Who We Are:

We are women, we are wives, we are mothers, and we are open to life. This is our way of standing by one another, learning from each other, and leaning on Christ our Savior.

Nov 8, 2012

If you haven't seen this...amen!

Sometimes facebook has redeeming qualities, like when I find something like this.
I ask God for the grace and courage to live this way.
More nfp posts on their way (:

(Author unknown)

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.
My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid

Sep 21, 2012

7 NFP Quicktakes

I didn't know it was  originally Jenifer Fulwiler who started 7 Quick Takes...such a great idea. Although mine never seem to be very quick, shoot.

Hugging your spouse or holding hands for at least 20 seconds - regulates your heart and body tempurates to the same rythm? It is a process called "Pair Bonding", a method of a selfless touch, that producesses oxytocin.

 "It is this process of building our "bonding contacts" that we create the resilience to overcome the stresses in life" - Curt Thompson, MD

This is 1 of 6 ways to produce Oxytocin and to gain better relationship with your spouse. It's one of the points based on the NFP presentation given by Doctors Todd Bowman and David Bell. I'll be blogging more about the presentation later....lots of good notes.

2. Have You Met Helen Alvare yet?
George Mason University

She is labeled as Birth Control's worst enemy and she's a bulldog in the fight for women's dignity and fighting Congress against contraception.

She couldn't stand the HHS mandates the forcing of religious institutions to cover contraception any longer so back in February, she and her close friend, Kim Daniels, drafted an open letter to the President and administration that now has close to 34,000 signatures and has two primary points: “First, women value religious freedom. Second, we are not stupid enough to believe the claim that ‘free contraception’ is the sum and substance of women’s freedom and equality.”

AMEN!! I signed the minute I read that. Takes 2 minutes max.

SIGN THE open letter here.

Her book, Breaking Through, Catholic Women Speak for Themselves, released yesterday.

The NCRegester recently published on article all about her...some background....
"Currently a professor at George Mason Law School, Alvaré has dedicated her life’s work to the defense of the unborn and making a public case for traditional marriage. Her involvement in pro-life and pro-family causes has been a tour de force — beginning with work at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, then eventually in academia and, now, as a leading voice challenging the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring Catholic institutions to provide insurance for contraception and abortifacients."
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/helen-alvare-birth-controls-worst-enemy-is-feminine-genius-champion/#ixzz272N3clJ3

When I watch video's like this, I can relate to men who want to sign up for the army...so motivating...

4. My New Sunglasses: Seeing the Naked, the Hungry, and the Sick

I'm reading this little book lately called, The Family Rule. Sometimes little Catholic booklets are mundane but this one has really helped changed my mentality and a very specific passage offered a new way of seeing things lately.

So, for the price of that cheap pair of shoes at Target or three trips to Dairy Queen for blizzards (and now you know my weaknesses) you can get this little book that will help you and all your little ducklings get to Heaven. Now who wouldn't want that? ;)

Here's a peak at the particular exerpt:

"As a wife and mother, I have often felt very alone and undervalued in the eyes of society. Rarely is there anyone around to take not of the good I try to do or the sacrifices I make for my family and this is as it should be. For in choosing married and family life, I chose the cloister of the home. When at night the baby is awake and I am hte only one around to tend to his needs, I have a choice to act out of love or with a spiteful and unwilling spirit. When I am folding mountains of laundry, I can choose to sing a song or grumble in my heart about the ridiculous nature of so many clothes to fold. The examples are endless of how I am called to be virtuous for the sake of virtue, not for eh sake of praise. However, this is not always an easy sentiment to remember and act upon. In these moments, one reoccurring thought has lasted over the years and inspires me still:

Jesus has called me live out the Gospel in my home, by serving Him in my spouse and children.
~ "I was hungry and you gave me food" = preparing each meal and little snack with love is a chance to serve the Lord.
~ "I was thirsty and you gave me drink" = peacefully making time to hold and breastfeed my baby or getting up on the night to fetch a glass of water for a child or my spouse with a spirit of patience is living out the Gospel.
~ "I was a stranger and you welcomed me"=trying to witness to my children the virtue of hospitality, even when I find it personally inconvenient, is yet another way in which I can draw near to Our Lord.
~ "I was naked and you clothed me" =every dirty diaper, every piece of folded laundry, every effort to organize clothes, changing them out of the season and putting them in bins, is an opportunity for grace.
~ "I was sick and you visited me" = opportunities to tend to the sick are endless with children regularly getting sick. Can I care for my family with compassion and love?
~ "I was in prison and you came to me" =even when my children are in time out or grounded for misconduct I have the opportunity to show them mercy, which requires humility on my part, letting go of my frustration and helping lift them out of darkness into light. How beautiful that I can even visit the prisoners within my own home.

