Monthly Archives: June 2008

Happy New Year-of St Paul.

It is the feast of SS Peter and Paul today and of course the beginning of the Year of St Paul. So happy new year to you all.

Todays readings tend to concentrate more on our Kephas but St Paul is there too. These two men apostles of Jesus Christ are really the foundation stones of the Church. Of course St Peter is-Jesus said so, but Paul too shares some of that role as it was he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel and the gentiles.

Today we heard the Gospel story of how Peter was willing to speak up and answer the question “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” He was pretty up front in saying  “You are the CHRIST the SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”

Then Jesus re-named him Kephas (no not little pebble or any other silly idea) and he was to begin the Church on the Day of Pentecost.

The reading from the Book of Acts was about Peter being in chains in prison when Herod thought killing him might be a great idea. Politically killing James the brother of John appeared to have been a good move so he had set his sights on Peter. But God sent an angel who took Peter out of prison and sent him to a house where they had been praying and waiting. Todays reading stops short of the bit where Peter reaches the house and knocks on the door. A serving girl answers and is so shocked at seeing him there she slams the door in his face! LOL! Then she rushes to tell the others Peter is on the doorstep! Poor girl-I bet she never lived that one down!

As there is a whole year to look at St Paul, I’ll try and do a few posts with his story and some home ed ideas over the next few weeks.



Taking my life back into my own hands!

Some of you will know I have been disabled now for just over 5 years. It hasn’t been jolly. Well I’ve seen various neurologists who have all been pretty dismissive and uninterested-except one who was very thorough but only stayed six months so I only saw him once.

I had a full MRI 5 years ago when this all happened. Doctors have told me the results were “inconclusive”, “normal”, “showed wear and tear” and one doctor; the thorough one; said I had damage to the spine in 2 places.

I have tried to get on with my life. I do not believe something like this should let me grind to a halt-although the temptation has been strong at times! Meanwhile the doctors continued to be dismissive and unhelpful.

Finally I had an appointment at the hospital on Monday. The reg was off with us from the moment we entered the room. I had my questions ready and tried to ask them. She wouldn’t answer them. Alistair repeated the questions and she wouldn’t answer him either. Then she said I needed to see a psychiatrist.

Fine-if that will help. However she was unsure about this and has decided I need to see the consultant neuro instead-in 6mths of course. No hurry. So I should see him Dec and he will decide if I need a psychi appt or not. She was very reluctant to do anything about my pain and I had to push very hard indeed for her to agree to change meds to Amytripylyne-and then she wouldn’t write a prescription but insisted I went to the GP for it!

So we were dismissed. I was utterly gutted and really quite angry. How much longer?

I’ve been online a lot since Monday trying to get as much information as I can. My illness behaves very much like MS but it also matches -much more closely actually- fybromyalgia. Now if it IS FM then it is treatable-not curable it seems, but at least I could find ways of managing the pain and fatigue better than at the moment. So I am reading everything I can find on that as well as MS and seeing if there is anything else out there that covers these symptoms.

I also made an appointment with a chiropractor and saw him this morning. First consultation was free. The whole set up is so different to the NHS. The receptionist was polite and friendly. They are keen to ensure you are given as much information as possible. The chiropractor himself greeted me properly and then took my history. He LISTENED to me! He actually understood what I was saying and when I asked questions he ANSWERED them clearly! Can I tell you how good that is!? One of the things I found reassuring was he took particular interest in the big fall I had 14 yrs ago when I was pregnant with Iona. I have had a “bad back” ever since and the main point of pain these days is the same place-only I can’t walk properly now. The neuro dismissed the fall as irrelevant but he asked a few questions about it.

Finally I was poked and prodded as you would expect. OW-but I think it could be worth it. He wants to see the MRI report from 5 years ago. His initial thoughts on what has put me in wheelchair for 5 yrs…? A TRAPPED NERVE!

If he is right-and he isn’t at all sure at this point-but if he is I am looking at getting better over time and with his treatment! I SOOOO want him to be right. But I would also be very angry indeed with the medics who have never noticed something so basic and have simply left me like this.

I really, really, really want this to be as stupid as a trapped nerve. But even if in the end it is something like FM then at least there is a treatment and a way to have so much less pain and fatigue. Either way I win.

Pray for me.


Iona’s Sweet Shop

Iona has started a little business project. She has set up a little sweet shop-which Ronan and Avila have found very interesting. Not that they are allowed to be customers. (Well okay now and again).

Iona has costed her stock and anything she makes herself and then has a book for prices and sales.

She is designing a logo and flyers as well as order forms. She has started with a small amount of stock-choosing old fashioned sweets that are likely to sell well among friends and family. If things go well, she will use her profits to buy more sweets and hopefully gradually expand the range.

It’s a project I hope will be ongoing and look pretty good in her portfolio.


We have worms!

Finally we have worms! I didn’t have to buy them. Iona’s friend announced that she had loads of worms in her garden and she would get me some.

Well sure enough-we arrived at Mass the following morning and there she was with a tub of lovely fresh worms. Just what we needed.

