Storytime with Christy

Storytime with Christy

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Storytime with Christy gives us parents or grandparents a list of happy healthy kid-approved books to read with our kids or grandparents. Why read out loud? There are numerous studies about the benefit of reading with your kids, even before they are born! It’s a great time to love-on each other, have a laugh, or ignite conversation.

Studies have shown many benefits to storytime

From PBS Kids they recommend starting early with storytime. To read often, read the pictures, and to take a minute and talk about the story, to ask each other questions about it. They go onto say, “the more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school” 

From All4Kids.org they say reading also helps with cognitive development, improved language skills, serves as a platform for academic success, creates a special bond, improves imagination and creativity, plus increases concentration.

What to read?

Not all picture books are the same. I’ve read hundreds of books and there are some books that made one eyebrow go up and face cringe. Many times I’ve asked myself how some books got published! Let me save you some time and disgusted faces. I’ve done the homework for you on picture books when it comes to storyline, characters, pictures, and plot.

These are some of my favorite books I’ve read to my son when he was little. Snuggle up to your kiddos and grab a picture book. These books will make a lasting impression.

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Storytime Books

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld is one of my favorite books to read to kids. I love the cadence and beat of the rhymes. Sherri and Tom did a great job with the word choice and illustrations. It is clever and very cute. Any child will love the imagination of trucks needing to sleep too. I just had to have my own copy. You can get it on Amazon here. It comes in glow-in-the-dark! This is also a great gift to any truck lover.

This book also comes in a board book style.

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Salad Pie by Wendy BooydeGraaff is a fantastic book to ignite imagination for outside play. Wendy is a colleague of mine. In fact, she and I were in a children’s book writing group together. She did a great job making you feel like a kid again playing on the playground. The illustrations by Bryan Langdo capture the beauty and emotion of playing outside. This adorable story makes me, as an adult, even go outside and make salad pie! Nice job Wendy and Bryan.

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When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard MeWilliam brings me back to my days as a kid on the beach in Florida. My dad and I used to build amazing sandcastles, but we never thought a dragon would move in. I love this story. The humor is cute and the pictures are engaging. The dragon kind of reminds me of a dog…so funny. This is one for the library, especially if you want to escape to the beach!

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The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern is a classic. I read this book over and over with my son when he was a tot. It’s educational, it’s easy to read, and you learn how to make a pie! This is a great book to help our kiddos recognize words. And learn how an apple grows through the seasons. A keeper for the home library, and fun to read during apple season!

More Rhyming books

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Dig Dogs Dig by James Horvath is a construction lover’s gem. My son loved to play construction trucks out in the sand and gravel patch we made him. He’d make the noises with his mouth and have them talk. So cute! This book has a great rhythmic cadence. It’s fun to read and has a fun story. Plus there are dogs in it! Great job James on writing and illustrating. A keeper in our house.

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Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae and illustrated by David Wojtowycz is a super fun book to read. We read it so many times that our book cover is getting tattered. We learn about all sorts of jungle animals and what their jungle job is. The pictures are colorful and cute. You really feel good after reading the rhythm of this book. Bravo!

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My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk is a great book for entertainment. With its catchy rhymes and engaging pictures, you’re sure to get a laugh. Storytime has a whole new meaning…giggle time. This is another book of ours that has had a workout. Nice job guys!

More books to come!

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

My mental wellness plan started early in my years. I learned at a young age how to develop a relationship with nature. It’s not until later in life I realized how important that relationship was going to be. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘relationship with nature? That sounds weird, but what we’re addressing here is mental health and how to manage it. And nature was my #1 go-to, I also have four other incredible ways to tame the lion within ourselves and kiddos.

The beach

My toes were planted in wet sand. My arms stretched out as wind combed through my pigtails. “Let’s give them a show,” I said. I cleared my throat, threw up my hands, and orchestrated the waves as they crashed and rippled onto the beach. My mind was free, I had no stress, I played and used my creativity; I was happy. It was just me and the beach. No toys. No electronics. In fact, no one else was by me. It was a simple setting, yet a powerful one for my mental wellbeing.

