Monday, June 28, 2010

Extending benefits

Before I get to my main topic, let me lead in with my inspiration. Yesterday was my 2 yr wedding anniversary and it was wonderful. We watched our wedding video, laughed about some great moments, and I enjoyed listening to my uncle sing Ave Maria - highlight of the music part of the wedding. Then we went to a fabulous restaurant and walked a downtown area afterwards. While walking, my husband brought up something his company had done recently...

They extended benefits to more people. Benefits are great! Getting paid time off, sick leave, health insurance and so many other things a company can include with salary are incentives to take (or keep) the job. This can be extra incentive if they are amazing and are inclusive of your whole family. I'm lucky my husband has a good job with these benefits so I can sit home in the summer without a job and not worry about money. However, I already had this privilege that some other people are just getting. What group am I talk about? same-sex partners

Now, I am not brave enough to approach this topic head on for a whole post, but I thought I would share my original reaction. My husband brought it up as a question - how would he respond to questions about his feeling on the policy. The words that came out of my mouth (before really thinking it through - surprise surprise) were actually words I still stand behind after thinking. I'm glad the company treats its employees well and listened to the group that felt mistreated, but it is not a lifestyle I support. Even that is edgy though. I can just see a reporter asking the question, us answering, and being quoted "it is not a lifestyle I support."

Although I like the way I answered with a positive first but sticking to my morals and beliefs second, I wonder how other people would answer. How would you approach the topic in a loving way? Would you go in depth with someone you don't know well or only those who know you well? Feel free be braver than I and write a whole post on same-sex unions. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quick Takes (3)


This weekend will be my two year anniversary! Last year we went to a B&B and loved it! This year..... well... last year we went to a B&B and ate an amazing (freshly made) mini-version of our wedding cake. This year we are spending the whole day together (including getting up and going to Mass) but that is about the whole plan...maybe golfing. That could be an adventure since neither of us have golfed in years.


Remember how laid-back summer used to be? I remember walking out the door in the morning as a kid and walking back inside. I would go to my mom and proclaim "it's hot, time to go to the beach." All I had to worry about was getting the awful sand off my feet when it was time to go home. Any party was kept track of by my mom. I never had to think about how to attend them all. Then I moved out. Now I'm stuck looking at the calendar and how so many things overlap like my aunt coming in from Florida the same weekend as an out of town shower - but I'm going to it all. Hopefully my weekends will return....Aug 20th.


Glad my weekends are full - my summer job doesn't start until July 12th so I am enjoying some summer relaxation on the boat and reading until then with a little volunteer work squeezed in ;-) I haven't gotten bored yet...


I finally told the officers in my pro-life group that I will be vacating my role after the fall board member elections. It is nice to know I'm moving forward with my decision, but a frustrating meeting.


I decided on Sunday that I would once again get on the healthy eating bandwagon. Yes, I eat healthy, but I also eat sweets. I decided I would cut them out completely (of course that doesn't include sweet fruit - I need something). I also decided I would not eat after dinner because I really don't need that food. I failed on both accounts this week. Just once or twice. Who can say no to leftover wedding cake when the director of the pregnancy center offers it to you? I know who can't.... At least I can try again next week.... but does my anniversary count?


Sunday (my anniversary) is also the day the owners of the house I'm sitting come home from China for the summer. The million dollar question: will they stop by? Probably not until the next day... but it is hard to communicate with people in China - sometimes the emails don't make it to the other person. Good thing I don't have to coordinate moving out since they can stay with friends for a bit.


And I saved the best for husband comes home today! I can't wait to see him and kickoff our anniversary weekend :-D

Check out more at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I am the type of person that tends to worry a bit. I worry about getting my to do list done and where I will be in 5 or 10 years. It's quite the bad habit, but it sticks around anyway. It is hard to find peace when you are worried.

Yesterday was quite the opposite for me (Thank God). It is nice to have days filled with if only I could replicate them day after day - maybe I can. How did my day start off? I went to adoration. Usually I do not feel a whole different when leaving, but this time I was filled with peace. The rest of my day was effortless, and not complicated at all. I got my to do list done and even had time to read and pick up a movie.

I had a friend over for dinner and it was nice to have some company while hubby is off enjoying California. She is getting married soon and is actually using NFP (which I taught her)! Yay! But the most amazing highlight of my day was when she mentioned something about her cycles and I had a decent answer. What is more amazing is that I'm pretty sure that answer did not come from me. When I said it my reaction was "who said that" and "I don't remember learning that in my training session" so I went to my reference book to get the real, educated answer. Amazingly enough, it was the same answer I already gave. Was the Holy Spirit actually working through me? I'm not sure...I don't want to get a big head here, but it was a peaceful day and the answer just came naturally and without judgement (hopefully my friend agrees :-D). Maybe this could be a sign I am on the right path with some of the changes I am making - I hope so!

