Sunday, 14 September 2008

Pro-Life Witness

"Saturday, 27th September
Oxford Pro-life Witness, prayers in reparation for abortion, and for all unborn babies and their Mothers & Fathers.
At the entrance of the JOHN RADCLIFFE Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford.
We meet outside the Church of St Anthony of Padua (Headley Way) which is just behind where we witness.
3pm - 4pm
Exposition throughout the hour inside the Church and the Rosary/prayers are led by Fr John Saward.
God Bless ~ please keep praying for the witnesses, especially for all the Drs and nurses at the JR involved in anti-life exploits."
Can I also ask for prayers for my fellow homeschooling mum friend who helps organise these events. Without the work of people like her, I think people would forget the massive slaughter of babies in this country.
(I am not ready to reblog here yet-but I hope to return some time. God bless)

Monday, 8 September 2008

September is the month of the Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother.

Today is her birthday, so Happy Birthday Dear Mother.

I am going to take a break from this blog for a while. I'll coninue my Homeschool blog-but things are too busy to keep two blogs going right now.

God bless everyone.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Been Awarded

Despite the fact I have barely been online the last few weeks-what with holidays and terminally ill computers-Philip has kindly awarded me this:

I had better start living up to it and get around and see y'all and say something commenterish.
And so pass it on:
1 Ebeth who is profound
2. Adrienne who understands long journeys
3. Karen the gem who speaks plainly and honestly-which I love.
4. Paul-who needs to BLOG already!!! But who remains the commenter extraodinaire on Holy Smoke.
4. Sue who also comments on Damian's blog and who I remember well from Catholic Pages days. I wish she had a blog.
5. Deb who is always thoughtful and kind
6. Rita who stands against the dark
7. Kirk who is new to me but I enjoy his blog
8. Maggie Clitherow a fellow homeschooler in the wild world.
God bless

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Light and Dark

Some people are just holy. You meet them or see them on TV or the Internet and get a sense that they "glow in the dark." Mother Angelica, Fr Benedict Groeschel and Fr John Corapi spring to mind. But I have also met people in every day life who seem to have that genuine holiness about them. There's a Filipino lady who attends Mass at our church. She's small and unnoticeable in many ways-but I get the impression she really glows. Don't know why.
Then there are the quietly holy people. They don't give off as much light but there is a definite flame there and it stays lit sometimes in the most difficult circumstances.
I think these two sets of people are like the the two men in Jesus' parable with five talents and two talents.
Then there's the man given one talent. It doesn't seem fair at first, but he goes and hides it rather than use it properly-so maybe the Master had some idea he was faithless in some way. Then with the talent safely buried they can accuse God of being unjust as the faithless servant did in the parable-and so they feel free to behave as they like.
In fairy stories and the deeper stories of Tolkien good and evil are fairly straight forward and easy to discern. There is no mistaking the difference between elves and orcs; between the innocence of the princess and the wickedness of the witch. Their outward appearance often tells you whose side they are on.
Is it the same in reality? We are warned that the devil can appear as an angel of light-but there are always 'signs'-warnings that he ain't what he appears. Is it the same for people? Do they have signs that warn you even when they appear as 'angels of light'?
To be honest I think they do. They might not immediately appear to be orcs dressed as elves-but there are always little give aways to which we need to be alert. This is the battle ground after all and we are supposed to be soldiers in the Church Militant. Praying for discernment is a huge help because it seems to be one of those prayers God always answers with a 'yes' and a HUGE dollop of the appropriate grace.
A difficulty in the battle against evil can be our own fears of seeming uncharitable. It can seem wrong to think badly of others-especially when there is nothing concrete to pin the bad feelings on.
I've learned the real hard way that over riding discernment-those little red flags that warn of danger is a very bad idea.
But even then God comes to the rescue. He sends in some unlikely heroes to the rescue. I have been grateful for those two talent heroes on more than one occasion. They appear and speak at just the right time and say what needs to be said.
Sometimes the really holy ones can be the ones who are too charitable to speak up and give due warning. I can't begin to tell you how utterly painful it is to hear people admit AFTER you have been put through hell by some family or person; after a huge amount of damage has been done, that they KNEW they were bad news and that your kids were in danger but didn't think they should say anything.
People SPEAK UP!
I have a lot of time for those two talent people. I think Tolkien understood this too. It was hobbits that defeated Sauron in the end rather than the bright and shiny elves.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Sacrament of the Sick

Who can receive the Sacrament of the Sick? Just how sick do you have to be? In the past it seems to me it was basically for those at death's door- but there seems to be some recognition that chronic illness can be helped with this Sacrament.
I don't know the rules.
Can someone in chronic pain or a sick child not nearly dead receive it?
If anyone knows I would be appreciative.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Renewing the Bride in the UK

From this morning's Office: (Is 61-62)
"No longer called “Forsaken,” your land no longer called “Desolate,”you will be called “My pleasure in her,” and your land “The Wedded”;for the Lord has been well pleased with you, and your land will receive its bridegroom."
Paul OTSOTA wrote somewhere on Damian Thompson's blog about how the Church in England could actually spend its money doing something really worthwhile such as true evangelisation with a TV station, website that actually teaches something good and True and so on.
It hit a nerve with me.
I wanted this blog to be a witness to my new found Faith. I wanted to witness to it all in a straightforward way without becoming some kind of apologist. I'm afraid I am too bad tempered to make a good apologist. I just wanted to be someone who could say clearly that I believe and why I do.
Okay, I haven't made a stella achievement in that area and frankly over the last three months I have been seriously toying with the idea of ditching this blog altogether.
Partly because I am going through a "What the heck does God WANT from me?" phase at the moment.
Meanwhile the First Born is trying his best to get back to America so he can study at FUS and do the very thing Paul is saying needs doing here. But First Born-as much as he would love to be part of a TV station putting out Catholic programmes, especially dramas, can't see that happening any time soon. Nevertheless, he did wonder if one day he might be able to start something small himself.
A great deal could be done at parish level if priests were not afraid to allow it. Fr Lawler in Leeds has, according to a member of his own parish, done wonderful work in renewing the understanding of the Faith and bringing people closer to God and in the process closer to one another. Here was a priest, we are told, not only allowing the renewal, but leading it as a father to his people.
I am sure there are many talented people in the UK who could set the country on fire with Truth. But they are scattered and have no father to lead them.
But if we pray God will raise up priests and fathers for the people and we will no longer be orphans, desolate and forsaken. We will be beloved and wedded and renewed.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I have a new laptop-well sorta new

I was pleased to see that my old laptop limped through our week away and allowed me to download and save photos and listen to downloaded Catholic Radio programmes. It fussed and groaned a bit-but kindly kept going until we got home.
A few days ago I realised it was terminal when smoke poured out of the back of it; but to my children's astonishment-(and concern: the Computer Wizz thought I might end up in smoke too) it limped on for another day.
So then I was without a computer-having to grab the odd moment on the kids desk top.
But today my reconditioned second hand laptop has arrived. Very nice it is too.
So I can blog again....
Erm...what shall I blog about I wonder....

Anyone know why I am having such a game installing MSM? How can I talk to my friends across the pond when the blooming thing wont install?