The brain

National Geographic wrote, “Nature provides us essentials like clean water, food, medicines, even recreational retreats… it also helps regulate our weather and climate. But these systems are extremely fragile…we know that once they are gone, there are no replacements.” We didn’t need National Geographic to tell us this. However, isn’t that statement similar to our mental health? Our brains need clean water, good food, and recreational escapes to help normalize our well-being. If we don’t get these things, our minds, too, are fragile and will break.

Mental health issues shouldn’t be shrugged under the rug. We all have them! Sorry to break that news to you, but we do have our own mental poo; whether it’s addictions (large or small), obsessive-compulsive disorders, learning disabilities, anxiety, anger, hypochondria, social challenges, depression, PTSD, or what have you; we all have a touch of something, even your kids do too. Perfectionism doesn’t exist in this world. Now, don’t you feel better you’re not alone?

What can we do about it?

You’d think that we can either fix it or we can try to ignore it. But neither way works very well. What we need to do is manage it. Fixing it 100% doesn’t exist, it’s bound to surface again someday, and ignoring it is going to lead to other problems. Who needs more problems? Yet managing it helps us understand our triggers and how to handle them.

My mental issue

For me, I’m mad at my body. I know that sounds silly, but my body has caused me a lot of grief in my life, from autoimmune hepatitis, hyperemesis gravidarum, bulging disc, miscarriage, colitis, torn ligaments, and nerve damage to name a few. These all have put a mental toll on me. It’s one thing if these ailments are short-lived, but they weren’t and are not. They go on and on. Anyone hear me out there? Some people just go with the flow, and boy, I admire those people. I honestly don’t know how they do it, hence, my mental issue. I’m just mad that my body can’t figure out balance and I eat well and exercise. However, what I do know is that I’m driven to figure it out; that’s why you’ll see posts about health stuff every so often at Simplify Firefly.

Maybe this will help you understand my madness, my dream as a kid was to have optimum health. Weird dream for a kid, but hey, I’m weird. At a young age, I wanted to be super healthy, strong, and run an Iron Man. I’ve been trying to work towards this since 1982 when I was doing Disney Mousercise in my driveway…basically aerobics to Disney tunes, and yes on a Boom box, I had the cassette version. But even at a young age, it was one blow after another, then another. However, I always had hope that I’d learn something new. The Lord gave me that light and helped me through and through. Oh, I love Him so much.

Acceptance

It has taken me years to accept my mental issue, but it’s clear as day to me as I look back on life and I can see how this all came to be. Believe me; my madness wasn’t helping my health at all. It was probably making it worse. A vicious cycle it was and still is if I ignore my mental state.

With that said, this is a journey friend. I still struggle with management today, but I’m determined to understand my root cause, which I know I’m getting closer to. I think that’s why I share so much because maybe someone has gone through the same kind of thing and we can help each other. What do you have to lose?

What to do.

Probably the biggest step in helping ourselves and our children with mental health management is to digest that we have something going on. Upon discovery, many may experience anger at first, but others will feel relief that they finally figured a piece of the puzzle out. Does that make sense? All in all, when we can embrace it and understand it, we’ll have a better chance of managing it and living that amazing life we always envisioned. I may not run an Iron Man, but I’ll know a heck of a lot more about how my body works and why it does what it does.

Anger Management 101

I could end on that, but it’s important to reiterate that a ‘lack of understanding’ usually gets us upset in the first place. Why? Because we don’t understand! That’s why fights happen and judgments lash. We don’t know why people act the way they do, because we don’t live in their shoes. For all we know they could be sick, have a chronic illness, be abused, have social issues, or on drugs. And when we don’t know how to manage those things, a mess of emotions implodes and then explodes on others.

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When we have an anger about something, we usually want to do something about it. I’m not talking about anger towards a person when you want to lash out at them for saying something stupid, that’s a different post. The anger I’m referring to is about how we react to either ourselves or a cause that affects other people. Some call it anger, others call is passion. You can take it a step further and call it uniqueness. There is this great book by Matthew Barnett, “The Cause Within You”. I highly recommend this book to not only inspire your own life but to motivate how to help others. Super good!

Okay, so what do we do now?

