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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 Mixing Faith & Business

Dec
26

Living as a Light

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV candlelight

How are you a light to those you work with? Do friends, colleagues and clients know that you’re a Christian? Can they tell simply by the way you live your life; the way you treat them?

I love this quote from the book (Work Matters) from sociologist James Hunter regarding the fact that Christ is faithfully present to us. “Faithful presence in the world means that Christians are fully present and committed in their spheres of influence, whatever they may be: their families, neighborhoods, voluntary activities and places of work.”

The question we must ask ourselves then is, “Am I fully present?” Am I engaged in my community, my church, my life? Or am I simply letting life pass me by as I muddle through each day with an attitude of defeat?

As my wonderful assistant, Pebbles Jacobo would say, “Be where you are.”

Such a simple statement, but when we live it out it has a massive impact.

Be fully present when you’re with your kids. Be fully present when you’re working. I know that switching between the two is incredibly difficult when you work from home, but it is a skill that can be learned. Or maybe a better way to phrase that would be it is an attitude that can be chosen.

When my kids were small I struggled to shut off work mode to listen to their excessive enthusiasm over things like Elmo. There were many days (and still are) when I had to force myself to close my laptop, look my kids in the eye and listen. Truly listen.

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Dec
14

Seasons of Finding Yourself

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We oftenWoman in worship position hear about “seasons of life,” especially when something tough happens in our life. As the years go by, I am also noticing what I like to call “seasons of finding myself.” This applied primarily to times in our life when a major shift has occurred, and we must readjust our view of ourselves – our identity – into a new normal.

Some of these major life shifts may include:

  • Becoming a wife
  • Becoming a mother
  • New life-stages of motherhood (infants, toddlers, elementary age, tweens, teens, adult children)
  • Transitioning home from the corporate world
  • Going back to school
  • Starting a new job

I have experienced each of these stages, and each one seems to throw me off while I sort-out what my new identity or role is. For example, when my children transitioned from toddlers to school age, I had to determine what my role would now be. My role as their mother hadn’t completely changed, but new role opportunities had been added – Room Parent, School Volunteer, PTA Parent, etc. I now had to decide what level of involvement I would have in my children’s day-to-day lives while they were at school.   Read More→

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Nov
28

Work as Worship

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Is your Monday different than your Sunday? Or, in other words, are you worshiping God through the week the same way you do at church on Sunday morning?

It can be hard at times to see our work as a form of worship, but Dorothy Sayers, in her Essay “Why Work,” says just that:

“Let the church remember this: that every maker and every worker is called to serve God in his profession on trade – not outside it … The only Christian work is good work well done.”

Isn’t that freeing? It isn’t supposed to be God OR work. We are called to worship God through our work. Every beautiful thing we create, every item we sell, every customer we interact with … it’s all meant to be well done – to the best of our abilities as an offer to God.

For many years I struggled with the pressure I felt running CWAHM. I felt that it was somehow “not good enough” no matter where I looked. In the eyes of the business world, I’m certainly small potatoes – not to mention that I have a Biblical Counseling degree, not a business degree. And in the eyes of the Christian world I wasn’t “Christian enough” because I talk about selling and marketing and business.

But, God has brought me to a place where I can see that by living out my calling – the calling that HE has given me – I am glorifying Him. I may never be “enough” in anyone else’s eyes, but I’m working for an audience of One and He is the only opinion that counts. Read More→

Nov
24

Thanksgiving Perspective

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Do you feel like a success?

As work-at-home moms it’s easy to get caught up in the “look what she has accomplished” mindset and fail to see all that God has done in our own lives and businesses.

We need to shift our perspectives from “What I want to accomplish?” to “WOW! Look what God has done!”

Thanksgiving is upon us and this seems like the perfect time of year to think about how God sees you and your success. Do you believe that He wants you to succeed?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Believe it or not, the sentence above is a quote directly from Scripture – Psalm 20:4. If our hearts are right with God, we are on track for success in life. Now, this may not mean that each of us can be a millionaire, but it does mean that God wants to lead us down the path to success.

We must, however, keep in mind that God’s idea of success in our lives may not look exactly like the version we see in our heads. God first and foremost wants us to be the person that He created us to be; to live a life of sacrifice, obedience and love. We can’t simply hoard our money and resources for ourselves, living in fear that we won’t have enough,  hoping that God will bless that. God calls us to a much bigger belief than that!He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

This proverb (see Proverbs 2:7) is a powerful reminder that our God is a God of justice. He “holds success” for the upright.

Does that mean wicked people can’t be successful? No.

We must look at the sentence following and be reminded that God is our shield – if we trust in Jesus. Only by trusting in the person and power of Jesus can we be seen as “blameless in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 1:8)

You see, God looks at us much differently than we look at ourselves. We see our sins, failures and shortcomings. However, when we believe in Jesus as our salvation, God sees us as blameless. What freedom there is in that truth!

There are other areas of life where we need a perspective change as well. You see, many of us, especially Americans see ourselves as poor.  We makes comments like, “I’m so broke.”  I’ve been guilty of this more times than I can count. But I recently had a wake-up call as to how God sees my financial status. Read More→

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Nov
15

Professionalism at Home

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One of benefits of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. You can set your own schedule, work around your family and even lounge in your pajama pants from time to time.

However … one of the drawbacks of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. Yep, you read that right. As much as I love working from the comfort of my home, there is a serious side to my business as well. There are times when I must set aside my comfort and ensure that my clients get the very best from me.

The question that comes to mind then is how do we retain professionalism while we’re working at home? Here are a few ideas:

Take a shower– I smile as I write this because I know how basic this tip is. However, I know firsthand that it can be difficult to get motivated to get up and shower as if you were heading to an office for the day. Some days it can be hard just to find the time to shower (if you have small kids at home, you’re nodding as you read this). And don’t stop with a shower – put on a cute outfit, add a little makeup and get yourself feeling good. You’ll be surprised what a difference feeling good about yourself can make on your attitude, which will in turn impact your family, your business and all those you come into contact with throughout the day.

Clean your room – While it may or may not be true that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” it has certainly proven true in my life that cleanliness helps me to focus. When my office is a mess and my desk is piled high with stacks of paper, I seem to get less done. Take 15 minutes each morning and clear your space as much as possible. Not only will you think more clearly,  you will also be saved from embarrassment if unexpected company (or a client!) stop by.

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Sep
25

Five Steps to Landing a Great Work-at-Home Job

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According to the latest American Community Survey data, there are approximately 2.8 million people, not including the self employed or unpaid volunteers, who consider home their primary place of work. The struggling American economy has created the need for companies to cut back as much as possible. This has created growth in the work-at-home industry as it allows companies to save on expenses like office space, equipment and insurance costs.

However, the telecommuting world can be a hard place to get your foot in the door. Linda Dickerhoof, Public Relations Director at VIPDesk, one of the leading virtual concierge and virtual customer service providers in the United States, reports that they receive as many as two hundred resumes a day. With that kind of competition, it’s imperative that you stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when applying for telecommuting employment.

1. Do Your Research – This is, by far, the most crucial aspect of your work-at-home job search. There are many legitimate companies that hire at-home employees. However, in order to weed out at-home job scams, you need to know what “red flags” to look for.  A legitimate work-at-home opportunity won’t ask you for any sort of “affiliation fee,” nor will they send you any type of list of employers to contact.

A legitimate opportunity will also not offer an unrealistic salary. The ads that you see offering $5k/wk with no experience usually are just what they sound – too good to be true. Avoid work-at-home opportunities advertised via infomercials, signs taped to a lamp-post, stop signs or via spam e-mail. Always check with the Better Business Bureau to see what type of reputation the company you are considering has, then follow up with an Internet search to see what is being said about the company in blogs, on twitter, and in the mainstream media.

2. Prepare Your Resume – Applying for a working-at-home position should be treated just like any other job application process. The company may allow you to work from home, but they will not tolerate an unprofessional attitude. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that your resume will be selected if it’s anything less than top-notch.

In order to get ahead, put together a professional resume outlining your job experience and highlighting any special skills or training applicable to the position you’re applying for. Keep your resume to one page, if possible.

3. Prepare For the Interview – The interview process is more critical than usual in the work-at-home world because the interviewer will not be meeting you face to face. Most at-home employers have a strenuous screening process to filter out applicants who do not fit the professional standards required.

Prepare ahead of time for questions not only about your employment background, but also about what your home work environment will be like (they do not want to hear animals or children in the background). Interviewers will be listening intently to how you present yourself over the phone, so be as prepared and professional as possible. Read More→

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Sep
18

Four Ways to Find a Telecommuting Opportunity

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My first step into the work-at-home world was as a data extractor for a company in my local area. Believe it or not, I found that job in the Classified Ads section of the newspaper. That, however, was ten years ago. A lot has changed in the last ten years – the internet alone has grown by leaps and bounds. So, what are some of the best ways for people in today’s market to find a telecommuting opportunity?

Classified Ads
One good thing about the technology available to us today is that most Classified Ads are now not only listed in print newspapers, but online as well. Take a look through these to see if there are businesses in your area looking for local at-home workers.

Online Job Sites
Most online job websites now offer telecommuting listings. Use the search term “telecommute” to help give you the best results. There are even websites that cater to the work-at-home crowd such as HireMyMom.com. Remember – always be sure to read the fine print, and research each company/opportunity that interests you.

