November Goals

As always, I’m back to review this last month of goals and set my new goals for this month.

October Review

1) Keep to my bedtime

Uh…yeah, no. I did ok some nights, but honestly I’ve never been good about keeping to a consistent bedtime. Overall though I think I was better about getting enough sleep this month than previously. But, on Thursday I was up until 1:30.

2) Eat breakfast every day

Hahaha. I did a little better. If microwaving a frozen waffle and wolfing it down counts as breakfast. But I didn’t even do that every day.

3) Pray every day

No comment.

4) Use my budget

Nope.

5) Draw

No.

Wow. I failed every single goal. That’s impressive.

November Goals

1) Pick a breakfast food that’s quick, easy, and which I will enjoy

This is to help me eat breakfast more often. Also, I need to get up with enough time to eat too.

2) Read through Part 3 of Rediscovering Catholicism

I’m working my way through it in spurts. I read some in the summer and read a bunch last week over Fall Break. Now I want to be more consistent. But I’m trying to be realistic. Part 3 is about 100 pages. So that’s an average of 3 pages per day. I also have the weekends and Thanksgiving Break to read larger chunks.

3) Work on Summer Internships–email archdiocese, pick 3-5 solid possibilities 

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next summer: Totus Tuus? Internship with my diocese? Education internship somewhere? I need to do some thinking about this and get in contact with people.

4) Do an exercise video once a week on Saturdays

Along with Zumba classes twice a week, this will give me 3 exercises every week. The plan is to do this on Saturday with some of my suitemates. Thanksgiving weekend doesn’t count.

5) Make Spanish flashcards

I’d like to do better in that class and since I got back from break I’ve been feeing a little lost in the vocab. So, flashcards I think would be a good idea.

6) Start ministry-related tasks before the day they’re due

I have a tendency to start things the day they’re due. Or the night before, if it’s due in the morning. For ministry-related stuff this sometimes means I’m stressed out the day of.  Hopefully I can remedy that by planning ahead and getting a jump on things.

7) Take my temperature every morning as part of charting

So, charting hasn’t been going so good lately. I have not been on top of it at all.

8) Go to Thursday Mass

I have an adoration slot right after the 12:05 Mass, so it makes sense to go to that Mass. Also, I need to go to a Mass where I’m not an assistant sacristan so that I can appreciate and absorb it.

9) Write my 7 Quick Takes every week and 3 other blog posts throughout the month

I have not been good about blogging lately and I’d like to do more.

 

Check back in next month to see how I did!

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2013 Goals: September Review/October Goals

Here we are once again! Time to see how the last month’s goals went and set out my new goals for this upcoming month.

September Review

1) Use my budget

Hm… I did realize a flaw in my itemized budget. It requires me to keep every receipt and categorize every item adding tax as I enter it into my budget spreadsheet. Yeah. Don’t really want to do that. But I did enter some of my receipts so I’m going to count this as fairly good.

2) Be consistent about checking my temperature

The only way to say this is…FAIL.

3) Get organized 

I am less overwhelmed now but there’s a reason for that. Things have calmed down and I dropped that class. I now have some routines with my job as a test proctor on campus and my ministry position. Classes are more manageable and homework isn’t much of a worry.

4) Have a better prayer life

Yeah…I go to adoration and do lectio divina there once a week. I have Bible Study now too with FOCUS and we do lectio there as well. I’ve started praying before I send my reminder emails to people signed up for adoration. But I’m still don’t feel I’m praying as much as I should (ideally I’d like to spend 20-30 minutes a day in prayer) so I’m counting this as a fail.

5) Take care of myself

I did better at this and this month will have specific goals to get me on track, so this was successful.

Overall, not too good. Most of these I made it by the skin of my teeth or simply because external factors aligned. I put almost no effort into my goals this last month. I’m hoping to do better in October.

October Goals

1) Keep to my bedtime

I’m starting a new bedtime routine. I go to bed at 11pm and have lights out at 11:30pm. Tonight however, I’m not keeping to that.

2) Eat breakfast every day

I have developed a bad habit of getting up too late to eat breakfast. I need to stop it.

