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“Off the Charts:” an NFP community

I’ve been working on a little idea lately. Something that’s been percolating for a few years now, in the back of my mind where it mostly remained filed under “I wish this existed” but sometimes, in sharper moments, popped up under the tags of “why doesn’t somebody do something?” or “I should do something.”

But, you know, life moves quickly, time marches on, kids sleep longer stretches at night but make up for it by capturing more of your waking hours.

That nagging urge though? That prickling sense of “I should do something about this;” it just hasn’t abated. Even into this 6th pregnancy, I’ve still been nudged and prodded by the sense that there is something more I can do here, something I’m supposed to do.

As God often does, He kept nudging. Prodding. Waited until life was moving along at such a clip that I’d be out of my own way, so to speak, and then said: “Go.”

Last fall on the Blessed is She writer’s retreat we all received beautiful hand-lettered cards with different Scriptures; no two were the same.


The one I got was two words, plucked from the highly neglected (by me, anyway) Old Testament Book of Amos:

“Rise up.”

I was alarmed. I was exhilarated. I knew God was on the move.

And He is. He has been.

From this baby to this project and a hundred smaller things in between, the past 6 months have felt like drinking from a fire hydrant. But it has been a steady (overwhelming) stream of grace.

So here I am, opening myself up to maybe the craziest thing I’ve done lately (apart from that 6th baby), and inviting you guys along for the ride.

What is Off the Charts, exactly? It’s a membership community, a platform for interaction and continuing education and accompaniment for people who are living the NFP lifestyle according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and trying to grow, stretch, and be stretched by His grace and mercy.

The vision for Off the Charts is beyond NFP instruction and catechesis: I want to help walk you from overwhelmed, under served, and isolated to supported, informed, and thriving along your NFP journey.

Over and over again, the most frequent thing I hear from my readers is this: a call for community, for support, and for practical resources to live the NFP lifestyle successfully.

This won’t be for everybody, just like NFP is not for everybody.

But if you are someone who is wrestling with NFP and how it fits into your marriage, someone who is struggling under the weight of it all, then Off the Charts for you.

For the woman who feels alone and misunderstood in her medical provider’s office, but practices NFP anyway.

For couples who stick out like a 12-passenger van in their family or their parish community, but persevere in NFP anyway.

For pastors and catechists and NFP instructors who are trying to equip their couples with the why of NFP, not just the how, who are laboring to create a culture of life and love in their communities against long odds and small budgets,

For new moms – and old moms – who feel overwhelmed and confused by the different seasons and stages of fertility, who can’t seem to find a method that works from season to season and baby to baby, but who press on with NFP anyway,

For newlyweds, the newly engaged, or anyone who is striving to learn and grow in NFP knowledge and best practices; the stuff that goes beyond methods and apps and biology, the stuff that nobody really talks about, and that nobody thought to give you a heads up about…

This community is for you. The accompaniment, the ongoing formation in the practical, spiritual, relational, financial, and emotional aspects of Natural Family Planning – not just the stuff of specific methods and charts and apps, but resources for the rest of your life, all of which is touched by NFP…this is for you.

I’ve got to warn you, you’re going to see a lot of vulnerability, a lot of transparency, a whole lot of honesty, and probably a good bit of construction dust because this thing is brand new. But here’s the thing: I want to make this for you. And I want your help bringing it to life.

What can you expect?

Digital and written content including live and streaming workshops covering topics like: communication between spouses, building trust + intimacy outside the bedroom, finding help, hiring the right provider, breaking up with a “bad” method, setting your NFP budget, helping your parish become NFP-friendly, studying the Church’s teachings on sex and marriage, seasons of fertility in marriage, discerning openness to life, and more.

Ongoing education in NFP in all its facets: biological, spiritual, emotional, relational, financial — NFP is about more than just a chart or an app.

Content that will be delivered digitally, including streaming in-person live events, so you’ll never need to find a sitter, book a flight, or carve time out of your workday or away from your family or parish.

All content will be in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The door is enthusiastically open to all NFP users and seekers of goodwill, but Off the Charts will be operating from a Catholic worldview and in continual reference to Catholic morality and beliefs.

If you’re ready for more than survival mode, if you’re searching for your community, if you’re wondering where to begin – or where to begin again – Off the Charts is for you.

With all my heart, welcome. You are welcome here.

To register as a monthly or annual member click here,

Or, join the waitlist and be the first to hear when registration opens again.

Doors open again Fall 2019.

