Tag Archives: inspirational

Sagan Quote

2 Jun

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Vast Love

31 May

The Brilliant Landlord

30 Mar

Whew, these past few days have been busy. Between celebrating my birthday with friends and family, prepping for the move, and the usual shenanigans with my bestie, I haven’t had much time for sharing interesting articles. My poor browser window is drowning in tabs from science websites.
I currently live down the street from a Planned Parenthood clinic, which I used to volunteer for often in college. I admire their dedication to public health and reproductive education, which are two of my biggest passions. And of course, it’s spring time, which means all the nasty protesters have come out to play. I used to pass by them often while walking to class. While I respect their right to protest, they do tend to put me in a less-than-cheery mood.
Here is an amazing story to lift your day. A man, whose family has owned land leased to a reproductive clinic for generations. He’s had to deal with protesters for literally his entire life, and as a result has developed an admirable amount of patience and restraint. However, when they took things too far by harassing his little girl at school and calling his home at all hours, he took action in a very creative way, and started a movement.

Payback Is a Bitch for Abortion Clinic Protestors, Thanks to a Brilliant Landlord

by Cassie Murdock of Jezebel

Todd Stave has the unenviable position of being the landlord of a building in Germantown, Maryland, which he leases to an abortion provider called Reproductive Health Services Clinic. So he knows a little something about dealing patiently with anti-abortion protesters. But when they started calling him at home at all hours and harassing his family, he got fed up and came up with a very clever solution: Do unto others as they have been doing unto you.

Problems really began for Stave at the end of 2010, when he leased his building to LeRoy Carhart, one of the only doctors in the U.S. who openly acknowledges that he performs late-term abortions. As you can imagine, he’s a controversial man, and protesters come from far and wide. There is a constant group of them parked outside, praying and holding up signs, many of which have pictures of mangled fetuses. That’s pretty much a landlord’s nightmare, and yet Stave has a very calm attitude about it. He told Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post this week,

It’s their right. They are protected by the First Amendment. And outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place for them to express their views.

If you’re wondering how Stave can remain so relaxed about the situation, he explains, “I’ve been a member of this fight since Roe v. Wade. Since I was 5 years old.” You see, the clinic used to belong to his father, and then his sister ran it. When he was younger, the office was firebombed, and protesters were often gathered outside his dad’s house. So he’s used to a certain level of harassment and he’ll tolerate it — but only up to a point. And recently, the usually calm, cool, and collected Stave was pushed to his limit.

It’s common practice for anti-abortion protesters to disseminate doctors’ personal information and urge people to harass them—and it can clearly go far beyond that, as with the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas. LeRoy Carhart, who’s now in Stave’s clinic, had his Nebraska farm burned to the ground back in 1991. But protesters in Maryland figured out they could start targeting Stave for owning the clinic’s property. He was largely unfazed by this campaign, until last fall when they took it too far. On his daughter’s first day in middle school, a large group of people protested outside her school, and then they showed up again for back-to-school night. They were naturally carrying signs with his name and contact info and those nasty pictures of fetuses.

Stave was furious, and then it got even worse. Dozens of the protestors began calling him at home, around the clock. His friends wanted to help him fight back; that’s when Stave had the brilliant idea of turning the tables on his tormentors. He began recording the names and numbers of the assholes who called, and then he gave the list of info to his friends and asked them to call these people back on his behalf. Shazam! And the really smart part was that when someone from Team Stave called, they always took the high road. He explains,

In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers. They cannot terminate the lease, and they do not want to. They support women’s rights.

Genius. While it was initially only a few friends doing the calling, the group quickly expanded. Soon, he was up to having 1,000 callers at his disposal. And they got crafty too. They’d look up information on the people who’d placed unwanted calls to Stave, and then when they called, they’d drop the names of the person’s children or their school into the conversation. They’d also, said Stave, “tell them that we bless their home on such and such street,” and then name their address. Are you getting shivers up you’re spine yet? Stave’s calling force became so powerful that sometimes he was able to hammer an unwanted caller with up to 5,000 calls in return. Looks like two can play at this game, stalkers.

Stave’s approach was so appealing that he was flooded with people from all over wanting to help. So he organized Voice of Choice, which now has about 3,000 volunteers. They don’t just fight back for Stave anymore. They’ll make calls on behalf of whoever is being bullied by anti-abortion protesters, whether it’s a doctor or a landlord or their family.

