Nov 8, 2012
Sep 21, 2012
1. DID YOU KNOW?
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?
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
3. WOMEN SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES:
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.
7. VIVIAN GOD IS HERE
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
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
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!
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
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.
Jul 27, 2012
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
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."
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
|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!
May 11, 2012
Recently I’ve been reflecting on the merits of NFP and reasons why one should use it or even why I use it. Because it’s something that I’ve found to be so transformative, amazing, and truth-filled, I want to be able to show everyone how it can be beneficial for their lives as well. It’s common, of course, to want something that has brought you happiness to also bring happiness to others.
- It's green
- It’s natural
- It’s effective
- It’s cheap
- It works with any woman’s cycle at any age
- It’s easy to learn
- There are no poor medical side effects
- Any decisions made are immediately reversible
- The divorce rate of couples who use NFP is extremely low (something less than 5%)
- It keeps you in touch with your body and allows you to learn about your health and wellness
- It allows you to see your own body and your spouse’s as gifts
- It can predict any possible fertility problems you might have
- It will strengthen your marriage and make your spouse happier
- It will make you happier
- It opens up communication between spouses
- It develops mutual decision making between a couple
- It increases your appreciation and understanding of intimacy
- It will give you an inner sense of peace
- It strengthens your faith
- It makes your relationship and you feel more free; especially free of anxiety
- It puts you in the mindset of gratitude for life and everything it contains
- It keeps your priorities in order
- It’s what the Catholic Church teaches is correct and virtuous
May 1, 2012
The freedom promised by the sexual revolution is not true freedom at all. Jennifer Fulwiler, a popular blogger and contributor to the National Catholic Register put it well: “I find it ironic when contraception is said to allow anyone to live freely, secular culture assures women that they can go ahead and engage in the act that creates babies, even if they are not ready to be mothers. They are handed contraception and told to forget all about the possibility of parenthood. Then, when the contraception fails, as it so often does, they find themselves feeling trapped, perceiving that their only escape is through the doors of an abortion facility. This, to me, does not look like freedom.”
Apr 9, 2012
So thrilled to have my cousin Jacque on the blog this month! She was always a big older cousin I looked up to when I was little. I'll never EVER forget when she got my sister and I our first Barbie Doll that came with 20 different earrings you could put on her. Anyways....I've always admired her and am so honored she was willing to share her story.
Michael and Jacque are both 34. Michael grew up in Franklin, TN and Jacque grew up in Northern Kentucky, they currently live in Charlotte, NC. with their 3 children here on earth: Lucy (5), Emilia (3), and Christian (18 months) and also have 2 babies in heaven. They have been married for 6 years.
Michael and I met a year after college and I was doing some soul searching. I was hungry to know more about my faith. I grew up in a strong Catholic home, but like many college students there was a time that I wasn’t living my faith properly. I started reading everything I could get my hands on—and loved it. I was definitely discovering a new level of my faith and Michael was very supportive. That’s when I knew there was something different about this man. It was during that time I read things about NFP and the beauty of living it in your marriage. When I realized things were getting serious with Michael, I figured it was time to broach the subject. I was pretty nervous as there were only two outcomes…he would consider it or RUN. I’m so glad he didn’t run. What I had learned seemed so beautiful to me and made perfect sense, but this was all new to him. Before bringing it up to Michael, I had to educate myself on all that it entailed so I could explain it…well, rather delicately. That was a TOUGH day for us (there were tears on both sides!). Thank goodness we can laugh about it now, but I’ll never forget the conversation. He automatically started having images of babies running everywhere and me driving a 15 passenger van (which, by the way, I think are very cool!). We worked through some of our fears and worries and were engaged a few months later. We also signed up for a class during our engagement which was helpful. My constant prayer is asking God to guide us and protect us in our marriage. If he wanted us to live marital love to its fullest then he was going to have to pave the way.
I love that I’m married to a man who loves every bit of me, including my fertility. His love has no boundaries. When we made our wedding vows to love, honor, and cherish each other- we meant it. Not that we want to have a baby on our mind at all times, but we can’t just shove my fertility in a drawer because it’s a big part of who I am.
If we were contracepting I would feel some sort of unspoken words like, "I love you with all of my heart. Well, except that little thing called your fertility...the part of you that God so graciously gave to us. I don't really love that part. So let's get rid of it, suppress it, and put a mask on it...whatever it takes because I'm not in love with that part of you....unless of course when I AM ready."
