Saturday 28 November 2009

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Mountain of Spices

Do not try to hold life's joys,
Or the past years golden store,
Love it is Who this destroys,
To make room for so much more,
Love it is, with radiant face,
Leading to a wealthier place.

Do not let self pity bleed,
Bitterness, nor fierce regret.
These are worms which kill the seed,
And sad misery beget.
With a willing heart let go,
God will richer gifts bestow.

Learn this lesson fast or slow,
This is Heaven's law,
We must let the old things go,
To make room for more.
We shall reap in some glad way,
Fairer joys than lost today.

The Mountain of Spices
Hannah Hurnard

Saturday 21 November 2009

Marley & me? Not even close...

It's a long story and it started six months ago with a question. Did Sean pick Koke, or did Koke pick Sean? We prepared for Koke getting him a box, dog licence. food etc. We dug up one of the grass plants my mum gave me as a wedding gift... and placed chicken wire all around the front garden so he wouldn't escape. The big day came and all the neighbouring children were waiting with great anticipation for the new arrival. A new born baby wouldn't have caused such interest! He was a big hit, especially with the boys.. ..and we introduced him to our neighbours dog. He made himself at home and became a part of our family very quickly. We have had some fun times... and some interesting times...We grew to love him...And he grew... and grew... and grew... and grew... ... and grew... and he grew.
(this is him with his sister) Circumstances changed. Niall ended up in hospital and he hasn't been able to walk Koke much since then... and Koke learned how to jump over the front gate and into a street full of children... We were faced with the choice of giving him up or changing the back garden for him. So we cancelled plans for our family holiday to Italy...and decked the garden. Koke developed a love for chewing and chewed everything. He devoured plastic bottles, wood, toys and my plants. Some of which went from this... .. to this... And my apple trees went from this... this... Hard to believe this was an apple tree. He started barking at the many birds that fly around the area where we live. Last Sunday a neighbour texted us while we were at the Church service because he was barking so much. He started to bark very early in the morning waking us all up. The last straw came when he growled and barked at Sean during the week... He is as big as Sean now and it scared him.
Very sad.
We gave him up yesterday.

However, while driving home from the dog pound Niall and Sean were listening to the radio. The English Ambassador to Ireland was being interviewed and he said that he was visiting different pounds looking for a dog to go hill walking with him. Immediately, Niall texted in to say where Koke was. Even if he doesn't pick Koke, the thought of it cheered Sean and Niall up. Regardless of who gets him, we hope he will go to a good home. I sent a letter with Koke giving lots of information about the dog to his new owners.. along with a Christian tract:o)

So, the moral to this story is...
When you see this... and think of this... be wise and pick this...

Keeping up with the Joneses at Christmas

Keeping up with the Joneses at Christmas

This is a great photo guys!

Thursday 19 November 2009


On Saturday we went up North to visit Sean's granny Tess. Her son, Sean's dad's birthday would have been on Saturday and he would have been 43 years old. We went out for lunch and walked around a few shops and then went to the grave to put some heather on it. Then we went to the road side, just around the corner from Tess's house where Sean died, to place flowers on it.

We are eleven years without Sean and it is very sad to see his parents trying to cope with the loss of their only son. Please God He will save them and give them the peace He gave me eight years ago last August...

Sunday 8 November 2009

A response to Pete.

Hi Pete,
I have done what you suggested and found evidence for you from independent sources for each of the articles I posted on my last post. They are all links, so you can click on them all and check the items yourself.

Times article about Buying Condoms with a credit card... Times
Pupils told that sex is good for you............Times
All Scots schools to have Sex Clinics................Mail
Sex ed lobby teach kids sexual pleasure...................Children & Young People - Daily Bulletin
Explicit sex ed for 5-year-olds says un...............Telegraph
sex ed for five-year-olds to be made compulsory...........Telegraph
schools' text for morning after pill scheme expands.......Oxford Mail

This last link is for a book that has been used as a source to verify the article below. This article is pretty disturbing and I have already said enough about it on my last post.

I can understand you not believing what is going on with regards to sex education in England. I had a similar reaction myself and that's why I checked it out. I am a Christian and that's why I posted the articles from the Christian Institute which I think is fair enough? I am sorry for the children there and concerned that some of what England does, good or bad, is copied and applied here in Ireland...

Take care.

The Primary School Sex and Relationships Education Pack by J Cohen.

Friday 6 November 2009

Sex education in England

This week I have heard from two different people, (on two different days) stories about what England and Scotland are teaching their primary school and secondary school children and what they plan to teach them. I found what they said unbelievable and decided to look into it myself. So far this is what I found...


Teenagers should be told “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, according to a new booklet produced by the NHS.

