Monday, 31 December 2007

A Happy and Holy 2008

Happy New Year The new year begins (as always) with the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.

I thought I would end the year with some FAMILY links. The family is under attack in the UK in new and scarier ways. Jackie reports on more pressure from our sinister-ministers to get sex ed taught to little kids.

She says "So we start the New Year with more of the same! The government wanting to corrupt our little children...well they're NOT getting mine! Even if i have to devote the whole year in the fight for our children's be it!" I add my vote to that!

Meanwhile Fr Ray Blake and Paulinus are reporting on the move to make Catholic bishops explain why they want Catholic schools to teach ... Catholicism!

It is the family that is the root of !ny community, of a nation. I am reading the Charlotte Mason Home Schooling series. Book Two is Parents and Children which I have linked with the short summary. Miss Mason writes as a high Anglican and her philosophy works well for Catholic parents whether they home educate or not.

Familiaris Consortio is my favourite encyclical.

The Holy Father has set his sights on the family for the New Year with his message THE HUMAN FAMILY, A COMMUNITY OF PEACE.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

St Stephen; 2nd Day of Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone. We have had a couple of pretty sick little ones so my dd (13yr old) said she could beat those Councils around England (and I think a couple in Scotland) who decided to change Christmas to Winterfest - she called yesterday 'Pukefest!'

We did manage to get to the vigil Mass on Christmas Eve and the oldest went back at Midnight as well. Today the men of the house; my husband and the two older boys went to Church for the St Stephen's Day Mass. St Stephen is the first martyr of the Church, a deacon and the patron saint of altar servers. Every year on this day my boys join their fellow altar servers for this special Mass and renew their promises. Next year they will both have earned their silver medals for 10 yrs service.

The altar server's Guild of St Stephen is an important part of my boy's life. I think this is an excellent way of encouraging young men to remain loyal to a service to Christ and His Church. They receive medals as they earn them and must show commitment and dedication in service. I think more could be made of this for the youngsters so that they were more involved in the Eucharistic life-but my boys are proud of their medals and what they symbolise.

I have been thinking about it more recently because of things I have heard on Catholic Radio about how people are encouraged to join groups within Islam-particularly for young men. These groups give them a sense of identity and demand a strong commitment. Okay, they can be a bit spooky too; one man described being hounded by the group leaders when he decided against conversion and began to return to his Christian roots.

One of my muslim friends has told me about the groups within her own local mosque that are obviously strong and designed to hold the converts together. Obviously I am not suggesting that Catholics should follow this pattern completely as the coercive nature of them is frankly unpleasant-but we do have groups within the church that could do a lot more to encourage commitment from young people. After all we do have a Faith worth dieing for and I am sure many young men in particular would be willing to be part of a Faith like that.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

"God is good."

I had a hospital appointment yesterday. I hate them. I had a list of questions about the evoked potentials. I had been told they were all normal, but the sensory ones had been very strange in sensation and I was surprised they were normal and wondered what the difference could mean.
As it happened (and as is usual with me) the results were not normal-they were not there at all. The doctor said he would chase them up. Meanwhile with half my notes missing he asked how i was.
Well, I could tell him that things are improving. For the last few weeks I have managed without any Tramadol and I am only taking analgesia at night. My balance has improved and so has my walking because my leg doesn't drag so much. I still need a wheelchair for distances and crutches - but there is marked improvement. I simply feel better. The fatigue has reduced markedly, probably because I am not constantly trying to keep a balance between how much pain I can stand and how many tablets a breastfeeding mum should take.
Things had begun to improve once my daughter (the 13 yr old one) and I had said a Novena to the Infant of Prague. We are resaying it at the moment. A few days ago I saw a medal for the Infant of Healing-which was essentially the Infant of Prague.

The doctor did the tests. Push this, hold that, squeeze my fingers and so on. I hate them because it just shows up what a crip I am. But yesterday I gripped his fingers in my right hand and I could do it! I could actually feel his fingers in my grip! I have not been able to do that for over four years! I could lift my leg from flat and when he stuck the little pin in my leg I could feel it. Even my reflexes were normal.