So on Monday Ronan and I set up our wormary. We filled a plant pout with soil and then added a 2ltr drinks bottle with both ends cut off and into that we put soil, chalk, dead leaves and worms. I also added some spud peelings.

The recipe for a wormary advises covering the bottle with paper but as I chose a tinted bottle (ginger ale) we haven’t done that but we have been careful to keep the worms in the shade.

Each day Ronan goes out to see how they are getting on. It’s slow but sure.

It’s been an easy and fun little project to go alongside the study of bugs and trees.

Homeschool plans: Year of St Paul and 40 years since HV

There’s only a few weeks left of term and I was thinking of winding down and finishing early so we could do a major clear out and give me some next-year planning time.

But then I think there are some pretty interesting things about to happen in the Church’s calender which I don’t want to let pass us by.

The Year of St Paul begins next week on the feast of SS Peter and Paul (June 28th) and will end on the same feast day 2009. The Holy Father is looking for year filled with study of St Paul and undoubtedly sees this as building on his dear friend John Paul the Great’s New Evangelisation. Anyway I am sure there will be plenty to see and learn about as the year is launced next week.


Then as we move to July there is the 40th Anniversary of the publication of Pope Paul VI’s massively important encyclical HUMANAE VITAE .

I think a lot of parents my age were taught a whole lot of twaddle about HV, which has caused untold damage in family life. I do not want the same twaddle imparted to my children.

Iona is 14 so there is a limit on what she needs to know and understand at this point. But there is still a lot about the history of the last 40 years she can get to grips with.

So what with these things and the Wormary I am still working on with Ronan, there are more things to do before the term is done for summer.

Avila’s Hospital Appoitment

Avila had her appoitment at the Children’s Hospt this morning. The doc was really pleased with her progress. She has put on a little bit if weight and has grown 1cm I am not sure how good this is, but it better than nothing-and at one point I was beginning to think she was loosing weight again.

The plan is for her to go back on a normal diet for a couple of months and then we go back and they take blood. She’ll have HB, full blood count and coeliacs test all in one go.

So we came home and Avila ate her first gluten containing food. She is now lying in my arms with a fever of 100.5f. *sigh*. I hope this is just a freaky coincidence and not a sign of how things will be for the next two months!

Calpol, push fluids. I know the routine and so does Iona who is making jelly even now.

Funny thing about jelly. We have managed to get this into her during those not eating and drinking phases. We have avoided drips and NG tubes thanks to the humble jelly.

Sarehole Mill

We had a homeschool group trip to Sarehole Mill yesterday. The weather was a bit dreecht, but that never stops children having a good time. The mill wheel was working and there is a little steam engine at one end-that was not working.

It was free to go and have a look around. It is decidedly NOT friendly for toddlers, or wheelchair users like me-but I managed.

For my children there was the added interest that this is what their great grandfather did for a living. He even had a book published on the subject.

The mill is the one JRR Tolkein lived near and apparently inspired his view of Hobbiton. The mill itself makes little of this.

All that rain should have meant we came home to lawn covered in worms…but no. We still have 0 worms for the wormary.

Stuarts suggestion that the early bird catches the worm must be taken up. Tomorrow, as soon as I am up I will be out there with Ronan! WORMS BEWARE!

Can you catch worms?

As I have mentioned this term I am trying to teach Ronan about the joys of his natural surroundings. We have been bug hunting and admired various creatures of the creep-crawly kind. We have spotted dog rose, ash trees, oak and sycamore as well as discovering a large elderflower bush. I have plans for that elderflower bush.


Get some sugar and water and a bit of lemon juice on the boil in a fairly big pan. Basically make a suar syrup. Add a few heads of elderflowe-about 6 good sized ones will do it. Remove the creepy crawlies!(Although I am sure a little protein wont hurt).

Leave it to steep overnight. Strain it through a muslim and bottle it.

You need to keep it on the fridge. It should last about 2 weeks in sterile bottles.

You can mix it will fizzy water for a softly sparkling drink, or add a little apple juice and water.

Meanwhile, before we have been elderflower picking, we thought we would make a wormery. This is a great idea-but you need to catch worms. So Ronan and Avila have been busy pouring water on a large patch of lawn and then covering the wet patch with a black bin liner. They have then been very entertaining in jumping up and a down around the patch-even roping Iona in for some jumping.

So far we have caught precicly 0 worms. Worm Perhaps it’s the wrong time of year.


Accidental online learning moments for Iona

I do plan lessons. But there are times when the internet offers little extra moments for learning.

 Radio So Iona has had the chance to listen to Theresa Tomeo interview Joseph Pearce about Shakespeare from  Immaculate Heart RADIO Catholic Connection 6th June programme. This is good information for when we get started on Macbeth.

 Skeleton Then I came across a fascinating blog post by Mac at Mulier Fortis Her open day trip to the Crem was a post a homeschooling mum could hardly pass up! I just had to get Iona to have a look at the photos and learn a little about the art of cremetion. Now I am sure this is information she will never need for a gcse, or even an igcse-but no one can say she isn’t getting an ecclectic education.

