I saw a single mom at church last Sunday. A dear lady. Friend. Professional business woman I respect greatly. We chatted two seconds in the hallway of the ladies rest room (Why is that a good place to bond)? And within seconds, without her saying a word, I saw into her soul and knew that the holidays were a hard time (families everywhere, “single”ness glaring her in the face, with the challenge of meeting her former in-laws for lunch soon for the kids’ sake). Yet, without her saying a word about any of this, I just knew, and out of my mouth blurted, “I get you. I just get you!” Continue Reading…
I had the opportunity to share at an annual holiday event one of my favorite messages called “The Long-Handled Spoon.” I don’t know why I love this silly little story so much, but I do. It just makes my heart warm. The story goes like this. Continue Reading…
Sometimes it does my heart good to just spend time with one of our single moms and hear her share. Today Chelsey and her son, Jaylen, blessed my heart. Continue Reading…
One thing is for sure.. if you’ve been a mother for very long, you KNOW the definition of these words… STRESSED OUT…As a mom, you’ve likely had more than one opportunity JUST TODAY to practice its meaning: you know…drained over the never-ending schedule, unsettled over the well-being of the children, unnerved over your own emotions, feeling deficient and likely overwhelmed. You just feel like your brain has too many tabs open. Amen? Continue Reading…
Have you ever been asked to do something and your first instinct was, “NO WAY!” That happened to me five months ago when Sherry Jordan, President of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce, asked me to be one of their six contestants in the first ever Edmond “Dancing with the Stars” fundraiser on September 7th. I thought, “WHO ME?” (I could already see the image of me embarrassing myself which made saying NO all the easier.) They wanted to pair these six participants with a professional dance studio for private lessons. Well, I eventually say yes, and I was surprised what I learned. Continue Reading…
My computer was hacked July 4th. With an excessive amount of emails, texts and phone calls to both my husband and me, asking if we were OK or if I really needed a favor or money, my eyes were opened that hacking can happen to anyone. I read an article by Kim Komando – Special for USA Today – that I wanted to post. Perhaps it might give a few ways you can safeguard your system.
Article: by Kim Komando –
Right now, millions of hackers, spammers and scammers are hard at work. They’re after your Social Security number, bank account information and social media accounts. With any of these, they can steal your money or trick your friends into giving up theirs.
The scary part is that anyone can be a hacker. For as little as $3,000, you can buy a complete and fully operational exploit kit. This kit does most of the illegal work for you automatically. You get to sit back and rake in the cash, until you get caught.
Between semi-amateurs with automated systems and serious hackers who are masters of technology and trickery, how can you possibly hope to stay safe?
The best way is to know how hackers do what they do. Once you know that, you can counter their malicious acts. Here are five popular hacker strategies.
- Phishing scams
Lucky you! A Nigerian prince has selected you to help smuggle millions out of his country. For a little bit of effort — a few simple wire transfers — you’ll get a substantial cut. What could be easier?
I bet you’re asking yourself, “Who would fall for that?” Well, tens of thousands of people do every year. That’s why Nigerian scams, known as 419 scams, are still very popular.
Other versions might say you won a contest or have a job offer. Maybe someone wants to meet you, or you can make money for shipping some goods.
The catch is that you have to send in personal or banking information, or pay a fee. Of course, your information and money is going straight to hackers.
Use common sense before reacting to any e-mail. Scams rely on making you act quickly. If you think about things long enough, you can usually see through them. Just remember the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true … ”
- Trojan horse
Many hackers want to slip a virus on your computer. Once installed, a virus can record everything you type and send it back to the hacker. It can send out spam e-mail or attack other computers.
To do this, the hackers disguise the virus as something harmless. This is called a Trojan horse, or just Trojan.
One of the most popular ways to deliver a Trojan is a variation of the phishing e-mail scams.
For example, the e-mail might say it’s from a shipping service, bank or other reputable company. There’s been a problem with a transaction! To learn more, you have to open an e-mail attachment.
The attachment might look like a normal file, but it really contains a Trojan. Clicking on the file installs it before you can do anything.
Similar scams appear on Facebook and Twitter. You think you’re going to watch a funny video your friend posted. Instead, a popup tells you to update your video player. The “update” file it provides is really a Trojan.
The key to defeat this tactic, as with phishing e-mails, is common sense. However, up-to-date security software is essential as well. It should detect and stop most Trojans before they can install.
- Drive-by downloads
Security software is good, but it isn’t always enough. Programs on your computer might have weaknesses that hackers can use to bypass security software.
To take advantage of these weaknesses, hackers set up websites embedded with viruses. You might get there by clicking a malicious link in a phishing e-mail or on social media. You can even find these sites in a search for popular programs or topics.
It isn’t just malicious sites, though. Hackers can sneak malicious code on to legitimate websites. The code scans your computers for security holes. If it finds one, a virus can download and install without you doing anything.
To stay safe, you have to keep your programs up-to-date. Every month, Microsoft releases updates for Windows and Internet Explorer. These updates close critical security holes that hackers exploit.
