Thursday, July 23, 2015

NFP: Always Worth It


I have a hard time writing about NFP because, honestly, I am not sure I am a good spokesperson.  I love and hate NFP.  Ok, ok, we should never hate anything, so I guess I dislike it a lot sometimes.  As I said earlier this week, there are so many benefits to NFP and, truth be told, that post really only scratched the surface.  So why do I dislike it, sometimes?  Because it forces you to think. 

How easy would it be to just pop a pill once a day and forget about it?  

Hey, wait!  Where are you going?  Just hold on a second!

I know taking the pill is not easy.  You see, I knew nothing of NFP until about 10 or so years ago.  I have been married for almost 22 years, mind you, and yes, in the Catholic Church.  No one mentioned it at Engaged Encounter.  No one mentioned it when we went through any of the preparations for our wedding.  NO ONE.  As far as we knew there were no holds barred.

My husband is a cradle Catholic and I converted at 18 (a year before we were married).  And neither one of us knew.  This shows you the state of religious education in the 80s and 90s.

I digress...

I was on the pill for a long time.  And it almost killed me.  I am not over exaggerating.  It seriously almost killed me.  And, yet, I was still scared to go off of it.  All I was taught growing up was you take the pill or use a condom.  That was that.  But when you find that you have nearly every side effect from a medication, it is time to let it go.  Add a latex allergy and you are forced to get educated.

I had been off the pill for several years before I even heard that it was an abortifacient and what that actually meant.  I will have to live with that for the rest of my life because I was sold a lie.

I guess, I feel I am kind of preaching to the choir here, but that being said, NFP was truly a gift from God for us.  Even though, it occasionally felt more like it was knocking on my door, screaming,"I won't be ignored, AMY."

You see, thinking is good.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  NFP brought me closer to my husband, myself, and yes, God.  It helped us understand the true meaning of marital love and made our marriage better.  Most importantly, it taught us to put our trust in God.  That is not always easy but always worth it.

Here are some things to help you with NFP:

BOOKS 

The How To:  
  • The Art of Natural Family Planning (Catholic and also gives you the why.  I recently game mine to someone who needed it and I need a new copy!) 
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility (secular, but easier for me to understand at first.  It tells you to use another form of protection during your fertile period.  In the case of Catholics, that means abstinence). 

The Why:

There are a ton more books, but these are ones I have read and helped me.

APPS: 

Apps are great for keeping track of your cycle.  After a few months they will even tell you when your period is going to start.  Talk about brilliant! 

ETC:
  • Basal Digital Thermometer 
  • Do a search for charts if you want printables.  There are tons out there.  If you have low temps like me, those are a little harder to find. That is the nice this about the above apps.

To quote High School Musical, we are all in this together!  Do you have anything to share?  Great Apps or books I didn't mention?  Please share them in the comments!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Top 6 Reasons You Should Do NFP

It is NFP Awareness Week!  I wanted to post this yesterday, but I have children and they decided yesterday was not for blogging.  Go figure?

To kick off the week, I wanted to share with you the top 6 reasons you should do NFP.


1. Have you SEEN the divorce rate?
There is this statistic running around that only about 3% of couples who use NFP ever face divorce.  Of course, I cannot find where this percentage came from or who came up with it, other than vague hints leading to the Couple to Couple League (which makes sense). But if you like some statistics, check this out or this Why do Catholic Couples Have Such Low Divorce Rates?

2. Free Grace!  Guaranteed!
This can go a bit hand in hand with the above.  A couple that can understand "not tonight, honey" has nothing to do with if you find your spouse attractive or not and everything to do with making a choice as a couple about God's plan for your family, has got a leg up, for sure.  And talk about getting to offer it all up, that 10 or so days a month where you have to express your love in other ways, teach a couple about sacrifice.  The best part?  You don't have to suffer alone!

3. Side Effects
There are no side effects.  Unless you count hand cramps from drawing dots on a chart or pushing buttons on your phone.

4. CHEAP
I love cheap.. And no what NFP costs?  Well, depending on your method it basically starts at... ready for it... FREE.  You do sympto-thermal?  If you want to be more savvy and extra careful, it can cost you the price of a Basal Thermometer.  Or perhaps you shun technology or don't have a smart phone, it will run you about the price of one piece of paper a month and a few moments to search the internet for your perfect chart.

