Saturday, 26 June 2010

Miss Moppet Comes to Life

Been having fun lately – I started with this,


and wasn’t sure what it would turn out like, having not made a stuffed doll for rather a long time…

But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the pattern I used enabled me to make this,

100_5292 100_5294 100_5295 100_5299 100_5301 100_5304 100_5305 100_5307 100_5308 100_5311

Isn’t she sweet, and I’ve got a sweet little girl in mind to give her to…. must get her in the post!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Blogging can be useful to some!

I was recently thinking about deleting this blog, since I seem to find so little time to post things; and the initial impetus for writing it has gone, or rather, I have moved on from it. We will be quitting sunny Shropshire in the Summer, and I shall miss the countryside around here. We will, hopefully, have a proper Parish, where we can regularly attend the Mass of Ages, with not an altar girl in sight (and I do love little girls, I really do - probably more so because I was never blessed with one!). We will no longer have to drive for 30 - 40 minutes on a Sunday afternoon so that we can attend an Old Rite Mass at the awful time of 3pm (I'm guaranteed to start dropping off during the sermon at that time!), but I will miss the people of the peripatetic Latin Mass community, although they are now dwindling fast due to the establishment of a regular 6pm Latin Mass in the parish of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Staffordshire (thanks be to God!). We thought that there would not be many at Mass today, so were pleasantly surprised by the presence of a family - a young couple, the grandparents, the three year old son, and three week old daughter, who don't normally come. It was the mum who made me think maybe I should carry on posting occasionally, as she mentioned, over tea and tabnabs after Mass, that she'd recently discovered my blog, and found it helpful - she must have been reading some of my early posts, which dealt with our attempts to adopt (I rarely go back and read what I wrote, so I can't remember what's there that could have been helpful to her!!) When I first met her, we were both attending a home-educating group, and her little boy was about two then, but I knew she longed for more children. Having been in her position, I can honestly say I would have been of little help in encouraging her, as by then I had realised that prayers don't always get answered the way we want them to. I firmly believe that God doesn't give us what we want, but what we need. I am also heartily glad for her that what she wanted was what God knew she needed, and she now proudly holds a beautiful little girl! Praise Him!
As for the home educating, we are still in a quandary as to whether to carry on once we move. Our son is really flapping his wings, longing to fly further and further from the nest - all to be expected at his age, despite his inability to find anything he needs when he wants it, "Mum, where is my ..." "Right in front of your nose". But perhaps that's just a male thing, "Darling, where is my ..." "Just here, where you left it..."
Is school what he needs? - the good Lord seems to be giving him an opportunity to go. It's not what he wants, (mostly because he fears hard work, I think!). I'm not sure it's what I want, (I'd rather he remained a dunderhead and kept his Faith and purity), but God knows what is best, and we're hoping He's going to make it clear to us what should be done.

Meanwhile, I shall try and enjoy my garden as it comes into bloom, for the last time before we rent our house out, knowing that there is little likelihood that it will be cared for overmuch by tenants...

The blue and white garden that I have longed for, is still not in evidence, although there seem to be plenty of blues coming out at present, the whites will probably only put in an appearance after this lot have died off - ho hum...

I thought this rather an apt word-picture of the garden, which was reluctantly brought forth from my son's pen, as a description of what he could see from the school-room window...
"Through the French doors I see a red pot on a black wrought iron stand, which is sitting on the lawn, in the middle of which is a clothes drier. Further down, a bench with a metal arch sits, and after it a pond, over which a tall clump of bamboo hangs. There are shrubs around the pond, and up each side of the lawn there are flower beds, fillled with flowers, shrubs and bushes; and beyond the pond the untidy patch of wilderness that used to be a vegetable garden, is in full bloom with dandelions, daisies, forget-me-nots and buttercups. The shed which is hidden by the bamboo, stands behind the pond."

Thursday, 25 March 2010

15 Years and Still Going Strong!

Happy Lady Day

March 25th
(Our 15th Wedding Anniversary!)

The picture above, and the meditation below, by Abbot Dom Guéranger, O.S.B., just about sum up the importance of this day for the world; I thank God that He allowed us this wonderful day for our Wedding Day - all those years ago!!!

