Saturday, March 31, 2012

How's Life around the world?

Like I mentioned in a previous post not too long ago, these are exciting times for everyone involved in the crusade to uphold a culture of life! Exciting can be good, and it apparently has been in the Philippines -- people who value their freedom, their family, and the need to uphold common decency in society are uniting and standing up for their principles.

Elsewhere on the planet are significant developments as far as the issues of abortion, religious freedom, euthanasia and the push for taxpayer-funded "reproductive health" services in general are concerned. Some are positive and quite encouraging; others seem too absurd or senseless to be happening in real life, but should still be encouraging enough to us to be a motivation for our continued fight for Life.

Here, around the world in 8 headlines (all published this month), plus a short but great video -- put together by Blackstone Films -- of the March 23 nationwide rally for religious freedom that happened across the United States:

Sandra Fluke's appearance is no fluke

Pro-life conference teaches Kenyan students to combat anti-life agenda

Slovenia says no to same-sex marriage

Notion of youth majority as pro-RH 'wishful thinking'; student group doesn't speak for youth sector

Parisian pro-lifers unite in massive 'flashmob' against euthanasia

Cardinal Dolan leads U.S. Bishops' support of Stand Up Rally

EU illegally gave abortion providers $30 million, report says

President Obama pledges never to stop fighting for Planned Parenthood, which did 329,445 abortions in 2010

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pope brings hope to Mexico and Cuba

I have time for a quick post, and how can I not share bits about the Pope's trip to Mexico and Cuba which I came across a while ago? He spent almost a week (total) in the two nations and there's lots to read about and ruminate on. For starters, check out some other images taken during the trip besides the one above (CNS/Paul Haring), taken on the March 23 flight to Mexico.

And here's an excerpt from a Catholic World Report news item:

The Pope told the people of Cuba that the “path to a true social transformation” requires the formation of “virtuous men and women” who can help to “forge a worthy and free nation.”

“Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity,” he explained.

Read "Pope's message in Cuba touches hearts of Latin Americans"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Destined for greater things

Today I learned that my pups, Yahoo and Perdita, whined and whimpered after I stepped out the gate for an errand.

Upon my return over an hour later, I was told about the two's reactions moments after I left, and boy, did that give me a thrill. When you see that your pets aren't that attached to you, and then you learn about something like this, of course you're going to be elated even for just a few seconds. After all, I had already accepted long ago that I am not these two little canines' favorite person in our home; our helper -- kind and affectionate -- is the apple of their eye. Plus, she's the one who prepares and gives them two meals (I take care of breakfast) everyday and who keeps them company day in and day out.

Loyalty issues aside, Yahoo and Perdita's lack of an adoring attitude toward me have afforded me many opportunities to feel humbled. Sigh. My previous dog, Sabrina, was immensely loving toward me so I'm not accustomed to having a pet who doesn't act as if its world revolved around me.

Taking care of pets can be truly enriching -- this I realized after I was asked to write about my experience growing up with pets at home. The article has finally come out! It's in the March issue of Baby Magazine, and it's even got the photo there on the right accompanying what I wrote!

Let me share with you my musings on just what having pet animals over the years has done for me (below is the complete version; the published one is slightly shorter).

* * * * * * * * * *

How does owning pet animals enrich one’s life? Probably the same way that meeting more people and getting involved in more activities do – they enable one to experience a lot more. Whether or not such experiences benefit the person is really up to him. In my case, having dogs at home provided interesting experiences that, now on hindsight, have influenced the way I regard otherwise ordinary things.

Take the case of watching some of our dogs give birth. For some reason, the deliveries often happened at night, and since the dog house was pitch black during those nocturnal happenings, my older brother and I would come armed with kerosene lamps (and later, rechargeable lamps) for the big events.

I’m not sure how my life would be different had I not witnessed Beauty, Carla and several of our pet dogs giving birth, but there is certainly something about seeing newborn pups in all their helplessness – and the way their mother cared for them during those first few hours and days of their life – that brings about a renewed sense of wonder in a child.

I also learned that some canine mothers need assistance during labor as I watched my brother tear the membrane (which, to me then, looked like plastic bags I saw around the house, only they were grayish) the newborn German Shepherds were wrapped in. I’m not sure why but Carla, the mother, was passive during the whole thing. Of course before seeing the newborns, I also learned that some waiting had to be done, which could be quite uncomfortable as it involved crouching or sitting on foot stools for at least half an hour before sighting the first pup.

Playing with pups, feeding them, making sure they have fresh water in their bowls every day, watching as they get their shots, treating them with gentleness when they’re seriously ill or injured and waiting patiently till they get well… all these were enriching for a child while growing up. Ironically, excluded from the learnings – in my case – was how to deal with the situation when a pet apparently does not have that much fondness for you. In other words, when your affections are unreciprocated. (This I learned as an adult, but then for a child who encounters this situation, there is much opportunity to hone patience and humility)

Probably the most vital lesson that caring for pets has taught me is that we humans are really made for great things. While many times I “envied” Beauty, Tootsie, King Kong and our other furry friends for having the whole day to play and for not having to do homework and study for tests, watching them do nothing much besides eat, sleep and play helped me understand that I was given much more in life. A dog’s life may be all fun and games, but their “happiness,” too, remains shallow. We, on the other hand, have greater things in store for us. And it took my four-legged friends at home to help me learn this over the years.

So, every time I watch my pups gobble down their meal from their bowls, it’s like a neon sign for me that reads: “You are made for greater things.”

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One tough cookie... and something about cupcakes

It's almost 11pm and for some reason, my stomach is sending me signals: "I need food!"

Before I head for the kitchen, here are some interesting stories of the gustatory kind -- but they're not just your typical foodie news. It just goes to show that when it's the upholding of the culture of life that is the motivation, sky's the limit as regards ideas! Cupcakes for Life? Cookies for Life?

Grace Swanke is a 10-year-old who realized she didn't have to stop selling cookies, which she enjoyed immensely as part of the Girl Scouts. She could still do it -- she'd just have to bake them herself. Here's the story on her raising money via the cookies to help fund a medical pro-life women's center situated beside a Planned Parenthood facility (last year her cookie sales yielded nearly $600 to benefit an ultrasound machine project).

By the way, Grace's being an ex-Girl Scout is quite significant, and if you'd like to go directly to that angle of the story which delves on the Girl Scouts USA's involvement with Planned Parenthood and what happened at a United Nations meeting in 2010, check this out.

Another initiative that has taken the culinary route to spread the pro-life message is Cupcakes for Life. There's even a National Pro-Life Cupcake Day! Did you know that? It's celebrated on October 9 and it's a day when all these yummy cupcakes are given away! Wondering how it's tied in to the pro-life advocacy? Check out the website, which even has a cool video of the kids and their cupcakes (chatting it up with hungry or just curious passersby in New York) here.

The Cupcakes for Life photo is from the group's blog.
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