7 Quick Takes: Cute Little Boys, Fundraising Pleas, and Human Rights Petitions

7 Quick Takes

Spring has come to Sacramento which means the air conditioner is turned on again. Whee!

— 1 —

Is there anything better than eating Cheerios and watching Winnie the Pooh with a cute little boy on your lap? I think not!

Just hanging out.

(The little boy fell asleep shortly after this picture was taken. He loves to nap on someone’s lap.)

— 2 —

Daniel is fully adjusted to preschool. We had an hour of tears on Monday, maybe a minute of them on Tuesday, and smooth-sailing the last two days. He likes his teacher and aides and they are positively smitten with him. I’m so thankful that the local public school campus where they house the state preschool classes is only a block away and that the teacher for the autism class does it because she loves the kids. Next Friday, he gets to go to the local zoo with his class and I’m excited for him to experience his first field trip.

— 3 —

There are no words to adequately express my horror and disgust at this. In a nutshell, the dictator of Uzbekistan has ordered the forced hysterectomy of women without their knowledge or consent. Please join with me in signing the petition to Secretary of State Clinton to cut off U.S. funding from this monster.

— 4 —

My mom sent me an interesting article about an autism study conducted by the University of Washington. Apparently, there are differences in white brain matter present in kids with autism. This actually isn’t a surprise because we know that Daniel’s MRI last year showed some white matter abnormalities. I’m not taking this as a “surefire” sign that predicted Daniel’s autism but it is an interesting idea.

— 5 —

Anyone else excited for the crossover between Hawaii Five-0 and NCIS: Los Angeles? I’d prefer one with just the NCIS shows but I’ll take this one. I’m probably not going to be able to watch Hawaii Five-0 on Monday night as it conflicts with Hart of Dixie so I’ll just catch it online while Daniel is at preschool that Tuesday.

— 6 —

I have a blog set up for Brett. I would blog for him here but I have to use my last name to do that and I keep that off this site because it’s incredibly searchable. I also wanted a site where I could add his adoptive parents as bloggers if they so chose. Peacefulwaters.Org is the domain I use for various projects so it fit that I move a blog over there. I’m having a really bad time with the WordPress on it and I think I’ve re-installed it three or four times. Argh.

— 7 —

I have two weeks until the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia.

Support me in the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

7 Quick Takes — Starting Preschool, Rescue Panthers, and Preeclampsia Studies

7 Quick Takes

I missed having Quick Takes last week. I didn’t necessarily need more writing to do (still continued my Lenten discipline) but I missed the community and being able to empty my brain this way.

— 1 —

Daniel started preschool on Wednesday. The preschools in our elementary school district are housed at the school a block away from the parsonage and they have an ABA class which is where Daniel was put. (The IEP was 2 1/2 weeks ago.) Putting it mildly, Daniel did not approve and spent most of the day crying. It wasn’t a crying jag about being separated from Jon and I — it was all about people not letting him do what he wanted to do. My words to his teacher: he can like it or lump it. She laughed and her aides laughed when she told them my response. Here’s hoping that next week goes better.

— 2 —

Things not to say to me: “What are you going to do with yourself now that Daniel is in preschool? Seriously, I now have 4 1/2 hours free in my day. I have decluttering projects up the freaking wazoo on my plate as well as some posts I promised for people. Yeah… I think I have things to do. I will admit that Wednesday morning, I just sat in my recliner with my laptop and enjoyed the quiet. Today, I collapsed in the recliner and took a nap until UPS and the home health care people pounded on the door to wake me up.

— 3 —

Daniel seems to have no ill effects from his seizure on Friday. This confirms the ER doctors and residents’ suspicions that it was a simple febrile seizure. I also learned that he flips out less on the gurney in the ER bay if I lie down with him and hold him. He slept in my lap there for most of Friday evening after we got to the ER and I got some reading done during that time. Thank God (and the family friend who bought it for me) for Popadija (my NOOK)!

— 4 —

Yes, I do name my electronic items. My current laptop is “Presbytera”, my former laptops were “Khouria” and “Pristina” (a spelling error for “Prifteresha” so I might use that name again), my NOOK is “Popadija”, and my iPod is “Panimatushka”. What are these names, you ask? They are Orthodox Christian titles for the priest’s wife. While I’m not Orthodox, I am a pastor’s wife and I decided that I needed a title which is why “khouria” figures into my Twitter ID because people usually have no idea how to refer to me. (My pat answer: “I go by Jen.”)