THIS is a great day, not only to man, but even to God Himself; for it is the anniversary of the most solemn event that time has ever witnessed. On this day, the Divine Word, by Whom the Father created the world, was made flesh in the womb of a Virgin, and dwelt among us. [St. John i. 14] We must spend it in joy. Whilst we adore the Son of God Who humbled Himself by thus becoming Man, let us give thanks to the Father, Who so loved the world, as to give His Only-begotten Son; [Ibid. iii. 16] let us give thanks to the Holy Ghost, Whose almighty power achieves the great mystery. We are in the very midst of Lent, and yet the ineffable joys of Christmas are upon us: our Emmanuel is conceived on this day, and, nine months hence, will be born in Bethlehem, and the Angels will invite us to come and honour the sweet Babe.

During Septuagesima week, we meditated upon the fall of our first parents, and the triple sentence pronounced by God against the serpent, the woman, and Adam. Our hearts were filled with fear as we reflected on the Divine malediction, the effects of which are to be felt by all generations, even to the end of the world. But in the midst of the anathemas then pronounced against us, a promise was made us by our God; it was a promise of salvation, and it enkindled hope within us. In pronouncing sentence against the serpent, God said that his head should one day be crushed, and that, too, by a woman.

The time has come for the fulfillment of this promise. The world has been in expectation for four thousand years; and the hope of its deliverance has been kept up, in spite of all its crimes. During this time, God has made use of miracles, prophecies, and types, as a renewal of the engagement He has entered into with mankind. The Blood of the Messias has passed from Adam to Noe; from Sem to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; from David and Solomon to Joachim; and now it flows in the veins of Mary, Joachim's daughter. Mary is the woman by whom is to be taken from our race the curse that lies upon it. God has decreed that she should be Immaculate; and has thereby set an irreconcilable enmity between her and the serpent. She, a daughter of Eve, is to repair all the injury done by her mother's fall; she is to raise up her sex from the degradation into which it has been cast; she is to co-operate, directly and really, in the victory which the Son of God is about to gain over His and our enemy.

A tradition, which has come down from the Apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March. [St. Augustine. De Trinitate, Lib. iv. cap. v] It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her, and asked her, in the name of the blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God. Let us assist, in spirit, at this wonderful interview between the Angel and the Virgin: and, at the same time, let us think of that other interview which took place between Eve and the serpent. A holy bishop and martyr of the second century, Saint Irenæus, who had received the tradition from the very disciples of the Apostles, shows us that Nazareth is the counterpart of Eden. [Adv. hæreses. Lib. v. cap. xix]

In the garden of delights there is a virgin and an Angel; and a conversation takes place between them. At Nazareth a Virgin is also addressed by an Angel, and she answers him; but the Angel of the earthly paradise is a spirit of darkness, and he of Nazareth is a spirit of light. In both instances it is the Angel that has the first word. 'Why,' said the Serpent to Eve, 'hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?' His question implies impatience and a solicitation to evil; he has contempt for the frail creature to whom he addresses it, but he hates the image of God which is upon her.

See, on the other hand, the Angel of light; see with what composure and peacefulness he approaches the Virgin of Nazareth, the new Eve; and how respectfully he bows himself down before her: ' Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!' Such language is evidently of Heaven: none but an Angel could speak thus to Mary.

Eve imprudently listens to the tempter's words; she answers him; she enters into conversation with one that dares to ask her to question the justice of God's commands. Her curiosity urges her on. She has no mistrust in the Serpent; this leads her to mistrust her Creator.

Mary hears what Gabriel has spoken to her; but this most prudent Virgin is silent. She is surprised at the praise given her by the Angel. The purest and humblest of virgins has a dread of flattery; and the Heavenly messenger receives no reply from her, until he has fully explained his mission by these words: 'Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.'

What magnificent promises are these, which are made to her in the name of God! What higher glory could she, a daughter of Juda, desire, knowing, as she does, that the fortunate Mother of the Messias is to be the object of the greatest veneration? And yet it tempts her not. She has for ever consecrated her virginity to God, in order that she may be the more closely united to Him by love. The grandest possible privilege, if it is to be on the condition of violating this sacred vow, would be less than nothing in her estimation. She thus answers the Angel: 'How shall this be done? because I know not man.'

