LET LOVE BE SINCERE

LET LOVE BE SINCERE

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The reason I am so thankful we use, and sometimes don’t use NFP


I have a love/hate relationship with NFP.  
For those of you that might not be ‘in the know’ NFP stands for Natural Family Planning.  It is a process of being aware enough of your body’s signs of fertility to know when and if you can conceive a baby.  Couples who practice NFP do not use any form of Artificial Birth Control.  It is 99.9% effective if used correctly- like most things.  It requires periods of abstinence once a month and communication with your partner all the time.  It also sometimes requires telling yourself ‘no’ or, better ‘not yet’.  That’s the hard part.  Harder than I anticipated it would be
.
This week is NFP awareness week (I know right?  It’s a thing trust me)- so I thought I’d tell you why I am so grateful for the openness to life NFP calls for. 

First lemme take you back. 

I had Lil’ Aaron and Joey back to back.  They are fourteen months a part.  When we conceived Joey, we were actively trying to have another. I was ready- I was excited.  When Little Aaron was 6 months old, we told the world we were expecting kid number 2.   I had a rough pregnancy with Joey and ended up having a second C-section.  Our doctor’s orders were pretty clear, we should at least wait a year before thinking about kid #3.  So that was our plan.

But one night, we decided to take a risk.  We knew there was a chance I would conceive, though very very low (which, in my family always means very very high).  We had a conversation about it.  And we knew there was a small ‘risk’- and decided it was worth taking.  Because there was such a small chance,  I didn’t think twice about it.  Four weeks later, I found out I was expecting our third child.  Our third child in three years.  Our third child fourteen months younger than his older brother, who is fourteen months younger than our eldest. 

And I cried.  A lot.  And I was scared.  I told myself (and Aaron) how stupid we were to take such a risk one month earlier.  And I swore him to secrecy, telling him I could not handle people’s reactions.  And I moped for two days.  I started throwing up every day after.  I barely had the energy to stand, but I had to find it, because there was a 6 month old and a 20 month old who needed my attention and love.  But, everyday my husband would remind me that our child was a gift, a miracle, something to celebrate.  And my heart turned.  8 months later- we welcomed this guy into the world.

And he is the reason I am glad we use NFP.  He is the reason I want to sing natural family planning’s praises this week.  John Paul Francis has changed all of our lives for the better- and because we were using Natural Family Planning, we chose the night he was conceived that the ‘risk’ of having a child was ‘worth it’ and now…we get him.
John Paul made lil’ Aaron a better brother.  He is so gentle with this brother.  He plays with him so well.
 

John Paul reminded me that Joey needs individual attention, that I need to be intentional about separate time with each child so they would thrive.


John Paul brought out a side to my husband I had not yet witnessed.  You see, as I explained HERE, I had a hard time with three little ones for a good six months.  Because of that, Aaron had to stand up like never before. I am not sure if I am more proud or ashamed to admit this, but from 2 months to 4 months, Big Aaron was the one who got up with John Paul most nights to feed him.  I think the time they spent together in the quiet of the night has forged a bond between them I didn’t see with the other two (and as a daddy, Aaron is well bonded with each of his kids).    Being a seasoned parent, Aaron takes care of John Paul with an ease that is awe inspiring. When I watch my husband gaze at our third child, I am speechless. John Paul is the child who made me fully understand what a good daddy my husband is.  And really, is there anything cooler than that?


You see, Natural Family Planning starts with the idea that children are a gift.  The foundation is a counter-cultural idea.  The idea that no child is unwanted and each child has the potential to radically change the world for the better.  Fertility awareness helps us, as a couple, to communicate with one another each month, each week even, about the state of our family and whether or not we might be called to have another child.

