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What's the big Deal About Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases

What's the big Deal About Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases

 

So, what is the big deal about sexually transmitted infections and diseases?  And, what's the difference between the two?  These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same.  An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and an STD is a sexually transmitted disease.  A sexually transmitted infection has not yet developed into a disease, but it is often the first step of a disease.  STI's often have NO symptoms.  See the information below, found on the Center for Disease Control's website:

  1. Chlamydia – Chlamydia can infect both men and women. You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.  If your sex partner is male, you can still get chlamydia even if he does not ejaculate.  If you’ve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again. This can happen if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.  If you are pregnant, you can give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth. Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have had sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system.  Some symptoms which can be noticed are  burning and pain when urinating, a discharge from the penis or vagina, rectal pain, discharge and bleeding.  
  2. Gonorrhea – Gonorrhea can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years. You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.  Many men and women have no symptoms at all; if they do, some of the symptoms are burning with urination, discharge from the vagina or penis, burning, bleeding, and pain in the rectum.  Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.  In women, untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).  In men, gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles. In rare cases, this may cause a man to be sterile, preventing him from being able to father a child.  Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can also spread to your blood or joints. This condition can be life-threatening.  Untreated gonorrhea may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.
  3. Trichomoniasis – Although symptoms vary, most people cannot tell they are infected. Trichomoniasis or "trich" is an STI caused by a parasite. The parasite is spread most often through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It is one of the most common STIs in the United States and affects more women than men. It is treated easily with antibiotics, but many women do not have symptoms. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can raise your risk of getting HIV.

The ONLY WAY to definitely avoid contracting an STI or an STD is abstinence.  As a matter of fact, read this statement from the CDC:  "The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex."  So, our last blog about true love waiting is vital to your sexual health.  

Many in this world will tell you there are "safer sex" methods.  However, the use of latex condoms does not constitute safe sex.  When you check the CDC, Planned Parenthood, and other "pro safer sex" websites, you'll see that they will even admit that because people are not perfect and will not use condoms correctly every single time, the effective rate is 85%.  That means 15 out of 100 people WILL either get pregnant or contract an STI or STD.  Those odds are NOT great.  

The lies being told are disturbing.  Just recently, a young girl came to our Clinic who had contracted chlamydia....not only once, but several times.  Her partner's view of the disease was alarming ... he simply said, "We'll take the antibiotics ... it's like having the common cold."  NO, it is NOT.  These infections and diseases can cause serious long-term physical problems.  Go back up and read what the CDC says about chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis  Also, condoms DO NOT protect from herpes, HPV, or the canker sores caused by syphilis. 

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Thankful Hearts

Thankful Hearts

 

Our blog today is about being thankful because we are blessed.  There's an old song that says "Count your blessings ... name them one by one ..."  Although we are aware of our blessings every day here at Life Options Clinic, during this week of Thanksgiving, we are purposefully setting aside a time to "count our blessings ... naming them one by one."

  1. Our wonderful staff here at the Clinic ... they are kind, compassionate, caring, dedicated ... they go the extra mile.  They love all who come through our doors, and it shows each and every day.
  2. Our fabulous volunteers ... they give sacrificially of their time and talents ... they are passionate about helping the families who come through our doors ... they do this by listening with great love and compassion.  Time and time again we hear this from those they have ministered to:  "I felt welcomed."  "I felt safe."  "I felt loved and understood."
  3. Our amazing clients ... they come to us and trust us with their lives ... their dreams, their fears, their struggles ... they become a part of our family.  And, we are so proud of each of them ... they work hard and want to succeed as moms and dads ... they have the desire to learn and grow ... they listen, they learn, they impact their families.  We cannot express how grateful we are to be a part of their life journey.
  4. Our great Board of Directors ... they support our work, helping us to grow our mission and vision.  They pray for us and guide us.  They care about what we do and participate in the ministry.  
  5. Our generous donors ... without our donors, we could not do all we do at Life Options Clinic.  They support the very work and mission that we have been called to do.  They do this through their finances, material donations, and prayers.  They bless us by entrusting us with what they have been blessed with.  Our heart's desire is to always be good stewards of all they have entrusted to us.
  6. Our local churches ... they uphold us and support us with such grace and generosity ... thank you is never enough to say to the pastors, staff, and congregations who also pour resources into the ministry of Life Options Clinic, but we do say "THANK YOU."
  7. Our community ... we are growing our presence in the Santa Rosa County community ... and we are grateful for the support we get from our Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and individuals.  Truly, we are blessed.
  8. And last, but certainly not least ... We are grateful for the ONE who has made everything possible.  Our great God and Savior, Who teaches us daily how to love and minister to those He gives us ... Who is the ONE true Provider of all our resources here at Life Options Clinic.  

