“Cleaning your house with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth with Oreos in your mouth.”

I couldn’t help but think of this familiar saying when I looked out at the carpet of yellow on my newly-raked lawn. Couldn’t those trees give me a break for just one day to enjoy the tidy look? But, alas, the wind came in and released several more loads of leaves to lug to the fire pile behind the barn.

It reminded me of those endless-seeming years when five little boys kept our house lively. Homeschooling meant the little mess-makers were nearly always at home, so nothing stayed tidy for very long. We developed strategies to keep chaos at bay, but never achieved the magazine-perfect look.

It is the nature of homemaking that we will never truly be “caught up.” As long as our family is wearing clothes, the laundry won’t be caught up. As long as we continue to serve three meals a day (plus snacks!), seven days a week, the dishes will never be caught up. As long as we have little boys and little girls, the bathing will never be caught up. As long as we keep giving assignments, the paper-grading will never be caught up.

And so we continue to wash clothes, wash dishes, wash little bodies, grade papers, and yes, rake leaves–knowing that the next whirlwind, whether an outdoor breeze or the little whirlwind we’re raising, will continue to bless us with work to do.

Perhaps that is why we so look forward to Jesus’ return–we will finely be “caught up!”


I’ve posted my first Building Tomorrow’s Generation newsletter over at http://www.marciawashburn.com/Newsletters/2012MarchNewsletter.html. See it for a new article, “Releasing Our Arrows into the World,” a recipe, a fun link, and other news.

I will be speaking in North Dakota and New Hampshire this month. Join me if you can. Details at http://www.marciawashburn.com/NewsEventsCalendar.html.

Please forward this to those you think might be interested.


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Book for Moms Who Want to Start a Business

Most of you already know about my new book, Talent to Treasure: Building a Profitable Music Teaching Business. Many of you are already using it to build your own business–congratulations! I am excited to hear how things are going.

Today I’d like to pass along information about a more general book for those of you who aren’t interested in teaching music in your home. The information is below. Let me know what you think of it.

Marcia Washburn
Building Tomorrow’s Generation

Home-based businesses are estimated to be a $427 billion-a-year industry. In recent studies it was found that as many as 105 million people in North America alone were working at home. Considering this information, it is obvious that home-based businesses can be successful and authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen will help you succeed with your own.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. From deciding what type of business to start to keeping your family and faith first, this helpful tool details every aspect of establishing a business. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom includes:
* Detailed information on types of businesses to start
* Ideas and assistance for setting up, operating, and marketing your business
* Definitions and descriptions of work-at-home terminology and processes
* Help for developing your Website
* Explanations of the business nuts and bolts, including bookkeeping, taxes, and more

About the Authors
JILL HART is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com. Jill is a co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill has published many articles and is a contributing author in Laundry Tales, The Business Mom Guide Book, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Faith Deployed. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. Learn more about working from home at http://www.cwahm.com/work-at-home/ .

DIANA ENNEN has been a leader and mentor in the work-at-home industry since starting her business, Virtual Word Publishing, in 1985. She is the author of many books, including Virtual Assistant the Series; Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and Words from Home: Start, Run, and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. She resides in Margate, Florida, with her husband and their three children.


Below is an interview with the authors of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom – Jill & Diana.

If have questions they are happy to answer your questions anytime. Leave a comment below or email Jill@cwahm.com or Diana@virtualwordpublishing.com

How long have you been working at home?

Jill Hart – I’ve been working at home since 2000. I had to go back to work full-time for a brief period in 2003 when my husband got out of the Air Force. At that point I got even more serious about making my business work and I’ve been home full-time since then.

Diana Ennen – I’ve been working at home since 1985, when my son was born. He’s now graduated college and already working towards his own career. I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.


What types of businesses do you operate?

Jill Hart – I run Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com, a website full of free resources, job listings and information about home businesses. I also write articles and books (yes, more books to come!) and am a blogger for sites like Time/Warner’s Christian Momlogic.com and a member of the Guideposts blogger team

Diana Ennen– I’m the President of Virtual Word Publishing. I’m a virtual assistant and specialize in marketing & publicity. I’ve also written numerous books on how to start a VA business and offer PR and VA Coaching.


Tell us about your book? How do you think it can benefit those who want to start a business?

