Thursday, July 28, 2016

Our baby died and went to heaven...

I haven't written for a while. I am sorry about that because now it feels like I have too much to say to include it in one post - but I want to share. So grab a kleenex and take a peak into our life...

On July 18, I shared this announcement:
Dear family and friends,
It is with very heavy hearts that we write to inform you that our little unborn baby has gone on to heaven. At my 18 week ultrasound, there was no heartbeat, no movement and no blood flow. We were not able to tell if the baby is a boy or a girl yet. We will know on Wednesday when I go in for the induction (yes, I will go through full labor).
Peter will be with me all day on Wednesday in the hospital and the boys will be at a friend’s home. When we told the boys, the three oldest were just torn apart in sadness. Please pray for them. And for us – we will forever carry this little emptiness where our baby should have been.
We will name the baby on Wednesday and he or she will be entombed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, which gives us much peace. Our baby will forever rest in Our Lady’s arms.
For those local to us, we are obviously cancelling the baby reveal party on Saturday, which is heartbreaking. As you also know, we are moving in August. Some have asked how they can help. Meals would be helpful. Offering to come play with the boys would also be helpful. If you can help pack or clean, please let me know. I know I will be in mourning for a bit and these next few weeks will be most painful to get myself going to do what needs to be done for the move and for the comfort of my dear boys.
Thank you for your prayers and your love. There was nothing on the ultrasound that they could pinpoint was a reason for the baby’s passing. We may know more on Wednesday; we may never know. All we can do is trust our loving Father who thought this precious angel too good to have to live in this world. God gives us these children as gifts for us to care for and love, but they are His children first. My heart is broken and full of sorrow, but I know that God embraces our little one and that at least is some comfort.
In our Father’s hands,
Theresa and Peter
On July 20, 2016 I shared this:

Our little baby boy "Giorgio" -PierGiorgio Matteo Martin was born into heaven at 2:53 p.m. July 20, 2016.
He is named after Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (who loved others so passionately) and St Matthew (whose name means "gift from God").
He will forever be in our hearts though we cannot hold him in our arms.
We will entomb him at 10 a.m. this Saturday, July 23, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse in the Memorial to the Unborn. All are welcome to the ceremony.
Baby Giorgio Martin, pray for us.

After the Entombment Ceremony Saturday, I wrote this reflection:

I feel so empty... It was raining today. It felt right. Even the heavens were crying - the thunder echoed my heartbreak... and my soul was able to feel a calm by the sound of the rain - as we were waiting for the time to approach I held the casket of my child and closed my eyes. My heart found comfort in heaven's tears and being so close to my baby's body. Knowing this is the last time I will rock him, I swayed with the sound of the wind and rain. People arrived - so many more than we expected (we felt so loved) - I was overwhelmed. I thought I was going to collapse from heartache - but all the prayers of all of you, those praying from afar as well as those with us, sustained me. As I wept, I felt a strength around me holding me up. Then the time came to take the little blanket off the casket and place the casket in the tomb. How I wanted to scream - this isn't right! It's all a bad dream, someone tell me there has been a terrible mistake - but I placed it into the tomb. I'm glad I did it. I needed to be the one who did it. But oh how hard that was to actually let him go...
Thank you for praying for us, we feel your love and prayers and they are helping us get through. This has been the most difficult week of our lives - and yet it has also been full of mercy and grace. Today was the day I had planned a big baby reveal party - and instead I had to bury my baby. I'm saying too much probably - I'm sorry if I'm ripping at your heart too, but some things I feel compelled to share.
As I lay to sleep tonight, I remember what I was doing last night as I held my sweet, precious baby Giorgio's body in my hands one last time. And tonight my arms are empty ... Jesus, help me. Jesus, heal me. Jesus, I trust in you.
From last night:
Got him ready tonight ... placed him into his final resting place in his casket. That's the last time I'll be able to "take care of Giorgio." I don't think I could have cared for Christ more lovingly... Only to realize that as I did this while sitting on the couch in the playroom, this would be his only time in a playroom.
I never get to see him throw a tantrum or bonk his big brothers' heads and laugh. I never get to help him stack his blocks or race his cars or let him listen to my heart with his doctor kit...
We have to physically let him go tomorrow, placing him in the tomb at the Shrine. And even though I'll never be ready, it has to be happen.
And it will. And I will carry him there. & Peter and I and all our boys will cry uncontrollably - we have been these last couple days; I can't imagine what we'll be like tomorrow. But it's okay. They can cry as much as they need.
We will leave his little body there, but his soul is with Jesus. And he will always be in our hearts...
And we will remember him as we strive with his namesake to live with courage and excellence - "Verso l'alto!"
Oh Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world...

