[Prayer Cafe]: March 27, 2017 – Galatians 6:2

"Carry each other’s burdens"

 

 

Over the past several months, I’ve gotten to know the ladies at my MOPS table. I know about their kids sleep schedules, whose husbands travel for work, their pre-mom lives, etc. But it’s all surface level.

So at the last meeting, 4 women got up and told their truths. They spoke openly about their struggles with postpartum depression, abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder after nearly losing a child. They told their stories so that we would have courage to open up about our own struggles. Then we prayed for each other, and have continued to do so in the days following that meeting.

 The keynote speaker said that no one wants to be friends with the perfect mom who has it all together, because we feel shame about ourselves. So then she asked, if we know WE don’t want to be friends with that person, why do we pretend to be that person?

 

In this week’s Prayer Cafe, Alecia Baptiste reminds us that we can help bear each other’s burdens, just like I’m praying for specific women in my MOPS group now that I know their stories. But we can’t do that if we don’t open up and tell our truths.

Listen to the Prayer Cafe recording here.

Prayer Cafe is open (almost!) every Wednesday at noon Eastern. 

Join the Facebook Group to stay informed of upcoming Prayer Cafe calls!

Meet Featured Sister Amy Walton

 

Sometimes you meet people and you just feel a connection to them. A sense of familiarity or comfort. That’s how I felt when I first met Amy Walton through our work on the board for Girls on the Run. She’s a dynamo when it comes to development and has a heart for serving the girls and our community. 

It was a few months after meeting Amy that I had the opportunity to really get to know her over a cup of tea and learn about her work coaching women. Amy is a true blessing to the ladies she works with, helping them make time for themselves, trust in God and improve their relationships.  

I would describe Amy as compassionate, resilient, personable and incredibly smart! Her life story is one that will inspire and amaze you – no matter where you are on your journey. I’m honored to share it with you here. 

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Putting Family First Doesn’t Look The Same for Everyone

I think most moms have a deep desire to put their family first. Even the ones who appear to be placing their careers or their hobbies in front of their children. Even the ones who rely on nannies or relatives to take care of their babies. Even the ones who are too tired at the end of the day to tuck their little ones in with a kiss and a prayer. (I have been this mom – the one who does all of these things – at one time or another. Yet, I truly intend to put my family first.)

We judge each other – and ourselves – on the things we see. But we don’t see the conditions of another mom’s heart. We don’t know if she’s putting her family first in a different way. If she’s setting an example for her children that all things are possible. If she’s pouring out her love for them by providing for them. If she’s showing them how important it is to use the gifts God gave her to serve others.

Putting your family first isn’t easy. And it doesn’t look the same for everyone.

It sometimes looks like you don’t care… I’m one of those moms who has no idea what her children are learning in school on any given day. My refusal to micromanage my children’s homework starting in the first grade was not received well by teachers who were probably hoping for parents who were more engaged in their child’s education. But I recognized then that I had precious few hours to spend with my child and I wanted to spend them doing other things – I wanted to help build character rather than teach math. I’m forever grateful for the wonderful teachers who so excellently manage my children’s education so that I can focus on my priorities. I do care. Just in a different way.

It sometimes looks like you can’t stick with a commitment… I’ve been known to let my child skip soccer practice so that we can enjoy a family dinner. I’m sure the soccer coach and other team members view that as a lack of commitment. But I view it as a commitment to family time. And my children are learning to honor commitments. It just may not look that way to others.

It sometimes looks like you have no ambition… When others around me are climbing the corporate ladder, getting promotions, being relocated for new opportunities and pursuing multiple post graduate degrees, I often think my career pales in comparison. But then, I remember why I treasure my home-based business as a freelance writer, marketing consultant and leader of the International Christian Mompreneur Network. It’s because I’m putting my family first. I actually think it takes a lot of ambition to achieve that goal.

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[Prayer Cafe]: March 8, 2017 – Luke 10:38-42

Mary & Martha

 

It was my son’s birthday party and I was stressed out. I was running in and out of the house bringing out food, drinks, cake, plates, etc. Meanwhile, my husband was standing around talking to the guests and enjoying the party. Needless to say, I was pretty irritated at him and I’m sure I made some rude comments about how I was missing the whole party.

So when I think about the story of Mary and Martha, I can understand how Martha felt! And just like Martha did, I had lost sight of what was important that day.

