Friday, 28 March 2008

Trinitarian Pelargonium, my First Curry, and my First Meme

The third flower has come out on this cutting I took from my citrus-scented pelargonium, and even though I know I'm not supposed to let cuttings flower, I hadn't the heart to destroy them. It's a shame I can't do the blog in "smell-o-rama" as the leaves smell gorgeous when they are crushed, more of an orange than a lemon scent mmmm.... much more wholesome than those dreadful air-fresheners which always make me gag!

However, even that wouldn't mask the smell of curry in my kitchen at the moment, I actually made curried chicken pieces for lunch today. The flavour was quite good, but the sauce was a bit watery (I followed the recipe exactly, so I presume it was supposed to be). I think we're so used to thickened Korma sauces from the take-away, that we're not sure how home-made curry should turn out! Anyway, if I manage to perfect it, it could save us a bob or two on take-aways in future!!

Now to the serious stuff, which Alexa tagged me for!
I have to admit I panicked when I saw this meme thing, as I don't really know what a meme is, but if it just involves answering a few questions, then I think I can cope with that! I think this is wot I'm supposed to do -

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

It seems straightforward.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

I was probably playing with this wee lad!

Looks like he's dressed up in his Sunday Suit - one of my handmade efforts - poor child! He'd've liked the buttons though, they were ladybirds.

I think I'd got over my post-natal depression by the time he was 9 months, but I didn't really like where we were living at the time - that used to depress me somewhat. It's funny when you look back at old photos - I had to do this to trigger my memory of what I was doing 10 yrs ago - one always looks so happy, and yet it's not always a true reflection of how one felt a lot of the time. And does any of it matter anyhow, in the big scheme of things - we're one of the first generations to have detailed photographic records of our existence - is it healthy to look back at our youth, is it what God wants of us? Getting a bit too deep here, let's move on.

Five things on my To Do List today:

Firstly, one thing I never do is make lists. I know I should, and that life would be perfect if I did, but I have a HUGE psychological resistance towards lists.

Well, it's getting late in the day, nearly 5 0'clock, and I've cooked lunch, but haven't done the dishes, so that's one thing I need to do.

I have to take my boy to tennis in 5 minutes.

I have to pick him up an hour later, on the way to our Friday evening Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

I have to not look at any more blogs - it's getting addictive.

I have to make my husband a nice cup of tea, and spend some time with him.

Snacks I enjoy:

Walkers salt n' shake crisps, I never put the salt on, so they are just fried potato flavour.

Roasted peanuts.

Crunchy juicy apples.

Cadbury's Mini Eggs, but you can only get them around Easter time.

Biscuits (cookies).

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Buy a detached house, on a hill, overlooking the sea - possibly in Wales. Pay off any debts, family debts etc. Save a bit for my son's education, and our old age. Give the rest away to good Catholic Charities, and anyone I thought was in need.

Three of my bad habits:

Losing my temper when I get frustrated by something.

Living an ill-disciplined (list-free) life.

Eating too many sweet things.

Five places I have lived:

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire (England).

Dursley, Goucestershire.

Bristol, England.

Edinburgh, Scotland.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.

Swansea, Wales.



New Mexico (USA) for 3 months.

Shropshire, England.

(Just for my benefit, I thought I'd try and remember all the significant places I've lived in, that comes to 10!)

Five jobs I have had:

Saturday shop assistant in a gift shop.

Shop assistant in a grocery shop.

Night shift worker in a frozen raspberry factory in Scotland, whilst staying on a pig farm - nightmarish experience!

Chocolate factory worker.

Paintings conservator in various museums and private studios.

I've got to add a sixth - wife and mother - the job I always aspired to!..

Five people I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG!):

Ooer -the hunt is on not because I don't want to know about lots of people, but because I don't think many know who I am, and I can't do Alexa, as she's already tagged me!

First I'll do Lydia at When the Magnolias Bloom

Then James at Ecce Mater Tua

Followed by Leutgeb at Bara Brith

Next I'll try The White Stone Name Seeker

And finally Rachel at Chasing Butterflies

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Off to the Movies

We had our first family trip to the cinema today - ever! We've never seen anything that looked suitable for our son to view up till now, but we thought "Horton Hears a Who" would pass muster, and it did. I really enjoyed it, and so did my husband (even though he'd been tempted to save money, and not come with us, thinking he might not find it to his taste). But our son loved it, and really appreciated having both of us with him to share the experience. It does have a pro-life message "A person's a person, no matter how small" even though sadly, I found out later, that Dr Seuss (and especially his wife) were against pro-lifers using that phrase. As my husband says, now he's met Jesus, he'll know that it is an appropriate catchphrase to apply to the unseen unborn babies in the womb!

