Saturday, September 13, 2008

Safety Saturdays #21 - Going to and from School Safely

Safety Saturdays
This week features more Back to School safety tips from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC).

Their online publication Know the Rules ... For Going To/From School Safely offers tips to help parents and guardians prepare their children for a safer journey to and from school. You can also download the publication in English or Spanish.

If you missed it, check out last week's Safety Saturdays post for information on NetSmartz® Workshop's back-to-school campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Internet and real-world safety.

Did you learn any new safety tips from this information? Do you have any additional back to school safety tips to share?

Next week, Safety Saturdays will feature a NetSmartz® video, "Beat the Tricks," to help teach kids about tricks adults may use to get them into dangerous situations. If you have any specific questions about this topic, let me know through a comment or email. This will help me provide more information in the post.

I appreciate your feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment anytime, not just Saturdays. If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.

Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays - Renewal

As we near the end of the study of the book by Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, I could write more about What Happens When a Woman Does Not Walk in Faith. Anxiety, tension, and anger resulted from my focusing more on our situation than on God over the past several weeks.

As I reawaken my trust in God and revive my blog writing, how appropriate to rejoin this study online in the resurrection stage of faith in the book.
Lysa writes, "He [God] may not resurrect all of the circumstances in your life, but He will resurrect a deeper and more secure trust of Him if you will let Him."
I looked closer at two words from Lysa's sentence - if and will. If implies a condition on which something depends. Will means choose or desire and implies intention.

I applied Lysa's words to my current situation:

Although God has not yet resurrected my family from the struggles of unemployment, He desires to renew a profound and immovable trust in Him whenever I choose to step aside and allow it.
I stand in God's way by attempting to assert my will over His. Ironically, the word will stems from the Greek word for hope.
"So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
This is my prayer for my family and for anyone reading this. May God bless you abundantly.
I invite you to click on the "Yes to God Tuesdays" picture above to visit Lelia's blog to learn about the next book we'll be studying. I hope you will join us, even if you are not a blogger.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Safety Saturdays #20 Back-2-School

Safety Saturdays
After an extended summer break, I am reintroducing Safety Saturdays with back to school safety information and a request for feedback.

NetSmartz® Workshop, an Internet safety program of the The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), has launched a back-to-school campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Internet and real-world safety.

Visit their website to download a free NetSmartz® Back-2-School Kit, including animated videos (see below for an example), hands on activities, and lesson plans for intermediate and primary age children. The material is worth the time it takes to download.

NCMEC's online publication Know the Rules...After-School Safety for Children Who Are Home Alone provides tips for parents and guardians to consider when allowing their child to be unsupervised at home. You can also download the publication in English or Spanish.

Would you be interested in Safety Saturdays being more interactive? For example, questions posed to stimulate conversation on a topic or a preview of the next week's topic with the opportunity to ask questions to be addressed in the post?

Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips. I appreciate your comments and feedback on any posts. If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yes to God - God Will Make a Way

Thanks to everyone supporting me through my job loss and beloved pet's death. We took a few days to get away on a mini-vacation to visit my family, returning home last night. I love to see my daughter with her grandparents.

Now onto the study of the book by Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. This week, we're discussing Chapter 10, Roadblocks and Reassurances, and Chapter 11, God Will Make a Way. Be sure to click on the button above to visit Lelia's site to read more.

In Chapter 10, I concentrated on these words:
"Take your eyes off the problem and focus on the good and loving God who has great plans for you.....We don't grow by changing the adverse circumstances. We grow by embracing God's plans for the circumstances and allowing Him to have His full way in us.....let Him help you find a perspective beyond your own."
I strive to embrace God's plans surrounding my unemployment. As I begin the process of interviewing for new jobs, I seek Him daily for assistance in looking beyond myself. I do not want to make any decisions based on what I think is best for me. I want to follow God's will to receive His best for my family.

Chapter 11 tells us to choose every day to experience God in spite of our circumstances. Why? Because He makes a way in every circumstances.