I joke with people that we have finally gotten ‘good’ at NFP.  Which basically means, we have started listening to the signs of fertility.  But thing is, when we ‘sucked’ at NFP, we got the coolest gift because of it.  It’s almost been a year since John Paul was born and I can tell you, he has made me a better person.  His eyes are intense and full of warmth.  His smile lights up our whole house.  His laughter is so hysterical sometimes you can’t tell if he is laughing or crying. I imagine great things for my third, I am certain God’s plan for his life will be fascinating to watch.  And to think of my life without him moves me to almost instant tears.


John Paul is why I am so very thankful my husband and I live the reality of Natural Family Planning.

My John Paul is why I know there could never be any other way for my family.


If you are interested in learning more about Natural Family Planning a free/healthy way to be aware of fertility to avoid or conceive…shoot me a message and I can hook you up with some information. 

***As per usual, the fancy pictures of my kids are from RWasylyshyn photography***



Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes- In which I get cranky for a hot second, but recover

My computer is still being a little funny about using the Quick Take Template...BUT, I'm gonna give it a go anyway. Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting!

(1)
I wrote this post about the state of our family this week.  It was good to write.  I just wanted to clarify something...I'm not really mad at moms who said it was easier to have three than one. I was kind of just kidding about that.  For me, it was much more difficult each time I have added a child and that could be for several reasons.  My mom always said, for her, the transition from 1 to 2 was looney bins.  So, anyway, everyone's story is sacred...I get it!

(2)
Oh you guys. YOU. GUYS.  I actually cannot handle the ignorant statements people are making about the unrest in the Holy Land.  It is important one educates themselves before making bold claims about things they know nothing about.  Simplifying the issue to 'those evil Muslim terrorists who are killing Israeli children because of Jew-hatred' is very VERY easy to do.  And, as a conservative, I get that the narrative comes from FOX news watching...but it isn't based in truth, not even kind of.  I would suggest if one is going to comment on the situation in the occupied territory (which is a phrase our Catholic bishops have used), one takes the time to educate themselves on exactly who is being persecuted in the Holy Land. I would suggest one takes the time to investigate how Christian and CATHOLIC Palestinians are treated by the State of Israel.  After doing some research, I defy you to make the situation as black and white as some try to make it.  I'm gonna keep it real and let you all know, I had NO idea what was actually happening until I visited four years ago.  But, I will promise you, the story that some of us hear, as Conservatives, is VERY VERY far from the truth.
***Disclaimer, I had a lovely conversation on my 'the faceboook' wall early this week. I am NOT referring to that lovely/respectful conversation.

(3)
Can you tell me that gets me all riled up.  For real.

(4)
I'm sad for people who love hot weather and live in Michigan. I am so sorry for the summer you are having.  However, people like me...we are in heaven.  I'd take 70 degrees all day/everyday.

(5)
Trips, Trips and more trips!  We will be spending the next two weekends up north at my lovely uncle's cottage.  I wrote about this last year, but will remind you faithful readers.  My baller uncle (sorry, it's just a statement of fact) has a huge lake-home north of here. It's beautiful.  With wood, and huge windows, a boat, huge bedrooms, a massive kitchen...just about paradise.  A few years ago, he realized he wasn't using it as much as he wanted it and considered selling it.  But then, he did an awesome thing.  He decided he would let each "family" have it for two weeks during the summer.  A place that all can go to retreat, be away from the busy and enjoy each other.  He pays all bills associated and lets us have free use of this home.  Can you imagine the generosity?  Anyway, last year was kind of disastrous. I was seven months pregnant with my 1 and 2 year old, without Aaron. Plus, as adult siblings we were learning how to relate to each other and it didn't go without many MANY kinks.  BUT, I predict this year is going to magical.  After that, we come home for a few weeks and then, Cancun.  All inclusive, swim out suite with a swim up bar.  yes! Please!  Good stuff.

(6)
I liked this article. I didn't have the guts to post it on 'the facebook', but mostly because all the Holy Land stuff is bothering me so much, I am not sure I could handle people attacking this lovely article.  It's a list of lots of reasons women choose not to use Artificial Birth Control. Not every statement is true for us, but a lot are.  I dug.  Click on it if you want, don't if you don't want. But don't click on it if you wanna fight about it.  I won't fight you.  Fighting is gross.

