Traveling with a Toddler: 5 Screen-Free Must-Haves for in the Car


We live 1+ hour one way from both sets of parents, so just going to visit them is considered a “road trip” for our daughter, now 16 months old, but she’s luckily always been pretty good in the car, as long as she isn’t bored. 

We recently went on an actual road trip in May, and it was a 6+ hour trip from home to the beach. Here, I’ve listed five things that we made sure to have in the vehicle with us — no screens involved! — so that the car ride was bearable for all three of us. I know not every little kid is fond of riding in the car, and unfortunately nothing really helps, but if you’re looking for something you haven’t tried yet, maybe these five things will help. For our daughter they made the trip great (we had zero meltdowns!), but what also helped was driving first while she was in her happy morning mood, and second when she was fed and ready to nap. 

And while we have chosen thus far not to give her a screen to watch or play on during car rides, that doesn’t mean I don’t think kids should have them, or that I will never let her use one. But, for the time being, she does really well on trips and I like to keep her occupied with doing something else, even if that’s just looking out the window, before I resort to a screen to keep her content. 

So, are you ready for the list? (Spoiler alert: it’s really not that mind-blowing of a list and you most likely already thought of these things yourself, but I just wrote down these five specifics that help us to have nice and peaceful trips.)

1) Snacks & Drinks

I love the idea of “no food allowed” in a vehicle, but lets face it: on a long road trip, even adults get hungry and cranky, so the only fix for that, if you still want to make good time, is to take snacks with you. 

We packed a cooler of easy-to-grab, least-possible-messy things to sip and munch on. In my then-15-month-old’s case, that consisted of applesauce pouches, soft crackers, and some cereal (like Cheerios).

Simply put, toddler snacks need to be:

  1. Not chokable. 
  2. Easy for them to hold and eat. 
  3. Not too extremely messy, if you’re wanting to keep your car/car seat somewhat decent. (A good vacuuming may be in order when you get home, but that’s okay.)

I also made sure she had plenty of fluids to keep her hydrated, so because I hate to pump, she got almond milk instead of breast milk for the car ride, and some water and juice. 

2) Board Books

These are chunky but don’t have to take up much room, interesting for toddlers but don’t make noise(!), and just all-around good for your smart, ever learning and growing child, so why not bring some along for the ride? My daughter loves books, so having several in the car with us when we take trips helps tremendously to keep her from getting board too quickly. My favorite set of board books (and hers too!) is a colors, shapes, foods, etc. set of very small (like, 3″x3″) books I got lucky and found at a consignment sale last year. 

3) Blanket, Pacifier, or Favorite Toy

If your toddler has a favorite object that comforts them ( in my child’s case, this is her “paci”), then this should definitely take top priority on your list of things to pack. Their having whatever it is that soothes or helps them sleep will be a big step toward a more peaceful car ride. Also, a blanket, whether it’s their cherished “blankie” or not, is a good thing to have if the car gets chilly or they get sleepy. 

4) Music and/or Audio Books

Classical or soft music for soothing, or peppy kids’ songs or stories for keeping them entertained is a big help on road trips. We also love to listen to a capella hymns and sing along, or listen to one of my husband’s favorite audio books (I’m more of a reader, but he’s huge into listening to books and they’re lots of fun), or just flip through radio stations when things get mundane. My favorite kids’ Bible songs CD we listen to us Each Little Dew Drop, and we love the hymns CDs by Florida College. 

5) Comfy Travel Clothes

Traveling in uncomfortable clothes on a road trip is so not fun. I personally prefer a T-shirt, sweatpants, and no shoes (but flip-flops for rest stops) when traveling, so I can only imagine that a toddler would prefer something comfy as well. So when we travel with our daughter and I can help it, I like to have her in something soft and thin and that won’t bother her or make her hot. 

Also, and this is totally not a “must-have,” just merely my preference, but because our daughter is still under 22 pounds and required to sit rear-facing in her car seat, we have a mirror on the seat in front of her so we can see her from up front, but she actually really loves it too. I catch her looking in it and making faces (or pulling out her hair bows!) and talking to herself all the time! I think it has really helps her during car rides, so you may want to try it too, if you don’t have one already. 