Jill Hart – The book has been such a "God thing." He orchestrated the entire sequence of events – from putting Diana and I together as co-authors to bringing us to the right publisher. The book is a hands-on practical guide for anyone who wants to build a business from home. We cover topics ranging from how to select the right type of business for you, to how to get started, to how to market and grow your business.

Diana Ennen – I think one of the best features of our book is that it’s not only informative, but motivational as well. You’ll feel like friends are helping you on your journey to success. Also, we discuss numerous types of businesses to start and provide proven methods to achieve success. We also often hear how starting a business can be so overwhelming. That’s why we pay special attention to all the how tos. We feel very confident our book will help, not only those starting a business, but those already in business wanting to expand it.


What types of businesses are featured in your book?

Jill Hart – We have such a great range of contributors – everything from direct sales companies like Southern Living at Home and Avon to unique product-driven businesses like BSM Media and GrillCharms. These woman are amazing and give readers a great insight into how they’ve grown their businesses in very different ways.

Diana Ennen – We cover everything from direct sales companies to specialized areas such as medical transcription and virtual assisting. Also, Jill shares detailed information on starting a community based membership site. We think you’ll get a lot of helpful tips too from such work-at-home powerhouses as Maria Bailey and Lesley Spencer Pyle.


Do you have any tips for success for Christian entrepreneurs that you’d like to share?

Jill Hart – I think my favorite tip – shared with me by one of our contributors, Tammy Degenhart, almost ten years ago is that working together benefits everyone. She told me, "Jill, what you give to others God brings back tenfold" and I’ve seen that hold true time and time again. It may not be in financial gains and it may not look like what we expected but God is so faithful in that when we work together there is no competition – it’s a win-win situation.

Diana Ennen – Do what you believe in and use your own skills and prior experience to find the business that’s just right for you. Research/Research/Research. The more you research, the better your business. Continue to market and be out there. So many once they find a few clients stop marketing. You need to get out there continually. You then become the go to person when someone needs services or products that you offer.


What are some of the challenges that you see with those starting or operating a business?

Jill Hart – In my experience, I’ve talked with many women who get frustrated because success doesn’t come easily or quickly. Working from home may sound easy, but in reality it can actually be just as hard as working outside the home. There are many unique challenges, especially when working at home while raising children. If women don’t prepare themselves, they can become discouraged and disheartened.

Diana Ennen– One of the major challenges I see is losing belief in yourself that you can do it. That’s why I think a faith-based book will be so beneficial. Even when times get tough, you can rely on your faith to forge ahead.


With the economy, do you believe it’s still a good time to start a business? Why?

Jill Hart – I think it’s a better time than ever. The internet is so much more widely used than it was even nine years ago when I began my website. If people do their research and find a company that fits them as well as their budget this can be a great time to break into the work-at-home field.

Diana Ennen – Absolutely. In fact, I think there’s never been a better time. You might have to work a little harder, but it absolutely can be done. Plus, there are so many businesses who need us more than ever because of the economy. For example, with virtual assistants because businesses are downsizing they are seeking the help of a VA to help on an as needed basis.


Your book is written from a Christian perspective? Tell us a little about that and how you feel that makes it so unique?

Jill Hart – My faith is central to who I am and therefore central to my business. I began Christian Work at Home Moms because I wanted women to have a safe place where they could discuss not only business things, but also talk about an area that doesn’t get talked about a lot in business circles – how our faith affects our businesses. The book is written in a way that doesn’t hit anyone over the head with our faith, but it’s true to who we are and talks about things from the vantage point that we see life – through the lens of our faith.

Diana Ennen – There are so many books out there today on starting a business. However, few have the Christian mom in mind. We provide a lot of scriptures and examples of how you can use your faith to help you. Our hope is that not only will your business thrive, but it might just give a little boost to your faith as well.

Learn more about the book at Beacon Hill Press or SoYouWantToBeAWAHM.com.


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Some creative folks at our church have developed a new twist for helping others in this challenging economy. They call it the Economic Stimulus Connection. We’ve posted a large white board divided into two columns that read “I have . . .” and “I need . . .”

Members use sticky notes to post items in the columns. When they see something they need, they remove the note to call the person who posted it.

