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Ink and Fairydust

Behind the Scenes on Alex O'Donnell

“Do you have Facebook?” “Hey, I'll facebook you about it!” “My Farmville is dying...” “Can you believe it? My MOM got Facebook!” What is Facebook? Why does it matter? And how can you use it safely? Facebook is a social networking site that exists to bring people together. Each member has their own profile where they can list just about any information about themselves that they wish. They can also post pictures, videos, links, and status updates. Four years ago when I began college, the Facebook phenomena had just begun. At that time, only college students and a few professors used the site. Then high school students picked up on it, and their parents decided to check out the fuss, and suddenly everyone and their neighbor realized it was an excellent way to promote their business, event, or political platform. Despite the commercialization, Facebook remains an excellent place to connect with friends. Unlike Myspace and similar sites, there is no customization of profile pages, which means it is simple and easy on the eye to slip from page to page. There are also limitless options for altering security levels, which means that anyone can use the site safely (more on that in a minute). So why use Facebook? It's a quick and easy way to connect with other people. It's easy to find your friends, and their profile will always remain the same. You don't have to worry that

they changed their e-mail for the 77th time last week without telling you! It's a great way to stay connected with people you meet at school, on a trip, or at a party. You don't have to e-mail them every week to keep up to date with their life, yet you can also easily drop the friendship if they turn out to be weird or creepy. Following the regular status updates of your friends is a great way to stay in touch with everyone. You can learn in one minute of quick scanning on your homepage that your best friend went to see “Despicable Me”, that your cousin Leah is playing at the local music festival, and that your sister's boyfriend is working the late shift every night for the next week (meaning you can have your sister to yourself!). You have instant access to the photos that your friends upload, and they can see yours (if you adjust your privacy settings to include them). This means that you don't have to wait to visit them to see that picture of Claire jumping off a waterfall, or Joe and Rob having a mud fight at 3:00 in the morning. Plus you can comment on the pictures right away! Yet despite all these perks, there are still two protests I hear over and over. #1. “I don't have the time.” #2. “My parents won't let me.” One or both of these true for you? Read on! “I don't have the time.” The good news is that Facebook takes up just as much time as you determine it should. You could

spend five minutes on it a day (with maybe a little extra picture browsing time on Sundays) and you wouldn't be missing out on anything. Or, if you really like the convenience of virtual communication, you can spend half an hour on it every day, catching up with friends, planning events, and sharing links. I strongly advise you not to get into any of the applications. Some of the quizzes are fun to take occasionally, and if someone sends you a flair or gift – open it! But most of them are pretty pointless time-wasters, so it's better to just stay out of it. Also, limit yourself. Set a schedule. Check your page first thing in the morning and right after supper. Don't go on right before bed because that is the easiest time to get caught aimlessly browsing on the computer (plus it makes it harder for your brain to settle down to sleep). “My parents won't let me.” Why not? If they're worried about the time involved – show them the first point and allow them to set a timer on you. If they don't see the point, show them the first half of the article, and make it clear that you are having trouble communicating with friends or missing out on important announcements and party invitations because you don't have Facebook. However, I strongly suspect that their biggest worry is privacy. The great news is that this is an almost needless worry. Facebook has extremely versatile privacy options. You can sort your friends into groups, and then set every photo album and status to

appear to a select number of people. Want to gush about a surprise birthday but don't want the birthday girl to see it? You can choose to keep the status private from her! And the good news is that Facebook keeps adding more details. The only hitch is that you have to check all of your settings after a site upgrade, as things can get bumped around (although I've never really had a problem with that). The important thing is to allow your parents into the process. Let them choose your privacy settings, have a frank discussion about what you will and will not say online, and invite them to create an account as well so that they can go on and view what you are posting at their own leisure. Yes, Facebook can have some problems, but if you are smart and conservative you shouldn't run into any of them and you'll experience a world of benefits!

How do I register on Facebook? 1. Go to 2. Fill in the required fields for new members 3. Expand your profile to include more specific info 4. Check and set your security settings 5. Upload a profile picture! 6. Import your e-mail address book to search for friends 7. Use the search engine to find friends 8. Start posting!

so in a romantic relationship, one member should always be ready to serve the other, rather than All of Regina Doman's books deal with the

seek their own satisfaction.

subject of romance. Two of them, (Black as Night and Alex O'Donnell) discuss the subject of how to determine whether a couple is ready for marriage. However, most of our readers are between the

Physically Most people don't consider the necessity of being physically strong before venturing into the

ages of 13 and 19 and I have a sneaking suspicion

world of dating. Yet it is an important area to

that the subject on your mind is not “are we ready

consider. Physical health affects all of the other

for marriage” but rather, “am I ready to date?”

areas. If you aren't physically healthy, it is

Now, every person is different, but generally

going to affect your emotions, your ability to

there are five different areas which need to be

work, your ability to think clearly, and your

examined before you jump into a relationship. You

ability to actually spend time with your

don't have to be perfect on every one, but if you

significant other. Make sure you are strong and

are significantly underdeveloped in any of them,

healthy with a good diet and regular exercise

you'll find it will come back to haunt you later.

program before jumping into a serious relationship!