5. Because You are Worth it!
Let's put aside all the great teaching about why a Catholic or any Christian should use NFP (I'll get to that later this week).  You deserve to know about your body.  You deserve to know how your body works and what it is saying to you.  Did you know that just by charting you can tell if you have a thyroid problem?  And that is just one thing!  Aside from the health benefits, you can pinpoint when your period is going to be.  Talk about convenient!

Hey and the most important...

6. You Get to Have Great Sex.
Maybe this one should be 1st, but... I'm shy.  You get to have mind blowing sex just the way God intended.  He wants you to have great sex, shocking, I know, but true. 

Great sex always starts with two people, a man and a woman designed to create beauty with their love, who have committed everything they are to each other in the eyes of God.  Two people who deeply love and respect each other.  In that place, there is nothing to fear.  There is only love.  And what could be better than that?


Friday, July 17, 2015

7QT: In the Thick of It

Forgive me, no Fitness Friday, but hey, let's do a 7QT, shall we?

1.
Last Sunday we took the 11 year old through the 3 year old to the annual Children's Festival in Jacksonville.


2.
Did you know, I have an unreasonable fear of crowds?


Yeah, there is a story where I was in an elevator and got pushed to the back.  
A huge 6'3" man was right in front of me.  I screamed, "Get out of my way!" and shoved said man out of way and ran.  Good thing I knew him. 
So yeah, in crowds I can either become the Hulk or the Damsel in Distress.
Can you guess which one I did this time?


3.
Tony knows me very, very well and sent me off to watch the boys paint.  
 

Because they apparently did not want to...

4.
Meet a princess and get sprinkled with fairy dust.


5.
While Tony took the older kids to another area of the festival that was crawling with too many people, I took the two youngest to "Create a Shield!" 
Much more my speed.


 And that is when it started to rain...

6.
Now, don't get me wrong, I grew up outside of Seattle.  There are few people in this world who appreciate rain as much as I do, but it was making the other people... a little cranky.
 

Ok, I was already cranky.
Did you figure out if I became the Hulk or the Damsel?
As we were leaving, because let's face it, the kids were having fun but dad and I were more than done, I found that Tony and the two older kids were ahead of us, Bear got trapped in a crowd of strangers in between us, and I was getting left behind with the youngest two.  Tony looked back and saw the utter panic in my eyes and the tears starting to stream down my pathetic face.
"It's ok," he mouthed. 

7.
Yeah, total Damsel.  
But as we were walking across town, in the rain, to where we had to park our car, we saw a huge rainbow.  I think it ended somewhere over my bed, under my blankies, and away from mad crowds of strangers.


I think I'll stay home next year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

{yarn along} July 15, 2015

I'm joining up with Nicole at Frontier Dreams and Ginny at Small Things for this crafty post!


I have not done one of these in ages and, in fact, thinking about it made me pull out my knitting and do a few rows while Bear read to me.  I don't know about you other crafters, but I tend to go through spurts where I don't feel like knitting or crochet.  I know, crazy right?

Seriously though, I know many people who say they don't like working with yarn during the summer especially because it is just too hot to handle wool and the like.


But it sure felt good to feel those needles again and the yarn whipping through stitch after stitch.  It really is a stress reliever.  I mean, learning to knit was stressful, but once you get the hang of it and you see the piece growing, working, and actually creating something it can be such a great feeling of accomplishment, even if chaos is erupting around you!

I have been thinking about picking up the needles for awhile now, but honestly I have been watching a new show, Switched at Birth, and since I have long since been working on learning ASL, I feel compelled to watch every hand gesture in order to learn more.  So it would be a show that is hard to knit through.


As for reading, I am rather proud of myself.  I have done quite a bit of reading so far this summer.  One of my goals this break from school was to read more.  I recently finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up an my house is feeling a lot lighter.  Now I am working through a wonderful piece of fiction called A Fall of Marigolds.  I really don't want to tell you too much as it is really just too good to share too much.  But, I will tell you it is about two women who suffered great tragedy, a lifetime apart, connected by a beautiful scarf.  So far I am rather in love with this book.


I am still working on the Riverbank Scarf.  It has been going on 4 months.  I really ought to finish it.