41 Comments

  • Amanda

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I’m the one in the 12 passenger van! Ha! This is a wonderful idea and I would like to go along for the journey! Thank you for doing this.

  • Mary Zaepfel

    I taught NFP and my husband and I only used NFP as needed. I would like to say that periodic abstinence was the greatest lesson ever learned because in all stages of life it happens with reasons not having to do with NFP. That self discipline helped us through many years. I’m here if you want my perspective and experience.

    • Cami

      I was a bit shocked (stunned really) at the cost. I do not doubt it will cost money to provide this website and all its bells & whistles. But my husband lost his job recently, we have 5 kids (oldest is 7), and we live on one income (when there is one). I know of many Catholic families practicing NFP who also make various sacrifices to stay home raising a gaggle of children on a modest income, because God led them there. I am concerned that families in this category will not be able to afford the membership. I’m not saying I have the answer in how to provide this community for low or no cost. I’m just pointing out a potential reason many women may not be able to participate. Great idea, however! Best wishes in it’s development!

      • jeanette

        That’s good you brought it up, I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps plans for scholarships from “Off the Charts” would be good, or parishes that want to support NFP families might sponsor scholarships.

        • jeanette

          Oh, and after some further thought, group rates for parishes also might be a good idea. It would enable a parish to promote the membership as a whole parish effort, and keep membership rates low for actual members.

          it seems that there are many creative ways to approach the issue of it being out of reach financially for some. If the goal is really to support others, and you get a large number of members, making it less expensive will not impact your ability to have this float financially (in fact, may God reward you abundantly for making the ministry successful with a charitable approach to families in need).

      • Erin

        I’m in the same boat. Only two kids, low income, in the middle of a slow and painful death-by-student-loans. We can’t even afford Netflix or paper towels and our property tax went up by about 17 a month this year, which I have no idea how we are going to pay for. I think it’s a great idea, especially for people who do not have any support from a local community, but I do think the cost will be prohibitive for many. And there is nothing like feeling like you cannot get the help you need because you are down and out. You feel so powerless and hopeless, at least I did when things were really really bad. Believe it or not they are better now. Anyways, I totally understand something of this magnitude comes with costs, but scholarships or a program where ppl can donate a membership for a low income family might be a nice idea. I can admit, with so much shame, that after living the way I have lived the past several years, I can understand the desperation women feel when they choose an abortion. I am so ashamed to admit this, but it crossed my mind when I found I was pregnant with #2. Anyways, I am just saying that there are probably women who are feeling this desperation and could really benefit from a scholarship for this program. We got married and had kids when we did because we were trying to live the Church’s teaching, but unfortunately we live in a world where it is extremely difficult to graduate, get married, and have children on one income. It takes a long time to build a career, especially when you were both theology majors because you wanted to serve the Church. I wish we had known that the Church is in desperate need of good people in every career, in the secular world, I would venture to say more so than she is in need of catechists. We tried to follow a path we thought was best and have suffered greatly for it. It is a trap that is easy to fall into, and I just think it would be nice to find a way to offer this to those who have fallen in as well. (By trap I mean thinking we had to be youth ministers or something to serve God and also thinking that that would pay for me to stay home, for us to raise a family, and for us to pay off our student loans from Franciscan. Not NFP or the Church teaching on marriage and fertility. Though those have been so hard to follow, we always have, and although I cannot honestly say I see how much better things are for doing that, I can say that I cling to the phrase “I reject Satan and all his empty promises” and trust that even though things look like they would be so much easier if we listened to the world, I know it is an empty promise and we would regret it.)

        • Jenny Uebbing

          Erin, your story resonates so deeply in my heart. Dave and I are both theology majors too, and he has a theology MA on top of his BA. We’ve felt the crunch of a mountain of student loan debt and also the sacrifices of being open to life in a high cost of living area, you are singing my song.

          I am 100% planning to offer scholarships and to give people the option of purchasing gift memberships for others – I even want to have a way for the community to tithe towards anonymous gift memberships that can be gifted to couples in the exact circumstances you describe. It’s literally word for word what the Holy Spirit is laying on my heart.

