Brunch and Inspiration With a Friend! The Best Way to Start the Weekend!

I love starting Friday’s out by having brunch with a friend! Especially friends who inspire you  and push you to reach for your potential!

I love fixing the table for a little chat

I love fixing the table for a little chat

I baked the banana/chocolate chip muffins right before she came over and they were warm and delicious!

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The best part was motivating each other to manifest our ideas and to encourage one another’s creativity! Feeling grateful!

A light brunch hit the spot along with good conversation!

A light brunch hit the spot along with good conversation!

Free Community Day at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC on Sunday!

Looking for an indoor activity this weekend that won’t cost a dime in DC? Sunday is free admission at The National Museum of Women in  the Arts. I’ve taken Anya to this gallery before and it really is quite lovely. Currently, they have a special exhibition of ‘Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea,‘ and an exhibition of ‘Doris Lee: American Painter and Illustrator,’ along with their extensive collection of impressive art by prominent women artists.

Every 1st Sunday is Community Day and is Free! So Mark it On Your Calendar and soak in some amazing art with the kids!

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Moms, Is Your Best Causing You Stress? Maybe It’s Time to Stop

We’re always told to do our best. I’ve said it to my friends, my daughter and even myself. Just do your best and that covers it all basically. But, what is our best? What do we measure our best against? I’m thinking specifically in terms of being a mom. When I ask myself am I doing my best at being a mom what does that mean? Is there a set of standards that I have put in place for what constitutes my best as a mom?  Is there a mental checklist that I keep tucked away that compares my best to my reality? I was reading an old book by Wayne Dyer, “Your Sacred Self,” and he talks about the stigma of having to reach a certain ‘level,’of  your best and how this puts us under enormous pressure and stress. Our inner being simply wants to be at peace, feel purposeful and be blissful. When I read that I thought bingo! That is exactly how I want to feel as a woman and as a mother.

When you become a mom there is this internal and external pressure to perform and I think it is even magnified if you’re a single mom. I feel like I have to work extra hard as a single mother, but why is that? It’s because I”m trying to be at and do my best, which is an invisible level that I can’t even measure up to because how do I really know what that is? I do know however, what feels right, what feels good and gives me peace. I know when I don’t put pressure on myself and just lean into what is natural my purpose feels very clear. Doing my best is a pattern I hope to break. Striving to do my best is where so much of the guilt, anxiety and stress stems from that makes me feel less than, something that God never intended me to feel. Doing my best often takes me away from the present making me emotionally absent, because my focus is on measuring up. If I focus on what gives me peace and purpose I’m fully in the present enjoying and experiencing the moment. This is where the joy originates from in that deep place of contentment.

We can become so busy in striving to do our best that we stop enjoying being a mom and life itself. We aren’t in a competition we’re on a journey. A God given journey. God  wants us to be gentle and loving not only to others but to ourselves. We are saved through his grace not by our deeds, so are we giving ourselves this grace? Or are we up against that phantom best that we can never really live up to or measure, leaving us constantly striving for an ideal instead of listening to that inner voice that leads us to peace, purpose and bliss? Maybe our best isn’t so great after all.

This is when I feel at peace, just simply being in the moment

This is when I feel at peace, just simply being in the moment

10 Circumstances When You Should Absolutely Stop Looking At Your CellPhone

It can give you Facebook statuses but It can't give you a hug!

It can give you Facebook statuses but It can’t give you a hug!

I know we live in a world overflowing with technology, and sometimes it’s amazing and other times it just makes us behave badly. I’ve been guilty of obsessive  iPhone behavior and it isn’t something I’m proud of nor do I appreciate it when I’m out with a friend spilling my guts while their eyes dart back and forth quickly to their other best friend… the cell phone! It’s even more disturbing in families how technology is eating away and diminishing quality family time. So here is what I believe are 10 circumstances when you should stop looking at your cellphone.

