Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Victory Garden

My volunteer time at the computer means I don't usually work  for pay, so I am counting on a good harvest to help provide fresh produce for my family. I am learning to preserve food;  last year, we had a bountiful harvest and canned enough tomatoes to last till Thanksgiving. It is very nutritious, tasty and tomatoes do NOT grow Botulism, so you can't kill anybody, so they are a great place to start canning. We have 24 pullets who will begin laying this summer, and we may be in the egg business soon.
Here is a great post on how to preserve food to feed your family in times of crisis.
We are planning to can more tomatoes, beans, zucchini, peas, squash, cucumbers, corn, lettuce,green peppers,  Swiss Chard, dill, mint, and basil. We will  freeze our green beans, can our tomatoes as we did last year,  and learn some more canning and freezing techniques.
We call it our Victory Garden, in hopes that my volunteer work can help conquer the Culture of Death which has made great strides recently in this nation.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mandatory pre-natal testing to be considered in France

My friends at the Lejeune Foundation in France are calling for all those who oppose the eugenic abortion of babies with trisomy 21 and live in France to sign a petition opposing this practice. France already has an abortion rate of 96% once Down syndrome is detected through pre-natal testing, universal testing would be catastrophic to this population and to human rights in general, setting off a possible chain reaction throughout Europe. Below is a translation of the original letter from the Foundation Lejeune.

On May 25 and 26 of this year, the National Assembly [the lower house in the French Parliament] will resume its debates and votes concerning the proposed bioethics law.  

If the deputies follow the recommendations of the Senate and the Special Committee on Bioethics, the pendulum will swing, in the next few days, and France will implement a policy of eugenics with regard to infants with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome.  

Because all of us are vulnerable and called to show solidarity with those who are a little more so, we cannot accept this or let it happen.  

Please act today by signing the petition that we will send to the legislators and by sending this message to everyone on your e-mail address list.

We thank every one of you for your irreplaceable support of this petition drive.  

 The Staff of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation

Because the legislators in both Houses of the French Parliament are currently debating the contents of the forthcoming bioethics law and are preparing to legalize systematic screening for Trisomy 21.  
Because 96% of the babies diagnosed before birth as having Trisomy 21 are eliminated, some of them as late as the ninth month of pregnancy.  Instead of expanding this search-and-destroy mission aimed at infants with Trisomy 21, we should instead take advantage of the future bioethics law to put a stop to the current trends!  
Because obliging the doctor to propose prenatal diagnosis to all expectant mothers would lead us from a de facto situation of eugenics to a legal system of eugenics that completely contradicts the Civil Code (art. 16-4).  
Because infants with Trisomy 21, like all of us, want to live, to love and to be loved.  
Because the degree to which a society is civilized is measured by its ability to protect its weakest members.
Because all of us are vulnerable and called to show solidarity with those who are a little more so.  
Because, with technological advances, it will very soon be possible to detect many other disorders or predispositions to diseases. The logic of search-and-destroy will be extended to an ever-increasing number of babies.  
Because by choosing to eliminate the sick instead of trying to cure their illnesses, science and medicine abandon their purpose and deny themselves.  

The purpose of this petition is to denounce the eugenicist ideology informing the bioethics law, which is clearly expressed by its intention to screen systematically for Trisomy 21, and to challenge our legislators concerning the blatant contradiction between the Civil Code and current eugenics practices.  

If your share our concern and our willingness to fight for greater respect for the lives of the most vulnerable, then sign this petition, which we will forward to the members of Parliament and to the French government.  

Life is the most important political issue for Man:  the members of Parliament, like the future candidates for the Presidency of the French Republic, cannot ignore this.  They must recognize the determination of the French electorate on this subject [and also realize that people of good will in other countries will be watching carefully how they deal with this latest threat to fundamental human rights].  

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gabriela discusses pro-life indy filmmaking on "The Face of Pro-Life"

Gabbi recently did an interview with "The Face of Pro-Life" TV show about her film "An Extra Special Missionary" for the Goodness Reigns Film Contest which inspired a documentary on the Archdiocesan program, "Crossroads". on Holy Saturday,  (click on archived shows, date April 23, 2011, our portion of the show begins on 8:35). She is as good in front of the camera as behind it, and her dazzling smile when she discusses her love for her sister speaks volumes about the blessing Christina has been for her family and community.
You can watch "The Face of Pro-life" TV show by clicking here. 

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Please take time to complete this survey about families with a child with Down syndrome

This is from Marcia Van Riper, a nursing professor at University of North Carolina School of Nursing

Update on Study about Adaptation and Resilience in Families of Children with Down Syndrome
During the past year, many of you were kind enough to take time out of your busy life to complete our online survey about adaptation and resilience in families of children withDown syndrome. In addition, many of you expressed interest in being interviewed. To date, almost 250 parents have completed the survey. As far as the interviews, I have conducted around 35 interviews, but plan to do many more now that the semester has ended here at the University of North Carolina School of Nursing were I teach.
The main reason I am emailing you today is to let you know that there is still time to complete the survey if you have not yet had time to do it (or if you started it, but did not find time to finish it). Also, if your partner or spouse has not yet had time to complete the survey, I hope you will encourage him or her to do so. Currently the majority of the parents who have completed the survey are mothers (190 mothers and 58 fathers). I believe it is very important to hear from both mothers and fathers, so again, I hope you will encourage your partner or spouse to complete the survey. In addition, you are welcome to share the links to the survey with other parents of children with Down syndrome. Currently, we have versions in English and Spanish. Soon we will have versions in Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese. Ultimately, my goal is to collect data from 2,000 to 3,000 parents of children with Down syndrome. Then, to make sure this information is shared in both the popular media and the literature health care professionals read. Your stories are very powerful stories, ones that will help change attitudes about life with Down syndrome, as well as lead to improved outcomes for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Here are the links –
English Version