Let's take a look at these areas. Financially Emotionally What does it mean to be emotionally ready to

If you're a girl, you might not think about this area as much as the guys do. However, it's

date? Well, the most important indicator is when

not an area you can ignore. Even if you are

you've reached the point where your desire for a

planning to become a stay-at-home mother, there

romantic relationship does not come from a need to

are still some vital financial skills you need to

be loved and accepted. Unfortunately, far too many

learn before you get serious about a relationship.

people in our day and age see romantic relationships as a necessity to build up their

-know how to balance a checkbook

sense of self-worth. I've seen far too many broken

-pay bills

hearts result from couples going into

-work in a budget

relationships before they were emotionally stable.

-curtail frivolous and impulse spending.

If you aren't confident in your worth in Christ, how can you bring anything into a romantic

Why are these skills important? Because you

relationship? You need to know and love who you

never know how quickly a dating relationship will

are as a person, so that your motives will be

move. If you're ready to date, chances are you are

sacrificial, rather than self-serving. Why?

also ready to consider marriage. In the height of

Because marriage (and the values in dating should

the romance, it's easy to forget mundane things

not be any less than the values in marriage) is a

like money, and before you know it, you'll be at

reflection of Christ's relationship with the

the altar without a real idea of how finances

Church. Christ literally died to save the church,

work. That's bad news, since finances are one of

the largest sources of friction in marriages

ingrained now before your emotions start

today. So do yourself and your future spouse a

distracting you. Besides, a closer walk with

favor – learn about money now, before you're

Christ will give you clarity regarding what you

caught up in hand-holding and roses!

need in a future spouse – clarity that will only help when men start showing up at your doorstep.

Mentally This is close to the emotional component, but

How do you know if you are ready in all of

it's not quite the same thing. Here I am referring

these areas? Well, the best way to figure it out

to your ability to reason and make decisions

is to talk to your parents or another mature

logically, rather than being ruled by your heart.

Christian adult you can trust. Ask them to be

Unfortunately, most people simply cannot do this

honest with you about your maturity in each of

in their teen years because of the crazy hormones

these areas. If they feel you are unready in any

running around. I didn't believe it when I was

place, see if they'll help you chart out a plan

sixteen, but when I reached my twenties it was

for rectifying that deficit.

like being hit with a football to see how immature

In the end, you need to remember that

and illogical I really was. And it wasn't just me.

everyone is different. Your younger sibling may

I've watched many of my friends grow up. While

be ready at 18, but your best friend might have

some of them might have been able to handle dating

to wait until she's 25. You might come before,

in high school (and some did), others were not and

after or in between! If the idea of having a

many mad, poor choices led to nasty break-ups,

sibling start dating before you, or a best friend

some of which fractured our entire circle of

sitting around single for four years after


everyone else is married scares you to death – don't worry. You're not alone. It's not going to

Spiritually Perhaps it goes without saying, but I'll put it out there anyhow. If you want Christ to be first in your heart, then it only makes sense to learn about and love him completely before you ever try to add another human to the equation. A romantic relationship has a huge potential to distract you from your walk with Christ, so it is important to get devotional and worship habits

be easy, but it is going to be an adventure.

Premiering June 23rd - 26th, 2011 in St. Paul, MN! Check out for more info about the release!

Want to read the rest of the story? Go online to and read all of the twists and turns in the back issues of I&F!

The house was dark, and apart from light snorts trickling down the stairs, it was quiet. Anyone driving past would mistake it for any average night. But it was no ordinary night. Down in the basement, swathed in blankets and surrounded by empty coffee cups and half eaten cookies sat a forlorn figure. Her hair was a matted mess, her eyes were baggy and bloodshot, and there was a long streak of chocolate running down her left cheek. Her shoulders were hunched over a computer screen as she frantically pounded on the keys.

In December Pioneers, Prairies and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Adventures in Living

the Pioneer Life!


A Girls-eye View

Stocking Stuffer Ideas! ...and More!


November 2010  

What do you do if your e-mail gets hacked? How do you know when you're ready to date? What book should be next on your reading list? Find ou...

November 2010  

What do you do if your e-mail gets hacked? How do you know when you're ready to date? What book should be next on your reading list? Find ou...