Thursday, May 25, 2017

Family-friendly media options

My kids are 12, 10 & 7 so I am careful to limit what they are exposed to and keep things age appropriate.  Here are some great resources if you are in the same boat.

Each child has their own profile.  Within that, there are different levels of access they have.

Here is my 12 year old's profile.  She can view anything rated for teens and below.

For added security, we have a passcode for anything rated R or above.

Another option is Pure Flix.  It's a faith-based and/or family-friendly streaming service with a wide variety of Christian movies.  I'm not going to lie... sometimes the acting is a little hit or miss but I really enjoy the messages of many of these shows.  They offer a free month-long trial so it's worth checking out!  We're doing the trial now and have enjoyed "Bear with Me" which was a good movie that all my kids liked, which is a rarity!  My daughter and I watched "Touched by Grace" and it had a good message {I may or may not have cried}.  She and I watched "Jig" which was about Irish dancing, following specific dancers and we liked that.  The boys have watched VeggieTales.  There are documentaries and lots of other options.  I recommend taking a look using the trial!  Can't go wrong with that!
Pure Flix

When my kids were younger, I used to subscribe to Jelly Telly which is produced by the creator of VeggieTales, Phil Vischer.  It has any faith-based shows for little kids.

Sometimes we have movie night and I love this resource!  It's for movies, TV shows, books, music and games but I definitely use the movie info the most.  I love that it gives a synopsis of the movie and outlines the various elements of concern. We each have our own convictions so you may not care about language but want to know about a movie's violence or sexuality content.  The categories are clearly labeled in an easy to read format.  They review new movies playing in theaters too so this is a very up-to-date resource.

Sometimes the kids want to watch things on YouTube. I keep restricted mode on but even safer is "YouTube Kids" or even "GodTube".  They have tons of video clips that kids love watching.  Also on my computer, I have set as my home landing page.  It's a kid safe search engine powered by Google.

I used to have filter on my computer but found it was too slow.  If anyone has a recommendation on a great computer filter that'd work on a PC and apple gadgets, I am definitely interested.  Or if anyone has other resources that are family-friendly, please leave a comment and let me know!  I appreciate it.  We can't be too careful when everything is just a click away!

Be careful little eyes what you see.  

sig. oct 2015 photo signature oct 2015_zpskqpepnv4.png

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What? Pregnant after vasectomy?

It's true!  It happened!  I blogged about it 5 years ago and wanted to summarize some fun moments since then.  We are joining The Honest Company in sharing big moments of our lives!  So welcome to anyone visiting for the first time!  #honestmoments

This month is a special month! Our 3rd child who was conceived after a "successful" vasectomy is turning 7!  Say what?!  Yes!  I got pregnant months after the procedure!  I never expected to be a mom of three especially after we “finalized” things.  As much as we joked about getting pregnant, we never thought it’d really happen!  Number 1 and number “done” we’d say referring to our daughter and son who were 4 and 2 at the time. But God had other plans for our family.

Jay had a vasectomy in January 2009 but I got pregnant months after getting the “all clear” from his urologist.  I was certain that his vas deferens grew back. He went to his urologist in September 2009 to get retested so we could fix the problem.  The doctor called Jay to tell him that he didn’t have any live sperm in his lab work.  He did have one dead one but a normal sample would have millions and he couldn't get someone pregnant {said the doctor – ha!}.  After my husband got off the phone and filled me in, I called them right back and spoke to a nurse because I was utterly confused!  I wanted to know if Jay could get an ultrasound or something to double check.  She said it wouldn’t be necessary because the vasectomy was a success based on the lab results.  I asked why there'd be one dead sperm?  She responded that it probably got hung up somewhere.  {How does THAT get hung up for months?}  I asked her what I was supposed to do for birth control as I didn’t want to have kids til I hit menopause!  Her response was and I quote:  “This sort of thing doesn’t happen unless someone else is involved.”  I was too shocked to reply.  I was just accused of infidelity!  Again my kids were 4 and 2 and I had hardly any energy for one man let alone two.  That’s absurd!  I didn’t need a man for THAT!  {I needed a personal chef or a housekeeper though!}  Besides, my man is HOT!