I do not have need of far off mission sand poor starving orphans in order to fulfill the Gospel call. If I do as I am asked, I can unite my suffering with the cross for those in places of great suffering, but in the end, I am simply called to be faithful in the hidden moments of my vocation. As Blessed Mother Teresa reminds us, "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."
- Taken from The Family Rule by Chantal R. Howard

I just loved this. Often times, I will see images of Mother Teresa's nuns feeding a bottle to a little orphan baby or washing a half naked man on the street and I think how awesome it would be to go over there and do missions in India for two weeks. I think I would be moved to tears just being able to serve them, and yet...here I am with three little people and one big (good looking;) man right in front of me. How often I complain to myself or exsaperate to get someone a drink of water for the upteenth time when putting them to bed or bitter about eating a cold dinner. I would never dream about doing that if I was with Mother Teresa's nuns serving the poor there. Just really good food for thought for me in serving with more intention and more love.

No, but really, if you are serious about really trying to form your family, this 35 page booklet is the real deal. It's tough, but it's practical and essential to family life.
You can buy the book here.

5. Kourney Kardashion Does't Believe in the Pill Anymore....Say Wha?

Apparently this is very old news. I know, I couldn't help it. It made me extremely curious, you can see the blurb and This article in USA today. I don't follow reality tv stars stars or Hollywood or People magazine...mostly because I feel like I just gorged on junk food and because I feel blah afterward...plus it makes my brain cloudy when trying to pray. But ANYWAYS...I did come across this and it's all over nfp blogs that have had at it...like this one and this one and this one.

Interesting. Can't say I'm not skeptical, I mean, I really really hope, by the grace of God she maintains her beliefs where her conscience has led her to the truth...first things first, marrying your boyfriend might be a good start ;)

 6. A REAL good pitch about NFP
So if you are inclinded to a more Catholic take on NFP, Jennifer Fulwiler gives her post in the National Catholic Register about "The Hardest Part About Pitching NFP" ? It's a quick 5 minute read and very insightful. Love her.

In a world where people are constantly griping about children and not wanting many, where life is so callously thrown away and aborted, there are some women who so beautifully appreciate life and suffer greatly for their children.

Please keep my sister's friend Maria and her little 2 month old newborn, Vivian, in your prayers. This precious little soul has coughed up lots of blood and the doctors have said there is nothing else they can do. I'm in awe at thier faith and tremble at their suffering, I hope I can learn much from their example.

Read about her journey here at: http://viviangodishere.blogspot.com/ and please pray.

Aug 19, 2012

I'll Take Irish Twins...Twice!

I've copied and pasted my sister Tricia's entire post because for some of us (ok, maybe just me), sometimes clicking on links is mentally taxing or maybe it's just blog ADD,  anyways I just don't click the link sometimes, I don't know.

So a little background on my sister Tricia...
This is a summarized version of her fairytale: Phil, oldest of 10, graduated from West Pointe and was wrestling for the Army in Colorado. Tricia, 3rd of 11, was studying to be a nurse in Georgia. They met, fell in love, and then he left to serve in Afganastan. They got engaged before he left, he got back, they got married = Honeymoon Baby! John Philip was born January 12, 2011. Then a few months later came more baby news and Dominic Joseph was born December 31, 2011. Then a few months later...baby number 3 is due in....drum roll...January. We are hoping he/she makes an early appearance for the fun of it and make it another set of Irish twins. By the way...Tricia and Phil's birthdays are both in Januray.

So for fear that some of you will be lazy like me and skip the click, here is her beautiful story and perspective about being open to life below :)

