by Jen McManus
Since last fall, BOMA members have had the opportunity, via technology, to gather with other instructors across the country and beyond. Many of our teachers are the only NFP instructors for miles around, and it can be difficult to find other teachers that they can discuss the topic of NFP with. I was one of those teachers who didn't know anyone else besides the three people who were with me during the teacher training. Knowing this and knowing that other teachers were in the same predicament as myself, I approached the BOMA Board with the idea of starting something that could bridge this gap. Not only did we all agree this would be a wonderful opportunity for our membership, but we knew that we wanted something that fed our membership regularly and kept us all energized. Hence, the Billings Fellowship Hour was born.
One of these meetings was themed, "Getting the Word Out." We discussed getting information to parishes, diocese, seminarians, and other church-related groups as well as how to be thankful to our priests who have allowed us to use parish space. We discussed the use of media, in particular, the two movies that are available to us through the BOMA website entitled "The Sexual Revolution" and "Unprotected." While speaking with others at this virtual fellowship meeting, some colleagues described their experience at Catholic conferences. After talking about this, we discussed how we all wished and hoped for more and better communications through our parishes, as well as how we could spread the word outside this select group. One of our supervisors shared she had success at the local Grange. Another teacher wondered about getting out to the IVF crowd. We bounced ideas around about getting involved in the natural living movement and where one might advertise or offer a class at an organic farmers conference or other types of events. We learned what ideas were successful, as well as which ones were not. We also discussed how we had not tried some ideas and wondered if other members had success with those ideas.
The next meeting was in Spanish, and I hear it was well attended with a very lively conversation. I wish I could speak Spanish. It would be nice to figure out how to subtitle or do something soon so English speakers can attend or watch a recording of a Spanish meeting and visa versa since we want all to be included. Our first meeting even had a Billings teacher join us from near Russia!
In April, our theme was social distancing and distance teaching. At this meeting, we had present the chair of the education subcommittee. We were able to review the protocol of teaching remotely and where to find that information for further review. We discussed the difficulties and advantages of Skype, Zoom, and Face Time as examples. It seemed to be about double the attendees at this meeting than the first, so there were more experiences and helpful tips, especially for me, who is NOT tech-savvy. I, for one, feel better about it after this meeting.
Humble Pie was the theme of our most recent gathering. Several seasoned teachers were reminding us never to be embarrassed to ask the simple questions. These great ladies did not have supervisors when they were new teachers in the early years when our supervision system was not yet developed. They stressed how good and essential it is to keep in contact with supervisors.
We listened to anecdotes about charting with funny words and how to figure it all out. We also talked about always asking questions and never to take a chart at face value. Asking questions like "What do you mean by XYZ?" or "Was it different or mostly the same?" are good questions to ask. All of this helps us to remember we are empowering women and couples with education about how God wonderfully made them.
We had some die-hard teachers on this call that several of us stuck around an extra hour talking about virtual conferences and taking advantage of Joy Defelice, R.N.'s information about the Light Factor.
You cannot put all this into a report, nor can you replicate the community building of being at these live meetings. With this being said, if you are interested in becoming a BOMA member, we'd love for you to join us and share your needed insights. If you are a member, we'd love to have you join us for our next (free for members) Billings Fellowship Hour!
A couple of exciting opportunities are available for you to hear Dr. Pilar Vigil. Check out these awesome events with her that FEMM and TeenSTAR are hosting.
In the spirit of today’s distance learning trend, FEMM is offering a set of three talks by Dr. Pilar Vigil of Santiago, Chile, for $75. The talks are Ovulation as a Sign of Health,
The Ovarian Continuum, and Cycle Patterns.
To register for the 3-course bundle, use this link.
We are pleased to announce that our book for clergy, A Preachable Message, will soon be available as an ebook! When ready, each download will be $10. www.boma-usa.org/store
If you would like to donate a box of 80 Preachable Message books to a seminary or diocese, we are pleased to offer them to you for only the cost of postage, which typically is less than $20. If you prefer a smaller quantity, we have a limited time special of $5 per book plus postage. To order, please email email@example.com. Hurry! We only have a few boxes available!
