Category Archives: Uncategorized

Uncategorized

No, You’re Not Crazy

August 12, 2022

“No, you’re not crazy!”

I have said this statement, most especially to women, about 2843820 times.  Literally.

In my time as a FertilityCare Practitioner (FCP) with the Creighton Model System (CrMS), I said this.  A LOT.  I would be sitting there, reviewing a woman’s chart (more to come on this soon) with her or with her and her fiancee/husband, and she would look at me and realize that there was a real reason why she felt overwhelmed on certain days.  A real reason why she had trouble sleeping.  A real reason why she felt depressed.  Or why she felt like she wanted to eat EVERYTHING in sight.  Or why she just wanted to cry for seemingly no reason.

A typical conversation would go something like this:

Woman: “So you’re saying that my hormones may be the reason why I feel this way?  …you’re telling me that I’m not making this up.  …because sometimes I feel crazy.  Or just off.”
Me: “No, you’re not crazy.  Your body is experiencing fluctuations on a biochemical level as your hormone levels (typically including Progesterone) are dropping, and that affects everything, including your emotions.”
Woman:  “…really?!”
Me: “Yes.”
Woman: “Oh, wow.  Okay.”  (…all said while breathing a sigh of relief)

Once they hear of the work I do, women often approach me to ask me questions about their fertility.  (I’ll share funny stories soon.  Let’s just say that I prefer to know your name when I first meet you, especially before you start describing your cervical mucus to me.  …but to each her own, hahaha.).

The #1 resource I recommend in tandem with tracking your cycle is a PMS Symptom Chart.  In my time working at Hope Woman’s Clinic as a Creighton Model Practitioner, we would offer these to our clients to use in tandem with their charts.  Even if you use an app, I recommend tracking your PMS symptoms throughout your cycle.  I will elaborate more soon on how charting works and why I think that every woman should track her cycle in some way.  For now, I just wanted to share with you a tool that I have found helpful, both personally and professionally.

Yes, this requires discipline.  Yes, this requires paying attention.

I just want to say, though, that you are worth it.  You’re worth the time it takes (30-60 seconds) to mark this chart and monitor the symptoms you experience throughout the month.  Maybe you won’t do it for forever.  There are seasons in life, and some are more conducive to something like this.  But why not try it for a month or two?

To help you along, here are two reasons why I think this is important and helpful.

1.) Self-Knowledge:  To know yourself includes knowing and understanding the gift of your body and how it works.  I will be writing many more posts specifically about this topic, but I just wanted to offer this simple tool to you today.  Keep posted for more, but simply put, this is a tool that can help you to track some of the physical symptoms you are experiencing.  They may be connected to your cycle; they may not be.  But the only way to begin to find that out is by paying attention.  So here is a little tool to help you pay attention to what you’re feeling.  (And yes, how you feel physically affects everything:  mood, spiritual life, energy, relationships, decision-making, etc.  We are body-soul composite, and what a gift that is!  Just give it a try!)

2.) Your Health:  If these symptoms are actually connected to underlying issues within your  cycle, they can help your doctor to understand better what is going on underneath the surface.  A tool such as this helps you to monitor what your symptoms are, how severe they are, and how long they last.  All three of these things are important when trying to understand what your body is trying to tell you.

So here you are, a PMS Symptom Chart!  ::cue celebratory trumpet blasts::

Feel free to print it out or just to use it as a guide for what to look for and how to monitor your symptoms. Happy Tracking!

Note: Day 1 is Day 1 of your cycle, meaning the first day your period begins.

***Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and am not here to diagnose you.  I am just speaking from experience as a practitioner who works with women and doctors to help them understand what is actually going on within a woman’s body.  This tool can help you to navigate your health.  PMS is normal for 2-3 days before you begin your cycle, and it should be something that does not interfere greatly with your day-to-day activities.  If you experience PMS symptoms for more than 2-3 days and/or with a severity that disables you or keeps you from living your life as normal, please consult a physician.  Because of its foundation in science and the options available with medical protocols, charting with the Creighton Model System is the first step I would recommend.  See here for more details of the science behind it.  Contact Hope Woman’s Clinic if you are interested in more information and in getting started with a FertilityCare Center near you!

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Clean Beauty

As I am beginning to grow What Women Are, LLC, I have recently had to find alternate ways of making income. A friend of mine had invited me to consider becoming a consultant with BeautyCounter, and so working with these products and this company has recently become a reality for me. It was a hard decision for me because in my young adult years, I have encountered many different people trying to sell me things. Needless to say, I have not always liked it. In fact, you could say that I resented it.

