Saturday, March 31, 2012

You're invited! - day 39

by Dave

I would like to personally invite you to our Closing Celebration for
the end of the Spring 40 Days for Life campaign.
We have arranged to have Alanna Gomez give a Pro-Life Apologetics
overview for us.  We also be able to fellowship and swap stories of
our adventures.

When:  Saturday, March 31, 4:00 - 5:30
Where: across the park - where everyone gets the signs
If you can bring a snack to share, great, but this is not a
requirement.  Please just come join us.
See you then,
Committe member,
Calgary 40 DFL

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 38 - what comes out at the corner

It's interesting, the range of emotion that comes to that non-remarkable street corner across from the Kensington abortion clinic. The ones who come to pray bring one set - and the world that drives by - or uses that clinic brings another set. 

People come to pray - because they're hurting for the loss of life, but there are others in our city that are hurt by our very presence. There's a lot of anger - sometimes because there's no room for an unpopular voice of dissent to the status quo, sometimes because so many have been wounded by abortion... some people are just angry. There is shame and guilt too - there is sometimes bitter resentment... fear, grief, hope...

There's compassion, there's understanding, there's love on our side of the sidewalk... Some who drive by feel relief - that someone is doing something... some are moved to join us, to add their voice and their presence to our vigil. 

Some wish we would go away - they see cruelty because they're unable to see past the crisis to the *baby* who deserves a chance to live. 

Sometimes i feel this incredible thickness where all this emotion comes to a head on this dirty sidewalk.  i wonder if we went away... if we quit being a voice - if that thickness, that emotion... would go away. 

But i know it won't.  It can't.  The battle that's waged on that street corner is bigger than sorrow, hurt feelings and the middle finger. There is a spiritual war being waged...

and i want to be a part of it...

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. ephesians 6:10-18

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 37 - "i had an abortion"

We've stood on that street corner dozens of times together.  We met on that street corner, visited, made friends, and kept each other warm.  She's a do-er... a woman of action, finding needs to be met, and meeting them.  i think she must vigil every day, because every time i come - she's already there... pacing that sidewalk faithfully - praying for the families that come looking for solutions in that clinic across the street. 
i arrive and am frustrated with myself for not dressing warmer.  You'd think i'd have learned my lesson by now, but no... constantly i'm arriving and thinking to myself... 'man, it's colder than i thought...'  But an hour's not too long to stand in the cold, so i make do.  i'm still gathering my scattered thoughts - and she's talking to me... she's telling me how someone yelled at her, "Go find something useful to do!"
i laugh - knowing there aren't a lot of 73 year old women who do as much as this one does - bringing meals to those who need them, vigilling in the cold hour after hour, translating encouraging books and messages into her first language for those back home who have never learned english...
"Yes," i say, "There are a lot of people who don't see the value in standing here and praying for those tiny lives aren't there?"
"i had an abortion."
i hear the words, but i'm sure i must not have heard correctly. i wasn't looking at her... but i am now... and her brown eyes are searching my face, watching my reaction... seeing the surprise that's registering there.  i feel my face crumble as it mirrors hers, and i grab her and wrap my arms around her. 
She's talking quickly now... and tears flow down her still-beautiful face - wetting the front of her warm jacket.  She was only twenty.  She had to pay for it herself out of her meagre paycheque.  She describes feeling robbed, lost, without hope or options. 
i'm crying with her - as we stand a stone's throw from the abortion clinic where our tax dollars pay for the same heartache thousands of times over every year. 
"If i would have seen people praying... outside that hospital, i would have run.  i never could have done it.  If i could only go in there, i know what's happening in there... i know how that life gets taken... i could tell them... " She breaks off sobbing. 
She tells me how she ran from her shame - threw herself away from family and immersed herself in labour... working constantly to dull the pain. 
Her voice rises and breaks into a cry, "i was dead inside.  i hate myself i HATE myself."
& in that moment, i hate abortion.  i do.  i hate the agony that it brings, i hate that it brought death to a child who should now be a 53 year old grandmother, i hate the pain that i see on my friend's face as she relives her agony.  i hate that this "solution" leaves ugly gaping wounds - and steals, kills and destroys. 
"God now... He's healing me."
& i see that He is - Redeemer, Healer, Father. 
i want to croon, to hold her like a mama holds her baby... i ask her if i can pray for her... because this sadness is too overwhelming.  It's too consuming.  It's too big - this ancient grief over a half a century borne on her shoulders. 
i pray... stumbling, quaking words - trusting that my Father in Heaven will one day make it all right... i pray that she will have faith that one day, she will meet this tiny one who didn't get the chance to live. 
Her shout interrupts my prayer and she adds, "Yes!  I believe it, i believe that!"
& i believe it too... i believe that there is healing for every broken hearted mama in Calgary who needs forgiveness and tastes the bitter regret of an abortion.  i believe that the God of the universe will do right - & there will be no more tears when we live with Him. 
My friend has to leave - i thank her for sharing her story with me.  i ask her if i can share it with all of you - & she says, "Yes, yes!!  If i can help even one woman..."
She's gone, and my eyes are closed in prayer...
i look up, and i see a man escorting a woman from that clinic to a waiting car. 
She's in her pyjamas... and she's shaky on her feet. 
The horror of the reality of abortion and the picture of the sorrow that could be this woman's future is too fresh in my mind - i'm undone. 
i hold my sign a little higher as their car pulls out of the parking lot. 
i see her face white in the window of the car.  She's looking right at me. 
"You are loved..." my sign proclaims.
i'm crying that horrible ugly cry... and i know i look like a lunatic - so overcome in that moment by what i know has happened... just like it happened 53 years ago.  i grieve for that little life... and the little life lost all those decades ago. 
"Oh, Father," i pray, "show her that truth."
The light changes, and the car pulls out of the parking lot - and becomes lost in the flow of traffic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 36 - as long as... repost & update

i'm re-posting this beautiful post my sister wrote during our last vigil.  As i write this, my niece Sadie is over half way done her chemo treatments for LCH.  It has been a rough year - praying, hoping and trusting - and leaving her precious life in the faithful hands of the Father who loves her the most. 