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


I had a week away in a part of the world that was internet-free.
I see that there have been many thoughtful, and quite heart rending comments on my previous post. Thank you to you all.
I have to agree very much with Rita's observation about how Catholic education can never recover while there is the National Curriculum and that deeply creepy organisation Connexions in our schools.
MaggieClitherow spoke of her husband's experience seeing the Precious Blood in a beaker. My children witnessed some pretty dodgy Masses in their time at school too.
Joe points out something I too have noted-many Catholic teachers avoid jobs in Catholic schools because of the 'politics'.
I do not doubt that brave heads do exist. In fact the local Catholic primary school had one such head until very recently. My older children attended that school which I thought was excellent. If he had stayed I may have had my younger children go to that school-but without him, it has already changed.
Like Philip, I too note that children don't seem to attend Mass during the hols. I get the sense from some families they have "better things to do". They simply don't get what the Mass is all about.
Susie's story illustrates how ignorance of the faith is effecting the next generation of teachers, and Adrienne who does know the Faith is left with an impossible task.

While I was away I had the chance to do some reading including some Chesterton. I bought the books from an internet site. I have learned a huge amount over the last 8 years from internet sites such as EWTN. It is the Internet and getting EWTN radio and TV that has brought me Home.
Nearly all the sites are American. THANK GOD for the Catholic Church in America because it is that side of the pond that will renew the Church here in the UK-of that I am sure.

I prayed for you all while I was away.
God bless

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Are Catholic schools teaching children to leave the Faith?

I am on the list of those who get Daphne McLeod's "The Flock". For some time I have wondered if I am doing the right thing. I get an uncomfortable sense about the way things are written and I do not like the support for Christian Order and SSPX. However, I have continued to be on the list because what she says about Catholic schools is indeed what we have experienced as a family and what I continue to see when my children's friends are here.

Mrs McLeod, it seems to me, is quite right when she points out the terrible state of Catholic school education. When she says that children are exposed to sex education and are taught erroneous things about the Church-she is right. When she says "Icons" is terrible-she is quite right.

It's the holidays and so my house is constantly full of other people's teens. My son's friends either no longer practice the faith or are still confused and lacking in understanding about it.
My daughter's friends have either more or less stopped practicing or are in the process of learning to ditch it-at school.

On of my daughter's friends who is what might be called part of an 'insider' family in the Church was shocked to learn during a discussion a couple of weeks ago that Satan actually exists! She is 14 and did not know this.
She attends a 'very good' Catholic school and explained to me a couple of days ago that they were studying St Mark's Gospel and about people in the Church. She listed Liberals, conservatives, fundamentalists and a couple of other political mass media views. I asked her what on earth that meant and she wasn't sure-just that everyone has different views. She doesn't know the BASICS of what the Church teaches and has yet to set eyes on a Catechism but they are teaching her the secular politics of the media view!
On St Mark she said they told her no one knew who he was or if he wrote the Gospel or if he had even met Peter. The whole message she is receiving is that the Gospels are not to be trusted.
How do these teachers KNOW St Mark never wrote the Gospel; never met Peter? Where do their views come from?
Not the Church Father's that's for sure.

It sounds like Spong is teaching her.

She is angry and confused. Hardly surprising really.

I've heard the (LAME) arguments for why I should send my children to school. I have heard the 'support you Catholic school' arguments. I would if there was a Catholic school anywhere near me that was Catholic.
Then there's the "send your children to be evangelists" argument. This is so wicked and lame that it barely deserves an answer. Children are being formed and are not meant to be in the firing line of an anti-Faith agenda. Jesus, as Dr Ray Guarendi points out-never used children to spread His message.
So excuse me if I do not sacrifice my children's eternal future to some ludicrous idea that little ones can evangelise schools!

Meanwhile I have only seen the lone figure of Mrs Daphne McLeod being willing to fight this fight. So despite my concerns-I will continue to support her.

Roy Schoeman in Oxford

Roy Schoeman will be in England and telling his wonderful conversion story in Oxford.

You can hear him speak at

7pm on 13th August at St Gregory & St Augustine's Church on the Woodstock Road Oxford.

If you can get there I highly recommend it. I have heard Mr. Schoeman's story of how he came from Judaism to Catholicism and it is well worth hearing.

I have his book 'Salvation is from the Jews' but I haven't yet got around to buying 'Honey From the Rock'.

He is a great speaker and very blessed to have been visited by Jesus and His Blessed Mother.

Visit his website HERE and if you can't get to Oxford you can find listen to his conversion story on that site.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Feast of St Bridget

Today is the feast of St Bridget of Sweden. She is someone I love dearly and I am so grateful for her prayers and presence at times of great trial.
She was a woman whose mighty strength came from her love of God and the many graces He poured out for her. She was a wife and mother, a reformer and prophet. After the death of her husband the good and gentle Ulf she founded her order of St Saviour known as the Bridgetines. The order was a power house of prayer for the reformation of the Church that was in such a serious state in those days with pretty awful popes at the helm.
Bridget and Ulf had four boys and four girls. Two of their boys died very young, so she is wonderful in those situations when you fear the loss of a child as I did at the emergency section of my youngest dd.
Her oldest son Karl fell into bad company and became entangled with Queen Joanna of Naples - a woman who was pretty evil really and caused great pain to all who had to deal with her. Both Karl and the Queen already had spouses but there was a threat they would try and ditch them and marry.
Bridget prayed for her first born that he would not be lost. He died of a fever and I trust he was saved.
So this beautiful saint is the one to turn to when children lose faith or get into bad ways.
Her second son Birger married but was also a companion to his mother as she travelled. Of her daughters three married, Katrin (Karin or Catherine), Cecilia and Merita while Ingbord became a Cistercian. Once she had been widowed Katrin entered religious life also and eventually joined her mother's order and is canonised as St Catherine of Sweden or Verdena. St Catherine of Sienna wrote to St Katrin asking her to intervene with Queen Joanna - who was making things difficult in the great reform of the Church these mighty saints were brining about. Katrin refused because of the situation that had occurred with her brother Karl.
Nevertheless these three great saints worked tirelessly to see the Church renewed. St Catherine of Sienna finally saw the pope return to the Vatican as he should have.
Bridget died on July 23rd 1373 and was canonised on October 7th 1391.
Santa Birgitta ora pro nobis

Friday, 18 July 2008

Rachel weeps in China

A few weeks ago the Catholic Herald actually published a letter that said bluntly that China's one child policy was a great idea and the Church and the west should support it.
I can only hope the person who wrote this stuff is completely ignorant of just what the this policy entails.
Mark Miravelle has written a book called "The Seven Sorrows of China." I listened to him being interviewed by Al Kresta on Immaculate Heart Radio (Click on Kresta in the Afternoon 07/17.08).
Dr Miravelle talks of his visit to China and of the families and bishop who told their secret stories. As the decedent West insists on doing business and making money with China, so mothers have their nearly born babies murdered in front of them.
As the media gets all excited about the upcoming Olympics and the ethics of drug enhanced performance, children are left in the back rooms of so called orphanages where they are expected to die.
While China welcomes tourists from Europe and America you can buy a bowl of fetal soup for 500yen. This soup of murdered babies is supposed to be a health tonic!
The horror that is the lives of ordinary Chinese people beggars belief. In fact Dr Miravelle said one person he spoke to on his return home just refused to believe him saying "The UN would not allow this."
That bastion of all things amoral would of course turn a blind eye to the massive abuses in China.
In fact with some help from the British Government I do not doubt it is helping to fund and enable the travesties that go on there.
You can read a great deal of what Dr Miravelle saw and heard in these links.
Please try and find the time to read them. I think these first hand stories are of vital importance.
The Seven Sorrows of China
I really do not understand how we can turn away from all this happening. I don't understand Christians prepared to do business with China. I really really do not at all understand how on earth the Beijing Govt were offered the massive kudos of holding the Olympic Games.
I pray that there will be people like my oldest son who want to tell these stories and make people see what is happening.
God help China.

