Thursday, March 29, 2007

Holy Week with the Trapp Family

I first discovered the beauty of Catholic tradition in "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" when I read Maria's vivid and moving descriptions of Holy Week celebrations in Austria. This Trapp family post on Holy Week shares some of this beauty. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tired of being broke at home? Help is on the way!

Study on Day Care Hits Close to Home
For years, stay-at-home parents have been trivialized by feminists who wrongly believe that a mother or father's care is replaceable. However, a new study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH proves the feminist ideology wrong. The most expansive research of its kind, the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development found that putting a child in day care for a year or more increases the chances that the child will become disruptive in class--a trend that persists through the sixth grade. Perhaps most telling is the fact that these tendencies were evident despite the child's sex, family income, and even the quality of the day care center in question. The news will be particularly disappointing to day care advocates who have insisted that any negative effects are entirely contingent, on the "quality" of the care. In the U.S., experts estimate that 2.3 million kids under the age of 5 are in day care, while 4.8 million are in the care of a relative or nanny, and 3.3 million are at home with their parents. Despite the large number of stay-at-home parents, the government is often lopsided in its support of families who choose out-of-the-home care for their kids. Research shows that most parents would prefer to tend for their kids themselves. If that's the case, why do government policies undercut parental choice and care? There is no substitute for the contributions that at-home parents make to the development of their children, often at financial sacrifice. In light of the obvious benefits to kids, we urge Congress to pass Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rep. Lee Terry's (R-Nebr.) Parents' Tax Relief Act. Through the bill's equalized tax treatment of stay-at-home parents, families would have the freedom to care for their own children. Additional Resources Parents' Tax Relief Act Study: Child Care, Behavior Linked

Do you know that in Norway, a stay at home mother is paid, as they recognize the benefits to society that well-raised children provide? For once, something wholesome is happening first in Scandanavia!

What about college?

This is the fear of many parents who are deciding whether to homeschool their teen through high school. Since my oldest is 14, I have been listening to this discussion the past few years. Gaby knows I will only pay for the solid Catholic colleges listed in the "National Catholic Register" annual list. They understand homeschoolers and value what they bring to college level studies; a work ethic, the ability to relate to people of any age, unique experiences in their local communities, and, ability to defend the Faith.
But, what if you want other colleges to consider admitting your child? An Op-Ed in the Washinton Times discusses an increasing number of colleges who are not merely admitting homeschooled students, but actively seeking them. Now you can show this article to your mother-in-law or whoever is on your back about college!
HT Home School Legal Defense

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Armed and Dangerous

That's what China considers me. I have spoken out against the terrible one-child policy of China, and thus I have been blocked by their censors. Check out your favorite site here. Both of my blogs bounced back "URL blocked", but my St. Blog's blog still gets through.

As Love2Learn says, it's honor! I have seen several regular readers from Beijing on the sitemeter, now I know that they were government officials. I hoped I was reaching the persecuted Christians there. Don't forget to pray for them.

Monday, March 26, 2007

St Joseph's Day Activities

I was tremendously rushed last week on St. Joseph's Day, but I found this wonderful post Ruth had done, and decided to revisit our dear patron. St. Joseph, humble father of Our Saviour, so often overlooked, pray for us!

6 Wierd things about me Meme

People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 weird things as well as stating this rule clearly! Three people need to be tagged and their names listed. Finally a comment needs to be left on each tagged person’s blog…

1. OK. Let's get this one over with first; my daughter says I laugh like Ernie on Sesame Street. Not that I don't find him adorable, and I admit I do a decent imitation of him when inspired, "hey, Burt. . ." It's just a little less than flattering to know you have his laugh!

2. I have extra bones in my feet. Yes, the blogger is a freak! During a trip to Washington DC as a girl scout, I had tremendous foot pain as my arches fell, due to the extra stress this unnecessary bones place on my plantar-facial tendon. So, I'm flat-footed as well. Weird, huh?

