birth control methods

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(Sorry this post is so long! You can download a pdf of this post here.)

I’ve wanted to do a post on birth control for a while. Several people have asked me what methods we use, since we have opted not to do any hormonal birth control. I wanted to help by giving some more detail on the options available should one choose to go this route, for whatever reason.

First, let me say if this topic makes you uncomfortable, please stop reading right now. I’m not going to be so vague as to not be able to communicate my point because I’m afraid of offending some people. However, I understand that this might be TMI (too much information) for some, so consider yourself warned! I am writing mainly for other married (or soon to be married) women and their husbands.

Second, I want to make it clear that I do not want this to be a debate about birth control. This is an intensely personal topic, one between a wife, her husband, and God. If a couple has prayed about it and has peace about their decision, then I have no problem with that. My hope is to provide information for those who don’t know, so they can make an educated decision. I ask that the comments reflect this; I will delete any comments that are merely trying to instigate spite.

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look at me, I'm special!

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I read this interesting article today, entitled: Study: College students more narcissistic. Being a recent college graduate myself, I have noticed the inward and “me-focused” attitude that many of my peers – and even myself – sport.

Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

“We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”…

The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.”…

The new report follows a study released by UCLA last month which found that nearly three-quarters of the freshmen it surveyed thought it was important to be “very well-off financially.” That compared with 62.5 percent who said the same in 1980 and 42 percent in 1966.

There’s a lot that scares me about the current generation, especially because I can see so many examples of it in myself. I often catch myself with the “poor me” attitude, and often thinking of myself as superior. Driving is a big thing for me – I constantly get annoyed with inconsiderate drivers, thinking to myself, “They’re not considerate like I am. More people should be like me.”

And after some friends of mine divorced, I thought, “I can’t wait until I’m married so I can show them the right way to do marriage.”

I think being a Christian helps contribute to these thoughts, on my part. (I wouldn’t say so for the rest of the generation!) Believing in absolutes means that I feel I have found the right way to do things and everyone else is wrong. Of course, to a certain extent it’s true – I do believe that those who accept Christ as their Savior go to heaven, and those who don’t are going to hell. However, I tend to apply the same mentality to the more gray areas of the Christian life, which is not the right way to think. “Well I’ve read the Bible and I know the right way to handle that [gray area].” The tendency to judge is a common fault of Christians, unfortunately.

The thing that scares me the most is that in a few years, we’ll be talking about starting a family and bringing children into this world. We’ll be responsible for their upbringing and their attitudes. I want them to grow up to be good, strong Christians who live the life that Christ wants of them. In general, I see a lot of problems with today’s generation, and I am scared that with so many negative influences all around us it’s going to be difficult to keep those negative aspects from permeating. At the same time, I don’t want to cut ourselves off completely from the world like the Amish have. It’s a difficult balance, and something we are going to have to pray about and deal with once we DO have children.

Anyways, just some thoughts for this morning. :-)


so tired

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Wow, I haven’t been writing much recently. I think it’s because I have been so tired lately. I don’t even know what I’ve been doing… But I feel tired all the time, and I am sleeping at nights. Maybe I’m getting sick.

I was looking forward to relaxing this weekend, because it’s the first weekend in a while when we haven’t had guests. However, I had a lot to do at home and I didn’t do them at all – I guess I relaxed a little too much! I don’t even feel refreshed which is the frustrating part.

We had Jera spayed this week. Poor puppy. She seems to be quite recovered, but we can’t let her be active until this weekend. And if you have every tried to keep a bouncy, hoppy puppy from being active… We’ve been keeping her on a leash and she has started to CHEW, CHEW, CHEW out of boredom. We finally picked up a few more chew toys at the store on Saturday. That has seemed to help – she LOVES the condensed rawhide we got for her!

Saturday was nice – I had delicious lunch at a nearby Peruvian restaurant with Susan and Hannah. That was nice, even if Susan refused to try the Inca Kola. It’s okay, though, because now I don’t have to play chess with her. :-) We also spent some time in Goodwill, where I picked up two books I’d been looking for, and an adorable watercolor. Unfortunately, I left my purchases in the Garrison’s car, so hopefully we see each other again soon so I can get them. :-)

Saturday evening Paul went to Petsmart to get a few things in addition to chew toys and cat food/litter. We had to get a new crate for Jera. In my initial desire to be frugal, I accidentally bought the crate without the divider ($10 cheaper). We soon realized that the little puppy would eliminate on one side of the crate and sleep on the other, which wasn’t going to work. So we went to Home Depot and spent $16 (oh the irony!) on supplies to construct a sturdy divider. (We had tried cardboard before, which she completely chewed through in one night.) Well, time came for us to engrandear (Spanish has a verb for “to make bigger” and I wish we had one in English too) the living space and it was very difficult. We decided that buying a new crate with a divider was worth it. So, let this be a lesson to you: if you’re buying a crate for a puppy, make sure it has a divider.

Anyways, new crate is set up and puppy is happy – she has a bit more room and we didn’t have bleeding hands trying to get chicken wire to cooperate.

