Kudos to the SAHM!

I just read an inspiring blog from an online friend She is a stay-at-home-mom (or SAHM) and supplements her family’s income by running her online baking business. She gets no slack from some family members and friends who wonder why she wouldn’t get a “real” job when she graduated with an engineering degree at a top university. Why not indeed?

Her story is my story. I was always dreaming of running some kind of business when I was much younger. The thought of being my own boss seemed very appealing fresh out of college.  But, alas! The need for a stable income pressured me into being employed for a good ten years or so. And I was never completely happy. Something inside of me wanted to break out and go on my own. I was scared, but the desire to break free from the mold was stronger.

Just like my online friends, I now also run my online baking business (http://velvetconfections.multiply.com/) because of a new found passion that took years to form. I also established a training and speaking business two years ago (http://teamworxventures.wordpress.com/) and relish being able to control my time and activities.

The doubts still come every now and then, though, especially when finances take a turn for the worse. Voices filled with self-incrimination nag me when I find myself with more time and less money in my hands. It is still a never-ending battle that drains me and leaves me wondering if I am doing the right thing.

For all the stay-at-home-mothers out there, your decision to stay home and take care of your precious children will always be the right decision. There could be nothing wrong with it. I have observed so many children who have grown up without their parents’ guidance and I am saddened by their lack of direction in life and their lack of sensitivity toward others. It is a tragedy that so many children are made to grow up on their own and mess up their lives and other people’s lives.

I pray that more families will support the SAHMs. This is a portion of what I wrote to my online friend: “I have started and ended a number of businesses since I graduated from college. And each time I would chide myself for giving up so easily. Perhaps I just wasn’t emotionally, psychologically and financially prepared yet. You said, “It’s been said that not everyone is cut out to be an employee.” I agree with you 100%! I’m one of those — I want to be my own boss and make my business grow and succeed. I have never been happy in all my employment history. And I believe we are all succeeding. Let us not allow other people to define our success for us. The fact that you are doing what you’re passionate about, that you are able to finance your passion and business, that you give happiness to people who receive your tasty works of art, that you are finally recognized and affirmed, all confirm how successful you are!”

This is a good reminder for all the women and mothers having second thoughts about being their own boss and running the household more efficiently. You are never “just a housewife”. Whether you run your own business or not, you are still doing a worthwhile and very important job at home. While money is important, it does not define you as a person. Don’t let it dictate the most important decisions in your life. Go and follow your dreams.

“The ideal life is in our blood and never will be still. Sad will be the day for any man when he becomes contented with the thoughts he is thinking and the deeds he is doing–where there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do.”
–Phillips Brooks

I salute you SAHMs! You are God’s gift to mankind.

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Age Limit for Writing Jobs

With the global economy on a quick decline, I am now seeking a freelance or stay-at-home writing job to supplement my growing baking business. I have begun applying in our more popular job search engines and am at a complete loss as to why most companies set an age limit for writing positions. I mean, at most 27 years old? Do they seriously want to hire babies?

I am hitting my forties soon and am no where near senile! I do strongly believe that “older” writers have more or less mastered the written language they use, have broadened their vocabulary (colorful and idiomatic as well), and have acquired more than enough courage, jutzpah and experience to write about anything under the blazing sun!

We “older” writers have also accumulated enough written material to fill out several hard folders or several pages in cyberspace through blogs. Thanks to technology and the internet, we are now able to write and share our thoughts online, anytime. So I seriously think that companies that still require hard copies should get out of the dark ages and come into the light. Seriously!

I will continue to look for those elusive writing jobs in the hope that I will be hired, and soon. After all, I do need the pocket money.

A Painful Thought

Many people say that dreams are “free” — or that we’re free to dream. I agree with the latter. The first one is no longer true for me, because dreaming has a cost. It sometimes costs so much that it hurts. Dreaming costs us our emotions, when we get “too involved”.

Kids dream a lot — and they dream big. I envy them. Life hasn’t been so hard on them that they happily imagine all sorts of wonderful things and dream like there’s no tomorrow.

For us who have received so many disappointments in life, dreaming can be very costly. The bigger our dreams, the harder our emotions and hopes are hit when the dreams are shattered right before our eyes. Discouragement and even disillusionment set in. And before we know it, we become too afraid to dream, much less hope.

I pray for all of us who are in this pit of near despair. It’s a very unpleasant and painful place to be. May we be given enough healing to plant a spark of hope in our hearts once more.

Getting a dog?

My husband and I love dogs. You could say we’re “dog people”. And it riles us to see dogs left behind in yards without much shelter, tied to a chair or post, without much human contact, looking very unkempt and forlorn. I’m no dog expert but I do believe I’m a responsible dog person. And as such, I have learned to always consider the pointers below before thinking of getting a new dog. These are tips I wish I could just print out and post on the doors of all our irresponsible dog neighbors.

