Category Archives: Resources

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:

Book: Managing Morning Sickness

managing morning sickness I’m always on the lookout for good resources, most especially those pertaining to NFP. When I find one it’s like a gem I hold on to. Well today I’d like to tell you one that a friend and fellow NFP teacher put me onto. It is Marilyn M. Shannon‘s book Managing Morning Sickness.

Published by CCL, it totally escaped my attention until recently. It is a small book, but it is packed with research-based self-care options for nausea and related discomforts frequently experienced by pregnant mothers. The simple, home-based treatments Shannon suggests in this book, however, you will not likely hear in the doctor’s office.

Shannon has found research supports that morning sickness may be the result of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). She then illustrates how this is so, and delineates ways women may overcome it through diet, nutrition and possibly vitamin and mineral supplements. All her suggestions are safe, practical and inexpensive, although she does of course encourage talking with your doctor or midwife before beginning any supplementation, especially as he/she understands any existing health problems you may have.

I highly recommend any woman, pregnant or potentially being so, picking up this book. Statistically speaking, if you have not or do not experience morning sickness during one pregnancy, you or someone you know are likely to in the future, some more severely than others. The tips, tricks and knowledge gained through this reading will help you know how to naturally treat it and so help make your pregnancy more enjoyable and healthy.

Also, in case you are not aware, Marilyn Shannon has another wonderful book, Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition. It is currently part of CCL’s student course kit when registering for the main class series or home study course. My students hear me say this all the time: it is my nutrition bible! It’s the first place I go to whenever I have a question about fertility-related health and nutrition. I cannot recommend it enough. Anything from everyday supplementing to treating annoying PMS symptoms, PCOS, endometriosis, and more, it is a valuable resource with rarely heard but practical, natural, and research-based self-care. Acting on her suggestions could make all the difference for you, like they have for me.

Blessings in the new year!

Your Love Story

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I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to CCL’s new book, Your Love Story: the Couple to Couple League Guide to Engagement and Marriage! Not yet published, CCL is seeking help with funding their publishing campaign, spreading the word about it’s upcoming release, and prayer for it’s success. Can you help?

If you haven’t heard about the book yet, here is one synopsis: “Deacon Bill Turrentine has written a book entitled Your Love Story. It offers a profound challenge to our secular-dominated culture’s shallow and impoverished view of sex and marriage. This book is an unapologetic reaffirmation of God’s intention for sex and marriage. Well reasoned and researched, using personal stories, illustrations, and humor, Your Love Story is the perfect guide for couples seeking authentic, lifelong marriage.”

“This book, Your Love Story, offers the truth about marriage and family in a way that young people can relate to.” We need more books like this! And I know your help in making this one available sooner will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

A Guide to Contraception

Sometimes it is helpful to have a resource like this handy, for our own questions and those of others: In this article entitled “A What’s-What (and Why It’s Wrong) Guide to 21st-Century Contraception,” made available courtesy of Family Foundations (the bi-monthly publication of CCL), author Kathleen Basi consults physician Dr. Tom Papreck about the different types of contraceptives available.

This article contains information on how they work, why they often are chosen, the moral problems of using them, and a list of other things that people seldom hear about or problems that arise with the use of them. Knowledge is power.

The article is also available on our Resources page (so they’ll be no need to hunt down that old blog post to find it.) 😉

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Prayers for Expectant Mothers

1-baby shoes-001While devouring a good book (this one actually), I read of the author’s experience with the Blessing for Expectant Mothers, and was reminded of the time we received a special blessing during our first pregnancy.

We approached one of our parish priests and asked if he would mind offering a prayer over us as we were pregnant with our first child. He made us a better offer, and arranged to pray the Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb after Mass one day. The Rite is very beautiful. There was more to it than we realized! Though not very lengthy, it contained readings, petitions, and special prayers for the safety and health of mother and child, and prayers for my husband and I as parents. Among all else, it was awesome to be recognizing the beauty and value of our daughter’s life though yet born. The full Rite is available online through the USCCB website, and I’m sure any priest would be happy to bestow this blessing upon your family if asked.

As for individual prayers that could be said anytime and often, I have found a new favorite in this Prayer to St. Anne. Or maybe this Prayer for the Expectant Mother is my favorite. I’m torn:

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When perhaps the Author of Life bestows a gift of life upon you, I hope you find great benefit in praying for your precious child, who will receive many graces and blessings from your heartfelt prayers.

Not to be lost among the expectant and joy-filled hearts, we remember that for some the longing for children and healthy pregnancies is a real living sorrow and cross. Keeping these families in our hearts, below are some prayers I hope are helpful, including a beautiful prayer written by Mother Angelica for those who have experienced a miscarriage (though it also works well for other types of child loss), and prayers for the blessing of a child. May God bless you with comfort and peace.

 

Awesome Resource: 1Flesh.org

Have you heard about 1Flesh yet? A new movement (circa 2012), their goal is to promote natural family planning (non-method-specific) through University chapters and media campaigns, such as the one below.

Their tagline, “Bring Sexy Back,” reminds me of the words of Bl. Pope John Paul II. Though speaking about pornography at the time, it translates well in regards to human sexuality in general (taken from Theology of the Body I believe):

“[…]The problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person,
but that it shows far too little”.

Taking it a step further: the problem with Society’s portrayal of sex is not that it shows too much, but far too little. When people learn the truth about sex, the full and beautiful truth instead of a twisted one, they are liberated. Therefore, I wish 1Flesh all the best in their endeavors!

On CCL’s blog, The Art of NFP, there is an article Christina Ries wrote about her interview with 1Flesh’s president, Marie-Claire Reer. You should check it out here.

Incidentally, there is a 1Flesh chapter at Truman State University. Go Bulldogs!

Green Sex by Jason Evert

Green Sex: The Case for Natural Family Planning

In my opinion, the case for natural family planning has never been so well said. This is a wonderful talk! If you haven’t heard or read anything by Jason Evert, I encourage you to do so. Especially check out his Chastity Project website. Jason is such a dynamic speaker and writer. His enthusiasm is contagious!

A generous friend bought this talk for my husband and I to listen to, and we are so grateful. We both enjoyed it. I hope you have the opportunity to buy it for yourselves as well, or perhaps for a friend.

Before listening, I (ahem) thought I would know most of what Jason would talk about because so much of our teacher training for CCL covers Church documents and teaching, among other things. Jason’s approach is totally different from what I expected. For those that might suspect it, this is not a talk about, “how you should be using NFP because contraception is evil.” It progresses very naturally and beautifully beginning with God’s original design for sex and ending with a wonderful description of all the benefits of natural family planning. Why contraception harms us on so many levels makes sense when we understand it from the full perspective; when we take a step back and look at the big picture.

Some of my favorite images from this talk include his description of the traditional Jewish betrothal ceremony. How a Jewish man would propose to his beloved; how her drinking the cup with him was a sign of her acceptance; how he would then, “go to prepare a place,” for his bride; and that “only his father would know” the wedding date as it would be for him to decide. Jason goes into more detail about this and how it all ties into Scripture, as an analogy Jesus used to describe for us the relationship God is calling us to in union with Him in heaven. Jason expounds on the beauty of the marital embrace, how when there is a need for family planning, NFP is the best option because contraception degrades this beautiful gift and hurts us. This is just a sampling. Nothing can substitute for actually listening to the talk yourself.

This has topped my personal favorites chart. Like a favorite book, this is one I will listen to over and over again. I hope in some future posts to explain more fully some of the things I have learned from Jason’s talk, and pull in some other sources. In the meanwhile, go to Lighthouse Catholic Media and check it out for yourself!