Tag Archives: health

Life in “Standby” Mode?

It is the second half of the school year, and I am traveling quite a bit around the state of Minnesota.  As the dean of students for an online school, my primary role is to deal with attendance issues.  Yes – we take attendance in the online setting; it just looks a bit different than in a seat-based school.  If you ever want to attend a training on it, let me know – I have connections (or I will just run a webinar for you and you alone).

This role takes me to far-off place like International Falls where I can see Canada just across the river from a gas station on my way to court.  I drive almost everywhere, and my trusty Honda Civic’s stereo is my best friend as it pumps out the tunes or a book on CD.

On a recent trip, I realized that I was in complete silence as I drove. I could not remember when or why I had I had chosen silence over noise, but I had.


I played with the volume knob a bit before I glanced over to the stereo and saw that it was indeed in “standby” mode.


As I drove through the frozen tundra of Northern Minnesota, I realized that I was missing all of the beauty that was there for me to see.  I drove, day-dreamed, and “spaced out” – completely lost in thoughts that no longer have much bearing.  I doubt that the thinking was productive.  I doubt that the day-dreaming truly involved dreaming – by that I mean that I was not making future plans for great things in my family’s life.

I just stood by.

Well, in this case, I was sitting…and driving.

Regardless of what the position is – standing by, sitting by, laying by – life is going past us as we stand by.  Sometimes we have to wait. We wait on the Lord. We wait on other people to make decision. We wait.  But most of the time, at least in my life, I am not waiting on anyone else…I am just not being an active participant in life. 

I am letting it pass by me, allowing it to go on without much thought, and lacking much interest in how it impacts me until I am so unhappy about something that I stomp my feet and say, “Stop! This isn’t how I wanted it to be.”

But I had not taken any time to consider how I did want it to be.  I had not actively done anything to make it go differently.  So when I get to point B without realizing I had left point A, I want to blame everyone else rather than looking in the mirror.

When I live in standby mode, I am to blame for life going in certain directions.

I give life implicit permission when I do not explicitly take a daily inventory of how I want it to be.  And – if I do not take time to consult God about how He might want my life to go, I certainly cannot blame Him when it just goes poorly.

Is this happening to anyone else?  Are there some times that we let this happen more than others? Or perhaps in certain areas of our lives more than others?

I would love to hear your thoughts today in the comment section!

PS: I have a renewed sense of wanting to write in this blog; however, I think that a daily submission might be overly ambitious at the present way that life is.  I am hoping to have  a Monday-Wednesday-Friday submission routine down.  It’s March 1, and some things need to change and be re-prioritized.  I hope that this sense of ambition remains!

How are you all?


Filed under faith, health, Thoughts, Travel

A Trip of Contrasts

This post is going to be a quick post with pictures and a few comments.

This week, I have the joy of being on a trip to the East Coast that encompasses food, family, and fun.  It is also full of contrasts.

I started out my trip with five days of family and friends with a full schedule of …


travel to Mohegan Bluffs (and other areas) on Block Island…


to restaurants such as George’s in Rhode Island…


and the urban residential area of Cambridge, MA.

I will finish my trip in with a few days of solitude without interruptions or temptations of cell phone, internet, television…or people.

Pictures to come.

See you after my break!

In the meantime, feel free to peruse through some of the most popular posts I have written this year:


Filed under Food, health, Relationships, Travel

Water Only July 2012

Do not worry – this is not a post that advocates for anyone to stop eating!  That is not healthy, and this post is about the exact opposite of that…it is about being healthy.

As most people know, sugar is the cause of oodles of health problems.  The more that we take in of sugar, the more weight we gain and so on.  I will not document all of the health issues related to sugar as many – more qualified – people have done so.

As most people know, caffeine is not a great idea either.  See the paragraph above for my thoughts about why I will not detail this concept either.

The long and short of all of this is that caffeine and sugar are my main-stays more often than not in the 12 oz version of Coca-Cola – aka “the elixir of joy.”  And more often than not, I consume this beverage more often than I should.

In an effort to (once again) reduce and/or stop the consumption of this beverage and concentrate on better health, I am putting out the challenge far and wide to Facebook and blog friends to join me in Water Only July.


