A 96.8 Degree Leap of Faith

At 5:00am every morning, 96.8 is my Basal Temperature.

And I'm thinking the plus or minus half-hour isn't really going to work for me either - because at 5:30 this morning, it was 97.1.  And if I dare to wait until 6:30 or 7?  It's been 97.5 and 97.6, respectively.

And why do I know this?  Because The Man and I took a (huge) leap of Faith and started using Natural Family Planning (NFP).  It's only been a week, so maybe I need not panic just yet.  Somehow I just know I'm not going to get to have wiggle room.  And before you ask, our goal is to prevent pregnancy for the foreseeable future.  And to me, that is the leap of Faith.

Until recently, we have relied on birth control to prevent pregnancy and so far it has worked.  I frequently live by the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' motto.  And based on the fact that we have no children, I would say it's been working.  But, in other ways, it wasn't working.  I was starting to feel the side effects of years of taking birth control pills (I, like many teens, was put on birth control to help with side effects) in the form of weight gain and reduced libido.

In recent months, as I've made new friends (Sarah and Michelle) and read with an open mind their experiences with NFP and learned more about birth control pills (and realized those side effects I was experiencing were related) I came to realize this was at least worth bringing up the The Man.

In the beginning, I did a horrible job of explaining what NFP is, how it works, and why I wanted us to consider it.  So bad, in fact, The Man said "Well, we'll just never have sex again then."  Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for.  At.  All.  After I backtracked a little lot, and explained that maybe I didn't really understand it all, we both set out to do some research.  A few weeks later, The Man said he thought this 'NFP-thing' was worth looking into and I googled 'NFP and West Virginia'.  Don't bother doing it, it's a colossal waste of time as there is nothing. at. all.  Even in our Marriage Prep classes, NFP wasn't taught.

Just after Christmas, without knowing how we would learn this NFP-thing, we decided to throw away the birth control pills.  The one thing we did know was that we wanted to give my body a chance to regulate itself and have hormone-free cycles before we started charting.  We didn't want leftover hormones to interfere because preventing pregnancy is our goal.

And in order to shorten an already long story (I'll write about it another day), Allison and her husband agreed to teach us via Skype (they live in Houston, TX) and we had our first class last Saturday.

 And thus begins our 96.8 degree leap of Faith.



Today, Lent begins.

So often, we hear people say what they've given up for Lent.  This year our Priest has challenged to not give up something, but rather to do something; he has asked us to do something 'Christ-like and positive, that we do not routinely do' (a direct quote from our bulletin this week).

I'm a glass half-full kinda girl and I like this line of thinking.  By the time these words are read by anyone else, I will have finally decided if I am going to give up sweets this year (as I did with much success last year) or something else.  I tend to make this decision at the last minute.  I know that it's not exactly supposed to be this way, and that I resolved to not procrastinate this year, but that's just how it's gonna be for now.

The doing part, on the other hand, I am very much looking forward to.

Though I was raised Catholic, many of the finer major details of my Faith have been complete mysteries to me.  I did what I did because it was what I'd always done.  Don't get me wrong, I valued and respected my Faith decisions with as much understanding as I could, I'm just now starting to realize that I truly didn't know what I didn't know.  In recent months, that as all changed and at times it is very overwhelming.  At other times, it is exciting.

One aspect of the Catholic Faith that I have never understood is why people pray the Rosary.  But, I've learned recently that prayer is an extremely powerful thing.  That it's not so much that our prayers are answered, but the process of prayer itself.  As I often remind the teachers who I lead, process not product.

So one thing I am going to do this Lenten Season is to pray the Rosary daily.  I am going to stretch myself and work to do this daily in the morning (a morning person, I am not) so as to start my day on a positive, God-filled note.  Because this process is so very new to me, I will be using The Rosary Prayer Guide website to guide me.

What are you giving up for Lent?  Are you adding anything Christ-like and positive to your daily routine?


Jonah's EB Auction

Please go read.

Please pray.

And when it's time, bid.

Jonah, and his parents, Patrice and Matt, will have you in awe, in tears, and laughing.  And then they'll do it all over again.




**Updated to say:  Please go visit Angie and rejoice with her!  God is good.  He was good yesterday.  And had we not been rejoicing He would still be good.  But today, we rejoice.**

I am sick.