(7)
BOLD MINISTRIES is comin' back at ya this Friday with a new workshop on Teenage Discipleship through the Digital Era.  Our other workshop for teens on Social Media is still occurring, but this is a new one. It's a training for young LEADERS about how to LEAD through Social Media.  How cool is that?  Really cool right?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A State of the State (family) Blog...

Having three.

I get mad, when seasoned mothers write about how having their first was so much harder than having subsequent children.  I get mad because I believed them.  And then I had my third.  And it wasn’t easier, it was hard.  It was real hard.  It still is hard sometimes, but so much easier than it was.

It could have been because I had three 14 months apart.

It could have been the c-sections.

It could have been the longest winter ever, with the worst weather and the staying inside.

But it was really hard.  Two seconds from the brink of insanity hard, for many, many months. I still smiled, I still did ministry, I was still able to count the blessings and soak in the moments.  But between all that soaking, there was some very real struggle.  When all three were screaming, and I felt completely on edge.  When I cleaned during the 1.5 to 2 hour break I get from the screaming (naptime) just to have my house back in ruins 1.5 to 2 hours later.  Man. That sucked.  Every time I thought I’d write  about how things had settled down and I was getting the hang of it, we’d have a really bad day- and I wouldn't write about getting the hang of it, because I wasn’t. 

In the meantime, other things were happening.  The world sometimes appears to be full of crud.  Terrible things happening all the time, with our government, locally and globally, just kind of a crud story all around.  Man, that stuff makes me cranky.

Anyway, not a lot of people are invited into that part of my life.  The hard part.  My husband is… it couldn’t have been super awesome being my spouse through this last year. 

But around May, things started to turn around.   The middle cried a bit less, the oldest helped a bit more.  The youngest continued to add smiles.  The weather got nice, and we get outside.  Picnic lunches, no jackets, no boots, no hats… things are good. 

I honestly think having children is the coolest thing we’ve ever done. I don’t doubt for a second that having the three so close together was a gift from Jesus.  A perfect little gift.  What I believe we have given our children is immeasurably awesome.  I watched lil’ Aaron this morning, he was crawling on the floor with John Paul and both of them were cracking up. And then, Joey had a dance party with his big brother, shakin’ their booties and jumping around.  Le sigh…it was a really REALLY great morning.  And I have a feeling we will be having more super great mornings/super great afternoons and super great evenings as we move through this life.  I love going out with our little family, everyone asks us if the boys are triplets (are you kidding me?!?!) we always say “no, but 14 months a part”.  And it’s easier to go out.  Aaron and Joey can both independently walk, holding each other’s hands.  It’s really cool. 

Having three is really REALLY cool.  And I get why seasoned moms say it’s easier than having just one, but I’m still mad at them for it.  Perspective has changed, I am more confident as a mother, but it certainly wasn’t easier.  I should probably stop being mad at them though because, each person is different, and I suppose maybe for some moms it really is easier.  Or they didn’t have three so close in age, or they are just really super heroes.  I’m not sure.  I’m really not sure whey moms say it’s easier.  Cooler than having one?  Definitely (for me).  But easier? Nope, I’m not buying it.

Anyway, that’s the state of where we are.  Hopefully it doesn’t sound too cranky…but I wanted it to be honest.  So I guess the point of this post is to say that sometimes things are hard, often times the really good things are the hardest.  Sometimes, the things that take the most amount of energy and bring you right to the edge, are the same things that fill your heart with a joy that is indescribable.   And even though being afraid of the hard is understandable, hating the hard is natural, it's important to also say, 'look, it was tough, but we did it/we are doing it and life is really REALLY good'.

And look- this is what we get for the hard work. 
  #prettycool #wouldntchangeathing #thankGodforsummer

Monday, July 14, 2014

To my Joey, on your 2nd Birthday...

