Monday, March 28, 2011

Recent Happenings...

 Nanny Blowing 'Raspberrys' On Dyls Tummy!

So what has been happening recently?  Well we have been very busy since the start of the year; Springtime on a farm is a very busy time and also a very expensive time too!  Brian informs me that as of next week things will start to quieten down a little for us...phew!  Those pesky sheep on the neighbouring farm have been moved finally so we will have our garden back to ourselves for a while, even though they have eaten the tips off almost every budding shrub/flower that I planted last year!  Including my beloved lilac!   

Dylan Taking His Baby For A Walk!

You may noticed that every photograph here is of Dylan!  The reason for this is he is just so funny at the moment that I find myself taking more photographs of him than anyone else!  Our boy is just such a character!  He has really blossomed in his role as a big brother lately and loves that he can stop Meg from crying most times just by talking to her.  Dylan just adores her and I think the feeling is mutual!

 Yes He Really Is Fast Asleep!

Amy is making such great progress with her school work.  I purchased a new maths workbook just recently and she is just loving it!  As we started this book late in the year I informed Amy that if she wished to begin it immediately then she would have to make sure to complete at least four pages a week in order to complete it before the coming school year.  She agreed, but has since been completing two pages a day!  Way to go Amy!  Brian and I were discussing that this year he would allow time for Amy and myself to go shopping for her curriculum (whatever I'm not getting online) one day in July.  I am very excited about this...though admittedly a little nervous as she will begin high school level this year!  Gosh where did the time go and when did I get so old?

Mmmm...Cornflake Cakes!

Since we are still in the midst of deciding what to do about the situation we have found ourselves in regarding church, we have begun to do home church for the time being.  This time together has been wonderful!  I bring in a big rug, lots of blankets and cushions for us all to sit on in the sitting room and Daddy sits in his chair and we read through a portion of our Bible together.   Just yesterday we read through the book of Esther, which we all enjoyed;  Amy stopping us often to discuss points that she had noticed.  Then we talk about what we have just read, hear the children do their memory verses and give them each a little reward for good recitation.  Amy is currently working on the whole of Proverbs 31 and she is progressing very well with that!  To finish off our Bible time we pray together as a family which is so wonderful; we give praise to God and pray for our needs, family members and the upcoming week.  What a blessed time this has been...and I have to wonder is the Lord using this difficult church situation to help our family unite in faith?

Dylan Loves Snuggling With Little Sister Meg!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Beautiful Meg At 12 Weeks!

Where has the time gone?  Our little sweetpea is now officially twelve weeks old!  Meg is such a happy little lady, and loves to watch the activity going on all around her.  Just recently she enjoys laying underneath her activity gym which is helping her learn to control those hands of hers.  Just this week she has discovered how to move her hands to her mouth and keep them there long enough to chew on!  I still love smelling her lovely baby smell and brushing her tiny toes on my face!  There is nothing like baby smiles to make my Mama heart just melt!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Advertising Standards Agency Response...

You will remember that just recently I posted this video, citing obvious concerns about its content.  Is I indicated at the end of that post I emailed a complaint form to the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) detailing my concerns.  I received an email of receipt and assurance that the advertisement would be looked into.  This afternoon I was notified of an email response from the ASA:

Dear Mrs O’Neill


Thank you for contacting the ASA.  I’m sorry to hear that this ad has caused you concern.

We have assessed the ad and your complaint but consider that there are insufficient grounds for ASA intervention on this occasion. Our role as an organisation is to help ensure that advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful. We can intervene if an ad that has been broadcast appears likely to be in breach of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising by, for example, being likely to cause serious or widespread offence, being materially misleading or risking causing significant harm. As a result we can only act if the ad, in our judgement, offends against widely accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Firstly, in response to the issue you raise about the suitability of this ad for children, we note that Clearcast – the independent organisation responsible for the clearance of most TV ads before broadcast – acknowledged this product as being ‘HFSS’ or High in Fat, Sugar and Salt before the ad was broadcast.  When a product is classified ‘HFSS’, a mandatory scheduling restriction is put in place to ensure that ads are not shown during programmes that are of particular appeal to children between 4 and 15 years of age.  This restriction is applied based on the content of the programmes themselves, and not the time of day that the ad is broadcast. We have looked at the programming on Sky News around the time and date you mentioned and we do not consider that these programmes were commissioned for, principally directed at, or likely to appeal particularly to audiences under 16.  Therefore we consider that the restriction that is in place is sufficient to ensure that children are not exposed to the ad.  In this absence of any evidence to suggest that this ad has not been scheduled appropriately, we consider that children, broadly speaking, are less likely to see this ad.