  1. In Church– Okay, I know some people like to look at the bible online, but unless it is for that reason put the phone away! Better yet turn it off for an hour so your full attention is on worship.
  2. Family Dinners- Wonder why little Mary wants to bring her iPad to the dinner table? Because mom does it! If you make a habit of keeping your phone right next to you checking it between bites of pot roast you’re not exactly present and so why shouldn’t they follow your lead?
  3. Helping the Kids with Homework-Kids need to know you’re listening and engaged. Nothing says I really rather not be doing this more than texting away or looking at Facebook while you’re helping the kids with their homework.
  4. Driving- Amazing that regardless of the many commercials that show the danger of texting and driving it just keeps happening. What is so important that can’t wait until you park your car. Put down the phone and save a life, maybe even your life!
  5. Friend Time– Do you love your friends? Sure you do! So when you’re with them is it that hard to give them your undivided attention? Chances are your life is busy so the time you spend with your friends should be cherished, don’t let a phone cheat you out on that time!
  6. The Movies– Just put the phone away. Movies are ridiculously expensive so watch it, you paid for it and others paid so let’s all relax and be technology free for a couple of hours.
  7. During Your Children’s Events-What is more exciting than watching this little person you gave birth to perform on a stage or throw a touchdown? Childhood is brief so soak it in! Unless you’re taking a picture tuck the phone away.
  8. Morning and Bedtime Rituals With Your Kids-  I aim to start my daughter’s day out well and end it well. I don’t want to be reading a bed time story and start checking my phone for work emails. Learn when it is time to disengage. If you have to look at your emails because of work, set time aside after the morning/evening routine is finished.
  9. One on One Time With Your Family– The world goes on and to be frank you aren’t missing anything that most likely you’ll regret, but if you miss out on the one on one time with your family you’ll have regrets. If you have special time set aside for your family, keep the phone out of the dynamic, be present, time is fleeting.
  10. In a Meeting– I’m not sure why it has become  acceptable to be in a meeting where no one is looking at each other, because their eyes are looking down. What is that? I think it’s rude and it perpetuates bad behavior and disrespect. Listening to one another leads to building closer bonds, generating ideas, and well just being respectful. I’m old enough to remember when people could easily carry on a productive meeting without a phone in sight!

Are there exceptions? Absolutely! We are blessed to have the capability to share information in a seconds notice and in an emergency I’m more than thankful for my phone, but it can also hinder the relationships that mean the most to us. Your cellphone isn’t going to hug you, to offer a shoulder to cry on, or give you the satisfaction of one on one good old human bonding.

 

Career Resources for Potential Telecommuting Positions! My Favorite …ASAE

If Telecommuting is your dream go for it!

If Telecommuting is your dream go for it!

Hope everyone had a great Monday! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am going to try to post resources for those of you who are interested in finding telecommuting positions. It isn’t always easy to find these jobs, but it isn’t impossible either. The first resource I suggest you try is a place I actually worked that has a great career site for association jobs from all over the country. ASAE The Center for Association Leadership has a wealth of information just in general! There are tons of resources, courses, and information that you may find helpful for  professional development and of course it s a great place to search for that at home position you want!

ASAE has a Career Headquarters known as CareerHQ.org this is where you’ll find the jobs. Anyone can go onto the site and search. If you are looking specifically for telecommuting positions follow these steps:

  1.  Go to asaecenter.org
  2. Click on Career 
  3. Then Click on Find a Job  this will take you to the job bank
  4. At the top of the job bank you’ll see a space for  keywords 
  5. In keywords you’ll want to type in: Telecommuting, Remote, or Work at Home. I usually use telecommuting for a better response. For example I typed telecommuting today  and got 20 jobs, I typed in remote and got 5 jobs. It really just depends on how the employer posts their ad.
  6. Once you click on the job you want you may need to set up an account with ASAE to apply or many of ads will have a direct email where you can send your resume and cover letter.
  7. Make sure you read the entire description and information about telecommuting, for example  some positions only allow working from home 3x a week instead of every day, or telecommuting is an option after a certain period of time.

Click Telecommuting Positions to look at today’s opportunities!

Telecommuting and Why It’s The Option For This Single Mom

Telecommuting allows you to sometimes have a change of scenery! Every so often I'll go to a cafe to work.

Telecommuting allows you to sometimes have a change of scenery! Every so often I’ll go to a cafe to work.

