, as well as most logos.

However, I am left wondering about the images of The Bangles and Kurt Cobain in Murder by Muzak, Jackie Kennedy in High-Rise Jeans, and Vivien Leigh in Wichita. Ever see those names in the same sentence before? Me neither.

Rose the Riveter

Are they public domain? Would my use of them be considered fair use? I’m not sure, but they’re staying put for the time being.

Comic book characters were deleted (Boo!), except for the picture I took of Wonder Woman at MAC Cosmetics for American Beauty.

I don’t want to step on someone else’s copyright any more than I want them to step on mine. I don’t want to go back to school for a law degree either.

This blog has been scrubbed clean-er. Not perfect, but better. My, there is so much to learn.

Teach me to do Your will,
for You are my God.
May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10 NLT

Correction tastes like medicine. One more spoon of Cough Syrup now…

Advice is welcomed in the comments.
Commiserating, empathizing, disagreeing,
high-fiving 
and general discussion is fine too.

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Moon Walk

There’s a field behind our neighborhood. Carpeted with brome in the summer, scruff in the winter. It’s a magical place where my son, the dog and I walk.

in the field

We saw a deer run across the north end the first time we explored the field. We were a few acres south, but we spotted him clear as day. Our eyes followed his white tail and long, bounding strides.

Our part of Kansas is flat. Flatter than Illinois. If there weren’t lines of trees and houses blocking the view, no telling how far you could see.

The field is covered with short, dry grass now. Besides the ground and the wind, there’s nothing but sky. Wide, blue, voluminous sky.

image of La Lune print used with permission from Double Merrick, doublemerrick.myshopify.com

The moon often watches us when we walk the field. Even in sunlight, its bald head nods as we plod along the soft ground.

My son would play there forever if I let him.

In freedom he scampers ahead of me. Kneels. Lifts his arms. Stares down the barrel and through the cross hairs. Imagines sniping enemy troops.

The dog is also at home there. She parts the grass like water and swims. Without warning, she pops straight up and over, jumping like a rabbit. Ears pricked. Her body alert to the possibility of field mice beneath these waves.

Except for the one deer, the only wildlife we’ve seen are small birds. They congregate, hidden in the grass, then spring into flight as we approach. Dozens of tiny, floating kites, cut loose to lift and sail away.

One day, my son called to me from where he crouched. The inflection in his voice danced over the field.

“Mom,” he said. “I found a deer track!”

Sure enough, he’d found one perfect, heart-shaped deer track imprinted in the dried dirt.

far

We could tell—from the shape of the print, the deer that left it there had been walking. Just like us.

These are the moments I wish I could capture. They bound away, impossible to hold. Photographs don’t do them justice.

Must be what it’s like to walk on the moon.

An ordinary action, walking. Elevated here. Beyond measure in its fullness. Silent. Solitary. Surrounded by nothing but God and ground and sky.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

When I was pregnant with my son, I listened to Beethoven. Relax and savor the tender, magical, masterful strains of Moonlight Sonata.

Double Merrick

The La Lune print featured in today’s post is the work of English designer/illustrator Merrick Angle.

Merrick’s charming prints were a hit when he started selling them on Etsy. One has only to view his art to understand why.

Merrick presently works out of a studio near Limoges in rural France. His online shop, Double Merrick, continues to wow.

Visit his shop to see for yourself and read more of his story. Warning: you may fall in love with what you see.

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Blackout in Protest of SOPA

Can you imagine a world without Facebook, Twitter and blogs as we know them?

Social media sites and blogs are making history. As Jane Wells at WordPress put it, we’re part of nothing less than “the democratization of publishing.”

Wow. I feel that every time I hit the Publish button to make a new post available to you.

Many websites, everyday epistle included, are participating in a blackout to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: Senate Bill 968, the Protect IP Act, aka SOPA.

SOPA is supposed to combat internet piracy. My friend Corey of I Like My Bike fame also runs an IT management services company. I’ll quote him:

“Combating piracy is a good idea, doing it without due process and with poor methodology is not.”

That’s this legislation in a nutshell. It needs to be reworked before it’s enacted.

To learn more about the legislation, click on How SOPA Works. It’s a factual, non-political article about the issues.

If you like, you can also click on Stop American Censorship here or in the ribbon at the top right corner of this blog. It will redirect you to a site where you can click and communicate directly with Congress.

The blackout will end after 8 p.m. tonight, but the ribbon will remain on my site until January 24, 2012, the day the legislation is scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

Thank you for supporting this little blog with your readership. Let’s work to keep it that way.

U.S. Bill of Rights, Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Unopened

This is a letter my dearest in the world friend gave me the last time I saw her. Four weeks ago, December 18, 2011.

unopened

There it sits. Pristine. Unopened.

I couldn’t open it the last evening we were together with our families in St. Louis because I would cry. We both knew it would be a long time before we’d see each other again. So I saved the letter to open it later.

“We’ve been here almost a month, and you’re handling this move really well,” said my husband last week. “You’re not crying.”

No, I’m adopting the Midwestern attitude. Putting my head down to forge a life on the prairie. Onward and upward. Just. Work. Harder.

If I open that letter, I’ll disintegrate.

I’ll cry big tears when I think of all that’s been lost. At the same time, in front of me stands so much that’s been gained. The gains hold the tears at bay in a bittersweet tension.

Before we moved, parents from our son’s class at school had a going away party for us. My son asked why they were having it.

“Is it a birthday party?” said my seven-year-old.

His friend, whose family was hosting the event, was with us that day. “No,” he said. “It’s a you’re-going-away-forever party.”

Female Orpheus Fountain Figure by Carl Milles as seen at Missouri Botanical Garden

I intervened. “We’re not dying. We’re only moving.”

But moving is a sort of dying. All changes are. A beloved Bible teacher of my past used to say we first experience change as loss.

We held it together, as did most of our friends, through our goodbyes. Then there was that moment the day I rushed to the groomer’s to pick up the dog.

We wanted to have Ella groomed one last time before we moved. As I paid the sweet shop owner, told her goodbye and thank you for all her years of service to us, she began to sob.

“We’re really going to miss you and Ella,” she said.

Fear shot through the muscles in my face. Confusion billowed up in my brain. Not the groomer. She just couldn’t lose it. No, no, no.

“There’s something about those terriers,” she said and boohooed some more.

“We’ll miss you too,” I said helplessly. “I don’t know how we’ll ever replace you.”

And we won’t. We’ll find another groomer. We’ll find another salon, dry cleaner, church, and circle of friends.

moving truck

Another, but not a replacement.

That’s what I tell myself to keep from opening that letter. At least for now.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 NLT

Me, I’m a part of your Circle of friends. By Edie Brickell.

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