Life, Parenting

Meeting Internet Friends


So here’s the thing, meeting people online, forming friendships/relationships, is not as weird or uncommon as it used to be.

Speaking as an older person, (ahem), I really can’t imagine doing that nowadays though I’m certainly not against it – in fact, back in the day when I used to read a lot of mommy blogs, I seriously thought I would attend some blog conferences and thought it would be fun to meet some of the people I had been reading online in real life.

I never did it though because ultimately, I didn’t care enough to follow through. I was curious, not serious.

But our boys, who have grown up online and who can’t imagine life without the Internet, are a different breed. It’s now the norm to meet friends online, in chat rooms, in forums, or recognize screen names from games.

I can’t confirm this, but I think that both boys, at one point or another, had online girlfriends though they never met them, to my knowledge.

I can always tell when Blake gets attached to someone online. His mood is happy, uplifting, he jokes around and laughs a lot.

And then I can always tell when something happens online, whether someone has disappointed him, or made him angry, or he has lost a friendship/relationship because he falls into a deep depression. He mopes around and sleeps A LOT. It always concerns me a bit when he sleeps so much – I know that’s his way of trying to get away from whatever is upsetting him. But I suppose we all have our ways of coping with unpleasant things.

Brandon is not like that. He doesn’t internalize as much as Blake does. When someone disappoints him, he just gets angry. I can’t imagine where he gets that trait from.

Brandon has a lot of online friends. In fact, he met one the other day and I found this out when I saw his friend’s post on Facebook.

The guy that Brandon met comments on his Facebook account. And I don’t know, I always assumed the guy was someone that Brandon went to school with. It never dawned on me that he was an online friend. When I saw the post on Facebook of Brandon meeting this friend, I was shocked.

I asked Brandon about the meet up when he and Blake came over for Sunday dinner. He said this friend was traveling back from Texas with his parents when they decided to stop in our hometown and meet Brandon. They met at a restaurant. Brandon said his parents even bought him dinner, which I thought was terribly nice of them to do.

Brandon and this guy have been online friends for about 6 years. After I got over my initial shock, I then freaked out a bit. I mean,  you hear all sorts of horror stories about weird people impersonating kids, or serial killers stalking their next victims and well … you just pray that never happens to your kids. But I guess they can Skype each other now and they can see it’s not an old man in his 60’s sitting around in his underwear.

(But they could always hire a kid, I guess).

Brandon also bought tickets to go to Vegas in October. By himself. He is going to some Final Fantasy conference and he’s meeting up with some online friends there, too. In fact, the latest word is, they are all going in on renting a condo for several days. Bran is supposed to be coming over this next week so we can help him book a flight. And I definitely have more questions about this condo, where it is, how much it costs, etc.

I know what you’re thinking – FREAK OUT MOMMA MOMENT. However, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, NO WAY ARE YOU GOING TO VEGAS. But on the other hand, he’s 21 and if he’s willing to venture out on his own, well, I can’t stop him. In fact, I’m sort of proud of him for biting the bullet and stepping out of his comfort zone. Nearly all of Kevin’s sisters’ kids have traveled the world, in fact, one of my nieces is in Spain right now living with missionaries for the summer, I think my kid can handle going to Vegas.

I’m trying very hard to be cool about this. I would rather he come to me and tell me these things than hide them from me. At least if he talks to me, I can help him prepare for the trip and give him advice on how to be safe while there.

Blake is talking about going to Japan to meet a friend next year. I have no idea if he’ll ever do it but he’s been thinking about doing this for a few years now. (I wonder if that was why he was interested in taking Japanese class in high school – it all makes sense now!)

Of course, we would help him plan. He already has a passport (which reminds me, we need to renew Brandon’s passport. His expired at five years instead of the ten for me, Kevin and Blake, because Brandon was too young to qualify for a ten-year passport at the time). I’m pretty sure I’ll be way more freaked out with Blake going to Japan.


