happy list

Happy List: #82 What I Learned from Hackers

I learned something very important about myself this week.

We have been dealing with a series of escalating website issues for quite awhile now and it all came to a head earlier this week.

The website was having memory issues, which we originally attributed to sharing our server with the kids’ Minecraft server. That didn’t help the problem, but it wasn’t the root of the problem. The root of the problem was that we were under a systematic DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack by a hacker(s). It’s a malicious attempt to overwhelm your server to either slow your website down so much that it might as well be offline or to make your website crash completely.

However wrong the reasons, I actually understand why someone might do this to a big company. I don’t understand why someone would do this to me because there doesn’t seem to be anything to gain and there definitely isn’t anything of value on my site to steal. It seems like a waste of their resources and it is definitely a waste of ours.

After the website crashed for the umpteenth time, I had a moment where I had to ask myself if this was worth it. Would I be sad if we just shut this blog down for good? Is there something else I want to do more?

The fact that I was so frustrated about these attacks and sick at the thought of shutting it all down told me that I wasn’t ready to be done. This blog does matter to me.

It’s not successful in the way society defines success. I make money off the blog, but not enough to solely support my family. My social media presence is small because I’ve been reluctant to play that game in the way it needs to be played in order to grow followers and subscribers. I’ve turned down every sponsorship opportunity that has come my way. Not because I’m opposed to it, but because I’m particular about attaching my voice to someone else’s product. I also write about a wide variety of topics, which makes it hard to please all readers all the time.

Yet, years later, here I am! Still enjoying it. Still growing my community of readers. Still feeling eagerness to sit down and write. Still feeling satisfaction when I can make someone laugh, solve a problem, help avoid a travel nightmare, give encouragement, or in some other way connect on a human level. Still doing things, as wacky as they are, on my terms.

I have had the pleasure of experiencing society’s definition of success, but it was never as intrinsically rewarding as the time I spend here on this blog. Isn’t that interesting?

I guess that means I need to thank the hackers for bringing me to that realization this week. I will not thank them for the tears of frustration though. For that I’d like to…

Woah, woah, woah.

I’d better reel it back in and get on with the purpose of today’s post. The Happy List!


For the record, eating your feelings is not a good plan.

However, after the week I’ve had, I think I’d like to try this sweet goodness by Made To Be A Momma.

(image: Made To Be A Momma)

Looks better than the ones they serve at the fair! Probably less expensive too!


This article in the New York Times entitled From Tokyo to Paris, Parents Tell Americans to Chill really hit home.

I’m afraid to leave my kids in the car for 30 seconds on a not-too-hot day with the doors locked and the windows down with snacks, water and something to do in the fear someone will call the cops for child neglect or endangerment.

This was something I was never afraid of in Ireland. And not because we didn’t have a car. Ha! But because parenting is a bit more free range in other parts of the world. My kids could go into a store and buy something on their own. They could walk home by themselves. Those small instances of earned independence in a relatively safe area were good for them.

It’s all dependent on the situation, but read the article and let me know what you think.


If any of you have a fireplace in your screened-in porch, I’ll be right over!

I’d spend WAY more time outside if I had a porch like this to protect me from mosquito bites. I’m sure it’s my sweet personality they are attracted to.

(image: Coastal Living Photo by J. Savage Gibson; Styling by Liz Strong)

See more pictures of this home (the outside is my favorite) at Coastal Living.


I like this minimalist wall-mounted bike stand by Loma Living on Etsy a lot. The $109 price tag – not so much.

(image: Loma Living via Etsy)

We don’t have a garage, so our bikes are in our basement. Therefore, I’m really interested in functional and pretty storage right now that Handy Husband can create.

Something in our unfinished basement besides the humans that hang out there should be pretty, right?


See this desk? It’s $1,200 and I wouldn’t blame you for buying it.

I don’t have $1,200 to spend on a desk, but if I ever find two matching metal scroll-y things, I know what to do with them.

And, yes, “scroll-y things” is a technical term. I’m really nailing this successful blog thing today, huh?


This is a public service announcement. I know it’s still August, so we aren’t going to talk about that season that starts with an “f-a” and ends with “double hockey sticks.”

So don’t get mad about me rushing through summer. I’m not.

I’m just advising you to stock up on this apple cider scented dish soap from Mrs. Meyers. I got mine at Target. It smells so, so good for dish soap. I’m enjoying the heck out of it, which probably means I need to get a hobby.


Here’s one place I did not see while in Ireland and I’m experiencing a pang of regret.


I now know what I should do with all of those wobbly chairs I see for sale at secondhand stores.

Make a swing!

That’s what those swings are made from in this Alabama homeowner’s home. Clever, right?

(image: Traditional Home)

Also, please go see the pictures of her backyard on Traditional Home’s website. It looks like an amazing English garden and I’ve seen some amazing English gardens!

Handy Husband did his normal job this week, came home and worked on fixing the blog every night and right now he’s running a 200-mile relay in Minnesota with some co-workers. Wish him and his team luck and safety! Their 12-person team is down to 9 people, so everyone will be running extra miles.

Happy weekend, folks. Hope you enjoy it as much as a group of sweaty runners living their best life!

P.S. If you wonder how I get the smell out of Handy Husband’s race clothes, read this. No, I don’t burn them!

If you want to read about that one time I went on a trail run, read this. I think it will explain why I’m not in Minnesota running a relay race.

P.P.S. If your kids aren’t sure what to do in life, may I suggest computer science or IT or software development or anything computer related. It will help them out GREATLY. It may also help their mama who is just trying to run a simple blog!

*affiliate links in this post*

Share this:


  • Sandy Smith

    Never stop your blog. I look forward to it every Monday and Friday. I can’t imagine a 200 mile relay. Only Jeff could do that. How long did it take?

    Bria and one of his sons hiked the Pacific Coast trail from Mt. Hood to Cascade Lockes. I thought that was quite an accomplishment. It took 2.5 days. Brian said he was really tired when he finished but enjoyed every minute of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.