A minute’s silence

Save the storksCalling all pro-lifers: this Monday, the 27th of October 2014, marks the 47th anniversary of Royal Assent given to the Abortion Act. Royal Assent is approval of a law passed by a nation’s parliament, given by the constitutional monarch.

So far, around 8 million babies have died as a result of this legislation – a tragedy almost beyond comprehension.

SPUC headquarters will be holding a minute’s silence at 11.04am (the time at which Royal Assent was given) on Monday to commemorate the unborn children who will never know what it is to love and be loved in this life, the mothers and fathers damaged and those parents who have withstood tremendous pressure in order to give their children the right to be born.

Will you join us in this moment of silence to remember our unborn brothers and sisters?

Remember: 11.04am, this Monday the 27th of October 2014. 1 minute’s silence for the unborn.

Just to be clear

I don’t want you to think that my last post was a cry for help or something like that. I’m actually fine, I promise :)

I am not saying that I, or someone who has a similar experience, will flip out and out and eat every French Fancy in sight if you make a negative comment. I’m just pointing out that having an unhealthy obsession with food is pretty run of the mill nowadays, but that’s not how it should be.

I think that these things need to be corrected; we need to know what is a normal amount to eat, and since many people have temporarily  lost the natural ability to gauge this (and since our perception of what is a normal body is totally skewed), it has to be re-learnt, and that’s a gradual process, but it’s good and it requires patience from those around these people too. So, thanks for putting up with fitness-related posts :)

I am not a basket-case, I swear! No need to tread on egg shells.

God bless!

Being consistently sensible

I know you know that I like to post about fitness. Yes, we all know this and I also know that some people find it very annoying (by the way, you’re not obliged to be friends with me on facebook or to read what I write here if you don’t like what I post :) I am not holding a gun to your head). I’m sure lots of people think I do it because I love myself or because I have this amazing body or some such nonsense. Actually, neither of those things are true. I do it because I have had a ‘complicated’ relationship with food and exercise in the past and guess what….lots of girls and women do and it’s not healthy or normal or acceptable. Actually, it’s very sad and, for the most part, it’s kept hidden because it’s not very attractive to talk about how you hate how you look.

The reason why I post about doing exercise and eating right, is because I have all but ruined my metabolism through starving myself and then eating badly, exercising on next to no food and over-eating (I don’t believe I’ve ever properly binged as in a tub of ice-cream, packet of biscuits, 3 burgers etc. Some girls do this…in secret, of course). I don’t do these things anymore and I would like whoever stumbles across this blog to know that there is a way of ‘healing’ from this vicious cycle, but that it won’t necessarily mean that you finally end up with your dream body. You just come to accept that you are a work in progress.

Women in my family have struggled with their weight and it rubs off on younger children. If I ever have children, I would like to be so careful in this regard. It’s not anyone’s fault but it’s very easy to damage a little girl’s perception of what is healthy and normal and what she should/should not be eating.

I would like people to acknowledge, and to be sensitive to the fact, that there are a lot of girls and women who obsess about food and who feel trapped in a cycle of restricting their diets and then binging from the pressure of eating so little. You wouldn’t believe how widespread this is. There are a lot of women who have wrecked their metabolisms and they have to recover from that. Please don’t dismiss them when they try to hold themselves accountable by posting on social media about their new healthy and reasonable eating habits. Personally, it’s a great help for me to do it because it helps me to be consistent (I am also part of a private group where I can do this and be in a little community. It helps a lot!). If the world of facebook knows I am going to go to the gym and not just skip breakfast and eat cookies for lunch, then I will do it and I will keep on doing this.

If I were posting about the cake I baked and ate all to myself this morning, I don’t think anyone would object (in fact, it would probably get a lot of ‘likes’), but if I say that I’m happy because I managed to do X exercise in the gym, I’m told to calm down. Which is the better option for me, physically and mentally? Can we please encourage each other to have a sensible lifestyle?

RIP Richard Collins

Richard Collins, the author of the Linen on the Hedgerow, died this morning.

I think he was an amazing man. Anyone who has read his blog can testify that he was devout, loyal to the Church, and Her teachings, and he had a great sense of humour, even with the knowledge that we are knee-deep in a crisis in the Church today.

Please pray for the repose of his eternal soul and for his family.

A meeting planned by God

Wherever you go, God will put the people He wants you to meet in your path.

