Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Reflection v. 1 n. 11

This week I have truly been reflecting on two major things.

1. That people are more bold in blogs than in real life. Yep, I'm stating the obvious. We find a similar group of people and build each other up. Frankly, most of the blogs I read and most of my readers have a similar ideology when it comes to life issues so this isn't a great resource for learning new things and understanding different perspectives. I have to realize, different perspectives and winning people over with different views is not my objective. It would be hard to measure and frustrating to analyze. not doing that is okay, blogging is nice for reading what different people think and that I am not alone.

That being said...I will address number two knowing I'm not going to change the world from online.

2. In my lenten devotional book I came across an interesting quotation:
When I feed the poor, they call me a saint. But when I ask why there are poor, they call me a Communist ~ Archbishop Dom Helder

Going about daily life and trying to help the less fortunate is seen as a great thing. Following the rules of your job and staying employed is the responsible thing to do. The point of the reflection was to see if we have the courage to ask the question why. Why do you review employees in this way because it seems an unfair assessment. Great question to ponder. It led me back to the prolife movement and how I seem to be losing some of my drive to speak up.

When I help at a pregnancy center - people all think I'm amazing for volunteering in a needed area when so young. When I bring up NFP or my pro-life involvement I get reminded that contraception is necessary and life in the city slums is not good and should not be imposed upon the growing baby so abortion is a "necessary" evil. I could be labeled a right wing extremist or worse no matter if I routine vote for that party or not. I don't think the Archbishop wanted to be called a communist and I don't want to be called a conservative wacko. But my question, when and why did abortion become "necessary"? Why is the pill and other abortifacient methods of birth control become necessary? Even that question doesn't seem to be enough. Once the why is discovered the next question is how - how do we change? The answer does not seem to be available online

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Life

I am not one to take lots of pictures. Even when I take my camera somewhere, I don't take the time to pull it out. On the other hand, when my neighbor (who was currently in labor) calls and mentions first that there are 6 - yes 6! - baby foxes in the backyard I had to grab my camera and try to get a picture. Believe it or not, this picture was taken by me from my backyard. There was a group further back in the trees that just could not be caught very well on film.

Oh wait - my neighbor was in labor. The second thing she mentioned was that she should probably leave for the hospital soon and could I possibly watch her daughter and nephews while the family was at the hospital. Sure - but should I drive you since your husband isn't here? Nope. Less than four hours after arriving at the hospital and healthy baby girl was born. What an exciting day! Now, after babysitting and meeting family members who were gushing over the little one's big first day, I am exhausted and off to bed before 10 o'clock so I can get to work at 7am. Hope everyone else is enjoying their week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Busy Life..blessed life

Well today I feel busy - I worked all day and went grocery shopping than went over to the neighbors and took their adorable daughter off their hands. Yep, I'm babysitting and watching her draw in one of my journals - now playing with a stuffed to go!

Yesterday I felt lazy and lonely. I had been sick over the weekend and decided to take the day off so I wouldn't give germs to the kids. Too bad I had nothing to do and no one to talk to for most of the day. It is nice to know that either way doesn't last. I have moments of relaxation and if I was never busy it would be upsetting. Another little life moment to remind me how blessed I am and how much I love little lives like my 2 year old neighbor ;-D

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Reflection v. 1 n. 10

This week was long and busy for me. Our parish had a mission and I went through PAC training yesterday to interview candidates who want a pro-life endorsement. With all that going on, I didn't find the extra time at church all too relaxing and revitalizing. I did however, take the time to visit with my neighbors when they had their 3 year old daughter come knock on my door.

No worries that I was doing dishes while pre-heating the oven and planning dinner for my husband so he could eat when he got home. No worries that we were supposed to be at church at 7pm and they knocked on my door sometime around 5:30. It was sunny and we wanted to be outside, talk and draw on the driveway. This neighbor is also 38 wks pregnant - so excited to meet the little one! So even though I had plans after work Mon-Thurs I offered to babysit so they could have a date before they are busy with baby #2. Her response - they are hosting out of town guests (maybe)! Crazy huh? They are way more busy than me and they think social life slows down after kids? I think they just can't remember the weekends because they are so full. So maybe I will babysit tonight....

