An Open Letter To TroubleFace Mom

It seems all of the internet has gone mad.

First of all there’s all these open letters to bloggers and authors and people you love and people you love to hate and good grief…..what the what??

So, I decided to write my own.

Dear TroubleFace Mom,

You know who you are. You are the one with the 266,000 + hits on your blog in the past 12 days. You are the one who apparently knows all the things about Halloween.

And for goodness’ sake, what’s up with all the trolls commenting? OH, wait, they’re not trolls? They’re REAL people? People actually think that way?

Heaven help us.

So this is what happened in my little blogging world last week:  I was limping along through my 31 Days of Facebook 101(incidentally the dumbest topic EVER for 31 days) . I was behind on posts and I wasn’t reading any other blogs like a good little blogger should. When all of the sudden I get messages from YOU of all people asking me what the heck is going on with your blog. I assumed trolls. I assumed spammers. Well, I assumed wrong.

It seems your little post from a year ago struck a nerve with someone. And they told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on and……

And so you and I proceeded to weed through comments and figure out what to do with this and how it would play out. You were sure on Thursday that it was waning and that everyone would forget.  I was thinking it was only the beginning.  On Saturday when your Facebook page reached 300(after only 100 the weekend before) I was impressed with the level of civility among your new followers and friends. Good group there.  And then yesterday, you crossed over the 600 FB likes and I sat here dumbfounded.

How does this happen?

How does one go from internet obscurity to being the poster-girl for viral blogging in one week?

I know the answer- one has to be sassy without being cocky, brave without being rude, truthful while being diplomatic and gracious without being a doormat. You’ve answered the call and done it brilliantly.

And now you know what? I have new followers? Poor them. What will happen when they realize I’m not nearly as clever or witty as you. What will they say when they learn I post about lame things like school lunches and final exams for teenagers? 

And that OTHER little blog we started in the spring? The Mothering Well– all of us mothers have neglected our posts because I’m sure we’re all mothering WELL….right? Are we?  The fact that your name is on our blog has now sent us new followers there too.  So what are we to do TroubleFace mom?  You know that look your kids give you when they’re in trouble? Well, that’s the look I’m giving you now.  So now you are TroubleFace Friend.

I’m just glad you can’t ditch me for my lack of blogging prowess or less than diplomatic gracious comments on your blog.  You can’t because you’re stuck with me for life. Lifers we are.

But can you do me one favour?  Share the wealth? I mean clearly you have WAY too many followers to keep up with…so send a few over to me: Once Upon a Prairie . This is me shamelessly using you to further my agenda. That’s what friends are for, right?

TrobleFace Mom, our friend Donna on her wedding day in August 2011 and ME!

TrobleFace Mom, our friend Donna on her wedding day in August 2011 and ME!

Oh, and if I haven’t said it already, let me say it here: thanks for being friends with the old ladies- you keep us young and thinking! 😉


Prairie Juan of Once Upon a Prairie

Day 3~ The Difference Between Secrecy and Privacy

I can imagine that there are many people who view my Facebook profile who think that I share a lot.

And some weeks, they’re probably right.

However, I am choosy in what I share. I still like my privacy and I am careful about who knows what.

Facebook has changed a lot in the past 3 years especially and there are tools for how we can manage who sees our profiles and our posts.

Currently, I have 146 friends. That fluctuates a lot. At my high point I was at about 220. At my low point(last fall), I was around 110.

My profile is NOT publicly searchable, meaning unless you are FB friends with me you can’t just search for me in the FB search bar.

Here is how you change your visibility:

  • go to the little asterisk icon in the upper right corner and click on the drop down menu
  • select Privacy Settings

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  • Go down to the part that says “Who Can Look Me Up?” and edit accordingly.  I have mine set to “Friends”.

I also have a private profile. For the life of me I cannot comprehend why some people have their entire profile public. Meaning, even if you are not FB friends with them you can see their photos, where they work, and any statuses they post.

There is now a handy little tool so you can check what is visible.  It’s called “Who can see my stuff” and it’s located in the upper right corner symbolized by a lock icon.