3) Pray every day

Again, praying. Ideally, I’d like to pray every day. Perhaps 20 minutes of lectio.

4) Use my budget

I need to figure out how to work that. I guess I could categorize everything on my receipt. The goal is to

5) Draw

My roommate and I have been meaning to draw with charcoal. She’s seen some of the work I’ve done with it and wants to try too. So it would be nice to do this some weekend this month.

I guess we’ll see how these go. Check back in next month to see how I did!

2013 Goals: August Review/September Goals

It’s September already! This month just flew past! And I honestly haven’t blogged for quite a bit of it. But it’s been a hectic few weeks. Anyways, it is time to review my goals for the last month and make another set of goals for this month.

August Review

1) Spend no more than 1 hour on the internet each day (Sundays excluded) browsing blogs/news/Facebook newsfeed

I actually kind of forgot about this goal. But I’m just going to pass myself on this one. I’ve probably been better about wasting time online, especially since for the last few weeks I haven’t had much time to waste!

Since I did…I don’t have to cut myself off from “fun” internet for 3 days

2) Write letter to my futures self

Fail. Complete and utter.
Since I didn’t… I don’t get that ice cream I promised myself  😦

3) Do the stuff i should before I head off to school

This is mostly a pass. I paid my tuition bill, helped my brother with the essays he needed to write before the beginning of the school year, packed, and made a road trip playlist.
(No consequence)

4) Take an awesome road trip with my roomie out to school, also see beautiful Colorado

Yes I did. And while I was in Colorado I climbed a mountain 🙂

PROOF
PROOF

Since I did…I got to enjoy that 😉

5) Survive and thrive!

I’ve survived quite a bit this month: 4 days of VBS with my 2nd and 3rd graders, packing and flying to Colorado, climbing a mountain, driving to Kansas with my roommate, a 2 day retreat with campus ministry, a week of training after that, making 2 bulletins, writing various Mass petitions, flying back home for a funeral, the start of classes, a new dorm room….yeah it’ been a bit crazy.

Since I did all that…I’m supposed to get to relax and hang with my friends resting in the knowledge of all I’ve made it through. Well, tonight I had dinner with some of my suite mates and after played apples to apples.

Now onto my goals for this month.

September Goals 

1) Use my budget

I’m starting my budget this month. I have set amounts for different categories of purchases. Hopefully this will help me to watch my spending, especially until I find a job on campus this semester/year.

2) Be consistent about checking my temperature

Because I’m charting with my new thermometer I need to take my temperature every morning when I wake up. This month I had a straight week where I didn’t temp at all. I should be better about that.

3) Get organized 

We started classes on Wednesday and so far I’ve been behind and confused. Also, I haven’t been blogging for a while. I need to get scheduled and organized with my life.

4) Have  better prayer life

Maybe go to Mass every day or say a rosary. Just something to reconnect with God especially in the midst of 18 credit hours, ministry work, home work and possibly work work.

5) Take care of myself

I sometimes sacrifice important things like enough sleep and square meals (or a meal completely) to get stuff done. This is not ok.

I decided I wouldn’t have consequences and rewards this month. I wasn’t coming up with good ones anyways. All right, we’ll see how I do this month. Wish me luck! I’ll see you all next month to see how these go!

Score 1 for Charting!

If you’ve ever had nausea or diarrhea before your period go read this. No I mean it, really, it will change your life! Okay, maybe not but for me it was an amazing, lightbulb moment of awesome! And you know how I got there? Through monitoring my cycle.

Let me explain. Here’s what happened. I’ve noticed before that sometimes just before my period other things are going on down there. (Yes I mean diarrhea.) And today I noticed the same thing. Because I’ve been keeping track of my period I also know Aunt Flo should be visiting me soon. So I entered diarrhea as a symptom on MyMonthlyCyles.com which is one of the sites I’m using to chart.

Then I thought “hm…is this common? normal?” I suppose I could have asked if it was related at all but experience was suggesting that it was. So what did I do when I had a question I couldn’t answer? That’s right. I asked Google. That’s how I came across that article linked to above (go check it out!).

But the article did more than just tell me this was something other women experience. It also told me why. And it told me that another symptom is nausea.

