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Inclement Weather Staycation

September 11, 2017

When I was little and even when I worked a regular 9 – 5 job, I used to love hearing them announce the close of school and offices for inclement weather. A day off. How exciting? But now as someone an entrepreneur and mother of 3, school cancellations do not get welcomed with the same excitement. As I hear news that schools will be closed, the first thing I think about is “How am I going to get my work done?” and the second is “How am I going to entertain the kids while they are stuck in the house all day?”

As someone who works for myself, even with a regular 40-hour work week, there is usually not enough time to get everything done that needs to be completed. So you can imagine that with kids home, productivity decreases and the need to make sure that the kids are “entertained” increases.

Here are a few tips to help you manage your day during inclement weather breaks from school:

  1. Treat it like a normal workday for you, while allowing the kids to have a sleep in vacation
    On normal school days I am sure you are like me, it is like pulling teeth trying to get the little ones up for school. Typically we are waking up at 5:45 AM and 6:45 AM for 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM school starts. On a day that school is closed, you can let the little ones sleep in but by keeping my normal workday wake up time, I can get a good 3 hours of uninterrupted time. I use this time to get my work done. It is amazing how productive you can be with some uninterrupted focused work time. 3 hours can be plenty of time to do a day’s worth of work.
  2. Make sure homework is done
    A day out of school does not mean a day full of watching tv. Before play time and tv, homework must be completed and if homework was completed the night before or they don’t have any, this also a great time to take out a good book and spend some time reading. Children should read at least 30 minutes a day. This family reading time will also give you a little more time to get some work done.
  3. Plan some fun activities that can serve a dual purpose
    When trying to fill the day with things to do that the kids will find fun can be challenging. When you are home for inclement weather, you are usually stuck in the house and depending on the age of your kids, they could be bouncing off the walls after 20 minutes. Having a plan for what activities you can do can help keep them entertained and can also help you reinforce positive things during this out of school time. Here are a few favorites for my family:

    • Karoke – A karoke sing off can be a lot of fun, while practicing reading skills.
    • Dance Party – A dance party gets you up and moving and helps burn few calories
    • Cooking – Choosing a fun family friendly recipe can satisfy those inclement weather day taste buds while teaching about math and science.

As hurricane season continues and then winter “snow days” approach, keep these tips in mind for your fun and productive day off.

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Match Your Output with Rest

September 5, 2017

Two weeks ago I started feeling a little sick and like most women, I pushed through it thinking I had too much to do to give into sickness. I “just” had a scratchy throat and some sniffling. School was about to start, I had several hearings on my calendar to get ready for and I had coaching clients who needed help strategizing for their 4th quarter goals. There were too much to do and too many people depending on me.

I know all of us have heard people say how important it is for you to take care of yourself. We commonly hear the analogy to the flight safety instructions that tell you to place the mask on yourself before you try to help others. There are lectures on it, there are books on it, and I even make self-care for professional women one of my speaking topics. So if we know how important it is to rest and take care of ourselves, why is it still so hard for us to follow what we know is essential to our well-being?

In today’s world, where we wear so many hats and try to be everything to everybody, we often view rest as a luxury that we can’t afford. We tend to view ourselves as tough enough to push through anything in order to get the job done. We tell ourselves we can rest later, but later never comes because there is always another task that has to be done.

After a few days of sniffling and trying to self-medicate and push through what I assumed was a summer cold, I decided to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and pink eye and was given a prescription and told to rest.

After leaving the doctor’s office, I went by my office got some files and planned to “rest” while working from home. My hard head rationalized that if I was not in the office but was home in the bed with my laptop that I was “resting”. After an hour or so of working, I decided to lay down “for a minute”. That minute turned into a 3 and a half hours nap. Apparently, although my mind was saying I did not need rest, my body certainly did. When my husband got home with the kids, he told them that Mommy needed some rest and they did homework, got dinner and got ready for bed, without my assistance.
After 24 hours of rest and medication, I was good as new. I felt great. I was rested and symptom free. I was able to go back to work and guess what, everything I felt was so urgent to do was still there waiting on me.

I share this with you because I know someone out there is exactly like I was and I want to remind you to take care of yourself and that you have permission to rest. I think about if I have kept going and had not gone to the doctor. I would have likely gotten sicker where it would have taken longer than 24 hrs. to get better and I probably would have infected someone else with pink eye.

To keep going while you are sick doesn’t make you a heroin nor should it be worn as a badge of honor. It is irresponsible and selfish. Yes, people need you. But they need you at 100% and the only way to stay there is by taking care of yourself. I encourage you to listen to your body. It knows what it needs and you know when something is not right.

Don’t put your health and wellbeing on the back burner. Prioritize yourself. There is a lot of world out there and when you take care of yourself, you are in a better position to conquer it.