I’d have to say the majority of people try to ignore their mental state or try to numb it with something else like drugs, alcohol, shopping, or eating. Another route to managing our mindfulness includes prescription drugs and/or counseling. These are helpful ways if used correctly, but they can be pricy and scary for that matter. And what about the kids? As parents, we can teach our kids how to manage our ‘uniqueness’ in less complicated ways, of course depending on the severity.

*Disclaimer: For the record, I am not a therapist, nor am I trying to be one. These are things I have personally learned and wanted to share them with you. Please consult your physician before trying anything new, especially if you or your child is at risk of hurting themselves.*  

5 valuable and creative ways to help

Here are some creative ways to help you and your family manage our mental uniqueness.

1. Get outside

Remember that relationship with nature I started talking about? The National Academy of Sciences performed a study that shows a simple 90-minute walk in nature {a place with trees} decreases negative thinking about oneself. Taking a walk in an urban area like a city or industrial park has zero effect. This study reveals that there is a “…pathway by which nature experiences may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health…”

I don’t have 90 minutes to take a walk but I do have 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes are gold to me. My ideal walking area is to be around trees. For you, it might be the beach, the park, field, or mountains.

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The University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation’,” which is largely due to screen time… Push your kids outside. Show them how to get started with orchestrating the waves, climbing trees, building a fort out of sticks or snow. My favorite is to grab a camera (a camera separate from a phone) and ask for certain pictures to be taken. We had gotten one for our son and he absolutely loved it! He still goes back and looks at his pictures.

If nature goes away; so will our sanity.

2. Head to your hobby

A hobby can do loads for you. It keeps your hands busy and your mind focuses on being creative and being you! Kids love this! I wrote a post on hobbies with a list of different ones to try, check’r out!

3. Do something kind for your body.

Our bodies take most of the brunt from stress. As much as my body and mind are not getting along, I’m still kind to it. When you feel good, you are kinder to yourself and others around you. Do you need a run, a yoga session, a massage, a hot bath, a cup of tea on the couch? Do something that makes you feel better that is good and pure. This teaches kids how to pamper themselves when pampering is needed.

4. Eat foods for your brain

Food matters! Your brain needs fats, the good fats. And getting the clean kind in your body helps your body and brain fight off free-radicals…those are the guys that destroy the good stuff. Here is a post about Omega Oils that will help you out. And don’t forget the avocados.

5. Journal

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I know this sounds like old news, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Journaling works. When our thoughts are written down on paper, more so than typed, it’s like you’ve given permission to let the hurt get out of you. Write about your journey and what you’re trying to do to help. Put down what is working and what is definitely not working! Put in what you’re grateful for too. Not all journaling needs to be venting, having a flip side to things to healthy. Journaling is a great exercise to help kids express their emotions yet feel like they have some privacy. Plus it’s fun to shop for their very own journal. Another idea is to check out this workbook specifically for anger management. It will you guys understand each other.

For more ideas, this post from Mental Health America is a good one!

Taking little steps here and there are strides for our health both body and especially mind. Show your kids how to do it. You’ll be helping yourself and teaching your family. Win-Win!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day

heart and red flowers valentine's day

Let’s feel the love this Valentine’s Day, or should we not? While writing this post my thoughts got mixed on Valentine’s Day. From what I found out it’s like a love/hate kind of thing. Since there’s no way to avoid February 14th, I’ve got some simple and inexpensive gift ideas for you, your family, and friend; but first I gotta tell you what I learned about this ‘loving’ holiday, it certainly surprised me!

Valentine’s Day originated from a Roman festival. It had nice intentions of celebrating the coming Spring. Because as we know, with Spring comes rebirth. The Romans capitalized this season and promoted fertility at this time. Side note; if you have a November birthday, your parents probably practiced the Roman tradition. LOL! Anyway, what I didn’t expect was a dark side to this ‘lovers’ holiday.

The Darkside of Valentine’s Day

This Roman festival included, what sounds like, arranged marriages by a lottery. Say what? All I can picture is taking a ticket at the meat counter and waiting for someone to call my name and hope and pray I was attracted to him. This does not sound very romantic, but they did it!