One of my most popular post is about telecommuting and the single mom. I believe the reason it is so popular is that staying at home is on many single mom’s hearts. I’m not trying to knock anyone who has to or wants to go into an office. I respect every mom’s choice to do what is right for their family and for themselves. I know women who would feel cut off from the world if they were in the house all day and it would make them grumpy and unsatisfied, in those cases I’d say get into the office! Then there are some professions that just require their employees to be in the office and telecommuting isn’t an option. The important thing is that each woman finds the right path for her, pursues it and forgets about the mommy wars! For me that path was telecommuting.

I went to work about 5 months after Anya was born and it was gut wrenching leaving my sweet girl. I worked in an office in DC for about 6 1/2 years. Those years were spent taking the crowded metro into the office and being in a mad dash to pick up Anya before 6:00 pm when after care closed. I was blessed to have an awesome and understanding boss who was flexible with me so it was in no way the worst case scenario. However, my heart always ached to be an at home working mother. I yearned to be home for my daughter and not pick her up at 6 pm and only having a few hours to bond before bedtime. So I began searching and praying for a job that would allow me to work at home. After a horrible stint at one job, I was offered a position that was telecommuting with 1 day in the office. It was my prayer answered. The pay was low but there was commission and it served it’s purpose. Then I got laid off in August 2014. It wasn’t a big surprise and to be honest I wasn’t in love with the job, so I took the lemons and made lemonade! I enjoyed my time off and kept searching for a job that was telecommuting.

The thought of going back to the office made my stomach turn. Literally! I had an interview with a position that required going into the office everyday and I got sick on the day of the interview. Maybe my body was rejecting the notion of returning to the office, the loss of freedom and the time I’d lose with Anya. But, I knew office life wasn’t for me.  I’m well aware of how difficult it is to get a job in these economic times. So, I prayerfully asked God to lead me and to forgive me if I was being ungrateful.Then 2 telecommuting job interviews came up. I did well in both but knew the one job suited me better and praise God I got the job! So far the position is great. I work with 3 lovely people who are helpful and kind. My boss is flexible and as long as I do my 40 hours he isn’t worried about when I take my lunch break and just expects me to handle my time accordingly. Telecommuting especially as a single mom has given me a different quality of life that has made me more relaxed and more fulfilled.

There are so many benefits from working from home like:

  • The flexibility! You can work from anywhere!
  • The ability to spend more time with your family
  • The elimination of aftercare and the costs of aftercare
  • Economically you save money on transportation
  • You have more time to take care of your daily errands and chores
  • Your are able to stay home with a sick kid
  • You can work in the comfort of your own home
  • You can relocate easily if need be

Don’t get me wrong you do work hard and I’ve worked more diligently then I ever have! When you telecommute  there is a different type of accountability, standard and trust that you are held to, but is well worth it!

I feel super blessed and ladies if you want to telecommute don’t think it is impossible! It is totally possible! God knows what’s on your heart and he is listening. Start searching those career sites and don’t be afraid to ask your employer about telecommuting options, the worst they can say is no and you’ll know where they stand.

I’ll be gathering some resources together and posting them in the upcoming weeks. I hope this helps those of you who are interested in telecommuting.

7 Tips On How Reclaim Your Time in 2015

Life is Good When We Use Our Time Wisely

Life is Good When We Use Our Time Wisely

Ephesians 5:15-16

“Be very careful then how you live-not as unwise, but as wise making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”

Each day is an opportunity for us to do the will of God and make the day count. We all get 24 hours in a day and we can choose to either live life wisely or unwisely. One of my goals for 2015 is to reclaim my time and to use it wisely. If we aren’t careful about how we spend our time we can easily miss out on the opportunities God gives us every day. Being a wise steward of our time gives us the chance to live life more fully. Here are a few ways I’m reclaiming my time for 2015.

1. Evaluating Your Yes’s-Saying yes to every request is not a wise use of time. I”m evaluating my yes’s in every area of my life whether it is a play date, a volunteer request, or anything else that requires my time. Saying yes to every request is taxing on your time and energy and takes detracts from the time you need to do other things that matter. Plus when you say yes and you really don’t want to do something it sucks the joy right out of what you’re doing. So before saying yes I think it is important to evaluate if it is 1) something you want to do, 2) do you have time to do it , and 3) if it is a good use of your time. 

