Practicing The Art Of Simple

I hope you are enjoying your Summer.

After three months of being challenged physically, mentally and emotionally, I am finally enjoying mine.

 

Practing the art of simple

At the beginning of this year, I experienced a missed miscarriage that turned our world upside down.  However, we were able to stay afloat even during that devastating and arduous time, by putting our trust in God and clinging to Him as life had to continue.

In the end, He showed himself mighty as my Healer.  This experience definitely elevated my faith.  I am going to stop here, and share more in a later post with the hope of encouraging others.

After that experience, I realized I needed to reflect on my choices.  Life doesn’t  stop when we are going through hardships, but sometimes it takes a conscious effort to slow down and choose simple.

We have been influenced to believe that

Packed schedules

More Activites

Numerous Projects

Is the way to live but honestly, it’s not living.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t pursue certain things, just that doing all the things doesn’t help anyone.

After finishing up a week of vacation bible school and attending two block parties, I was getting anxious about what to do next with my children and myself, will it be art classes, swim lessons, library programs, finding a new playground, arranging a time with friends, a new blogging project, etc?

All these things are good, but are they immediately necessary? Were they compensating for something else I needed?

Jesus gives us the answer in the story of Mary and Martha.  Martha invited Jesus to their home and she became anxious in her preparations, but her sister Mary did the opposite.   Martha was not happy about this.  Here’s what happened:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

What is the good portion?  Being in the presence of the Lord, studying His word, praying and seeking Him is a good place to begin.

My desire to be busy also created anxiety that caused me to take my eyes off of Jesus who provides me with the peace I need, along with the wisdom to do the next best thing.

But our Lord came to them [the disciples] taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption. -Oswald Chambers, Utmost For His Highest (emphasis added)

I am giving myself permission to choose simple.

Are you anxious over your life circumstances or plans, will you choose the good portion through Jesus Christ?

 

 

10 Things To Consider Before Starting A Home Business

Home-business Series

I hope you enjoyed this month’s introductory series to Embracing Industry!

Personally, I’ve learned invaluable information and gained a great deal of inspiration from interviewing those talented women.

If you missed it, checkout the interviews here, here, here and here.

One thing I appreciated from each woman was their faith walk, love for family, and how their businesses accommodated their assignment at home.

Having our priorities in order is essential before starting any new project or business.

Today, I would like share 10 things to consider before starting your own home business:

1. Have you prayed about it?

Taking our desires to God for His guidance and wisdom is a great place to start.

We are encouraged to seek God in all that we do and to remember that ultimately He determines our paths.

2. Have you talked to your husband?

It’s important to discuss our dreams and ideas with our husbands.

As leader of the family, they have a vital role in our decision-making process.

I’ve witnessed from my own husband, that they have our best interests in mind.   Our husbands have the foresight to discern if this is the best time or if we may need to scale down on our ideas.

3. Is it the time right?

Timing is important in your decision, after praying and sincerely considering your husband’s instruction; you should be able to determine if you need to start now or later.

Honestly, there is no need reason to rush.  I don’t like waiting, but there is a lot to gain from being patient.

4. Do you have a keen interest or enjoy this business? 

You will learn quickly if this business venture is something you truly enjoy.  If not, after the “honeymoon period” you will probably be ready t0 throw in the towel.

I’ve found that you can measure your interest in life happenings.  Although difficult times occur you still find the time to keep the business afloat, even if it’s at a minimum

Also, this is a good time to decide if this something you want to further pursue.

5. Have you considered the cost?

Here is where the real work begins.  Can you afford to give the time and perhaps the finances to start this business?  This would be the time to plan out everything you believe you need to do to start your home business.

6. What is your motivation?

It’s time to be honest about why you are doing this.  Are you doing it because you believe it is what you need to do? 

 Sometimes our motivation can be influenced by what seems to be popular versus what is necessary. 

Don’t allow selfish ambition to be a motivator in creating a business.

7. Is your business relevant?

Choosing a business model that will compliment your family will help with the success of both home and family.

In addition, take into consideration the flexibility and workload required to maintain your priorities.