3. I jut out my jaw while blogging. This is causing me to have TMJ, or jaw dislocation which causes headaches. I blame Blogger, for giving me so many problems that I had to jut out my jaw to deal with the tension. Couldn't be my intense writing style!

4. I'm allergic to bananas. I have never met anyone with this allergy, but I've had it since infancy. They make me dizzy and nauseous. I tried to sneak around this with a dish of crispy fried platanos once, but, I couldn't fool my body. The ceiling started to spin. Whoa!

5. I give my daughters unspeakably silly nicknames; chickie-loo,and MissyChrissy, for Christina, and muchila(backpack in Spanish) for Gaby. When she was a tiny, colicky baby; she was carried along in my sling for hours as we walked the floors each night. I think I'm entitled to give her a silly nickname for all she put me through!

6. I either read full steam ahead, or I'm a dilettante. With the more highbrow stuff,
I can't read only one book at a time. I have on my night able "Triumph", a book on Church history, "Healing the Original Wound" by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, "When Slow is Fast Enough" about special education preschool programs, and I finally gave up on the bloviating Bill O'Reilly's "Culture Warrior" when I found him disingenuous.
I get tired of a book, unless. . .it's a novel. As a shy thirteen year old escaping junior-high bullies, I locked myself in my room for four days, and read 1037 pages of "Gone With the Wind", with my worried mother sending up meals. My cousin Marion gave me my first Maeve Binchy novel, and now, I don't dare read them, or I'll be hauled in for child neglect after two days of total absorption. This, however, is not my fault, it is inherited from my Irish great-grandmother who, with 10 children in a thatched cottage could lose herself in a book, and as my Grandma said, "the whole house could come down around her, and she wouldn't notice".

I tag Esther, Julie D. , and Ruth!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation!!

We start the consecration to Jesus through Our Lady, tomorrow. Here is a rough outline of our consecration preparation. Now begins the 33-day period of exercises. St. Louis-Marie breaks these days into sections of days, each section having its own prayers, and each particular day having its own brief readings with which to fill the mind for that day (the readings come from Sacred Scripture, "The Imitation of Christ," and "True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary"). Don't just read the readings, internalize them; don't let your lips just mouth the prayers, truly pray them. First comes a 12-day preparation period that consists of emptying oneself of the spirit of the world in penance and mortification. For those 12 days, we pray the Veni Creator, the Ave Maris Stella, the Magnificat, and the Glory Be. Then follow 3 weeks, each week having a specific focus. The first week focuses on offering up our prayers and devotions for the purpose of coming to understand ourselves and our sins; humility is the key, and the prayers the Litany of the Holy Ghost, the Litany of Loreto, and the Ave Maris Stella help us. During the second week, we ask the Holy Ghost to help us better understand the Blessed Virgin; we pray the Litany of the Holy Ghost, the Litany of Loreto, the Ave Maris Stellis, the prayer to Mary by St. Louis-Marie, and 5 decades of the Holy Rosary each day for assistance. During the third week, we seek to better understand Christ through meditation and the Litany of the Holy Ghost, the Ave Maris Stella, and the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, Montfort's prayer to Jesus, and the prayer O Jesus Living in Mary. Your prayers for the supports taking Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body to the streets! Together, united in prayer to Jesus Christ, we can build a culture of life and love.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lenten Recipe: Cheese Pupusas from El Salvador

I learned this from one of my English as a Second Language students from El Salvador, and my Salvadorean husband appreciates them when I take the time.
A Pupusa is merely a stuffed tortilla, and are also made with pork (chicharron) or beans. It's served with cortido, or viniagrette cole slaw.
Cheese pupusas are my family favorite, and if the cheese leaks out and fries while the pupusa is cooking, that's even better! They take a bit a practice, but they're worth it.
Ingredients: Maseca corn flour, mozzarella cheese, and green peppers
Make the cortido by shredding the cabbage with onions and carrots, and mixing with your favorite vinegar. Set aside.
Then grate the mozzarella cheese, and chop the green pepper very fine, mix, and set aside.
Now, you're ready to make the pupusas.