Other critical programs to patch are Adobe’s Flash and Reader, and Oracle’s Java. Using old versions of these programs is like sending hackers an engraved invitation.
You should also be using the latest version of your programs. Anyone using Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 needs to update or switch browsers immediately.
- Bypassing passwords
In Hollywood movies, hackers are masters of guessing account passwords. In the real world, however, very few hackers bother.
Instead, they go around passwords. They might get your password from a data breach at a company or website you use.
It’s important that you use a different password for every account. That way, if a hacker discovers one, they can’t get in to every account.
Perhaps the hacker slipped a virus on to your system. It records your passwords and sends them to the hacker; no guessing needed.
As I mentioned above, you can stop viruses with up-to-date security software and programs.
A hacker might tackle your account’s security question. Most security questions can be answered with information people post publicly.
You should change how you answer security questions. Give a random answer that has nothing to do with the question. That way, no one can guess it.
- Using open Wi-Fi
I’m sure you have a Wi-Fi network at home. Is it encrypted? If you don’t know the answer, then it’s probably, “no.”
That means hackers, and neighbors, can connect to your network from outside. They can see and record everything you do. They can surf to bad websites and download illegal files on your connection. You might be getting a visit from the police.
You need to take a few minutes and secure your network. Trust me; it’s worth it. The instructions will be in your Wi-Fi router’s manual.
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk-radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim’s free e-mail newsletters, sign-up at: http://www.komando.com/newsletters.
My daddy inherited a nickname when he was playing football at Texas Tech University. His coach called him “Moon” because his face was more round than his helmet. So he went from George to Moon in the matter of one day of practice. But here’s what I remember about him. Continue Reading…
Recently I spoke at a baccalaureate at a Christian school. When asked to be the speaker, I thought, “I’d love to, but what do you tell high school seniors while sprinkling spiritual tidbits on top?” Someone suggested that it might be helpful to read this book as I considered my topic: Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age – by Sherry Turkle. I took the advice, and not only did it jumpstart my thinking about today’s young people, but it whet my appetite for gaining a clearer understanding of today’s world of technology. I found the information from her book and other sites on the Internet alarming. Let me share a few statistics.
- 92% of children under the age of 2 already have “digital shadows” (that is, learning to hold digital devices).
- 1 in 5 divorces blame Facebook for its cause.
- 18% of social media users can’t go even a few hours without checking Instagram, Twitter, or other sites.
So what’s so harmful about all that? My studies revealed these problems:
- Isolation tendencies. People walk around in their own little worlds.
- Lack of social skills. People find face-to-face conversation difficult.
- Warped sense of reality. People see only the BEST of others – (Everyone is a rock star! Right?)
- Additional stress. People feel the subconscious demand to stay “connected”.
So what did the researchers suggest in slowing down this tsunami of social media frenzy that can’t be reversed? UNPLUG! Yes, it sounds so obvious. It’s a simple—albeit quite difficult for some—fix to this alluring addiction. Yet what would happen if we chose to unplug more frequently and be present in this life? What if we chose to be more present while enjoying relationships with conversation? What if we chose to be more present by communing with God through reading His Word, meditation, and prayer?
If ever a woman needed to unplug from the busyness of life, it’s a single mom. Amen? That’s why Arise Ministries reinvented Survive ‘N’ Thrive to a fabulous one day event – Survive ‘N’ Thrive Unplugged – a full day overflowing with relevant topics, laughter, and an opportunity for God to refresh the soul. With 12 speakers sharing only 15 minutes each (much like TED Talks), every single mom is certain to be rebooted for her single mom journey. Here’s a sampling of the topics for the day:
- Accepting What Is
- Be Your Child’s Best Parent not Their Best Friend
- Beyond Bitterness
- Balancing Work and Home
- Prayer POWER
- And MORE! MORE! MORE!
And to top it off, we have Charlie Hall leading us in worship. It’s going to be the BEST yet! The truth is, friend, whether we’re single or married, God wants to invigorate our walk with Him by enabling us to unplug from the chaos of the world and unburden the weights that we carry around (you know, those encumbrances we never mention on Facebook!)
So hooray for the upcoming Survive ‘N’ Thrive Unplugged event on June 24 in OKC. Yes, stay off all the social media sites for a while…but wait… before you do, can you stay on your sites ONE MORE MINUTE and spread the word about Unplugged? (ha!)
Check out Unplugged info HERE! Registration ends this Friday, June 16th. Can’t wait!
Motherhood is a unique profession, and one fraught with more blessings and trials than any other job I could imagine. In all my years of experience, I’ve never met a perfect mom. Even the ones I’ve greatly admired were far from perfect. So if you’re like me and have made a few mistakes along your mothering journey, then lean back and take heart as we learn from a few moms of the Bible. Continue Reading…
Sometimes we can get discouraged because after we’ve prayed and prayed and prayed about something and it’s not answered the way we had hoped, we give up on it. Yet, over the years I’ve discovered 6 benefits of prayer that directly impact my day, my thoughts, my emotions. Today is National Day of Prayer. What a perfect time to share my favorites, all taken from my book, The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions. Of the six, which one is your favorite? Continue Reading…