A new leaflet, entitled Pleasure, says health promotion experts focus too much on encouraging ’safe sex’ and not enough on enjoyment.

It has been circulated to teachers, parents and youth workers.

Under the heading “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, the leaflet says: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?”

One of the authors of the leaflet, Steve Slack, Director of the Centre for HIV & Sexual Health at NHS Sheffield, claimed that as long as teenagers are fully informed about sex and are making their decisions free of peer pressure and as part of a caring relationship, they have as much right as an adult to a good sex life.

The booklet has been endorsed by Brook and FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association), two sexual health charities who advise the Government on its sex education policies.

But family campaigner Dr Trevor Stammers said the leaflet would encourage ‘risky’ behaviour and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

“It is unbelievable that this is being sent to schools”, he said.

“I’d like to know what scientific evidence there is to back this up. There are an awful lot of overpaid and under-occupied health promotion officers around who are obsessed with sex.”

He added: “If the NHS wants to promote a healthy heart, as it says it does in this leaflet, it should put the money into reducing smoking and alcohol”.

“Underage sex is as dangerous as underage drink and usually leads to sexual ill-health”, he continued.

Last week it emerged that a £6 million project aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy had actually increased conceptions among the girls involved.

The failed project, which involved giving teenagers information about sex and providing free condoms, led to calls for the Government to scrap its policy of tackling the problem of underage sexual activity with increasing levels of sex education.

Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote: “By any reckoning, it is a monumental failure. Yet I predict that all those on the Left will yet again insist that only more sex education will help free these young women.

“They will insist that only this can free them from the fate that otherwise awaits them, repeating the cycle of teen parenthood through future generations.

“But how can this be right? It makes no sense to me at all, repeating a prescription that is manifestly failing.”

All Scots schools
to have sex clinic

Every Scottish secondary school should have a sex clinic, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Roman Catholic Church has strongly criticised the move saying it is “arguably the most counterproductive development in public health ever seen”.

The sex clinics will offer children free condoms and pregnancy tests.

Parents will not be told about their children using these services unless the young people are deemed to be “abused or exploited”.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “It is vital that young people’s services are available when and where they require them.”

She also said: “Where possible, services will be provided in all schools”.

The spokeswoman added: “When a school cannot provide this service an alternative service will be provided within 20 minutes walking distance from the school.”

Roman Catholic schools will not be required to have the clinics.

Peter Kearney, speaking for the Roman Catholic Church, said: “A general increase in sexual health services over the past ten years has been mirrored exactly by an explosion in sexual health problems.

“As these services have expanded, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancies and abortions have exploded.

“This approach is tantamount to pouring petrol on a fire.”

The Scottish Conservative deputy leader, Murdo Fraser said: “This needs to be done in full consultation with parents because many, many parents will be concerned, if not potentially alarmed, that children as young as eleven will be exposed to these messages.”

The plans come in a new report entitled Do The Right Thing.

The roll out to all secondary schools follows a pilot project run in rural schools.

Dr David Paton at Nottingham University has clearly stated that the Westminster Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy has been “absolutely disastrous”.

He said in March that since the strategy began diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections have increased while the rate of decline in pregnancy rates has slowed.

He said: “The hope was the more money you spend the faster and faster the declines – in fact we have seen the opposite, the declines have decreased.”

Further evidence came after a scheme which aimed to promote safe sex among teenagers actually increased the likelihood of the girls becoming pregnant.

The scheme gave free condoms to under 16s and the morning-after pill to schoolgirls in the Lothians.

Figures released in 2004 showed that girls in the scheme aged between 13 and 15 were 14% more likely to get pregnant than their counterparts elsewhere in Scotland.

Before the scheme was launched the figure was just 3%.

Sex ed lobby: teach
kids sexual pleasure

Sex education should include teaching children about sexual pleasure in order to cut teenage pregnancies, according to an influential lobby group.

The Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) was involved in pushing for the compulsory sex education lessons to be rolled out in primary and secondary schools next year.

The group was set up to advise the Government on its current Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which ends next year and is on course to fall dramatically short of its target to halve teenage conceptions.

Now it wants a new Teenage Pregnancy Strategy to include frank discussions of sexual pleasure in order, it says, to help children make responsible decisions about sex.

The suggestion was backed by sexual health charity Brook, a member of TPIAG.

Brook’s Chief Executive, Simon Blake, said: “We need a grown-up conversation with young people.

“We need to make sure they are having sex when they are ready and for the right reasons, are able to enjoy it and take responsibility for it.”

Among the members of TPIAG is Professor Roger Ingham of the University of Southampton, one of the authors of a controversial NHS sex education leaflet distributed to teachers and youth workers earlier this year.