8. Do you need support? 

Creating a plan will allow you see if you need help in certain areas.  Do you need assistance in a particular skill set?  Reach out to friends and family or research individuals that can help you get your business off to a good start.

9. Are you prepared? 

As mentioned many times in our series, planning is key.  Do you have the materials to get started? As it has been said before,

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

10. Do you have FOMO (fear of missing out)?

Don’t move in haste, consider numbers 1-9, if this is something you are supposed to do, it will happen in the right time.  The appointed time will save you stress, labor, and money.

Starting a home business can be an exciting and rewarding venture.  Consider the above tips as you embark on your new enterprise.

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out my post on 5 Ways To God After Your Dreams With Purpose.

Embracing Industry Home-Based Business Series: Hand-Crafted Beauty Products

Handcrafted beauty products

 

Welcome to the final week of Embracing Industry’s Home-based Business series.  This week I  am excited to introduce you to Tiffany.

My husband and I are very fond of Tiffany and her family, we have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time at her family home as newlyweds, we are thankful for their friendship and the example they have given us in raising a God-centered family!

One of the warmest memories I have of Tiffany is witnessing the start of her business, and her Father being right there by her side to support her.  From the start, I can attest, she has provided high-quality products!

Tiffany is sharing plenty of helpful information and practical encouragement.  I hope you are inspired!

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Tiffany McCullough. I am a servant-leader with a passion for helping women live purpose-filled lives and serve people in need. I was born and raised in Washington, DC by my wonderful parents and grew up with three brothers and many pets… imagine that!

I met my wonderful husband, Rev. Christopher McCullough while serving at church. We are preparing to celebrate our four-year wedding anniversary.

I am a woman of strength, resilience and many creative ideas. The outward expression of my creativity can be found in my custom beauty formulations and in my home.

To sum me up, I’m a Gospel sharer who marches to the beat of her own drum and loves playing in make-up!

When and why did you start your business?

I started my beauty business in 2008 in the basement of my parent’s home. 2008 was the start of the “going natural” phenomenon that is now a multi-billion dollar industry in beauty care and foods.

I remember mixing already manufactured products together in my bathroom to create the “perfect” product for my hair as I transitioned from chemically processed hair to naturally textured hair.

I also created products for my mom, whom, I later found out had health problems that her doctor directly correlated to some of the beauty aids she was using.

After finding out about my mother’s health status, I began to research the ingredients on the label of the products that we both used. I thought to myself “what could be so bad that would cause my mother’s doctor to urge her to refrain from using certain products”.  After my research, I soon found out.

As a consumer, I was devastated that manufacturers of beauty aids that woman, men, and children use daily would be created with harmful ingredients. Not to mention fill their ingredients with synthetics.

At that point, I made it my mission to blend wholesome, natural and organic ingredients into blends for the body, hair, and home.

I was determined that my consumer would get the quality product that they paid for and that the label wouldn’t be deceptive.  Thus, Jungle Portfolio was born.

What is your favorite part about your business?  What is your least favorite?

My favorite part about my business is being creative without limits.

I love blending scents and various ingredients into unique formulations. Did I say I love to blend scents? Well, I LOOOOVE to blend scents.

I don’t have any limits when it comes to creativity within MY business.

Now, my least favorite part of running my business is the paperwork. You know, the back office details. Operating any business successfully requires the owner to be hands-on creatively and administratively.

How do you manage home, family, and business?

Owning a business can be like raising a child and/or managing a home. It has to be nurtured, requires an investment of quality time and funds, and needs to be reorganized from time-to-time.

My husband and I don’t have physical children yet, however, we are both very active in ministry and with our respective businesses.

Finding quality time isn’t a challenge for us, as early in our marriage, we dedicated one day each week for a date night and depending on the season, have dedicated TV nights where we watch our favorite shows together.

I am a schedule-oriented person, so outside of quality time with my husband, caring for my home comes a bit easier. Each day I write down five “to do’s” that collectively take no more than an hour to complete; and that touch on each area of importance to me (self-investment, business, family, home and spiritual growth).

