Thursday, January 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 8 - Roe-ing, Litigating, Mama-ing, Resoluting, Kung Fu Panda-ing, and Disney-ing!

Well, these takes may not be “Quick”, but they are meaningful (in the sense that I’m not just sharing “cool things that I’ve read” as I do with a lot of my takes).  So, here they are – 7 Quick Takes on the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the complexities of litigating a case (probably a yawn!, but I find it interesting and it is my blog, after all), my sweet and caring boys, a New Year’s Resolution check-in, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Disney, Disney, and more Disney!  Heck, I had so much content for these takes that I even had to do an overflow post to cover
some additional “kid moments” that I couldn’t fit here!  How’s that for overachiever?

CATHOLIC take:  This week is a sad week.  I don’t like to begin on a sad note, but this week is a somber reminder of one of the greatest challenges facing pro-life Christians.  Abortion.  Wednesday was the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. 

Now, sure, there is a silver lining.  We have parades and gatherings that bring the pro-life community together.  There are articles and blog posts galore about great pro-life topics.  Great for “awareness” and “morale” and “unity”.  But . . . 57 million babies lost . . . because of a choice?  Since having kids, this statistic has become even more incomprehensible.  I know it’s a cliché, but every baby is a little miracle.  And a boatload of blessings.  Even when unplanned (as all three of my children were).  And the innocence of a baby takes my breath away.  To think of a baby being killed intentionally, well, it just hurts me on the inside.

Historically, I know that the slaughter of babies has happened before.  There were the “Holy Innocents”, the Holocaust children, and even the aborted and abandoned children in countries like China.  Abortion is only another permutation of humanity’s historical disregard for human life.  But what comfort is that?  I really wish it wasn’t so “close to home” for me, but I really feel these emotions.  I just feel so helpless.  This is shameful to admit, but I even feel like my prayers aren’t enough.  I know I shouldn’t feel like that --- prayer is the only thing that can fix what seems un-fixable; it is the only way to usher in a miracle, but I still struggle with feeling like it’s inadequate.

But I do pray.  I have been praying the USCCB’s 9 Days for Life novena.  Speaking of, the reason I started this take was to share this reflection from the day of the anniversary:

Today, on this 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we consider the past four decades in which our society has legally permitted abortion and wandered far from God. Instead of accepting children in joy and hope, many hearts seem hardened against making commitments to others, fearing the demands others may make on our time or our freedom. We are becoming a culture marked by rejection, by loneliness and sorrow. In today’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus grieved over the Pharisees’ hardness of heart, as he heals the man with the withered hand. They remained silent when Jesus pointedly asked them: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Our laws now make it legal to destroy life by abortion, by abortifacient drugs, in destructive embryo research, in the course of in vitro fertilization procedures, and in some states by assisted suicide and the death penalty. How Jesus must grieve over this culture of death! Let us open our hearts in faith, entrusting our culture to the healing power of Christ, the One who has overcome sin and the power of evil.
I know that Satan wins when I can’t find joy.  I know Satan wins when I let myself be discouraged by abortion in America and the world.  I know Satan wins when I’m overcome with feelings of despair at the loss of human life (and the blessings that multiply with each new baby born) from abortion.  I need to cast Satan out.  Can I humbly ask that, while you pray for an end to abortion and for the mamas, babies, and others harmed by abortion, you offer up a very small prayer for the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel on my behalf?  I need not to be overcome by such feelings.  I probably am pushing it, but maybe you could also pray for my discernment because, perhaps, there is a way that these feelings can be channeled into something productive for the pro-life movement, while at the same time not disrupting the teeter-totter of work/family/life balance I am trying to navigate?  Many thanks. 

LAWYER take: Last week, I wrote about the complaints I hear about litigation taking too long and costing too much.  I mentioned the infinite expanse of law out there, which makes research, analysis, and compliance so complicated and expensive.  That is a big part of the problem.  But another component is the more general misapprehension in the general population of what all is involved in seeing a lawsuit through to its end.  When you litigate a complex matter well (particularly when the other side is also very competently represented), it takes a ton of time and money just to get to trial. 