What are some peaceful moments you have enjoyed recently?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A note on Fatherhood

I was blessed with a great dad while growing up, and I'm even more blessed to have two great dads now (thanks to marriage). They have given me a great example of what it means to be a good dad:

quality time
live lessons
firm but loving rules

It was nice to see all the dads stand up at Mass on Sunday to receive a special blessing. It's a yearly ritual, but one I found more inspiring than usual. At the end of the service, I walked up to a "future" dad (wife is due in Sept) and asked why he didn't stand up. He replied "the baby isn't here yet." While that is conventional thought - dads have to wait longer than moms who start bonding with baby while in the womb - I don't really see it that way. Why you ask?

My pro-life roots If a baby is created at the moment of conception, then that is when life starts right? If the dad helped create that life, isn't he the father of that baby? It would be hard for me to consider myself pro-life and then think that one day, when/if I become pregnant, I will have sole responsibility for that life and no one else is part of it. The dads are a part of the process from day one and should be respected for that.

So, I came home that night and told my husband that, had I been pregnant, I would have given him a card. I would have thanked him for creating life with me and protecting both of us. I imagine one day he will do this by supporting my often unsuccessful quest to eat healthy by gently reminding me of the importance for the baby to receive good nutrients. One day he will massage my aching feet and comfort me when the "pregnancy hormones" drive me crazy or to tears. He will take the time to plan for the child and support me in any challenges I might face from nausea to labor complications. He will be another great model for me and others of what it means to be a dad (and husband) even before having a cute baby to play with.

Just because the fun of bonding with a baby that can be held can't start yet, doesn't mean you are not a dad. I wish more people might see it like that and give men the respect they deserve. To say you're not a dad until the baby comes really negates anything you did to help in the process of forming the little one from conception to birth. I haven't put my husband through it yet, but I'm sure there are some fatherly love and sacrifices involved in the process :-) So thank you to all dads and especially mine. I know you loved me from day one - thanks for supporting mom through the trials and triumphs of giving birth and raising twin daughters.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Patient Woman

This morning my husband's alarm went off at 4:20am. He is now on his way to California and I am left to manage the house alone while he is gone. I'm spoiled with a husband that rarely has to travel for work so I did not like this, especially since he was gone for a week earlier this month.

I finally pulled myself out of bed at 9:20 - just late enough to know Mass was just finishing and I would not get to start my day with the peace that brings. My own fault really - but still upsetting. I went downstairs and got sidetracked by some great blogs before working out. Yes! One thing off my intended to do list. The day is looking up...

As I started working out, I glanced at the mantle over the fireplace. Next to a few candles are two wonderful items that made me feel quite thankful today. One is a bust of Mary and the other was a small container containing her image from her last residence (Ephesus, Turkey). The container holds water from the stream that helped keep her alive at her home in the years after Jesus' death and resurrection. So, to finally get to my point...

I was reminded of the life of Mary who brought our God into this world. She was blessed with that amazing task, but was not saved from intense suffering. She was patient while people accused her of adultery and gave up her son on the cross. She obediently accepted this task and patiently waited for nine months to meet this mysterious baby. I'm sure she had to wait much longer to realize why it was he was created through the Holy Spirit - what would he do with his life?

Her whole life inspires me and today reminded me of something so important. I have no reason to pout about the absence of my husband. He is providing for me and there are many ways I can patiently serve and love while he is gone. Here's hoping the revelation stays fresh in my mind all week!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quick Takes (2)


We were out of internet part of this week. The wireless went out and I'm at a loss of how to fix that so I plugged into the modem and no luck. Comcast came out at 5:30 on a Friday evening to solve the problem. I felt so bad, he ended up staying 2 hours because our house is wired really bad with too many splitters - all of which we need for one tv and one computer.


On Thursday I saw a commercial and wanted to write a post about it - but no internet. I've realized why I try to go with natural therapies before medicine. The medical companies have a lot of money to brag about how wonderful their product is and then give misleading information (as in not enough) about their product. Let me explain...


Did you know Bayer (the aspirin co) has numerous birth control products available? That was the commercial that said go to to find out more. They list many ways to prevent pregnancy but NFP is not one of them. They also don't list very many side effects - so are they really informing women?! In their defense, though quite small, you can click on something to get to a page that lists links to other websites that may have information about NFP. So can you see why I didn't like that commercial?