I couldn't believe it. The doctor thinks I am healing and that I could go back to having a normal life as this really is-he says-it! He then said "You have suffered a great deal over the last four years, it is time to put that behind you. God is good."

For a doctor in and NHS hospital to say "God is good" is a minor miracle all of its own. We both wished God's blessing and I have an appt for six months time. I am praying and determined to WALK into that hospital.

God really is good.

Friday, 14 December 2007

"...the best place in the world for children..."

Mac (Mulier Fortis) has commented on yet more curriculum shenanigans designed to make learning as boring and meaningless as possible for our children. She describes the lowering of standards particularly in science where she notes that the old O'level textbooks were of a higher standard than present day A'levels.
On Thinking Love, No Twaddle there is more on this.

Meanwhile Jackie (CatholicMomOf10-scroll down) has been writing a lot about the forced introduction of sex education into even our primary schools and now the Govt are saying pharmasists can hand over the Pill to under 16 yr old girls.

The experts scratch their propaganda filled heads and wonder why despite all the offered to children on how to do sex...safely of course, that they are going out and doing it and yet still managing to be pregant and riddled with disease. Instead of wondering if the problem lies with the education they insist in more of the same-with NO research to back it up.

Of course the science and Maths syllabus is such a mess these days there are few people left who actually know how to do research I suppose-and going by the standard of some medical research that is much the same everywhere.

A great deal of science GCSE is dedicated to such things as 'over population' and 'environmentalism'-which is a politcal message not one based on empirical data.

The Govt, worried about the state of our children who are self harming, taking prozac and more obese than ever before wants to make sure their parents are kept as far away from them as possible. Make mothers go to work or lose benifits; make schools open from early morning until the evening and keep the kids in the institution for as long as possible.

When these children have no adult to go to and so end up looking for love in abusive sexual relationships. But don't worry, the psychological effects and disease inherent in this is of no matter-they can nip to the chemist and get the Pill. The side effects are mild, deep vein thrombosis, depression, weight gain, cramping, migraine, infertility, breast cancer-nothing to worry about. Obviously nothing to worry about as there is no strategy to deal with those side effects.

Parents, who are being sidelined in all of this will of course be expected to pick up the pieces of their daughter's destroyed health and wellbeing I do not doubt.

A 17yr old was recently advised that if she wished to get financial help to continue her studies now both her parents were dead, she had better get pregnant.

Then The Sinister-minister for familiy, schools and interference says "Our aim is to make this country the best place in the world for our children and young people to grow up."

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Christmas Meme

Karen, a glittering gem of the Ocean and the richly scented Autum Rose have tagged me for this meme.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag: Both, and I am afraid I often use neither shoving homemade stuff into shoe boxes and carrier bags.

2. Real tree or artifical: We have an artifical tree because real ones shed and babies get the sheddy bits and it can get a bit unpleasant. We also keep our tree in a cage-a playpen, thus preventing toddler and baby climbing, pulling over on head and other small-person induced catastrophes.

3.When do you put up the tree? My son puts the tree up as soon as we hit Dec 1st. He would put it up earlier if I let him. He's 16 now and still gets all excited about a tree with pretty lights on Christmas Tree and do you know- I don't blame him. It is becoming a running joke that the tree goes up almost at dawn on Dec 1st, and it didn't this year because he was at work! People popped over to see us and asked where the tree was. LOL.

4.When do you take it down? Epiphany-once the wise men are headed home Three Kings

5. Do you like eggnog?

6. Favourite gifts received as a child; I received a cuddly Koala once and loved it.

7. Do you have a Nativity Scene? We have a cloth Advent Calender one hanging on the wall. We did have a traidcraft wooden thing too but over the years people have vanished from the set-not sure how. We also have a large nativity scene in the back room made from toilet rolls. We make one most years. This year Mary is in pink at the insistance of my (just turned) 3yr old and we have a couple of pretty scary looking shepherds. The kings are yet to be made. We add a nicely wrapped box under the scene and then the children each make Jesus a present. On Christmas Eve after Mass each of us put the little gift into the box for the baby Jesus.

