I Have A Say Thanks to My Mom and Dad!!!

Being the oldest of 11, I am so thankful, especially now, for my Mom and Dad saying "yes" to life! Growing up, we never had a ton of money. My Dad was a high school chemistry teacher and my parents decided from the beginning that they wanted to have one of them home with us. My mom gave up her teaching career, and raised me, followed by 10 others! My Mom also taught all 11 of us at home for part of our childhood before we would head off to Nativity Catholic Grade School. My Dad worked long hours, eventually earning other degrees so that he could first become dean, then principal, and finally, when I was a sophomore, he was named Roncalli High School's first president. My Dad and Mom both sacrificed SO MUCH for us.

I remember, even as a young person, getting stared at by people, and I remember the comments they would make. I can still hear a dental receptionist asking my Mom "Are these all yours? You know how children are made right?" followed by a real insidious but ditzy chuckle, followed by a secretarial gum crackle. My Mom and Dad were always tight budget wise, and I'm sure at times ached with a desire to not have to take bags of clothes from other families so that we could have clothes. I'm sure my Mom and Dad had desires to simply go to Nordstrom and buy us and give us all our own new clothes and Gameboys and Reebok Pumps etc. I'm sure they at times really wished they could just get a new car and not have to drive a fifteen passenger van around. I'm sure at times they wanted really badly to just go to a restaurant and sit back and enjoy a big expensive meal instead of having to cut coupons and craft together economic meals on the stove.

But they chose life for us, and they chose sacrifice for themselves.

I often think about that ditzy secretary now when our family gets together almost every weekend for dinner to laugh and hang out. Some of the siblings might be out of town or busy with other obligations, but inevitably, all weekend long, every weekend, our family gets together. Sometimes, when we're out at a restaraunt, I see the couples who are alone with each other. They hardly talk to each other and the loneliness is palpable. A part of me feels bad that we're having so much fun with our 8 tables shoved together, telling stories, laughing good hearty and healthy laughs. Sometimes I wonder if one of the couples sitting in the restaurant quietly and solemnly is that dental secretary - who now has piles of money and can eat wherever she wants, but doesn't have hardly anyone to share it with. My heart breaks for the people who are alone, especially the ones who are alone because, when they could have been having children, they instead bought into the contraception lie and lived for themselves only.

I have a say today, and so do my ten younger brothers and sisters, because my parents chose life. Mom and Dad - thanks a million!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kari Hollowell - My Pregnant Sister in Law Has Her Say

I, too, have a say thanks to the love of two people who have been married for 41 years: my parents. Witnessing their love throughout my life and modeling my marriage on that love is the 2nd greatest gift they could have given to me, next to the gift of my life.

What offends me most about Cecile’s urging of her own “I have a say” challenge is that women are the only individuals who should be speaking out about their bodies and what right those bodies have. Fortunately for me, God has placed a respectful and abundantly loving man in my life, a man that brought me closer to my faith, a man that showed me what it means to truly respect the gift of sexuality by waiting for me and respected that I waited for him. If the pope didn’t have a voice, if our church leaders didn’t have a voice, if our priests didn’t have a voice, and if my husband didn’t have a voice, I might have used my voice in just the way Cecile wanted.

Last time I read my Health books, it takes both a man and a woman to bring life into this world. Not just a sperm and an egg, but a man and a woman. And a man’s voice should carry just as much weight as a woman’s, especially when he chooses life. Because the ability to bring life into this world is the most precious and beautiful gift that God could ever bestow upon us.

The birth of my daughter was a transcendental experience, and I eagerly await the birth of my second child. God placed those two little blessings in my life, but my husband and I both have the chance to say yes. And we have the blessing to say yes every time we embrace as husband and wife. Thank you, Matt, for having a say and for giving me the strength and the courage to show me that I can have my say too.


  1. very nice! Thanks for sharing! We faithful Catholics MUST stand together. People think I am crazy because I've had 18 pregnancy losses (19 souls in heaven) and continue to be a faithful Catholic by not using contraception. Each of the babies was a blessing and God knew them before he formed them in my womb. Through these losses, God brought me closer to Him and brought my husband and I closer together, too. A few months ago, my husband (he is a pilot) was in San Antonio and took time to visit the grave of the first baby we lost, Thomas. Men ARE affected by pregnancy losses, abortion and contraception. We have twins buried here in our home town (Mary Elizabeth and Gary Christopher) and John Paul is buried in Reidsville. With the other pregnancies, we didn't have bodies to bury. (Hope you don't mind my sharing)

    Through our losses and being faithful Catholics, we have been able to witness to many people. The pathologist came to us crying when we lost Thomas. We had to fight the hospital to keep his body (I was 14 weeks). The doctor slammed the door after yelling at me and telling me I could hemorrhage and die since I didn't want to have a D&E and rip his body apart. He later apologized and induced labor so that Thomas would be born and not ripped apart. During the fight with the hospital staff to keep his body, this one social worker kept calling the baby, "product of conception" and "tissue" and I kept politely saying "baby" each time. Finally as she walked to the elevator she said it again and I remember screaming, "He is a BABY! Why can't you just say baby!" The pathologist witnessed this and she took our Holy Water and gave the baby a conditional baptism for us. Afterward, she came to us in tears, hugged me and said, "I have never witnessed faith like you and your husband have. I am touched." I won't bore you with the rest of our losses.... but say this to encourage you to stand firm in our Catholic faith. We are witnesses of Christ and He uses our testimonies and lives for His Glory!

    I am coordinating a protest in our town on March 23 to protest the HHS mandate. I'll be there if I am the only one standing holding a sign. We have friends coming and if there are only 5 or 6 of us, we will protest and make our voices heard. I'm praying we overwhelm the federal building. But know that even if only a few show up, we are doing God's work!

  2. Patti,
    Wow what a beautiful witness! You have a voice, keep using it!

  3. I am not a Catholic. I am an evangelical Protestant. I stand with you. I have a say.