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NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

A New Beginning


Last night, my father passed away.  He had been ill with congestive heart failure but he was in a convalescent home for rehab in order to regain enough strength to come home. When I saw him yesterday morning he was very weak and whispered to me he was tired.  I sat with him for quite a while then went home to rest after he fell asleep and returned a few hour later.  By then he couldn't speak at all but I could see in his eyes he was failing.  I prayed the Lord's prayer, held his hand and just sat with him.  After an hour or so, I decided to go home, which is five minutes away.  I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him and that I would see him tomorrow.  He bunched up his fist and patted his heart.  I knew he was saying he loved me too.  When I pulled into our driveway, my husband was waiting.  The facility called and said right after I left the room he took his last breath. 


His rapid decline was unexpected but I truly believe he was tired and wanted to join my mother in heaven, who passed two years ago this month.  I am still in shock, but so grateful that he didn't suffer and that he and my mom were living with us for their twilight years.  They may not be with me physically, but I carry so many cherished memories and know they are holding hands and both watching over me.


My dad was an incredibly loving, generous and humble man who loved God, his family and friends and his country.  I have always been so very proud to be his daughter.  He loved me unconditionally and as adults, I considered him my father and best friend.  I will miss the special times we spent together and I ache when I see his empty room, but I know he's with Jesus and my mom, and that brings me great comfort. 


I love you dad, give mom a hug for me and know I could not have asked for better parents.


 
 
 
 
 








Harold Clayton Swear reunited with the love of his life, Helen on February 24, 2016 while listening to his favorite honkytonk music at the Paloma Health Care Center in Vista, CA.  He was born on May 2, 1928 in Marrero, Louisiana to George and Coma Swear.  He served in the United States Air Force for twenty years and was the last active military person at Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Washington.  He retired after the closure of the base and then managed the base housing for the Grant County Housing Authority for twenty years as well as working side by side with Helen as owners of Casey Music. He met his wife of 62 years while he was stationed at Larson Air Force Base, Moses Lake, WA and married on March 10, 1951. His military life included assignments at Larson AFB, Bentwaters AFB – England, Mountain Home AFB – Mountain Home – ID, Bermuda, Nouasseur AFB – Morocco, Francis E. Warren AFB – Cheyenne, WY, and a return to Larson AFB.


After retirement, Harold and Helen relocated to Las Vegas, NV in the early 90's where they entertained and played tour-guide to many of their family and friends. In 2012 they relocated to their daughter's home in Vista, CA due to declining health.


He is survived and will be dearly missed by daughter Patti (Michael) of Vista, CA; brother, Raymond Swear of Vista, CA; daughter Diane (Luis) Cerna of Hutto, TX; grandson Robert (Shannan) Cleghorn and great-granddaughters (MaKenzee and Madalynn) of Muir, MI; granddaughter Corrie Nesbitt (Travis) and great-granddaughters Adalynn and Avery of Murrieta, CA; grandson John Cerna and great-grandsons (Andrew, Zachary and Marcus) of Arlington, WA; Corey (Michael) Branum and great-grandsons (Dennen and Merrick) of Spokane, WA and Jillian (Richard) Thomas and great-granddaughters (Isabel and Madaline) of Wales; two “adopted” daughters Sharon (Jeff) Zornes and grandson Thomas in Stafford, VA and Kerrie Long of Sydney, Australia; and “adopted” son Dick Rye (Sharon) their children and grandchildren,  plus cousins, nieces, nephews and a multitude of friends he considered family. Welcoming him at the gates of Heaven along with Helen and his parents – were brothers Bennard, John, George and Edwin, sister Dorothy (Wolfe) Swear and three special angels.


At his request, no services will be held. The family requests donations be made in his name to the charity of your choice.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Who is Waging the War on Women?





Below is a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union Tribune.  Being a liberal newspaper that has rejected other commentary in the past, I was pleased (and surprised) to see my recent submission in print. 


On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, to determine if states can regulate abortion clinics and require doctors to have hospital admitting privileges.     

