Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Dream House and Gratitude

Second in a series of posts on virtue. The first can be found here.
We saw this house on our honeymoon Up North in Michigan. It is like a Hobbit mansion. Photo by Mark Spencer.
My husband and I are in the midst of a search for our first house. We have a limited budget, like most single income families, and I often find my imaginings for our first house to be much grander than what is actually available to us. Ever since we were married I would find myself looking at nice, large houses thinking that it would be great for a large family, and knowing all the while that I would never be able to have a home as large or as nice. When you marry a man aspiring to a career in the liberal arts you cannot really expect to have the dream house, especially when your husband’s dream home is a combination of the Earthship’s of New Mexico, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style, a Hobbit style house, and Pemberly as portrayed in the BBC’s 2005 Pride and Prejudice.
An Earthship of New Mexico. Photo by Biodiesel33.
Since what we desire is fairly ridiculous and entirely unfeasible, I realize that we need to change our expectations about a house and be thankful to God for the gifts he has given us. It is so easy to fall into the vices of greed and covetousness without even realizing it. The thoughts of wishing for a nicer car, house, clothes slip into the mind, and when they are entertained the vice develops. Instead of falling into these vices, we can develop habits that create virtue in us. One virtue that helps is that of gratitude to God for all of His blessings. I may not be able to live in the most beautiful mansion in St. Paul, or even a six bedroom house that will hold a growing family, but I will be able to buy a house that has a solid roof, a good foundation, a yard, and most likely a garage. I will have a kitchen with electricity, running water, clean dishes, and good food. There will be a washer and dryer in my house so my clothes are easy to clean, and bedrooms for sleeping in with soft beds and warm blankets. I will also have at least one bathroom (hooray for indoor plumbing!). And my house will be clean, because we will take care of it and maintain it.
Taliesin by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo by K. Murphy
Prayers of thanksgiving are the primary way to develop the virtue of gratitude to God. St. Francis de Sales encourages Christians in An Introduction to the Devout Life to focus on God within one’s heart and pray throughout the day during one’s daily occupations. Thanking God for His gifts is something that we can easily do as we pray internally to Him. For example, as I make dinner I can thank God for the gift of food, an income to buy the food, and a kitchen to cook it in. I can also be thankful that my worries are not about whether or not we will have food, but what size kitchen the new house will have. Setting aside time for prayer to thank God for His gifts at the beginning and end of the day is another way we can thank Him. Start the day with a simple morning offering and end the day with another prayer of thanksgiving. Thanking God before and after meals also builds our gratitude. When we take the time to thank God it is not as easy to get caught up in our “first world problems” without being properly thankful to God.
Speaking of first world problems, another way we can show God our gratitude is to give of our abundance. One of the things the Church encourages us to do during Lent is to give alms. Giving alms helps us to recognize that we are blessed, but that also there are others who need what we have more than we do. There are many organizations that collect money to provide food for those in poor countries. Another way to give alms is to donate food to a food pantry or clothes to an organization that helps those in need, or just put more than usual in the collection basket on Sunday at Church.
A further way to develop a habit of gratitude is to take care of the things that we do have. Instead of seeking always the newest and the nicest, we can be excellent stewards of our goods. Maintaining our homes, appliances, cars, and other goods is a way of honoring God and thanking Him for the goods He has blessed us with.

There are so many ways to be thankful to God for our blessings and overcome vices that make us unhappy and take us away from union with God. When we have proper gratitude to God, we also grow in our love of Him. We come closer to realizing fully how truly dependent we are on God for all that we have, especially our very existence.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”  –Matthew 6:25-33
 Originally posted on Truth and Charity.

Thank You, Pope Benedict XVI!

Here is a photo of M, me, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in November 2005.
I feel somewhat obliged to comment on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI today. I read his final general audience yesterday and this part of it stood out to me:

"I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of his truth and his love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline."
It is a wonderful description of what it is like to be Catholic. Now having lived in four cities, I know that there are good, faithful Catholics in all parts of the country and world. When I meet a new person who I know is Catholic, there is an instant common bond and that is the community of brothers and sisters Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke of yesterday.