The main point for many who have joined me is to eliminate consumed calories in the form of a beverage.  Many others are on the anti-caffeine bandwagon as well.  There are no rules really except that you make rules that you feel would work for you, that challenge you, and that move you a step closer to a healthier you.  Whatever that means (for some – that means coffee but no cream and sugar) is what you should do.

Who is in?

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, health

Walking to the Dentist

The girl (my fond reference to my daughter) has entered a new stage; she now drives.  In addition to this, she has a summer internship and several random commitments such as caring for children and driving an elderly woman to Bingo. With two cars in our house, two working adults, and two busy teens, scheduling is of the utmost importance.

As I looked at the schedules for last Friday, I noticed that I could alleviate the stress of too much scheduling if I chose to make my day a walking day.  I was thrilled about this.

  • With a late start to my first destination – a friend’s house for breakfast – I was happy to have the huz drive me part way and drop me off at a convenient spot that still gave me about a half mile of walking.

  • I left my friend’s house with Cub Foods as my next stop to pick up a wedding card and gift card (our standard gift – sorry to ruin it for anyone getting married in the future!) as our family attended a wedding on Saturday.

  • Interruption here that I will detail in a minute…

  • The final destination, of course, was to be the dentist’s office.

  • The huz then picked me up from the dentist’s office on his way home from his errands that day.

The total walking distance for this trip was about three miles which is just shy of the 5K that I am constantly hoping to conquer.  I would love to do a 5K every day.

“A 5K a day keeps the doctor away!”

As I walked on a busy street from my friend’s house to the Cub Foods, another friend (driving) saw me and stopped on the side of the road to offer me a ride.  I insisted that this was the plan and that I was fine.  The friend went on, turned around, and came back to make sure that I was sure of what I was doing.  I was sure, but I was also sure this friend would not take “no” for answer in response to her offer of a ride.

I crawled in and said,”My next stop is Cub Foods.”  As you can see by the Google map below, my friend’s kindness shaved off an entire half mile from my trip!  She offered to be my chauffeur for the day, but that really was not the point.


Eleven years ago, our family headed off on the adventure of a lifetime; we moved to Scotland for a year.  For many reasons, mostly financial, we saw no reason to purchase a car while we were there for that short amount of time.  We lived in the heart of Edinburgh – almost dead center between the kids’ school and the huz’s school.

Thus, we walked almost everywhere.

From time to time, we would take the bus (for long distances or if we were loaded down with groceries); however, most of that year was spent on our feet.  Our walk to church each Sunday was nearly the same distance that my friend save me on Friday.


I fear that we have become far too dependent upon our automobiles.  In doing so, we have lost many things, and I learned some of those things on my walk on Friday.

Our health is one thing that we are losing.  So many of us have gym memberships, and we drive to them.  If I would walk a 5K a day, I would not need a gym membership.  In addition, the endorphines released as I walk help balance the rest of my emotional self.  I work off anger, frustration, hurt, and sadness.  I sleep better when I walk because I have done something that day.

We lose sight of the people and places around us.  When I drive past an area or through an area, I spend very little time there.  I get through it and on to the destination.  When I walk, I engage in the area.  I pay attention to the people, the places, and the little things – like flowers in bloom.  I see things when I walk.  I get places when I drive.

Driving places allows our lives’ paces to get faster and faster while walking requires that the pace is only as fast as our feet.  When we lived in Scotland, we had far less going on than we do now that we are in the US.  In part, this was due to the limitations of making commitments within our travel distance.  When I took a job at the zoo and eventually at a school on the outskirts of the city, I had to factor in bus travel time and bus changes because the distance was too great to walk.

Even a trip to the grocery store required planning!

Our family does not regret living in Scotland and walking that year, nor do we regret having the ability to drive here in the US.  It is not that one way is better than the other; however, we need to count the cost in both situations and see what we could learn.

As I walked to the dentist on Friday, I was reminded again of the pace of our time in Scotland.  Much of my day required careful planning with distance and time accounted for in order to ensure that my feet could accomplish all that I needed them to do that day.  It is possible, and it is good to do it now and then to remember that three or four miles is not unconquerable for most of us.

Where will your feet take you today?

Please note: maps provided by Google Maps (maps.google.com).