Monday, 14 July 2008

The Farmer went out to sow...

Listening to the Gospel and Father's homily on Sunday I must

admit to some irreverent thoughts. In order for God's Word

to grow the soil within us has to be good soil. If we are going to produce good fruit, the soil must be fed to give it that quality that will produce the crop.

Into every life a little rain must fall-but it takes a whole load of manure to produce good soil.

Many of us seem to have to handle a whole lot of ...erm...let's say 'crap' in this life.

Fr John Corapi says that terrible things that happen can work two ways with people. It can make them better people with a stronger faith in God, or it can make them bitter and turn away from God.

We need to be prepared to take up our cross and follow Him. Sometimes that cross can be downright heavy, but He says 'Come to me those who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.' Often those burdens are made heavy by our own making. We think we can have it all our own way. We see Christ there-arms outstretched-but the eye of the needle we need to pass through is so narrow and that means ditching so much we are rather fond of.

The rich man could be like the young man who didn't want to sell it all and follow Christ, but these days I think many of us have had a wealth of personal opinions and ideas that we were unwilling to ditch so we could come to Christ.

If the Farmer can't find good soil or the soil wont absorb the crap but would rather remain clean and dry then the crop will not grow and people will go hungry.

It's a tough journey for some of us. As I watch the horror story that is the Anglican communion at the moment I pray for those who are looking out to see Christ calling them through that narrow gate.
As the seed falls let it not be on those who look and look but refuse to see.
The readings for Sunday surely speak to those looking to Rome.
May God bless and guide all who seek Him first and may he bring them safely home to His Bride.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Quick Ten Words

I read or heard recently that the average person who claims to be Christian doesn't know the Ten Commandments. I think this is because they are quite difficult to remember if you are trying to remember the whole Scripture passage.
When I taught the children, we did a quick version.

  1. ONE God-no others
  2. His Name is Holy
  3. Keep Sabbath Holy
  4. Honour your father and mother
  5. No murder
  6. No adultery
  7. No stealing
  8. No false witness
  9. Don't covet neighbours wife (spouse)
  10. Don't covet neighbours goods.

I split them into the first three are about God and right worship; 4 is about family and Church and 5-10 are about family and community.

After they had learned them we could do some Catechism.

It's made it easier for me to remember them anyway.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Ignorance is Bleurgh!

I don't know what Father Melchizedek makes of what is going on with the Anglicans and some Catholic responses to it. There seems to be a sad lack of understanding and even respect for the renewal of the Priesthood of Melchizedek that Christ brought about as He gave authority (yes that word) to the Apostles.

When David sang of Solomon "Thou art a priest forever of the the order of Melchizedek" (Ps 110:4) he was prophesying the end of temporary Levitical priesthood and the re-newing of the priesthood of the father and first born son-the priesthood of the Bridegroom.

Jesus founded His Church-His Bride on the shoulders of Peter and the apostles and he gave then authority to follow His Will. This was not a licence to do as they pleased. All authority is limited and the authority of the Church is limited by what God asks for. Surely that is only right and just.

If a group of people is going to claim to be followers of Christ, one can expect I would think that they follow Christ and not their own wants and opinions. Sadly the CofE has shown itself as nothing more than a club in which the rules for membership can shift and change with the shifting demands of various members of the group.

WHERE IS CHRIST IN ANY OF THIS? He just doesn't seem to get a look in while all the political and personal agendas fly. Paul (OTSOTA) has pointed out on Holy Smoke just how narcissistic many commentators present themselves as being.

In the beginning, Scripture tells us, God made them "male and female". Did He make a mistake? Was he supposed to have made them not equal in His sight but the SAME? God has decided the roles men and women are to have in life and when they are treated with dignity and respect there is nothing wrong with different roles. The priesthood is inextricably tied in with how God revealed Himself as Bridegroom and Father-that is not a woman's role.

While this can be a difficult area of Biblical exegesis and Tradition for the average Joe to grasp. Well, I found it hard to begin with and I reckon I'm about average- I would have thought the intellectuals of the CofE and Catholics should get it. The reason they don't seems to be because they are not looking for Truth. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh-but we are called to seek first the Kingdom.

I hope that those seeking to enter the Church now are doing so because they are seeking and finding the Kingdom. That they are putting Christ at the centre of the their lives and trying to follow Him. If all they are doing is looking for something that serves their personal agendas a little more comfortably, then I don't see them either crossing the Tiber or staying here.

God bless them and guide them.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Send out the life boats and bring in the Anglicans.

Damian Thompson has covered the appalling and tragic mess the Anglicans are struggling with in some depth. While we are treated to rumours that up to 13,000 Anglicans are ready to cross the Tiber-a rumour that has even made it to EWTN's World Over Live coverage; there seems a great deal of confusion about just what the real problem is within the Anglican loosely held communion. Many people have pointed out that as women were 'ordained' to the ministry -what they call priesthood, it was hardly likely they would never be made bishops. There is already the rather odd-from a Christian point of view- American Episcopalian lady who is supposed to be a bishop.

There are those of us tempted to see the terrible and quite unChrist like situation facing this communion as rooted in their all too ready acceptance of Contraception back at the Lambeth Conference of 1930. Something that Pope Pius XI responded to very quickly with his encyclical Casti Connubii in response to this.
Once you decide to ditch God's law on the unitive aspects of marriage then all sorts of other sins are acceptable. In fact Rowan Williams has written on this when he cleverly approached the question of actively homosexual men being ordained to Anglican orders. Without reference let alone quotes from Scripture, he basically said that as Anglicans accept that their can be a deliberate block to procreation with the sexual act-then other sexual acts must be accepted.

So then once the understanding of the roles of male and female in marriage are undermined and corrupted-then the role of the priesthood as God created it is corrupted. There is no proper role of male and female. They are no longer complementary but the same and interchangeable. Marriage looses its holiness and so then does ordination.

How anyone who puts Christ at the centre of the their lives and claims a 'Catholic' heritage can remain part of such a -well lets be blunt here; this is pagan-organisation is something I don't really understand. I understand the horrible practicalities for those with livelihoods and families dependant on said organisation and I see the coldness from our own hierarchy here in England-but we are called to be God's Servant's first, even when we might lose our heads.

St John Bosco's dream of the great ship ploughing the storm tossed seas comes to mind here. She is attacked on all sides, but She has a flotilla of smaller boats that accompany her to battle against those ships which through weapons of all kinds, including books and tracts at her. Some boats though remain cowardly and in the lee of the great ship until they are sure She has won.

Meanwhile other ships are crushed and sinking.

In this battle and storm the Anglicans face, souls are being lost. Let's not forget that. Some will sink in sheer apathy, but others through being misled and their fear of Truth. There may be a few little life rafts for those who can truly claim invincible ignorance-but I doubt that many can be saved this way.

Seek the Truth and be prepared to face the storm. I don't altogether blame those afraid to jump ship. I found my return to the Church a very difficult journey at times. But I assure you it has been worth it. It's so much better to be free of all that confusion and dishonesty.

So I pray many Anglicans will come home-not because they are 'anti-gay' or 'anti-women' as the media might portray them, but because they are Pro- Truth and Pro-Christ.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


When I was young-and that was some time ago-I remember hearing stories about Victorian women who would write to their friends or even to the man they would eventually marry. They would write long letters, often with little illustrations all about their every day life and these letters would pass back and forth for years without the writers ever actually meeting one another.