And according to legend, there was a priest whose name was Valentine. The story isn’t clear of whether the priest secretly married people behind the emperor’s back to spare men from war, or if the priest signed a letter to a jailer’s daughter “from your Valentine” which created havoc. Either way, the emperor, Caludius II Gothicus, martyred him! Yes murdered the guy named Valentine.

As for cupid, he represents the Roman god of love. Are you as confused as I am? This holiday is messed up, murder, love, lottery, and a naked baby with a bow n arrow. The Romans back then had some mental issues.

What We’re Spending

I get it that we’re celebrating this guy, Valentine, but “Be My Valentine” or “Will you be my Valentine?” sounds weird to me now that I understand the back story. Frankly put, these days, retailers use the holiday to get more business. In 2019 53% of all Americans spent a grand total of $30 billion. Heart-shaped candies and decadent chocolates get me all the time, but I spend maybe $25- $50 on Valentine’s Day, that’s including dinner. However, the average person spends about $225 on one person. There is nothing wrong with that. Your significant other’s love language may be ‘gifts’. But if you’re on a tight budget there are other ways to go about showing your love.

Keep Valentine’s Day Simple with These Ideas

gift ideas

The Card

The average cost of a Valentine’s card is $4.99. That can add up with kids and even pets. Yes, they have cards for pets. Three kids alone plus a dog could cost $20. Ouch. Here’s a different idea, back in the day, my husband and I were strapped for money, and so instead of buying each other a card, we took a picture of the card in the store then shared the pictures with each other. I know that sounds lame, but it was actually quite fun. There are many benefits to this: it’s inexpensive, saves the environment, and you can keep it on your phone forever! In fact, if you found more than one perfect card, you can take a picture of that one too!

As for kids, homemade Valentine’s are the best. Any kind of gift made with our very hands means so much more than something you buy. You can Google a joke or cute saying and incorporate that into a homemade card.

The Gifts

Unless it’s your birthday on Valentine’s Day, big gifts are out, at least in our home. Money doesn’t buy love. Time does. Time with your spouse, friend, kids, and pets says a lot more than the latest video game. What are they going to remember more? The gift and who got it for them? Or will they remember the memory of playing Battleship and Clue and the epic popcorn-launch-in-your-mouth game? Actually the Game of Clue might be appropriate for Valentine’s Day…remember Roman times? Here’s my skinny on gifts and what we do in my family. Candy.

The Candy

Candy is instant, enjoyable for everyone, and easy. Get whatever is their favorite sugar bomb. I know it’s not the healthiest, but skip dessert and have the candy instead…don’t forget portion control. My son loves those Sweetart Hearts, my husband is all about Nerds, and me, well, my hands-down favorite of all favorites is See’s Candies. Seriously, these are the best chocolates I’ve ever had. AND they are gluten-free! If you don’t have a retailer near you, you can order online, believe me, it’s worth it. They are SO good!

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The Flowers

If candy isn’t your thing, flowers do make a great gift. Here’s the kicker. Keep the flowers simple. They don’t have to be red roses. The jester is what counts. Recently, my husband stumbled upon white roses at Trader Joe’s. He got a dozen for like $7.00. Can’t beat that, and they lasted a long time. They were beautiful. Thank you Trader Joe’s! The other option with flowers is to go for the carnations. They are a simple flower that comes in a variety of colors. A large bouquet is about half the price of a dozen roses (roses not from Trader Joe’s). I personally like to mix carnations and roses together like in this picture.

The Touch

Besides the gift of time, sweet treats, and flowers, touch is just as important if not more. Touch is another language of love. It’s definitely my husband’s. Intimate time with your spouse or boyfriend is probably all they want for Valentine’s Day. Stop spending your money on other things, just give him some lovin’. As for kids, snuggles or tickle-attacks while watching “Be My Valentine Charlie Brown” serves the best of both worlds for child and mom/dad. Feel goods with hugs and laughs with tickles are a joy to the heart.

