Nostalgia

When something is about to end, all of the good and bad and weird and funny memories stream back into your mind, almost like a movie. Everything you do reminds you of something you once did.

As I sit here typing, I am a little under two months away from graduating from college. This semester has been hard and painful and beautiful and memorable all at once. That is a lot of emotions to all feel at once. And as I approach the end, I have this strong urge to be done, but also a longing for all the memories I have created in college.

Nostalgia ebbs and flows, and it hits me in phases. At Young Life club last week, we were all swaying and screaming The Climb by Miley Cyrus. It was one of the moments where you feel like you’re in a movie, looking on the outside at the moment. I could tell it will be one that I won’t ever forget. Because that was what my college career was: singing songs way too loud, and stressing out way too much, and laughing with friends, and eating whatever food I wanted, and being way too busy.

As I drove back to school from winter break, I talked with a friend who is much older and wiser and I started processing the fact that I was leaving my last winter break. She gave me the best advice: don’t dwell on the lasts. God has blessed me with the present moment and with the present people and the present activities. He gave them to me now so that I could enjoy them now. I tried to spend the semester enjoying all that God has given me right here, right now, instead of dwelling on the lasts.

Graduation marches ever closer, and I’m now trying to balance reflecting and remembering but also enjoying the now. I realize that the real world is coming up fast and that I am not even a little bit prepared. But as I look over my time in college, I see a beautiful tapestry that the Lord has weaved over the past four years. There was pain and stress and fear and hurt, but there was also a whole lot of joy, laughter, love and beauty. But the stability between all those emotions was Jesus, his ever present faithfulness and love. And although I am entering into a portion of my life that no one has planned for me, I can trust in a God who has provided for me and sustained me through everything so far.

So as I continue to process and reflect, I appreciate the nostalgic moments, soak up the present blessings, and look to the future, because I know that Jesus holds the future, and what could be a better adventure than that?

Those are my musings and reflections for now. In the meantime, go enjoy the moment that God has given you!

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Terror in France

The news is enough to make anyone depressed. It seems that everyday something new has happened, something worthy of our tears and thoughts and prayers. I feel like I never have enough outrage and sadness to spread between all that goes wrong every day.

Today, my heart and mind turns to France, the country that stole my heart and three and a half months of my life. Yesterday, pain and anguish struck the country in the form of a what seems to be a terrorist attack, the third major attack in just 18 months. In French the word for terrorist attack is “un attentat” and the French people have had more than their share of attentats recently.

In the attack yesterday, a man drove a truck through a mile of French Independence Day (Bastille Day) revelers, mowing down 84 people, 10 of them children. This is all while France is still in a state of emergency from the attacks last November in Paris.

At this point, what can President Hollande say with confidence? This sorrow overwhelms the country, and they look to their leader, and what is he to say? He can’t say “it will all be alright” because it’s not. Hundreds of French people have died at the hands of radicals who kill civilians seemingly at random. What can Hollande say to his people to encourage them?

My time in France was so meaningful and memorable, but one thing that stuck out to me was how secular it is. While they retain their Catholic roots through the culture, that’s the extent of it, simply culture.

In the midst of the pain and horror of an attack like this, the Gospel shines clearly and beautifully. After a terrorist attack, everything feels so fragile. Everything that you’ve known as to the way the world works has changed indelibly. And you want it to go back to the way that it is, but if you truly think about it, nothing will ever be the same. Because this everyday life routine is simply an illusion. When you live in a broken, fallen world, chaos and hurt rule supreme.

But the Gospel shines through because you realize that if this is it, then what the heck are we going through all of this pain for? When you believe in Jesus, you mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:15) and you cry out with all of creation, hoping it will be set free from its bondage to corruption (Rom. 8:21) and trusting Jesus has a plan to make it so. But you also have hope and joy in a better future, one that has no terrorists, and no pain and hurt, but merely exceeding joy and the presence of the King.

I can only hope that the people of France will place their trust and hope in Jesus in the midst of dealing with this tragedy. He heals. He transforms. He renews. And He is so, so good. He reigns supreme above the ugliness and terror of this world. Thank God for that.

Separation of Powers and the De-funding of Planned Parenthood

This post is a cross-post from the Life Blog for Ohio Right to Life. Thanks for reading!

The tired rhetoric of pro-abortion activists never ends: if you shut down Planned Parenthood, you’re violating Roe v. Wade! What about freedom of speech! As they tirelessly hit you over the head with these “facts,” the engaged reader will wonder, how much truth is there to these statements? We’re going to take a look at these arguments briefly, and then remind ourselves why elections matter.

After reading Kathleen Brinkman’s op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, I decided to take a deeper look into her assertions. Ms. Brinkman takes her readers through her reaction to our op-ed in the Enquirer (written by the lovely Katie Franklin). Her problem, as she stated is that “There is no dispute: Planned Parenthood has not used the funding they received through these programs to provide abortions. There is no dispute: the Ohio General Assembly enacted this law to force Planned Parenthood to stop providing safe and legal abortions or lose these funds.”

