Monday 29 December 2008

Sean's friends' calendar.

Last Spring Sean and I started our project of making a calendar for his friends for 2009. Sean did some, and I did the rest. (I think you know what I mean:)

Well, we finished it today and started printing them out and I must say that I think they are grand for what they are.

We will be posting them to his friends up North and then over to the US as well as handing them out to nearer destinations!

It should be a nice thing to hold on to as it is full of photos of Sean and all his friends. (And it's a good way to keep track of birthdays!)

Saturday 27 December 2008

Traditional verses Tacky?

Ok, here is my bit of fun for the Christmas Season!

Here are two homes.
One is an old red brick terrace house that put up their lights every year, but no plastic. These photos will ive you an idea of what it is like approaching it as you drive up the street. It's the only house on the terrace that has lights.

The other is a new, bigger, more modern home that has placed plastic, lit up Santa's and Snowmen in EVERY window, back and front!!!

I have to say, I stand by the old saying "Less is best" but if it's got to be done, I like the first house:)

Happy Christmas V Happy Holidays?

I have got to say that over here in Ireland we're not really toughed much by this whole debate. However, I noticed by reading your blogs of late that it causes a bit of a stirr in other countries around the world.

Here is my tuppence worth on the subject...

I don't care. For the most part Christmas is about greed, drunkenness, depression, car accidents & death, covetousness (which is idolatry) family rows, wife and husband beatings, debt, jealousy, pressure... The list goes on and on and on.

I celebrated Christmas before God forgave me and I didn't even believe in God! The pressure is dreadful. I once knew a family in Dublin who had five children and were very poor and even though the husband was unemployed the parents put themselves into debt every year to buy expensive gifts for their children. It took them ten months to pay the loan back and then it would start all over again.

Consider this...

Think of the first passover and the original meaning and reason for the killing of the lamb. Now think of the passover where the Jews celebrated God's goodness and deliverance by killing His Son, the Lamb of God!

Think of Christmas and what the meaning should be, to celebrate the goodness and deliverance of God by Him sending His son to us to save us. Now think of Christmas and how we celebrate it, with all it's covetousness. We actually celebrate God by idolising a false god! (covetousness being idolatry)

Every year I struggle at Christmas time, for me and for Sean. I struggle with wanting more for Sean. I struggle with covetousness and also I struggle with trying not to condemn friends, neighbours and Christians who spend a fortune on their kids. I admire people who don't over indulge their children or themselves at this time of the year and try to emulate them but fail miserably. I struggle with the large presents Sean gets from his relatives. All this and I don't even celebrate Christmas? What encourages me and keeps me going is God's promise that all things works together for my good and His glory, and the hope that next year I will do better.

Of course the new thing now is the recession, and all the good sales that will be on starting today. I know a very godly woman who said she hates going into town to shop as it is just another occasion to sin:(

Anyway, here is a link to 'Principled Discovery' where Dana writes on the whole thing about Christmas/Holidays. It's called 'tis the season to be boycotted and it's good, including the comments left by other bloggers:)

Here is an e mail an American man sent to my pastor after hearing him on our weekly Christian radio programme that is ared every Monday evening.

Pastor Stephen,

Just wanted to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas! Hope all is
well and that Christmas has been a fruitful opportunity to share the true
Gospel with those in Ireland.

I listened to your radio show today. What a great ministry! I will make
this a regular occurrence whenever I can. I "tuned in" a few minutes early
and heard a fair amount of advertisements for local businesses. I noticed
something strange...not once was the word "holiday" substituted for
Christmas. Here, unfortunately, it is a common occurrence to hear holiday
instead of Christmas. Perhaps it's only cultural Christianity and not true
faith, but at least there is a respect for Christmas as an institution.

Thank you so much for allowing me to begin a relationship that will grow

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

My 200th Post!

Hello there,
my husband forwarded this e mail to me....

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters
celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
< /DIV>

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His p rotection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide).(Cheryl left a comment below saying that it was his grandson who died) We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Tuesday 23 December 2008

MacCarthaigh Day!

We not only survived MacCarthaigh Day but loved every moment of it. Normally we spend this family day away but last year and this year we stayed at home. Yesterday we had quite a lot of visitors and although it was a bit hectic it was good to see them!

The preparations started the day before with Niall and Sean blowing up over 400 balloons... poor guys!

And this is what 400 balloons look like in bags!

With Sean in bed Niall and I can start putting up the lights and down the presents.

Sean gets a lot of gifts from his relatives up North, so between them, and ones his friends give him, his Russian teacher and Kate who helps me, give him, and of course the ones we give him, (my gifts to Niall & his to me are in there too!) I wrap up little parcels of sweets and small odds and ends too, they all add up and look like this...

