I really wanted to share this recent post from my good friend Kristi. She always has incredibly beautiful reflections that challenge me spiritually. Check out Kristi's blog here.
"I remember so clearly that last summer at this time I was in a crazy panic because soon I would be having another baby. Gabriel took up all my time and left me no time for anything else. I was exhausted and could not even begin to comprehend how I would stretch myself to love one more person. Since I was induced with Anthony and knew when I would be leaving Gabriel behind to welcome another soul into the world, I think I rocked Gabriel that night longer than I ever had. He fell asleep in my arms and after laying him in his crib I sat next to it and cried, scared at what the future held. I prayed that God would give me the grace to multiply my love much like His love can do for all of us. When Anthony arrived, it was so. I was still able to spend time with both of them. They continued to tag team me with naps, be occupied when the other needed something, and almost instantly fell in love with one another. It was so beautiful.
As I was walking them home yesterday from the pool in our totally awesome double stroller, Gabriel was chanting, "Chunky Monkey" over and over while Anthony kept busting out laughing with this amazing giggle. I realized in that moment, that not only did God give me the grace to continue to love Gabriel just as much, but now Gabriel has a brother who adores him, loves him, and gives him his full attention as well. He was blessed with his sibling. It's an amazing gift and grace to have a sibling.
I was asked again today how many children I want. I am always so stuck with the answer to that. If I told you how many I want, you may think I am a crazy person. But, God may never give me any more either. Each moment in God's will is so different. His will for me one day, one week, one month, or in one certain year may be totally different than the next. I honestly can never see myself saying, "Alright, that's it. I don't want anymore." (That's the beauty NFP has given my heart as well). There is an openness to allow God's love to act and it's so freeing. So, I am not sure, still, how many children I want. I just know I desire them. And I especially desire them in those moments of grace when God shows me what a gift my children are, not only to me, but to one another. It is impossible for the love to remain the same. It multiplies over and over again. I just love it."
- By Kristi
Jul 21, 2011
Read this once and thought it was humorous. Just thought I'd share...
If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it. She'll pour herself some. Her three-year-old will spill the coffee. She'll wipe it up. Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks. She'll remember she has to do laundry. When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer. Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper. She will get out a pound of hamburger. She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With A Pound Of Hamburger.) The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow. She will look for her checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old. She'll smell something funny. She'll change the two-year-old. While she is changing the two-year-old the phone will ring. Her five-year-old will answer and hang up. She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee. Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. She will pour herself some. And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.
by Kathy Fictorie
based on "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
based on "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Jul 10, 2011
We are Paul (29) and Danielle (28) Klinker and we have 3 girls; Rose (4.5), Ava (3), Madeline (22 mo) and baby girl #4 on the way. Paul and I have been married for 6 years as of June 4th. We both grew up mostly in Carmel, IN and now live in Louisville, KY.
When did you first hear about the Church’s teachings on NFP and contraception? Did you always know about it or was there a time that you heard about it for the first time?From as far back as I can remember, I had heard the term NFP from my parents and as I got older, they explained to me what it was all about. I also learned more about contraception in high school and college and the more I learned about it, the more I was turned off by it. Then when Paul and I got engaged in college, we took a class taught by the Couple to Couple League at Purdue to learn more about how to use NFP. It wasn’t until then that I learned all the details of how, when, and really understood why we use NFP.
Likewise, was there a moment when you decided that you would use NFP in your marriage or was it just understood that that is what you would do?
It was always understood that NFP is what I would use in my marriage. It was what the Church and my family expected of me and it was the only pro-life option, so to me there was nothing else to consider. I knew I needed to find a guy who felt the same way because I wasn’t willing to compromise on the issue. Luckily God sent a wonderful, like-minded guy my way…I couldn’t have asked for a better life partner.
Did you have any fears about using NFP? If so, what were they?
I think in the beginning of our marriage, Paul wondered if NFP would really work for us. I have irregular cycles, so it is harder to predict the fertile/non-fertile times. Also, before we took an NFP class, Paul thought NFP meant having as many kids as you possibly could and that made him nervous. Over time, we have both come to understand and appreciate the beauty of God’s plan by using NFP.
How has using NFP positively influenced your marriage?
NFP has definitely strengthen our marriage by keeping communication strong and consistent, keep our relationship God-centered, and teaching us to fall in love with the small things about each other during our fertile times instead of only focusing on physical intimacy. It helps us keep everything in perspective and fully trust in God’s Divine plan.
What has been the greatest challenge?
NFP is definitely no walk in the park. The greatest challenge for us when using NFP has been determining the fertile and infertile days in my cycles because they are often very irregular. Because of our uncertainty, the time of abstinence can seem to last forever each month, which every couple knows can be very difficult at times.
What would you say to a couple who is considering using NFP rather than artificial forms of birth control?
I would explain the beauty of NFP…the beauty of using your body’s natural signs of fertility, (instead of using artificial means…aka contraception), and being open to the will of God to plan your family. I would share how much it has strengthened my marriage by keeping communication strong, keep our relationship God-centered, and teaching us to fall in love with the small things about each other during our fertile times instead of only focusing on physical intimacy. I would explain how NFP helps us to see children as a blessing not a burden and to appreciate the beautiful gift of fertility that is so easy to take for granted.
How do you handle the topic with family and friends? Is it ever an issue? How do you handle criticism about the Church’s teachings?
Luckily NFP has not been much of an issue with our families. We actually have wonderful support from our families who also use NFP in their own families. What a blessing to have people to keep us accountable and to be an example of happiness through doing the will of God!
We do have many Catholic friends who also use NFP and many other friends who do not. When most of our friends who use contraception hear that we use NFP and are open to more children, they often look at us like we are crazy and then comment something like, “Oh, I definitely couldn’t have any more…2 (or 1 or 3…hardly ever more than 3) are enough for me!” People definitely call us crazy and can’t image why we would consider having a 5th or 6th child. I don’t take it personally, but try to respond with something like, “God won’t give us more than we can handle” or “siblings are the best gift you can give your children.”
Could you share one or some of your favorite moments with your children as well as the difficult ones?
Some of my favorite moments of my girls are when I catch them happily playing “Mommy and Baby” all together. They will walk around with high heels on and whoever is playing mom will tell everyone else what to do. Even my 22 month-old will get into character as the baby and crawl around on the floor and pretend to cry, calling her sisters ‘Mommy.’ I love to watch them use their imaginations and enjoy each other’s company. Or when we are in public and one of them gets hurt or is shy, the other takes their hand or hugs them, immediately bringing comfort. These are the moments that prove that siblings really are the best gifts you can give your children.
We are often quite the spectacle on our trips to the grocery store. On more than one occasion I have had one child in an infant carrier, a child in the front of the shopping cart trying to climb out and a child in the back of the cart almost completely covered with groceries. Food is often dropped or broken…it seems like a miracle if we make it through the whole trip without making some kind of mess. I try to keep them occupied with snacks during our trip (half of our groceries end up opened before we even pay for them), but by the time we have gotten everything that we need, an hour and a half has passed, the girls are hungry and tired and at least one is crying inconsolably as we go through the checkout line. Everyone is staring at us and some are offering to help me in any way that they can because I am sure I look like a pitiful mess. Although these moments are embarrassing at the time, we do what we need to in order to get through them and I am sure one day I will look back and laugh.