CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggervegetable isleIn our house, not many conflicts expose themselves. For the most part, it is a very quiet and serene home occupied by two lovebirds.

I am not saying we are perfect. For we are not. The imperfect side of this marvelous relationship is Yours Truly. I was born imperfect and I have honored my birthright ever since.

I do not care what some may say about crazy people, I have enjoyed my craziness all my life. When you are perfect, you have to be careful that you do not make any mistake or act crazy.

When, however, you are imperfect and tilt towards the crazy side of life, your life is a joy. If you make a mistake, well, that is part of life. But on the positive side, when you do something right, you become the amazement of people around you.

So, our relationship in the Parsonage has been a very wonderful relationship. At least, from my side of the room. What the other resident says may be quite different.

We do make a great team, though. I can break anything and she can fix anything. How much better do you need to be?

When I make a mistake, she can correct me even in front of people. Now that is what I like. I would hate people to think I am stupid, crazy is one thing but stupid is something altogether different. And it is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that consistently rescues me from being stupid.

Being a non-perfectionist, I can enjoy every day of my life, no matter what happens or what doesn’t happen.

I cannot imagine what life is like for that person who is a perfectionist, like my wife.

She sees something that needs fixing, and she is busy trying to fix it.

If something is out of place, she is the first one to put it in its place. She has put me in my place for many years.

Few things we disagree on but there is one thing on top of that list. They can be boiled down into one word, Vegetables.

My wife loves vegetables almost as much as I love apple fritters. I do not think since the day she was born a day has passed without her consuming some kind of vegetable. She knows vegetables like I know apple fritters. There is not a vegetable known to mankind that she has not consumed.

Even for breakfast, she likes to sneak in some kind of vegetable. With my oatmeal, for example, she likes to sneak in a carrot. What in the world do carrots have to do with breakfast?

Her response to this is simply, “Vegetables are good for you and it’s good to start the day off with a vegetable.”

For her sake, I will grudgingly put up with some vegetables. Some vegetables, however, I will not put up with, I have made my stand strong through the years and I have not moved. Leading the list would be Broccoli.

Yes, I know all of the benefits of eating broccoli. My wife has told me this over and over throughout the years and I can repeat it verbatim. Read More→

Customers always want to get the most value, and that value means both money and time. The more value that you offer your customers, the more likely they will be to purchase from you. It truly is that simple. However, achieving the right level of value provision is a challenge that will need a robust and proactive strategy. Providing the right kind of value is essential, but it will depend on your sector and your branding. If you’re not focusing your strategy on those areas, then the chances are that what you are currently providing is minimal, and that will reflect clearly on your bottom line. If you want to offer the right value, then these key areas should be your starting point.

 

Becoming an authority

The more that your customers see you as an authority in your field, the more trust they will place on your business. Look at your sector, and consider the reasons why someone might come to visit your website. If they come looking for answers to a question and you don’t have the answer to that question, then they have received no value and will seek it elsewhere.

 

Boost authority
There are several ways to do this, with content marketing the proven key to authority establishment. If your current marketing strategy is not working as well as you hoped, it may be time to focus on value by making use of professional experts. The experts at companies such as Click Intelligence are able to fine-tune your marketing goals and provide a clearly focused strategy that adds real value. Look at ways to improve your authority, and your value will grow organically.

 

Understanding consumer needs

The more that you know about what your customers want from you, the better you will be able to provide them with value. Any business that has not yet carried out an exhaustive market research campaign in order to understand the basics of their current customer base is going to be working with incomplete data. Make it a priority to understand who your customers are, as well as their habits and ways of using the internet. Look at your social media platforms and only prioritize those that you know your audience is using. You should know what devices they are using, what times of day they are most likely to be online, and most importantly, what they are looking for from your business. The more that you know, the more that you will be able to target your growth more accurately.

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Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Tell us about your new novel, Ours for a Season.