          As this thing launches and I put together all the pieces, build the infrastructure, develop the content, etc, know that my end goal vision is for exactly what you ladies are describing. This is early days and these founding members are making this beautiful dream a reality, and my deepest desire is to get this into the hands of every Catholic woman on the planet. (Not the most scaleable, realistic goal, but just telling the Lord what I want!) This is what the Church needs. This is what every couple striving to live this vocation needs. I’m going to build it, and I’m going to expect God to show up and take it from there. Please pray for me, I’ll pray for you. And I’m deeply grateful for your vulnerability – I have spoken with many women who’ve considered abortion out of desperation and feel that shame and horror. You are not alone.

      • Jenny Uebbing

        Cami, Erin, and Jeanette,

        Thank you all for your vulnerability!

        I’ve definitely been there where the price would have been out of reach for us, too, and I completely respect that.

        This definitely won’t be something everyone will want to avail themselves of as a membership, and I will absolutely continue to produce free content for my wonderful, faithful blog readers as I have for almost a decade now. This is something of a deeper dive for people who are looking for something more intensive and something beyond free FB groups and virtual community. My long term vision is absolutely along the lines of Formed – what a thrill it will be, God-willing, to offer the parish membership option down the road and have pastors buy this for their flocks. That’s for sure on my radar – I just have to build the thing first!

        Thank you all for your prayers and your presence here, it means so much to me.

      • Emilee

        Hi! Thank you for what you’re doing. I organize conferences for FACTS, the medical organization that teaches medical and health professionals and students about all evidence-based FABMs. Pretty soon I’ll be sending info out to NFP users so they can invite their medical provider to get continuing medical education credit from learning about NFP. Would you be willing to share that info with your members and followers?

  • Marianne

    Jenny, you are a Rock Star to me. You talk like I think. And I am soooooo jelly that you are able to blog along the way, sharing your ride with us.
    I had five kids, now as old as 29 and as young as 16. I could never even get my effing laundry done. But since we all have our own gifts, I guess, mine was doing crafts in the classroom as my kids were going through school, and leaving the laundry unfolded while I did what I thought was more important.
    And then, when my youngest was old enough for me to breathe, I became a first grade catechist. Best. Funnest. Volunteer Job. Ever.
    My NFP days are long ago now and I am years into hot flashes and srsly, Dude, just let me sleep with my fan. But as for the NFP – No Regrets. Not when I was strong-armed by a nurse at the OB-Gyn’s office after I had twins. Not when I heard comments like “was he an accident?” or “you were trying for that boy, right?”
    I LOVE that you are Off the Charts – Good Luck and God Speed. Love ya like a sister, even though we’ve never met.

    • Helen

      Hello Jenny!
      I would LOVE to be added to Off the Charts! I am a cradle catholic, but pretty new to NFP. We didn’t start until after baby 4 came along! Everything you talk about in your posts hits home with me. I need this 🙂 Thank you!!

      Sincerely,
      Helen

    • Andi

      Thank you so much for your blog and for doing this. I am 40 and converted to the Catholic Church 10 years ago. I have recently had a tubal reversal and am now 22 weeks pregnant with baby #5! My husband and I are in extreme need of NFP info and while I’m registering for a class soon, I know we are going to need a lot more than a class. I cried grateful tears when I read your blog today! I know God is leading us this way and I am so happy to finally be living out the Church’s teachings on openness to life. But we are so lost at the same time… so THANK YOU for your yes to Him. I will be praying for this outreach and for you and your newest little one on the way. God bless!

    • Amaura

      This sounds like a great innovation! Will you offer some sort of free introductory period? My issue with the NFP learning curve is that it is SO expensive! Whether you are buying a monitor, paying for an instructor, following up with a NaPro doctor multiple times…the costs add up. Not to mention I have yet to meet someone who has stuck with one method for a lifetime, so the costs multiply! Anyway, I feel most Facebook groups do more harm than good, and I also feel so much of NFP is trial and error. Therefore, I’d really want to be sure that a resource was uniquely helpful before investing in it financially. I’d love to hear what you think about something like that!

  • Erin

    That is a terrific idea! I wish I would have had a community like this as a newlywed, especially in a small community where NFP was unheard of and my doctor keep trying to nudge me into birth control.

    I would be interested, though I am in my late 30’s, and I’ve heard rumors that perimenopause could be right around the corner (it’s funny, I never thought I was that old until I started reading articles about how “this could be you in two years”! 😮)

  • Mandi Risler

    YES!! Off the Charts is exactly what I have been searching for. We have been unsuccessfully practicing NFP for the past 3 years.😆 Baby #5 due in December!

