All posts in Work

Working Moms: Is Yes A Dirty Word?

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Every month in 2015, I am focusing on a different word.

The word for February 2015 is simple:  YES.

Wait a minute, what happened to NO?  After all, if you’re a working mom, the word no probably isn’t in your vocabulary. Most of us need to draw some serious boundaries.  Yes has become a dirty word.  A word that we dread.  A word that we regret saying once it leaves our lips.  A word that has become negative despite its positive meaning.

So why on earth am I writing about YES for an entire month?

It’s simple.  We need to start saying yes first.  We need to start saying yes to the things that are really important.  

Ok, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than it sounds.  I’ll admit, I really don’t have this whole yes/no thing figured out.  But I do know that I’ve probably had it backwards.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

Most weeks, I let my schedule fill up with lots of “stuff.”  Most of this stuff is good — ranging from work, school, activities, exercise – but at the end of the week I find myself asking, What did I really accomplish?

I’m not suggesting that my daily routine isn’t productive or worthy of my time.  I am suggesting it’s not always intentional.

And this year – when my schedule like yours frequently blazes out of control – I want to be intentional.  So, how does this translate into saying yes?

Stick with me in the weeks to come.

This week, I want to focus on our foundation:  God is a God of YES.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  (2 Corinthians 1:20) (NLT)

This is an amazing promise indeed.  Every time we pray – every time we say “amen” — we are saying YES to God.

If we start with this foundation, yes becomes the good word it was intended to be.

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Have you allowed yes to become a dreaded word – even a dirty word – in your vocabulary?  

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present At Work?

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Christian. Working. Mom. | Susan DiMickele

Here’s the word for January 2015:  PRESENT

I’m going to focus on this single word for the entire month of January.   Last week, I asked myself if I am really present at home.  This week, I’m asking a different but related question:  Am I really present at work?

Am I engaged in what I am doing, or am I constantly preoccupied with my next meeting, next project, or next client?

This week, I attended a meeting with the National Association of Women Business Owners.  The topic at my table was Executive Presence.  We had a vigorous discussion as to what Executive Presence is and isn’t, whether it can be taught, and whether some people are just born with it.  But one thing’s for sure:  we know it when we see it.   And a woman with Executive Presence makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room.

Here’s the example we discussed.  When a woman is constantly checking her phone to see what time it is, what impression does she give?  Does she give us the impression that she is engaged and interested in the meeting?  That she is diligent because she obviously doesn’t want to miss her next meeting.  That she has command over her time and her schedule. That she is prepared.

Probably not.  Instead, she is projecting that she is more concerned about her next meeting. That she is worried about something or someone else. Or worse, that she is disinterested, bored, and that we are wasting her time.

Before we throw stones, let’s think about how many times we are that woman.  It’s not intentional, and it may not even be conscious.  But by projecting that we are not PRESENT, we are diminishing our Executive Presence.  Never mind that it’s rude and self-centered.  It’s actually bad for business.

Do you recognize this behavior in yourself or someone you know?  How can you take steps to be present at work in 2015?

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The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things.  But only one thing is needed.”  Luke 10:41-42a

[Note to self:  it is somewhat ironic that I am drafting this post about being “present” while sitting at a volleyball tournament, but here is my rationale:  1) My daughter is not playing in this match; and 2)  I am still under grace. Can anyone relate?]

Looking to connect work and faith in your local community with other like-minded women?  Check out 4word Women.  And if you live in Columbus, Ohio please join us this Wednesday as we launch a local 4word Chapter!

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present At Home?

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Some of my friends are picking one word this year.  A single word to sum up a goal or intention for 2015.  A simple way to stay engaged after New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten.

What’s the first word that comes to mind for 2015?

Here’s mine:  PRESENT

No, I’m not going to focus on this word for an entire year.  I’m way too impatient (and I have too many words I’m excited about) so I’ll focus on one word a month.  Want to join me?

This January, I’m asking myself if I’m really present – at home, at work, with others, and in my relationship with God.  Am I engaged in the moment, or am I constantly preoccupied with everything else?  More often than not, I can tell you what’s happening on my email, what’s going on on the other side of the world, or what’s on my calendar next week.  But can I tell you what the person sitting beside me is thinking or feeling?  Am I connected in real time?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for months.  So much that I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t been writing.  And I’ve backed off considerably from social media.