I write regularly to a friend I have only ever met once. We have kept our friendship without meeting since and bizarrely, in this day an age, we never phone nor email one another. We write snail mail.

I also keep in touch with an aunt this way. We get up to Scotland to see her once a year if possible and I see her then. But for the rest of the time we write-snail mail- as the Victorians would.

I have other friends I love dearly but who live a long way from us now. We phone now and then and email very occasionally. On those occasions when we phone I have to admit we can TALK! It is wonderful to have the chance to visit them and let the children play while we talk and talk and the men o off to look at wooden things or whatever.
Then there are the friends I have actually never met physically. I have only talked to them across a computer screen via blogs or forums and MSN. Last night I chatted for ages with such a friend on MSN. One day I really hope she can come to England. She has been so kind to us and at this very moment my oldest son The Bearded Wonder is staying with her and her family.
It has been a great blessing for me to find friends across the strange world of the Internet. People who are Catholic and actually share with me the same belief in Christ and His Church and love and loyalty for Her pope. It means we don't have to skip around the subject or hide what we believe. Some of you out there that I think of as friends I will probably never meet. In fact it seems a bit odd that my son is meeting my friend and I am not! Even if we never meet I think that does not make the friendship less real.
Friendship must surely be built on communication. What we say to one another, how we pray for one another is just as important, surely as being in the same room.

Okay I know there are times when we need to actually BE there for a friend. There are those special events, those terrible times, and the occasional crisis when we simply have to get there even if it means getting of a train for a few hours to get to the other side of the country. We've all had to do that now and again.

And of course there is the every day kind of friendship over coffee. Those days in the park while the kids play and the grown ups chill and those times when someone turns up on the door step out of the blue with a bunch of flowers.

But what I am saying is there is nothing less in the kindness and sharing of online friends, and this has surprised me somewhat. But it seems to be true.

So God bless all my friends.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

SS Peter and Paul

Happy New Year The Year of St Paul begins.
Today the Holy Father prayed for Christian Unity.
Peter and Paul were the dynamite of Christ that really got the Church founded.

I am in an awkward position for typing - sleeping baby moment-so here are links and stuff to start the year:

Inside Scoop

VIDEO from Catholic online

Catholic Culture does us proud on this subject.

The CTS offers stuff.

That should get the year under way.

God bless you and may you be showered with graces this year and may many I am praying for be knocked off their horses!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Okay-no more pity party

I am so grateful for the kind words from Karen, Kit and Philip after my last post. I was feeling quite worn out and just a little self pitying at the time. In a really odd coincidence on the same day I made that post I discovered a book that has helped me a great deal.


Meanwhile as my last hosptial appoitment was so bad I nearly left the room in tears I have decided to be pro-active. This is the internet world and patients have access to all sorts of information that we didn't have before. Instead of trying to avoid information in case Iupset my already rude and incaltricent doctors I have decided to get myself fully informed and even look for answers elsewhere.

So today I had my first visit to a Chiropractor.

First visit was free. The Chiropractor took my history and the first thing I noticed was he LISTENED to what I said! He asked questions and listened to the answers. If I asked questions he answered them clearly and did not once try to dodge the question.

He poked and prodded me much the same as the neuros do but with a few extra things I've never had done before. Then hewas a bit bemused.

You see it seems that it could all be .... a trapped nerve!!!!

Now then; I have been in pain DAILY for over five years. I have been using crutches and a $*&$"* wheelchair because I can't walk properly or far. If it turns out this is all due to a trapped nerve that should have been straightforward to diagnose I'll...I don't know.

Even though I would be really, really angry I would also be exstatically pleased because the chiropractor can sort it out. If it IS a trapped nerve I am looking at being able to walk again and be pain free!


He wants to see the MRI done in 2003 so I have phoned my GP and asked for it. I'll let you know how that goes.

One of the things that has struck me is the attitude of the staff at the Chiropractor clinic. The receptionist was kind and polite. The chiropractor himself was polite and greeted me with a handshake. He did not once treat me like an idiot.

What has happened to the culture within the NHS, that patients are treated so rudely; discarded; ignored and generally seen as gettin in the way? And how many die or are killed because treatment is too much like hard work?

I saw it back when I was a nurse and I thought it was awful then, but now it is all over the place. My friend has cancer. Her treatment has been nick named the "Economy Package" because of how she is being treated.

All I can say to anyone going through something like this-try and find the energy to fight back.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Ones He Didn't Heal

I was teaching dd her RE lesson yesterday and we happened to be looking at the story of the Centurion who came to Jesus and asked that his servant be healed. He then came out with those timeless words said at every Mass "Lord I am not worthy to receive you under my roof, but only say the Word and my servant will be healed."

He has made it clear in his previous statement that he recognises the authority of Jesus.

Then, because of the faith of this gentile Jesus does as He has been asked.

We see in other parts of Scripture that lack of faith means lack of miracles.

These days whenever I read a story like this I am left a little saddened and wonder about all those people who did not get healed.

Was it simply lack of faith on their behalf?

In my nursing days I did come across people who actually wanted to stay ill. The secondary gains from their illness were so great they resisted all attempts to help them overcome their problems. In His ever polite way, I assume Jesus would leave people like this alone.

But I can't believe it was simply this and lack of faith that prevented-and still prevents- healing.

There has always been some form of medicine of course. God has provided plants and chemicals that over the years have become ever better forms of medication and these alongside increasing knowledge of how the body works and can be chopped up, sewn up, replaced and patched. So God offers healing through the skill of others.

But there are still plenty of us who are ill and are seeing doctors and getting nowhere.

I did not ask for healing to begin with because I had the belief I was meant to be this way and that's that. But then it became less obvious, I suppose, that being like this was any use at all.

So I have prayed for healing.
I do believe God can heal me if He wants to.
And here I am left with a sense that He doesn't want to.
Do I doubt that He loves me? Yes, honestly, sometimes I do. He heals others. I have seen it and heard about it-but so far He has not healed me.

Blessed Margaret of Costello was never healed either. In fact it seems her disabilities were used by God to help Him reach others who were wounded by life and sin.
She granted healing to a woman against her better judgement, as she believed the woman's disability was saving her from various sins she would otherwise be prone to.
Perhaps I am not to be healed because of sins I would otherwise commit.
During a really bad patch recently I was getting very frustrated and told my daughter I wished we could somehow find the money to let me go to Lourdes.
Fat chance!
However, the next morning I received a letter from a friend sending me a little bookmark that said "I prayed for you at Lourdes."
Perhaps I will have to carry this cross for the rest of my life. Perhaps I will not get worse-but chances are I will. Sometimes I am afraid I will not be much of a mother and will not be able to continue homeschooling. I worry that I wont be there for the children when they are adults-and I know all too well the pain of no parental support.
Or perhaps in the end a day will come when God will heal me.
I do know I am grossly unworthy to have Him under my roof-but if He would only say the Word I would be healed.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Ban homeschooling- it leads to intolerance!

Oldest Daughter is running a little magazine for our homeschool group and she asked me to contribute an article on bullying. She has given me a deadline-she can be like a proper little editor at times!! LOL!

Now I was vaguely aware that for those parents in the UK who are registered as homeschoolers with their Local Authority the most common reason given for pulling a child out of school was bullying, but I wanted to do a bit of research.

I was interested by what I found as I pottered around the net looking at bullying and homeschooling. There are a few very keypad happy people out there who want homeschooling banned. THEY personally disapprove of the system and said parents who homeschool are 'fundamentalist', 'biased' and children brought up this way would be...wait for it...intolerant of others. There was some mockery over a home educated child reintroduced to mainstream education who found a lesbian couple's rather unpleasant behaviour difficult to handle.