But we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

We are also working on setting the boys up for a credit card. All they have now are debit cards and well, we all know how risky debit cards are. Besides, they need to start building credit and now is a good time to start.

I’m betting, if the girlfriend thing ever happens for either of our sons, it will be through the Internet. And in a lot of ways, I think it’s better that way. At least that way, they can focus more on her personality as opposed to the physical side of things.

Like it or not, online relationships are real and they are happening, whether we approve of it or not. We might as well get on board.

Life, Roy's Story

Father’s Day 2016

Father’s Day was non-stop here. Kevin and Roy mowed lawns, I did 3.25 miles on the treadmill, got cleaned up and picked up a Jimmy John’s sandwich platter for lunch. After lunch, Kevin, Roy and the boys went swimming at our rental house.  For those of you just tuning in, Roy is Kevin’s uncle (his grandmother adopted him) and he lives in our rental house across the street.

Kevin’s grandmother died in 2008 (?) and Kevin and his mom are Roy’s co-guardians. I wouldn’t say the rest of Kevin’s family wrote him off, but they don’t have a lot of interaction with Roy, Kevin is fully responsible for him, though Kevin’s mom does help out when needed. Roy lived with Kevin’s parents for the first five years after Kevin’s grandmother died and the relationship became strained – plus, Kevin’s parents are getting up there in age and simply can’t watch/take care of Roy anymore – so the responsibility lies with Kevin.

How do I feel about it? I’m a little resentful, I’ll be honest. I admire the hell out of Kevin for stepping up and taking on that responsibility, but I resent the fact that Roy has become part of our immediate family – the boys moved out, and Roy moved in, in essence.

Yes, I realize this makes me sound cold hearted and you would be correct in assuming that, I am a bit cold hearted – I really don’t want to be in this position, but then I immediately feel guilty for thinking that because if Kevin hadn’t stepped in and taken over Roy’s care, he would be in a home right now.

I have a lot of guilt for feeling this way.

But the situation really turned out for the best. We firmly believe God had a plan for us when the woman across the street passed away and her home went up for auction. And Kevin was curious, so we attended her estate sale. I remember feeling so, SO sad walking through her house and seeing all of her possessions laying around for people to nit-pick over. I remember feeling angry that there were people who would turn their noses up at her stuff, stuff that she was proud to have, took care, held memories for her.

And I remember feeling FURIOUS that Kevin bid on the house. Luckily, he lost the bid. I was relieved.

But again, God had a plan and one month later, the guy who bought the house contacted Kevin and asked him if he wanted to buy it – he said yes.

It was my birthday. Happy birthday to me, here’s a rental house.

We took out a home-equity loan against our house and fixed the rental house up. We tore up the carpets and put in hardwood floors. We completely remodeled the kitchen and put in all new appliances. We painted and fixed up the landscape. We got the pool up and running for about $600 even though “the experts” told us it would take about $12,000 to get it working properly.

And by “we” I mean Kevin. Kevin is a master of all trades and quite talented in figuring things out. He did a fantastic job of fixing that house up.

Shortly after fixing it up, Roy’s relationship with Kevin’s parents went south. And Kevin had an idea – why don’t we ask Roy to move? He would pay us rent, Kevin would be able to keep an eye on him and someone we knew would be living there.


And then Kevin got another brilliant idea – why not move my office into the front part of the house and Roy would live in the back part of the house.

Oh. And how about turning the basement into a music studio for his band to use for practice?

I’m telling you guys, I’m married to a genius.

So that’s Roy’s story in a nutshell. And Kevin is usually at the rental house more than he is at our house, but that’s okay, it gives me a chance to do what I want to do and Kevin has his space.


Back to Father’s Day.

So the guys are swimming at the house. I don’t swim over there. I never have and I never will. I will not be caught dead in a swim suit in front of Roy. It just feels ……………. icky.

