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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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Apr
16

DIY Household Products

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*Excerpt from You Can Stay Home With Your Kids by Erin Odom*

When we were living on a low income and I was trying to do something, anything, to make staying at home with my kids possible, I turned toward DIYing as many home products as I could muster. The humorous thing is that I am not naturally crafty or good at DIY projects! I learned to do this as much as I could during a short period because I wanted to stay at home with my kids, and this was an easy way to save money. 

What is even more advantageous about DIYing things is that you can later make and sell those same products and turn a profit in the process!

Foaming Hand Soap

If you’re new to the natural-living scene, one of the ingredients in this recipe, Castile soap, might be new to you. This nontoxic, highly concentrated soap might seem expensive at first glance, but it will last you a very long time and will serve as an ingredient in many a DIY cleaning recipe. I’ve ordered Castile soap online at Amazon.com and Vitacost.com, but most health stores and even Target carry it. This foaming hand soap recipe is so easy-peasy that you’ll never buy foaming hand soap again!

Ingredients:

1/4 parts Castile soap

3/4 parts distilled water

2–3 drops essential oil of choice (optional—for scent only)

a foaming soap dispenser

 

To Make:

Mix soap and water. Drop in oils, and mix. Pour into a foaming soap dispenser.

 

ACTION STEP: Purchase the ingredients for this soap, and try it for yourself!

 

Air Freshener

I use this homemade air freshener to spray down the insides of my trash cans every time I change out the bags. I also use it to spray the bathroom or kitchen when I need a quick way to eliminate stinky smells. It’s so easy to make that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Ingredients:

water

essential oils of choice

a glass spray bottle

 

To Make:

Simply fill a glass spray bottle with water, and add several drops of your favorite essential oils or essential-oil blends. Shake slightly before using.

 

 

ACTION STEP: Gather the ingredients and make this homemade air freshener. Then cross store-bought air freshener off your shopping list forever!

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Jan
18

Do You Find Yourself Stressed Out and Overwhelmed By Life, Relationships and…??

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The Problem May Be More Internal than External.  Here’s Why!

Expectations are HIGH!  Ever notice how so many of us proceed through our days like the cartoon “Road Runner”, and expect that we can take on all the details, issues, problems and more…with excellence.  Be it, the kids, the business, the career, let alone your spouse’s needs…each one has its pull, it’s dictates and its pressure…all leading to stress and overwhelm. 

In all your near “super-human” attempts to conquer your world, do you by chance have your KING at the beginning, center, and end of your high-speed highway of life? It’s intensely easy to leave God out, while never thinking that we have done so.  Are you tired yet?  Let’s break the cycle, shall we? 

Here are some common misbeliefs that lead us to live as though we are “untouchable” to stress and overwhelm…

Misbelief #1: I can do it all, be all and accomplish whatever my mind is set on.  (We often misuse Phil 4:13 here to give us the allowance to think so).

Misbelief #2: I’m in charge of my life and I can just work through stress and other destructive, negative emotions – it’s just: ”water off a duck’s back”. (The world subliminally teaches us this erroneous worldview, each and every day, through advertisements, and social media.)

Misbelief #3: “Coulda, shoulda, woulda”! This one is popular.  It’s the thought pattern that believes that your life would be better, more joyous and more full and complete, IF:  you had done something when given the opportunity or because you didn’t do something, your life is completely messed up. Living in the pain of the unchangeable past.   

Misbelief #4: Putting your emphasis on the size of the problem, obstacle, or fear before you, rather than the size of your God! (Only three small words here:  The Red Sea! Exodus 14) Read More→

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Nov
09

Recipe: WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH CILANTRO AND LIME

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By Amy Nelson Hannon

Oh my word. Y’all, it’s finally Fall! Fall is my favorite! If I had to list all the things I love about Fall in order of what I love best, it’d be nearly impossible. Football, crisp mornings, jeans and boots, apple everything, pumpkin everything, adding more blankets to the beds, and the anticipation of the holiday season! I mean, how’s a girl to choose?!

One other favorite of mine during this season is sturdy soups – a bowl full of earthy, warm goodness that gets at my soul. What’s the difference between regular soup and sturdy soup you might ask? Sturdy soups have girth. They are spoonfuls of hearty bites. And they fill bellies way up. You know, they’re sturdy. They can stand alone served with only a few fixins on top. Have I got a sturdy soup for you!

