Monday, August 24, 2015

And Summer Ends

And so winds down the summer of 2015.     

It's a bitter-sweet symphony, this life...
We all wish there were more days to play, more time in the sun, spent with those we love. I finally forgot what day of the week it is, and stopped watching the clock. I think in heaven we'll have a big clock smashing party, and a big bonfire to throw in all our schedules, our calendars, and our phones. Woohoo!!!! Best party ever!

The summer began by celebrating my dad's 65th. That was wild and busy, and a very hot day I recall also. We did our best to bless dad and celebrate him, with 22+ grandchildren running through the house, eating everything like a swarm of locusts, sticky and sweaty and all huggable and sweet. 

Then Lauren and I had to say goodbye to two friends that take up a lot of space in our hearts...we had great fun together but it was sad, knowing it was the "last time". Love you, Jan and Brooke!!

I spent a lot of time on the road, driving back and forth to camp dropping off and picking up kids. I think it was 10 separate trips, maybe more? They had fun, and so did I, hearing the stories and knowing memories were being built. 

What else did we do?
A couple of trips to find hot sand and cool water: my favourite. I even forced myself to swim and splash around instead of watching everyone else from the safety of a beach towel. 

I took the kids to the river on a blistering hot day. Everything is an adventure when you haven't been there before! And they actually talked and laughed together, and goofed off, something that the busy rush and stress of the school year seems to prevent. (Have I mentioned how much I love summer?)

There were beautiful sunsets and walks in the evening. I miss the long sun-hours of the day stretching into the night!

There was a sad and sudden trip for my grandpa's funeral (dad's side of the family). 
It was a tough but poignant time, going through old pictures, remembering.... Seeing extended family members for the first time in many years brought back pieces of childhood I had forgotten. We walked through the graveyard and visited the tombstones of other relations and friends. It is important to do that, to honour those gone, to give meaning and space to the role they played in your life. It is healing to walk together with those who are alive, remembering those who are dead, loving them still from afar. No matter how many years it has been. 

Goodbye Grandpa Donald. 
(He's on the right holding the saw, circa 1980's)

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We went to the mountains!!! Oh how beautiful. The trees, the flowers, the rocks, lakes, and glorious peaks! I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take pictures. And when I did take pictures my wonderful son kept making faces and hiking up his pants to his chest, looking ridiculous...I should post them anyway. That'll teach him!!
Should I..? 
Ah better not. I'll save them for his graduation or wedding slide show. 

Dylan was working all summer on a grader. It was a nice change for him, even with the early mornings and learning new things on the job. We were both really thankful for the work! I was grateful to be able to stay home and take care of things in the house, hang with the kids, and not be rushing out the door constantly. Here's Dylan in the Kneehill county grader. I brought him a coffee, just like I used to once in a while back in Edson, when he was working close by. 

Then, once again we were packing a few bags and heading up to Edson, this time to celebrate my grandma Bea's (mom's side) 90th birthday!! I love my grandma Beatrice Keyes so much. She is a gentle, caring, fun-loving, hard-working soul, of the pioneering sort from days of yore. She makes the best vegetable soups, so good for you, from her own garden. When I was a girl she taught me to milk a cow, took me for long walks to pick raspberries and find beaver dams, and showed by example how to use the hours in a day. 

It was a great time, getting together with the Carrot Creek relatives and celebrating   Grandma. I was nervous because I was singing, but it ended up being fun - and what a lovely, appreciative audience.

That's her, second from the left. Beside her younger sister who unfortunately fell the day before and got a black eye! My grandma Bea has 2 brothers and 9 sisters!! Pictured here are Isabel, Beatice, Edna, Dorothy, and Ruth. Lovely ladies with beautiful hearts and souls. 

On the way home the kids and I were able to do a little camping with my parents, which was a treat. We came down through Nordegg and camped beside the Brazeau River and then by Abraham Lake. It was breathtakingly beautiful at Abraham Lake, so blue and perfect. Thanks mom and dad! 

On the last days of summer, we took off for a couple of days and explored Waterton for the first time. Wow, an amazing place. It was at first very smoky from the U.S. forest fires, then stormy and raining, but we had a great time anyway. It's kind of fun hiking in a downpour, then warming up in the steaming car! We saw jagged mountain peaks, red rock canyons, sparkly waterfalls, and enjoyed strolling the quaint village of Waterton. Food! Books! Handmade jewelry! Paintings! Isn't there some way we could live always in the mountain parks? 
The lake was wild with wind and waves, but so much personality! It's wonderful how the weather and seasons transform the face of nature, and you experience it in a different way every time. 

Then we were looking for school supplies, backpacks, and discussing what on earth to pack for lunches. Really, we should have been nomads. Or that family that home-schools and travels across the world together. That's what we all really wanted. I guess that's what summer is for, and I know we were so blessed. To escape from routine is living! Even if we didn't have much time, and Dylan wasn't able to come with us very often, I'm glad I have the summer of 2015 to remember in the cold, scheduled days of winter. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

What I Really Think About Abortion

In the wake of the Planned Parenthood baby part sales videos, there have been some rabid facebook postings, some strong feelings, and by some, a disturbing lack of strong feeling. 

I'm positive that my constant 'likes' and links related to the issue of abortion have driven most of my facebook friends to drink or unfollow me, or both. 

This blog post is meant to explain why I can't shrug it off. 