In March 2010, we went to a different urologist for a second opinion.  The lab results came back and Jay had zero sperm in his lab work confirming that it definitely was a “successful vasectomy”.  *Insert blank stare*  Ok seriously though... why was I pregnant???  Most people get pregnant because they didn’t wait for the all clear after the procedure or their vas deferens grew back... but neither happened to us.  Urologists say that vasectomies are 99.9% effective but no one has ever collected our data so I question that statistic now.

I get that most people reading this don’t know me and may think there must be another man and my husband is a fool.  Before we could tell this story, we decided to have DNA testing done for credibility.  Colin is indeed Jay’s son.  {Now he jokes that he’s not sure of the other two.  Haha!}  Thankfully our marriage was in a good place and he chose to trust me even before the DNA test.  I'm a very honest and direct person and he said that I had never given him any reason in our history of marriage to doubt me.

Our son was born in April 2010.  I first blogged {here} about being pregnant after a successful vasectomy in January 2012.  A reporter at the Huffington Post found it and had me on Huff Post Live {my recap here} in August 2014.  A producer for The Doctors saw that clip and invited my husband and I out to Hollywood, CA to be on the show.  So off we went to share our story with the world which aired in October 2014.  You can watch the clip {here} but the last minute was cut from what actually aired.  

Below is the last bit transcribed to read after you watch the clip.  I like how Dr. Travis recaps it:

Dr. Travis:  So this is rare enough that if people are at home, they’ve had a vasectomy and they’re thinking “Oh my gosh do I need to start using a secondary form of birth control?”
Dr. Spitz: Ya
Dr. Travis: You’re not telling people to do that right?
Dr. Spitz: The incidents of this is about 1 in 2000. And interestingly in my personal experience I’ve encountered a patient or two who’s had a scenario of a pregnancy after a vasectomy, more often than not they’re grateful they have the child.
Dr. Travis: And what’s cool about this story is Mary and Jay I think you’re saying loud and clear, this was meant to be and this was in the end a blessing.
Mary: Absolutely.
Jay: Absolutely yeah.
Dr. Travis: And that’s what matters.
Dr. Spitz: Watch that child. He’s got a bright future.
{The Doctors show aired 10/3/14. This is last minute that was cut from the segment of the show that’s posted on their website.}

He does have a bright future, as do all our children!  I can't imagine NOT having them all!

Today we share our story again not just because it’s a 7th birthday but to participate in an Honest Moment c/o The Honest Company.  My son’s conception story is just one of those moments that changed us and our family forever.   We also know we aren't the only ones to go through this. When we did an internet search after our mystery conception, there was only one other person we found in a similar situation.  When I reached out to her she said she couldn’t talk to me because she was involved in a lawsuit.  They were suing her husband’s doctor for “wrongful birth”.  We had no desire to pursue that course of action but we did want others to find us so they would know that it does happen and they aren’t alone!  I have received a few comments on that original post and it’s a hard thing to go through especially when the medical community tells you that it’s highly unlikely.

Check out The Honest Company.  And enjoy this beautiful video that celebrates the gift of pregnancy, birth and life.  Because whether planned or a surprise, it's pretty amazing!

sig. oct 2015 photo signature oct 2015_zpskqpepnv4.png

Friday, April 7, 2017

Good Morning Girls break and ideas to keep you going

Many of you know that I have been faithfully doing Good Morning Girls for the past 5+ years. Today Courtney blogged that she is taking a break.  Click HERE to read her words. She doesn't know when she will start back up again, therefore I'll be ending my GMG Facebook group studies too.

Since the beginning I have been a facilitator of my own private Facebook group that I called "Morning Glory".   I advertised each new session on my Facebook page and various friends would join me. 

At times in the past 5 years I felt led to start groups with "strangers" and ladies found me through the forums on the Good Morning Girls website.  They often lasted only a couple sessions but they were a blessing.  It was awesome to have a place to chat with ladies after doing our reading and studying.

I'm so appreciative of the various friends and "girls" who have joined me on my journey. The accountability has given me a richer bible study time and I love starting my day in God's word. I am grateful for the format that has helped me form good habits and I couldn't have done it alone! GMG has been the highlight of my Facebook use!  I'll miss that time but look forward to a new bible study study format offline. I like change and starting fresh!

If you were a part of GMG and don't know what to do, here are some ideas!  Or if you stumbled on my blog and want to grow in your own faith too, then keep on reading.  

