Just Don’t Be Stupid!

How do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?


It’s been a learning process for me.  I really didn’t think much about security when I first started using the internet, but it didn’t take long to realize that it’s wise to be careful.

I have a family member who works in computer security. He clued me in about some dangers, and about how to protect myself.

Here are some things I don’t do:

Give the year of my birth in my Facebook profile.

Post pictures of my grandkids. Wait.WHAT?? Well, I found out that predators can see the origin of the picture, and with very little difficulty they can locate the general neighborhood, sometimes the specific address. Has to do with a feature on your iPhone. You can turn it off, but I still don’t trust it. I would love to put my gk’s on my Facebook, and I did for a while.  Not any more.

I do not–repeat, do not–have my location for every minute of every day available  online.  It’s an open invitation to thieves. If they watch your sites, they can establish patterns, knowing when you’re not home.

I do not post ahead of time when I’m going out of town.  I’ll discuss it freely when i get home, but not before.

Because I blog, there’s a lot of “me” out there. I do try to keep important personal information out of my blogs. Sometimes, in the throes of a creative urge, I forget to be careful.

And here are some things I don’t do just because I think it’s distasteful

I do not write gushy mushy love letters to my husband. He’d be mortified. That’s private. I might say I’m proud of him, or comment on his incredible abilities, but he never reads my stuff anyway, and if he did he might blush but I don’t think he’d be upset.  Gushy mushy goo?  No. Not happening.

I try to always be positive.  I promised God, when I opened my FB account, that I would always try to use it to honor Him.

I usually steer clear of political stuff. Not always, but usually. Sometimes my holding-back strap breaks and I’ll dip my toe in that murky pool. Typically, though, I don’t say a lot. I want no part of the vitriol that seems to follow any political post. I hate the hatred. The awful language, the insults to the intelligence of those we may disagree with.  I don’t understand the filth that spews out of the mouths of the commenters, and I’ve stopped reading comments. I may read an article, but not the comments. God forgive us.

I think I’ve finally learned to be extremely cautious about reposting certain kinds of things. Often, they are sensationalistic in nature.  Quotes attributed to people who never said that—this particular kind of post is done by putting a picture of some celebrity next to a quote. The assumption is that the celebrity said it. Be careful. Also, I look carefully at the source of funny posts that make me smile.  Sometimes they came from sites that are inappropriately named, and I don’t want anyone to think i use those sites.

By the way, please don’t post off-color stories to me, on my profile. I hate that. It happens rarely, but now and then someone posts a picture or a joke that offends me. I delete them.  I don’t want anyone thinking I approve. Yes, I’m a prude, and proud of it. A proud prude. Maybe I should start a website.

Recently I broke my own hard-and-fast rule, an accepted a friend request from a young man who seemed harmless. Within a few days, he was “friending” my whole friend list!  I didn’t know he could access my friend list.  I deleted and blocked him, and learned how to make my friend list inaccessible to anyone but me. You live and learn. I won’t do that again.

Look, this is just common sense.

Of course, I’m noticing a great lack of common sense in our benighted world these days.


Wishes and Horses

Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?


If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. . . .

Honestly, I waste very little time in wishing anything had been different/better in my past. Sure, there are things I regret, but there is absolutely nothing I can change.  Not in my own childhood, not in my children’s past. Done. Gone. Learned from, not forgotten, but not dwelt upon. That leads to nothing but regret, sorrow, and depression unless the memories one dwells upon are only of the sunny variety.

Instead, I choose to focus on today. It’s the only thing I can affect. I pray for wisdom in all my dealings, both with clients and anyone else I see during my day.  I pray for God’s patience, forgiveness, and kindness.  I pray that I will have learned from my yesterdays so that I don’t repeat what I regret.

I look forward to my tomorrows, however they may play out.

But I do not wish things had been different, because that wish has no possible reality in today or tomorrow.


Shy Girl

A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma

Tell us something most people probably don’t know about you.


