08/05/2011 Comments (30)

Recently, North Dakota tried to ban telemed abortions—the practice of administering an abortion pill to a pregnant woman under the long-distance video supervision of a doctor.  But a temporary restraining order was put on the law, and so the practice will continue for the time being.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is delighted with the restraining order, saying,

This law has nothing to do with protecting women’s health—it defies reason, science and medical expertise in a clandestine attempt to limit women’s access to abortion.

They say, “Medication abortion is a safe and common use of FDA-approved drugs to induce first-trimester abortions.”

In charity, I’m going to assume they’re...READ MORE

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12 Tips for Writing Clearly

08/04/2011 Comments (39)

On Tuesday, I insisted that people learn how to write well.  Today, I’m offering some practical tips that I have found useful.  Most of these apply to less formal pieces, like blog posts, short articles, or even comments—anything where you’re trying to make a point.  If you’re working on a research project, though, you’re on your own.


1.  Make sure you know what the heck you’re talking about.  You don’t have to be an expert: often, the things that need to be said are the things that people already know, but have forgotten—or things they don’t realize that other people are thinking.  So it’s okay to be simple, as long as you know exactly what it is you want to say.


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Good Writing Is Not a Luxury

08/02/2011 Comments (60)

Imagine, if you will, opening up a Bible for the first time.  You turn to the gospels, and you read: “ok ther wuz this chick adn she wuz all omgz wut baby???!!! srsly i dont even!!1!!1!!!”

Impressed, aren’t you?  Ready to sell all that you own and go follow the one who could inspire such words?

Or maybe not. 

Just imagine if, like so many today, the Evangelists had been unable to express themselves in the written word.  Yes, they were inspired by the Holy Spirit—but we’re not talking about auto writing here.  They went into the project with some skill, some ability to write complete sentences and coherent paragraphs, and to put across the facts of a story—some with mere competence, some...READ MORE

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Ten Tips for Actually Having Fun at the Fair

07/29/2011 Comments (30)

Going to the country fair?  Oh man, you’re going to hate it. 

The first several times we went to the fair with several children, it was a miserable experience:  tears and accidents, stickiness and anxiety, disappointment and recriminations.  But for some reason we kept trying, year after year, and what do you know? We figured it out. 

Here are ten tips on how to have a good time with the kids at the fair:


Just accept that this is going to be a ridiculously expensive day.  Figure in admission, parking, ride tickets or passes, food, souvenirs, and possibly special rides or shows, plus emergency cash for unexpected expenses like replacement hats or bail bond.  An unlimited...READ MORE

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Cord Blood and God's Grandeur

07/28/2011 Comments (29)

Since I’m about halfway through my pregnancy, it’s starting to dawn on me that I’m probably going to actually give birth at some point.  This time around, I’m determined to donate my baby’s umbilical cord blood.

Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which have been used successfully for the last thirty years to treat various types of cancer, as well as blood, immune, and metabolic disorders.

Although it is harvested from a newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta, cord blood stem cells are classified by most as adult stem cells. They are safer for the recipient, and more versatile, than bone marrow transplants; and umbilical cord blood therapy neatly sidesteps the ethical horror that is...READ MORE

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07/26/2011 Comments (85)

A reader asks,

Have any of you heard of the Pandamania VBS [vacation Bible school] that many parishes are adapting this year for summer VBS? My wife received an email from a home school group she subscribed to and so now we have some reservations ...
We’re not trying to be a family of misanthropes, but we don’t want to infuse our kids with stupid ideas either.

My own family’s summer religious training thus far consisted of me ordering yet another catechism at 4:00 this morning, in yet another night of panic-ridden insomnia (and yes, I tried eating cheese to clear my head). We’re not joiners, so I don’t even know if our parish is offering PandaMania, which is a protestant program for...READ MORE

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Safe Playgrounds and Safe Sex

07/22/2011 Comments (43)

The hairdresser at Supercuts always gasps when she gives my son his summer buzz cut, revealing a horrible maze of scars. He looks like a vet who’s encountered one too many IEDs—but in fact, his scars were won through nine years of terrifying encounters with such perilous items as dining room chairs, upholstered couches, wooden nightstands—and, one memorable Halloween, a treacherous sidewalk that leaped up without warning and attacked him for no reason at all.

I have to admit, though, he rarely gets hurt at playgrounds. This is because most of the local playgrounds are utterly pathetic. They look like the physical therapy unit at The Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous.


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Mary In Her Helicopter

07/21/2011 Comments (15)

There was a lively and fascinating discussion about portrayals of Mary a few weeks ago after Steven Graydanus’ post The Many Faces of Mary and after my response, Even More Faces of Mary.  It’s been a wonderful revelation to see how Mary is depicted in different cultures at different times—both in miraculous visions and as she appears through the lens of different cultural sensibilities.  This variation is, of course, a feature and not a bug:  the mother of us all is going to look different to different people, because we need her in different ways.

One image that stays with me was not actually intended as an image of Mary at all—but if it were, it would be my favorite.  Rather than post...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs at I Have to Sit Down. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and nine children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.