The plaintiffs aren't worried about women’s health, but about clinics closing. They filed a brief from 113 female lawyers claiming access to abortion allowed them to fulfill career goals carrying no regret. My regret drove me into depression and alcoholism, resulting in leaving the career for which I sacrificed two children. I am one of 5,978 men and women who have publicly shared abortion regret through Silent No More Awareness.   

However, this case is not about regret or saving lives of the preborn. It’s about saving the lives of those choosing to abort.  According to the CDC, from 1973-2010, 421 women have died as a result of legal abortion. Those fighting common-sense regulations are the ones waging the war on women.

Patti J. Smith
Vista, CA
San Diego Regional Coordinator – Silent No More Awareness Campaign




 

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Pedestal of Perfectionism






Recently I had some work of mine reviewed.   Flashbacks of when I was in the workforce facing the dreaded "annual performance evaluation" sent chills vibrating down my spine. The fear victims experience in my recent suspense series pales in comparison to the terror I felt sitting down in my manager's office as he shut the door.

I always fared extremely well in those evaluations and should have been ecstatic. BUT although 99% of the feedback was positive I would invariably zero in on the 1%, beating myself up over it.  Why? Because my name is Patti, and I'm a perfectionist.

Focusing on the1% stripped away every ounce of joy I had in my accomplishments. The joy morphed into fear and doubt. Fortunately, later on in life, I had a supervisor who cared enough to knock me off that pedestal of perfectionism by pointing out the 1% did not represent failure, but an opportunity for growth.  

 
The same curse of perfectionism attacks me spiritually. When doing my daily examination of conscience, I beat myself up because once more I have sins to confess.  Growing anger and disappointment tempts me to throw my hands up and accept the fact I'm a total loser. I even told my priest that during one of my trips to the confessional.  He just smiled and reminded me of Ecclesiastes 7:20, "yet there is no one on earth so just as to do good and never sin."  He added that God does not want us to wallow in guilt or disappointment, but learn from our mistakes, strive to do better and move forward in faith. 

So, I guess what my boss said also applies to my faith life when she said, "pointing out the 1% did not represent failure, but an opportunity for growth." 

Pastor Rick Warren also has wise words on the topic:  "If you struggle with perfectionism, then ask God to help you deeply understand that he loves you unconditionally," which brings me to this wonderful quote:







 
HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Tribute to My Mom



Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my mother's death. 
I want to share a poem I wrote that day in memory of her as well my two children lost through abortion (Matthew Thomas and Sarah Catherine) and one from miscarriage (Richard Martel).





I Think of You Every Day ~ I Love You!


Monday, February 8, 2016

Defining Humanity



The following was written six months ago when the videos of Planned Parenthood started to be released.  I thought it was worth reposting. 


I've thought about this for quite some time and decided that due to the current events surrounding Planned Parenthood, I would share my view on humanity.
 
Isn't it interesting how the term used for a child in the womb changes based on conditions, choice or political agenda?  When a woman finds herself pregnant or suffers the heartbreak of miscarriage, does she say, “I’m having or lost a blob of tissue,” or “I’m having or lost a bunch of cells?" Of course not.
Sadly that’s how it is in today's society.  If a woman is pregnant, we all call it a baby … even when a child is miscarried.  But when speaking of abortion, all of a sudden that same baby, to some,  is “a blob of tissue” or a “bunch of cells”, and in the last two weeks, we've heard another term, "specimen".

Humanity is not something to be decided based on conditions, choice or political agenda.  It is something predetermined by God.  It's frightening to know there are people in our lives and in positions of power that consider themselves above His will. 
 


 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …”
Jeremiah 1:5


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  
Psalms 139:13-14

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Neither snow nor rain nor dark of night . . ." Part VII - Wrapping It Up



The storm was getting stronger as the testimonies ended.  Sharon and I walked to the nearest large street to search out a cab.  Nary one to be found.  So – we braced ourselves for the half-mile walk to Union Station.  Here I was, a San Diegan, walking through a blizzard with snow-covered glasses (why haven’t they invented wipers yet?) and frozen feet (boots can only stay warm for so long).  My mind wandered to a movie my husband and I watched a week prior to the trip, “Everest”.  I could see Sharon and I like two of the climbing casualties, curled up in a ball frozen stiff in a snow drift. 