Whilst I understand your point of view about the content of this ad generally, we have to consider how the wider audience will interpret it.  In this case we note that the ad does not make any direct references to sex or sexual relationships and does not include any graphic sexual images.  Although the ad may be seen as mildly suggestive from an adult perspective we consider it unlikely to be viewed in the same manner by any children who may see the ad as they would not have the same interpretation.  Therefore, although the theme of the ad is unlikely to appeal to all viewers and could be seen by some viewers as distasteful,  on balance, we consider that this ad is unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or risk causing harm to children and consequently will not be taking any further action on this occasion.

Finally, while the number of complaints we receive is only one of a number of factors that we consider when dealing with a complaint, it is a useful indicator of how an ad is being interpreted.  In this case the we have not received any other complaints about this ad or the issues you have raised, a fact which would appear to support our assessment.

I realise this outcome will disappoint you, however we will continue to monitor the response to this ad.

And so because this disgusting perverted video is widely accepted by the majority of society as normal, and because no one else complained then it is deemed morally acceptable to broadcast on television!  So there you have it!  Yes I am rather disappointed, but to be perfectly honest this ridiculous reasoning is what I expected...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is This False Teaching?

As many of you will know, about two years ago we were convicted that our family should begin to attend church.  So we began to attend my husbands childhood Catholic church.  After a few services and studying our Bibles we began to see that Catholicism is a perverted and wicked 'religion'.  Please read my previous post on this matter. So we began to pray and seek for a church that preached from the Bible!  In such a 'religious' country such as Ireland you would have thought that an easy task...but no!  There are actually very few churches in our country.  Eventually we came across Maranatha Christian Fellowship and we were thrilled as they stated on their webpage:

"In an age when a diluted message is producing disillusioned people, we stress a full proclamation of the word of God"

Indeed we were thrilled.  Now I am becoming increasingly becoming doubtful at the truthfulness of the above statement.  Mainly it is myself who is disheartened with our new fellowship.  I wish to discuss why here with the purpose of sharing my heart and also to allow others to offer their advice on our situation.

Firstly I was shocked to attend one Sunday service only to have it preached to us by a woman!  The woman in question was the wife of one of the regular preachers.  She 'wittered' on for almost two hours, boring us all to tears about her history with depression and about alcoholism and addiction in general.  Consider that the church website also states:

We believe in the inspiration of the Bible and its entire trustworthiness and authority in all matters of faith and doctrine.
We understand from reading our Bible that women preaching in church just simply is not allowed!

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. - 1 Timothy 2: 11-12

My next bugbear was just recently when we attended for the first time since the birth of our daughter Meg.  At the end of service we were given a membership form to fill out and to hand back in whenever we were ready to become members.  As I read the forms at home I came across a strange statement within its pages:  

"We are a New Testament church" this odd when considering just a second ago I quoted their statement of faith stating that they were a Bible believing church?  Isn't the Old Testament part of the Bible?  Doesn't the word of God dating back to the beginning of time matter?  This was actually the catalyst that really got me wondering about their beliefs and practices.  Additionally the church letterhead is adorned with Jewish symbols?  I am unsure as to why they feature these, I thought these symbols relate to the Old Testament: Star of David and the Menorah?  I do not pretend to know or understand everything about the Holy Bible.  We are 'baby' Christians so there maybe some things mentioned here that I am misinterpreting or misunderstanding.

Next on my list came about after watching this video stating that modern interpretations of 'speaking in tongues' was unbiblical.  This caught my attention as several services ago our church invited those who had never spoke in tongues before to come up front and speak in tongues.  The music was playing and people began to speak mumbo-jumbo, so a kind of rhythmic chanting could be heard by those of us still seated.  After I watched the afore mentioned sermon given by Pastor Anderson I went and took out my Bible and looked up those verses again.  Nowhere did my Bible refer to anyone speaking or hearing an unknown language or becoming confused.  Indeed every one of the disciples who spoke, understood what they themselves was saying, and everyone of them who heard another speak understood him in his own language.  Where in our Bibles then was this mumbo-jumbo speak that we were told was true 'speaking in tongues'?  Thats right nowhere!  Could this be another area of false teaching?