Wait. I’m confused. Are you confused? Because she says that Planned Parenthood is not using the funds they receive to provide abortions. Then she turns around and says that this law (which is cited incorrectly in the article, but can be found here) will stop Planned Parenthood from providing safe and legal abortions. Those things seem to be directly in contrast with one another. So, if Kathleen is reading this, here’s how I see it: Planned Parenthood took part in competitive bidding for the taxpayer dollars they have received. Just as a refresher, that is money coming out of my summer internship, and Kathleen’s law practice and all the other average Ohioans who are trying to pay the bills.

Just as Kathleen tried to teach us how the Constitution says the judicial branch works, now I’ll explain the legislative branch. Every day Ohioans have the privilege of electing representatives and senators from across the state, who meet up on Cap Square and sit in the Statehouse and decide important things, such as where my tax dollars go. And we also have a say in who the governor is. He signs the bills that the representatives and senators talk about and that makes them laws. (Click here for a more scientific explanation of the process from our friends at School House Rock). So what it comes down to is this: elections matter. Get out there and vote for people who agree with you!

http://mediatrackers.org/ohio/2014/01/08/olca-lobbying-statehouse-rules

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that that is the end of the story. If the legislation had no one to check it, a lot of bad laws would have come into this country and there would’ve been nothing we could do about it. That’s what we have the courts for. Unfortunately, though, that process isn’t always foolproof. Judges with strong political opinions oftentimes interpret them into the Constitution. And while Kathleen claims that Judge Michael Barrett “did his sworn duty,” we over here at Ohio Right to Life disagree. Judge Barrett, like other activist judges, took his political opinion and stuck it in the mess of de-funding Planned Parenthood to taxpayer dollars that they have no constitutional right to.

The argument could go on, and on, and on… But suffice it to say that Judge Barrett did more than his “sworn duty.” Planned Parenthood does not have a right to my tax dollars.

Elections Matter

This is a cross-post from the PAC Blog for the Ohio Right to Life PAC. Thanks for reading!

This may be our mantra for the next five months until November comes, but it’s true. The people that we elect are our voice and make decisions on our behalf. That’s no less true for Election 2016.

As I write this, former Ohio governor and senate candidate Ted Strickland is getting ready to meet with Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, the kingpin of the abortion industry. At 1pm they will be having a women’s health roundtable at the Ohio Democratic Party headquarters in Columbus.

I’m just going to be honest: this bothers me. If Ted Strickland is pro-women, and genuinely interested in having a women’s health roundtable, you’d expect to have some medically qualified experts sitting in on this table. As far as the news coverage is saying right now, it’s just him and Cecile Richards. By all accounts, Ms. Richards is an activist. She is not a doctor, nor does she have some sort of medical expertise. She used to be a Democrat grassroots organizer, and before that was deputy chief of staff for Rep. Nancy Pelosi. While I understand that she is now the CEO of Planned Parenthood, why is she the only voice speaking on women’s healthcare?

And this is why I want to emphasize that elections matter. Ted Strickland is running to be one of the senators representing Ohio in Congress. A man who thinks that having a “women’s health roundtable” means inviting his buddy Cecile over for a chat on how business is booming for Planned Parenthood is not someone I want creating policy for women. This is why it is important to re-elect Senator Rob Portman. Rob has a 100% rating with National Right to Life, and voted with the majority of other Senate Republicans to pass a bill de-funding Planned Parenthood, to send it to the President.

These elections matter because putting someone in office who thinks that Planned Parenthood is the end all be all of women’s healthcare is not the right choice for Ohio women. Senator Portman will better represent the women of Ohio, and won’t turn to Planned Parenthood for advice on policy for women’s health.

It’s not just true for the senate race though. Elections matter in general, and 2016 will prove to be a very important election. So before you get to the ballot box, do some research. Figure out what issues are important to you and where the candidates stand. We need knowledgeable voters, and candidates who will get the job done, because what happens after the election will affect all of us.

Protect the speech you hate the most

This post is a cross-post from the Life Blog at Ohio Right to Life which I am blogging for this summer. Enjoy!

In America, we are proud to say that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. We have a Constitution that makes sure that “land of the free” is a label we can use in America for generations to come. It becomes frustrating when entities decide that the rights laid out in the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment, shouldn’t be applied to those they disagree with.

The First Amendment says “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.” The part that I am concerned with is “abridging the freedom of speech.”

If you live in Columbus, your governing body is the Columbus City Council. They’re the ones who write and pass the municipal codes that affect the aspects of your everyday life. Recently, they put forward an addition to the code that they are hoping to pass. They want to amend Chapter 2317 of the Columbus City Code, which deals with public conduct. They want to add a new section that will, “protect health care workers and patients attempting to access health care facilities and reproductive health care facilities and to do so free from obstruction and harassment.” On the surface, you’d expect that there is probably already some code that already covers that issue.

Delving a little deeper into the proposed addition is where the trouble begins. The first issue is that this kind of code does already exist. No one has a right to physically harass, strike, grab, or restrain a person. So it would seem that addition is unnecessary because it is already a part of our laws.