We might try Prince Caspian next, when it comes out in the summer.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Thirteen Years On, and still Laughing

We almost forgot that today was our 13th Wedding Anniversary! It usually coincides with the Feast of The Annunciation, which it would have been today if it weren't the Easter Octave!

We usually think of the Feast of the Annunciation as our Wedding Anniversary, and when it gets transferred, (as it sometimes falls in Holy Week) we transfer our celebrations too. But as this is a joyous time, we should really be celebrating today.

I waited a long time for my husband, we met at a prayer group at Church, and when he first expressed an interest in me, I didn't look twice at him -he was 7 years younger than me; still, he was very persistent, and God let us know that we were meant to marry in so many ways, that after going out together for about 4 months we got engaged. Despite making our Priest very worried at our lack of pre Marriage instruction, we insisted that we wanted to have our wedding on the first Marian feast, on a Saturday that we could find - it happened to be 6 weeks later, on 25th March - Lady Day!

The new fleur de lys background to my blog is from the material of my wedding dress, which I made myself, (I also made two bridesmaids dresses, and iced the cake - all in six weeks!) We are very fond of fleurs de lys - or should it be fleur de lyses? - as they symbolise our devotion to Our Lady. I don't know how we managed it, but we've had so much fun, and so many blessings in our Marriage, that despite the few downs, I want to say a Big Thankyou to Our Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, and Our Lord, for bringing us together. Also a big thankyou to my husband, for marrying me!
I love you more than ever!!! God Bless You.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Let Yourselves Be Fed

I just read the following about Fulton Sheen on Paul's blog -(

A couple of months before his death Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this:"Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?"Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly how many Hosts were in the ciborium: thirty-two.
When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn't pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back. Slipping past the guard at the priest's house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred. After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, (since it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.) The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle. This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.
When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament everyday of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

When my son was about two and a half years old, we were in the Chapel of an elderly people's home that we used to frequent for Holy Mass. Some of the children from the Catholic primary school next door had attended Mass on this particular day, it being the Feast of Corpus Christi. My little boy liked to help clear away the hymn number cards, so we were on our own in the Chapel carrying out this task after Mass, when suddenly he said "Mummy, here is a Body of Christ", and, to my horror, he was holding a host in his hand, that one of the children must have dropped - we were half way down the Chapel - it was not as though the child who had dropped it had attempted to consume the Host anywhere near the altar. There was no-one else around, and I suppose I was worried that he might be tempted to eat the host, so I told him to bring it to me; I took it from him, and I knelt down, and consumed Our Lord. I was pleased that he had an idea that it was something special, and that he should tell me about it, whilst being sad that the child who had been given Communion had no idea that they had dropped Our Blessed Lord on the floor. I'm not sure, in the light of what I've posted above, that I should have touched the host, but those were the days when I still thought receiving Communion in the hand was ok under certain circumstances. I wish now, that I had got my son to place it on my tongue. I no longer believe that lay people should receive in the hand - the Priest's hands are consecrated - I've read plenty of stuff on the internet and elsewhere, to convince me that there is no need for lay people to receive on the hand. I remember when I was made a "Eucharistic Minister" at a Church in London, many moons ago, (I was young, and enthusiastic, and wanted to be involved in my parish, so accepted when I was asked to be one). It never felt right. I almost lost my faith in the Real Presence. It was a horrible experience. I didn't do it for long, and I never felt inclined to offer my services - or desired to be asked, when I moved on to other parishes. When I read about that little girl, and her tremendous faith and courage, and then think of some of the First Communion Masses I've attended where the children return to their seats after taking Our Lord, and immediately spend their time chatting to relatives, and posing for photos, I see how devastatingly the loss of belief in the Real Presence has taken hold. When I think about children dropping hosts, (or receiving Our Lord whilst still chewing gum) and the casual attitude towards Holy Communion so evident in many Churches today, it makes me want to weep. I weep for my casual attitude on so many occasions. I weep for any time I have dared to touch Our Blessed Lord with my unconsecrated hands, and I want to make reparation by kneeling, and receiving on the tongue, and by recommending that every true Catholic with faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord God Almighty, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Sacred Host, stops continuing the practice of receiving in their hands, and encourages every child to receive on the tongue. Only in this way will the loss of faith in the Real Presence be reversed.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