But this is about more than unplugging.  Unplugging is a knee jerk reaction to something bigger.  Unplugging is about pushing the pause button so I can stop and think.  And listen.  Fortunately, I have plenty of people who are willing to give me advice.

Starting with my third grade daughter.

“Mom, yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present.” (Author Unknown)

Pretty timely, huh?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had some serious down time.  I’ve had the luxury of connecting with my family in real time.  And I’ve learned an important aspect of living in the present.  Being present means putting other people before yourself.

Several times over Christmas break, I have spent time jumping on the trampoline in our back yard.  Not by choice.  It’s freezing outside.  I get dizzy jumping up and down.  And I twisted my neck and broke my fingernails playing this crazy game on the trampoline called “Ga-ga.”  It’s much easier to be selfish with my time.  Being present requires me to engage.  It requires me to consider the thoughts and give in to the preferences of others.  It even requires me to play Ga-ga.

But my daughters love it.  They light up whenever I jump, and they say things like, “Mom, this is so cool.  I can’t believe you are actually good at Ga-ga.”    You see, when I’m jumping on the trampoline, I have a singular focus.  I can’t multi-task, I can’t take a phone call or text, and I can’t even carry a conversation.  I just jump, laugh, and try not to get hit by the ball.

Do you make similar sacrifices to be actively present at home?  How can you best engage in real time with your family in 2015?

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Working Mom’s Devotional: Thank God For Coffee!

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It has been one of those weeks months.  As I reflect, I think about the “must haves” to get me through the days.

For me, my two “must haves” are coffee and prayer.

I’ll talk about prayer another day.  Today, I need to keep things light.  Today, I need to thank God for coffee.

Just to put things in perspective, yesterday I made three trips to the caffeine well (morning coffee at home, plus two trips to the coffee shop at work).  I know it sounds excessive.  I’m not saying it’s right or even making excuses.  It’s no secret that I love my coffee.  Not just any coffee.  I like the good stuff.  Some of you know that I gave up coffee for Lent a couple of years ago.  And it nearly killed me!

I can do without a shower and some basic hygiene every now and then, but please don’t ask me to give up coffee.

I know what you’re thinking.  This is supposed to be a working mom’s devotional.  Very true.

But sometimes, I just don’t feel very “spiritual.”  Sometimes, I can’t handle a sermon.  I just need to keep it simple.  Sometimes, I need to focus on thanking God for the little things that get me through each day.

How about you?

What are your “must haves” that get you through each day?  

Have you thanked God for the little things this week?

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“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Dear God, I thank you for creating coffee beans.  Please help me to lean on you to get me through each day. Thank you that I don’t have to choose between prayer and coffee.  And thank you for the weekend!

 

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: I Am Not The “Snack Mom”

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I was sitting at a soccer game last weekend when a mother on the opposing team lamented,

“I forgot snack.  I can do other things, but I’m not the Snack Mom. In fact, I hate snack duty!”

Been there.  I feel her pain. In fact, I even offered to share some of my pre-packaged Oreos and Nutter Butters. 

No, I’m not proud of my choice of snack.  But after a week of traveling and jet-lag recovery, I was just thankful that my husband (bless him) made a run to the grocery in my absence.  

Even though I wholly embrace healthy eating, I simply don’t have time to make my children healthy food like they deserve. When it comes to snacks, I’m a terrible packer. Most mothers who have nutritional control over their children carry around these coolers filled with fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and purified water. Not me. It’s downright embarrassing.

The other mothers look at me like, “Don’t you have your own cooler?” Actually, I don’t.  But it is on my “to do” list.  One of these days I will take nutritional control and make amends with the Snack Police.

The good news?

God still offers me (and my children) spiritual food.   He’s not even waiting for me to get my act together.  In John Chapter 6, Jesus tells us:

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval….

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Just think, I’m worried about the Snack Police, yet God places his “seal of approval” on food that will never spoil!  I just need to “come” and ask.  I don’t even need to bring my own cooler!

Have you struggled being the “Snack Mom”?  Are you in need of some spiritual nutrition?