CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for CWAHM Blogs

Jun
09

Is YouTube Ruining My Kids?

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YouTube is a plethora of videos on everything from how to build a box, to how to clean your sinuses. Learn how to build a house. Learn a new language. Deep relaxation techniques. The list goes on and on. But do my kids watch videos that teach them useful skills like how to play the piano? Nope. They watch other children play with toys. They watch other kids open new toys. They watch adults being stupid for amusement. They watch endless videos of how to build a Minecraft house. 

Summer has started here in Texas. Well, mostly started. The sun comes out occasionally before the next thunder and lightning storm, but the pool is open, and school is out. Either way, summer is supposed to be for biking with friends, building forts, going to the playground, rollerskating, etc. Did this stop in the 1990s? I miss being a kid because of summers activities. Why in the world would my kids rather stay inside and watch videos of other children playing with toys than actually going outside to play with toys?

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and my job doesn’t end because it’s summer. The new season simply means I can sleep hours that work better for my circadian sleep rhythm. You know like go to bed at midnight and wake up at eight am. Okay, fine. I go to sleep closer to two am and wake up at nine am. Either way, this schedule is more natural to my disposition. I still have to grocery shop, clean, do my writing, reading, and editing, but now I have three children along.

To give in and let them watch the weirdo videos they like on YouTube would be so easy! I don’t have to mom today; YouTube is more than willing to babysit. Let’s be honest, had we had YouTube available back in the 1980s when I was a kid, my friends and I would have all been watching ridiculous videos too. My particular favorites would have been best pranks to pull on your brother or cat videos. Is this fair to my kids though? Nope. Read More→

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Jun
08

How To Reduce Business Costs With Technology

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Business all around the world are started to make money, that is certain.  When you are in business and making money, one of the easiest ways to make more money is to control your costs of operation.  This might seem like a task to most people, but with a specific set of skills, seeing where the money is wasted stands out like a sore thumb.  One way that companies are able to reduce costs is through the advancements in technology.  In many cases, the skills needed to see what costs can be saved are taught while earning a finance degree of some kind.  Whether you invest in a new time management system or a new robotic machine that is more efficient, technology has been reducing costs of operation for many years.

Eliminating Manual Processes

Knowing that you are looking to cut some costs in your business model, one of the first things that are going to stand out is any process that can be automated.  Automation can get a bad rep as it usually reduces the workforce, but other processes can be made more efficient and still require the touch of a real person.  For example, accounting used to be all pen and paper back in the day, but today there are programs that you can purchase and use to make balancing the finances at the end of the month a little easier on the accountant in your company. By eliminating the manual process of accounting, you are freeing up more time and cutting costs. Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jun
07

Where Do You Look When She’s Lost Her Voice?

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megaphoneIt has been a quiet week at the parsonage. Far quieter than usual. I cannot remember a time when it was quieter. If silence is golden, the week glowed with a yellow brilliance.

Have you ever noticed when you lose something, it is always in the last place you look? I could save a lot of time, not to mention energy, if I would look for that lost item in the last place first.

Back to the sounds of silence in the parsonage.

When the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage awoke from her beauty sleep on Monday morning, she discovered sometime during the night she lost her voice. It was a strange sensation that bears repeating – often.

At first, I thought I lost my hearing. I am not accustomed to starting the day with such silence. I could see my Beloved’s lips moving, but nothing reached my ears.

I must confess that there have been times when I feigned not hearing her, but this time I really could not hear a word she said. Immediately I plunged a finger in each ear to check for any foreign correspondent.

My fingers reported nothing. I must admit that clean ears are a novelty for me. God gave me such large ears attracting all sorts of stuff.

My ears produce enough wax each week to take care of 17 Rolls Royces. The strange thing was, I had just waxed my car the Saturday before.

With nothing in my ears – or between them, for that matter – I could not explain this sudden silence of my Little Lamb.

I am the kind of person who tries to find good in everything. Some circumstances severely try my efforts in this endeavor, but, believe it or not, I was able to find some good about this little incident in our parsonage.

The good news was my wife had lost her voice; the bad news, however, she insisted that I look for it.

Have you ever tried looking for something you hoped you would not find?

Through the years, I have engaged in many things my heart was not totally in full sympathy with.

Such things as Christmas shopping with my wife at the mall; going to a wedding reception for some family member; attending the Christmas play by first graders at the elementary school.

All these activities are good in and of themselves; if only they would merely keep themselves to themselves, it would not irate myself so much. As a dutiful husband and father, I bolster up both chins and go forward.

Being the considerate soul that I am, I submissively went through the motions of looking for the lost voice. (I did have my fingers crossed.)

