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LaLele

Friend of Abigail's Miracle/ Insert Yourself into the Bible

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LaLele

I am a long time lurker and only occasional poster, but I just had to talk about this with someone.

This blog entry is from a fundie Catholic. She is an online friend of Abigail and they had medically fragile babies around similar times.

Here is the entry I want to discuss: aknottedlife.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-story-of-lazarus-for-james-3rd.html

The family and friends of James sent word to Jesus, saying, “Master, the one You love is ill.†When Jesus heard this He said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.â€

Now Jesus loved Travis and his wife and James. So when He heard that he was ill, He remained for 61 minutes in the place where He was. Then after this He said to Archbishop Sheen, St. James, St. Linus, and His blessed mother, "Let us go back to the NICU.â€

When Jesus arrived, He found that James had already been in the tomb for 61 minutes. When Travis and Bonnie heard that Jesus was coming, they went to meet Him; but others sat at home. They said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, our son would not have died. But even now we know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.â€

Jesus said to them, “Your son will rise.†They said, “We know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.â€

Jesus told them, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?â€

They said to him, “Yes, Lord. We have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God,

the One who is coming into the world.â€

When Jesus saw them weeping and the friends and family who had come with them weeping, He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?†They said to Him, “Sir, come and see.â€

And Jesus wept.

So everyone said, “See how He loved him.†But some of them said, “Could not the One who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this baby would not have died?â€

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a crib, and it was surrounded by equipment. Jesus said, “Take away the equipment.†Bonnie, the dead boy’s mother, said to Him, “Lord, by now there will be severe injury; he had been dead for 61 minutes.â€

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?â€

So they took away the equipment. And Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You for hearing Me. I know that You always hear Me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.†And when He had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “James Fulton, come out!†The dead boy came out, tied hand and foot with wires and tubes and IVs, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.â€

Now many of the friends and family who had come to Travis and Bonnie and seen what He had done began to believe in Him.

The original story is here:

learningtobeanewlywed.blogspot.com/2011/03/today-james-is-6-months-old.html

James was my 4th pregnancy in 3 years. His conception was improbable and so Travis and I felt certain that God wanted this baby for a reason. My pregnancy was healthy with only moderate gestational diabetes which I kept under control through diet and exercise. He was a planned home birth, as my other two children had both been born at home and baby and I both were healthy. My labor with James was a relatively easy 8 hours and he had a strong, healthy heartbeat the entire time. However, fetal heart monitoring stopped while I was pushing, and it was probably during that time the true knot in his umbilical cord tightened. He was delivered at 1:48am on September 16, 2010 a stillborn.

Having no pulse, chest compressions and mouth to mouth were given while we waited for EMT's. He was baptised by his father and we named him James Fulton (for St. James the Greater and Archbishop Sheen). During transport to the hospital EMT's noted minimal electrical activity of the brain. An attempt to insert a line to the marrow of his shin and deliver epinephrine (in the hopes of restarting his heart) failed and left his right leg with a severe chemical burn. James arrived at the Emergency Department "pulseless, apneic, unresponsive." He was blue, "in PEA (pulseless electrical activity) on the monitor", and was "in cardiac arrest." At 2:46am, he was still "pulseless with a heart rate of 48 on the monitor".

After going 56 minutes without significant oxygen flow, per the recommendation of the on-call neonatalogist, the ED team tried for five more minutes to restart James' heart. At five minutes, just when they went to call time of death, his heart began to beat on its own.

Because of his "severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy" and the multiple organ failure that was expected to result, James was cooled for three days in the NICU. It was expected that once James was warmed up he would only eat via feeding tube, breathe via ventilator, be blind, not be able to support, move, or control his own body, not be able to communicate or emote. Some thought his right leg would have to be partially or completely amputated because of the chemical burn. Many believed he would be a so-called vegetable for the rest of his life. Some did not even expect him to live to be a week old, which is why he was confirmed Linus by Msgr. Bliss on his birthday, once he was in the NICU.

