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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Slow Down Sunday & Free Download!!

Take some time today to just rest and relax. If your week was anything like mine then I'm sure you could use a change of pace as well. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to keep busy. I would much rather have a lot to do than have nothing to do and just sit around, but if I don't take time at the end of the week to unwind and rest then I won't be refreshed and ready to take on the week that is ahead of me. 

Today I read a wonderful message in my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young. She writes as if Jesus is speaking directly to you, "Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting me set the pace." I just love this, because sometimes I am running at too fast of a pace, and I get way ahead of myself. I like how God reminds me to rest in Him, and what better of a day to do it than Sunday!


Here is a little encouragement (click here to download) for you as you rest today and prepare for your week ahead.





Many Blessings,

erin

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Amanda's Story

This morning, at work, we had a two hour delay for professional development. We had a presenter from a prosecutor's office come in and talk with us about cyberbullying and teens getting involved in online relationships with older men/women. The presenter went through a list of all the possible dangers for middle school students and teens that are out there in the Internet world. He showed various videos of stories about teenagers posting inappropriate stuff to their Facebook wall and Instagram feed. The videos showed how these teenager's lives were changed dramatically just from one bad post or picture that they shared and wished they never had! 

There was one video that really shook me up though. To the point where I was almost in tears and I am pretty sure everyone around me was too. Here is the video. It is very heartbreaking, but true and it is worth watching and sharing, so that people can see how serious this stuff really is and how important it is that we educate our children/students on how to safely and appropriately use the Internet and the weight that their words carry. Encourage your children to speak up when someone is being bullied. We need to speak kind words to one another, not tear each other down. Set the example so they will know how to treat others. 


This is Amanda's story.

Please, please, please, talk with your kids, and show them this video! This stuff is serious and is happening more than you know. My son is only a toddler right now, but it still scares me to think that something like this could happen, if I don't do my job as a parent and teach him what is OK and what is not.


Here are just a few things that the presenter shared with us that I think is very important for you to talk about with your kids/students:


1. Don't share your school info, age, address, phone number, passwords, or inappropriate pictures of themselves online. (I don't have to go into detail about the last one, I am sure you all know what is appropriate and what is not).


2. Just because you can delete a post or a picture, DOES NOT mean that it is gone forever. Someone else could have taken a screen shot of whatever your child posted and now has it stored on their device and can share with whomever.


3. Talk with them about what sites are appropriate and which ones are not. Help them select good usernames that won't attract the wrong people. Make sure as a parent you know how to report inappropriate material on these websites that your children/students are using. Also, check  privacy settings and make sure you know who your child's friends are, so that you can spot anyone that might suspicious. 


4. Show them this video, if they are old enough to understand, and let them know how much you love them and how easy it is to get mixed up in a bad situation. Most of the time they are just one click away from posting something that they can never take back and might change their life forever.


If you would like to report any inappropriate online behavior please go to: www.cybertipline.com 


Here is another helpful resource with tech tips for parents on how to teach your child to be smart when going on the Internet. www.netsmartz411.org



Many Blessings,

erin

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

National Gluten Free Day

               Happy National Gluten Free Day! 




A little over 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. This was a huge problem for me, because I LOVE food!! My entire life I had eaten whatever I wanted and never had a problem, so why now? I hate to admit it, but I didn't eat to live, I lived to eat. Honestly, I was thinking about what I was going to eat for my next meal, as soon as I was done with the one I was already eating. Yeah, I know! It was bad. Not to mention, one of my favorite things to do is to go out to dinner! I love trying new restaurants. 

I didn't know what I was going to do. I thought, I will never be able to give up these foods that I love.  No more nice dinners or pancake breakfasts or pizza and hoagies for game nights. You get the idea. I was going to be the difficult one who had to know all the ingredients in everything, whenever we did go anywhere. It was so embarrassing!


Fast forward to where I a now and I am ashamed that I thought that way. I am sure that there are tons of people out there who have to cut out way more from their diet, and they aren't complaining! It was just new to me and I had to get used to it. Now, I don't even realize that what I am eating is gluten free. There are so many food markets and restaurants that have gluten free options. I am so grateful. I don't even miss those foods that I can't have anymore. Well, maybe sometimes! The truth is, I feel so much better than I did before and I have way more energy, which is what I really need now that I have a toddler, and really I didn't have a choice. It was a life change that I had to make and I am sure my body will thank me for it later. 