This evening in the gym (see, the gym can be spiritual ;) ), I was speaking with a man that I met a few weeks ago. Somehow, we got talking then and he had asked me about my job. So, I told him. He told me he agreed with me and thanked me for doing that work (actually, this happens to me quite a lot)! We had a big talk about women’s role in society and how women are not feminine anymore. He said his wife is often made to feel guilty for looking after the children and he tried to reassure her that she was doing the best job possible. What a good husband, I thought! When we parted ways that time, I said to him, as a lot of us say to many people, “God bless!”. I went home, he went home, and I hadn’t spoken to him since then.

Today, weeks later, he saw me, came up to me and asked me if I was spiritual because he remembered and heard very clearly that I had said, “God bless” and he had been thinking about it. He also said to me that he felt that I was at peace and he wanted that peace (this is funny for me because my life is a complete mess right now. I am in a huge pickle so I find it strange that he should feel that from me).

We talked for about an hour about all sorts of things. He was baptised a Presbyterian, but his wife is a Catholic (and a good one, from what he says) and they are raising their children as Catholics, but he has lots of questions. Nonetheless, he wants them to have a faith so that they have a good start in life. He also spoke about how he wanted lots of children (his wife is expecting their third) and I told him the quote my mum says, which is that only God knows how many children it takes to bind a couple together. We were definitely on the same wave-length here!

So, we’re talking and talking about loads of things. He says he gets frustrated with people in the Church; they’re so hypocritical. I told him what Fr Thwaites said about the Church being a hospital. I said there are tons of people in the Church I don’t like. Sometimes, the meanest people in my life are Catholics but Holy Mother Church will leads us to God, not them. We’ve got to love them and what do we expect when even Christ was crucified for loving His children? I said we have to accept that none of us are saints. I spoke about St Therese and the little way and what a struggle it is to do the little things but that this is also a path to sainthood.

I tell him about how to become a Catholic, to read things on fisheaters.com, talk to the parish priest etc. Eventually, he tells me that sometimes he receives Holy Communion at Mass. I said to him that he absolutely must not do this. He must become a Catholic before he does this. So then we talk a bit more and I discover that he went to a Catholic boarding school in Ghana and lo and behold, he was confirmed there! So, he IS a Catholic but somehow he didn’t realise or he was very confused about it all because it happened when he was young! He had thought there was more to it than that. That there would have been weeks and years of preparation. Well, I was never prepared for it. It just happened one day. He said that he sort of remembered the priest asking about this before his children were baptised. Thanks be to God! So then I ask him if he’s ever thought about confession? He says he has. I speak about it a little bit, about the benefits of it, how this can be such a great cure when your prayer life is an uphill struggle.

Eventually, I have to go home because it’s 10:30pm but I feel like I did a lot more good skipping most of my workout to speak to him…

He kept saying to me that God was giving him all these signs and asking things of him and we both agreed that God wanted us to speak for a good reason. I suppose this meeting was a sign for me too, but I’m not sure what it means. Maybe it means I’m not as bad as I think I am? I don’t know. Maybe it means my life is less of a mess than I think. It’s a mystery.

When I started school

Mary O’Regan from The Path Less Taken nominated me to write a post on what I was like when I started school.

You don’t need a blog.  If you have a blog, you can do the post there, but if not, you can do the post on Twitter or Facebook. Some people might like to do all three: post on their blog, Facebook and Twitter. Please always use the tag, #WhenIStartedSchool to keep us together.

The rules are that you must…

Post a photo of yourself from your early school days.

Answer the questions:

What kind of child were you?      Are you a very different adult?

Nominate at least three other bloggers and/or social media users. Tell them they have been nominated by leaving a comment on their blogs or by tweeting to them or posting on their wall on Facebook OR whichever method you prefer.

I went home a couple of days ago, so I was able to get a picture of me when I was 4 and 1/2 years old, which I think is about the time I would have started school or nursery (which is called ‘meithrin’ in Welsh, as I went to a Welsh language school).

My eldest nephew and me. If I was 4 and 1/2, he must have only been about 6 or 7 months old at this point.

My eldest nephew and me. If I was 4 and 1/2, he must have only been about 6 or 7 months old at this point.

The photo is taken from a scrap book that my second eldest sister, Elain, put together for me as a gift when I turned 18. So, there are two questions I have been asked to answer:

1. What kind of child were you?

2. Are you a very different adult?

What kind of child were you?

When I was little, I remember being very naughty. I used to write on all the walls, chase my cat up and down the stairs (even though I actually just wanted to love her and hug her…), go through my mum’s jewellery, steal chocolate…all sorts. I was really quite bad.

I also remember loving all things girly. In this picture, I’m holding a plastic barbie. I remember this toy very clearly because it was a toy from a Happy Meal. We would go to McDonald’s once in a blue moon…and that was usually after doing an SPUC pro-life chain, once a year. I suppose we never went because it was, and is, extremely unhealthy and because my parents had neither the time nor the money to take us. Now I’m pretty thankful that we didn’t go.