And I do feel about him and Blessed Pope John Paul II before him a sense of familial connection and affection. I am thankful to him for being our Pope the past eight years and for the three Apostolic blessings M and I were given on the occasion of our marriage (I will take all the blessings I can get!).

As for the future of the Church, all I can do myself is to trust in God. I know that Church politics do not always make choosing the right pope easy. I only hope that with the rest of the world against preserving traditions that the new pope will continue to protect them within the Church and continue to bring back the old ones that were lost during many of the post-Vatican II changes.

I will conclude with this:

Novena prayer for a conclave:

Heavenly Father, We, the people of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history and the beginning of the Third Millenium.
We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. With Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son.

1 Our Father
1 Hail Mary
1 Glory Be

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weird Food Allergies

Photo by publicdomainphotos.
G has been developing some interesting food allergies in the past year. Last May she had hives on her arms and legs after eating watermelon. We tested it again a few weeks later and the same reaction occurred. In October she had a rash around her mouth after eating roasted squash, but did not seem to have problems with pumpkin pie or bread. Over Christmas travels she threw up for four hours after eating half a banana. In fact she never has liked bananas. Or she would be interested and take a bite and then not want anymore. Today she had two small banana muffins and vomited her whole lunch two hours later.

A little googling told me this about banana allergies:

Mouth Itching (I think she has been having this reaction to years.)

The allergy symptom of itching in the mouth area may affect the lips, tongue and throat. Itching sensations may spread to the eyes and skin. In discussing these problems with their doctors, patients should disclose additional known allergies, which can aid in diagnosis.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that many patients who get seasonal allergic reactions to ragweed or contact allergies to latex also have banana allergies. Mouth itching may be more intense during ragweed season, when patients' sensitivities are high.

Swelling (Have not noticed this.)

The inflammation that causes itching usually brings swelling to the same areas of the body. As the Mayo Clinic notes, itching and swelling symptoms from bananas in ragweed hay fever patients may comprise the extent of their health problems. Symptoms limited to the mouth are called oral allergy syndrome.
A greater reaction may raise welts on the skin, creating a red rash or hives. A severe allergic reaction to bananas can prompt the eyes and face to swell acutely, causing pain and tenderness and making it difficult for patients to see.

Respiratory Symptoms (This is a scary reaction, though I have not noticed this in her either.)

This inflammation may constrict the airways when swelling affects the throat, tongue and sinus areas under the eyes. The University of Maryland Medical Center relates that this condition may create difficulty in swallowing or breathing. These allergy symptoms can escalate to dangerous levels when combined with an adverse cardiovascular response.

Sudden Shock (EEK!)

Banana allergies become serious when the immune system mistakenly triggers a decrease in blood pressure. As respiratory problems restrict blood oxygen levels, anaphylaxis progresses toward shock, the Nemours Foundation reports. Serious allergy symptoms that require immediate paramedic assistance include a weak or racing pulse, light-headedness and sudden loss of consciousness.

Abdominal Pain (The clear sign of her allergy.)

Banana allergies cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms that often begin with nausea, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Stomach pain and cramping may take place shortly after eating bananas, as digestion begins. In some patients, however, allergic reactions to bananas provoke almost immediate vomiting or diarrhea.

Another site says that the abdominal symptoms are latex related. I guess we should be careful about latex for her as well.

The weird thing is that we called her doctor after the throwing up episode at Christmas and she did not think it could be allergies. But I guess bananas cause weird reactions. No more bananas for G not even in the cooked form. The only positive thing I can draw from this information is that we are not at the beginning of a plague of the stomach flu, but simply dealing with an allergic reaction. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Month in Girls-February 2013

I have decided that I want to copy my friend Mary and keep a record of the kids each month. She has all boys so I stole her title and made it girls. I hope she does not mind. :) (If you want to see pictures of my kids, though, you need to know me and be a Facebook friend.)

