260,000 Flags

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army (with permission as stated here).

I've always known that flags are placed at the more than 260,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery every year to honor those who are buried there.  What I didn't know is that from the time the flags are placed, members of the 3rd Infantry patrol the grounds 24 hours a day to ensure each flag remains standing until they are removed.

Today, I pray for the souls of the departed soldiers.  I thank them for their sacrifice (and those words seem so small).  And I pray for those who wear a soldier's uniform on this Memorial Day; that one day, on Memorial Day, we only have departed souls to pray for, that there are no longer men and women in harm's way.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Friday Fragments

Hold on tight, because these are all over the place:

1.  Thank-you so much for all of the great information about discussing NFP with my new Doctor's office! The good news is that my friend Kate also goes to the doctor and is an NFP-user; she assures me they are very supportive.  Yay!

2.  99 more days!!!!  That's less than 100 (yep, I've got mad math skillz)!!!  Until the first WVU Football game of 2010!  Let's GOOOO Mountaineers!

3.  I am very behind on reading your blogs.  I have no good reason, but I plan to catch up this weekend!

4.  I have some awesome new reading material - The New Catholic Answer Bible.  Thank-you Kate!  I LOVE it!

5.  It's hard to be a boss.  Yesterday, I had to explain to someone that yes, I believed she was giving 100% and trying her best, but that it still wasn't working out.  I am sad for her and when I said I wished her the best, I truly meant it.  Truly the hardest thing I've had to do in my job.

6.  It seems that there is going to be a change of plans (or rather a timeline change of plans) for The Man's return to school.  I know that there is a reason for this.  I'm just so disappointed and I feel a little bit like maybe, somehow, this is my fault.  That once again, I've counted my chickens before they hatched, and that I again have to be given an opportunity to learn that it's not about my timing.  You'd think as much as I cling to the scripture under my header, I'd have figured this out by now.  Clearly I have not.

7.  What are your plans for the weekend?  We are headed to a first birthday party for The Man's friend's son on Saturday and then a picnic at my Dad's on Monday.  I'm on dessert duty.  I love dessert duty, but am for some reason coming up blank.  Any suggestions for a yummy Memorial Day dessert?

Have a great weekend and please go visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes/Fragments.


Advice - NFP Style

Ok friends, I need some help/advice.

Since I finally have health insurance again, I made a doctor's appointment with a well-respected doctors' office here in town.

When I made the appointment, I asked if any of the doctors or midwives in the practice were familiar with NFP.  It was clear from the response that the receptionist herself was not familiar with NFP and I'm doubtful that she will relay this information to anyone else.  I'm sure she'd just never heard the term before as she wasn't rude, her question (and I can't remember her exact words) just made it clear to me that she didn't know what I was talking about.

My question is:
What do I need to do to be prepared for this appointment?
Is there information out there that I can take with me to give to the doctor/midwife who sees me?
Or am I just being my usual over-thinking-worried-about-nothing self and I should just not worry about it at this point (since there is no problem and we aren't trying to achieve pregnancy)?

(The Man and I continue to use NFP to prevent pregnancy.  There is nothing (physically or in my charts) to indicate that there is any type of problem.)

I don't want to be *that* patient who is a know-it-all; but I also don't want to mess up this first-impression in explaining NFP (as I did when trying to explain it to The Man).

Help.  Please and thank-you!



I'd never planned time around a TV Show, until Lost.

It was a fabulous ride - start to finish.


First 5k

Saturday was our (Sara and my) first 5k!  My goal was to run the entire distance (and secretly in my head to finish in less than 45 minutes, but I didn't say that one in my out-loud voice).

And I did it!

Considering when we started this running an entire 5k would have probably landed me in the hospital (or dead alongside the trail), I am proud of myself and excited about my finish.

My Dad, Step-mom, and brother surprised me by being there to cheer me across the finish line - icing on the cake!

In all my years as an athlete, as a member of more than one undefeated team and championship team, very few moments have felt as personally gratifying as this one.

Sara, I've said it before, and I'll say it again - thank-you so much for your patience (and slower-than-you-can-walk pace) and thank-you for letting me invite myself into your workout plan.  I'm crossing my fingers for a nice afternoon today, I'm ready to run again.

RUN Women 30-34
156397Holly Fillipovich3224:26.57:53
291787Amy Sparks3027:18.98:48
3101602Amanda Ammer3027:49.88:58
4110760Heather Poe3028:27.99:11
5116371Christina Lopez3128:59.69:21
6135377Kelsey Briggs3430:45.99:55
7156822Sarah Yokum3033:23.610:46
8158824Amber Zinchook3033:40.710:52
9159711Sara Lunden3034:05.111:00
10193639Jeanette Custer3037:42.312:10
11197772Rebecca Royse3038:43.012:29
12199607Lisa Biondo3039:20.712:41
13223742Cari Murral3042:28.613:42
14242678Loretta Hilling3048:34.115:40
15249836Michelle Stingo3049:05.815:50
16251712Anne Lupo3049:21.615:55
17271324Misty Eddy3158:17.618:48


The Mother-in-Law Jackpot

I know Mother's Day was 2 days ago.  I just wasn't sure what to write about this year.  I've touched on my parents' divorce a couple times, but I usually don't really go there.  It's hard.  It sucks.  (still)  And I'd much rather wear my rose-colored glasses.  And on holidays it's sometimes hard to find them.

