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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerWhen I was young, I always looked forward to my birthday. I could not wait until it came around and usually it was in the summer. I distinctly remember graduating from the age of nine to the double-digit number of 10, I thought I had arrived.

Then the Birthday Card Arrived, by Rev. James SnyderWhen I hit the age of 16 and got my driver’s license and started driving around, of course my driving around was contingent upon my father allowing me to borrow his car. When I turned 18, however, I bought my own car.

At 20, I thought I arrived and had become a full-fledged adult. Becoming an adult was important until I realized how expensive it was to be an adult. Had I known that, I would have reverted to my sixth birthday.

Now that I am well beyond that magical age of 20, I am not so excited about birthdays. In fact, I would like to forget my birthday completely and how old I really am. This year I was making some good progress in this area.

My accomplice was the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage whose birthday is two days after mine. If we forget my birthday, she is counting on me forgetting her birthday. It all works out pretty well, except I’m not allowed to forget our anniversary. Read More→

Brian Ellsworth

Aug
26

Why We or I Can’t Return

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerA bit of a strange title, huh?  The following is written for women, but from the angle of what it feels like when someone you love wants to end a marriage or a relationship that you thought  might be headed towards marriage. It’s also about the Tender Warriors we love or say we do.

Why We or I Can't Return, by Pam BassWell, here’s my thoughts. Once we are attached to one another in love, or in  like, we can’t really return to where we were.  A friend is someone “I’m drawn to, attracted to, have something in common with.”  I like them, and they like me.  It’s a win-win really.  Now, when that expands, as it usually will, to boyfriend and girlfriend status, it is pretty impossible (and even unwise at time), to return to our former status of ‘friends.’  Why? Because YOU now have my heart, part or whole, YOU have it and I do not.  If, for whatever reason, “WE” no longer exist, then part of ME has died.  That is the part of my heart that you held, and still do.

Although you try and give it back to me, I don’t want it back truly.  I gave you my heart.  I wanted you to have it.  I willingly GAVE it to you. It means a lot to have done that.  I wasn’t expecting it back really.  I thought YOU gave ME YOUR heart.  Now, I’m kinda forced to give your heart back to you.  But I don’t feel that way.  I liked you a whole lot. Maybe even loved you, I dunno. All I do know now, is my heart is crushed, in a million pieces, and my mind is blown away.  I never saw it coming.  Which makes it worse IMHO.

Now if we’re married, these feelings are a million times even more. So, please don’t say that trite stupid phrase, “I just want to be friends now, ok?” NO, it s NOT okay! I can’t return to that spot! It is gone! Maybe forever, I dunno.  I shared things with you I haven’t shared with ANYONE!  My feelings and thoughts are not transferable!

You can’t just flip a switch on my emotions, it doesn’t work that way.  We weren’t a one night stand, for pete’s sake. We weren’t a casual, no strings attached, weekend hook up. We were somewhat velcroed together, hung out, went places, did things together (none that I do with just ANYBODY). It was special. We were special. Or so I thought.

Boys’ hearts are very tender.  Boys grow up to be men, and their hearts are still tender.

They may appear hard on the outside, but most are soft on the inside. I think women either (1) don’t know this at all; (2) have forgotten this fact. Ladies, please don’t trifle or stomp over your husband’s heart. You wouldn’t want him to do that to you, would you? I didn’t think so. If you’re a mom and have sons, be extra gentle with them also.  How you treat their emotions will directly impact their marriage.

As always, the Bible has a lot to say about your heart, tenderness, etc.  Let me end with these verses for you to ponder: Proverbs 4:23-27 tells us to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows  from it. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

ABOUT THEAUTHOR:  Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years.  She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values.  Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at www.pambass.com

CWAHM

Aug
25

Are you a happy CWAHM?

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Most of us know that we moms are the ones who set the tone of our homes (for the most part). Usually our husbands and children know when we aren’t happy.

But do you ever reflect on your own happiness? Or are you so focused on making sure that everyone else is happy that you forget to touch base with your own feelings. As moms it is easy to be continually giving to the extent that we sacrifice ALL, without taking care of ourselves. It is important that we consider our own happiness. When we take care of ourselves we are able to serve our families better.

There are times when I have felt trapped by the pressures of having children, working, cleaning house, and serving at church. I was giving, giving, giving but feeling negative about myself and my ability to get everything done.