The drive to Stafford, VA


We finally made it to Union Station and stood in the expansive lobby for a minute or two to take in the warmth and catch our breath.  Knowing the roads were getting more dangerous by the minute, we needed to get moving or be stranded in D.C. indefinitely.  I braced myself for another five-hour drive (normal time was forty-five minutes), but road crews were all over the place, trying to get salt put down.  It did take us longer than usual, but we only slid a few times and made it home before dark, praise God. We were greeted by Jeff and three precious furbabies – Winston, Jacob, and Reba, reminding me of how much I missed my own husband and critters. Exhausted by the day’s events and drive, it didn’t take long to retire for the night.  How nice it was to have quiet, cool room to sleep in.


Winter Wonderland
My poor toe!
The next morning I glanced out the window and was awestruck by the amount of snow on the ground.  Roads were closed and school closures were already being announced for the coming week which gave me pause as to if I was going to be able to fly out on Tuesday.  I showered and it was then I discovered a nasty bruise on my toe.  At first, I foolishly thought it was frostbite – mentally preparing myself for it falling off.  What actually happened was my boot creased wrong on the trek back to Union Station.


"Sis" and "Bro"
Sharon and Jeff

The weather and my sore toe failed to deter us from enjoying our time together.  There were movies to watch, Wii bowling and many long discussions on a variety of topics.  By Monday, the roads improved enough for us to venture out for breakfast and a drive around the area.  Sharon and Jeff had planned on taking me to some historic battlefields, but all grounds were closed.  (We did manage to see one – from the entrance only).


Although I missed my family, I was enjoying the time with my “sis” and “bro”, secretly hoping I might be delayed a few more days.  Tuesday rolled around and my flight was on schedule and the roads to the airport clear … DRAT!


After a tearful good-bye, I entered the terminal. Before checking in, I felt the “urge” and found the restroom.  Not having an internal GPS, I turned right instead of left upon exiting the facilities, walking for miles on end (well, that’s a stretch) with a sore toe before realizing I was on the wrong side of the terminal for my airline.  Since I was unable to do any souvenier shopping earlier, I had wanted to grab a few things from the airport gift shop but time was slipping away.  I finally found my airline and checked in, and waited impatiently to clear security.  As I reached the checkpoint, they had one of those glass tube x-ray machines.  I walked in, raised my arms waited to be motioned through.  WRONG  I was pulled aside for a pat-down.  My glittered shirt lit up the security screen like a Christmas tree.  Tick, tock, tick, tock.  My shopping time was diminishing.   

With minutes to spare, I located the nearest gift shop.  I snagged some t-shirts and coffee cups, paid the bill and rushed to my gate.  From a distance, a voice bellowed…. “Ma’am!  Ma’am!”. I ignored it, but as it got closer, I turned around.  A woman panted, “Did you just leave the gift shop?”  I nodded.  “You left your wallet.”  I looked into my purse and my heart sank.  She sprinted with me back to the shop and yes, indeed, it was mine.  I thanked her and the clerk a gazillion times before sprinting back to the gate where the plane was boarding.  WHEW!   

The flight to San Francisco was uneventful (thank God) and I was able to stretch out a little due to an empty seat between another passenger and me.  In fact, we gave each other a thumb’s up as the plane pulled back.  The three-hour layover in San Francisco gave me adequate time to go outside for fresh air and pick up a loaf of sourdough bread (my husband’s favorite).  I chose to sit outside (sans jacket), bask in the warm sun, read a little and enjoy an iced coffee.  All was right with the world.  Of course, going back through security resulted in another pat-down with that darned shirt. 

That’s it, folks … I boarded the flight to San Diego and was met by my loving husband.  My dogs jumped all over me when I walked in the door but gave me a betrayed look after taking a few whiffs of my jeans ... bearing the scent of Winston, Jacob and Reba.      

I want to take a few moments to share a few thoughts on the March.  

First off, according to mainstream media, a “small” group braved the blizzard.  Below is a picture of the small group:


Secondly, I want to comment on the number of young people who participated.  Although I don’t know the percentage of youth vs. adults, it would suffice to say the term pro-life generation is right on target.   

