Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday reflection v.1 n. 7

Wow - Friday already? How did this week go by so fast when I only worked for 3 days. What to reflect on.....humility

So many times we become part of a cause and think "I'm on the right side" and that gets a ball rolling. Well of course I don't have to listen as closely to their argument because I'm right. Well of course everyone should act like me and speak out for the unborn. I would be wrong to sit and do nothing when babies are aborted.

That line of thinking doesn't look very compassionate does it? And unfortunately it sometimes seems to just fall into my head. The lesson in humility I seem to be learning this week is somewhat different from the situation listed above. I think I do try to listen to the other side in the pro-life debate and show compassion for the concerns of others. I am hyper-sensitive to it most of the time because it is such a hot button issue. My problem comes in the every day. When my husband asks me to do him a favor I really think he should do. I didn't even consider it because I didn't want to help, I wanted to watch the olympics instead - they only come every 4 years (or 2 if you count summer). Surely it is okay that I ignore any duties after 8 o'clock so I can watch skiing and skating.

Then at the end of the day I realize most of my day was spent debating about what I wanted to do and not about how I could help others. The attitude seems selfish and arrogant and therefore the word that pops into my head this week is humility. When I took the time to think about it, humility helped me scoop the litter box (one of my husband's daily chores) do laundry and clean dishes when it would have been easy to save them for the next day or not do at all. Hopefully these little steps will help me slowly change my attitude. What did you learn this week?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Following the Crowd

H/T to thatmarriedcouple for pointing out and writing on this great article

The phrase herd mentality is pretty common. People tend to follow the crowd on many things - how else would ladies fashion trends be profitable? I do not have the money to buy many trendy clothes nor do I find it very important, but there are many aspect of my life that are impacted by the herd mentality. The biggest example I can think of is my career path. I am from an upper-middle class family so of course I am going to college. That was never a doubt in my mind even before I had any idea what I wanted to do. If I had really thought about it I might have ended up a hairdresser - one of my more unique childhood dreams as opposed to the very common teacher aspirations. That storyline is unlikely, but possible.

How might we describe a mentality (there are many examples past the herd)? Here is one definition as found in the article titled "Contraceptive Mentality"

A "mentality" exists in a society when enough people react automatically to a situation without thinking of the long-range consequences. "Mentality" describes a pervasive—almost Pavlovian —mindset that is awake to the immediate benefit but asleep to the distant repercussion.
The contraceptive mentality truly fits this definition. People automatically turn to artificial means of contraception to regulate family size. That is what the culture teaches and that is what is assumed by most. I can't blame anyone because I have followed many other types of herd mentalities as well. The immediate benefit is widely advertised - postponing pregnancy/parenthood while the disadvantages are reasoned away. It is hard to get past the mentality that postponing pregnancy is best left to doctors and not to a beautiful and holistic understanding of female anatomy.

If you want to read more I encourage you to go here and read the blog by thatmarriedcouple (in case you missed it) who was able to give a better and wider review of the idea of "contraceptive mentality" than I.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The ease of taking a pill

I am finally reading Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon. It is a book published by the Couple to Couple league and has information on how nutrition can improve fertility and overall health - lessen the affect of PMS. If you notice on the website, it is frequently bought together with Optivite PMT which is recommended in the book. Optivite is a multi-vitamin that is specially formulate with those who suffer from PMS. Multiple double-blind studies have shown effectiveness. So why haven't I read this book before? Because it is very technical and overwhelming. I'm reading it to prepare for the class I will teach but I don't think I would force myself to read it otherwise because it is information overload. Back to the PMS topic, I definitely have that issue and I have seen a holistic doctor as well as a NFP-only ob/gyn who know my complaints on the topic. Why have neither brought the vitamin to my attention? Enough about my rant...on to the purpose of this post

There is a non-hormonal vitamin that, when taken daily, lessens the severity of PMS. Irritability, cravings and cramps diminish just by taking this vitamin. As someone who has struggled to eat healthy and exercise with no luck and a surgery to boot, I wish they would replace some of those YAZ commercials with Optivite commercials. It almost seems too good to be true that there would be a vitamin supplement that can have the same beneficial results without the risk of stroke or miscarriage. What I found appealing about the option of the pill last summer was the relative ease - take a pill and you're done. Now I find out I could have switched multi-vitamins and potentially had the same results? wow!

Has anyone actually used this vitamin and if so does it really work?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Reflection v.1 n.6

Today is my last official day of break. I have enjoyed the time to go to mass 3 times this week and get some doctor's appointments out of the way. I still have a few more to go including another EEG - yuck! Haven't had one of those in years. Anyway...back to mass

This morning Msgr. talked about fasting. It seems like in most places that is getting thrown aside - or not feeling like a sacrifice - how is smoked salmon a Friday sacrifice anyway? We concentrate so much on the parts that we forget about the motive. That was the topic today and it got me thinking about pregnancy centers. How does not eating switch over to pregnancy? Let me explain how my mind works.

Fasting has layers and one layer is drawing closer to God, or just becoming a better person. There should be a positive change like increased self-discipline and not a negative one like complaining of hunger. The same layers can be seen in the pro-life movement. Some are so focused on telling the other person/side why they are wrong that they forget the positive change we could be making. That led me to pregnancy centers and a shout out to all those involved with pregnancy centers by donating time, talent or treasures. It is the positive change that makes our movement shine. Another part of the homily talked about how we can have more empathy for the hungry if we experience a little bit of hunger. We can have more empathy for surprised mothers-to-be if we take time to know and help them as opposed to just arguing the politics of the options available to them in this country.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

Last Sunday the sermon incorporated the famous Robert Frost poem. There are many different things that road could represent and we were given a few ideas. Being kind to a grumpy co-worker, smiling and having a pleasant conversation with someone who disagrees with you, taking time to fill in the blank.