8. Hardest person to buy for: Usually my oldest, but this year there are a couple of things he needs to get ready for his trip to America so it wasn't so hard.

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received: Well, it wasn't a gift as such, but I had my daughter on Dec 7th and was home for Christmas which was great as she was due Dec 27th and I had thought I might spend Christmas in hospital-but then the whole family went down with D&V and I got it too-horrible with a new C-section let me tell you!!!

10. Favourite Christmas movie: Of course "It's a Wonderful Life" and "White Christmas" but I also love "Muppet's Christmas Carol" (I can't help it) and a made for TV film about a family made homeless just before Christmas and end up sleeping in a huge store-which I am sure was filmed at Jenners in Ediburgh. I can't remember the name of the film, but it was about how home and family are more important than shopping and honesty is more important than wealth. Loved it.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards: Both and hand them out personally when I can.

12. When do you start Christmas shopping? July/August. Don't be horrified there is method in my madness. We have some family members we only get to see once a year, usually at the end of August and I like to be able to hand over the pressies to be saved until Christmas. This means I can buy something suitable for the godchildren and other children without worrying about when and how to post it. Then we go fruit picking and I freeze it all until jam making.
I get the first autumn apples around the end of Sept and start buying in the dried fruit etc around Oct and if I am organised (which isn't often these days) the first cakes and chutneys get made by the end of Oct.
The not-made pressies get bought from Nov and I try and spread the cost.

13. Have you ever recylced a Christmas present: Yes, someone can get use from it, and it seems a waste otherwise.

14. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas: I love Christmas dinner- beef and venison pie cooked with cranberries; hot roasted chestnuts from a paper bag; homemade mince pie with cheese (don't much like shop mince pies); Green & Blacks chocolate.

15. Clear lights or coloured on the tree? Coloured. I like them.

16. Favourite Christmas song: Hymns I love are O Come, O Come Emmanuel (I know it's an Advent hymn, but I love it). Adeste Fidelis - it is better in Latin. And I confess to loving the daft song "Santa Baby" which we have on MP3-the Miss Piggy version.

17.Travel or stay home: Home. Everyone comes to us. We do visits around the time though.

18. Can you name Santa's reindeers? moment 3D Rudolph
19. Angel on top of the Christmas tree or a star? At the moment we have Spiderman -but I am informed a star will be made. Spiderman keeps falling down, poor dear.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One small pressie when we get back from Mass and the rest spread out over Christmas Day.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year: Coca Cola adverts and other people's killjoy misery about Christmas.

22. The best thing about this time of year. The wonder and excitement of children. The lights sparkling in people's homes; the amount of kindness and the fact that those of us who spend so much time walking in darkness get to see a Great Light

Now I tag
Philip of Carpe-canum if he has time
And Paul on the Side of the The Angels

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Will your grandchildren be Catholic?

Fr Mildew has done a good post on this and I have THIS link to a Catholic Answers Mrs Mcleod did on this subject.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Christmas Shopping

Three Kings It is time to choose those special gifts for those we love and send the cards. Yes, even with the non-consumerist Christmas we try to have I still have to buy stuff. I thought I would recommend some things and places to do your shopping.

First I would like to recommend the beautiful rosary bracelets made by my friend Shana. She made the one in the photo for me after I asked specifically for one with flat beads with different colours on either side so I could be distracted by the children during a decade and still not forget where I was. She's a lovely lady - a homeschooling mum of 8. The rosaries are well made-mine has proved to be baby proof! A lovely Christmas gift.

I also recommend Aid to the Church in Need- they sell a good selection of cards and small gifts, some of which are olive wood items made by the beleagured Christian community in Bethelehem.

