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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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Jan
17

Seek God’s Peace

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With the New Year at hand we think in terms of goals of what we would like to accomplish in the coming 12 months. Maybe weight loss, traveling, a mission opportunity or something else. Frequently New Year’s resolutions focus on building our businesses, becoming better moms, getting physically fit or reading through the Bible in a year.

What kind of goal would you set for your mind and emotions? Learning what a healthy mind looks like will help us see where we want to be. According to, Dr. Leaf ‘research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% to diet, genetics and environment. Studies conclusively link more chronic diseases (also known as lifestyle diseases) to an epidemic of toxic emotions in our culture. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections and allergies just to name a few.” (Who Switched Off My Brain, p 4)

God doesn’t want us to suffer physically because of our anxieties but desires our minds to be in a state of peace. Look at Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Through Jesus God has given us the gift and ability to have a peaceful mind. In John 14:27 Jesus makes us the promise ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.’

The pressures of life get me down. I can feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities but God extends peace to us, even if we are weary in our work and homes. The load is not for us to bear alone. God doesn’t want us to be carrying the weight of it all. Instead He desires that we turn to Him for His peace. Read More→

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Dec
05

Christmas Stress or Christmas Less

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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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Nov
04

Relying on God or Technology

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This is one situation but it happens so often that when there is a difficulty with technology I spend hours in frustration trying to fix it. I’m sure you have all been there, whether it is an app you use for business, a website crawl error for sales, or a missed message on your voicemail that you can’t seem to retrieve. The technology that helps us to have businesses in this generation can also be our biggest source of anxiety.

Around the same time I had a conversation with my Dad about how especially in Africa the people draw together to pray – often large groups praying for someone who is sick or in need.

Why is it that they are so fervent in faith and here in America we are not quick to run to God? We live with technology at our fingertips. When we don’t feel good we can run to the doctor for medicine or run to google to self diagnose.

When I think of my own mindset – I’m focused on finding my own solutions, doing what we all do, running to the Internet and technology to make life work. Whether it is our time spent trying to make technology for our businesses or whether it is running to the internet for the answers to our questions like, “What are could cause a stomach pain and a headache?”, “How do I know if my child is up to grade level?” “How do I clean my washing machine?” Whatever it is, if you are like me you probably type things in a search bar multiple times a day for various questions.

All that is well and good but what if I stop trying so hard? What if when technological problems arise rather than wasting many hours and frustration consulting Google on the answers to fix the problem, what if I spent more time dependent on God. Praying “Father I need help with this please show me the way.” Read More→

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Oct
20

Do you look at your business activities in terms of strengths and weaknesses?

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laughinglOur natural tendency is to see our flaws – talk about them – expound on them – belittle ourselves and compare ourselves to others. We look at someone else and greatly admire their abilities but fail to see what they admire in is because we have taken out strengths for granted.

This turns to negative self talk. Mentally- internally we are constantly telling ourselves how we want to be better and to do better but we are capitalizing on the wrong thing – on our weakness rather than our strength.

We live in a culture where everyone is trying to become well rounded. In child rearing we give each kid so many opportunities to succeed and put so much before them so they have an opportunity to be whatever they want. But the truth is God didn’t create them to be whatever they want. He gifted them with particular strengths and talents which can be used for His glory.
When we have a strength in one area it is ok to not be that great in another.

Embracing our weakness with grace gives us the ability to accept who God has made us unique.

For example I have been in business for 9 years now. I had been sewing since I was a child and had been encouraged to start a sewing business so I could peruse my dream of being a stay at home mom (at such a time as God blessed us with children). When I first started the business I thought I would capitalize on making clothing. During my teen years I would make myself a dress or some kind of clothing every school holiday or summer vacation. Within the first several years of sewing professionally I had some requests for custom clothing, however at the end of each completed project I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction with the finished product. At the same time I began getting an increase in alterations – prom dresses, men’s suit jackets, new zippers. As I took each piece apart I loved carefully observing how it was put together so that I could reconstruct it back to the original state after the alteration. Often clients were bringing me pieces that they felt horrible in because the clothing was so ill fitting and it was with great satisfaction that I saw them in my finished work which fit perfectly for them!