I hope these suggestions were helpful! What are your absolute must-haves for long trips?

Have a great day!

~Courtney

Children are the Most Important Work

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“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” – Dr. John Trainer

I was reading the latest issue of the No Greater Joy magazine the other day and came across this quote in one of their articles, and it really stuck out to me. It’s something I need to remind myself of every single day, and a blatant truth I must never let myself forget.

“Our children ARE our ministry. Sometimes I think I want to go OUT and tell people about Jesus. I want to do some kind of big ministry that’s bigger than me and affects the whole world. Maybe we should go to Africa or something. But then I look at my three babies and I realize their young, thirsty souls are my ministry right now. Maybe there’s a future for us in foreign missions… I don’t know. But right now, they are what God gave me to change the world.” -Hannah Stoll

It may be easy at times to look past the daily ordinary and think we could be doing so much more for God, so many bigger things for Him out there in the world that affect so many people. Changing diapers and wiping little faces and cleaning up the living room for the hundredth time in a day can be exhausting, and can feel like we’re not doing anything huge or important. But what we need to remember is that we were given this mom life for a reason, and our kids are the huge and important things of this world.

Sure, there may be people whose calling is to get out there and teach the Gospel to thousands of people, or feed orphans and widows on the other side of the world. That may sound so much better and more world-changing than cleaning the house and soothing a screaming baby and cooking supper every single night with a kid on our hip, but if that’s where we are in this moment, then that’s where God wants us to be right now. Things may change, but right here, right now, these little people are what’s most important, and to God they mean more than anything else. He gave you this job because He knew you could do it beautifully, and He knows you can do it even on the messy days.

Those little souls we’re raising are so very important–eternally important–and we cannot afford to take our God-given responsibility lightly, by any means. They are our ministry, they are the next generation, and raising them to be lights in the world and soldiers for God is the biggest job there is.

You’re doing a great job, momma! Happy Mother’s Day. ❤

Toddler Easter Basket for under $10

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With Easter less than two weeks away, parents and grandparents all over the place are going to be (if they’re not already) filling up baskets with lots of goodies and toys.

Last year Eden was only a tiny baby so I didn’t go to any trouble of fixing her up a basket with things she wouldn’t give a care about, but this year she’s a toddler with such a big personality and I’m excited to be fixing up and giving her something she’ll actually enjoy now. Maybe a basket with fake grass and plastic eggs is a little bit over the top for a gift for a little kid, but it’s fun and I want her to have little memories like I did when I was younger, waking up on Easter morning to a few little goodies and some chocolate.

For a while I struggled with good ideas for what I could put in her basket. What does a little girl who still sometimes puts things in her mouth but usually doesn’t, and can understand what certain things are for need in her Easter basket? I didn’t want to buy her junky stuff she’ll never play with, and I didn’t want to spend a bunch on it either, and I really wanted to get small things to be able to hide in plastic eggs, so I brainstormed for a while, made me a little list, and then went shopping.

I wound up buying things from two stores; Walmart and Dollar Tree. They have a really good selection for Easter/Spring and so I got my stuff there, but I’m sure a lot of things they have can be found at other stores as well.

I’ll give you the prices of Eden’s basket and what’s in it, and then I’ll list a few other ideas for fun basket and egg fillers (including some things for if you have a boy).


Eden’s Basket:

  • Plush bunny ($2.98 at Walmart)
  • Milk chocolate bunny ($1 at Dollar Tree)
  • Two sets of necklaces– 5 necklaces total ($.98 per set at Walmart)
  • Bucket– the baskets I saw were either huge or super tall, but the handle on a bucket is short enough for a toddler to carry, and they have really cute Easter ones ($.88 at Walmart)
  • Fake grass, or whatever it’s technically called ($.98 at Walmart)
  • Pack of chalk– 6 colors in big egg shapes, perfect for chunky baby hands! ($1 at Dollar Tree)
  • Large plastic eggs– large so things can fit inside easier ($.98 at Walmart)

Other Ideas:

  • Teething toys or cookies (egg filler)
  • Matchbox cars (egg filler)
  • Socks (egg filler)
  • Pacifiers (egg filler)
  • Crayons
  • Small Bible or New Testament
  • Board books
  • Small bouncy ball
  • Sippy cup
  • Sunglasses
  • Play dough
  • Hair bows (possible egg filler)

Happy Spring, everyone! What are some things you’re putting in your child(ren)’s basket(s) this Easter?

