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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We all want our work to have meaning.Bible and coffee

It’s pretty much as simple as that … and has been since time began. Way back in the time when the book of Ecclesiastes was written (many scholars believe it was written in the 3rd century B.C.), the author’s main frustration was that he wanted his work to be meaningful.

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 3:17-18, 22-23

Pretty uplifting stuff, huh?

Since the beginning of time we humans have desired to make a difference in the world. For our work here to COUNT for something. And, whether we know or not, for our work to glorify God. Only then can our work have meaning.

But, what if our work isn’t centered around sharing the gospel. What if we don’t work in a church? Can our work still be a God-honoring calling?

The answer is a resounding yes! Read More→

The Christmas TreeChristmas season is almost upon us. Every year it catches me by surprise a little. I love Christmas cookies, lights, parties, and the celebration of His birth, but I think we all struggle with the busyness of it. The activities seem to be endless.

One thing I have been working on over the past few years is trying to look objectively at it.

What is it about the holiday that I am struggling with? If it is the busyness, what am I doing that I don’t have to do?

Idealistically I think how great it would be for my kids to make a homemade ornament for all the relatives. I want to make all the favorite Christmas cookies for multiple events like the church Christmas party, our moms cookie swap, teacher gifts, and the three holiday gatherings held at our house. Then there is the annual Christmas letter to write and wrapping, shopping, live nativity events and more. The sheer volume of activities makes me tired just thinking about it.

All the activity seems good when looking at the holiday pictures of past years. And then we see the pictures our friends have posted on facebook of all their baking and decorations. It all looks so perfect – picture perfect and I for one can fall into believing that this is what it looks like to celebrate the holiday. The smiling faces at the festivities may lead us to believe that in this busy season others have found joy when we have found stress.  

The truth is none of us are supermoms. We all have our usual responsibilities like work, baths, cleaning, church and laundry (and if you homeschool like me, one more thing to do). Somehow in our busy lives we are adding the Christmas season which is really about finding joy and peace in the birth of our Savior. Yet so often we find ourselves trying to look like we have it altogether and measuring our success by how many cookies we made from scratch, whether are gifts are homemade or store bought, how well our child did in the pageant and so much more. Read More→

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Between wrapped giftsnow and the end of the year our house is going to be a mad dash for the stores in preparation for Christmas.

This time of the year, I lay low and try to be as invisible as possible. If I hide in the shadows of the parsonage and do not speak, I am in pretty good shape. I have been practicing this for over 40 years, so I have reached a certain level of proficiency.

Having a wife and two daughters has been a challenge, especially at this time of the year. My son and I have survived and so I am sure I will make it through another year. However, I am not taking anything for granted.

I am somewhat of a competitive person, in some degree. I like a good challenge and I certainly like to win. Going up against the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has not been a successful competition. Even when she loses, so to speak, she wins. When she wins, I also win, so why should I complain?

The contest at this time of the year is to see how much money these ladies of the parsonage can save. I have not kept track over the years for obvious reasons, so I do not know who is ahead and who is behind.

I would not say that they were Shopaholics, but I am pretty sure they are. From my point of view, I am in no position to challenge them on this serious addiction. To challenge them thusly, would require several weeks in a rehabilitation center for myself. Who wants to go there during the holidays?

I try not to keep track, but I believe it all begins with what is called “Black Friday.” I am not sure why it is called “Black Friday” because after it is all over my checkbook is in deep red.

On this audacious holiday, if it can be called a holiday, I keep out of their way.

They will start early in the morning and throughout the day they will come home to unload and boast to me about how much money they saved. Then, off they go back on the shopping trail. For my part, I would never want to stand between them and their shopping destination because, I just have grown accustomed to living.

Although I am not much into shopping, I know when to shop and when not to shop. The purpose of my shopping is not to see how much I can save. If I want to save money, I will stay home and drink a nice hot cup of coffee.

Halfway through the shopping season, my wife and I were sitting in the living room drinking our evening coffee and she was explaining to me her shopping plan. The more she talked the less I understood. I did not know you needed a plan to go shopping. My plan is very simple, do not go shopping! Read More→

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI cannot express how important it is to do your due diligence, especially when starting your own business. When I first set up shop as a virtual assistant (VA) I was all over the place. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, just was not sure how to get started. I spent hours and hours and hours and hours researching this and that – just looking things up. I even remember one of the very first VA sites I found was that of CWAHM’s very own, Diana Ennen. Though doing your due diligence will vary from person to person, below are specific items I suggest you include in your research, especially if you are setting up shop as a new VA.