What are you thankful for today?  Give thanks with a grateful heart.  We certainly are!!!

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 -- "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father."

 

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Church Girls and Women Get Abortions Too -- No Condemnation -- Grace Extended -- Healing Available

Church Girls and Women Get Abortions Too -- No Condemnation -- Grace Extended -- Healing Available

Before you imagine what this blog is about, please give me a minute.  Please read through the entire blog.  Did you know that research shows that four in ten women who have had an abortion were active church attenders when they ended their pregnancies.  This is according to 2015 research by Care Net, a nonprofit, pro-life organization who supports Clinics and Centers such as ours across North America.  When these women were interviewed, they were convinced that the Christian community (the church) would gossip and judge rather than help.  So, they quietly left the church building to go to the abortion provider.  

Just recently, one of our staff had a 70-year old woman who was finally able to break her silence and tell her about the years of suffering she has endured because of her abortion when she was a teenager.  If you have read from the beginning of my blogs, you know my friend had an abortion over 45 years ago and how it completely altered her life .... you can read that blog on this site too.  Here's the link for that blog post:  https://www.friendsoflifeoptionsclinic.org/blog/my-journey-to-investing-in-life-originally-posted-on-july-29-2019 

What hurts me most about these stories, apart from the abortions themselves, is the silence these women went through.  They felt they had to hide this part of their lives.  They were afraid of sharing because they did not want to be looked down upon, judged, or condemned.  So, they kept silent ... and they suffered silently.  They suffered years of not knowing about the healing, grace, redemption, and restoration offered through Jesus Christ.  

Hear me now ... I do believe abortion is wrong ... I am grieved by our nation's laws that allow for abortion.  My prayer will always be to make every effort to end abortion in our country.  I will do that by praying for those in leadership, and I will continue to let my voice be heard about the atrocity of abortion.  I do believe my nation will be judged for this great and horrible sin.  But, I will NOT judge those who have suffered the loss that abortion brings.  I will forever cry out that healing and grace are extended through the great forgiveness that our Savior offers. 

This battle we are fighting ... the battle for LIFE ... is about so much more than changing laws.  It is so much more than a "political" issue.  It is a LIFE issue.  It is a spiritual issue.  We must be ready to show compassion and understanding to all those who need it ... that includes the women who have experienced an abortion ... and the men who have had to walk through this too.  

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The Daddy Impact

The Daddy Impact

You've just been told your partner is pregnant.  What emotions and thoughts are running through your mind right now?   "I'm too young to be a dad!"  "I can't financially or emotionally support my partner or a new baby."  "How do we tell our parents and friends about this?"  All of these thoughts, these questions, are normal.  Your world has just been changed.  Excitement, worry, doubts and fears are all a part of the process of discovering you're about to be a parent.  But, you are not alone!  We understand here at Life Options Clinic!

For the obvious reasons, a pregnancy is different for a man than a woman.  However, you are both responsible for this new life.  Your involvement as a father is so important.  And, although we do understand that your partner has the legal right to choose whether she will carry the baby, or seek an abortion, even without your consent, this doesn't mean that you do not have any choices.  

Your involvement in throughout the pregnancy and into your child's life is vital.  Just look at the information below to understand the significance of fatherhood.

 

You may have had a wonderful relationship with your dad.  Think about the positive impact that had in your life.  Don't you want to have that same impact on the life of your child?  Or, maybe you didn't have a loving, supportive father.  Then, think about the negative impact that has had in your life.  You can change the outcome for your child.  

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How Can I Help My Friend Who Has An Unplanned Pregnancy?

How Can I Help My Friend Who Has An Unplanned Pregnancy?