I Had an Unplanned Cesarean and I’m Okay with That. (And Why You Should Be Okay with Yours Too!)

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, I could probably count on one hand the women I knew of who had Cesareans. But I didn’t talk to them about their experiences so I could get an idea what it’s like, in case I wound up having one myself, because “I’m having an all-natural, peaceful, whenever-the-baby’s-ready home birth, and there is no need to learn about the surgery or post-op recovery.”

WRONG.

Whether you’re pregnant now or will be sometime in the future, take this bit of advice from me, please: read up on Cesareans so you won’t have that fist-to-the-gut feeling I did when the doctor told me he suggested I have one. Get informed about the how, the why, and especially the recovery. You may never even need to have a C-section, but just in case you do, be prepared and at least know a little bit about it, unlike me.

Anyway. Back to what I’m trying to get at.

If two years ago you’d have told my pregnant self that I’d eventually go twenty-two days over my due date, have a failed induction, and then finally have no choice but to get a C-section, I wouldn’t have believed you. Because none of that was in my plan. Going overdue somewhat, maybe, but not the other stuff. Psh—no way.

I had hoped and planned for a home birth in Tennessee with my midwives, but as I kept going days and days over my due date, our time for my wonderful, ideal, dreamed-about-ever-since-I-can-remember birth was running out. Three weeks past due was the cut-off date, and so on the day I reached 43 weeks with no signs of labor starting anytime soon, we planned an induction at a hospital with a doctor for the next morning—already three things I never, ever imagined myself doing.

Long story short (you can read the full version HERE), the induction didn’t work because apparently my body and my baby STILL weren’t ready yet, and then my blood pressure was high enough to be concerned about, and the baby was assumed to be facing the wrong way (turns out she was), which could cause a problem later on if I delivered vaginally, SO we chose that last resort we’d never dreamed of: a Cesarean section. A full-on MAJOR SURGERY. (Okay, so I admit that part didn’t hit me till later on, but y’all—this surgery is NO JOKE and my heart and so much respect go out to each and every woman who has had this operation.)

Once I started coming off my newborn baby high (AHHH—the best thing in this world!) and I realized there was still a whole world out there with (gasp!) other people, and I was finally over the infection in my incision (O-U-C-H), I realized how very disappointed I actually was that I did not have the birth I’d always dreamed of, the one I’d been planning for nearly ten months, even rented the birthing house for. And I started hating myself for not being able to give birth like a “normal person.” I told myself I must have done something wrong, or not enough things right, to cause everything opposite of my plan to come about. What if I’d exercised more? I wondered. Or, What if I hadn’t eaten some of the things I did? How come So-and-So was able to do it but not me? A friend of mine from church had told me right after Eden was born to never let myself think these things, because I didn’t fail, and I did still carry and give birth to my child, and I was still just as woman as the one who delivered naturally. It was weeks later when I started actually thinking those awful things that I would have to remind myself what she told me. What she said was exactly true, but while I certainly felt that other women who gave birth by Cesarean were amazing mothers and women who had done only what was best for their children, in my heart I couldn’t believe it about myself.

I didn’t ever get depressed about the whole thing, but I did put myself down a lot whenever I thought about how my body couldn’t go into labor on its own, my body couldn’t get into real, good labor even with the help of Pitocin, my body “couldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t. It was also hard reading or hearing other people’s labor and birth stories, knowing I didn’t get to experience the real thing, wondering if I ever would.

A few months ago I spoke with a new friend of mine who had also within the past year given birth via unplanned Cesarean. We swapped our stories and they were almost identical! We chatted about the disappointment we felt when our bodies just wouldn’t do what we wanted them to, the physical and emotional sides of recovering, and our fears of ever having another baby and the same thing happening all over again. Beyond all, though, we are both thankful that we had the option of Cesarean for the sake of our babies, and for their well-being we would not have had it any way but the best way for them—which just so happened to be C-sections. By the time she and I met I can say I was very close to having accepted my daughter’s birth as a whole, but I think being able to talk about it (for the first time!) with someone who totally, absolutely understood exactly what I felt, was a huge weight off my shoulders and I think a big part of fully accepting.