My Joseph Michael-

Happy second birthday my sweet boy.  Can I tell you a story?

Last December, I went away with your aunts for a weekend.  We went to Church at a beautiful cathedral in downtown Columbus (I know, I know, the evil state) and there was the loveliest statue of St. Joseph. I stood before him and begged him to help me be a good mom to you.  To my little Joseph.  Joey Michael who drives me crazier than I ever thought possible, and yet has a smile that melts me into a thousand pieces. 

You see, for me, the second year of life is the toughest.  Not quite ready to fully communicate your needs and yet VERY ready to cry when upset.  Joey, I gotta keep it real, you spent the first part of your second year of life crying.  Crying all.the.time.  Crying so much we even made a song for you, “My Joe likes to cry all the time, cry all the time, cryyyy all the time” (set to the tune of ‘my girl likes to party all the time).  You see, by the time I took that trip in December, I was kind of spent trying to meet your needs.  But praying underneath that statue of Saint Joseph, I started crying.  Big and real tears, crying because I love you so much.  While praying, I felt pretty strongly something I had sensed before, you, my sweet child, just need a little bit more.

You need a little bit more cuddles than the average kid.  I have always said you give the best hugs and you are the best snuggler, but in your second year of life, I learned those cuddles/hugs/snuggles are what helps you thrive.  I learned that when I am spent and don’t have an ounce of energy to give to your demands (of the loud, screaming variety) 9 times out of 10 if I just hold you close, it’s all you need.

You need a bit more one on one time.  That’s hard to come by in our house of busy with three boys.  But I have learned during some bad weeks, that if I take you out for a solo shopping trip, or read a special story to you away from your brothers…it turns things right around.

You need a bit more discipline.  This is funny Joey- but you LOVE to test limits.  If I tell you no I can see you mentally calculating how much of a problem it will be to disobey me.  If you figure you can get away with something, you sure do try!  You also like to test my words.  When I threaten ‘if you do that one more time, I am going to put you in time out’- I see you choosing to do it one more time, just to see if I am going to drop what I am doing and take the time to discipline. I am learning that I need to, and when I do, it helps you soar…because you know you are loved.

Joseph, the other night I had you in bed, just you and I.  And we were cuddling and you were laughing.  It’s funny, I love to wake you boys up in the middle of the night and sneak you in bed with daddy and I.  The other boys can’t shake sleep off in order to enjoy midnight parties, but you my dear, always ALWAYS wake up with the biggest smile on your face.  Ready to go.  Ready to party.  It is so endearing and that’s why (don’t tell your  brothers) you are my favorite kid to midnight party with.

You love your brothers, but they sure do drive you crazy.  The other week some people observed that you are kind of the boss with it comes to Little A.  That’s true, but it’s only because you spent the first 15 months of your life going with the flow when it came to your brother.  Now, you make sure to assert yourself, sometimes even, a little too much.  It’s funny when your brothers frustrate you, you clench your jaw when you are frustrated.  Your new thing is to steam roll them, just charge for the tackle.  Although I always have to correct you, frankly, it’s a bit adorable.  You and Aaron truly are buddies, but you occasionally show yourselves to be frenemies.  Oh man, and when you tag team to drive me crazy…I.can’t.even.

Joey so many people love you.  You continue to have an incredibly special relationship with your Har Har.  You are so content when you are sitting on his lap.  Papa is your buddy and you love wearing his baseball hats.  Grammy and Busie both love you so much!  Your smile melts them like it melts me, I can tell. 

I remember someone saying to me, ‘That Joey is a character’.  SO TRUE.  When you love, you love big.  When you laugh, you laugh big.  When you cry, well, as I said, you cry big. 