So I went to the mall. And while there, I returned this dress to Old Navy. I wanted to like it, I did like it, my body, however, had other ideas. And yes, I’m on the endless, frustrating cycle of trying to find clothes that will look good on me and keep me cool when we go to Bermuda.

(Yes – we booked the vacation).

I also went to Bath and Body Works to pick up some body lotion because momma loves her some body lotion.

And then I picked up the cookie cake that you see above. We don’t DO cakes in our family – it’s always cookie cakes.

I took it over to the rental house and the guys were ready to take a break from swimming and sugar up.

The fact that this is blurry makes me angry – stupid camera.

The guys lounged around a bit more after cookie cake, some more than others….

And then Kevin made curly hotdogs

and then we all five, me, Kevin, the boys and Roy, all played Lords of Waterdeep. It’s a Dungeon’s and Dragon’s board game – yes, we ARE that cool.

It’s a super fun strategy game and we will be playing that more often. The boys really enjoyed themselves.

Oh, I almost forgot, we surprised Kevin with Blue Puma sneakers:


He had his eye on these the other day when we were shopping for me for (more) sneakers for work but he didn’t end up buying them. I went back later and got them for him because I knew he would never buy them himself.

Cool sneaks for a cool man.

It was a crazy, busy day but I think Kevin and the boys had a good time. He’s seriously one of the most awesome men/fathers and we are very blessed to have him in our lives.

We love you, Kevin!




My Eyeballs

I’ve gone a little overboard on buying reading glasses. (I bought all of these glasses, except for the second row, middle picture, through – no, this is not a sponsored post.

I shouldn’t even BE wearing glasses but my eyesight is poor today because of me.

Let me explain.

Back in the early 2,000’s, (that’s still seems so weird to type), I went to college. I went to college because 1. it was a life goal of mine and 2. I wanted to set a good example to the boys.

I loved college, but then I was in a place in my life that I COULD love it. I was a stay-at-home mom during the day, and worked at Wal-Mart at night. I went to class while the boys were in school. It worked out well. I had time to study, (not necessarily the energy to study) and I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Writing/Creative Writing minor.

I’ve never really been smart, per se, I have a lot of common sense and the ability to think logically so that saved my bacon when it came to studies. But I came up with this (not-so) brilliant idea of wearing glasses because it would give me a mental “boost” – I would FEEL smarter.

And it worked – I did feel smarter and I felt like I did better. I don’t know why I did this, it’s stupid and I DON’T RECOMMEND it, but again, I’ve never claimed to be overly smart.

This wearing glasses tactic worked as far as my grades but it ruined my eyesight.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t have needed reading glasses later in life anyway, but it would have at least delayed the inevitable by about ten years.

Now? I can’t see squat up close without them. And I can’t really see that great overall without them, but I’m too stubborn to wear them all the time. I can see fine far away, not so great up close.

What really concerns me is I have to renew my driver’s license in November and I’m really hoping I can pass the eye test without my glasses because I don’t want it to indicate that I have to wear my glasses on my license. Again, I see fine far away, but can’t see very well up close so wearing my reading glasses to drive would not be a good idea. I wonder if they will allow me to take the eye test with my reading glasses but not make it mandatory that I wear them on my license? This is all new territory for me.

I have eight pairs of reading glasses. I know – that’s excessive. But I sort of became obsessed with when a friend of mine at work told me about the free pair she got through (I really must stop talking to friends at work about stuff – it ends up costing me money).

So I went on to the site and started looking around. Then I uploaded a picture of myself and spent HOURS trying on virtual glasses to see how they looked. And then, Coastal figured out I had made an account and started sending me promotional emails about deals and well – eight pairs of glasses later, here we are.

The biggest reason I have so many glasses is because it’s fun to shake up “my look.” I wear scrubs all day every day, I GET BORED. And the only thing I can do about it is switch up my accessories once in a while.

The two pictures with the starburst in the corners are my favorite glasses. I wear those the most. I also feel stupid wearing the cheetah-looking glasses, (top row, last picture on the right) but I always get a lot of compliments from co-workers and patients together when I do. Maybe they all really hate them and don’t want to hurt my feelings. ha!