  1. Research the Services You Wish to Provide. Understand the market for them and specific lingo used.Additionally important to know and understand about your services is to know and understand who is in the market for your services. Marketing social media management services to government employees will not most likely garner the business you seek for your efforts.
  2. Research Your Competition. Knowing the prices your competition is one thing, but also understanding the time and experience that back up their price is another thing. Do not be surprised to find that there are VA’s who offer their services for unbelievable rates – both outrageously high and ridiculously low. Set your rate for what you are comfortable at. Read More→
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Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

n the last article we took a short side-step from our Mr. Manners series to talk about one of the greatest potential God-centered holidays, Halloween.  So for this article we were planning to get back on track and talk about Social Media Manners for your kids.  It’s a great topic and we’ll definitely feature it.

Unfortunately though, while I have been compiling wisdom and manners on social media, I have been experiencing the election process here in the U.S.  I’ve had some first-hand witnessing to a lot of bad social media behavior, especially on Facebook.  So my list for social media manners has a lot of “don’t.”  Before I flooded you with “don’ts” I need to take an entire post and set the stage for the idea of a border marking off a really safe and fun area.  Sure, there are don’ts in life, but there is also a free and fun area that they boundary.  So, I think it’s time for me to give you my Playground Analogy.

I hope you are ready for this.   The Playground Analogy is one of the Top Ten great analogies of life.  It helps describe a healthy relationship with God, and positive attitude for your life.  Great Christian psychologists are humbled by this analogy; it puts books like Boundaries into the “Amateur Psychology” section of Barnes and Nobel.  And, most importantly for us dads, it is a great mindset to teach your kids.

I went a little far describing the importance of this analogy.  Or did I?  You may be the judge.

The Playground

Some of you may not have had an elementary school experience and it’s an essential part of this analogy.  I’m going to describe the typical elementary school playground environment to give you the basis for this fantastic metaphor.

At my elementary school in the late 70’s there was a brick building that was the school.  It was pretty typical of a school: teachers, principal, music, art, gym, cafeteria – the whole thing.  As students, we would sit in class for a portion of the day, then we would have recess.  We would all line up and file out to the doors opening up into the . . .  playground.

The playground was an area directly outside the school.  Part of it was asphalt, and there was a portion that was a grassy field.  In the playground there was a kickball field painted on the asphalt.  There were slides, there was a merry-go-round (now condemned by most schools as a ‘death trap’).  There were swings and monkey-bars, and basketball hoops and teeter-totters (seesaws) and one of those new play equipment things that one kid used to call the Big-a-bang.

. . . and there was a fence around the playground.

The fence was an important part of the playground.  On one side, it created a safety barrier to the road and the downtown neighborhood.  Another side bordered the high school, where sometimes teenagers could be seen walking the track, skipping school, and having class outside.  Another side bordered a woods and graveyard. Read More→

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerThe world of virtual assistants continues to grow daily.  With so many other virtual assistants out there, what sets you apart from the rest? Why should a potential client choose you over everyone else out there?

Entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate businesses alike all share one thing – they want the best. If they are working hard to be on top you can guarantee that any virtual assistants they hire are hard workers and the best. What does it mean to be the best?  It best does not mean that they know everything or how to do everything imaginable. Rather, the best virtual assistants are known for giving their best in all the projects they work on, in everything they do.  Is that you?

If you want to get ahead in the world of virtual assistance one thing I strongly suggest is narrowing your field. As a virtual assistant, you do not have to chase all the jobs available. You do realize that, right?  Well, you might start off that way, but as you establish yourself as a virtual assistant, you will get to a point where you can actually pick and choose from projects and jobs out there. Figure out what you enjoy and do the best and make it a point to refine your skills. Read More→

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Smile Post-itI know I am not correct on many things, just ask the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. If I could be right as many times as I am wrong, I would be a genius. The problem is, I am more wrong than I am right, which puts me a little bit out of balance.

People always say things they really do not mean. I guess they are just trying to be nice and courteous.

For instance. My wife will say as I leave the door to go somewhere, “Drive safely.”

I do not know what that means. Does she think I am going to drive like an idiot? Well, maybe that is not a good illustration.

Another one is, if you are going to a party someone will say, “Have fun.”

Does that mean they are under the impression that you are not going to have fun unless you are enticed? Why do people always say things like that?

We always say things that we do not mean.

Of course, I am always a little guarded about certain things my wife may say to me. The most infamous one would be, “Does this dress make me look fat?” I am not sure who came up with that one, but their head was not spinning in the right direction.

After thinking about that for a little bit I am under the impression that if anyone asks me that question, particularly if it is my wife, they are not looking for the right answer. They are looking for a compliment.

Is it more important to tell the truth or to encourage someone? That has always been my dilemma.

One question has bugged me for a long time. I must confess that I have done it myself, but it still bugs me. It is when we meet somebody and say, “Hello, how are you doing?”

Why do we say something like that? Whenever I asked somebody how they are doing, I really do not want them to tell me how they are doing. I am trying to be courteous and friendly. I do not want to know the details of their life. Read More→

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