  • Colleen Martin

    Jenny – I wish you much success with this project, and would be happy to help in any way I can. I feel like we’ve tried it all during our 17 year marriage and have 7 kids to show for it 🙂 We think we finally understand the process now, and then I read about a Catholic mama of 8 who is expecting baby #9 near her 48th birthday and I start questioning all the NFP knowledge I have! I feel like NFP takes up so much of my mental space and is the topic we discuss the most in our marriage, which is great, but also exhausting! It’s a wild ride for sure.

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Thank you Colleen – your friendship and prayers mean the world to me! Will be taking you up on your offer, you can be sure of that 😉

  • Shannon

    Hi Jenny, I’m new to marriage (18 months in), new to motherhood (5 months in) and new to your blog (just started reading your posts about a month ago, though I’d heard of your blog several years back). I would love to learn from other experienced Catholic women about NFP. Thanks for creating this opportunity and sharing it!

  • Marguerite

    Love this idea! I have always believed that where we are with NFP today is where we were with breastfeeding 50 years ago. Formula was strongly recommended (ie. pushed) as best for babies, just as birth control is strongly encouraged (ie. pushed) for women today. What changed? Well 50 years ago, women started meeting together in small groups, aka LaLeache League, to support and encourage one another. This idea is a wonderful way to replicate that kind of community so kudos to you for a fabulous idea.

    Fortunately, for me, although NFP has not always been easy, I have built a supportive community especially with my colleagues at FACTS – an organization I co-founded to educate students and medical colleagues about the science supporting NFP. Of course we refer to it, as fertility awareness based methods or FABMs as we want to highlight the broader health applications of charting the cycle so we can educate more medical professionals and encourage them to support you, their patients!

    If there is anything, we can do to support your efforts, such as offer suggestions about how to talk to you doctor about your use of NFP or provide resources you can give to them to help them understand how these methods work and the evidence supporting their effectiveness, please let me know!

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Marguerite Duane
    FACTS Executive Director

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Dear Dr. Duane,

      I just wanted to jump in here in the comments and shout YES to the comparison between contraception and what we thought we understood about formula 50 years ago. On a biological level, the comparison is striking! Thank you for your generous offer – am emailing you directly.

  • a fan

    Let me start off with by saying that I’m a huge fan of your website. The project sounds amazing. But I do agree with above commenters, though, in that the annual $150 for an individual, seems too much. It would help to clearly distinguish exactly what we are getting that we are not getting elsewhere, with more specific examples than what you have laid out above – what exactly would a sample “session” be, how would the actual written content be more than what I can get through blogs like yours and BIS. There are lots of educational online content already, and each of the major NFP methods have their own online forums. Could we at least have a free trial month or week, or at least some kind of sneak peek before we decide? And if we are not satisfied, what are the cancellation policies? Even if we are not in dire straits financially, I cannot justify why internet content should cost this much to a Catholic family. A community of friends, a network of support is great, but is still online. There are lots of Catholic stuff out there that is offered for free through the parish, like FORMED. I understand that to set up and run a great website is not free, but then perhaps something as wonderful and absolutely necessary as this project calls for bigger attention and investment from the Church and its affiliated institutes. In the meantime, may I humbly ask you if a group parish membership could be made an option? (And I hope that your blog stays free!)

    • Jenny Uebbing

      First off, THANK YOU for reading, and for the thoughtful comments and questions! And yes, my blog will always, always be free. I love you guys!

      This is something different, and something that I’m working on building from the ground up in terms of infrastructure, content, design, everything. I am 100% focused on making this affordable, universally available, and yes times a million to offering a parish group membership option – my dream is for this to function something like FORMED in that regard, and the priests I’ve talked to have assured me enthusiastically they’d be thrilled to hand something like this to their parishioners.

      What we’re doing here is a little different from the individual methods, the online groups and forums, and blog content. My vision is for live interactive workshops with replay capability (so they become a forever resource after they publish) ebooks, group and couples studies, coaching and mentoring for couples in every age and stage of fertilely, spiritual accompaniment and encouragement from priests and religious, presentations from all different methods instructors, and regular content from regular NFP users like you and me. It’s hard to get that all into one little intro email, but know that I’m asking God to build something huge here and to completely take it for Himself. And yes, Lord, please send down your Spirit into the hearts of investors!

      Thank you for reading, and stay tuned. When we launch Off the Charts officially this Fall, I hope to have more answers and more clarity for you.

