Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MWAHM: Managing Your Stress Level

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

Expanding and Contracting: Managing Your Stress Level
By Mary M. Byers

My work is seasonal. I make about 30% of my income for the entire year in one month! That's
the good news. The bad news is that it can be stressful getting through such a busy time. That's
where the concept of "Expanding and Contracting" comes in.

Expanding and contracting requires making a conscious decision regarding how big your life
view is going to be at any given time. For example, I once had a speaking engagement in my
home town. Since my mother lived there, I decided to take my children along so they could
spend some time with grandma.

Several weeks before the engagement, my world view was still large. I could look at the
calendar for the entire month, make plans for later in the summer, and keep an active “To
Do” list for the week. As the engagement approached, however, I narrowed my focus to
getting my presentation ready and getting myself and the kids packed. The day before our
departure, getting out the door and to Grandma’s house was ALL I focused on. As soon as my
presentation was over, however, I was able to expand my focus again and begin planning for
our next trip—a family vacation.

You’ve probably used these concepts of expanding and contracting without even knowing
it. Think about the last time you had friends over for dinner. When you called to extend the
invitation, your life view was still large. As you approached the day of the meal, your view
contracted as you began to plan the menu and make your grocery list. The day of the event,
your view likely contracted even more, to the point of being focused on straightening the house
and getting the food prepared. After your guests arrived, your view could begin to expand again
and by the time they left, you were probably already thinking ahead to what the next day would

Expanding and contracting your view is extremely useful in staving off stress. As I view my
calendar some days and an overwhelmed feeling starts creeping over me, I simply take a
deep breathe (or two, or three, or ten, depending on the situation!) and ask myself, “How can
I contract my focus?” Doing so keeps me from being paralyzed and gives me a focal point
toward which to direct my energy. It's an extremely effective means of staying sane when you're
running a home and a business under one roof. Having a laser focus is necessary sometimes
just to get you through the day.

What techniques do you use to help you get through your work-related
busy times?
E-mail me at mbyers@marybyers.com and I'll share your tricks in my next
post. Until then, now that I'm done traveling for awhile, I'm expanding my focus again and it
feels good!

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully
Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about
making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at www.makingworkathomework.com. Interested in
more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge

To join or learn more, click here.

Welcome to my Summer Break Reading Challenge post!

Summer Break Reading Challenge

I'm Pattie the book addict...and here's my summer list.

1. Tutu Deadly by Natalie M. Roberts
2. Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts
3. Pointe and Shoot by Natalie M. Roberts
4. So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore (finish)
5. Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston
6. Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand
7. Put On Your Crown by Queen Latifah (for review)
8. Miss Match by Erynn Mangum
9. Rematch by Erynn Mangum
10. Match Point by Erynn Mangum

Obviously I have a couple of trilogies I'm working on finishing! :)

Bonus: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life in Defiance Blog Tour

Once again I must apologize for not posting in time. Unexpected life events conspired against my better intentions.

I highly recommend Mary's entire Defiance series. The books make so much more sense with each other as companions.

To see my review of Life in Defiance, click here.

Important links:
link to Life in Defiance on Amazon

Once again, thanks to Zondervan for my review copy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SRT 2010 Wrap-Up

Original Goals:

*Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs (finish)
*Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge (finish)
*As Young As We Feel by Melody Carlson
*Love Mercy by Lisa Samson and Ty Samson
*Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence (finish for April book club)
*Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (May book club, a reread for me)
*A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin
**finish THE BIBLE**
and go through magazines

Actual Accomplishments:

So...here's what I did finish.

*Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence (finish for April book club) I give up! Jon Spence has made my beloved Jane boring. I can't stand it.

I sorted magazines and have one small stack of "Military Spouse" to reread and save resources from.

I did not finish the Bible...yet.

I had to give up on Becoming Jane Austen; however, I did read several other books, including one I didn't know would be out yet when I made the list: Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth (and I would've added it to the list, because I was determined to finish that trilogy!). I also read:

*Floor Sample by Julia Cameron (good)
*A Case for Love by Kaye Dacus (good)
*The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson (liked it better the second time)
*Getting Away is Deadly by Sara Rosett (always good)
*Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland (finished this one; it was about half-read from 2 months ago)
*Play it Again, SAHM by Meredith Efken (finally got to this one! also good)
*Enlightenment for Idiots by Anne Cushman (not great)
*The Sacrifice by Robert Whitlow (borrowed from a friend who is also moving)
*Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern (cute)
*Balancing Acts by Zoe Fishman (also not that great)
*How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron (cute)

Obviously, not working was good for my reading :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sticking my toe in...

...and the water seems to be pretty warm!

I wrote this afternoon over at Wives of Faith about a spiritual lesson from the original Karate Kid movie. Come check it out!