Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Internet Safety Month with U.S. Cellular #ad #BetterMoments

U.S. Cellular

Children and teens are going online for a variety of reasons, from school assignments to staying informed about the things that matter most to them - news, sports and pop culture. They're also using social media, like Instagram, to communicate with friends. And, of course, they're accessing entertainment online - gaming, downloading music, reading books and magazines, watching movies, TV shows and YouTube videos.

With the vast amount of information that's available online, it may be a good idea for parents to discuss guidelines about what is - and isn't - appropriate for their children to access.

Nearly half of parents (47percent) said their child has a cellphone, and the average age that children receive cellphones is 12 years old, according to a recent U.S. Cellular survey.

Another recent study by the Pew Research Center found that three in four (74 percent) teens ages 12-17 access the Internet on cellphones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally.

While smartphones and tablets can simplify our lives, sometimes it can be hard for parents to know how much freedom to give their kids.

In honor of Internet Safety Month, U.S. Cellular is sharing a list of important tips for parents to monitor their children’s online activities and facilitate conversations about the use of mobile devices:

Make an agreement with your children: U.S. Cellular has created a Parent-Child Agreement to help guide families' conversations about mobile phone usage. The agreement focuses on safety and etiquette, and is customizable based on each family's specific needs
Family Protector Screens

Use protective apps: The U.S. Cellular Family Protector app provides safety and security by monitoring your children's location and mobile usage. This service allows parents to review their child's calls and texts, block websites, restrict apps, and more. Children can even send their parents an alert with the simple press of a button if they are in trouble or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Discuss online sharing: Make sure your children know to never share personal information online, including their name, age, address, school, sports teams or passwords. Remind them to communicate only with family or friends and not to answer unsolicited requests or texts.

Share photos appropriately: Discuss appropriate use of sharing photos with friends and alert them to never post photos which could contain information about where they live or be seen as inappropriate.

Love Arrives in Pieces By Betsy St. Amant Review

Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

About the book:
Love Arrives in Pieces (Zondervan, June 2015)

For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.

Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn't trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn't get another job soon, she'll be stuck living with her parents.

Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he'll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town's old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.

Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness---and their unresolved feelings for each other-until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.

A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice---to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.

Purchase a copy:

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  To be able to lift your head up and even sometimes just to get out of bed after a divorce for most women, if it is not by your choice is so real.  The book provides a hold on my heart and remained an excellent read to the end where it deiced to.... well I am not going to giveaway an ending.  The story is a must read. 

Betsy St. Amant

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Find Betsy online: website, Facebook

Anchored by Kayla Aimee Review

You count a pregnancy by weeks and Kayla Aimee had only ticked off 24 of the 40 when she unexpectedly went into labor.

With everything feeling as fragile as her one and a half pound daughter, Kayla finds herself facing her greatest fear: that she may have finally become a mother just to lose her only child.

Poignant and humorous, Anchored recounts Kayla’s gripping story of learning to navigate her newfound motherhood in the most unexpected of ways, from holidays in the hospital and middle-of-the-night phone calls to the joy of coming home.

With vulnerability and plenty of wit, Kayla lays bare her struggle to redefine her faith, her marriage, and herself within the context of a tragedy she never saw coming. For anyone who has felt their faith in God falter, Anchored extends a gentle invitation to join her as she uncovers a hope that holds.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Cassandra's Review-  This was a hard book to review, because it is a genuine , open hearted story of pure love and I personally would not negatively write about it.  Just the whole undertaking of the journey is a mixture of emotions and  combines with impact of the reality makes this amazing. Thanks to the author for sharing her story and for giving so much love to the world. 

Kayla Aimee is a writer, mother and spirited southern girl who spends her days uncovering hope and humor in unexpected places. She is a passionate advocate for NICU parent support and her work has been featured on The TODAY Show and The Huffington Post as well as several other national media outlets.

Kayla makes her home and garden in the honeysuckle drenched hills of northern Georgia with her husband and their daughter, Scarlette. She writes about faith, family and her favorite things at

Author Q&A with Kayla Aimee

1. How did you keep it together when you felt like your world was falling apart?

I didn’t. Absolutely I fell apart with it. I think it surprises people to hear that because on the outside I looked like I had it together, I was stoic and did the hard things in order to keep myself together when I was at the hospital. Away from that space was different, full of fear and sorrow. But it was in allowing myself to fall apart that I discovered the truth in the Scripture that says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I learned that God’s grace really is sufficient and the only thing that was comforting was knowing that I could just lean into that and let it do what I could not.

2. How would you say humor and the ability to laugh at yourself have helped you through parenting? In your marriage?

I remember the first time that I laughed after Scarlette’s birth. I was weary from weeping with heartbreak when the nurse brought me nursing pads and they were wrapped in a bag that said DANGER! HAZARDOUS MATERIALS! I laughed so hard that it hurt my stitches and I remember that was the moment when I knew that I wasn’t lost to my grief. Finding the humor in the moments that are hard helps to shift my perspective. It keeps me from being too quick to anger and makes me appreciate the little things more.

Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry and I think that the intersection of the two is a beautiful portrait of our humanity. Plus, it just brings me so much joy to live a life that is full of laughter and so I chase that, I try to seek out the hope and the humor because that just makes everything a little bit brighter.

3. What is the #1 thing God taught you through Scarlette’s birth experience?

I tend to want to control things or at the very least to know what is coming. Our experience with Scarlette’s birth and NICU stay really revealed to me that I had a tendency to layer my own plans over my prayers. When there was nothing I could do I learned what it meant to genuinely trust God. I think it was this specific time that sharpened my faith, when I was the angriest at the situation and when I least wanted to be faithful was when I found God faithful to me. Not because of a happy ending but because I felt the hope of Him staying steady in the chaos.

4. What is your favorite Bible verse?

I love the promise of First Corinthians 13:12-13. I love that it acknowledges how life unfolds in a way that we can’t always know what is around the bend but we can find joy in the middle of the unknown in faith and hope and love. “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

5. What is a funny/favorite parenting story that you don’t share in the book?

Oh man, there are so many to choose from, I could write an entire book just on that topic alone! Recently we had a day where I was having to say “No” a lot and my four year old expressed her disappointment that things weren’t going her way, telling me “I don’t like it when you say no to me, Mommy! That is very bad.” So we had what I thought was a lovely, fruitful discussion about why Mommy sometimes has to say no and why that is a positive thing, because Mommy’s job is to help her. Later we went to the grocery store and the cashier greeted Scarlette and asked her how her day was. And my daughter responded “Well, not so good, actually. My Mommy has been saying BAD WORDS to me ALL DAY.”