On TV, we skip all of these steps and usually jump straight to a trial.  But consider that most complex cases follow a much longer path: (1) Client seeks representation to file lawsuit. (2) Lawyer reviews all documents provided by client and conducts other pre-suit investigations (e.g., possible site visits, medical records request, etc., depending on what type of case it is).  (3) Lawyer begins by sending a demand letter (letter to request the other side to do something to fix the issue prior to filing lawsuit).  (4) Lawyer drafts and files lawsuit.  (5) Lawsuit is served on opposing party, who then retains counsel.  (6) Opposing counsel requests an extension to get up to speed, conduct investigation, etc.  (7) Opposing counsel files preliminary motion to get the case thrown out on a technical basis (i.e., Motion to Dismiss).  (8) Research is conducted to analyze preliminary motion and prove that same has no merit.  (9) Hearing before court on preliminary motion.  (10) Wash and repeat as necessary until all preliminary motions have been heard and opposing counsel finally files a written answer to the lawsuit and defenses to it.  (11) Discovery begins.  Both parties request other party to give them volumes and volumes of documents, answer written questions, participate in depositions (added expense of a court reporter = not cheap), etc.  (12) Both parties review and analyze the gamut of documents, responses, and information gleaned from the discovery.  They think of additional questions.  More discovery is served.  More depositions are done.  If any discovery objections are posed, the merit of those objections is researched and can result in more hearings.  (13) Wash and repeat as necessary until all discovery is completed and discovery objections resolved.  (14) Enter the expert witnesses.  Experts are frequently used to do everything from handwriting analysis to review of a business’ accounts/books to medical record analysis and so on.  If a party decides they need an expert, the attorney is usually tasked with interviewing and finding one and then getting all of the paperwork/information to the expert so the expert can form and write up an opinion, which the attorney then has to read and discuss with the expert in order to understand.  The expert and opinion must be formally disclosed to the other side and then the other side typically does additional discovery and depositions.  Experts charge an hourly fee and a reporting fee for all of this work (often 2-3 times as much as lawyers do).  (15) Court orders a mediation.  Mediation conducted.  Mediator gets paid.  (15) Usually, one or both parties will then file motions to have the case resolved on the law alone.  Lots of writing and research go into these motions.  And then another hearing.  Or hearings.  (16)  Lots of trial preparation, witness meetings/interviews and preparation, motions in limine, and finally trial.  (17) Post-trial motions, execution, and potentially an appeal.  Tired yet?  As I said, lots of time and money . . . .

MAMA take:  My boys are just the sweetest.  The absolute sweetest.  They care openly about each other, and it just warms my heart.  Not that they never fight/argue, but those incidents are overshadowed when they take care of each other.  And pay attention to ensuring that no one in our family is left alone.  Ever.  They are used to being surrounded by family, other children, and others outside of our home.  In their little minds, that’s the way it should always be.  Case in point:  In the mornings, I will frequently put the baby in his bouncer near my older boys while they eat breakfast.  When the boys are done, they sometimes come into our bedroom or go in the playroom.  But never without the baby.  They will use the handle on the baby’s bouncer to drag him with them.  I’ll turn around to see my preschooler pulling the bouncer with a laughing baby in it (he loves being close to and interacting with his brothers) while our two-year-old follows behind.  Last week, my preschooler explained earnestly with great concern, “Mommy, I, I brought Baby with me because I, I didn’t want him to be left all alone, lonely in the dining room all by himself  Now, he can be with the rest of the family.”  My smile widened and my heart warmed.   Beautiful moment.

We are now a few weeks into the New Year, so I figure it’s time to check in on New Year’s Resolutions.  So far . . . not so good. 

1)      Weight loss:  Well, I have gone back to Weight Watchers and even bought myself one of those nifty Active Links, but sticking to the plan has been hard and exercising has been nearly impossible since my bad knee has been acting up.  Argh!   

2)      Bible Reading:  This was going really well until last week when life overtook me.  My bookmark is stuck on the reading for January ___.  I need to get back into it. 

3)      House Organization:  Ummmmmm . . . yeah . . . no comment

4)      Entering billable hours daily.  I’ve been 50% better about this one.  Progress, but still need improvement.

5)      Adding 2-3 posts of meaningful content (not just 7 Quick Takes) to my blog each month.  Well . . . I’ve done better in the last few weeks, but, truth be told, this one is disappointing.  I have dozens of bullet points with great ideas for blog posts.  But I’ve yet to really translate them into actual posts.  I guess I give myself a “C” on this one.  Looking to improve.

I also had wanted to add some other resolutions, i.e, work-related client development, implementing a plan to “up” the quality of our evening routine (particularly dinner and quality family time --- it seriously should not be too much to ask for a decent meal eaten with all the family at one table with the TV off, plus a little one-on-one reading time per child, but that really seems overwhelming on most nights when we can barely cram in some form of sustenance and baths), etc., but given the lackluster progress I’ve made on my resolutions above, I think I may have to postpone those resolutions.  Time to re-focus on the resolutions I made.

