Monthly Archives: December 2009

My Christmas present!- a Bread machine

To my surprise there was a huge box, nicely wrapped, sitting in the hall on Christmas day. I knew I hadn’t wrapped it so I wondered where it came from-and it turned out it was for ME!

It’s a very posh Kenwood Bread Machine. OooH I just love it. I’ve been wanting to get a new machine ever since our old one died a couple of years or more ago.

More recently I had decided the only thing left I could think to do to help Avila’s bowel problems and her general tiredness that goes with it, is to take the gluten out of her diet again. I tried it some time ago and she improved, but when her blood test for celiacs and wheat allergy came back negative we didn’t bother any more. However she needs something done, so I planned the gluten free diet again and needed a bread machine to make low gluten and gluten free bread that isn’t horrible. Apparently, I have read, blood tests for celiacs can be very unreliable and give plenty of false negatives-and as Celiac disease has a genetic link with type 1 diabetes I think it’s worth cutting down gluten-and just see.

So this this a brilliant pressie.

And there’s a story to go with it.

My crip scooter ran out of battery power last year. It was harder to get it to go anywhere and in the end we gave up. I looked at getting new batteries or replacing the scooter but it all cost too much and so I had to rely on the ‘shove it’ wheelchair. This meant essentially that I couldn’t get out and about very easily.

I started a jar. Well, you just have to don’t you.

But then one of the home ed mums decided she would try and raise the money for a replacement scooter or new batteries and without me knowing anything, she and Iona and Alex plotted to get me mobile again.

Well they were scuppered when Al found a place near where he works that sold batteries at a sensible price and I got new ones for my birthday from him. Whey hey I was mobile again and believe me it makes a huge difference.

So J asked Iona whether she should just give me the money she had already raised and Iona said no way I would just spend it on the kids curriculum or something. She had a better idea…

And so on Christmas day I got the Bread Machine!

I have been blessed with so9me amazingly kind and thoughtful friends. Another friend sends money just to help us out. We never have to ask; he just seems to know and sends something; and of course there is the lady at church and a very special aunt who also makes sure we keep swimming. I never take this for granted and am so grateful.

Most often we spend the money on things that can be shared with others or passed on. I hope we can give back something of what we have been given in some way.

Thank you.

Parenting is an eternal role.

Some things are eternal.

Once you come into existance, you will always exist. Each person from the moment of conception is eternal however long they last in this life. Then there are roles that once begun can never end; the priesthood-once ordianed a priest is a priest forever; and parenthood, once a parent, always a parent. I will always be my children’s mother for ever, no matter what. That includes being mother to the children I conceived but never got to hold.

You can never give up being a mother or a father. From the first moment of conception there is a mother and father and they will remain that child’s mother or father from that moment and through eternity. Marriage is temporary, it ends at death-but not parenthood.  If a child dies, whether before or after birth, they remain your child, even when they are with God. So when your mother (or father) dies she is still your mother and in her new place can pray for her children.

But being a parent isn’t simply something you are, it’s something you do. Presuming the child you conceive lives long enough to get born, then you begin the doing side of parenting.

How you fulfil your role will change as the years pass, but there will always need to be plenty of love to hand around. Donna and I talked about children growing up and learning to make their own decisions about life. We talked about the early years where we set the boundaries and gave them space to learn and to understand right and wrong and how we can only hope that as they make their own decisions as they get older, that the foundations are strong enough. We teach them how to fly away, but always keep the nest warm I guess.  We wondered about how we support them as mums and how to help them forgive us when we don’t get it right. There are choices to be made as a mum or dad and those choices are essentially about how good a parent you are prepared to be.

You may remember I wrote some time ago that Donna had been criticised by some friends of hers for laying down some ground rules for her older daughter in her relationship with Alex, and she was teased for going out with them sometimes. She had a good laugh with both Alex and her daughter and sometimes we all went out together.

I told her that a mother was irresplacable in many ways and being a mum is very different from being a dad I think. Certainly those of us who don’t have mothers who are here for us can find someone else, as I did with Sr Kath, but it is rare for a child to find someone else who can be a real ‘mum’ to them. Sr Kath has been amazing as my ‘mum’ and has seen me through all the business of growing up as she has been there since I was 15/16 years old, but I never lived with her as children do with their mother.

We had talked a few times about how best to support Alex and MC as they built their relationship with one another, and we would joke about how to be mother-in-laws together; badly behaved ones. All I can say is BE THERE for your children mothers, because you never know when they might truly need you. You might think that once they have reached the age of 13, 16, 18 or whatever the magic “I-can-leave-‘em-to-it” age you might have in your head, but you never know when they will need someone’s shoulder to cry on. Believe me, if you don’t have a strong relationship when a crisis hits I can’t see how they will ever turn to you and how they will get support.

