Category Archives: Natural Family Planning

Snow: A Cross or Joy?

Happy New Year! I hope this new year has started off well for everyone.

Last year, our family kicked off the new year with a new hot water heater – the old one having broken the very last day of 2014. A memorable New Year’s that was! Though it was a bit stressful, in the end it was a blessing to finally have hot, not lukewarm, water on a moment’s notice. It’s the little things in life!

Actually, they say the key to happiness in life is pleasure in the little things. Like today, snow is forecast, which means slippery roads and sidewalks, but it is also a call to slow down in every sense of the word. Take time. Don’t rush, not just on the roads and walkways, but in life. Like stopping to smell the roses, stop to watch the snow fall. This is the season of blanketed fields of white, sweaters and hot cocoa. Sure, we may pine for sunshine and breezy summer days, but those are joys for another day.

snowy road in winter

A call to slow down…

There are joys reserved for us every day. Sometimes they are disguised as crosses, as in the case of snow. It is all about perspective.

The following reflection from Day 3 of the 9 Days for Life Novena was offered on a day when praying for those who long for a child, but it applies to many situations:

It can be very difficult and painful when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers the way we hope. We may have many doubts and questions, wondering why we face the challenges that we do. Yet even though our suffering is often shrouded in a sense of mystery, we believe that the Lord loves us with great tenderness and compassion that is beyond our imagination. Knowing this, we can trust that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Whatever your cross is today, we pray that, in this moment as you read this, the Lord will bless you with His peace. May He show you the joy He has reserved for you today. And may we all praise and bless Him for His goodness!

Please consider joining us for the following upcoming events in the Mid-Missouri area:

NEW Self-Paced Online Course

I am so excited to announce that CCL’s new Self-Paced Online Course is now available!

student-849825_640

Designed with busy couples in mind, this course replaces CCL’s old Home Study course and can be completed in the convenience of your home, at your own pace.

This is an exciting new development for CCL especially as it will potentially meet the need of those couples desiring to learn NFP but unable to physically attend a class, whether it be a scheduling conflict, distance dilemma or a comfort issue. While we always recommend in-person classes as being the best way to learn and to connect and receive support from a teaching couple, sometimes a physical, and even a virtual class, just isn’t possible.

Want more good news? It is only $99! This is an introductory price, and we encourage couples to take advantage of it while available.

Even more good news: course fees for our Live Online and Live Onsite classes have also been reduced. Only $130 each! (Shipping and handling not included.) What a deal! Especially considering that the information gained from learning NFP generally leads couples to a greater understanding and appreciation for each other, which generally leads to healthier choices, which generally leads to healthier lives, which generally leads to healthier families, which generally leads to a healthier Earth. (Whew!)

Each class format has it’s unique benefits, and challenges, but the hope is that couples will find at least one of them to be feasible and affordable, and learning NFP that much easier.

Natural Family Planning: a tool for your health, marriage, family, world. Learn it today!

Laudato Si and NFP

I am only a few pages into Laudato Si, but I am already loving it! Our beloved Pope Francis truly has the heart of St. Francis. He is a poet. He is also challenging me in ways I did not expect.

We have a child with severe food allergies, and from the moment of her diagnosis just about everything in our life changed. There’s nothing like a crisis to instigate change. We had to rethink everything we did, from cooking to bathing and everything in-between. We gained a new vocabulary, learned to decipher nutrition labels, and gained new skills. It took at least a year, if not two, to accumulate an arsenal of new recipes and familiarity with cooking new foods. We removed all allergens from our home, shopped the organic aisle, developed rules about encounters with friends and family, rules about traveling, and in the meantime learned more about natural health. Let me tell you, it was a challenge. Nowadays much of this is routine, but it was a big learning curve.

Reading this encyclical feels kind of like being diagnosed with food allergies again.  We have just been diagnosed with major life changing news, but in this case the diagnosis includes everyone on the planet. Pope Francis, while expounding a bit on the theology of creation and our role as caretakers of our Brother Earth, describes the dire state in which our world lies. We have misused our resources and are placing the planet, and all lives, in jeopardy. He is calling for change and to take responsibilty for the problem. But will others understand his message and the crisis he depicts enough to change?

I recently read an article from the National Catholic Register entitled Birth Control in Drinking Water: A Fertility Catastrophe in the Making? It seemed rather appropriate that it was published around the release of Laudato Si. It cites a recent report by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) that has found evidence that some fish have been dramatically affected by excreted birth control hormones contained in drinking water. The effects on the fish included reduced fertility (up to the third generation even when not directly exposed), reduced fertilization rates, impaired embryo survival rates (miscarriage), and the drugs’ ability to “feminize” male fish. Sound familiar? As a NFP teacher perhaps my ears are attuned to the numerous stories of couples who are struggling to conceive or who have suffered from miscarriage. How much of this is due to contaminants in drinking water and food? The USGS study, says the article, “adds to a growing body of evidence that man-made endocrine-disrupting chemicals — those that affect hormone systems and numerous body functions, including conception — are damaging wildlife, wreaking havoc on reproductive, immunological and nervous systems.” But this information is being shrugged off and ignored. Something the Pope warns about in this new encyclical.

