Funny Moments on the NFP Path

The following statements may or may not have been heard (and laughed about) in our home since we started talking about NFP:

"Well, we'll just never have sex again then."

"There's a difference between mucous and secretions?"

"No, we are not having pre-ovulation sex.  That's too advanced for me."

"Can't you just take my temperature without waking me up?"

"Would you say this is stretchy?"  Reply:  silence

"How 'reliable' is 'reliably infertile'?"

"Just email Allison one more time."  Reply:  "She's gonna think we're incompetent."  Reply:  "Maybe one of us is."

"Why do our wedding anniversary and my birthday have to be so close together?"

"I think I'm advanced enough now"

"God better not be laughing at us."


Mountaineer Monday

I can't believe there are less than 40 days until the season starts (which means WAY less days until camp opens and the real news starts).  I'm a little nervous about just how this season is going to.  Defensively, we should be really good.  We have a lot of experience coming back and our 3-3-5 stack defense always gives opposing teams a tough time just in its design.  Offensively, with the return of Jock Sanders and Noel Devine we certainly have the weapons.  The key to it all will be our Quarterback.  Isn't that always the case?

Last year, we had a QB with a familiar name who had played well in many back-up situations.  But we learned that just because someone has worn the old gold 'n blue for four years, it doesn't mean they are game tested and ready.  Don't get me wrong, Jarrett Brown did an amazing job, I just wish he'd had another year at least.  I think he could've been something special.  This year, we know what we are getting.  Talent will be crucial because experience is something our QB just won't have.  It looks like Geno Smith (finally recovered from off-season foot surgery) will be the man under Center, but rumor has it the two freshman QB's coming in should push him and maybe even give him a run for his money.  Not that I want to see Geno lose his job, but I would like him to feel just unsure enough with his position to work that much harder to ensure he keeps it.

All of the off-season talk about team building, effort, heart, and unity sounds great.  I'm hearing all the right words:  committed, leadership, pride.  Now, I'm ready to see if the team is ready to walk the walk.  Last year I wrote (on numerous occasions I think) that there just seemed to be something missing.  Whether it was a desire to win (rather than a desire to not lose) or a lowering of standards (to go to any bowl game vs. a BCS bowl game), I don't really care.  I just want to see it fixed.  A few years ago, WVU fans were abuzz with talk of the first National Championship for a Mountaineer football team.  I'm ready for that buzz to come back.  WVU has played football since Nov. 28, 1891, we've paid our dues. It. is. time.


NFP Awareness Week

NFP - that's Natural Family Planning.  And no, it's not the Rhythm Method.  Not even close.

It was this week last year that I first learned what NFP is through reading many of your blogs.  I feel so blessed to be a part of the 'club' this year.

I go through phases where I start to get very angry though.

Angry that no one taught me NFP.
Angry that when girls are taught about their cycle in high school that they are not taught how it really works.  That we are left to think that every cycle is 28 days and on day 14 we ovulate.  It's no wonder there are pregnant teenagers out there who really don't understand how they got pregnant.
Angry that the horrific side effects of the pill are printed in tiny print using medical jargon on a piece of paper no one (not even me, and I read everything) reads.  And those who do read it, how many actually understand what it's telling you?
Angry at all of the other side effects of the pill.  And frankly scared to death at which ones might catch up with me.
Angry that in Catholic Marriage Prep classes, the words Natural Family Planning were never uttered.

And so today, I'm writing to hopefully let someone whose reading this know that there is another reliable option.  There is a way to honor your fertility and postpone pregnancy.  I always see the bright side of things, and the bright side of this is that I did learn about NFP.  And that maybe, just maybe, one person will read this and it will make them think about the choices they are making and seek out a better way.

We are worth it.


Friday Fragments - Gratitude Edition

Seven things I'm grateful for this week:

1)  The Man's cooking ability.  I don't know many women who walk in the door from a long day at work to a plate of homemade meatballs and a boiling pot of spaghetti on the stove.

2)  A healthy, non-scratchy pup.  Her fur is even growing back.

