About Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker

I'm a law school graduate currently doing quality assurance work at an appraisal management company.

My First Mother’s Day

 

An odd title, you may be thinking. Aren’t you in your late thirties? Well, yes. But today is my first Mother’s Day as a mother. My child may still be young enough to be aborted in Mississippi under the law under review in Dodd, but I am finally a member of the sorority stretching back to Eve.

I won’t spout any cliches about how “it’s only when you stop trying that it happens.” For the person desperate to be a parent, that offers no comfort whatsoever. I will say that when you accept that children are a gift from God that He simply doesn’t give everyone without that lack of a gift being a comment on your worthiness as a person (if the rain falls on the just and the unjust, so does the drought), that a childless life can still be one of meaning and purpose — when you can achieve that level of spiritual enlightenment and release, then the marriage bed can be freed from the sorrow, guilt, betrayal, despair, and pain that made it a mockery of its intended purpose. As much as every barren tear over the last decade scourged my heart as they carved their way into wrinkles around my eyes and bleached my brown hair silver, I can’t deny that they made me a better person, one who has a much better grasp of what is and isn’t in my control. 

Anna and the Barren Woman

 

Christmas is a tough time to be a barren woman. It’s a season of family gatherings, where sights of happy children and excited parents bring as much envy as the sight of grandparents delighted at one’s nieces and nephews brings guilt. There are the traditional Nativity pageants and the ubiquitous ads, commercials, specials, and movies all showing the Christmas spirit through the eyes of children and parents. And of course, there’s the reason for the season, in which a virgin manages what I, coming up on my twentieth wedding anniversary, cannot.

Which is why I find the story of Anna at Christ’s presentation at the Temple so meaningful. She was a widow and prophetess from the tribe of Asher. Her heritage is an important detail — the tribe of Asher was one of the wealthier tribes, and we see in her life the truth that a prosperous background is no guarantee of the “good life.” (In fact, she is the only prophet, male or female, known to be of Asher. There’s certainly a whole essay to be written on that observation.) Married only seven years of her 84, she undoubtedly spent half a century as a barren widow, one of the most lowly and pitiable positions possible in that time and place.

Member Post

 

… which means it’s time to give your fellow Ricochetti the gift of something they want to see in their mail box! The exchange is simple — send me your mailing address (and real name if you don’t want to confuse your mailman) through private message or emailing me at amyschley at gmail.com. The weekend […]

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Marxist Wokism: The Christian Heresy

 

In my pastor’s sermon today, he talked about America being a pagan and post-Christian society. I certainly agree that we are in a post-Christian one, but “pagan” is not the right term.

Pagan societies, at least the ones we know about, have a few shared characteristics. They were self-perpetuating as societies; that is, they created an ethos that promoted families (even the ones that practiced child sacrifice and exposing infants still made sure they had enough children for a stable population), protected private property (don’t buy the “Native Americans didn’t understand land ownership” fraud), and inculcated respect for order, authority, and defending the tribe/polis/empire. They had, in other words, the virtues necessary to survive.

Papers, Please

 

When I was a kid, the copy of The Hunt For Red October we recorded off the TV was one of my favorite movies. My dad was a submariner, and while he had served on missile boats instead of fast attack ones like the American sub Dallas, he was able to give the perspective of someone who’d actually been there and done that in his commentary on the movie. (E.g., when Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was, “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”)

In the middle of the movie, there’s a quiet scene where the defecting Russian captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) and his first officer Vasily Borodin (Sam Neil) are discussing what life will be like in America.

Flash Fiction: The Dragon’s Horde

 

Flash fiction is a fun genre. They are the shortest of short stories, describing a short scene that needs little setup with an emphasis on the punchline. In a sense, they’re like a dramatic joke, and they often show up in response to random observations. A classic example is “We are like elves to dogs” meme: [Reproduced in text to avoid CoC violations]

In the dog world, humans are elves that routinely live to be 500+ years old.

Member Post

 

Well, Christmas done snuck up on me this year, but that means it’s time for a Ricochet holiday tradition: the Christmas Card exchange!  The exchange is simple — send me your mailing address (and real name if you don’t want to confuse your mailman) through private message or emailing me at amyschley at gmail.com. I […]

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Member Post

 

We know we’re in Heinlein’s crazy years. Yes, the same Andrew Sullivan who was obsessed with Sarah Palin’s pregnancy has written a remarkably insightful piece on how intersectionality is a religion that children are being indoctrinated into.  Preview Open

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Evil in Our Midst

 

So today, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony about the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” a piece of legislation Speaker Pelosi refuses to allow the House to vote on. Killing a child born in the course of an abortion is illegal; however, neglecting such a child until it dies remains legal. The testimony coming out of this committee is so sickening it had me seeing red:

But OBGYN Kathi Aultman, a former medical director at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, testified that nurse Julie Wilkinson — who assisted an abortionist with late-term abortions — told her “that the vast majority of abortions that they performed were done for convenience, not for fetal anomalies or maternal health problems.” …

12(b)(6): So What Do You Want Me To Do About It?