Finally ESTHER has her beautiful and concise FINE ART FRIDAY post. These are a lovely way to help the children begin to appreciate art. I am going to try and do a fine art rosary thing. You see Esther has inspired me.

Josh ‘n’ John’s Amazing American Adventure

Josh and John have been out in the states for nearly 3 weeks now. I am so grateful to the families who have kindly taken them in and taken such good care of them both. They are certainly being offered a great adventure.

Josh has had his interview at Franciscan University and as things stand he has been offered a place. However we are still facing the fact that this is a very expensive degree. We are looking for sponsorship, even loans, and so far there has been nothing. We’ll see what happens when we get him back home.

Please say a prayer-ask God if He would be kind enough to sell a cow or two for Josh’s future; presuming this is what God has in mind for Josh.

They are getting to see Amish Land, Niagara and a Monster truck rally as well as a visit to Pittsburgh Zoo and other things.

This trip is very important to Josh as he very much wants to study at FUS and hopes for the chance to have placements in Catholic media such as EWTN and possibly Grassroots Films. He certainly has an acting talent and great commitment to it.

We’ll see what happens. Trust and pray.


Why Priests are men (Iona’s RE lesson)

The Vatican had to reiterate recently that the priesthood is a male only state. I think the best comment I have found on this was EBETH’s.

Anyway as the subject has been back on the front boiler I decided it was a good time to discuss with Iona. After our discussion I set her the task of writing an essay as though she were explaining to a pro-women’s ordination friend why the Church will never ordain women. I believe this is an important area of catechises especially as I used to favour women’s ordination. Once I actually got the chance to learn the Faith properly, I realised I was wrong.

I went through the story of the priesthood with Iona.

God made Adam and Eve. Adam was to be a bridegroom and a priest. A priest is to offer sacrifice for his bride. Adam blew it at that notorious tree. He was silent rather than standing up for his bride-and it wasn’t good. We next see the priesthood in action when Cain and Abel are to bring their sacrifices to God. The primary role of a priest remember is to offer the sacrifice. Interestingly if you read the rabbinic traditions on this event they say Cain and Abel were offering the sacrifices to win their brides. In the end Abel is sacrificed and Cain steals his bride. It takes Seth to come along and be a new ‘first born son’ priest and bridegroom.

Abraham is a priest of God (as Noah had been) and serves under the High Priest Melchizedek. There is rabbinic thought that Melchizedek was Shem, the first born son of Noah. Scott Hahn likes this story, Jimmy Akin says it doesn’t hold water. I like the story and can see why the rabbi’s came up with it-but I don’t think it matters. What DOES matter is that Melchizedek was a priest of God who offered bread and wine.

The priesthood of the father and first born son continued right through the time Israel spent in Egypt. It continued until that Incident With The Golden Calf.

Continue reading

Summer Term first week done

 Buggie We have survived the first week of Summer Term. It went quite well. With the young’uns we have been on bug hunts and tree spotting walks. The Sticker Books are simple and fun and Avila has been able to join in with these activities. Worm Bee 2  Beetle Great fun was had over slugs and snails in particular because they are slimy and yukky.  Snail What more can you ask for?

We did a session about Guardian Angels and they each made a little angel. We are using FAITH AND LIFE for this. All the children have named their Guardian Angels so when Ronan and Avila made their angel they wrote the name of their angel on it. Bob for Ronan and Claire for Avila. This session went really well and both children enjoyed it.

Avila goes to nursery three mornings a week, then Ronan works on his own (with me obviously) but when she is home she likes to join in so I have been trying to find ways to allow her to feel part of the lesson while keeping the level up for Ronan. Sometimes it works, sometimes I am not sure it does.

LATIN:We are using the Linney Latin as I have mentioned before. I have made some flash cards for playing with sentences and photo cards of Ronan being a sailor (nauta) and farmer(agricola). We play games with the words as we go over the lessons again. Each lesson (so far) is quite short so we can repeat them by adding some together and so on. Ronan seems to think this is great. When I tried to finish his lesson on Friday so I could go and teach Iona he said, “Do we have to stop Latin mummy!? I was enjoying that.”

I never expected to hear that!

Continue reading

Some girls just know how to dress for Summer

Ready for Summer

Slugs and Snails and Shaduf Tales

Well, so much for the SUMMER term! It has barely stopped raining for the last couple of days! But we have wellies and we have books about creepy-crawlies and so off we went.

Yesterday the little ones spent a lot of time mooching around the garden and out the front looking for all sorts of bugs and beasties. Avila told me ants were her favourite, but as soon as I pointed some out to her she shrieked “Eeek!” and ran off. Ronan found a couple of bumble bees and we found a spider’s web but no spider’s.  We also started to look at and identify trees and plants in the immediate area-and then go back to the sticker books and put the stickers in the right place.

Today the intrepid explorers were busy hunting down the slugs and snails-of which there are plenty thanks to the weather.

Continue reading