 There’s no one like you joseph, with your tight curly hair and your smile that illuminates a room.  And I am so blessed, beyond words, to be your mom.   The fact that God has allowed us to raise you is amazing and if I take time to consider the miracle, it overwhelms me.  I love when you blow Jesus kisses.  You were the first one to know (on your own) that the picture in your room of the mother and child is the blessed mother and baby Jesus.  You love to look at that picture.  I love to think of the Blessed Mother watching over us all, and seeing you as the perfect gift you are.
Joseph Michael, I love you. Happy Second Birthday my Josepi,
Love,
Mommy


*photos by rwasylyshyn photography (rwasylphotography.com)

Friday, July 11, 2014

7 quick takes typing on my phone edition


(1)
The computers been acting a little funky, so blogging has been a challenge (not reading them). Which is a bummer because I'z got lotz to say- but this week will be short and sweet.
(2)
Tomorrow is joey's second birthday. I love that kid like whoa and I can't believe he is two years old!!!
(3)
The fourth was awesome. I wanted to make plans, big Aaron insisted a family day was in order. He was right, I was wrong... Look!
(4)
This Fall things are gonna be a bit kooky (in a good way) with BOLD MINISTRIES! But it's gonna add some fun income- yay!!!!
(5)
Rainy days, long weeks, lots of challenges- but then there was this..,
(6)
Vacation was awesome. Lots to say about it, but not whilst typing a blog on my phone. But trust, it was awesome.
(7) 
Because everybody done be ticking me off with the stupid things they are saying on Facebook regarding hobby lobby ( which I've stopped responding to because people who lie or repeat lies, even in ignorance, I have a hard time with)...I keep reminding myself of this. It's easy to get frustrated with"social media" because of the idiotic things people say- but it's important not to get frustrated with a social media tool, but rather remember- there are people BEHIND the computer screens who are typing, posting, tweeting, these things. Technology, as the pope reminds us, is at it's core a HUMAN experience. So I guess I'm saying, I need to remind myself to get mad at the person, not the tool they are using. Or I could choose not to be mad, and instead respond in love- ugh. That's just not as fun (I kid, I kid)

Friday, June 20, 2014

7 Quick Takes ending with a bit of sass

Holla!  I am not following the Seven Quick Take Format today.  Because my computer is being weird, and weirdness doesn't allow for such things.  So, I'll be doing my own thang shorty.  Ready?

(1)
Speaking of thangs and shortys...I think 50 cent is the most handsome man besides my husband.  He was interviewed by Mr. Cohen this week and it was delightful.  Though he uses bad words, and I am pretty sure I could NEVER own any of his music because of the amount of vulgarity...I enjoyed watching him be interviewed.  I also acknowledge everything I just said was probably of a foreign nature for many of you.

(2)
Our Cousin is the best!!!
We had the nicest dinner last week with our Cousin Judy, who treated us all to Red Robin for Shawn and Keegan's visit!  It was the perfect way to end our adventurous week!
This is not a good picture, but JP's face is awesome and so it got shared
(3)
Our papa's house is awesome.  Don't believe me, check out their backyard on Father's Day.



(4)
Aaron's company treated it's employees to a day at the ballpark. It was fancy to go on a date with the husband in the middle of the day.  I had a few adult beverages and we enjoyed a little time without the little ones we love.


(5)
Ever have a weekend when you have nothing to do? And then, because you don't have anything to do, you intentionally don't make plans?  So when you think of the weekend, you think...AWESOME!  That's us, this weekend!  Two words.  BRING IT.
(6)
Question Bloggers.  SPAM is getting out.of.hand. on my blog.  Is there anyway to avoid this without putting up that annoying verification thing on comments?  I really don't want to do that...but I think I want SPAM less.  GO!
(7)
Oh, I am mad.  Ready?
You.GUYS. There is a meme going around facebook right now that is so terrible, but so many people are sharing it, I am overwhelmed.  It says something like,  "I was born because abortion was illegal and because of that I ended up in the foster care system.  Thanks a lot pro-life people, you are really just pro-birth"
REALLY?
I have heard the argument before that pro-life people are really just pro-birth and while I am sure some people might hold that belief, I have never met someone who is passionate about life who is not equally as passionate about caring for those who choose life.  BUT, that is beside the point.