by jessica

When I was pregnant with our little Eva, a family friend asked my husband Curt if he was looking forward to having a boy or a girl.
"Well, it doesn't really matter!"
She laughed and then said something that a person hears a lot when they are expecting:
"Yeah, i guess so. As long as the baby is healthy!"
Curt blurted out, "Actually, that doesn't really matter either."
She looked a little taken aback.  Curt tried to explain what he meant. "Well, i know what you mean but... We've had 6 children born to us so far. They were all "healthy" and "perfect". Seven years after our first son was born, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. At three, our daughter was diagnosed with a rare hormonal deficiency called diabetes insipidus, and then at 5, it was discovered that this original diagnosis was caused by a rare cancer-like disease growing on her pituitary. There are no guarantees in life, and although we don't want our children to be in pain, we know that even this present suffering can be "worked out" for good as we love and train our children in the middle of their suffering."  
When he got home that night, he brought up the conversation with me and how he had surprised himself with what he had blurted out. "But Jess, it's true."
Yeah, it is.
Why do we say those words... "As long as they are healthy?"
"As long as they are healthy..." what?
-then i'll be happy?
-then i'll be thankful?
-then i'll know that the pregnancy was "worth it"?
-then i'll know that they will have an easy life and not worry?
Not true.
If they are not healthy... then what? 
What will be lost?
Our joy?
Our faith?
Our love?
Our peace?
Our patience?
Our self control?
Our goodness?
Our kindness?
Our faithfulness?
My children are in your hands.
I give them back to you.
With their strengths,
with their frailties....
as long as they remain in your love...
then I'll know that they have been *fully delivered*.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 35 - need help?

It was that damp cold - snowing great, huge flakes that landed and melted after a pretty, swirling descent.   i know spring is coming... and this vigil is days away from it's close. 
It seems that there are others there praying almost every time i go now. The organizers who live close by have commented that this seems to be the most successful campaign so far, a more consistent presence - and so many new faces.  This day, there's a mother praying with her daughter, one of my faithful 'vigil' friends is there too - her years don't keep her away, and i'm sure she must go every day - hour after hour - praying, encouraging other believers and being a visible presence for those who feel forsaken by the world on this day they've been brought to face the choice of life or death.  My friend and i grab signs - and take our little space on the edge of that busy little sidewalk. 
i'm encouraged by the growing numbers... by the ladies who 'made a day of it' and traveled 2.5 hours either way, praying in the cold for a full 5 hours, the mama who came to pray when she made the long trek to Calgary for her midwife appointment, the people who drive from the outskirts of our city, through traffic, making time in their schedules for this... because praying for an end to abortion?  It's important to us. 

Father God, be with us as we finish up these last days of this vigil - build strong families in Calgary and gently open the eyes of our city to the painful truth of abortion.  amen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

day 34 - it's not over yet

A repost today... i wrote those words, "it's not over" at the end of this post - hoping & believing that one day it will be over. One day, our culture will begin to see the value of human life once more... One day, babies will be protected in their mother's wombs... This is an issue that is worth stepping out of your comfort zone on.


We got to the vigil in the afternoon... i brought some girls to play at the park, and i brought my heart, heavy with questions to that street corner where i have learned that He is faithful to meet with me. 
i ache for all involved.  For that poor man i saw carrying garbage bags from the back of the facility, for the taxi drivers who come to pick up those women who have come here alone, for the ones who stepped out in faith to organize a vigil in our city - and sustain negativity from without - and even from within. 
Oh, Father - i'm so weak and ignorant.  i have so much to learn.  It's bigger than i thought it was, and the battle - that wages not against flesh and blood - is so much more sophisticated than this 35 year old stay at home mom. 
My understanding comes so slowly.  Teach me, teach me, teach me...
i get home, and i hide in my husband's office.  i bow my head and let the tears fall. 
In my honesty, i look at the ugliness that abounds, and give words to the things that try to make me run. 
i want to be liked.  But what i have to say... it's so hard to hear.  There will be persecution for speaking truth. 
i'm so ignorant.  But i refuse to stay there.  i want to learn, i want to grow - and i'm willing to do whatever it takes to hear His voice. 
i'm such a coward.  But now that i see it, i can't hide behind it any longer.  God is faithful - and He will help me to obey, even when my flesh wants to shush truth - He'll help me proclaim it. 
My husband looks at me questioningly. 
"i'm so tired, babe..." i say wiping the tears from my eyes. 
"But it's not over."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 33 - softening, learning, growing

i find that the more i learn about prolife, the more i want to learn.  i subscribe to prolife publications and read and try to understand all the many difficulties that we're faced as we fight for this unpopular Truth in this moment of time, in this social climate. 
Maybe there are people reading today who see 40 Days for Life as their first cautious step into prolife (& what a beautiful place to do battle - on our knees in prayer for all of us affected by the killing of innocents)... & maybe there are people reading who want to learn more, to get better informed and grow as believers and prolifers. 
i'm sharing some links i've come across - feel free to share your favourite prolife links in the comments section & tell us what you're learning. 

Bonhoeffer on Abortion - a recent post on John Piper's site. 
LifeSite News - while not all their articles are about abortion, they'll definitely keep you informed of current events happening world wide in regards to prolife. 
Live Action - a youth led movement that sees abortion as the greatest human rights injustice of our time.
Survivors of Abortion - giving a voice to the voiceless - abortion from a perspective that is not often heard... the children that survived. 
Alberta Prolife - This is a great resource for those of us who live in Alberta to keep current on what is happening in our province.  ("Like" their facebook page too!)
Canadian Center for Bio-ethical Reform - (warning, this site has graphic images) - a group of activists whose goal is to make abortion unthinkable.  (i have been loving their 'beINSPIRED' series...)
Stephen Woodworth's motion for the Canadian government to discuss the humanity of the unborn in parliament could be a huge step for our country (see short 40 second video HERE)  - & visit the supporting site,
Defund Abortion in Alberta - another important step we need to take...