It’s been two years since my last eye exam. (I feel like I’m confessing a sin here). And honestly, it’s probably about time for me to have another eye exam, but so far, my glasses are doing a pretty good job of maintaining my eyesight and I won’t even tell you how much I’ve spent on glasses (hint – none of those pairs, well maybe one pair, was more than $50) and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of them yet, so I’ll hold off on a new eye exam because I’m sure the prescription will come back that I need stronger glasses and I’m not ready to drop another fortune on glasses just yet.

(Side note: my left eye is weaker than my right eye – that’s weird, right?)

Kevin’s eyesight is worse than mine. His prescription is for actual glasses, not just for reading. He’s getting pretty sick of wearing glasses and has made an appointment to have his eyes checked for contacts. He actually looked into laser eye repair but they told him that since he can see far away but can’t see close, that type of procedure would not be helpful to him. They could do one eye, but not both. Not sure I understand the rationale behind that, but okay.

Kevin’s sister wears one contact so that she can see both up close and far away, not sure I could handle that but she seems to be okay with that solution.  I’m not sure how they will fix Kevin’s problem so that he can read but still be able to see long distance with contacts, but we’ll see what they come up with.

I honestly don’t mind glasses. I’ve gotten so used to them now it’s weird when I don’t wear them. But Kevin has gotten tired of always having to have his glasses close by and he says he doesn’t have a problem with sticking something in his eyeball, so we’ll see if contacts are a better solution for him.

Me? No way. Just the thought of touching my eyeball makes me heave a hairball. I’ll just stick to multiple pairs of glasses, thank you very much.


Just Write

Just Write: His Consequence Followed Him Home

I love this video for a few reasons:

  1. The dancing is outstanding. These dancers are pretty amazing – I first learned of their talent in the Slip video. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve always wanted to be a dancer – there is no way now, and quite honestly, I don’t think I was motivated enough to really pursue it when I was younger, but I admire the hell out of dancers in general – for their artistic talents, for their hard work and dedication to their art. I could (and sometimes do) watch dance videos all day long. They inspire me.
  2. What about the mood music? It’s happy, go-lucky, innocent tune when he is home and turns sinister when he’s at his destination and fooling around with his lover. If you’re in a situation where sinister music is being played in the background, you shouldn’t be in that situation.
  3. The story in this video. It’s a story about a man who crosses the line and his consequences quite literally follows him home. It may not happen right away, but it will happen and it will be ugly. Is it worth it?

So story idea – how does the wife react when she finds out his lover followed him home?

How would YOU react if your wife/husband/lover brought his/her love affair home one day?

Don’t think, just write.

Abundant Life

God is Love and Sacrificed His Son for Atonement

This teaching is a little more technical, if you will. John explains how Romans 3:25 has mistranslated propitiation: appeasement of an angry God should actually be translated into atonement – which means bring taking two entities and making them one. It’s a better translation and depicts God as a loving God, not as an angry, wrathful God, which is how many people think of God nowadays.

That thinking/assumption is incorrect.

It’s a great teaching on how God is love and wants to love you, if only you will allow him.

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

Thanks for watching.

Check out Truth or Tradition teachings on:

Truth or Tradition Website
Online Store

More from Write From Karen

Fiction Friday

Fiction Fix: Paid in Full


You are walking downtown when you realize you are being followed.

“And then I was like, ‘look, you can’t talk to me like that’,” Dorie snickered. “Don’t you know who I’m dating?” She rolled her eyes at her companion.

Bruno resisted the urge to roll his own eyes – dating – is that what the kids were calling sexual relations nowadays? He couldn’t keep up with the trends nowadays, he didn’t care to try. He continued his easy pace alongside the petite raven-haired beauty. He discretely scanned the streets and alleys for potential threats and absently padded the gun at his waist.

