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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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Jan
16

It Was An Apple Fritter Kind Of Week

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Have you ever had a week where everything went exactly as planned? Neither have I. Every week I start out believing this week is going to be different from all the other weeks of my life. If this has ever occurred, I cannot recall it.

Take last week, please! I start every week about the same. I meticulously prepare my weekly to-do-list. This is not to be confused with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage’s honey-do-list. Her list, and I learned this by experience, takes precedence over every other list in the world.

My weekly to-do-list is a very important part of my week. I chronicle everything needing accomplished during the week along with appointments with people that I need to see. With the religious ferocity of the Pharisee, I follow this list throughout the week and dutifully check off each item as it is completed. Then, Saturday evening I can look back with a great deal of satisfaction and see what I have accomplished.

Unfortunately, I can also look back on my list and see what I have not accomplished this week. With a deep sigh, I carry these items over to next week’s to-do-list. Just between you and me, some items I have carried over for 36 consecutive weeks. By this time, I usually drop the whole notion and get on with my life.

My philosophy is, if you aim at nothing; you will hit it every time. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but what I take away from it is simply that if I do not aim to do something I probably never will do it.

I live day by day by this weekly to-do-list. If it were not for this marvelous tool, I would never get anything done during the week. It is my great joy late Saturday night to work out the following week’s to-do-list.

Sometimes my wife will look at me, sigh and say, “You’re not working on your to-do-list, are you?” Then she says something that actually irritates me. Not everything she says irritates me, but this one does. “You know, if you would spend as much time actually doing those things as you spend planning to do them you might actually get something done during the week.”

I developed this to-do-list so I would not have to keep trying to remember what I was supposed to do during the week. They keep me free to think more creatively about things that need that kind of attention. All I had to do was consult my to-do-list and find out what needed to be done. After all, I don’t want to tax my brain too much. Who do you think I am? The government?

Then last week it happened. Something I had feared for many a year. Read More→

Jan
14

How to be the Favorite

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I was the favorite once.  Then I wasn’t. Then I was!  But then . . .

There is some, of what I will affectionately call ‘loose,’ science on birth order and affinity toward a certain parent.  In general, firstborn kids are more ‘like’ (have personality affinity toward) the Mom.  Second-born share a preponderance of personality traits with Dad.  Generally they even resemble (have more physical characteristics in common) these respective parents; first-born will get a lot of, “you look just like your mother,” etc.

Subsequent kids are a crap-shoot on looks and personality.

But this is all lumped into “loose” science.  Which means that it happens a lot, but, there is not a lot of empirical data to birth order ‘psychology.’

Here’s a fact though that you can count on: kids go through stages of closeness and affinity with either parent as they grow up.

I was the ‘cat’s meow’ for a while

My wife stepped in as ‘the bomb’ at some point.

Then I was the ‘wizard’

My wife took over as the ‘awesome-blossom’ . . . 

Many times I had flexibility to be home with the kids when they were little.  We did some fun things, and I was also ‘the disciplinarian.’  So you’d think that I’d be at the top of their favorites.  But, the truth is – don’t get offended until you read further – kids were created to have both parents.  So my boys missed their ‘mom time’ and were super-excited to have interaction with her when she was home.

If you’re a single parent though, this concept on how to be their favorite is especially important.   It’s not loose science that kids need parents.  In fact, kids will subconsciously seek out what they ‘need’ from parenting.  I’ll explain:

Society is built around children growing up to be successful members of the populace, so there are objectives that kids need to learn.  If they aren’t getting a skill, then they have to find it someplace.  So kids will gravitate subconsciously toward ‘parents’ modeling or offering the skills they need.

Example:  You might be a total introvert with no viable social skills (commenting on the Do the Dad Thing Blog might be the pinnacle of your social interaction).  But kids need to learn how to interact socially, so they might parrot the used car salesman they see on TV, or mimic the next door neighbor talking with their hand motions to the mailperson, etc.

So don’t worry if your kids have a favorite outside of you, or model someone else they see, or idolize an attribute in someone that is not exactly idol-worthy.  They are following the natural desire to grab the skills they need from the surrounding world.  This becomes more and more pronounced as your kids grow up and our accumulated set of skills gets more and more limited for their growth.  I.e.  I used to be the favorite to help my boys with math, but as they entered high school, suddenly my skills were sorely lacking. . .

–Warning– most sexual abuse is committed by family members or extended family; especially, for some reason, by uncles and aunts. So make sure there is adequate supervision and safety protocols for kids spending time with other adults.

The good news is, no matter the outside influence and modeled skills, your children always have the desire and need to find their ‘home’ favorite in a parent (yes, even if you are secondary care giver adoptive parent or foster parent).  The concept of ‘home’ and ‘family’ is core to people, and  children will always treasure the link they have with you as their safe place for understanding and acceptance. Read More→

Every business owner knows that the only way to really grow and scale a business and for them to be able to focus on the things they’re best at is to outsource and get help with running the business.

However, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to do – when you first start your business, you go in full of passion and drive, and because you have so much passion for your business, it almost becomes your baby and this can make it extremely hard to let go – even though you know it’s actually the best thing.

The best way to go about outsourcing is to not try and do everything at once. You’re the owner of the business and you can do what feels right to you, so start slowly and build things up once you start seeing how great it actually is to outsource things.

If you’ve been struggling to outsource things until now, then in this post we’re going to share with you some tips on how to get started with outsourcing in your business.

 

Make a list:

The first step to outsourcing successfully is knowing what you need to be outsourcing and what you can be doing on your own, so at this stage you should make a list. This can be done on paper or it can be done on a Google doc. Simply get your document in whichever format and give it a title that’s meaningful to you, then write down every single task that gets done in your business.

Now you’re going to add a new page and split it into two categories. One is the side for the things you want to do/have to do/enjoy doing. The other side is for those tasks that you really don’t like or where you feel like your time and energy isn’t best spent.

For example, maybe you really enjoy writing your own blog posts, but you hate editing them, so this is something you feel would be better outsourced.

 

Do your research:

Now that you know what tasks you need to outsource, it’s time to do some research on the best people to perform those tasks. You may prefer to go with a company like Spectrumwise who can manage multiple things for you, or maybe you only want to hire a Virtual Assistant for a few hours per week who can just do one or two things.

 

Do a trial run:

Once you’ve done some research on the people who you could potentially hire to do the tasks you need, then you should have a trial one with one or two people for a week or so to see how they actually work and if you’re both a good fit for each other. If you’ve determined that you are, then you can continue working together or you can move on and find someone else who may be more suited to your needs.

Evaluate and expand:

 

As with everything in your business, you need to keep evaluating the progress you can see what’s working and what’s not. Then, once you feel comfortable with outsourcing and start building that trust, you can start to expand on the hours you’re hiring someone for.

 

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Jan
11

Organizing Your New Year

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jill-new14new year new startThe New Year is here!

I look forward this new beginning each year with a great deal of anticipation. It’s time to shake off the things of last year and look to the days of head and all of the opportunites they hold.

To help you start your year off right, here are a few thoughts for organizing your business and household for the upcoming year.

BUSINESS 

1. Files – Now is a great time to go through your files and make sure all is in order – labeled and put in a place where they are easily accessible. Take the time to throw out anything that can go and put old tax and business files into storage.

2. Desk –  A clean desk is a great way to kick off the new year. Find a place for everything and put everything in it’s place. It will help motivate you to sit down and get to work – no distractions.

3. Calendar –  Buy yourself a new calendar and/or planner and start filling that baby up. Make sure to mark in the days when there is no school (or early out days), and other items that you’ll need to keep you organized in both business and family tasks.

HOUSEHOLD 

1. Drawers and Closets – With the cold weather keeping you indoors, this is a great time to clean out those drawers and closets that need your attention. It’s also a great time to donate your gently used items.

2. Books – Just like clothing and other household goods, books can be donated to your local homeless shelter. Our local shelter has a library available to all of it’s residents. So, take time this new year to go through your books and donate those that you can part with.

3. Storage Spots –  Now that it’s time to put the Christmas decorations away, you might as well tidy up those storage areas as well. I’ve found that adding shelving to our small storage room makes it much easier to keep things organized and accessible. Also, nowadays you can buy colored totes to make separating out holiday decorations – or other items – easy.

SPIRITUAL LIFE

1. Hello/Goodbye Workbook (by Jo Saxton and Stephanie O’Brien – “The ‘Hello Goodbye’ process is a tool in response to New Year’s resolutions – it is not about fixing yourself, but intentionally, prayerfully turning away from certain things, whether good or bad, and turning towards other things.  Those things might be fun (like working out!) or they may be uncomfortable like embracing grief or forgiveness, but the focus is finding ways to be healthier emotionally, spiritually and physically.”

2. Joanna Weaver’s 2018 Utmost for His Highest Bible Reading Plan  –  Joanna Weaver is the author of several books, most notably Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Joanna explains a little about her 2018 reading challenge: “Each day, after reading an assigned chapter from the Bible, you’ll be encouraged to also consider that day’s entry from Oswald Chambers’ devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest .” Joanna will be sharing updates every weekday on her blog (and I’ll be contributing in April!). You can download the free workbook when you sign up (also free) on her website: JoannaWeaverBooks.com.

