California Wildfires impact Diocese of Santa Rosa, Neighborhoods, Wineries

Northern California has been experiencing catastrophic damage from wildfires.  According to the Washington Post, 29 people have died and thousands have been displaced.  Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, and few of the fires are contained.  The fires have also destroyed wineries.  The destruction is likely to continue to grow for the forseeable future.

The diocese of Santa Rosa, California, has been in the heart of the damage.   Cardinal Newman High School, located in Santa Rosa, has seen significant damage, with half of the campus no longer standing. None of the building damage considers the tremendous amount of people who have been displaced. Numerous individuals have no homes to return to, and the Cathedral in Santa Rosa is among many places that are serving as emergency shelters.  New evacuation orders have been issued for additional locations.

The weather forecast is also not providing any comfort.  Red Flag warnings continue to be posted in areas already overwhelmed by existing wildfires.  The Weather Channel quoted fire chief Ken Pimlott that the “going to continue to get worse before it gets better.” With continued winds, low humidity and dry conditions, there does not appear to be an end in sight.

As persons of faith, the challenges of multiple disasters can be wearing.  But one thing that we are given to help us is the gift of our faith.  We can certainly continue to pray for those who have been impacted.  We offer a place to offer prayers for siutations, others, or yourself.  Going to our prayer submission website, or sending an email to prayer@deporres.net can have your intentions offered twice a day, as well as allowing others to pray for you as well.

There are ways to provide donations to help those in need.  To see a list of specific opportunities where you can make donations, check our page for wildfire donations.

Subscribe

DePorres Pages websites undergoes redesign

If you have not visited the DePorres Pages in a while, you will notice a new design.  The purpose of the new design was to highlight more clearly the key areas of our content.  The slider that greets visitors will focus on homilies, Catholic and Dominican news stories.  Gone are the news scrolls, though they may return in the future.

The new website design should help visitors find what they are looking for on our site.  In addition, there are separate sections for homilies, podcasts, and educational resources.  When looking for educational resources, you will find both general educational resources and those directed more specifically at Catholic education.

Eventually, there will be the chance to register at the site, so that you can make comments on our content.  You will also soon be able to sign-up to receive a newsletter that highlights what we consider some of our best features.

7 Steps to Better Security Online

(Family Features) Virtually no one would park a car in a busy area, leave the keys in the ignition, roll the windows down and walk away. Yet many people who would take precautions to protect their vehicles leave access to their personal and financial information wide open. In this digital era, it pays to be just as diligent when it comes to virtual properties as it does physical ones.

These seven steps can help you create a more secure environment that protects you from online attacks.

Make your device a fortress. Whether you’re using a desktop, laptop or mobile device, taking proper precautions to safeguard the device itself is your first line of defense. Use reliable internet security software, apply firewalls, block pop-ups and prevent sites from logging your location. Make it a habit to log out of websites and regularly delete your history and cookies, especially if you’re using a public system or one that others access regularly.

Shop smart. Only make purchases from encrypted sites and limit purchases to a single credit card that you regularly monitor. It’s a good idea to make online purchases using a card with a clear policy about your liability in the event your card number does get stolen or you unknowingly purchase from a fraudulent seller and need to recoup your funds.

Be wary of strangers. Although social interaction with people you’ve never met is the norm via chat rooms and other internet-enabled sources, it’s still smart to treat those encounters with caution. Never divulge personally identifying information or financial details, and avoid opening emails or following text or message links from unknown senders.

Keep privacy in mind. Know that virtually anything you post online can become public at the hands of someone with ill intentions. This even applies to things you post that you intend only for friends and family to see, as one of them can easily copy and forward on your photos, words, etc. If you’d be worried about the general public seeing it, don’t post or share it.

Go ahead, be vain. Looking for yourself online isn’t really an ego move, it’s a smart one. Periodically searching your own name could reveal information in the public domain that you’d rather keep private or it could point to potential identify fraud.

Monitor your credit and accounts. Particularly if you have an active online life, whether for social, work or practical purposes like banking or shopping, pay close attention to your credit and bank accounts. Hackers find all sorts of ways to get to your identity, but regular monitoring can help you identify a problem before it spirals out of control.

Manage passwords responsibly. If you’re like most people, you probably use the same (or a variation of the same) password across numerous accounts. It’s human; it’s easy to remember. However, once a thief or hacker figures out your log-in credentials, all of your personal information and finances are ripe for the taking. Avoid repeating passwords across multiple sites and change passwords often for better security.

