New Website!


So I've got this new website!  I'll be blogging there from here on out.  Check it out!


Happy Friday!


7 Quick Takes

I got a fortune cookie without a fortune in it this week.  Lame.  Not that I believe in those things anyway, but nobody eats a fortune cookie for the taste... right?

Tonight... my husband and I are going on a date!  My lovely sister offered to watch Zoey so we could have a couple hours.  We're going to Adoration to get filled up a bit and then head over for some FroYo.  Sounds good, huh?  I'm terrified.  I've been a pumping crazy lady today because she'll probably starve in the two hours we're gone.  It's probably best to have like 8 ounces in the fridge and then some in the freezer.... I'm a mess.
 Any of  you excited for Fall?  This cooler weather has me thinking about pumpkin bread, turkey, and sweaters.  I'm ready!

 Really wants one of those shirts that says:
"Unicorns are lame... said no one ever."

Because unicorns... well... they're my favorite animal.
 A cute little pumpkin for Dad's cutie babe.. that's all.

Pope Francis... that man.  I love him.  My favorite Pope Francis quote this week is:

 " Let us ask the Lord for the grace of Christian endurance that gives us peace."
Seven things I'm grateful for this week:

1. My Mom's cooking.
2. Makeup to cover these bags under my eyes...
3. A beautiful sister who is awesome.
4. Corn.
5. Thunderstorms... we've had some crazy ones lately!
6. Sophie the Giraffe.
7. Rosary time.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Postpartum Depression

Whew. Heavy subject, huh?

Postpartum depression is a real, scary, irrational emotional state. 

I had severe postpartum depression after losing our son, Jacob, but it took me a long time to realize that I was suffering from it.  It crept up on me silently until I found myself lying in bed staring at our open bathroom door wondering what Peter would do if he found me in the tub with gashes in my wrists....

Graphic, but so real.  I knew something was wrong after that ugly, fleeting thought.  When Peter came home from work that day, I told him, through a mess of tears, I wanted to end my life.  He did not take this lightly because he knew I had never in my life had dark thoughts like that.  He told me to call the doctor in the morning and schedule an appointment ASAP.

I did. I called the physician and set up an appointment.  I had heard of a progesterone treatment for postpartum depression through Creighton training and wanted to inquire about it... but I was afraid.

What if I was overreacting?

At the doctor's office, through a mess of tears, I told my physician I was having suicidal thoughts and  something uncontrollable was going on with my emotions.

I was embarrassed.  I felt crazy and irrational.  I felt like I was over reading everything.  Thank God Peter came with me to that appointment.  If he hadn't been there, I would have left that appointment without saying a word.

The doctor didn't hesitate to offer me two injections of progesterone as treatment.  I accepted his offer and he came back in the office and administered them.

(His aggressiveness to treat put me at ease; I felt validated.)

After the appointment, my husband and I went to lunch, and a few hours later, I was laughing and smiling -- a completely different person.  No joke.

I felt better instantly!

The progesterone made the depression symptoms disappear; I finally had some clarity.  For months I was trying to deal with the emotions that the depression spawned while simultaneously trying to deal with the emotions of losing a child.  I didn't realize how exhausted that made me until after the depression was gone.

I remember wanting to take a nap.  A long, long, nap. 

For me, it only took one treatment of progesterone to restore my normal.  I think it should be standard procedure for every woman who delivers a baby to get a treatment of progesterone.  There would be so many more happier moms out there and fewer medicated ones, too.

Progesterone works.

The following is taken from the Pope Paul the VI Institute and gives a little more information.  If you think you are suffering from these symptoms, please look into this treatment.  It is immediately EFFECTIVE.

Postpartum Depression:

At some point in their lives, 20 percent of women will suffer from depression. Many seek treatment from primary care providers, but up to 50 percent may go unrecognized and more go untreated. Recognition and treatm
ent of depressive disorders in pregnancy and during the postpartum period is critical for the healthy outcomes of both the mother and infant.

Symptoms include the following: fatigue, changes in appetite or sleep, dysphoric mood, loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities, psychomotor agitation or retaliation, recurrent thoughts of death/suicide, feelings of worthlessness or guilt (especially failure at motherhood), and excessive anxiety over the child’s health.

There are multiple advantages to the use of progesterone. First of all, it is rapid in onset. Within literally minutes or hours after the first injection of progesterone, many of the symptoms are lifted. Secondly, over 95 percent of patients will respond positively to a progesterone therapy. While progesterone therapy is not commonly used by obstetrician-gynecologists, this is mostly because of their lack of awareness of the effectiveness of progesterone in this situation. It is, bottom line, an incredibly effective treatment. It far exceeds the effectiveness of either psychotherapy or antidepressants and should be considered in the treatment of postpartum depression.