And I think that catches you up ... please pray for our family - we are so heart-broken and trying to cope with grief as we pack to move to Bismarck, ND...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Bible is your Love Story

(originally published in The Courier...)

That sounds crazy, right? To most people, the Bible is an old book full of old stories, wars, and all sorts of ancient things that don’t touch their daily life. Yet, the Bible is the living word of God! It holds more truth for our intimate lives than we could possibly imagine.

The Bible is God’s love letter to you – to YOU! Sacred Scriptures is just packed with love and marriage. Did you ever think about the fact that it begins and ends with a marriage celebration? In Genesis, we see the creation of humanity in God’s image: “male and female he created them.” This is from the first creation story (Gen. 1:26-27). Man and woman together are the image of God. The second creation story emphasizes this further as God says “it is not good for man to be alone” and God makes woman. Now is that full image of God reflected again in man and woman (Gen. 2:18). And this is the first wedding – and that marital relationship is the reflection of God. This shows us that God’s love is nuptial; in other words, God’s love is as love in a marriage.

In the final book of the Bible, Revelations, all of Sacred Scripture ends with the wedding feast of the Lamb. Who is the Lamb of God? We know this from Mass – it is Jesus Himself! And who is the Lamb’s bride? His bride is the Church – you and me. The final purpose of God’s salvation history for humanity is to bring us into union with Himself! (CCC 260). It is a beautiful, marital union between bride and bridegroom – drawing us into His divine life and into His sonship with the Father.

What if I told you that the Old Testament, was also about God wanting to bind His people into a marital union, a nuptial covenant with Himself? Some could get lost in the events and wars; even the great moment of the Sinai Covenant where God spoke to Moses and made a covenant with them, this could be seen as a great, powerful God leading His people. Yet, it seems to resonate as a story of a ruler more than a lover.

However, the prophets open our eyes to what the story is all about. Isaiah says, “your Maker is your husband … For the Lord has called you like a wife …” (Isaiah 54:5-7). Again, in Ezekiel 16: 7-8, 11-12, we read: “you grew up and became tall and arrived at full womanhood … you were at the age for love … I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine…” YHWH, the Lord, took Israel to Himself as a bride.

Do you remember how the story goes though? That bride betrayed her covenant with YHWH. And God wanted to scorn her, but forgave her and promised a savior – one that would renew the marital covenant with His people and atone for their sins: a bridegroom messiah! (Jesus is your bridegroom! He is the one who will lay his life down for you and give Himself to you…)

This may seem strange, but even John the Baptist speaks of Jesus as the bridegroom. When some ask John if he is the messiah they’ve waited for he says, “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full” (Jn. 3:28-30). What a vivid picture John gives us! He is not the bridegroom, but the “best man,” the one who is “the friend of the bridegroom” and the one who ought to rejoice with the bridegroom.  And he brings this image home as he affirms that indeed “this joy of mine is now full.”  The best man is rejoicing because the bridegroom has arrived and it is Jesus.

St. Paul takes us even further into this mystery as he says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her … This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:25-26, 32). The cross is the moment that Christ gave Himself up for His bride. He became one flesh with His bride.  (As the bridegroom, the husband of the church, He gives a most profound example. Being a good husband is not about forcing one’s will on another; it is about being the one to lay bare every selfish ambition, every ounce of pride and give yourself completely over to your bride in an absolute gift of self in love.) 