 

I’m a collector of odd facts. This is how I have a favorite out-of-context Bible verse (I don’t care that Matthew 10:34 isn’t part of the Nativity readings; it’s far more relevant to the modern celebration of Christmas than Luke 2:14), a favorite business tax deduction (breast implants to bring the exotic dancer’s cups to size N), and even a favorite medical code (Y93.D1: Injured while knitting or crocheting). So it shouldn’t be much surprise that I also have a favorite Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6): Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Let me back up a bit to explain this one. The rules of civil procedure govern lawsuits, and rule 12, in particular, is about motions and pleadings to be done before a matter goes to trial. The defendant has the right to make a motion that the suit be dismissed in a summary judgment, where the facts the plaintiff provides are assumed to be true and the judge makes a ruling on the law.

You Can’t Choose Life

 

There’s a pro-life slogan that goes “Choose life.” I’m sure the idea is to subvert pro-choice language for a pro-life message. Unfortunately, it concedes the pro-choice worldview that life is something that can be chosen. I’m sorry to say that it isn’t.

My husband and I decided to “choose life” ten years into our marriage. Seven years later, the only pitter-patter of little feet in our house still comes from our cats, even after three rounds of inter-uterine insertion (IUI). My sister and brother-in-law decided to “choose life” with in vitro fertilization. For the first round, all five of their embryonic children died before any could be implanted. The second round resulted in four embryos. She had one implanted today; she has about a 50% chance of that child surviving to live birth. My cousin and her boyfriend managed to have a healthy pregnancy when she became pregnant accidentally and they “chose life”; her infant son died two months ago after surviving mere hours.

If You Could Be America’s Dictator for a Day

 

The American Constitution, with its distribution of government powers into different branches and levels, was designed to produce gridlock. And that’s generally a good thing; the harder the laws are to create, the less likely we are to get bad laws.

But every so often, we see or read about some injustice and think, “Boy, I wish I could just change this without needing to persuade thousands or millions of people to vote for me as a congressman or president respectively, persuade congressmen to vote for my legislation, or find the perfect case to persuade judges to change constitutional law.” In short, we’d just like to be dictator.

The Veneration, or Not, of the Saints

 

The topic of veneration is a bit of a challenge for me, as the first association I have with the word is the veneration of saints. I’m Lutheran though, and Lutherans don’t venerate saints; we’re kinda famous for not doing so.  If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it or a lazy kid who won’t do his chores until his mom nags him.

That being said, we do still have a place for saints in our worship. They are for our education and edification, if not our veneration.  My Liber Hymnorum, a hymnal of Latin hymns used by the early Lutheran church, describes a year of saintly feasts, from St. Sebastian on January 20th to the Holy Innocents on December 28th, with stops for St. Gregory in March, St. Anne in July, and St. Michael and All Angels in September, as well as about a dozen others. The Brotherhood Prayer Book, a Lutheran breviary, lists dozens more notable church fathers and mothers whose feast day is a chance for honoring and remembering their extraordinary lives, including doctors of the church like John Chrysostom, Anselm of Canterbury, Bede the Venerable, and Augustine of Hippo.  (If you see a St. Martin Lutheran Church, it is recognizing Martin of Tours, not Mr. Luther.)

How Gods Are Made

 

The late, great Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors. In his fantasy universe known as the Discworld (so named because the world is a disc resting on the backs of four giant elephants standing on a turtle swimming through space) he explored nearly every facet of humanity: war, peace, family, crime, politics, time travel, magic, and even religion. A concept running through a number of his books is the notion that believing in something causes it to exist and grow strong.

In Small Gods, a satire on the Reformation, he describes the origin of the gods thus: just as the physical universe was formed of the collation of dust from the origin of the universe, there was a great cloud of gods spread evenly over the universe. As humans believed in a god, it became stronger and better able to answer prayers. Moreover, the gods took on the characteristics of the humans who believed in it — a god of shepherds had a different personality than a god of goatherds, as their followers had different views of how one controls livestock — and the god took its physical characteristics from the sculptures and icons of the followers. e.g. Patina, the goddess of wisdom, was supposed to be associated with an owl; because her most famous sculptor was terrible at sculpting birds, she now has a penguin.