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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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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.

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→

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→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Apr
26

Are You Really Separating Wants from Needs in Your Budget?

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According to a Nerdwallet poll conducted by Harris Poll, 64 percent of Americans have accumulated some amount of credit card debt. But the reasons why people overspend is enlightening. In fact, the poll found that only 10 percent of Americans say the most common reason for credit card debt is that their income doesn’t cover everyday necessities.

There could also be psychological factors at play for overspending, like indulging in retail therapy when feeling down and out or having a bad day. But old-fashioned financial sense — like separating wants from needs in your budget — are also factors in overspending. It may seem like a no-brainer that needs are crucial for survival and wants are not. But is your grocery cart full of snack foods and ingredients you could do without?

Take a moment to reevaluate your needs from wants and take the next step toward financial health with these tips.

Focus on the Function

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that you need a new house or car in order for your life to function better. But take a closer look at the issues. If your house has adequate space, but you’re feeling cramped, it’s probably worth waiting it out until your finances are in a place so you can upsize your lifestyle. Or, consider putting a little money into fixing up the attic into a new space instead of buying an all-new home.

The same goes with a car. Your car may just need a new timing belt and set of tires to get it running better. At the same time, don’t be tempted to keep driving a clunker without considering the dangers involved. Thin tires prone to poor air pressure can burn up more gas than a set of new tires. Get creative on ways to save by visiting a site like Tirebuyer.com for deals on tires and direct delivery to your mechanic.

Think About Cross Categories

It’s possible to have wants and needs on your list that blend together. For example, Internet hookup could be a need if you’re trying to grow and run a business from home. However, you may not need the most robust package to make it happen.

It’s easy to overspend on Internet hookup costs if they’re bundled into a phone and cable package. But dropping your landline phone service in favor of a low-cost cell phone plan through Republic Wireless could save you money. You can also cut cable altogether by streaming shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu directly to your TV with a service like Apple TV or Chromecast. Read More→

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Apr
25

Home-Based Job Listing

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I am a looking to hire several independent contractors with very specific skills to work with a new book promotion service for Christian authors. Email me if you are able to do any of the following:

– Create professional book covers
– Quickly and accurately format books for various platforms
– Produce effective book trailers
– Write professional press releases for books
– Successfully promote books across social media platforms
– Design impressive book/author websites

My goal is to put together a dream team of WAHMs who are passionate about using their skills and experience to spread the gospel through fiction and nonfiction books. If this sounds like you, contact me at ncruzproofs@gmail.com.

Categories : Telecommuting Jobs
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Mar
29

Five Signs that You Might be a Control Girl

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By Shannon Popkin

 

Control Girls often don’t realize that they’re Control Girls. I sure didn’t.

I spent the first 35 years of my life completely oblivious to my control issues. I knew I was arguing with my husband. I knew there was tension with coworkers. I knew I was frustrated with friends and family members. I just didn’t know these things all stemmed from my unhealthy craving for control.

Recognizing I’m a Control Girl hasn’t solved all of my problems, but it has given me a starting point for change. So I want to invite you to ask yourself the question I should have asked long before age 35: “Am I a Control Girl?”

To help you answer, I’d like to provide five common traits of Control Girls:

 

1. You tend to be bothered by other controlling people.

Do you become easily annoyed by that bossy woman who always tries to take over in the committee meeting? Do you get frustrated when someone interrupts you (which, by the way, is a classic control-seeking move)? Does your controlling mother drive you nuts?

I’ve noticed that the women who are most bothered by controlling people are often quite controlling, themselves. They butt heads with the other Control Girls in the room who are all lunging for exactly what they are—control.  

 

2. You struggle with anger.

Are you likely to respond angrily when someone doesn’t meet your expectations? Do you erupt when someone interrupts your plans? Do you inwardly seethe when someone cuts in or takes whatever you had your eye on?

Anger is common for Control Girls. Our anger flares when we lose the thing we want, which is control. And as a rule, both of these—losing our grip on control and losing our tempers—happen far more frequently than we’d like.

 

3. You struggle with anxiety or fear.

Do you tend to worry about safety precautions, germs, or symptoms you’re experiencing? Do you obsess over what family members might be saying about you, or what your boss might be thinking?