Ours for a Season probably combines the most incompatible list of themes I’ve ever tried to meld into a single story: infertility, marital discord; questioning one’s faith; life-long friendship; homelessness; a serious health challenge; rebuilding a ghost town… But if I were to encapsulate it all into one thematic idea, I would say this is a story about starting anew. There’s a wonderful old hymn with the phrase, “Morning by morning new mercies I see…” That is what this story is about: God’s mercies blooming fresh in people’s lives.

 

Most of the book takes place in a Kansas ghost town. Being from Kansas yourself, are there any real places that remind you of the ghost town?

Several years ago, my critique partners and I visited a nearly abandoned Kansas town called Elgin. The crumbling buildings in the business district made my heart ache. One could imagine the once-thriving community and the pride the owners must have taken in operating their stores. One of my critique members commented that it was too bad we didn’t have the money to bring everything back to life, and the idea of restoring the historical structures sort of got tangled with the idea of rebuilding broken spirits and emerged in this story.

 

The book touches on human trafficking. How did you become interested in this topic?

I’ve always had a soft spot for people who suffer from abuse, especially sexual abuse. The subject of trafficking became personal to me when the young teen daughter of one my daughter’s neighbors was missing for several months and eventually rescued from the man who was pimping her out (such an ugly thought). If a child from small-town Kansas can get caught up in this net, it’s far too prevalent. The effects of being used in such a vile way by people who claim to care about you are deep and agonizing, and we all—every single person—need to take a stand and do what we can to put this soul-stealing industry out of business.

 

The book is in memory of your dear writing friend and author Diann Hunt. Can you tell us more about how she inspired this story?

Diann died in December of 2013 after a lengthy battle with ovarian cancer. Although the cancer ravaged her body, it never stole her faith or her infectious love for life. She wrote on Facebook on a day when she was feeling particularly low physically, “Stop! Right where you are. What do you see? Taste? Feel? Smell? Hear? Root yourself in this very moment. Memorize it. Life is made up of these. Don’t be so consumed by the past or with the future that you are blinded to your moment. Right now. The one you’re given by Almighty God to make a difference. Go out and live for Jesus today, my friends! I mean REALLY live!! You can do it! Start now. Ready. Set. Go!” She so loved Jesus (she glowed Jesus) and she so loved laughter (you couldn’t help but laugh when in her presence) and so loved life… She’s been gone now for several years, but she lives in the hearts and memories of her family members and many who had the pleasure of calling her friend. Brooke and Marty were to each other what Diann was to many of us—steadfast, encouraging, and ever loving. She wanted to make a difference, just as Brooke wanted to make a difference. Brooke did, and so did Diann.

 

What can you tell us about what you’re working on next?

Next out of the chute is a historical story set at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895. Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children and expected to stay home and “take care of Mama,” becomes a silkworm weaver at the exposition in hopes of snagging a beau wealthy enough to support both her and her mother so she can have her own home and family while still honoring her siblings’ expectations. Of course, what we want isn’t always what God deems best for us. The story is called A Silken Thread and will release in early April of next year.

 

Where can readers find more information about Ours for a Season?
Please visit the WaterBrook website or my website: www.KimVogelSawyer.com.

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Pebbles JacoboIn selling online, whether a service or a product, it is important to build a rapport with your target audience. Even with online sales, it is in our human nature to want and need to trust who and where we make purchases. What kind of relationship do you have with your target audience? Here are my top five tips for building a relationship with your target audience:

  1. Avoid “Multiple-Personality Posting.” Establish who you are and/or what your company is all about. Step back and objectively review your tweets, updates and posts. Do they look like they come from the same person or entity or from various persons? Think about every post and update and what they tell your audience about you and/or your company.
  2. Offer Value with Every Post. While you want to change things up and vary the info you offer to your clients, be careful not to overload your audience with excessive info that only serves to add to the number of posts to your account. Are you posting just to add another feather in your hat or to add value to the lives of your audience? Every time you post a link to your website or blog,
  3. Interact With Your Audience Instead of Tweeting At. This makes a huge difference. When authors step off their pedestal and interact with their audience they become more real to their audience. The same goes whether blogging, posting and interacting with comments on Facebook and tweeting. Beginning this dialogue is essential to your survival online, especially if you want long-term, repeat and happy clients. Anybody can schedule posts and walk away from the computer. I challenge you to take your social media marketing actions a step further, beginning with relationships.
  4. Listen. Going hand in hand with interacting with your audience is listening. What does your audience want? What do they need? What are they seeking? Why do they return to your account? What draws them there? Knowing the needs of your target audience will help to build your relationship.
  5. Keep Your Private Life…Private. Be cautious of what you post online. I encourage all of my social media marketing clients to have separate professional and personal accounts. Your clients do not need to know what you had for lunch or that spouse’s snoring kept you up all night. Likewise, you want to be careful not to spam your friends and family with posts about your business.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pebbles Jacobo is the owner of A&P Virtual Enterprises, http://apvirtualenterprises.com, which she, with the guidance of her husband, started when she began  working from home as a virtual assistant several years ago. As Content Manager of the leading Christian work-at-home site online, CWAHM.com, Pebbles found herself thoroughly intrigued and fascinated with the world of social media. Her love of social media has grown over the years and she now offers social media marketing, along with a host of services, to her clients, which include speakers, authors and entrepreneurs alike.   This article is free to publish as long as the bio remains.

 

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerOne of the main complaints in the Parsonage has to do with my procrastination. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage often refers to me as, Sir Procrastinator, as if it was a bad thing.

Anything that needs doing in our house, my wife is the first one to jump up and try to do it. She fixes things before they are even broken. How she does that, I will never know. It is a wife thing.

I, on the other hand, am slower than a politician trying to explain him or herself. For some reason, I was born in no hurry and that has been my motto all of my life. I am really not in a hurry for anything.

I take my time, relax whenever possible and just do not get excited about anything. I have found out that when I get excited about something and want to go fast forward, I always get into trouble. Trouble has become my middle name in this regard.

As a child, my parents wanted me to speed up and get things done quickly. I never could figure out why. Very few things need to be done in a speedy order.

I just do not have the energy, these days, to hurry up and get something done.

Last year, for example, the doctor gave me a little package to take home that I was supposed to put in a personal “sample” and send to the company. Certainly, I meant to do it as soon as I got home. But I took the slow way home, stopped and got a delicious banana split. I can only get these banana splits when I am driving by myself, for the other companion in our home has strict laws about such “nonsense,” as she calls it.

I actually enjoyed my “nonsense” very much.

When I got home, however, I had forgotten about the box in which I was supposed to put in my “sample” and send to the company. I put it somewhere and I just forgot about it.

“When,” my wife said, “are you going to take care of that and send it in?”

I almost said, “When pigs fly.” But because I was slow in getting that phrase out, it never got out. Of course, I am so glad I was slow in that regard.

Sometimes being slow has its rewards. Some people say being fast has its rewards. I would not know about that personally.

Several months went by. “Did you send that package in?”

“What package?” I said.

Then she reminded me of that package and that I had to send in my “sample” for the doctor had ordered it.

Doctors! What do they really know? After all, they are only “practicing” medicine. When they get it to perfection, then maybe I’ll believe them.

Several mornings when I would get up, I would hear the question, “Are you going to take care of what you’re supposed to do?”

I really meant to do it, but procrastination is the name of the game I play. I do not mean to play it that way, it just happens.

And it is not that I do not have a good memory. I do have a good memory in fact, I have locked several sections of my memory to save for when I get old. I will use that memory when I need it.

“You know,” argued my wife, “you’re not doing yourself any favors by putting this off. Why don’t you do it today?” Read More→

Oct
09

Organizing Your Home Office

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It can be a real challenge as a work at home parent to maintain an organized home office. Many times, the office or desktop is the last of our worries as we strive to raise our children, support our spouses and run our home-based business. However, keeping up with the clutter and chaos of your office may be just what you need to get you in a working mindset and help you to be more efficient while working.