Once he was rewarmed, EEGs and MRIs were done. The EEG (9/28/10) results: "suppression of the electrocerebral activity is an indication that there is a significant brain dysfunction." The MRI (9/24/10) results: "subtle signal changes... may represent ischemic change." James' brain was injured because of the lack of oxygen flow - he'd been practically dead for over an hour!

However, a second EEG (10/19/10) showed improvement and "risk of low threshold of seizures". During a follow up visit with the nurologist, we were told that James' further improvement since hospital discharge was "very impressive" and he will probably never have another seizure in his life. A follow up MRI (12/14/10) showed: "No encephalomalacic change is seen in the area of previous signal abnormality in the frontal parietal regions. No acute intracranial abnormality." James' brain had healed.

So here is my problem with her: What about the medical professionals that worked tirelessly on her baby for 61 minutes??? Why does Bishop Sheen get credit for this baby's recovery? This woman made a (in hind sight) horrible choice to have a home birth 40 minutes away from a decent hospital. Yes, most homebirths are safe, but hers was the poster birth for what could go wrong. She made a bad decision, a horrible thing happened to her baby, medical professionals saved him, and a would be saint gets credit? I am very happy her son is doing well (although he definitely has some residual side effects of anoxia), but give credit where credit is due.

Second, WTH is that Lazarus redux about. Bible fan fiction? Sigh.

If you keep reading you will see she has squeezed out 2 more kids during the 3 years since her son's birth. She admits she cannot handle NFP, claims not to want anymore kids, but is too pious to resort to condoms. She has 5 kids in 7 years.

Her blog is full of woe is me, but most of it is her own doing. :angry-banghead:

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dora

Wow. I would definately do the baptism in that situation, and give credit to God, Jesus and whichever saints I felt had played a part (I'm Catholic too, can you tell?) But I would also give full credit to the amazing hospital staff who used their skills and experience to save my baby. I have had two babies in NICU and cannot thank them enough for the amazing work they do.

The Bible fanfic is weird, and maybe blasphemous. Do not like.

Also, I am leary of believing people who say that their preemie/NICU baby is 'fine' so early on. My kids were fine in that they could breathe and feed, but we still under care for years to monitor various things. At the age of seven my daughter seems to have no ill-effects from her prematurity but my son does - although I suppose it couldn't be confirmed whether his issues are related to his prematurity or would have been there anyway. How can she be certain his brain has fully healed when he hasn't learnt to read, ride a bike etc, yet? (Not to be mean, I really hope for his sake that he is absolutely fine.)

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Becoming_Me

It is common to hear people change verses to put their name in it so it is more personal to them, such as, God so loved John that He gave His only son, or, God will never leave John, but logically speaking this works because if God really does love the world then he does love John since John is part of the world (if you are not a Calvinist, of course). But rewriting a whole Bible narrative is beyond strange. :pink-shock: I hope I never read something like that again.

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singsingsing

Bonnie really makes me sad. She seems like a nice, down to earth sort of person, but she has bought hardcore into strict Catholic doctrine. She's another one who refuses to use birth control even though she's had traumatic birth experiences, NFP doesn't work for her, it's hurting her marriage, she obviously does not want to get pregnant again (she was not happy about her last pregnancy) and she now has postpartum depression. I also don't believe her when she says there's nothing wrong with her son now. I know it's hard to judge just from photographs, but something looks off about him. :(

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LaLele

I have mutual IRL friends with her and know that her son is in various habilitative services, so while he is living and definitely in a better place than he might have been, he is not totally "cured."

I used to be fb friends with her til I could no longer stand her use of James as a prolife propaganda tool. Before she was fundie she was pretty normal, the left turn she has taken over a 9 year span is mind boggling to me.

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Arete
Wow. I would definately do the baptism in that situation, and give credit to God, Jesus and whichever saints I felt had played a part (I'm Catholic too, can you tell?) But I would also give full credit to the amazing hospital staff who used their skills and experience to save my baby. I have had two babies in NICU and cannot thank them enough for the amazing work they do.