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Oh, I also wanted to comment on the Blessed is She comparison and point out that while all their written digital content is free, they do offer memberships for people to get inside their content library of workshops, discounted merchandise, special events, etc. As a point of reference, the purchase price for one of their online workshops is $15. It’s more cost effective for their members to select the annual membership option they offer and get all that content included rather than paying $15 a pop for a workshop. Knowing that price point, I wanted to make Off the Charts even more affordable, because most NFP users (at least the ones I know) have even less disposable income than perhaps the target Blessed is She member. Hope that’s helpful!

  • Judith

    I was shocked by the cost as well. I reread it several times to make sure it said $15 per month and not per year. I was part of an NFP message board about 15 years ago on Delphi Forums that was free and offered the same type of community that is being advertised here. It was faithful to Church teaching and quite cohesive. I am still facebook friends with some of those participants today! I’m sure this will distinguish itself from being just a message board. I’m also sure the video content, especially, is not cheap to produce. I pray for the success of the project, and I will be keeping an eye on it to see if the cost comes down (like by 90%)! 😀

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Thank you for the prayers Judith! I’m so glad you found the support and resources you needed, that’s great to hear.

      My hope, as I told a few ladies up higher in the comments section, is 100% to offer scholarships, gift memberships, and, please Lord Jesus, parish membership of options. This is early days and I’m building everything from the ground up, so there are costs involved, but I wanted to keep it Netflix affordable. I thought about what I pay for things like Netflix, internet, Amazon Prime, a Blessed is She membership, etc, and arrived at the number that way, which I realize is subjective, but just wanted to give a little background for transparency’s sake. For me, NFP has been one of the biggest parts of my vocation – and at times, one of the biggest crosses – so it’s something I’ve invested a lot of time and resources into.

      Please keep me in your prayers, and thank you for reading!

  • CS

    I’m not even Catholic, but I discovered Theology of the Body recently and thought it was so life-giving in so many ways. I wish I’d known more about it and tried NFP when we were younger. I’m beyond the age of bearing now, but I wish you well in your endeavor. I hope you can a find a way to make it free. The ladies with the financial concerns are often the ones most in need of the group and support you hope to offer. God Bless your plans.

    • Cami

      I think FORMED is amazing and was so blessed to be in the Denver area when it rolled out. To have the parishes literally give you no excuse not to use it… well it gave us no excuse not to use it! I just wish we could stream it from our Blu Ray player but maybe someday. Anyway, it would be awesome if this vision of yours takes off and gets really big and accessible to the masses! If you ever want a focus group or something to test out features, I’m in! My husband has coded software and we have talked about NFP support for years so we’d be happy to give input on its development! God bless this project!

  • Judith

    So, this is just a thought…it sounds like you are hoping that you will be able to bring the costs down for the average layperson in the future (especially by offering parish memberships), and what you are looking for now is more like investors? Maybe if you pitch it that way it would take away some of the sticker shock. (Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Shark Tank lately…LOL). But I think if I had read it more like, “we are looking for a base of founding investor members who would be willing to prayerfully consider pledging to support this venture at $150/year until we can bring the cost down for everyone” I would have understood the goal a bit better. (I literally thought $150/year was the “ground floor” and the rates might be going up later for those who don’t get in early!) Just my two cents. Continued prayers either way!

    • Camille Hemingway

      Yes, I need community w like minded Catholic ladies. We ladies need to create a Catholic Culture that holds up educates, comprehends & lives the way God intended us to live in singlehood, courtship, engagement& marriage. Ladies building up our Domestic Church for The Church & For The Faith. To lovingly embrace all the crosses( thorns) & all the joys(roses) of marriage, parenting & children. To be open to Our Lord’s Design & His Will. Thank ye!
      Ps, I am all about good name’s for titles, etc…
      “Off The Charts!”
      …excellent!
      Thank ye!

  • Abigail

    Hi Jenny, I think this is beautiful! Will there (eventually) be support and resources for women suffering miscarriage and infertility, too? That’s my side of the cross and I would love to see these talked about in the Catholic community more, too!

  • Melanie

    Hi!! I am a womens health nurse practitioner who recently decided that I’d like to leave my job and learn how to do this whole thing, Catholic Chirch Style 🙂 I am very interested in being part of this whole thing as I also start my own NFP journey. This is right up my alley and “Stand Up” is a great theme for the journey!

  • Hope

    Have you heard of FEMM (Fertility Education Medical Management) they do a lot of cool NFP stuff you may want to partner with them as they may be interested in your initiative. Blessings and prayers for your endeavors!

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