When I was about 12 or 13, my mom brought me with her to a few meetings of the "TeenAid" organization. Designed to provide education for teens and adults, TeenAid was also about alternatives to abortion and help for teen girls and young single mothers. This was back in the late 80's, and I recall Planned Parenthood being discussed at length. Pp's agenda of population control and the elimination of especially black babies was a hot topic even then. Thirty years ago Planned Parenthood was suspected of selling aborted baby parts, but it was very difficult to fight against this large, tax-funded, government-shielded organization. 
I can't even start to think of all that's taken place behind closed abortion clinic and "women's health" doors in the past thirty years. I can't imagine what it took to get the evidence, at such long last. Balls, is what it took. And prayer. 

Everyone knows it's not about women's health. Give me a break. It's about angry fathers, silent mothers, scared spineless boys, shamed girls, all looking for a way out. It's about getting rid of the evidence. About saving future plans, protecting reputations. It's about shame, and removing it any way possible. More and more it's about hardened women and couples who aren't "ready", don't care, and aren't concerned about sex because if they mess up, it's easily and freely dealt with. 
And it's not about "well they will find a way to do it anyway, and it won't be as safe, as sterile."
"Butchery!" they cried in the past. And they were right, and abortion is still butchery. Well-said. 
We've all seen too many movies that make it seem like every second woman was having horrible, deadly abortions because there was no alternative. 
Anyone with half a brain knows the insane number of abortions performed yearly by sanctioned, clean, government-approved clinics is a tidal wave, a tsunami, compared with the drop of past back alley abortions. And guess what? Killing the innocent unborn is equally wrong in either situation.
The argument doesn't wash. It's not an argument. If I hear, "Well. We must provide clinics, or they will find another way, an expensive, unclean way!" I will throw up. 

Keep it clean, by all means. No unclean abortions for us modern men. 

Now don't get angry with me. I know very well that all of these stories involve people, individuals with complex histories, family situations, fears, and real needs. I know that. No one is trying to downplay the complexities of every woman's story, her fears, her feelings. 

HOWEVER, and this is where the rubber meets the road and the crap hits the fan, 
ENDING THE LIVES of the very young by crushing, dissecting, and pulling them apart either inside or outside of the mother's womb is desperately wrong and evil, no matter HOW COMPLEX the story!!
Do you hear what I'm saying?

No, we cannot address all the poverty and misunderstanding and rape and lust and then hope that will clear things up on the ugly abortion front. 

No, it won't work. It's not working.
If there is water pouring out of a reservoir, running around trying to hold back the streams will never work. Bucket brigades will throw water back in today that will pour out tomorrow. Trying to stop up the spring is futility. No! Put up the dam, close the floodgates. 

Aborting babies needs to be illegal.   That's it.

Somehow we've bought the oft-repeated mantra that abortion is a "grey area", and that the black-and-white part is the ability of a woman to control her own body.
 No, it is black-and-white that abortion is murder. The "grey area", if there is one, is everything else. 

If abortion is not possible, then we will have to find ways of dealing with poverty and abuse and lust. As long as the gate is open, the sheep will run through. As long as killing humanity's smallest members is legal, we will keep doing the easiest thing. As long as the dam is open, the water will pour out. 

In the days of slavery in the US (yes I know we still have many horrible forms of modern slavery), those who didn't speak out against slavery were silent because they didn't really believe the negro slaves deserved to be free. People didn't really think they were equal. Because if they did ...they could not help but fight slavery.

Those who are silent or "conflicted" about abortion don't speak up because they aren't sure it's really murder. They aren't really sure that the baby is a live human being who is being killed. I'm not sure what more evidence is needed to convince people, quite honestly, but they don't or won't believe it.
Because if they did, if you did, you could not help but fight abortion!! Why the silence?

The historically documented arguments against ending slavery were at once compelling and ridiculous. 

"What will happen to our plantations?"
"What will become of the slaves? Where will they go?"
"Our lives will be ruined."
"Our economy will be in shambles."
"Some slaves don't even want to be free! They have good masters!"
"How will America support the weight of all these freed slaves?"

Compelling because these were real questions about real people. Complex, human, emotional, fraught with meaning and the weight of decision, the course of lives.
Ridiculous, because no people on earth should be slaves, end of discussion. Slavery is never right, it is always wrong! The enslavement of a human being to another needed to be ended, come hell or high water. And in many ways both came. But the slaves were FREE. FREE! It was finally over, and nothing else mattered in the face of that hard-won freedom. 

Yes it's like Auschwitz. All the whispered stories, the cattle cars, the neighbors who covered their ears as their friends were dragged from their houses. There were pictures smuggled out, people who actually escaped...And Yet, the camps were not shut down until the Allied armies were physically upon them, until they came face to face with death staring through the bars. 

"Work makes free." 
Not even close. But they had a hell of a lot more chance to work for freedom than the unborn babies at the end of a scalpel. It's our job, to work. Until they are free to be. 

Can you hear the shades of the arguments against slavery? "Will there be room for them." "My life will be ruined."
"What about me."
I'm convinced that the real reason we are so slow to challenge abortion is white-hot selfishness. "With those potential children dead, there is more room for me." More jobs for me. More for ME. 
Let that echo off the cliffs of the world! We, the living, are breathing the air. The dead make way for us. 
Thus the emptiness of the human heart. 

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The Right vs Left debate is bent on destroying all hope of change; don't get me started on that. The Republican/Democrat/Liberal/Conservative posers are using this issue as a prop for their inconsequential mud-slinging, making it seem like there is another side besides right and wrong. "Take my side!" Leave the party bandwagons broken in the ditch. We can walk faster toward truth and freedom for the unborn without them. It's not a party issue, it's a life and death issue. A human issue. 

May life prevail, may silence end. 
I challenge you to not be silent. Speak for the freedom of the children that will be, and may we never ever again profit upon their fragile bones.