In my reading I came found this acrostic in What Happy Working Mothers Know, which helped me put my own happiness in perspective.

Healthy – both physical and mental health

Adaptive

Proud of your family

Proud of your work because that’s who you are

Young at heart

 

Healthy

In what ways are you taking care of yourself physically? Are you getting enough physical activity? I have found that joining a gym keeps me accountable to remain active, when I do so my mind is clearer, I have more energy, and I feel better about myself.

Health carries over to what we eat as well. Are you getting the protein and nutrients you need to carry out our day? I caught myself falling into the habit of not making myself breakfast or lunch while I was feeding the kids because I concluded that they weren’t going to finish what was on their plates anyway, so I might as well just make my meal out of their leftovers which consisted of a few bites of oatmeal from one child and a few bites of honeycomb cereal from another, besides I reasoned that while spooning the baby his mashed banana and cereal, catching the spilled milk from the three year old before it engulfs the table, and reminding the older one not to blow bubbles in his milk, how was I supposed to eat anyway? I’m learning to make sure I eat something substantial as well. The spilled milk can wait, the baby can eat one bite and wait a minute while I take a bite, and does it matter so much that blowing bubbles in their drinks is so entertaining?

Adaptive

Life without children was predictable for the most part. I went to work and came home. It wasn’t a problem getting something done as planned but that doesn’t work anymore. I try to have a general routine for each day, but I never know when it may get interrupted by a refusal to take quiet time, missing children’s shoes when we are trying to get out the door, a urgent need for mommy to help dress a baby doll, and a myriad of other things. When these things arise I am learning to take them in stride, and not expect to be able to adhere to my plan complete but modify it for the day or the moment, just keeping in mind the definite goal of what needs to be accomplished each day. When I become too stressed about carrying out my schedule as planned I quickly become UNHAPPY. Read More→

Lori Clapper, Wonderfully Woven Blogger

Each time I have gone to prayer this week, Psalm 77 has come to mind. The Lord led me to this passage a couple of months ago when I took a day to fast and pray. And I feel in my heart that you may need these words as much as I did then (and still do today). So my hope and deepest prayer is that your heart will be encouraged to trust God in your circumstances. Right now. Just where you are.Psalm 77: When God Seems Far Away, by Lori Clapper

cry out to God; yes, I shout.
    Oh, that God would listen to me!
When I was in deep trouble,
    I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
    but my soul was not comforted.
I think of God, and I moan,
    overwhelmed with longing for his help. 

You don’t let me sleep.
    I am too distressed even to pray!
I think of the good old days,
    long since ended,
when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
    I search my soul and ponder the difference now.

When you are walking in the valleys of life, it can seem endless, can’t it? I don’t know what you’re going through, but God knows how you feel.  He understands your inner turmoil….how beaten down your spirit is. Have you run out of words to pray? Read More→

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Aug
23

Accountability

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Steve Hicks, The Abundant Life bloggerOne of the obvious aspects of the way Jesus worked with His disciples was to teach them and to train them. However, He also held them to a high standard of accountability. He required them to give an account (report) what they had done with the resources He gave them. Perhaps it is true that a life without accountability is of no account.

Accountability, by Steve HicksThomas Paine said, “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not be trusted by anybody.” It is true that accountability puts pressure on you. However, as Winston Churchill said, “You can measure a man’s character by the choices he makes under pressure.” The Bible has a lot to say about accountability. Consider these:

As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another” Prov. 27:17

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” Rom. 14:12

Confess your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16

The question I pose to you is “are you accountable to someone?” Here are some reasons people do not have anyone holding them accountable:

-No need: “I have this thing/ministry/business/life figured out.” This is pride.
-No time: “ I am too busy to have someone ask me the hard questions.” This is poor management.
-No urgency: “I see value in accountability and I will get around to it eventually.” This is poor vision.
-No trust: “I don’t have anyone that I can trust with the details of my life.” This is a poor destiny. Read More→

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerOf all the seasons in the year, summer has to be my favorite. I am reminded of an uncle of mine who, when asked what his favorite piece of pie was, always said, “The one I’m eating at the time.”

Why Can't Summer Be Forever? by Rev. James SnyderMaybe I have something of my uncle in me, I do not know. I just know that I love summer. It started back when I was a young boy and realized during summer I did not have to go to school.