I know a lot of homeschoolers. I can assure these dictatorial people that most of the children I know who are homeschooled are very well socialised thank you. Research from the USA and Durham Uni here in the UK would suggest that on average homeschooled children are better socialised than school children.

When it comes to 'tolerance' I have to say that while there seems to be a lot of people out there ready and willing to BAN homeschooling and force parents to send their children to school no matter how damaging that might be to the child; I have yet to meet a homeschool parent or child demanding that schools be banned, no matter how bad those schools might be.
So, I just have to wonder, who the intolerant ones are.

Monday, 16 June 2008

In Praise of Dads

When my husband gets home from work, the little ones are in the habit of rushing to the door to meet him shouting "Daddy, daddy, daddy!" Even the baby is beginning to join in, toddling after them saying "Dada, dada" as she goes.

The older ones, being teens, are not quite so highly expressive in their greeting, but they do show pleasure at their father's return.

The little ones like to try and be up early to have breakfast with daddy before he goes to work. If they sleep over and miss him the 5yr old Superhero can be quite upset. He in particular likes his 'dad time'. I think it is important for boys to have that 'dad time.'

I don't think it is very easy to be a dad these days. Working close to home is a luxury most men don't have these days, so little ones often find dad is a distant man they see briefly before bed. We are lucky that my dh gets home at a reasonable(ish) time and I keep the little ones up a little so they have time. Dad then puts them to bed and prays with them. It is very important that the children have prayer time with dad.

He leads Grace at meal times.

He has less time with the older ones and this has caused some concerns now and then.They get a bit cross when they want to have time with their dad-and there isn't any. As a result he has had to make a special effort to make the week last out so everyone has time with him.

Meal times are important as all the family sits around the table and we get to talk about our day, ideas and plans. This, too is important dad time.

A great deal is said these days about the dads who are not there for their kids, whether they live with them or not-and yes, we've all seen these dads; but there are dads out there trying to do their best in a society that thinks putting your family first is daft.
So, God bless them and St Joseph pray for them.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day 3 To all you dad's out there. Happy Father's Day!
The children here made cards and put little gifts together for their dad. We had a good day even The Bearded One got in touch from America.

Not much time to blog today so that's all folks. Father's Day 4

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The art of forgiveness

I think it was Oscar Wilde who said something along the lines of "Forgive your enemies. There is nothing that annoys them more."

Forgiveness fascinates me, mainly, I think because I don't really know how to do it. I am not altogether sure what it is. My main confusion comes from the point of, what to do with forgiveness that isn't wanted. God forgives us all. He has paid a very, very heavy price for the privilege and yet we are not forced to accept this free and gracious gift. We can forgo the obligation and retire to the pit of hell if we so desire. While the Church does not tell us WHO is in hell, She is wary of saying no one is. While God loves every person He has made with infinite burning love and certainly wants us all in heaven with Him, we don't have to go, and I think it is fair to say a lot of people choose not to. When Our Blessed Mother showed the three children at Fatima what hell was like-it was not empty.

But we are all called to forgive; "Forgive us our trespasses," we pray, "As we forgive those who trespass against us."
So what do WE do with forgiveness that is not wanted?
I am assuming that forgiveness is as much a good for the forgiver as it is for the forgivee. It is about an act of will in which the wounded party decides they do not want revenge, nor even justice-but mercy for the other person.

I think part of my own confusion comes from being told that forgiveness included two things; forgetting and carrying on with the other person as though nothing had happened. Well okay, there are times when forgetting and carrying on are easy enough-those times are when the other person is sorry, or the offence was small or the offence was such that the other person couldn't possibly know how offensive it was.
But it's the BIG stuff I wonder about. Who can forget abuse? I mean for so many the abuse went on over a long period of time and was habitual in the abuser. How can you forget such a huge chunk of life? And HOW is it possible-well it isn't is it?- to carry on with an abuser as if nothing had happened even IF (and it seems to me to be as rare as hens teeth) the abuser is actually sorry.
What does a person do with forgiveness for that sort of thing?

I am of the opinion-and I am still not sure about this-that remembering what happened is not a sin. It is not possible to forget. Living as a victim, blaming it all on the abuse IS a sin. Perhaps it is through the offer of forgiveness not taken that grace to survive is received. But even for the person who accepts grace and works to overcome the abuse there are times when it all just seems to be there again.
Sometimes the anger comes back. I really can't see if that is a sin. Dwelling on it probably is-but there are times when something happens that causes frustration; places that can't be visited; people who can't be trusted-because of the situation.

Then in the end if the abused person wants mercy for the abuser does God give it-or must those who refuse mercy always receive justice?
It seems to me that many people who have abused others and think they can do this with impunity are so sure God will simply let them into heaven that they see neither the need for His mercy nor fear of His justice.

I am not sure what God expects of us-apart from prayer I suppose.

Friday, 6 June 2008

10 People I would like to spend 10 minutes with

Esther has tagged me for this meme.

I am to name ten people I would most like to spend 10minutes with.

I am going to choose people I have never had any minutes with and would like to:

1. Mother Angelica

2. Fr Benedict Groeschel

3. Charlotte Mason- Although reading so much of her work is like spending time with her.

4. G.K.Chesterton- I wouldn't speak I would just listen.

5. Papa Beni. OOOh the things I would like to ask him.

6. Some of the bloggers I have only managed to talk to online. Is that a copout answer? It's true though.

7. The Duggers. I would just LOVE to.

8. My children's future spouses; oh the questions I would ask!

9. I would like to spend more than 10 minutes with some of my ancestors who kept the Faith during the Reformation and the persecution of Catholics that followed. I would ask them about how they survived.

10. Dr Ray Guarendi- well I just had to include him didn't I? :)

My dd would like 10mins or more with her beloved Ainsley Harriot. DS would spend ten days with Stan Lee and knowing my dh as I do I am sure he would like at least 10minutes with Dr Tanya Byron.

Consider yourself tagged. Yes YOU.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Don't do it! Don't have a vasectomy!

There was a tragic case on the news tonight of a man who wants to reverse the vasectomy he had after his second child was born because one of his children has died. I think he wanted the reversal done on the NHS and has been refused on the grounds that only one of his two children has died.

These situations are all too common. The biggest side effect of a vasectomy that is recognised even by the doctors (who try to underplay other nasty side effects) is it is so difficult to reverse!

No one can be so sure of their future that they can take such drastic action to wound their own bodies so permanently. I have seen so many stories where the man wants to try and have more children-for whatever reason and then finds that even if he can get the reversal there follows massive heartache as infertility remains.

In the story on the news I was wondering how many women are turned away from NHS abortions. Haven't heard of any. This man who wants to father another child will have to find the money to reverse the awful decision he made so long ago before he realised that life happens even to people who don't plan for it to happen.

Vasectomy has been linked in some controversial studies with prostate cancer and it appears there are more studies that show prostate problems and vasectomies do go together. Then there's the link with autoimmune diseases because the man's body builds up anti-bodies to sperm. If that wasn't enough there has been a new study that suggests some dementia's are linked with vasectomies. That research is contentious to say the least.
Contraception is sacrosanct somehow and no matter how much misery it causes; infertility, cancer, depression, general family destruction-it still HAS to be a good thing, doesn't it?