John reminds us of this: “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn. 13:1-10).  He loved them.  God is love (1 Jn 4:8). That is who He is and how He acts.

The great mystery that St. Paul referenced is the very fact that the cross is the marriage bed of the Lamb of God.  Scott Hahn illuminates this in his discourse “The Fourth Cup.”  Jesus was not merely celebrating another Passover but inaugurating the new covenant (Lk 22:20) as a wedding meal.  The first two cups are towards the beginning of the meal, then they eat roasted lamb and unleavened bread. The third cup is the “cup of blessing,” which is the cup Jesus blessed and we receive at Mass in the Eucharist (1Cor 10:16).  After they have all had a chance to drink from the third cup, they sing several psalms and go out into the garden.  The fourth cup, which is actually called the “cup of consummation” is missing in the Last Supper’s feast!  Jesus extends the meal all the way to the cross when He says, “I thirst.” He receives the bitter wine and consummates the covenant with His bride. Where Adam sinned, Christ was sinless and took on our shame. 

In that moment, naked, bare, He gives Himself to His bride. “When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” In the Latin He says, “consummatum est”  – it is consummated; it is complete. He gives Himself completely to us, His bride.  He gives His body, His blood and His very life – all to be united to His bride and bring us into His life.

And how do we receive this selfless gift of love? How do we accept the bridegroom’s gift of his whole self? When we receive His body and blood in the Eucharist at Mass, we are participating in that moment! Mass is where the past, present and future collide! The Mass is the wedding banquet of the Lamb! It is not the Lion of Judah on the cross, but the Lamb of God. He is waiting there to give Himself to each human person in the deepest love. Let us no longer take the Eucharist for granted, but instead approach the altar with trembling love as a bride approaches the bridegroom. For His cross is His marriage bed, and He waits with passionate love to give Himself to you and draw you into His divine life! “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 16:9).   

Friday, April 29, 2016

Theresa's Talk online! "One Holy Family can Change the World"

Here's a talk I gave a couple months ago. I finally got it uploaded! Enjoy!

"One Holy Family can Change the World"

Monday, April 11, 2016

Beyond the wall - or - be careful what you pray for - God's got this.

Ever feel like you are spinning your wheels and not going anywhere? You have this hope of achieving something (not a big something - even just five minutes a day of quiet!) and no matter what you do it is ever-elusive. Like the horizon, the harder you work to get to it, the further away it seems.

I have felt that way! And I consider myself a pretty tough woman. I like to step up to the challenge and accomplish it! This is a gift and a curse. (It makes it very hard to "let go"!) I recently confessed not finding time for daily prayer. I pray every day, but time set aside where no one is interrupting me is difficult to find! My loving priest said, "in your vocation, some of that is up to God to do, You need to let Him find the time for you. Stop trying to do it yourself, that's God's job."

God's job? That's weird, I thought. It's my fault - my guilt - mia culpa! Right? I kept rebutting it in my mind, "but I have to ... but I have to ..." No, no, I don't. I do what I can and then I have to Let. It. Go.

So I prayed for God to find the time. The next few nights, our baby didn't sleep well. On the third night, as I sat up with him, coaxing him to sleep, I felt a whisper in my heart, "here is your time."

And the wall that I felt like I kept beating my head against, not able to overcome or get beyond, disintegrated. I was lifted out of myself and drenched in His consolation. All I had to do was let go. Stop the crazy driving-forward, wheel-spinning stressing and - just - be.

But I also had to accept God's time. 3 a.m. would not have been my choice! But it is a moment I would trade a thousand three a.m.s to have again!

It is so simple and so challenging. If you are like me and have an "I got this" attitude, learning to say, "God, you can get this" is the biggest hurdle for my spiritual life.

I had to let go of even the "but I should be sleeping - but how will I function tomorrow - but why does the baby have to be crying ..." and say "your will be done."

It is when we stop fighting, stop worrying, stop rushing, that God can love us and bring us miles ahead in an instant. My daily prayer now is "what do I need to give to you, Lord?" Obviously, we offer God everything, but there is usually one or two particular things that grip us and cause us stress.