No one believes me any more when I tell them that I’m really kind of shy at heart.  I’m not much good with small talk; I dread gatherings where there are a lot of people I don’t know, and I have to find someone to sit with and maybe they don’t really want me there.  I dislike walking into a room full of people and trying to figure out what to do next.  There are plenty of times I’d rather just stay home.

That, however, is not my public persona.  Somewhere around age 15 or so, I discovered that I can make people laugh. I aslo discovered a love of acting, and being in the spotlight didn’t bother me at all.  Around the same time, I got involved in speech competition.  I did very well in story telling and then, later, debate.  I had found my voice, and I wasn’t afraid to use it.

Still not sure of myself, though, I didn’t do well in the mix and mingle kind of activities that some people love. I still don’t know what to do with my hands 🙂  People don’t know that, though, because I’ve learned some tricks and tips over the years. To most observers, I’m quite comfortable working a crowd. I’m not, really, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

Now and then, I’m invited to speak at a church women’s gathering.  I love public speaking.  It gives me the opportunity to ham it up a little bit, and to talk about things I love. I’m not a bit nervous.  It’s just pure fun.

Later, though, when it’s time for lunch?  If the host church hasn’t designated a place for me to sit, I’d really rather just disappear somewhere until it’s time to speak again.  I don’t, though.  I go find a place, invite myself to share that table, and then try to think of something to talk about with a group of women who have all known each other for a long time.

Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, they’ll carry on with whatever they were discussing before I interrupted them. Great.  I can eat in silence, and they’re not expecting me to carry the conversation just because I’m the speaker.

And here’s a note to any of you who may be in charge of such a gathering:  Don’t let the speaker fend for herself at lunch. She doesn’t know where she’s supposed to go.  Sometimes there’s a head table, which is very nice. The hostess, the speaker, and maybe the planning committee are all designated to sit there, and the speaker doesn’t have to go wandering around looking for an empty seat. It’s very helpful if someone is designated to shepherd the speaker in these situations, to remember she’s a guest and isn’t familiar with the way your church does things.

I really don’t think I’m a “mystery wrapped in an enigma”.  That sounds very hush-hush and secretive, and I’m pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person.


Drawing a Blank

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?


I have no idea.

I’m trying to think of decisions that are influenced by previous experience.

Food?  If I really hated something the first time I tried it, I’m probably going to decide not to try it again.

Driving in heavy city traffic.  Terrifies me.  Got lost once, thought I’d never get home.  Won’t drive in heavy city traffic.

Several years ago I fell off my bike and broke both elbows; also wrecked my knee.  I haven’t been back outside on a bike since then.  Terrified to try.

Some TV programs that I won’t even give a second chance to because they were SO bad the first time I tried to watch; I’ve decided to leave those programs alone based on the first trial run.

I don’t know.  I’m really stretching here.  maybe others will be more creative than I on this one. I’m blank.


My Dream

Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?


True story:  When I was about three years old, I remember  not wanting to fall asleep.  The reason for that?  When I did fall asleep, I would have the same dream every night.  First I would hear rhythmic footsteps, faintly at first and then louder and louder.  They would speed up a little bit, too. And then my mind created a monster, or a witch, or something else very scary that was chasing me.  I would try to run, but couldn’t get my feet off the ground.

Just before IT got me, I would wake up crying.

My poor mom and dad didn’t have any idea what was causing these dreams.  This was way before we had a TV, so it couldn’t have been something I’d seen there.  Maybe a picture book? There didn’t seem to be any answers.

Then one night my mom decided to sit by my bed while I fell asleep, and here is what she saw:

I would roll to my right side and tuck my hands under my ear. Image result for sleeping child, hands tucked under head

Ka-thump. . .kathump. . . kathump. . . .

What I was hearing was my own heartbeat!

Problem solved.  No more scary dreams. I learned to enjoy the sound, once I understood that it wasn’t a monster  🙂


Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blank: Three people walk into a bar . . .