— 5 —

I finished my latest murder mystery (Burried in Buttercream by G.A. McKevett — go read it) and am now reading Sex, Style, and Substance. I got through the introduction and am about to read Jennifer Fulwiler’s chapter. Even having read as little of the book as I have, I can honestly say that it is seriously made of win. I might be reading it on Friday morning while Daniel is in preschool. (I’d read it sooner but I have some writing projects to plan out if not finish.)

— 6 —

My “rescue panther” would like me to post this video. She has vowed to sit on my lap and block my access to the keyboard of my laptop unless I post the Geico video involving the couple who adopted a “rescue panther” to take care of their home security needs.

— 7 —

There is a study out on the effects of preeclampsia on the brain. Wow… so I’m not just at a loss for words because I’m so sleep-deprived? Huh. In all seriousness, it’s something that frustrates me because I write so much and it’s maddening to have a word or idea in my brain but not to be able to express it. Let’s fund some more studies on preeclampsia and its long term effects. Sponsor me in the Promise Walk to help fund studies like this.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

How to Get Ready for Preschool

Daniel starts preschool tomorrow (OK… technically today because it’s 1:30 a.m.) and at 12:50 a.m., it occurred to me that I should probably get some things ready so that I’m not in a huge rush tomorrow. So… here’s my process for getting Daniel ready for preschool:

12:50 – Decide that you should probably prep some things ahead of time. Remove the comforter and peel yourself out of the recliner. Walk across the living room that is covered with Cheerios. (I didn’t get a chance to vacuum today. Stop judging me!) Step over the baby gate into the kitchen and switch on the light. Catch a picture of yourself in the microwave and realize that your eyes are mostly closed. Realize that you are also hungry so get Lean Cuisine meal out of the fridge.

12:55 – Wash out sippy cup using zip ties to poke the congealed formula out of the crevices. Make sure that sucker is CLEAN. Dry sippy cup and latex plug for it. Fill with properly-sourced apple juice from Trader Joe’s. Take a swig of juice while you’re at it.

12:57 – Remove a tortilla and pub cheese (think spreadable cheese that is two steps up from Velveeta) from the fridge. Use butter knife to spread cheese over tortilla. Roll as tightly as possible and cut into thin slices. Eat reject slices and put majority of roll-up in snack bag. Take a handful of Cheerios and put in another snack bag. Ponder investing in another kind of Cheerios for variety’s sake. Obsess about the fact that your kid probably will not sit down for any period of time to eat. Freak out about this. Remind yourself that these teachers are used to this and getting paid for it.

1:02 – Realize that you have not microwaved your midnight snack (which is actually dinner). Remove meal from box and stick in microwave for some ungodly amount of time. Remember that you need to supply diapers and wipes.

1:10 – Find alternate clothes that are not too holey (thank you broken dryer!) and label with initials. Label lunchbox, diapers, and wipes with name.

1:15 – Finally get dinner out of the microwave. Be thankful that it has cooled sufficiently so that it can rest on laptop while eating. Climb back over baby gate and settle in recliner. Remind the pair of glowing eyes nuzzling your left hand that rescue panthers don’t eat Lean Cuisine meals.

1:20 – Take plastic dish back to kitchen and toss it. Feel pangs of guilt for not recycling it. Decide that it’s too late to really care about the environment and that we’re all screwed anyway. Settle back into recliner. See a figure moving toward you. Point your laptop toward it and discover that it is the sissy tabby. Watch Mr. Tabbykins shrink away to cower on the couch. Feel guilty that the big orange lump is spooked.

1:24 – Type this entry with your eyes closed. Proofread later.

He has already seen his classroom and met his teacher today while I was trying to drop off paperwork at the school. I’m glad he got to meet his teacher — it might make things easier tomorrow. She is made of awesomeness and wasn’t fazed at all by Daniel running around and opening/closing things. She also has promised to call several times a day with updates on him during this week. I am blessed.

7 Quick Takes — IEP’s, School Lunch Quandries, and Rain

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Daniel’s IEP went well on Monday. I’m incredibly thankful that we’ve got a great staff at the local school (where they have all the preschool classes) and that they have an ABA preschool class where Daniel will go. I’ve heard horror stories about the school district in the town to the north and how hard it is to get services for your kids there. Daniel will start preschool on April 11th (his 3rd birthday is on Holy Saturday) and he’ll be in school Monday to Friday for 5 hours every day. The IEP team will meet again on May 11th and firm up goals and plans for things like physical and occupational therapy.