My problem was: where do you begin looking for a lost voice? In my lifetime, I have looked for many lost items. My car keys, my wallet (especially when the check at the restaurant is due), and my mind, which I have yet to find.

However, where does a voice go when it turns up missing?

I began my search under the sofa and found a set of car keys I lost seven months ago and my checkbook that I looked everywhere for and finally had to close the account and start over again, but no voice.

I spent a few moments meditating in the garage, but did not find or hear the voice of my Beloved.

I looked in the refrigerator – pausing for a small snack without fear of remonstration from you know who. Of course, I may have been remonstrated, but I did not hear a thing. Read More→

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Jun
06

What Your Communication Systems Say About Your Brand

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danaWhat Your Communication Systems Say About Your BrandA brand is communicated from the moment your prospect contacts you, whether that is through a web page, email, a sign, or a phone greeting.

The communication systems (or lack of systems) says a lot about you and your brand.

What does it say?

Let’s just consider this one case in point, something my local women’s networking leader is always pointing out and has seen personally over and over again: If you give your card to a prospect and then they call and get a greeting that does not clearly identify who you are and what business you represent, that is going to confuse them. It will scare them away and you will lose business.

Having a dedicated office phone is an important step toward branding yourself in a positive light. Don’t mix your home phone and business phone! If you use your cell phone, answer it in a professional, courteous manner. Don’t let your children answer your phone if it is a business call. This is why having separate lines in a home business is so crucial.

Otherwise, like I said, your prospect will be scared away because you will have lost trust in their eyes. It’s the same with signage. If it is not consistent with your brand and does not clearly identify who you are and what you do, you will lose customers. I think of a date that my husband and I went on several years ago. I had heard about a place to listen to live jazz music. There was no signage whatsoever. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, so much so that I didn’t want to get out of the car. We went to somewhere familiar that night.

Because that is what your brand needs to do from the first moment your prospect becomes aware of you. It needs to help build comfort and familiarity in your customer.

When you hand out a business card, for instance, your prospect needs to find a consistent image on your website. This is going to build credibility and he will know that he’s found the right site. Read More→

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Jun
05

The Power of Words in Business

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I love email. I know it’s silly, but I truly love receiving emails – especially from women who are a part of my ministry, Christian Work at Home Moms. I love hearing what God is doing in their lives and how He is creating businesses out of the very fabric of who they are and the things that they love to do.

I received an email not long ago, however, that wasn’t nearly so encouraging. The woman was upset. She had been hurt by people during her work-at-home journey, she felt used and abused. She took that anger out on me. I was heartbroken as I read that email and felt this woman’s pain. My heart ached not just for the anger that she expressed, but at seeing the pain behind her words.

Words give us power. They allow us to communicate what God is teaching us. They give us the ability to share the joys and triumphs of life.

And yet, words can be used to wield another sort of power as well – the power to injure. We can so easily hurt others with the words that write and speak. I can think of countless times that I have spoken something without thinking – with no intention of hurting someone – and injured the person on the receiving end.

James 3:3 -6 tells us:

“Take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.
Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

What a powerful statement that last line is. Read it again: “It [the tongue] corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” The words we speak can corrupt us if we choose to speak words that belittle others, hurt others or tear others down.

On the flip side, in Proverbs 31:26 we find out how a godly woman uses her words:
She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind.” Read More→

Jun
02

Home Security on a Budget: 5 Components Needed for DIY Security 

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For those who have never experienced the feelings of fright and helplessness that accompany a home break-in, it can be difficult to fathom. But those who have know that it can happen to practically anyone, at any time. In fact, most burglaries occur during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This may come as a relief to those with 9-to-5 jobs, but for the increasing number of people who work from home, a daylight burglary could quickly become a terrifying home invasion.

A security system would set your mind at ease, but not everyone has hundreds or thousands of dollars to put into an expensive system. Even those without a huge budget deserve a secure home, so here are several economical ideas for frugal homeowners on how to make your home more secure from break-ins without breaking the bank.