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What’s Your Power Song

August 29, 2017

Summer is over and school began this week. Can you believe the year is going by so fast?
As I sent my babies off this week to their first day of school, we hyped ourselves up for the first day by dancing to what we in our household call “power songs”. Each of us has one.

A power song is that song that inspires, motivates and pushes you, even when you are tired. I was first introduced to power songs when I started running. I use the Nike running app, which allows you to designate a specific song as your “power song”. Then when I’m running up the hill or trying to get through that last mile and I can’t seem to quite get there, I can press a button that says power song and immediately the song that I chose as my power song will come on and it will push me over that finish line or up at hill.

Similarly you may have noticed when you attend a conference with a dynamic keynote speaker, they come out on a song that hypes up the audience and gives them the confidence to command the stage.
After seeing how having the right power song pushed me to finish strong, I realized that power songs are not just for people coming on stage and athletic challenges, but that we all can benefit from having a power song. Starting your day with the right power song will motivate you and help you command your day.

So in our household, we all started using power songs to start our day. I have several of them and depending on what I need that morning, I choose one to get me going. Some mornings I may choose I’m Every Woman by Whitney Houston and others I may start with “It’s A Beautiful Day” by Jamie Grace. My husband is pretty consistent. Every morning as he gets ready for work he plays “You’re Bigger” by Jekalyn Carr.

I want to encourage you if you don’t already have one, to find your own power song. One that inspires and motivates you. One that gives you courage to tackle any of the day’s obstacles. Then when you have selected your power song, I want you to start your day off by listening to that power song.
One the first day of school, my 7 year old, Jade chose “Get Back Up Again” from the movie Trolls. The song says in part, “ I’m not giving up today. There’s nothing getting in my way. And if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again.”

As she danced around in her shirt that said, “This Girl Can Change The World”, I knew my baby was starting her year off right, going into her 1st day with positivity, confidence and ready to conquer the world.

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A few months ago my youngest daughter, Jade, ran her first lemonade stand during our neighborhood’s
annual flea market. It was a wonderful experience for both of us.

We got up early on a Saturday morning and made 5 gallons of lemonade. Jade made her signs
advertising the lemonade for $ .50 a glass and then we were ready for business. After 4 hours of
working the stand, Jade made $51.65. She was super excited.

But the lemonade stand was so much more than making money. We learned so many valuable life
lessons.

1. Strengthened Math Skills
Jade just finished first grade and she worked all year on addition and subtraction. Now she was
able to apply her skills in a setting where it really mattered. If you don’t get your math right
when you are dealing with other people’s money (and your own), you can really suffer the
consequences. At the lemonade stand, Jade ran her own cash register (with mommy’s
oversight) and had count the money given to her and make change for people who bought
lemonade. She was able to see the importance of having math skills and how the “stuff” you
learn in school are the foundation for success.

2. Entrepreneurship
This lemonade stand was Jade’s own business. She went to the store and purchased the
supplies, made the lemonade, did the marketing and learned about what a profit was. It taught
her so much about running a business. She also learned how as a business owner, you are
ultimately responsible for the business. At one point during the morning, she got bored (as you
could expect of a 7 year old) and wanted to stop. I had to explain to her that it was her business
and she had to run it. She could not rely on others to run her business. It was a great lesson as
to what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

3. Giving Back
My girls have always been taught about giving. Whenever they get any money, they know that
10% has to go to church, 10% goes to savings and 10% goes to charity. Teaching children about
giving means a lot more when it is money that they earned. After all receipts were in, Jade had
the opportunity to choose something very special to her that she wanted to support. She was
so proud to donate her money to a worthy cause to help a family in need.

At the end of the day, I know we both got so much out of this experience. This was truly more than a
lemonade stand.

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As I increase my presence on social media, I routinely use the hashtag mompreneur. I love the term
because for me, it accurately describes who I am. I am a Mom who is also an entrepreneur and both of
these roles explain and define who I am and what my priorities are.

I recently read an article where a female entrepreneur took issue with the term mompreneur. In this
article, she explained that she felt it marginalized women who were Moms and made them appear as
less serious business owners.

I totally disagree.

Being seen as a mompreneur clearly expresses talents and skills possessed by women entrepreneurs
who are also Moms.

To be a Mom, you must possess the following skills that are also needed to run a successful business.

1. Prioritizing – First, Moms know the value of prioritizing. As a Mom, we have multiple demands
facing us every day. We have to understand how to prioritize and get things done so that
everything does not fall apart. This is a useful skill for an entrepreneur as well. As a business
owner, you find yourself in a similar position of having to address multiple demands and putting
out fires. Many people are depending on you. Being able to effectively handle prioritizing at
home helps you in running your own business as well.