  • click on the lock icon in the upper right corner
  • select the “Who Can See My Stuff” link


  • Now you have a choice of viewing your profile as a specific person or as the general public
  • At this point you HAVE to select “View As Specific Person” because public is not highlighted(see next step)


  • Now that you are onto the screen where you choose who to view as, you can now select public as shown above.
  • privacy9
  • Now it says that I am viewing as “Public”
  • You should do this with your kids and periodically on your own profile just to keep tabs on it. Sometimes you make a post public(especially if you have friends that have restricted access) and forget to switch it back. All of your posts since that point may be public and you didn’t even realize it.  This is also helpful for making photos private.  The only photos you can not make private are your cover photos.  If you want to keep those from the public view, don’t use cover photos or simply delete all of them from the album when not in use.
  • This step completely voids the necessity of paying any attention to the rogue forwarded statuses that say “Facebook has recently changed their privacy settings- now all your content is public….blah, blah, blah”  .  No they haven’t and no they aren’t.

My profile is private, except for my friends.

I have limited who can contact me and how.

I also keep private a lot of my life. For example, if my husband and I argue, you won’t find out about it on FB.  I actually find that deeply private and personal and it’s no one’s business but ours.  I have messaged(privately) people , especially women, who complain about their spouse or boyfriend online. It is a horrible breach of trust and it is also very harmful to a relationship.  Sadly, some of these women continue and I have had no other option but to defriend them.  I just won’t put up with that kind of garbage online.  The first and only person you should be talking to is your spouse when you are angry; no one else.

If I have a concern, a prayer request , or something personal to share, I inbox it.  I can do group messages to a couple of people or I can do one on one. My inbox is busier than my wall/feed on FB if any of you were wondering.  Busier because I have a lot of conversations that are ongoing that really don’t concern the rest of my friend list.

Then there’s secrecy:

Secrecy is intentionally going behind someone’s back(for good or for bad) to keep something hidden from them.  This is a good reason to use the inbox but it can also be bad. Check your motives.  If you are purposely keeping things from certain people to hide what you’re doing, you may want to take a step back and consider why.

One very cool feature(which my kids do often) is the ability to customize your posts.  For example, if I”m having a surprise party for one of my kids, I can post a status and leave their name off the list of who sees that post.  All of my friend list can see it but that one person cannot.  You have to make sure to double check the visibility of this post and the cool thing is , you can! Just use the same “Who Can See My Stuff” link and select that person’s name.  You are now viewing your profile from that friend’s perspective.  Just make sure to switch back to your entire friend list’s visibility for your upcoming posts so you’re not inadvertently leaving one person out.privacy12



Back to privacy for a minute:

I have a few “friends” on RESTRICTED access.  They are still my FB friends but they will only see posts from me that are intentionally posted as public.  I have done this for the sake of privacy. Some people, though they may be family or acquaintances that you want to keep in touch with, do not take the same care with your information as you do with theirs.  Maybe they assume they know you better than they do.  Maybe you hear through the grapevine that they are talking about you and your life though you never actually hear from them on FB and they never comment on your posts.  I use my gut. If something doesn’t smell right or feel right, I use conservative restraint in who can see what I post.  Apart from defriending or blocking(which we will get into later), this is a very good way of keeping in touch with people without them having access to all of your photos and posts.



Okay, so, after all that, any questions?

My main concern is that I respect my friends’ privacy and they respect mine.  If I share something privately in an inbox message, there’s a reason for it.  It isn’t public knowledge.  So if anyone breaches  that trust, they have just voided the contract of “friend” on Facebook.

You can have privacy and still be on a social network.

You can still have lots of friends and still have control over your content and your life.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about what makes someone “friend” worthy.   And trust me, I have a lot to say on this issue.

For my previous posts in this series, click here or on the heading “Facebook 101” on my front page.

For the Day 3 post from last year’s Redeeming Christmas series:  Climbing off the Gift Giving Band-wagon

31 Days {Facebook 101~Putting Thought into Social Networking}

I’m doing it again!  But not only again, I’m doubling up. Actually….let me explain:


2 years ago I participated in my very first 31 Days of Blogging for October. There were probably a few hundred bloggers doing the same thing and we all linked up with The Nester who started this idea 5 years ago.  I admit my first attempt was lame and I was unprepared.

Last year, I was inspired.  I decided to give it another try and my topic was 31 Days to Redeeming Christmas. It was , and still remains, some of my most inspired writing. I even refer to my own “advice” and have re-read most of those blogs numerous times.  So, how do I top that?

Well, I don’t.  I’m just doing something very different this year.