I was very jealous of my friends who used to go all the time and especially jealous of the toys they would get. I loved all barbies but I especially remember thinking this doll was very beautiful.

I think it took me a long time to realise that I did not look like the other children in my class. There is a portrait of me that I made of myself when I was in year 1 and I gave myself pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes!

I longed for beautiful dresses (which I did get to wear) and high heels with big rings. I used to tie hair bobbles around my fingers and my dad told me he would check my fingers and toes at night to make sure I was not still wearing them and cutting off the circulation.

I think sometimes I was quite unhappy because I had the impression that my siblings were always off doing things without me (I am the youngest of 7). Two of my sisters regularly tell me I used to cry when they would leave for university.

Are you a very different adult?

I think the only thing that has changed is that I am not so naughty anymore. I definitely don’t steal chocolate or go through my mum’s jewellery, but I still want to love and hug my cat (the cat I have now is more tolerant of hugs).

I am definitely still very girly, but I can rough it, if need be (for a limited amount of time!).

My landlady, who I live with, is a jewellery designer and I love going through her collection and picking out something new. If it doesn’t suit me, it’s nice to give it to someone else. I have to really restrain myself when she gets the rings out…

I love hair and beauty appointments, shopping, high tea, baking. All of that. I basically get to do most of the things I wanted to do when I was little, except now I do pro-life chains voluntarily and I don’t eat McDonalds! My younger self would probably never believe that I would choose not to eat chocolate and biscuits (most of the time) in place of porridge and egg whites, but it’s true.

I know that the reason why I love being busy (which is partly why I love my job in the pro-life movement) is because I always wanted to be part of the action when I was little. I still hate being left out.

I nominate…

1. Hannah Young

2. Alice Jardine

and

3. Richard Collins

Some friends and me...

Some friends and me…

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill

Lord Falconer has reintroduced his Assisted Dying bill, which aims at helping terminally-ill people to commit suicide. This is the same bill that he introduced last session as a ‘dry run’. It is due to have a Second Reading in the House of Lords on Friday 18 July.

Write
Please write (send letters by post) to Peers (members of the House of Lords) asking them to oppose the bill.

To receive a list of suggested Peers to whom you can write, please send an email to political@spuc.org.uk with the subject line “Peer list request”.

Please ask as many people as possible to write to Peers. Short, preferably hand-written letters, relating personal experiences and concerns, are likely to be most effective. We believe they are likely to be much more effective in this instance than sending e-mails.

The Falconer bill poses a major threat at this time because the composition of the House of Lords has changed markedly in recent years, with many more ‘Cameron’ appointees reflecting anti-life attitudes. Although previous bills, such as Lord Joffe’s bill, have been defeated in the Lords, this vote could be much closer.

Bishop Mark Davies in a pastoral letter calling for opposition to the bill recalls the major conflicts of last century and says:

“Whilst we recall the heroism of generations before us, we must not fail to recog¬nise the great challenge for our own genera¬tion. We are now being called upon to defend the sanctity of human life amidst the growing threats against it.”

Please write to Peers, and encourage others to write, opposing the Falconer bill. We would be most grateful to receive copies of replies from peers who indicate whether they intend to support or oppose the bill.

Demonstrate
On the day of the Lords’ Second Reading, the Care Not Killing Alliance is organising an event in Parliament Square and SPUC supporters are encouraged to attend. Please contact CNK for details: 020 7234 9680 or via their website http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk

Read
Read a detailed critique of the Falconer bill by Rev. Dr. John Fleming.

Nurses Opposed to Euthanasia (NOE), a group within SPUC, has also published a critique.

Further briefing information is available on the Care Not Killing website at: http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/falconer-bill

For an example of a letter (I don’t say it’s a good one though!) see my letter below. It might be good to include a personal testimony, if you have one.

Dear Lord _____________,

I am writing to you regarding Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which will now be discussed for the third time in the House of Lords.

At present, we are hearing time and time again of elderly men and women who are being neglected in care homes and hospitals. How much worse will it be if Lord Falconer is successful and this legislation allows even more pressure to be laid on the shoulders of the weak and elderly? As
Charles Moore commented,

“If ‘dying with dignity’ is legalised, soon it will be expected”

My own grandmother is 95 years old, but when she is ill, we dare not take her to hospital for fear that she will be kept there and will be starved or neglected until she is dead. Other than her memory, which is almost completely gone, she is in amazing physical condition. Yet, left in the care of those to whom she may be another burden, she would willingly go without food and drink for days on end simply because she is not in her right mind. Her life still has value because it is still hers and she remains a human being who was put on this earth with a definite purpose. This is the only life she will have and yet a growing number of people would argue that perhaps it would be better if she were allowed to starve to death. This is the current deplorable situation in the UK, even without Lord Falconer’s Bill.