Some of the “I have” posts include:
• Dead trees to cut down for firewood
• Baby boy clothes to give away
• Free help with your computer
• Bedding to give away
• I will pray for your needs

Some of the “I need” posts include:
• A job in the HVAC field
• A job—I’m eighteen years old
• Transmission for ‘96 Ford Taurus
• Drywall finishing work
• A place to stay
• A couch and skillet

The idea has been a hit with our members. Perhaps your church or homeschool group can develop a version of it to help each other through the tight times.




It’s no accident that boys, noise, toys, and joys are rhyming words. My husband and I were blessed to raise five sons, and we certainly had our share of all of the above. I often thought that God must have chuckled as He looked down at Marcia, raised in the suburbs with one sister, now on a farm with all those boys, not to mention all that dirt. And keeping those hungry guys filled up was a real challenge: every night I was faced with six of them (my hubby included)!

I will be speaking about The Joys of Raising Boys May 15-16 in South Dakota and again in Denver on June 20. If any of you have questions, comments, or stories to pass along, I would love to make them a part of my presentations. Post your thoughts right here or write me directly at marcia@marciawashburn.com. I would especially like to hear your insights on the differences between homeschooling boys and girls from those of you who have raised mixed gender families. Thanks!

Blessings to you,

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Today we’re talking about The Music Season. Musicians generally agree that spring is at least as busy a season for musical events as the Christmas season. If you have children who are taking music lessons, you no doubt hear them practicing their recital piece over and over. Please be patient (or wear ear plugs!)–not only must they learn the music with their brains, but with their fingers as well.

Did you know that we have muscle memory as well as brain memory? That’s why you don’t have to consciously think about how to pick up a pencil or rise to a standing position from a chair. Musicians use their muscle memory to play passages that are much too fast to think about one note at a time.

They must train their brains to do many tasks simultaneously. Each note is a shorthand symbol that tells which note to play, how long to hold it, how loudly to play it, what touch to use, and which finger to use. That is a lot of information packed into one symbol!

But pianists have an additional challenge. Often, a student pianist can play his music one hand at a time, but he cannot play the piece with both hands. This is because his brain hasn’t learned to cross-pattern effectively for that particular music yet. This is why so much repetition is necessary.

The most useful practice habit, as with any memory-training activity, is to work intensely on a short passage, reviewing it several times each day. Thus, he brings it constantly back to the front of both his brain memory and his finger memory. These short, frequent sessions are much more efficient than occasional hours-long sessions. They also help the student feel a sense of accomplishment as he masters each section.

Remember what Grandma used to say: “By the yard, it’s awful hard. By the inch, it’s a cinch.” I remind students, “By the score (complete musical composition), it’s a chore; by the measure, it’s a pleasure.”*

I think there’s a message in that philosophy for all of us. Enjoy this season of music-making. Maybe you will decide it’s time to dust off the keys and play a little yourself.

*For more music teaching insights, visit http://www.marciawashburn.com/Articles.html.


Roller Coaster

Whew! 2008 was a bit of a roller coaster year and the ride hasn’t turned off yet in 2009. Between the election and the economy, it seems we just can’t catch our breath and settle our tummies.

Wouldn’t a Time Out be welcome about now? Wouldn’t you love to just get off the ride and regain your equilibrium?

But it seems we’re in this thing together, with each new market gyration and Congressional response creating a new twist of the track.

Perhaps you remember the old hymn’s words:
Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.*

I Peter 5:7 reminds us, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (NIV)

My wise husband observed that even though we can’t make the roller coaster stop, we can remember Who holds the cart we’re riding in–and He won’t let it jump the track.

May His peace keep you on track today,

*Excerpt from “Because He Lives” by Bill & Gloria Gaither © Copyright 1971

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Welcome to my blog at Building Tomorrow’s Generation! I will post weekly (more-or-less) with thoughts about Christian family life, home education, music, and whatever I believe will be helpful to my readers. Please browse through my website at www.marciawashburn.com. It will always be under construction, as we all are, so check back often for new articles, tip-sheets, free stuff, and links.

While you are there, you are invited to sign up for my free monthly newsletter. I value both your time and your privacy so I won’t fill your mailbox with lots of messages or share your contact information with anyone else.

Thanks for stopping by.



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