There are so many places to start - & i just want to invite you to let this 40 day campaign lead you deeper, farther, stronger - into the fight to end the killing in our country.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 32 - love mom, love baby

i love seeing home made signs when i come to the corner. i know that i have struggled with signs - such a small space to pour our my heart - such an imperfect language we use - when we can't convey it with the inflection of our voice - or the expression on our face.
We love mom. We love baby. Simple & true.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 31 - words

Sometimes the words of another allow us to pray the burden that's on our hearts.  This is a prayer that we often pray at our 40 Days for Life organizational meetings:

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.

I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the resurrection of Your Son.

I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.

I commit myself to be active in the prolife movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 30 - Save the date!

The little organizational committee for 40 Days for life is an eclectic ecumenical group of individuals.  We have quick meetings, share ideas, problem solve, plan and pray together. We're not overly special or gifted... we're not crazy brilliant or powerfully persuasive. 
But we're fairly consistent. 
This little group has just a tiny bit of boldness - swaddled in heaping mounds of love...
We have truth on our side, & a quiet confidence borne of the knowledge of that truth. 
This group of individuals that is small in number - has been an enormous source of encouragement for me over the past year.  i'm so grateful to God for introducing me to others who are passionate about seeing an end to abortion, talking about & grieving for the little lives lost & the mamas (who we love too) - that were left without hope, believing that they didn't have a better choice. 
So, to celebrate what the organizers (who live in eyesight of the Kensington clinic) are saying has been our most successful campaign so far - we want to invite you to a little victory party. 
We're hoping to have a couple of speakers - hopefully a little bit of prolife apologetics and a lot of encouragement from gathering together with other believers to discuss the fruit of our campaign.  It's chill - at a house - bring a snack to share, or don't.  We'd love to meet you!
Date: Saturday, March 31st
Time: 4-5pm
Information: Contact Dave - his email is dave.odland (at)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 29 - a post to explain who we are...

April 1st will mark the completion of Calgary's fifth 40 Days for Life campaign. 
Not sure what this is? 
This local peaceful prayer vigil gives individuals the opportunity to show their respect for life by signing up online at www.40daysforlife/calgary with friends and family to give an hour of time to join in the effort, through prayer and sacrifice, to bring about an end to abortion.  40 Days for life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of three components.  Most importantly, it is a time for prayer and fasting, secondly is the more visible  component of our campaign which is our peaceful presence at the Kensington abortion clinic in Calgary, where thousands of little ones are killed each year. Thirdly, there is a focus on 40 days of community outreach which can be accomplished simply by making an effort to talk to friends, family and neighbours about what it means to value human life at every age and level of development. 
During the 40 days of the vigil, volunteers use a convenient online sign up calendar to choose their time slot and are peacefully compliant with the injunction at the Kensington abortion clinic that restricts interaction and confrontation and keeps our presence to the other side of the street. Individuals who have become involved in the campaign have said that this intentional time of prayer has served to soften them to the horror abortion that tears apart hundreds of thousands of families in our nation every year.  Seeing the door swing open and closed as women meet their moment of crisis with the irreversible choice of abortion is sobering to say the least.
Internationally, in the few short years since 40 Days For Life began, there have been documented reports of over 5000 babies being rescued from abortion.  Over 60 abortion workers have quit their jobs and left the abortion industry and over 20 abortion clinics have shut their doors.  This is a campaign that is bearing good fruit. 
When we complete this campaign, we will begin looking forward to our fall campaign and praying that increasing numbers of believers will feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to join us on the sidewalk outside the clinic in Calgary as we pray for abortion to end in our city.  Will you consider joining us?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 28 - i could use another hour...

My friend came to pick me up so we could go to the vigil together.  It's always a little crazy in the mornings, getting some homeschool done, tidying breakfast & getting little ones going on tasks before leaving the house - with or without a few small people tagging along. 
This day was pretty chilly and we were leaving the little ones and going to the vigil ourselves.
"i'm sorry i'm late!" she apologized.
"No, i'm running late today too," i said, "i could have used another hour this morning..." But i leave the crumbs on my counter, and the fork on the floor.  i drop all - and pick up my gloves and my sign - i smooch downy head of tearful boy and go, promising to be back soon.
It was quiet there today. 
The man who always walks by me to buy his coffee at the gas station gave me a half grin & a head shake... and there was the usual bits of traffic waving or honking.  The guy who shouts out his window at me, "Save the babies!" made a pass by... & the cars came and went at that clinic. 
We were standing in silence when a car pulled out of the clinic. 
Sometimes they seem to leap at their opportunity to make that awkward turn out of the abortion clinic parking lot - and into the ebb and flow of normal traffic again...
"They must remember this day for the rest of their lives..." i murmur as a half thought to my friend who is beside me. 
"i'm sure they do." she replies. 
& it hits me again... this moment of crisis, this permanent decision... those unique little lives being taken.  This day - in all of it's hub bub might not stand out for me years from now.... but for some young mama & daddy, that frigid day in March will be forever engraved on their memory as the day they allowed the life entrusted to them to be taken away.  i'll come back here - as many times as i can... i'll find my way back to pray again, and again... but the passengers in that little vehicle with the dirty tail lights might only carry the memory of today's visit... and it will be vivid and permanent and fraught with the agony that left them desperate for a solution...
& i know that i will keep on praying and believing that God will allow me to see the end of abortion in my country...
And i will continue to pray for healing for each and every family that has walked the road that we saw those families walk today...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 27 - i hope i never get tired of...

i hope i never get tired of explaining why i am prolife... or of listening to the heartbreaking situations that brought people to that moment of crisis where they weighed their child's life in their hands - deciding whether or not to allow it to continue.  i hope i never get tired of responding with love, even when faced with anger or hurt... especially when faced with misconceptions about my character or blind hatred. 
This is too important to let my pride get in the way. 
i was encouraged this week to not let the fear of rejection keep me quiet... & i think that's good advice.  It hurts to be rejected or marginalized or dismissed - but sometimes we have to look past our own little hurt to the heart of a Father who is cheering for us as we step out in obedience. 
i hope i never get tired of obeying...