I have noticed over the past year that Facebook has become a tool, a weapon, a force …in the world. I love it. But I have friends and family who loathe it with every fibre of their being.  I want to bring some common sense and humanity back to Facebook and social networking in general. Everything we do- both off line and online matters. It matters for us, it matters to us and it matters in light of eternity.  So I’m attempting to give us all 31 days to redeem, restore, revamp and retool our use of Facebook and the internet.   Some of our topics will be :

1. Introverts and Extroverts on the web

2. What’s up with all those spammy links?

3. Who to friend.

4. When am I oversharing?

5. Guarding your eyes and your hearts.

6. How to de-friend graciously.

7. What the BLOCK option is really for.

8. Kids on Facebook.

9. Facebook is My Living Room

10. How to Purge

11. Self-editing

12. Comments and Likes

13. The conspiracy theory.

…..and SO MUCH MORE!fb button



ALSO…….as if that wasn’t enough…….every day, I will post the link to last year’s coinciding post about redeeming Christmas.  It’s that time of year to start planning and being intentional about the most blessed, loved, and sometimes overwhelming season of the year.

But I’m not done…….nope.  I have another blog. Ugh. Yes I do. It’s a little side business I started this summer. I am thrifting like a maniac and painting up a storm. My blog and Facebook page are just in the beginning stages but I have so many cool things to share so I will be doing 31 Days of Thrifting and Painting. You can catch up here:  

Once Upon a Marriage

I know I’m a day late for Marriage Mondays but hey, I’m just finding my groove again. So, for today, let’s pretend it’s Monday. Just this once. 🙂


Once upon a time, in this land and other lands- it wasn’t that uncommon for two people to fall in love, quickly decide to get married and have a wedding.  What was uncommon was to date, and date some more, and sleep around and try living together, have babies, break up, move in with someone else, get engaged, break off said engagement, plan a wedding, have a wedding, get divorced, and owe a lot of money and look back on a lot of wasted years. We now live in a reversal of our own misfortune.

So, let’s take a step back in time. Not too far back.  What did THEY have that we don’t? What did THEY do that we are failing miserably at doing?

Whether you are dating, engaged, newly married, shacking up for fun or to “see if this is the one”  or if you’re married and watching what the current generation is doing, it doesn’t really matter. We all have a hand in this. We encourage and discourage by our own participation or lack thereof.  Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a community to build a solid, healthy marriage. You cannot do it alone. You should not do it alone.

The first thing we need to do is look at the married ones.  You know them. Maybe you are them. Who around you has been married for more than 10 years? Do you think they are more special than you are? Do you think that they have found the secret to everlasting wedded blissdom? Perhaps, but likely not.

What about your grandparents, aunts , uncles, friends and neighbours? Do you ever look at them and wonder how they do it? Why are they making it last when so many are walking away?  This is a question too few of us are asking.  All around us are marriages that are lasting and even thriving.  There are people who have been married through the darkest hours of their lives: sickness, death, bankruptcy, substance abuse, addictions, tragedies and moral failures.  They overcame and they fought through it. Maybe they’re still fighting through it. Whatever they are doing, they are staying together. It is time for us to stop looking at all the ones who have walked away and start looking at the ones who are staying together.

My challenge to anyone who is planning on getting married or who is married is this: look at who your friends are.  Look at who you associate with and who you get your advice from. If you are in a relationship and you want it to last 20,50 or 60 years, then stop getting advice and direction from your single, unmarried, divorced friends.  When it comes to relationships, you are only going to be as successful as your cheerleading squad and if all of your cheer team have a zero success rate at staying married/together then you will soon join them on the sidelines. Pick your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who will mentor you and help you. It doesn’t mean you completely dissociate from your single friends, but as a couple you must begin to build up your couple relationships. It doesn’t happen overnight. So in the mean time, you rely on family relationships to bolster and encourage you.

When you’re having a bad day and you are frustrated with your fiance or spouse, after you’ve prayed and calmed down, go to a married friend for advice and encouragement.  It will make ALL the difference in the world.

Once upon a time, people got married and stayed married. You can too.

marriage image


marriage image2

I’m Back and I have Things to Say

For a while, I thought about shutting down my blog.

Writer’s block or just maybe writer’s fatigue. I’m not sure. It isn’t that I haven’t had things to say, it’s more that I just had things to think about before I said them here. And the break was good. I love to write. But I love to read and listen too and this summer I have spent a lot of time listening to readers, other bloggers, friends, family and even eavesdropping on random conversations.  You can learn a lot by listening.