Anyone who knows me realizes that I value relationship over a sale, not relationship for the sake of a sale. As a result, I wanted to make clear two things for anyone who might be interested in purchasing BeautyCounter products and has questions for me about them:

1.) With my education (PhD in Bioethics) and training, I acknowledge that my voice comes with a certain weight and influence. I take that seriously and consider it to be a true responsibility. As such, let me say in all transparency–buying certain kinds of makeup or skincare products is (most often) not a question of morality; it is certainly not a question of holiness.

This is important to me to make clear from the beginning because I have too often seen in various Christian circles these cultish emphases on particular products: clothing brands, hairstyles, etc. Holiness is not a question of external products or branding; it is a question of interior freedom and a call to love. No product can make a woman love better, and it is not in my interest to ever impose some false pretense into this conversation.

2.) Having said that, I am not someone who can sell a product unless I believe in the value and efficacy of its use. For me, if I do not believe in a product, then I feel as if I am essentially lying if I try to sell it to someone else.

My interest in BeautyCounter began in the practicality (for me) of investing in a skincare line (I’m looking at you COUNTERTIME!) that actually lasts a long time and with its consistent use allows me a tangible way to take care of myself and my skin everyday, especially since entering my 30’s. Having played sports intensely all of my life and having experienced multiple bad sun burns and lots of sun exposure, this is something I realized for me I needed to pay attention to. Though I used sunscreen through the years (Thanks, mom and dad! You were right!), my skin is still affected, and I’d like to find some way to take care of it.

When really pushed to decide if I would try this opportunity out, however, it came down to one thing–my passion for women and women’s health. In all of my research for my dissertation, I read article after article on the effects of various things that are considered to be endocrine disruptors, meaning that they, when absorbed or ingested in some way, have the power and capacity to disrupt the healthy functioning of the human endocrine system. This area of science remains one of my most pertinent areas of research and curiosity. As I learned that BeautyCounter advocates not only for healthier products but also for the education of the women who use the products, I began to believe in the quality of the company. Product supply without an emphasis on education would give me pause; women should be free to be informed and to choose based on the reality of what that truth makes apparent to them.

In addition, having worked as a retail associate at LOFT (Ann Taylor) for 2.5 years, I enjoyed the creativity of fashion as well as the opportunity to interact with many different kinds of women, all beautiful though extremely different. My hope is that my work with BeautyCounter will allow me to meet and work with even more women, from whom I can learn. Even more deeply, I hope that such an opportunity will provide spaces and places for me to talk with women about the science behind endocrine disruption and the options they have for spacing their children that do not shut down their reproductive systems or wreck havoc on their bodies, i.e. hormonal contraception.

All of this to say, I am here and working as a BeautyCounter consultant because it is connected to my larger work and because I am grateful for the opportunity to use my education in creative ways. If you would like more information on any Beautycounter products, please message me. Much of what I do will focus on education of women, so please let me know if you would like any articles or recent research that touches on any of the fields referred to in this post.

Lastly, I am not here to judge. I have proudly purchased and used products like Noxzema for years because my great grandmother and mother use it, and it works! Again, this is more of a first-world question and discussion. Having said that, women wash their face every day and many apply makeup or moisturizer often to their face and neck. Some cannot afford these products just yet, or maybe ever, and that’s okay. For others, despite the cost, they are making a movement to cleaner living, and this fits into a category of places that are essential to them to change as they move to cleaner products. Whether you can easily afford it, have saved up and want to invest in yourself and your health because you believe in the value of the product, or simply want to try something new, I would love to help you.

If you are interested in shopping with me, feel free to go to my BeautyCounter website:

https://beautycounter.com/sarahdenny

For freedom and truth,

Sarah

Uncategorized

Life Update & Blog Goals

August 19, 2018

Hello, friends!

This is my first post in over a year, and I am hoping to get back into the swing of things.  I decided to provide a little life update and also inform you of my hopes for this blog (hip hip hooray!).

Recent pic with some of my favorites! (Yes, I still look the same, haha.)

