Thursday, April 23, 2009

Waiting, Waiting

Look at me posting twice in one night. But I forgot to mention this email I got today - well, yesterday now. Is it weird that it actually freaked me out a little?

2009 StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Competition

Hello, Super Moms!

The final tabulations for winners in the first annual Leading Moms in Business competition are in. But there is still much to do!

Maximum Exposure for the 200 Winners

We at StartupNation are working fast and furious to get the winners maximum exposure, including:

  • Press release template for each winner
  • Feature stories on select winners
  • StartupNation site wide winner promotions
  • Newsletter promotions for the 2009 results
  • Negotiations with major media to cover the winners after the results are published

Nice to-do list, isn’t it!

Friday, April 24 - Confidential Winner Announcement

We plan to update you via email this Friday, April 24, with a confidential announcement of winners and your rank among them.

You blew us away with your resourcefulness, persistence, creativity and spirit during the competition. Guess we should’ve expected that from a group of entrepreneurs! Over 600,000 votes were amassed by several thousand contestants. We received a ton of feedback from contestants about how the contest added a level of excitement and engagement for moms, their businesses and their supporters. We’re incredibly gratified to hear this news.

Leading Moms Networking Group - to go live this spring

One very cool thing: We’re forming a private, invitation-only online networking group to allow this year’s contestants to stay in touch and support each other on an ongoing basis. Put your name on the invite list if you would like to be a part of this elite networking group.

Add me to the invite list

Create Additional Buzz

Regardless of whether you’re named a winner, we think you’re a winner simply for competing and being savvy enough to create buzz for your business. If you’d like to create additional buzz and you aren’t named a winner this year, for a discounted fee StartupNation can create a feature story about you and/or a fully-produced, hosted podcast interview with you by phone for your own promotional use.

Learn about being featured

As always, we wish you success and hope we can continue to support you as you pursue your dreams in business.


Rich Sloan (and StartupNation team)

In Partnership with Ladies Who Launch Proudly sponsored by Vertical Response

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hang On Everybody!

It's nearly 1 a.m.. I have been at this kitchen table since 7, dictating to my kids that it was time for bed; talking to Bizzy Girl about business plans and ideas; talking to one of the pastors of my church about the newsletter HE is editing and that I have - without any effort from me - been pulled into helping out with. But Bizzy Girl, also drafted, said we are the advisory board only. On the DL. Ghosts in the machine of this publication. We will NOT attend meetings or take public recognition or do more than help in word.

But I am editing copy for them. (About 15 years as a member, over 3,000 on the roll and somehow I am still the only copy editor in the place.)
I am helping them with logistics and processes for how to do this thing.
I am getting printing quotes.
I am the middle woman for some info when I keep trying to extricate myself.

I was responsible to myself. Honest! Even Bizzy Girl and our friend who helps us with graphic design in our business (let's call her "Simply Lovely" since she'll most likely be mentioned again) told them, "Monica is NOT available. She won't come back. Don't even ask."

He asked.

I rolled my eyes and helped anyway. But I won't get in too deep. No way. Ow. Sorry. A papercut from the newsletter copy I am swimming in tonight.

The rest? Business is amazing and Bizzy Girl and I are Dizzy Girls. A slight tweak in our perspective I think did the trick, as well as stepping out on faith. It's paying off. We have made so far this year more than we had made by the end of last and are on track to this being a turnaround year for us in many ways. That's why I'm STILL not here properly. With the sales we've been doing and the email campaigns and the networking - really, really EXCELLENT networking - and the ideas we've been generating and developing, and that contest which inspired a major website redesign (in the works) and just having Bizzy Girl working at a higher level than ever before, it's allll good. Tiring, but good. Combine that with the suddenly hectic schedules of my tiny tots...I can't think too far ahead or I may explode.

So here I am blogging. Looking at my to-do list. Proofing new greeting cards right after finally sending off those edited newsletter stories. So thrilled I have to do an invoice before I go to bed too and now, darn it, I've got a quick article idea that I think I'll post over on Biznik, even though I was thinking of pulling out of that group. Must ponder that one.

