Thursday, April 29, 2010


A post from last May...again, my thoughts haven't changed much since I still don't have the experience. Today I will be in Ephesus, Turkey and yesterday I was in Rhodes, Greece

I was asked a question that sounds easy but is incredibly difficult to answer. What excites me most about having children? Before I try to answer, I think a lot of mothers would say their idea of motherhood changed drastically when it went from theoretical to actual. Right now I can have some great dreams and ideas about raising children - but I have no experience.

What is most exciting?
I will be fulfilling my vocation as a wife. One of the 3 intentions stated at a Catholic marriage ceremony is that the couple will willingly accept the children as a gift from God. I am excited that, with the help of God, I will actually create new life - if he grants me that gift. I am excited to see what dreams and interests my children will have and I'm excited to share my love for life with more people. It feels like a natural progression -

1. Get married and strengthen the unifying love between my spouse and I
2. Prepare financially, physically, spiritually, emotionally for another person
3. Create life - the super exciting part
4. Have a child - too mysterious and huge to say I'm excited about A or B

Right now, I am just excited to be defending life and trying to live in a way that is open to life at all stages. Eventually that will bring me to the motherhood. I believe there is no better vocation than accepting and nourishing life - at least no better vocation for me. My mother (and father) have taught me and love me and supported me in so many ways. I'm looking forward to doing the same.

For those who have already entered the motherhood - Happy Mother's Day! Especially to all the new and expecting mothers I know. I hope your weekend is full of joy and quality time with family.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Another great post from about a year ago...I even double-checked the links and they still work :-) Today I am in....Athens, Greece

Yesterday I read about St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She was born in the late 1800s and was named a saint in the early 1900s. Her message was to do everything in love. She wanted all her actions to be done with an attitude of love, no matter how ordinary the task. It is simple yet profound. How do we know what love is and how can we constantly show that love? I know I don't have all the answers, but I know love is not just sitting silent when bad things happen. With that said, my single point for today is that I am trying to love everyone in two ways

By speaking out for those who have no voice.

By educating anyone that will listen about benefits they could see in their life by practicing a natural form of birth control.

Random side note - any words that are a different color than the majority of the text have a link to a helpful website, not everyone reading this has realized that. I put two in this post that were in previous posts that some might have missed

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NFP and intention

Another good one from last April! I was really hardcore then huh? My opinion on this post is still the same and it has been quite a journey trying to "improve" areas of my life to make more room for my future family...still no different news to share from a year ago. And if anyone is curious, today I am touring Pompeii!

Last night, as I was catching up with one of my college friends, I was reminded of a previous conversation we had a month or two ago. It related to the intention of a couple using NFP. When I was learning the method, I remember my teacher saying that you can use NFP in immoral ways, but I don't remember a lot of details on how that is possible. If you aren't using anything artificial, how can the system be immoral?

First of all, I want to say that NFP can be used for more reasons than many people think. Dr. Gregory Popcak (PhD) put it best when he wrote:
The phrase 'grave reasons' comes from a popular - though flawed and unofficial - translation of Humanae Vitae that has caused much harm and misunderstanding. The official Vatican translation from the original Latin reads 'serious reasons.' What constitutes 'serious reasons,' however, is left to the couple to discern. Pope Pius XII indicated that the reasons a couple may choose to prevent pregnancy are 'in truth, very wide.' The Church asks only that every couple give prayerful consideration to 'both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which may be foreseen' as well as to exhibit a willingness to 'reckon with both the material and spiritual conditions of the times as well as their state of life...[and] the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church herself' (Gaudium et Spes, no. 50) - Gregory Popcak Ph.D Holy Sex: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving pg.185

Serious reasons can and should include physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. The question then needs to be asked: Can we support a new child in all of those ways? If the answer is no, then NFP can be used to avoid pregnancy.

That brings me back to my original question of how NFP can be used immorally. In my understanding, it all comes down to intentions. Is the couple prayerfully considering a family and their ability to care for one? This is where the confusing gray area is found. Only the couple can know where they are at in all the categories above, so the church is necessarily vague in discussing serious reasons. However, if the couple sees children as a bad thing or just an inconvenience, don't they have the same mentality as those using artificial means? It is something that only the couple and God can know for sure. I have to ask myself every month if I am remaining truly open to life. If my heart is closed to the possibility of a new life, the fact that I do not use artificial means to prevent pregnancy is not benefiting me spiritually.

As I stated in an email to my friend after the conversation we had, it is hard for me to answer that question sometimes. In regards to one of the categories, my answer is no and has been for a number of months. On the other hand, saying no to children without trying to improve my life so that I could switch that answer seemed incomplete. Being open to life and really questioning my intentions behind NFP has helped motivate me to live a healthier lifestyle so that I know that I am working toward turning that no into a yes.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Reflection v.1 n.13

During my trip I'm going to schedule a couple of my favorite post from months ago. Reading my early posts re-energizes me because I can remember how passionate I was about both causes then - before some of the struggles and frustrations. This was originally posted last April.