I mean, people who are 'sharing' this meme understand what they are saying is that children/babies who end up in the foster care system are better of dead. Not worthy of living. Not wanted and not worth anything.  SERIOUSLY?  That's something you want to share?
It's enough to make a person SERIOUSLY cranky.  

I hate ending on a cranky note, but I had to!

How about this....
Have an excellent weekend ;)


Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes


I have my two nephews with us this week.  Lemme just tell you- five boys...no joke!
That being said, one of them is 14 years old.  He used to not be, so that's weird.  BUT, having a teenage kid around the house has been awesome.  I took an hour nap yesterday afternoon for the first time since John Paul was born.  Words cannot describe the joy.  He also has taken all the kids to the park, plays with them downstairs, etc...  I think I'll be ready to have baby #4 when Lil' Aaron is about 14~ I kid, I kid.
The ol' husband and I celebrated our fourth anniversary yesterday.  As some of you know, we got engaged after 5 months of dating/really knowing each other.  Then we got married 6th months later and then had our first kid 11 months later.  It's been a bit crazy.  And good. But crazy.  I mean, we have three kids and it's our fourth anniversary. For those of you that don't have 'thefacebook' can I share what Aaron put as his status.  Get ready- It is some heavy Facebookin' PDA

"So one of my favorite shows to watch was Scrubs. One night, when I was in my apartment in Royal Oak, this scene came on. I had never heard the background song before and I thought it was awesome. I eventually found it on Youtube. I then sent it to my friend, because I thought it was cool and she likes songs. This was May 9th, 2009. One month later, I decided to start dating this friend that I sent this clip to. 5 months after that, I went to the Kay's in Westland Mall the day after Thanksgiving to buy my friend a ring. A month later, December 4th, 2010, I asked my friend to be my wife. 6 months later, my friend and I got married and danced our first dance as a married couple to this same song that played in the background of the scene that I enjoyed the year before. This was June 12th, 2010. So happy anniversary to my friend that I sent Scrubs video clips to, Mary Wilkerson."

Then he embedded the song below.  You should listen to it.  It's our song, it's lovely.


On another note, for those of you 'in the know' NFP anniversaries suck.  There I went.
Because of Mary's post titled, "Our Little Oratory" and Hafsa's post on how she homeschools her littles, I decided to get my butt in gear. I finally, after 4 years, made a dedicated Sacred Space with the help of the boys in the basement.  They had so much fun putting it together and I am trying to be intentional about morning and evening prayer in our special place.  Lil' A likes to 'ring the angels bell' before we start.  Too cute.  Then, I made board with the date, weather, one letter a week, etc...  I remember doing this when I worked at a daycare and it's a lovely way to start the day. Of course, I called my sister, an early childhood expert, to see if this was a dumb idea that I would just give up on after a few weeks.  Her response...."probably, but then you'll go back to it".  Honesty. Gotta love it.  So far so good.  Is it weird that lil' A refers to Friday as pizza day?
Fancy Board- 'laminated' with contact paper and Velcro pieces to keep it fun and interesting

Our Sacred Space. Don't laugh- it's a start

The little preschool corner
At the end of this month we will be taking a road trip as a family.  I was a bit worried about how the kids would do in the car.  On Monday, I met my sister halfway for the great kid exchange of 2014.  What I thought would be a six hour drive, instead was a 9 hour drive.  The kids were awesome. I am no longer nervous.
So, I am coming up empty on the 7th quick take.  So, I'll just tell you- 14 pounds down!  WHHHAT?  Yes, it seems the ol' Weight Watchers along with the activity in the spring/summer is working for me.  50 more to go and I'll be good! ;)

For more Quick takes, join  Team Whitaker  who is hosting this week :)