So here we are , 1 week before my TWO girls go back to school.(That is so weird, by the way- to have only 2 going back to school for the first time in over 10 years!)  I have a few different topics that I’ve been researching and tweaking.

First of all, in light of how social media has changed and morphed over the years, I will be doing a series on Facebook and why everyone should be on it. That ought to get some conversation rolling. 😉

And then, my favourite subject: marriage……or “mawwiage, that bwessed awangement- that dweam, within a dweam…”   Oh yes, I am so going there.  We’ve come to that season of life where our kids’ friends, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends’ kids are taking the big leap into wedded bliss, or something like it. So today, I am starting Marriage Mondays which doesn’t mean I won’t talk about marriage on any other day of the week but it does mean I will make an extra effort to focus solely on Marriage for the next several Mondays…maybe even into October!

Oh and October? Wait for it! 31 Days of Blogging is coming sooner than we think and this year, I am completely ecstatic over my choice of topics but I can’t tell you what it is yet. SHHHHH! Have patience, it will be good.


Okay, all done. I’m back. All is right with the world. Time for back to school shopping, meal plans, lunches, coffee time with moms and routine! Yay for routine!   So, tell me where you all have been and what you’ve been up to.


PS> OUR HOUSE SOLD!! Bless Jesus! They took possession Friday and we are done. DONE DONE DONE! 🙂

A Prayer for Final Exams {Re-posted and Updated}

Last year I posted this and it consistently gets the most searches and views…..this year I’m down to 2 in high school finals and one is doing it for the last time. (next year I’ll be back to 2 doing finals…..sigh)

This morning I checked my grade 12’s room and found lights on, clothes everywhere, books and papers strewn across her bed. I don’t even know if she slept or for how long. This is what was on her desk: an assortment of melon peels, half a cup of really strong coffee, gummy wrappers and at least 3 ice cream revel sticks. Food for thought? I guess so.

A Prayer for Final Exams~and the Teens Writing Them from Once Upon A Prairie @

Dear Lord,

You have given wisdom to those who seek knowledge and you have blessed us with strong, healthy minds that hunger to learn.  Bless my children this day, and this week, as they see the fruits of their labours culminate in the writing of exams that are designed to test their knowledge.

I pray that you would guide them to study those areas most important.  Help them to discern wisely what time they spend on each subject and when it is necessary to put the books away and just rest.

I pray that as they sit at their desks, with pencil in hand, that you would give them pause to breathe, to concentrate and to recall all that they have learned.

Help them to not be flustered or panicked.  Give them sharp minds and clear focus.  Sharpen their memories and give them the right words to lay out on that paper to answer the questions before them.

I pray that you would bless the work of their minds over this past year and that all of their late nights, long projects, boring reading and difficult questioning would not be in vain but that you would multiply what they already know into good marks for solid effort.

Give them peace about finishing and handing in their completed exams , knowing that they did what they were asked to the best of their abilities.  And help them to shake off any concerns or worry so they can focus on the next.

And Lord, bless their summers, that they would be renewed in mind and body and challenged for the next years’ work.

And bless all those who are graduating and writing for the last time.  I pray that they would be filled with humility at all that they have learned and understand that this has been the groundwork laid for what is to come but not the end-all and be-all of their lives.  Bless all that they do~that they would use their gifts, talents and knowledge to bring Glory to Your name and no other.

In Jesus’ name,


My thoughts from a year ago….and I still agree. Happy Holidays to all of you who are starting off the season this weekend. Don’t let Black Friday be the beginning of a month of consumption, but rather the wake up to a new attitude.

Once Upon a Prairie....


Maybe you’ve seen this pass-around-post on Facebook or in your e-mail. Maybe you’ve even participated by posting it:

Just so everyone knows, I have a CHRISTMAS TREE in my living room (not a holiday tree), my kids are getting CHRISTMAS PRESENTS (not holiday gifts) and we will eat CHRISTMAS DINNER (not a holiday meal), and I will attend a CHRISTMAS PARTY (not a holiday party). I will also very cheerfully wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! (not… happy holidays). By the way, if you want to have a Happy Hanukah , by all means do, I respect that. If you want to have a Blessed Kwanzaa, I also respect that. I want to have a Merry Christmas, so I ask YOU to respect that! 

Okay, so here’s the thing. I have no issue if you post this. But I will not be posting it.  The reason? I disagree.  I have…

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