For more tips to protect your family’s privacy and stay safe while online, visit eLivingToday.com.

4 Tips to Make Sense of Cyber Security

It’s no secret that kids have a sense of invincibility. While that trait can bring some endearing reminders of the innocence of childhood, it can also have some highly unfortunately consequences. In the context of cyber security, an action by an unknowing child can impact the entire family.

The majority of U.S. households are filled with devices that pose a potential threat to your personal security. In fact, according to the 2016 Global Consumer Security Survey by Trend Micro, nearly half of households have two or more computers and nearly a third have three or more smartphones.

Despite the many benefits of a highly connected world, the potential for danger is strong. While there are plenty of parental controls and blocks available, they aren’t foolproof. Educating children about potential risks and how to avoid them with these tips from Trend Micro can go a long way toward protecting your family from potential cyber problems.

1. Understand what you’re saying yes to. Be involved, knowledgeable and interested in the devices, apps and sites your children use for school and for fun. For sites they use for school, ask their teachers for more information. For apps they’re using at home, spend 15 minutes trying it yourself.

2. Use privacy settings and features. Make sure you understand what privacy protections your browser or devices offer for your family when your kids are accessing their favorite sites, apps and online services. Many browsers allow you to prevent sites from tracking what you do and where you go online, so spend some time looking at web browser settings to see what privacy options are available to you.

3. Use features and services available within an app or website. Also take a look at the privacy settings available in the specific apps, websites or games your family uses. Most will let you have a private account, which means the whole world won’t be able to see what you post or who you’re connected to.

4. Remember that being online is a public life. Nothing is truly private online. If you and your family keep this in mind, it can help you all think through what you are about to post, like and click on, as well as who you connect with online.

Explore more ideas to keep your kids and family safe online at internetsafety.trendmicro.com.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
eLivingToday.com

5 Tips to Make Sense of Cyber Security

(Family Features) It’s no secret that kids have a sense of invincibility. While that trait can bring some endearing reminders of the innocence of childhood, it can also have some highly unfortunate consequences. In the context of cyber security, an action by an unknowing child can impact the entire family.

The majority of U.S. households are filled with devices that pose a potential threat to your personal security. In fact, according to the 2016 Global Consumer Security Survey by Trend Micro, nearly half of households have two or more computers and nearly a third have three or more smartphones. That means the opportunities are plentiful for missteps to occur.

Despite the many benefits of a highly connected world, the potential for danger is strong. The same study found that 65 percent of respondents’ computers had been infected with a virus or malware. Other concerns included damage or loss of files, children viewing inappropriate content, cyberbullying and ID or password theft.

While there are plenty of parental controls and blocks available, they aren’t foolproof. Educating children about the potential risks and how to avoid them can go a long way toward protecting your family from potential cyber problems.

Open up a conversation with your children about cyber security with these tips from the experts at Trend Micro:

  1. Understand what you’re saying yes to. Be involved, knowledgeable and interested in the devices, apps and sites your children use for school and for fun. For sites they use for school, ask their teachers for more information. For apps they’re using at home, spend 15 minutes trying it out yourself.
  1. Use privacy settings and features. Make sure you understand what privacy protections your browser or devices offer for your family when your kids are accessing their favorite sites, apps and online services. Many browsers allow you to prevent sites from tracking what you do and where you go online, so spend some time looking at web browser settings to see what privacy options are available to you. Mobile devices also have settings that can restrict apps from knowing your physical location or accessing your camera, microphone, photos or contacts.
  1. Use features and services available within an app or website. Also take a look at the privacy settings available in the specific apps, websites or games your family uses. Most will let you have a private account, which means the whole world won’t be able to see what you post or who you’re connected to. It also means that people have to ask your permission before they can follow you.
  1. Remember that being online is a public life. Nothing is truly private online. If you and your family keep this in mind, it can help you all think through what you are about to post, like and click on, as well as who you connect with online.
  1. Talk to other families. Other kids or families may have a different definition of what is or isn’t “private.” Encourage your kids to talk to their friends about how they will respect each other’s privacy online. Good friends will understand, think and ask before posting a photo or information about their friends. Talk to other parents about your feelings on privacy, too, and ask for their opinions with the goal of protecting and respecting each other’s privacy online.

