July 4: New and Fun Ideas for Your Family

July 4: New and Fun Ideas for Your Family

We live in a fantastic country, and we need to share our incredible heritage with our family. Not only can we glean lessons from history, but we can also learn about the men who gave their lives for our freedom.

This week award-winning author Author Rebecca Price Janney was my guest. She has written the Easton series about her patriot ancestor. The latest book, which just came out, is Easton at Sunset. Rebecca offered wonderful suggestions, like look up your ancestry. You may discover you have a patriot who fought in the war too. That would make July 4th extra special.

Check out this episode!

Protect Your Kids from Internet Predators Part 1

Protect Your Kids from Internet Predators Part 1

Technology has made our lives easier but has also brought serious risks. Today predators attempt to get to your children and entice them into hurtful relationships. How can we protect our children? Parents need to be informed.

John DiGirolamo has researched internet safety and has published several books.  He gave information from his book, It is Not About the Predator.

Check out this episode!

Cynthia: Technology has made much of our work easier. When I grew up, we didn’t have microwaves and cell phones. We had to put things in the oven and to be able to imagine putting a plate in the microwave or a paper plate in microwave is amazing. But today we also have the Internet and as far as our children are concerned that creates a lot of danger. We want to make sure that our kids are safe because the world is a very different place than when we grew up. Today I have John Gerolamo he is a man who has written on safety on the Internet and human trafficking. I had the mistaken impression for years the human trafficking happened elsewhere or that it happened on the border. But it happens right in your house because you have an internet. So, John is going to tell us a little bit about what these people are doing. Welcome, John.

John: Hey, thanks for having me on the show. I really appreciate it.

Cynthia: Tell us about what is happening out there on the Internet.

John:  Sure. So, you know the I think the first thing to kind of level with the audience to help them understand is that today’s kid and teen is different from any other generations. They’ve grown up with technology since day one, and they view having many friends and followers as a goal.  I view that as a problem because I guarantee that if your high schooler has 1000 friends which is not that uncommon, they’ll have somebody in there that’s not really your friend. It’s a predator. It’s somebody that they don’t know, but today’s team looks at online relationships in a similar way to kind of face-to-face real relationships, and that’s kind of different than other generations. And so, they’re a little bit more trusting of people that they’ve met online, and these predators are out there looking for trouble. You know your kid may not be looking for trouble, but I guarantee trouble is looking for them.

Cynthia: So, what do these predators look like, and what do they do?

John: As far as what they look like you really can’t tell what a predator looks like just from visuals or physical descriptions. Now what they’ll do is, they will set up many times a fake profile of somebody of similar age of similar interests. So, for example, if your teenager is really into soccer, they’re going to set up fake profiles like that, and if you look at stats from say you know the National Center of missing and exploited children, they point out that predators are looking for three things they want to extort money out of that teenager. They want to get explicit pictures, or they want meet for some kind of encounter. And so that’s what they’re after. Sometimes they’re very quick about what they’re wanting and then other times they’re going to groom that person over a longer period. They’re going to typically send out hundreds of friend requests seeing who’s going to respond to them, and the teenager that does respond is the one that they’re going to zoom in on.

Cynthia: So, you talked about grooming, and I’ve heard a lot about that. Can you describe the grooming process?

John: Sure, so the first thing they’re really going to want to do is they’re going to try to gain some type of trust with that person. A lot of times a teenager will go online because they’re bored or they’re lonely, and as soon as the predator finds out what’s going on in that person’s life that’s when they’re going to lie to them. They’re going to say, especially if they have a fake profile, that they have similar interests. They’re going to want to befriend that person and affirm whatever they’re doing, whatever they’re thinking. They’re also going to try to isolate that person from their friends and family. They’re going to say that you know the predator is the only one who really cares about them and really understands them. A lot of times that’s going to lure that teen away from their real family and their real friends, and those are some of the tactics that they use to initially get that trust and get them really manipulated.

Cynthia: So this would start with perhaps a friend request or maybe another friend would recommend this person? How does that work?

John: Yeah, it’s typically a friend a friend request, so for example, I interviewed an undercover police officer who went online with a fake profile of a 13-year-old girl. He had people sending this 13-year-old a friend request literally within the first hour, and within that same day, he had people asking this 13 year old out for a date. As the profile owner he would reply and say what do you mean by a date you know I’m only 13, I don’t know how to drive I must ride my bike where we’re going. They quickly can get into wanting to meet with them, and you know this officer met this person out of motel and probably arrested him. On that guys computer they found that he had just sent out hundreds of random friend requests, and about 90% had accepted that friend request without question because again a lot of these kids and teens they want to have a large number of friends and followers. That’s how you kind of value your popularity of how many likes did you get in your Snapchat story or something like that. So, the teens are vulnerable to that.

Cynthia: So they are going to immediately ask for a visit somewhere I mean that’s pretty bold?

John:  Right it is, and it and again, they are sending this out to hundreds of people. It just depends on who is responding to them and if they find a response, they’re going to try to figure out who this person is, and they’re going to give them lots of compliments. They’re going to say you’re so pretty you’re so talented only I understand. They’re really trying to kind of feed that person’s ego, and it’s always been difficult growing up. It’s always been difficult being a teenager, but in today’s world the kids really look for that online affirmation. The predators know that, and they’re going to focus on that.

Cynthia: Does the predator already know where that person lives because they might be too far away to have a personal meeting?

