Have an Imperfect Lent

How to have an imperfect lentI made my family chicken soup on Ash Wednesday. I don’t know what I was thinking – except that it was freezing cold outside and homemade soup sounded like a good idea. But it was Ash Wednesday. The very first day of Lent and I had already screwed up. I’m not sure how you observe Lent, but our fasting requires us to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent. Well, I typically don’t pay much attention to this requirement because I don’t eat meat anyway. But I do cook it for my family. #LentenFail

So what’s a mother to do when she’s gotten off to such an imperfect start? As W.C. Fields says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

I admit, I don’t think I’ve ever had a “perfect Lent” – one in which I stuck to my promise of sacrifice or prayer without faltering. In fact, I shared my story with Inc. magazine this week when they profiled three entrepreneurs who use Lent to form highly effective habits. (And yes, I’m still pinching myself to see my name associated with a Christian message in a popular mainstream business publication!) But if you read closely, you’ll see me confess that I didn’t quite make it through 40 days of my Lenten practice last year. So I’m convicted to making it go better this year! Although, I’ve come to realize it will never be a perfect process.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He knows we make mistakes. That’s why he sent his beloved son to save us from our sins. The only thing God expects is that when we fail, we try again. So here I am…trying again. [Read more…]

Top 10 Posts on Christian Mompreneur Network Blog in 2013

TheChristianMompreneur_skyline_noborder_notreesI’ve been so busy the past few weeks looking FORWARD to 2014 that I almost forgot to take some time to REFLECT on 2013. It’s been a year of many blessings for the International Christian Mompreneur Network – we held our first She Builds a Business training and networking event in April bringing together Christian moms from all over the country. We launched the Foundations to Flourish Mastermind group, helping an amazing group of women grow their businesses this year. We introduced Wisdom and Grace Radio and continued to grow our circle of support in the Christian Mompreneur Sisterhood. Plus, we got out of the house and met hundreds of new friends at Hearts at Home, Spark and Hustle and Type A Con.

While there are so many more things to accomplish, I must admit it was a remarkable year! And I was surprised when I went through the 2013 blog posts to discover the most popular posts of the year – they weren’t necessarily the posts with the most comments, but they continue to get lots of traffic.

I want to share them with you because I’m sure you haven’t seen them all, but also because I want to encourage you to spend time reviewing your own blog analytics (if you are blogging). What are you writing about that seems to attract attention? Do you notice any trends in your headlines, photos or publish dates? Perhaps you promoted your posts differently. If you’re not a blogger, take a look at your other marketing efforts and analyze the results. Before you dive into your 2014 goals, take a few minutes to reflect on what’s working well this year so you can build on it!

Top 10 Posts for 2013: International Christian Mompreneur Network

1. How to Craft a Compelling Tagline for Your Business or Ministry

This was originally posted on WomensMinistry.Net in the form of a video tip and I loved the opportunity to chat with women in business and ministry about their taglines. Playing with words is one of my favorite things!

2. Five Mantras for Peace and Productivity

This is another one I shared over on CatholicMom.com and Crosswalk.com – only I called them “whispers” not “mantras” because I think sometimes people get a little uncomfortable with that word. But the message is the same – what are YOU saying to yourself for inspiration and encouragement? 

3. Work-at-Home Mom’s Summer Survival Guide

Here’s a post I wrote for my own benefit. You would think it would become easier to work from home as your children get older, but in many ways it presents new challenges. You’ll probably find a gem or two in here to help with working at home over Christmas break too! 

4. The One Thing Pinterest Doesn’t Want You to Know About Creativity

You can’t tell from my blog but this post caused a bit of a stir. I shared it over on Crosswalk.com where the editors changed the title and I think the readers misunderstood my intention. There were a number of comments defending Pinterest as a wonderful tool, which of course I agree that it is. My message in this post is really about how we sometimes focus on the outcome instead of the creative process. What are your thoughts – does Pinterest sometimes bring out the frustration in you rather than the creativity?

5. The Worst Business Advice Ever

I was compelled to write this post after witnessing a “hugely successful” businesswoman give really bad advice on stage. I mean horribly unethical advice. And then I watched as people clapped and cheered her on for her “business savvy success.” Ugghh… it’s seriously depressing sometimes to peek inside the hearts of others. So I share with you these tips on how to run a home business with integrity – because I know that no matter how many of “those” women I run across, I will always have YOU in my corner when it comes to matters of ethics and integrity! [Read more…]

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Name for Your Blog

things to considerRemember how much fun it was to choose a name for your baby? Everybody had an opinion and there were endless lists of ideas to inspire you. In fact, I just searched Amazon and there are currently 33,323 books on “baby names” to help expectant parents make this important decision. So where are all the helpers when it comes to choosing a name for your blog or website? Seems like the more you search, the more frustrated you become because every idea you come up with is already taken. And you’re not sure if you should use your own name or a creative name or follow some sort of strategy. Well, there’s a lot to consider, and you don’t have nine months to make a decision. So, let’s take a look at the options…

Some blogs or websites are built around a personal brand – like DaveRamsey.com, MariSmith.com or  LysaTerKeurst.com. This is an especially wise option for professional speakers, authors and consultants who are building a personal brand connected to their name. That’s part of their business strategy – they want to create a recognizable brand centered on their own name. And these folks have succeeded!

But this strategy doesn’t work well for all businesses, blogs and ministries. Sometimes the purpose of the website or blog is not about building a personal brand. It’s more about creating a community…or a movement…or a company brand. While you personally may be responsible for launching the site, your vision includes brining others into the fold and creating something that’s much bigger than one person. Sites like Copyblogger and iMom and Compelling Creations follow this strategy.

Which one is right for your small business or new blog? How would you name a website for a fitness coach or a photographer? Or a research analyst, clothing designer, marriage counselor, graphic designer, image consultant, chiropractor, math tutor or video producer? Just to name a few…

And what if you want to start a personal blog around a passion or interest of yours like homeschooling and you become wildly popular like Erica over at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Then one day you hear the Holy Spirit whisper that you need to send your children to public school for some reason. What then? (No, that didn’t happen to Erica. But it could!) Or what if you start blogging during a time grief and you eventually move through that season but still want to blog on a wider range of topics like Kathy at Bereaved and Blessed?  Should you name your blog around the topic of today or keep it generic so you can evolve like All Things Fadra or RobynsOnlineWorld?

The answer: it depends.

The bad news is there’s no easy answer. The good news is there’s no wrong answer. Pretty much anything you choose to name your blog or website can either last you a lifetime or evolve with you as your business grows. But it does make life easier to think through some of these questions in the beginning. (Trust me, I wish I had done this before!) So, if you’re just getting started on a website or blog, here are:

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Name for Your Website or Blog

1. What is the purpose of your blog or website? Are you writing simply to share your personal journey or do you want to eventually create a business or ministry? If you’re not sure, it’s usually safe to start with your own name as your website.

2. Is it possible you will ever want to sell the site in future? If so, it will difficult to sell something built on your own name.

3. Do you envision a “one woman show” in which you build a personal brand as a celebrity, author or speaker? Or a collaborative site with multiple contributing authors? [Read more…]