Chris Holden at St Anthony Communications is offering a membership of £3.95 a month. Check out his tapes, bookes, CDs and DVDs. I think supporting the little man is good.

I also recommend Family Publications

I haven't bought anything for Christmas from the RNLI but they are a great charity and save many many lives every year.

I also order some extra stuff from the milkman. He is self employed and trying to earn a living to care for his family. I am a great believer is supporting the little man, especially the self employed ones. On this note I will probably buy some stuff from the Deli where my son works.

This does not mean I don't shop at the biggies like Woolies-they employed one of my children too for a while. I am well aware of how difficult some of our older teens are finding it to get a job and the 'biggies' employ a lot of people.

I have bought a lot of fair trade stuff over the years-but I am less certain about it as a system and am holding off this year. Anyway how many sheshem wood boxes can anyone need?

Of course I am avoiding Oxfam and Cafod and Christian Aid the condom pushers.

We make a lot of pressies-mincemeat, jams, cakes, cookies, Turkish Delight, tablet, fudge etc. and we make some of the cards we send as well, but I do still shop a bit.

(Hope Marie and Ginny don't demand the award back Winky )

Happy Advent Christmas Angel

Shine a light on his dark materials

I was surprised and a little disappointed to hear Teresa Tommeo say that Christian parents ARE buying the Pullman books for their children because they feel under pressure to do so.
Honestly-and if a load of people decide eating poisonous mushrooms is fashionable would they buy those for their children too?

I have heard the shallow arguement that those of us who have not read-and will not read- the anti-Christian polemic of Pullman cannot judge them. Oh yes we can. We judge them based on what those who have read them say.
I do not need to eat poisonous mushrooms to know for myself they are poisonous-I trust the witness of sensible people who tell me they are.

The film has been toned down apparently; So what? How much poison do we want to feed our children?
Have a look at Philip's blog side bar
Also read Jimmy Akin's post
And I highly recommend THIS POST on the subject with a thanks to my friend Shana for supplying it.
All this should offer more than enough information to parents so that they spend their money more wisely for Christmas.

I have allowed Harry Potter-although only my oldest has read HP and he hasn't bothered with the later books as he got bored. He also received a copy of the Da Vinci Code from family members who didn't seem to realise what an anti-Catholic piece it was. My son decided to read it because he wanted to be able to answer questions on it-but he found it so badly written he gave up before he got half way through.

Pullman is a so so writer apparently-and I suppose we can be grateful for that. But so many children are given rubbish to read- what my heroine Charlotte Mason would have called 'twaddle'- that they will not be able to see how nasty these books are.

As parents we have a right and duty to educate our children and that means taking due care and attention of what they read.
I see so much about how awful TV is and yet parents let their kids read anything.

It's Advent and yesterday's readings were all about WAKING UP! Let us wake up and put on the armour of Christ and then the little darknesses like Pullman and his books and the film are easily defeated.

"Let nothing you dismay"

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Knickers in a twist

Perhaps it is because I've not had much sleep recently thanks to a sick baby, but that advert by our infinitely lacking in wisdom Government is getting on my nerves.
It shows some young people at a nightclub or some such venue and then they rush home to jump into bed with each other, casually discarding a rather unattractive pair of knickers with the word 'gonorrhoea' beautifully embroidered on them. This is followed by the old cannard "Wear a Condom" as condoms according to this advert are 'essential wear'.
It's just so stupid- SHE SHOULD WEAR HER KNICKERS! then they wouldn't need any fancy embroidery. Keeping her knickers on should be essential wear.
And while I'm ranting-do young people really need such a patronising approach? Are they really so stupid they can't be told along with 'Don't drink and drive','Don't do drugs', 'Don't smoke', 'don't cross the road without looking', 'Recycle' and DON'T HAVE SEX WITH ANYONE WHO IS NOT YOUR SPOUSE.
My teenage children wear chastity rings. They are proud to do so because it is a sign of their dignity and self respect.
Sadly I had to order the rings from the USA-I can't find them available in the UK. Why is that?