For more information, visit naprotechnology.com.


NOTE: This post is not meant to diagnose, but to offer information.


Next week I'll be finalizing my Creighton website -- and I'm so excited to have that done and to share it with you. :)  I'll keep you posted.

I've been asked to give a talk.  Will you say a few prayers for me as I prepare for it?
 Post partum is a fun time except that funky time when your pre-pregnancy pants are too small and your pregnancy pants are too big.  Ugh.  I've been looking for maxi skirts to help with this body transition and cannot find them ANYWHERE!!  Help.  I need to wear something other than sweatpants people.

 I went to Hobby Lobby with  my Mom yesterday and had the strangest experience.... Zoey was a little squirmy, so I decided to take her out of her car seat and there happened to be two very sweet elderly ladies standing very close to me.  The commotion caught their attention and they stopped to watch and proceeded to say how cute Zoey was (proud Mom moment).  But then, all of the sudden, one of them started walking over with her arms extended as if she wanted to hold her.  A little taken back by this bold gesture, I pulled Zoey back a little bit.  The woman, stunned, put her arms awkwardly back down to her side and then walked away --

Um... I did the right thing here, right? ;)

Did you read about how many young people attended World Youth Day in Rio??? THREE MILLION!!!  Have you been to an event like this?  It's truly an experience that will change your spiritual life.  I've been to two of them (Toronto and Sydney).   BOTH were incredible.

Pope Francis... that man.  I love him.  My favorite Pope Francis quote this week is:
"Ask Jesus what He wants of you and be brave."
Seven things I'm grateful for this week:

1. Apartment maintenance for a leaky sink.
2. A healthy baby girl who now weighs almost 12 pounds... almost.  Tiny butt.
3. My mom's homemade apple pie. Delish.
4. A financial blessing we received this week.
5. Showers.
6. Chai lattes.
7. Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Favorite Practitioner Moment

"How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers." -Mother Teresa

I couldn't agree more with Mother Teresa.  Children bring color to this world -- vibrant, vibrant, color.  Their innocence keeps us grounded, their intrigue keeps us searching, their love of life keeps us passionate; children are a gift to be received, loved, and cherished and it is a joy to hear from a client they are expecting.

Talk about a cool perk...

Anyway, there are many times when I am one of the first, if not the first, to hear the good news that a couple is pregnant, and that's where I begin with this post.  To date, this is my favorite, 'We're Pregnant!' moments crafted by a client couple of mine. 

I was asked to present to a group of parishioners at Our Lady of Loreto the Creighton Introductory slideshow.  There were quite a few couples in attendance, and as a bearer of this beautiful truth, I prayed every single one of them would choose to chart and set up an appointment with me following the session.

and most of them did. :)

Anyway, this particular couple contacted me a few weeks following the presentation and scheduled a meeting.  After said meeting, I knew a prayer for faith friends had been answered; we had A LOT in common and our friendship grew and grew over the next few meetings. It was a blessing to have been introduced to this couple, and eventually, after getting to know each other better through our frequent meetings, they shared they were ready to have a baby!  I was SO excited to hear this news because my husband and I were in the same boat.  We had decided to start trying, too.  It was great to have this in common, too.

Well, pregnancy didn't happen as easily for us, but for them, it did, and this is how I learned of that news... this is how it all went down.

I remember having suspicion that something was up when the they called to re-schedule their next meeting.  This couple NEVER did that.  Always on time, always.  But, I have a habit of jumping to conclusions when I know a couple is trying... everything they do becomes suspicious activity.  And I mean everything... 

They re-scheduled for the following week, showed up and didn't act differently; I was convinced nothing was going on and proceeded with the follow-up like nothing was going on.

You should know...The follow-up session is broken up into a few sections.  The first section assesses when and how the woman is observing (we're looking for 100% observations here people).  Then, following that series of questions, the chart is reviewed making any necessary corrections or clarifications.

She answered the first section questions like nothing was going on.

I really wanted something to be going on, folks.

Next came the section to discuss their chart; so, I asked to see it.  The husband rustled through their plastic folder, pulled their chart out, and gave it to me.  I opened it up, and there was....


I let out an hysterical "I KNEW IT!" and proceeded to scream my congratulations hysterically.  Reminiscing, I was probably way too over-the-top with emotion... but I digress.