The Bible fanfic is weird, and maybe blasphemous. Do not like. Also, I am leary of believing people who say that their preemie/NICU baby is 'fine' so early on. My kids were fine in that they could breathe and feed, but we still under care for years to monitor various things. At the age of seven my daughter seems to have no ill-effects from her prematurity but my son does - although I suppose it couldn't be confirmed whether his issues are related to his prematurity or would have been there anyway. How can she be certain his brain has fully healed when he hasn't learnt to read, ride a bike etc, yet? (Not to be mean, I really hope for his sake that he is absolutely fine.)

Same here. I am not a Biblical literalist by any stretch of the imagination, but that whole rewriting was one big WTH. Pretty much in keeping with the reaction I had when I found out cheerleaders put Biblical verses on banners for the football team to run through in Texas. In my tradition, we bury prayer books and Bibles after they get so old they are no longer usable. The inserting your name into a word for word copying of a Bible story? It's just....not done in my part of the Christian spectrum.

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rward

Same here. I am not a Biblical literalist by any stretch of the imagination, but that whole rewriting was one big WTH. Pretty much in keeping with the reaction I had when I found out cheerleaders put Biblical verses on banners for the football team to run through in Texas. In my tradition, we bury prayer books and Bibles after they get so old they are no longer usable. The inserting your name into a word for word copying of a Bible story? It's just....not done in my part of the Christian spectrum.

It's not done in any part of the Christian spectrum I'm familiar with, certainly not the RCC part of it, which I was raised in.

My older sister went from liberal Catholic to strict Catholic and led my younger sister into it, too. Unfortunately, my younger sister has an anxiety disorder and doing NFP led her to a suicide attempt. Now she's on BC and Prozac and is a much more liberal Catholic, but right up until the suicide attempt, she was talking about how great NFP was and prolife this and that ad nauseum. I get that sense from this person, too.

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singsingsing

The worst thing is that people like this probably feel trapped. They've been preaching the beauty and glory and necessity of NFP to everyone for so long - they probably feel if they back out now, they'll lose their friends, their followers, their standing in their religious community, and be faced with rejection and scorn. I really think Jennifer Fulwiler has this problem, too. They've invested so much of themselves into insisting that this is The Way that even now, when it's become clear that NFP is not only NOT working for them but is hurting them and their families physically and emotionally (in Jen's case, in a life-threatening way), they simply cannot admit they were wrong, or things changed, and maybe this isn't the best way after all.

Nope. The Catholic Church is Never Wrong. If they decide they don't have to use NFP, in their view that calls into question everything else the Catholic Church prescribes. If Pope Francis said tomorrow that NFP wasn't necessary and Catholics could start using birth control, I honestly don't know if these women would listen to him. They're so insanely devoted to this ideal.

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slickcat79
I have mutual IRL friends with her and know that her son is in various habilitative services, so while he is living and definitely in a better place than he might have been, he is not totally "cured."

I used to be fb friends with her til I could no longer stand her use of James as a prolife propaganda tool. Before she was fundie she was pretty normal, the left turn she has taken over a 9 year span is mind boggling to me.

How does she relate her son's story to being prolife? Is it one of those "never trust doctors, the are always wrong because MIRACLES11!1!" situations, where she wants to convince people not to abort in the case of poor fetal diagnosis? Bethany Lane had a post kind of like that the other day, and I was like, how about a little respect for the people who have worked so hard to fix your medical problems? It's annoying.

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LaLele

How does she relate her son's story to being prolife? Is it one of those "never trust doctors, the are always wrong because MIRACLES11!1!" situations, where she wants to convince people not to abort in the case of poor fetal diagnosis? Bethany Lane had a post kind of like that the other day, and I was like, how about a little respect for the people who have worked so hard to fix your medical problems? It's annoying.

Yes to the "never trust doctors"; she goes on and on about how her son was made in the image of God and how James teaches the lesson that there is always potential for miracles.