Reading both this article and the encyclical reignites my passion for promoting NFP. How can people, especially doctors, justify prescribing birth control (and unnecessary medication in general) when scientific research supports that it negatively impacts wildlife, and ignore the logical respective repercussions for humanity? Especially when NFP is just as effective as a means of regulating birth, if not more so. NFP is not simply a moral and religious question, it is a clear-cut solution to the environmental dilemma our world is facing.

Our family is already familiar with label-reading and organic food, but it needs to be taken to a new level. Now we need to think in terms of how all we do and consume impacts the planet. Everything, from shampoos to detergents to medicine, it all weighs upon our common home, and we have a responsibility to take measures to care for and protect it for all to enjoy. This includes NFP and the need to promote it vigorously. We are one family, and all of our efforts, big and small, make a difference.

I hope you will join us.

prayergraphiclaudatosib161

Happy Father’s Day

father and son walking-dad quote-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Fathers are so important. It is easy to forget that, especially in a society torn by divorce and mixed messages about marriage. As a great reminder, Dr. Greg Popcak has listed 15 Reasons Dads Matter. I can personally attest to many of these as I witness them in my own home, especially in regards to language and social development.

Reading (3)Ever since she was a baby, I could always see a positive change and growth in our daughter each time Daddy interacted with her. Her facial expressions and mannerisms have always been different with him than with me. As she has grown older, I can see changes in her speech and vocabulary after each playtime with Daddy. Suddenly, she is a big girl with loads of self-esteem because Daddy, her prince, has spent time with her, even if only a few minutes (of course, the more time the better, but we work with what we have). These are precious development, precious moments for both her and us.

How grateful I am that we have an entire day dedicated to celebrating and honoring fathers! Their presence and support is irreplaceable.

On behalf of all of us at Mid-MO NFP, I’d like to wish a special day to all fathers, natural and spiritual, those who are with us and those who have gone before us, to those whose children are in heaven, and especially our NFP dads. Your loving support, protection, guidance, and witness mirror the love of our heavenly Father. May He bless you for it and all the sacrifices you make in service of Him and your families. We pray especially for our spiritual fathers, our priests, pastors, brothers, whom we also honor and thank today for their ministry to us. May God bless you all!

NFP Family Potluck June 28th

potluckpic6-28-15Summer time is here again! Well, okay, not officially until Sunday, but you know what I mean.

It’s time for our annual NFP Family Potluck! I know, weekend plans get booked way ahead for some families, but we hope you can squeeze this into the agenda. There’s always room for good food and fellowship, right? 😉

This year the event will be held  Sunday, June 28th, at Schaefer Pavilion, which is just outside Jefferson City (3108 Cedar Bend Rd.). Dinner will be from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Some of us will also be attending the first Mass of Thanksgiving by newly ordained Fr. Geoff Brooks at Immaculate Conception at 2:00 PM. Feel free to join in either/both celebrations.

Note: Due to food allergies, we ask that you do not bring finger foods that contain milk, eggs or nuts.

We hope to see you there!

 

New Life & Spring Happenings

Hello NFP Family! My apologies for the long blog silence. God has blessed us with a new addition to the household and it has taken some time to readjust.

1-{4afd34a5-52a1-4973-8ae8-2d2cada689cc}_8BW - Copy-001

I am always amazed by God’s love. It is so wondrous and creative. He has used the love Jeremy and I have for each other to bring about a totally new human person, complete with body and soul, who will live for eternity. The mystery of creation and of God’s love is so profound and unfathomable, and yet we can hold it in our hands.

How quickly our lives can change! This time last year, we had no idea that we would be loving this new person into existence. Some know that we have been sincerely praying for a while for the blessing of more children, and so we thank those who have joined our petitioning the Lord, with special thanks to St. Joseph for his special intercession.

And so this Spring as we celebrate the gift of new life, and each new day God blesses us with, I will also be attempting to garden without a green thumb. I try to keep in mind, though, that God gives us all that we need to accomplish His will if we ask, including the energy with which to do it, and so as I attempt to find the balance with time and energy I will try my best to stay on top of posting. Note that the key work here is try. My philosophy is that my family gets the best of my time and attention, and as blogging is another skill I am still learning, like gardening, I cannot promise there will not be some lapses. I hope, though, that you will hang in there and continue to follow along as I chronicle the happenings in our little part of the world.

Upcoming Event: NFP Potluck
We are planning a Mid-Missouri NFP Family Potluck in June. Yay! I always enjoy catching up with other NFP families, and meeting new friends. The details will be forthcoming, but it looks like it will be June 28th, so keep that date in mind for us as we would really like to see you there!