Or you could visit her blog here and click away:)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our little Miracle
Could it be true? We’re not only going to have “double the pleasure, double the fun” of John and Dominic, but now we get YOU too?! God is tripling our blessings.
When we found out I was expecting our third child, I couldn’t grasp the fact that this could really happen again, and it all felt like a dream. It’s definitely been harder for me this time around. I am secondary in nature, so it took a while for it all to soak in as usual. Feeling mostly overwhelmed with the thought of having so many little ones! “How am I going to handle this?”…. “Why this timing?”…“I thought it was hard to get pregnant”….and, “Why do you trust us so much, God?!” I blame that one on Phil since he’s such a good Dad. J With there being a one and a million, very slim chance we could have gotten pregnant but did, we knew God wanted this baby for a very specific reason. That is the most consoling and liberating thing. Despite my passing emotions, there is something greater here that I was chosen to be a part of. We cannot try to figure out God and the magnificent plans he has for us, but I somehow always try. I always try to figure out why He seems a little crazy at times. J
Slowly I felt His hand upon my shoulder in comfort, guiding me to His Mother Mary, and teaching me how to continually trust in Him in all moments. He will give me all the graces I need to get through these challenging, but oh-so-sweet years. His plan is perfect and I know I will be amazed when I see it unfolding. I didn’t imagine my life already filled with four chubby feet running around (and two still acquiring their chub). But it’s a reminder to me that when you let God in, in every aspect of your life including your fertility, you experience the ultimate freedom, peace, and joy….for me that comes along with my two sweet boys and baby on the way.
With the coming days I feel God telling me, “because I need you.” And that is enough for me. I know this is right and I know this is part of our beautiful story and masterpiece slowly unfolding, even if it’s not how I had originally envisioned it. You know, before a painter creates a mural, sometimes he has to strip down old wall paper, or fill some holes in the wall, smoothing the surface. Then one by one, he starts his brush strokes, creating his vision. If we don’t allow God to do some patch work/stripping or even painting, what will we be missing out on?! The mural is not going to look nearly as beautiful.
So sweet baby, you’re our little miracle! A part of that wonderful masterpiece. One that God has planned since the beginning of time. We love you dearly and cannot wait till the day comes when we can bundle you up in our arms and kiss your sweet cheeks. 21 weeks to go and counting!

HUGE note: My husband Phil has of course been exactly what I need. His faith, support and strength ground this family. He never questions God's amazing plan for our lives. Without him, I'd be an even bigger mess!

Another note: These pictures are from our talented friend, Kathy Wight. I added the captions.

And Sharing the news with our families is always the most fun and best of encouragements:

-Please excuse the Greek olympian god.
-I'm the one being attacked.

Some readings that helped me when I first discovered I was expecting again!

2nd Letter of Paul to the Corinthians 9: 6-10—“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully...for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.”

Excerpt from, I believe in Love – My nature says, “No”; my will says, “Yes.” My nature trembles; with all my will, I smile through my tears. My nature is troubled and afraid; my heart recalls the divine testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you.” (Jn 14:27) My nature revolts; I force myself to say, “All is well, Jesus; do not change anything.” It is a fight which we must take up again and again without ceasing, for our fallen nature always rears up its head. St. Fancis de Sales says it dies a quarter of an hour after we do! This is the drama of our life. But the beautiful thing is that Jesus sees our will united to His by a fundamental choice. All those movements of our nature, if we do not consent to them, do not exist for Him.

We can even rejoice, in a sense, in having an evil nature which justly gives us the occasion to deny it our consent and to repeat, “No, Jesus, it is your will that I love; it is that which I want and nothing else. It is you whom I choose.” According to Saint Paul, “strength is perfected in weakness,” confidence is perfected in worry, humility is perfected in the movements of pride, light is perfected in darkness.

Thank you Tricia for sharing your spiritual insights and testimony to LIFE, it is so strengthening to see God's grace at work in your soul.

Aug 17, 2012

Friday NFP QuickTakes

1. I saw this on Pinterest...what a fun way to find out your babies gender! My husband and I never find out, we are always surprised. If I did find out though...I would do it this way for sure!

2. On Being Comfortable....

The recent C.S. Lewis quote brought forth some serious thoughts...God gently reminds me in various ways.

"I didn't go to religion to make me "happy". I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." C.S. Lewis

Sometimes I forget this. How much I run to comfort!

In Little Things: I want to sleep 15 more minutes when I should get up and pray. I think to turn down the air when I'm up or the heat up when I'm cold. I just want to sit and relax and drink my coffee...or sometimes I just want some particular baby phase to end so I'm not inconvenienced. Maybe it's just peace and quiet that I long for or my house to be in order and I don't have to pick up the beads off the floor for the 7th time today. Don't get me wrong, times of silence and order are good and necessary, sometimes they don't always come. I can look for comfort all day long and miss the very essence of my Christian vocation. Those wonderful little opportunities sprinkled all throughout my day that I can offer to God and ACCEPT that He is sending them, they are apart of his will and apart of my vocation, because when it is hard, I need him.

In the Big Things: No wonder most people stop having kids after two or three...we long to get back to "normal"! To be comfortable once again, to not have to make bottles, wake up at odd hours or all hours of the night, to not have to panic attacks during fevers or bleeding cuts, or lug out the tub of maternity clothes once again.