We don't have a lot of images of the risen Christ, so I had to hunt around in my old art books, and found this lovely image by Titian, to put on the mantelpiece, after we got back from the Easter vigil, in the old rite, held at a tiny little Church in Cheshire, an hour's drive away from us, with a Priest from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. My, do they do stirling work, these Priests - he had to sing the Exsultet (there was no deacon), and then all the lessons, the Gospel, and practically everything else! There was a small choir to help out, but as it's a long time since the Triduum was held in the old rite in this country, it is hard for the congregation to help out with the singing, as many of us don't know the chants - hopefully some of the younger people will get more of an opportunity to learn them. He did it beautifully, though, and we felt the solemnity and the magnificence of a liturgy appropriate to the occasion.

And now from the sublime to the cor blimey! as my dad used to say:-

Even the "boiled egg" is a sugar-coated chocolate one!!! My lad gave up sweets and fruit juice for Lent, so Easter breakfast is a bit of a strange mixture! His aunty, and godmother, (my sister) has over-indulged him with chocolates, but she did give him the big lamb with a card saying "Enjoy the chocs, but don't forget the Real Lamb". I'm not keen on the "bunny" imagery; eggs are ok, as they remind us of the stone being rolled away, and Jesus bursting forth from the tomb, and it's always good to find a lamb, to remind us of Jesus' sacrifice, but I can't see any merit in the "Easter Bunny" - it reminds me a bit of "Father Christmas getting stuck in the chimney" - a jolly figure that detracts from the religious meaning of our key Christian festivals. Still, we can always have fun bashing up the chocolate to smithereens, as a punishment for its irreligeosity!!!!

When I stayed with a charismatic Catholic community in the USA one Easter (aeons ago, before I became the hardened bitter and twisted Traddie that I now am) , the Priest, who had a great sense of humour, on Easter morning would get a large plastic bottle, dressed up with with a pair of bunny ears, and a bow, and say to his dog, Lisa, "Now Lisa, show the folks what we think of the Easter Bunny" and Lisa would proceed to "savage" the bottle. We all found it hilarious, but when I related this story to a German friend, he seemed very offended - I wondered then, whether the Easter Bunny has a deeper significance for the Germanic people?

Anyway, God Bless, Happy Easter, and don't overdo the Chocolate, Merlot, Coffee, etc. etc...!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Good Friday thoughts

I have been struck by two things over the last few days.

One is the tremendous offering our Priests make of their lives. A good Priest, who truly understands and follows his vocation is a wonderful gift to the laity. The dedication and faith of those who are following Christ's teaching, and helping the lay faithful to do so likewise, is awe inspiring. I pray for all our Priests that they may be blessed by a full understanding of their vocation at this special time. Whilst I was being "struck" by these thoughts, my husband came across an interview that Mother Angelica did with a young Priest, on EWTN. I was busy scrubbing the mould off the pantry window, but as always, these things are compelling, and I eventually stopped to listen. The Priest, (I've forgotten his name) was relating how he had been in a terrible car accident a few years ago, after he had been ordained for about 12 years. Many people prayed for his recovery, and judging by the type of injuries he sustained, the fact that he recovered at all, let alone was able to be interviewed, was nothing short of miraculous. But what he then said was quite striking. After his recovery, he had a vivid memory of going before Jesus to be judged. Jesus pointed out all his failings, and asked him what he had to say for himself, and he knew that there was no escaping the condemnation, all he could do was agree with Jesus; and finally Jesus said that his judgement was that he should go to Hell, and the Priest had to agree that that was the just judgement. Then he heard a woman's voice, asking that he be spared, and pruned to see if he could bear some good fruit, and Jesus could not resist His Mother's petition, and so the Priest was allowed to try again, thus he recovered. He said himself, that if you'd asked his parishioners whether they thought he would have been destined for Hell, they probably would not have thought so. However, he knew that he had not been living his Priesthood as he should - the Holy Mass was not overly important to him, and he didn't pray the Divine Office. He didn't have a great devotion to Mary. Of course, he now knew that he had to live his life differently, and now was trying to live his Priesthood for the Lord, not for himself, as he had formerly done.