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The Valentine’s Dinner

Let’s talk about dinner. If it’s just your spouse/friend with you, you’ll spend an average of $50 at a restaurant. And don’t forget to tip! Oh, did I mention the babysitter? As for time, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights at restaurants. You may have to wait for a table. I didn’t even mention traffic or weather. A different option is to have a candlelight dinner at home. This saves time and money. I know it may sound boring, but that’s up to you. Dress-up, get some music playing and have your kids wait on you and play restaurant at the same time. It’s something different to try this year. At the grocery, you’ll spend at least half of the amount on a meal than at the restaurant. Get some steak, salad, and garlic bread. Start up the grill and “By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER!” Yes, I have dated myself with He-Man. Dinner at home can be fun for everyone!  

money doesn't buy love, time does

Final Tips for a Great Valentine’s Day

Lastly, decorating with construction paper hearts tapped on the sliding glass door gets everyone in a loving mood. You don’t need to go all out with decorations. Keep it simple. It’s a gentle reminder that Valentine’s Day should be fun and not filled with a martyr. Now that I think about it, I think I’ll get some lottery tickets on Valentine’s Day, tis the Roman season! Enjoy, and don’t forget to get those chocolates!

By Christy Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved. 

The Proven, No-Fail Christmas Gift for Kids.

The Proven, No-Fail Christmas Gift for Kids.

The proven no-fail Christmas gift for kids

Making Christmas special is what most parents aim for with their kids. What I’m about to share is something I wished I had learned years ago with my son. It’s the proven, no-fail Christmas gift that is sure to make every Christmas special.

Presents!

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. We all know this. And the stores love this! I’ve been sucked into Black Friday, store sales, and crowds; anxiety took residency and what was supposed to be fun turned into frustration. In fact, this year I thought I’d avoid crowds and shop online. It was convenient to shop while eating pancakes, but I soon realized I fell prey to the timed sales and limited deals.

My body temperature increased as the minutes slipped away and my mind swirled not being able to make a decision. Before I knew it I was sweating through my comfy pajamas! What the heck was happening to me? My husband even said, “They got ya!” He got that right. The shopping hoopla had its grip on me. The kick-in-the-pants is that it the time spent got me NOWHERE. In fact, I had taken that whole morning with my face in the computer missing out on hanging with my son and walking our dog. And you know what? I ended up returning half the stuff when they arrived on my doorstep.

Feel the Love.

Don’t me get wrong, gifts are fun to give. Gifting is, in fact, some people’s love language. On a side note, in case you didn’t know, there are five defined love languages and each is unique on its own. If you don’t know your love language or the language of your family members, I highly recommend Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages.” Click on the picture below for more details.

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Picking out the ‘perfect’ toy for your child, something that is unexpected and so exciting is where the magic happens…at least in the moment of buying, wrapping, hiding and then opening. But then what?

Let me put this way, in five years is your child going to remember that toy she played with for maybe four weeks? Is she going to even remember who gave it to her? In some cases, she might. But in most cases, she won’t. The real magic isn’t a tangible item, it’s something more valuable.  

family christmas gift

An Ultimate Christmas Story

Let me tell you a story I heard years ago that I wished I absorbed better. Here’s my second chance. I hope you enjoy it.

It was in the early evening of December 20th. A father and his young son were planning a trip to the city. They had a checklist of all the things they wanted to see and do; the big Christmas tree, the street decorations, ice staking at the city center, Christmas cookies at Carla’s Bakery, hot chocolate at the “Reindeer Barn”, and most of all the toy store where the son got to pick out his present. 

The dad was excited to show his son all the sites and to buy him the perfect present at the store. And the son, well, he just couldn’t wait to get to the toy store. He’d say, “Dad let’s do the store first!” The father would reply, “No. We don’t want to carry the gift around all night.” Yet the son persisted throughout the day leading up to the downtown venture. “Dad, I can carry it. I promise I’ll be careful.” We all know the real answer to that, not happening fella. The dad was starting to get a little annoyed that his son only wanted to go to the store, but he reminded himself that he was just a being a kid.

Uh-Oh! Or Not So?

After brushing a fresh blanket of snow off the car, they hopped in their seats and performed their ‘system checks’. “Hat?” the father asked, “Check” replied the son. “Gloves?” “Check”. “Phone?” “Check”. “Wallet?” “Check”. All systems were a go. The key went into the ignition, the dad’s grip got stronger, and turned key upward. Nothing happened. He tried again, but this time he pushed on the gas just to see. Complete quietness. Not even a click. The dad took in a big breath, looked at the son, exhaled and said, “Looks like we need a new plan.”