When asked if he thought this method of payback was harsh, Stave said no: “We gave them back what they gave us.” Actually, not even. You gave back a mild, family-friendly version of what they gave to you. You proved to them that you know where they live and who their children are, but you didn’t show up at their homes and schools and threaten them. You didn’t come onto their lawn with posters detailing terrible imaginary things that they’ve done. You’re serving up Revenge Lite™: Tastes great, less killing.

What’s more, Stave is strict about who Voice of Choice will make calls for. If it’s just run-of-the-mill protests outside clinics, he won’t help them because he believes in people’s First Amendment right to be out there saying what’s on their mind. Protestors must be personally harassing doctors or landlords in order for Stave to step in. If only abortion opponents had the same respect for people doing what they were allowed by law to do. Ahem.

So this is the part where the evil bullies who’ve plagued him (and others) at all hours of the day or night learn their lesson after having a taste of their own medicine, right? Yep, yep. They all realized they were being horrible, and now every anti-abortion protester is treating their pro-choice opponents with the utmost respect. HA. No. Actually this is the part in the story where it gets much worse. Ready?

Since Voice of Choice has been such a success, Stave was honored by NARAL in California last week. Knowing that he was going to be out of town receiving the award, his personal band of haters chose that moment to canvass his neighborhood with fliers that had a photo of Stave in a Nazi uniform, photos of Holocaust victims, and bloody fetuses. [Pause for a brief rage-stroke intermission.] Of course, the fliers had Stave’s contact information—and all of the phone numbers and addresses for other members of his family.

This goes without saying but, nevertheless: This is so incredibly fucked up. First of all, the guy owns a building, not a concentration camp. Second of all, what kind of person picks up a flier like that and thinks, “I need to get in touch with this Nazi!” God help us all.

Obviously Stave’s daughter and all of his neighbors saw the fliers, but the contact information for Stave’s family members must have been spread around. Because on Monday an abortion protestor showed up at the dental office owned by Stave’s brother-in-law and began doing his abortion-protestor routine outside. That’s such a great idea — I’m sure the random patient walking in for a cleaning is totally going to make the connection that the dentist’s brother-in-law owns a building where there’s an abortion clinic, and therefore abortion is wrong. At this point, Stave was back in town, so he went over to confront the protestor. And when he got there, the creep said, “How was your trip to San Francisco?” Deep inhale, slow exhale.

It is amazing that people like Stave have fortitude to stand up to psychos like this coming at them from every direction, but thank heavens they do, because, honestly, the thought that these protesters get away with so much is sickening. It’s hard to know where these nutcases will end when it comes to making Stave’s life a living hell—but it’s probably not going to get any better now that he’s getting more and more national media attention.

At least we know he’s got plenty of backup from Voice of Choice. The worse these people get, the longer VoC can keep them on the phone, telling them all about the many “blessings and prayers” they’re sending to their home addresses and to the locations of their children’s daycare centers. Then everyone will be so busy making and receiving calls that they’ll have less time to spend protesting outside clinics. And maybe in the future, we’ll get to a magical place where both sides are talking to each other 100 percent of the time, and a woman will be able to walk right up to the front door of an abortion clinic without being harassed—because everyone will be so busy talking on the phone to their enemies to notice or care what she’s choosing to do with her body.

A clinic’s landlord turns the tables on anti-abortion protesters [Washington Post]

Seven Reasons You Should Reach Out To Every Person Ever

22 Mar

I found this post at Hello Giggles, written by the lovely Amanda Olsen.

1.)  We’re all alone well, kind of.  This sounds grim, but it’s not! There is a freedom in realizing and embracing the fact that at the end of the day you’re sitting in your own skin with your own thoughts and realities.  One of the most beautiful parts of being alive and continually pushed into the world is knowing that every single person on the planet also goes to bed in their own skin, with their own thoughts and realities.  Learning and exploring new people offers you the opportunity to change some wobbly realities you’ve created and equally allows you to challenge someone else’s.

2.)  Everyone wants to be loved. I believe this from the very bottom of my heart.  Some people spend whole lifetimes trying to deny themselves the magic and wonder of being loved.  The world is weird, man.  People are becoming increasingly disconnected from other people and I can only conclude that this is because of an underlying fear of really sharing ones self with another soul.  Its scary, but even if you open that door and subsequently have to shut it, I guarantee your heart is better for it.