Next week my husband gets to go to California and see Mountainview aka Google HQ. He will be there all week and I will be back in MI hopefully enjoying some more beautiful summer weather :-)


School is out for the summer so I didn't really work this week. But I did
watch my 3 mo old neighbor
volunteer at the pregnancy
spend all day Friday on the boat
What a great week!


For those of you extremely jealous, know I am suffering from a sunburn on my back. I thought I had sunblock on but I missed a few spots resulting in a back that looks like a school kid's art project - oops!


So I'm a day late - no internet remember - so I can say what happened this morning. I went to a NFP meeting. Nothing super exciting about that. However, on the way back we ran across a huge motorcycle group. So that you understand what I mean by huge - it was a procession that lasted three light cycles - they had us blocked so we couldn't go when the light turned green for us. At first I thought this was slightly illegal, but then we saw a cop helping out. How do you get a permit for that?

More quick takes at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


is a term I have been thinking about a lot lately. It is so easy to criticize others for it and so easy to fall into it ourselves. Yesterday I was thinking about it in terms of myself. By my blog and the topics I choose to discuss/promote, I should be extremely family-oriented right? It's related to just about everything I talk about. That is a tall and serious order for me. I want to know that I am keeping in touch with family members and making an effort. All of this is so different on my own than growing up.

My dad is a family guy. He helps his mom all the time and is constantly fixing someone's car - mine, my brother's, my uncle...the list could go on for a while. He has always taught about how important family is and backs it up with the time spent helping in the ways he can. I w
ant to do the same thing, but I can't seem to figure out where I am needed. Do my relatives know I am there for them? There for what? I don't know, wherever I am needed I guess...

I've started doing some little things - hosting Christmas, bringing cake for a party, picking up food for my mother-in-law (we get it from all over directly from farmers) - but I don't seem to have an identity within my family like my dad does. I guess I never realized how long the process of becoming an adult can be. I have positive relationships with the people in my family since a lot of the sibling rivalries having worked themselves out by now, but I have no concept of how or even who to work on staying in touch with. I don't have cousins my age so a lot of us older ones have drifted by now, but I do have further extended family (my dad's cousins' children - does that make them second, third cousins?) that are my age that used to be close who I saw at a graduation open house this weekend.

It's a weird road to travel to put family first and I think there is more than one road to choose. Hopefully I can be content with that and if others see me as a hypocrite because I didn't pick the same road as them, there is nothing I can do. At least I know that when help is needed, I will go and hopefully my family knows I am available.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Simple Lifestyle

Before I went on my amazing trip, I went to the doctor because I was experiencing some headaches and fatigue. He informed me that, according to some blood tests, my energy was from lack of B vitamins among other things. So I started taking more and felt better - no problem. I can do that and maybe I'll even try to get back on the healthy eating wagon too. Why is chocolate not included in that anyway? My life would be so much easier....

But back to my point! Apparently, even though many b vitamins could be known as pre-natal necessities, one of the vitamins I was taking might be too big of a dose for a precious new life so I shouldn't use if pregnant or trying to get pregnant. That being said, he knows I practice NFP. My charts have provided me with information needed to stand up for myself and treatment options - like when put on prescription progesterone which I did not like, and neither did my charts! So he asked - are you using your charts to conceive or as birth control. In my head I screamed NEITHER! However, I was there to try to feel healthier so I said that we were postponing for now. Even so, those two words really struck me with the need to explain contraceptive mentality although so many have done better than I.

It all comes down to my idea of a simple lifestyle. Natural Family Planning teaches women to recognize when they are fertile so they can choose month-by-month how to use that time. There are two options - postpone having a child or try to conceive. Once past the initial learning curve and frustration of understanding your unique body, charting these sign are second nature and much more simple that trying to remember to take something at the same time each day, at least for me. I am not very good at taking my vitamins every day, but I don't even have to think about monitoring my mucus. That being said, it is a lifestyle of recognizing my body and its cyclical changes, not of controlling them. There are many stories on both sides that show "birth control" to be a fallacy of sorts. Women can get pregnant on the pill or while using NFP to postpone. The same is true on the other side: some women have difficulty conceiving whether they chose to stop birth control and after a number of months try ART or if they knew NFP from the beginning and look to conceive naturally or through the help of NaPro technology. Trying does not mean guaranteed. It's complicated!