Peanut & Bulldog the toySo if you’re thinking of getting a dog, or any pet for that matter, do consider the following tips:

1. Do your research.

It’s pretty simple, really. The internet is loaded with information about all breeds available and their proper care, so there is absolutely no excuse to be ignorant.

2. Know yourself.

Do you really want a dog, and if you do, can you really handle the responsibility? Can you afford it? What type of breed will suit your personality and lifestyle?

Please, people, a dog is not a show-thing, a status symbol or an alarm system — it’s a pet. It is very disheartening to see a teacup-sized Chihuahua tied to a window outside our neighbor’s house. It’s a toy dog, for crying out! Let it stay inside your house and take care of it.  It needs love and attention, just like we do.

Don’t forget the bills you will incur from buying dog food, vet visits, pet sitters, and what not. It can all add up really fast!

Are you the type of person who loves to take long walks in the park? All dogs love to take a stroll. Are you out of the house for eight to twelve hours, six days a week? Be sure to get a dog that does not require a lot of exercise and is content to be left at home for long hours (though I still wouldn’t recommend a pet at this point). Are you OC about your house and furniture? Then get a dog that doesn’t shed, or that sheds very little.

3. Be ready to train your dog.

If you want to enjoy your pet to the fullest, train it or have it trained. No one wants urine and feces all over the carpet! A well-behaved dog is a joy to have.

4. Socialize your dog.

If you want your dog to get along with everyone in your household and your immediate community or circle of friends, introduce it right away. Expose your dog to different situations with different people — on leash, of course.

5. Love your dog.

Our dogs give us so much love (their way of loving) and dedication, mostly undeserved. Let’s love them too. In fact, let’s love them first. It is a joy to come home to wagging tails and excited jumps. All the effort on our part will be worth it.

Basking In His Glory

My husband and I have three dogs. The eldest is a female mixed breed name Toepy, the middle is a black male Labrador Retriever named Beans, and the youngest is a female Miniature Pinscher named Peanut. All three of them are a joy to have but they can also be more than a handful on many occasions.

ToepyToepy, being the longest with us (she’s around seven years old), is the most attached. She follows me around wherever I go, even when I just walk around in our small house. When I stop walking, she stops; when I turn, so does she; when I sit on our couch, she lies down right at my feet. And whenever I am within her eye sight, she stares at me – and she can go on staring at me for a full minute without blinking. While to many this may be wonderful, to me it can get downright irritating and unnerving.

BeansI do not relish being followed around or stared at, by a person or an animal. Many times I need to remind myself that our dog is not human and is just being a loyal dog. And when I am in a very tolerant mood, I look back at ole’ Toepy and just marvel at how she literally basks in my “glory”. She doesn’t seem to get enough of me, even when I get mad at her. And if she was given a chance, she would probably ride on my back all day and night just so she’ll never be far from me. This does seem very stalker-like, but then she’s just a dog!

PeanutBeans and Peanut are not this way with us at all. They do have their moments when they want to be with us, but they are not nearly as clingy as Toepy. And since there is really nothing I can do to lessen Toepy’s adoration of me, I decided to just look at the situation from a different perspective.

Do I bask enough in my Lord’s glory? I envy Toepy sometimes for her unconditional love and adoration. How I wish I could also adore Jesus and just be genuinely content. Can I be genuinely content just being with my Lord? Or do I make myself so busy that I hardly have the time or the motivation to  just bask?

It’s high time that I learn to really “live” — not to strive in a frenzied manner the way other people do every single day.  It’s time that I remind myself again that true success is not about how much money I earn or how many activities I can cram into one day.  I need to really believe that “living” is all about just that – having a life;  a life lived on purpose; a life lived like I really mean it. It is a life wholly surrendered to a higher being — in my case, my Lord and Savior,  Jesus Christ.

The Love of a Husband

The past few months have had me witnessing the relationship dynamics between husbands and wives. And the past couple of days allowed me to see and feel the inner pain and unhappiness of a good friend because of her strained relationship with her husband. She is not the type to brood and she would rather keep busy and chat with friends instead of dwelling on her inner turmoil.

I know that they love each other. But many times, other less important issues get in the way and simply blow the love off. In their case, their faith is being challenged by a menagerie of religious views and doctrines from all directions. While her husband stubbornly insists on a few selected church doctrines and following espoused views to the letter, my friend simply but determinedly holds fast to the truth of God’s love. She admits to being simple in her faith and not being “bright enough” to argue with her husband on religious dogma. And she strives to live by the biblical scripture on 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the “love chapter”.

I may be a tad simplistic, but I do hold fast to the truth that love always comes first. When minor (or major) disagreements come up, I believe in holding the issue up against the barometer of love. In the end, the issues fade against the power of love. It’s that simple, yet that profound.