The Joyful Stepmom
Posted on February 14th, 2019

I am by no means a tech savvy, social media guru. But I know enough to find my way around, click here and there to figure a few things out. I'm sure you feel very secure right now. Ha!

We have had a number of requests in the last couple weeks at The Joyful Stepmom regarding Facebook profile privacy. We usually have members post asking for help on what can be seen and how to shut their profile down.

This is a very good question. We should all be in the habit of watching what we post on social media and being aware of how to protect our privacy. At The Joyful Stepmom, we feel particularly  strongly on this area. There is no reason that something you post on social media should spill over into your real life. It's unnecessary drama.

So in order to help you take care of yourself, your family and just be a good social media citizen, I've put together a few quick ways you can keep an eye on your Facebook profile. I'm focusing on Facebook because The Joyful Stepmom online community is mainly based on that platform. We should strive for the same measures across the internet.

Here it is- The Joyful Stepmom Crash Course in Locking Down your Profile: 
Number 1 Rule of Thumb: Watch your friend list. When accepting friend requests, ask yourself basic questions: Do you know this person? How? Well enough to see pictures of your family and your location?  

If you are experiencing some privacy issues, this is a good time to purge your list. Scroll through every friend profile and get rid of those who have left Facebook, you don't remember who they are, etc. 
Number 2: Review your timeline. Next time you are binge watching Netflix, take out your phone and scroll your own profile. Start deleting. What should you delete? We all share things we thought were funny, we wanted to remind ourselves about a sale, win a prize, show our spouse or kids. It's probably over now- delete.

Why?  "Once it's on the internet, it's always there." That may be true in some deep dark way. But you can end the cycle of people clicking around on links and memes and making their way to your profile from something you shared 3 years ago.

Untag yourself from pictures. It is amazing to me how I can click through different mutual friends and end up 7 people deep just because we are all tagged in pictures and we leave it public. We do that because we love each other and we want to share our good time! But someone with ill intentions can easily follow the trail. If you have someone stalking your profile, shut it down. Untag or if you have control of the picture, make it Friends Only.

How do you know who can see a post? Check that privacy setting symbol! Facebook knows this is important! And they have easy ways to show who can see what you have posted. You can also easily edit and change this by hovering over the post. This is a great time to start changing your posting behavior! From now on, pay attention to this setting. When you share a post to your own timeline or just write something, you have complete control over this. 
Here is a nifty feature I just noticed on my laptop. If you scroll your profile up a little, this option to Manage Posts appears. Click and you can delete or change the privacy setting. Really cool, Facebook! Thanks!
Number 3- Change your settings. You may need to wait for the Netflix show to end. This takes a little more focus to make sure you have everything set just like you want.

Right on your profile header are 3 dots where you hover and select Timeline Settings. 
This is where you "lock it down." Read each section carefully. Google what you don't understand. Facebook has good descriptions in their help section as well. 
And lastly, don't forget that fun Bio/ Intro/ Feature section. We like to put inspirational quotes, list our kids names, the dates of our marriage, birthdays....whoa! Please remember this section is all incredibly public! Think carefully about how much you want or need to share. Edit or delete.  Each individual section has an edit button. You are giving away vital privacy information about yourself and your children.

Your location and job information can be made private or for friends only. And those Feature photos are so fun! But they are just that- featured and very public. If you have privacy concerns or someone stalking your profile, lock it down. Keep those fun pictures for your friends who have good intentions at heart. 
Additional Resources:
How to make IG Private
How to make Pinterest Private

I hope this has been helpful in answering a few of the concerns we've seen from our stepmom community. 

Posted on January 16th, 2019

As part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, throughout the year we will highlight features from the site to enhance your Bible Study.

Today I wanted to focus on Topical Bible Study. A topical study focuses on a point of interest in our life. Maybe it's an area where we are struggling or we hope to see growth. The question becomes, how can we find specific materials or verses for that topic?

A Topical Bible is an amazing resource. I have a big, old copy of Nave's Topical Bible on my shelf. I love to open the old pages and look for just the right words God is speaking to me.

"Nave's Topical Bible is a book written by Orville James Nave and published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nave was a chaplain in the United States Army and referred to his work as "the result of fourteen years of delight and untiring study of the Word of God." -Wikipedia

Bible Gateway has made Nave's book accessible to online! Their passage lookup Search feature uses Nave's index to help you find just the right verses for your Bible Study topic. I love that this is available! Go check it out! 

Posted on January 8th, 2019

We are all familiar with safe driving messages. We hear it often! Don't text and drive, keep your eyes on the road. And I know we all agree it is a good and life saving message! Eyes up! 
Did you know, our eyes tend to direct our path? Like the reminder from this safe driving campaign: Eyes on the road! Keep your eyes forward! It reminds us that when your eyes are down or looking around, your car goes all crazy directions. But when you look forward, that's where your car goes.

Looking at the girl next to you, or in that second house,  doesn't help your own marriage and and family at all! Your eyes aren't forward! So your path is going to be all screwed up.

Many of us choose a word for the year. It keeps us focused, helps to start the year with good intentions and often spiritual direction. I like to choose a verse. My verse for 2019 is Proverbs 4: 25 (pictured above).

I have written on keeping our eyes forward in the past. It's an important message for women, but I think particularly for stepmoms.  Our family is pretty spread out, there are extra balls to juggle, the past can rear it's ugly head. There's a lot going on! But look where God calls us to look- forward. We are to keep our gaze focused, directly before us to where the Lord is calling us. Here's to a year of looking straight ahead.

Posted on November 12th, 2018

​Dear New Stepmoms,

You are on my  heart this morning. You made it through the start of the school year!  And the holidays are fast approaching. We want the best at this time of year. We knock ourselves out creating memories. We drain our wallets buying presents.

I'm a little further down the road than you. I want to give you a word of encouragement before the Turkey comes out and the presents are under the tree.

I'm going to be honest, it hurts when you wake up Christmas morning and the house is quiet. Plan for those years. Make "off year" traditions too. But it's also ok and really good to celebrate holidays whenever you are together. Teach your children, and your own heart, that being together matters more than the date on the calendar.

They won't remember if they were at Mom's house or Dad's house that year. They won't remember how many presents were under the tree. They will remember how we acted about the holidays. They will remember that you made them feel loved. You made them feel at home.

Posted on September 24th, 2018

​We often say, "You just have to let it go!" or "You need to give that to God." But how?!? How do you do that? How do hand something over to Jesus?

If you are like me, you are up in the night worrying about your stepchild. Maybe during the day, driving to the grocery store or running the kids, your mind just starts to fuss about the mom and that last email.

Stop. Physically stop what you are doing. Sit up in bed, pull the car over. And talk to your Father. Tell Him, "Lord, take this from me. Take this fuss from my mind, take this worry from my heart."

No matter how often you have to stop...and give it up....over and over, give your burden to Jesus. Trust Him with it. I promise, very soon- He will be carrying the whole thing.