I have a nasty cold and possibly strep throat (my self diagnosis, not a doctor's - yet).

My eyes are burning - to the point of not being able to wear my contacts today.

My nose is red and sore from coming in contact with some many tissues.

And sneezing?  Let's just say I told the ladies at work they didn't have to say 'Bless you' anymore.

As I sat here, wallowing in my suffering; literally coming to tears with joy because we have chicken noodle soup in the house, I realized that I am not suffering.

My friend Angie is suffering.

I have a cold.

I wil be fine.

And right now, I am praying that Angie will be fine too.

I am praying to Jesus to offer my suffering up for Angie.

Dear Jesus,
Please be with Angie and her family this weekend.  Give her strength to be away from her babies and husband; and give them strength to be away from her.  Thank-you for blessing her with family and friends who step in and care for her family while she is weakened.  And God, let it be your will that she is healed.

I am praying to St. Perigrine to intercede on Angie's behalf:

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty", "The Wonder Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you obtained from God for those who have turned to you in their need. For so many years, you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being.  You turned to God when the power of human beings could do no more, and you were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His cross to heal your affliction. I now ask God to heal these sick persons whom I entrust to you:

Aided by your powerful intercession, I shall sing with Mary a hymn of gratitude to God for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.
Friends, will you please visit Angie and bestow your prayers and good thoughts upon her?


A Glimmer in the Darkness

The Fall 2010 WVU Football Schedule was released yesterday!  Seriously - from Super Bowl Sunday until Kickoff of the new season seems to take for.e.ver.  There are a few glimmers of light in the darkness that I like to refer to as *gasp* baseball season - seriously, pitchers and catchers report next week!

One, is National Signing Day.  WVU did pretty well with our recruiting class and as late as today have been signing new recruits.
Another is the day the Fall Schedule is released.  LSU in Baton Rouge!  A renewed series with Maryland!  Home Opener followed by 6, SIX!, more home games!

SatSept. 11at Marshall
SatSept. 25at LSU
Sat.Oct. 9UNLV
ThuOct. 14USF [ESPN]
SatOct. 23SYRACUSE (Homecoming)
FriOct. 29at Connecticut [ESPN2]
SatNov 13CINCINNATI (Mountaineer Day)
SatNov 20at Louisville
FriNov 26at Pitt [ESPN/ESPN2/ABC]

Another will be the Annual Spring Scrimmage Game.  This year's is April 17.  See countdown on my sidebar for specifics!
And the last will be when two-a-days start in the summer and football retakes the headlines!

Sure, in the meantime, I've got basketball to keep me distracted.  And, the Mountaineers are actually quite good at basketball.  But, while I enjoy watching them play, I just don't track every moment like I do with football.

So, until Sept. 4 the next time I need my football fix....

Let's GOOOOO Mountaineers!!!!


Can of Worms


Again, I'm choosing a topic that has been in the news (March for Life, Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad, etc.) recently.

As with many of my other Can of Worms topics, this is one that I think it's easy to say initially 100% one way or the other, but when you really sit down and think about it, is it that simple?

I say it's not.

I feel very strongly that abortion is one of the saddest things that exist in this world.

I also strongly feel that Roe v. Wade is a law that should be upheld.  Yes, that is right, I believe Abortion should remain legal.  Do I believe the law is perfect as it is written?  No.  More on this later.

I want to make one thing very clear here.  I think abortion used as an after-the-fact birth control simply to get rid of an 'unwanted' baby is horribly wrong.  I think any procedure performed where the goal of the procedure is to end a life is horribly wrong - murder, capital punishment, abortion.  (Let's leave the end-of-life to treat or not to treat discussion for another day, ok?).

So, that should mean it's clear that abortion should be illegal, right?

But, what about the case where a woman's life is legitimately in danger and the stress of a traditional labor or c-section is life threatening?  Or when a woman is pregnant and diagnosed with cancer that can be treated now with chemo/radiation, but if left to wait, will be terminal?  By telling a woman in one of these situations that the life of her unborn baby is more important than her own, what are we saying to women?  Is our sole responsibility to procreate, no matter what the risk to ourselves?