In this week’s Prayer Cafe, Alecia Baptiste reminds us that when we truly get to know Jesus, our work will take on a new meaning.

Listen to the Prayer Cafe recording here.

Prayer Cafe is open (almost!) every Wednesday at noon Eastern. 

Join the Facebook Group to stay informed of upcoming Prayer Cafe calls!

Why It’s Important to be Passionate About Your Business

Over the years I’ve had women ask me why I do what I do.  What makes me get up every morning to fix a cup of tea and head into my office, start my computer, and get to work for yet another client?  Why would I want to work from home?  Why would I maneuver my life events, my kids’ activities, and my own leisure around fulfilling the needs of other business women?

It’s true that being my own boss takes sacrifice and commitment.  But the other side of the picture shows that it’s because I enjoy what I do that it’s all worth it.  I love helping moms in business to realize their business dreams with a newly designed blog, or inspire them to keep blogging, keep motivated, keep putting out products and keep doing what they do.

If there’s anything I’ve learned for certain over the past ten years, it’s that if you want to have a successful business, you must first and foremost find that love spark that got you started in business to begin with, and rekindle your passion!

PASSION fuels you.

Without business passion, it’s quite difficult to keep your business going.  You’ll find yourself dragging your feet on assignments, and not pushing yourself to get things done.  As your fire dwindles so does your business.

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[Author Interview] Meet Christian Mompreneur Jill Savage

Co-author of No More Perfect Marriages


One of the things we embrace here in the International Christian Mompreneur Network is imperfection. That’s because we know we can so easily get discouraged when we strive for perfection or compare ourselves to others. And we know that taking imperfect action is better than taking no action at all. Jill Savage, of Hearts at Home ministry, uses this concept of imperfection to reveal the truth about REAL marriage. And I don’t know about you, but I can attest to the fact that my marriage is not perfect. But…it is most definitely REAL. 

I’m honored to host a discussion with Jill here on the blog today as she shares her thoughts about the newly released book No More Perfect Marriages. She co-authored this book with her husband Mark. Together they share the painful and challenging journey of their marriage — and the strategies and tools they’ve learned to help you in your imperfect marriage. 

Q. Why did you choose the title “No More Perfect Marriages” and why do you think that message really resonates with couples today?  

A. We believe that right away the title helps couples –or individuals—know they’re not alone in dealing with the hard side of marriage. We wanted readers to know that perfect doesn’t exist, inviting them to explore along with us how to deal with the imperfect parts of our relationship. 

Q. Who is the book written for – is it for marriages that are having difficulty, new marriages or all marriages?  

A. All marriages and even dating and engaged couples are benefiting from it already. We certainly share our story of healing from Mark’s infidelity throughout the book, but it’s not really a book about that. It’s a book about the slow fades every relationship goes through and the tools we need to use to turn those fades around. Marriages naturally drift apart if we’re not intentional about pulling together. No More Perfect Marriages helps good marriages become great and hurting marriages find healing. 

Q. I love that this book shares the perspective of both the husband and the wife. What was that like to share your very personal story and to work together on a project of this magnitude?   

A. Painful at times. We had to somewhat relive our story to write about it. As we wrote, it prompted conversations that were hard at times, but thankfully we’ve learned how to communicate better over time. We’re also very different thinkers and writers so we had to learn how to blend our differences in a positive way to make a stronger book!  

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How to Become a Morning Person

become a morning personNot a morning person? You’re not alone. Many moms are most productive after they put the kids to bed. That’s when they can finally focus on their work, and they stay up late to take advantage of the quiet. They are the night owls. I’m not one of them. I’m pretty much useless after 9 pm. In fact, now that I have teens in the house, they are usually the ones tucking me in at night.

That’s because I’m typically awake before 6 am. But I wouldn’t call myself a morning person. I’m not exactly pleasant at that hour. It’s just become a habit. And I’m grateful for the habit because it works for me – and for my family. I enjoy my quiet time in the morning. I get to see the sunrise. And I start my day off with a workout so I am free to focus on whatever comes my way the rest of the day.

It’s not easy to shift your natural body clock and become a morning person. But for most of us, motherhood forces us into a new sleep cycle, whether we like it or not. So, how do you stop fighting the urge to stay up past your bedtime? How do you stop hitting the snooze button and waking up feeling rushed and stressed? How do you create habits that will help your body adjust to a different schedule? Here’s how I do it!

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[Prayer Cafe]: February 1, 2017 – John 4:7-21

No Fear

Do you ever hesitate to start something new because you are afraid you won’t succeed?

