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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 Mom Courage

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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Jun
14

How do we run?

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Stress - business woman running lateAlways running. My mom tells me that since I was a girl I have woken up everyday ready to go 100 miles an hour. Focused. Driven. Feeling the need to accomplish. To move forward. To run through each day.

Success from the world’s point of view is based on how much we accomplish. Vast accomplishments bring praise and accolade. In business success means financial gain, good references and return clients. As mothers success mean well-behaved children, food on the table for super, and laundry put away each night. When we appear successful people look on us with admiration.

But are we successful or are we driven? Is business or motherhood driving us? Are we constantly striving for perfection, trying to get just a little more done every day, pushing our limits and never finding rest for our weary hearts?

And does this focused inner drive carry over into our spiritual lives as well. After all we are told to run the race set before us. With our natural eyes we see this race as that of works: how much we accomplish in the church, how many good deeds we do, or how frequently we read the Bible. But is this what Scripture meant in Hebrews 12:1?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,(NIV)

I want to run my race and run well. I’m sure you do as well. We want to reach the end and hear our master say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

It reminds me of my years of jogging and cross country races. I was never good; never the fastest. I just ran for the fun of it. I am not an award winning runner. But I run, not giving up.

Reflecting on my spiritual race I don’t think God cares about the speed, or our accomplishments. He cares about our faithfulness and our fellowship with Him. 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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May
10

A Busy Soul

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Busy woman doing many things at the same timeActivities and opportunities seem to constantly be available to us. A dinner party with colleges, extracurricular activities for the kids, volunteers needed for a benefit fundraiser, a new class at the gym guaranteed to help us lose those few extra pounds, a new venture to grow your business. These all seem good. They all are good. But they all take time.

When do we cross the line from being involved to being overcommitted? In the pace of life do we choose good things all the while sacrificing that which is best?

In my musing about this topic I felt inspired to write this prose entitled The Busyness of Soul

Thoughts racing

Errands pressing

Time lacking

Weighing down

 

With no boundaries

All seems good

But even good things

Can steal the best

 

Stealing quiet

Clogging hearing

Clouding sight

Polluting fellowship

 

The choice is ours

Boundaries to be built

Protecting the best

By rejecting the good.

©2016 Naomi Fata

 

We get so busy and think that it is all good for the success of our children or for our own social needs. But in the midst of it do we miss the gift of fellowship?

Imprinted on my mind is an image of two sisters in the presence of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). One is consumed with the task of preparing for such a noble visitor while the other is content to sit quietly at His feet, listening, resting…still. And I see whose soul is fed. Not the one busy with the preparation but the one who sat with Him. Read More→

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May
04

Don’t Focus on the What-Ifs

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mother daughter sunsetHave you started off with great plans for what you can do? Perhaps you have a ideal image in your mind that looks something like this

Run a business,

Have children,

Work from home,

Volunteer at church,

Have regular date nights with your husband

I started off this work from home journey with all of those things in mind. As I slowly moved toward my goal I had great seasons of doubt (and still do sometimes).

I think one reason for our doubts is great insecurity and the perspective of other women.

When you stand out and stand up to do something that looks hard or impossible you most certainly will have naysayers who tell you it is impossible. You might hear things like

“You will over extend yourself.”

“You will burn out”

“Be careful doing too much or you will lose your health.”

“Some things just have to wait for another season of life.”

There is some truth to these statements but we have to take care not to let them into our hearts. At times of weakness I have found myself asking, “What if I can’t do this?” And then mentally I would form a second best plan. This just drained my emotional strength that I needed for the present moment and served no purpose.

I am reminded of Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God already knows the path we will take. He knows the path ahead of us. He knows the strength and grace He will give us each moment, for each client, each child, each bill that might be coming in the mail. He knows the early morning hours, He knows that some days we have to say no to something that might look more fun. But He also sees the heart of the one focus on Him. He sees when we cry out for strength. He sees when we think we can’t do that which we have been called to.

Have confidence that you are walking in His calling for you. He has already made straight the path before you.

Rather than wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew I focus on Him, asking for His wisdom to show me whether there is anything I am doing that I shouldn’t be doing. Then I rest in the guidance of His Spirit and pray “Lord thank You that I am Your handiwork, created to do good works. I thank You that You have already prepared those things that You would have me to do. I trust the power and guidance of Your Spirit to open my eyes to what it is You would have me to do. Amen. ”
Then when the worrisome thoughts of “what ifs” arrive I press into the promise more….He has already prepared those things He would have me to do

Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching; check out some printable Mother’s Day cards that kids can color to give to Mom or Grandma

 

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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