Tag Archives: resources

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.

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50 Shades of Grey: A Picture of Distorted Love

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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:

 

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.