— 2 —

With Daniel starting preschool, I now have a new quandry: school lunches. I need to provide enough food for two snacks and Daniel isn’t feeding himself with a spoon yet. The complicating factor in this is that he also doesn’t know how to take bites out of something so it would need to be finger food. Got any suggestions? I’d welcome any and all input including how to teach him to take bites out of his food.

— 3 —

March seems to be going out like a lion here. After a wet week two weeks ago, we’ve had nice weather, rain on the weekend, and then rain the last couple days. It was pleasant enough to walk to my WIC appointment with Daniel this morning but it’s cloudy again and I think we’ll be getting more rain tonight. We do need the moisture but I sort of wish I could pick the days it would come.

— 4 —

Daniel has been using his “more” sign more and more. Considering that it took almost two years to get him to do it on his own, I’m pretty happy. He signed it to my mom last weekend when she was giving him lunch and he has done it at all his therapy sessions that happened this week. (Physical therapy got rescheduled to next week because it was a park date but was pouring by the time we got to Elk Grove.) I’m hoping to be able to teach him some more signs and have that be a help with communication. He already makes his needs known in non-verbal ways but he has to learn to communicate verbally somehow and signing can do that.

— 5 —

Daniel turns 3 in a little over a week. His birthday falls on Holy Saturday this year and it’s also the day of our church’s Easter Egg Hunt. I can’t believe that it’s been almost three years now since he was born. I don’t know if we have any Easter plans as of yet so I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate. All I do know is that next week’s Quick Takes will probably be solely Daniel-focused. We’ve already gotten some books for his birthday from my in-laws and my mom has done some clothes shopping for him.

— 6 —

“The Big Bang Theory” returns tonight. I’ve definitely missed it the past two weeks. Granted, we have Netflix and I can watch “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” or actually find out what all the “Downton Abbey” hype is all about, but my life is just not complete without seeing Sheldon being his asocial self.

— 7 —

Ahem… sponsor me.

I'm a survivor!
Symptoms of preeclampsia

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

Learning to Trust

The lovely and irreverent Kate of ImperfectKate posted on perspective today and I think she has a point so I’m using her post as a jumping-off point. There is some language (it wouldn’t be Kate if there wasn’t) but it’s worth reading. Go read it. Do it now. I’ll wait here.

*crickets chirping*

Now that you’re back, I’ll answer that the way my perspective is shifted and my focus realigned is to have the rug pulled out from under me. For example, I was in the candidacy process for ministry in the ELCA in 2003… and was rejected. Hindsight being 20/20, me doing seminary would have destroyed my marriage. We always ended up far enough away from a seminary that I’d have to reside on campus during the week and that would not be a way to have a marriage, especially a new one. In addition to destroying my marriage, it would have put me in a precarious position because my current Lutheran denomination doesn’t permit the ordination of women and in order for Jon to take a call with them, I would have to leave the ministry.

Another example of shifting perspective/realigning focus is Daniel. Every time I think I’ve got the parenting thing down, he pulls a game changing move which throws things into flux. He was born prematurely, he was hospitalized for 3 weeks last March with an unknown respiratory virus, he had another hospital stay at Thanksgiving, and he was diagnosed with autism in January. The autism diagnosis threw an already precarious situation (developmental delays) into even more flux and I find that I’m parenting by the seat of my pants. I’ve been forced to lean on my church ladies which is hard because while the ladies at Metanoia are seriously awesome, I’ve had people in my life screw me over and it’s a lesson in learning to trust.

Learning to trust God is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life. I’m a convert to Christianity and I’ve now hit the point where I’ve been part of the faith longer than I haven’t if that makes any sense. (It’s been 17 years which means it’s been over half my life.) I may have been Christian for a long time but I still have the convert mentality that I have to have solutions to everything and I have to rely on myself. It’s the reason why the Holy Spirit’s 2×4 gets a decent work-out in smacking me in the head — if I could do it myself, I wouldn’t need God and Christ’s death on the Cross would be meaningless. Quoting the answer to the Third Article of the Creed in Luther’s Small Catechism:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

(For my Catholic readers: think of this as one of the catechisms produced by St. Peter Canisius.)

In other words, I can’t come to God wholly on my own but do so with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables me to work on my trust issues with God and as my trust issues improve, so does my focus and my perspective. Is it perfect? Far from it. Do I have issues with belief? More often than I like to admit. The important thing is that I’m moving forward on my journey through this world to the next and each step I take in faith is a step toward complete faith.

7 Quick Takes — Devotional Writing, Brachel, and My Current Book

7 Quick Takes

TGIAF! It has been “a week” for sure.

