Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Walk in One Life LA 2014

Both secular and religious news sources would agree that the pro-life movement is gaining momentum. National Catholic Register reported the lowest number of abortion centers in decades this past year. 40 Days for Life is done multiple times a year all over the world. This time of year, the month of January is the time of year for protests and marches. We are so fortunate to have groups of people who work so hard to lead these marches and people will travel far and wide for them. The largest march is the March for Life in DC on the anniversary of the infamous Roe V. Wade. People travel from all across the country and every prominent leader in the pro-life movement makes an appearance. The second largest is the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. That I have attended every year since I met my husband. I may have done it sooner, but even though abortion has always been an important issue to me, I didn't even hear about the Walk for Life until I met him. The Walk for Life West Coast falls on the Saturday following the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, so if you wish to attend both rallies, you certainly may. This year, instead of going to the Walk for Life West Coast, Los Angeles is had their own rally this year which is brand new. We did way too much traveling over the holiday season, so we were glad they had a rally in LA this year.
The signs were great for blocking the sun
One Life Los Angeles is the name of the LA walk for life. It was a brand new event that kicked off with a great start. The walk began right outside Union Station at La Placita Olvera, passed the Cathedral, and ended at Grand Park right in front of City Hall. At both the pre-walk rally and the post-walk rally, there were plenty of speakers from local and international pro-life organizations including David Bereit, national director for 40 Days for Life, and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, SV who is the First Superior General of the Sisters for Life.
I took the train into Los Angeles with my husband and toddler, our family friends Franklin and
Nicky liked holding the signs
Shannon, and some members of the Newman Club I graduated from.When we walked out of the train station, we knew where to go because we could see a massive crowd about a block from the train station. We walked around for a bit looking for signs, and holy moly! At the Walk for Life West Coast, you walk around to the different booths and groups to pick up signs. However, One Life had their own signs. So, there was a huge area of giant boxes filled to the brim with signs from One Life and all the other organizations. What we liked about the One Life signs was they were not just about the unborn but also the disabled and elderly. I liked the sign with a family on it.
Once we had our signs, we had about fifteen minutes until the walk started, so we decided to find a spot to wait for the walk to start. Also, half our group was coming from Long Beach instead of Orange County, so the Orange County group wanted to find a place where the Long Beach group could find us. We missed most of the speakers, but we did get to see Archbishop Gomez. That was so cool! I mean, I guess I see him every year at the Religious Education Congress, but it really gives validity to the event. We realized how Catholic the event was. Obviously, people of different religions spoke and there were non-Catholic groups at the event, but with the bishop blessing the event and no other religious leader, it really to us felt very Catholic. Which makes sense because it was put on by the Archdiocesan Office of Life, Justice and Peace. That may also explain why the bishop attended.
Once the group organizers initiated the walk, it took a good five to ten minutes for us to get walking. We were somewhere in the middle. One of the things we did that we do every year is keep an eye out for pro-choice protesters. At Walk for Life West Coast, there's usually a group of about 40 or fewer people. Honestly, you're not going to get a lot of people traveling across the country promoting abortion unless they work for, like Planned Parenthood or something. The group of pro-choice protesters was quite minimal. There were about five of them standing on one corner, and there was a larger group of pro-lifers standing around them at that same corner. It was quite pitiful. Shannon thought it may have been because this was the first year of the event which is the most likely scenario.
One part of the walk that was really cool and really fun was the diocesan high school band marched. They stopped in front of the Cathedral so that everyone in the walk could hear them perform. Towards the end of the walk, our Newman Club got out our rosaries and prayed. Some people around us joined us.