Dorie snapped her fingers and assumed a hoity-toity attitude. “I’ll just ask Simpson to fire her ass, that will show that bitch right up.” Dorie looked up at her bodyguard, her green eyes flashing with temper. “Do you think Simpson would fire her if I asked him?”

“I’m sure I wouldn’t know, Miss,” Bruno responded.

“I get so tired of people thinking they’re better than me,” she whined. “I’m just as smart as them. So I didn’t go to college, who needs an expensive piece of paper anyway ….. Ooooh, look at this gorgeous swimsuit!” Dorie practically pressed her nose up against the glass in her excitement.

Bruno sighed and stopped alongside her. “We really need to get going, Miss,” he said.

Dorie ignored him and continued drooling over the suit. “I would totally rock that suit,” she mumbled. “I bet Simpson would buy that for me if I asked him oh so sweetly,” she elbowed Bruno in the stomach and batted her lashes at him.

“Uh huh,” he responded and gently took her elbow again to redirect her back to the sidewalk.

They walked on in silence for a few moments before Dorie began to speak again.

Bruno released a long-suffering sigh.

“Do you think Simpson would ever leave his wife for me?”

He looked down at the 5’3 woman beside him. She looked up at him with hope in her large eyes.

“I couldn’t say, Miss,” Bruno flatly stated.

“I think I could love him,” she continued. “I mean, he’s rather fat and of course, old,” she wrinkled her nose in distaste, “but we have fun together, I guess.” She practically ran to keep up with Bruno’s long strides.

“Oh my God!” She suddenly stopped and Bruno hesitated. “Look at that GORGEOUS necklace! Oh, that does it, I MUST have it.” She whipped out her cell phone, hit 2 on her keypad and waited for Simpson to answer. “That would look so awesome with my emerald dress,” she tapped her foot impatiently. “Damn it, he’s not answering.” She slipped her phone back into her purse and pressed her finger to the glass once more. “And those earrings … I think I might die.” She continued to gaze lovingly at the jewelry.

Bruno lifted a brow.

“I’m tempted to go in there and ask them to just bill him,” she mumbled. “I’m sure he …” she suddenly stopped.

Her silence prompted Bruno to look down at the top of her head.

“Bruno,” she whispered. Her eyes were glued to the glass but they weren’t focused on the jewelry.  “I’m pretty sure we’re being followed.”

Bruno’s large body tensed and he straightened to his full 6’3 height. “Who?”

Dorie casually pointed at the glass. “Look at the reflection. See that mangy man across the street? The one with the black beanie and torn jeans? I saw him earlier, too. He just stands there and stares at us.”

Bruno snapped to attention and cupped her elbow in his big hand.

“No more window shopping, let’s go.” He practically dragged her down the street and toward their car at the end of the block. His eyes constantly volleyed up and down the street.

The man was no where to be seen.

They crossed the street.

“You know, I thought Simpson giving me a body guard was stupid at first,” Dorie said, her voice small and tight. “But I’m really glad you’re here, Bruno.”

They stepped back onto the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street and entered an alley.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s a shortcut.”

Dorie picked up her steps. “Okay, I’m done. This is not fun anymore.” She squealed and stopped abruptly when the man who had been following them stepped out of a doorway.

“‘ello gorgeous,” the man murmured. “What a pity you must die.”

Dorie gasped when she caught sight of the blade in the man’s hands. She whipped her head around to see where Bruno had gone and opened her mouth to scream, but the man snuck up behind her, grabbed her head with one hand and sliced her throat with the other. In one swift, and clean, move, he killed her.

He carefully dragged her body into the shadows and gently laid her down.

“Well, that was easier than I thought,” he grunted. “What a pity to kill such a  pretty young thing.” He wiped the knife on his jeans and stuck it in his waistband. “All right, my job is done, I want my payment,” he said and stuck out his hand. He sniffed nervously and rapidly blinked the water from his bloodshot eyes.

