Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BAD APPS – PARENTS BEWARE


    SnapChat  SnapChat allows you to send pictures or videos to a friend through the app for them to view for a set time (1-10 seconds), then the Snap “disappears” from the screen. This does not prevent screenshots being taken of the picture that was sent or received. Please read the terms and agreements in full.  These pictures do not “disappear”. Everything that you post     through the app belongs to SnapChat, however they are not legally responsible for any illegal activity that could rise from the app or it’s content. Again, I urge you, read the terms and conditions.


    Kik – This is a private messaging app in which you can share text messages, photos, or videos. It is next to impossible to determine the true identity of the person with whom you may be chatting or messaging. Just by simply reading the “reviews”, you will clearly see that this is a sexually charged app promoting secrecy, anonymity, and sexting. Again, please read the terms and conditions of this app.

   
Instagram – While seemingly innocent and safe, this is a potential venue for pornographic websites to prey on you and your children. It’s important that your profile be set to private in order for them not to gain access to your account. Beware of the “explore” section of this app, as it has been known to feature explicit content. Also, watch who your child follows. This is an app that’s purpose is to share pictures and, as we all know, not all pictures are appropriate.

    Ask.fm – The purpose of Ask.fm, both the app and website, is for users to ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. However, anyone…and I repeat anyone, can ask the user anything, even if they do not have an ask.fm account just by clicking the option to be anonymous. Ask.fm is an incredibly dangerous app and website. Between 2012 and 2014, this app and site became associated with numerous instances of cyber bullying, some of which led to suicides, particularly in teens.

  
    Twitter – Use caution, set all accounts to private, and do not open any direct messages with a link. Many pornographic websites and fake profiles troll this app and website. Change your password often, as accounts are easily hacked.


    Facebook – Check and reset privacy settings often, as they can be changed without the users being notified.  Be aware that an individual can have more than one account.



Vine – Vine is a video sharing app where users can view, create, and share videos that are no more than six seconds in duration and run in a loop. This site is infamous for pornographic and explicit content, and has very little privacy and protective setting capabilities. 


Pinterest – Description via app “With Pinterest you can:
• Plan projects—home decor overhauls, car restorations, garden redesigns and other DIY efforts
• Dream up your next travel outing—outdoor adventures, road trips with friends, family outings and exotic travel
• Collect your favorite things—illustrations, ideas for tattoos, hilarious quotes, jewelry designs, the latest technology and inspiring art and architecture
• Save great ideas—articles to read, movies to watch, gifts to buy, art for your home, fashion and beauty how-tos, food and recipes to cook, fitness tips and great hair looks
• Get organized for a party—wedding decor, birthday themes, dresses for the dinner party and recipes for game day
      Use Pinterest today to discover things you you’re interested in, and let Pinterest inspire you to do those things. How it works: You organize all your ideas into collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”). When you find something that looks interesting, all you have to do is Pin It!” While this app and website can hold much benefit, it is riddled with pornographic images and links. Many off these images are feigned “workout” pictures, others are just “in your face” porn.

    
YikYak – Via the app description: “YikYak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them.” This app allows you to send updates that anyone in your area, set by GPS services, can see in a Twitter-like timeline or newsfeed. These updates are allowed to be no more than 200 characters. YikYak is an anonymous site. Basically, other users can know where you are but not who you are. 

    Poof – This app has currently been pulled from itunes, google play, and other android app services. However many apps like it are popping up daily. These apps make text messages “disappear” or make apps “disappear” from parents. What the person doesn’t want others to see on their phone, they can make “disappear” or hidden, using these apps.


 Omegle – The slogan “Talk to Strangers” is by itself a red flag. This is an app that connects you to “strangers” to text chat or video chat with.
      Via Wikipedia:
“Omegle was initially a text-only chat that paired users at random to communicate as "strangers". However, in 2010, Omegle introduced a video mode to complement the text chat mode, which pairs together strangers who are using web-cams and microphones. The video chat also has a text window built in. 
In 2011, the beta version of a new feature, "Spy Mode", was introduced. In Spy (Question) Mode, users have two options; to be the "spy" and ask a question of two strangers, or to discuss a question with another stranger. As the spy, the user inputs any question for the two strangers to answer or discuss and is able to view the discussion as a third party, albeit without being able to contribute further to the conversation. The spy can quit at any time without ending the chat for the two other strangers. If a user chooses to discuss a question instead, as in normal text mode, the user is paired with another stranger and can discuss the question the spy has asked up until the point the other stranger decides to disconnect and/or move on to another question.
In 2012, Omegle added a special new feature to the text and video modes, the option to input "interest" tags. Adding interests lets users be paired with a stranger who has something in common with the user. A user can input as many interests as he or she would like, and if no available match is found, the user is paired with a completely random stranger instead. 