First, heat up the griddle with a bit of oil, to medium high, then, you blend the Maseca with water by hand, until it's softer than Playdough, then rinse off your hands to make the tortilla (keep a bowl of water ready to rinse your hands when they become too sticky).

Start with a ball like a large meatball, then flatten it, turning it around in you hands, like a saucer, then on your palms. When the tortilla is large enough to fill with cheese mixture, put in a small amount (see picture) and close the tortilla around it. Flatten it again, turning it around and around in your hand, then fry it on both sides till a bit golden.

Gaby's Essay on Christina

I was reminded of Gaby's essay by a post on Postcards from Holland about siblings of special needs children. She says that she doesn't like to read articles about grown siblings of special needs adults because they are rarely positive. Well, Gaby may yet change her mind, as she was only twelve when she wrote this essay, but, so far, the sisters are inseparable. Her essay won first place in the diocese of Rockville Centre Respect Life Essay contest last year. I can't believe I have taken this long to post it! This photo was taken in January when we celebrated my dad's 75th birthday, thus the girls are sharing a Shirley Temple at the bar (I don't want to scandalize anyone)
I just thought this shot would be funny of the two of them!

My Sister is Special

I have a three year old sister named Christina with Down's syndrome. It can be a challenge having a sister with a disability. When she was born, I cried because I knew people would make fun of the way she looked and spoke .Sometimes people give her wierd looks as they pass by, but it doesn't bother me anymore. Those people don't know her like I do. Christina is slow at learning to speak, and I don't always understand her, but that does not stop her from communicating. She says ''let's go'' and takes me by the hand to show me what she wants like something to eat or her favorite Elmo DVD, and she always says," thank you'' after you give it to her. Christina didn't learn to walk until she was two and a half, but now you can't stop her! Sometimes,she climbs up on the kitchen island, knocks everything down,and yells for me to come and see her standing up there, with a big smile on her face.She loves running away from me when she is in trouble.

People with Down Syndrome really love,and once in a while they teach us how to live our faith better. Christina always seems to have a smile on her face,and really cares for others. One time my Mom took Christina to Eucharistic Adoration. As they went into the chapel, she enthusiastically waved and said, ''Hi Jesus!'' as if He were standing right in front of her. Everyone in the chapel turned and smiled at her saying, "she knows He is here''.

Christina is like any other kid, just slower at learning things and she should not be treated differently. Most people don't know that 95% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted. The people who do this don't know what they are missing! Every year,my family and I go to Washington D.C. for the March for Life and try to stop this discrimination aganist unborn babies. Just because they don't have a voice, does not mean their lives should be ended .We have to be their voice. I think nobody should be rejected because of the way they look or speak. We are all God's children an d he loves all of us.

Gabriela Velasquez, age12

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What style of homeschooling do you use?

So often my post ideas stem from discussions on other blogs. My favorite new blog is The Wine Dark Sea by Melanie Bertinelli, wife of famous Domenico of Bettnet. She had a lively discussion of the book "How Children Learn". I haven't read it but I do have a similar philosophy of education style being tailored to the individual child's learning style,as long as they learn the basics. I hear the commenters who say this sort of 'soft' thinking has ruined the public school system, and I want to posit this response, as I too was in a failing 1970's 'open classroom' experiment. Perhaps that style of child-centered teaching can't work in a school setting, as there isn't enough knowledge of or supervision of the children. Perhaps child-centered learning was meant to be done only at home.
'Tidal homeschooling' could explain my 9 year journey as well. To some it may seem indecisive to switch programs and levels of structure year to year, but it's just my way of listening to the children while keeping their future in mind. I used a fair amount of workbooks this year to cover needed skills, yet we read from 4REAL Charlotte Mason reading list, doing the narratives afterward.This is the result: yesterday my 9 year old daughter came to me with shining eyes after two hours in the backyard documenting signs of spring in her nature notebook, and breathlessly told me she's working on a book of animal stories like Beatrix Potter. She is compiling bits of learning from all over the curriculum; art, literature, writing, nature study, and cinema (we've just seen "Miss Potter").This lets me know that my curriculum is spot on!