So, I've laid out two extremes.  Where do you draw the line?  Do we really think that if we make abortion only legal for those who must undergo a procedure that will, unfortunately end the life of an unborn child that loopholes won't be created?  That records won't be altered?  That illegal abortions won't take place?

And what about cases of rape or incest?  I think it's easy to say 'adoption', but is it really that easy?  Think about it for a minute - you are pregnant with a child, fathered by your father.

This is why I say it is not government's place to make this distinction either.  Now this is the point where the argument that if government can't say abortion is illegal, why can it say that murder is?

My argument is this, and leads into the changes I would like to see made to Roe v. Wade:  A murderer can buy a weapon and kill without ever discussing it with someone else.  S/he can murder without ever speaking the words of their intent.  An abortion requires assistance.  A woman cannot have an abortion without the assistance of a doctor, nurse, or in the case of 'the morning after pill' a pharmacist.

So what do we do in the cases of abortion being used as an after-the-fact birth control?

First, I think we need to focus our efforts on preventing unwanted pregnancy.  Whether you believe in Birth Control (chemical or barrier methods) or not, research as proven that simply speaking abstinence to teens does not work.  So if you are completely against birth control, including barrier methods (which then allows for STD transmission, but that's for another day), I would assume you believe that Natural Family Planning (NFP) works, so why not educate yourself (or your teen) on NFP?  I would venture to say that through that process, a teen may learn to respect her body and why abstinence isn't such a bad idea and a married woman may find that the child she doesn't want isn't so unwanted at all.

But what to do with those unwanted pregnancies (non-life threatening to the mother) when they occur?
First and foremost, I think a woman should be given all of the information about her unborn child, fetus, whatever term you want to use, BEFORE she is even permitted to schedule an appointment for an abortion.  All of the information includes an ultrasound/sonogram and a review of the baby's development to date with a medical professional.  Second, I think counseling should be available to women who find themselves pregnant as a result of a trauma - incest, rape, etc.  And I'm not talking a one-time-quickie session to meet the requirement of counseling.  I'm talking legitimate counseling with realistic supports for the woman should she choose adoption and after.

I challenge that if we actually educated women about the power of our bodies, about choices other than abortion, AND followed up on this education with counseling and support rather than judgement and stereotypes we would see abortion naturally decrease.  And, when a woman must undergo a procedure to save her own life that is going to result in the death of her baby, rather than condemn her and criticize her, we should support and empower her.

And, for those women who do choose an abortion.  I challenge that love and forgiveness and support rather than guilt, condemnation, and judgement would go a long way.

{As I'm finishing this up, I realize I didn't speak to the fact that some women choose abortion as a way to terminate pregnancy that will result in a child with a disability.  As a former special educator, this makes my stomach turn and I include it in with an unwanted pregnancy that does not have an impact on the mother's life.}

The Can of Worms has been opened.  What do you think?

I do not think I need to say this, but just in case someone new comes by:  As always, a gentle reminder to be respectful in the comments.  You don't have to agree with me or others, but if you wouldn't say it face to face, please don't type it.


For Today, 2/6/10

For Today, February 6, 2010...A glimpse into my day, just an ordinary day.

Outside my window...snow.  15 inches of snow.  And it's still snowing.

I am thinking...that maybe Basketball isn't so bad after all.  Wait, did I just say that?  I really miss football Season.  How many more days?

I am thankful for...electricity and cable that are still on despite widespread outages around us.

From the kitchen...eggs with cheese, sausage, apple-cinnamon oatmeal, blackberries, and blueberries.  (Made by The Man.)

I am wearing...jeans and a WVU fleece hoodie.  Comfy?  Yes.

I am creating...our 2009 Year in Review Photo Album.  Still.

I am going...nowhere.  For at least the next 2 days.

I am reading...just finished The Time Travelers Wife.  I'm not sure what is next.

I am hearing...the Mountaineer Basketball game on the TV.

Around the house...clothes drying from being out in the snow.  Warm blankets for snuggling under.

One of my favorite things...watching Kali run and play in the snow.  She loves it.  Silly dog.

A few plans for the rest of the week...enjoy having no where to go.  Get some cleaning finished.

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing...