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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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Archive for Jill’s Blog

May
09

Covert Code for your Kids

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I wrote a previous article about teaching your kids a code of ethics/values.  It was awesome and you can read it here.   

This article is about the type of code that is a lot more clandestine . . . that is to say “secret,” and can help your kids manage social interactions without their peers becoming aware.  It’s especially valuable in helping your kids stay safe as they start visiting other friends and are out of your watchful eye.

Here is a situation:

Mel has been playing over at your house all afternoon.  You, being the great dad that you are, have been helping your wife make dinner (or, maybe she’s helping you) while you keep an ‘eye’ on the kids playing.

At some point, Mel, asks your kid if he can stay overnight for a sleepover.

Your son/daughter still sleeps with a stuffed Snoopy, and doesn’t want to have to explain that to Mel because he/she will be the laughingstock of the school the next week.

So, your offspring comes to you:  Dad, can Mel spend the night?  We can put up the old camping cot in my room . . .

You have arranged a secret ‘code word’ with your kid . . . and “camping cot” is the term that means:  “please say no to a sleepover.”

So, you reply, “Oh I’m sorry, but we have to [_insert excuse_] and you can’t do a sleepover tonight.

Your son/daughter turns to Mel, “Oh rats! Sorry, maybe next time.”

Crisis averted!

You can see by the above example that the idea is simple:  Set up a secret code with your kids to give them an appropriate social ‘out’ if a situation is tense, uncomfortable, or unsafe.

I suggest having a family meeting and arranging some codes.  The sleepover one is good.  You might also want to construct one for friends that ask to stay for dinner, etc.  You might need to have the codes work both for kids wanting to stay at your house, and transversely when kids invite your child to social engagements. 

Codes can be non-verbal also.  Rubbing your head (I’m bald and this one works for me) could mean ‘come rescue me from this conversation.’  Rubbing your elbows could mean ‘say no to anything I ask.’  Rubbing your forearms could mean ‘steal second base.’

Quick note:  Kids need to learn how to be assertive and tell people ‘no’ and speak honestly.  However, there are always those situations where visiting kids don’t pick up on social cues, or beg, or situations that might involve protection from social ridicule or embarrassment.  It’s probably a good idea to discuss the difference with your kids in a family meeting. 

There are many uses for a family code and one of the best is to keep your child safe.  When kids are teens, they are sometimes invited to social engagements that turn illegal or illicit.  What if your kid rode with several other kids to a party?  Then, the party gets ‘out of hand’ and drinking/drugs are involved?

Peers:  Come on!  Stay, it will be fun.

Your Child:  No, I think we should go.

Peers:  We’ll I drove, and I’m going to stay for a little while.  I’m not going to drive you home and come back.

This is a great opportunity for your kid to call to check in (because you have set up that they check-in on a regular basis throughout the night – good job Dad!), or to have your son/daughter drop you a quick call/text that includes the code.

For phone calls, the code can even contain a prompt for you to start asking questions.

[Ring]

Child:  Hey dad, I’m checking in. (dramatically rolls eyes to friends to show that he hates having to call to check in) I’m excellent.

Dad:  [Recognizes that your child used the code word “excellent” instead of fine] Do I need to come and get you?

Child:  Yeah, we are just messing around playing ping-pong and stuff.

Dad:  Ok, I’ll come.  Do I need to create some emergency text and excuse to get you?

Child:  Sure, I’ll check in again later.

Dad:  [Hangs up.  Waits about 15 minutes, then texts “Hey, something came up and I have to come get you.  I’ll explain in the car.  Tell your buddies sorry.”

Child:  [Shows friends the text and feigns disappointment while cursing all parents for being ‘losers’]

I recently read online about using a similar system where the code is just a texted ‘X’ to mean “make up an excuse to come get me because things are ‘not good.’  The article even added a little suggestion that is worth including.  If you have to rescue your teen/pre-teen from a “not good” situation via the secret code, then don’t ask any questions about the situation on the ride home – that way your son/daughter won’t have to elaborate how they got into a rescue situation.  They can bring it up on their own time.  (Kids will always bring things up later if they can trust you.)

Codes don’t just have to be for extraction.  In our house, we have the accepted code “for real” to mean “tell the truth.”  If my wife or I think that there is a lie involved in something we are hearing, we say, “for real.”  That gives our kids, or each other, the prompt to tell the full, gritty truth because it will be worse if they don’t. 

Wife:  Did you kill that enormous spider in the bathroom?

Me:  Yeah. Guts went everywhere.

Wife:  For real.

Me:  No, It was freaky-big.  I was trying to figure out how to kill it, then the little sucker ran at me and I panicked.  Turns out it was just a feint and it ran under the cabinet to escape.

Wife:  Great.  Now we have to burn down th bathroom.

Here is something you might find interesting:  They used secret codes in the Bible, and early Christians also used a code to stay safe.  When the idea of ‘church’ had just started after the first Easter . . .  the FIRST Easter, the one where Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven . . . people that followed Jesus and met together could be arrested or killed by the Roman government.  Christians would draw a fish on their door as a secret code.  The Greek word “ΙΧΘΥΣ” means “fish” and those letters are also the initial letters of the phrase, “Lesous (Jesus), Xristos (Christ), Theou (God), Yios (Son), Sotare (Savior).  If you saw the fish drawing, then you knew there was a secret meeting of Christ-followers that met at that location.

Well, either that or a bass angler lived there . . .  which probably led to some awkward situations. Read More→

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May
08

Prepping Your Business For Summer

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beach playI can hardly believe it, but another school year is coming to a close. As I stumble through this month of end-of-school parties (not to mention my own graduation from Grad School-yay!), I find myself left with very little time in which I can actually get “work” done. Which leads me to wonder – what will the summer look like if I’m already in such a jumble?

So, I’ve decided that in order to start the summer off right, I need to take some time NOW to get my mind and heart ready.  Here are some things I’ve decided to do to get ready for the new season God has for my business – maybe they’ll help you, too.

Set Aside Time

It’s easy to forget the importance of setting aside time to work on our business in and of itself. We are commonly focused on our customers, daily tasks and the like that we don’t take time to think solely about what the future holds for our business.

As we near the end of this school year, let’s dedicate a couple of solid hours to sit down and dream a little, plan a little. If you have a team of people that you work with, consider pulling them all together (provide some Starbucks, of course) and have a brainstorming session.

Set Goals

During the time that you set aside to “think business,” make it a point to set goals for the summer and fall. I generally make a list – 3 months goals, 6 month goals, etc – to help aid me as I plan out where I see my business heading for the upcoming months.

Try to stretch yourself in your goal-setting. Be specific and make some of your goals measurable so that when you look back next year, you can truly see the growth your business has experienced. And then cover each goal in prayer throughout the year. Read More→

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May
05

Review: Armed With Truth Temporary Scripture Tattoos

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When I was offered the chance to review the Armed With Truth temporary scripture tattoos, I jumped at the chance. Why, you ask? Because I think they are an incredibly creative and powerful way to memorize Scripture.

I have often joked, when God causes one Scripture or another to stand out to me, that I should get it tattooed on so that I won’t forget it.  The Armed With Truth temporary scripture tattoos are a great way to make this actually happen, without committing to a lifetime tattoo, which I’ve personally never been able to do…maybe someday.

In the meantime, however, I can use these short Scripture tattoos to continually remind me of verses that I want to remember, to memorize, to let seep into the depths of my heart.

I chose to start out with the simple but beautiful truth of  “be still” from Ps. 46:10.

It was so easy to put on that next time I’ll try a large portion of Scripture, like this image from their website:

If you’d like to try out you’re own pack of Armed With Truth temporary scripture tattoos, you can find them at

https://www.armedwithtruth.com/

and use the code cwahm for 20% off!

And there’s a giveaway, too!

Armed With Truth Emboldened Giveaway! (Contest on Hive.co)

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggercreatingthebestbrandimageA name is the foundation of your brand. Your name is the single-most important clue as to what your brand image will look like. Your name helps you connect with your prospects and customers. Obviously, your name is what gives you brand recognition.

So how do you create a good one? And what do you if you are a direct seller or representative for a company?

There are two basic kinds of names: persona or personal brand. A persona is a descriptive name that encapsulates the essence of who you are and what you do. A personal brand is your own name.

Now there is hot debate about which one is better, but it comes down to your personal preference and what works best for your business. What are you most excited about? To me, names based on a persona offer a lot of room for creativity when designing. Words are pictures and when you find a good word, you can turn it into a memorable graphic that will help distinguish you from above the crowd.

You can find clues for your business name in your own personality, in your mission statement, or Unique Selling Proposition. Just make sure it resonates with others and that it is memorable and not too hard to understand!

A persona name can also be based on keywords. I know for one business I helped start, we used this method. We had to do very little marketing to make our first sales because of this strategy. Our market found us!

Bloggers, coaches, writers, and artists often choose to have a personal name brand. They want people to be able to search their name to find them on the Internet. Of course, for this strategy you have to do a lot of brand building so your audience recognizes your name and knows what you do.

A combination of the two works very well in this Internet age. The great advantage we have as small business owners is that we can come out from behind the curtain. We don’t have to be faceless corporations that are impersonal and dehumanizing. Because people want to do business with people whom they like, know, and trust. So when you add your name and photograph to your mediums you are going to be building that trust and like ability. Read More→

May
04

Black Eye Causes Quandary of the First Order

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bedroomQuandaries come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. As someone who is somewhat of a connoisseur in this area, I can readily attest to this. However, many do not realize quandaries come in two categories.

First are those quandaries that come about through no fault of the person in said quandary. For all practical purposes (and those in a quandary are usually not practical), it is impossible to adequately prepare for such an event in life.

Second are self-imposed quandaries. This, unfortunately, is the area where I flounder the most. To be perfectly honest, and I’m not suggesting that I’m perfect; I have created most of the havoc in my life.

Believe me, I would like to put the blame on someone other than myself in many of these situations but, alas, I am to blame. What I am about to relate belongs to the first category.

I found myself in a quandary recently through no fault of mine. And yet, I’m not able to prove it. This is the most discouraging thing. I know it was not my fault, but nobody will believe me.

Through the years, I have adopted a certain nocturnal procedure. When I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom I keep my eyes closed. There are two very simple reasons for this:

One, I know exactly where I am going, so I don’t need to open my eyes.

Two, I do not want my body to know that I’m awake. I want to fool my body into believing I’m asleep. Read More→

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May
03

Play Date Haskell Style

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This turned into a really long series on Dads facilitating good manners and etiquette. Well, mostly it was a long series because I TOOK THREE MONTHS OFF.

But I’m back to finish off our series with one of the big issues our kids experience in testing their manners in social situations: The Play Date.

But first, a couple of short disclaimers. This first one you’ve seen before several articles ago but I thought I’d better add it again. I don’t want anyone to think I am the EXPERT on all things social, because I’m not. I’m an introvert that grew up lonely and isolated in the barren wastelands of Indiana. Ok, Indiana isn’t that bad . . . but I was pretty much a loner.

Disclaimer #1
I didn’t have personal experience with social interaction much as a kid. I grew up in an Amish area, and the nearest neighbor with a child my age was miles away (several cornfields at least). So, I had to learn much of the information on dealing with neighborhood kids, visiting friends, having ‘play-dates’ through my kids and trying to navigate the experience as a parent. The good thing, is that our family will routinely have ‘pow-wows’ to discuss how to handle social issues. Much of the ideas in this article and others in this series involving ‘other people’ were developed from meeting as a family and discussing how best to handle each experience.

Disclaimer #2
In my day we didn’t use the word “Play Date” it was more commonly referred to as “having someone over” or “Going over to ___’s house.” “Date” makes it sound like it was planned or involved ‘romance.’ I’m pretty sure ‘Play Date’ came as a result of parents that wanted to control their kid’s interaction into prearranged and encapsulated time periods. That’ would be nice. But we dads know that kids need some flexibility and will use this article, and my others, to make even the most unplanned get-togethers a successful experience. For the purpose of easily talking about the process of “going over” or “having over,” I’m going to use the term “play date” to indicate any such informal get-together.

Now, on to the article . . .

Those of you that grew up in any age that wasn’t considered “Millennial,” will probably remember Leave it to Beaver. This TV show originally ran in the 1950’s/60’s and was rebroadcast frequently when I was a kid in the 80’s. It’s had resurgences over the years and you can usually watch it on one of the stations that broadcasts ‘classic’ TV. If all else fails you can probably find it on YouTube.

The show was a depiction of the ideal upper-class family, with good morals and ideals living in a small suburban town somewhere in America. In this family named the Cleavers, there was a mom, dad, and two boys. The show centered around the adventures of the youngest son that had the nickname ‘Beaver.’ However, every story needs a villain, and one of the main foes to this idyllic family dynamic was the teenage neighborhood friend that would frequently visit: Eddie Haskell.

Eddie was deceitful, rude, and mean in his dealings with Beaver and the other kids on the show, but when he visited the Cleaver family, he transformed into an over-the-top, sugary sweet gentleman. All of this being a lead-in to today’s topic of teaching your kids how to show good manners while participating in a play date with their friends. Read More→

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May
02

May Featured CWAHM

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For the next few months, we’ll be featuring CWAHMs from some of the best work-at-home businesses available. This month’s CWAHM spotlight introduces you to Katie Cote with Thirty-One:

Katie Cote – Independent Director
Thirty-One
cotekatie@gmail.com
www.mythirtyone.com/katiecote
I was introduced to Thirty-One by a family member years ago and immediately fell in love with the product line and the mission of the company.  When our CEO, Cindy Monroe established the business in 2013, she named the company after Proverbs 31 and wanting to help women by giving them the opportunity to run their own successful business. I found success in this business right away and love where I am headed.
The company is named from Proverbs 31 and about being a virtuous woman which I fell in love with before the products. The company is faith based and it shows in how they treat consultants. As a busy mom of 3, I’m always on the run with bags and totes galore. Their products are affordable, sturdy and have a great reputation.
My Thirty-One business allows me to run my business right from my home.  Some days my office is my dining room table!  I love that I am able to plan my working schedule around the needs of my family.  I work when the kids leave for school and when they are in bed at night.  I can be with my kids to get on and off the bus and be there for their baseball games.
Being in a direct sales business means building relationships and that can be done any time of the day, from the bus stop, to the baseball field and everywhere in between.  You can join my team and earn commission, free products and even Disney vouchers this summer.  I am currently adding new consultants to my team and I take pride in being able to support and coach them to be successful in their own business as well.  Contact me for more information on how a $99 Enrollment kit could unlock the doors for you in so much more!
* If you’d like to apply to be a Featured CWAHM, you can do so here! 🙂
Categories : Jill's Blog
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May
01

Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Business In Order

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IPurple crocus at a park, opening to the sun and heralding Springt’s spring! That means sunshine, rainbows and daisies, right? It also means that it’s time to spring clean – and not just your house, but your business as well. Each spring I set some time aside to clear the cobwebs off projects that I’ve set aside and take stock of what needs to be put in order now that spring is dawning.

Evaluate

I start off by taking a look and what IS working as well as what ISN’T working in my business. I hate to admit it, but not every grand idea that I come up with works in reality. I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to try new things; and it’s ok for some of those things to fail. The trial-and-error process is one way that we can determine what our customers are looking for. Don’t be afraid to make changes to existing products or programs if you see they aren’t bringing in the results that you had hoped for.

Emphasize

Do you customers know all that you have to offer? Often when I’m re-organizing I realize that I haven’t given the proper amount of promotion or attention to programs that I already have in place. This is a great time to re-launch a product or program that has not been made widely accessible to your audience. Consider how you can best highlight this under-promoted item – you may not even need to make changes at this time, just make people aware.

Excite

In order to make sales, we need to get our customers excited about our business and our products. This may be the perfect time to offer new special promotions or run a sale. Or, maybe it’s time to develop a new product or service to reach a new section of your ever-growing business market. Read More→

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Apr
28

Your Path to Working From Home

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Working from home is a goal that many people want to achieve, but fail to reach because they aren’t sure how to approach it. The first hurdle is money; how can you sustain your living if you don’t have a large amount of savings to your name? The second hurdle is knowledge; what can you do with your knowledge, do you need to learn new skills, and what career choices are there for you to work from home? Lastly, we think about job security; why risk your comfortable 9 to 5 job for a chance at working from home on your own terms?

Hurdle 1: Finance

If you want to save money to stay home, then you need to learn how to budget. Write down a list of your expenses, try to cut down on luxuries, and start saving money while you still have a job. Try to reduce as much as possible and start utilizing some frugal measures in order to save more cash. You’re going to need quite a lot of money to sustain yourself while you’re making the transition from regular day job to working from home, and you’ll need even more money if you want to invest in starting a business or hardware and equipment to make your at-home job possible. Don’t skimp on essentials, but practice living a frugal life so that you can prepare yourself when you leave your work.

 

Hurdle 2: Knowledge

Thankfully, it doesn’t take much money nowadays to study online and there are thousands of courses to pick from. For example, Find Your Context is a fantastic website for people who want to study online but aren’t sure about their choices or what they should pick. With so many choices available, it can be hard trying to discern what’s the best option for your at-home career choice. In most cases, a creative course such as writing or design will make a great freelancing career. However, if you want to start a business, then having a good foundation with business studies will be essential to starting up your own company. If you already have knowledge of a creative skill, then t might be worth spending your free evenings researching how to become a freelancer. With some hard work and a bit of luck, you might even be able to moonlight as a freelancer while still working your day job. It will give you some experience and a taster of what it’s like to work from home.

 

Hurdle 3: Job Security

Let’s face it, working from home means that you’re going to be reliant on clients. If you start a business, it also means that you could fail at any moment, and it’s never a fun feeling to realize that your company is going to collapse and you have no backup plan. If possible, stick with your job for as long as possible. Reduce your hours if you have to, but try to secure as many streams of income as possible, or save up a lot of money to use while you’re out of work.

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Apr
28

Writing a Mission Statement

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWriting a Mission StatementMission statements. Nonprofits use them frequently. Churches use them all the time. Corporations use them as well.

But what about you? Have you created your mission statement? And why is it important?

A mission statement helps to make sure you stay on target with your business. It answers the question, “Why do you exist and whom do you serve?”

Mission statements are part of your brand. In fact, they are the foundation of your brand. A well thought-out mission statement will give you visual clues as to what your brand image should look like.

A well written one will also help you discover your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What is it that distinguishes you from your competition? What makes you different? What benefit do your customers get when they purchase from you?

Jesus gave us a mission statement to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Corporations and organizations know that mission statements are part of their branding. They make sure that every employee knows the company mission statement. In addition, corporations and organizations will often write vision and values statements, too.

I experienced this when I worked for a Christian para-ministry in Colorado. It was drilled into my head. I often designed the mission, vision, and values statements.

In fact, it was drilled into my head so much that I decided to create my own mission, vision, and values statements! I designed it into a chart which also included my callings.

This changed my life! I was able to filter opportunities and say yes or no depending on if it fit my mission, vision, values, and callings. It helped me to reach for higher dreams and to stretch myself more. It gave me confidence as I sought God’s will for my life.

And in business, a mission statement will do the same.

What if you are a direct seller or representative of a company? Read More→

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