2. Listening – Moms have great listening skills. Moms do more than just listen to people speak but
we have a keen ear that allows us to read between the lines. We know the right questions to
ask to get to what we really need to know. As a Mom, we can usually decipher body language
and detect when we are not hearing the whole truth. The most important skill you can develop
as an entrepreneur is the ability to listen and understand what your clients’ needs are which
ultimately makes you more successful in business.

3. Care & Compassion – Being a Mom is the most caring and compassionate job there is. Every
Mom I know feel they didn’t know what true unconditional love was until they had children.
Having children, we get up in the middle of the night to nurse a sick child, we stay up late
worrying when they are out and we sacrifice to make sure they are happy. Care and compassion
are innate qualities of Moms and are must have skills for an entrepreneur. With customer
service being key to the success of your business, having a caring and compassionate business
owner is a plus.

4. Organization – To run a household, you have to be organized. Between your own commitments,
getting children to their many activities, keeping a house, etc., the only way to get everything
done that needs to get done is by being organized. Those organizational skills help
tremendously in running a business.

5. Do More with Less – Moms are the masters of doing more with less. It would be great to have
unlimited resources, but many of us just do not have that luxury so we are constantly
improvising and making sure you get things done with what you have…very much like an
entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats in their business. They are usually
juggling many roles and responsibilities and have to get things done with limited resources.

As a high-achieving, successful professional, I wear my Mompreneur badge with pride. Being a
mompreneur is great and I don’t feel marginalized at all. I am able to spend quality time with my
children while showing them the importance being self-sufficient, independent and being their own
boss. Mompreneurs delicately handle the balancing act between family commitments and work, which
I believe makes better families and better businesses.

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A few weeks ago, I took my girls shopping for some spring clothes. My youngest, a real
Fashionista, wanted a lot of items and I had to slow her down and tell her that mommy did not
have money to buy all of the things that she wanted. Her response to me was, “Why can’t you
just put it on your credit card?” That question brought back memories of me asking my mother to
“just write a check” when I wanted something she told me she didn’t have the money for.

This was a vast contrast with my oldest, who had her own money to shop with. Every time she
would see something she liked, she would check the price tag and check to see how much money
she had left. Unless she absolutely had to have it, the item stayed where it was.

Part of being a successful woman is equipping our children to be successful as well and this
shopping experience really hit home to me the need to make sure we are raising financially smart
children.

Raising financially smart children in this day and age can be a real challenge. Their world is
filled with material desires and marketing from an early age…I-pods to hoover boards to
whatever the next technology item is and the list goes on and on. When we as parents make
financial mistakes like over extending ourselves, kids often don’t learn good financial habits that
teaches them about money.

So how can we as parents pass on smart financial lessons to our kids?

1. Walk the Walk
The most important thing you can do to raise financially smart children is to practice
smart finances yourself. You can’t expect to teach your children a lesson you do not
follow yourself. Spend less than you earn, get rid of debt, and build a savings and make
sure you talk to your children about why you’re doing these things.

2. Talk with Them about Money
Take every effort to talk with them (in an age appropriate way) about money. Explain
why you spend less than you earn and why you’re saving for retirement. Explain some of
the spending options you have and why that means you can’t afford a new computer or a
great vacation every year. Teach them about debt and how debt affects you long-term.

3. Give them opportunities to learn good financial habits for themselves
Teach your kids to start saving at a young age. In our house, we teach our children
whenever you get money, you must save 10% and that you give 10% for tithes. Our
children are required to put aside these amounts of every dollar they get before they can
start considering how they will spend the rest. Try opening a savings account at a local
bank and let them make their own deposits. If they save change, let them collect enough
that they can roll. Rolling spare change can be a great family time activity that is both
fun and educational.

Also, help them craft a budget and show them how to stick to it. Also, seek out financial
education opportunities so they can hear these same concepts from others. When my
oldest was 8, we signed her up for a financial ministry class at church. This 10 week
course taught her about handling money God’s way. She loved the class and it was a way
of reinforcing what we had already been teaching her.

4. Encourage them to be entrepreneurial
It is valuable for children to learn they need to work in order to have better things in life,
so it’s a good idea to encourage them to be entrepreneurial early. I have seen children
start businesses from babysitting or a lemonade stand to becoming an author and selling
their book or opening their own hair accessory line. Starting a business gives them the
opportunity to see that in order to earn money, you have to work hard. It also teaches
them about business basics which will be skills that will take them a long way in life.

Teaching financial lessons is one of the most important things we can do as parents to prepare
them for future success. Teaching them well will lay the foundation for financially successful
children who can fly on their own when they leave the nest. What better legacy could you
ask for?

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Welcome to A Devine Life. Now you probably think this blog is named after me and that it will be all about my life and experiences. Well if that is what you thought, you would be on partially correct. I do plan to share some experiences but A D.E.V.I.N.E life is about all of us as women. D.E.V.I.N.E stands for Doing Everything Victoriously While Intentionally Navigating Expectations.

As a wife, mother, practicing attorney, elected official, and entrepreneur, I often get women ask me, “How Do You Do it All”. Although I would in no way profess to have the perfect answer that works for everyone, I will share with you that what I have learned about work life harmony and living a life where you truly feel fulfilled and less stressed starts with managing expectations of others and not allowing other people and their opinions define you and your priorities.

Have you ever had a full schedule and can’t see how you could fit anything else into your day when a close friend calls frantic and asks you for a favor that will mess your whole schedule up or at least take you on a detour from what you had planned? When that ask comes, what do you do? Do you try to cram their priority into your already over scheduled day? Do you say yes, without any clue on how you will get it done but are afraid to “let them down” by saying no?

As high achieving women, balancing the demands of work, family, personal relationships, our own goals and dreams, we tend to want to be everything to everyone. We juggle many priorities and sometimes do it pretty good, but inevitably, there will come a time that one of the balls we are juggling is dropped. Then what. If we have properly managed expectations for ourselves and with others, we will be able to pick it up with no problem. If we don’t, when we drop the ball, it just may be irretrievably broken.

I look forward to sharing with you in this blog how I manage expectations and truly find harmony between the demands of work and life. No one’s life is perfect but we must start creating that “perfect” environment to help us truly be happy and live our Devine lives.

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Spring Forward

March 14, 2016

Are you ready to Spring Forward?

This weekend we “sprung forward” and started daylight savings time. Daylight Savings time helps us enjoy an extra hour of daylight and most folks welcome it as it extends the daylight hours so we can do more in our day.

It also signifies the beginning of spring.

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Traditions

November 27, 2015

As working parents, inevitably we struggle weekly with how to balance the demands of our careers yet be ever present for our children.

As parents, we tend to stress about things that don’t matter all that much.

I read a parenting blog earlier this year and the author was naming 5 things that your children will remember about us as they get older. One of the things he listed that really stuck out to me was family traditions.

Kids remember with great fondness the “traditions” you establish whether it’s a weekly family movie (or game) night, a place you regularly travel for family getaways, the way you celebrate birthdays and special events or any other special tradition.

As I think of traditions my husband and I have started with our girls, the majority of them center on the holidays and making sure they don’t get sucked into the commercialization of Christmas. For example, the weekend after Thanksgiving we go out and get our Christmas tree. Then we spend the evening decorating the tree, while listening to Christmas CD’s, baking chocolate chip cookies and drinking hot chocolate. There is nothing like the time we spend together as a family, just us.

As my girls get older, I realize how quickly time flies and that one day, they will be grown and out of the house. There will always be demands at work, but those demands cannot be allowed to keep me from special moments with the children.

Consider the traditions you are establishing with your children. Create those special moments that they will remember. It doesn’t have to be grand or extravagant. Be intentional about creating some traditions that they’ll want to pass onto their own children someday.

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By Jamie Devine

This article appeared in The State on December 30, 2014 .


Columbia, SC — They were nine simple words that I will never forget: “I am sorry but we cannot find a heartbeat.” Our world changed just like that.

My wife, Tameika, and I were happily awaiting and preparing for the birth of our third child and first son, James Henry. We went to our regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment only to hear those nine horrifying words. Disbelief, numbness and hope were all felt at once. But I quickly went into protective mode as a father. I remember asking “OK, doctor, what are our next steps?” We were told we could go home to wait to induce or induce the same day. We decided to induce that day. Aug. 28 was both a birth day and death day for my perfect little boy.

The memories of that day are so vivid. I remember the six to eight hours I had with James Henry, holding him and loving him. Having a father and son moment with no one else in the room. I remember watching my wife mothering her child after he had already passed. I remember handing my son over to the nurse, knowing I would never see him again, worried that he would be alone without me. These haunting and disturbing memories are emotionally draining. Although these thoughts have eased over the weeks and months, they still show up from time to time.

My life has changed forever. My hopes and dreams for James Henry are gone. It wasn’t until days after the funeral and everyone left that I realized James Henry was not going to be with us. I was angry, frustrated, questioned God and cried. But only when I expressed myself by talking about my emotions to my wife was I relieved. Those days we spent alone, while our daughters were in school, meant the most to me and helped me to cope and understand life more.

Although the medical term for this type of birth is stillborn, James Henry was still born and he will never be forgotten.

Jamie Devine

Columbia

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