To someone who hasn’t had a Cesarean, I probably sound like a big sissy for having worried so much for so long about how my baby got here, as long as she’s here, safe and perfectly sound—and maybe it is silly—but it’s something a lot of women have to work through emotionally, and I think there are a few big things that can help them get past the disappointment and embrace the truth that this did happen, that their plans can change in a minute, and that they are still every bit of a woman as the one who delivers naturally, or vaginally with an epidural. I may never have that “normal” birth, but that is something I’ll come to grips with if and when the time comes, and since I’ve done this before, I think it will be much easier if I go through it again.

Four things that I believe can help a lot are:

  1. Just be grateful, first and foremost, that your baby is safe and in this world, and that there are doctors out there who know what they’re doing when it does come down to major surgery in favor of the baby’s (and your) health.
  2. Write out your birth story, or record yourself telling it. Just simply getting it all out and off your chest (and reliving the glorious moments!) can sometimes be the best medicine.
  3. Talk to someone who understands, who’s been there. After having my daughter I was surprised at how many friends have had Cesareans, and I didn’t even know it before, but talking to them about it can be so helpful. Talk to someone who will let you spill out your frustrations, but who will also tell you it’s okay, you did amazing, and now you need to suck it up, buttercup. (Because friends don’t let friends throw pity parties.)
  4. Encourage other people. When you talk to a mom who is down about her C-section experience, you can thank God you also went through it, because now you can let her cry on your shoulder, you can tell her it’s gonna be all right (because you know it is), and you can show her what it looks like to pick yourself back up and smile, because you’ve been there, you’re strong, and she is too. I think this was the biggest thing for me to being able to actually be thankful for my C-section (besides the obvious fact that my baby is safely here). I can be thankful I went through something hard like this because when someone else has gone through it and needs encouragement, I can now be a help to that person.

There may still be days here and there when I’ll look down and see my constant reminder, that 6-inch battle scar on my abdomen that may fade but will never completely go away, and I start to think, What if—? but I’m going to stop myself right there, because it’s just a scar, that was just a C-section, it was just a thing I had to do, and I’m okay with it now. I am grateful.

And you can be, too.

Pink and Gold First Birthday Party

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A few weekends ago we had our daughter’s first birthday party. For weeks I’d been planning this thing, and having a blast brainstorming and browsing Pinterest for more ideas. I wanted to do mostly pastel pink and throw in a bit of gold here and there, and luckily that’s kind of what’s in right now for little girls’ birthday parties, so there were a TON of resources for ideas, products, etc. so I had zero trouble getting that.

There were a few things I knew for certain I wanted: a pretty backdrop behind Eden’s high chair, a tutu for her AND a tutu for her high chair, a simple cake, and a very simple yet feminine style. We wound up with all of those things and more, and with some pinning, shopping, crafting, and tons of help from my mom, we achieved exactly the perfect little girly party theme I’d imagined.

THE HIGH CHAIR TUTU

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The high chair tutu was something I definitely never imagined using, much less making, for my daughter’s first-ever birthday party, but the more and more I saw those poofy things on Pinterest, the more and more I liked them. So I decided it couldn’t be too hard to make one, so I bought two different shades of (sparkly!) pink tule from Walmart, and cut the strips the length I needed them, then tied them to an elastic band. I used Velcro stickers (the hard side) on the sides of the high chair tray, and stuck the tule to those and the tutu stuck securely. Super simple, tons of fun, and way cute!

THE CAKE TABLE

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For the cake setting, I used a pale pink table cloth from Walmart, and some matte white Mason jars I painted a couple years ago which wound up being perfect for holding straws (pink cake pop sticks from Walmart) and flowers (also from Walmart). Pink and white plates and white napkins came from the Dollar Tree, the white cake plate and gold cupcake liners from TJ Maxx, and gold candles from Walmart. I also printed out a black and white photo of Eden I had taken recently, and framed it in a pink frame I got at Aldi and displayed it on the cake table. While looking up “pink and gold birthday party” I came across some super cute FREE printable banners/buntings, plus a ton of other things to match (like invitations, water bottle labels, etc.) from The Paper Trail Design and was extremely please with it. I used an old window for a background and hung one banner from it and a tiny little bunting across the cake, strung to two cake pop sticks.

