Thursday, October 22, 2009

Short Note on 'Religion' and Us

So tonight, Sam and I were having a very interesting discussion on the differences, religion-wise, between what he grew up believing and what I did. Even though I was brought up in a Catholic household and Sam was raised Baptist, we have always been able to discuss religion and not get into a big argument; instead, I think we have both truly enjoyed learning about each other's childhood years and the beliefs that our parents taught us.

So in the middle of discussing why people tend to lose their temper when discussing differing Christian beliefs, Sam says,

"I have always believed that, if two people from different Christian denominations essentially believe in God and that Jesus came to Earth and died for our sins; and in discussing differences between each other's faiths tempers rise and people get upset, that is the time to try and forget about those relatively unimportant differences, because the bickering and anger is NOT what God intended for us to do. He does not wants us to fight amongst each other because we're missing the point; we're losing focus."

Then we started talking about what this Focus should be: loving each other as He has always loved us.

And as I sat there listening to Sam say those words, I was wondering, "How can I NOT fall in love with him all over again when he speaks like this?" And when Catholic people ask me how we'll handle raising our children, I think of Sam speaking these words and I am not worried. If we can teach our children about God's love for us, Jesus' sacrifice to save us from our own sins and our need to follow in His footsteps... then we will have done our most important job as parents.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Natural Family Planning and Us

After putting it off for about three months, I finally had my yearly appointment with my gynecologist yesterday. I'd been dreading going to this appointment not only for the obvious reasons, but also because this would be the first time I saw my gynecologist since we started using NFP (Natural Family Planning). Our Creighton model practitioner had warned me that many physicians tend to be quite negative and skeptical about NFP methods, and unfortunately I was met with a similar reaction.

I never thought I would get off the birth control pill. I'd been taking it for almost ten years, and it'd worked wonders for me, as far as having regular periods goes. About three months before Sam and I got married I became too old to be under my parents' insurance plan and I couldn't afford a plan of my own, so I stopped taking the pill. This wasn't an issue as far as my relationship with Sam goes.. but I became very afraid of what would happen when I got off it. And what happened was actually quite amazing: I felt alive again. I'm not quite sure how to describe it and I'm aware that this sounds like crazy talk, but I felt as if I'd spent all those years on the pill "mentally sedated"; emotions I hadn't seen in a very long time resurfaced and somehow I felt like my true self again.

A little while before we got married I got on the pill again, but I'd discussed with Sam my desire to find some other method that would help us plan our family and that would be more in tune with my beliefs. This desire went far beyond the Catholic church's stand on birth control; switching to some form of NFP meant being more open to having children and feeling like we are trusting God and His plan. Luckily Sam was incredibly supportive and agreed that if we found a method we could use, we should do it. I'm not going to deny that I struggled for a long time on whether jumping into NFP would be a wise decision, because I did question it. No one in this day and age wants to have 10 children (except for maybe crazy ol' Octomom?), so of course there were doubts and questions. All I could do was pray about it, that God would help us make this important decision in our marriage.

So we found the Creighton model of Natural Family Planning; we've been learning the system for about five months now, and we are both so very happy with this decision! It takes a little time to get used to it, but in five short months we have learned a lot about procreation and this wonderful gift that God has given us. Sam and I both have noticed a number of amazing differences which have helped us become closer as a couple; the system is based on daily observations and "charting" these, and we share the responsibility of following the method. We also learned a lot more about how the pill works, and we were happy that I wasn't taking it anymore.

But of course, the second my gynecologist heard that we were practicing NFP she practically treated me like a child for the rest of the appointment. Somehow she felt she could scold me for getting off the pill and dismiss anything I said about the Creighton model as unimportant and uninteresting (this after she admitted she did not know anything about the system).

So... I almost let it get to me. I almost thought, "maybe I should get back on it..." I talked about it with Sam to see what he thought, and... he was so very supportive of the Creighton model and of us following it! More than anything, there's peace of mind and of heart that we're intending to plan when we'll have children, but that ultimately God has His say and that we will accept it lovingly no matter what. I guess one could technically say the same thing about the birth control pill because no method is absolutely effective except for abstinence, but at least there are no synthetic hormones in me. I feel better, both mentally and physically. And Sam is so very happy to be following this too. We wouldn't trade this sense of peace for anything else in the world.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

FOUND: True Email Forward!

I have finally found an email forward that has been proven to be true, and it's definitely worth a read:

Friday, October 9, 2009

"This is your life... are you who you want to be?"

I LOVE Switchfoot. I have my wonderful husband to thank for introducing me to their music back in '04; in fact, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I hear their first album, "The Legend of Chin". I got this album as Sam and I got to know each other :)

Having a full-time job and being a wife, my daily life is moderately to heavily filled with responsibilities: working, cooking, cleaning, washing, dusting... being a good employee, keeping a home in order and making sure that my husband's needs are met can be a bit overwhelming at times. About eight months ago, I began to notice that all I did was wish that I didn't have to work so I could stay at home and enjoy life more. Poor Sam had to hear me complain about work and about not having enough time to do anything. So I reached a point where I asked myself, "what ARE you doing with your time?". Well, here comes the embarrassing part:

After work I would get home, talk to Sam a little bit about how our days went, then I'd sit in front of this computer for half an hour to an hour reading about... celebrities. I cannot for the life of me understand WHY I like to read this stuff, but I do. Then, Sam and I would have dinner while watching a TV show, then I'd come back to the computer while he played games. I'd often either stay online until late, or watch TV show reruns. Wow! That sure sounds like a great and productive life, doesn't it? Then, I'd leave everything I needed to do until Sundays, which would make those days completely stress-ridden.

So, Sam and I discussed the situation, and after much arguing against the idea (this would be me), he finally convinced me that the best thing to do would be to have a weekly schedule to get things done; in that way we would both have responsibilities and these would be spaced out more. So each night we each have something to do: he mows and does the vacuuming around the house, while I do the dusting, the kitchen and the bathrooms. I have to give it to Sam: the schedule WORKS! I think we appreciate the time that the other contributes in keeping the house in order, and really look forward to times together. I spend less time reading trivial things, and more time doing quiet housework... watching a movie with Sam... reading... praying... watching birds! I got this one from Sam and his family; I did not understand it at all at first. But I've come to appreciate this seemingly insignificant activity so much..! As Rick Warren states in Purpose: "knowing your purpose... ...becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren't."

Like I say in my "About me", I'm one lucky lady :) I love my husband Sam, so very much. He brings balance to my at times disorganized life. I feel truly humbled when I think that God decided that Sam and I should become a family. I seek for a simple, humble, God-centered life, and with Sam... ... with Sam I feel like I can become who God wants me to be :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Counting blessings

Today was a beautiful and windy day here in Bryan-College Station. I couldn't help but turn away from my computer screen to look at the sky every so often (I wonder what I'd bill that time to...). What can I say, it was a great day for cloud-watching! I reflected upon God's blessings all day long. It's so easy to think about the blessings you've been given on pretty and/or happy days. I couldn't help but pray though, that God doesn't let me forget of all these blessings in the not-so-happy times. The dark times. We're so spoiled to always want more, and bigger, and better. And if things don't go our way, we complain. And we forget. But God... God is there in the most silent of ways. And it's a beautiful thing, if you don't forget.