— 1 —

I’m working on 12 devotions for a book being put together by a family friend. I seem to be getting the weird passages from Acts that bridge the well-known stories. When I finally looked at them on Tuesday night, my first thought was “how the heck am I supposed to come up with stuff on these?!?!?” Somehow around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, I came up with three of them. My mother-in-law (who is editing them) loved them. Today, I have finished at least four more. Maybe I’m not completely inept at this?

— 2 —

I did “A Day in my Life” over at Catholic and Crunchy. The day I profiled was last Thursday. Go take a look at it. Do it now.

— 3 —

We continue to plod along in getting Daniel transitioned over to the school district. We met with speech therapy last Friday and the meeting with the school psychologist was Wednesday. Daniel was uncooperative for the school psychologist so he is going to use the parental questionnaire forms he gave me. I probably should be filling them out but I’m kind of burned out on filling out forms and such at the moment. (I’ll probably do it during Daniel’s neuro appointment on Friday.) I’m thankful that he was understanding about Daniel’s lack of cooperation. Apparently, this is not unusual with autistic kids as well as two year olds.

— 4 —

Apparently, Brachel is on Amazing Race in this iteration. For those who are not fans of Big Brother, “Brachel” is Brendon and Rachel from seasons 12 and 13 who had a “showmance” and are now engaged. Rachel, the evil redheaded she-devil, won Big Brother 13. She is a major drama queen and I kept hoping she’d be voted off like she was in season 12. Unfortunately, I never got my wish. I’m not an Amazing Race fan anyway but having her and Brendon on is yet another reason for me to skip it and watch NUMB3RS in syndication.

— 5 —

Writing for Lent has been good for me. I know I discussed this last week but it has helped me work through some of the things I’ve seen on TV and in the media. It is also reacquainting me with Sojourners Magazine, a publication that I hadn’t read in years. Finding hymns to post YouTube videos has been fun and finding the hymns to use on Sunday has reacquainted me with our prayer books. I don’t know how this will play out when Easter comes around but it might get me posting more frequently and not just using memes like this and The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

— 6 —

I am currently reading Fearless by Max Lucado. I read Traveling Light four years ago and it was what I needed at the time. Fearless deals with the sources of our fears and how we can work to overcome them. I love Max Lucado because he has a writing style that is accessible and he is not a “pop culture” pastor like Rick Warren or Joel Osteen. (There are no words sufficient to convey how much I despise The Purpose-Driven Life and Joel Osteen preaches “the prosperity Gospel”.) I’m not actively facing major fear but I feel like it will probably really help me out at a later time to be reading this right now.

— 7 —

I know that 40 Days for Life is going on right now and sponsoring me in the Promise Walk is another way to say “yes” to life. Around 20% of the walkers and those sharing stories on the Preeclampsia Foundation website lost their babies because the c-section performed to save their lives meant that their babies were born too early. It can strike as early as 16 weeks and many women encounter it between 24-30 weeks. While they can usually save babies born after 24 weeks, many of these kids have severe developmental problems and are at risk for a number of problems like holes in their hearts, reactive airway issues, feeding issues, and more. Help mothers like me keep our babies inside longer — sponsor me.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

Re-Branding NFP

I’ve been really blessed by participating in the Quick Takes every Friday in that I’ve gotten to know a number of Catholic and almost-Catholic young women. They’ve been able to teach me things and I’ve been able to be an older person who has “been there/done that” who can give advice when asked. One of them, Katie of NFP and Me, has a question:

I read an article about the HHS mandate debate and about Catholic women and contraception that was just fantastic. It mentions lots of things that I think we need to be talking about, most importantly: Why aren’t women using NFP and instead turning to artificial contraception?

We run this fine line of trying to tell people about the beautiful teaching of the Catholic Church on human sexuality and what blessings children are to a marriage and then screaming “BUT IT”S 99.6% EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING PREGNANCIES JUST LIKE BIRTH CONTROL!!”

We’re like crazy schizophrenics trying to compete with a contraceptive society. Natural Family Planning isn’t hormonal birth control and if we try to advertise it like it is one of two things will happen:

1) We’re going to lose the competition.
2) We’re going to compromise our morals.

Birth control companies and Planned Parenthood are selling sex, which is one of the easiest things to sell. NFP is selling love and self sacrifice.

… [insert images of what one finds when one googles “NFP” and “Planned Parenthood”]

So my question to you is how to we find a happy medium? How do we sell our holy sex? Because the way we’re doing it isn’t working.