On that note, what are you up to?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stepping Back into the Civil War


One of our other crazy adventures last Sunday was to go to a local farm and experience a wonderful look back in time to the Civil War.  Now, we missed some of the really cool things, like a singing lieutenant and the surgeon, but we were awful close to a working Civil War canon rifle! 


This was a big surprise, as we didn't know this was going on.  We just happened to pass by on our way home from the Lavender Festival.  We stopped, hungry kids in tow, and fed them hot dogs before we headed out to check out the stations.
 





Yes, that is a authentic Civil War Era hearse.







But it was getting very muggy and some people were in desperate need of a good nap...
 

So we took our ketchup and mustard covered children home for a nap and then, yes, we got back in the Beast, aka our 12 passenger van, and headed out to another adventure.  One which I wished I had missed.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lavender Fields Forever


We had an absolutely insane weekend.  There were so many things going on and we tried to do as much as we could.  In fact, we did more than we should!

The first thing we did was to visit a Lavender Festival.  Online it sounded much more magical, so I have to admit we were a little disappointed.  It was fun though to go out and look at all the crafts and say hello to the little gaggle of geese and sheep.







And there they are, minus one of the crew, since she had to work.  And yes, you cannot get them all to make a nice face at once.  So even though it wasn't quite what we expected it was fun and a great opener for the other things we did over the weekend!


One thing that truly struck me this weekend was the fact that my kids are growing up.  I mean, I know... But knowing that Rose could not come with us, it was a big reminder that they are all moving on and soon there will be no more pictures of the whole gang on these outings.  Pictures with all of our kids will soon become a rare thing.  This parenting thing is a real roller coaster, isn't it?

Stay tuned for more of my madness.  I will be recovering this week for the most part... other than laundry, cleaning, cooking, a park day, a birthday, finally finishing math from last year...  
Then again, do we moms ever get a moment to recover?
 I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fitness Friday: Complacency



Complacency.  It is an ugly word, isn’t it?  I cannot tell you how many times on my fitness journey I have looked at that bag of M-n-Ms and thought, "Hey, being a size 16 isn’t so bad.  I mean, just a few of these colorful little sugar bombs of yumminess won’t kill me.  I was a lot bigger at one time..."

But is it every really just a few?  And once you give into that little voice that says you never wanted to be supermodel skinny, anyway, and you don't really want to go overboard with this healthy eating thing after all, it gets harder and harder to tell it to shut up.

Complacency is more than just giving in.  It is giving up.  It can be one of the biggest hurdles you face in your fitness journey.

I have fallen victim to it a few times on this crazy roller coaster.  In fact, I am battling it right now.  I am actually only 8 pounds away from one of my BIG goals.  It is so close I can taste it, but the heat always gets me down.  Some people perk up in summer and start doing all the things they have been dying to do all winter.  I wilt like some little delicate flower.  I pout because it is too hot to go do anything but eat ice cream and sit directly under the air conditioning vent.  And suddenly that goal doesn't seem that important.

Even he doesn't believe there are 2 servings in one bag
One of the things that can truly help you battle complacency is keeping track.  There are a million apps and most of them you can even access online if you don't have a smart phone.  One of my favorites is Fitness Pal.  You can keep track of everything you eat in a day, your exercise, and your weight.  You can "friend" people and give each other support and praise when they post a workout or weight loss, which is huge for fighting feelings of "is this all worth it?"

Keeping track of your food can be a huge bonus.  When you look at that bag of M-n-Ms you will either skip it, because you don't really want to know how many calories are in a handful, or you might just eat less than you normally would.  This does take some will power, of course.  So don't lie to yourself when you track your food.  Yes, Amy, you did eat that whole bag of plantain chips, not just 1 serving.  Did you know I have a thing for plantain chips?  They are supposed to be a healthier option but not for me.  If they were dipped in chocolate and peanut butter I would probably run away with them.  

At the same time, don't get anal about it either.  You don't need to use measuring cups to make sure you only ate 1/4 cup of chopped onions (and is that before or after you cooked them??), but do keep track and do the best job you can.  Soon it will become routine, just like any good habit, and it will help you make better choices.

Complacency is a pain and it can completely derail your very best efforts.  Keeping track of your food and having someone to help support you will help you to fight the good fight.  Love the body you are in but don't give up on yourself either.  You are worth it. Just take it a pound at a time!