This always annoyed me because her son was a normal baby in utero. She didn't have to make a choice to carry a baby with potentially severe brain damage, she just got one at the end. When she compares herself to moms who terminate for fetal health reasons I get itchy and stabby.

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GeoBQn

She does speaking engagements about her son.

aknottedlife.blogspot.com/p/speaking.html

Is there a reason she's obsessed with Fulton Sheen? She gave her son the middle name "Fulton," she has a spot on her blog for the "Sheenazing Awards," talks about him in her speeches about her son, and has a section devoted to him on the ministry she founded. She also claims that her prayers to him are responsible for her son coming back to life, and she submitted the story as a miracle for his beatification. Keep in mind, Sheen died in 1979.

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LaLele

The Peoria Diocese has been pushing to get Sheen sainted for a while. Sheen was ordained in Peoria so we hear about him a lot down here. Maybe that is how he popped into her head during her crisis.

Her "miracle" was the one that the Diocese used to put Sheen up for sainthood, so she is pretty attached to him on her new blog. The vatican's investigation of her miracle was actually pretty interesting in a *OMG do people still do this* sort of way.

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LaLele

Here is a bit about Sheen beatification: www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/archbis ... y-quickly/

His cause for sainthood was opened in 2002. An authenticated miracle is now needed for Ven. Fulton Sheen to be beatified, the last step before canonization.

Msgr. Deptula said that three “fully documented alleged miracles†attributed to Archbishop Sheen’s intercession have been collected. However, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Saints asked those presenting his cause, known as “postulators,†to submit only one case.

The postulators chose to submit the case of James Fulton Engstrom, a boy born apparently stillborn in September 2010 to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield. The child’s mother and her husband prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son.

Although the baby showed no pulse for an hour after his birth, his heart started beating and he escaped serious medical problems.

“If all goes well, that miracle will be presented to the Holy Father for his authentication,†Msgr. Deptula explained. “Only God works a miracle, but only the Church can authenticate a miracle.â€

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GeoBQn

This entry is so frustrating, especially the comments. One woman hasn't had a period since 2001, and many more expect to be pregnant again when their youngest babies are 5 months old. And yet, they continue to do something that they know doesn't work. Children shouldn't be a "cross to bear."

aknottedlife.blogspot.com/2013/02/kids-are-great-and-no-sex-for-months.html

From the comments:

Alison T

Congratulations, Bonnie. I don't know you, but from reading your blog, you come across as a wonderful woman, wife, and mother. I honestly believe that - you are a great person, and this new little person you and God are creating is lucky to have you for a mama. :)

That said, my heart breaks for you over the NFP issue. If this is your choice, let it be your choice, and not the choice imposed on you by the Catholic Church. I and millions of other Christians truly believe, after much thoughtful prayer and seeking, that using birth control in situations like this is NOT a sin. It's kind of like responsible gun ownership - it's not wrong to own a gun, it's wrong to have a glib attitude about it. It's completely possible to be open to life while using birth control for the sake of your own mental and physical health, your family life, your marriage, and your relationship with God. There are many wonderful things about NFP, but sometimes it does more harm than good. I believe that the Catholic Church is seriously misguided on this point. God will love you, cherish you, and support you, whether you line up perfectly with the rules of the Church or not. It doesn't matter what other people think of you. All that matters is the grace and love of God. God bless you, Bonnie.

Bonnie

Alison,

I appreciate your concern but using birth control to control birth is ALWAYS a sin. The Catholic Church and I are not being glib.

Also, I have no idea how it can be possible to be open to life when you're using contraception, especially items like the pill and IUDs which cause abortions (life begins at conception - not implantation) or sterilizations. It is possible to be open to life and refrain from sex for periods of time.

Also, I appreciate that you have prayed about this but there is only ONE way to interpret Scripture and there can be only ONE Truth on moral matters such as sex and birth control. How you personally feel doesn't sway me. As Fulton Sheen said, "The truth is the truth even if no one believes it. An error is an error even if everybody believes it."