Here is a list of some of my favorite gluten free websites, restaurants with gluten free options, and food markets.


Trader Joes

Wegmans
Whole Foods
Katz Gluten Free
Pei Wei Asian Diner
Distrito Restaurant
The Tortilla Press
GlutenFree.com (so many great resources)
Celiac.com
Against All Grain (new recipe book I am trying out)

Plus so many more! 


To all of my gluten-free friends out there, don't be discouraged! It can be hard at first, but the food industry has come such a long way from where it used to be when Celiac's Disease first started being diagnosed! There are so many options out there and remember, coming from the girl who lived to eat, it's only food! 


Many Blessings,


erin


photo cred- pixgood.com


Sunday, January 11, 2015

30 Day Challenge

I decided at the beginning of this year to take the K-Love 30 Challenge, where you listen to nothing but christian music for 30 days. At first, I thought it was going to be hard because I love music and I thought I would be missing out on all of the other great stuff. Not that listening to christian music all the time is bad, I think it's great. I love K-Love. I just like to mix it up once in awhile. 

Turns out it's not hard at all. In fact, I love it. It is so encouraging to listen to such uplifting spiritual music all day. I find that I am more positive and happy, and more outgoing and friendly towards others. I'm not saying that it's hard for me to be nice to others, I just don't usually go out of my way to make conversation with people that I don't know, but for some reason during the past few days it has just been effortless. Some might say that it is just a coincidence, and that's fine, maybe I am just in a really good mood because it's the new year and I'm starting fresh, but to be honest, the past few days haven't been the easiest. I really think that listening to K-Love all day, every day so far, has kept me more positive throughout the day and I'm excited to keep on doing it. Give it a shot. You'll see what I mean!


Many Blessings,

erin




Sunday, January 4, 2015

#beautyinthemidst

I thought it fitting that I share my first post on my new blog during the first week of the new year. I started my first blog back in July of 2012 and I was really excited about it, but too quickly I got caught up in the number of followers that I had or should I say, that I didn't have, and it started to bother me. I got so upset that I didn't have that many followers and I kept on trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, and how I could make my blog better (like all of the other awesome bloggers out there). Eventually, because of the birth of my son, I didn't really have time to write any more, so I  stopped. Although, the real reason I stopped was because I was not doing it for the right reasons. I wasn't totally invested.

So, after some time off I have decided to try this again, but with a different perspective. I'm not going to worry about how pretty my blog is, or how many posts I write a week, or how many followers I have. I am just going to write what ever I feel. Whatever is on my heart, and I'll see how things go. I want to enjoy this and not fall into the comparison trap of why my blog isn't doing as well as Mary's or Martha's. I just want to write as I feel led. Of course, if I do end up with a follower or two, I want to have something to offer my followers down the road, but I will fill you all in on what that will be later.


For now, I leave you with the #beautyinthemidst challenge. During my Christmas break, I had some time to think about what I wanted to do differently this year. I came up with a few goals for 2015. Not too many though, because I knew I would get overwhelmed with trying to maintain all of them. One was to spend more time reading my bible and praying everyday. Along with that, I decided that I really wanted to focus on the positive side of things whenever I face a struggle or trial in the future. My hope is that by reading my bible and praying everyday, this should make it a little easier to do because I will be constantly filling my mind with encouragement. I realized, looking back on this year, that God was always there during my storms and trials. I was just too busy focusing on the negative, instead of looking for the beauty in the each situation. God's job is to make beauty out of ashes. He can take something that is bad and turn it into something good, but you have to be intentional in trying to find the positive/beauty or else you will miss it, and it's not easy.


What might this look like? I'll give you the perfect example. This past weekend, both my son and my husband were sick. Maybe this is not the biggest struggle or trial to you, but for any of you who have had a sick child/children, I am sure you can relate that it is not easy either. So, instead of letting the long nights with barely any sleep, the constant running around for my two boys, and an extremely fussy baby get to me, I tried to see the beauty in it all. A sick baby means a whole lot more cuddles. My husband is more grateful and appreciative of my care. I focus on the beauty of being a wife and a mother, which I am so blessed and grateful to be.


Won't you join me in doing this? I would love to see any pictures and read any posts you have related to finding beauty in the midst of your struggles and trials. For any pictures or posts that I have related to this topic, I will be using the hashtag #beautyinthemidst and I invite you to do the same.


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Update: Hashtag change! Read all about it in this post: #beautyinthemidstofitall

Many Blessings,

erin

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