OK, now I'm rambling over here and you don't come here to see me ramble and lose my mind, unless you are the kind of person who wants to say, "See? I knew you couldn't be a mother and a wife and run a business and have a life and write a book and learn to cook...(sorry. Dr. Suess temporarily took over)." Yeah, if you came over here to see me fail, there's nothing to see here. I'd suggest you move on.

Now please excuse me while I go conquer some more mountains.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Follow the Bouncing Blog

So, I emailed Stesha of HotChocolateCaramelMoccha and found out she had redone her blog. Plus, she is also doing a new Chick Chat with Three Bay B Chicks in which they are going to be vlogging about various topics. So after I left Stesha, I went to the Chicks and from there I visited Pooba, Optimistic Cynicism and finally The World According to Me where I became sidetracked by one of her posts that led me to a site where I could find out amazing things about myself.

Followed that? Good. You're better than I am.

And by the way, yes, I have considered vlogging but the camera I have is for my desktop which is suffering from acute keyboarditis right now and I may have to operate and do a keyboard transplant. For now it's on the list awaiting a donation. So I hang with my laptop which has no video capability. But Son keeps wanting to do something on YouTube that is Pokemon related - everything is Pokeon related - and he may be the lie I tell myself about why I need to invest in whatever technology that will enable me to transfer video from our camcorder to the laptop. I'm sure it's simple, yeah, yeah. I don't wanna know right now. No, nope. Don't tell me. I'm not ready to go there yet. Besides, don't you want to know the amazing facts about me? KathyB started this (for me) and I liked it so here you go.

Ten Amazing Facts about Monica

  1. Monica is only six percent water. And this would be true right now. I love water, generally. Drinking it. Not swimming in it. But I don't usually eat and drink. I eat THEN drink, so I don't hydrate as much as I should. And right now I am in full soda mode. A Pepsi a day because I don't drink coffee and that is my coffee. And I hate tea so don't bother suggesting.
  2. The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes Monica! Pointy head? Wide hips? Little legs? Hmmm.
  3. Ninety-six percent of all candles sold are purchased by Monica. And then melted down to form the beautiful creation that is The Rock over at Madame Tussaint's Wax Museum. He is a thing of beauty. Go visit him.
  4. Monica kept at the window will keep vampires at bay! Because I am a vampire myself and there can be only one ruler here.
  5. A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find Monica. Don't ask and I won't tell that you didn't ask.
  6. Without Monica, we would have to pollinate apple trees by hand. I think they confused this one with my daughter. She is the one who gives apple trees a reason to live. She LOVES apples. (and other fruit too.)
  7. The Church of Scientology was founded in 1953, at Washington D.C., by Monica. Clearly someone was following me. I mean I AM from D.C. and I suppose I could have done this in my sleep. I plead the fifth.
  8. Europe is the only continent that lacks Monica. I am a natural resource indiginous to here. I am costly to import. They can't afford me.
  9. Monica is black with white stripes, not white with black stripes. This is true. And I accent that with purple. (You were expecting red?)
  10. Finding Monica on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck. But giving me away is probably even better for you because it is morning after all and I tend to go sour in the mornings.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's a Roller Coaster so Throw Your Hands Up!

I've been thinking about the amount of things I need and want to do:

  • Work
  • Taking care of home
  • Managing a business
  • Church/church activities
  • Son's social life
  • Daughter's social life
  • Trying not to let Mr. T forget he's the man. (ha!)
While I'm thinking, I'm thinking about all this work/life balance we are constantly striving to obtain and you have one school of thought that says, "You can have it all!" And another school of thought that says,
"You can have it all! - Eventually." Mixed in there is the understanding that we can find balance if we try. And there are those who say, "Naw! No balance. Only managing."

I'm close to that last one I think. But when I think of balance, I think of a see-saw. Or the infamous scales from Blind Justice or the Pisces sign, whatever your preference may be. But that denotes some sort of equality and shifting of weight from one to the other to either balance or at least keep from being tipped off the contraption.