My strength here was my analytical brain and my desire to help people. I found that I could be more helpful altering their current articles of clothing than I could be in making them new pieces.
For a while I focused on my weakness. I spoke to myself negatively saying “I just need to study clothing construction more, I just need more practice, maybe I am just in the wrong line of work.” I remember the feelings of anxiety and depression that clouded my thoughts concerning my work. Read More→

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Sep
29

Building a Healthy Mind

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By Salvatore VuonoMost would agree that we need to be spiritually, physically and emotionally healthy to live our lives to the fullest extent.

How do you build health physically? You work out and watch your diet right?

Some of us have health tendencies or weaknesses that come to us through our family line so we have to be aware of those tendencies. Perhaps this is a little extra weight, high blood pressure, or a fragile heart. Whatever it is- the wise thing to do is to pay attention to these things and to work to take care of a problem before it gets worse.

In the same manner how do you build spiritual health? Reading the Word, having quiet time with the Lord, prayer, fellowship with other believers, a heart of thanksgiving. Some of us may struggle with one area more than another and that takes more work. But in order to maintain spiritual growth it has to be a conscious effort of drawing close to the Lord and seeking fellowship with Him continually.

Since it takes work to cultivate physical and spiritual health, don’t you think it also takes work to cultivate mental/emotional health. Too often we give excuses for why we worry, why we dwell in negative thought patterns, and struggle with healthy relationships. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we have trouble in these areas, the problem comes when we condone this and do nothing to change. (Which is true both physically and spiritually as well – if you are obese and continue eating the wrong things, the problem will only grow worse)

We are wired in such a way that when we are unhealthy in one area (whether it be emotionally, physically or spiritually) our whole body is affected. Take worry for instance – the physical consequences could be high blood pressure and the spiritual consequences are the inability to trust God, which keeps us from enjoying fellowship with Him.

God designed us each differently with unique temperaments and family backgrounds so some of us have a greater tendency towards emotional/mental problems. Dr. Frederick Diblasio explains that just like some are born with the learning disorder of dyslexia, others have emotional and interpersonal dyslexia1. In both cases there is hope, but in both cases it takes work. Read More→

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Aug
29

Discipline the mind

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By Salvatore VuonoIf you are like me, sometimes you think about 10 different things at once. At the breakfast table I find myself thinking through my work projects, the kids school work, the dishwasher that isn’t unloaded yet, the laundry that needs to be carried downstairs, and then I recall the email I didn’t respond to from a client with a complicated sewing question.

I get up to grab the iPad to respond to the email but in the midst of it realize all the clean cups are in the dishwasher so one task gets interrupted for another, leaving neither complete. What frustration!

As wives, mothers and business owners we have become so good at multitasking but what does it cost us at times? Does it cost the enjoyment of the present moment? Are our minds too busy to rest in the beauty of the now?

God has been showing me that this is not an effective way to let my brain operate. When I let my thoughts skip from one task to another nothing ever has my full attention.

This isn’t productive for several reasons:

  • My energy is not 100% focused in one place
  • I’m not engaging with my kids at a time when they are available, because when I am with them often my thoughts are elsewhere.
  • I stress myself about something that I can’t even work on right that moment – meaning that in the present I am preoccupied with a problem of the future.

See sometimes my thoughts are really in the form of worry. I feel like if I don’t hold onto all of them then I have lost control of those areas for the moment. And what would happen if I let go? Maybe I would forget to do them later?

How can we discipline our minds to engage in the present? Read More→

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Aug
16

I Own a Business. My Business doesn’t Own Me

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OwniStock_000007465509XSmalling a business is a challenge in many respects. This encompasses the boundaries we put around it so that it doesn’t run our lives. I have written several posts lately about cultivating boundaries and priorities to develop healthy work habits.