The first Eve evinces no such prudence or disinterestedness. No sooner has the wicked spirit assured her that she may break the commandment of her Divine Benefactor and not die; that the fruit of her disobedience will be a wonderful knowledge, which will put her on an equality with God Himself : than she immediately yields; she is conquered. Her self-love has made her at once forget both duty and gratitude: she is delighted at the thought of being freed from the two-fold tie which binds her to her Creator.

Such is the woman that caused our perdition. But how different is she that was to save us! The former cares not for her posterity; she looks but to her own interests: the latter forgets herself to think only of her God, and of the claims He has to her service. The Angel, charmed with this sublime fidelity, thus answers the question put to him by Mary, and reveals to her the designs of God: 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God.' This said, he is silent, and reverently awaits the answer of the Virgin of Nazareth.

Let us look once more at the virgin of Eden. Scarcely has the wicked spirit finished speaking than Eve casts a longing look at the forbidden fruit: she is impatient to enjoy the independence it is to bring her. She rashly stretches forth her hand; she plucks the fruit ; she eats it, and death takes possession of her: death of the soul, for sin extinguishes the light of life; and death of the body, which, being separated from the source of immortality, becomes an object of shame and horror, and finally crumbles into dust.

But let us turn away our eyes from this sad spectacle, and fix them on Nazareth. Mary has heard the Angel's explanation of the mystery; the will of Heaven is made known to her, and how grand an honour it is to bring upon her! She, the humble maid of Nazareth, is to have the ineffable happiness of becoming the Mother of God, and yet the treasure of her virginity is to be left to her! Mary bows down before this sovereign will, and says to the Heavenly messenger: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.'

Thus, as the great St. Irenæus and so many of the holy fathers remark, the obedience of the second Eve repaired the disobedience of the first: for no sooner does the Virgin of Nazareth speak her fiat, 'be it done,' than the eternal Son of God [Who, according to the Divine decree, awaited this word] is present, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in the chaste womb of Mary, and there He begins His human life. A Virgin is a Mother, and Mother of God; and it is this Virgin's consenting to the Divine will that has made her conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost. This sublime mystery puts between the eternal Word and a mere woman the relations of Son and Mother; it gives to the almighty God a means whereby He may, in a manner worthy of His majesty, triumph over Satan, who hitherto seemed to have prevailed against the Divine plan.

Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat than that which this day befell Satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary. God would not choose man for the instrument of His vengeance; the humiliation of Satan would not have been great enough; and therefore she who was the first prey of Hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected to give battle to the enemy. The result of so glorious a triumph is that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel Angels, but to the whole human race, yea, to all the Angels of Heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her; and in Heaven, the very Cherubim and Seraphim reverently look up to Mary, and deem themselves honoured when she smiles upon them, or employs them in the execution of any of her wishes, for she is the Mother of their God.

Therefore is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary's obedience from the power of Hell, solemnize this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God's people: 'The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars, and He Himself overthrew the gates of the enemies.' [Judges v. 7, 8] Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: 'Praise ye the Lord our God, Who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel; and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night. . . . The almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.' [Judith viii. 17, 18]

Friday, 19 March 2010

Happy St Joseph's Day to one and all! I'd like to say a special Thankyou to St Joseph for finding my husband a new job - we will be moving from sunny Shropshire in September (I do like a bit of alliteration!) - dahn saf, to Berkshire, not a county I know much about, but at least we'll be near a Parish where we can regularly get to attend the Sacraments in the "Extraordinary" Form, so that it will no longer seem so extraordinary, but be integrated into our daily life. I couldn't have asked for more.... but, of course, there's always just one more thing.. a little discernment on what to do on the home-educating front... we've left it in St. Joseph's hands, with a novena of prayer to him, and we now have to decide whether our nearing 13 yr old, only son should attend school. I'm still waiting for St Joe to write it up in big letters across the sky....
Homeschooling an only child, definitely needs a post of its own - I may get around to it someday, in the meantime:-

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who pass their life in labour,obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my own inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honour to use and develop by my labour the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties. Help me to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must render of time lost, talents wasted, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my watchword in life and in death.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Candlemas and Plastic Tulips

