September 23, 2016

Five Words {Five Minute Friday}

Can you believe it's already Friday again? My dad flew in for the weekend so he could take care of some business stuff related to their new property here. So we are enjoying the time with him before he flies out again on Sunday night. Because it IS Friday, it's time for another 5 Minute Friday post. I found the theme for this week a bit harder than the last two weeks, but I will give it a go.


AND GO

Five. 
It's Friday and tomorrow is my Sabbath, so I start thinking ahead to my special time extra focused on God. And I come up with five words that I keep in my heart to help me in my daily walk with Him.

1. WAIT
Wait on the Lord.
Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! ~Psalm 27:14

This is probably the hardest command God gives us. To wait for things to happen in HIS time, and not our own. But it definitely helps me build the much needed patience.

2. TRUST
Trust that God knows what He's doing.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD... ~Psalm 73:28

Oh this one is nearly as hard. I think of all the times when I just throw up my hands, because what's happening in this life, makes no sense, or overwhelms me. So I just have to keep my trust in the one constant. God.

3. HOPE
Hope in the Lord.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

I have a hope for the future that nothing on this earth can take away. It's because of this hope that I can get through the trials that life throw at me. I know my future. I know the plans God has. Nothing in this world is better than that.

4. BELIEVE
Believe that All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ~Galatians 3:22

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

I don't have much to add to that. I just have to BELIEVE that what God has written WILL happen. Believe that it's true. Believe that God is in control. That He follows through on his promises...

5. FAITH
Shield of Faith.

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. ~Ephesians 6:16

I lift my shield of faith every day to fight off the fiery darts of the adversary. It's when I don't gird myself through daily Bible Study and meditation that I falter. So I must lift my shield and keep it steady.

AND STOP.
I hope that you and yours have a simply fabulous weekend. It was the first day of fall yesterday, but it still feels like summer at 90+ degrees! I'm so ready for fall!!!
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September 22, 2016

KidsEmail.org~ A Safe (and FUN!) Email Service for Kids {Product Review}

My boys don't have access to a computer for much more than online assignments, but every now and then, I know they have wished for their own email to send messages to their grandparents and friends. I also have wished they had one for some of our online curriculums, but because of my personal experiences with so many email providers, I did not want to sign them up with any that I have used myself. When I learned about KidsEmail.org with their powerful and safe email for kids, I knew that this would be a great review for us and looked forward to trying out our Annual Subscription.
KidsEmail.org: Powerful and Safe Email for Kids (Product Review)

About KidsEmail.org

KidsEmail.org is a safe and powerful email resource for your children. Offering top of the line filtering and settings for you to use on your child's email accounts, they promise that your child will be able to use their email safely. With options for mail monitoring, time restrictions, block senders, approved contact lists, a mail queue to catch unapproved contact emails, no ads (ever!), and the option for GPS tracker on the KidsEmail app, this isn't your "normal" email service provider. Your child's safety is first and foremost in their priorities. 

The subscription service to this website is available as a monthly and annual subscription (best price!) with a 30 day free trial option. 

We were blessed with an annual subscription to this email service which was used by both boys--ages 6 and 10.

Our Thoughts on KidsEmail.org

KidsEmail.org was very very user friendly and I had no trouble at all getting my two boys set up with their email accounts. I appreciated the extensive list of approved settings for their email--which can be individualized, or set for ALL users. 

This includes the following options found in "Safety Settings":
*option to receive and/or send email to contact list only (yes or no)
*option to allow child to edit their on contact list (yes or no)
*send parent a copy of incoming/outgoing email (yes or no)
*allow images, links, or attachments (with option for more specific settings in these)
*option to allow bad words in received email (yes or no)
*add tagline about it being a kids email with safety features to emails
*option to send email sender a notification of their mail going into a mail queue for approval

There is also the ability to limit the time your child can access their email account which can be customized by child or for whole group:

We had issues with this because it kept trying to change our time zone, so it wouldn't let the boys log in some mornings saying we were in a restricted time. I had to tweak this a few times. I hope it will be a bug that can be worked out.

You can also set up a special background screen for your child--or let them pick their own. I guessed what my boys would like--but they ended up changing it once they logged into their own accounts.
a few of the options
A unique and excellent setting--especially for the teens is the "Ground Child" option where you can set up a suspension of use for the email and it will send them a message that this is part of their grounding consequences.
Once you have set up a contact list, any other emails that are sent to your child, will be going into YOUR mail queue, where you get to approve or block the non-approved contact list emails. Here is an example of an email I sent from one of my non-approved for their contact list emails:
We only had one problem with an email that went straight to their inboxes, without hitting the mail queue, but it was still from me. I just sent it from one of their online curriculum. Because this WASN'T the way it was supposed to work, I emailed their customer service with my concern. They answered right away that they would look into it, and continued to check back in. It apparently happened to other of the crew members from the SAME website, but last I checked they weren't sure why or how it was happening because it couldn't be replicated. While I know I personally sent this email to the boys, I would be concerned if it happened again. BUT KidsEmail does NOT give out their list of emails to anyone or any other service, so I highly doubt that it will happen as just random emails sent out. Even the administrator emails FROM KidsEmail that they sent to test, went into my mail queue, so we think it was some kind of fluke.