Reflection though? You can't be prolife and not stop to help those who are living examples of it. I hope that I will get to spend plenty of time with the little ones. I might take some days off from subbing to babysit the baby when she goes back to work in June for a couple weeks until school is out. It would be so wonderful....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is NFP too hard?

Now that I have started teaching NFP, I have to think again how to make it appealing to different people. In the class I have four couples and at least two are definitely planning on using the method - the other two are thinking about it. In the beginning of the class we announced the three criticisms
1. It's too hard
2. It doesn't work
3. We're to lazy/forgetful

We also announced that we would address all of them to the point where everyone could feel comfortable/safe using the method. Here is a post I originally wrote last summer addressing the first concern.

The biggest question/concern people have approached me with is the perceived idea that NFP must be too hard to follow - especially as newlyweds. I have a couple friends getting married in the near future and have had discussions with one. She seemed to like the idea behind NFP and the natural way it works - but thought it would be too hard to follow so she didn't want to risk it.

To everyone that is already married - think back to when you were just dating. Those of you that aren't married yet won't have to think back too far! There is excitement and a drive to go out and do new things or explore new places. My husband and I took part in a lot of different activities and date nights to keep the relationship interesting before getting married. We took dance lessons and impressed guests at the reception with our salsa moves. We still make a lot of time for new activities and outings with friends. With NFP there is a wonderful cycle of courtship and honeymoon periods that keep the relationship exciting and fresh. Even secular therapists are proposing times of abstinence to spice up the relationship. Granted there are some days when many couples would say it is easier said than done, but those same couples would take the next sentence to explain all the benefits and excitement the method brings.

I want to mention one such story very briefly. This is a couple that was first using the pill and then learned NFP. When using the pill they took their relationship for granted and were filled with the usual excuses (busy, tired, etc). When they started using NFP they knew there would be times of abstinence and made an effort to adjust schedules to make sure they could be with each other. In the end, they were/are together more often since starting NFP.

I have to agree with them that NFP helps keep me from taking things for granted. It has actually helped me change my point of view in other aspects of my life to truly appreciate each day that I am given. When I take the time to think about it, I am so filled with joy that I want to spread the knowledge and true happiness that I have and I am glad that I can do just that through this site.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Reflection n. 9

Yesterday was an eventful day as was Wednesday evening. I'm not sure how I scheduled these back to back, but Wednesday I led the meeting for my pro-life group and Thursday I taught my first NFP class! Both evenings went really well even though there were some personal struggles behind the scenes.

Highlights - I kept everything on time and I got other people involved. Many people had input during the meeting and my husband did a great job teaching some of the most crucial points - hopefully that meant the guys listened closely.

Some more good news - even though some of the couples were required to be there everyone had a good attitude, paid attention and each couple even took the time and effort to ask clarifying questions. That seems to point to the fact that I kept their attention. My husband did great offering a few stories of his own and I made some references to experiences and myths as well including a bit of my health story and fascination with the show I didn't know I was pregnant. Now that they are in my class - they definitely won't be on that show :-D

Now my only question as I reflect on the experience is was I clear enough? I hope since questions were asked the girls will go home and confidently start charting, but I know I was a bit overwhelmed and stressed by it after my first class. I guess I'll find out the answer to that question after next class. Although the week was busy and stressful, I'm glad I was able to inform couples that the 98-99% rate is accurate, tested and in the physician's desk reference and if numbers aren't helpful my anecdotal evidence is pretty strong as well. What was the highlight of your week?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Motivation

My husband and I went on a really fun date night this weekend - chaperoning a youth group lock-in. My husband was mistaken for a student and I was mistaken for 29 years old. For those of you that know me (and youthful face :-D) you may be shocked about that. Most people were guessing based on my involvement in pro-life ministries. It was good to see the youth involved and my husband got to play basketball and rock band so he was happy.

