Here on I'm going to resurrect a feature I'd been sharing weekly over at Faith & Family Live. "Casual Fridays" will explore the topics of work, career, balance, productivity and spirituality in the workplace. Please note that this is not intended to be a "smackdown" between stay at home moms and those who work outside the home. The truth is that every mom works, and that these topics are relevant for us all -- and for our non-mom readers too, regardless of where our vocations have planted us.

Today, I simply want to reintroduce the concept and share with you A Book of Blessings for Working Mothers. I recently came across this lovely little booklet while on a mother's retreat. Published initially in 1994, it provides affirmation and thoughtful encouragement for moms who work -- while probably aimed at moms who leave home to work, its basis in scripture and references to Proverbs 31 are really relevant for any woman who needs a little TLC, some perspective on the tremendous amount of giving she does every day, and a reminder that it's all from God. I keep it close by when I need a pause for a reminder in the midst of all of my daily craziness that my vocation is worthy, a blessing and a gift.

In Anders' book, one of the blessings offered wishes the working mother is "Perhaps carry an empty briefcase, light as a feather, held by one finger, never touched, never opened..." and a peaceful night of no work interruptions. I smiled when I read this -- since I work at home, the lines between my work day and my home life are far too often blurred beyond recognition. But I suspect with the advent of so many convenient technologies, the same is true for my sister, a lawyer who goes downtown to work, or my friend the pre-school teacher who can be found late at night preparing the next day's crafts. It's also true for the mom who reflexively multitasks, folding laundry in front of the television or meal planning at the stoplight on her way to the market. Our "briefcases" may hold different to do lists, but the burden of work that feels never-ending is a constant for all of us.

So today, as we re-embark on the journey to keep our "Casual Fridays" in perspective, I welcome your thoughts and comments on work, on vocation and on the topics you'd like to see discussed in this space. I wish you a blessed long weekend and a briefcase light as a feather!