For months now, actually over a year, I’ve been struggling with weird bouts of dizziness/nausea. It had flitted through my mind that this might be period-related but I really had no idea and was also thinking allergies or something else. I had also read something about how it could be related to ovulation. But this article has shown me the light! (Sort of.) Now, for the next few months I’ll pay special attention to these weird dizzinesses and see if they align with my cycle. If they do, then I’ll know FINALLY what’s causing them.

Discovering what might be the cause of my dizziness (and the thing about diarrhea too) just blew my mind! I went to pin it as soon as I finished because I want this article forever!

It’s like my life suddenly makes sense!!! If I hadn’t been keeping track of cycles and paying attention to my body I might have totally missed this. I guess this is at least part of what people mean when they say that charting teaches you about your body. I hope you realize just how happy/ecstatic I am and just how amazing this was for me to learn.

I’ve already discovered this and that’s without doing much temping either (I only started that 3 days ago). Imagine how much more I could learn. So yes, score 1 for charting! Being on the pill would never have taught me this.

My New BBT Thermometer and Online Charting Sites

Yesterday I somehow forgot to mention that when I went shopping I got a basal thermometer. That’s right! A fertility thermometer to help determine ovulation as I chart my cycles.

Here’s what mine looks like:

Thermometer 1

I’m actually really excited about it! It was less than $8 at Walmart. It’s a basal thermometer and it said “family planning” on the packaging (but I don’t think the cashier gave me a funny look). It took me a while to get around to getting it. But I got it before my next cycle starts so I’m calling this a success. 🙂

As I was about to head to bed last night I remembered about the thermometer and that I would be able to use it the next morning. I opened up the pink packaging and read the directions. Cleaned it like it said to, stuck it in its case and set it on the dresser next to my bed. Then I just had to try to make my excited self get to sleep. (Hm…after re-reading this I realize I might be a bit of a charting dork.)

This morning I got to “temp” for the first time. That is, when I woke up I grabbed the thermometer and stuck it in my mouth under my tongue. I didn’t think I’d done it right the first time so I did it again. But the temperature was about the same. So I guess I did all right.

I made sure to jot down my reading and the time I took it on a piece of paper so I could enter it into my fertility tracking sites later. I’m currently signed up for 3 and am trying to whittle the number down.

The 3 are:

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them.

TCOYF is all official and puts cool, easy to read, icons on the calendar for menses and ovulation. However, it doesn’t allow me to add symptoms such as cramps, dizziness, or mood except as a note (and those are hard to review). This is because I just have a free membership instead of a paid one. I think with the free version I can only store 3 months of cycle data too, which is lame.

TCOYF example month
TCOYF calendar with cool icons

Fertility Friend has a chart and calendar all on one page. They also are sending me a 30 day course via email that teaches you about charting and your cycle. Right now I can also add symptoms which are then colored-coded and numbered and put on the chart. But this is only because I was given a free 30 day trial of their premium membership.  After that, I would have to do notes.

FF Chart
My FertilityFriend.com chart. The blue dot is a BBT temp observation. And the orange squares represent different symptoms.

My Monthly Cycles allows me to add symptoms free and easy. (It actually has a pre-set list which you select from). For anything not listed I can write a note which are a lot easier to read and access than on TCOYF. However, My Monthly Cycles doesn’t have a chart per se. Rather they have a graph for BBT which will also give you your CM observations as little abbreviations at the top.

MMC 1
like this

I’m still deciding which to use. TCYOF isn’t really working for me and my needs (at least not the free version). I do like My Monthly Cycles. Their symptom entry is great, especially compared to just taking notes. You can also chart symptoms on their site too. But not having a standard chart for my cycle is kind of a drawback (though not a huge one I guess).

The next month or so I’m going to be getting myself in the habit of temping every morning. And I can use those temps to determine when ovulation happened and by extension when my period should come. I have wonky cycles (as this post explains). In fact, I entered the dates of a few of my last periods on Fertility Friend and it told me this:

Irregular
really??

So yeah, that’s my update on my charting journey. Check back later (or follow!) for more!

Let me hear your questions and/or comments below! I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s temping/charting!