Filed under Thoughts

A Trip of Trials

IMG-20120506-00443I left home on Sunday to speak at a conference in Michigan. I had quite an exciting day of travel on Sunday. My flight from Chicago to Traverse City, Michigan, originally was delayed because of a crack in the windshield…which they had not found in their routine maintenance checks.  However, the pilots thankfully discovered the crack before it was our turn to take off. We then had a huge lightning and deluge-style rain storm, so we stayed on the runway along with about eight other aircraft waiting out the weather for an hour or so. The picture above is the latest “office spaces” that I have found. It is really a diaper changing station in the Chicago airport, but it looked like a great standing station for a laptop!

When we unloaded, I looked at the “cracked” windshield.  It was a SPIDER-WEB of cracks.  I honestly do not know if this went from “a crack” to the spider-web during the ran storm, but I certainly hope so!

Anyway…upon returning to the gate in hopes of the promised new airplane, I discovered that, as I had feared, my flight had been canceled.  There are only two flights each day to Traverse City from Chicago, and the several passengers had missed their flight there City the night before.  They would receive priority booking on the evening flight; the rest of us would have to leave the next morning. The problem for me in this scenario was that the flight arrival time was at time my presentation was scheduled. 

IMG-20120506-00449Because the conference holding the group had asked me to come, they had paid for all of my travel. I had to get to Traverse City on Sunday night!  After using both of my phones to enlist the help of the huz and the girl to investigate train and bus options, the only option that I had was to rent a car and drive the six and a half hours to Traverse City.  I had a brand new Ford Focus with only 3,000 miles on it to make the trip.  Most of my time was spent in the large state of MIchigan because Traverse City is in the far north of the state on a bay of Lake Michigan.  The picture above is of a the water tower that made me do a double take.  The huz is from Zeeland, North Dakota, which – I discovered! – is not much smaller than Zeeland, Michigan.

IMG-20120506-00451I arrived in Traverse City a mere 5 hours later than had I driven the entire way from Minneapolis.  Ironically (at least I think this is irony), I returned my car to the airport that I should have arrived at 8 hours prior to my actual arrival time.  The resort where I stayed had an airport shuttle that I had missed earlier as I was unable to warn them of my delay, but they were kind enough to still come to get me at 10 p.m.  I was exhausted when I arrived, and I’m pretty sure I looked horrible.  The picture above is my stuff as I waited outside the airport.  I posted the same picture to Facebook with the comment stating, “If I saw myself right now, I am pretty sure I would judge me.”

IMG-20120507-00453I connected with my contact for the conference. I discovered that evening at dinner that her mother grew up in the same town where my mother grew up.  I have to send a private message to someone on Facebook who may actually be related to her!  I learned some interesting things about Michigan’s education world, and I got some pretty cool free stuff (presents for my kids mostly – pictured above). M y presentation went very well, but as soon as the presentation was over, I realized that I felt pretty awful.

I assumed that my physical state was due to exhaustion from the travel of the day before.  I had taken two showers already that day (I snuck up for a second shower just for the therapeutic value after lunch), but I snuck in a tub soak before supper. At dinner, I became worse as my stomach seemed very upset in addition to the fatigue.  I tried to eat, but – when I made a few trips to visit the bathroom throughout dinner – it became clear that eating was not a good choice. My colleagues asked a few times if I was ok, and I finally told them that I did not feel well.  One of them told me I kind of looked grey.

Returning from dinner, I went immediately to bed. That, however, did not really help.  In addition to the stomach issues (every time I stood up, I got to throw up…lovely!), I now experienced shortness of breath and chest pressure.  It was clear to me that I was not going to get better soon.  I also realized that I was travelling alone and that no one expected me to be anywhere the next day except an airline on Tuesday evening.

I decided that I needed to go to the emergency room.  I phoned the colleague who had arranged for me to speak at the conference and asked if she could take me to the emergency room.  Looking back on this, I am so glad that I had met her, that I had eaten dinner with her that night, and that she was someone I felt I could call. 

IMG-20120509-00460Once in the emergency room doors, the phrase “chest pains” moved me quickly to a room where a cardiogram was done quickly.  Heart issues were ruled out almost immediately, they took loads of blood, and the doctor started thinking gastro or gallbladder as culprits.  That changed, however, once my labs came back and indicated that I had a low sodium concentrate level (hyponatremia) and a low potassium level (hypokalemia).  Both of these conditions, which cause symtoms that mirror a heart attack and can cause heart issues, required some intervention in order to get the levels back to normal so that I could be well.