We finally arrived at the park and fortunately there were food trucks because we were hungry.We settled into a spot so we could listen to speakers, eat, and let my son play. Many pro-life groups had booths to promote their services. The speakers were so inspiring as they talked about life. A father of a down-syndrome son, a young lady who spent her life in foster care and was finally adopted at the age of 17, and lives saved right in LA county because of 40 days for life. So moving, I was brought to tears. The event really proves that the pro-life movement isn't just about ending abortion, but about valuing each individual life. Each life matters because God created that person. Each person deserves dignity and love. It's about loving and celebrating life. Most of the world's problems could be solved if everyone gave Christ's sacrificial love to all those whom they encounter. To end with the rally's slogan, "Be somebody to somebody." God bless.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Why I Got Rid of My Cell Phone and am Not Replacing It.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the sad demise of my cell phone. Well, following that, the next step was to go about replacing it. I'm going to recount that process to explain why I'm ultimately abandoning cell phones forever.
After my phone broke, we contacted Verizon to find out our options. "Luckily", we bought insurance, so I could file a claim and replace my phone. Well, upon filing the claim, we found out we had to pay half of what we initially had to pay to buy the phone. On top of that, it was quite expensive to pay the data plan and everything on a monthly basis. I was so upset because realizing how much money my phone was costing me, the life value was just not worth it, even before Nicky's little mishap.
Especially because my husband will begin school in the fall, we're really trying to pay down our debt and live within our means. The last couple months have left us with not very much extra cash. When my phone got lost within the depths of our couch early last year before I replaced it, I knew I couldn't be responsible for a cell phone. I wanted a landline. I kept using Nick's phone to text my mom, though, so after a few months we upgraded to smartphones. It was nice having a phone especially with a nice camera. Well, all I really needed was a time telling device (I have a watch), a small camera so I don't have to take my DSLR everywhere (we have a point-and-shoot that fits in my purse), and a phone, so I can call people especially during the day when Nick has his phone at work. Anything I use the smart stuff for I can use on Nick's phone or my iPad.
The cost and the headache of being responsible for a cell phone are the biggest reasons I'm not replacing it. Not just how expensive it is, but how expensive it is compared to the value of how it enriches my life. It just is not worth it. When we found out how much money we will save every month, I realized I can get more supplies I need to continue working on Nicky's baby scrapbook which has been on hold because I ran out of pages. Now, I can buy some. I was overjoyed when I found that out.
I continue to mention how I am incapable of being responsible for a cell phone and how stressful it is. Well, over the years I have lost my phones many times. Usually they are found, but especially after becoming a mom when I have so many other priorities than "Where did I put my cell phone?" I realize that I just don't want to keep track of it. I don't like wasting time trying to find it because that seems to be a daily task. I have enough frustration finding all the ingredients when I'm trying to make dinner, I hate having to do that with my cell phone too.
In the Christian life, it is important to live simply in order to focus on what really matters. Everything we do needs to be in support of our values: faith and family. We can't spend every moment in the Church or with our family, so any time away from those two should still support those values. Our careers, for example, should be done in order to support our family and to serve God. If our careers compromise our Christian faith in any way, we should consider other options. Getting rid of a cell phone is a huge simplification in support of my values.
Ever since I realized we can't take everything with us when we move, I have been purging our apartment of anything that is a waste of space. Anything we take with us will cost us time and money, so we have to decide how much each of our possessions are worth to us. Obviously we can't get rid of everything, but we can get rid of anything we don't need or that compromises what's important to us. The same is said of our finances. When I realized how out of control our spending was, I realized that what we both really wanted was a comfortable life. We had been trying to live the extravagant life, even with the excess smartphone. Living in extravagance now could cost us comfort in the future. Getting rid of my cell phone both simplifies my life and my budget. With our spending under control, a purging of our apartment in progress, hopefully our lives will be more comfortable and more joyful.
So, how am I replacing my phone? No, I'm not getting a pay as you go phone or even a cheapo cell phone. (Don't want to keep track of a cell phone, remember?) Our internet currently has a deal where for an additional $10/month we can add basic cable and a phone line to our plan. Today, the cable guy came to install everything. I love OnDemand. :-) Yesterday, we went to Target to buy a phone. I bought the absolute cheapest which is a corded phone without a speaker or an answering machine, and I'm very happy. Yes, whenever I get a phone call, I will have to stand awkwardly next to the TV, but at least I have caller ID.