I cannot believe that this girl is going to be four next month! She has beautiful brown eyes and her hair is becoming the long hair she so desires. She is advancing well in her "school"work now that I am semi on top of doing it frequently. Finally sitting mostly still at Mass and knows how to be quiet. She has told us recently that she is afraid that the school kids at daily Mass are going to take her and make her go to school with them. This makes me glad because a few months ago she was anti-home school. Her favorite activities include: pretending she is Clara from The Nutcracker, mothering one to three dolls at a time, watching me cook, cooking her own food, talking for at least an hour after bedtime with her sister, and singing and dancing. She is a mostly kind big sister, though disputes over toys are frequent. Lately she had been pulling the baby onto her lap which makes her mother nervous. She likes to discuss the books she has had "readen" to her and recognizes almost all her letters.

Another pair of beautiful brown eyes with eyelashes so long I am not sure how she holds her eyes open for so long at night and at nap resisting sleep. But that is two for you, right? I think she is missing her babyhood as she asks constantly to be held or hugged that is when she is not following G around playing along. She mothers many dolls and whenever a friend comes over she pulls out her doll and proclaims, "I got it for my birfday!" She is trying to count and learn her letters since she wants to be like her sister. She has been seen lately playing with a small glow-in-the-dark plastic statue of Our Lady. Mary has many adventures to the family altar, bookshelves, and where ever L decides to play. She also has a great devotion to Baby Jesus so we pray to him to help her stay in her bed.

Big brown eyes. I have always been a sucker for those big brown eyes. She is babbling a lot, rolls to her side, and grabs things above her on her play-mat (whatever it is called). She also has the baby muppet smile on her face whenever she catches anyone's eye.  She sleeps wonderfully on her back in her cosleeper all night (that is 10:30pm-6am) most nights. Sometimes she even falls asleep on her own. She is a great third baby. It must just be that the third daughter is the best at everything...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Letting the Kids Into the Shining Barrier

I recently reread A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. I read it for the first time when M was on Crossroads and we were considering becoming engaged soon. The book is about the love story of Sheldon and his wife Jean (Davy). The started off as pagans when they met, and had a great love of beauty. When they first fell in love they decided that they wanted to preserve the springtime of their love with what they called the Shining Barrier.  The Shining Barrier was preserved by the sharing, of all ideas and things, and they wanted to defend against what they called "creeping separateness." To do this they had regular talks about the "state of their relationship" and called each other out to have  total trust. They decided also that having children would destroy the Barrier and cause a creeping separateness, so they weren't going to have children.

When M and I first read this book, we loved all the elements of it (except for the no children part). Our common studies and subjects made the sharing easy. When Sheldon and Davy converted to Christianity they had were unsure of how to incorporate God into their inloveness, but M and I never had that problem since our common faith was the base of our inloveness. We went to daily Mass together and Adoration daily for our whole 18 month engagement, and we prayed several of the hours together a day. We discussed everything that we read and read many of the same things. In my mind I always felt like we had that inloveness preserved.

Then we graduated and got married. I felt that we still had the strong bond with each other. My favorite time of day was the evenings after dinner when we would sit and read silently, read a play together, play cards, just be together. Then we had our first child. It was an adjustment, but once she was a few months old, she went to bed before us. We still had our evenings. We continued daily Mass. The same thing happened with our second child. We still had our evenings. We have been very possessive of our evenings together our whole marriage. I felt that as long as we had our evenings everything would continue happily. But children get older, don't go to bed as early, and we had our third child. What used to be three hours of evening alone time has been reduced to about one, once the older kids fall asleep. And the kids are having trouble sleeping at night, unhappy a lot of the day, and begging us for attention. And I realized that Sheldon and Davy were right about kids ruining a Shining Barrier. We cannot continue as we had before. It is surprising to me that it has taken until the third kid to see how we have not loved them as we should have.