How Can I Help My Friend?

What do you do when your friend calls you to let you know her pregnancy test is positive?  An unplanned pregnancy can seem devastating, and a time of fear an uncertainty for her.  She may be finding it difficult to slow down and process the situation she finds herself in.  Remind her that our best decisions are made when we have taken the time to think things through.   Encourage her to slow down and breathe.

It is very important to listen to her.  She may be feeling panicked right now and just needs someone she can talk to, someone who will really HEAR her.  Give her the time to acknowledge what she is feeling.  She is going to need you to be sympathetic and understanding.  The best thing you can offer her is compassion without any judgement or condemnation.  Give her a safe place to confide in you, away from any interruptions.  She is trusting you with this information, so please be sure to keep everything she says to you confidential.  Don't try to interrupt her or give her your opinion... just listen.  

When she has had time to share her thoughts and feelings with you, offer to help her in any way you are able.  She is about to have to start making important decisions about her pregnancy.  Let her know she is not alone in this.  One of the best ways you can help her is to tell her about Life Options Clinic.  Let her know that there are people here who can help her through her decision-making process by confirming her pregnancy with medical-grade pregnancy testing and that a free sonogram may be given to her to determine how far along she is.  

Your friend is precious to you and you want her to have all the information she needs.  The client advocates at Life Options Clinic are here to listen.  They want to know your friend's situation and they will provide accurate information throughout their time with her.  We discuss all her options to help her on the journey she has ahead of her.  The resources we can provide to her will help her make her decision with confidence, knowing that she is not alone.  

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What Our Services Provide Our Families

What Our Services Provide Our Families

Here's where we show our families how much we care ... by providing them with education to help them on their parenting journey.  When a woman comes in who is pregnant, the first thing we are going to do is make sure she has established with a OB/GYN.  We have a full list of doctors in our area who she can call.  They are listed according to the hospital they are associated with.  We want her to have a healthy pregnancy, so establishing with a physician is of utmost importance.  However, we are also going to give her prenatal education to help her with a healthy pregnancy.  Here are just some of the things we cover: 

  • Prenatal Care
  • Eating for Two
  • Emotions of Pregnancy
  • What is Safe in Pregnancy
  • What to Avoid in Pregnancy
  • Bonding With Your Unborn Baby
  • Your First Trimester
  • Your Second Trimester
  • Your Third Trimester
  • Getting Ready -- Nesting

Did you know that many of our women come in and they are not pregnant?  They, along with many men, are just seeking help on their parenting journey.  And, we have a lot of education for parents.  Why are parenting classes important?

They prepare you.  Our classes give vital information on caring for a new baby ... they learn about the physical development, their needs at the different stages of life.  We even teach them how to change a diaper!  The wonderful thing about taking classes at Life Options Clinic is that they get to learn with other people who are on the same journey.  We provide them with the tools they need to parent with confidence by letting them ask questions and get advice from seasoned parents, and even medical professionals who come in from time to time to teach classes.  We know they can read a lot of books out there on parenting ... and we do recommend some to them ... but there is nothing like "hands-on," "face-to-face" experience to learn and grow as a parent.

We provide moms and dads a great place to make new friends.  They also know we are a safe place where they can share their struggles, triumphs, concerns, and fears.  We're here to help.  Here are just a few of the parenting classes we offer to our moms and dads ... but ... did you know we also offer these classes to grandmothers, aunts, foster parents, any family member who is a main caregiver to the child(ren).  

  • Bonding
  • Toddler Safety
  • Toddler Accidents
  • Toddler Illness
  • Toddler Nutrition
  • How to Deal With Whining
  • How to Deal With Siblings

And we offer classes all the way through the teenage years.  Please help us spread the word about all our services here a Life Options Clinic.  And please, let people know that ANYONE can come take our classes ... all you have to do is want to learn more about how to parent.

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Do We Really Care About Women -- originally posted on August 12, 2019

Do We Really Care About Women -- originally posted on August 12, 2019

This blog was originally posted on August 12, 2019 on another blog platform.