2. Practicing Preparation, Organization and Maintenance– So much time is wasted when we’re unorganized and not prepared. Getting organized is key to making my day go smoother. When I’m not organized or don’t prepare for the week I found myself running around frantically, annoyed and wasting time. Take time at some point in your week to get organized and prepare for the days ahead. Then practice maintenance throughout the week. The old saying put it back where you got it can go a long way in saving you time.

3. Know Your Priorities-What in your life ranks highest in importance? This is what the bulk of your time should be spent on. What is that adds meaning to your life? For me it is God, my daughter, my family, my home, church, friendships and also writing and sharing the gospel.The time I spend in those key areas add value to my life and to the life of others. Only I can take care of those priorities and if I neglect them then I suffer and so do they . When you know your priorities it is easier to say no to those time wasters.

4. Stop Procrastination-If you want to waster your time and miss out opportunities then procrastinate. Procrastination robs us of precious hours that we can never get back. One of the ways I’m motivating myself to stop procrastinating is to have an accountability partner, the other is to remind myself of missed opportunities because of my procrastination. Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today is a great motto to follow.

5. Get Rest- When I’m tired I don’t feel like doing much of anything and this affects how I use my time. Being well rested makes my days go smoother and I have the energy to use my time wisely and not walk along in a fog.

6. Identify Time Wasters– We are surrounded by time wasters. Just think about how much time we can just surf the web for nothing in particular, or check Facebook statuses, watch bad television, or spend time having conversations about the same old draining subjects! Do you know how much we could accomplish if we just got rid of a few of those time wasters? Identify what time wasters are your Achilles hill and do your best to eliminate or limit them.

7. Pray About Your Plan for The Day- It all comes back to God’s will. We can plan all day long, but if it isn’t in God’s plan for us it isn’t going to happen! Part of you reclaiming your time is praying about how God wants you to use your day for his glory. When God leads you your time is used wisely and the opportunities you are presented with aren’t missed. Spend time each morning asking God to guide you to use your time wisely.

Good luck in reclaiming your time in 2015!

5 Simple Tips On Accomplishing Your Goals

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It’s the 2nd day of January and I’m sure many of you are already on the path to fulfilling your New Year resolutions. I think resolutions or goals are a great way to start out the new year. However, I  believe that every day is an opportunity to work toward a goal as long as you have breath in your body so don’t get to hung up on resolutions only for the New Year. So many of us end up disappointed from failed resolutions, so here are a few tips I’m going to follow this year to make it easier to follow through!

  1. Keep Goals Simple– It’s fine to be ambitious, but it is also okay to keep it simple. Don’t over complicate your goals, keep them clear and concise. Write down the goal and the steps you need to accomplish it, it doesn’t have to be long and drawn out just clear enough for you to follow.

  2. Write Your Goals Down– I don’t know about you but, I get serious satisfaction when I cross something off of my list! Write down your goals and keep them in a place you are sure to look at them often. Don’t keep them in a notebook you’ll throw in your desk and forget about. Keep them in clear view!

  3. Categorize Your Goals- This falls in line with keeping it simple. I suggest categorizing goals in 2  ways: 1) By Area In your Life,  for example, you can categorize by your  financial,career, physical, spiritual or family goals or 2) By Month. Think about what you’d like to achieve in 12 months and break down your goals accordingly.

  4. Do a Mid Year Check Up– In January everyone is riled up to make changes in their lives and accomplish their goals, by the time June rolls around that new year excitement is gone and usually very little is done. Give yourself a mid year check up and evaluate where you are, where you want to be and the necessary steps on getting there.

  5. Get an Accountability Partner-Keep yourself in check by recruiting a friend that holds you accountable and do the same for them. Accountability partners should be honest and not afraid to tell you to get with it! In a kind and loving way of course :)

The biggest tip I have is remember to pray about your goals and be open to hearing and following God’s will for your life. Be courageous and remember that everything is possible when God’s hand is in your life!