Monthly Archives: February 2012

Home Education: Lent reading and soul scrubbing; and a Freebie

Lent is under way and we are plunging into the Lent term.

They will be listening to Glory Stories, which they love. I want Ronan to have a good saint book to read beside his Tom’s Midnight Garden. I think I’m going to get him to read Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus.

Avila will be reading some of the St Joseph books - we have a pile of them. (Some are better written than others)

There are also good LENTERN RESOURCES at That Resource Site. You might also like my new resource for the older ones and maybe even for you. THE SEVEN LAST WORDS. I am afraid it was a bit of a struggle to write, so please forgive me if there are bits in it that are a bit – how shall I put this? – fibro foggy. Perhaps you can offer up any irritation it gives you :)

Heleyna is still working through My First Bible Stories and she too will have some St Joseph Picture book stories and perhaps Amy Steedman stories such as In God’s Garden.

MY LENT READING

I am reading A Song For Nagasaki by Paul Glynn. It is the story of Dr Takashi Nagai, his journey from Shinto, through atheism to the Catholic faith, via Pascal and the beauty of Japanese poetry. But it is also the story of a man who risked so much and suffered so much to help the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War.

You can get a good overview of the amazing life of Dr Nagai from Fr. Serephim HERE and HERE.

What did the devil know?

Today’s Mass readings, for the first Sunday of Lent tell us how God made a new Covenant with Noah – a family Covenant, telling, Noah that He will establish His plan with Noah’s descendants and that there will never again be a world wide flood to destroy all mankind (and other stuff).

Then the Gospel is a quick rather taciturn explanation from Mark that Jesus went into the desert, fasted for forty days, got tempted by the devil and John was arrested.

How do these readings fit?

I wonder if we should look at this from Satan’s view point. We are told from the rabbinic tradition that on the Second Day of creation God made the angels and gave them their test. What was the test? Well, many saints and theologians believe the test was that God showed them all His plan for salvation. He showed them Christ Incarnate and His fully human and not divine mother and said, “She will be your Queen and you must serve her.” This coupled with the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was more than Lucifer the light bearer, brightest of all the angels could take. He refused with those dark and echoing through history words “I will not serve!” (Non Serviam). With that he lost every bit of light and grace he had been given and was – with the determined help of St. Michael – thrust into hell with a third of the angels. Hell would never have needed to exist if this had not happened. Lucifer was not longer a light bearer but the Satan, the adversary, the accuser of the blessed.

Satan had one plan, to stop God’s plan. He aimed his venom at the Woman int he garden, lest she be blessed among all women. But his victory came with defeat. Then he must have worked all out to ensure that mankind turned more to him and walked further from God. Again he got a victory but as God washed it all away it was a short-lived one.

God renews the Covenant with Noah, which must have infuriated Satan and so Mankind get s a fresh start. Ham blows it in such an obscene way that the resulting son is cursed and Satan must have thought his luck was in.

Satan is of course very clever (though I have a theory he lacks imagination as evil is always so samey and banal) but he doesn’t know everything.

When Jesus started His public ministry did Satan know who He was? Or did He wonder about it and decide to go and see for himself? Not only did this Jesus not fall for any of the temptations He simply sent Satan away and Satan just had to go.

It seems pretty certain that after that not only did Satan know who Jesus was, but the rest of the devils did too and Jesus had to silence a few of them in His ministries of exorcism.

But Satan still had Herod on his side and it wasn’t long before John the Baptist was arrested.  But unfortunately for hell and it’s minions, every evil act done only helped God’s plan to evolve – as He makes straight with crooked lines.

Happy Birthday Ronan

Ronan was 9 yesterday. We went out for the day but the place we had hoped to go to was closed. So we had a picnic in a park and ran through the rain to get back to the car.

In light of the non-happening of his day out, we went for a Balti in the evening. Ronan declared, as he tucked into a chicken tikka masala, that he was glad the other place was shut as now he was having a lovely time. He had handled the earlier disappointment with great maturity – as a 9 year old gentleman should.

He is now the proud owner of a camera, which has a better spec than mine!

Happy Birthday Ronan.

Back to the dust

It’s Lent and purple is a lovely colour. I’m giving up the usual so that I don’t forget what I’ve decided to do.  We went to Mass yesterday and received the ashes to remind us that we are both body and soul, material and spiritual and that the body will return to the earth from which it came. But we are not dualists. We do not profess a soul trapped in a body as though the body is merely a material overcoat to the soul. And we do not swing off the other way that the body is merely an animated machine. We are one person body, mind and soul.

From the very beginning the Church has used materials – the stuff of life – to remind us and teach us that God made the world and it is good.

The sacramentals of the Church are part of the God’s story for us. We receive the burned palms as ash on our heads as a sign that we recognise that we are sinners and we know that leads to the death. Then at the beginning of Holy Week we have the palms in our hand reminding us that those who called Jesus king one day, called for His crucifixion only a few days later – and we are like them.

As Avila has been looking at the sacramentals as part of her RE, I’ve picked up more of an interest in them. I’ve always had a bit of an interest as my MA dissertation was focused on how children with special needs, especially developmental delay, can access the Sacraments. When I worked with children with serious disorders including autism, that meant they had little or no spoken language, a multisensory approach was vitally important. In fact the Children’s Hospice I worked in had a multisensory room.

