Friday, July 29, 2011

I've Got Rhythm

Guess what, peeps!  That's right, it's NFP Week, and I'm going to write about it.

Being a convert and a single woman somewhere in her 30's, I get a lot of questions about Catholicism and the single life from Catholic and non-Catholic friends alike.  Nothing gets me the loving title of "crazy Catholic" more than the discussion of birth control and natural family planning.

Look at the lovely anonymous woman in the picture above.  She looks pretty carefree and happy, doesn't she?  It's probably because she isn't using artificial birth control!

Does that seem a bit extreme?  Well, I think using birth control is extreme.  I giggle at the absurdity of women who take such care to buy organic produce and drink filtered water yet pump artificial chemicals and hormones into their bodies every day in the form of BC.  If you are one of those women, please take a step back and get some perspective.

Before I researched the subject of NFP, I thought it was merely "the rhythm method."  I never thought counting days would actually help someone conceive or postpone pregnancy.  But it's so much more than that!  And that's why I keep track of my cycle.

Yes, TMI alert, people.

One of the main things I don't understand is why we, women, treat fertility as a disease and something to inhibit.  Then, we all freak out when we have infertility problems and push more chemical and artificial means into our bodies in order to try to jump-start the baby making system that we have suppressed for so long while on birth control.  It really drives me crazy, and I'm always astonished when women are surprised that they are having problems conceiving when they have been on birth control for years that messed up their cycle.  Is it really a surprise?

First, I need to give mad props to one of my favorite blogs, Naturally Knocked Up.  Please check out the post on the basics of NFP from a non-religious viewpoint.  And no, I'm not trying to get "knocked up" at the moment, but I love knowing how my body works.  Seriously, read it.  It's great info.

Reasons I started using/now like using NFP as a single woman:
  1. I wanted to know exactly when I was going to have my period.  Let's be honest...being surprised every month isn't exactly the best present ever.  I had always guesstimated, but now I know for sure.
  2. I have a ginormous amount of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in my family history, and I wanted to be on top of things.  I think NFP can help me spot a change in patterns that could catch a problem early.  I'm not sure that being on BC would allow for natural symptoms to emerge and allow for quick detection.
  3. I want to be ready for -if or when- I am blessed with marriage.  There is so much to be learning when you marry your spouse...why put so much pressure on yourself to learn how your body works as well?  Get that done now.  And then you can just worry about teaching your lucky spouse!
  4. I can help my married friends and support them.  I know what my friends are talking about with cycles and fertility, and often I feel I'm more knowledgeable than they are.
  5. I understand my emotions more.  I know what days I'm susceptible to emotional swings, and I can prepare myself to cope with them better.  This helps with friendships, relationships, and at work.
  6. I can avoid temptation with the opposite sex better.  God made our bodies to crave sexual relations (dare I use the word horny?) when we are fertile.  If I'm on a date and feeling revved up, I can plan our time together accordingly (perhaps a public situation would be better than at home watching a movie on the couch in the candlelight...) and avoid the confessional.
  7. Overall, I feel in more control of my body.
Personally, I use the iPeriod app on my iPhone to chart daily things.  I chose this particular program because I knew I needed something easy and convenient.  And, they recently added new categories for tracking, which I adore.  Plus, it's password protected, so if anyone goes snooping on my phone, they can't see my lady info.

Do you use NFP? BC? Single? Married?  Curious?  Comment below!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


God has been poking my soul all summer about how to get involved in the church again.  You know what I'm talking about, right?

Me:  UGH.  What am I going to do with my spare time?
God:  Poke, Poke, Poke...

I have sort been in a holding pattern when it comes to ministry involvement for the past few years.  Part of this game of pause involves full time graduate school.  The other part revolves around getting burned when doing youth ministry...but that's a whole other story that isn't blog-worthy.

So, I've been praying.  A lot.  Wondering how I could possibly fit back into the scheme of things on a local church level.  This summer, I feel like God has moved from poking to shoving.  But, I just wasn't seeing where I was going to plug in.  I didn't feel like youth ministry was really my calling.  I also didn't really feel like I should join a choir, even though I'm an accomplished vocalist and musician.  I just wasn't feeling it.

Then, tonight I got a shove from a friend that I feel was my extra nudge and a half from God.  Yay.

MOTF called me to say that her priest emailed the entire parish desperate for volunteers to help with the children's liturgy and a 6th grade PSR teacher.  I immediately had a huge smile and was super excited about this opportunity!!!  It's at the local parish that I have thought about joining (I'm still a member of the parish in my old neighborhood), and I feel like these two situations are totally up my alley.  In fact, that's why MOTF called me.  She said that she read the email and immediately thought of me and that it was a perfect churchy thing for me.

Had I previously shared my intensive prayer for ministry with this friend?  Nope.

Does this friend usually call me to talk about super awesome Catholic stuff?  Nope.

Does this friend usually encourage me to take on more responsibility when I'm already crazy busy?  Nope.

Yet, she called me about this specific thing, and she encouraged me and hyped up each volunteer opportunity.  In fact, she thought I would be perfect for both situations.

I told MOTF I would ponder each of these things in my heart (just like my name sake, Mary), but I already "knew" that I would be emailing each contact person tonight to give my own yes (fiat).

My heart feels at peace, and I am happy.  They may have already found someone to teach PSR, but I'm almost positive they need people to proclaim the Gospel to the children.  I have my "in," and I'm excited.

God uses MOTF in extraordinary ways in my life, and I am so grateful for her friendship and God using her.  She's the one that brought me to God in the Eucharist in the first place, ya know (read my conversion story at the top of the blog).

I feel like dancing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Sing You Home"

Well, I broke down and bought the book, "Sing You Home" by Jodi Picoult.

I was a little leery to purchase it because...

1.  It was fiction.  I typically don't read fiction anymore.  I like learning, so I typically go for work by Saints, Catholic scholars, biographies, and (honestly) theoretical astrophysics.  
2.  It dealt with homosexuality.  Don't get me wrong, I have many a homosexual friend (hello, I'm a musician).  But is that type of storyline going to draw me in?  Probably not.
3.  It dealt with controversial pro-life issues.  I had the feeling that the book was slanted against my viewpoint, so I was apprehensive in spending my leisure time reading it.
4.  The synopsis of the book made the ex-husband "evangelical" seem crazy.  That's never a good sign.  I may not be evangelical, but I've been called crazy in relation to my faith and beliefs.

Why did I want to read it?  The main character is a music therapist, that's why.  That NEVER happens.  Most people have never heard of my profession, let alone has a bestselling author created a novel with a main character that shares my job title.

So, I bought it on sale today.  I read the back cover and cringed.  I read some of the reviews on Amazon and cringed some more.

Sigh.  Some of my colleagues have already asked me if I've read the book.  Many said they picked it up because of the music therapy aspect and want to discuss it with me.  So, I guess I just better read it and develop my own opinion.  Who knows, maybe (doubtful) I'll enjoy it even though it challenges Christian morality with every step.

More to come after the reading...