In 2013, an unmonitored version of the video chat mode was opened, leaving the original content moderator-regulated video section open to anyone aged thirteen and up as long as the content of his or her video stream is clean. Initially, questionable adult content in the video section of Omegle was filtered using image recognition algorithms only. The newer unmonitored video section allows consenting adults over the age of eighteen the freedom to view, and share with one another, uncensored explicit video streams.
In 2014, Omegle began experimenting with a "Dorm Chat" mode, which requires the user to provide an e-mail address ending in ".edu" to verify that they are associated with a college or university. Dorm Chat allows the user to chat with his or her classmates and colleagues on Omegle.”
Parents, if that alone does not scare the ever living daylights out of you I don’t know what will.

       Whisper – Via the app description: “Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves, connect with like-minded individuals, and discover the unseen world around us. With Whisper, you can anonymously share your thoughts and emotions with the world, and form lasting and meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty. If you have ever had something too intimate to share on traditional social networks, simply share it on Whisper.” This app allows you to anonymously connect with other users through responding “whispers” or with free private messaging.

    Hot or Not Via Wikipedia: “The purpose of the app 'Hot or Not' is to rate pictures of other people. When you rate somebody as hot, and they rate you as hot, then you become connections. When you're connected, you get to chat with each other. Users also receive a hotness rating out of 10 based on the number of people who rate you as hot, vs. those who don't.” Via app description: "Hot or Not. Get in. Get seen. Get fans! Check out if you are Hot, find interesting people around you and chat with them. The hottest online community with over 190 million members!" This is clearly a sexually charged app. Parents, please, let’s all be smart about this…enough said.

Down – Formerly “Bang with Friends”. This app is linked through Facebook. It’s slogan is “Anonymously find people in your social network who are down for the night.” Via the app description: “1. Pick your hot friends anonymously 2. They pick you 3. We send you a private email hooking you two up 4. Go on your date or get down!  Bang With Friends is now DOWN: We are the original and official way to bang your friends!” Once again, enough said.


Parents, it's time. It time to get our heads out of the sand on this one. We have got to be educated on this thing called social media and smartphones. The ignorance MUST stop! I have watched families, marriages, children, mothers, fathers, young adults, older adults, churched, and unchurched alike, being completely wrecked by this. Their lives forever altered with negative consequences that are far outreaching just them and their immediate families. I have looked in the faces of people I know and love, who have been wounded and hurt by the consequences of ignorance in this area. Knowledge is power. Get informed so that you can get involved helping not just your child, but yourself as well, set boundaries in this area. Our enemy prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour... don't let him in to devour your child, your family, or your home though a piece of technology that you can hold in your hand. It's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!! If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling of a young person, or you have a young person that you care about in your life, it's your responsibility. If you own a smartphone yourself, it's your responsibility. Wake up. Stand up. Get informed. Get involved. Stay informed. Stay involved. And above all, lets love our children enough to hold them accountable and set boundaries for them, especially in this incredibly dangerous world that is social media and smartphones. It's time. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Redefining Normal


We are not normal. We just aren't. We have tried to be. And the problem is, for a long time, we were in fact "normal". We tried to squeeze our selves down into the box of nice, normal, and average. We tried to conform.


But we weren't meant to be normal. We were never meant to be average. We weren't meant to conform. We were meant to be great, to be crazy, to be beyond average, to be radical, to be far from normal. We are choosing to redefine normal for our family.

 

And who are we kidding, if you know us you know that the Wood Pile is far from normal anyway! :)


We have redefined what a "normal" family looks like, redefined how we have always viewed church and religion, redefined courageous living, redefined impossible, redefined what faith looks like, redefined what it means to not just believe in God but to actually believe Him and take Him at His word. This process of redefining has taken place within our own family, our own hearts. It was necessary for us to do this, because the normal we were living in wasn't abundant living...it just was not the way God intended us to live.


We have redefined what all these things look like to us, to the Woods.We can't redefine these things for you or your families, you have to do that for yourselves. Let me tell you, us living "our normal" is so much more fun than trying to make our family live in someone elses. And our new normal is AWESOME!



Monday, April 21, 2014

When In Doubt...REMEMBER!

My God is a faithful Promise-Keeper! 

Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

He acts on my behalf.

Isaiah 64:4 "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him."

He does the IMPOSSIBLE...more than I could ever ask or imagine!!!

Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..."

He is a miracle worker...then and NOW!

Psalm 77:11-15 "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds. Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples."

He has accomplished my healing. It is finished!!!

Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24 “by His wounds you have been healed.”
 
 And so, I remember...and the doubt is gone!
   
Psalm 111:4 "He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate."

Display Your power, LORD!!! 




Friday, April 18, 2014

No Longer Broken

Fourteen years ago, I worked at a day care center in the baby room. One day, as I was trying to clean up the room to go home, I tripped over a baby gate and I broke my wrist. It hurt so bad. It was swollen and bruised. My wrist was broken...but then it healed. I don't call my wrist broken anymore, cause its not. It would be really weird if I did, because while it was broken at one time, its not anymore.

It's the same with me as a whole. I am no longer broken. I was at one time; I was a spiritually dead person who was broken in sin, but then Jesus. I gave my life to Him. I made Him Lord and Boss. He healed me. He made me a new creation. A brand new creature. I am not broken anymore. Why then would I call myself "broken"?
Today, on this Good Friday, as I thought about Jesus and what He did on that cross, I couldn't quit thinking about the fact that He was broken...for me! He was bruised...for me! He was hurt and abused....for me! He died a horrible death...for me! He endured all of that, so that I could be healed, whole, restored, redeemed, and made brand new. Not so that I could walk through life acting like the broken person I was before I was healed, and certainly not calling myself broken. 

But don't take my word for it.....


1 Corinthians 11:24 (NKJV) "and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you"

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed."

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)  "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

Romans 6:22 (MSG) "But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!"

Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV) "Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"  

Here is the amazing thing, while my wrist still has evidence of having been broken, when I gave my life to Christ I was made brand new, with no evidence of ever having been broken. I AM NEW!!! I will never again refer to myself as a broken person, because not only is that simply not true, it is a sheer insult to what Jesus Christ did. He was nailed to a cross so that He could nail down my healing. I am healed and whole. I am no longer broken. And if you have made Jesus Lord of your life, you aren't broken anymore either.  

 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Senior


I have no words to say how proud we are of this boy and of the man that he is becoming. We are honored to call him our son. He brings us joy every day. He is a gift and a blessing. He is a mighty warrior! He is a worldchanger!


This young man seeks the Lord with his whole heart. He is one of the most courageous people I know. He not only claims to set boundaries, he sets them and stays in them, even when it's tough and even when he is the only one. 



We are and will be forever thankful that the Lord blessed our home, our hearts, and our family with Woodrow. He is living proof that the Lord answers prayers and that He is a faithful Promise-Keeper.


On May 16th, this boy graduates from high school. While our hearts ache, it is with enormous pride, hope, excitement, and joy...with just a sprinkle of sadness. We can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for Woodrow and for our family. This we know, it's going to be huge! 

Momma loves you so much, Woodrow!

  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Speak The Truth In Love

Ephesians 4:15 "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ."

There are those who speak truth but have no love. There are those who speak love without truth. And there are those who love and believe truth, but don't speak. Church, we need to be people who are sincerely, passionately, and boldly speaking the truth in love.

Without love, our truth accomplishes nothing. Without truth, our love is not really love at all.

Speak the truth in love. This world needs to hear truth and this world needs to see love. Then we will be mature. Then we will be like Christ.



        

An Open Letter of Forgiveness

I have come to the place that I realize that I need to let it go. I need to forgive you, really forgive you. Even if you aren't sorry, and you're not. It's not because you are cruel and hateful, it's because you really don't understand what you did.

"Hurt people, hurt people."

I believe that you live your life hurt and scared. It's this pain and fear that causes you to lash out at and push other people down in an effort to appear brave.

I am sorry you have been hurt by this world. I am sorry that you have been hurt by the church and by religion. I am so sorry that you have never fully seen yourself in the light of how God sees you. I am sorry that you have never understood grace or the power that you have through Christ. I am so sorry that my family and I didn't understand that until now.

You, sir, are loved. You are not a worm in the ground before the Lord. You are not defined by what you have done in the past. You can stop trying to be good enough, because in Christ you already are. You can stop trying to earn God's love by doing religion, He loves you already. Religion, doing the "church thing", won't fix the void in your life, only Jesus can do that.

I know you're frustrated and confused. I know you don't understand, but you will. You will understand soon. This is why I need you to know that not only are you loved by the Lord, you are loved by the Wood Pile, all of us! In Jesus name, we are praying for you and we forgive you. In Jesus name, I am praying for you and I forgive you.

With Great Love and in the Power of the Holy Spirit,
Sara