Guess who’s late? #NFP

Guess who’s late? #NFP

It figures. Last week was National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, and I am late.

To post.

About the week.

What did you think I meant?

Anyway, I have been having some good conversations with others this week about Natural Family Planning, and have read some really good blogs. One was about the benefits of NFP for singles, and the other was a thought-provoking article by noted Catholic Author and Mom Danielle Bean called “Five Ways I Don’t Love Natural Family Planning.” Be sure to read the comments section – it’s a doozy!

For what it’s worth, I wanted to include my two cents regarding Natural Family Planning. As I type this, I am almost 4 months postpartum (our 4th child), and I’m at the lovely stage where my hormones are in such weird array that: a) I could weave a small rug with the amount of hair I lose each time I brush my hair/take a shower/walk into the living room; b) my complexion has begun to resemble a certain kind of pizza we all know and love; and c) my NFP chart is, shall we say, whack. It’s anybody’s guess (right now) whether I’m able to conceive or not.

And, you know what? That’s okay. I’m at peace with abstaining. Or not. I am also at peace with whatever children God gives us, at whatever time he chooses to give them. I have not always felt this way, and I’m pretty sure my husband hasn’t, either.

Has NFP always been easy for me and my husband? Heck, no! Has it always been worth it? In a word, yes. I believe that NFP has been physically, psychologically, and spiritually beneficial for me and my husband. Could we be “better” at it? Hm. Interesting question. Could we be more diligent in charting? Yes. Could we appreciate each other more? Yes. Could we communicate more effectively? Of course. Could we be better at conceiving children? No. 🙂 We have four little lambs to prove it.

Ultimately, practicing Natural Family Planning has helped us to have the faith of a little child – trusting that Our Heavenly Father has a plan and purpose for our family.

Need some words of encouragement? Check out what Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta has to say about  (toward the end of the article).

God bless.

 

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Oh, my, how time does fly …

Oh, my, how time does fly …

It’s the last day of June. So, what in the world do I have to show for it?

  • The celebration of two beautiful children’s lives via birthday parties on the 13th and the 24th – check/check.
  • Survived hubby’s “extended” trip to Steubenville (almost) completely unscathed. Uh, check.
  • Last cantoring of the year with the St. C’s choir … now, summer off –  ahhhhhhhhh ….. check.
  • Moral and other support provided for Real Catholic Men conference – check.
  • Worked full-time hours away from home for the fourth month in a row – grateful sigh. And check.
  • Praying and praying and praying and praying and praying … well, never checked.
  • Hubby scheduled a job interview with a company across the country. Thank you, Jesus – checkity-check-check-paycheck! (?)
  • Celebrated with our Team and saying good-bye to our chaplain – sniff & check.
  • Realized that there is so much in life that cannot be expressed

in a quick bullet list and

checked off.

Thanks

be

to

God.

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Today’s Reading & The Visitation by Albertenelli

Today’s Reading & The Visitation by Albertenelli

An online friend reminded me that today’s Gospel reading is the story of The Visitation, where John the Baptist leaps in St. Elizabeth’s womb at Mary’s greeting.

I have a special connection with St. Elizabeth, as she is my Confirmation Saint. Little did I know that, at the tender age of 14, I hadn’t really chosen St. Elizabeth, but that she had chosen me. I had honestly wondered, over the years, why I had actually chosen St. Elizabeth. Singing the customized versions of the Liturgy of the Saints for the RCIA Candidates at the Easter Vigil over the years and hearing all the wonderful saints’ names actually filled me with some regret that I didn’t really put much thought into selecting my own Confirmation Saint. Elizabeth is my Aunt’s name, and she was my Confirmation Sponsor, so I just picked “Elizabeth” for my Saint. Frankly, in my apathy and ignorance, I didn’t really want to do the research involved in selecting a Confirmation Saint, nor did I think it important. Silly me – God was still at work.

It wasn’t until this year, while contemplating how I could uplift and encourage women and further the pro-life message, that it finally started to dawn on me. I first saw the masterpiece “The Visitation” by Italian painter Albertenelli, below, at the local Catholic bookstore. The painting, with its sheer emotion and beauty, stopped me cold in my tracks and actually moved me to tears. Right there in the bookstore. Finally, I thought. This is what a loving relationship between sisters in Christ should look like! It was in no small part because of this painting that I was motivated to coordinate the  pro-life Tea  at church this past April.

In addition, I don’t think it is a fluke that my son was born on the Feast of St. John the Baptist. He declares Christ’s love and saving power to me in his own way each and every day. And my Confirmation Saint is St. John the Baptist’s Mom. God is so awesome. In case you needed to be reminded. 🙂

So,  St. Elizabeth really *is* my Confirmation Saint, even if it took me 20 years to figure out why. And it is with her guidance that I see how the Holy Spirit is at work in my life.

God works in mysterious ways … through the brush strokes of a long-passed master artist, through the underdeveloped selections of an ignorant teen-aged girl, and through  Sts. John & Elizabeth, the first pro-life heralds (John, by action & St. Elizabeth, by proclamation). Deo Gratias!

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