It's okay. It's not all on your shoulders. You don't have to solve it. You don't have to carry that burden anymore! Let Him have it - He's got this!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

a video from the Martins - have a Blessed Triduum

We weren't able to go into town the day our group was praying the stations (someone was sick).  I tried to get the boys to pray it at home, but they weren't into it.  So, I asked them to act it out while we did the prayers - THAT they could do!

And so of course I had to take pictures! Enjoy - have a Blessed rest of your Holy Week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

For a laugh ... the life of a mother ...

So Emmanuel and Louis wanted to have tea with me.

"Ok" I said as long as you will drink it all and put your mug in the dishwasher when you're done!"

"We will!!" They shouted with joy.

When I saw they were finished their tea, I reminded them each, "please put your mug in the dishwasher."

"I will!!!" Each said happily.

They asked to go outside and I asked "you can if - did you put your mug in the dishwasher?"

"We did!"

"Okay, you may go outside."

After they had gone outside, I walked into the kitchen and see this:

#notquite #closerbutyeahnope #facepalm
what can you do?


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pause, Rewind, Enjoy, Move Forward

Happy birthday to me! :-) Each birthday we are given is a gift. It is a chance to rejoice in the life we’ve been given.

In Italian they say “Buon Compleanno!” it literally means happy completion of a year. Each birthday is a celebration of your life – of another year completed of your amazing life! It is a time to look back and thank God for the good and the bad, because all of it makes you who you are. And in fact, it is often the difficult and challenging times that perfect us and molds us in strength and beauty.

A year ago today, I was at a business event all day. I was eight months pregnant and in so much pain from my RA I could hardly walk. It always seems to flare up at the end of pregnancy. I had a difficult time holding back tears that day. That was one of the most challenging birthdays I have ever had. I didn’t feel exuberant and my main goal was: survival.

And survive I did! My youngest son was born this past year – and what an absolute joy he is! Such a happy baby!

Over the past few months, pain has crept back again and I have had to deny myself and really focus on keeping track of what I’m eating so that I can use food and not drugs to control it. It hasn’t been easy – it takes consistent, focused effort, constantly reminding myself of the reason I am choosing this way. But oh how badly I’ve craved chocolate and breads! But Lent is a good time for self denial and when comfort food is weighed against debilitating pain, I sigh and let it go, as sad as that it.  

Yet, here I am today – celebrating another birthday! And you know what? It doesn’t matter! The challenges, the struggles, even the pain, don’t matter. All of that reminds me of one thing: life.

I am alive.

I have been given this life by God and have been saved by His Son. And I REJOICE! I really do!!
Today I am exuberant with JOY. I look back over the past year and then over the past 37 years and I rejoice. My life has been blessed. Has it been easy? Not always. Have I fallen? Plenty. Have I been forgiven? Absolutely, and I continue to seek forgiveness daily.

Life is not about perfection. Your past will have many faults, but if you look closely there are so many more blessings than struggles – so many more moments of grace and love. What has happened is a part of you – don’t shut it out; however, it does not need to dictate your future. You are free. 

Every day is an occasion – RISE TO IT!

So, today I pause and look back in joy. I thank our Lord for the many blessings of my life and thank Him even more for the struggles, without which I would not have the fortitude, perseverance, courage, faithfulness and spunk I have today. Each person I encounter – YOU – are a blessing in my life. I pray for your intentions today. Never lose hope in the great love of our God! He is the only one who turns sadness into joy. He turns pain into happiness. I stand here today REJOICING in the freedom from the burden of pain!  The cross of Christ is the road to eternal life; may God make us worthy.
37 and loving life!

Thank you for all the birthday wishes!
Much love,


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let them love you

A couple things happened in the past few weeks that really made an impact on me.

 We got a chance to visit my folks - I just love visiting my childhood home! You are overcome with a sense of peace and joy. Like the a cozy blanket, being with my parents & family brings comfort. Yet, mixed in that experience hidden beneath the folds, I still have to fight off old habits. Old ways of thinking and living that I have been freed of, but through smells and sights, come to the forefront of my mind, attempting to lure me back into its grasp.