IMG-20120508-00457I was admitted, and – because I had presented with cardiac issues – was roomed on the heart wing. I had a private suite with excellent accommodations and wonderful nurses. I am pretty sure that smaller towns have something great in their hospitals that I cannot quite put my finger on right now.  I was told that I should expect to be there until at least Wednesday morning.  This meant that I would certainly miss my flight on Tuesday to Boston to see family and friends.  I decided to wait until Tuesday morning to hear it from the doctor before I believed it, but it became truth the next day.

It was not stressful to be in the hospital for me except for the frequent blood draws, the IV which gave me back those valuable missing elements, and the shot in the stomach to ward off any blood clots.  By the way, a shot in your stomach hurts.  A lot.

IMG-20120509-00465I was released this morning with directions from my doctor to go home – not to Boston – to rest and recover.  Thankfully, my contact for the conference had brought her dad with her.  Even though she was in meetings this morning when I could leave the hospital and needed to get to the airport, he was not only free but also willing to take me to the airport.  What a great man!  He ensured that I made it to the flight that, thankfully!!!, an American Airlines ticket agent had arranged for me to take.  I am so thankful for the wonderful customer service that I have received from American Airlines on this trip. 

I am thankful to be home and will be taking time to recover for the next few days.  I am also thankful that Tom let me stop at the bay in Traverse City. 


It is beautiful!

Thank you to all who prayed for me while I was in the hospital and for my flight home.


Filed under Thoughts, Travel

Eyebrow Raising Moments–Round Four

Happy Monday to you all!  Here are some things that have caught my eye over the past few weeks. I will try not to whine too much about these items as that makes the boy annoyed.  Not all of them are bad things…they just caught my eye.

Number One

5 a day

I saw this hanging in the produce section of my favorite Cub Foods store (Fridley off of University and 694).  The sad thing is that renovations are taking over and reducing the size of the store. This means narrower aisles and a possible reduction in stock.  Sad news.  The sign caught my eye because I had just been to see my doctor for my physical.  She told me that one half of my plate should be fruits or veggies for lunch and dinner.  That seems to be an area where I need to improve.  But – one thing at a time, right?  Water Only April is the priority right now.

Number Two

reading glasses chart

I found this chart at my Brooklyn Center Target store as I wandered the aisles and waited for a pharmacy order.  It was before my eye appointment, and I thought maybe my issue would be resolved by readers.  I tried on the different strengths, and none of them helped my issue.  This was confirmed by my eye doctor who determined that my vision issues stemmed from some muscular issues that hindered full focus.  I found the chart interesting, though, and very helpful.  I know the day is coming when readers may be part of my life as well.

Number Three

hopeI saw this sign at the Maplewood Mall a while back.  I was completely enamored with the phrase “ignite hope” as hope is one of the most important emotions we can have. Hope keeps us alive when we are in difficult situations.  Hope inspires us to improve ourselves and our situations.  Hope is what allows young people to persevere through difficult times and change the way they see the world around them.  Even though the sign has to do with scholarships rather than some great youth development program (as I had thought it was), the sign remains inspiring to me.  The scholarships that the Maplewood Mall and its owners have for young people can do exactly what it says – Ignite hope.  If anyone actually applies for this scholarship because they found it in this blog post, please comment so that I know.

Number Four

desk chair

I judged speech meets every Saturday for two months.  I have not spent that much time in traditional school classrooms for over seven years.  I will be honest – I have no desire to return to the traditional classroom any time in the near future.  This is just one of the many things that I do not miss about being in the classroom – classroom management.  I simply do not understand why kids feel the need to write on things in schools.  I took another photo in this school’s bathroom, but I decided that was even less appropriate than this is.

My eyebrows go up for lots of reasons – what has made your eyebrows go up lately?

Leave a comment

Filed under Education

Taming Mount Laundry

My brain is tired. 

I have a lot of things going through my mind right now: things that are going on in our lives, loved ones in the hospital, the schedules to keep, bills to pay, and people to see.  And, of course, there are also the many blog posts I would like to write in response to unthinking bloggers who write posts about The Hunger Games without finishing the movie or reading the books.  On top of that, there are parenting blogs to write, and so many more…

And I cannot get to those posts because I had to take a minute (actually – an entire day) to attend to those mundane things that require our attention and our time….like folding towels.