I think the Holy Spirit works in this if you invite Him. I have a preschool daughter with Down Syndrome, whose learning style is quite unique, and I recently read "When Slow is Fast Enough" to understand how to meet her educational needs and coordinate the therapies she receives with the rest of her education. I don't know any other place than home where this could be done successfully.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

There's a new Catholic quiz out there; give it a try!

You are 100% educated in Catholic truths!

Wow! You are totally educated in the Catholic faith. A real genius! Have you thought of teaching the faith to others? Be sure to share your wealth of knowledge with those who need it.

Catholic Truths
Take More Quizzes

New Insight into the Mass

"The Mass Revealed" is a website I came upon online which offers a DVD set and booklet explaining the Holy Mass beautifully. I'm going to order it, and will be reviewing it here.

Today is world Down Syndrome Day

Communities around the world are celebrating the second annual World Down Syndrome Day, a date chosen to represent that Down syndrome occurs in people who have three copies of the 21st chromosome.
Thus the date 3-21 was chosen. There are three days between this day, and the Feast of the Annunciation. Three. The Holy Trinity. In God's kingdom, there are no accidents, least of all these beautiful individuals.

If you know someone with Down Syndrome, tell them how much you appreciate them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

40 Ways to Improve Your Lent

The church instructs its members to make prayer, fasting and almsgiving, integral parts of their lives. For you who need to supplement your Lenten Practices, your friendly homeschooling mom has adapted these from the list offered by the Catholic Herald to our more traditional tastes.

1. Read a book about your patron saint. can look him up online. If there's a video biography, order it here.

2. Pray for by name people you don't like and for people that don't like you.

3. Participate in Eucharistic Adoration. Every week.

4. Read a Catholic magazine. I recommend "Faith and Family" or the "National Catholic Register"

5. Read one of the great meditations on the Passion.

6. Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and give the duplicates to the local food pantry.

7. Attend daily Mass as often as your life's demands will permit.

8. Start a "cuss bowl." For every unkind word you utter, put in a dollar two dollars during Holy Week. After Easter, give the money to EWTN. (Eternal WORD Television Network, get it?!)

9. Take the Quiz my daughter and I made up; "Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?" as over 5, 700 people have already. Pass it on, we are helping to educate the world!

10.Give away one box of items to your church thrift shop.

11. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church.

12. Talk to a neighbor you rarely or never talk to. Invite them over for tea.

13. Keep a crucifix in a prominent place as a constant reminder of the season.

14. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Weekly.

15. Read the Scripture read at Mass each day. I read Magnificat for that and wonderful hymns, artwork, and meditations which deepen the meaning of the readings for me. If you have failed at this, turn on the Mass at EWTN, and at least watch the Scripture readings and homily.

16. Read a biography about Pope John Paul II and/or watch the new video on his life

17. Bring the children to visit an elderly relative, neighbor, or a nursing home.

18. Play a "Lighthouse Catholic Media" CD in your car each day. Then pass it on. Better yet, discuss with your pastor the possibility of setting up a display in your church vestibule.

19. Reserve a button on your car stereo for the Catholic Radio station in your area.

20. Pray the news for the people whose stories of hardship are reported daily.

21. Read an entry from a Catholic Answers online.

22. Visit three churches on the evening of Holy Thursday after the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on special altars. This is an ancient tradition my girls love, as it feels like a pilgrimage, and they love to see the originality of the floral decorations. I love to see the devotion of the people.

23. Tithe your tax return to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. They're Fr. Benedict Groeschel's order, who help the poor in New York, Ireland, England, Haiti, and Honduras.