This morning I contemplated something that would cause so many to lose hope. The pro-life movement seems nowhere near its ultimate goal of ending abortion. Many leaders, including President Obama, do not support the movement. Nothing I can do by myself will change that fact. I have never been a dreamer - I am just one person. Uniting with millions more is still not enough for me to think I can change the world.

What keeps the movement going? For some it is belief that what they know to be true will triumph in the end. It is a complicated issue the involves social justice which most people want. Unfortunately, there are many groups in this world that want to achieve justice through their ideas and aren't concerned about other points of view or other developing people. I wish these groups could work togetherbut, all too often, we get stuck arguing over the means with which to get there. One of those means for many people is abortion. I don't see an agreement coming any time soon - but that doesn't mean we should give up and stop seeking a solution. There are unfathomable odds against the pro-life movement and yet the movement just won't go away - kind of like the abolition movement that seemed never-ending.

For me there is something more to it. It is my faith in God that has drawn me to the movement. Anything that happens in the group I help, will be from God, not me. God can handle and fight against the unfathomable - I cannot. Although I don't intend this blog to be "religious" and I am so thankful for all the nonreligious that support the movement, every once in a while it needs to be stated that there is something bigger giving me the strength to give my all to this cause. I could not do it by myself. I would get stressed out and decide it's not worth it - but I know someone who went through much more and stayed true to His faith. Hopefully I can continue to do the same.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my sister! We turn 25 today. I will be in Rome, she will be in MI. She will get to go to Italy in the fall she has something to look forward to in the near future. I can't believe we're 25. I feel like we should definitely be grown-ups now. I guess we are - married, going on exotic trips when we want, maintaining a house - at least one of us is a homeowner :-) I still feel like I'm "playing" house since I have not financial investment into it.

Well Happy 25th Birthday sis! I hope it is a great one and you have a wonderful weekend after. Can't wait to hear about all the good times and see you in May!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Reflection....

NFP class went great yesterday! I can't think of any details to add. I was a little too overwhelmed because I had a bad day substitute teaching so I just let the evening wash over me without being super analytical - crazy right? I prayed for maybe a minute and just sensed I was supposed to go next door and just play piano. Maybe God knew he would lead me and my head would distract me. Playing piano was the most peaceful time in the moments before class. I wasn't thinking about worst-case scenarios and I wasn't concerned about setup - yet. I just got to play - poorly at that but who could hear?

Now, I am in the middle of another not-so-great sub job but who cares? I am leaving for Rome next week and I get two birthday dinner/celebrations leading up to it! That means less cooking/mess for me to deal with while trying to get started on that packing thing....

Hope everyone has a great weekend and week! I scheduled posts to come up while we're gone - you can check in to see where I am and what I wrote a year ago. Otherwise, the next post I write won't be until after mother's day. So to all you mothers out there - congrats, thank you and all those nice things to wish a happy mother's day to you all! You have the best job ever :-D

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Volunteer Opportunity

For the past couple months I have been trying to take a step back from my life. I tried to let myself move to the background so that I could be led in the right direction. So many times I have thought "I should do this" and then go fulfill my wishes without looking back. Many of those things have been good, but maybe not the best. Maybe I could have done something better or more exciting instead of having blinders on until I decided I finished the task.

On the other hand, my husband the chef is quite the opposite. He has to approach multiple angles multiple times before coming to a decision in the first place. This is a great skill to have, even if it is not the most convenient when shopping for a new camera or at the grocery store. I know what I want and I'm ready to be done while my husband has barely started.

Now that you have both stories maybe you'd like to know the why behind it. I have tried to follow my husband's method of making a decision and realized I'm not very good at it. There is too much time for doubt and confusion to slow me down. Wait, wasn't that the point in the first place? Oh yes, well it's been months on the same question and I just can't get a clear answer - although I just might have today. Should I fade out of one group to have more time to volunteer for another? That is the months old question. Today, on the day when I put another commitment before my commitment to be at a meeting, I got an email about a volunteer opportunity. I didn't ask for the email or contact the group in quite a while, but I got the email on the day I am "skipping" the meeting for the group in question for something at church.

hmmm....hmmmm.... something else to ponder on my trip - maybe ;-D

Monday, April 12, 2010

People v. Property

Last night I finally watched the movie Amazing Grace about the slave trade in England. It was a great movie and I truly enjoyed it. It also got me quite hopeful. Here was a story of someone who was going against the weight of the world. The slave trade was necessary even if it was evil and, what's more, it was completely legal and supported by the government. After all, society would fall apart if slaves did not produce sugar because the economy would not survive.

In so many ways, the movie seemed to parallel the fight in which I am involved.
Movie/slavery: "property" was needed to increase economic stability
My life/abortion: "property" is private and needs to be disposed of to increase economic and emotional stability

Movie: it was taboo to bring the subject up in polite company, because of course William Wilberforce was crazy to think he could bring about change in a matter of private property - even if hundreds die on each trip to the West Indies
Life: Of course it is crazy to think government will change on the subject of abortion because it is a matter of privacy, not a matter of killing millions of babies

Movie: years of evidence of unsanitary conditions, opposition, cruelty and deaths did not work very quickly - more like decades
Life: years of evidence of life (especially in the last trimester when the baby is viable) has not led to more restrictive rules

I wonder if my life story will turn out the same - not that I will be the modern day Wilberforce, but that a change will come. It doesn't seem any less likely or less than the slavery issue. After all, they were property too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Reflection v. 1 n. 12

A year in blogging...