G running to the light.
I am not saying that I do not love my children, and I am really happy that I have three beautiful girls. I am just realizing that I lack the enthusiasm to be with my children and devote time to them that I've seen holy mothers that I know.  I am not in the habit of giving all my time to them, and in fact I am a little afraid to let go of everything and just love them with my whole life. I know it has to happen, but it is hard to be a mom and a wife and give everything. It also is okay that it did not happen naturally for me; I know that. If it were a purely natural thing, it would be much easier. But to lose oneself for others is a supernatural thing and it requires God's grace. So I am surrendering to graces urgings and letting go for my children and my husband so that His grace will be the Shining Barrier of our family.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Family Prayers for First Sunday of Lent

I mulled over these prayers for along time, but in my last post about Lenten Family Prayers with my awesome centerpiece I promised the first set of prayers for extinguishing the first candle. It is based on part of the Tenebrae service which begins with Holy Thursday Matins from the old Office. I used the translations of the Psalms from the Angelus Press 1962 Missal and the collect from the first Sunday of Lent from the Extraordinary form.

First Sunday of Lent “Tenebrae” Prayers
Begin with all six candles lit.
Leader: O God, come to my assistance.

All: O Lord, make haste to help me.

Leader: Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

All: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Leader: (Ant. 1) The Zeal of Thy house hath eaten Me up, and he reproaches of them that reproach Thee, fell upon Me.

Psalm 69 (68 old numbering)

1. Save me O God; for the waters are
come even unto my soul.
2. I stick fast in the mire of the deep:
 and there is no sure standing.
3. I am come into the depth of the sea:
and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.
4. I have labored with crying, my jaws are become hoarse:
mine eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God.
5. They are multiplied above the hairs of my head:
that hate me without cause.
6. Mine enemies are grown strong, who have wrongfully persecuted me:
then did I pay that which I took not away.
7. O God, Thou knowest my foolishness:
and mine offenses are are not hid from Thee.
8. Let not them be ashamed for me,
who look for Thee, O Lord, the Lord of hosts.
9. Let them not be confounded on my account:
That seek Thee, O God of Israel.
10. Because for they sake I have borne reproach:
shame hath covered my face.
11. I am become a stranger to my brethren:
and an alien to the sons of my mother.
12. For the zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up:
and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee, are fallen upon me.
13. And I covered my soul in fasting:
and it was made a reproach to me.
14. And I made haircloth my garment:
and I became a by-word to them.
15. They that sat in the gate spoke against me:
and they that drank wine, made me their song.
16. But as for me, my prayer is to Thee, O Lord:
for the time of Thy good pleasure, O God.
17. In the multitude of Thy mercy hear me:
in the truth of Thy salvation.
18. Draw me out of the mire that I may not stick fast:
deliver me from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
19. Let not the tempest of water drown me, nor the deep swallow me up:
and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
20. Hear me, O Lord, for They mercy is kind:
look upon me according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies.
21. And turn not away Thy face from Thy servant:
for I am in trouble, hear me speedily.
22. Attend to my soul, and deliver it:
save me because of mine enemies.
23. Thou knowest my reproach, and my confusion:
and my shame.
24. In Thy sight are all they that afflict me:
my heart hath expected reproach and misery.
25. And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.
26. And they gave me gall for my food:
and in my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.
27. Let their table become as a snare before them:
and a recompense, and a stumbling block.
28. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not:
and their back, bend Thou down always.
29. Pour our Thine indignation upon them
and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
30. Let their habitation be made desolate:
and let there be none to dwell in their tabernacles.
31. Because they persecuted him whom Thou hast smitten:
and added to the grief of my wounds.
32. Add Thou iniquity upon their iniquity;
and let them not come into Thy justice.
33. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living:
and with the just let them not be written.
34. But I am poor and sorrowful:
Thy salvation, O God, hath set me up.
35. I will praise the name of God with a canticle:
and I will magnify Him with praise.
36. And it shall please God better than a young calf:
that bringeth forth horns and hoofs.
37. Let the poor see and rejoice:
seek ye God, and your soul shall live.
38. For the Lord hath heard the poor:
and hath not despised His prisoners.
39. Let the heavens and the earth praise Him:
the sea, and everything that creepeth therein.
40. For God will save Sion:
and the cities of Juda shall be built up.
41. And they shall dwell there:
and acquire it by inheritance
42. And the seed of His servants shall possess it:
and they that love His name shall dwell therein.