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The second issue begins in the definitions section. The legislation defines harass in a troubling way. It says, “‘Harass’ means engaging in a course of conduct that is directed at another that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed,annoyed or inconvenienced and that in fact seriously alarms, annoys or inconveniences another.”

Here’s the trouble with this: everyone is annoyed by different things. What if I was annoyed by people with a Cleveland accent? Under this provision, that annoyance is enough that I could report it, and they could be cited by the police for breaking chapter 2317.51. While that’s a trite example, that is what the goal of this legislation is.

Pro-abortion folks are annoyed by the pro-life movement. In our attempts to change the hearts and minds of women across this great state, we may pray outside of an abortion clinic, if we feel so led. We may have conversations with women who are going in to have an abortion, many who may feel that abortion is their only choice. That is the beauty of freedom of speech. We have the freedom to speak to people and share our opinion, even if City Council doesn’t like what we have to say.

I, for one, want to stand up for the right of Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown to say whatever she pleases. I disagree with most of what she believes in, but here is where we differ: I believe she has the right to say it. In a country that is built on freedom, it is crucial that all members of society attempt to maintain that freedom. We have to protect the speech we hate the most, because if we call for a ban to it, there is no reason those who disagree with us don’t have the right to do the same.

As Evelyn Beatrice Hall, an author who wrote on Voltaire, once famously said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I have to hope that Columbus City Council, and Councilwoman Brown would defend my right to say things that they disagree with.

Dusting off the old blog…

Wow… I haven’t posted since I went abroad. Sorry friends! The semester after I came back from being abroad was filled with all the things I wanted to do in my junior year, jammed into one semester. Needless to say, I slept for the first week of summer. A lot. This summer, I’m interning at Ohio Right to Life. I have been/will be blogging for them this summer, so I figure I’d cross post. Most of my posts this summer will be political/related to the abortion industry or the Right to Life. IMG_7014

This is me today. I’ll tell a brief story while I’m on a roll here.

So today, I went to my internship and the first thing we always do is check the news and google alerts for what happened the day before and what is going on that day in Ohio. I found out that Cecile Richards, CEO and Queen of Abortion at Planned Parenthood was going to be having a women’s health roundtable at the Ohio Democratic Party HQ. Well I just couldn’t pass that up. So my boss gave me this sign and my fellow intern and I walked 20 minutes to come and hold up this sign outside of the Dems hangout. I was hoping to see Cecile, but she couldn’t spare a moment to come greet me, unfortunately.

Immediately after we left, it started raining. It wasn’t too bad so we continued to walk back. We got to a strip of restaurants, stepped under an awning and then it started to POUR. It was pouring so hard that I looked at the weather app and there was a flash flood warning. Luckily, we made it under the awning of Late Night Slice (a very yummy smelling pizza shop… I didn’t bring my wallet. oops). We made it back only slightly soggy.

The other intern said to me, “it could be worse. We could be democrats.”

PREACH IT, GIRL. Anyway, that’s what I’m up to. I’ll keep you posted.

Aix Reflections

Yesterday, I was walking around Aix after two exams, and thinking about the life that happened here. I laughed uncontrollably at things that Katie and Hannah did. I cried because I missed my US people more than I thought possible. I ate pizza that is probably better than any pizza I’ve ever eaten. I gave a one and a half hour presentation on French secularism. I walked to the bus station at 5am. I bought probably 30 madeleines from the market. I walked home from Bible study for 45 minutes and got stuck in the pouring rain. I ran a color run that was supposed to be a 6k and ended up being a 2k. I experienced the horror and sadness of a terrorist attack on the country I love. A bird dumped a week’s worth of poop on my head five minutes before class. I lost my iPhone in a cab and went on an adventure through Aix to find the sweet girl who had picked it up. I went to a Christmas Carol concert with hundreds of French people and we sang (in English) about Jesus’ birth.

That may seem like a random collection of things that happened, but that’s the point. The last three and a half months of my life have been awesome. I travelled to places I never thought I’d see and made bonds with people I never would have known. But it was life. A collection of moments. And whether I like it or not, this chapter ends and a new one begins on Thursday, as I head home for Christmas and then face the scary reality of being a second semester junior in college.

All that to say, I wouldn’t trade this semester for anything. Even the painful, sad, scary, lonely moments. Because they made the other moments all the more beautiful. I’m thankful for a God who is bigger and more faithful than I, who never left my side as I took on this scary adventure in Europe. And I am thankful for my parents for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity.

This post us a reminder for you, and for me, as I look back, not to discount the moments that I am currently living. Life is beautiful and painful and fantastic and tragic. And as all the craziness swells, life keeps ticking by. And before you know it, you have one paper, three finals, and five days left in a country you’ll probably never live in again. I guess I want to remind future me (and maybe current you), that one of God’s gift to us is this life. Don’t wish it away or squander it wishing you were someone you’re not. If I’ve learned anything this semester, it’s that He can do immeasurably more (Eph. 3:20) with our circumstances and life than we can ever imagine. Live into that.