“Leadership is about finding your unique blueprint and expressing that courageously, confidently, and vulnerably.” ~ Jennifer Mulhooland
This summer, we will be electing three people for the BOMA-USA Board of Directors. We are currently looking for nominees for the board. Could one of them be for you?
What is Our Mission?
BOMA-USA provides the simplest and most personalized care in fertility education with a legacy of evidence-based effectiveness. We desire to bring knowledge and education to couples and those wanting to learn how to chart their natural signs based on scientific studies.
What Are We Looking for in Board Members?
We are looking for anyone who has a passion for spreading the great news of the Billings Method! We are looking for people who want to make a difference in the lives of couples. Overall, we are looking for a team-player who will be willing to share their ideas, help BOMA-USA thrive and grow, and care deeply about our mission.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Have?
Being a supporter of the Billings Ovulation Method is key to serving on the BOMA-USA Board. Ideally, we want board members to have experienced one of our Teacher Trainings even if they did not complete the certification process. We also want board members to be paid members of BOMA-USA and be willing to donate monthly. s
What Does Being on the Board of Directors Entail?
The BOMA-USA Board of Directors is a working board that meets remotely each month for about 90 minutes. We also have an annual in-person meeting over a weekend. The expenses related to that meeting are expected to be donated by board members with the exception of food.
We are a growing organization, and with that we have many opportunities that present themselves. Also, with being a working board, we are looking for members to help with different committees/task forces.
When elected to the board, each board member serves a three-year term, and then can choose to run for one more three-year term. If elected that person will serve two terms, equally six years.
How do I Nominate Myself or Someone Else?
If you are interested in running for the election that will take place in July, please email Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of someone who would give fantastic insight, help, and guidance to BOMA, please contact them and ask them if you can nominate them. If so, have them connect with Erica.
Lastly, we are always looking for board members with different skills. BOMA-USA benefits when we have people in all areas and stages of life. If you are thinking this sounds like something you are interested in, get in contact with us. We want to hear from you!
Carlin and Dave Gould
Q. Tell us about your life as co-director of the Diocese of Santa Rosa Office of Marriage & Family Life Office with your husband, Deacon Dave Gould. How did that come to be?
Throughout our marriage, we have frequently presented in marriage preparation, from presenting at Catholic Engaged Encounters to weekly marriage prep sessions. We have always taught the NFP sections. In going through the diaconate training, word got out that we had an NFP background. Our bishop wanted to establish a new Marriage and Family Life Office with the first goal being to update and rewrite our diocesan marriage prep policy. Several months after ordination, we got a call from Bishop Vasa asking us to be co-directors of that office. How can you say no to your bishop? We have been the co-director for two years now.
Q. Where and when did you and Dave meet?
Dave and I met in college. We were both Natural Resources Management majors. What could be more important than to manage the natural resource of your fertility than knowing how to keep your body healthy by using NFP?
Q. What led you to become Catholic?
Dave has always been a very faithful Catholic. I wanted to be united to him not only in marriage, but in faith too. I took RCIA classes about a year after we were married. I like to say I got the quadruple whammy on that Holy Saturday Vigil; baptism, confirmation, first communion, and retroactive matrimony. It has been a wonderful adventure, and I am continually learning more about this wonderful faith of ours.
Q. How are you managing marriage prep, RCIA, and other programs during this COVID–19 era?
Some of our programs were already offered online, though most are in person. We are definitely learning how to “Zoom.” We are being flexible and using it “at the pastor’s discretion.” Most engaged couples we have been working with are getting married in July or later, so we have some time to be flexible.