 We have all tried and failed at something, and sometimes that lingering fear gets in the way of our future. There is no guarantee that we will be successful. 

In this week’s Prayer Cafe, Alecia Baptiste reminds us not to put our hopes and trust in human efforts, but instead to put our trust in God, knowing that He has a perfect plan.

Listen to the Prayer Cafe recording here.

Prayer Cafe is open (almost!) every Wednesday at noon Eastern. 

Join the Facebook Group to stay informed of upcoming Prayer Cafe calls!

Is it Time to Take on a Business Partner?

5 Considerations Before Starting a Joint Venture

Business PartnerMy business partner Candy, and I have been writing together for almost 4 years. We co-own PatAndCandy.com, offering support and encouragement to homeschool moms and parents of teens.

A while back, a blogging friend of ours told us she is considering a partnership with a few other associates, and asked us to share some thoughts about a joint venture.

So, we put our heads together! While we are by no means offering legal advice here, today I’m sharing an overview of the top five areas to consider before jumping into a joint venture of any sort.

As you prepare to move forward, let me encourage you to overthink it.  No matter how well you know your potential partners, it is SO important to have everyone’s cards on the table and look at them sans rose-colored glasses at the get-go.

It’s also important to determine that everyone’s expectations are reasonable in terms of workload and responsibilities and pay-off.  Everyone needs to understand why each person is interested in being a part of the project. Ideally, all should be on the same page, or at least know what page everyone else is on (and be ok with it!) as you move ahead.

5 Considerations Before Taking on a Business Partner or Starting a Joint Venture

1. Legal – Personally, I don’t think you should rush into an LLC or any other form of business registration until you are fairly certain that things are going to work out. Hastily or flippantly doing so creates an unnecessary administrative mess, not to mention a bite out of your pocketbook. You might want to consider having the venture as an extension of one of the partner’s current business, with the other partners perhaps getting a set amount or percentage of proceeds as independent contractors. If you do decide to go ahead and make it legal, you definitely want some “sine qua nons” in place. Meaning, cover the following points (at minimum):

  • What responsibility does each partner have? Is there a back-up?
  • Will you be determining any type of professional standards?
  • How are differences in opinion handled – who has the final say?
  • What happens when one of the partners wants/needs to leave the group? Or isn’t holding up their responsibilities?

2. Financial – This could get tricky if your partners are not located geographically near each other. Fortunately, there are so many online banking options these days; you could use one that’s cloud-based so that all partners have access and accountability. Other considerations include:

  • Under whose name will a bank account be set up, and who will manage finances?
  • How will reporting be communicated to all parties?
  • How is the budget set up and whose responsibility is it?
  • Who will handle the tax preparation and record keeping?
  • What if the partner in charge wants/needs to leave the group? Who is willing/able to take over finances?
  • How will affiliate income be divvied up?

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[Author Interview] Meet Christian Mompreneur Tammie T. Polk

Author of The Virtuous Business Woman

I used to think Proverbs 31 was written to encourage the homemaker, wife and mother. But one day when I was reading it, I realized the Proverbs 31 Woman was more than a Wife of Noble Character; she was also the ideal mompreneur. That’s exactly what the theme of Tammie T. Polk’s book is — The Virtuous Business Woman. And we are blessed to have Tammie as part of our circle of Christian mompreneurs, to share her wisdom and encouragement with us. I’m honored to share this conversation with her on the blog today.

Q. What does it mean to you to be a virtuous woman?

A. To me, being a virtuous woman means remembering that virtue and faith still have a place in our lives, even in this busy, digital world. Many times, we feel like we have to put our convictions aside in order to be what is perceived to be successful. It also means that I see that I am a lot closer to being this woman than I think I am. So many think that her lifestyle is unattainable and don’t see the progress they’ve already made. It is a matter of making a conscious effort to do what is right and to be guided by the principles of God’s Word, which isn’t always easy.

Q. You write about putting family first. What is your best advice for a mompeneur who is having trouble balancing business and family responsibilities?

A. Yes, that’s one thing so many struggle with. My best advice is to use your family! Find out what their gifts and talents are and allow them to use them to help you in your business! Even use the things that annoy you about them. Another thing I would say is to pay attention to what you may perceive as a family distraction. Many times, those things that they do to distract you just might be their way of showing you that they want to help if you’d only take a moment to show them what you need.

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