24. Pray a pro-life vigil outside an abortion mill.

25. Observe five minutes of silence every day.

26. Instead of watching your favorite TV show,(unless it's on EWTN) watch "The Passion of the Christ."

27. Use a Lenten theme in decorating your family altar.

28. Memorize your favorite Scripture passage.

29. Participate in the Stations of the Cross.

30. Tell someone your story of faith, how God has made a difference in your life. If you have a blog, post it online.

31. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer. (I fast from secular programming.)

32. Identify your God-given gifts, how you use them, and how you could use them better.

33. Fast from gossip.

34. The rosary: say it nightly with the whole family.

35. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday. If you don't get a seat, smile as you prepare for a little offering up of your small discomfort on Passion Sunday.

36. Don't forget to begin the Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday.

37. Read a history of the Church. I recommend "Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church" by HW Crocker III

38. Keep the 3 hours of silence on Good Friday (between 12 and 3) as much as possible.

39. Sacrifice your time in order to help others in need in your neighborhood.

40. Attend the Easter Triduum as a family.

Padre Pio's words of wisdom

"Humble yourself beneath the Lord's heavy hand in time of trial, so that you may become worthy to be exalted at the time of his visitation. Don't worry meanwhile, for the Lord is with you, and there is nothing to fear."

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Carnival of Homeschooling is Up

Go and see what we're doing with our time.

Feast Day of St. Joseph

Prayer to St. Joseph
by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O Patriarch St. Joseph!
This shall be my motto for life and eternity.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I dedicate this montage in loving memory of my Irish grandma, Helen Heslin Bonk.

“Christ shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me” (from “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”).
Erin go bragh!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Prince Caspian is coming to film

If you family are Narnia fans,as we are, here is great news, Prince Caspian is in pre-production, and will be released May 16, 2008!
Filming is going on in New Zealand. Check out the Narnia fans website for updates.

There's a Nice Cartoon on Special Needs

In For Better of for Worse today. Take a look.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy 5th Birthday, Christina!

To the little baby who made me a special mom, who has taught me as much as my first child, how to be patient and to persevere, but more importantly to see others through your loving eyes, I love you!
To the preschooler who is always learning, though not always in the way she is expected to learn, who teaches her teachers and never fails to surprise us by moments of brilliance, we love you!
To the little rascal who hates having her face washed and hair combed, yet won't come out of the bathtub, who loves dressing up, but not getting dressed.
Happy 5th Birthday, Christina Maria!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Marriage Meme

Jean at Catholic Fire tagged me, I can't get over how similar some of our answers are!