Explore more ideas to keep your kids and family safe online at internetsafety.trendmicro.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Trend Micro

Writing that winning college essay

Writing a Winning College Essay

 

Tips for letting your story shine through

(Family Features) For the more than 2 million students applying to colleges and universities, the task of essay writing can be a dreadful experience.

Whether applying for admission or scholarships, many students find this part of the application process to be the most stressful and daunting part of their senior year. Often without understanding how to approach the essay, students struggle with staring at a blank page and finding a compelling topic.

However, according to Howard Reichman, president of EssayDog, an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform that helps students write winning college application essays, “a college application essay is really just a story – a story colleges want to hear about you.”

“Every good story, from a blockbuster movie to a novel from your high school English class to your favorite show, has four critical elements that make it fascinating and reveal inner depth about its characters,” Reichman said. “That’s exactly what you want your college application essays to do: show the real you beyond the test scores and GPA.”

According to Reichman, every good story has these four essential elements:

  1. The initial plan
  2. The anticipated outcome
  3. The setback
  4. The discovery

Whether students use an online tool like EssayDog, which gets students started quickly by asking them to write just one sentence about each of these four parts, or they tackle the task of essay writing on their own, the next step is to round out the narrative by filling in details that let the applicant’s true character shine through.

The essays that resonate most with college admissions departments typically convey a student’s intangibles or “the Four Ps,” specifically:

  • Passion: What drives you and what do you really care about?
  • Personality: What are you like to be around? Would your friends and family be able to identify you by reading your essay?
  • Perseverance: How do you respond to challenges? What gives you strength, both intellectually and emotionally?
  • Potential: What talents, interests and goals will you bring to a university’s campus next fall? How can a college help you further develop these as you continue to grow into adulthood?

More than anything, procrastination and stress are often students’ worst enemies when they sit down to begin the essay-writing process. “If you feel you are wasting time, switching topics or disagreeing with your parents, teachers or college counselors about the direction your essays are taking, try going back to these simple storytelling techniques to ensure you are showcasing what sets you apart from other applicants with similar grades and scores,” Reichman said. Visit essaydog.com or find EssayDog on Facebook and Twitter to find more tips for confidently writing standout college essays.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
EssayDog

Rethink your drink this summer

(Family Features) From barbecues and birthdays to concerts and cookouts, summertime is the perfect time of year to bring everyone together. However, nice weather and outdoor events are also coupled with summer heat waves and high temperatures.

Water – whether plain or sparkling – is a great way to help you stay hydrated all summer long without the calories and added sugar of other summer favorites like lemonade or punch. Healthy hydration in the summertime starts when you rethink your drink so you can beat the heat.

To get started, these tips from Sarah Ladden, M.S., R.D., nutrition, health and wellness director at Nestlé Waters North America, can help keep you hydrated all summer long.

  • Pack for the heat. The summer heat can mean an increase in water loss, which can put you at a higher risk for dehydration especially if you’re outside for long periods of time. Make sure to pack water for all your summer outings and hydrate before, during and after all outdoor activities.
  • Add your own flavor. While bottled, filtered or tap water are all good choices for healthy hydration, some people simply prefer flavored beverages. The good news: it’s easy to customize water just the way you like it. This summer, wow your friends with a DIY sparkling water bar. Set out your favorite sparkling waters – include flavored waters for added fun – alongside an assortment of seasonal berries, sliced fruit and fresh herbs, and let guests create their personalized refreshments.
  • Make water fun. Jazz up a glass of your favorite water with a simple addition – decorative ice. Before filling your ice tray, add a few berries or cubed melon, fresh herbs like mint or rosemary then top with water and freeze. Add a few cubes to a refreshing glass of water and enjoy just a hint of subtle flavor.
  • Keep water close. It’s important to keep your body well-hydrated throughout the day, but it is easy to get busy and simply forget to drink. Keep water in convenient locations throughout your home, office or even in the car for a visual reminder to keep sipping. Stocking water at the front of your fridge is another good habit so it’s the first choice kids or other family members see.

This summer, rethink your drink with these tips to help make smart beverage choices. To learn more about healthy hydration, visit nestle-watersna.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Nestlé Waters North America

Simplify Your Lifestyle this Summer

(Family Features) From backyard barbecues and trips to the beach to baseball games and swim meets, summer is all about family fun. It’s also an ideal time to slow down and incorporate a more mindful routine at home.

