Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ten Paintings for any Catholic Household (and 5 Runners-Up)

Wondering what to get for your domestic church? Here are ten picks based on what families need most in our culture.

  • Vermeer: Woman with a Water Jug OR Milkmaid
    Here's the young ladies' equivalent of the astronomer and the geographer. Vermeer's work with light and transparency, combined with his equally beautiful depiction of women of different personalities and realistic weights (i.e. body mass indices) can be helpful to young girls.

  • Brueghel: Numbering at Bethlehem
    Another visually interesting scene also remarkable for a different style from the others; it's half Where's Waldo and half religious art--another perfect choice for your family room, especially at Christmas.

  • Wright of Derby: Milton's Comus
    A more muted set of colors and a more mythical theme makes this one set apart and useful in an older child's room or a guestroom.

  • El Greco: The Adoration of the Name of Jesus
    Couldn't not have an El Greco: the challenge he poses to prissy Romanticism fanatics is important in teaching members of a family that what they like isn't all that's good. Regardless of whether you choose El Greco or Picasso to make this point, it's a good one to make.

  • Zurbaran: Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose
    Chosen for its subtle ability to represent Mary in a still life (teaching the power of art as it does so).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Do you use NFP? Be Pro-Environment...

I am at Billings teacher-in-training and I'm also being trained as a medical consultant for the Creighton model FertilityCare system. At both BOMA and CrMS trainings, I was told something terrifying: the charts are getting harder to read. They're getting weirder and more difficult to interpret. Dr. Hilgers himself said this multiple times, when speaking exclusively to the medical consultants-in-training.

Why is this? Apparently, it has to do with where women live. A FertilityCare Educator (teacher of teachers) explained that she was once supervising two new practitioners (Creighton teachers). One practitioner had clients with perfect charts. Every single chart looked like the textbook cycle! (The Educator almost didn't believe her.)

At the same time, the other practitioner had messy, long, confusing, patchy cycles that needed loads of help, management, and doctor help to understand. The clients of both practitioners were all around the same age and demographic (the typical NFP user). The only difference: the clean charts were from rural North Dakota, and the nasty charts were from New York City. The Educator attributed the difference to pollution.

This scared me.

There are certainly other factors at work in this anecdote. Even so, this needs more research, because this could mean the beginning of the end of mucus based fertility awareness methods. If people can't make valid observations and be confident in their own interpretations, how can they use their fertility to plan their family naturally? I feel like I'm putting on an aluminum foil hat, but it's the truth: if we can't rely on observations and sensations, we can't use methods like BOMA or CrMS.

Even if the health of our environment is only one factor in the health of women, I would feel more motivated to care for it to help families use NFP. Meanwhile, more research is needed to discover how much pollution contributes to cycle irregularity. (I've put it on my list of research projects to do.)

If you're a couple using NFP, you know it's not easy! If you think NFP is a good thing (and that it's already hard enough, thanks), you may want to be more earnest about good environmental stewardship.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More on Guessing and Pride

As a follow-up to the last post, I made a flowchart of all the little worries and calculations that can go on in a med student's head whenever someone asks a question. The more pride, the more anxiety, timidity, pompousness, envy, and regret. Right-click>open in new tab/window for full size.