Spanish Version

Thank you to all of you who have already completed the survey and/or been interviewed. I have been doing work with children with Down syndrome and their families for over 25 years, and truly you and your children have been my best teachers.
Best Wishes,

Marcia Van Riper, PhD, RN
Associate Professor Chair Family Health Division
School of Nursing/Carolina Center for Genome Sciences
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC
CB #7460 Carrington Hall Chapel Hill, NC. 27599-7460
President, International Family Nursing Association

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Perfect Storm now faces those with Down syndrome

My eloquent friend and co-founder of KIDS, Keep Infants with Down Syndrome  Eileen Haupt has really nailed it on this opinion piece for the Burlington Free Press.
Here's the heart of her piece;

There has never been a better time -- in the history of mankind -- for babies with Down syndrome to be born. There is better recognition of their potential, greater knowledge about this genetic condition, supportive laws, inclusion in schools, exciting new research that may lead to treatments for cognitive challenges, and in general, more understanding. In particular, advanced medical technology has significantly improved the quality and longevity of their lives.
But it seems advanced medical technology is a double-edged sword. For it has also enabled the development of more-accurate methods of prenatal testing to diagnose babies while still in the womb, thereby making them targets for abortion. Dr. Brian Skotko of Children's Hospital in Boston estimates that a shocking 92 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are aborted.
Why is the moment just BEFORE we are about to have a scientific breakthrough in treatment for the cognitive delays of Down syndrome, are we also preparing to "eradicate the disease"? Are we deliberately turning a blind eye to science or so determined to form "the perfect race" that we don't care if things have never been better for those with extra chromosomes.
It makes me very sad and angry this Culture of Death. Oh Lord, we stand in need of Your grace!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Montage

Mother's Day at Old Sturbridge Village

Christina working in the Cooper's shop

Our stagecoach ride

My favorite building was the Towne house, a large colonial-style home like our own, and, like ours, was home to several borders! We are living in many ways, a traditional life with extended family members staying with us, and attempting to grow our own food in our gardens and henhouse. The commercial kitchen in the cellar was fragrant with cheesed curing in the pantry, something my mother-in-law does in El Salvador but I haven't tried yet. I am happy expanding my canning operation this year and am hoping to branch into winemaking in a few years when my grapevines begin producing.
We all enjoyed watching the cooking demonstration over the hearth. So much work was involved in preparing meals in those days.
Our meal was delicious; we ate dinner at the Tavern patio in the heart of the village. Francisco and I enjoyed Montreal Roast Chicken with rice and roasted vegetables, and Isabella enjoyed clam chowder served in a loaf of bread. Francisco treated us to a stagecoach ride after dinner, and Christina's eyes shone as the carriage bumped along. It was the highlight of a lovely day we will long remember. We rode home through the hilly countryside and Gabbi said, "back on Long Island, you go to Bethpage Village Restoration" and when you leave, you are immediately in suburbia,  the 21st century hits you in the face, you leave Old Sturbridge Village and you see scenery and homes which makes you feel like you never left"

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Friday, May 6, 2011

New booklet for parents whose children are diagnosed with Down syndrome

If money talks and it does, that the National Institute of Health is telling us, "eliminating babies with Down syndrome is a priority to us". Listen to this: the NIH funds autism research to the tune of $181 milllion but has yet to fund ONE DOLLAR of research to treat Down syndrome. They didn't even have a research plan till a grassroots movement of parents and the newly formed Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and forced their hand, and only recently they asked if IF they should fund research to help those with Down syndrome overcome some of the cognitive deficits.
Now I find out that the NIH has funded million in research for search-and-destroy pre-natal diagnosis.
Last week, Gene Security Network announced a 2 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a clinical trial for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD); however, the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Awareness Act that passed unanimously in 2008 to provide information about conditions, like Down syndrome, has gone unfunded for the past three years. One testing company has already announced more advanced prenatal blood tests for Down syndrome to be released this fall, meaning more accurate testing will be available without the accompanying information needed to support the patients.

Thanks be to God the National Down Syndrome Society has funded an informational booklet to help parents whose unborn or newborn child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. The CEO of Lettercase who produced the booklet describes it;
"Our booklets give patients the full scope of Down syndrome with information that has been vetted by both medical and disability experts. It is essential for both the federal government and testing companies who are putting funds toward testing to also invest in credible patient education. It is essential that we establish a model, not only in theory but in practice, for responsible testing as this technology continues to evolve for more and more genetic conditions."
So despite the failure to fund the Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, this booklet will be doing what that bill has not been able to do, inform parents with the truth, not with outdated stereotypes.

Read the entire article here.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Beatification Party

We celebrated the Beatification of Pope John Paul the Great at our house with our friends the Bothurs from 11 On My Own. Gabbi and Irina cooked, with help from me, Bella and Milagro. Irina made Pierogies from scratch, and yes they are as good as they look. We made stuffed cabbage and kielbasa, with strawberry shortcake for desert, the color of the Polish flag.

 We played hymns like "Fisher of Men" which is reputed to be John Paul's favorite and my favorite Polish hymn, Serdeczna Matko (Sorrowful Mother) which you can listen to here. 

Thanks to the time lag, we had to watch the beatification later that evening, but we watched the EWTN coverage of Divine Mercy Sunday at the Shrine in Stockbridge (Danielle you were great as always!) and then went to church for blessing of our new Divine Mercy image, recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, confession and benediction.

It was a blessed day, with grace from God reflected in the radiant sunshine.
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