Thursday, July 23, 2015

Are YOU Aware it's NFP Awareness Week?

It's NFP (Natural Family Planning) Awareness Week! I was somewhat surprised by that fact at Mass on Sunday when our new priest mentioned NFP. Now, this was his first Sunday with us, which just happened to coincide with NFP Awareness Week, but I think if he hadn't been celebrating Mass, I would have been kept in the dark about it. Unfortunately.

It's unfortunate that more priests don't talk about NFP, either this week or at all, because it's one of the most beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church. The Church teaching on sexuality is one of the things that sets it apart from all the protestant churches....and pretty much the whole world!

There was a time when we knew this week was coming and did something to prepare for it at our parish, but we've let that fall by the wayside since we reached a tipping point in our childbearing years that made teaching too difficult. And now we're past all that, anyway. Don't snort because we stopped teaching because we had "too many children" thanks to NFP! We had those children because we wanted them, not because NFP didn't work.

For us, NFP was (and is) a huge gift to our marriage. We've been very blessed to have little trouble conceiving, but even with my irregular cycles, we were able to avoid pregnancy when we needed to and able to conceive fairly quickly when we were ready for another child. It wasn't always easy to abstain and it made for some difficult, stressful times in our marriage, but, on the whole, it strengthened our marriage enormously AND brought me into full communion with the Catholic Church.

I didn't start out using NFP because I believed the Church teachings, but because we needed some way to space our children (Yes, I had a "contraceptive mentality"!) and, with my tendencies toward more natural living and fewer pharmaceuticals, I was happy to learn NFP. Win for both spouses! Nevertheless, my eyes were opened by the changes in our already-happy marriage, and if the Church was right about the reasons for married couples should not use contraception, maybe She was right about other things, too.

Feel free to share your experiences or thoughts! NFP is a huge hurdle for many couples in this age of sex anytime, anywhere, with anyone. The widespread belief that we shouldn't have more than 2 children these days is also a challenge for couples. Rest assured that you don't have to have a dozen (as I thought) or a half-dozen, but you do have to invite God into your sexual relationship (because He created it, and He's there whether you like it, or admit it, or not!). And there are no guarantees that you will be given all the babies you want, either, but you will find grace and joy in abundance even through the struggles and the sorrows.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Change is Hard

I don't like change, as a rule. I mean, I like it, but it can be challenging at the same time. I also get an idea in my head about something, whether it's bathroom fixtures or how an event should be run, and it can be hard to let it go.

That's pretty much how I've felt about these home renovations. I get an idea in my head and when the reality differs I have difficulty adjusting. Sometimes it's a long process and sometimes it's a longer process. LOL. Pity the poor husband who has to deal with me!

The Orange Bathroom was a pretty quick adjustment. I was initially shocked by the color, but you know how it darkens as it dries, and going away for a week gave me a good opportunity to mentally adjust. I love, love, love this bathroom. It still lacks a mirror, art, and a couple of drawer pulls, but it's fabulous!

More pics to come, soooon! However, I will admit that the Orange makes it a little hard to get accurate colors in photos. <grin>

The hardest adjustment, which almost brought me to tears was the granite in the powder room. Oh, how silly and shameful that I should fret over not having the perfect counter in my bathroom! There are far worse things happening in the world. So, I decided not to make an issue of it and make it work, or, at least, live with it gracefully. As it turns out, I think it works beautifully with the color and the same black frames that I had before!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Silent Saturday & Light Bulb Dilemmas

Most of the family is gone and I'm home with just Tom who, like most of my menfolk, is not very chatty. I have a whole, quiet Saturday with which to do as I please! What would you do with a Saturday to yourself?

---Have lunch with a friend
---Go to the movies
---Clean house
---do laundry
---Catch up on computer work (AHG....)
---Go shopping
---Visit your favorite LYS (Local Yarn Shop)
---Knit and a. watch TV or
                  b. listen to audio books
---Work on the never-ending home renovations

So far, I have spent the morning reading blogs and watching HGTV. Time to get up and do something a little different!

One thing I know I will do today is find some decent light bulbs for my powder room. The stone guys came yesterday---while I was out, naturally---and installed the countertops in the bathrooms. The one they put in the powder room is beautiful, but I had changed my mind about using it because I didn't think it would work with the colors I had in mind (and actually painted the bathroom the day before!). So now, it's there and I'm sure removing it would be a huge headache. Because it doesn't match the picture in my head and was a disappointment, I have to get used to this new idea and learn to like it. It's probably more beautiful than I can see because I'm not objective, but I am certain that the light bulbs are not helping the situation. The weird LED glow isn't working for me, so I think I'll go buy a couple of different kinds of bulbs to see which ones look best in there. Have you been playing with light bulbs lately? Have you found any of the new ones that you love?

I'll put in a sneak-peak photo of the bathroom. I think there is an LED cool light and an incandescent reveal light in there in this photo! Tell me what you think---about bulbs and the granite. I am actually starting to warm up to it this morning.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Loving My Floors

So sorry I have been absent around here! I have been super busy since we got back from vacation! We had new engineered-hardwood floors installed while we were away. We're also renovating 2 bathrooms, and I expected it all to get done in one week, but I guess that was naive. In any case, I've been putting in lots of sweat-equity by caulking and painting alllll the baseboards----and since I'm an idiot and changed paint colors, I have to do every blessed bit of trim on the main floor. :-)

My first foray into caulking baseboards was fun, but tiring. Honestly, I'm sick to death of sitting on the floor and sliding around every couple of minutes, dragging my caulk gun or paint can  and floor protection with me! Instead of being a reasonable person and taking breaks to do restful things like blogging, I just keep plowing through until it's dinnertime. Today I called it quits at 4 p.m. with just one long wall behind the sofa ^ to finish. 

Caulked but not painted yet.
If my helper had been here to tape it off for me, I might have made the effort to finish it, but I just didn't have the mental fortitude to tape off anymore!

The pile of boxes behind her is from putting all our books in the "new" library.
She helped in the dining room yesterday, and I'm thrilled to say that room and the library are done! We painted all the wainscoting AND the windows. (but we're not going to talk about the crown molding!) And we still need to put curtains up, drawers in the china cabinet, stuff on the shelves....but the painting is finished!

This is a good representation of the floor color. I'm slowly falling in love with's taking a little while simply because I have so much work to do that I can't really enjoy them yet. Every time I get to bring more furniture up from the basement, I like them a little more!

Here's the finished library (except for the window. and the crown molding.) We moved all the bookshelves from the smaller library (which is now the Office) to the living room where they could all be lined up against one wall and be more aesthetically pleasing. So much better than it was before!

I am such a Renovation Newbie! I have learned a lot, some of it the hard way, and I expect I shall learn still more before this part is finished, and then comes the basement. It's fun, but HARD---mentally and physically. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vacation Tally

Sunny Beach Days: 7

Sunburns: 1---Learned my lesson on day 2. That 2.5 mile walk on the beach can outlast your SPF!

Books Read: 3.5. 
     Philippa Gregory's A Constant Princess about Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragorn

     Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl---not finished yet.

     Orphan Train.

     The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

Knitting Projects Completed:  1 Honey Cowl finally completed while knitting in the car. I knit only about 5 rows while actually at the beach. Books took precedence!

Household Renovations Completed:  1---Gorgeous new engineered hardwoods installed throughout the main floor. 

Bathrooms still need to be completed.


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