THE CAKE

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The cake was made with white cake mixes from Aldi, which I made by the box’s directions the night before the party and then froze overnight. Before pouring the batter into the pans, though, I greased some parchment paper and lined the pans in that, so the next morning when I was ready to ice the cake, they just popped right out of the pans with no effort and NO sticking. That fluffy pink icing was a Pioneer Woman recipe for cream cheese frosting, which I added just a bit of red food coloring to to make it that perfect shade of pastel pink. Let me tell you, that icing was DELICIOUS. I just love Pioneer Woman. The cake topper was super simple to make; I just printed out a little bunting from The Paper Trail Company, cut out the little gold pieces I wanted, and wrote letters on each one with a fine-tip marker to spell my daughter’s name. Then I glued them closed, onto a strand of white embroidery thread, and tied that to two cake pop sticks, poked them into the cake, and voila! I also added one single gold candle in the middle and sprinkled some pearl candies over the top. For the “smash cake” I just left some cake batter out while making the big cake and baked a cupcake for Eden to eat. I spooned the icing on kinda sloppily, sprinkled a few pearl candies, and poked a candle in the center. She didn’t feel 100% the day of her party so I didn’t take her smash cake pictures till a few days later when she could thoroughly enjoy it.

THE BACKDROP

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This was super simple and kind of not thought through very much until I ran across a hot pink, light pink, and gold banner kit in the Valentine’s Day section of Walmart. It could be made up to 6 feet long, and I made it just a bit shorter than that. I hung it on the wall behind where the highchair would be and at just the right height, and then I got out my light pink and white streamers (also from Walmart) and started that tedious job. I started in the middle of the banner and taped one end of the streamer just behind that, and ran it down the wall to the length I wanted, then twisted it to get the spiral, and cut and taped the other end to the bottom of the wall.

THE FOOD AND DRINKS

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The food was so much fun to do, and my mom helped me a ton with this part. I knew I wanted pink finger foods to go with the theme, so we opted for dipped pretzels and sugar wafers, homemade energy balls with pink M&Ms, plus the pink cake and cupcakes. I made a big batch of chili in the slow cooker and my husband made four FANTASTIC pizzas. My grandparents surprised us by bringing deviled eggs and chicken wings and some pink coconut-covered snack cakes, so we were not lacking in food for everyone, that’s for sure! For drinks, I made pink lemonade and pink punch (recipe to come!), plus coffee– which is not pink, but absolutely a necessary for our bunch.
…And that’s how we did Eden Lily’s first birthday party! How did you celebrate your child(ren)’s first birthday(s)? Did you have a theme or color scheme? Did you go all out or keep it simple? I’d love to hear your experiences!

For all of the awesome sources I got some of my ideas from, follow my Birthday Girl board on Pinterest here!

~Courtney Faith

Cosmopolitan Magazine, Celebrated Abortion, and Compassion

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One day last year we had someone else’s magazine dropped into our mailbox. Our address was on the back, but under someone else’s name. It was a Cosmopolitan magazine. I never read their stuff, because, like most other magazines, they are just full of garbage (and I am much more likely to read Better Homes and Gardens than anything), but before throwing it in the trash can, I quickly skimmed through it to see just what is printed in a popular magazine read by millions these days.

What I saw was nothing more than what I expected, sadly: weight-loss tips (because you’re not skinny enough), celebrity gossip (because that’s what’s really important), half-dressed women (because fully-dressed women aren’t pleasant to look at), beauty tips (because you’re not pretty enough), and how-to-have-better-sex articles (because, obviously, that’s what life is all about).

You’re catching my sarcasm, I hope?

So, before tossing this abhorrent thing into the trash, one of the article titles in the index caught my eye and I stared at it in horror: How to Get a Safe Abortion. I flipped to the page it was on, hoping that surely it wasn’t about to say what I was afraid it would say. But it did. It said exactly that and much more. This entire magazine was filled with articles about how awful anti-abortionists are, and how great abortion is, how safe, how selfless, how empowering.