I could have named the mountain of laundry that had overtaken the laundry table in our laundry room.  First of all, stop and think about this: I have a laundry table in a laundry room.  Until moving into our current home, we had lived in two bedroom apartments that had the laundry machines in our kitchen.  I folded laundry in the living room, on my bed, or on the couch.  I now have a room with a table for this task!  And guess what?  When you have a room with a door that can be closed, things can hide in there…like a mountain of laundry!


I spent the better part of an hour taming the mountain into a neat stack of towels. It was so therapeutic.  The mountain of towels represented what has been a very hectic two months of speech season when the kids and I have passed every Saturday at a school – they as competitors and I as a judge.  It has been a great two months, but laundry – a task which can be done as needed but eventually caught up to me – had been neglected.  When we needed a new towel, we just went to Mount Laundry and grabbed it.  While this is a great coping skill, it is not the way that I like to lead my life.  I have a towel cupboard, and that is where the towels belong. 

Today was the day to tame the craze of the past two months and restore all to its normal state.  The table now is clear of towels and other items and can be used for folding clothes as they come out of the dryer rather than for storing them as they wait for me to do what needs to be done.

Mount Laundry, though not a problem in and of itself, represents how I can just let things go until they overwhelm me. I probably could have tamed the mountain a few weeks ago, but at that point I was simply too overwhelmed with the craze.  This is so backwards! In letting it go even longer, the mountain only grew as more towels found their way to the top of the mountain.  In taming the mountain today, I have cleared the slate and can start over.  I need to attend to the business when it presents itself rather than putting it off until tomorrow.

Earlier this week, a friend and I started “Water Only April” a bit early.  She stated on Facebook that she would like to drink only water for the month of April and wanted to know if anyone would join her.  I need to get some of my “drink calories” under control, so I was game; however, I asked if we could start the next day.  I knew that if I waited even another five days, I would not be dedicated to do so.  In the meantime, I would have schemed and cooked up many reason to avoid the mountain rather than to tame it.  And, believe me, this mountain is much harder to tame than Mount Laundry!

What motivates you to get things done today rather than putting them off until tomorrow?  How can we stay focused on tasks at hand rather than on constant distraction?

Do you have a Mount Laundry waiting for you to tame?  Good Luck!

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Filed under Uncategorized

Is Rest a Waste of Time?

In yesterday’s post, I made the comment that I should not waste any amount of time.  In response to that a reader commented, “How do you define ‘waste’?”  Let me tell you, readers, this has stuck with me since 3:15 p.m. yesterday when I read the comment.

I believe that the essence of the question truly required me to ask myself if I consider rest a waste of time.  Every once in a while, our bodies beg us to take some time off and rest.  No one would argue that Americans are addicted to activity (not necessarily the healthy kind that is good for our hearts), multi-tasking, awake-ness, and productivity.  Companies now have to schedule time for their employees to step away from these tasks and rest their minds in quiet, thinking time.  I doubt that my great-grandfather (who farmed, by the way) ever thought the American society would be so filled with chaos that a boss would have to tell his employees to ignore the demands of the job and just think.

In my post yesterday, I essentially claimed that taking time out to care for myself – both physically and mentally – could be considered a waste of time.  The truth is really so far from that.  In fact, we were created to rest…and if we were created to rest, how could rest be a waste of time?

When I say that we were created to rest, I ask that you consider the Biblical creation story as told in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  The most interesting part of this account to me is that in each of the days, there is a pattern – “and there was evening and there was morning, the [x] day.”  However, the seventh day does not have an ending.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

This is something that my huz pointed out when he preached this text a while back.  There is no ending to the seventh day!  This means that we are still to be living in the rest that God created.  If God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, thinks it is good to rest, who am I to question this?  And why – oh, why – do I not choose to rest more often than I do?

In light of that though, I want to consider how I can rest more often, how I can “work in” a rhythm of rest, and how I can enjoy the blessings that God has for me – the revelations that come in the quiet – in rest.

To rest is to live, to rejuvenate, and to prepare.  There is no waste in rest.

May I remember this each day that I feel the pull to stay in bed.