3)  A job I love.  Even when it's challenging, I still love it.

4)  Warm Hot summer weather.

5)  Small little arms thrusting books to be read at me.

6)  My Nan.

7)  All of you.  The kindness you bestowed upon me fills my heart.  Thank-you.

Please go visit Jen for more Quick Takes.


Wondering Wednesday

How many children do you want?

Maggie started it, Sarah continued it, and I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

Almost a year and a half ago, I wrote about the guilt and wonder that I felt over my desire to not have children.  Little did I know, I was about to go through one of the roughest patches of my life and in the process have a reversion to and new understanding of my Catholic Faith.

As I reread the words I wrote, I see a girl who had just cause for discerning that it is not time for children.  And, as Elizabeth wrote today, I too am a planner and always felt that I had to plan out my life.  And I felt I needed an answer to the question of "When are you going to have children?".  While in my heart I knew better than to never say never (hence the wonder part of my previous post), I didn't understand the discernment process that comes with the decision to have children - in fact, we were still contracepting so it wasn't a topic The Man and I talked about on a regular basis.  It came up, but usually when someone else started pushing the issue/asking the question.  Now, thanks to NFP, it comes up frequently.

I wrote recently about the sting of the question "When will you start a family?"  The question "How many children do you want?" doesn't sting so much, but both create a similar feeling.  I don't have the issue of 'wanting' a big family, we still haven't discerned that it is time for a child, I just find both questions to be very personal.  Last week after Mass when a fellow parishoner asked "why not?" when we said that we didn't have any children, I was momentarily paralyzed (and extremely grateful for the interruption of Kate's adorable kids!).  Do I say 'because at this time we have discerned that we have just cause for postponing children.'?  Something tells me this just isn't the way to make friends, but how else would I answer that question?  That said, it is time that I admit to asking/saying many of the things that Maggie listed.  I never meant them in a hurtful way, but now I see that they could sound very judgmental.  My heart hurts to know that I may have hurt friends or strangers by being thoughtless as to the question I was asking, regardless of my intent.

As I've reverted to my Catholic Faith, I also see that I had an open heart to what God may have in store.  And the guilt and wonder are still there, just in a different way.  Or maybe not really different, just better understood and articulated.

So, while my reason for struggling with the question of "How many children do you want?" may differ from Maggie and Sarah's, I find that my answer can be the same - "As many as God wants to give us".  It may be that God gives us none, and while I'm sure it seems crazy to some of you, I would be okay with that.  And as those words appear on my screen, the guilt fills my heart and I offer it up for those of you who want more than anything to be parents and are struggling.  But, it may also be that God gives us one or many, and I would be okay with that too.  For as much as I like to plan and think that I have a say, this is one area that I, for whatever reason, trust God with.

Now I just need a good answer to the question "Why don't you have children?".


Intentions. Or not.

Ha, so when I wrote my post on Thursday, I didn't intend to disappear for a few days.

I did intend to take Kali to the vet on Friday afternoon to see if we could find out why she is half bald and scratching and miserable.  I did not intend to get a $300 bill (and I'm quite sure Kali did not intend to get a scratch test and full blood panel done).  I am grateful for an awesome vet who offers payment plans.  I am also grateful for antibiotics and steroids, as Kali is feeling much better.  Kali, by the way, is awesome.  She takes her pills happily without any fight.

I did also intend to go spend the weekend with my Nan.  She is doing much better and I thank you all so much for the prayers.  It turns out she did have pneumonia and, as you know, what was intended to be a simple same-day procedure, did not turn out so.  We had two goals for the weekend:  1)  teach me how to make pizelles and 2) go to Glen's for the best. ice cream frozen custard. ever.  Both goals were met, along with some delicious, comfort food, good conversation and many laughs.  I also love hearing my Nan (81-years old) talk about the 'old ladies' (who are 90) and how she needs to start 'working out' because her legs are getting weak.