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 18)

— 1 —

Wow that’s right it’s Friday. hehe

— 2 —

I went shopping with an old friend today. We had fun and I found a cute dress.  And I got a surprise at the register–the dress was on sale 🙂 We went to a few different places, including 2 stores that just opened. We also found a nice little juice bar and got smoothies.

— 3 —

My post about charting which you can find here got a number of views this week. I’m glad to see it was popular. It was a post I considered not publishing but, I’m glad I did. Stay tuned for more as I get myself going in the world of charting.  🙂

— 4 —

Summer is almost over. In about 2 1/2 weeks I’ll be heading out to Colorado and from there road trip with my roommate to college in Kansas. Then the true adventure begins. I’ll be taking 18 credit hours, doing my ministry work, hopefully spending time with my friends and suitemates, and hopefully working a part time job a few hours a week. Speaking of work…

— 5 —

I only have one more week of work at my summer waitressing job! It’s been…interesting. There have been bad days, good days, boring days, crazy days. I’ve certainly gotten more comfortable at my job, even to the point of feeling like an old pro (at times). But…I’m going to be quite fine with it being over. Time to look forward to my next job I guess. I’m hoping to have something on campus this semester, possibly at our mailroom.

— 6 —

This week is World Youth Day. AND there’s going to be a flashmob! How awesome is that! It’s in honor of Pope Francis, will be set to a song written for the occasion, and will take place on Sunday.

Find out more here:

See the complete instructions here (though the choreographers are speaking Portuguese, but you can still see what they’re doing obviously):

— 7 —

Well, this is late enough as it is. So…Have a great weekend everyone and here’s a cute picture 🙂

kids holding hands
“Siblings” via morguefile.com

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!

Blood, Tears, and More Blood: My Journey to Charting my Menstrual Cycle

I announced last Friday that I was considering doing a post regarding cycles and charting. Then I found out that this week is national NFP awareness week (which is pretty awesome in and of itself). It also turns out that there’s a linkup over at NFP and Me for the occasion. So apparently, somebody up there wants me to write this post. And here I am.

I want to start off with a warning. If the title of the post hasn’t scared you off, here’s a heads-up. This is going to get personal. And maybe a little gross. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, if this topic makes you uncomfortable feel free to move on. It’s really ok. You won’t offend me. Be warned that in this and other posts like it I might use words such as period, menstruation, ovulation, ovaries, luteal phase, uterus, libido, cervical mucus, sex, menstrual cycle, pads, and blood.

Whew! Got through it!

For anyone who’s still with me, here’s my story and why I plan to start charting my cycles.

charting with thermometer

I’m single. I’m not dating. I don’t plan on being sexually active until after marriage. I may, in fact, never get married. So why the heck do I want to start charting my cycles like those awesome people who use NFP do?

Towards the beginning of this summer, after I had just finished my freshman year of college, I had a conversation with my mom about my desire to chart. I had already begun taking note of when my period happened and now wanted to get more in depth. I had noticed that my cycles didn’t seem to follow the rules. One month it was 33 days long, another it was 39, the next month 28.

When I was younger I never paid much attention to my period. It was something that just “happened” every few weeks. My understanding was that it should be every 28 days. Even so, I generally didn’t bother to make sure that was when it was happening. Usually, I would think something to the effect of “well, I got it around the 20th last month, so it should come about then this month”. Besides being bad math, this method didn’t account for the fact that my cycle might be longer or shorter than 28 days (not every women’s cycle is the same). Using this method, I remember having what I considered late periods every now and then.

The sad thing is, I really didn’t know much. I could offer a number of excuses but the hard fact is I was never taught much about my fertility or cycles. All I knew from my mom came from one conversation about how the lining of my uterus (which she said nourished a baby when a woman was pregnant) would build up and then shed once a month. And I would bleed.

For the first few months after I got my period I kept track. And I distinctly remember, just a few months later, having one period follow on another within 2 weeks. I freaked out. What did this mean? It was my 5th period. Did that mean my fifth pregnancy would be a miscarriage? These were the thoughts that passed through my 12 year old brain. I wish I had understood that irregular and anovulatory periods weren’t that unusual for a girl who was just starting.