Keeping it simple, I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, about a year ago.  I had accepted my current job as one of the Campus Ministers at Christ the King Parish and Catholic Center.  My official and snazzy title, as given to me by Fr. Andrew (our wonderful pastor), is Intellectual Formator.  I was blessed last year to teach a class at CTK for any women interested in learning more about the Vocation of Women.  I am still working on writing a curriculum on exactly that topic, but I was given a classroom at CTK to pilot the beginnings of such a class.  (After teaching high school girls for two years, I felt there was a lack in the resources and materials provided to them.  That could take up a whole post, so I’ll elaborate on that dream soon.)  Basically, young people are hungry for the truth, and they are so courageous in pursuing it!

During the first week of classes, on August 22 (the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady), I asked Jesus to take down the walls I’d built up around my heart that were keeping me “safe” but not necessary anymore with the ways He had grown and matured me.  Within an hour after praying that very specific prayer, I was HAVING A BLAST, playing an intense game of Ultimate Frisbee in the rain on the Parade Grounds at LSU.  I was the only woman on the field at the time, and so my competitive heart was exploding with JOY!!!

…and then lots of little factors lined up as I made a certain play, and my right knee went in a direction it shouldn’t go in as I heard a very loud POP!  I felt it and knew right away that I had just torn my ACL.  ::womp womp::

I tore my left ACL throwing the javelin in high school, and so I knew what had just happened but didn’t want to believe it.  Naturally, I kept playing (or really chasing people around in the background, doing tests on my knee and realizing I couldn’t cut or stop and had no stability in my knee whatsoever).  Someone eventually noticed I’d stopped talking smack and playing hard, and they asked me what happened.  I walked to get ice, and the rest is history.  (Of sorts.  This recovery has been much slower than the other one, unfortunately.  Perhaps I’ll write a post on that one day, too, because I actually did research and wrote a paper in high school on how women are 5x-8x more likely to tear their ACLs than men.  Crazy, but true and super fascinating.)

Anyway, so that + starting a new job + moving + finding a place to live + all the other things we do in life were too much for me to write much on a blog.

But!  As this year begins, I am realizing more and more how much I would love to share with people the things that I have been blessed to learn through the years.  Not everyone will care to read about the things that fascinate me…the many thoughts that constantly occupy my mind.  …but I do believe that there are certain topics that many of you would like to understand more.  My passions are women’s health, the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, Catholic Feminism, traveling, being outside, etc.  If anything that I write interests you, I hope it can be a gift for you to have and carry in your own heart and mind as you live life.

Besides my current job, I still give talks about many different things (most recently in tandem with Dr. Susan Caldwell about the gift and beauty of a woman’s body–these are specifically geared towards high-school aged women and their mothers.  The talk is called “Growing Up Gracefully,” and you can find more information here.).  Sr. Tracey Dugas, FSP, and I are continuing to record our radio show “Daughter, Arise” with Catholic Community Radio.  (They turn them into podcasts, so you can follow us online even if you can’t listen in your car.  You can find us on I-Tunes, and I’ve also linked the shows to my website here, under “Podcasts.”)  Primarily, I am focusing on my dissertation (more about that soon).  I completed my first two years of doctoral studies (where I traveled back and forth to Rome for classes and exams), and I am in the beginning stages of my dissertation.  (Pray for me please!  …like for real.)

So now this blog’s purpose surfaces…

I really really really want to share with you the knowledge I have.  People come up to me constantly, asking me really great and deep questions.  People ask me to give presentations.  People just want to learn and spread truth, and it’s so beautiful!  Since I am only one person and really really really need to focus on writing a dissertation, I am not available for more presentations and conversations, no matter how wonderful they may be.  (Yes, the power of “no” for the bigger “yes–difficult but super healthy.)

Anyway, so here’s my point!  I am trying (really hard) to streamline my time so that I can offer my gifts to people in the avenues available to me, and I believe this blog can be one of those avenues in which to pour my (little) efforts. 

I am not going to be able to reply to every question or comment.  In fact, I will not be able to reply to most.  But even if my gift is small, I want to offer it to you.  Also, since my dissertation has to be 250-400 pages, it is really important for me to get back into the habit of writing.

I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist.  Keeping that in mind, I am not going to shoot for perfect posts or even be able to answer every question related to each topic.  I will offer what I can, though, and may it help whoever needs it most.

I love you all.  Pretty please share this blog with anyone who may be interested in these topics.  You can subscribe over on the right sidebar, and let’s just see where the Holy Spirit leads this thing, eh?

Happy Sunday, friends.  You are so loved.