Q. What is it like being the wife of a Catholic deacon?
It has been a great adventure. I’m very proud of Dave when I see him assisting at the altar, reading the Gospel, and preaching at Mass. Outside of liturgy, we teach baptismal classes, RCIA, Bible studies and, of course, share our unique role at the chancery as married co-directors of the Marriage and Family Life Office. We have done some speaking and will be a deacon witness couple for an upcoming deacon workshop on NFP for another diocese. We have met some wonderful, faithful people through the diaconate process who have become good friends. All that, and I get to iron his albs too!
Q. What about the rest of your family?
Using NFP helped us plan our family. We have three children: our son, Galen, and his wife, Jess, live in St. Joseph, MO, our daughter, Timithie, and her husband, Nick, and our two granddaughters, Eva and Eleanor, live in Altadena, CA, and our daughter, Katrina, lives in Burbank, CA. We are also caregivers for both our 92-year-old mothers who live in care facilities here in Sonoma. We haven’t been able to physically visit for two months now because of COVID-19. We have appreciated technology, so we can Facetime or Zoom with them.
Q. You have been a Billings teacher for many years. Were you always committed to Billings, or did you switch from another NFP method?
I was the “none” (no religious affiliation) hippy chick who first learned Billings in 1979, just a few years after the method was first taught in the U.S. It was so simple to learn, and I was looking at it from a health perspective. We used it to postpone pregnancy for the first two years of our marriage. With Dave being a State Park Ranger, we moved several times in his career. After our first child was born, I wanted a refresher, but there were no Billings teachers in our area. I learned the sympto-thermal method, but forget to take my temperature after being up all night nursing an infant! Then, I found a Creighton Method teacher, but couldn’t fit my intuitive knowledge of my body into the standardized recording system of that method. With three children and another move, I had the opportunity to become a Billings teacher learning from a VHS video series (“What Every Woman Should Know” with June and Roy Frakes). I know, I’m telling my age! I have never looked back and have felt Billings is the best method out there. Like our new PowerPoint program, Billings is “Pure and Simple.” Billings has it all, the science, the simplicity, the ease of use. I also had the pleasure to personally meet and speak with the Drs. Billings when they came to Santa Rosa years ago. Their humbleness and love were visible in how they talked about the method.
Q. Living in California, in the midst of a culture that is kind of unique, what kind of reaction do you get from engaged couples when you talk about the Billings Method?
Yes, this is the land of fruits and nuts; both produce as well as personalities! Most of the couples I have personally worked with are very open to learning the method or at least learning more and asking lots of questions. Our biggest challenge is finding people willing to teach. Our diocese, whichincludes the west half of the state from San Francisco to the Oregon border, has only three Billings teachers. We have to find those willing to be teachers and witnesses to the truth and beauty of living the way we were designed.
Q. Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do outside of work?
In my spare moments, of which there seems to be a lot more of lately, I enjoy reading, my daily walks, needlecrafts of all sorts, working in the garden, and cooking. Fortunately, Dave enjoys the fruits of these activities, especially the cooking part.
Q. We have been very grateful for the time you have carved out of your packed schedule to serve as a board member. As an outgoing board member, what would you say to encourage others to run for our upcoming election?
I have met and gotten to know many wonderful people by being on the board. It has helped me stay connected. The organization is moving in a great direction, and any current board member or new board member will be part of this dynamic change as we move forward to reach more people and teach them about the beauty of the Billings Ovulation Method.
Q. Lastly, being that you live in the heart of wine country in Sonoma, do you visit the vineyards very often? And, if so, what is your favorite vineyard? Is there anything wine lovers should consider ordering?
We are missing being able to go to our local wineries to sip a glass and enjoy the view, as they are not considered an “essential” business! Says who?! We enjoy Trinitas Winery in Napa and Roche Winery here in Sonoma owned by our good friends. We enjoy a good Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc during the summer listening to the fountain on the patio and watching our garden grow. We also like a good Cabernet in front of the fire in winter over a hot pasta dish. Of course, the best part is the friends and family who are with us when we are enjoying the moment. Cheers, Salud, Probst, Na Zdrowie!
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.