Finally, "All that matters is the grace and love of God." It's true that they matter but my reaction to those things matter as well. God established one true church and it is the Catholic Church. He guides it with His Holy Spirit and none of her teachings are misguided. Catholics in the Church may be misguided at times but not the Church Herself. Some of her teachingers are harder to follow than others, especially at different times in our lives, but that doesn't mean I should disregard Christ's teachings on sex, procreation, and marriage. I should follow His command and pick up my cross and follow Him.

I know you're trying to be helpful but you are the one who is misguided and I don't want your good intentions misguiding anyone else.

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Arete
Also, I appreciate that you have prayed about this but there is only ONE way to interpret Scripture and there can be only ONE Truth on moral matters such as sex and birth control. How you personally feel doesn't sway me. As Fulton Sheen said, "The truth is the truth even if no one believes it. An error is an error even if everybody believes it."

First off, scripture has absolutely nothing to say about birth control. Nothing. Nada. Bumpkiss. I particularly love her references to "the Catholic Church and I", like she and the CC together were the first and last word in Christian ethics. Is she another convert? Nasty piece of work, this one. The test is always in how you treat people who do not agree with you. She fails, miserably.

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LaLele

Yes, she is a convert.

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slickcat79

Yes to the "never trust doctors"; she goes on and on about how her son was made in the image of God and how James teaches the lesson that there is always potential for miracles.

This always annoyed me because her son was a normal baby in utero. She didn't have to make a choice to carry a baby with potentially severe brain damage, she just got one at the end. When she compares herself to moms who terminate for fetal health reasons I get itchy and stabby.

That irritates me too. I hate-read a prolife FB page sometimes, and one of the admins is a 16yo boy who is blind. He goes on and on about how "proaborts" would have wanted him to be aborted...except he became blind due to a retinal condition as a toddler. Even if there were people out there who believed people with disabilities should have been aborted, it wouldn't apply to him anyway :roll:

Yes, she is a convert.

Not even a tiny bit surprised.

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Nothing2CHere
Also, I have no idea how it can be possible to be open to life when you're using contraception, especially items like the pill and IUDs which cause abortions (life begins at conception - not implantation) or sterilizations. It is possible to be open to life and refrain from sex for periods of time.

People, especially Catholics, who think like this make me want to :pull-hair: One of the founding ideologies of the Catholic Church is that Jesus was born to a VIRGIN. If a Catholic can accept that a woman who had never had sex before could get pregnant and give birth to a live human child, why can they not believe that if God really wants you to be pregnant, no little birth control pill is going to stop it?

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argypargy

People, especially Catholics, who think like this make me want to :pull-hair: One of the founding ideologies of the Catholic Church is that Jesus was born to a VIRGIN. If a Catholic can accept that a woman who had never had sex before could get pregnant and give birth to a live human child, why can they not believe that if God really wants you to be pregnant, no little birth control pill is going to stop it?

I know we've discussed it again and again, but the pill does not cause abortions!!!! :angry-banghead:

When a woman is on the pill, she doesn't ovulate. That means she doesn't release an egg, meaning that there is no egg available for the sperm, meaning no conception! No wonder NFP doesn't work for her. She doesn't even know how her body works.

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Verin Sedai

I know we've discussed it again and again, but the pill does not cause abortions!!!! :angry-banghead:

When a woman is on the pill, she doesn't ovulate. That means she doesn't release an egg, meaning that there is no egg available for the sperm, meaning no conception! No wonder NFP doesn't work for her. She doesn't even know how her body works.

What I've been taught through my self-researched NFP/FAM learning is that breakthrough ovulation can and does occur on birth control, but that it's such a miniscule chance that only the ovulation blocker would fail and not the endometrium thinner (the NFP fear is that a little zygote will find its way to a hostile uterus and thus "die" by virtue of failing to implant), that it's not really worth worrying about from a pro-life perspective. I don't take BC pills for other health reasons, but I'm not morally opposed to other forms of BC.