The leaflet, entitled Pleasure, says children need to learn about sexual pleasure, encouraging discussions about “experimentation in sexual relationships” and how condoms can be used “to enhance sexual pleasure”.

When news of its distribution emerged earlier this year family campaigner Dr Trevor Stammers said: “It is unbelievable that this is being sent to schools”, he said.

“I’d like to know what scientific evidence there is to back this up.

“There are an awful lot of overpaid and under-occupied health promotion officers around who are obsessed with sex.”

Explicit sex ed for
5-year-olds say UN

New UN guidelines on sex education say schools should be teaching children as young as five explicit details about sex.

They also say children between the age of nine and twelve should learn how to deal with the “pressure to have sex”.

The proposals come in a 98-page document by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) which it claims will help children to report abuse.

Nanette Ecker, one of the authors of the report, said it was necessary to “start sexuality education young, such as teaching 5- to 8- year olds the correct terminology about their bodies and how they work so they have the language to ask questions or report abusive, coercive behaviour or sexual violence.”

Pointing to growing sexually transmitted disease rates, she said “we cannot wait for the evidence for comprehensive programmes at an early age, since we already have strong positive evidence for programmes beginning in the early teens.”

The Guidelines describe abstinence education programmes as “fear-based”, saying they are “designed to control young people’s sexual behaviour by instilling fear, shame and guilt.”

The UK Government’s approach to sex education has been widely criticised.

Plans include making sex education compulsory for primary schools from September 2011 but parents will keep the right to withdraw their children from the lessons.

In June, the Family Education Trust urged parents to be “vigilant” about the changes. The group has produced a 52-page guide for parents, entitled ‘Too Much Too Soon: The government’s plans for your child’s sex education.’

Economics Professor David Paton, an outspoken critic of the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy, recently described it as “absolutely disastrous”.

Prof Paton, of Nottingham University, commented last year: “There has been a tendency for the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy to focus on creating schemes where teenagers can get the morning after pill or other forms of family planning at school or clinics.

“The danger with this sort of approach is that it can lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviour amongst some young people.”

Sex ed for five-year-olds
to be made compulsory

The Government has accepted recommendations that sex and relationships education becomes compulsory from age five onwards.

The Christian Institute has joined other campaigners in warning that the plans will lead to the sexualisation of children and will undermine parents.

A BBC viewers’ poll coinciding with the announcement showed that three quarters of the 2,000 respondents said it should be up to parents to tell children about sex.

Less than a quarter thought the responsibility should lie with teachers.

The Government says that the lessons will come as part of a Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) package that will be mandatory from ages 5 to 16 and will also cover drugs, alcohol and financial management.

Parents will be given some say in what is taught, ministers insist.

The minimum for primary schools will include “naming parts of the body” and “being able to talk about feelings and friendships.”

Last month the FPA (formerly known as the Family Planning Association) – one of the groups involved in recommending the new plans – launched a sex comic which asked children aged six and seven to identify correctly the vagina and testicles on a picture of a naked girl and boy.

Another sex education resource produced by Channel 4 Learning asked five-year-olds to point out the clitoris.

Commenting on the move, Labour MP Geraldine Smith said: “To start sex education at primary school is to rob young children of their innocence.”

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, commented: “Secondary schools already provide extensive sex education and it has utterly failed to improve teenage sexual health. Extending this to primary schools is a step too far.

“It will undermine parents as they face the difficult job of bringing up their children. The best people to teach children about sex and relationships are their parents.

“In a culture that is obsessed with sex, schools should be one place where children are allowed to get on with life without facing pressure to deal with things they aren’t ready for.”

Parents should be banned from withdrawing their children from sex education, according to charities.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to remove their legal right to pull sons and daughters out of lessons.

The comments from health campaigners follow a Government decision to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all primary and secondary schools from 2011.

Under plans, infants aged five to seven will learn about the simple physical changes to their bodies and the differences between boys and girls.

Between seven and nine, they will be taught about puberty and relationships, while pupils in the final two years of primary school will learn about human reproduction.

Currently, parents have the right to withdraw their children from sex education, although only four out of every 10,000 currently employ the opt-out.

Next week, a public consultation on the plans ends.

But sex education charities are appealing for the Government to ban parents from removing children.

Simon Blake, chief executive of Brook, which provides sex health advice, said: "Our belief is you cannot reconcile children's rights to high-quality sex and relationships education with the parental right of withdrawal. The right of withdrawal needs to be removed."

Kathy French, from the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health, said: "All parents want to retain some rights but children should have a right to good-quality sex education. It should be mandatory. PSHE should be treated the same as any other aspect of education."

She added: "Those who deliver it locally have a huge task to discuss with governors and parents what they plan to teach."