While on door duty, one of the Catholic members of my group asked me if I had kids or when I would be trying to do that. As always, I didn't give an exact answer but I did say that my husband and I would be teaching natural family planning this Thursday. He was curious how that could me "on my heart" when I didn't have kids so I said it was a natural way to know when a woman could or could not get pregnant. Apparently that is not a clear explanation because he asked if I was on BC. I was reminded why I started this even when it seems like people are not interested and re-motivated to publicize more. People need to make an informed decision and they don't know about all their options!

Even Catholics who were married in the church in the last 10-15 years have no idea that NFP has advanced scientifically past the dreaded rhythm method. It barely gets mentioned in Catholic parishes so how do we change that? Does anyone belong to a parish or in an area where the information is presented to more than just engaged couples or those who search for it? That is a dream of mine - for it to get out there. I keep hoping that it will get more popular with the organic movement so people at least know it's out there and effective.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Reflection n. 8

Surprised by Joy

Although I want to reflect on what a stress it is to go to the doctor, God put something else on my mind for which I am quite thankful. Yesterday I taught math (horribly) but the kids understood. They weren't exactly excited to see me because they have a great teacher and I don't really understand geometry. I vowed to not teach math today and I succeeded! Instead I'm working a half day in a special education classroom so I can get my dose of joyful living. Whenever I go in a special classroom (like when I wrote this post) I am reminded of how easy it is for me to think about so many serious things and forget about life's simple joys. They point those out to me. I can't worry about my past stresses of the week because they are happy to see me and can't wait to show me what they are learning.

On a similar note, my husband seems to be trying to do the same thing for me this week. He bought me roses so I have to stop and smell them and remember all the little blessings I am showered with every day - too many to even list.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Responsible Living

There are many different views of how to start a family. Some say leave it completely up to God. Some say they are ready to get married but definitely not ready to parent so they go to a doctor and get a prescription and some might think about it entirely too much. I really can't say which one is right and I believe all will argue that they are trying to follow the guidelines they believe make up responsible living. While I may be on the "conservative" side of leaving the topic open to prayer and God's guidance, I haven't felt led that way yet.

People and strangers have now really started asking the baby question. I have been married for a little while and I don't even have a full time job so I should cut my losses in the professional world and have babies now until things turn around. At least that was one comment I got. Only that just accounts for finances (or lack of my own) and not my physical or emotional/spiritual health. In my own version of responsible living/parenthood here are some of the things I have adapted to my lifestyle to prepare mind and body for future motherhood:

1. diverse eating habits - before I might say I had fruits and veggies but they were always the same two or three. I have broadened my horizons to squash, cabbage, asparagus, berries, nuts, brussel sprouts, and some I can't even name. That is a bunch more than broccoli and carrots and apples and bananas.

2. more consistent exercise - I'm not going to say how much because all you exercise fanatics will laugh, but it's more than before and that is a start.

3. Doctors appointments among doctor appointments. I want to make sure I am healthy before trying to sustain another human being. These appts included:
1. Neurologist and EEG - check ups from a surgery done in 1999
2. Routine Physical - check blood levels etc to make sure I don't have nutrient deficiencies and that I'm taking the right supplements
3. A bunch of other appts I thought I could get out of the way including an eye exam and trip to the dentist and then second trip for a filling.

Wow, that seems like a lot and I'm only taking care of myself. Hopefully my emphasis on NFP and knowing about my body will help when I feel a call to motherhood and, even if I am part of the 1 out of 7 couples who experiences infertility, I will know I did all that was in my power to prepare for the physical demands of motherhood and even conception. If there is one thing I know from learning/teaching NFP it is that conception is not a right - it is a gift.

If you haven't guessed yet - I have a lot of doctor's appointments this week and I'm trying to convince myself it is worth all the hassle :-)