 My friends, that takes a lot of strength to fight off. If you remember from previous posts, I had a bout with anorexia in junior high and although the physical nature of it was overcome the mental games lingered on in my mind until last year. Was I good enough? Pretty enough? Thin enough? And once again I was bombarded by these thoughts after my trip home. 
   I know who I am and Whose I am. I am good enough. Yet it is so freeing to be reminded of it by others!

 Enter my darling children.

 Baby crawled up to me the other day when I was on the floor tired and frazzled and looking you know, not so hot. He started attempting to kiss my face, which really meant licking it! And at first I was going to take him away, because he was slobbering all over me! But then I saw the joy and love in his face. He loved me, his mama, with such a fierce joyful love that made him giggle! He "kissed" me and laughed and kissed me and laughed and hugged my head and kissed me again. I realized he wanted – and needed – to love me. As I let down my guard of "gross slobber need to clean", and just let him live on me - I changed...I was affirmed as someone worthy of such affection. And what an affirmation that is!

 The other night, it was one of those days and I desperately needed a shower, and I said something to my husband like "I know I'm gross but let's just sit down and eat dinner." To which he responded, "you're beautiful! You're not gross at all! You are so beautiful!" And then my oldest (10 year old son) chimed in, "listen to that song, mom. Then you'll know you're beautiful! You know the one that doesn't know it but she is." He meant of course "She don't know she's beautiful" by Sammy Kershaw. And again, my first thought was, he's just a kid what does he know and then I was able to push that wall aside and look at him. He believed it! He said it so matter of factly though as it was just a given "my mom's beautiful." And once again as I let him love me, I was affirmed as someone to be loved and once again it changed me... 

So my advice for you today, let them love you. It helps them, but it will transform you.

what love looks like :-)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Travels Recap - England Part 1: London

What a time we had in England! I would have updated sooner, but when I got back my husband had to go to DC for the March for Life and when he got back, we had two crazy weeks before we all went south to visit my folks in New Orleans for a week!

Phew! Now we have been back home for a week and finally finding that niche of our routine - that "new normal." I am delighted that my young men are happy and can be helpful. At this moment, they are "buddy" playing. Each older boy has a younger boy to play with or teach for half an hour.

To recap my trip, I would like to share some of the posts I shared on Facebook and then I will share another post with more reflections as I look back at the trip now a month later... It was most amazing - but I didn't anticipate how anxious I would feel traveling in a foreign country with an infant! I think I am enjoying looking back on the memories just as much if not more than experiencing them for that very reason!

January 12th log: "First impressions of London: do Anglo-Saxon UK citizens think themselves "too good" to work at the airport?? I was like what the---? I thought I was flying to England not India!
Once in town, the business attire is very classy - suit and ties - even for young men. And although people seem to be like your average busy city dwellers, whenever I had trouble with the stroller, a wonderful angel would help me! Young old, women and men - they actually acted like they saw you in need and not just rushed past you. One man ran across a street of cars to help me lift the stroller up to the hotel lobby! They aren't gushing with personality but after today, I'm convinced these are some of the kindest people on the planet! (Having a baby probably helps me get that extra attention though too! Everyone fussed over him - his blanket is falling - watch his hat - did he lose his shoes? - does he always smile? To that I can answer, Yes! Yes! He seems to be always smiling!)
Oh rush hour seems to be a 6:30pm... During the day it was barely busy on the "Underground", I was like where is everyone?? And then on our way home from dinner, it was extremely crowded. Oh - they were working!
Another thing, there aren't a lot of street venders around - tons of extra people trying to sell this or that and you having to tightly hold your purse just in case...that's how it was in Rome. Not London! At least not in the places we went tonight!
Okay - off to try to sleep!"
We visited the original Twinings Tea store!
They say Jane Austin would have bought her tea here!