Perhaps in the future, I should consider if perhaps the pull to stay in bed is a gift rather than a burden.  Do not hear that I think I should stay in bed for days on end, shirking responsibilities or staying in a depressive state.

But if – after careful consideration – I find that I am need of rest, should I not heed the call and follow?

What do you think?


Filed under faith, Thoughts

Open Letter to Caribou Coffee

To: Caribou Coffee

From: Stacy Bender

Re: A mini size drink

The first thing you should know is that I am a huge fan. My entire family – even my two teenagers – are Caribou fans.  Whether a turtle mocha or a northern light something, the huz and the children are happy supporters of the ‘bou.  I do not typically drink coffee, but a zebra hot chocolate can really hit the spot when I need a treat.

The other thing you should know is that I am a fan of your employees, your coffee shops, and – the best – your corporate headquarters (which happens to be only a couple of miles form my house!!!).  I love that you are a Minnesota based company that allows us to support locally while thinking globally.

For these reasons, I respect you enough to give you a great idea rather than to your competitors.

The other day, I was at your Lexington/Blaine location off of I-35 at County Road 23.  I had a bag of pop chips and a glass of water while I passed some time between appointments.  While I was there, samples were served of the turtle mocha and northern light mocha.


The sample size of these drinks was the perfect size!  As someone who does not like coffee that much and as someone who wants to have just a taste of something great (turtle mocha sample size is a GREAT drink), I beg you to consider offering this size as an option on your menu.  Have you seen the Dairy Queen mini sizes? Same idea!

I realize that the question you may have relates to price point.  Consider Dairy Queen again.  I am willing to pay more per ounce to have a smaller size.  Why?  Because I need to eat less but do not have the will power to simply eat less of a larger size and then save it for later.

I know that this sounds ridiculous, but I would willingly pay $2.50 for a sample size turtle mocha because it was the perfect size!  It was so good = three swallows of yum.

Do the market research.  Consider it.  Ask around.  And then let me know what you think.



ps: Our favorite location is the corporate office.  Krista is a great employee!

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Filed under Uncategorized

Abortion Clinic Licensing

IMG-20120130-00162I read the news on my phone every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed.  For some reason, I cannot fall asleep until I know what has happened in the world since waking, and I cannot get up in the morning until I know what has happened in the world since falling asleep.  This is a ritual that I rarely skip.

On Saturday night, the following headline actually ended up keeping me awake (along with some poor choices in terms of the amount of food I had consumed that day):

Some MN Lawmakers Want to License Abortion Clinics

Click on the title to read the news story yourself.

Interrupting myself: I identify myself as someone who is pro-life. I believe that we should avoid taking life whenever possible through abortion, war, euthanasia, and yes – even – the death penalty.  Side note: I want to support the death penalty because I am a revenge-seeker; however, it is not my revenge to seek, and I do believe that taking that life is wrong.  However,  I am not someone that you would find holding a protest sign calling a woman a “murderer” as she enters an abortion clinic.  If I were at the clinic at all, I would be there to offer an alternative, help through that choice, and love through the situation that brought her to want an abortion at all.

Back to the news: I read the article with great interest. Although I think we are a nation a long way from making abortion illegal again, I am always hopeful that limiting the scope rather than broadening scope will occur with each legislative session.  I had no idea before this news story that abortion clinics in Minnesota had no regulations to follow and no one to whom they answered.  How could this be?  Abortion is typically a surgical procedure – surely it needs regulations for safety, codes of ethics, and concern for women.

Apparently, I was wrong.  This would be new to Minnesota abortion clinics, and abortion advocates are opposed to it.  According to Linnea House, with the Minnesota Abortion Rights Action League, “this is a veiled attempt to limit access to abortions and gives the state unprecedented authority to close abortion clinics down if they have a high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.” (Quote directly from the article).

Did I hear her correctly?  She is more concerned about clinics staying open than she is about safety?  That is what I hear when she says the state should not have the authority “to close an abortion clinic down if they have a high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.”

Let’s think about this in some different situations.  If my child’s daycare has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state has the right to close the daycare.  If a hospital has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state has the right to close the hospital.  If my grandmother’s nursing home has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state would have the right to close the the nursing home.

By the way, none of my grandmothers are in nursing homes – using them was merely for dramatic effect – they would all understand…and that is my digression for the day.