1. Where/How did you meet? We met through our activity in the Catholic charismatic renewal. We were branching off into bilingual conferences, and Francisco handled the radios we used to translate the speakers. We saw each other regularly through these conferences.
2. How long have you known each other? We began dating 16 years ago this Superbowl Sunday, was when things turned romantic, but, we were friends about a year before that.
3.How long after you met did you start dating?Francisco was interested in me, but I didn't know it yet, he began a 'background check' asking various trusted friends in the Spanish community, with which I was involved as an English teacher, CCD teacher what they thought about me. Apparently, I passed muster!
4. How long did you date before you were engaged?About 6 months
5. How long was your engagement? 8 months. We went to the same charismatic conference with separate friends to discern our call to marriage, if the answer was no, we would break up. Someone had read from the podium a prophecy that went, "those who are here at this conference discerning marriage, my answer to you is 'yes'!". We were flabbergasted, who expected an answer from the Lord so directly?!
We were in New York's Little Italy when Francisco bought my ring, and put it on my finger in a little Italian cafe. All conversation came to a halt, and we suddenly became, to his horror, the center of attention! I on the other hand, was thrilled; it was a scene right out of "Moonstruck"!
6. How long have you been married? 15 years.
7. What is your anniversary? 2/22/92
8. How many people came to your wedding reception? around 150
9. What kind of cake did you serve? It had lovely fresh flowers cascading down the three layers, but I don't remember the flavors of the cake.
10. Where was your wedding? At St Hugh of Lincoln, Huntington Station, NY. It wasn't my home parish, but my adopted parish, as I had learned Spanish attending Mass there, and had so many good friends in the parish, it really felt like home. In order to have that big crowd at the reception, we went to the nicest Knights of Columbus Hall on the Island, the Memorare Club.
11. What did you serve for your meal?Chicken and rice, Spanish style, for which I provided the chef with the recipe, for my husband's side, and a typical American buffet for my side, which are a mix of Italians, Irish, and Polish descendants. The dancing was some of the heartiest I've ever seen at a wedding, everyone truly enjoyed themselves. I have a great, big, fun extended family!
12. How many people were in your wedding party? Besides the best man, and matron of honor, there were 4 bridesmaids, and 4 ushers, two of which were my brothers.
13. Are you still friends with them all? No, and it's a shame, we've had divorce, death, and distance separate most of us.
14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? No, but he sure had cold, clammy hands!
15. Most special moment of your wedding day? Waking up before dawn our first day as a married couple, and watching the sunrise over the hill from the hotel pool.
16. Any funny moments? I had to stop the limo leaving the church to go to the ladies room, which my good friend the videographer caught on tape!
17. Any big disasters? Nearly, my brother-in-law got lost after the church, and almost missed the reception.
18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Disney World, and then we visited my Florida cousins who couldn't make the wedding, and since my parents were down too, so my dh spent part of his honeymoon with his mother-in-law. What a guy!
19. How long were you gone? 1 week.
20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? Fewer guests, we hardly got to talk to all of them!
21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?: I sleep on the left side (when looking from the foot of the bed)
22. What size is your bed? King, which I purchased from Jaimison, the company who makes the Marriott hotel chain beds. It's a cheaper version of the Tempurpedic, and just as comfy.
23.Greatest strength as a couple? Our sense of humor, our faith, and our love for our three girls.
24. Greatest challenge as a couple? Right now, it's finding time for one another as we are both so involved in our work and homeschooling.
25. Who literally pays the bills? He does. I am a poor, starving Catholic writer, who dares not quit her part time job teaching English at the local Community College till writing begins to pay off. . . I'm still waiting.
26. What is your song? "La Pareja Del Alma" translation:'The Couple of the Soul' by Marisela. Francisco played it for me every morning when we were newlyweds.
27. What did you dance your first dance to? "I See Jesus in You" by Sharilee
28. Describe your wedding dress: I designed my gown from a pattern, and had it custom-made by a seamstress. Francisco and I went to shop for materials on the street in New York City's garment district which sells nothing but wedding gown materials. The Jewish merchants said it was bad luck for him to buy the material, but he replied that it is the Salvadorean custom.
The material was an ivory damask imprinted with roses for Our Lady. It had a fitted bodice, sweetheart neckline, leg of mutton sleeves, to the elbow, and lace panels coming to a point at each hand. The full skirt had a small train, and I put on rose appliques on the bodice. I also sewed on tiny pearls and translucent sequins on the alencon lace sleeves(Therese of Lisieux's mother made this kind of lace) sleeves and lace trim at the hem, since the seamstress' arthritis prohibited it.
I was working 12 hour days to help my folks pay for the wedding, so I found it very calming to work on the gown at night, and meditate on our upcoming wedding.
29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?In my bouquet, pink and white roses with dendrobium orchids cascading down. All the dendrobium fell out just as it was time to begin the procession, but my trusty bridesmaids dove down, and rescued my bouquet, and it was perfect!
30. Are your wedding bands engraved? Yes, with our wedding date, and our wedding scripture: Ruth 1:16
"Wherever you go, I shall go,
Wherever you live, so shall I live,
Your people will be my people too,
and your God will be my God too."