And with the balloons on top, it looks like this...

I shooed Niall up to have a bath and finished the decorating in secret with my 'piece de resistance!"
Anyone who knows Niall well knows that he loves coke and "doesn't' love Christmas so I thought he would like this display on our mantelpiece!
Anyway, the next morning Sean woke us up, I crept into the sitting room, turned on lights and set up camera and called them in. Needless to say Niall & Sean both loved the coke and lights! The first gift Sean opened was one from his friend Rhys. His mum bought and ordered miniature 'Star Trek' ships from Hong Kong and so Sean and Niall unwrapped each one (11) and assembled them. This took about 20 minutes so you can understand how it took two hours to go through all the gifts. We had a great morning.

Marie, who's son came home for the holidays from the US, popped over for a minute with something very special to me... A WHOLE BOX OF RUTH, I MEAN ROOT BEER!!!!!!!!

Sean's Russian teacher Lisa called over for a quick visit... The coke was a bit hit with Rhys who also called over for a wee while,

as did Annie and Dylan, and later on my sister Patricia :)

For tea we ordered a Chinese take away so Natasha went to pick it up and she and her son Sean joined us, oh, and for lunch we ordered in pizza! At that stage we had put all the balloons out into the hall and so when Sean went out to pay the delivery guy he toot a look at the hundreds of balloons and Sean is sure his eyes crossed a bit in shock... poor guy!
During all of this we had our AMDTH... As Sean calls it, our Annual MacCarthaigh Day Treasure Hunt where the prises are two DVD's.

So, our favourite gifts...

Sean... The trumpet we gave him and a remote controlled helicopter his granddad gave him.

Niall... well, it's a no brainer really, the Coca Cola in the glass bottles, everybody says the coke tastes different when you drink out of them:)

Me... It's a tie between a pair of boots Niall bought me in River Island and three "Cary Grant' movies!

For all you people out there who celebrate your own family day along with the Birth of Christ, The MacCarthaigh clan wish you all a peaceful, safe and joyous time.

May the Lord bless you all indeed, and don't forget...

God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.
It's all about Jesus.
You want a relationship with God, you can only have it through Jesus. You want to be forgiven your sins, the only way is through Jesus who can take the punishment for them.

It really is good news!

Sunday 21 December 2008

Well, it's this time of the year again. We are celebrating out family day, which we call 'MacCarthsigh Day' tomorrow.

When I told a friend about how we celebrate the day, starting with putting our gifts on the sitting room floor and covering them with over 400 balloons (yes, 400!) she thought it was a great idea and so this year her nephew's parents celebrated their 3 year old's birthday the same way!

The above photos were taken at Aaron's birthday party.

Tomorrow will be a little different and to tell the truth, I can't wait!


Thursday 18 December 2008

Parenting advice.

I got this link from Making Home.

I had a read and like it. Perhaps you will too.


My dad died this week last year. Yesterday I went to his grave with some of my family and then spent some time with them.

I believe he is in Heaven, so I am not terribly sad that he is gone. However, I do find it a bit difficult dealing with my family and their thoughts on it all.

Ah, how quickly I forget to appreciate the huge miracle that God worked in my dad's life and move on to praying and concentrating on other family members...

Here is dad's story that I put into a blog for whoever wants to read it. Be warned in advance, it's an unusual conversion and to date some of my spiritual family have accepted it and some not:)
I would very much appreciate it if you would read it and give me your honest opinion on it. It seems to be the kind of conversion story that very few like to comment on, I understand this as if it had happened to somebody else and not me, I too would have my doubts.

I hope to put a couple of photos on the post later but until then I will leave you with his one of dad with my step mum, Adeline.

Monday 15 December 2008

Photo diary.

For starters, have a look at these silly gifts that are on sale in Dunnes Stores this season...

"Bling" soap on a rope,
Inflatable ego,
and "Gotta go" a gadget you can use if you are on the phone and want to go. Just push one of the many buttons, it will make noises and you have your excuse to hang up i.e. Baby crying, door bell, siren, traffic noise, static, a woman saying "Honey I'm home" etc!

Here are my two friends that Niall and I went to visit when Seán was having a sleep over in his grannies, Mary & Gwen.

This is my friend Yana posing for me, wearing a scarf I knited for Seán's friend Rhys. He asked me to knit it so he would give it to his granny for a Christmas present. The wool only cost pence cents per ball and I used 3 balls!
Niall has been on the local radio show a lot this past week. He enjoys it and I know I might be bias, but I think he is good at it!

Last Wednesday night we all headed off to the Murphy's home for carol singing, tea, sandwiches and mince pies. It was a lovely night and brought back memories to me of this time last year when I went to their house for singing and fellowship, exhausted from sitting with my ill dad, and the next night he died. How good it is to be with the brethren.
Here is Niall and Seán checking out the Moon, Venus and Jupiter,

and here they are again skidding on the icy road outside the Church Centre! Big kids!