As adults, we can be tempted to overcomplicate God's truth. The innocence of childhood sees the straightforwardness of the Word.

Today, I watched a Veggie Tales movie, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, with Pumpkin. At the end of the movie, the King presents medals to the Pirates for heroically saving his children. The Pirates tell the King he made a mistake to call them heroes.

The King explains it could not be a mistake because he choose them and provided everything they needed. Pumpkin said, "God provided what they needed all along." May it be just that simple and direct for us to see. God will make a way.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008


Seriously, I do not plan on continually disappearing. My transition period remains chaotic. My job ended one week ago. Lack of communication from the company made the situation more stressful than necessary.

I'll spare you all the details. I'm glad to be out of it. I feel at peace as we wait for God to reveal His plans for our family.

At the beginning of this week, my 17-year-old cat, LB, became sick. I took him to the emergency vet in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, he did not return to our home with me.

Though "just a cat," he's been a constant in my life for 16 years - through job and relationship changes, 8 moves (including two across the country), my getting married and our having a child. Our house seems a little empty without him. LB followed me from room to room and always sat facing the door, guarding me.

Here's a few pictures of our little buddy. We'll miss him.

My daughter's reaction to our loss deserves a separate post. I do not have the brain capacity to do it justice tonight.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays - God Is With You

During this hectic, exhausting time of transition, I considered taking a blogging vacation, but I did not intend to disappear for 10 days between posts. For anyone still reading my blog through my chaotic posting schedule, thank you!

I'm getting back on track. Some posts about change, including When God Moves Your Cheese Part II, are forthcoming.

Now onto this awesome book by Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, which I know God orchestrated me reading and sharing with others during this famine phase of unemployment. This week, we're discussing Chapter 6, God's Extraordinary Invitation, and Chapter 7, God is With You.

While focused on hearing God's direction for my life, I almost missed His invitation to draw closer to Him through this difficult time. While searching for the physical manifestation of His will, I almost overlooked the spiritual purpose as He calls me to trust and rest in Him on a deeper level.
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you." 1 Peter 5:7
The only way I can function through this trial is by seeking God's direction on what I need to accomplish each day. Otherwise, I am overwhelmed. Lysa put it well, "Don't try to make your whole dream come true at once. Just fulfill the small part of the mission He's asking you to do today."

Not easy for a person who loves to plan ahead while looking at big picture, but possible with God.

"I can live with my limited vision, convinced that there is no way and overcome with uncertainty in my time of famine, or I can take God's hand and confidently proclaim Him to be my way," Lysa says.

I pray I keep holding tightly to God's hand, as He is the only way.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008


No Safety Saturday post today. I'm considering a new format and plan to seek your input soon.

Although shutting off my brain is difficult these days, organizing my thoughts into insightful posts nears impossible. Bear with me!

I may try to structure myself. Any ideas? What do you do when everyday life interferes with blogging, writing, or any goal?


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays - God Has a Plan

Yes to God Tuesday ended up on Wednesday this week, my apologies.

Chapter 3, God Has a Plan, of Lysa TerKeurst's book, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, builds on the last chapter, and emphasizes "to leave some things behind, we need to learn that God has a plan and to trust His plan."

This chapter correlates to a recent sermon by my pastor, entitled When God Moves Your Cheese. To discuss God making changes in our lives, Pastor played on the words of the title of Spencer Johnson's motivational book about change, Who Moved My Cheese.

I found such comfort in the major points of Pastor's sermon:
  • God's purpose supercedes our convenience.
  • God moves at a sense of time operating by a different standard. Our timing is based in the past. God's timing is based on the future.
  • The change is not a disruption to your journey. It is a continuation in the same direction/destiny in God.
  • We may have a greater impact out of our comfort zone than within our comfort zone.
  • God moves us to extend His reach and influence and to bring something out of us that will outlast us.
  • When God moves, He moves us higher, wider, deeper, and better.
  • We can never go wrong with God, even if we feel vulnerable.

