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.