By the way, I really like Home Depot. We also picked up paint for the living room. (!!!) I wandered around the store, wishing we had our own house so I could improve it to fit my (our) style and tastes!! I have many memories from growing up and visiting Home Depot very, very frequently. Especially when we were fixing up the home in Waxhaw so we could, you know, live in it. :-)

Back to Saturday. Neither of us felt like going home, so we drove around Perimeter mall area for a while. We ate dinner at La Madeleine because we had NO food at the house (call me lazy). We were going to go to REI next door to look at camping tents, but it was closed by the time we finished eating. Since most everything was closed by this point (9:30 – stores close too early!! we did consider driving up to Buford, but we decided not to… hmm, I thought I’d blogged about that spontaneous trip, but I can’t find it now; oh well) we decided to browse around in Borders. I picked up two books on graphic design to help me get a jump start on creativity. I’ve been trying to find some books like these, and I think they’ll really help. Paul and I have been talking a lot about our future, and how to best prepare for unexpected events. Paul has been successful at picking up some contract work, but I don’t think I currently have skills to create some great freelance designs (worth paying for). I really would like to spend this time pre-children working on my skills both creatively and professionally, because we are planning for me to go freelance once we have children. I just don’t want to be caught unexpectedly and scrambling to find clients. Ideally, I would love to do freelance eventually instead of an 8-5 job, since freelance is more flexible and often pays more. However, I don’t think I have the self-discipline for it yet and for now, I’d rather have a job. Goals to work towards, though.

Anyways, these are things Paul and I have been talking about and praying about, which is part of the reason why I moved my blog to the new domain name. ashleydesign.org will become my design website, where I will house my (updated) portfolio, and be a place that potential clients can find out more about me. I’m actually quite excited about all this. With Paul’s help, I installed Joomla! on Saturday night, and started to play around with it. I don’t really have anything yet but I’m excited about the possibilities. Stay tuned for more. :-)

Paul and I enjoyed staying up till 4am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. We weren’t really tired… I had Coke for dinner (bad Ashley!)… and ultimately, we are night owls who love the nighttime. I remembered all the many, many nights we’d stay up until 3 or 4 in Gerig lounge, and I am so glad we still are able to do it now, though very infrequently. We had many delightful conversations about missions (inward focus vs. outward focus), the emergent church (I’ve been doing some research about it, at Joanna’s prompting), politics (which, at our house, are very Libertarian), and blogging. I enjoy talking to Paul about these kinds of things.

Despite the wonderful evening, we had a bit of trouble getting up for church on Sunday! :-) But we made it and I’m glad we did, because we were able to talk to one of the deacons about redesigning our church’s website. We were encouraged by their openness, and we’re really excited to work on that. We spent the rest of Sunday being lazy and NOT doing any of the multiple things on our to do list. However, we DID go shopping – finally!! – and I made dinner on Sunday night, and have dinner planned for the rest of the week. Have I mentioned how much I really dislike cooking?

I also finished a post I have been working on for months. (I know! What a shock!) I am a bit nervous to post it, because it’s controversial in nature… I’m trying to gather the courage… It will probably go up sometime this week, since I am completely done with it and have read it through so many times I’ve practically memorized it. So, yeah, I guess stay tuned for that too.

Okay this post ended up being longer than I anticipated. :-) I guess I’m covered for the whole next week. ;-) Just kidding! By the way, this weekend Paul and I found out that the Academy Awards and the Oscars are the same thing! Who knew!


Puppy Bowl III

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PUPPYBOWLIII007_210x200.jpgSo I came across this post today and just had to share it with y’all. (Note new spelling. (Joanna))

While most of America was tuned into the Super Bowl to watch the Colts kick butt (oh yeah), Animal Planet was featuring Puppy Bowl III. You just have to go check it out for yourself. And be sure to root for your favorite puppy.

For all you cat lovers out there – check out the Kitty Half-Time Show. Kittens running around and playing. What could be any cuter??


the extra push

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Originally published on February 20th, 2007 at Onward & Upward

When I was in middle and high school, I ran track. I started as a sprinter, and then moved to long distance. I didn’t excel at either – I think my race was more the 400 m – but I stuck with the long distance for a long time. Sometimes it was so hard to keep going… Panting heavily, my chest aching, my muscles screaming for respite. Those races would take a lot out of me, as I pushed myself to make it to the finish line. I would talk to myself to keep me from quitting. One passage from Isaiah kept me going:

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

- Isaiah 40: 28-31

There are two passages of Scripture I always read outloud whenever I am feeling down or discouraged: Psalm 139 and Isaiah 40. I would cling to the latter chapter when I was running. The idea of soaring like an eagle… running and not growing weary! I must admit, as I came panting to the finish line, I rarely felt that I was soaring. That’s something I look forward to being able to do in Heaven!

This passage doesn’t refer to just physical strength, though. How many times do we feel weary from life? Tired of running… Worn out from whatever trials we may be facing… “Even youths grow tired and weary…” For me, some of the biggest trials have been waiting… Waiting for the time to be right, waiting for the next bend in the road. I’ve gotten tired of the monotony of daily life during those times.

The beauty of this passage is that it offers hope to those of us who are tired and weary. Have you not heard? The LORD doesn’t grow tired. He always has the strength needed to get to the end. And the best news of all – He freely gives it to those who “hope in Him”. They will feel strengthened, renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. Wow!

God has blessed me a lot – I haven’t had to deal with some of the difficult trials that others have dealt with. In some ways, I don’t feel that I can truly speak of the wonderful strength that God has to give us. I can only offer what His word says, through His prophet Isaiah… He knows you don’t have the strength to finish on your own. That’s why He is standing there right next to you, giving you a water bottle and giving you that extra boost of energy you need to make it to the finish line!

Can I say it again? Our God is so good.