...but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 3:12b-14

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 26 - unity & the body

A couple of quotes from our facebook page:

"On Tuesday some friends and I took a tour of the Pregnancy Care Centre here in Calgary and was impressed at what a caring compassionate but also effective organization this city is blessed with. It was important for my friends and I to know about the support available to women in crisis pregnancies and be able point these women in the right direction should we have the opportunity. Now back to working my sign for tomorrows vigil, it feels to be doing something."

"Thank you to my friends who shared in heartfelt prayer at the fence with me today. Your presence brings such comfort and courage."

"All praise and glory be to God!
God loves you, and I’m praying for you! How true these words ring out; yet, I was blocked from Planned Parenthood’s Facebook Wall for sharing His love daily. My brothers and sisters, please continue this mission of love! Though you will meet hate, I will be praying for you, and God will be with you. Let us share His wondrous love for all!"

"My friend and I once again drove the 2.5 hours each way to be across the street from the clinic in Calgary yesterday, holding signs and silently praying and sighing for the little lives being lost.. We were there for about 5 hrs and amid the sadness and death..there were glimmers of hope... The man in the nearby store, who went from scornfully referring to us as "those protesters" to at the end of... the day saying he would never agree to his wife/girlfriend having an abortion and that he also hopes abortion will end! The couple who emerged from the clinic and made a point of stopping to wave (who knows what happened?), the brother who thought he was being supportive by bringing in his sister but changed his mind while talking to us while she was in the clinic and although it was too late for her baby who knows how many people will be touched by his shift of thinking. And his sister who we talked to and loved even when it was too late for her baby... God works in wonderful ways!"

This 40 Days for Life prayer vigil is such a beautiful opportunity to join together with other members of the Body to pray for an end to injustice.   i loved this post about unity & i decided to share it with you here today.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 25 - gimme a sign

i didn't feel like going. 
i had a million reasons to stay home... "i'll pray here..." i thought to myself... but because i had already put my name on that vigil calendar, i decided to keep my hour long date with my Father on the sidewalk on 5th Ave across from the Kensington abortion clinic. 
As i drove that familiar route to the clinic, and pulled around the final corner, i breathed, "Gimme a sign Father... i come here and i go.  So often, i don't speak a single word to another human being in the time that i'm here... Can you let me talk to someone today?"
i park my van, noticing two women praying at the corner.  They hold the sign that i love that says, "Look at the Ultrasound" - i love it because the majority of women who do see their tiny offspring on that grainy monitor are unable to take it's life...

We pray together before they have to leave and they encourage me by their presence and by our joined prayers.  As they walk away, i feel a deep peace, and i know that it doesn't matter who i talk to... as long as i continue to talk with Him. 
i'm listening to prayers made into music - and so at first i don't notice the man who has approached me from behind. 
"What are you doing here?" he asks, curious. 
i pull my earphones out of my ears and turn to face him. 
"i'm here because i'm praying for an end to abortion."
"Why do you carry that sign?"
i glance down at the words that are scribbled in markers and crayons every shade of the rainbow... the words reading, "You are Loved". 
"i carry this sign, because i want the mamas and the daddies to see that i understand that they're in a moment of crisis and that they see no other way.  My prayer is that they will see this sign and soften and have mercy on the little one inside."
"Oh." He pauses, taking in what i've said... and then..."i came this close..." He measures the tiny distance between his thumb and finger... "my wife and i did.  We weren't expecting her to get pregnant, but then when she was, we got all wrapped up in our own selves and didn't think about the other life we should have considered.  Thank God we made the right decision, and she's now the most beautiful 12 year old girl in the world."
"Yes," i say, "Thank God."
He stays a few moments - offering encouragement as he contemplates me, my sign... and that clinic across the street, and then he tells me he'll be praying for me, and walks away. 

Soon, another woman joins me - and after a friendly greeting we continue our prayers until another man approaches us.  i have seen him drive by before and he slowed to look at my sign.  This time, he approaches me on the sidewalk.
He asks me again, "Why are you here?"
i tell him the same thing i told the first man.
"Are you a Christian?" he asks, "i ask because i want to understand these things... What church do you represent here?"
i tell him that i come here - not as a member of my church, but as a follower of God... i come here because i love God.  He smiles at this... i tell him that i come because each little one is a tiny person - with value and a soul.  He tells me that he is muslim and that they are taught the same thing... "But," he shrugs, "i am not a religious man, so i don't remember exactly when it all happens..."
i explain how science has helped us better understand the beginnings of human life, how a unique individual is created at the moment of conception - and that each little one is precious to their Creator.
"i have seen you here before." He tells me, "i see this sign and i don't understand what you're trying to say... with a sign reading, 'you are loved'.  i asked my co-worker and said, 'Should i stop and ask?' and he told me that i should and so today i finally did!"
i smile 'cause there are some things i'm sure of and this is one of them.
"My sign says, 'you are loved' because i really believe deep down in the bottom of my very soul that if the mamas and the daddies knew... if they really knew... that they are loved and precious... If they understood that their lives had value, then they would be unable to take the precious, valuable life of the little one they carry."
He begins to nod slowly, a smile creeping onto the corners of his mouth.  He knows i'm right. 
He thanks us for being there - and we thank him for stopping - and he lopes away to his vehicle. 
We're seen there on the corner... and on this day, i got the chance to share the love of my Father God with two of the million people in our city. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 24 - Life... is a gift