Finally, I have been absolutely disgusted by the immodest dress of a lot of women who attend service at our church.  Mini skirts, backless shirts and spike heels!  I'm not kidding.  Before anyone suggests such, I am not jealous of dressing like a loose woman.  I am wondering why this is allowed to happen?  Is it acceptable to allow a woman to enter church to worship and praise God dressed like a harlot?  Is it not the pastor/elders duty to kindly guide particular ladies in truth that they should not dress so for church or indeed at all? 

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But which becometh women professing godliness with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9-10

I am so upset by these thoughts as we were so happy to have found a church for our family to attend.  In our country there are very few churches to attend that are not either Catholic or Protestant.  My husband feels disinclined to question the Pastor on this issues mentioned above and I would feel a little awkward about doing so as I feel that it would be my husbands place to query the Pastor, as he is the head of our family.  I am wondering should I approach the Pastor with my queries?  Or which is best: to attend a church even if we are not fully happy with the seemingly false and diluted message or should we resign ourselves to church at home, teaching Gods law to our children ourselves (Deuteronomy 6) until such a day that we find a true church with a Pastor who preaches the Word as he should?  Any advice here would be greatly appreciated and/or sharing of any similar circumstances you may have been through yourselves.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You Know You Live In Ireland When...

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona!

  • Your 'next day delivery' order arrives a month later.
  • You don't even consider driving at the speed limit due to the gigantic potholes peppered along the roadside.
  • You look out your window and see next doors sheep eating your tulips.
  • You don't see anything wrong with stopping in the middle of the road to have a conversation with a pedestrian.
  • Your plumber says he will be there at 10am and arrives a week later at 3pm.
  • You automatically know who "Your man" is.
  • You understand the difference between British Queens and Golden Wonder.
  • You are obsessed with talking about the weather.
  • The thift store charges you full price.
  • You are not offended when someone asks you "Whats the craic?"
Happy St Patricks Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where Are All The Fathers?

Recently I have become aware of a new phenomenon.  Men who refuse to allow their wives to bear more children!  For a long time I thought that the women were mainly the ones who chose to cut short their fertility after just one or two children.  While I disagreed, I could see that the women may have felt over-burdened with the work involved of caring full-time for the children,the sheer physical toll that pregnancy and labour take on her body or simply pressured by society.  I felt bad for the husbands who were clearly upset over their wives choices...but for whatever reason felt unable to do anything about it.  But as I mentioned already, recently I have become aware that more and more men, seem to be preventing pregnancy in their wives either through insisting their wives take hormonal contraceptives, permanent surgical methods and/or avoiding intimate relations!  It should be mentioned that all the above mentioned methods are un-biblical!  God does not want His people to cut off their fertility!

I began to ponder the reasons why this might be happening. One reason may be that we are now in the midst of a culture that glorifies the man-boy,  a man who still behaves like a boy: prefers to go out and have fun with his friends than tend to his duties at home, one who puts his own needs before that of his wife and children, plays computer games or other unproductive activities that waste time.  Perhaps he wonders why he should be the one 'lumbered' with the responsibility of being the sole financial provider of the home and argues that his wife should 'contribute' financially.  The root of all the above attributes of the man-boy is selfishness!  I will also mention that biblically it is said to be the mans responsibility to be the sole provider for his family, it is  the womans responsibility to keep the home.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:17-19

Another reason maybe due to the man feeling financially burdened.  In an ideal world, perhaps it was unwise of the man to propose marriage to a young lady until he was able to provide (needs not wants) for said wife and any children that may come.  Perhaps he wrongly avoided taking his headship over the financial spending of the family and allowed his wife to make unnecessary purchases that have financially burdened him/them.  This could include the buying of the family home, perhaps the wife wanted a fancy home with a large mortgage, only to realise at a later date that in her foolish decision she unwittingly cut off her future children.  Perhaps the man simply wants a 'normal' lifestyle and in doing so needs a larger amount of money to fund such, that he feels he cannot afford more children.  Maybe his wife is the one doing all the spending and leaving him feeling financially burdened...either way he should be the one to take responsibility and either put a stop to his own frivolous spending or his wifes and instuct her to be more frugal with the family money!