This season, prioritize a “less-is-more” lifestyle by making smart swaps, like using products with better ingredients, to simplify your life and create an even healthier home for your family. With these easy, helpful tips, you can arm yourself with the tools to spend more time focusing on family and fun.

Pick Produce, Not Processed. What you feed your family often fuels summer fun, but favorite treats like ice cream and hot dogs can be full of unwanted ingredients and added sugars. Skip pre-packaged items and look for fresh, seasonal produce that can be incorporated into multiple meals throughout the day, which can also lead to a shorter grocery list and less waste. For example, you can add nutrient- and antioxidant-rich stone fruit to Greek yogurt for breakfast, mix into salsa for a snack and throw on the grill then top with whipped cream for dessert.

Focus on the Right Ingredients. Warmer temperatures and fun, outdoor activities can lead to extra stains and more laundry. It’s important to keep summer items dirt-free and smelling fresh with products you can feel good about bringing into your home. For a powerful clean without harshness to keep your summer wardrobe clean and fresh, try all fresh clean Essentials, which is formulated without sulfates and contains effective ingredients for deep cleaning the toughest stains.

Minimize Your Regimen. Take advantage of the seasonal climate to shorten your beauty routine and save time, energy and products. There’s no need to blow dry hair with warm weather – sleep in two twisted braids for beachy waves, air-dry after the shower or throw on a wide-brimmed sun hat to hide bed head. Also focus on products that do double duty: replace sticky lipsticks and gloss with tinted chapsticks that include SPF or mix in a drop of sunscreen to liquid foundation.

Simplify Cleanup. It’s easy to let the myriad rotating summer activities turn your space into an unexpected mess, so proactively prepare for the chaos by creating a cleanup kit. A clean towel, water bottle, sunscreen, change of clothes and snack in a small tote or plastic container can be left in the trunk of the car or in the garage to keep you from running around searching for supplies. This way, you’re prepared for whatever summer brings, be it spilled ketchup, an unexpected shower or even a care-free run through the backyard sprinkler.

Visit allsulfatefree.com to learn more and watch videos featuring wellness expert and mom Hilaria Baldwin that focus on smart tips for living cleanly.

Content courtesy of ’all

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
all

Reading to children is a good summer activity


You can spark your child’s imagination with reading, which allows playful creativity to take over and learning to ensue. Whether you, your child or someone else does the reading, there’s sure to be a memory produced, experience gained or knowledge added when there’s a favorite book or story involved. For more information on the importance of youth reading, visit rif.org.

SOURCE:
rif.org

Because of Jesus, the Logos, Words Matter

It was just too much.  Today’s tweets about Mika Brzezinski were just too much.  I am tired of hearing Trump defenders excusing immoral behavior.  I did not like it when Democrats and women’s organizations did not condemn President Clinton for his extra-marital affairs, and I do not like it now.  And that despite Clinton delivering surpluses in his budgets.

Words matter.  Remember the words of President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks? Remember when President Ford said, “Our long national nightmare is over.”  Remember when Presisent Nixon said he was not a crook?  When President Clinton said he did not have sexual relations with that woman? Remember when President Roosevelt said, “The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself?” Or when President Kennedy encouraged us to ask what we could do for our country?  Remember when then-candidate President Trump said this? “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” While I did not like it then, I too felt that when things came right down to it the president would become more civil.  I was wrong.  Not only has the president not become more civil, he has become worse.

And then there is President Trump.  Remember when then-candidate President Trump said this? “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” While I did not like it then, I too felt that when things came right down to it the president would become more civil.  I was wrong.  Not only has the president not become more civil, he has become worse.

It should not have come as a surprise.  Remember what he said about Megyn Kelly? “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”  Kelly’s great crime? She quoted Trump.  There was his statement about Carly Fiorina when she was running for president. “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that.” There are his unsettling comments about his daughter Ivanka.  There are the comments this week about the Irish reporter.  “She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well.”  Trump’s poor comments about women are so numerous that Telegraph reporter Clare Cohen has been tracking them.

Being “polite”, Trump in a 1991 Esquire interview he did not mind the media as long as the female reporters were physically attractive.  He told ABC News he expected his wife to have dinner on the table when he came home.  When he was a guest on the view, he said this about his daughter, Ivanka.  “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”  Trump has insulted Rosie O’Donnell, compared women to buildings, called New York Times Gail Collins a “dog”, insulted Cher (and Ariana Huffington), and attacked Hillary Clinton’s sexual performance.  And these examples are only a fraction of what he has said.

