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!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Sister In Law Jacqueline Chapman Hollowell Has a Say

As a woman, and as a person, I have a say. I refuse to let Cecile Richards speak for me. I believe that life is sacred and I believe that the love between a husband and wife should always be open to life. I am tired of my views being attacked and insulted and I am tired of hearing that my views are contrary to the well-being of women, and moreover, disrespectful of women. As a woman who implements these beliefs in my life, I can wholeheartedly say that I have never been happier, nor have I ever felt more loved and respected.

I am tired of hearing that birth control is so revolutionary, that without it, women have no choices, no freedom and no opportunities. My main frustration with hearing such things and with Cecile Richards’ recent plea to women is that I know that there is a natural alternative: natural family planning. In His perfect wisdom, God created a woman’s body in such a way that during each cycle, there are times when she is fertile and times when she is not fertile. If a couple has decided that it is not the time for them to have a baby, they abstain from sex during that time of fertility. Instead of taking a pill at a time when it is very likely they could get pregnant, and just having sex anyways, they sacrifice the gift of engaging in the marital act of love. It is so simple, so natural and so perfect. I feel blessed to have such a knowledge of my body, and more importantly to truly understand the purpose of sexuality created by God. I feel blessed to be able to share the joys of married love with my husband.

I am also tired of the misconception that by not using birth control, you have no choice but to have many, many babies. This is simply not the case - with natural family planning, each family decides what is right for them. All that matters is that you remain open to life in all that you do, turning yourself over to God, allowing him to guide you in your decisions. Not all are called to have a soccer team, and that is perfectly okay. But some are, and that’s great too. In fact, it’s very great for me. I have a say because of such openness to life. As the 11th of 14 children, if my parents had not been open to life, I probably would not be here. I am grateful to my parents who sacrificed so much for myself and my siblings.

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