I did intend to write my first Mountaineer Monday post, but I did not intend to have a totally screwed up internet connection (due completely to user error).  So instead, you are getting this.  A jumble of nothing, about what I intended to do.  And now, I intend to catch up on everything I've missed from you all in the last few days.  And that is one intention, I'm going to complete!


The Whole Truth

It's time.  (This is long, I apologize in advance.)

I've felt like it was time before - last summer, Thanksgiving, and other times.  But I always had a reason excuse as to why it wasn't the right time.

I still have a list of excuses...
*What will she, and she, and she, and she (whose blog is private) who I know IRL think?
*And what about all of you, who are just as dear to me, think?
*My family might read here (I don't think they do, but what if?).
*Everything I've written will be critiqued and criticized.
*And what about you and you and you - do you think me a fake for not speaking up before now?
And the list goes on and on...

I'm shaking as I type.

But I feel like God is asking me to do this, to be completely honest.  To truly honor Him for the work He has done in me.  To let the glory be His.

To just say it won't be enough, so please bear with me.  To just write it, and be done with it, won't be enough for me.  Someone once told me my need to explain myself was endearing.  I pray that is somewhat true here.

I worry that my family (that I don't think reads here) really does and will decide this is the post they should comment on or bring up.  I worry about the hurt and embarrassment that will cause {me}, because of all they have read before now, but chosen not to comment on.  I know my MIL reads, and she already knows.  It was the moment I knew what 'nonjudgemental' really felt and looked like.  I am forever grateful.

I worry that I won't be able to look you in the eye the next time I see you.  That you will judge me.  Pity me.  Laugh at me.

But I feel this is something I must do.  It is something God is asking me to do.  That until I do, the lesson will continue to be taught.  Over and over again.

I'm ashamed.  But I take responsibility.

I'm hurt.  But I am healing.

I'm fighting the urge to give every detail and justify every action.  I know that's not what's important here.  What's important here is what I learned.  How my life has changed.  That where there was apathy and ignorance is now 'ignorance on fire'.

But my insecurity is telling me that if I can just explain it enough, give enough 'whys' it won't be so bad.

Only I know better.  It is what it is.  It's not rocket science.  And unless you've walked my walk, it cannot truly be understood.

About a year ago, I swallowed my pride, admitted defeat, walked into an attorney's office and filed for bankruptcy.

It was, without a doubt, the hardest, most humbling experience of my life.

And I am forever changed.  I've seen the power of prayer first hand.  I've seen the grace of God touch my marriage in a way I didn't even know was possible.  I've been blessed with a husband who dried our tears and held me tightly when I didn't know what to do with myself.

I have heard (read?) that bankruptcy and the loss of a child are the two hardest things a marriage can endure.  I can say that there is nothing easy about bankruptcy and that it is by the Grace of God that our marriage only got stronger and wasn't torn apart by this.  We created the situation together and we walked through the best solution we could discern together.

And that is the whole truth.

I've used the pronoun 'I' throughout this, but this was very much something The Man and I did together.  It wasn't easy, but we are stronger for it.  This is just my perspective, as this is my blog. I did ask him to read and give his permission for sharing this very personal detail of our lives.  His only question was "what was your motivation for writing this?"  My answer is this: if I help one person who might be in the situation we were in to feel that they are not alone, it was worth it.  I know how I felt when I found that person (you know who you are) and it was invaluable.  I also feel that we will not begin to have financial peace until I am completely honest here.  That the reason I was brought to my knees in such a way truly was for God's glory, and that they only way to give him the true glory is to share the whole truth.


The Present

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my Faith Story (as asked to by Leila).

This evening, while talking with The Man, I described it this way, and it just seemed to explain it perfectly (to me anyway).

My Catholic Faith was a gift or a present.

It was given to me when I was very young.

It was in a big box, with great wrapping paper, and a beautiful bow on top.

But it was set off to the side of the room.

When I asked...

Could I have the present?
What was in the present?
Tell me about the present?
Why did I get the present?

I was told...
You already have the present.
You know what's in the present.
It's a present.
Because I said so.

And then, recently, I was finally handed took the present and ripped it open.