So here’s our chance. The stage has been set and we have the perfect opportunity to show the world what exactly NFP is and why we use it.

So my question to you is what can we do? What would have made it more appealing to you? If you don’t use NFP, what would make it more appealing? If you have an opinion on this please leave me a comment. I’m thinking about doing something to help advertise in a more modern way so any suggestions would be great. Thanks all!! 🙂

Katie, I do have an opinion on this but rather than take up your combox, I’m going to answer it in an entry. This way, I can also write and re-write things until I can word them in an appropriate manner.

OK… first of all, let me say that I don’t have a problem with contraception. My tiny little Lutheran denomination might be pro-life but they don’t have a problem with contraception. (I checked — we have a major statement on abortion but nothing on the Pill.) If hearing about NFP and how to market it is going to piss you off (as I know it will for some of my readers), you have my permission to skip this post. Really… I won’t be offended.

OK… now that we’ve established that, these are my thoughts on why the current method isn’t working. For those who want to give me the “you-aren’t-Catholic-so-why-do-you-have-a-right-to-speak” argument, I have a B.A. with Honors in Religious Studies and my senior comp paper was on conversion in the Celtic Christian church. To write it, I had to read a large amount of theology and teach myself ecclesiastical Latin. I’m also a convert to Christianity. In other words, I know something about marketing a viewpoint.

01.) It’s difficult to find information that explains it clearly. I’ve checked out the Couple-to-Couple League website and it was really difficult for me to understand until I played with the site a little bit. They do have a home study program but it’s still not totally intuitive to someone like me who was randomly googling it. I’ve also had to look up terms like “Billings”, “Creighton”, and “sympto-thermal method” on Wikipedia and that makes it even muddier.

02.) The thought of testing one’s cervical mucus grosses some people out. I’m not going to lie — I’d rather have abdominal surgery DAILY than do anything gynecological. (This is a personal hang-up.) Still, the idea of taking inventory of my cervix and cervical mucus grosses me out and I know I’m not the only one. I can get behind taking my basal temperature and charting my cycles on the calendar (the latter being what I did to figure out fertility when we were trying to conceive with Daniel) but anything beyond that is too much.

03.) It’s a whole lot more convenient to take a pill every day. I went back on the Pill after having Daniel because my PMS was hellish at best and I was having hot flashes at the age of 29. The Pill (or at least Levlen, the one I used) didn’t give me any side effects and I was on it for 2 1/2 years. At the time, I had a preemie and was trying to balance work and home, dealing with my husband interviewing for another parish, and was dealing with my own problems recovering from my emergency c-section. If my life had been different, I might have gotten a referral to an ob/gyn in Great Falls and we could have parsed my symptoms. At the time, it was easier to just take a pill in the morning with my other meds. Having to take my temperature, check my cervical mucus, and chart everything would have been ONE MORE THING and I just could not deal with it at the time. (I’m saying this at a time when I’ve got a developmentally-delayed child with autism that I’m home with every day and somehow have to take care of the house, take care of Daniel, manage all his medical needs, coordinate his transition to the school district for services, and somehow take care of myself. Did I mention that I also have fibromyalgia which kills 80% of my energy?)

04.) After the Sexual Revolution of the 60’s and 70’s, talking about the moral underpinnings of a method doesn’t work. I’m not advocating for pre-marital sex nor am I saying that I agree with the idea of free love and no responsibility. I’m simply stating that we are in a completely different time than we were in 1968 with Pope Paul VI. If you want to promote Natural Family Planning, you’re going to have to take religion out of it because the second people hear the word “moral”, the first reaction is “judgemental!”

05.) We’re in an age where drug companies can advertise on TV. I really wish that this was not the case because most people are not savvy enough to research a medication before going to their doctor and demanding to be put on it. Remember how much Yaz was advertised? We’re now seeing commercials from personal injury lawyers wanting to recruit people for a class-action suit against the makers because people have suffered heart attack, stroke, DVT, pulmonary embolism, blood clots, abnormal heart rhythm, gall bladder injury, pancreatitis and death. (Source.) My doctor in Montana (who put me on Levlen) required me to come in for a pelvic exam, told me about all the risks, and told me what the conditions were for her to refill the prescription. (My subsequent doctors have just called in the refills with no questions asked.)