For instance:

  1. Update budget (10 minutes)
  2. Check e-mail and post to social media (15 minutes)
  3. Go on a walk with hubby (15 minutes)
  4. Sort and throw a load of laundry in the washer (5 minutes)
  5. Read my devotion for the day (15 minutes).

Of course, the time necessary for quality investment in any of these areas far exceeds this one-hour timeframe, however, following my daily model ensures that I’m intentionally investing in each area of importance daily, so that no one area is neglected.

When my one-hour list is complete, which is usually by 6:30 PM, I have at least three more hours to strictly focus on one thing. That could be to do more for my business, focus on my home or to spend time with my hubby.

There is more than enough time in each day to not fall behind on certain tasks. It just takes planning and a will to do.

One golden nugget of wisdom you would give to wives and moms interested in starting a business from home?

My one golden nugget of wisdom for wives and moms who are interested in starting a home-based business would be to make your family a priority, but don’t forget to invest in yourself.

Often, we as women, burn ourselves out caring for others and forget about our dreams and goals.

You have to make the time to invest in and develop your gifts and goals. How can you do this? Plan and communicate your needs to your spouse. If you are a single mother, rally the people in your circle for help.

No matter your economic status, background or current circumstance, you can start your business with prayer, a village of support and hard work.

What is your favorite scripture that helps you in your business?

The scripture that is the foundation of my business is Matthew 6:33

 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

In business, it is too easy to become consumed with the daily rituals of operating a business, to where your business becomes your god.

You can get lost and very frustrated with making marketing decisions, budgeting, choosing colors for labels, etc.

Remember to include God, first, with your decision-making. He has the best ideas for you.

I have fallen into this trap many times and then that still, calm voice, will remind me to take a deep breath and to seek my Father to guide me.

He gave me my gifts and knows better that I ever could, how to execute them to the “T” (from label color decisions all the way to board room decisions).

How can we contact you?

See what I do outside of business at Instagram: @t_lmcullough or #jointhejungle

Instagram: @JunglePortfolio

Shop quality, natural & organic blends for men and women at www.jungleportfollio.com.

 

Embracing Industry Handcrafted Beauty Products 2
Photo Credit: Jungle Portfolio

 

Beautiful Surrender: A Lesson From Mary

As the children and I have been going through our Advent calendar, I have been thinking about the life of Mary.   There is one particular scripture that resonates with me, every time I read it.  The story begins with Mary being greeted by the angel Gabriel, she is introduced to us as “a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph” Luke 1:27.  Gabriel excitedly announces to Mary that she is the favored one, who will conceive a child that will be named Jesus, the Son of God! Luke 1:28-33.

I can imagine Mary being surprised, scared and a bit confused by the news.  She was to be married to her beloved Joseph and now she’s pregnant by God!  Who would believe her?  Will Joseph believe her?  What would others think of her?  I would even suspect, that she had been ridiculed by those who did not believe nor wanted to understand.

The most amazing part of this story, is her response in Luke 1:28:

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

No matter how she felt, or the current circumstances; she decided to yield to the Lord.  She gave her life, her rights, in exchange for His will.

How can we learn from Mary today?

Are we willing to obey God, even if it’s uncomfortable, and we risk being mocked by others?

Are we willing to surrender:

The number of children we will have?

In our marriages as a godly wife?

How we raise our children?

Our health?

Our role at home?

Our thought life?

Our dreams and aspirations?

Our words?

Our relationships?

Our lives to God?

___________________ (You fill in the blank).

We know the rest of Mary’s story, ( you can read about it herehere  and here) her journey was no cakewalk, but she continued to trust in the Father.  Through all of her trials, she became the mother of the Savior of the world!

We can take note from Mary, although this life can be unpredictable, challenging and God may be calling us to do that unpopular thing…let us exercise our own sweet surrender, by repeating the words of Mary:

Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word… Luke 1:38 (ESV)

Sweet friend, let’s not miss the beauty in this verse!  When we give our lives to God, we are not missing out, we are actually gaining an abundant life in Him!

Jesus assures us of this in Matthew 10:39 (ESV):

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

What will you surrender to God today?