The son thought the trip was off, no toy store, no nothing. His eyes started to sting and his throat got tight. They headed back inside the house, the son sat on the couch and flipped channels. After about five minutes the dad looked at his son and said, “Grab your boots, we’re not going to let a broken-down car stop us!” They put on their hats, gloves, and coats and started to walk down the sidewalk. The son asked, “Are we going to walk there? It’s so far!” His dad said, “Nope, we’re going to ride the city bus. We’re just walking to the bus stop.”

The Ride.

When the father and son got on the bus, they sat in the middle side by side. The bus driver announced they were headed to the heart of the city, and off they went. During the ride, the son and father played “I spy”, they talked about the silly dog sitting in the seat across the aisle, they looked at Christmas lights on buildings and homes they passed, they played a game of “Would You Rather”, and lots of giggles where shared.  

They made it to the city and saw the beautiful tree. Lights alone the sidewalk sparkled. They ate Christmas cookies and drank hot chocolate. Everything on the list was being checked off. The last stop before heading home was the infamous toy store. The son walked through the doors and his eyes got wide. They spent at least an hour in the store before the son carefully picked out his present. The father with a full heart bought him the gift and they walked back to the bus stop.  

On the bus ride home the son asked, “Would you rather ride Rudolph or be Rudolph? Would you rather drink one cup of hot chocolate every day for a year or eat 10 candy canes in an hour?” When they arrived at their final stop, they wished the bus driver a Merry Christmas and started to walk home. As the son and father held hands, the dad asks his son, “What were your top three favorite things of the whole night?” The son replied, “Playing ‘Would You Rather’, laughing, and the best of the best was riding the bus with my dad.”

Christmas Love.

This melts my heart. The son didn’t mention the toy; he didn’t mention cookies or hot chocolate. His son said that it was the time his dad spent with him that was the most special.  The dad didn’t see that coming. My friends, ‘time’ is the real magic. It’s a gift that will last a lot longer than a plastic toy or video game for that matter.  

Merry Christmas from Do More Than Exist. May you enjoy many “bus ride” moments this Holiday season.

By Christy Copyright © 2019 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved. 

The Meaning of Christmas & Your Identity. Don’t Miss This!

The Meaning of Christmas & Your Identity. Don’t Miss This!

Are you looking to have an awesome Christmas this year? A Christmas that will have meaning? I know I am. This past month I researched Christmas, that’s kind of funny to say. But I sought out answers to this holiday. After I put some of these pieces together, I was reminded of how to make this holiday a meaningful one. And who knew it has to do with identity…the meaning of part of our existence? Before we get to that let’s have a short history lesson.

What’s up with ‘Merry Christmas’?

Tis the season to be Merry, fa la la la laaa, la la la laaaa! In 1843 it was Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” that introduced the word ‘Merry’ for “Merry Christmas”. Did you know that? I didn’t. The dictionary defines Merry as cheerful and lively. Occasionally you’ll hear “Happy Christmas”, but “Merry” fits the bill. The word “Christmas” originated from “Christ’s Mass” which literally means a group of many people gathering to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. In fact, this celebration started in 313 AD, three centuries after Jesus’s crucifixion. Interesting isn’t it?

Let’s talk about gifts. 
christmas gift with pinecone

For most people, Christmas’s meaning means presents. How did gift giving come into play on Christmas? Well, it’s not a black and white answer:

1– It started in Europe as a pagan custom around Winter Solstice, a celebration to mark the shortest day of the year. It falls in the range of December 20th-23rd each year. At this time ancient Rome would celebrate this day by gift-giving.

2– Around 336 AD December 25th was established as Jesus’s birthday in which the solstice gift-giving tradition leaked into the Christian holiday. Some believe that the gift giving started with the three Magi (wise men) giving gifts to baby Jesus.

3– On top of that, Santa Claus was introduced from a fourth-century Greek bishop who was a gift giver, Saint Nicholas. His legacy gradually blended into the Christmas celebration.