If you want to re-live the joys of your wedding day, why just tag yourself, and let me know!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

New Attacks on Down Syndrome Children

This week the National Catholic Register has an article on it's front page entitled:"Down Syndrome in the Crosshairs" about the Canadian doctor's organizations doing what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had done last month: recommend that all expectant mothers undergo a new screening for Down Syndrome. Currently 90% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted, this would bring it closer to 100%. One cannot help but wonder if the aim of both doctor's groups is to rid the world of these lovely people. Melinda Tankard Reist seems to think so. In her book, Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics, she states the following in her introduction,
"Eugenically influenced medical advice appears to have become the norm, though it may not be recognized as such. The practices outlined in this book are part of what has been described as 'the infiltration and immense power of medicalization during routine pregnancy care'(Markens et al., 199, p368)
Even healthy women are made to feel there could be something very wrong medically with their pregnancy. A friend, healthy and pregnant with child number three, told me that she was encouraged to have a nuchal translucency screen to test for Down syndrome, because, 'after all, you are 27'".
This book is riveting, the stories inspiring and heart-rending, and after reading it, your opinion of the medical profession is forever changed. To quote Dr Abby Lippman, Board Chair of Canadian Women's Health Network,
"Today's society demands physical perfection from all and regards medical and scientific technologies as saviours to be embraced whatever the cost. To have a child who has been diagnosed with a disability is deemed not just unnecessary, but careless and even immoral".

This is the author whose book will be featured in the upcoming issue of Faith and Family magazine, and my story about Christina's birth will be attached as a sidebar to the main article.The book is a collection of testimonies from women whose doctors put them under intense pressure to abort their children, after receiving an adverse prenatal diagnosis.
Some of these children had been misdiagnosed, and were born completely healthy. Some were mothers who were disabled themselves, and the medical community felt were too much at risk of producing disabled children to have the right to give birth. If you know someone in this situation, please refer them to Pre-natal Partners for Life or Be Not Afraid both completely pro-life websites dedicated to helping expectant parents in these difficult situations.

Another approach to the attack on Down Syndrome children is to highlight the beauty they bring to our lives. Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives does just that. Last night I had a fascinating discussion with Robin Roach whose son Bryan is featured in this book. Robin had a sonogram which revealed a 'soft marker' for Down Syndrome, but went through with the Amnio anyway, just to reassure herself that all was well. But it wasn't. Before her Obstetrician had a chance to discuss the test results, the Perinatologist called to "schedule the procedure". Robin and her husband were in shock; they hadn't even been told their son had Down Syndrome, and already she was being pressure into an abortion at 22 weeks gestation.
Thankfully, the Roach family are Catholic, and wouldn't abort their beautiful son. Bryan, now 2, and cruising the furniture, is the joy of their active family of three boys, and they can't imagine life without him. Robin's participation in an online message board gave her the idea for the book where 35 mothers she knew from there wrote in about the blessings of having a child with Down Syndrome. Kathryn Lynard Soper offered to edit the book, and Martha Sears, herself a mother of a son with Down Syndrome, and a famous baby expert who has published numerous books with her husband Pediatrician Dr. William Sears, has written a forward for the book. It was first self-published and sold on, but Woodbine House picked up on it within 2 months, and will be publishing it in July. Robin's blog is called We Call Holland Home. Her recent presentation at the Long Island Coalition for Life was covered by " The Long Island Catholic".
I look forward to being able to read this book in the near future.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Lenten Meme