The sermon as well as the poem gets me into a reflective mood. What road should I travel? Can even tell which is the one less traveled and which one is more common? I don't see a clear fork, it's more like a lot of little twists and turns that have me confused.

I realized I haven't written in here a lot lately. While teaching I didn't seem to find the time, but I have worked 1 day in the past two weeks. Somehow I am still at a loss of what to say. There have been a lot of changes in my pro-life group and I am struggling to discern (meaning it is a bit difficult for me to listen) what I'm meant to do. Maybe I'm not listening because I'm too busy saying "I need to do this.... I need to do that...." So I'm trying to minimize that and listen. That doesn't leave me a lot of time to search around for enlightening "pro-life" blog topics.

I hope everyone chooses and enjoys a road less traveled during this Lenten season and hopefully I will find some inspiring topics to add to that journey.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday Reflection v. 1 n. 5

This week was the first true week since my long term position ended. I spent the last two Fridays celebrating my "last" day at that assignment. A week ago it was actually true. I am happy to have the time to relax and get on top of a few things being my quiet/prayer life. With Wednesday being a snow day, I only worked Tuesday so I have had LOTS of time. I've gone shopping (although I only bought groceries) and I've organized a meeting that took place Wednesday and then did all the follow up Thursday.

I also did a bunch of chores/work around the house. Cooking (or re-heating), dishes, laundry, organizing. I enjoy doing all these things (sometimes) but I always feel like "I did nothing" all day. I sure hope that attitude changes before I have kids or I might just live a life of "doing nothing" all day most days! My husband came home this week and asked how my day off was. I responded something along the lines of "fine but I didn't do anything." Then I rattled off a list of 6 or 7 things. Anyone else find this strange or know how I can change my thought process?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All You need is Love

Lately I have been going back and forth about this blog. At times I feel like I have nothing constructive to say and at other times all the constructive words seem to come out the wrong way. How can you show love online in a blog like this?

I guess it goes back to the fact that I see this as an outlet for me and a way for me to find more great resources while I follow some other great bloggers that discuss the topic occasionally. When I find more inspiration I'll be back and if anyone has a great story they want to share let me know.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Healthy Diet

In the past couple years I have gotten a lot better at eating veggies and staying away from sweets (sometimes). I am by no means a nutritionist or dietitian but I have tried to make some of the easier changes - snack on fruits instead of chips and add veggies to the dinner menu. Hopefully all this means I am living a healthier life.

Another "healthy" aspect of my life that I mostly take for granted is my knowledge of my cycle. I have seen how some menu and supplement choices have increased the length of my luteal phase and generally balanced out my charts. I also know that this lifestyle choice helps prevent me from putting more chemicals or pills in my body that are unhealthy. I bring this up because I was just reading in a book today that the "pill depletes fertility and pregnancy nutrients, including folate, vitamins A, B6, and Zinc."

The short excerpt on the pill also confirms that yes - many women are ovulating within the first couple months of coming off the pill and 95% by the end of the first year. Many women can get pregnant right away. On the other hand, those nutrients are pretty important for mom and baby so it might be a good idea to wait a while before trying to conceive.

Hopefully reading books like this will help me with my first ever NFP class that I will teach starting next month. You never know what questions you will be asked so I'm trying to catch up on some reading before I start so I will know lots of good resources to turn to for help :-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rage v. Serenity (Reflection v.1 n.4)

Which one would you rather have? I would prefer serenity but can be drawn to rage pretty quickly. Wednesday seemed to be one of those days. My co-workers had just finished saying I'm a calm spirit when I just got so mad at all of them. Everyone was looking out for themselves and I was trying to show them how teamwork and communication help keep me calm -would they listen? No. So what does that mean....

I really can't change the situation. Wednesday's response of making the class work a little easier (for my sake), going home, working out and then eating enough to totally negate the workout obviously did not help.

Today I have calmed down with the help of two realizations

1. No matter how much you "respect life" in all its forms, you won't always be in a great environment. That doesn't give you an "out" to stop showing love and kindness

2. The serenity prayer - I have a cross stitched version framed that my great aunt made. You'd think since I pass it every day I would be a "calm spirit" At least I am sometimes right?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When the Truth Doesn't Help

I realized I haven't posted a lot of new stuff lately. Maybe it is because I had the proverbial log stuck in my eye when others only have some sawdust...

We all know people like this. You talk and they listen - that's the great part. The not so great part - they don't do anything about it. It would be very easy to dismiss them and not even bother - but is that the right thing to do? I talk a big talk and it's hard to live up to the movement all the time. Respect the sanctity of human life doesn't mean just babies. After all - who doesn't love to see little babies? To believe that human life is sacred is to believe all humans are sacred and deserving of kindness and respect.

I was torn about going back today to the assignment I thought was over. I hadn't thought about working in the same classroom for 5 weeks when I was originally signed up for 3. I also hadn't planned to try to change the classroom much because it's not mine to change. However, none of the workers are happy and I have been observing and thinking about things that might help. Instead of going the easy way and saying I'm respecting everyone by just doing what is told, I think I may stick my neck out tomorrow. To put it lightly, the room is quite tense. There are two sides and I tried to keep them connected while I was there. Some things worked, some didn't - but I think the teacher deserves to know what I think and given some loving encouragement to keep trying. Tomorrow is the last day I will work with him...

So, I will talk and he will listen. Of that I am sure. Will my comments be respecting his life and worth? I hope so. Will I take enough time to organize them in a way that will be understandable and compassionate to his struggles with this issue? I hope so. Hopefully with a peaceful meeting I will get the log out of my eye tomorrow. Anyone else have an "ah-ha" moment lately?