It's funny how going to that abortion clinic where so many little lives are lost every day grows my heart. 
We didn't dress warmly enough, my friend and i, anticipating more of spring, less of winter's chill.  No matter - our conversation warmed us as we talked about how each life cannot be weighed or measured by any worldly standard.  The teenager who lives in poverty and neglect has value, as do the little ones who God gives only a few months or years to leave their mark on this world of ours.  Their value is not weighed in ability or in health or societal position - it was given to them by the Creator of the universe on the day they were conceived.  A unique individual came into being - with DNA that is different from either parent.  A little *person* - not a piece of a mother's body, but a unique little body with a life & value of it's own.  Human beings - in their fallenness and frailty don't have the right or the ability to decide when life must end... even their own life.  There is a beauty in the knowledge that there is only One who ultimately breathes life... and only One who should orchestrate it's end. 
It's amazing how going to an abortion clinic brings clarity.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 23 - a vigil at the Edmonton abortion clinic

by jessica

I had signed up a couple weeks ago...
 This hour of prayer, not in the comfort of my home, but on the street.
A street that balances an abortion clinic on one side and a Christian-run crisis pregnancy counselling center on the other.  I was to be a little slice of obedience, pacing the sidewalk between them... praying.
The day before i was to go, my husband Curt decided to come with me and we asked Grampsie to watch the kids.  I picked Curt up at his work and we went into the city together.

I remember watching a video last year that my sister had made of 40 days for life.  One question she asked... and the answer that was given, has never left me.  In the video, my sister pointed the camera at a little Catholic grandmother and asked the question, "Why is prayer so important?"  The lady, without missing a beat, answered completely backward to what most people would say.  "Because Prayer is how God speaks to us."  (Don't we often think that prayer is how *we* speak to *God*?) I had to watch the video again and again.  It was an amazing answer.  Today, as we paced, that video played in my mind.  I walked, and instead of my own words pouring out as they often do... God spoke.  He spoke to me when, while walking away from Curt, our baby Eva, strapped to my back, called out, "DADDY!  DADDY?"  I spoke gently to her.  "Eva, do you want Daddy?  Is he going to come?"  At that moment, an image of Jesus' face was impressed on me with the thought that the children being aborted across the street were His children.  He was their Daddy.  I prayed, "Come Lord Jesus."
 Later, Eva decided she wanted Curt to hold her so i undid the backpack and Curt took her out and walked on ahead with her.  I snapped the backpack up again and began walking in silence.  It was then that God spoke to me.  "You are a symbol of what goes on here."  I walked in silence with my empty backpack... no heat from Eva's tiny body... just cold, empty wind.  God wants me to see these children as my own as well... not just His.  
When we had first arrived at the clinic, there was an older man in his 60's praying the rosary as he walked the length of the sidewalk.  Every time we passed him, the words "Beautiful Catholic" flooded over me.  The faithfulness of Catholics in particular choosing to be associated with this issue has encouraged me so much over the years. I want my faithfulness to be Beautiful too. Tonight, during Bible study with the kids, we discussed the verse in Micah.

Micah 6:8
New King James Version

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

So much to learn... Come Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 22 - Thoughts on 40 Days for Life Calgary

by liisa

My friend and I went to pray outside of the Kensington clinic together twice last week.We are both fairly new at this.  We did the life chain together in the fall and then realized it was not as scary as we thought to publicly proclaim our Pro-Life status and it is good to know that we can do something.  It was also really nice to have a few other people there on Thursday! For a while we were relegated to the field while a group of four ladies finished their vigil on the street.  And after we took our place on the street there were a few ladies praying up and down the sidewalk. We got quite a few thumbs up and honks of support, even though we had our signs ("God gave you a choice - Choose Life" and "Abortion Hurts Women").  We've found that people are much more vocal when we have our signs.   But there was one person who yelled out their car window: “How many foster kids are there out there?” My friend and I were wondering how that correlated (clearly the people whose children are in foster care did not consider abortion, or chose not to abort, so what does that have to do with anything?  Or were they saying that foster children should not have the right to life?  I am sure the people who are or have been in foster care would be extremely insulted by that comment). 

But, on Tuesday, there was a car with a couple in it which turned into the clinic parking lot then backed out immediately.We cannot say for sure whether they were going to go there for an abortion or not (we did not talk to them), but it could have been a life saved ...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 21 - my ministry

by gail

The first Saturday afternoon I had no idea what I was in for.  I knew where I was to stand, and what I was to do but I had no idea how I’d feel.  I checked the weather and shuddered.  I bundled up for the weather, although I wore light gloves that would enable me to turn the pages of the book of verses I was going to softly read from to help me stay focused.  Two things that I didn’t realize until I took my stand were due to the nearby playground, vehicles would be going past at 30 Km/h and due to the traffic light, there would be vehicles stopped for brief time spans.  I got a few looks but nothing that made me feel uncomfortable.

Two weeks later I had a better idea what I was in for.  The weather was also much nicer, and I was able to wear light outdoor clothing. Again I brought my book of verses, which would help guide my prayers.  This time the traffic was heavier, and there was foot traffic.  I almost felt like a homeless person, as most people did their best not to make eye contact.  Thankfully the few that did gave me a smile of encouragement.

Saturday evening at church we were to raise our hands if we were ministers.  I put my hand down.  You see my ministry isn’t the kind of thing you want to form a small group around.  It’s not a nice one by Mainstream Society’s standards and even some Christians don’t want to think about it.  My ministry is to teach that abstinence and adoption are choices.  One crime committed against a female could be a couple’s blessing.  There are false positives for disabilities and God never gives you more then you can handle.  A woman’s body knows what to do and should have the freedom to do it.

I first said adoption should be a choice in 1979, when I was eleven years old.  Thirty-three years later, I’ve become like an industrious beaver.  I go about doing what I am guided to do, persevering until the tree falls, and going on to the next tree.  The lodge I am creating is one of safety, of respect, of creating a safe place that does not leave one feeling guilty or ashamed of their choice but guiltless and comforted.  That’s why I’ll keep coming back until the 40 Days for Life is done.