. . . . .and take seats on the stools along the counter. They stare moodily at the countertop, none of them speaking. The bartender comes up to them and says, “What’ll it be, fellas?”

“Root beer for all of us,” pipes up Billy, the one in the middle. “On the rocks, please.”

“Comin’ right up.  Say, you guys are new in the neighborhood, right?  I don’t think I’ve seen you in here before.”

“Yep. We’re new. And nobody wants to play with us. We don’t like this new place. None of the other kids are very friendly.”

“Huh. Well, that’s too bad.  Most of the kids who come in here seem friendly enough.” The bartender slid three frosty mugs of rootbeer in front of his three dejected customers.  He leaned on the countertop, thoughtfully wiping moisture from the bar.

“Since you boys are new here, these root beers are on the house, ok?  You guys all brothers, are ya?”

“Yep,” replied Sammy, on Billy’s left. “We’re triplets. Can’t you tell?”  He grinned up at the bartender, but only for a moment. Then his face fell back into the same dejected lines as his brothers. “We asked if we could play ball with some other guys, but they said they didn’t need any more players.”

“Yeah,” added Tommy. “And we play ball real good, too. Those guys don’t know what they’re missin’!”

“Hey, I’ve got an idea,” says the bartender. “Why don’t you guys finish up your root beer, and then you run home. Two of you change into different shirts so the three of you are all wearing something different.  Then maybe the guys will let you play.”

“Why would that matter?”  asked Billy.

“Well, I was just thinkin’ maybe the other boys are worried, that if they let you play the way you’re dressed right now, they wouldn’t be able to tell. . . . . .Who’s on First!”


The Music of my Life

Put together a a musical playlist of songs that describe your life, including what you hope your future entails. 


Well now. Music is a huge thing in my life. Before I could put together such a play list, I’d have to decided what genre to use.  Or maybe a mix? I’m pretty eclectic in my music tastes. I’m totally uninterested in rap, hip-hop, heavy metal–in other words, all the latest takes on  rock.  When I was a kid, rock n’ roll was pretty innocent and easy to sing.  My life spans the years when everything changed in the ’60’s and ’70’s.  The music kids listen to today seems angry to me, dark and often ugly in its lyrics, and nothing I identify with or understand.  I’ve tried, because occassionally I get an older teen in my  office who wants me to listen to this or that song that he  loves. Usually, in order to understand the words, I have to pull up the lyrics  online while I endure the unmusical  music. It just doesn’t reach me. Even when the words are clear, they don’t mean much to me. I guess that’s the much-heralded generation gap. 

Anyway.  I’d have to decide whether to use classical, pop, movie themes,  oldies, or sacred, including gospel. Not contemporary. Like modern rock, there’s just not much there that appeals to me.

I love to play the piano.  I couldn’t have lessons when I was a kid because there was just no money, so I taught myself.  When I could get my hands on anything other than a hymn book, I would play it over and over until I could master it. I remember when my mom bought me a book of Strauss waltzes.  Oh, how I loved that book!  I still have it, yellowed pages and torn covers.

Mostly, I played out of the hymnal.  I started playing for church when I was around 12.  I wasn’t much good, but I was the only show in town sometimes.  I used to spend hours playing through the hymnal until I was comfortable playing anything without having to practice ahead of time. Back then, it was common to have “favorites” in the evening service, when people would call out a number from the book and the pianists were expected to be able to play whatever was requested. Eventually, I was able to play lots of songs without having the music in front of me.  I don’t really know if it was “playing by ear” or just having it memorized.

So maybe I’d have to stay in the realm of sacred music, but I have no idea how I’d pick songs, out of all the thousands available, that reflect my life in any unique way.  I know there have been some songs that have meant more to me at various stages of my life than at others. Probably something I loved when I was ten wouldn’t have any application now that I’m nearly 68.

There is something, though, about the old hymns and gospel songs that still speaks to my heart in a way that nothing else does.  The music is generally simple, singable; the words have timeless meaning, based on scriptural truth that never changes.

And that’s  about all I have to say this morning.