A few special aspects of the email for kids itself--the kids can use the PAINT option and attach custom drawn pictures with the paint tool. My boys LOVED drawing pictures for their grandparents and sending them. 

You can see where it has been attached below!
There is also the option for a received email to be read aloud to your child. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get that option to work, but if it DID work, I think it would be great for my youngest who can't read very well yet. 

Another option is that this email service is compatible with tablets and devices--even having their own app for android and iOS. I added the app to my Kindle and the boys LOVE using it, as it is easier for them to log in, has more emoticons, and has an "add photo" option where they can attach a picture they take. The boys found it very very easy to navigate, however, they don't like that it won't let them just start a NEW email. It will instead "reply" to whomever they last read. On the laptop, clicking "write email" opens up a new draft for adding your own contacts. 

As of right now, the boys BOTH love having their own email, and take great pleasure out of sending their grandparents emails every morning--and even more pleasure in receiving emails. Because we don't allow computer use beyond school, I set up a checking email time for them at the beginning and ending of each day, which works perfect. 

Both have just one complaint--they would appreciate it if the PAINT option would SAVE whatever their current drawing is. I had MUCH wailing and gnashing of teeth when they accidentally forgot to hit "attach to email" and then they lost their hard work. 
All in all, I appreciated how I could customized every setting for the boys and that I knew they would only receive mail from approved contacts. I hate ads, and I love that they don't have to worry about them. I am not concerned that someone is going to get their emails without my approval, because of the failsafe of the mail queue for non-approved contact emails. Sure there is always the chance that a hacker may get it--but that's true for anything. I feel much more confortable with my boys using this email service that any of the ones I have ever used--no matter how strict of filters you can set up.

Would I Recommend KidsEmail.org?

I absolutely would recommend this email service to anyone with kids and teens looking for a safe option, that allows parental monitoring and filtering. I also appreciate that your child can shift to a teen login and subsequent more grown up email address (kmail instead of kidsemail) while allowing you the same safety precautions. The price at just $2.99/month for an annual subscription is worth every penny--especially since it is valid for up to SIX email accounts! I will definitely be considering continuing our subscription after it has completed next year--particularly for my oldest. I encourage you to do the TRY IT FREE FOR 30 DAYS option(no CC is required for trial!) to see how it works for you!

Want to Know More?

We have been enjoying our Annual Subscription service to KidsEmail.org! We reviewed the email for a kids login, but several of our crew members reviewed the Teen login as well. I hope you will check out and see what the rest of our crew thought about this product!
KidsEmail.org Annual Subscription
If you want to know more about KidsEmail.org, I encourage you to follow them on these social media outlets: 

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September 16, 2016

Oh That They Would Listen {Five Minute Friday}

Ah. Here we are at another Friday evening. Aren't you so glad that the week is over? I know I sure am. I am heading into my Sabbath now and am so thankful for the rest. As I said last week, I am continuing my participation in the weekly 5 Minute Friday series at Heading Home. Won't you join me as I spend 5 minutes writing about this week's theme?
Oh That They Would Listen {Five Minute Friday}
AND GO
Listen. 
When I think of the word LISTEN, I think of the fact that it's an ACTIVE word, even though you are silent. So LISTEN is to be completely engaged on something with all your heart, mind and body. Some refer to it as active listening.

It's hard for humans to really do active LISTENing. We are easily distracted by sights, sounds, and even our own thoughts. How much of a conversation we really miss because we are not devoting ourselves to LISTENing. 

If we have trouble LISTENing to our own selves, is it any wonder that we struggle to LISTEN to God? Time and time again, we can read that we must have the ears to hear His word. That He will talk to us if we would just LISTEN! 

There is a scripture in Psalm 81 that I think really just sums it up.

"Oh that My people would would LISTEN to Me, that Israel would walk in My Ways..." ~ Psalm 81:13
What follows next, and what is really the theme of the whole chapter is the blessings that God would shower down upon the nation if they would only LISTEN to what He (God) had to say and do it.

Last week, I mentioned how God promised to HEAL our land if we turned to Him. Turning to Him requires LISTENING to what He has to say.

Unfortunately, man doesn't want to hear what God has to say.
So he refuses to listen.

STOP.
Want to Join in?
***
I hope you and yours have a simply marvelous weekend. It's a spectacular harvest moon outside and the night is just fabulous. I love the changing from summer to fall, don't you?
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