This was what was going on... :)
Guess what?  They were going to have a baby.  A gift, a Godball, a tiny, colorful human.. we spent the next 45 minutes or so figuring out the due date (which is a really cool moment because folks who chart, usually know without a doubt when they conceived), talking about pregnancy symptoms (cuz that's always fun, right?), and how their life was going to change with a little one on the way.  It was a great conversation and to date my favorite practitioner moment.  I guess I'll have many more of these moments to look forward to, you know, the ones that make you smile about life...

Have a great Saturday evening!


This is my first 7 Quick Takes post!  Excited to be trying something new in this blogging world. Happy Friday!
I got maybe three hours of sleep last night because of an infant who was throwing up and sneezing snot rockets all night.  I think it's allergies... can a four month old have allergies??  Anyway, so, this morning, I had a brownie for breakfast.

My Mom JUST dropped this off .... it will probably get me through the day.  I love Moms -- especially mine.  She's amazing, thoughtful, and a solid example of a mother.
Iced Soy Chai with EXTRA light ice
(so you get more drink...)

Weekend Project Alert!  I found it on Pinterest.  I used to think I was super crafty until Pinterest.  Now, I can't seem to think for myself in the way of creativity.  But, anyway, I'm going to make my own canvas prints (hopefully for $5 bucks each).  I would like the pictures to be bigger, probably 11x14, and for sure printed in black and white.  I want to buy a big, red 'W' and paint the canvas edges the same red.  We have some amazing family photos that really should be displayed.  I can't wait to modge podge with the Hubs and make our living room a bit more welcoming.
This idea is not mine...

NFP Awareness Week is almost over!  I can't wait to plan a little more next year and get some cool things going at my parish.  How has your week been?  Have you entertained the thought of NFP?  I hope you've taken some time to explore the topic!  :)
Last night was the first time I've been to Adoration since well before giving birth.  After meditating on the 5th Luminous mystery of the rosary ( Institution of the Eucharist) while nursing yesterday, I had this overwhelming tug in my heart to go to Adoration and spend some time in prayer.  After a particular trying night with the babe, I was feeling frazzled, disorganized, grumpy, lost, and completely empty.  I needed muh Jesus.  I went, and that hour with Him... mmmm.  My soul drank His love, peace, joy, silence, Word, to its content and I left with a sense of !  I had a thought of getting some Moms together for a once a month or whenever late night Adoration fix... would you be up for something like this?
Seven things I'm grateful for this week:

1. My amazing husband.  He is my rock.
2. A beautiful, growing spunky baby girl who has stolen my heart.
3. NFP. My ministry.
4. Oxygen.
5. The blessing that is to be a stay home mommy.
6. Adoration.
7. Blogging!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Guest Post: NFP is NOT for me. Or is it?

This is a heartfelt and honest testimony by Angela over at Leading Little Ones In Truth.  (This is a great blog... do check it out!) She and her husband are courageous, holy, and a solid example of how following God's plan always brings joy and satisfaction.  I love these two; they are a couple of my closest friends and such a blessing to me.  


In honor of the NFP theme this week, I think Angela's post hits on all three: pro-woman, pro-man, and pro-child.  Enjoy!


NFP is NOT for me. Or is it?

"NFP is just not for me." I have heard this so many times over the past few years. So many women have this line drawn in the sand and when I hear someone say this, I simply feel sad. Sad that they don't see what a gift NFP can be. This often gets me thinking "How could any woman not want to use NFP?" Seriously? Then of course God quickly steps in and gently reminds me that it was not very long ago that I thought NFP was not for me.

From our very first date, I was honest with Nate that I desired to get married in the Church and raise my kids Catholic. To be perfectly honest, neither of us had a clue what this really meant or would mean for either of us! Once we were engaged, Nate so lovingly continued to support me in this decision to get married in the church. We found out the Church required us to complete some pre-marital classes including NFP also known as Natural Family Planning. No problem, we'd take the class, check it off our list, and move on to wedding planning, to house hunting, to the life *we* were planning. We took a few group NFP classes and while we checked the requirement off our list, we didn't end up using the method we initially learned. For whatever reasons, it just didn't work for us. So I continued thinking NFP was just not for me. {I don't know when I'm going to learn that it isn't about *our* plan but His!

Fast forward a few years into our marriage and we agreed it was time to start talking about adding little ones to our brood. The doctor recommended getting off birth control and just trying. If after a year we weren't successful, we could come back and discuss our other options. What? That was all. Neither of us were exactly content with this answer.

Once Nate realized little ones might be on the horizon, he started asking tons of questions about what it meant when he agreed to willingly raise any future little ones Catholic. In order to simply learn, Nate started attending RCIA to find out what the Catholic Church really taught, I attended to support him. It just so happened that during one of the question and answer sessions, we saw a presentation on the Creighton Method of NFP. Insert God's answer and part of His plan for us here.