Often, centers and clinics such as ours get accused of caring only for the pre-born child and not caring for the woman. Let me just say here and now that this is NOT TRUE. We care very much about the woman who comes to us. That is why we do everything we can to get to know her, to find out what is happening in her life…to show her love, compassion, grace. We DO care, and each person who walks through our doors knows that immediately. Let me share how we do that by relating three real life stories that have walked through our door. Of course, I never use the real name of any individual.

“Precious” comes into our clinic. She has called looking for an abortion. We do tell her that we do not perform or refer for abortion, but we would love to talk with her and give her all the information she is going to need to make an INFORMED decision. “Precious” comes in and it becomes very apparent that she does NOT want to have an abortion … but the people with her are trying to coerce her into making a decision to end the life of her child. So, how did we talk with “Precious?” We gave her the truth, in love. We explained to her through pictures and videos the development of a baby. We informed her of the choices she has before her: 1. To choose life and parent her child; 2. To choose life and make a parenting plan of adoption; or 3. To choose abortion. We do all we can to guide her toward the option of “choosing life.” As we explain each of these options, we let her know she is not alone … we are here to help her if she chooses to parent her child through all of the FREE education and resources we offer here at Life Options Clinic. We can also help her in making a parenting plan of adoption by referring her to adoption agencies that we partner with. We then EDUCATE her on the different types of abortions … what is involved, what the risks are, what the long-term effects can be. Do we hope and pray that she will choose option 1 or 2. You bet we do. But, we also know the choice IS hers. So, we pray. And, we love. And, we are present for her. Let me tell you that we didn’t want to let “Precious” leave with these people. Now, there’s no way we can keep someone from leaving, but as we saw their treatment of her and read her statement about how she “felt safe” with us, we truly did not want to let her go. But, we had to. However, she knew we cared. She knew we were here for her anytime she needed us. And, we did follow up. “Precious” came back in with people who DID care for her and wanted to help her parent her child. She had an ultrasound. She saw her baby … not a blob of tissue, but a living, moving, growing human being. “Precious” said she is going to choose life and come to our Clinic to take our pre-natal, parenting, and life-skill classes. We pray she will. She is still abortion-vulnerable because of the other negative influences in her life, BUT, she knows we care about her and her baby. She knows we are a safe place.

And then there is “Beloved.” “Beloved” came in very abortion-determined. We spoke the same truth to her as we spoke to “Precious.” She had an ultrasound, and her baby did somersaults and moved all over the place. At one time, it even looked like the baby was waving. But, at the end of our time with her, “Beloved” was still unsure as to what her decision would be. Again, did we want to see her walk out? NO, we did not. But, we had to let her go, knowing we had spoken truth to her…knowing we had loved her and let her know that she would not be alone on this journey. And, she knows that we are here for her … We are here for her to help her if she does choose abortion. She will still need us. Now, we just pray.

And then, there is “Hope.” “Hope” is not abortion-minded; she’s just scared. She’s not sure how she can walk through this journey. She doesn’t have a lot of help and support. She does not want to end the life of her baby. She just needs help. And when she finds out all that we offer here at Life Options Clinic … she knows she can face this journey. We don’t sugar-coat it. It won’t be easy. She may have to delay some of her dreams and goals. But the key word is, DELAY, not cancel. So, “Hope” comes to our classes … pre-natal, parenting, child-safety, relationships, life-skills, etc. And, “Hope” earns “Baby Bucks” as she comes to the classes. This is “monopoly-type” money that “Hope” can use in our “Baby Boutique” to purchase diapers, clothes, a new bed, a new car seat, and many other items she is going to need on her parenting journey. We give her the tools she is going to need on this journey. We are a support system, a safe place, a refuge for “Hope” and her pre-born child. And, she knows that we care about HER. We don’t give “Hope” a hand-out; we give her a “hand-up.” We empower and enable her to parent. Our staff and volunteers become “Hope’s” other family. We are the new aunts and uncles, grandparents, and friends she knows she can count on to love her and encourage her.

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What is the Value of Life? -- This blog was originally posted on August 5, 2019

What is the Value of Life? -- This blog was originally posted on August 5, 2019

This was originally posted on another blog platform on August 5, 2019

What is the value of life?