I’d add that hooking up with a good NFP instructor is key, too. I have to drive an hour each way (with all three kids) to see mine, but it is worth it. She’s wonderful and spends however much time I need answering questions and helping me feel confident in charting.
From a health standpoint, it’s unbelievably awesome! NFP IS for everyone. I can only speak from experience using the Creighton method, but they specialize in women with irregular cycles (long, short, menopausal, low progesterone, and infertility!) I think it’s amazing that by charting you can diagnose and treat many gynecological disorders. Many times the pill is prescribed to “solve”a woman’s issue, but sadly it’s a mask that will only create other problems.
On the flip side, I am so blessed with an amazing support group. I have wonderful friends and sisters that use NFP. Nothing is TMI because sometimes it really helps knowing that they are going through the same difficulties. I can even see God working in those relationships, too. Last weekend some of my girlfriends and I went to dinner and the 3 hour conversation was….you guessed it- about NFP. J I don’t know what I would do without them. Truly, God put them in my life for a very special reason. I think it is also comforting to Michael knowing we are not alone in our journey.
Could you share a happy moment or memory that you have of your children?
Mar 28, 2012
At a Funeral...
"Thank you Grandpa for being open to life, because my dad was number 10." that excerpt came from my sister Anna who wrote a tribute to my grandfather, at his funeral. He was 97. Present at the funeral were all 13 children about 60 out of 65 grandchildren and then many great grandchildren (64 I believe).
That line in her testimony rang in my ears. My gosh, if he stopped at 5 or 8 my dad would not be here! I would not be here, nore would my children and eventually their children. Half the people in this picture would not even exist. Just the magnitude of one life and the generations of people that come from one person! This is one couple being open as to what God wanted out of their life.
My grandparents house was small,a ranch house with 3 bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. They never owned many material possessions, and all their children had to earn their own way into college. They lived a simple life that was full to the brim! And he died surrounded by multitudes of people who loved him.
Hanging Family Pictures...
I come from a long line of fertility, you might say, "Fertile Myrtyls". I'm from a family of 11, my dad is one of 13, my mom is one of 10, her mom is one of 13, and so on....
I wanted to find some pictures of my grandparents to hang in my house and tell their stories to my children. I found these pictures from my mom's side of the family. They are of my great grandmother Neoma and grandmother Margaret.
I stared at these pictures for a long time. Take one or two or five children out of that line up and there are dozens and hundreds of lives that would not have come into existence.
What I'm not saying, is that in order to be open to life, you must have at least 10 children. Being open to life should never mean a certain number, but it does mean being open to what God wants, as many as HE wants and not so much what you want.
There is this one passage of scripture that I always go back to..."And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole livelihood." Mark 12:41-44
and especially this one:
"For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." Mark 3:35
Good grief, those are some hard sayings, but I have watched my own parents and grandparents live by those passages. They gave their whole livelihood in being open to life. I think at the heart of nfp, this is what God is asking of us. The sizes and shapes and spaces between each family will look different, but deep inside it is meant to look the same. That whatever our family size ends up being, even if God sends us infertility, it is not about a specific number, rather, it is about giving and what being open to life is doing to our souls. It is ultimately a surrender of our will to his, our LIFE for others.
I think of livelihood as those things that you enjoy: eating food when it's hot, getting a full night's sleep without being awaken or sleeping in, traveling abroad, getting away for a weekend, concerts, going places alone, I could think of a million. All these things are good things in themselves and by no means, bad, but good in healthy doses I guess, but we willingly give them up at times for the sake of someone else, a little soul.
As I looked at these pictures, I couldn't help, but think of the sacrifice my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents went through by being obedient to God. Because of their yes, their trust, and their very lives, I am here. I believe what my great grandparents and grandparents and parents did was RADICAL. It is so completely counter-cultural and against the norm, and it cost them everything, but I believe it's right because it is life focused on eternity.
Jillian Michael's Workout DVD: "In order to change, you have to get uncomfortable."
(Sidenote: Ha, I didn't really pay any attention to her until I read that lent post and then got inspired to order "No More Trouble Zones" dvd. I can't say I'm a big fan of her "kick some butt" attitude,I personally find that annoying, but she is a really good motivator and the dvds are making me sweat!)
I'm pretty sure having a baby is, in its very essence, the most uncomfortable thing I will ever do in this life, for a whole host of reasons :), but it is the most rewarding. Sometimes, I have to remember, "With great sacrifice comes great love, and with great love, comes great sacrifice." JPII
But maybe, more importantly, being open to life can open our souls, stretch our hearts, and changes us into the women we were created to be.