Lysa writes giving up our plans for God's plan, the perfect plan, takes us to places we never imagined. My favorite sentence from Lysa's book is "Commit to leave your agenda behind, take God's hand, and hold on tight...the journey has just begun."

I'm holding on Lord. I trust your plan. I can't wait to see where you take me.

If God is moving your cheese, I'd love to hear about it.

Click on the button above to visit Lelia's blog or to participate in this study.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday - Live for Today

The reality of my impending job loss weighed heavy on me the past couple days. I'm most concerned about health insurance, due to my daughter's asthma and husband's diabetes, especially after learning the monthly COBRA payment is more than our mortgage.

Although I'm feeling "why is it this thing called life has got me goin' crazy," I choose to concentrate on these words

"You told me not to worry about what lies ahead, so I am gonna focus on today instead, making every moment count and counting every single blessing."

God is in control. I will take it day by day, and let Him handle the future.

Visit Signs, Miracles and Wonders to hear more great songs.

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Safety Saturdays #19 - What To Do If You See A Lost Child

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) encourages people to be alert and report suspicious situations regarding missing and exploited children.

NCMEC teaches children to seek out low risk adults if they become separated from their parent or guardian and need assistance. These individuals are identified as a uniformed law-enforcement or security officer, a store salesperson wearing a nametag, an information booth emloyee wearing a nametag, or a mother with children.

But what if you’re a regular citizen? Use the tips noted below if you see a child who appears lost.
  • Don’t be afraid to get involved.
  • Comfort the child but use restraint in physically touching the child.
  • If the child is able to speak, ask if they’re lost or where their mother/father is.
  • Refrain from requesting too much personal information, since children are taught not to give out this information to people they don’t know.
  • If you have a cellular phone, contact authorities and report the incident.
  • Try to find someone nearby in a position of authority who can assist.
  • Do not take the child far from the immediate location.
  • Do not put the child in your car and drive off seeking help.
  • Ask passers-by to assist.
  • Wait with the child until help arrives.

The information above is reprinted from NCMEC's website.

If you have any questions or would like a particular topic covered in a future post, please let me know in comments or by email. If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.

Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays

Chapter 2, A Line in the Sand, of Lysa TerKeurst's book, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, encourages you to "leave the way you've always done life and start doing things differently with God." Click on the button above and visit Lelia's blog to learn more about this study.

Because the office where I work is closing at the end of the month, I am searching for a new job during a recession. In the past, these circumstances would cause stress and sleepless nights for me. With God, I have peace.

This transformation did not come naturally for me. I continue to work at it. When anxiety and fear creep into my spirit, I focus on God.

As Lysa said, "Experiencing life change is not a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice, choosing God's way instead of our own."

My faith is in what God can do."For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See I have already begun!" from Isaiah 43:19. I'm leaving behind fear and doubt. Let's see where God takes me.
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Safety Saturdays #18 - Safety Rules for Grades K-6

Safety Saturdays The NetSmartz safety "rap" video below teaches kids (Grades K-6)
how to be safer offline.

View the Know My Rules for Safety video and other safety videos at NetSmartzKids.

When openly discussing safety issues with children, be calm and reassuring. Build the child's confidence. Do not focus on "stranger danger" because a child is more likely to be harmed by someone you or the child knows.

Safety Tips to Review with Children

  1. Check first with parents, guardians or other trusted adults before going anywhere, accepting anything, helping someone, getting into a car, or leaving with anyone, including someone you know.
  2. Take a friend with you when going places or playing outside.
  3. Tell people "NO" if they try to cause you harm or you feel uncomfortable, scared, bad or confused, no matter who it is.
  4. Tell a trusted adult if anything happens to you. It is never your fault.

To enhance safety information, practice what-if scenarios with children. For instance, you can reinforce checking first with a trusted adult with the following "what would you do if" situations:

  1. A neighbor asks you to help bring in the groceries into their house
  2. A man at the park asks you to help find his lost dog
  3. A school friend's Dad asks you to get in his car
  4. A teenager at the playground wants to give you candy

Visit the NetSmartz website to print a Knowing My Rules for Safety poster. You can also download or order the publication or a bookmark at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website.