Well with the occurrence of Good Friday I missed the fact that it was my one year anniversary on here. Silly me, I was at church instead. I had a great Easter weekend and then an admittedly non-great Easter week (see previous post). So it is hard to reflect more on my insanity than I already did yesterday. Instead I'll reflect on this blog. It has helped me see how I have changed and stayed the same in my convictions. It has shown me how I can be led in a different direction than what was thought a year ago. News flash: I can't predict the future - can you believe it?

So I guess, overall, it has been a good thing to do this. On the other hand, I'm still unsure of what I want to do once I am actually 25 and prolife. Keep the same blog, have it be something more like 24/7 prolife, go in a different direction? Not sure...I have a few weeks and a trip of a lifetime to weigh my options.

In the meantime, a trip down memory lane and a post from a little over a year ago.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A pro-life use for the pill

A long one...but necessary to show my point that the pill can help someone be more pro-life. This is still an exception as you will see my "exceptional" story below. We have a medical solution to the pain of endometriosis and we, even as conservative Catholics, are free to use it with specific guidelines.

Some readers may remember my three options to ease menstrual pain resulting in my decision for surgery last summer. It seemed an easy one to make at the time. I didn't want to live with the pain, and I didn't want to go on the pill. I'll take surgery please. I like using NFP so I know what is going on with my body. I know when I'm ovulating, I'm not suppressing my happy hormone that helps me do so, and I know when I can and cannot get pregnant. Let's not have that change.

However, even in my NFP classes, we teach that the pill can be prescribed for medical reasons. We can try supplements and even surgery first, but sometimes it is hard to find the cause and the pill may be the best source of relief. Starting a hormonal pill can balance out your body and hopefully even after you come off things will be better.

I chose surgery to diagnose the problem - endometriosis. I also found out that it can be caused by estrogen imbalance and cod liver oil (or other fish oil) supplements can increase that problem. Solution (treatment to prevent recurrence): get pregnant or try supplements, exercise and progesterone if necessary. Well I have tried all three (not the pregnancy part) and gotten nowhere.

NFP doesn't make life perfect and supplements don't always help. Even with my lifestyle changes, I still could be classified as having PMDD - meaning I can't function. At this point, I not only have pain but awful mood swings and anxiety attacks. By my charts, I know it is basically the week before my next cycle. It must be hormonal right? But increasing the progesterone doesn't help the emotional part and adds extreme fatigue to the mix. What is a girl to do? No pregnancy to blame the hormonal insanity on and no support from mainstream culture who would have put me on the pill 5 years ago.

If I could talk to my May 2009 self, I might advise the pill. I knew then and still know now it can be pro-life if used with periodic abstinence. I also know that my definition of pro-life includes many different things including quality of life. What can I do to make myself healthier - oddly enough that may have, and still could be, the pill. If I can't function for almost a week at a time, then it is hard for me to get outside myself and live a good example.

I don't regret my decision because I couldn't see into the future, but I would advise people in a similar situation to think about the option long and hard and not judge those who take the "easy" way out. No way is easy, and the goal is overall health. If over the counter supplements and progesterone do not help, the pill just might. I'm still reaching for that goal and I'm once again weighing my options.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Voices of Silence

In college I took the required English class and my professor called it "Voices of Silence." I thought it was an interesting name and signed up. Oddly enough, we ended up watching movies like Fight Club and Silence of the Lambs of which I have totally lost the relevance by now. Even so, it was nice to reflect on how voices get silenced and we even got to do some fun meditative exercises as well. It was nice to have my "job" include sitting outside quietly 15 minutes. I wish someone would force me to do that again.

When I get stressed, I tend to shut off that reflective "silent" voice and go on autopilot. Ironically it's that silent voice that gets "silenced" by the noise of everyday life. Holy Week was busy with church events and choir rehearsals. Lots of family events and gatherings on Sunday. All those were great things, but things that are somewhat loud in my manner of thinking. Although I loved seeing family and celebrating Easter, my usual Sunday routine is church and then relaxation at home - no visitors.

As crazy and anti-social as that might sound, it has been a system that helps me keep my cool and gives me the quiet moment I need to go outside myself the rest of the week and try to help others at school, with NFP and in the pro-life group. Good thing I get a week break after Easter then huh? I have had the quiet time to plan out what needs to be done at the next board meeting. I have been in contact with half my NFP students checking up. I have also had time to sit down and think and go to Mass. What does God want me to do. I still feel mixed signals with the pro-life group but great feedback about NFP. Not sure what it means yet...but I will have a trip of a lifetime in two weeks to step back a bit and think about it. Have I announced that here? Two weeks from today I fly to Rome and spend my 25th bday there before getting on a ship headed for other parts of Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. Then I guess I won't be "24" and prolife anymore so not sure what I'm going to do with this blog....but I'll definitely share highlights from the trip :-D