Life is a gift, and I need to treat it as such. I try to do so, knowing nothing is a sure thing in this area. Maybe I talk about the "gift of life" so often that some people expect me to have a baby pop out of me any day. In reality, I am just excited to live out my vows that I will be open to life. The more I live out my vows, the more excited I become about doing so.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Quick Takes - Take One

see more quick takes here


With the new blog I thought I would start something new. Conversion Diary has been hosting this for a while and I have been holding out. Never wanting to take the time to be "quick" At least number one definitely fits this category


I am very excited about getting to know some of my neighbors. Their daughter was born in March and I got to watch their older daughter and nephews while everyone was at the hospital. Now the baby is all grown up and mom is off to work. I get to watch her Monday and I watched her once last week - so precious!


I'm also super excited for summer. I taught on Monday and Tuesday, but school is just about out for the summer. Oh what to do? There is the scrapbook of the cruise, a t-shirt quilt, time on boat with family and friends, camping trips, weddings, and more. I love summer!


Before everyone gets too jealous about all my free time, I will tell you I do work summer school for four weeks and will be volunteering at a pregnancy center among other things. I'm not just slacking off all summer. I'm sure I'll be able to squeeze in some time to get some quality vitamin D that some people might call sun :-D


Have I ever mentioned I have cats? I do...but they think they are dogs. Most of my guests agree. They think it is crazy that my cats will come when called, they get upset if you leave them in another room and they are just starved for attention. Anyone know how to teach them they are cats and not puppies? Sometime they are just too starved for attention and I can't get work done.


My big success for this week: having dinner planned each night for my husband and doing the dishes. I somehow made it past the 4pm slump and kept the kitchen picked up all week. My husband actually enjoys cooking, so it is not often he gets time off to relax in other ways.


My reward for my success: we are having friends out and, weather permitting, taking out my in-laws boat. We will then be hopping off and walking to get pizza to eat on the boat - no cooking or dishes! Have a great weekend

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Behind the Scenes

Today I continued my organizing work at the pregnancy center. It was slow-going and for a while because I didn't feel helpful at all. It is hard to know how important some work is when it is behind the scenes. I'm not directly helping a woman in need or am I? I can't imagine what it would be like working as a director of a place like that. Getting paid very little to work a lot! She has great vision and passion for the work but, for some unknown reason, does not like organizing as much as I do. That led to multiple folders of the same thing, similar items across the room from each other and too many things to keep track of. In two days I was able to change create a space for all the important daily items and hopefully put her mind at ease. I think I definitely helped a woman in need, even if it wasn't in the most glorified way. I'm glad to know my "donation" to the center was uniquely mine. I put the gifts and interests God gave me to work. There is no better feeling in the world.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Market for Motherhood

First let me quickly explain this new blog. As I have grown in my marriage and adult life, I have realized more and more that life is effortlessly complicated, and wonderfully complicated at that. I learn so much through daily experiences and want to write about my life.

The fact that I'm reading about and seeing many a oxymoron made this title pop into my head. And the first oxymoron I'll write about is that of the childless mother. We all know some: the aunt that was never able to have children of her own, the nurturing teacher, the kind neighbor, the... We all know some pretty famous examples as well - Mother Teresa to name one. Anyway...onto my thoughts on the matter:

Right now, I know a number of people that are pregnant and I know a number of people that are having difficulties conceiving. For the latter group, it may be hard to hear about the first group like how my husband has co-workers who are such great friends they got pregnant within weeks of each other - what a support system they have! It may be hard to hear about motherhood and think they are missing out, but I think it is more complicated than that. A book I am reading talks about how all women are mothers. It really struck me in a way that made it seem necessary to write. The author answers the question about where we can find motherhood:
It is to be found in the fresh sheets turned down nightly at the upscale hotel;
in the carefully folded linen napkins at fine restaurants; in the day-care provider's songs and stories ... in the glossy pages of magazines dedicated to passing along recip
es and household hints ... in school nurses who dry tears and comfort bewildered children...
~Genevieve Kineke

The list is too long but to sum it up - motherhood is everywhere and we all have a part. We are called as Christians to love and, just because we don't have the privilege (and pain) of bearing children, you never know when you are going to touch someone's life. That is probably the biggest thing I have learned recently. I can't always be in control of my life. Don't we explain that as NFP teachers? Children are not a right - they are a gift. If I don't receive a gift, is that punishment? Or is it a lesson and an opportunity? I would argue the second. It may be a hard lesson to take when yearning for a child, but it will open a different door that may be the path towards making a difference in the world and living out the life I was meant to live.

Finding meaning in the present is the best I can do. What opportunities are knocking on my door and how should I answer? The answer that comes isn't always the one I want, but it works out in the end. I have to believe that can also apply to couples struggling with sub-fertility. I pray all those couples find the grace needed to see opportunities to love people in the present and that I may be able to do the same if my circumstances ever link me to that special but difficult identity.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. ~ Mother Teresa