In the article titled How to Get a Safe Abortion, they use the word “safe” so many times. Isn’t it strange how their definition of “safe” means only one person is actually physically saved in the process, while at the same time an innocent, separate life is being ripped from the woman’s body and murdered, all in the name of “protecting women” and “women’s rights.”

A “safe abortion” would be not to have one. A “safe abortion” would be using your right to choose by choosing life for both mother and baby. A “safe abortion” is not even possible. There is no such thing as a “safe abortion.”

Defending once again the so-called “safety” of an abortion, they wrote, “Legal abortion remains exceptionally safe, with a major complication rate in the U.S. estimated around 0.2 percent.” But they have forgotten about the other “major complication rate” which is 100% to the life they are so heartlessly diminishing. They don’t care about that other life, as so many claim to by saying they’re doing it “for the good” of the baby.

“It’s not like ending a pregnancy is fun. But by three years later, 99 percent of women seeking abortions say they made the right choice, according to researchers who interviewed 667 women.” While it may be true that some women get through having an abortion with no physical complications and no regrets afterward, most women DO regret it, whether immediately or eventually. Most women wish they could have kept the baby. Most women hate what they’ve done and feel so ashamed.

This magazine issue included interviews with several women who had had abortions. While those women say they have no regrets or doubt they made the right decision, I truly wonder if they’re really being honest with themselves, if they have just lied to themselves for so long that they are starting to believe that what they did is okay. I would guess they have, at some point, felt pain and regret for what they did, but just don’t want to face it because it’s just too hard and there is no going back. Or maybe Cosmopolitan is not even telling the entire story; just what they want other women to hear and believe.

Reading the interviews with those women made me sick to my stomach. It also made me so extremely sad for them. I wonder if had these women had someone lovingly tell them everything would be okay if they kept their baby, they might have listened. If someone had given them hope and strength and the motivation to care for the little life inside them instead of pressing them to abort, they might have listened.

One of them spoke of her day at the clinic and remembered seeing protesters standing outside. She and her boyfriend were about to go pay for a murder, but the ironic thing is she was worried that the protesters would start something violent. She added, “There was a security guard out there too, and he let us into the building. I thought, ‘At least there’s not going to be any violence.’ It made me feel better.”

Pro-abortionists claim that it’s an act of selflessness when you choose to end a life (yes, they admit it’s a life) because you’re preventing him or her from having a hard or less-than-ideal life later on, but in reality it’s a selfish answer to their “problem.”

One of the women interviewed said, “I have a lot of tattoos and it hurts to get tattooed, but there is a point when you think, I am getting something out of this pain. The abortion felt sort of the same. It was uncomfortable and strange, but my brain switched to, ‘It’s fine because after this pain I get this [positive thing].’ …I wouldn’t be the person I am—a successful, happy person—if I had to have that baby. I would be somebody stuck in poverty with few options to dig out of it. I didn’t become a heart surgeon or win a Nobel Prize. I just became an independent person who was able to find happiness. The opportunity to do that is the least anyone deserves.”

This next one took me completely by surprise:

A wife and already mother of three, said that when she and her husband found out they were expecting again they immediately knew they didn’t want the baby and went to schedule an abortion the very next day. They thought their life was perfect just the way it was and that another baby would just mess all of that up. “We love our little family and are super happy,” she said. At the end of the interview she added that she doesn’t regret the abortion at all. “Recently,” she said, “I babysat for my sister-in-law. She has a 2-year-old and an infant, and I was like, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want to do this again.’ So, no, I don’t regret the decision, and I don’t want to have seven babies to make up for it.”

I write all this to point out that there is so much hurt and so much hatred and so much selfishness in this world. There are very, very cold hearts that maybe we even think deserve to die in their filthy sins. But we must remember that there are also those who are 100% ignorant of the wrong they have done. They all simply need a loving person to help them see the error of their ways and be merciful and compassionate enough to help them through the tough times and just be their friend. Even the knowingly guilty ones can turn from their sins and be forgiven. Even the women who “don’t regret” their abortions. Even the doctors, who are trained to help maintain life but who choose to take it as well, can turn from their evil deeds and be forgiven.