Just last week, I was clicking channels and happened to flip to this scene from Kung Fu Panda 2.

Did anyone else cry when they watched this scene?  Just me?  Yeah, that’s kinda what I thought . . .

All kidding aside, it has been a really long time since I’ve had such a visceral reaction to a movie scene (and I don’t think I’ve ever had such a reaction to an animated film).  I couldn’t help it --- I totally started crying.  Hard.  Watching the mom try so hard to protect her baby boy, watching her come to the realization that she has no choice but to give him up, watching her say good-bye while he coos and smiles up at her innocently and with total dependence and trust and ignorance of what is about to happen, watching her run off as the wolves chased her, watching her baby reach out for her . . . and continue to reach . . . but she is gone . . . Gosh, here I go again. . . .  I just couldn’t stop the tears.  Hubby was watching TV with me that night.  Embarrassed, I tried to hide my tears, but I couldn’t.  Hubby spotted me.  He was kind.  He comforted me.  It was what I needed.

But I was so rattled.  I think this scene plays into some of my deepest fears about love, sacrifice, children, and the fragility and unpredictability of life.  With great love comes the potential for great sorrow, great loss, and great despair.  It just hit me hard.  The fear, that is.  I’m coming to realize that “fear” is Satan’s strongest weapon against me.  I need to keep praying on it because it challenges my faith.  The phrase “Be Not Afraid” appears in the Bible more than any other.  God, help me to see that in the face of fear and doubt.

Last week, I told you that the fam and I were headed to Disney World.  So we did.  And it was A-MAZ-ING.  As always.  Albeit colder than  normal, but then again, there is a polar vortex converging on our country.  I just love Disney.  It’s not too far away (from us, at least), but somehow, when I walk through those gates, my mind instantly transitions into “Vacation Mode”.  I don’t think about work, my messy/disorganized house, laundry, or any of the other stresses of daily life.  I’m fully present in the moment and with my family.  It truly is the best ever.

Not to mention it gave me my new all-time favorite family photo.  Which, unfortunately, is stored away on my digital camera.  That I don’t know how to download from.  Sorry for the “tease”, but only Hubby understands that camera.  Maybe if we all ask really nicely, he’ll download it this weekend so I can share?  J

Speaking of Disney, I could not be more excited.  Hubby and I are coming up on our five-year wedding anniversary, so we decided to plan a 4-day Disney family weekend.  FOUR.  WHOLE.  DAYS.  OF.  DISNEY!  I may explode with excitement at any moment, true instantaneous combustion-style!   

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. #2: I hear you. I did this kind of litigation for two years, and I worked on one case for most of those two years. There was only one courtroom hearing the whole time I was there (and another right after I left). The rest was all research, brief-writing, depositions, and document, documents, documents. . . . My husband and I watched a few episodes of "The Good Wife," before I got sick of it. New associate with only two years of experience? Boom, in the courtroom for a murder trial, first day. And all her "work" involves fun stuff like crime scene investigations. I know things move more quickly for criminal cases but still . . . . Oh, and evidence is always a breeze to introduce on tv. The short time I did actual trial work, I think most of my time was spent figuring out how to introduce evidence. Okay, rant over. :-)

    1. Oh my gosh, there is nothing more frustrating than watching lawyers on TV! I mean, seriously, it's soooooooooooooo far from reality! The only "lawyer" show I can stomach much is Law & Order. They still take liberties (like you said -- rules of evidence, anyone?), but not as bad as other shows . . . Also, I've never practiced criminal law, so I don't have much experience from which to ground criticism. For the most part, I've given up any legal shows. Well, except for Castle. Does that count? Gosh, I love Castle . . . Cracks. Me. Up!

  2. Ahhh Disney World sounds amazing!! And your lawyer take makes me glad I'm going into medicine and not law :)

    1. Oh, Disney is just the best! It holds a special significance for Hubby and me because we went there on our second date (which also happened to be the first time I ever went to Disney --- I grew up in the Midwest). And, honestly, there are PLENTY of moments when I think the same thing about medicine/law!!

  3. Love your description of the litigation process and all that doesn't end up on TV. I'm a paralegal and I see a lot more discovery than trial time (as do lawyers I know) but trying to explain what I actually do is hard sometimes. I despise doing timesheets!

    Welcome to the Catholic Blog Directory. I'd like to invite you to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share posts with each other. This week's host post is at

    1. Oh my gosh, I am totally with you! Timesheets are the WORST!!!

      Thanks for the invite! I will check it out. This week will be a bit hairy with our anniversary getaway, but maybe next week? Thanks again!!!