What about fear? Do you imagine the worst when your teen is ten minutes late? Do you suspect the worst when your husband doesn’t answer his phone?

Fear and anxiety are common for Control Girls because we constantly have to face things that we’d like to control but can’t, such as the future, unknowns, risks, and the opinions of others.

Read More→

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Mar
15

A Strong Foundation – God with the Single Mother

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Dear Lord,

This is not the life I imagined! While I once dreamed of living with passion and purpose, I now swim in the stagnant pools of mediocrity. I drown in “to-do” lists and meaningless tasks, forgetting to cherish the simple pleasure of taking my girls to the park. In my desperation to survive, I lose the joy and wonder of motherhood. And when I stand in the presence of a truly great woman as she speaks of her children, husband, and home, I smile in reply and hide my heart, pounding with shame and jealousy. In those moments of sober judgment, I am most small. I want to run and play with my children and feel the warmth of the sun on my face, but there is too much to do and I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO IT ALL! Work and budget. Grocery shop, cook, and clean the house. Kill the bug. Fix the toilet. Deal with homework, bath time, and bedtime. Nurture and discipline. Play and protect. Bandage the wounds. Lock the door. Pay the bills. Oh Lord, I can’t even pay my bills. I am overwhelmed and alone. And when I contemplate all I must do, I sit motionless, unable to accomplish even the smallest task. I am tired. Too tired to take my girls to the park. LORD! WHERE ARE YOU IN THIS? Help me to build a life and home for my girls. I can’t do this by myself. Amen.

It appears we are not alone in our quest for balance. Just today, an Internet search for “balance in life” pulled up 368,000,000 results within 0.64 seconds. With millions of fail proof, ten-step plans available, it is a wonder that anyone should struggle. According to the contemporary wisdom of this world, we find balance by determining our priorities, setting goals, and purposefully distributing our time, energy, and resources into the various areas of life. If we employ these habits with consistency, while always remembering to rest, the world promises a life of peace, productivity, stability, and happiness.

Whew. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Now, I believe there is great wisdom found in caring for ourselves and effectively managing our time and resources. Even the smallest improvement can reap lasting rewards. For example, I felt convicted to make significant changes in my life as a single mother after completing a ten-minute exercise found in a self-help book. I simply listed my daily activities and determined if they were in alignment with my priorities and values. I was shocked to see how much time I spent in activities that were not reflective of who I was or who I wanted to become.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. EPHESIANS 5:15–16

While this knowledge inspired me to take a thoughtful approach to how I spend my time, it did not provide the lasting stability and peace I needed. More often than not, my self-imposed, list-making, goal-setting attempts to find balance led to a predictable cycle of frustration, failure, shame, and isolation. I just couldn’t keep up.

Can you relate, dear single mom? Perhaps your life looks similar to mine—a frantic juggling act of obligations, expectations, and distractions, poorly managed through an endless rotation of sticky notes and to-do lists. You might feel pressure to not only accomplish the tasks of everyday life, but also to provide your children with the same measure of love, attention, time, possessions, and lifestyle as a two-parent home. Or maybe you have grown so weary, you’ve long abandoned the juggling act and only have enough energy to deal with the issues immediately in front of you. And yet, there are even some who have given up completely and deliberately choose to avoid all things pertaining to responsibility. I get it. I’ve experienced each stage at one point or another.

Unlike its worldly counterpart, biblical balance has nothing to do with performance or completed checklists. Biblical balance is the stability found in having our feet and home firmly planted on the rock that is Jesus Christ. At first, I approached this truth with arms crossed, believing it was nothing more than a spiritual pacifier designed to silence the questions of struggling Christians. Because I wanted immediate, tangible, and measurable help, the concept of biblical balance quickly fell into the category of irrelevant Christianese. Nothing more.

But over time, I experienced the radical transformation that occurs when the Word of God embeds itself within the heart. And as I embraced His Word as Truth, I learned three lessons, crucial to rebuilding my single parent home.

  1.  God lifts us and places us on high ground. We are fallible human beings. We stumble and trip. We make unwise choices and easily fall victim to circumstances beyond our control. In my inability to juggle the responsibilities and expectations of life, I cried out to God, “LORD! WHERE ARE YOU IN THIS? Please help me!” I found His answer in His Word.

Read More→

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