Moving Along. . .

We’re moving! Not in the physical sense; rather, we are establishing a new “home” in the outskirts of the World Wide Web. It has taken some time to get set up and I’m sure more changes will be coming about as we make our “new” site our “home”. If you want to check it out, click on over to the new domain and follow it! Life in the Last Frontier

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Never Ending Winter

I’m not usually a cabin fever sufferer. Until now. This is the winter that does not seem to want to end! Record lows were broken (again) this morning, with many of those temperatures dipping below zero!  This is the third coldest April on record. The interior has not seen the likes of this since 1924. Someone on Facebook decided to document this in a picture…

never ending winter

Enough said.

Pet Peeves: Toilet Paper and Socks

Pet Peeves. Everyone has them. They exist because something small highly irritates, annoys, and gets under your skin. Some of those small irritations have a merit in logic and reasoning. Others are completely irrational and have no substance aside from self-gratification.

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A pet peeve of many has been circulating Facebook. You may already know the one I’m referring to. Which is the RIGHT way to put on a roll of toilet paper: so the paper will roll from the front or from the back?There are serious arguments over this!?!? Before I was married, I worked as a housekeeper at a local hotel. We were taught to place the toilet paper a certain way because the end was to be folded in a triangle. For the sake of my job, there was a right way. Years later as a homemaker with my busy household, I’m just thankful when someone (other than me) actually replaces the empty roll with a full one. The fact that toilet paper is there, within reach, should be a blessing in itself. My children’s successes or failures in life are not traced back to how they placed the toilet paper in the bathroom! Does it really matter which direction it falls from the roll? If today, a roll of toilet paper in your home is placed the wrong way, would you still be able to remember that and be upset ten years from now? Or does it really matter?

Since we’re on the subject of the bathroom, what about that toilet seat? I’ve taught my children to be courteous when using someone else’s bathroom: leave it as you found it. Some households prefer the seat up, others down. In my house, the toilet has a lid; please close it. In the event that the lid is forgotten, it takes all of two seconds to situate seat and lid for personal use. No big deal. The collapse or continuation of American society is not linked to how the toilet seat is positioned!

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Having six children has created a few pet peeves that I did not have previous to my marriage. One of those is not wearing clean socks. If one of my children decides to wear the same shirt two days in a row, that doesn’t bug me (provided it doesn’t have yesterday’s meals all over it). But if that same child tries to get away with wearing a pair of socks two days in a row, I come unglued!

What’s the difference between a shirt and socks? A LOT!! Our feet give us a quick, overall picture of our health and wellness. Feet sweat! Some of our feet sweat more than others’ and that sweat contains toxins that our bodies are releasing. Did you know that your feet affect your taste buds? Don’t believe me? Go to the store and buy a tin of Altoids (R). I don’t advise getting Cinnamon flavored. When you get home, place one Altoid mint between your toes. Wait. It may be faint, but soon you will begin to taste that Altoid! Makes you wish you washed your feet before trying it, huh? 😉

Is my dirty socks pet peeve irrational? No! In ten years, my children’s health could be eroding because they don’t change their socks. By wearing dirty socks, they are not only risking their overall health, but their foot health as well. They may be more prone to Athlete’s Foot (fungal infection) or ingrown toenails that rather infect than heal. We could even begin to discuss the possible dietary implications due to poor foot health affecting the taste buds!

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Pet peeves. Everyone has them. Is it worth getting bent out of shape over them? That depends on whether there is a rational or irrational merit to them. There’s a simple way to decide if you should make a fuss or not. If it is something that will affect you or someone else ten years from now, then be courteous and kind when you bring it to another’s attention. Make sure you plainly state your case, with factual evidence, without being critical of the other person. If it won’t matter in ten years, don’t worry about it! Your life is far more valuable than the stress created by pet peeve conflicts. NO relationship is worth destroying over something as silly as dirty socks, toilet paper, or toilet seats.

Privacy and Online Security

I’m an avid Facebook user but I try never to post anything pertaining to my personal life and family. Facebook is continually changing its Privacy Policy and, frankly, nothing is ever truly “private” when posted on the internet. With the surge of identity theft, people focus more upon keeping their banking and credit card information safe than the mundane details of their lives, such as pictures of tonight’s dinner. Sometimes, those mundane details and routines create a larger security risk.

Facebook-vs-Google-Plus

With the increasing popularity of social networking, many different websites offer you to sign in to comment using avenues such as Facebook. Even Google+ users can use their log in for comments on sites such as YouTube. Should one avenue, such as Facebook or Google, really have access to the bits of information floating around on the many websites that ultimately converge to identify you?

I’m positive that there is far more information about me than I would desire floating around in cyberspace. Information that I rather keep out of the public eye can be found if someone was diligent and persistent enough. That is a scary proposition! We are now living in an age where child predators and criminals are virtual and faceless!

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Does this mean I will live in fear and close down all of my blogs and social networking profiles? No. What will I do? I will remain vigilantly cautious regarding what I post online. I don’t post pictures of my children or their names. I avoid using any GPS location services. When asked for my current city, it is left blank. I don’t have a birthday… not for social networking, anyway.

In this internet age, online security and privacy concerns will continue to remain in the forefront as a dark cloud hovering over the masses. While it’s not foolproof, careful analyses of what we post to blogs or social networking sites can help keep ourselves and our families safer. The old adage, “It’s a jungle out there!” not only fits adulthood, but online as well.

Simple: Not Complex

A few years ago, I had a virtual meltdown over the complexities of my life. From personal development to homeschooling my five children to meal planning, preparations, and shopping to the household management of cooking three meals a day, the barrage of laundry, and keeping up on cleaning schedules to… well, you get the picture.

All along, I was convinced that these issues were stemming from poor time management skills. The more I tried to “manage” my time (and the children’s), the more harried I became. It wasn’t until my best friend introduced me to “A Thomas Jefferson Education” that my eyes were opened to something the Lord had been trying to tell me all the while: Simple, not complex.

Look at the world of machines: from automobiles to dishwashers. The more complex the mechanism, i.e. the more moving parts, the greater the likelihood of a failure. We’ve had our share of failed appliances: refrigerator, ranges, ovens, dishwashers, washers, and dryers. Some were fixed while others ended up at the transfer site due to the amount of damage they had caused. If we compare that to Creation, even though an ecosystem can be analyzed into many details and parts, it is still vastly simpler than its manmade counterparts are.

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I’ve had my fair share of relying upon Man. It’s stressful, fearful, and always leaves me empty. When I rely upon God, when I’m following Him to my utmost, I experience peace, security, satisfaction, and fulfillment! Simple is peaceful; complex is chaos.

Simplicity can be applied to every facet of your life. In home education, I design simple courses to promote self-education for my now six children. Each child has his and her own bent and mission in life and all I do is to encourage them in those areas. In household management, we have purged most of the clutter, which saves time on chores. Do I really need all of those clothes? If it hangs in the closet for six months, it is time for it to bless someone rather than cause undue stress for me. Even such a small thing as this has cut down on the amount of laundry!

Simple, not complex. I didn’t say, “Easy, not hard.”