Meanwhile from what I have seen in my quiet corner of the world, more and more people-especially women, are saying to hell with it-out with the horrible stuff and in with a thermometer and a chart.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Those who DO the will of God

I love the way the Scripture readings at Mass always fit together so well. Four readings; four threads that weave a theme. God offers His People His Law and with it comes a "Blessing and a curse." The blessing for those who obey God and a curse for those who go after other gods (or make themselves gods). We avoid the curses by remembering to take refuge in the Lord as "The Lord is my rock of safety."

Then we hear from St Paul that works of the Law will not save us-Christ has superseded the Old Law; fulfilled it. Then in the Gospel we are told what the Lord expects of us. The Beatitudes have just been preached (as Father reminded us in his homily this morning) and then we hear the words of the blessing and the curse. Jesus is rather clear when he says saying "Lord Lord" and making out we have done stuff in His Name will not get us into the Kingdom. We have to do what He tells us to do-not what we would prefer Him to have told us to do. We can prophecy, cast out demons but if we haven't built our house on HIS rock then it is work in vain. Remember the man who built his house on the sand was just as busy building his house as the wise man up there on the rock-but all his work crashed around him when the storms came.

And the storms came to both houses.

So we have to DO what God tells us to do-not make up an idea of Christ and do what we would quite like it if he said. That's a false god isn't it? And we have to be where He says we should be. Get out of that sand.

Here's a nice big house on a great big rock.
St Peter is buried under here so the rock is rockier than ever.
Jesus chose Simon and changed his name to Peter (Kephas) and said He would build His Church on that rock.
He said to the apostles "He who hears you hears Me and he who rejects you rejects Me."
It is really straight forward when you look at it. We are called to obey the Church. I am grateful to say I no longer find it as hard as I used to. I understand now why marriage is so Holy and contraception so unholy and I even understand why men are priests and ontologically women just can't be-but really I had to give assent before I fully understood. Faith seeking understanding.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I've updated the sidebar of the blog. I've added a couple of new blogs such as Friends with Christ and Maggie Clitherow-who for some reason I hadn't added before. Sorry about that!

I have added James Mawdsley's blog and I have just written a letter to the Queen. His plea is a good one and I think the more of us who support his letter and petition the better.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Post Christian-post human

I am heartened to see so many UK bloggers speaking out so strongly about the horrors of the recent bills that have gone through Parliament. We live in a country where the strong can kill the week and that is legal. The whole understanding of personhood has been abandoned as the strong seek to crush, kill and use those who are vulnerable and have no voice for their own ends.
In Britain we are 'proud' I think to be leading the way in sacrificing our innocents to the gods of wealth and self-seeking wants. Molech/Crom Cruach whatever name you like-he is here and many people, even those who dare to call themselves Christian, worship at his altars.
In the Catholic Herald this week they are saying that the UK is not so much post-Christian these days but post-human. The constant pro-murder, pro-sacrifice of the welbeing of children legislation that is being passed shows a distinct disregard for the sanctity of life.
The thing I find so bizarre about so much of it is the sheer pointlessness of the decisions. Killing babies past 24weeks is pointless. Creating babies and then choosing one who can be harvested for the possible welbeing of another child while killing off the rest is pointless. Creating babies and making animal hybrids even more pointless. We already know that experimenting on human embryo babies has given NO good results and that it is in ADULT stem cells the results are happening.
And there is such a SILENCE here. what response there has been is so muted with perhaps the exception of Cardinal Keith O'Brien-God bless him.
I am so saddened by this-so horrified. I don't want to keep blogging about it because it's so dark and disgusting; but I don't want to be part of the silence either.
"If they do this when the wood is green, what then when it is dry? Then they will say to the hills fall on us and to the mountains cover us."
Like Jerusalem we will reap the rewards. It's just inevitable.
"Penance, penance, penance."

Friday, 23 May 2008

Laodicea-dead and gone

In the book of Revelation there are seven churches that Christ the Just Judge has messages for. It is one of those strange little facts of life that the one we all seem to remember is the church at Laodacea.
Their lukewarmness and apathy was a sin so vile that Christ said he would vomit them out.
And He did.
Neither the town nor a church exist in Laodacea any more.

What did the Laodacean Christians do that was to terrible?
I think they did nothing.

They saw the pagan culture around them and simply lived as part of the culture, going to Mass but comfortable with the increasing horrors of the society they lived in. No one spoke up, no one sacrificed themselves.
We know that killing the elderly, the disabled and abandoning babies to die were common. We know that there were abortions- the Didache (written around 80AD) condemns abortion and potions for contraception.
We know there were Roman cults that included sacrificing children to gain wealth and happiness.
We know that women were treated as a commodity and that they and children could be bought and sold as slaves.

All of this happens today. Just about all of it happens here in the UK.
And there is a church here in the UK- a church in England, in Wales, in Scotland. It seems a liitle cool.
Every single person from the moment of conception has an inate dignity and rights that go with that dignity. The right to life, the right not to be deliberately denied a mother and father, the right to freedoms with responsibility, the right to do what is right.
The Church will be until the end of the age-but Christ NEVER said churches in each city, town or even country would survive.
Where is the church of Laodacia, Corinth or many other places we read of in Scipture?
We live in a country that puts the wants of adults above the rights and needs of children and the Church seems oddly quiet. Why aren't we fighting? What are we afraid of?
I am afraid sometimes. I know a disabled woman threatened with prison for saying a rosary outside an abortion mill.
Whenever we speak up the rights of the unborn or children we are attacked and threatened.
St Michael the archangel, defend us in battle.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

So much evil...

I would like to light a candle, rather than curse the darkness, but my little light seems so fragile against the thick, choking darkness that is loosed on Britain these days. Of course the HFE Bill was passed. Did anyone doubt otherwise? Was that lack of faith or hope on my part? Or was it simply facing the reality of the utter contemptuous corruption of those who have power in this country.
I do not doubt there are Catholics out there who have both the ability and the media savvy to stand up and lead the rest of us to oppose all this evil that is crashing in on us-but for some reason they wont.
While the poor self pitying cripple was wheeled out on the news to say he needed a lot of babies murdered to find him a cure (well, not those words but that's what he meant)-there was no self-assertive cripple to say adult stem cells are working and will do fine thank you.

I tried to fight when it came to the horror of children needing to be adopted by a mum and dad, being sacrificed to political expediency and handed over to unstable families particularly homosexual couples. But what could I write? After I had written to a couple of MPs it came to light that Catholic adoption agencies had been handing children over to unmarried couples and single gay people already. A gay couple would be better than a single actively gay person for crying out loud! What in heaven's name were/are these agencies thinking? Why did they pretend to be Catholic?

My husband worked with a situation in which a couple were allowed to adopt siblings despite the fact their marriage was already very fragile indeed. As soon as the papers were signed the couple split and took one child each so they split the children as well!!!! Social services seemed completely unable or unwilling to deal with the situation.
Another family I have known where they managed to have children with severe behavioural and moral problems but continued to adopt more children. How did they get them?

My fellow homeschooler Amanda works so hard for the Pro-Life cause. She isn't a big name, or a famous blogger-but she does more than any of those people with the tiny resources she has.
God bless her.

I feel powerless sometimes-well a lot of the time. And I am so angry when I look at those who have been given a position of authority in our Church and other Christian communities and DO NOTHING.

I will keep praying and fight when I can and blog about it even if no one reads it.
In the end the Immaculate Heart with Triumph.

Monday, 19 May 2008

I can drive!