Gail Cary

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 20 - you're not alone

i was sitting at my computer - wanting desperately to encourage those of you who are so faithfully filling the time slots at our Calgary vigil at the Kensington abortion clinic.  i also wanted to gently encourage those of you who read - and who might still be unsure about what we're doing... and also those who might be unable to vigil, but are joining us in prayer for an end to abortion from home. 
There are so many 'causes' - so many issues calling for our attention, our prayers, our tears... & suddenly - i felt a little alone in my compassion for the little ones, pre-born.
So, i went and read the Terrace 40 Days for Life blog... and it was so encouraging, so beautiful to imagine that a province away - there are others who care, and who are being called to speak up, to be a voice and to stand and vigil where little lives are being taken. 
We're not alone. 
Not all of us are awake yet, but if we continue to pray and speak out, more will join us.  Some of us are battling different fronts of this war, there are those that agree with us, and are united in prayer and are acting on behalf of the oppressed in other ways and places.  Then there are some of us who are only just awakening to the injustice, and are wrestling through the issues trying to hear and understand that 'still small voice'. 
i'm so grateful for others - who so courageously speak out about an unpopular issue - and who remind me i'm not alone.   

ps - Do you have a story to share on the Calgary 40 Days for Life blog?  Your words could be just the encouraging reminder that another prolifer needs to press on... Use the "Contact Us" tab at the top of the blog to submit your story.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 19 - where do we go from here?

With a Monday to Friday clinic - there are times when we vigil and that metal gate is shut and bolted across the parking lot entrance, the doors are locked and the lights are off.  Our prayers are not wasted on the weekends when the clinic is closed...
Here are some thoughts from a day that the usually bustling clinic sat empty...  This is our prayer - our vision - in joining in this effort.  We want to see an end to abortion.  When that end comes, will we follow through to what comes next?  Where do we go from here?

empty parking lot

i think both sides of the abortion debate would be happy to know that the parking lot was empty today- aside from those who see abortion as their source of income during a pressing economic time - and maybe even they... would breathe a sigh of relief that for one day - the clinic sat open... but empty.
The friend that i went with has been pursuing adoption over these last long months (years?) and her conversation was confirmation in my heart that my Father wants me to ache for the fatherless, the orphaned and abandoned.
Adoption is prolife too...

Thoughts from an adoptive mom, becky:

I want to talk to you about what it means to be pro-life.
Most people think that just means "against abortion" . It is so much more than that. It means that you are FOR LIFE, IN SUPPORT of LIFE.
I was blessed to grow up in a home where this was as normal as breathing. Both of my sisters are adopted and I adore them.
If you are against abortion, then what are you willing to do?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 18 - momma heart

i have this memory. Cai was really little like maybe 3 or 4? i had the three little girls & we lived in Sexsmith, Alberta. There were a lot of parks there & we usually went to the 2 that were closer to our house. Sometimes, when we felt like a little hike, we'd go to the one that was a little farther from our house. i remember that's the park we went to that day.
Right when we got there, Cai found a little dolly. Her fabric body was torn & her plastic limbs chewed through. She was completely covered in mud ~ & looked like she had been left there in the rain. She had no clothes on & looked a mess. i remember seeing Cai's face when she saw her. She caught her breath & said, "mommy!" i remember thinking, "Oh, Cai, don't touch that. It's so dirty & gross." But, i also remember a check in my spirit & i just watched what she did.

Cai was so gentle with that little plastic baby replica.

She gently rubbed her plastic face with wet grass to get the dirt off. She picked grass and made a little mound for the babe to lie on and covered her body with grass and leaves.
i don't remember her crooning and talking to the baby... Maybe she understood that it was too late.
In my little daughter, i saw the mothers heart that society seems bent on obliterating.
Maybe i was extra sensitive to this little scene played out before me because it seemed so familiar. i remember when i delivered my son, only 16 weeks into my pregnancy, that Neil didn't want to hold him. i remember holding his little broken body & counting fingers and toes. i remember trying to be gentle with the body of the little one who God had formed in the secret place... & i remember when the nurse wanted to take him away, not being able to let go of his dear little frame.
What is it about our world that has allowed mothers to see their little ones as disposable? Or worse, their little bodies as commodities? (i know it's hard to fathom, but my sister sent me this link that is pretty clear...)
i was thinking about this today & realizing that our abortion laws can't & won't change until our hearts do.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 17 - soft spoken power

i stand on the street corner alone, my little ones playing in the park behind me. 
i'm praying softly, calling on His name, as i gaze at that clinic with the full parking lot across the street. 
A car drives by, and the driver hurtles obscenities & i cringe, hoping my children are out of earshot.  His insults shock me, and my lips cease their movements for just a moment as i look heavenward, cheeks crimson trying to find my train of thought...
Honestly?  i feel like the loser he calls me. 
i'm tender - & yet i feel compelled to be here, and so i am, and my Father meets with me. 
Suddenly around the corner, a cheerful trio bustles down the sidewalk to join me.
"Aren't you cold?" One asks the other.
"Oh no, it's not so bad," the other answers, "When the sun comes out, it's really quite pleasant."
And i find that she's right.
The murmur of their gentle prayers fill the slushy sidewalk and i know that i'm beginning to believe something i have long heard... Our prayers are powerful, they are our most effective weapon as believers and as we pray, not only are the things we pray for being influenced, but we ourselves, as we pray in submission to the will of God will be changed too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 16 - beginning to speak out

My nephew sent me this poem, and included the letter that he sent to his MLA:
Mr. Lindsay,
I'm 14 years old the eldest of seven children and would like to share this poem I wrote in LA recently. I also have been studying government this year and I understand that you represent me in the Alberta Legislature. Thank you for considering my views as you do your work as an MLA.

Abortion in Canada - by darren

‘The true north strong and free’… Gloved and gowned, to commit sterile murder.

Ripping, tearing, and burning, while

Unconcern citizens, convicted lobbyists, determined propagandists argue

and a broken woman weeps bitter tears. (Shh! Don’t tell.)

Woman’s rights! Anger, passion, fear… A sea of regret.

Our own Canadian Holocaust.

The value of human life, lost in the debate over ‘freedoms’.

Tissue? Fetus?