 

I hope you’re as excited about this new year as I am! I’d love to hear your tips for getting organized – post them in the comments below!

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Jan
09

I Thought but Then I Unthought

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerLooking back over my life I honestly can say, giving it a great deal of thought, the biggest problem I have is when I actually think. Thinking can get me into more trouble than anything else I do.

This was no more evident than recently we got a phone call from the bank. I hate it when the bank calls because they never call to wish me happy birthday or wonder how in the world I am doing today. They always have an agenda. Usually, that agenda has to do with my money.

When I answered the phone all I could say was, “Here we go again.”

Much to my relief it was not about my account, but rather it was the bank account of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I cannot tell you the smile that slapped itself all over my face when I heard this.

Immediately I called my wife to the phone and said, “It’s your bank calling you about your account.” Smilingly I handed the phone to her.

For years, we have had separate accounts and it has worked out rather well. I remember when we first were married we had a joint account and it was always getting messed up. We had two checkbooks for the same account, which did not make any sense at all. Everything was messed up and checks bounced all over the place.

To solve this dilemma we decided to have our own checking account in separate banks. I am not quite sure about her account, but the checks keep bouncing in my account and I am not exactly sure why.

The bank was calling my wife because there had been a suspicious activity on her account. I thought about telling them that other activity on her bank account was also suspicious, but sometimes I know when not to speak.

According to the bank, my wife bought a package of wine costing $600 and they were wondering if she was buying it for the church communion service. I heard my wife laugh and figured out there is something going on. We do not use wine in our communion service, we use grape juice. However, the bank did not know why my wife was buying wine.

The only wine in our house is me, who whines all the time and believe me, according to my wife, my whining is very intoxicating. At least to her it is.

We finally had to go down to the bank and try to sort this mess out. My wife tried to tell them that she did not make such a purchase.

I would like to tell you how delighted I was to go to the bank with her and see her in a dilemma that I did not create. I know I create a lot of dilemma in our home. The fact that we been married as long as we have been married says a lot for her tolerance of whiny old people like me.

“We did not think,” the bank manager said to my wife, “that you were buying wine like this. We thought perhaps you might have been buying wine for the church communion service.”

All three of us laughed a very hearty laugh because she knew we did not use wine in our communion service.

However, the truth of the matter Read More→

by Chris Carroll

For many direct sellers, January brings that terrible fear regarding the growth of our direct sales business. Many of us want to grow our business and make a big impact on sales as well as income in the coming year.

January also bring that dreaded business planning back into focus. Yes, you should have been doing it all along, but now is the perfect time to start planning and making small changes in your business that over the year will bring you big impact.

If you simply make a weekly, monthly & yearly plan for your business and focus on adding one customer a week and/or one recruit a month, you will see your business grow by leaps and bounds in the coming year. One customer a week is 52 new customers. If you are in a direct sales business, you know those dollars will add up, especially if those customers remain loyal and place a lot of re orders with you.

One recruit a month can also add quite a bit to your income. That is 12 new team members. What will that do to your income level? If your team members also follow your plan, will they also be adding members? You bet. How can that impact your income? In a big way! Read More→

Smile Post-itIt is typical this time of year to prepare a list of resolutions for the coming year. I believe this goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve, “I think I’ll turn over a new leaf this year.” And so the tradition has come down to us today.

Normally, people will make a list of all the things they will give up during the ensuing year. All kinds of bad habits find their way on the list like smoking, drinking and other nefarious activities. Of course, nobody actually plans to keep his New Year resolutions but the act of writing them down on a piece of paper seems to give a sense of accomplishment to people.

One of the big things on the resolution list has to do with diet and losing weight during the coming year. I have often wondered why this seems to be number one on most of those New Year resolution list. Even Yours Truly has succumbed in years past to attend this resolution on his list.

This year I discovered why that is so high on people’s list. It begins with Halloween and all of the candy that is consumed. Now, there is a purpose behind all of this. And it is only recently that I have put it all together. And to my loyal reading fans (both of you) I would share with you the wisdom of my muse.

The reason it starts with Halloween candy is that candy is sweet. This sweet serves to prime the pump, so to speak, for the eating frenzy that is about to begin. Approximately 3 weeks following the Halloween candy blowout comes Thanksgiving.