If you have any questions or would like a particular topic covered in a future post, please let me know in comments or by email. If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.

Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Frosty Needs Sun?

Apparently, I should spend some time in the sun this weekend, unless I am in jail or red bumps spread across my body.

Last night, Pumpkin skipped through the house singing, "Frosty the Snowman is as white as my Mommy."

Yesterday, I pulled weeds in the yard until my husband opened the window to warn me, "I sprayed those with weed killer. You better get in here and wash your hands."

After scrubbing my hands and arms, small red bumps appeared on my forearms, as my hands swelled. Fortunately, benadryl spray halted the outbreak in a few hours.

Tuesday afternoon, I exclaimed, "Oh no, I'm in big trouble," upon remembering I had jury duty that morning.

I called the jury information line, entered my jury number and heard this recording, "You are a horrible citizen, who clearly does not care about our justice system. Obviously, you never really worked in law enforcement, and you are a BIG RULE BREAKER. Your failure to appear could land you in jail."

I felt like it said that instead of something about the court already mailing my failure to appear notice with a new service date and failure to appear being punishable by section BLAH BLAH of state law BLAH BLAH."

What a week! I'll use SPF 70 this weekend, since this is me

Have wonderful 4th of July!

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Perseverance or Stubborness

After accidentally knocking the paper guard off our printer, my daughter asked me to fix it. When it did not immediately slide into place, Pumpkin suggested, "Let's get Daddy to do it."

Since Daddy was busy, I thought I could do it faster.

As I struggled with the tray, she exclaimed, "Just let Daddy do it!"

Me, "Why do you think Daddy can do it and Mommy can't?"

Pumpkin, "Daddy is better at fixing things."

Oh did those words spur my determination.

After several more attempts, I shoved it in, scraping my finger.

Did I persevere over difficulty, or did I stubbornly adhere to my opinion, I can fix things just as well as Daddy?

Am I this hard-headed with God?

How often do I insist on "fixing" things better left to Him because I think I can do it faster? Probably, more often than I'd like to admit.

How many times could I have been spared a little pain if only I waited for God to work in His time?

As I give up my need to control, I must fix my eyes on God. I apply persistent patience and trust in God's perfect timing.

How about you? Instead of waiting, are you tempted to try to do it yourself? How do you fix your eyes on God?

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Safety Saturdays #17 - More Summer Safety Tips

Summer frequently involves trips to theme parks and relative's homes. The links below highlight NCMEC publications with details on keeping kids safe at amusement parks and if traveling alone.

Know the Rules...Amusement or Theme Parks
Steps for parents and children to take when in an amusement or theme park

Know the Rules...Flying Unaccompanied
Rules to help make the flying experience for your child (under 18-years-old) safer

Know the Rules...Traveling Unaccompanied Bus/Train
Rules to help make travel by bus or train safer for your child

Check out NCMEC's free publications on safety issues, including the Know the Rules series.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post.

If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.

Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Relaxing Spa at Home with Kids?

I decided to share a spa like experience at home with my daughter. I knew I could create a relaxing atmosphere with a four-year-old.

Okay, I love sharing adventures with my daughter, but in all honesty, I just did not have the time or money to spend the afternoon at the spa.

After cleaning two years worth of dust off the foot bath, we filled it with warm water and put in our feet. Pumpkin, "Ahhhh, this feels so good." What four-year-old does not have tired feet in need of a whirlpool?

Pumpkin insisted we put our feet in together. I wanted to take a picture of this cute mother/daughter moment, but my feet in a footbath on the internet. No way!

We dried our feet. Put on lotion, and painted our toenails. I persuaded Pumkin to let me paint my own nails. Next, we did a hand treatment, which consisted of applying a scrub and gel, washing it off, and putting on lotion.