Nervous, cardio vascular, skeletal, digestive, circulatory, excretory, muscular, integumentary, metabolic, respiratory systems all are beginning to work in perfect synchronicity.


The pinnacle of God’s creation, made in His image.

‘We stand on guard for thee?’

An evil, arrogant, selfish, lie.

Quick, painless, a relief?

Our sin, like an endless, painful, crimson burden.

A bloody, insane, disgrace of legalized slaughter… legal though all nine months of development.

Paid for by


‘Father forgive us… And open our countries’ eyes to this lie.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 15 - snow day

It was one of those mornings.  Our front door was broken, my husband was out of town for the day, my house was a wreck and those precious morning hours had somehow slipped away on me. 
My friend came by to accompany me to the clinic and as i ran back once, twice, three times... for my wallet, my phone, and finally for my baby blue paper sign, i had to laugh.  i felt unable, but sure... and so i gently eased my van out of our garage and with pleasant company carefully picked my way down that familiar route to the abortion clinic on 5th Ave. 
As we pulled around the corner, we saw sweet Vera wading through the snowy sidewalks as she continues day after day to be an unrelenting presence on this Calgary street.  My heart leaped at the sight of her faithfulness, and i was touched by her willingness to be used of God - in whatever capacity He brings to her.  We parked, and borrowed the new sign from the organizers that gently offers the suggestion of adoption for my friend (who is adopted) to carry.  We shovelled the length of the sidewalk - for others that would come after us, and we stood in the damp of the fresh falling snow to challenge the present accepted evil.  Yes... it's legal, it's accepted, it's tax funded, it's happening Monday to Friday at this bustling business that is the abortion clinic... but with what little bit i have to offer... my presence and my $2 sign, i'm here to say that it's not ok.  It's heartbreak and misery... it's death and destruction... it's killing the innocent, and i'm here to gently speak the truth that there is an alternative
We saw a girl with tiny belly protruding, walk in those doors - and our hearts broke to see a couple walk out those doors in obvious sorrow.  We saw a momma with her shell-shocked daughter.  It's those images that stick out in my mind... they're the ones that come back to me as i walk in the door to my house and gather my little chickies in my arms.  They're the images that leap to my mind now as i type and as i continue to bring these ones loved by the Father in prayer to Him.
Oh Calgary families... God loves you so.  Your life is infinitely valuable - and so is the wee life you're carrying. 
He is able.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 14 - The Prayer Part

i love 40 Days for Life.  i love that it's focused - that there is a stated goal that we strive for - we want to see an end to abortion.  We want to see abortion clinics close.  We want people to learn about each human being's intrinsic value, and we want to save lives. 
i love too, that it calls believers to pray. 

When i got to the corner, i joined my friend.  i whispered to her my insecurities about prayer... How my Father is leading me back... to pray, "Our Father"... again and again.  i told her how i feel like there is so much to learn about prayer... and that i want to pray in a way that is pleasing to Him - and in a way that is effective and powerful, and yet in this learning time, i find myself stumbling self-consciously, trying to hear His voice, and pray in accordance with His will. 

And then we prayed together.  We prayed, "Our Father" - a few times.  Each line sinking into my very soul as i turned my heart to Him and ached for the unborn.  i'm so grateful that when i stutter and start that i can cling to the words that Jesus gave me when he teaches us how to pray...

This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'
matthew 6:9-13

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 13 - The Vigiller

by sloan - a student in grade 8

The Vigiller arrives, stamping her feet on the cold snowy sidewalk.
Her teary eyes follow the women entering the clinic that brings sorrow and death.
The sun peeks through the clouds as the words of her prayer break from her lips like an unstoppable avalanche.
‘Lord, Lord, I’m here! Come, come, find me in this dark place.  Help these women.  Hear my cry.’
The swirl of snow around the swiftly closing doors is a prison guard at this house of pain.
‘Click,’ the closed door is the sound of death.
She prays with all her heart and soul, she weeps, she cries, she moans. 
And still, willing prisoners come; the door opening to admit, and closing behind.
The Vigiller persists; her legs carry her up and down, up and down, that slushy cold side walk.
In the dismal parking lot, another prayer bursts forth, ‘Lord? Have you forsaken me?’
She lifts up her head and sees the Vigiller, and with confused hurt she wonders,
‘Why is she here? Why does she care?  Could there be a purpose for this one growing inside of me?’
Unknowingly, the prayers of the first become a lighthouse for the second. 
For a moment, light pierces darkness, truth pierces lies, and the girl finds herself thinking, ‘Maybe...’
A cold appointment kept, means one appointment missed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 12 - tough topics

Sometimes i tackle tough topics on my blog.  Not all the time, 'cause there are a lot of tough topics that i haven't given enough intelligent thought to form an opinion... and then there are the times that i just don't feel equal to the task.  Today i'm going to share some thoughts with you via articles published by other people.  They're not my carefully researched and thought out ideas, but these articles resonate with me on some level.  i decided to share them 'cause maybe some of you are wrestling through some of these same issues as i am, and wow - is this 40 days for life ever about wrestling.  Maybe these articles will be helpful for you - maybe they won't be.  They're certainly not the final word on these topics, but they offer a thoughtful place to start. 
i wrote the other day that prolife is messy - & i think it is.  Every prolifer has been asked difficult questions about situations that break your heart, make you cry & plead for heaven... and sometimes when those questions are asked, they're followed up with, "So THEN... are you still against abortion?"
i want to write this blog post, to post some resources, to think through these tough situations because for me, the answer is still an aching, 'yes'. 
A friend sent me a message on facebook the other night, asking how i felt about abortion in cases of the rape of a minor - or incest.  Horrible.  i hate knowing that this is the world that we live in.  This is kind of a lengthy read, but i think it's worth the time to read it through.  THIS is the article i sent back to her.
Then i got asked about those tough cases - where the health of the mother is at stake...  It hurts my heart to imagine these situations.  i've watched friends go through horrible pregnancies - one friend was hospitalized with a feeding tube - another needed constant monitoring of her liver since it would quit working properly during pregnancy.  Then, there are the heart wrenching situations with ectopic pregnancy. These are real women going through these terrifying, painful situations. We can't really gloss over them when we talk about abortion, can we?  THIS is the article i sent to my friend on this topic.  Again, it's a super long read, but we owe it to ourselves, our children, our friends and family - to examine these situations and gently discuss them with a hurting world.
May God be in it as we wrestle out our faith with fear and trembling.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 11 - Please Don't Go In