BUT....When do I fall to my knees most, when are my rosaries said with much more ardor, when do I suddenly think of eternity, when are my thoughts less on my self, when does my body become not my own anymore, when am I most physically uncomfortable...when I am expecting! ...and for the first six months after the baby arrives as well. Wow, what an incredibly beautiful, albeit very uncomfortable at times, built in way that Christ has allowed mothers the opportunity to grow closer to Him. It happens most when I am UNCOMFORTABLE.  There is never a perfect time to be pregnant and each time is costly, but I get this incredible little soul in return as a gift for all eternity!

With each new baby, apart of my selfishness chips away, and I know God is shaping me into who I am meant to be. Personally, it helps me to fight MEDIOCRITY...spiritual no man's land. Even when I couldn't conceive, the pain of wanting a baby way a way to bring me out of myself as well.

We are meant to get out of our comfort zones, because that is the essence of Christianity! "Those who wish to save their life will loose it, and those willing to loose their life will find it." Luke 9:24. It is the way we find life...and happiness.

I should tattoo that quote to my forehead.

3. My new favorite blog!! I stumbled upon her testimony on  Ewtn's Coming Home show and read her chapter in Style, Sex, and Substance book in the same week. Maybe most of you already follow her, but I just love her brutally honest and funny thoughts...you have to check out Jennifer Fulwiler at http://www.conversiondiary.com/  ...and I love that she was an atheist and now Catholic...stellar.

4. Confession: I've never done a "7 Quicktakes Friday" post and not sure why or how they got started... also I don't really know if I'm doing this right and 7 things is a lot. So here's to attempting, sporadic blogger that I am.

5.  MyFeminineMind blog had a great post about "Things your Doctor May Have Not Told You about Your Birth Control" that provides some great statistics and medical information on the subject from barrier methods to male sterilization for the times when you need proof of the pudding in that conversation or even to help educate your doctor ;)

6. I sent my first born to Kindergarten yesterday and I use to wonder what the big deal was when other people did that...shoot. Therapeutic blog post about that here. And what does this have to do with nfp or being open to life you may ask? Well, all in all it made me think about the gift of time in relation to eternity...that life is short, the phase of your fertility is relatively short in comparison with your life and I pray that I use both those gifts how God wants and hold nothing back.

7. If you want not to life and time and fertility and love for granted, read this blog: www.viviangodishere.blogspot.com . I've met Maria, as she is a close friend to my sisters. Her family is in great need of prayers, even if you just look at the precious face of her baby girl, it is to see the face of God.

Happy Friday!

Jul 27, 2012

NFP Hot List

I'm always looking for a good book to pass onto a friend who may be ready to hear arguments against contraception or a good book study to do among friends. Here are several good finds with varying styles that may be helpful.

And continuing along the lines of breaking the silence...start a book/bible study with your girl friends!! Many of these even have reflection questions at the end of each chapter.

Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution by Mary Eberstadt.  You have to take a sneak peak at a great video and website on the book...it's fully loaded!! 

This is my first pick for getting concrete statistics and information on the negative and harmful effects of contraception.

Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter 

Joanna suggested this one to me and I can't wait to read it. It would be a great starter for for going deeper in faith life, with some really great content, but not overwhelming either.

Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ and Not the Culture by Teresa Tomeo

Someone lent this to me and it offers a great perspective from a women who bought the feminist ideal who tells of her conversion. Another great introduction to faith, supported with statistics and research.

The Catholics Next Door: The Adventures of Imperfect Living by Gregg and Jennifer Willits. You can check out their video here and their take on why they wrote the book.

I'm off to download to the Nook ;)  Hope some of them are LendMe's!  Happy Reading and NFP Week!!

Jul 24, 2012

Breaking the Silence

We are in a time right now when the word "contraception" is exploding over all media outlets. With the HHS mandate all over the news, many are curious as to why contraception is offensive to some people.

So now more than ever we have to break our silence, our fear, our reserve, and offer our fellow sisters and friends a chance at happiness and truth and real love. Who doesn't want all those things? ;)
Let us be silent no more!