First Lesson: Lamentations 1: 1-5
1  How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal.
2  She weeps bitterly in the night, tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.
3  Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
4  The roads to Zion mourn, for none come to the appointed feasts; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her maidens have been dragged away, and she herself suffers bitterly.
5  Her foes have become the head, her enemies prosper, because the LORD has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God.

Responsory: All: On the mount Olivet He prayed to His Father:
Father, if it be possible, let thus cup pass away from Me:
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Leader: Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation,
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The first candle is extinguished.

All: Our Father...

Leader: O God, Who dost purify Thy Church
by the yearly observance of Lent:
grant to Thy household, that what we strive to
obtain from Thee by abstinence,
we may achieve by good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Liturgical Year: Lenten Family Prayers

I got the wooden cross here and the base at the craft store.
A couple of years ago, I wanted to make a meaningful centerpiece surrounded by liturgical prayers to be used by our family during Lent, similar to that of the Advent wreath. While thinking and praying about what to do, I thought of the Tenebrae service I had been to in college. Franciscan University always does the Tenebrae service on Wednesday of Holy Week. The service itself is from the old Liturgy of the Hours (or Office) for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The word Tenebrae means “darkness”, and in the Tenebrae service psalms are recited, readings or lessons are read, and the fifteen candles are extinguished one by one. I decided that for our Lenten centerpiece I would use six candles (one for each week) in the shape of a cross and then instead of lighting one more candle each week, we would extinguish one candle each week until Holy Week when no candles would be lit. For Easter we make our home Paschal Candle which we use all of the Easter Season.

Shower of Roses blog has how to make your own, I bought mine at Target.
This year I decided to take psalms and readings from the Tenebrae service along with the collect of the day, to have a prayer for each Sunday with the Lenten candle cross. The first set of prayers is for Ash Wednesday when all six candles are lit. On the first Sunday of Lent, the first candle is extinguished and only five are lit during the week. We always light ours during our family dinner. Then on the second Sunday of Lent we extinguish another so that we only have four lit that week. On Palm Sunday, we extinguish the last, and then on Holy Saturday, we make our family paschal candle. 

I have not had the time to put together the prayers yet, but I will try to get this Sunday’s posted before Sunday. I failed to have them done for Ash Wednesday, so instead M read me this:

Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
Read the rest HERE.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Tribute to my NFP practioner (who is not an iPod App)

Natural Family Planning has been a big conversation topic lately among Catholic women in the blogosphere and internets. Jennifer Fulwiler wrote on it the other day for the National Catholic Register blog, how more Catholic women are becoming aware of the Church's teaching on contraception. My friends Mary wrote about an app she has been using. A Catholic mom's Facebook group I am in discusses it nonstop. I am going to talk about my awesome practitioner who taught me the Creighton Model System when I was a 19 years old and engaged to be married.

Photo by Jen Pagnan
That first meeting with her when I had only been charting four weeks, with my fiance (M of course), was definitely potentially very awkward. I don't remember any of the details really, except that I was not having normal mucus. (Ewww, I am going to talk about mucus.) Anyway, through her help and through the research that has been done on mucus discharges, I learned to distinguish different types of mucus and follow my cycles. It was not easy and I had to be consistent in checking for mucus every time, EVERY TIME, I used the toliet, showered, went swimming. I charted for 15 months before I got married, and 12 months from the wedding we were fairly certain that a honeymoon baby was in order. She came nine months and a day from our wedding...

Then came the postpartum charting, which is super confusing, especially when you are nursing a baby and have nonfertile mucus most of the time plus not really sure if you are having cycle again or not? My practitioner reminded me to start charting again after my pregnancy, did follow-ups and chart reviews, and helped me understand what was going on with the my body. I can't remember how many times I have called, emailed, or Facebook messaged her to get advice on whatever I was charting on various days. She always looks into the research and the studies and gives me helpful advice. When I have been so confused and needed support, she has listened to me cry and helped me figure things out.