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argypargy

What I've been taught through my self-researched NFP/FAM learning is that breakthrough ovulation can and does occur on birth control, but that it's such a miniscule chance that only the ovulation blocker would fail and not the endometrium thinner (the NFP fear is that a little zygote will find its way to a hostile uterus and thus "die" by virtue of failing to implant), that it's not really worth worrying about from a pro-life perspective. I don't take BC pills for other health reasons, but I'm not morally opposed to other forms of BC.

I guess I can see that maybe a little. However, there are many more "abortions" when one isn't using BC at all. Things like failure to implant, chemical pregnancies, miscarriages, etc. could all be considered abortions using fundie logic.

I, too, use FAM, but am trying to get pregnant now. When I do get pregnant and have child #2, DH will get the 'ol snip-snip.

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singsingsing

You'll all be pleased to know that Bonnie's kids are now sleeping in real beds on actual mattresses. Yeah. Apparently they weren't before:

aknottedlife.com/2014/01/scuzzy-day-productive-day.html

Sunday afternoon Travis made a loft bed for Bennet, who now has a regular mattress. It took him less than 3 hours to make it, because he's awesome. It still needs to be painted, which is my job.

James has inherited the Thomas bed to sleep on, instead of a crib mattress on the floor, and Joseph has inherited the crib and will no longer have to sleep in the bouncy chair.

All of this is good because James usually sleeps on the floor but ends up in our bed or on our floor. Bennet also usually ends up in our bed, as does Lydia. But now Travis and I each have a twin sized mattress we can retreat to when L, B, and J have taken over our bed.

Can't help but wonder if she's still terrified of getting pregnant and trying to abstain from all sexual relations with her husband because NFP doesn't work for her... :(

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docmom
You'll all be pleased to know that Bonnie's kids are now sleeping in real beds on actual mattresses. Yeah. Apparently they weren't before:

aknottedlife.com/2014/01/scuzzy-day-productive-day.html

Can't help but wonder if she's still terrified of getting pregnant and trying to abstain from all sexual relations with her husband because NFP doesn't work for her... :(

Infants should not sleep unattended in a bouncy seat. They can suffer from positional asphyxia (many heartbreaking cases in the literature). If you don't have room in your home to allow your infant to sleep safely at night, you should refrain from having any more infants until you do.

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singsingsing

Part of me feels bad for saying it, but you'd think she'd be extra paranoid given that her 'miracle' son (not the one she had sleeping in the bouncy seat) was born without a heartbeat and it took something like an hour to resuscitate him at the hospital. I definitely had a WTF moment when I read her blase post about the sleeping arrangements.

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yetanothermeg

I've been reading Bonnie for quite awhile. She seems like a very nice and sincere person. She also seems terribly depressed and trapped in a prison of her own making. Its like she has painted herself into a corner with the whole no birth control thing. I just don't understand the whole "nfp is awesome!!!" trend in fundie Catholic blogging. They are all these young single or newlywed women and I can't help but think, "ya, you think its all great now, just wait until you have 4 or 5 kids in quick succession." Bonnie is the postergirl for what happens to a woman who has 5 kids in quick succession. Christy from Fountains of Home is another one. Sooo overwhelmed, so depressed, yet sooo dedicated to the Theology of the Body (no birth control, no masturbation, the sexual act has to 'complete' with penis in the vagina). I mean, even before birth control devices were invented men would pull-out, couples would engage in frottage, oral sex, etc. There are so many things they could do that would lesson their chances for pregnancy and would entail no birth control devices AT ALL. But no, gotta be martyrs to a philosophy. At least Bonnie isn't homeschooling too, I will give her that. So many of the fundie Catholic bloggers think Catholic school isn't Catholic enough. Bonnie's oldest is at Catholic school and James goes to special education preschool through the local school district.

For the posters who know her, I'm interested in how she came to convert.

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