Pumpkin ran to show her Daddy her newly painted toenails. She told him, "Feel my hands. They've never been so soft." Coloring is hard on the hands.

As Pumpkin's bedtime drew near, her portion of the experience ended. After she's asleep, the real relaxation begins, so I thought.

Oh, the warm steam facial sauna... I pour in the water and turn it on. A few moments later I hear the machine gurgling. I don't remember it making this sound. Luckily, I jumped out of the way before being covered with hot water and black goop.

Determined to complete my spa experience, I cleaned up the mess spewed across the room and attempted to flush out the machine two more times. If I could just get only steam to come out, it would be fine.

After pouring in water for the third time, I sat with a flashlight shining into the machine to see if the steam might turn to goop, perched like a cat ready to leap.

What could be more relaxing than cleaning a bathroom and sitting on edge to get a facial. Maybe I should use the devices more than every couple years. If I don't, Pumpkin probably will.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

She Speaks Out of the Shadows

She Speaks exceeded my expectations. The staff of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the speakers, volunteers and new friends, all blessed me. Let me share how the faith over fear journey, leading to She Speaks, culminated this weekend.

Despite knowing God brought me to the conference, I found myself asking Him on Saturday evening why I was there. He answered me through Renee Swope's message. Renee spoke of her battle with fear, doubt, and discouragement. When she asked God why the shadow of doubt was so big, He revealed she could only see the shadow because she turned away from the light.

Last week, doubt disheartened me. How could God use me if I had doubts? Not until Renee's message did I fully understand doubt does not disqualify you from being used by God. He sees beyond who we are to who we can become, as Renee said.

At the end of her message, Renee invited us to write down whatever was casting a shadow over us and trade it for a card with a word behind scripture. Overwhelmed by the revelation of how I blocked God's light by looking at the shadows, I wanted to flee from the truth. Instead, I watched woman after woman go to a cross in the room to lay down her doubts.

I exchanged my doubts for God's truth. The word on my card is "CHOSEN," and the verse reads, "For you are a chosen (woman). You are a royal priest, a holy (daughter). God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

How fitting for God to call me out of the darkness of fear, doubt, discouragement and self-criticism at She Speaks. For whatever purpose, I am chosen. Whether through a book, magazine article, blog, note, or journal entry, I will use my writing to share the blessing of this weekend. "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:21


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Monday, June 16, 2008

She Speaks Soon

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others. - Marianne Williamson

Encouraging words as I mentally, spiritually, and logistically prepare myself to attend my first writer's conference, She Speaks, this weekend. My posting will remain sparse until next week. I look forward to sharing my experience with you. Safety Saturdays will resume in a couple weeks.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Roller Coaster Life Lesson

At 2-years-old, Pumpkin rode her first kiddie roller coaster with me. She squealed in delight. I screamed in fear. Even then, her excitement grew at the sight of speeding, looping, twisting cars of terror on giant rides.

Despite my attempts to explain my disdain for roller coasters, her determination to get me on one never weakens. While discussing plans to visit an amusement park this summer, Pumpkin, 4-years-old now, clapped her hands and declared, "Mommy and I will ride a roller coaster."

Me, "Oh, I don't think Mommy will ride a roller coaster."

Pumpkin, "Mommy, it's okay. I will be right beside you."

Me, "Thank you, but you know Mommy doesn't like roller coasters. Why do you think you want to ride a roller coaster but Mommy is scared?"

Pumpkin, "Because it is fun. You just don't know how fun it will be."

Me, "It does not look fun to me. It looks frightening."

Pumpkin took my hand and looked me right in the eyes, "Mommy, I will hold you hand. You'll be okay. It will be soooo fun."

Another life lesson from my little one. Aren't situations more frightening when we focus on our fear? Doesn't someone beside us, holding our hand, calm our fears?

For I hold you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God. And I
say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.' Isaiah 41:13 (NLT)

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Safety Saturdays #16 - Summer Safety Tips

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides several free publications on safety issues, including the Know the Rules series.