But a see-saw is so limiting and not true to life. It has ups and downs, sure, but if that is a metaphor for life, then all you have is ups and downs, sometimes stuck in the middle, sometimes jumping at the bumps but you always know when to expect the bumps. That's not life. At least not the life of a mother.

I say life is a roller coaster; organized chaos is the goal here because if you are a mother, you are not only managing your life, which you maybe can control, but the lives of your family and can you really control all their stuff to your satisfaction? No. Don't even pretend like you can. Because if I could, I would not be faced with Son's Little League Opening Day happening on the same day as Daughter's fashion show at the church. His is earlier but she has to be at hers about 3 hours before the start and overlap is a certainty. So who wins? Well, we all do since we're a 2-parent home and we all lose a little too. So I'll try to go to his for a bit before I have to take her to hers. And he and Mr. T can come to hers when they are done at his. And we'll all collapse later that night. That's a roller coaster, ya'll. Pure and simple. Highs, lows, ups, downs, unexpected twists, slow starts, fast plummets. Is this not life?

Got a poll over there in the sidebar and plenty of room for comments here. (And by the way, I'm working on a book about this whole thing. More to come. ;-D) Share! Share!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

10% of What?

Know why I love God so much? Because He follows me around everywhere I go.

Ever see that movie In the Mouth of Madness? It's just one of my favorite allegedly scary movies. (Not my definition of scary. Just really weird and fun. I am a Stephen King kind of person, after all.)

There's a scene in this where Trent is trying to get away and he drives from the maddening crowd only to find himself right back where he started, no matter how many times he tries. Eventually he has to give up. Now, that's not to say that being a child of God is insanity or maddening, and I could certainly give you a Biblical reference that illustrates the point just as well. But this movie is just a lot of fun.

Anyhoo, it's my point. No matter where I go, what I do, He's right there quietly by my side - or at my back, or in front of me, you pick the location, He's there. And it's one of the reasons I love Him so much because you can't get that kind of selfless devotion from most adults. And what's cool is I don't deserve it. No one does really, but I know I don't because I don't do everything with His best interests in mind because sometimes I'm too lazy to do it or I simply don't feel like it. Glad He doesn't do that back, huh?

The Bible tells us that no one can snatch us from His hand, provided of course you choose to be there. "Snatch" implies stolen so you can choose to walk away but no one can steal you. (John 10:28)

One of my biggest struggles was tithing. And not because I've never done it but because I did for a long time and after we bought the house and things got REALLY tight, Mr. T says one day that you have to do the bills first. Now to me, tithing is not a gray area. I believe there are lots of things that some people believe MUST be done a certain way and the Bible does not support that. But tithing has always been cut and dried to me.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." - Malachi 3:10.

That's Old Testament, sure. But there is also the New Testament widow:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on." - Mark 12:41-44

I already know what happens when you tithe. I've had many a financial miracle. I've experienced the "oil that never runs out." I KNOW faithfulness in this area works. So why stop? Even though Mr. T is Christian, this is one thing I believe he still needs to get a better understanding of. But because he's my husband, I told him I will let him lead on this one - sorta. We have a house fund but the other money stays separate. So I didn't HAVE to do it but one of my goals is to stand before God (a very long time from now) and have Him say, "Monica, you really did try to compromise. Well done." Compromise over. I'm going back to my way. Make that God's way.

On the way to the accountant yesterday, after a year of not really tithing - a little here, a little there, but not true tithing - I talked to myself. "It's time. Things really are pretty much the same. We're blessed but I don't want to hinder anything else God has for us because I am knowingly not doing what my spirit is telling me I should." I tell you I could just feel Him at my back telling me, "It's OK. I never left you."

Those life-altering changes in 2009 I told you I felt coming? They are a-comin'. Trust me. And I don't want anything in the way. Don't get me wrong. It's gonna be a true sacrifice to tithe again in the hard times and I'm not even going to do it the way I think it should be done - 10% off the gross. I'll do off the net first, but tithing in the easy times isn't really a test of faith anyway. This will be. I'll let you know how He proves himself.