We will take our tree down today. This one has maintained its appearance pretty well for the whole 40 days, albeit drooping slightly at the tips of the branches for the past week or so. Over the mobile phone, my Beloved and son tried to persuade me to give in to having an artificial tree this year, whilst they frantically scoured the country looking for a bargain on Christmas Eve, and found that the recession had made everyone mean - they weren't dropping their prices, as they usually do in the garden centres (and there's no way we could afford the full price.) I tried to convince myself that the convenience of it would far outweigh my repulsion at a "man-made" evergreen, and told them to do what they must.
I remember an Art history lecturer at University, telling us that the word "artificial" originally had a good connotation, ie that it meant something that had been made by art, something considered beautiful. When I was a little girl, in the days before supermarkets (gosh, am I that old? ) a great big bus used to drive to the town where we lived, and my mum would go into it to buy groceries. On the driver's dashboard at the front were some tulips, and I loved them so much that I longed for my mum to buy them (I think I asked her to once, but she told me they belonged to the bus-driver). They were artificial, but not like the modern-day silk flowers, no these were full-blown red plastic, and I don't know why, but I thought they were gorgeous! By the time I was a teenager, and my parents gave up on the yearly hassle of Christmas Tree needles ruining the carpet, I was no longer in love with artificial things, or rather, I now considered the word to be one of insult, and so loathed the green and tinsel monstrosity they put up one year, with bright red plastic tips on the ends of the branches. Suspended from this brash thing, the usual sparkle of the decorations seemed to be somehow diminished.
So it was with a heavy heart, that I agreed to allow one into my house this year. Imagine my delight when the intrepid explorers returned, (despite having been on the brink of purchasing the dreaded artificial item, they had given one last garden centre a try,) bearing one of the loveliest trees we've ever had. What was almost as much of a delight, was that it had been reduced in price from the usual 30 or more quid to £3.50 - a bargain indeed! It has barely shed a needle, (but we don't have carpets to worry about anyway!) and the decorations and lights have twinkled merrily against its dark green backdrop all the way to Candlemas.

But it was when my husband prayed the prayers of the Blessing of the tree, that we both realised that it wouldn't have been the same to utter them over one made of plastic!

Yes, I still do like gaudy things, brightly-coloured objects, and shiny glittery stuff, maybe when this lot comes down at the end of the day, I'll start researching whether one can still purchase plastic tulips; I'll need something to cheer me up!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Chicken Playing Tennis?

Well it was either post something or give up altogether. I lay in bed this morning wondering whether I should give up on blogging, as I haven't managed to find time to do any for so long, and have lost my entire readership (ha ha). What should appear in my inbox but a new comment on my blog. It was from someone who consists of no name and who left a row of dots and little squares - I don't even know how to make those marks on my computer! Still it seems like I might have been given the urge to start up again.
Lately, I've been reading a lot about evolution (for which I seem to have had a natural distaste from a very early age - all those monkeys turning into humans, just didn't grab my soul - so to speak). I know there are eminent Catholic scientists and theologians "out there" who think it's all kosher, and "more than a theory", but none of them have written anything convincing about how it all works, and how God 'fits in' to their theory - because that's what they have to do, make God fit in. It disturbs me that so many people accept Evolution as a fact, but when you come to discuss the possibility that it might not be TRUE, they shy away from the discussion. After all there are plenty of scientists and mathematicians who give very convincing arguments for why it can't be true - my latest scientific discovery being the Second Law of Thermodynamics - (ie, that as a very unscientific artist with a modicum of intelligence, I've just discovered that there is such a thing, and it don't fit in with evolutionary theory... but I'm waiting for an Evolutionist to show me it does).
When I mentioned to one Priest that if we were descended from primates, then it would mean that Adam's mum was a monkey, he simply said he had no problem with that. MY GOODNESS! I'd have a real problem if my Mum were a monkey - I suspect my son wouldn't, since he probably thinks his Mum is a monkey....
BUT HE'S WRONG, because, as the photographic evidence shows, he came from an egg....

Yes, he's the first known proof that humans have evolved into more efficient sports-playing creatures, and what's more, there were no intermediate forms, it just happened overnight, and all of a sudden he could play much better tennis than the humanoid looking creature at the lower edge of the photo - amazing innit?