This recipe is an adaptation of one found in my church cookbook. Y’all know that if you can ever get your hands on a church cookbook, then it’s a keeper. Church cookbook recipes are those tried-and-true, time-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes. I know, because I’m a pastor’s wife, and I’ve been feeding people for more than 20 years. So you learn what’s good, what people come back for, and what people request recipes for. And this White Chicken Chili meets the criteria for sure! It is so creamy and loaded with flavor, and the texture is divine with hearty bites of tender chicken and white beans. Sturdy. This recipe is the first soup that my family asks for when the weather officially turns cooler and there’s football on TV. Here’s to fall! And here’s to full bellies and full hearts! – Amy Nelson Hannon, author of Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give

 

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH CILANTRO AND LIME

{serves 6-8}

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ – 2 cups yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

3-4 cups chicken stock

½ cup dry white wine like Chardonnay (optional)

1 bay leaf, broken in half

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

3 cans white beans of your choice, drained

3 jalapeno peppers, minced

3 cups fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Salt to taste

3 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for topping)

The juice of 3 limes

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (around 5-6qts). Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until they’re tender and just starting to get color.  Add the garlic oregano, cumin, and ginger, cooking for one more minute. Stir continuously so the garlic doesn’t burn!  Add stock, wine (if using) and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes over medium heat until somewhat reduced.  Add chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Read More→

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Aug
29

Setting a Positive Role Model For Kids

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Children are sponges for knowledge, following in the examples that adults provide for them. Whether parents realize it, their actions set an example for children’s behavior. Setting a positive role model for kids is a “lead by example” effort and takes a lot of hard work.

Advice from Experts

The U.S. Dept. of Education advice for caregivers can be applied to parents, too. Those in charge of children’s development have to set good examples when kids are away from home. Be a good role model by:

  • Being positive and confident to help children be positive and confident in their environment
  • Be responsive to their needs by tuning into them with full attention, even if for a moment
  • Be consistent and predictable, so children will feel more safe
  • Activities can help children play and develop social or cognitive skills

Also, connect with other parents to create a supportive network.

Healthy Habits for Kids

On top of ensuring children have a positive and calm environment, kids also need exercise and good nutrition.

According to statistic from the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s kids spend more than seven-and-a-half hours inside with entertaining media, and only 6 percent play outdoors. However, kids that do play outside are also more active and less aggressive than their peers. The outdoors also improves concentration in children, a must for those with ADHD.

Nutrition is harder to nail down, with all the fad diets that pop into society. However, including plenty of vegetables, lean and high protein meats, and a moderate amount of fresh fruits and grains. Keep kids away from added sugars (natural sugar in fruit is ok) and saturated or trans fats foods, such as high fat meats, cheese or butter. Read More→

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Aug
15

The Top 3 Analytics Platforms For Websites and Blogs

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website scrabbleby Trey Donaldson

Have you ever wondered why some seemingly beautiful websites fail and some inexpensive ones flourish? It appears that the amount of money put behind a website does not matter a lot. The success of a website or blog depends on how well engage with the content. Sites fail to live up to expectation because they overlook business objectives. Similarly, measuring online marketing is something modern businesses (big or small) want to do. We all agree that tracking data and numbers, without a dedicated tool, can be one tedious journey. Whatever your business is about, analysis software will always come in handy in getting performance data and stats. Here are a few platforms to consider for an enhanced marketing strategy.

Google Analytics Platform

Google Analytics may be a free tool, but do not think it does not serve the purpose. We have placed it first on this list for a good reason, that it is easy to use, but super effective. Sign up to the site, get a tracking code and get going. There are many ways of using this platform. For instance, you can get about page views, whereby you determine the popularity of individual pages. If you want to get information about different marketing mediums, view the pages by source.   Are you interested in referral traffic information? Google Analytics will give this information too.

It will also provide demographic reports, weighted sort and social referrals. That is why we say you should try out this platform. The platform should be around for a while, considering that it is from Google and that its updates and tweaks are regular.

 

Sumo Content Analytics

Sometimes you want a wide range of tools to add to content analytics, all in one package. Sumo is that kind of platform. Millions are already using this tool, so it is definitely adding value to websites and blogs. Sumo brings loads of benefits including higher website traffic, more social-shares and more subscribers to email list.  

Does it cost to get Sumo? You can still install the tool free, but this only for the branded version. However, cost is likely to increase with increase in traffic. The good thing is that this tool is good value for money, considering it comes with numerous apps, responsive support and timely updates. It is also easy to use.

 

Piwik

Like the previous two tools, Piwik is easy to use so you can download and start using it immediately. When you first use this platform, you will notice many similarities with other top solutions. It is compatible with almost any server you bring, updates data in real time and has numerous user-friendly features. Piwik offers advanced privacy for your data.  Do you want all the information as one package? You will love this platform for its detailed full report and back ups.

There is a pricier version that charges $29 per month, but if you are technically shrewd, you may stick to the free software.  That is why they say the software is sometimes uncomfortable to some people. However, considering the tools ease of setup and installation, flawless performance and richness of data, this platform is definitely recommendable for any website or blog owner.