This leads to the second thing that struck me. The amazing gift of generosity of her self Mary made when she said her "Fiat" to the Father. She was not only saying yes to having a baby, she was saying yes to seeing that child, who she knew was Divine, and totally innocent, suffer and die the most cruel death. I have spoken to a few very devout Protestants who think that Mary was quite an ordinary woman - some don't even believe she was sinless, which leads me to wonder whether they fully understand the Divinity of Christ, His holiness - how could he have entered into the womb of a sinner - it doesn't make any sense to me to think that Our Heavenly Father could not prepare a suitable tabernacle for his infant Son to reside within, for the first nine months of His life on earth. She was a devout Jew, she understood the Scriptures, and she must have been fully aware that this child of hers had to undergo the most awful suffering in order to "Make all things new". We watched Gibson's film of The Passion, and it again helped to impress on me Mary's gift to us.

I pray that all those who claim to follow Christ, look to the Mother of God, who was given to us to be our Mother at the foot of the Cross, in order to find the True Son of God. I pray that she will intercede for me, and my family, when we come before the Just Judge.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Every Child Matters

So the Government tells us. They want to make sure every child is safe when they go on the internet - that they can't get access to pornography etc. That they get the best educational start in life etc. etc. Surely this should have been a priority years ago - the internet is only a "final straw" nowadays. Pornography abounds in our society - All you have to do is take your child shopping down any high street in any town in the UK and your child will be exposed to some titillating imagery selling anything from cars to knickers. We moved from a fairly large city where indecent imagery was commonplace, to a small country town where we thought we'd be safe from such things to a certain extent - but right next to the one tiny toyshop in our town, was a "lingerie" shop, which had a full window display of "sexy" undies, just the thing you want the children to walk past on the way to the toy shop! Well, we didn't often go to the toy shop, and we prayed that the other one would close down, and after a few months - the good Lord answered our prayers, and it is now gone. But I still have to make my eyes form an advance guard as we walk past the newsagents, or video shop. And then there's, which petrol pump to park the car at, as you don't want your child to be able to see the front pages of the newspapers set out for everyone's delectation - yes, it's adult material, but it's being displayed for all. And again in the supermarket, the newspaper stands will be displaying Betty Boobs, or Brenda Buttocks, right at child's eye level. So you try and whisk past them and on in to get the fruit and veg, but as you are waiting in the queue at the checkout, you then have to contend with the special selection of magazines that are such essential reading for the British public these days, and of course, because every child matters, and the government has been doing its job on getting our 4 & 5 year olds to read, our little ones will be able to read the lurid headlines too, let me give you some examples from "Chat" magazine -
"Mr Perfect, then he hammered my skull"
"My Poor Babies, Slaughtered while they Slept"
"I Had this Beautiful Baby, for my Best Mate" all accompanied by glossy photos.
Or maybe "Now" magazine, where the stars can show off their bodies, with accompanying headlines to reveal so and so's "Secret Boob Job" .... well, you get the gist.
Is there any reason why these are displayed at the end of the conveyor belt, below the sweeties? just to enhance our children's reading skills perhaps?
I have a friend who is an Educational Psychologist. We go back a long way together, but she does not share my Faith - or any faith for that matter. She tells me that there is plenty of evidence to show that the children who do best in school are those who have been looked after in the first three (or more) years of their lives by... can you guess ... their Mums, not those who get shoved into nurseries at an early age. Of course, there are cases of disfunctional parenting, but for your average child from a stable two parent relationship, it actually does the child good to be with its Mummy. The Government has been presented with this information, but it chooses to ignore it. That must be why, when I received my child benefit information the other day, a jolly little leaflet had been inserted into the envelope, giving me some government information... they are definitely trying to tell me something... mmmm...there are lots of little toddlers saying things like:-
"Mum goes to the office, I go to Karate, Aiiiiii-ya!"
"Mum goes to work, I go to afterschool club, Rat-a-tat-tat!"
"My Mum goes to work, I do art at pre-school, splat!"
Oh, I've got it now, we stay at home mums are a waste of space - every child matters to the Government, they need them under control so that mums can get out to work.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A Timely Bunch of Flowers and Incense Excitement

UKOK awarded me this, just when I was needing a nice bunch of flowers! (And of course, I can't have a real bunch in this liturgical season!!)

I've been stuck in bed with the 'flu' all day today, so missed Mass. It was to have been a High Mass too, in one of the more "EF friendly " Churches where the TLM is held. My son was supposedly going to be 'doing the incense' for the first time ever. I felt strangely glad I wouldn't have to witness this - visions of the thurible flying everywhere, or burning incense being dropped on the sanctuary carpet, or the whole thing getting caught in his cotta, or that awful moment when he can't work out which of the chains he's supposed to pull on!!! But to my great relief, once he arrived home I was informed that one of the adult servers turned up, so could take on the role, and my boy happily did the bells, and cruets. Typical mother - worrying over nothing!