The Church in both her Latin and Eastern Rites is beautifully set up so that all people, no matter how much language or learning they have can be fed and nurtured. We have icons, windows, statues, the shape and colour of the Church. The liturgical colours to mark the year, the candles, tabernacle and incense to see, touch and smell and of course the Blessed Sacrament to taste and see that the Lord is good. We have water and oils and then we use our bodies in prayer. Those whose body works stand before God, sit and listen and kneel in adoration. We genuflect and bow before God and of course we make the Sign of the Cross on our own bodies. At the Gospel we make another Sign of the Cross; making a cross on our foreheads, lips and chest silently praying that we will think, speak and love the Gospel.

We give something up for Lent because our bodies are just as important in our relationship with God as our minds and souls. In giving up chocolate or alcohol or whatever we choose to do without, we are not saying those things are bad (chocolate is soooo good) but we are saying that God is better.  We give up a little of the good for more of the best.

flat on a pancake day. Beginning Lent with offering up LOL.

Saw the GP this morning. He is a good man and very sensible, but it seems I have more hoops to jump through.

The ECG showed minor changes but nothing to get fussed about and the ultra sound isn’t even through yet. The chest x-ray was clear. No answers there then. The Doc is referring me to a lung specialist next. He’s changed my inhalers and I have to go back in 4 weeks to see how that helps and have to go back in three weeks for (more) bloods. Perhaps the heart ultra sound results will be in by then too.

I don’t think I’m wheezing that badly but I am very breathless at the slightest moving around. Although today was a good day, in all honesty I am beginning to realise that what I call “good” is actually not all that good – it’s just better than when I have a chest infection (which come about every 6 to 8 weeks so I’m due one in a fortnight lol).

He talked about ME. I don’t have a dx of ME as yet, although  ‘tween you and me I’ve suspected I had ME as well as FM for some time. I just didn’t want to have that dx. I told the GP as much and he promised I wouldn’t be told it’ “all in your head.” He actually understands and even accepts that ME (and frankly probably FM) are rooted in a virus. I told him I had seen it linked with Epstein Barr and HHV-6. Unfortunately I also know, from reading into this finally, that heart problems are common but difficult to spot. The NHS just isn’t set up for a disease like this.  (Readings Osler’s Web is quite an eye opener- showing why it is that those of us with these horrible chronic diseases get left to it; politics overcoming medicine. Hippocrates must be spinning.) I also have to admit that I’ve seen how ME can go with people and it quite frankly scares me.

The sad fact is, in all the time I’ve been ill no one has looked for a virus. I don’t even have blood count results on my notes.  I have a feeling, that along with others with FM and ME I don’t tick the right boxes and so must be left like this, even though I am fortunate enough to have a good GP. Of course so many of my results have gone walkabout that who knows what I have and haven’t been tested for over all those blood tests.

I am truly fed up of it all. No answers and more doctors and hospitals ahead. So I’ll being doing Lent with gusto. I’m sure it’s good for me in some way, right now can’t quite see how though.

I’ve got new wheels

I have a powerchair. It’s like my old shove-it chair in style but it has a good solid battery pack under it and a little control panel. I’m hiring it for the time being – these things are shockingly expensive – but I hope it will allow me to do things I have more or less had to stop doing because I can’t manage the shove-it any more and can’t walk very far at all any more.

So this is to be the new-me. I’m going to be out there, doin’stuff and taking the children places.

I’m not quite as cool as Prof X in his chair, although Alex likes riding up and down calling everyone Magnus and explaining why we can’t go to war. LOL

But this could be freedom.

Home Education Reading Week

It would be half term this week, but as Al is not off until next week I have decided to make this a reading week. I am reading to them from the two Seton History books The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas (we have an older version) and Our Catholic Legacy. It has proved depressingly difficult to get honestly written history books for the children, so I have decided to use Catholic books to balance and correct some dishonesty, editorial silence and just plain wrong stuff in other history books.

Ronan (grade 3/ year 4) is reading Macbeth from the boxed Shakespeare Stories set we have.His next book with be Tom’s Midnight Garden  , so I’ve made a special Ronan folder on my Kindle.(I am beginning to think I should have bought him a Kindle for his upcoming birthday – but oh well, Christmas …) For his self reading he has just finished The Wizard of Oz and has decided to read Five Children and It which I read to them some time ago. Yes, he has been borrowing my Kindle rather a lot.

Avila (Gr 1/yr 2) is reading Things Will Never Be the Same from T. dePaola’s 26 Fairmount Ave series. For self reading she has been going through some of the picture books and has been reading a little book of Oscar Wilde’s stories for children which I got from a second hand books shop last summer.

If you have a Kindle or your child has a Kindle you might be interested in the Gutenberg Children’s Bookshelf.

Read together Stories From Winnie the Pooh which is the real stories not the awful disneyfied ones.

And me? Well I am reading Have His Carcass by the wonderful Dorothy L. Sayers. I have been lent How Children Fail by John Holt, which is a short, fairly interesting book of Holt’s observations in schools at the end of the ’50s and beginning of the ’60s. I am also slowly but surely reading the absolutely brilliant expose book Osler’s Web by Hillary Johnson. This book is well worth reading and has opened my eyes to why it is I am always hitting walls when it comes to getting answers or care for the fibromyalgia; the politics and vested interest wrapped in egos is the reason.