Virtuous Reality Blog

« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

January 2008 Archives

January 1, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I flew home to San Diego this past holiday season to visit friends and family for Christmas. I was definitely looking forward to sunny days at the beach, grabbing a bite to eat at In & Out, and of course spending time with my parents and sister. When I arrived, however, I was surprised to find out that my mom's dad had been hospitalized and wasn't doing well. At first, the doctor gave my grandfather two months, but his condition worsened within the week.

We drove back and forth between LA and San Diego everyday (a two hour drive each way). Some days we were able to assist the physical therapist generating movement in his legs and arms - as he was now bed-ridden. Other days we were only able to hold his hands as he gave us a squeeze every few minutes. But seeing him lying in that hospital bed as a frail man of 84 years, was extremely hard.

I was very thankful, however, that I was able to spend some time with him - even if he didn't know who I was. We found out Thursday night, just after we had gotten home, that he had gone to be with the Lord; he was no longer in any pain.

My favorite memory of my grandfather had to be our visits during the summer. My family and I would pile in the car and drive up the coast early in the morning. My gradfather always waited on his front porch with a smile and hug for each of us.

He would always give me a jar from the kitchen - as my sister and I would hunt and capture ladybugs in his graden. It seemed to only grab our attention for about 20 minutes or so, but my grandfather would always wave to us from the kitchen window and ask how many we caught this time. Every time he said it was a record (he knew we had forgotten how many we caught during the last visit).

His house is now being sold, and I'm sure the memory of catching ladybugs awaits someone new. His hugs and smiles will be great missed, but only until we meet again.

Do you have a favorite memory of a loved one you would like to share? Comment below!

January 10, 2008

Teen pregnancy on the rise

If you haven’t noticed lately, the media has once again rallied the torch on teen pregnancy. While this phenomenon is not new and the buzz does generate front page news, a few stats recently published by Seventeen magazine make for great conversation. With nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies in the U.S. each year (a number that equates to one in every three women under the age of 20), the magazine questions, “what can you do to avoid becoming just another statistic?”

500 girls between the ages of 13 and 18 were recently surveyed by The Candie's Foundation, a partner of the magazine. Here are some highlights:

  • 50% of teen girls think it might be possible they’ll become pregnant in the next five years.
  • 70% of teen girls say if guys played more of a role in using birth control, it would help unplanned pregnancies.
  • 67% of teen girls have friends who are or will become pregnant as teens.
  • Two out of every three teen girls worry more about STD’s than unplanned pregnancy.
  • 70% of teen girls say having a plan for the future would help prevent unplanned pregnancy.

With these kind of stats, one would think that getting pregnant as a teen makes the list for an ideal high school experience – along with prom, football games and a fabulous spring break. Not to mention the glamorization of single motherhood by Hollywood’s leading young ladies. While choosing life is ALWAYS the right choice, I wonder if movies, sitcoms and the lives of teen celebrities are all sending the message than teen pregnancy is not only of the norm – but is to be glamorized and celebrated?

Did you know:

  • Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school with only one third receiving a diploma; 1.5% actually go onto college.

  • Almost half of all teen mothers end up on welfare.

  • Teen pregnancies account for 30% of abortions performed in the U.S.

  • One in every four sexually active teens become infected with an STD every year (the most common include: chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts (HPV) and herpes).

The Seventeen magazine article does push for girls to “have a plan for the future;” their reasoning: “girls who have a big plan for their future are significantly less likely to get pregnant.” And, in an effort to help girls define their one to ten year goals, the magazine is hosting a video contest for girls to share their life dreams and potentially win a trip to New York and some cash.

Having a plan is actually great advice. But where’s the commitment? What do you do in the heat of the moment when some guy is whispering sweet nothings in your ear? Just because I dream of one day becoming a lawyer, a doctor or even a writer doesn’t automatically make me less prone to pregnancy.

My challenge for you: plan ahead and make a commitment to save sex until marriage. Have a chat with your mom or even a few friends and plan out how to react when some guy says he’s ‘in love’ and wants to have sex. Have a plan on what to say, who to call and how to leave.

Better yet, set boundaries in your relationship. Declaring a "no zone" can keep you both accountable and alert if a situation arises. Not only does this help build your self control, but it ensures that you are both on the same page when it comes to your boundaries.

After all, abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid becoming preggers. Which BTW, the article in Seventeen never mentions as part of the “plan” (or even an option) in protecting yourself.

Tell us – what’s your plan when it comes to keeping yourself pure until marriage?

*Statistics taken from the Allan Guttmacher Institute.

January 28, 2008

Say What?

Celebrities have always held a platform for being famed or idolized simply because of their status. Not only do we pay attention to the roles they play on-screen, but we (as a society) have become obsessed with following their private lives as well. Whether it be a hairstyle, the latest fashion trend, a catch phrase, or the latest fad diet, we find ourselves intrigued and mesmerized by the lifestyle celebrities attain.

Here at Virtuous Reality, we often discuss the behaviors of such individuals. From shaving their head, to single motherhood at 16 or even substance abuse or a jail sentence, we provide feedback on these situations not to judge the individual, but rather to discuss their actions and behaviors in light of living out our faith according to God’s Word; to simply counter the lies our culture generates with that of His Truth.

And then, there are a few instances where we have nothing to say at all. Given the pressures of achieving and remaining in the lime light are high, it makes me question why we openly and willingly cast fame upon such individuals. Take a look at these celebrity quotes as noted by VH1 – mind you, they have all been published or broadcasted.

"Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish? I know it's tuna but it says Chicken of the Sea.” [Jessica Simpson]

"What's Wal-Mart, do they sell like wall stuff?" [Paris Hilton]

"I think that the film "Clueless" was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness." [Alicia Silverstone]

"I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman." [Arnold Schwarzenegger]

"I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada." [Britney Spears]

"So, where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?" [Christina Aguilera]

"I love California. I grew up in Phoenix." [Dan Quayle - former presidential hopeful in the 90’s]

"Smoking kills, and if you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." [Brooke Shields]

“Chemistry is a class you take in high school or college. Where you figure out that 2+2=10 or something.” [Dennis Rodman, controversial NBA Star]

I’m not anorexic. I’m from Texas.” [Jessica Simpson]

“Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything.” [Ivana Trump, former wife of Donald Trump]

“We’re gonna turn this team around, 360 degrees.” [Jason Kidd, NBA Star]

“What is the Wall Street Journal? Is that good?” [Paris Hilton]

“I've never really wanted to go to Japan, simply because I don't really like eating fish, and I know that's very popular out there in Africa.” [Britney Spears]

Say what?