Whilst in bed I read Corrie Ten Boom's "The Hiding Place" right through - it was very moving.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

How to get to Heaven

A prayer that says it all, lifted from Death At One's Elbow on Paulinus' blog, it's from a 1928 book called The Treasury of The Sacred Heart.

Remember, Christian soul, that thou hast this day a duty:
God to Glorify,
Eternity to Prepare for,
Jesus to Imitate,
The Angels and Saints to invoke;
Your Soul to Save,Your Body to Mortify,
Sins to Expiate,
Virtues to Acquire,
Hell to avoid,
Heaven to Gain,
Time to Profit by,
Your neighbors to Edify,
The World to Despise,
Devils to Combat,
Passions to Subdue,
Death Perhaps to Encounter,
and Judgment to Undergo.

I need to learn this off by heart.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Taking God for Granted

At the end of Mass this evening, in a village Church near us, after most of the congregation had left, a young man who is handicapped in some way, began to sob very loudly. He seemed to be distraught, and beside himself, but the carers who come with him, and Father, who came over to comfort him, were unable to pacify him. He left with his carers, still sobbing. My son, who had been serving, and had been in the sacristy had found out from the caretaker of the Church the reason why he had been crying. The young man usually goes up for Holy Communion, but this evening, perhaps because he had been deep in prayer, he had missed going up. Father usually notices if he doesn't go up, and brings the Lord to him, but tonight Father must have overlooked this (I think he has a lot on his mind at present). It was difficult for Father to be able to tell what the matter was, as the young man can not express things very clearly in a verbal way, so by the time Father knew what was the cause of the grief, it was too late for him to give him the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle.
What struck me most after this, was that I can't imagine myself weeping for the loss of my Lord in such a way, if I were unable to receive Him, (and there are many occasions when I am unable to, due to my not being in a state of grace). How much I take Him for granted, I feel I should weep with shame for not having one ounce of that young man's devotion, yet I blithely take the Host on so many occasions when I have been so distracted that I have barely acknowledged Who it is that I am about to receive.
Thank You Jesus, for that lesson tonight, may I cherish the sound of that young man's sobbing as a reminder of my lack of devotion, and as a prompt to stir me out of my complacency before You.
And bless and comfort him, and all those who long to receive You, but are unable to.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Jam on the duvet, weak cold coffee and a bad back!

Happy Mothering Sunday to all mothers, expectant mothers, godmothers, and spiritual mothers in the world. (I know it's not Mother's Day in the USA, but it is in England, and it is Laetare Sunday everywhere, so today I'd like to Praise God for our Holy Mother Church, and for our Heavenly Mother, Mary).

Now, to the title of the post - yep, it's that once-yearly ordeal I have to suffer at the hands of my beloved son, and it delights him so much that (in true motherly form) I accept it graciously - Breakfast in Bed. He doesn't think of it at any other time of the year, so I get off lightly!! But I do find sitting up in bed to eat toast and jam a most uncomfortable experience, and now I've got raspberry jam stains on the duvet cover!!!
But he did give me the delightful gifts above (oh, and a giant packet of Revels, but I don't see much aesthetic value in a bag of chocs!). The donkey I fell in love with, in a charity shop, but as I don't like spending money on myself (miser that I am) I persuaded my husband to induce our boy to buy it for me for Mother's day, whilst I sauntered off to another shop pretending I couldn't possibly afford it! There's something so spiritual about donkeys - I suppose they seem humble beasts, and I always think of the one that carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem. The splendid fellow above obviously had a former life as a souvenir from some exotic country, and used to be a cigarette holder, as the lid of the chest on his back is supposed to spring open to offer ciggies (but the spring no longer functions). However, I'm sure he'll be really good in the Nativity set, bringing gold coins on his back along with the 3 kings.
The primulas are beautiful, and just as I was despairing that my garden has very few flowers in it, my darling boy got me these. I've just finished transplanting them to the garden (poor lad thought I would kill them by putting them outside, so I explained that they would be much happier out there - I hope they spread, like the ones I used to have in my last garden)

And this is the book I want to finish reading, and once I've digested it, shall be posting on it too.
Fulton Sheen really has a good way of explaining the Church's teaching on Mary - it seems to make so much sense to me, that I wonder why Protestants so often baulk at the idea of Catholic devotion to her.
Mary, Mother of God, Mother of us all, Pray for us, and pray that I may fulfill my role of wife and mother, as God wills. Amen.