This year Seán has really been enjoying wrapping presents and has gone mad with the ribbon!
We have also started the Homework Club here in our estate and hope that it will be a benefit to school children who struggle with their school work. I have to admit that it is a lot easier than the Bible Club!
Well, here I am sewing up the squares for my blanket. You can telly by the silly grin on my face that I was delighted to get to this stage. I decided to give it to my mum as a gift. She liked :) It is very warm because I sewed it on to a beautiful blanket that I bought in Pennies for €5.

Here is Sean and Conor playing one of their favourite games; Sliding down the stairs in the sleeping bags!!!
Seán and I outside the Church Centre on a crisp, sunny and frosty morning.
On this particulatr evening Niall, Seán and I went to visit Dylan's mum's home. There is a tv show on every Friday evening and it is traditional for them to have a Toy Shw once a year just before Christmas. Half the country tune in for it. I haven't seen it in years so we settled down in front of the tv with lots of goodies and drinks and enjoyed ourselves very much.
Here is Seán at the toy shop with his money box buying an Iron Man toy... Did you know that he started his first 'proper' paying job last Saturday? He's working in Yana's hair salon for two hours helping her to sweep and clean etc and she gives him €5 for her, ahem... I mean his trouble!
I hope you are all surviving or even enjoying this time of the year. Remember, try to use every oppertunity to encourage the brethern, to love and be patient to your family, visit your neighbours and look out for the widow, single parents and fatherless...

God bless you indeed.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Mini break on the cheap!

Sean is off to his grannies for a couple of nights and so although I still have to mind the two Russian boys in the afternoon, I will have two evenings with Niall,
to ourselves,
on our own,
with no responsibilities ... yippee!

I hope to visit our sister and friend Mary O and we would also like to get to visit Paul and Gwen:-)

Thursday 4 December 2008

This is for Laura, (you know what it is about!)


Well, it's this time of the year again, and for someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas I sure do have to spend a lot on gifts...

Niall and I got married in November 2002 and we decided, for different reasons, not to celebrate Christmas. We did let people know about out decision but people still sent gifts, especially to Seán, regardless. It was a bit awkward, but we understood how strange it must have looked and how they would have thought that Seán would be missing out on so much.
Because we didn't have a particular day set aside to give their gifts to him, we allowed him to open them as people gave them. Of course this led him to think that everybody who walked in through the door had a gift for him, and for a while they did! But eventually he had to figure it out that it wasn't a long term thing, he was only 4!

This turned out to be a bit of a disaster so we decided that from then on, around the Christmas holidays, we would set a day aside where we would open any presents that were given to us, a family day, MacCarthaigh Day! On this day we stay in our PJ's all day, eat what we want, play with Seán. have a treasure hunt, watch a DVD, spend time with the Lord and keep the world at bay! This has turned out to be one of our high lights of the year and we just love it as a family.

Sean has very good friends and I am friends with their mums, so every year he gets gifts from them. He also has relatives up North belonging to his first dad, who give him plenty... I know the Bible says not to give gifts simply because other people give you gifts, but...

I like these people and don't want to offend them. I tried giving them gifts at other times of the year but it didn't seem to work out. So now the loop gets bigger and bigger, and more expensive.

This year, in anticipation, Seán and I made some of our gifts. I also bought some of them during the year but no matter how early I start, there always seems to be so many I forget and need to buy. However, I must say that God has ALWAYS supplied our needs, and this area is no exception.

One good thing that seems to have developed along the way is an un-written agreement of my friends and neighbours is only to buy for the children. I like this:)

Another good thing is that I like Seán's friends and their mums and I enjoy choosing and giving the gifts, and so I think it is a nice way to let them know that, although we don't want to make a fus, we do want to show them that we love them and appreciate their friendship, so whether we make or buy, we give with a full heart and thank God for these people who He brought into our lives.

Proverbs 3;29 says,

"Do not devise evil against your neighbour, for he dwells by you for safety's sake."

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Home Schooling in style!

Yesterday Niall had to attend /work at a conference in the Bally Mac Hotel so Seán and I decided to go out there and spend a couple of hours working in these nice surroundings! Niall is well known there and so we put ourselves in our favourite corner with a fire and settled down to work.

After each book Sean went out side to run around and explaor the grounds. There is a small stream along with woods, Dolmen, Golf Course etc. It's a beautiful spot and my favourite place in the whole world, no kidding:)

I have gotta say that sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the kind of life we have and am so grateful to God for it...

As you can see from the last photo, we had a lovely fresh frosty start to the day!