The point is that we take a great deal of care with our toddlers, with those in the hospital, and with our elderly.  Why would we take less care of our women in the midst of a very emotionally charged surgical procedure?  Regardless of the “side” of the abortion controversy we find ourselves situated, we all claim to be pro-woman.  I find it interesting that an advocacy group that argues minute-by-minute each day to keep abortion legal for the sake of women is opposed to regulations that would keep women safer.

Should not a clinic that has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time” be closed?  I thought to myself, what could possibly be in this bill that would make anyone oppose it?  So – I looked up the bill so that I could read it for myself.  I have always been a proponent of original documents – click here to read the original document.

I read the entire bill – all twelve pages.  Thankfully, my years in online education and charter schools have taught me how to read these things.  Overwhelming and daunting are they.

What could anyone possibly oppose in this bill that is, for the most part, about safety regulations for a clinic performing a surgical “procedure”?  And then I found the issue that would cause opposition from Ms House in subsection 9.e.4  – it requires an ultrasound evaluation and a report on the status of the fetus to the mother prior to the abortion.

So – is the opposition about limiting access to women?  I do not think so.  If they want to continue to beat that drum, they certainly can, but I do not buy it.  As I stated, the opposition to safety for women cannot hold.  Regardless of where we stand on the abortion issue itself, no one should be arguing against safety in medical procedures. Our plastic surgeons must be regulated – we want safety when we are nipping and tucking – why would we not want the same safety when someone is poking around our internal women parts?

The problem has to be bigger than that.

And I assert that it is.  The problem Ms House has with the Minnesota bill is the ultrasound requirement. So then we have to ask, “Why would anyone be opposed to a woman having an ultrasound before an abortion procedure?”

The answer is simple. 

According to a spokeswoman for the Catholic Conference of Illinois, “80 percent of women (seeking abortions) who view ultrasounds of their babies decide against abortion” (quote found by clicking here).  The problem is not that the bill limits abortions; the problem is that the bill requires an ultrasound which pro-life camps assert reduces the amount of times women choose abortion.

If the pro-choice side of the debate is truly about choice, then what is wrong with women choosing not to abort?  And please do not start an argument in the comment section about how this makes women feel guilty about what they are about to do.

As a pastor’s wife, I have had the privilege of hearing from women – a few months after an abortion or many years after they an abortion – and none of them were happy about the choice they had made.  They have lived with guilt from the moment they left the clinic.  They resented the situations they were in at the time, they became adamant pro-lifers who would stand against abortion in the current political realm, and they struggled to forgive themselves for their choice.  Thankfully, there are organizations and people who welcome post-abortive women into fellowship and walk a road with them so that they can learn that forgiveness is there for them.

The abortion industry already had reason to be concerned before this bill ever came along.  According to a newspaper  article this summer, abortion rates in Minnesota are already in decline by 7-10%.  If this proponents of ultrasound use are correct with their 80% number, the abortion industry’s funding would drop substantially.  In 2003, a law went into effect in Minnesota requiring that women wait 24 hours before having an abortion; the data seems inconclusive about the impact on the abortion industry.

FYI: my tattoo artist required me to wait 7 days between consult and the “procedure.” Chew on that for a few minutes…

I have obviously rambled and lack quite a bit of coherence in all of this.  I did not set out to argue the right or wrong of abortion but rather question the opposition of making it safe or even of reducing the need for it.  I am pro-woman as well as pro-child…and actually – pro-man (it takes two to make the one, right?), and I am tired of women being lied to, hurt in procedures, and left on their own to recover – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Seriously – what abortion clinic offers counseling afterwards and helps women learn that God forgives?

This debate could be over very easily. 

I think that we all should be about ending the need for abortions at all by looking at factors that lead women to choose it in the first place.  Society is more concerned with “taking care of the problems” through abortion than with working through the problems that make abortion attractive.  Would it not be great if we all came around women (and men) and said, “I know that this is hard.  You are not alone.  Why is abortion the choice you want to make?  If that reason was not there, would you have the baby?  We will help you through that. There are alternatives to abortion.”

That would be a great day…until then, let’s make this as safe as possible by regulating the clinics with the same vigilance we do our daycares, hospitals, and nursing homes and allowing the state to close down the ones that have a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.”

Anything less than that seems unacceptable to me.


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