Another aspect of summer is that it is usually the time when people take vacations. Although I am not big on vacations, I am not against them at all, particularly when it comes to my vacation.

It was right after Christmas when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage approached me and said, “What are we going to do for vacation this summer?”

I have been married long enough to know that that was simply a rhetorical question. It was her way of introducing the subject she had already decided upon. Read More→

Aug
20

A Boy And A Bear

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerToday I thought I’d share a story from my camp counselors days. Now, I did not have the privilege of attending camp as a kid, but I did get the honor of being a camp counselor for a summer or two. Since it is the summer time and some of you may wax nostalgic with me with your own stories of camp, I thought it would be appropriate. So, grab your flashlight, s’more, and sleeping bag and sit back and enjoy my story.

A Boy and a Boy, by Pam BassThere was a camping trip for kids as there usually was this time of year. The leaders gathered up all the campers to explain the rules, after they had played several games, eaten, and had a nighttime devotional. “This last rule is very important boys and girls, so listen well. Under no circumstances, let any bears into your tents! No matter what! No, no, and then no! Don’t give them an inch, okay now?” All the boys and girls said yes, that they wouldn’t let the bears into their tents. (Their leaders had already told them what dangerous animals bears were. They had heard terrible stories too, from other campers, of campers being eaten and such.)

So, they all go to their respective tents and go to bed. One boy heard a rustling outside and sat up and turned on his flashlight to see what was making a little noise. Low and behold, he saw a shadow of a bear! “Go away” he said. The bear replied, “Oh little boy, it is SO cold out here, I mean you no harm!” The boy said “I am not to let you in my tent at all!”

Bear: “Oh, but I don’t want to go all the way into your tent. My nose only needs to be warmed up. That’s all I want. Then I’ll be on my way.”

Boy: “Well, I dunno.”

Bear: “I give you my word. Only my nose.”

Boy: “Well…..since it is very cold, snowing and windy outside, I guess it’s ok.”

Bear: “Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are such a kind boy.”

Then the boy went back to sleep. An hour went by and again he heard some noise, for he was a light sleeper. He noticed that the bears’ mouth was inside his tent.

Boy: “Whoa! Mr. Bear, your mouth is NOT supposed to be in my tent! Please get it out!”

Bear: “Ah, I know, I know. But my nose is so close to my mouth, and my mouth was shivering, that I wanted to get it warm too. I didn’t want to disturb you, as you were sleeping so peacefully. Or else, I would have asked you first.”

Boy: “Well, that was nice of you not to disturb me.”

Bear: “You see? You are kind and so am I. I did not do anything. My teeth are no longer shivering, because your tent has warmed them. Thank you again!”

Boy: “Well, I dunno.”

Bear: “It will be fine. I am a kind bear. Again, I mean no disrespect or anything.”

Boy: “Well, ok then.”

And with that he fell back asleep. Another hour went by. Again he heard a slight sound and woke up to see that the bear’s eyes were now inside his tent!

Boy: “Mr.Bear! Your eyes are now inside too! I said only your nose and mouth!” What are you doing?”
Bear: “Nothing! The snow was irritating my eyes and I couldn’t sleep very well could I?”

Boy: “Well, I guess not.”

Bear: “See, now there’s nothing to be upset about is there? Your mother wouldn’t want you to lose sleep now, would she?”
Boy: “Well, no. But our leaders said not to let bears into our tents under any situations.”

Bear: “Oh, I see. That’s because they are a few bad bears out there, but I am not one of them.”

Boy: “That’s a relief!”

Bear: “There, there, no offense taken! Go back to sleep now. I’ll even keep a watch out for the bad bears, for I am a very strong bear and can fight them off, ok?”

Boy: “Ok then.”

With that he went back to sleep. The bear decided that since his whole head was in the boys’ tent, he had better eat the boy now and be on his way before someone else noticed anything amiss. So, he ate the boy and went on his merry way.

Well, there are a few morals to this story, but let me just point out one: No married Christian would let a “huge bear problem” into their marriage at first. But sin and problems don’t start off big. One little part gets let in, inch by inch, until it’s too late. Examine what little things NOW before they become BIG bears.

 

ABOUT THEAUTHOR:  Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years.  She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values.  Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at www.pambass.com

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