All that stuff Jesus says about the final Judgement where God will essentially see whether you fed the hungry, clothed the naked, took care of the sick, visited those in prison, gave a cuppa to the thirsty; sounds like being a mum to me. Let’s face it, if we can’t do that for our own children we wont get far with anyone else’s will we?  And just in case you are thinking, God forbid I ever have to visit my kids in prison; remember there is more than one kind of prison. A couple of the mums are members of the NCT and come across plenty of young mothers who get stuck at home with no support. In fact we have a plan afoot to try and get a support from started near here. while in the past daughters could rely on their mother or aunts to be there for them when they had a baby, that simply isn’t the case for so many mothers these days.  There are lots of girls entering motherhood without their mother these days either because she has died or is too ill, or sadly, far too commonly, because she is too busy doing her own thing to care.

But then I think being a parent means being open to new members of the family. We will be there for Donna’s girls-but I am more than a little aware that I can never be mother to them, because I am not their mum; Donna is still their mother and always will be; but I will do my best to at least mitigate some of their loss. Pray for us trying to do this.

Sorry this is a bit rambly-but I think I’ll post it like this anyway.

Feast of Holy Innocents

On the feast of Holy Innocents we remember all those children who have died. I tend to remember my own little miscarried ones and all mothers who have lost babies whether through miscarriage or the violence of abortion.

Todays feast remembers all the children slaughtered by Herod’s men,  just following orders, in Bethlehem. I have heard some criticism of the story on the grounds that the only known recording of the event is in Matthew’s Gospel.  The argument seems to be that if the event isn’t written about elsewhere, as far as we know, then Matthew was making it up. I have to say I would need a lot more evidence that Matthew lied, than the fact that 2000 years later surviving documents from the time don’t record it.  Surely a more sensible view is that Matthew heard the story from those it most effected, Jesus Mother for example.

It seems a sad fact that many ancient powers and civilisations were busy killing children in some way. And none of them are left. There is a god who promises wealth and all sorts of comforts if only parents will give him their children; Molech, Saturn, Crom Cruach, the serpent god of the Aztecs and so the list of names goes on. Even the Romans were found to have turned to child sacrifice at times. It seems one of the few major civilisations not to sacrifice children was ancient Egypt, which although there was some human sacrifice, didn’t target children as such. How odd it is that we so admire their wonderful buildings and don’t wonder why they are all empty.

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Feast of the Holy Family

I missed Mass yesterday for St Stephen’s day, which was a shame, but it was lovely to go this morning for the Feast of the Holy Family. The Church still looks really lovely with the tree and candles and the light streaming in through the windows.

I managed to take a couple of photos before too many people were already in Church.

Father talked about how his parents had a picture of the Holy Family up at home but sometimes with himself and his siblings around things weren’t as holy as they might be. LOL.

The readings for the day were aimed at both children, instructing them in respect and honour as well as care of elderly parents; and also just as importantly at parents- telling husbands to love their wives and reminding parents to be good to their children.

I have an unfinished blog entry to work on, where I was thinking about the role of being a mother. It was after conversations with Donna -but when she died I never finished writing it. I think I need to go back to it soon and think it through.

I noticed when I got home and had a look at the computer that Ed Balls has suddenly changed his mind and after 12 years of actively undermining marriage and family has scratched his head and muttered that marriage might be okay after all, and not just because those of us who are trying to bring our children up to be happy and mentally healthy are paying something like 40% extra tax either. Sometimes I am left wondering what on earth Balls and his mates actually THINK about.

Father reminded us that the Holy Family had a difficult time of it, not just because Jesus ended up being born in a stable, but the flight into Egypt because Herod was out to kill him and then having to try and re-make their lives back in Nazareth when it was all over. He talked about the terrible problems in family life these days with divorce and family break down, but pointed out there was nothing new under the sun and families have always faced horrors of some kind. Having to run away from the authorities because they were out to get you being just one.

After Mass Heleyna sat by the crib and waved at the baby Jesus. The pictures the children made are there in the photo and Heleyna’s is behind her.

A kind lady, one of the mothers of the church, handed me some money to help us out with the costs of Christmas. There are some very thoughtful, kind people around. She isn’t the only person who has been kind at this time. I really hope when I’m older we can do the same for young families in our parish, remembering how our struggles to make ends meet were helped by others.

And on that note I have to say I have received a really lovely Christmas present, which I will tell you all about later. Must run now.

Happy Christmas!

Manger Happy Christmas to you all.

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Home Education Review: Because school is the normal place for children to be.

Finally, I have finished reading the Select Committee Report on Badman’s bad review. I spent a bit of time thinking about the Conclusions and Recommendations as this is after all a cross party view,  isn’t it?

I really think that the negative aspects of the whole business is based on the assumption that going to school is “normal” and learning in some other place than school is abnormal. There is also an underlying assumption that “professionals” such as those of the LAs are more knowledgeable about the educational needs of children, even those they have never met, than the parents.

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Home Ed Review: Select Committee response and some questions playing on my mind.

I’m reading through the Select Committee Response to the Badman Review and a few things are bugging me.

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