It depends on where you get the definition of value. The world will tell us it is in our external circumstances … where I was born, what my socio-economic status is, what I do for a living, etc. If you look at value in that sense, your value can appreciate or depreciate, depending on your circumstances. However, our circumstances should not define the value of life. I look to the God of the Bible, the God of creation to define my value. In Romans 3:10-12, Paul writes: “as it is written: ‘none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.'” So, no matter who I am or what I do, I cannot “build up” my value. No, my life’s value is found in this, Romans 5:6-8 “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ didn’t die for me because I had inherent value. He died for me because I could in no way ever live a life of true value. When I came to the realization that I was a sinner and I could do no good thing, no thing of real value, to be accepted by God, that was my first step to understanding where my life’s value came from. Jesus, came to lift me up out of trying to find value according to the world.

Ephesians 1 has some wonderful words, also written by Paul, which help me to understand that I find my true value IN CHRIST. Here are just a few of the things I can learn about my value IN CHRIST:

  • I am not rejected; I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
  • I am not an orphan; I am adopted (Ephesians 1:5)
  • I am not held captive by my past; I am redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
  • I no longer say that I do not belong; I am God’s own possession (Ephesians 1:14)

You might ask what all this has to do with Life Options Clinic. EVERYTHING!!!! The reason so many people do not value the life of the pre-born is that they do not see that precious baby as a living human being, created by God, created FOR God. They often look at the CIRCUMSTANCES of conception … unplanned …. I’m too young, I’m still in school, I have no support, I do not have the finances necessary to raise a child, I do not have the knowledge of how to raise a child. They look at the CIRCUMSTANCES. We want to help them look beyond the circumstances to the value of every human life. We believe that life begins at conception. Here are some beautiful facts about life in the womb: (These facts are from the CareNet Before You Decide publication.)

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My Journey to Investing in Life -- originally posted on July 29, 2019

My Journey to Investing in Life -- originally posted on July 29, 2019

This blog was originally posted on July 29, 2019 on another blog platform.

My journey to investing in life began when a dear friend of mine got pregnant. We were young, and honestly, I didn’t really have much knowledge about what to do. As a matter of fact, if I’m going to be perfectly honest … I was a pretty selfish young adult. When she came to me, one of her best friends, and told me she was going to get an abortion, I didn’t try to stop her, or talk to her, or even sympathize with her. It was pretty much just a “shrug of the shoulders” kind of response. However, over the years as I watched this beautiful young lady withdraw more and more and turn to drugs and alcohol, I felt helpless. How could I help? I really wasn’t even there for her when she needed me. And, neither were Pregnancy Resource Centers. She really had nowhere else to turn, so she turned to the abortion clinic. The lie told to her was that an abortion would “take care of her problem.” No one ever told her the lasting effects emotionally, spiritually, and physically … and there were effects. I saw them. And I could do nothing. I did nothing. Since that time Pregnancy Resource Centers have become a beacon of hope, truth, and life to women facing an unplanned pregnancy. We offer the truth to those who choose to walk through our doors. We do share all their options … focusing on the options of parenting and adoption. We give them hope through the programs and resources we offer to help them on their journey. We offer abundant life through the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. And, although we will never perform or refer for abortion, we do offer them education about the procedures of abortion … about the long-term effects so many women suffer from after having an abortion … We want them to know that abortion is NOT their only option. We can’t make that choice for them, but we can educate them and give them the information they need as they alone make their choice. And then, we can be there for them … no matter what choice they make … we love them, support them, encourage them, and help them through their life choices. So, when the opportunity to become the Executive Director of Life Options Clinic (formerly Pregnancy Resource Center) came up, you better believe I knew this was my moment … my moment to help women, my moment to say, “never again” will I have an attitude of a “shrugged shoulder.”

We live in a dark time. A time when life is no longer valued. At Life Options Clinic we value ALL life. We believe life begins at conception and should only end when our Creator deems it time. We do understand the challenges women and families face. We meet those challenges with love and grace. We know that no challenge is insurmountable. We walk through those challenges with our families.

Learn more about what we do by visiting our website: http://www.lifeoptionsclinic.org. Or, come visit us at 5775 Berryhill Road, Milton, FL, and we’ll show you more about how we walk through those challenges. Over the weeks to come, I’ll be sharing more specific ways we do just that. Join me.

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