But any attempt to remove the right of withdrawal will be opposed by family campaigners.

Ministers said they supported the opt-out but would consider the results of the consultation exercise.

Sex education will be taught as part of new lessons in PHSE (personal, social, health and economic education), which is being added to the National Curriculum from September 2011.

Schools’ 'text for morning-
after pill’ scheme expands

A scheme encouraging schoolgirls as young as 11 to request the morning-after pill by text message is to be expanded.

After an initial trial among six secondary schools, Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) hopes to roll out the scheme across the county.

The scheme, which allows schoolgirls to text requests for the morning-after pill to a school nurse who can then supply the pill during breaktime, has been roundly criticised.

Family values campaigners say that making the morning-after pill more widely available encourages promiscuity among teenagers and that plans to expand the scheme “beggar belief”.

The service was launched earlier this year after Oxfordshire saw a sharp rise in pregnancies among girls aged 18 and under.

Under the scheme parents are not automatically informed of their daughters’ requests for the morning-after pill, but child protection staff are alerted if a girl aged under 13 uses the service.

Oxfordshire PCT’s children’s services manager, Alex Hammond, said take-up of the service had been lower than hoped but that the trust still wanted to offer it to more pupils in more schools.

She said: “We’re considering taking it out to other schools but we’re not going to do this without full consultation with the schools.

“If a young person were to text in to request emergency contr-aceptives they would be offered a face-to-face appointment for a full clinical assessment with one of the nurses before a decision was made about whether to give it (the morning-after pill) or not.”

The PCT is also hoping for wider promotion of the scheme, perhaps by using Facebook, the social networking website popular with teenagers.

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: “It really does beggar belief that the PCT is determined to expand a service for which there is no demand and where there is no evidence that it would reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

“There’s evidence that making the morning-after pill available to underage girls in strict confidence may be making matters worse by encouraging some girls to become sexually active when they might not otherwise have done so.”

Details of the expansion, such as how much it will cost and how many extra schools will be involved, are yet to be decided.

The PCT has said the cost will be covered by an extra £320,000 of funds it received in the 2008-9 budget to increase the provision of school nursing services in Oxford and Banbury.

And finally...

If you want to read about what they plan to teach 7 year olds (I hate to even type this, but it includes oral sex and anal sex) 13 year olds and 14 year olds, clilck on the link below, open up the pdf, which opens up 4 pages, check out the forth page and you will find out more details there.

I have found myself almost crying going through this material but hope that it will open your eyes as it did mine.

What say you?

Tuesday 3 November 2009

7th anniversary

Yep, Niall and I got married today seven years ago. At the time Sean was only four and uses to say 'we' were getting married so every year we celebrate this day as a family. We give each other a gift/gifts and enjoy a nice meal. This evening is no exception:0)
I gave Niall a nice brown suede belt and he gave me a pair of brown suede River Island boots:0) Sean is happy with a board game and toys. We had a Chinese and I had a can of Root Beer I had been saving in the bottom of my wardrobe since last December! Niall hired Monsters V Aliens. I had taken Sean to see it at the pictures but hasn't notices them using the Lords name in the first minute if the movie. Crazy really, using His name like that in a cartoon.....

Monday 2 November 2009

Photo update

Here is some of what the MacCarthaigh's have been getting up to lately...

Yana shut shop in her Hair Salon on Saturday and opened it for a good cause; selling good second hand/new women's clothes and accessories! Missionaries who visit our Church every year are raising money for different projects, one of them being a Church building for a small Church in South Africa. The cost of supplying a tin roof and pillars is only three thousand euros (they will MAKE their own bricks and build the rest of it themselves) so our Church is trying to raise the money. We have already made over four hundred on sponsor cards and on Saturday we made over eight hundred, so when we add that up, along with another four hundred the Church donated a few weeks ago, we are well on our way to getting it.

Oh, but we had a great day!!!

Happy Birthday Denis!

Niall took Sean to a display the Fire Brigade were holding at DKIT. The had a wrecked car that they had to cut open. It was a bit close to the bone for me so I stayed away. However, it is very 'boy' stuff and they enjoyed the show. Hope Sean got the message about drink driving though.

My friend Becky held her 'Jamie's Open House'. I enjoyed spending a couple of hours with her, chatting, eating and looking at all the goodies:0)

Sean eventually got to see the Gathers playing in Belfast. It was a brilliant night for us! The music and singing was very good and Sean and I both enjoyed it very much. It was Sean's first concert and my first Christian concert. Well worth it. We bumped into some friends too which was a plus:o)

We had a movie night in our back garden using the projector and big screen. 14 children turned up and enjoyed the cool but nice night. Popcorn, sweets and warm blankets was the order of the day... or night!