Freelance
More and more at-home workers are freelancing on a contract basis. Writers, web designers, graphic artists, and more are finding this a viable option to allow them to work from home. There are websites, such as upwork.com, that cater specifically to the freelance community and make it easy for freelancers to connect with companies and individuals looking to hire them.  If you are selling a service or digital product, take some time to checkout out fiverr.com – you can start offering your service for just $5, and then add additional options at higher prices as your business grows. Read More→

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Sep
11

Work Is Not About Money

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 First and foremost, work is not about economic exchange, financial remuneration, or a pathway to the American Dream, but about God-honoring human creativity and contribution. Our work, whatever it is, whether we are paid for it, is out specific human contribution to God’s ongoing creating and to the common good.”  – Tom Nelson, Work Mattersmoney jar

I love that quote! Isn’t it true that we so often view work as simply a way to make money. The truth is that it is SO much more than just a way to help pay bills.

I can’t tell you how often I get caught in the trap of thinking that my end goal is how much money I bring in. If I go a day or two without selling some advertising space I begin to wonder if God is mad at me. How silly is that? I believe that while God does care about me and my business, He isn’t all that worried about whether or not I sell ads each day just to make myself feel better.

When I look past the monetary expectations I have for my business and focus on what I see God doing through CWAHM, I am humbled and reminded that this business is so much more than just a way to make money.

And when I keep my eyes focused on Christ and moving in the direction that He is leading me, I work in an entirely different way because I’m coming at things from a Christ-centered perspective. And boy is that a beautiful place to be! (and if I ever figure out how to KEEP myself there I’ll let you know – I’m constantly finding myself back in the worry-about-money boat and having to heave myself overboard into Trust God Lake!)

Our work, or maybe more specifically the WAY we work, is an expression of our love for God. It is one of the main ways that we can glorify Him while we are here on this Earth. It is one of the ways that He has given us to contribute to what He is doing in the world.

Whether our work today consists of

  • * Raising our children
  • * Running a business
  • * Working for an employer
  • * Volunteering somewhere

Everything we do contributes to the kingdom of God if we do it to honor Him above all else.

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Sep
04

Why Bother?

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In the midst of all of the chaos of being a work-at-home mom – the business issues, the kids’ squabbles, the laundry (ugh!), I often find myself wondering why I bother.  Why do I push reading a bookmyself to write, to speak, to work at all? Why not just sit around and do as little as possible?

One reason, of course, is because we need the extra income. But somehow it’s deeper than that. Even when I try to take several days off in a row, I find myself actually WANTING to work. I find this strange, how about you? Do you find yourself thinking, planning, dreaming about how to improve and grow your business or job?

In his book, Work Matters, author Tom Nelson says that there is a very good reason that we may, in fact, enjoy work. (I know – crazy, right?) J. Nelson points out that from the very beginning of Scripture we see an active God, a God at work.

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ”

Genesis 1:26-28

I love the thought that we are created in God’s image – our creative, active God who not only tells us to get to work, but who models the concept for us as well. In the Genesis account, God isn’t worried about Adam and Eve messing up His creation. In fact, God gives man dominion over the animals of the Earth.  He made humans the stewards of the Earth and in that same fashion we are also stewards of whatever work God has given us.

We sometimes think that NOT working would be more fulfilling, but the truth is that sloth and laziness will never make us happy – and it certainly doesn’t make God happy.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 13:4, ESV

I had several days this past winter where all I really wanted to do was sit and read a book. While I can technically count this as work (see RadiantLit.com), it was actually me trying to escape doing some hard work that needed done. The first day I gave in and read all day. It was fun for a bit, but after a while the guilt set in. But, I was determined not to let the guilt stop me … so I kept reading.

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Aug
28

5 Tips for Working From Home

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Woman working from homeI have worked from home, in one form or another, for nearly twenty years. (GOOD GRIEF that makes me feel old!) The work-at-home world, and technology itself, is every changing. However, there are a few basic principles that stay the same, and these can help you work efficiently and productively.

1. Use Lists

I know not everyone is a list-lover like I am, but I believe lists can help keep you organized and on-track. I tend to make a daily list each evening for what needs to be accomplished the next day. I rank the tasks and work hard to complete at least the top 3.

This allows me to feel as if I accomplished something, but gives me the flexibility to change things around if necessary.

2. Do Your Research

This is something I preach for anyone looking to work from – always do thorough research on any company that you are interested in working with. This used to be more difficult, but nowadays you can google a company, or ask about it on Facebook, and get a multitude of answers. Then compare these answers with what you know to make an informed decision.

However, research continues to play a part in business even after you have things up and running. You must continue to do you research to stay on top of trends and new tools that can aid you in business.

3. Be bold! ASK

Again, this is something I say often to those I’m working with who are just starting out. But, again, it holds true for all business owners, no matter how long you’ve been in business. You must continue to be bold and ask for you want. You may get some “no” answers, but you’ll also get those “YES” answers that you could not have gotten any other way. Never be afraid to ask – you’ll never know until you ask.

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