We must remember that there is still good in this world too, even though thousands of babies are killed every single day. And we need to BE that good in the world. WE need to be the loving hands who help others find the right way. WE need to be the arms that hold those who have made horrible mistakes and grieve with them. WE need to be the merciful and forgiving people who will befriend those who have repented of their sin and are washed of it. WE need to be like Jesus, who looked past a person’s mistakes and simply saw a dirty soul that, through Him, could be washed as white as snow.

This past Sunday our preacher gave a lesson on compassion. He gave a contrast of the scribes and Pharisees versus Jesus. They were all against sinful living and told people about the error of their ways, but the way they presented their messages to the people was different: the scribes and Pharisees did so with a haughty spirit and pride and hatred in their hearts, but Jesus did so with compassion every single time. And in the end, who got the people to listen? It was Jesus, because He cared about each person and wasn’t haughty and arrogant like the scribes and Pharisees. We ought to have that same compassion toward every single soul we come in contact with.

We are called to be compassionate people. Pro-choicers are so convinced that we are a hateful gang with no tolerance whatsoever and no love for women. But while there may be some pro-lifers out there who are hateful and angry (and with good reason), we don’t need to be like that. Jesus called us to be lights in this dark world, and the salt of the earth that has lost its flavor. When we speak, we are to do so with grace, just like He did. He looked past the dreadful sins of the people and reached for their soul. We can do the same by not judging someone by their terrible deeds–even an abortion–and kindly help them see the wrong, show them that there is forgiveness, and love them just like Jesus loves them.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)

Cosmopolitan Magazine, I have a suggestion for you: If you so claim to love and help and protect women, why not show a little genuine compassion and help them to see that a baby is not the end of their world. Help them see that murdering a baby is not ever the right or selfless or loving answer to their predicament. Show them that maybe if they sincerely think they can’t support a little human, then adoption is an option because so many couples not able to have a baby of their own are desperately wanting one to love. Maybe you could help these women get back up on their feet again so that they actually can support the little life growing inside them. Maybe instead of “empowering” them by helping them get the career they want by taking their baby’s life, really empower them by helping them strive for that career, all the while loving and caring for their baby, because I have seen so many women prove that it is possible. Cosmopolitan, there are SO many ways of loving and helping and protecting women, and it’s not the way you’re doing it.

~Courtney Faith

Be There

   

   

This day and age we all have smart phones, or some type of cool camera that we’ve got on hand 24/7. We’re practically attached to our electronic devices, virtually glued to a screen.

I go to the park, to the library, to the grocery store, even, and see moms on their phones while their kids are playing, talking, laughing. A lot of times the mom is on her phone because she’s taking a picture or video of her lovely kids.

I get it. I’ve been there. I’m there a lot. Now that I’m a mom myself I love snapping photos of every little milestone or cute face or fun activity I don’t want to ever forget. I find myself taking a dozen or more pictures a day sometimes, and several videos frequently.

But as I watch others doing it too, it strikes me– are my efforts to capture precious moments on my camera actually robbing me from truly soaking up the moment to treasure in my heart forever? Am I really spending those wonderful moments with my daughter, or am I simply her paparazzi and videographer?

Even if I remember every moment I snap a picture of, will she remember? Or will she only remember her childhood filled with Mommy’s face hidden behind an electronic device?

  
I’m not trying to say that we should quit taking pictures or videos. No, I’m all for saving those sweet moments of our growing children. I’m just saying (to myself!) that maybe I should make less pictures and more memories. Maybe I should put down the phone and camera and pick up my baby. Maybe I should use my fingers more for tickling and playing than for typing about all my kid’s sweet and silly antics to post on Facebook or Instgram.

None of these things is wrong, but I want to try to use my screens in moderation, and love and play and make memories with my daughter in liberation. You’ll still see me holding my camera, not able to resist the urge to capture a memory with film (or whatever it’s technically called these days), but I want to take more of those chances to witness the whole scene with my own eyes, uninterrupted by an electronic device.

  
I don’t want to just witness and record my baby’s growing up– I want to be there when she does.

~Courtney Faith