06.) We’re in an age when doctors are dealing with too many patients and can’t spend the necessary time with each one. When I worked at a rural health clinic in Montana, everyone and their mother demanded to see the doctor that was the chief of medicine. I heard the words “but I’m Dr. X’s established patient!” at least 10 times daily when people called for appointments — her NURSE had to make appointments for her because the reception staff didn’t know the intimate details of who needed to be seen and who needed to be seen RIGHT. THIS. VERY. MINUTE!!!!! Her appointments were scheduled at 15 minute increments and she was always running behind. I’ve seen this to be the case with most doctors with whom I’ve dealt and I think part of our problems with lawsuits over medications is that they don’t have adequate time to deal with every patient who wants to go on Yaz, Ocella, Seasonale, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho-Evra patch, or any of the other iterations of the Pill. (Getting an IUD is a little more involved process and the mere thought of the insertion process makes me want to cross my legs perpetually.)

07.) Catechesis has been sub-par. Before all you “Theology of the Body” fans lynch me, I’ve found that there are a number of Catholics who are not aware of what their Church actually teaches. The teaching was either done poorly, not done at all, or done in such a way as to turn people off of their faith. The sub-par catechesis of the late 60’s to present means that those teaching about marriage for Engagement Encounters really don’t know anything about NFP and aren’t in a good position to communicate that part of marriage training.

OK… now that I’ve told you why NFP isn’t popular, here are my thoughts on how to market it.

01.) Go with the Green approach. One of the selling points that the #iuseNFP people on Twitter have been touting is that it doesn’t mess with the environment the way the Pill does. (There are studies done on the damage of estrogens and progesterones being leaked into the water supply. Google them.) There are plenty of people outside of the Catholic Church that would be chill with it if you went from that angle.

02.) If you want to make it more widely accepted, find secular ways to explain NFP to people. If you don’t care about it being accepted in the secular world, still find more neutral ways to ground it. I love Psalm 139 but I run with people who would be turned off by it because they’re a.) not religious or b.) would prefer that religion stay out of their bedroom. The term “moral underpinnings” (taken from the Couple-to-Couple League website) could be better stated as “ethical basis” for example.

03.) Locate the material in a central place which can be found easily in a Google search. I didn’t even know what Creighton entailed until I read it on Catholic and Crunchy. (*waves to Stacy*) The domain names NaturalFamilyPlanning.Com and NaturalFamilyPlanning.Org happen to be available. (I checked.) It wouldn’t be unreasonable for the USCCB, the SCOBA (the Orthodox bishops), the LDS, and some conservative Protestant denominations to pool their funds and buy one of those. Even if it was just the USCCB, there are enough web-savvy people in the Catholic blogosphere and social media groups to put together a halfway decent site. Examples: Brandon Vogt, Pat Padley, Nick Padley, Marc Barnes, as well as the two teachers that I know of in the blogs I read. If the site spelled out exactly what each method entailed and gave a list of NFP-friendly ob/gyn’s and teachers, you’d likely experience an upsurge in use. Those teaching Engagement Encounters and pre-Cana conferences could simply point to a URL. I think that it would benefit a lot of us to know the breadth of what NFP entails and the methods. It might even put a stop to the “Catholic roulette” jokes. (I heard them in one of my classes in college.)

04.) Find a way to communicate the faith issues with using contraception in such a way that doesn’t make people run the opposite direction. I’m not going to argue whether or not the faith issues involved with contraception are valid — it’s not my place to do that. However, telling people that they are in grave mortal sin and must rush to the nearest confessional (as I’ve seen stated on a few blogs in the Quick Takes) is not the best approach, true as it may be. Find a middle ground. You’re a big blogosphere and social media community — there has to be somebody who can come up with a tactful way to do it. There are also going to be people who say “screw it, it’s my body” and take the Pill. Refrain from judging — that’s God’s job, not yours and it’s between them and their confessor.

05.) Accept that this is not a competition between you and Planned Parenthood. Seriously, I can count on two hands the number of people I know who actually went to Planned Parenthood in college for their contraception and their pelvic exams because the university provided them for cheap. They do serve a purpose for those without health insurance who need their Pap smears. If you want to disregard that part of my advice and compete with them, put your money where your mouth is and fund a community clinic that is not in a nasty part of town to give people some options. (For the record, I know of very few Planned Parenthood clinics that are in decent neighborhoods. The ones I’ve seen are in the ghetto because they serve the women who don’t have health insurance and live below the poverty line.) And for the love of all things holy, do not refer to them as “Planned Barrenhood” — it looks and sounds lame.

Hopefully, this will answer your question Katie. 🙂 I’m closing comments on this entry because they really belong on Katie’s (incredibly nifty) blog.