When our forefathers did a Thanksgiving dinner, they had to chase the turkey down and kill it themselves. Following that, they had to pluck the feathers, clean the turkey, stuff it and get it ready for roasting. All of this activity burned up all the calories from the Halloween candy frenzy.

Now, all we do is pop it into an oven and the most activity we have is bending our elbows to see how fast we can get the turkey from the plate into our mouth. Even though this activity is quite strenuous it actually burns no calories whatsoever in the process.

If it was just the turkey it would not be so bad, but nobody can eat turkey without all the culinary accoutrements. Roast turkey without a generous slice of pumpkin pie is the closest thing to blasphemy that I know.

No sooner has the Thanksgiving dinner settled in our stomach, it is Christmas time, and all of the parties associated with Christmas. Nobody can refuse a Christmas party with all the delicacies that had been so meticulously prepared. When I go to a party, I think it rather rude not to indulge in the party snacks.

I like to join organizations right around the October keeping a sharp eye out for the annual Christmas party. Soon after the New Year, I dropped out of that organization. Call me a slacker, if you wish, but in my book, the Christmas party is worth the subterfuge.

Then there is the marvelous family Christmas dinner. Need I say more?

So we come to New Year’s Eve. By this time, everybody has eaten so much that hardly anybody can take another bite. Not only that, but many people feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday season. Others, like me, are made to feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday season.

To deal with this sense of guilt many people make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet during the coming year.

Many years ago around this time of the year, I made a drastic tactical error. It had been a particularly good holiday season with many parties and Christmas dinners. I was feeling rather expansive at the time and sighed deeply and said, “After all that eating I should go on a diet.”

Quick as a wink the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage took that as a cue and responded, “I think that’s an excellent idea. That will be your New Year’s resolution for the coming year.”

And thus it was.

I quickly learned that such resolutions come with a great deal of superfluous supervision. Every time I turned around my wife said, “How is your diet coming?” Of course, she knows exactly how it is coming because she is the one who was supervising this aspect of my life. Read More→

Jan
03

All the Memories they Forgot

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Of all my blog articles, this one might be my MOST CONTROVERSIAL.

This one could get me fired from CWAHM, or banned from the Internet, or cause me to receive death threats.

But, at some level I’m a truth-telling journalist and I must be true to the facts. So, here we go:

Your kids will forget Disney.

Gulp. There it was. Let the onslaught of hate begin. To make it worse, I’m also going to include every other cute and meaningful activity that you did with your kids when they were little. They won’t remember any of it.

There are scores of older, experienced Dads reading this and they are all solemnly nodding their heads in agreement. As if to say, “You said it brother. Better you getting the death threats, than me. But you’re right, they won’t remember any of it.”

If they were brave enough, or could be interviewed with their faces obscured and their voices disguised, then one of them might elaborate. “I asked my teenage daughter if she remembered the giant birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese when she was 6 . . . all she remembered was a joke her uncle told on the way there. It wasn’t even funny.”

And it’s that way with all the large, expensive, and elaborate things that parents do for their younger children. Just the other day, someone asked me advice on what to do with their family on a Disney vacation. I didn’t say it – it’s easier to passive-aggressively write about it online – but my advice would be ‘to save your money and build a blanket fort.’

I know from experience; we had taken our two boys many times to Disney when they were little, and you know what? The best thing they remember is riding in the Monorail and stopping for hamburgers on the way home.

Same thing with the giant birthday party we had for them with a dinosaur theme where we invited half the neighborhood? No recollection. The community Easter Egg hunt? Nope. The Christmas party where they could pet a real reindeer? No recollection.

There is a redeeming point to this scandalous article. Two points actually:

1.) Kids remember things that are positive emotional closeness to you. Memories are encoded (stored) with emotion — usually through positive love/closeness emotion or terrible/scary emotion. Most events for kids are big, unknown, and confusing; a sense of positive chaotic wonder doesn’t encode memories. So if you do go to Disney or some other big event, don’t get so caught up in all the chaos of planning and executing the day that you forget to have closeness with your child. If driving, parking, planning, cutting, eating, decorating or anything else to make an event really special, keep you from spending simple time with your kid, then the point has been missed.

2.) Save your energy and do something incredibly simple. You know, a box that we got off the curb was some of my kid’s best time when they were little. We spent $.0000000000001 in marker-juice drawing doors and a window on it. Go to the airport and look at airplanes. Ride a bus together. Build a blanket fort with your kids and read inside it. These things are the best memories for your kids. Read More→

Jan
02

Ways to Make Money From Being an Investor

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Many people discuss how important it is to start investing in order to create a more secure financial future, yet the downside is you  often need money in order to make money when it comes to investing… and the idea of investing can seem like something only already wealthy people can take part in.