3.)  People are really weird. Some of the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever met are also the weirdest.  The old saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” couldn’t be more true.  Some people who appear to be so transparent can sometimes end up being the most hidden.  And some of the most nondescript can end up being the most magical and unhinged.

4.)  You’re not better than anyone. This is not a race, y’all.  I had a crash course lesson in this when I was 16 years old.  Suddenly I realized that competing against the world at large would only bring me misery, and worse off, would be a complete waste of my precious time in this brilliant and bizarre world.  Quit comparing.  Quit hiding yourself.  There’s always someone who is more _______than you.  Find yourself and love the s**t out of it.  If you can’t- who will?

5.)  Mean people are just fearful. It’s hard to not return rudeness with rudeness.  I’ve slowly learned this since moving to the east coast.  But if she’s rude to you, and you’re rude to her where do you end up? Next time someone is mean to you or cruel, remind yourself that that person is just fighting a battle they haven’t overcome yet and that most likely, that s**t aint yours to bother with.  Let it go and it will let go of you.

6.)  Everyone’s a teacher. At some point you realize that you’re an eternal student. People all around you are here to show you something new.  Listen to other people.  When you are most convicted about your own beliefs it is a prime opportunity to step back for a moment, truly listen to the other side and work out whether or not you subscribe to their belief or sentiment. You’ve changed people’s minds about a lot of things, let them change yours.

7.)  Being tender and open is beautiful.  As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed.  Too sensitive.  Too mushy.  Too wishy washy. Blah blah.  Don’t let someone steal your tenderness.  Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart.  Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep…feel it all – look around you- all of this is for you.  Take it and have gratitude.  Give it and feel love.

Taking Comfort

12 Mar

I love a good piece of inspirational writing. This past year has brought an immense amount of difficult change into my life. For the first time in my life, I am facing serious unemployment. Not the “Oh, I left my job so I can focus more on school” kind of unemployment, but the “I’ve just graduated and need to start a new career where I am competing against applicants much more qualified than I am, and how the hell do I get experience when all the jobs require previous experience” kind of unemployment. I have an unpleasant amount school debt. I’ve endured multiple deaths, including that of my amazing boyfriend, my favorite grandfather, a wonderful coworker, a beautiful aunt, and my super awesome red tailed boa (Rest in peace, Mr. Cupcake). I may potentially move to a new city, where I know no one and will have to endure -40F temperatures.

So yeah, waking up to a great cup of coffee and this beautiful piece of inspirational writing by comedy writer Sarah May Bates was a wonderful way to start my day. I hope it brightens your day as well.

TAKE COMFORT

by Sarah May Bates

We can all take comfort in the simple knowledge we have. Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to. It’s a part of being self-protective, self-sufficient, proactive: to get wrapped up in solving things and controlling or predicting the outcome of our lives. To know too much about people and how they work can sometimes help us, but more often, it drives us a bit mad. A mantra of sorts that can help you to let go of the things you can’t but want to control is simply “take comfort”. Take comfort in your self, your awareness, and that which is concrete.

Whether it’s a first date you’re preparing for and you feel yourself already worried about if the relationship one day ends, or you’re obsessed with the idea that something you said wasn’t right, take comfort in the facts and let it go. When I begin to obsess about the “what-ifs” of a situation, when I feel I can see something on the horizon or I’ve been able to sense something through subtle cues, I know I cannot act on that information, and in order to get to the right place, meaning a place where I’m not going in circles, I have to rely on the simple truths. A simple truth being: “I trust this person.” “I will figure out what to do if X scenario happens.” “I am kind and loving, and human.” Or “I want to enjoy this, regardless of the future, which I cannot know.”

You can hold tight to facts or truths that you know, despite the buzzing “what-ifs” that fly around you. In a way, you can walk forward stronger and more assured because you are putting faith in yourself being okay with any outcome. You can’t control people or what they do, and you can’t make everything happen perfectly in life. You can however, assure that you feel okay and peaceful throughout all of it.

Take comfort in the knowledge that you will be okay. No matter what. You are strong, you will take care of yourself and heal, and you will grow stronger every day. It’s a simple mantra, but I offer it with the hopes that it works for you too.
Happy Monday, love to you all.

– xox Sarah

*****

You can read the original here, as well as explore more of Hello Giggles, a wonderful website for women.