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. 1 Timothy 5:8

Perhaps he is frustrated and over-burdened with the journey of each pregnancy.  It is widely known that a pregnant womans hormones often lend her to feel more tired and physically sick than usual at certain times, this could leave her behaving unreasonably toward her husband.  The man may resent his pregnant wife refusing to have intimate relations with him during her pregnancy.  He may also be afraid of hurting the baby in this way, so he may instigate the period of abstinence but still resent it.  Perhaps he is exhausted with the sleepless nights, the baby/child may be a poor sleeper or perhaps the wife needs guidance in scheduling the babies sleep or coaching in breastfeeding/co-sleeping.  Either way again he needs to be the one to identify were his wife needs guidance and lovingly encourage her to amend or seek guidance in these areas from more experienced mothers.  Discipline is another area that may leave a father doubtful of having more children...if the children are not disciplined consistently by the mother (who obviously is with them more) then their unruly and disruptive behaviour may be leaving the husband feeling that he and/or his wife would be unable to cope raising more children.  But again the father needs to be the one who, in his headship undertakes the responsibility of disciplining his children effectively and encouraging and supporting the mother in doing this also.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 13:24

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:6

It must be said that these men are only cheating themselves out of the honour of fathering many children.  Throughout the Bible there is a strong emphasis on the passing of the family name and we are often given detailed breakdowns of certain bloodlines which indicates to us that God in also concerned with these things.  In the Bible it is mentioned many times that when the Lord wishes to bless a faithful servant He most often increases a mans descendants first and foremost, followed by the multiplying of a mans cattle and harvest.  What a gift!  Why would anyone say no to such a blessing?

The wives of such men as these should have our sincerest sympathies.  However, perhaps I have possibly touched on some issues were it would be possible for women to amend such things as to soften her husband toward having more children.  Praying to the Lord also, that He may change the husbands heart is the first and foremost things that should be done in this matter.

Monday, March 14, 2011

You've Got To Be Kidding?!

This Video Is Not Suitable For Children!

I hope I am not coming across here as someone who get themselves in a 'tizzy' over everything...but this new advert for biscuits is seriously warped!  I was watching the news this morning with Amy keeping up to date on the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disaster...when this advert came on.  I was absolutely speechless!  For biscuits...really!  As if our children are not de-sensitised or sexualised enough.  Obviously the 'brainiacs' at Jacobs biscuits have realised that 'sex sells' even when it comes to biscuits!  I honestly am in shock that this is what it takes to boost low are they willing to go?  Will they companies stop at nothing to sell their product!  I have already contacted Jacobs to request a response from their advertisement team as to what they plan to do to amend this offensive advertisement and to let them know that they have over-stepped the mark.  I would encourage my readers to do the same and hopefully with a collective voice we can get this filth off the air!

Jacobs Customer Care Complaint/Comment Form

*Edited to add* Please complete this complaint form Advertising Standards Agency (it will only take two minutes of your time)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Perfect Pancakes!

One Of Our Welsummer Eggs

Happy Shrove Tuesday everyone!   I just love pancakes!  We hardly ever make them to be honest, as I feel it take a long time to cook them...but today I discovered that with a better batter mixture and less oil that they are much easier and quicker to cook!  Here is the recipe we used:
Plumfield House Pancake Batter

200g - plain or self-raising flour (they were a little fluffier with the latter...tip courtesy of my husband!)
560 mls - full fat milk.
4 large eggs.
1tsp of real vanilla extract.

This recipe made around 11 large pancakes.  Amy even got to try flipping her first pancake...she did a really good job!  Dylan kept asking for me to try and stick them to the ceiling! 

My Serious Helper!

Meggie Joined Our Culinary Team Too!

A Very Blurry Picture Of Amy Flipping Her Pancake!
(Pesky Camera!)

Yum Yum, Delicious Pancakes And Maple Syrup!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Our 5th Wedding Anniversary!

...Apologies, this post is a little late! ;)

Wow where did those five years go?  It seems like just yesterday that we were newly weds!  In light of this happy occasion which occured on 26th February; I though I would tell you all how I met, fell in love with and married this wonderful man of mine!  It is in actual fact a rather romantic story...

...Our story really begins in October 2004 at which point I was a single, working, feminist and mother to Amy; who was aged just five.  I was working a horrible job as a trainee accountant in our nearest city, in the days my mother would care for Amy; taking her to school, supervising her homework, feeding her I was never home to do those things for my daughter.  It was a tough time, I was barely making ends meet with my low wage and 'single family' social security payment.  I would receive my wages every Friday but by Saturday I would be lucky to have anything left to allocate towards extras such as clothing.  I was incredibly lonely..but I would tell those who asked that I didn't have time for a man in my life.  I was fiercely independant although I was not really able to care fully for my little family...I needed a husband but would never have admitted that!