This summer I have had to continually reestablish these boundaries. One thing I have been struggling with a lot is over scheduling and planning out my work in advance. Since I have a service based business each client’s project takes a certain amount of time. Some projects like fitted slipcovers take 10 to 15 hours while hemming a pair of pants takes only 20 mins.

My big challenge has been the abundance of phone calls, and increased demand for my work. Because I am a people-pleaser at heart it is difficult for me to say no when I am too busy. Just yesterday the phone rang, it was a new client who needed a dress altered and pants hemmed to take on vacation in 4 days. My natural instinct is to tell her, “Sure I will fit you in,” because I like to be helpful and it gives me satisfaction to meet a need. Instead I had to politely decline and refer elsewhere.
Why? You might ask.

Several months ago I firmly decided in my mind exactly how much I wanted to work each week. As projects come in I estimate how much time I will actively have to work on them. On the wall I have a chart of the next four weeks. Each project gets assigned to a week based on the number of hours it will take to accomplish it and when one week is filled with 20 hours worth of work, the job gets moved to the following week. This provides a visual image for me and constant reminder. When I look at the chart which has the next three weeks filled with 20 hours worth of work already I mentally tell myself’ “I will not accept any more jobs with a deadline of anything sooner than three weeks from now.” When the phone rings with the request I have already mentally prepared myself to answer. This is a huge victory on my part because saying “no” has always been a challenge.
Perhaps you are wondering if turning jobs down could affect the reputation of the business. Read More→

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Aug
04

Facing our Feelings

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As I mentioned in my previous article Establishing Boundaries and Priorities, it has been a work in progress for me to begin to sort through ways I need to change my time and structure to work better for the benefit of my own sanity and for our family.

I set a tentative schedule in place which does require that I work three late nights a week but I feel that is hardly a sacrifice when I know how many people have to do the same thing (police officers, nurses, doctors and so many more).

Yet I have still been feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sensing that I could border on turning my life into chaos with this new schedule. My tendency is to want to stuff on these ‘feelings’ down and just push forward, but I know this will only bury them and could result in a future explosion because if my inner tension mounts it just might burst sometime which usually takes the form of anger and frustration pointed at those I love most.

When we have all sorts of feelings rising up in us- and as women we do have a lot of feelings like anger, disappointment, jealousy, anxiety, despair, and on it goes- there are a few things we need to do.

  • Recognize that we are not at peace.
  • Stop and put a name to what we are feeling. Don’t let it fester as a sensation inside that is just creating pressure. We have to know what is that is causing the mounting pressure.
  • Give yourself permission to feel that way. For instance when we are anxious it is easy to feel guilty or condemned because the Scriptural principle is ‘be anxious for nothing’. Rather than feeling guilty we can say to ourselves something like this ‘I feel anxious because I am in the midst of a change and I can’t see the end result. I’m afraid I may not be able to handle this new change and might screw up my family and my business’ (Fill in the specifics for yourself whatever the case may be)

Read More→

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Jul
12

Establishing Boundaries and Priorities

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coffee and computerRecently I have been noticing that I need to reevaluate my boundaries and priorities with business and life in general. Too often I think that I have them figured out and am set to go for life, so I was blessed by what Joyce Meyer (from Joyce Meyer Ministries) said when someone asked her how she keeps her priorities straight. Her response was that her priorities are always in need of straightening out. We have to continually examine our lives, to see what we are doing wrong and what we are doing right, to look at where we are going and where we want to be.

Recently when I asked a friend about her boundaries and priorities in one area of life she said she is just taking it day by day. At first that sounded good. But when I sat back to think about it that is a poor philosophy because if we take life day by day without any foresight for the future usually we end up in places we don’t want to be. If I take parenting day by day without looking at what I hope to build in my kids then I would probably let a lot of attitudes and actions slide, thinking it will pass. But when I know I want to build respectful God honoring kids I continually have to evaluate ways and methods of discipline, new ways of instructing through the Word of God, and many other things.