And then, it dawned on me.  I don't even need my rose-colored glasses for this one - it's genuinely good.

I hit the mother-in-law jackpot.  Or rather, God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me my MIL.  Just as I am clear in my understanding that The Man is a gift given to me, I am clear in my understanding that my MIL is also a gift.

Given the following information, one might think that it was quite the opposite:
  • The Man is 1 boy of 5 children.  That means I am the only daughter-in-law.
  • Before we were even married, my MIL was asking about grandchildren.
In the years I have known my MIL, never once, not even for a second has she made me feel like I was not good enough for her son.  In fact, just the opposite, she has blessed me with love and acceptance.  And those requests for grandchildren, never are they pushy, and never do they make me feel like it is something we have to do.

Instead, my MIL has taught me lessons I never thought I'd learn.

How to love more than one child equally without creating a sense of competition among them.
How to love a daughter, and yes, a daughter-in-law, as much as a son.
How to be comfortable in my own skin, for who I am.
How to put family and love above things.
How happiness is not determined by how much money you have in the bank, or the things you own.

This Mother's Day I celebrated with my mom, my Nan, and my step-mom.  I am grateful for each of these women and know they are blessings in my life as well.

But I also celebrated with my MIL and I am so grateful for the day we spent together; but more importantly for the lessons she has taught me over the past 12 years - and the lessons she will continue to teach me.


Friday Fragments

1.  Has it really been a week since the WVU Spring Gold-Blue game?  It has!  Yikes, well, that should tell you the kind of week it has been - B.U.S.Y!  The camera hasn't even been plugged into the computer to upload the pictures.  Somehow, this was the first ever spring scrimmage I've been to.  Yes, I'm very embarrassed to admit this.  Yes, I've learned my lesson.  No, I will not miss a spring game again.

2.  Did I mention this week was extremely busy?  And a bit crazy?  It seemed like my days started ten minutes before I walked into my office.  Without me.  And I spent the rest of each day catching up.  And as I'm writing these words, I'm realizing I haven't done a job update since I started.  I love my job.  It is without a doubt where I was meant to be.  The journey to get here wasn't an easy one, but looking back it was worth every high and low and unexpected turn.  It isn't always an easy job, but I wouldn't want that.  I like to be challenged and I like to be busy.  And I am both.

3.  One of the reasons this week was so very busy was because we were on a deadline.  A deadline to get paperwork turned in and a check written for the first month of a health insurance premium!  This is absolutely an answered prayer.  A job I love at a small business where I am offered health insurance as a benefit.  With a reasonable premium and deductible.  My heart swelled with happiness and tears spilled out of my eyes as I heard the news.  I am grateful.

4.  Tomorrow morning Sara and I are running our first 5k.  Two months ago, I think running a 5k just might have killed me.  I am excited to say that I am looking forward to the run tomorrow morning.  My goal is to run the entire time.  I don't care how long it takes me to finish, I just want to run the whole way.

5.  Hmm, maybe 2 glasses of wine and cheesy bread was not the best choice for dinner?  I see lots of water in my future the rest of the evening.

6.  I am in total denial that Lost is almost over.  I am looking forward to knowing the end, but once I do, it will be so sad to know that I'll never wonder how it will all end again.  (Does that make sense?  I felt the same way at the end of Harry Potter.  Glad to know, but sad to know the journey was over.)

7.  And Survivor!  If Russell makes it to the final 2 again, I don't think I will have any hair left.  He needs to go.

Have a great weekend.  Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies!


NFP Update

We had our third and final NFP class on Saturday with Allison and her husband, Mike.  I can not thank them enough for being willing to get creative and teach us via Skype; and answer all of my crazy questions; and laugh with us; and reassure us.  When The Man and I head to Texas in October for my brother's wedding, we will most certainly be making a side trip to meet Allison and Mike IRL.

What an amazing journey we have begun began started.  I would like to think I would have been open to NFP 6 1/2 years ago when we took our marriage prep classes, but I will never know because it wasn't even discussed.  All I knew about the Catholic teachings on birth control was that it was wrong.  I had no idea there was a reliable alternative in NFP.  I had never heard the term 'Natural Family Planning' until I started blogging.  Admittedly, I didn't seek it out years ago, but I still can't help but feel a bit cheated because no one ever brought it up to us.

I feel so much better (physically/mentally) since tossing the BCPs; and knowing what is going on with my body makes the times of hormone changes much more bearable.  As an example, I find I get extremely tired when I'm ovulating (I thought I was crazy, but googled it and sure enough, I'm not the only one).  Knowing that ovulation is nearing, I can eat better, be sure to get enough sleep at night and not get quite so tired during the day.

As we finished our last class, we briefly discussed with Allison and Mike about how The Man and I could become NFP instructors.  I am feeling like God is putting this on my heart.  That someday (sooner rather than later, perhaps), a woman can google NFP and West Virginia and actually find useful links to resources and guidance.  Will you please pray for discernment and clarity as we begin to see what path God is leading us down.