And now, I am learning about the present.  What it is.  What it means.  Why it is special.

And, while I wish I'd been allowed to have the present to touch and feel and learn earlier, I am forever grateful for it.


Versatility is a Good Thing, I Guess

Thanks so much to Michelle, at Musings of a Catholic Lady, for this award:

I always thought this blog was sort of random, but I like versatile better.  It sounds like I plan it this way.

The recommended procedures rules for this award include:
1.  Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
~Thanks Michelle!!!!
2.  List 7 things people may not know about you.
So, I thought I shared all my secrets in my 100th Post, but I'll try to come up with 7 more:
1.  I love puzzles.  Jigsaw.  Crossword.  Sudoku.  It doesn't matter.
2.  I love Savannah, GA.
3.  I was not a good work-from-home wife.  I love working outside the home.
4.  Army Wives makes me cry.  Every.  Week.
5.  I played Middle Hitter on my High School volleyball time.  Like Michelle, I was rotated out of the back line because of my inability to pass.
6.  I went to Europe (Germany, France, Switzerland, & Austria) when I was in Jr. High School.
7.  I'm ready for football season.  What?  You knew that?  *laughs*
3.  Pass the love to 15 deserving bloggers.  (and following Michelle's lead I'm shortening this to 7)
4.  And let them know you gave them an award.

Now, please go visit these lovely ladies :)!


Friday Fragments

1.  Thank-you for the prayers for my Nan.  As I write this, she is doing much better but is still in the hospital.  It turns out the mega-antibiotics she was on weren't needed because she had pneumonia and antibiotics don't work on pneumonia.  However, they worked really well on all the good bacteria in her stomach and now she has an infection from bad bacteria.  So, she is on a different antibiotic to kill the bad bacteria.  Oh, and the {stupid} resident told her (and us) that she would be going home yesterday (the same {stupid} resident who told her (and us) she would get to go home on Tuesday).  But, it gets better, the {stupid} resident, upon learning from her doctor that she would not be going home yesterday did NOT bother to tell Nan that she would not be going home.  In fact, the {stupid} resident didn't tell anyone until my mom (getting ready to make the hour and 45 minute drive) called the nurses station (because she couldn't get through to my Nan's room) to please help Nan get read to go.  It was then that the nurse told my mom.  So, Nan might get to go home tomorrow, maybe.  So, if you would please pray that she is well enough to go home soon and that the {stupid} resident learns some patient communication techniques.  Feel free to keep the {stupid} in there as I'm sure it will help God to know exactly who you are praying for.  Ha!

2.  Clearly I have lost my perspective, sense of humor, and rose-colored glasses on this whole situation with my Nan.  Obviously the {stupid} resident is not literally stupid, I just don't think he's seeing my Nan as a person with feelings.  She is just a patient, one of many he is seeing in a day, and to him she is a job.  I sincerely pray that he will learn from this and be cautious about what he tells patients and their families in the future.

3.  This will be our 3rd Sunday with our new Priest.  So far, I really like him.  Last Sunday was his Installation.  I had never attended a Priest's Installation before.  It was a simple, yet appropriate ceremony during Mass last week.  One particularly symbolic piece that I liked was that Monsignor Annie (our Bishop's designee) started the Mass, and once Father Mark was Installed, he took over and celebrated the Eucharist.

4.  As fair warning to those of you who are not Mountaineer fans, or at the very least football-in-general fans, football season is finally getting close!  (Less than 58 days!!!!!!)  I have decided that I will have Mountaineer Mondays in which I recap the previous weekend's game and preview the upcoming game.  On off-weeks, I may include other WVU, yet non-football related, information that  you can't live without I feel is important to document.

5.  Do any of you come up with ideas for your Quick Takes as the week goes on and create a draft post with snippets to remind yourself what you want to write?  No?  Oh, ok, me neither then!

6.  Two of my fragment snippets are actually better as posts of their own, so now I only have 5.  Well, 6 now because I wrote this one.  See how smart I am?

