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. 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A New Chapter! Life is an Amazing Journey!!

Here is the recent article I wrote for the January 2016 issue of The Courier (arriving on doorsteps shortly!). This is the last issue I will work on as associate editor for I am "retiring" from that position! See below:

"This is my last month working on The Courier as the Associate Editor and I want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories and answering my questions. Thank you for being patient and understanding. Thank you for your reminders and corrections. Thank you for reading our diocesan paper, for allowing us to bring the news and the faith into your home. Thank you for the letters and emails from so many of you that found an article or issue inspiring or thought-provoking so much that you were moved to write me. Those were the moments that kept me going! You have been so kind to me!
~ our boys ~
"I’m “retiring” as Associate Editor to pursue two other interwoven passions. The most important: raising our six sons. I have a renewed sense of love in motherhood; it is a love that is counter-intuitive. Ordinarily when we think of giving away, we then think of having nothing left. If my ten year old has three Lego hobbit figures and I make him share all three with his brother, he will have none left. Yet, love is so different! When we give ourselves away in Christ-like love, God renews us more abundantly! Instead of having nothing left, we have even more love than we started with! If we put Christ at the center of our lives, He never allows us to go dry – there is always more love to give. And I have found that the most fulfilling moments come just after you’ve decided to act in love beyond what you thought humanly possible (like when it is 3 o’clock in the morning and a child is calling out – happy are my nights when the name is “daddy” instead!). You pull out your hair, bang your head on the wall, throw your hands up in the air – but then you decide to love. And God blesses and transforms you through that love.
Maryvale Institute in England!
"The second reason is that after a ten year, six babies hiatus, I have a chance to complete my graduate studies in Theology, Marriage & Family through the Maryvale Institute! Please pray for me! I have enjoyed getting to know you and working with the Diocese of Winona, and we’ll still be around! If you would like to stay in touch, please follow my blog: where I will be sharing our journeys and adventures. For all questions, submissions, and comments about The Courier, please email and it will get to the right person. 
God bless you!"

My youngest bundle (9 month old #brighteyes) and I will depart for England on January 11th! I am so blessed beyond measure to have this opportunity and my "love tank" is full! Do you want to know what the face of NEW feminism really looks like? Look at my husband and the thousands of husbands across the world who support their wives with love, encouragement and respect. New feminism is elevating woman because of her femininity not over its destruction. And this goes hand in hand with the elevation of men in their great masculine dignity as well. We walk hand in hand for a better future of compassion, respect and love.

I'll be using this blog more frequently again - so be sure to follow if you want to stay connected! 
Our adventure awaits!