It was not until we learned and began to use the Creighton System of NFP that *we* began to WANT to use a natural system for planning our family. It allowed us to become truly confident in understanding my fertility through charting. I emphasize we here because Nate has stuck with me through this crazy yet amazing NFP journey. Once he learned the system, he was in full support of using it, even more so than me especially until I gained confidence and trust in it. He even still takes charge of filling out my chart on most nights, I think it gives him comfort knowing where I am at in my cycle and if it is a "baby" day or not. Talk about having to communicate and make decisions together, NFP made it {and continues to make it} necessary for us to continue learning how to communicate and discuss our marriage.

Some argue, "I don't believe in what the Church teaches so why would I try to understand or even use NFP?" Why not? So many people are trying to live more natural and healthy lives. From choosing healthy or organic foods to eat and cook with, avoiding unnecessary chemicals in foods we eat or the products we use, being active and exercising, monitoring the types of containers we use to drink out of, limiting the amount of medicines we ingest, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and I am sure this list could go on and on and on. For me, at the very basic level, NFP is one of these healthy choices. In the simplest of terms, NFP allows me to fully understand, accept, monitor, and love how my body naturally works without any unnecessary chemicals.

{Lucky for us, it is also approved by the Catholic Church because 'no drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child.' (Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry, p. 23)}

For those thinking, there are medical issues that might prevent me from using any sort of NFP, there is hope! NaPro Technology is an option for woman who use Creighton. It is basically when a NaPro trained doctor works with a women's Creighton charting efforts to help identify what is causing symptoms that a woman may be experiencing at some point during her cycle or that may be preventing her from achieving a pregnancy. NaPro works WITH a woman's system to care for the symptoms and correct the cause of any issues that she may be experiencing.

To anyone who says, "NFP is NOT for me", I would simply encourage you to first take the time to understand what it is, what it consists of, and THEN consider and decide if it would work for you. I get it. I was there not so long ago. I remember saying, "NFP is not for me". That was before I even knew what NFP was. Once I opened my heart to learn and understand instead of passing judgement, there was no question that NFP {Creighton in particular} was definitely for me. Personally, Creighton has become a reliable way for my husband and me to understand my womanhood. We have successfully been able to both avoid pregnancy as well as have successfully achieved a pregnancy, all without any guesswork about my cycle because charting is based on observable scientific facts with the option to work with a trained doctor as necessary. 

After years of thinking NFP was not for me, I have come to accept that NFP is a natural, healthy, reliable way to understand, appreciate, and love ourselves as the women God created us to be {and I personally think it helps encourage the men in our lives and in society to do the same}.

Thank you to our amazing Creighton practitioner, Joann, for being willing to be 'used' by God in order to open our hearts to NFP!


Angela and Nate's struggle to adopt NFP is relatable, no? Many couples write NFP off before understanding it; I hear this all the time, but I pray her story touches those couples who might be on the fence about NFP.  And to said couples, it's a risk worth taking! 

Happy Wednesday!


Guest Post: Small Witness, Great Change

Welcome to the start of NFP Week!  I'm excited to start this week off with a guest post from a talented, holy, beautiful, loyal client (whom I now call a good friend).  She has been married for nine months and she and her husband are committed to using a natural method in their marriage.  She is a great evangelizer of His truth and a steward of His love to everyone she meets.

We love her.  Truly.

Anyway, part of the theme for this week emphasizes that NFP is pro-woman.  This guest post highlights the empowerment that comes from understanding fertility.  In fact, one of the slogans for the Creighton Method is exactly that: "Unleashing the Power in a Woman's Cycle."  There's no getting around it.  If a woman uses a natural system, she will undeniably feel empowered with the knowledge gained from learning about her body and feel confident in sharing it with the world!

Knowledge is power, right? Exactly.

I just love this client's story.  I love it because for once, someone else is sharing with you how incredible NFP is.. (smile).  No, but really, I love it because this story is a testament to the boldness that blossoms from a woman who understands her body, and the seeds that can be planted from that boldness.

Small Witness, Great Change

Ever since I was in high school, I have heard of doctors recommending birth control to “solve” all sorts of problems that are not related to preventing pregnancy: acne, PMS (those horrible symptoms prior to the start of a period), ovarian cysts, to name just a few. I never really understood this, and luckily did not find myself in a position where I was personally recommended it.