LOCAL CHURCHES: Check out your local churches!  Nothing beats getting together with women in person!


Bookstores are super fun because there is an abundance of options out there but I love Jesus Calling and Utmost For His Highest.  Many people start with the free one called Our Daily Bread.  You can read some of these online or subscribe by email if you don't want to buy the book.

There are many options online but, I know of these ones:
Proverbs 31 Ministries is doing Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman right now.
Hello Mornings helps you get a "life giving" morning routine going.  You can plug into a small group online.
IF Equip: IF conferences are popular but IF also have tools to help you grow spiritually & connect with people daily.
Love God Greatly: An online bible study that can plug you into groups too.

There are so many apps that you can use!  Here are two of my favs:

YouVersion Bible app not only has the bible in dozens of translations, but you'll find an abundance of devotions and bible studies!  The options are amazing!
First5 app lets you start the day with God before anything else!  There is a community of believers you can network with too.

I hope that is helpful to someone!  I am a little sad that we are on an extended break with Good Morning Girls but Courtney has been at this a long time and it's a lot of work!  She needs a break!  I'll be praying for her and her ministry because God has definitely blessed her with an incredible talent to learn and teach and love and reach so many women.  In the meantime, let's all keep learning, growing and walking with the King {Courtney's sign off phrase}.
sig. oct 2015 photo signature oct 2015_zpskqpepnv4.png

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TobyMac Hits Deep Tour

I took my kids to the TobyMac concert on the weekend and it was amazing!  My son just turned 10 and it was his first concert.  It lasted over 4 hours and was soooo good!  There were EIGHT artists performing!
{Seth & Nirva not pictured}
First was Hollyn.  Seriously if you want to listen to a great album, especially if you have girls, then check out her music.  If you have Amazon Prime, you can listen to her album there.  The song she sings with TobyMac, Light Shine Bright is my cell phone ring tone. Love that song!  She has a fun pop vibe.

Capital Kings performed and it was awesome!  I love electronic dance music {EDM} and although I didn't know their songs I did know the band from my Pandora Station!  Definitely recommend them for anyone looking for an EDM hip hop sound!  Crank it when the kids have to clean their rooms!

The lead singer from Third Day, Mac Powell was there with his friends.  They do country music between his Third Day albums and were really good!  They sang country stuff but of course had to play some popular Third Day tunes!

Matt Maher and Ryan Stevenson where there and I knew their songs from the radio but had no idea it was them.  It was a real treat to sing along and hear them live!  They were so good!  Ryan Stevenson's Eye Of The Storm opened with a boom of thunder and lightning.  And Matt Maher rocked it out on the guitar and piano!  Their vibe is more contemporary Christian/worship and their lyrics are incredible.

Mandisa was there too!  I remember her from American Idol and LOVE her Overcomer album, which I own. She shared a story about her struggle with depression and sang a new song.  It was so inspirational and good!  Her dancers were fabulous.  They were happy and jumping all over the place. I really enjoyed her set and I love her upbeat Christian pop music.  Check out Overcomer if you need a great workout song!

In February I discovered Seth & Nirva when I was looking for Christian duos {inspired by Us The Duo's amazing vibe}.  I had no idea they'd be at the concert and they sang Brother which is a really good song!  I couldn't get a good shot but didn't care too much because I just wanted to enjoy their music.  Oh so good!

TobyMac came out and sang all the songs we knew.  One of my favs is Speak Life which I blogged about four years ago!  Click HERE to read what that song means to me.  I just love his music because it's upbeat and sounds like something you'd hear on a regular radio station.  He has has a reggae vibe in some of his stuff which I LOVE.  I especially love his Eye On It and This Is Not A Test albums because they are upbeat and I can dance to 'em!

We had really good seats right between the two stages and in front of the walkway between the two.  We knew other people who went so got to say hi during the break.  My daughter said she enjoyed this concert more than the Pentatonix concert we saw last fall!!!  We knew all the songs and everyone was so happy and there was worship time.  It was just soooo good and great night out.  So worth getting home at midnight!  My youngest stayed home for a "Daddy Day" but I'm grateful to have older kids so we can do this sort of thing together!  Looking forward to when we can all go as a family of 5!
sig. oct 2015 photo signature oct 2015_zpskqpepnv4.png