Last week, we had my first postpartum follow-up after baby F. I had been having some confusing days of charting again, and when she looked at my chart and the research (I had already messaged her about things before the follow-up) she recommended that I go see my doctor for some progesterone to help balance out my hormones. It was then that I realized that I had been having a lot of symptoms of postpartum depression and needed to be treated. If it had not been for my charting and follow up I might have continued to wallow in my fatigued, overwhelmed, unhappy state. Since I was treated just a week ago (with a progesterone injection), I have noticed a huge difference in my ability to handle everyday life. Also, my childrens' behavior is slowly improving. We are no longer dealing with temper tantrums in the middle of the night or right before bed (though the help of new parenting strategies have aided us there as well). We would not have been able to say calmly, "It is time to be obedient. It is time to be in bed," a billion times if I had still been dealing with being depressed. It affected everyone in the family, and the fact that I was charting revealed the problem we did not even see. It is worth it not just for knowing when I can "achieve" and "avoid" having another baby, but for all aspects of my health as a woman.

So, not to go on a tangent from the point of this post, but I really wanted to say that Natural Family Planning takes work and effort on your part and you cannot really do it alone. Even the iPod app requires a doctors advice from time to time. Pick a method, find a practitioner, and stick with it. I have a regular doctor I see for my medical needs and for prenatal and postnatal care, my kids and husband have a doctor, I go to a doctor for my eyes, I go to one for my teeth, so why not use an expert to understand my fertility and help me live my life within the moral teachings of the Church which I love so much?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Seven Quicktakes Friday-Feb. 1

I am going to link up today, so make sure you go visit Jen for all the quicktakes.

1. The major thing that happened to me this week was the realization that I have been having mild postpartum depression. Some days I have been totally fine, but other days I have felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of taking care of the kids and the house. I was attributing it to the adjustment to everything new in my life, but it turns out it is probably a hormonal imbalance. I was shot up with some progesterone yesterday and I am already noticing a difference. Hooray! So please keep me and the family in your prayers. And also please pray for someone else I am close to who has been diagnosed with depression (the non-postpartum version).

2. And here is an advertisement for the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning and NaProtechnology. They only reason I went to the doctor about feeling not normal was because my charting (which I started dutifully at 56 days postpartum which is what they ask when one is totally breastfeeding) indicated that my hormones levels were not quite right. I had a follow-up with my practitioner and she told me to call my doctor which lead to me getting some more hormones which after 30 hours seem to be helping a lot. So, if you are thinking about charting; having a regular follow-up person and charting can help with a lot of things, not just for avoiding or achieving pregnancy. Such as helping you be a nice mom instead of a spastic yelling mom who can't handle tantrums at all...

3. G gave this to me today and said: "This is to help you with your blog." Here it is:
I think that is a "G".
4. We went to the Mall of America on Saturday despite G's pleas to go to the art museum. My kid is already geeky. We got some smelly soaps since I had a gift card from my birthday in June that I had not used. Now everytime G washes her hands she says, "Mmmm, this soap smells like flowers! Do you want to smell my hands mom?!"

5. Lent is coming up. I am going to adapt a Tenebrae service this week for a Lenten devotion for my family. Look for more on it at Truth and Charity this week. Also, don't forget that tomorrow is Candlemas, the Presentation of our Lord, and the last day of the Christmas/Season after Epiphany. So, it is the last day for your nativity scene and tree.

6. Now that I am going to be feeling better, I am going to attempt to do potty training for real again soon. Typical potty training episode so far which is why I had given up:
L: "I have to go potty."
Me: "Okay, let's go!" I put her on the toliet.
Me: "Have you gone yet, L?" L grabs at the toliet paper and pulls off a piece.
Me: "If you go you can have a frozen blueberry!"
L: "Blueberry!"
Me: "Have you gone yet? I am going to count to ten and then you go. One, two, three, four, five..."
L: "A flag!" She waves the toliet paper in the air.
Me: "Are you going to go?"
L: "No. All done." She drops in the toliet paper in the toliet and then flushes.
7. I have just started Sigrid Undset's biography on Catherine of Sienna. What an incredible life. I will probably be blogging about sainthood in the future, but one thing I do know and I told M last week is that I am not living a life of heroic virtue. His response: "I could have told you that!" Thanks dear. :)
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