Know the Rules...Summer Safety Tips for Parents and Guardians*

  • Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes they may visit when you’re not there and discuss the boundaries of where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.

  • Make sure children know their full names, address, and telephone numbers and how to use the telephone. Be sure they know what to do in case of an emergency and how to reach you using cellular or pager numbers. Children should have a neighbor or trusted adult they may call if they’re scared or there’s an emergency.

  • Caution children to keep the door locked and not to open the door or talk to anyone who comes to the door when they are home alone. If you have arranged for a family friend or relative to stop by, make sure your children feel comfortable being alone with that person. Make certain they understand not to tell anyone who calls they are home alone.

  • Don’t drop your children off at malls, movies, video arcades, or parks. These are not safe places for children to be alone. Make certain a responsible adult supervises your younger children at all times when they are outside and away from home.

  • Teach your children in whose vehicle they may ride. Children should be cautioned to never approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.

  • Make sure your children know to stay away from pools, canals, or other bodies of water without adult supervision.

  • Since daylight lasts longer during the summer months, be sure your children know their curfew and to check in with you if they are going to be late. If you allow your children to play outside after dark, make sure they wear reflective clothing and stay close to home.

  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Many states now have registries for public access to check criminal history or sex-offender status. Observe the babysitter’s interaction with your children, and ask your children how they feel about the babysitter.

  • Check out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your children. See if a background screening check is completed on the individuals working with the children. Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children at all times, and make sure you are made aware of all activities and field trips offered by the camp or program.

  • Investigate daycare settings thoroughly before placing your children. Make certain the center or family-daycare home is licensed; completes full background screening for all employees at, volunteers of, and others affiliated with the facility; and allows parents and guardians to freely come and go as they wish. Observe the personnel and activities several times before making your decision and visit unannounced after placement.

  • Be sure all custody documents are in order and certified copies are available in case your children are not returned from a scheduled summer visit.

  • Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Your children are your best source for determining if everything is okay. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away and practice basic safety skills with them. Make sure they know they are able to tell you about anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.

*Copyright © 1993 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). All rights reserved.

Resources for additional information:

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post. (If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.) Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Journey Through Ireland West

These images offer a glimpse into my travel through Ireland West.

View from my room in Galway

Canals winding through parts of Galway City

Scenes around Galway Bay and an old fishing village

Dungaire Castle, built in 1520, in Kinvara, County Galway

Cliffs of Moher, sea-cliffs, approximately 656 feet high and 5 miles long
The tiny figures in the top left corner are people.

Countryside, County Mayo

Cong Abbey, founded in early 12th century

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, 13th Century Castle

As I explored the beautiful countryside, calm enveloped me. I focused on my surroundings each moment of each day. As this week progressed, the tranquility I found in Ireland began slipping away.

My circumstances are the same as before I left. I do not know when my office will close, and I do not have another job. I am no more in control now than I was a few weeks ago. In Ireland, I did not need to be in control. Once home, my desire to feel in control increased as I shifted my thoughts from the present to the future.

Although the amazing scenery in Ireland influenced my mood, my peace came from another source. Today, God reminded me He will bring me the same peace I had in Ireland, if I let Him. As I transition my focus back to each moment of each day, I know God is in control. I find delightful evidence of His presence in my daughter's laughter and my husband's reassuring smile.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)
Thank you God for the perfect souvenir.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back to Reality

For seven days, I lived another life, only responsible for myself. I existed in the mellow, timeless dreamworld of Ireland. I explored cities, castles, and the beautiful countryside with old and new friends.

Overall, the trip included more vacation than business. Despite taking hundreds of pictures, I'm not sure I captured all the breathtaking scenery. Narrowing down the images to a reasonable amount to share is a daunting task. Here is one of my favorite images from the past week.

I took this photo at my daughter's recital this weekend, not in Ireland. Welcome me back to reality, where a hectic day ends with hugs, kisses, and "I love you, Mommy." Although I could become accustomed to having a chef, maid, and driver, the "dreamworld" cannot measure up to my real life.

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