Especially in business I have been feeling pressured by a multitude of phone calls and have nearly overbooked myself. But I have had to ask myself questions like.

  • How many hours do I want to work in a week?
  • How can I work differently?
  • How can I use my time more wisely?
  • Are there ways that I am wasting time?
  • Does the way I run my business affect my family? And how so?
  • What can I do to feel less stressed?
  • How can I change my schedule to work more productively?

In asking some of these questions I have released that I put in more hours than I ever intended. I feel like I work six days a week and never take a break except Sunday. I only work in two hour stretches due to the kids schedule, but know a four hour stretch is much more productive. How can I arrange a few four hour stretches a week? What resources do I have available to me to help in this area? (For me I need some sort of child care here and there to put in a four hour stretch because I can not work with a 15 month old getting into everything in my shop) Read More→

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May
25

Blurred Priorities

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Naomi Fata - Mom Courage1. God
2. Family
3. Workmultitasking mom

You have probably heard this priority list before. It makes sense. God first. Family second. Work third.
But how do we practically apply it?
If we view work as ministry, and as a means to supply financially for our families, then the God, family, work priority starts to get blurred. The lines in between are not black and white and hardly even gray. Rather all three start to swim together and our motives, priorities, and time management become cloudy in the mix of this complicated life of being a work at home mom, endeavoring to raise godly kids, be a servant of God and minister to the needs of clients who come for ordinary work projects but spill to us a broken heart.
What then?
Do you find yourself trying so hard to minister to all, yet trying to keep afloat amidst the needs that press in upon you?
When the phone rings and a friend wants to talk because she has been facing a tough situation, I want to pause to pray with them, to counsel. Yet in the background hungry mouths wait to be fed, it’s lunch time, not ideal for phone chat.
I want God to be first so I could convince myself that this phone call is of utmost importance because I am serving God as I provide a sounding board for this friend. But I could also convince myself that the children must come first because God says that taking care of my children is a godly undertaking.

Too many choices.
None seem clear when examining the facts. In the midst of that stress rises because we want to do right. It is our desire to do this life the right way to bring glory to the father. But how then shall we choose?
And I am reminder we are sent the Holy Spirit S counselor and guide who will give us all wisdom. How quickly we forget that He longs to enter in to everyday life to give wisdom now in this moment. He can enter in.
Think about Peter. Jesus told Him to get out of the boat and walk told Him. Peter started. He got out of the boat and began to walk on water but for a moment He took His eyes off the source of life and he began to go down.
If you are like me you may have started this journey by faith; Faith that God was calling you to work from home. But at some point perhaps our eyes have drifted to our circumstance, the vast amount of responsibilities before us and our inability. We find ourselves sinking- drowning. The water rises up to our chin and panic can nearly encase us and we fear we are going under.
It happens to me more often than I like to admit and I find myself silently screaming from the depths of desperation. “Help God I can’t do this…” And begin to list to Him all the things I can’t do.
And He whispers fix your eyes on me the author and perfect of your faith.

That’s it. That’s the answer! The only answer that truly will solve our dilemmas.
Look to Jesus, abide in the vine and you will bear much fruit!
By Naomi Fata

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Naomi Fata is a small business owner, operating a sewing business, Love Stitches by Naomi, out of her home. She is passionate about encouraging other moms who are looking for home based employment. Naomi is also the author of Beyond Head Knowledge; Knowing Christ who Satisfies our Hearts. In all things, whether through writing, business or homemaking, her vision is that God’s love would shine through. She is married with three children, and will begin her homeschooling journey in the fall of 2015 as her oldest begins kindergarten. You can connect with Naomi at her blog, facebook, andtwitter.

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