That said, today, with the options offered by the internet for anything from creating a course online and selling via a platform such as Udemy to automated trading software, you don’t need all that much money in order to become an investor.

Let’s first off define what it means to be an investor in this context, as the idea of Shark Tank or the stock market can make people feel they need to have huge pots of money to invest in other businesses, yet to be an investor is simply to invest your time, money and effort in something that can reward you many times over.

If you think of this as the analogy of a fruit tree, an investor plants a seed and nurtures it to grow into a fruit tree that provides fruit for many years – perhaps even for multiple generations, whereas most people go to the supermarket and pick up their fruit in a way that they become consumers of fruit.

The ability to sow what you reap is therefore limited to investors, in this sense, as  employees are more like consumers are money in that they are caught on a constant treadmill of trading their time for money, unlike investors, that tend to grow fruit trees to provide fruit in perpetuity.

With regards to investing there are many different forms and ways to invest your money, the most common picture people pull up in their mind is that of the stock market, yet often a more reliable and accessible option is to purchase a few investment properties or create an asset in terms of writing a book, building a business, or leveraging any of the many ways to make passive income through the power of automated business systems that you can run from the comfort of anywhere you have an internet connection.

In that vein, let’s take a look at three of the most common forms of investment you can make to start reaping the benefits of your effort in perpetuity rather than being stuck in the somewhat alluring cycle of instant gratification provided through conventional employment.

 

  1. CREATE A COURSE

Create an online course in a subject you know a lot about, host this course online via a platform such as Udemy or a simple wordpress website –  then market it like crazy and reap the heft rewards associated with content marketing and education.

 

  1. PROPERTY INVESTING

This time-tested option is one of the most reliable strategies when it comes to long-term investments; one of the greatest challenges, of course, is that you need money to make money with regard to this… though, there are certain commercial mortgages and investment opportunities that simply require you to access credit rather than capital; making it attractive for most average people.

 

  1. STOCK  MARKET

Finally, you can go down the traditional route of the stock market, though this is somewhat of a lottery and it’s necessary to be able to withstand a “loss” as well  as a “gain”, as markets are unpredictable and subject to fluctuations. After all, you don’t want to end up in financial difficulty as a result of taking a risk, that said, there are ways to stay ahead of the game and mitigate risk when it comes to investing in the stock market.

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Dec
28

A 10 Point Checklist for Choosing Your Domain Name

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wwwWhen getting started with a new online business one of the first things you need to do is choose a domain name. This step is much more important than you might realize. An appropriate and effective domain could decide your website’s fate.

Unfortunately many people will be so involved in the design and set-up of the website they will overlook the importance of selecting the proper domain name. Your domain name will be your website’s identity and it will also be the doorway for people to purchase your products and/or services.

The following checklist will guide you and help you keep in mind some of the things you need to consider when choosing your domain.

1. Keep It Short and Simple – Keeping your domain name short, simple and easy to remember will make it easier for people to get to your site. You want a domain that is easy to spell and type. Don’t use big fancy words or commonly misspelled words such as believe, amateur or collectible. You can find lists of the most commonly misspelled words and if they are in your domain, consider using a thesaurus to find an alternative.

2. Use Your Name – In my opinion, it is a good choice to use your name in your domain. This will be a binding agent for your website your business and you. If your last name is long and hard to spell, consider using your first name. This way if people do not remember your entire URL, they will be likely to remember your name and can still find you. I have had many people who did not remember my specific URL search for me by using my name.

3. Don’t Try to Be Cute and Clever – Cutesy and fun work with some things but it is not appropriate for your domain. Don’t use puns or a “clever” play on words. For example: Flickr.

Using this trendy name probably sounded like a good idea at the time but they finally had to purchase the correct spelling domain flicker.com Doing this will just make your domain hard to remember and/or it will more than likely get typed incorrectly and you lose the traffic.

4. Hyphens and Numbers – There are actually a couple of advantages to using hyphens but in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Hyphens actually make it easier for the search engines to distinguish your keywords. Hyphens could also make it possible for you to get the domain you want if the regular version is already taken. But, hyphens will more than likely cause you to lose traffic because people will not always realize your url contains hyphens.

If your domain is beautiful-jewelry.com and you tell people to check out your site, Beautiful Jewelry, you will lose traffic. It is easy to lose the hyphen when spreading the word about your site. And it will make it more complicated for people to remember. It’s the same with numbers. BeautifulJewelry1.com will be much less remembered and found then BeautifulJewelry.com Read More→

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