I think Archbishop Charles J. Chaput nailed it:

"Living within the truth means living according to Jesus Christ and God's Word in Sacred Scripture. It means proclaiming the truth of the Christian Gospel, not only by our words but by our example. It means living every day and every moment from the unshakable conviction that God lives, and that his love is the motive force of human history and the engine of every authentic human life. It means believing that the truths of the Creed are worth suffering and dying for.
Living within the truth also means telling the truth and calling things by their right names. And that means exposing the lies by which some men try to force others to live...The world urgently needs a re-awakening of the church in our actions and in our public and private witness...we really need to believe what we say we believe. Then we need to prove it by the witness of our lives. We need to be so convinced of the truths of the Creed that we are on fire to live by these truths, love love by these truths, and to defend these truths, even to the point of our own discomfort and suffering.
We are ambassadors of the living God to a world that is on the verge of forgetting him. Our work is to make God real; to be the face of his love; to propose once more to the men and women of our day, the dialogue of salvation... Let us preach Jesus Christ with all the energy of our lives. And let us support each other - whatever the cost - so that when we make our accounting to the Lord, we will be numbered among the faithful and courageous, and not the cowardly or the evasive, or those who compromised until there was nothing left of their convictions; or those who were silent when they should have spoken the right word at the right time."
                                         - Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, "Speak into the Light", Magnificat, July 9, 2011, pp. 129-131

Those are some pretty strong statements - I would say fightn' words. I love his brilliant analysis of our culture and our call withing our Catholic faith to not remain silent! In lieu of National NFP week, I wanted to post some resources that could help strengthen our convictions.

1. www.1flesh.org : WOW. Started by two college girls, super edgy, full of ads, videos, statistical information, and testimonies. Love it.
2. www.Iusenfp.com : Everything from the science of nfp, explanations of methods, and actual charts to download.

3. www.goodnessreigns.com/vote/ :NFP promo video Contest. Let's just say I watched with my jaw ajar...some were more interesting than others, A for effort, watch and be amused.

4. This guy's nfp testimony or this guy's nfp testimony from lovely Grace's blog...because sometimes our the men need just as much convincing.

5. Breaking the Spiral of Silence :Speaking of breaking the silence..a conservative think tank out of Princeton developed an incredible dvd to break the silence in your parish or community about these very issues. Check out the link and watch the video that states: A social phenomenon where out of desire to avoid reprisal or rejection, people go along with what they think is the popular opinion - even if they object to that opinion personally. Instead of voicing their opinions, they remain silent.

So no excuses! Let us be informed and versed and ready for the next, "what is nfp" conversation ;)

Jul 23, 2012

NFP over Chocolate Martinis

I know, doesn't that just speak enticing? It was. Who wouldn't listen to a medical discourse on natural family planning with a martini in hand right? ; )  Needless to say it was a great way to start National NFP week off with a bang!

Chocolate Martini with Hoho garnish.
Disclaimer: Drink may be dangerous during times of abstinence.

This past weekend Andrew and I were invited to attend a nfp presentation given by Doctors, Todd Bowman, PhD and Don Bell, MA on the neuroscience of increasing intimacy while practicing nfp for the post contraceptive couple. They discussed Pair Bonding, a process of building our "bonding contacts" that we create the resilience to overcome the stresses of life, as well as what roles the hormones Oxytocin and Dopamine play in our sex lives and ultimately our marriage. I'll post more details about this later this week!!

The event was hosted by Dr. Laurie Heap, mother of four, in her lovely Kansas City home Friday evening. We gathered there with dozens of doctors, couples, and promoters of natural family planning around the area. Of course, it can never hurt provide loads of appetizers and drinks like grapefruit martinis while we listened to cunning edge medical research being applied to natural family planning, supper classy and smart ;)
Laurie, and her KU martini glass, on the left.


Did I mention homemade ice cream with blueberry sauce was served for dessert?  

We came away with incredible information and refreshed with meeting some stellar fellow nfp couples.

This is Elizabeth. She is the 9th in a family of 10, a nurse, and expecting her 5th boy in August! I can't wait to do an NFP Women Bio on her!!
I spotted her feather earrings and had to meet her ;)

I'm convinced more and more, that it isn't just my mother's thing, not just some personal private way I am faithful to the church's teaching, not a stale method of rules and charts from marriage prep class, but an awe striking, undeniable method to ensure a deeper stronger love life and the foundation to unbreakable family life.

Women are longing for this, families will thrive and SURVIVE with this. The more we share its truth and capabilities, the more the world around us will change for the better.

As my favorite man said before, " The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. This is because there is a basic difference between knowing and loving. In knowing something you bring it down to the level of your understanding. An abstract principle of physics can be understood by an ordinary mind only by examples. But in loving we always go up to meet the demand of the one loved. If you love music you have to submit to its laws and disciplines. When man loves woman, it follows the nobler the woman the nobler the love, the higher the demands by the woman, the more worthy a man must be. That is why a woman is the measure of the level of our civilization."  Venerable Fulton Sheen, The World's First Love

If you change the heart of a women, you change her family, the cell of society. Let us all renew the call we all have to bring others, especially women, our friends and sisters, to the truth about the gift of their sexuality!

Happy NFP Week!