7.  A few weeks ago, I asked what to make for dessert and Sarah suggested a no-bake strawberry pie.  I made 2; one with strawberries and blueberries and one with raspberries and blackberries.  Here's how the raspberry/blackberry one turned out:

Have a great weekend!  For more Quick Takes, please visit Jen!


Tuesday Tales

  • This started out as Tuesday Tidbits, but they are a little more than just Tidbits.

  Would you please say a prayer for my Nan?  She had a minor, supposed-to-be-an-outpatient-surgery, on Thursday and she is still in the hospital.  She had complications during the surgery; while coming out of the anesthesia; and continues to have an unexplained fever.  The fever is accompanied by some confusion and poor coordination.  She is 81 years old and I've made her promise me another 19 good years.  If you will please pray specifically for the doctors to find the cause of the fever and for it to be treated.  I had never set foot in a hospital chapel before yesterday, I'm glad I did, but I don't want to have a need to do it again anytime soon.

  I promise there will be some good news here, but I have another prayer request.  The Man's good friend Corey's mother passed away unexpectedly last night.  She has been in poor health, but there was nothing to indicate she would leave this world just yet.  My heart breaks for him and his family.  Please keep them in your prayers as well.

  Well, my mom knows that The Man and I use NFP.  I know, to many of you that probably seems like a good thing.  Let's just say that her first comment (after asking if I take my temperature every morning) was (with a smile):  "I'm going to break your thermometer."  (Yes, she's a bit grand-baby crazy.)  And when I said "I wish I'd known there was a reliable alternative to birth control AND I wish I'd known the reasons the Catholic Church was opposed to birth control pills" her expression was not one of understanding.  In fact I do believe there was a scoff on the later portion of my statement.  I struggle with this relationship.

  I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July.  Ours was very busy!  A picnic with Kate and kiddos, followed up by a cookout at my step-grandparents, and finished off with a dinner cookout at my in-laws.  We moved back to Morgantown almost 2 years ago to be close to our families, and it is days like Sunday that remind us of this.  Before moving, the picnic with friends would have been cut out and one family event also would have been cut out.  We are so grateful to be 'home'.

  And because I'm totally random...In Back to the Future, when Doc set the Delorian Time Machine's clock to 25 years in the future, he set it to July 5, 2010.  Yesterday.  All I wanna know is where is my flying car?


Independence Day 2010

Well, I had a post all written for yesterday, but apparently between preparing for the day, I forgot to hit "Publish" and only saved it.  Because I'm smart like that.

But, as everything happens for a reason, I think that the reason for my error was because I needed to come across this quote on a friend's Facebook page:

Welcome to the United States of America.  Please remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:  JESUS CHRIST and the AMERICAN SOLDIER.  One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

And really, what more is there to say about why we celebrate July 4th?


In Which I Rant

West Virginia

Not Western Virginia

West Virginia

Did you know it's a state?

We even have our own capital (and it's not Richmond).

Please excuse me, I have misplaced my rose-colored glasses and I'm not seeing anything good right now.

In Senator Byrd, I see a man who changed the lives of millions, did a 180 on his positions as he matured and learned, often stood alone in his determination to stand by his principals, and served the US government longer than anyone.

And yet, his final trip to the senate and his final trip home to WV are not newsworthy enough to put on TV.

Now, if some unknown footage of him using a racial slur had been uncovered, that's ALL that would be on the news.

When another long-time senator, with a checkered past as well I might add, died, it was all that was on the news.

Today, there is nothing.

Yet their votes, they counted the same.  Each was 1.

His state has 2 votes.  Our state has 2 votes.

And yet, when it is time to honor Senator Byrd it becomes clear that he doesn't have the right last name and isn't from the right state.

And that is the tragedy of it all.

The rest of America may forget and ignore, but this West Virginian will remember.

And when I see a building named "The Robert C. Byrd", I will smile and be proud that someone stood up and fought for us.

It's just a shame, that no one is standing up and remembering him they way he deserves.

Again, as a proud West Virginian, I say Thank-you Senator Byrd.  Thank-you.