John:  Yeah, so a lot of times when people set up a profile, they will say what school they go to. So somebody could easily do a Google search. I’ve seen reports where the predators will drive hours across state lines just to meet up with somebody who’s agreed to meet up. So that long distance isn’t necessarily a deterrent, but yeah clearly, they’re going to look for somebody who’s local and a lot of people will do that. Many times, a predator will say something like, “Let me send you a gift,” and they send that person an Amazon pack.

Cynthia:  And then they give them an address.

John: If you send a package, you know that person’s address. So yeah so they’ll do little tricks like that.

Cynthia:  Wow, that’s scary. Should we be teaching our kids to be skeptical of people that give them compliments online?

John: Absolutely. And typically, what will happen is a predator will look for somebody in a very popular application, say Snapchat or TikTok, or some kind of game, and once they do that, they’re going to want to go into a private chat room. Or go onto a messaging service. That’s where they get that one-on-one online connection through these chat rooms, and as a parent what you must, well there’s lots of things you should be doing. But one of the things that you should be doing is talking to your kid about some of these predator tactics and to say if you don’t really know that person if you haven’t met that person you know live and really know who they are, then you really shouldn’t be talking to them online, because it’s so easy to slip up give out information. What school do you go to? What’s your address? Things like that.

Cynthia: OK, well we’ll talk more about the next interview about that. This is really good information. I appreciate your time. His book is It’s Not About the Predator. His website is here. I reach out to moms and talk about all kinds of topics that they need. I get right to the core of the issue. That’s why this is Heart of the Matter. I’m offering God’s timeless wisdom.

Marriage Part 2: Celebrate Our Differences!

Marriage Part 2: Celebrate Our Differences!

Whenever I need to get my husband’s attention, I have to call his name. Otherwise, I can talk all day and he won’t hear. A man tends to focus on one thing whereas, I can juggle lots of jobs. One way to  improve your marriage is to understand how God made your spouse.

My guests this week were Bill and Pam Farrell, and they wrote the best-selling book, Men are Like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti. We enjoyed lots of laughter as we discussed male and female differences, but we also demonstrated how God intended for us to work together.


Women, for Father’s day, you can wow your husband.

Check out this episode!

First Black Regiment in the Civil War

First Black Regiment in the Civil War

History of Blacks in the Military

Once Lincoln took the oath of office, Frederick Douglas encouraged Lincoln to free the slaves and to give them a chance to fight for their freedom. The war broke out shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration on April 12, 1861, when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter. However, Lincoln was hesitant to make the war about slavery. He didn’t want the border states to secede so preferred to save the Union.

In August of 1861, Congress tackled the issue of the black man and passed the First Confiscation Act which stated that any enslaved person who worked or who fought for the Confederate military were free from their masters. Eleven months later, Congress passed two laws. The first was the Second Confiscation Act stated that slaves belonging to Confederate citizens and military officers were free. In essence, this freed the slaves in the South and Lincoln’s proclamation wasn’t necessary. However, this law was only enforced if the Union held the territory in question. The second, the Militia Act allowed the government to accept black men into the military but did not specify conditions to do that.

In January 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which gave freedom to any black man living in the Confederacy. Obviously, unless the Union held the area, this proclamation couldn’t be enforced.

Kansas was the first state to recruit and train soldiers into their state militia. In 1862, Kansas state senator, James Lane recruited black soldiers and called their brigade the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry. Two months later, 225 black soldiers defeated 500 Confederates at the Battle of Island Mound. That battle proved the men’s desire to fight courageously. Once Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, black men could join the military, and the United States welcomed these troops into the military as the 79th United States Colored Troops.

The 1st South Carolina Colored Infantry was one of the first black troops mustered into the Union army as the 33rd United States Colored Troops. General Rufus Sexton had organized the volunteers who were former slaves from South Carolina and Georgia. While they didn’t participate in any huge battles, they succeeded in numerous raids along the Florida and Georgia coast. Harriett Tubman cooked for them, but she also served as a cook and spy. Susan Taylor King joined them in 1862 as a laundress and nurse.

Saving White Line?

Saving White Line?

Have you ever barely missed another car? Your heart pumps madly as you realize the mortal danger.

In 1917, Dr. June McCarroll was driving her Model T down a paved road that became Highway 99. Suddenly, a ten-ton truck came barreling toward her. When she told the story later, she said she preferred veering onto the sandy soil alongside the road rather than risk a serious collision. The incident convinced her highways should have a white line down the center to protect motorists. She shared her idea with government authorities, but they didn’t respond. Finally, she painted a wide white line down that road in hopes of preventing such accidents. The California Department of Transportation credits her with the first road markings, although other states claim the honor.

Today, we are accustomed to the painted lines on the road. Without them we would face chaos and danger. Our gracious heavenly Father gave us His Word to direct our paths. In Scripture he reveals the nature of man and His design for the world. We live much more safely when we stay in our lane.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” -2 Timothy 3:16

Welcoming June 2023 With Thankfulness

Welcoming June 2023 With Thankfulness

Dear Heavenly Father, as we launch into the hot summer months, may we continue to keep our eyes on you and your steadfast grace. Keep us safe as we travel and help us remember to praise you for the wonder and beauty of your creation. Wherever we go, may we carry the fragrance of Christ and of the hope of eternal life. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

CLICK HERE for your monthly encouragement  so you can download the June 2023 Calendar Challenge.

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