What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?
I always find myself meditating longest on the first Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden. It's the one I can relate to most, not having undergone anywhere near the physical sufferings of Our Lord.Yet.
I can relate to the pain of mental anguish, the feeling of abandonment, and the fear that all the giving I've done in my life is wasted. We know who's behind those negative thoughts, and I ask the Lord to 'take this cup from me' as well when they crowd in.
What is your favorite Station of the Cross?
This preference seems to change from time to time, as different things are happening in my life. When The Passion of the Christ came out, and my girls were acting in a homeschoolers Passion Play, I loved the station where Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. Gaby,who played Veronica that year, dressed in a robe the of same kind of roughly woven material the actress had in the movie, and wore her long brown hair in multiple braids. I was very moved by the parallels with the movie, and Veronica's tender courage amidst the unbelievable savagery of the soldiers. Of course, as a mother, I love the scene where Our Lady meets Our Lord during the Via Crucis, and I love how Mel Gibson combined that with one of His falls, so that she, without even touching Him, helps Him rise again, saying, "behold, I make all things new". This is SO powerful!
This year, I tend to contemplate the three times Jesus rose to His feet after suffering the most crushing falls, the courage on his face in the movie never fails to bring tears to my eyes, and I pray with Him, let me keep trying too, my Jesus, when I feel like quitting.
Do you fast during Lent?
I once led a Marian youth prayer group, and on Fridays, before we met, I fasted on bread and water for it's success. As long as I fasted, the group was fruitful. Once I stopped the practice, the group disbanded. I never forgot that lesson.
Now that I'm a diabetic, I don't fast on pure bread, but give up sweets, and seeking pleasure in food. For example, I eat whatever is in the fridge: leftovers or simple cheese and bread. without fussing over the meal to make it tastier. I remember the terrible images of children who are starving throughout the world, and am truly grateful for the bounty of my table

What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?
One of you bloggers, (was it you, Karen?) said she was giving up complaining, and I seized upon it, as the Holy Spirit convicted my heart. Then someone sent me a mediation along those lines, and I have tried to watch my speech, with mixed success. It's humbling to note how quiet I am now. What does that say about my speech before?
Do you use Holy Water during Lent?
Yes, we have old rite Holy Water, the kind that has been sprinkled with blessed salt, and exorcised. I was told it is more powerful, and we have several holy water fonts throughout the house. I don't stop during Lent, as I've never heard any teaching on why we should.

How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?
As often as my recalcitrant four year old and her patient sisters can tolerate! I do sneak off with Isabella more often
to daily mass, now that Gaby can stay home with Christina. Sometimes, it's not worth going if you're in the vestibule with a youngster the entire mass. Sigh, this too shall pass.

This is my Lenten Fast
Fast from judging others;
feast on the Christ indwelling in them.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Almighty God, during this season of fasting, gift us with Your amazing grace, so we can carry out Your work.
And I tag anyone who'd like to respond ... and if you do, will you let me know?

Friday, March 2, 2007

Snap Shirt of Cause of Our Joy

The spirit of Hitler is Alive and Well in Germany

Where Melissa Buskeros is incarcerated in a mental hospital for being homeschooled.

In 1937, the dictator said, "The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing." Hitler 1937

Adolf Hitler outlawed homeschooling in order to have control over the next generation of children. I read in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, that in occupied Austria, children were brainwashed and forced to report on their parent's subversive attitudes, landing Maria and the Captain in trouble more than once. This also happened in Communist countries; I saw children in red scarves assemble in Yugoslavia in stadiums on Sunday mornings instead of going to Mass. Is the US next? Support the Buskeros family!

HSLDA is encouraging a boycott of German goods, and a flood of emails to the German consulate, in support of this beseiged family. Melissa's parents have no communication with their daughter, and don't even know where she is being detained. Send an email today to protest this gross violation of parental rights!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

When life hands you lemons. . .or broken eggs. . .

You make a doggy omlet!
Christina (age 4)appeared upstairs tonight with her choice for dinner, hot dogs in the package.
She had rejected my choice, meatloaf, an hour earlier. As I went downstairs to cook one for her, this is the sight which greeted me.

Ever the faithful blogger, I grabbed my camera, for the disaster, em, photo op, and Isabella was so impressed with my departure from my old reaction(hair-raising shriek) that she helped me use the eggs, already wasted on the floor, in a doggy omlet.

Molly was so grateful! And so was Christina, at Mommy's 'taking it well'.
A blogging Mom has it's advantages.