There are five essential components required for an effective home security system:

  • Internet-accessible security hub – This device will connect all of the individual components of your security system allowing them to work together. Make sure the hub can connect to the internet as this guarantees that you will be able to access your security system at any time, from anywhere.
  • A smartphone app will allow you to access the hub remotely while you are out, or just from different areas of your home. Be sure to find the right app, though, that compliments the operating system of your phone and does not require pairing to a specific brand of camera or hub. CAWSView is a great one for Android users as it is a live video streams application. It offers HD surveillance video of your home on your mobile through the direct cameras, with safe and fast way. iPhone users may appreciate iProctron, which allows viewers to watch and control live video feed from cameras and video encoders, and also has a playback option.
  • Sensors – Sensors come with different options: motions sensors, sound sensors, heat sensors and more are available; however, if you are on a budget and are not protecting a collection of priceless paintings, sensors that notify you when doors or windows will suffice. If you are working from home and alone, you will likely want to be informed of someone entering the house.
  • Internet-connected cameras – These cameras connect to the hub and allow you to use your smartphone to view inside your home live, in real time. If you step out to go to the grocery, an inside peek of your home is readily available in the palm of your hand. Installing cameras like Lorex home security cameras is optimal because these cameras can be purchased outright, unlike others that require a monthly subscription. When building a security system piecemeal, this is imperative.
  • A high-decibel alarm – Sadly, even though sounding alarms when in distress no longer brings the neighbors running — so many alarms malfunction or are accidentally set off that most people simply ignore them — the sound is likely loud and sudden enough to send burglars running for fear of police involvement.

Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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va-seriesOffering social media management and consulting services to clients is one of those things I sort of fell into. When I started working online as a virtual assistant social networks were in their infancy. MySpace was dying with Facebook and Twitter quickly gaining traction. Facebook spoke to the extrovert in me; couple that with working from home and social media soon became close to an obsession for me. It was a client’s prompting that had me looking at my near obsession through a different lens and started making money offering my social media knowledge and experience to clients as a service.

As an entrepreneur and freelance virtual assistant it is important to keep up to date not only on the latest programs, software and, in some cases, social networking sites. It’s important to also be up to date on the latest trends and advances within one’s industry. The following is how continue my education regularly.

Online Groups – There are a few virtual assistant groups that I have connected with and regularly follow. Interaction with other virtual assistants is a great way of picking up other tips, tricks, and even skills. Facebook and Google+ both have excellent virtual assistant groups to join. One that I am a part of is Virtual Assistant Community. (Google+ calls their groups ‘communities.’) Read More→

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May
29

Don’t Hide From What You’re Passionate About

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WOvercoming Fearhen I was in college one of the requirements to graduate was to take a speech class. I was a fairly quiet girl who tried to blend in the crowd as much as possible. So, the thought of getting up in front of the crowd was terrifying to me.  Every time I thought about having to speak in front of my friends and classmates my heart would start racing, my palms would sweat and I would quickly distract myself by doing something else.

Eventually, though, I had to find a way to conquer speech class. So, one semester I had the brilliant idea to take speech class during the summer term at the local community college. This way, I could make a fool out of myself in front of strangers instead of my friends. So, that summer I hid out at the community college and suffered through speech class.

But, the joke was on me. I wouldn’t have believed you had you told me in college, but God would eventually give me opportunities to speak before audiences…and I would learn to enjoy it. I might possibly even say I developed a passion for speaking (and writing). I now take the opportunities God provides to share about working from home and how we can incorporate our faith into our business lives.

The Bible gives us a great example of someone else who – literally – tried to hide from his calling. In 1 Samuel chapter 10 we meet Saul. Saul has just been informed by the prophet Samuel he is to be Israel’s first king.

Samuel gathers the people of Israel together to announce God’s decision, but when he calls for Saul to step forward, guess what? Saul is nowhere to be found.

Samuel had them pass by in family groups, and Matri’s family was picked. Then he had each man of Matri’s family pass by, and Saul son of Kish was picked. But when they looked for Saul, they could not find him. (1 Samuel 10:21, NCV)

And where do you think Saul was? Read More→

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerBrand Image VisionBefore you endeavor to create a brand image/logo, or have one designed for you, get a vision for it.

How do you do that? It can be as simple as sketching it out on a blank piece of paper.

Think through what components you want in your brand. What kind of image, if any? A photograph, illustration? What shape is the logo going to be in? Are you going to be using any additional shapes? What will the lettering look like? Will you have your photograph, name, and/or slogan included in the brand image itself?

Once you have figured out what components will be in your brand, make a very rough sketch. This can be just pencil on typing paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can make several thumbnail sketches on one sheet of paper. That will help you compare and find the sketch you like best.

You can also create a very rough draft on design software like Photoshop. Just remember that this is not the final. All you are doing is planning so you know what direction your artwork is going to take. You are creating a strategy.

What if you plan on hiring out the design of your logo? Then this is an even more important step! The more you communicate with your graphic designer, the more money you will save and the better the final product will be.

The goal of this sketch is to create a vision for your brand. You want an image that accurately reflects your brand and one that immediately communicates what you do and what you offer. Read More→