Anyways, after a few months more I wasn’t really keeping track of my cycles and had moved on to my “once a month” bad math. And I let it be that way for years. Eventually, I started reading pro-life news, learned more about how my body works, stumbled across the awesome NFP website 1Flesh and got more interested. At this time I headed off to college.

At school, I made some great girlfriends and we talked about NFP and charting. I came to realize that I should be keeping better track of my body and listening to what it was telling me. I knew by this point that I was seeing a connection between my mood and my cycle. I would often get really high-strung and anxious before my period. I also learned that brown spotting at the end of a period , which is something I had seen in myself,could be a bad sign. Eventually, I came around to my current decision to go all out with charting.

There’s a number of reasons I guess.

1) to know my body better and be empowered with that knowledge

2) to make sure there’s nothing wrong (my irregular cycles as well as brown flow might be cause for concern)

3) to monitor the correlation between the different parts of my cycle and my mood

4)–last but not least–to know when my period is coming

I’ve already signed up for a few different free online charting sites (I’ll see which one I prefer) and have done a little charting. I’ll hopefully be starting all the official monitoring, including temperature taking, soon. It’s actually kind of exciting. Hopefully I’ll be posting more about my adventures in charting in the weeks and months ahead. Would you be interested in joining me as I learn more about cycle charting and myself? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

This post is linked up to the NFP and Me NFP week link up. Check it out for NFP-related posts from other bloggers.

A little disclaimer: I am only starting to chart and I am not using those charts as a form of NFP. If you are interested in that you should speak with an NFP teacher or practitioner. I’m not an expert.

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 17)

— 1 —

Its Friday! And I remembered that I’m supposed to not eat meat! Yes! Catholic win! Have no idea what I’m talking about? I used to think, as many Catholics still do, that the whole thing about not eating meat on Fridays was thrown out the window years ago (except during Lent of course). But that’s not entirely true. In England, for example, meatless Fridays were revived by their bishops a couple years ago. In the US, Catholics are still supposed to do some kind of penance on every Friday of the year and abstaining from red meat is encouraged.
From EWTN

On the Fridays outside of Lent the U.S. bishops conference obtained the permission of the Holy See for Catholics in the US to substitute a penitential, or even a charitable, practice of their own choosing. They must do some penitential/charitable practice on these Fridays. For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere.”

— 2 —

I’ve had a string of happiness the last couple days. (Don’t read this unless you’re a woman please.) Sometimes my body treats me bad but then sometimes hormones align and I feel great: I’m happy, I want to sing, I’m positive, things are going great in my life. It’s great! It’s funny how hormones have such control over our mood and energy levels. Sometimes it’s downright annoying. But somedays you think “this is really nice!”. And hormones cause both days. If you want to read more on how our minds are effected by our cycles check out this article.

— 3 —

Now, was that awkward? Tell me honestly. You see, I’ve been considering writing on the topic of cycles but I shy away from the idea as well. I don’t want to be a source of scandal or anything. Charting my cycle is something I’ve been considering because of issues I’ve noted. But even if I do start charting that doesn’t mean I have to blog about it. What do you think?
To ask you officially here’s my very first poll. Feedback please!

— 4 —

Moving on, I found a great site for pictures! It’s called MorgueFile and apparently they have pictures available for free that you use, modify, etc even commercially. This means I no longer have an excuse for not including pictures with my blog posts and I can do it with my conscience clear. 🙂

Here’s a sampling of pictures available through MorgueFile. Check them out!

individual images via MorgueFile
individual images via MorgueFile

— 5 —

Waitresses have interesting paychecks I learned. At least at my restaurant. You see we report all our tips and they are taxable. Taxes are taken out for all sorts of stuff including federal and state withholding. The way it wound up for me yesterday is that more money was taken out for taxes than the check itself wound up being worth.

— 6 —

Regarding my July Goals… there’s a couple that I plan to do simply to avoid the consequences I assigned myself. Dang it! Why do I have to know myself so well! I must have realized that the consequences would motivate my procrastinating self in the end.

— 7 —

Lastly, today is one of my brother’s birthdays. He’s 11 today. Happy Birthday bro!

birthday candles

 

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!