From time to time my landlord would travel home from his usual place of residance in Australia to do upkeep on my cottage and my parents cottage also.  His name was...yes you guessed it...Brian!  He usually only travelled back to Ireland ever two years or so, so I had only barely seen him on one occasion prior to 2004.  However during 2004 he travelled back to Ireland and was a occaionally seen making some small repairs and such around the estate.  It was at this time that he talked to me about replacing my fireplace as the exsisting one was in a pretty sad state and was not really very fuel efficient.  So he installed a log burning stove and had a brick fireplace was stunning!  One evening he was at my cottage with his younger brother installing another element on the new fireplace when he informed me that there was a party to be held at a mutual family friends home.  It was a halloween party; the children were to come dressed up in costume and the would be a bonfire and food laid on for all!  We were I telephoned my mother to see whether she would be interested in going.

We arrived at the home of our friends and we had a wonderful time!  Brian was nowhere to be seen and to be honest I was rather disappointed!  I inquired with one of his brothers whether he would be coming and he told me he certainly was and that he was on his way.  A few hours later found Brian and myself talking about 'everything' sitting in front of the bonfire...we had a lot in common.  We talked about marriage, and children mostly!  My mother took Amy and my brother home quite early but I stayed on later, Brian assured her that he would escort me home and that she wasn't to worry.  So we continued to talk for a long time still.

The night came to an end and Brian drove me home...we agreed to meet up again once more the following day.  The next day Brian did indeed call over to see me and we agreed that we had much in common but as he was travelling bcak to Australia the following day that we should keep in touch via letter and telephone.

About two weeks later I sent Brian a message from my mobile phone whilst I was at work.  I was so nervous!  I didn't honestly think that he would reply!  But when he did my heart skipped a beat!  We kept in touch via emails, telephoning and letters for three months whereat Brian invited me to spend three weeks with him in Australia just after the New Year 2005!  I accepted and we made arragements for me to travel to Sydney to visit him.  I arrived at the airport on New Years Day; a little terrified if I am honest!  I do not like to travel and going so far for the first time on my own was a very scary experience!  And I was very smelly too not being accustomed to dressing for long haul flights!  Luckily he didn't seem to notice (although he later confessed that he had!)

We had a wonderful time together!  We spent the first evening of my stay sitting on a grassy embankment watching boats on the river talking until early hours of the morning.  I knew from that night on that we had a special bond!  We walked on the beaches, ate fish and chips on a rocky coast, visited the zoo...we were both concious of not letting 'holiday romance' feelings cloud our judgement so we kept our 'dates' simple!  Ten days later Brian telephoned my parents to ask my fathers permission to ask me to marry him.  I was reading in the garden of the house he shared in Sydney, when he told me he had to go out for some business but that he would be back shortly.  When he came back about an hour and a half later he came out to the garden and surprised me with a box...

To say I was surprised would be a huge understatement!  I couldn't believe it!  Of course I said "Yes!"  Just sixteen months after that wonderful evening around the bonfire...Brian and I became Mr and Mrs O'Neill!

Giveaway At...Are They All Yours?!??

The lovely Mrs Anderson over at Are They All Yours?!?? is hosting a wonderful giveaway!  The giveaway prize is a beautiful set of felt foods for whomever wins!  I must confess that I have been so inspired by the creations Zsuzsanna makes for her children that I have begun to craft my own in preparations for Christmas/Birthdays!  It really is addictive!  Just last night I began sewing a fried almost looks...erm....good enough to eat!  So if you would like to be in with a chance to win one of the sets on offer (Breakfast, Sandwich, or Sweets) then pop over to Are They All Yours?!?? and take the time to enter!

Good Luck!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sharing Is Caring!

Just yesterday as I was ironing our families clothes for the day ahead...I happened to spot Dylan leaning over Meg who was sitting in her pram/stroller.  Dylan told me that he 'wuvved' her while her stroked her sweet baby head, I smiled at him thinking that he was just the sweetest boy there ever was when...


Thats right...he sneezed all over poor Megs face!  That wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't been ill with a cold for the last week!  So wouldn't you just know it but our little lady has today woken up with a small dose of the sniffles!  I guess thats what happens when you have doting big brothers to watch over you!

I apologise for the lack of posting this week...the men in our house have, as indicated above, been ill with bad colds.  Brian is now fully well again though he did take some sick days off from work to rest; Dylan is mostly well again though it is taking a little longer for his runny nose to clear.  I have a few posts drafted this week that I am working on but with Brian home this week I was barely at the computer...instead spending my time with him as I should!  Hopefully though I should get them posted over the next few days!  I pray that you and all your families are keeping in good health!