Inspirational Reading
I thought I would share with you a post by Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas, in which she offers some tips for when you are not quite yet living the life you dreamed. Haley and her family are preparing to embark on a new adventure which they have been working hard to achieve. I have a feeling that this may speak to many of us. I find it inspirational as I know we are not in our “ideal” place. In our fast-paced world of instant gratification, it is helpful to know that there are others like us out there who through hard work are still achieving a greater dream. Maybe for some, those dreams include having children, or more children, owning a home, having a better and more fulfilling job, and so on. For Jeremy and I, the hard work lies in exercising more patience and fortitude, and continually trying to align our hearts with the will of God through prayer so that we stay true to His calling in our lives, as He knows best what will make us happiest. As the saying goes (in my own words): God always answers prayers; sometimes He says “no,” or at least, “not yet.” For those of you who are also in this situation, and who may be receiving this answer from God, I pray for the patience and fortitude you need, and that God is ready to bestow, to endure this time of working and waiting, while enjoying the blessings of every day.

And may God bless you this Easter springtime with new life!

Global NFP Survey

Below is an invitation to a NFP survey that some of you may already have received. For those who have not heard of this survey as of yet, I have been given permission to share the invitation with you! Please consider taking the time to complete the survey. It will only be available until Friday the 20th. My apologies for the late notice. Thank you for your help!

You are invited to participate in a global NFP survey of couples being led by the Institute for Natural Regulation of Conception (INER) in Austria. This organization is the ongoing legacy of Dr Joseph Roetzer, one of the early pioneers in developing the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP.

The overall goal of the survey is to document the contribution NFP may have to overall health promotion:

  • To what extent do NFP users have a better awareness and understanding of their bodies?
  • To what extent does NFP affect the health of those who practice it?

You do not have to be a current or former user of NFP to participate.

The physicians and scientists leading this work aim to raise awareness of NFP and its effects on health. In addition to questions about NFP and related topics, there are some questions that may seem unrelated. Please know that these are international standardized questions related to temperament, alcohol consumption and nicotine consumption.

Replies are completely anonymous (the hosting service, “Q-Set” in Germany, generates a link for each participant that cannot be traced).

Participants from across Europe and North America are being invited to participate so as to gain a global perspective on NFP. You might find the English a bit awkward in some of the questions due to the translation, but the meanings should be clear.

There are separate surveys for men and women (links are below), and completing the survey should take no more than 10 minutes.

By participating in this survey you can add your voice to those of many more from around the world and become a part of this important work.

Click here for the Women’s Survey.

Click here for the Men’s Survey.

50 Shades of Grey: A Picture of Distorted Love

rock

Home, sweet home.

Apparently, I live under a rock. A big one.

Until recently I had no idea about the book 50 Shades of Grey being made into a movie. Back when the book was first released and all the rage, I knew of a couple of women who had read the book, but instantly chalked it up to yet another book that denigrated women, men and marriage.

Essentially an erotic story of a couple’s sadistic relationship, it was hard for me to understand why so many people, especially women, would buy into such a story until I read this article by Dr. Greg Popcak, Why is 50 Shades of Grey So Popular. As Dr. Popcak says, there is always more than one explanation for such things, but his theory that it is linked to repressed femininity strikes true with me.

I’d like to quote his entire article – it is all worth reading and not very long – but I will restrain myself and stick to this blurb which might capture his meaning:

“[T]here is a major theme that I have observed that contributes to the tendency for many–even, apparently, a majority–of women to desire and/or submit themselves to this kind of treatment. Namely, our prevailing culture’s secular-feminist ethic makes it taboo for women to want to be vulnerable in any healthy ways. Women are told they must expect to take care of themselves. They must be strong, self-sufficient and powerful. Of course there is nothing wrong–and everything right–with being a capable, competent woman. But many women are taught that they must take this a step further. They can never allow themselves to be vulnerable. They must be competent at all things, and at all costs. They don’t let themselves need anyone, least of all a man.”

It is at times like this when I feel the message of NFP is needed more than ever. Regardless of the reason couples choose to begin using NFP, through its practice men and women inevitably gain a greater appreciation of the beauty and gift of their sexuality, and a greater respect for each other. Respect leads to love, not use and thus abuse. We were made to love people and use things. The 50 Shades message would have us believe otherwise.

I encourage you to read his article, and then his subsequent one if you would like ideas on how to Fight the Power of 50 Shades of Grey. In addition to Dr. Popcak’s book, Holy Sex!, below are some books you might want to check out if interested in learning more about true femininity and masculinity:

 

CCL Cooks: More Recipes

potato-544073_640This post is all about food today! At a recent training, our CCL teacher and promoter couples shared good fellowship and food, always a winning combination. Today I get to pass along a bit of the festivity by sharing some of the recipes enjoyed that day. Hooray!

For more recipes by our cooks, check out this page.

Black Bean Soup by Missy Bailes

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • ½ jar salsa
  • Spices to taste
  • Cut up smoked sausage

Bring to a boil and simmer until beans and seasonings are cooked through.

Chili by Kate Basi

  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 1/2-2 T. chili powder
  • Dash of cumin

Bring to a boil and simmer to desired consistency.

Pumpkin Crunch by Missy Bexten
Click here for the recipe (made without the whipped topping).

Muffins by Maria Henson
Click here for that recipe (one batch was made with chocolate chips and another with strawberry bits).