Last, but not least, many had to turn around and miss the March and though disappointed, they should know we felt their presence.  Others were stranded in D.C. and on highways after the March including some of my friends from Silent No More.  I want to thank God for getting everyone home safely.     

It was an experience of a lifetime but I hope and pray the next time I visit D.C. it will not be to bring attention to the devastation of abortion but to celebrate the end of it with the reversal of Roe v Wade.    



Monday, February 1, 2016

"Neither snow nor rain nor dark of night . . ." Part VI - Our Storm was Bigger than Jonas



The theme for the March was “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand-in-Hand”.  Contrary to the pro-abort rhetoric, abortion does not empower women at all.  To quote a blog post I wrote a few months ago, “To be empowered, a woman needs to be comfortable in her own skin; confident and at peace. Once a woman has an abortion, empowerment slowly slips away, leaving nothing but a gaping wound in her soul, back-filled with pain, self-hatred, guilt, shame and remorse.” 

The taxi pulled up to the front of the Supreme Court Building.  There was a large group of people standing around the area where Silent No More would offer their testimonies at the end of the March.  A priest led a prayer vigil while a group of approximately 50 pro-choice advocates carried signs such as “Abortion on Demand Without Apology” and “Stand With Planned Parenthood”.   Many were clad in white pants stained with red dye while others tried to drown out the prayers by spewing the typical accusations, via megaphone, that pro-lifers hate women, don’t care if women die, want to go back to the back-alley coat hanger abortions, etc. What struck me was the contrast.  On one side was a peaceful, loving, prayerful group and on the other an aggressive one consumed with hatred and anger, hell bent on overpowering our words of faith and hope.

Sharon and
her sign.
After the vigil, Sharon and I were standing near the podium (guarding it).  I carried an “I Regret My Abortion” sign and Sharon carried “I am a Pro-Life Feminist.” One of the pro-choice members eyed the signs and approached us.  We didn’t want an altercation and both held our breath, waiting for a verbal attack.  Surprisingly, the woman was quite calm.  She handed us a sheet of paper and asked we not be judgmental.  I nodded and Sharon told her it was not up to us to judge anyone.  The woman told us to keep an open mind when reading what the paper said as it explains how God is not against abortion.  We accepted the document, folded it and put it away – an indication we would not be reading or debating it at that moment.  She started to speak again about how abortion is a right, etc., and for us to hear her out without being judgmental. (That really seemed to be a huge concern for herSharon smiled and said, “Like I said before, we are not here to judge and I want you to know I love you.”  The woman looked puzzled and said, “How can you love me, you don’t even know me.”  I turned to her and said, “And God loves you.” She backed away with no response.  She carried a sign with a verse from the Bible:   Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.”  In other words, a baby isn’t a baby until it takes a breath. Pretty far reaching, desperate and sad that pro-aborts think that God's creation of Adam proves a baby is not a person until it is born.  
The snow was getting heavier and Marchers gathered for the closing rally. The pro-choicers were still trying (unsuccessfully) in their attempt to drown out the Silent No More testimonies, but as the weather worsened they left.  The Marchers remained and the Silent No More testimonies continued. 




Just as light dispels the darkness, truth withstands the storm.   
 
(Side Note:  While preparing this post, I could not find the document the  pro-choice woman gave us.  I called Sharon and surprisingly, she too had tried to locate it to no avail.  We were both convinced God didn't want us to see His words twisted, of which Satan is so adept.)   
Janet Morana (Co-founder of Silent No More and
Executive Director of Priests for Life)
 speaking to the crowd prior to the
testimonies. 


 With some of my Silent No More Sisters,
prior to giving testimonies.
Pictured: Me, Laura Brown, Kelly Lang,
Leslie Blackwell, Mary Kominsky,  Jacquie Stalnaker 
So proud of and inspired by all who spoke.




Giving my testimony alongside
Georgette Forney (Co-founder of Silent
No More and President of
Anglicans for Life)














Stay tuned:  Final Chapter ~ Wrapping it Up