In conclusion, the good thing with analytics platforms is that using them is usually very simple, yet the meaningfulness of the data provided is unquestionable. Once you get the intelligence and act upon it, there is no reason your website or blog should not improve over time. In an era when online marketing is so challenging, even the slightest improvements are worthwhile. So, get one of these awesome analytics platforms and take your business to the next level.

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Aug
08

4 Technologies to Humanize the Remote Work Experience

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If you work remotely or manage remote workers, you’re in good company. A Gallup survey found that in 2016, 43 percent of those working in the U.S. worked remotely at least some of the time, up from 39 percent in 2012. This shift is viewed positively by many employers and employees, who say that remote workers are more productive and that the flexibility of remote work attracts more non-traditional employees to the workplace.

However, this same survey found, probably not surprisingly, that while those who work remotely 100 percent are generally happy, they feel less engaged than coworkers in two areas: relationships with other employees and professional development. Both deficit areas stem from the lack of personal interaction with co-workers and management. So if you’re a remote worker or manage a remote team, how can you keep remote work from feeling robotic and disconnected? Here are four technologies that can help humanize the remote work experience.

1. Face-to-face video conferencing software

Face-to-face contact is crucial for successful working relationships and is obviously lacking in most remote working situations. As often as possible, use video conferencing software both for formal and spontaneous meetings. This will help give a human face to remote workers and establish a genuine connection between coworkers. Get a virtual meeting software that allows for spontaneity, agility and true telepresence when needed.

2. Communication app

One of the ways coworkers traditionally bond is through the seemingly unimportant chatter that happens in the hallways or break rooms. To help foster this bond virtually, get a messaging app for your team. The most popular of these apps is Slack, which allows you to organize conversations into channels, share files and prioritize conversations. Many teams will keep one channel open just for ongoing personal chats and encourage remote workers to start each morning there. Read More→

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Jun
13

5 Tips to Set Up Your Home Office

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The home office has emerged as one of the most important residential amenities, Entrepreneur reports. The trend points to a rise in self-employment and flexible working office policies that are putting more workers in front of their home computer.

But setting up a home office is more than just opening up your laptop and getting to work at a desk in a spare room. Setting it up the right way can create a career sanctuary you need to get more done and stay productive. Here are five tips to set up your home office for success.

Plan out your space

Before you get your office space set up, plan how you’re going to use it first. Packing up inventory requires long tables and plenty of storage to stay productive and on task. Meanwhile, a career focused around freelance writing or graphic design needs a quiet space and good lighting to avoid eye strain.

Once you’ve sorted out how you will use your office space, take the time to measure out how your tables, desks and furniture will fit. However, leave enough room to add personal touches like throw rugs and decorations.

Get colorful

Breathe life into your home office with brightly painted walls. Add framed photos of your favorite vacation destinations and family moments. Add a unique piece of wall art, like a painting or wall tapestry with intriguing designs, photo-inspired motifs or natural florals. Finish off your look with a colorful throw rug to tie your office space together, HGTV suggests.

Use the right lighting

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, poor lighting can cause blurred vision, headaches and eyestrain. However, quality lighting can limit glare and extreme contrasts that put a strain on your eyes. Keep your home office light at optimum levels by adding desk and floor lamps to your space to enhance your office style while brightening up the room. Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jun
02

Home Security on a Budget: 5 Components Needed for DIY Security 

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For those who have never experienced the feelings of fright and helplessness that accompany a home break-in, it can be difficult to fathom. But those who have know that it can happen to practically anyone, at any time. In fact, most burglaries occur during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This may come as a relief to those with 9-to-5 jobs, but for the increasing number of people who work from home, a daylight burglary could quickly become a terrifying home invasion.

A security system would set your mind at ease, but not everyone has hundreds or thousands of dollars to put into an expensive system. Even those without a huge budget deserve a secure home, so here are several economical ideas for frugal homeowners on how to make your home more secure from break-ins without breaking the bank.

There are five essential components required for an effective home security system:

  • Internet-accessible security hub – This device will connect all of the individual components of your security system allowing them to work together. Make sure the hub can connect to the internet as this guarantees that you will be able to access your security system at any time, from anywhere.
  • A smartphone app will allow you to access the hub remotely while you are out, or just from different areas of your home. Be sure to find the right app, though, that compliments the operating system of your phone and does not require pairing to a specific brand of camera or hub. CAWSView is a great one for Android users as it is a live video streams application. It offers HD surveillance video of your home on your mobile through the direct cameras, with safe and fast way. iPhone users may appreciate iProctron, which allows viewers to watch and control live video feed from cameras and video encoders, and also has a playback option.
  • Sensors – Sensors come with different options: motions sensors, sound sensors, heat sensors and more are available; however, if you are on a budget and are not protecting a collection of priceless paintings, sensors that notify you when doors or windows will suffice. If you are working from home and alone, you will likely want to be informed of someone entering the house.
  • Internet-connected cameras – These cameras connect to the hub and allow you to use your smartphone to view inside your home live, in real time. If you step out to go to the grocery, an inside peek of your home is readily available in the palm of your hand. Installing cameras like Lorex home security cameras is optimal because these cameras can be purchased outright, unlike others that require a monthly subscription. When building a security system piecemeal, this is imperative.
  • A high-decibel alarm – Sadly, even though sounding alarms when in distress no longer brings the neighbors running — so many alarms malfunction or are accidentally set off that most people simply ignore them — the sound is likely loud and sudden enough to send burglars running for fear of police involvement.

Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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May
23

How to Minister to Others with Your Blog

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Blogging is so popular nowadays that you may already be contemplating using this platform to spread the gospel or simply help other people. Can you use the tool for outreach? Perhaps we need to review the reasons people blog.  For some people, blogging is a full time job, while others do it for fun.  For Christian, the motivation should be the urge to say something.

There is a lot to say on the blogosphere. Many ills are happening in the world and taking the fight online is the best strategy. Assuming you have a blog ready, we have some ideas on how to use it for ministry.  If you do not have an idea what a Christian blog is, here is an example of one. Now let us look at the ideas.

Build a Niche

There are millions of blogs already, so you must occupy a distinctive niche to garner significant readership. Unless your skills match those of Garrison Keillor or Peter Ustinov, you must avoid a broad view of issues. Have you determined who your target readers are?  You could be targeting the youth, unbelievers, or young believers and so on. Have their mental picture and probably do an assessment before doing your first post.

Be Transparent

It is very difficult to minister to others when you are not transparent. When it comes to blogging, it should not be lost to you that humans thrive on connection with others. Write posts that demonstrate how one can overcome tests, adversity and so on. Share your struggles, outlining how you won the battles. I once shared to readers how I used to focus entirely on how to amass wealth and overlooked God. I explained how God did not place too much value on my worldly successes. He valued me with or without money, cars and apartments. From the feedback I got, it is apparent this is something many people encounter. Share your testimony on your blog; you never know how many people you will touch.

Be Diverse In Your Posts

It is very surprising that some people think Christians live abnormal lives. In your blog posts, do not strive to promote this misconception by writing about bible verses 24/7. Let people see you are also a human being so that they can be ready to connect. When people visit your blog, they should see that you love football, pets, road trips, and you are a firm believer of the Word. Let your topics elicit a sense of reality even as you give your audience a regular dose of the Gospel.

Use Blogging Tools Maximally

As enthusiastic as you are about blogging, you will agree or eventually find out that updating your blog regularly is a tough call. Your ministry can suffer if bad habits set in, but we do not want to go into that topic for now. It does not have to get to that point where blogging for ministry is no longer fun. You need tools to make blogging easier and more fun. An added advantage is that you are guaranteed of good results. Read More→

May
10

God, Do You Love Me?

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by Michelle Lynn Senters

 

I don’t remember when I first became cynical about love. Perhaps it began as a girl when my words of affection towards my father went unnoticed. Or maybe in sixth grade when the cute boy sitting in front of me turned around and announced I should learn how to pluck my eyebrows. The cynicism was certainly present as a young, married women when my husband told me to buy my own Valentine’s Day card. And by the time I became a single mother, my animosity towards lovey-dovey movies, kissy-faced jewelry commercials, and rose-adorned greeting cards grew to such a level, I was certain I would never recover.

Love simply didn’t exist.

At least not for me and it seemed as if the world screamed one, powerful message.

“You don’t qualify because you are not worth loving.”

Of course, I put on a brave face for my daughters. I taught them about the love God had for them, what romantic love and marriage should look like, and how to dream big dreams. I painted on a smile of joy and contentment and hid my loneliness from them. How quickly that smile disappeared after I tucked the girls into bed and climbed into my bed alone each night.

Yet, despite my cynicism and doubt, there remained a profound longing to be loved- the kind of longing that sat heavy and painful in my chest, pulling me through my bed and into the depths of the earth. It was an “all I’ve ever wanted in life is to be loved” kind of longing.

And there, in the middle of my lonely, earth-sunken bed, I whispered a simple prayer that would change my life.

“God, do YOU love me?”

I heard His gentle answer. “Read my Word as a love letter.”

In doing so, I learned five truths that enabled me to let go of my cynicism and embrace the love God has for me. Now, I share those truths and His love letter with you in hopes that you might make peace with “love”.

  1. God loves you.

My Beloved,

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is my love (Ephesians 3:18). I have searched you and know you (Psalm 139:1). You are precious and honored in my sight. I love you (Isaiah 43:4). See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands (Isaiah 49:16). Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, for I have compassion for you (Isaiah 54:10). Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3).  My love for you endures forever. I will not abandon the works of my hands (Psalm 138:8). Read More→

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