Convertible Female Some of you may remember-though it was so so long ago you may not- that I had our car converted so I could drive it and then the DVLA has to know all about it and they took FOREVER and EVER to send the new licence. I had gotten to the point of thinking I would never drive and would have to rely on taxi's (Ye gods they are expensive) for the rest of my life. But at last I have the licence and I am driving! Caution You have been warned.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Feed the world

God is very generous. Like a Jewish mother He tends to make a bit more than is strictly necessary so there is always plenty to o around enough to share with anyone who happens to pop by.

The world He made does have the capacity and some to produce enough food to feed everyone and have twelve baskets over-so why is food suddenly so scarce and so expensive? Why are reporters telling us that the days of cheap food are over?

I watched the shocking sight on the news the other night of mothers in Haiti making 'cakes' for their children out of the plaster from their houses because they had nothing to eat. Meanwhile up the road in the local town the market was packed with food no one could afford to buy! Even the wealthier people were living on absolute basics because that was all they could afford.

So what's going on?

Some reports say China has been wanting more food. Other commentators seem baffled by this because China's population is hardly growing, why would they suddenly need to be importing food?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the Chinese Govt-with British help and funding-have been forcibly aborting their workforce for so long they don't have farmers to grow the rice?

Just wondering.

Then there's the little business of getting greener by making biofuels-not by using chip oil you understand, that's illegal; ask the Welsh-no by using other people's food staples such as Maize apparently.
I have noticed that while bread costs a small fortune here in England the fields are yellow with rape rather than golden with wheat.
Just wondering...
But the news coverage just had to mention that old canard 'population increasing' to explain the starvation faced in the Philipines. Somehow the corrupt government the inability of political regemes to distribute food, the lack of free trade and even the business of biofuel production is nothing compared to those damned brown people having babies.
Housing has become a problem there because the are building on land that they ought to grow food on. Surely that is more about corruption and pure incompetence than because poor people have children.
My son works with a Burmese girl who has family out there. Her parents are okay, but have lost the roof of their house and her other family members have no house at all any longer. Please say a prayer-they are not as badly off as some people out there; but they are suffering.
But it's not so much the weather that's the hideous problem for the people of Burma (and yes, the people still call it Burma) but their incredibly evil government who will not allow aid to the people are already in the process of stealing the small amount they have allowed into the country.
And where are the UN? Ah yes, watch the action.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Pentecost, the Beginning of the End.

There was a great spate of End Time books as the Third Millennium approached and dawned. Novels and those rather odd pseudo-factional documentary type books so beloved of Da Vinci code believers filled bookshop shelves taunting us all with an almost gleeful doomilism. Y2K was coming when all computers would crash and we would all be plunged into chaos and death. Volcanoes everywhere were about to blow, followed by earthquakes. Those who might survive that faced the heat of global warming and deep chill of global freezing-caused by something happening to the Atlantic current. Don't ask.

People of all persuasions were muttering and even getting a bit panicky about the idea that we seemed to be entering the...dum, dum, der...End Times.

All of this excitement however was squished by terribly sensible Chestonian types who pointed out that we have been living in the End Times since Pentecost.

So here we are celebrating Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the Church; Mary the mother of the Church and the 11 remaining apostles. The message of Salvation was about to burst forth from the upper room in down town Jerusalem and set the world on fire.

we have been baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and in His Name we are made whole. We can then face the end of the end times unafraid (well, a little nervous maybe). The end of the end times must come, and each day obviously brings us a little closer to that end, not just for the world but for each of us. We must as individuals face death and judgement and the choice between heaven and hell, but we should also be ready in case the Second Coming happens to us. It has to happen to someone doesn't it?

I do believe that Pope John Paul the Great was indeed the 'Spark' to come out of Poland to prepare the world for His Second Coming, as Jesus told St Faustina. It was our beloved John Paul who gave to us the Feast of Divine Mercy as Jesus asked St Faustina. The Pope called us to throw ourselves on God's mercy as most of us surely need to.

In celebrating Pentecost we must remember that this 8th day is a time of grace and as we hurtle towards Judgement (as we must) we can feel Christ is our Hope as we bathe in His Mercy.
So Pentecost isn't just about something that happened so long ago it hardly seems to matter any more-Pentecost is now, the end times are now. We shouldn't get all hung up about it, but neither should we be ignoring it.
We need to be alert and reading the signs of the times- and God knows there are lots of them!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

20 years of marriage!

Yesterday DH and I celebrated our China Wedding Anniversary. Twenty years of marriage six kids of eight pregnancies and a lifetime of memories and things to laugh about.

At work one of his colleagues said, "Twenty years! Gosh! That's quite an achievement!"
It's been hard work at times...for both of us LOL! But I think despite some difficulties and sometimes because of them, we have had a great twenty years and hopefully will have another great twenty years.
Our marriage has been very much a 'public' affair. I am not sure how else to word it. DH says we have been given the charism of hospitality, and I guess by the number of people I seem to feed every week he might have a point.
We had a weeks honeymoon in Applecross at the north west end of Scotland. We had applied for two weeks but the hospital wouldn't give me two weeks leave. Shame eh? Anyway as it turned out it was a good job because as soon as we got back my friend called. She was in dire straights and moved in with us that week. She was going to stay a couple of weeks, but stayed a couple of years. We had fun!
Over the years there has been a lot of extras around the dinner table needing hot food and TLC.
Sometimes I just didn't want to do it, but dh was always supportive and helped me remain 'Christian' when I really wanted to be Me oriented.
We worked together for some time at a CAMHS clinic. At the beginning there were some concerns and doubts about a married couple working together on the unit, especially as he was to be my boss. But it worked very well. Hardly any of the children admitted to the unit had anything like a good stable family life and they were often openly fascinated in seeing a couple who could be together all day without screaming and shouting at each other or being violent with each other. One child begged us to adopt him. I went home that night and cried.
We've struggled together through some pretty difficult pregnancies and then me becoming disabled. We've had some pretty scary money problems sometimes-especially when I had to give up work. But we've seen it through for richer for poorer, sickness and health and with God's grace ('cuz that's what makes a marriage work) we'll keep on.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Silent No More


Saturday, 10th May12pm - 2pm,

Cornmarket, Oxford. (Right at the top, near Barclays Bank )

This is an event where women who have experienced the pain of abortion speak out publicly. It is a chance for them to share their testimony of how deeply abortion has affected their lives. Just hearing their witnesses is a powerful, pro-life opportunity.

We need supporters to come and stand silently whilst the women speak. There are placards people can hold or just stand there in support.We also need STEWARDS - if anyone can help, please let me know and I'll pass it on to Amanda

If you're unable to attend, please say a prayer for the women to touch many people's hearts and minds.God Bless and many thanks!
You can visit the SILENT NO MORE website.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Breastfeeding to avoid breast cancer

Sky News carried THIS story today showing that far too many women are unaware that breast feeding their children can help reduce the risk of breast cancer quite substantially. Of course among NFPers this is common knowledge, and I was a little surprised that so few women knew about the link. I would have thought that midwives would have been trained to mention it to new mums to help encourage breastfeeding. Having said that no midwife has ever mentioned it to me.

It might be worth getting the message out that chemical contraception and abortion increase the risk of breast cancer substantially.
My friend who is going through the process with her breast cancer at the moment realises she must ensure her daughter never uses chemical contraceptives. No professional has advised her of this however, even though she is one of the very young (pre-menopause) women to have cancer-a statistic that is increasing. My friend was put on the pill as a teenager because she was having problems, as many teens do. Doctors were very quick to prescribe the Pill despite its awful side effects, rather than looking at other ways to help teens regulate problems with their periods.
So ladies-get off those horrible chemicals and breast feed.