There a few simple things that you can do on a regular basis that will help to de-stress organizing process:

 

  • Address your home office/desktop chaos in blocks of time. You may need to set aside just a few hours, or you may need an entire day. Decide what will work for you and stick to it. If it’s not possible for you to set aside a block of time, consider using a headset while you are on the phone and be de-cluttering, too!
  • Have the necessities on hand: a trash can, pen, file folders, mail baskets and other organization items that will enable you to sort, throw out and find a place for each item. Envision your goal and purchase the supplies necessary to create that environment.
  • Clear the space you want to organize (the desk surface, one of the drawers, etc.). Then make a pile of all the paper. Begin to evaluate each piece of paper, sorting it by importance. Throw out as much as possible and find a place for each of the other items.
  • If you start to feel stressed, take a break. Make a goal of how far you’d like to get during the time you have available and set an incentive for yourself if you reach your goal. It’s always easier to complete a task when you know you’ll be rewarded.

Once you’ve organized your office, it’s important to take small steps everyday to keep the room clean and tidy. It’s very easy to fall back into the routine of piling things on your desktop and around the room. There are five simple tasks that you can do daily to help maintain your organized space:

1. Clean out your “Inbox”. In today’s world this can apply to postal mail or email. Create a special basket for postal mail that needs to be taken care of right away, and another for items that can wait a day or two.

To keep your email inbox under control, create folders within your email program. Keep what needs to be done immediately in your inbox and distributed the rest into your folders. You can also use “rules” to help separate email and make it easier to manage.

2. Make sure all notes are transferred to your calendar, palm pilot or day planner. It is very easy to pile up a desktop full of paper by writing every note on a Post-it. You can also create an “Idea Book” to catalog all of your business ideas for future reference.

3. Remove all mail, catalogs & magazines from your desk. Put them in their proper place as you receive them. This will considerably cut down the amount of clutter on your desktop.

4. File as you go. This is the most basic and most important tip of all. If you file as you go your records will be in order, your desktop will be clear and you will feel like a professional.

5. Clean off your desktop each evening. There’s nothing better than sitting down at a clean workspace each morning. It helps to keep your mind focused on your business and makes finding important documents a snap.

By following these easy guidelines you will have a clean and organized home office in no time. Having a clutter-free workspace is the first step in creating an organized and professional home-based business.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jill Hart is the author of several books and the founder of Christian Work at Home Ministries, CWAHM.com.

lightbulbHashtags are simply words or phrases with a hash tag or pound sign (#) in front of them to highlight or emphasize the specifics of the message. For example: If you are posting a message about a product you offer, you might do something like #newproduct #diamondbracelet or #affordable.

The hashtag promptly increases the chances of your post being found when someone uses those terms in a search. They can be a bit annoying but are important if you want your posts to be found.

As with any tool or technique, it must be used properly to work effectively. Below are some ways to effectively and not so effectively use hashtags.

1. Do Not Use Spaces – The words or phrase you want included in the hashtag cannot have any spaces. You do not want your hashtag to look like this: #vegetable gardening.  You need to keep the space out. #vegetablegardening As with a url if you want to separate the words, use upper case letters. #VegetableGardening

2. Do not Use Punctuation Marks of Any Kind – Adding punctuation marks or special characters will render your hashtag ineffective. You also do not want to use all capital letters. You can use numbers as they will be effective within your hashtag.

3. Do Not Overstuff – I have seen messages or posts that were nothing but a jumble of hashtags. This is a definite no-no. Try not to use more than two or three hashtags per message. Using too many might give people the impression that you are a spammer. Use them as a tool, not as your entire message.

4. Do Not Make Them Too Long – For example: #bigsaleonallfurnituresavemoneywitheverypurchase. As you can see this is just a big confusing mess. Try not to use more than two or three words for your hashtag.  #FurnitureSale You want your hashtag to be easy to understand. Read More→

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