The stated main purpose of the Bill is to, “enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life” (the long title of the Bill). Yet, who can seriously deny that slippery slopes are inevitable with this kind of dangerous legislation? It was this kind of reasoning which meant that the 1967 Abortion Act established the practise of abortion on demand in this country, despite the protestations of those proposing the legislation.

Even if one does not accept the concept of a ‘slippery slope’, there is no international law which acknowledges any right to death or suicide and certainly none which obliges medical staff or any person to assist in someone’s death. The role of the state is to protect its citizens, even if that means that a person must be protected from themselves (as in the case of the mentally ill, who may wish to harm themselves). It used to be the case that a person who wished to kill themselves would be pitied and given help. Now, we are on the verge of pushing them off the edge of the bridge instead of convincing them to come down.

Those who request, or even beg, for a premature death must be helped to see that there is immeasurable value in each and every life, even in its later stages. This is not about unnecessarily prolonging someone’s life, but about allowing a person’s life to extend until its natural end, whilst using modern medicine to alleviate as much suffering as possible.

Dominus est

Bishop Schneider writes of his mother and a priest, later martyred, called Father Alexij who were living under Communism in Kazakhstan, where it was illegal to pray together, attend mass or even be a priest, never mind provide the Sacraments.

“After a year, Father Alexij was able to return to Krasnokamsk. This time he could celebrate Holy Mass and give Holy Communion to the faithful. Maria Schneider [Bishop Schneider’s mother] asked him a favor: “Father, could you leave me a consecrated Host because my mother is gravely ill and wants to receive Communion before dying?” Father Alexij left a consecrated Host, on the condition that Holy Communion be administered to the woman with the greatest possible respect. Maria Schneider promised to act in this way. Before moving with her family to Kirghistan, Maria administered Holy Communion to her sick mother. In order to do this, Maria put on new white gloves and with a tweezers gave Holy Communion to her mother. Afterwards, she burned the envelope in which the consecrated Host had been kept.”

The Queen of Puddings posts

My friend e-mailed me last night to tell me that there were some new posts on Joseph’s Shaw’s blog about modest dress. I read the first two ones which were in reply to Tracey Rowland’s attack on Traditionalists and their sense of style, but since I had been away for the weekend, I hadn’t read these. I am just about to start reading the second part written by Lucy Shaw (who is, I assume, the Queen of Puddings?). I have to say that I loved the first one! Yes please, more of this!

One thing that I learnt from the first post was that Balenciaga was a Catholic (I didn’t actually know anything about him), and a truly devout one it seems. Not like modern ‘devout’ celebrity Catholics. Whenever I am in Paris for a few days, I try to get to the Museum of Fashion because they always have a special collection of dresses (which they change periodically, so you will see a different collection each time you go), dating back all the way to the very first collection of a particular designer right up to the present day. It is fascinating. I have definitely visited the museum when they had Balenciaga’s designs there. Since I have no money to buy designer clothes, all I can do is admire them, but I do enjoy doing that, at least!

I feel that modest dress is such a minefield nowadays and it took me a little while to work out what I do and don’t like, where to shop, how much I should be willing to spend and so on. I am still learning and I have to forget all my old habits. I have thrown out almost all my old clothes and I look at old purchases with new eyes. I have a French Connection dress that I bought in the sale about two years ago which I judged to be too dowdy…because it reached my knees! Oh, how times have changed. I tried it on the other day and now I love it. I think I will wear it today, actually.

This is one of my favourite quotes from the first post:

The first thing one notices, studying his [Balenciaga's] creations, is the extraordinary breadth of vision. Clothes for every occasion, and for many different types of women – there is no classifying his clothes with a single adjective. There is no apparent rule for hemlines, for instance: some gowns sweep the floor with magnificent trains while some suits are above the knee. The more one studies the clothes, however, the more one does notice certain patterns. The wedding dresses, for example, are much more modestly cut that the ball gowns. They have sleeves and high necklines, and are easily distinguished from the evening gowns which are often cut quite low, and are sleeveless. A suit with a short skirt will not have a low neckline. A low neckline on a cocktail gown will be complemented with a longer skirt, or sleeves. I do not think that Balenciaga necessarily considered these things consciously, and again we need to avoid the temptation to draw up rules based on his creations. However, I think that he took it for granted that modesty was an intrinsic part of any beautiful garment, and as he was completely focused on creating beauty his gowns were naturally not immodest