Bruno stepped into view. His face was granite hard and he looked at the man in disgust. “What a waste of humanity,” he mumbled thoughtfully.

“Whatever. Give me my stash or I’ll slash your throat, too.”

Bruno lifted one eyebrow, one corner of his mouth curved up as if to form a smile but it quickly disappeared. “You want your reward, eh?”

“Quit stalling, mother fucker, pay up.” The man shifted the knife in his hand and pointed it Bruno.

Bruno sighed, shrugged, and put reached around to his back pocket. He stepped toward the man.

“Everyone is in such a hurry nowadays,” he towered over the man, who seemed to shrink before his eyes. Bruno stepped into the man’s personal space.

“Consider this payment in full,” he said quietly. He grabbed the arm that held the knife and squeezed until the man yowled in pain and dropped the knife. Bruno forced the man to his knees. He jerked on the man’s arm to straighten it out and savagely stabbed him in the vein with the syringe. He pressed the plunger and injected the drug.

The man cried out in surprise but then licked his lips in anticipation.

“Enjoy the ride,” Bruno snarled. “It’ll be your last.”

The man stumbled as Bruno let him go and fell next to the girl. He tried to sit up but fell back as the powerful drug began to take effect. He laid his head back and sighed, a stupid grin curving his lips.

Bruno reached down and took Dorie’s purse. He then stepped over the dead bodies and left the dark alleyway. He dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed a number.

“It’s done.”

Throw Back Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Introducing the Great Outdoors

This is the one and only picture I have of Brandon reading – and I don’t think I have a picture of Blake reading at all, (unless he’s doing homework and that certainly doesn’t count).

Our kids have never been into the outdoors. The only thing they ever wanted to do was play video games. We tried to discourage this, or at least balance out their time playing video games with other things, but when they got to middle/high school, we just sort of gave up. Why make them stop what they truly loved doing? I would be pretty upset if someone told me I couldn’t read, blog, or watch my favorite TV shows.

We like what we like, whether those around with us agree with it or not.

During the summer months, we tried to get the boys out and about. The picture above was Brandon “reading” Harry Potter outside (he never finished it and I’m pretty sure he’s only seen a few Harry Potter movies – again, not a big fan, unfortunately). It was an attempt to get him to do something other than stay inside and play games.

You can see how that turned out. (**Squirrel!**)

I mean, there were moments when the kids would go outside and play. And they both have pretty good imaginations so they would ultimately re-enact a “boss” scene in a video game or be characters from some game. I wasn’t going to split hairs – I was just happy they were getting fresh air.

And the times I wouldn’t let them play games? (Because there was a time when I tried to monitor their game playing, to try and balance it out with joining the real world, I got this:

But you know what? Boredom is not bad for kids, in fact, I strongly believe it helps them develop creativity.

We went for family bike rides, (which we’re wanting to do again, but when it cools off – our city has expanded our bike trails and we thought it would be fun if we packed a picnic lunch and rode to the lake or something since Roy has FIVE bikes now – the joys of hunting garage sales), and walked the nature trails a lot.

Again, just something to get the kids out of the house and breathing some fresh air.

Don’t tell Blake this, but I think he looks like Forest Gump with his head tilted to the side like that. HA!

But all you can do is lead a horse to water, you can’t make him drink it.

We went swimming a lot when the boys were in grade school. We tried to go a lot when they got into middle/high school, but by that time, they were self-conscious about their bodies and girls, so we didn’t go as much. Swimming was one thing they both loved to do outside, so we took advantage of that. I’m not personally a big fan of swimming mainly because I’m not a strong swimmer, but the boys really enjoyed going off the diving boards, over and over and over again. By the end of summer, they were both sporting pretty fantastic tans.

So yes, we tried to introduce the boys to different outdoor activities, and though they didn’t hate the things we did, they weren’t really into it, either. They just sort of … tolerated our efforts, I guess.

Your kids will grow up and develop their own interests/personalities. All we can do as parents is teach them to be good people and then step back and allow them to become good people.