He routinely personally insulted his opponents.  Low Energy Jeb, Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, Carson was a pathological child molester, and Crazy Bernie were all used to denegrate his opponents.  And he praises the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un.  The world is constantly reduced to those “wonderful” people who like Trump, and people who are constantly insulted when they offer even the slightest criticism.

And what has been “the Trump effect”?  There was a student in Ladue, Missouri, who was told to get to the back of the bus.  Seventh graders in Michigan chanted “Build a wall!” at a Latino student. A Rolling Stone article put it well, “Trump is the perfect candidate for a seventh-grade kid; bad behavior and repeating what Trump has said seems to be a part of testing limits.”  I can attest that anecdotally I have heard more divisive language and actions from students since Trump became a candidate.

And none of this is about policy.  This is about the moral example expected from a political leader.  We would not (and should not) tolerate such behavior from children, let alone the president.  This is about a president that rarely tweets about substance, but tweets about every perceived slight or insult.  News stories that truthfully recount events people can witness, if they criticize Trump, they are “fake news”. Time and again he demonstrates that he is more concerned about what people think of him than what he does.

Is it unreasonable to expect the president to have manners?  Is it too much to ask the president to be respectful when he talks?  Ask these questions and the response is childish.  “I’m not the only one, they do it too.”  Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders essentially defended the president by essentially saying “they started it.”  To be sure, President Trump is not the only one to have spoken badly about other people.  But most apologize when they are called out for such behavior.  Trump does not seem to believe he has done anything wrong.

This current situation is just as sad to me as the parent who recounted to me how happy she was when she saw her 4th grade son reading the newspaper.  Then she realized he was reading the Clinton deposition.  All of a sudden the newspaper needed to be censored before she could let her 4th grade son read it.

I do wonder what Trump would need to do to lose the support of his diehard supporters.  He insulted a decorated war hero.  He has been caught in numerous lies.  He said he would pay lawyer fees for any supporter who got in legal trouble for physical violence against those who opposed him.  He seems uninterested in Russian interference in the election, but is obsessed with the slightest perceived insult about himself.  How does he even have the time to watch this much news?

The president must stop.  He. Must. Stop.  And while the criticism of the president’s tweets is one of the few bipartisan things we have seen, the question becomes when the criticism moves to action.  The president hurts his chances for significant change because the tweets are too distracting.  He does not seem to care that he needs to build relationships, especially in the Senate, because the Republican majority is small.

Perhaps I am too idealistic in thinking the office of the president can be dignified in the age of social media and 24 hour news coverage.  Perhaps I am naive to think that we can ever return to civil discourse.  But didn’t Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill sit down at least some of the time to have a drink?  Wasn’t there a time when Democratic candidates could be pro-life and Republicans were able to discuss reasonable immigration solutions?

Can there be a time when we can disagree about solutions to problems without resorting to insults?  Trump did not begin the divide and polarization.  But he has taken it to a new level.  And he has made it personal and degrading.  More often than not he directs it at women.  At some point we need to regain civility.  We must.  We have too many significant issues facing us for which no solution can be found if we do not find a way to disagree without personal vitriol.

But I cannot change anyone else.  I too, fail to speak kindly all of the time.  I insult others.  I over react, I exaggerate and I fail.  But I do not like it.  I am ashamed of it.  And when I am aware and can do so, I apologize for it.  I try to admit when I am wrong about something.  I have tried to indicate those rare instances when I have agreed with Trump.  I have never referred to the president in any other way than by his name.  I have tried to have evidence and facts when I criticize a position.  I try not to resort to personal insult.

It is time for a moral awakening.  I have people with whom I have very sharp disagreements.  But they are still my friends.  While I do not always listen well, I try.  it was just a little while ago there was a commitment to greater civility in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Stephen Scalise and others.  And even the president seemed sincere in calling for greater unity.  But he cannot credibly call for unity when he speaks so badly about others.  He cannot claim to want to be the president for all when he tweets insults the way he does.

I commit to change.  To be more civil.  To be more polite.  I want to hear and act on the words of Saint Paul in Ephesians 4:29.  “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”  I really want to do this myself.  I really do want to say only the good things people need to hear.  I want to remember that every other human being is made in the image of God, and is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  I want to be the person begins to process where we all “encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thess. 5:11). I would hope President Trump could do the same.