This piece is reposted with permission from the Defund Abortion in Alberta blog.  You can find their site HERE. 
by cameron

Standing across the street from an abortion “clinic” always gives me a gut wrenching feeling. I am sure that most pro-life people who have experienced this understand what I am saying. Two by two the unsure, emotionally distressed young girls, with their children inside, of them walk into the clinic. One by one the shattered young ladies walk out, a little part of them having been sucked away in that remorseless vacuum. It is surreal to watch the operations of such a place of destruction, even if only from the outside and at a distance.
I always make a point of going to the local Calgary “clinic” (I will not mention its name, no need to give it further publicity) on occasion. Watching the destruction unfold before my very eyes never ceases to renew my determination to work towards the annihilation through education of the entire rotting abortion system. This system which rips children apart limb from limb, and destroys women who have been, most often, deceived into believing lies and empty promises. This will only end when we make it end. Defunding abortion is not just a nifty piece of policy but a very powerful tool towards ending the entire injustice.
If you want to see the destruction for yourself, to experience in insignificant way how the onslaught is slowly weakening the very fibres of our society, then a good organization which loves volunteers is 40DaysforLife. I encourage everyone to get in contact with them. Our defunding campaign also relies on getting the funding and the volunteers to take our plan to completion. To get involved in the defund campaign, just respond on the blog or email us at or
As usual, if you found this article helpful please post it on Facebook, Tweet it, and/or email it to your friends. We rely on your help to get the message out to people.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 10 - eyes to see

People are hard. 
Sometimes i think that prolifers - Christians - are misunderstood before they've had a chance to say one word.  There are so many judgements and assumptions about our position that make a fair dialogue a rare thing. 

We're standing at the clinic... and i find myself praying for the woman who is director of the Kensington Clinic.  She's a vocal supporter of Canada's prochoice movement - and has little understanding for the heart of the prolifer. 
My heart swells and aches for her. 
i pray for her in the cold - my limbs almost numb and the cold biting through my fingers holding the sign reading, 'each fragile life is a gift'. 

Oh Father - could you help her to see Your heart - and by extension to know that there is no hatred here? 

The building is full of one way windows - and i know that they're equipped with cameras - and that there is a good chance that she sees us.  She knows that we're here. 

Oh, Father - if for just one moment those who march under the banner of choice could see what they're choosing.  Oh God - let us understand your love - it's Your love that makes each life precious, and human life worthy of our nurturing protection. 

And in a moment - in a breath and a sigh... i lift to my Father all those who work in that clinic across the street.  i pray for the janitor, for the receptionists.  i pray for the doctors and nurses and "counsellors".  i pray for their suppliers and those who make financial gain through this business.  i pray for understanding, for repentance and healing...
Beyond the debate - these are the ones actively involved in the abortion industry... How hard it would be to acknowledge truth after being complicit in the killing of so many?  Abby Johnson's story gives me hope that those who seem tied by their previous actions will never be too far gone to ever be able to come to see the truth.
Every day, 40 Days for Life sees more abortion workers leaving their jobs and switching sides (the 40 Days for Life website puts the current total at 61 brave individuals).  It's never too late. 
& so i pray. 
& He hears.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 9 - pro-life is messy

i read a blog post recently written by "Abortion Gang" - in it, the author lamented, "the pro-choice view of the world is messier and more complex, and therefore a harder sell, than the nicely packaged anti-choice “I heart babies” view."

i can only imagine how hard it is to package the reality of what abortion does into anything that could be deemed palatable... but i gotta say - that if she doesn't see the messiness and complexity of the pro-life view, she's just not looking.  She only needs to look as far as my friend who has a house full of tiny babies - and just found out she's pregnant again.  If she wants to see complex, she should take a peek at our relatives who declined the doctor's offer of termination and now fill their weeks with doctor appointments, seeking answers and care for their tiny son who needs all the help he can get.  If she thinks pro-life is nicely packaged and easy to sell - she should go talk to the rape victims who endured their pregnancies in agony - only to fall madly and irrevocably in love with their children once they were born.  The reason that the pro-choice view has a hard time packaging their message isn't because pro-life is so tidy beside it, it's because their message is a lie.  Abortion isn't a kindness to women, it's simply the killing of an innocent human life - and this killing will not solve the issues that brought these women to their moment of crisis.  To offer death - as a solution to heartbreak, ill health, unwantedness, bad circumstances... to offer death... that's an ugly thing.  Giving it a pretty name like, "freedom to choose" or "pro-choice" doesn't make it palatable.  It needs to be swaddled and wrapped in lies upon lies... carefully cleaned and sanitized so that the blood ceases to seep through the cracks. 

And pro-life lies naked and exposed in all it's complexity. 

Yes, it will be hard to carry that baby.  Yes, pregnancy is hard and childbirth painful.  Yes, it involves a sacrifice that could last between 9 months to the rest of your life... What we're talking about isn't something that's easy.  No, pro-life is messy... it's complex.  We're talking about allowing a life that has begun to continue unhindered - to enter the world... to take great gasping breaths of air - to breath and cry and eat and LIVE.  We're talking about stretch marks, about hormones, about pain.  Blood, mess, waste, milk - stretching, tearing, crying...

The reason that pro-choice is such a hard sell isn't because pro-life could ever be simplified into "i heart babies" (though, make no mistake, i do heart babies...) but the real reason that pro-choice is such a hard sell is because we know...  we know, deep down in our heart of hearts - that the tiny one in the womb is a unique person... worthy of our help and protection.  Denying that truth will never be an easy sell - even next to the complex mess that often comes with the pro-life view.