My doctors always affirmed my decision to remain a virgin until marriage and I never had any other problems where birth control would have been prescribed. On the other hand, I have friends who have been on and off it: one friend to control acne, another friend, with numerous concussions, was given birth control to control migraines caused by her concussion, and many began birth control because they had trouble with cramps and other PMS symptoms. I continue to wonder why birth control is the “answer” for all these problems....

There has to be another way to control these issues, right?

I never believed that taking “medicine," for which the main purpose is to prevent pregnancy, was a good idea, and moreover, that type of "medicine" is certainly not a solution for all the other problems I listed.
I especially could not understand how it was the answer to the concussion migraines... seriously, it left me wondering: what if a guy was in the same situation as my friend; would his doctor prescribe him birth control? I doubt it... but I digress..
As I became more involved with my Catholic faith in college, I was presented with some of the major health conditions birth control can cause. I also came to realize that it does not actually fix any of the other problems that it is prescribed for; it just masks the symptoms. Well, that does not seem to make much sense to me. Why are we masking symptoms? I just could not believe that in the modern world we live in, there was no other answer.

Well, I found an answer as my husband and I began our marriage prep requirements for Natural Family Planning. After all I knew about birth control, there was no way I was taking it myself, not to mention the beauty behind the Catholic Church’s reasons for natural methods are so holistic and beautiful. Going into our first meeting with Joann, we had really no idea what to expect, beyond learning about how to read the signs of my body and that we would be abstaining from sex while I was fertile.

Well, let me tell you, I was BLOWN AWAY! Why hadn’t someone taught me about this sooner, like maybe high school? I recommend to all women (single, dating, married, etc.) that they learn more about their bodies, their natural fertility signs and gynecological health. Not to mention, Creighton has solutions, actual solutions, to many of the problems that I mentioned above. Joann has touched on this in her previous posts.

Anyway, about three months into charting, I had a physical with a Physician’s Assistant. This one was different, though, because in six months I was getting married and would be sexually active.

“Would you like me to prescribe you birth control?” asked the PA.

“No,” I explained, “we have decided to use a natural method.”

“Oh, okay, well just know that when you actually get married, the natural methods can be very inconvenient, so if you and your husband change your mind, just give us a call and we can write you a prescription.”

I left it at that. I knew things would not change once we got married, but I really did not know how to tell her that. One year after that doctor's visit, and after nine months using the Creighton System in my marriage, it was time for another physical. I arrived at the appointment and had three people in the exam room with me. My doctor, a resident, and a student who was shadowing the doc that day.

Before the physical began, the resident mentioned she was going through marriage preparation classes at St Francis Cabrini Catholic Parish.

As the exam progressed, my doctor asked, “Are you on any medications?”

“Nope, none.”

“Not even birth control?” asked the resident.

“No, my husband and I are using a natural method,” I explained (excited, that this time I had experience to back up our decision to use a natural method in our marriage).

“Really?” my doctor asked, “so you observe signs…?”

“Yep, I check every time I go to the bathroom, and we are able to determine whether or not I am fertile and from there abstain as necessary” I replied (wrongly assuming he knew what I meant by check… oops).

“Do you check your temperature, also,” asked the resident.

“No, we are using the Creighton method, which only requires I check my mucus”

“Oh, ok, we are learning about the Couple to Couple method right now in marriage prep,” explained the resident.

“Wait, what do you check, do you have some sort of kit you use to determine the fertility?” asked my doctor.

“No, there is no kit. Every time I go to the bathroom I wipe before and after to see if there mucus present and if there is I finger test it to see how stretchy it is; from there we know if we are fertile.”

“Interesting. I have never actually met someone using a method like this. It was mentioned in our textbooks, but that was always it. So is your cycle pretty regular then?” asked my doctor.

“Mine is, well most of the time. Last month was a bit all over the place with 12 fertile days in a row… that is what I get for being stressed, though.”

The conversation fizzled out at that point. It is still so strange to me that the medical world does not know more about practices like this and that I was teaching my doctor about it. I pray that he will be able to open his mind to it and maybe even offer it as an option to patients. I also pray that the resident can realize that it really does work and choose it as the option for her upcoming marriage. It has been such a blessing in ours.

This doctor’s appointment was definitely a reminder that we are called to be witnesses everywhere, even if it means explaining something to our doctors that we think they should be explaining to us.

Through small witnesses, we are able to make great change over time.



National NFP Awareness Week -- STARTS TOMORROW!

National NFP Awareness Week - STARTS TOMORROW!!!!!
Get Excited!
July 21 - July 28
The 2013 theme is:
 "Pro-woman, Pro-man, Pro-child"

"Celebrate and reverence God's vision of human sexuality."
Discover Natural Family Planning

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