Another January 12th log: "This lovely place is where I ate dinner our first night in London! It's Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub - oldest pub in London (1667) and a favorite hangout of G.K.Chesterton! And #‎wheninRome (or London), I had fish and chips! And Anthony loved trying to leave teeth marks on the old wooden furniture... "

Check out the notice: "Gentlemen only served in this bar"!

January 13 log:
"So, today was so blessed but not without challenges! First, my sweet #‎brighteyes decided to leap off the bed and bonked his head. frown emoticon Then we bought entrance tickets to go in the Tower of London but had a special request to go to St. Thomas More's cell and crypt (which aren't open to the general public - except by special request). So Simon Dodd, the Tower guard and tour guide took us through all these private rooms and snuck us past barriers and through rooms where "only dignitaries go".
Tower of London's best guide, Simon Dodd!
He showed us the safe that the keys to the crowned jewels safe are kept - in a room that is marked as "a men's loo"! And St Thomas More's cell was so bare and just - struck your heart. Then we crossed more barriers went behind locked doors to go to the crypt where he is buried. Simon shared so many interesting things and was quite entertaining!
Palace guard in the Tower of London because this is officially one of the Queen's houses. Just to the right was the entrance were only dignitaries (& crazy Catholics who just HAVE to see St. Thomas More's cell!) enter!

St. Thomas More's prison cell.

St. Thomas More's grave - St. Thomas More, PRAY FOR US!!!

My little darling #Brighteyes was the BEST travel companion EVAH!

Here are just a few photos - we ate lunch at the "Kitchen" a family restaurant near "All Hallows" Anglican church.
Selfie fail ;-) Outside Tower of London

We then went to Shakespeare's The Globe. A theatre designed and built as an exact replica of the original! As someone who loves Shakespeare, it was amazing! Soaking in the history and what it must have been like for them! Walking through and standing in the "penny seats" area and then in the balcony seats - and darn it if all of those photos aren't on my camera and not this phone ... Oh well! Take my word for it, it was a moment back in time.

I was just in heaven in this theatre!!!

Made in the exact dimensions as Shakespeare's The Globe - what an exciting and inspiring experience for a literature lover!

We walked back to the other bank by taking the Millennium Bridge, which is a very space age looking walking bridge. Very cool. With great views of the city.
London folks were still very helpful! People don't brush by you without seeing you. They actually notice and offer to help. Very kind. Simon the tour guide told us they speak 300 language in London because of all the different nationalities of people who live there, but he also noted that if you go beyond London into the rest of England it is very different. And foreigners are much fewer.
Very interesting! But now my feet are sore and my little #‎brightseyes has fallen asleep so I should try to sleep as well! He has been so good - but after seeing his brothers on a FaceTime chat, he was whimpering a little and sad. He misses those sweet faces as do I!
One more day in London and then off to Maryvale on Friday!!!"

January 14 log:
"Our last full day in London - what a great day! We attended Mass at Wesminster Cathedral and it was so sweet because it just happened to be the one day that the school children of the parish attended the daily parish Mass. They sang "Salve Regina" after the intercessions and my little darling looked up at me with the biggest smile (you can see in the photo). He recognized the song (we sing almost every night at home) & was so excited!
Westminster Cathedral
We saw Big Ben and had a proper afternoon tea!

Jenny and I - Big Ben in the background!
I love tea time!
so does #brighteyes!
You can see #‎brighteyes was just as excited about tea time! & of course we had to see Buckingham Palace. Look at that sweet boy - world traveler! (The photo with him on the bridge shows the palace in the background.) and there were crazy squirrels that literally came up and begged for food!
It was cold and windy. So baby and I headed back after all that and relaxed at the Inn - he is so sweet - laughs and laughs. Doing some reading to prepare for school tomorrow!! grin emoticon
So blessed to be here - please say a prayer for us and my family back home! It's so hard to be apart!!"

Buckingham Palace in the background

at the Palace gates!
crazy squirrels!