Psychology of abusive parents

Sky News interviewed a psychologist this morning over the awful case in Austria in which a father had his daughter and some of the children he fathered by her kept in a cellar for years and years. I was interested in what she had to say about the case-partly for personal reasons and partly for (ex)professional ones. My dh still works for CAMHS and it has to be said there are some similarities in the way abusive parents present.

The psychologist said these kinds of parents were very often authoritarian- by this she did not mean parents who have true authority in the home and can set appropriate boundaries for their children's behaviour; but rather a control freak kind of authority in which secrets must be kept. I know parents who would demand absolute loyalty from their children-not healthy loyalty as one would expect from a loving family, but secret keeping-bad secret keeping. Children would be made to feel fear and guilt at the thought of trying to tell anyone else what happened within the confines of the family.

The other thing this psychologist mentioned was the 'respectable veneer' these kinds of parents often clung to.

Again I was struck by this. I too know parents who have done this. They cultivate a sense of being a pillar of society, known in the local community or church as someone 'good'. Under the veneer something rotten lurks of course, and if any whiff of this gets out those parents will usally blame the person who has seen it-cutting themselves off, or even keeping clear of people to avoid being found out.

I have seen families where friends are not allowed to come to the home, where children are isolated from any friends they make at school for fear of any 'secret' getting out.

So, one thing I think I have learned about abusive parents is this; THEY KNOW. They are not ignorant that what they are doing is bad. Healthy families do not ask children to keep secrets like that. They are not afraid that someone might find something out about them and they are not constantly bitter and angry about other people who may or may not have sussed there is a problem.

What fascinates me the most is how boring evil is. Satan is incapable of making anything new; he can only take what is and drain the colour from it, twist it out of shape or break it. I am coming to the conclusion that like Original Sin, all evil is not a 'something' but a lack of something. And I think there is always a deep anger-a fury even, against anyone who might shine a light on them.

I have seen that anger first hand in more than one situation working with or knowing abusive parents. It's something I think social services need to be much more canny about. I am shocked to see families that are rotten to the core being allowed to adopt and foster children.My dh has mentioned a case like that only a few days ago and the results for the child have been utterly dreadful.

Finally the psychologist went on to say she thought a lot more of this kind of abuse went on that we could imagine. I want to disagree, I really do. I want to say, no, it's rare-and I think the extreme cases like this one and the one my dh is working on are fairly rare; but abusive families are not and they need to be.

Dr Ray Guarendi has written about this somewhat in his book Back to the Family. I've mentioned it before. Many of the excellent parents in this book had survived pretty dreadful upbringings and had made an act of the will to NOT behave the way their parents did. It is not inevitable that abused children grow up to abuse, no matter how hurt.

Sometimes cases like this one in Austria may bring back horrible memories for survivors of abuse, but those memories serve only to ensure that act of will remains.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Strikes and that Kipper Tie feeling.

As the rubbish piles up along our street and the schools close-I am getting that 1970's feeling. I could just see us breaking out the kipper ties and brown jackets with orange overstitiching Sick.

I haven't really been watching the news much so although I knew the strike was happening-I have friends who are teachers-I wasn't too sure what it was all about.

The BBC news yesterday was interesting in the way they covered it. Now, I know quite a few teachers. All of them have a very good grasp of the English language and can string a sentence together without a thick accent. They are quite capable of articulating a position, should they be asked.

However the BBC reporter managed to interview three teachers (I think it was three) all of whom came across as rather lacking in basic educational ability. The idea that these were qualified teachers was rather shocking. But just as they may have persuaded me to have no sympathy with their position at all they flicked across to Ed Balls, a sinister minister extraordinaire. The kids had all come charging into the room at this point so I couldn't hear what he said-but even my son commented on his scary bulging eyes! How does he make his face do that!?
So my rubbish sits on the pavement, and the kids in the neighbourhood are not at school, and while I think nurses have received an equally bad deal on the pay front and they are not striking-the fact that teachers have Ed Balls in charge of them is all I need to offer them sympathy in their plight.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica is 85 today! Happy Birthday Mother!
I have been watching the Pope's visit to America on EWTN either on TV or because I don't get the time, in bits online. You can catch it all HERE.
She has given us a great gift with EWTN and at times like this; when I know I would not be able to trust the coverage offered by the MSM having her network to turn to is a Godsend.
I receive the little newsletter from the Poor Clares. They have been sending it ever since I wrote asking for their prayers for someone in my family during a rather difficult time. I know God hears the prayers of Mother in a special way because she loves Him so much.
Thanks to her Catholic media has taken off over the USA and that means people like me living in the UK have access to the Truth in a way that was unimaginable when I was a teen looking for answers.
I know that all the stuff I listen to; Catholic Answers, Relevant Radio, Fr Stan Podcasts etc have come from her dream, from her work and her pain.
So God bless Mother Angelica.

The Pain of Infertility

You might think this is a rather strange topic for someone with six kids to write about. But as it happens I seem to be coming across this terrible pain a lot recently. I personally know the horror and grief of miscarriage and how that messes with your head-and your soul. I am also coming to terms with the difficult fact that I really should not have another baby. Then I am coming across more and more women, open to life, who either cannot conceive, loose their babies to miscarriage or are having to postpone pregnancy indefinitely because of very difficult circumstances.

Those of us with more than the acceptable 1.7 children (and a dog) are well aware of the negative comments and just plain bewilderment from those around us. WHY are we having SO MANY children? Blah, blah, blah... but I have come across something among big families that I think is just as unattractive. I have seen a 'I'm better than you because I have lots of kids' kind of attitude. "If you are a good Catholic you would have more children," and "You must be contracepting" attitude. Bizarrely I had a woman who is infertile herself and has adopted her children tell me from her high and mighty Catholic position that she knew everyone at my parish contracepted. As it happened I know a lot of mothers in my parish who have small families because they have NO CHOICE. I know their stories and I know the pain they have suffered. This woman's judgemental and uncharitable view shocked me.
Christ and His Church calls us to be open to life. That does NOT mean having lots of children; it means having the children God gives us and being the very best, loving and responsible parents we can be.
Some of the holiest, saintliest Catholics I can think of had NO children at all; Alice and Deitrich von Hildebrand (although Deitrich had a son from his first marriage) and Frances and Gilbert K Chesterton.
I am so so grateful to God for all my children, especially my youngest who I came so close to loosing right on the day she was born. I have only had one straightforward healthy pregnancy so I am very blessed indeed to have managed to have six live children. I pray for all those I know who long for a child to hold- God bless you abundantly.

And I beg my fellow big family mums (dads don't seem to do this as much) don't be so proud-be grateful and never assume that others are not open to life. You don't know that.

Coincidentally I have been working through the story of Hannah and Samuel with my son. Hannah was married to a husband who loved her very much, but she had been unable to conceive. Her husband had another wife who had lots of children and like some of the mums of big families was a bit too full of herself about the fact-uncaring of Hannah's pain.
Hannah went to God and prayed and begged Him to hear her. Old Eli the priest gave her his blessing (after being assured she was not drunk) and God answered her prayer. She was the mother of the great prophet Samuel. She gave her son to God as she had promised and God rewarded her; she had other children.
Eli seems to have been a gentle man, but not a good father. His sons were wicked men-not a credit to Eli at all; and in the end through Samuel the gift to a desperate woman, God told Eli there was a price to pay for bad parenting.
Like Hannah we need to remember that our Twinkles from God's Eye belong to Him. Just as she gave Samuel back so we are called to ensure we can give our children back-ready for heaven.
Let us support one another in this endeavour whether we have one child, no children or many.