Author Archives: Kathleen

About Kathleen

Novelist, composer, choir director, hobby photographer, mom of four, and budding disability rights activist--why yes, in fact I do have my hands full.

What is the Couple To Couple League?

If you’re reading this site, chances are you have, at some point, had contact with the Couple to Couple League. You probably took a class in natural family planning, but you might not really know what CCL does beyond offering classes.

The Couple to Couple League was founded in the 1970s as a way for couples to mentor other couples into the practice of NFP. To my knowledge, it’s the only NFP method based on this mission. Except for a small, dedicated staff at the central office in the Cincinnati area, CCL is entirely composed of volunteers.

That staff at Central is fiercely dedicated to changing the face of our culture through the promotion of natural family planning. They hunt down research to improve the method. They coordinate with local chapters and dioceses, offering resources and support to help local communities bring the good news about NFP to a world that desperately needs it.

Many people only come into contact with CCL for the length of their initial class. You learn NFP and you think you’re done–that’s the beauty of the method, after all; it’s a lifetime of knowledge, gained for a small investment of time and resources.

But then, there are those confusing times–postpartum, premenopause, times when health issues or stress send screwball cycles your way–that’s when you want the support to be there waiting for you.

When family members or acquaintances needle you for practicing NFP, that’s when you need to know you’re not alone–when you need the support of others who have made the same choices you have.

And when your kids approach “that” age, the age where temptation besets them on every side and they are most at risk of falling prey to the force of societal pressure–that’s when you want CCL to be strong. That’s when you want to know that while you were busy raising your family, CCL was acting on behalf of your children’s future.

But for CCL to be able to continue its mission, we need you right now. When you signed up for a class, you received a one-year membership to CCL. That included a subscription to Family Foundations, which features families like yours and their struggles and triumphs. Membership also gave you access to CCL Central staff’s trove of experience and expertise.

But the fact is, CCL needs you beyond that first year. We need your prayers, your financial support, and your involvement. The more we work together, and the more we pool our resources, the more we will be able to make a difference in this world.

So if you learned NFP through CCL but haven’t renewed your membership, we’re asking you to take time to do so. Our local chapter won’t get a kickback, but your support will uplift and strengthen the organization that helps us do what we do here in the diocese of Jefferson City.

What should a marriage prep program include?

This is the question answered by Joel and Lisa Schmidt at the Catholic Stand. It’s a short post, and I thought it was very interesting, because they focused solely on the meaning of marriage as taught by Christ and the Church. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone do this. There’s almost always a strong emphasis on practical matters–handling money, for instance–and reading this post made me realize that although every issue relates back to faith, the central issues are the ones Joel and Lisa outline. There are tons of resources available to couples to help them figure out finances, parenting philosophies, and so on. But no one but the Church can give couples what they need  about in God’s plan.

Well worth reading– click through to read it!

An Open Letter To the Bishops In Advance of the Synod

You might have heard that Pope Francis has called a synod to talk about issues facing families and married couples. An online “open letter to bishops” has been published and is collecting signatures from couples who believe the message of NFP is one the world sorely needs. Please consider clicking over and signing!

New Year’s News

News for the first day of 2014:

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a last-ditch plea from Catholic groups Tuesday night to block a birth control mandate in the new health care law for religious organizations, just hours before it was to have gone into effect.

The Diocese (and the Pope) are asking for our input

Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

You might have heard a couple of weeks ago that Pope Francis asked Catholic lay people to share their experiences at the grassroots level on some of the most difficult issues we face as a Church in the modern world. Many dioceses are choosing to do this in a centralized fashion, coordinating with parish councils and pastors, but not with the laity.

Bishop Gaydos, however, has asked the faithful of the Jeff City diocese to weigh in directly. Please take time to do this! The diocesan staff has posted a 15-question questionnaire to their website. This is your chance to share what you wish the clergy (of all levels) knew about trying to live the faith in the real world, and the support needed by the faithful.

The deadline is Dec. 18th. Please take time to share your thoughts!

How much do we waste?

this trash wanted to go in a can, but the can ...

this trash wanted to go in a can, but the can was too full, so it’s waiting for the next one (Photo credit: purplepix)

When a new neighbor moved into my neighborhood a few years ago, his first reaction to my brood of four kids was: “Oh…my…when we were having kids, it was all about ‘zero population growth.'”

NFP and big families are linked in the minds of the public, and this is one of the major hurdles we face in promoting NFP. Whatever your opinions on environmental policy, you can’t argue that we are called to be good stewards of creation: not using more than we consume, protecting the earth for future generations to enjoy.

In fact, as NFP users, you could say we have an even greater responsibility to be careful of how we use the earth simply because we often do choose to have more children than the “norm,” and that lays us open to criticism about our use of resources.

Sometimes we defend our choices based on the principle that more immortal souls can never a bad thing. While that’s true, I don’t think it’s the most effective response.

This article caught my eye this morning: Humans on course to triple waste by 2100. I am constantly appalled by the amount of trash I see on the curb in my neighborhood every week. I don’t understand how people who are at home a quarter of the time we are can generate five times as much trash. I think our best defense is to show by the way we live our lives and the way we teach our children to live their lives that a family of six or eight can actually have a significantly lower carbon footprint than a family of three or four. Because once we live it, we demonstrate that “bigger” doesn’t necessarily equal “more.”

What about you? What do you do to reduce waste and consumption in your families?

NFP Week is coming! Can you help?

Your team of volunteers in the diocese of Jefferson City has been preparing for this weekend’s NFP Week kickoff by coming up with treats to hand out to people after Masses. We need volunteers in Jeff City, Columbia, Glasgow and Marshall to help pass out goodies that say “I’m sweet on Natural Family Planning” to all parishioners this weekend. If you can help, please leave a comment and we’ll get in touch with you! This is a great chance to get your kids involved in the NFP witness!


Underage Dating: The Elephant in the Social Conservative Living-Room

This is an extremely good, eye-opening article by Bryana Johnson with the College Conservative regarding underage dating, “the cancer of broken marriages and failed relationships,” and how it sets children up for divorce. Here is an excerpt:

“The trouble with underage dating is that it presents an entirely faulty view of what interaction with the opposite gender should be about. Rather than placing emphasis on building one strong relationship with one person at a stage of life when a marital commitment is feasible, dating encourages young people to pour their energies into consistently seducing other young people at a time when neither of them are capable of making any long-term commitments. Their “relationships” are destined to fail from the get-go because they are founded on unhealthy perceptions of love and not backed by any real necessity to stick it out.”

This is just an excerpt; it is all really, really good!

CCL Cooks: Cheesy Tomato Bake

The last recipe we’re going to share this time is Cheesy Tomato Bake from Penzey’s Spices and can be found here, so I won’t repost it.

The recipe tells you to use biscuit or pancake mix. I don’t like the taste of those mixes, so I just made biscuit dough and pressed it into the bottom of the pan. An easier, quicker option would be to get a canister of biscuits (maybe 2) and press them into the bottom.

The other alteration I made is that I cut the amount of sour cream from 3/4 c. to 1/2 c., and I used 3/4 c. of each cheese instead of a full cup. In its original form it is a very, very gooey mess.

Hope you enjoy!