January 16 log:
"Made it to school! What a wonderful environment and community there is at Maryvale! & Anthony loves everyone - you can see him playing peekaboo in the student commons room"

quick photo of a class - or at least those behind me! :-)
panoramic shot of school - also! It was the home of Cardinal Newman!

As I look back on all of this now, I am overwhelmed with how blessed I am! I am blessed to have such a great a mighty God who can bring about so many good things in my life! I am blessed by my husband who supports me and wants me to be all that I can be! I am blessed by my children who also rally around me just as we rally around them - so much love going around!

Look for Part 2 soon - with more detail about my studies! I love praying for others - please let me know (via facebook message or in the comments here!) if you have a prayer request I can pray for! I feel a deep passion to pray more for others - bring it on!

blessings to you all!

London from the millennium bridge

Friday, January 8, 2016

Having your Cake and Eating it

As I head to England in three days (squeeeeee!), it's only right that my first guest blogger of this new adventure is my English friend, the fabulous Rebecca Clemenz. Enjoy!


Imagine the scene. A young woman in her twenties walks into a doctor’s office and says: “I want to be able to eat as much chocolate as I choose without gaining any weight. Please do the operation that makes that possible.” What do you think the doctor would say? What would you say? Maybe, “Yes! Great idea!” or perhaps “No way! You are too young to make that decision!” Actually, I would hope for a third answer along the lines of “I think you need to reexamine your relationship with food.”

Let’s look into that one.
Why do we eat? The primary reason if of course to provide our bodies with nutrition so they can grow and remain healthy. Eating is also of course pleasurable, an activity we can do with friends, a social event and can even be associated with religious or other ceremonies or festivals. All these things are secondary though. And indeed if we ONLY ate for pleasure, with no regard to the nutritional value of what we were eating we would have a problem. Likewise when we do not eat with the primary goal of good nutrition in mind, in the case of say anorexia, we have a problem. It is therefore safe to say that there are good habits associated with eating, and bad ones that we seek to correct.
What does this have to do with anything?
Recently the BBC ran a series of articles under the general heading 100 Women. One of the articles carried the title “Desperate not to have children”. The main focus of the article was a young lady called Holly who never wants to have children and expresses her frustration at not being able to have a sterilisation procedure performed by the NHS, the article also states that she is unhappy with other methods of contraception because of their negative side effects.
Imagine the scene. A young woman in her twenties walks into a doctor’s office and says: “I want to be able to have as much sex as I choose without getting pregnant. Please do the operation that makes that possible.” What do you think the doctor would say? What would you say?
I am sure that many of us out there have made “I will never/always…” statements in our twenties that have become “Well, actually…” maxims in our mid-thirties. But even if that were not the case, and a person was absolutely certain, is not the third answer still the most applicable, “I think you need to reexamine the way you see sex”
Why do we have sex? The secondary reasons roll off the tongue with ease, it is nice, it is fun, it is pleasurable, it’s what Friday nights at the pub are for! Yet at the same time we know deep down, that those are not the real reasons we have sex. So what are the primary reasons? They are procreation and unification. That is to make babies, and to bond with the person you are having sex with. There are troves of studies that you can find everywhere from the BMJ to Marie Claire highlighting that oxytocin released during sexual intercourse creates a deep bond with your sexual partner. For women especially, this bond is very strong and can make the break-up of a relationship with a sexual partner very painful indeed. But what about the babies?! How many times have we heard that “in this day and age there is no reason to get pregnant if you don’t want to!” And yet we all know, and even Holly acknowledges, that no method of birth control is 100% and there is even a pregnancy rate associated with surgical sterilisation. So where do we go from here? I would suggest that somewhat like with eating, if we are ONLY having sex for the secondary reasons, for pleasure and fun, then our relationship with sex has a problem. If you are quite certain that you NEVER want to have sex for it’s primary purposes then maybe, just maybe, you should take a break from having sex while you reexamine your reasons for this.

And for anyone interested in a method of family planning that is effective and has no side effects, check out modern scientific method of Natural Family Planning such as the Creighton Model.

Rebecca Clemenz, lives in Switzerland with her husband and four children. 

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