So “Merry Christmas” is a combination of things, but one thing is for sure, “Christ’s Mass” has stood the test of time. Jesus came to save us from our sins so we would have the opportunity to have life after death. “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”, says Jesus. And in Mark 10:45 Jesus also says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

How meaning comes into play

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A few years ago I read Matthew Barnett’s book The Cause Within You. He talks about his experience of listening and obeying God’s cause that He placed in his heart. Based in LA, he tells great stories about how people off the street, the homeless, the drug dealers and prostitutes have completely turned their life around by focusing on Jesus and the cause God placed in their hearts. How serving others, rather than serving themselves and their addictions has changed their life.

He says, “As soon as you start thinking about the needs and burdens of others, and what you can do to alleviate them, or how you can bless and build up others, you begin to establish a new identity for yourself – your true identity. “ (page 38) This brings on meaning! Meaning for living.

Think about that for a minute. Christmas is the most popular time of year to give; not just presents. Just look at the Christmas movies: It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, or even Die Hard. Yes, I just referenced Elf and Die Hard in the same sentence. But hear me out, they all have something in common.

Do what now?

Let me ask you this, what do you think would be a powerful way to celebrate the birth of Jesus this year? Sure we can give tangible gifts or donate money to a cause, those are fantastic ideas! But what about your time? Your precious time? What about sacrificing a slice of your time and put your talents to work to take the burden off someone else? What about using your strength to help a neighbor out with a project? What about turning on your personality to lift someone up with a little encouragement? You might say, “But I do that already Christy” But do you do it with Jesus in mind? Do you consciously say, “Hey Jesus, let’s bless someone today! Use me. Work through me. Let’s do this!”?

I love this statement from Rick Warren, “What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived, but how you lived.” In the Bible, 1 Peter 4 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” But here’s a bonus in all this. If you think serving is just for the person being served, you’re missing it.

christmas scrabble

What does serving do for you? It produces being Merry. It gives you meaning.

  • It gives significance. Putting our talents to work to help someone else is meaningful for us. It warms the cockles of God’s heart. And generates joy in your own.
  • It produces gratitude both for the servant and the person being served.
  • It brings us back to earth. Serving helps take the focus off what’s going on inside us, to what’s going on around us. This helps us put our own lives in perspective.
Here are a few tips that have worked for me on serving others:
  • The Golden Rule. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • Vision yourself helping.
  • Pray for opportunities in which you can help someone out.

I have an experiment for you to try this month to gain more meaning in this holiday. I bet you know what it is. Serve with the mindset as giving a gift to Jesus; use your time, talents, and strength to give back to Him. Not sure where to serve? Don’t make this complicated. Open your eyes and pay attention to your surroundings. He’ll tell you.

One more thing, I encourage you to experience a “Christ’s Mass” and attend a Christmas Eve service at church this year.

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved.

4 Fixes of the Volunteering Woes. I love #3.

4 Fixes of the Volunteering Woes. I love #3.

three musketeers

Have you caught yourself saying, “Oh, someone else will do it.”? We all know volunteering is essential for our charities, religious organizations, pancake breakfasts, environmental cleanups, and schools to name a few. And we all know we SHOULD volunteer for something, right? But why at times (not all the time) do we see volunteering as a daunting task?

The Stage:

Let’s say you’re at…a magic show. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine creates mystery, the magician stands with a power pose and says, “I need a volunteer!” Eyebrows raise. Hands pop up. Voices chirp, ‘pick me, pick me’!

Let’s say you’re at…church. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine softens the ambiance, the Pastor stands with a power pose and says, “I need volunteers”. No one moves, some eyeballs roll, and then…there’s a cough.

A little different isn’t it? Many people use the excuse of time. “I don’t have time”. I’ve used it, I’m guilty. But is that really the case? I wish it was…but if there’s something you REALLY want to do, you’ll make time for it. So what gives? Let’s start with the logical answer: Interest. If you’re not attracted to the task at hand; you’re not going to raise your hand for it.

Fix #1: Just say ‘No’?

My last blog post was about saying ‘No’. Well, friends, this is when you can practice it. Say what? I’m not encouraging you to NOT volunteer for stuff; I’m cheering you on to volunteer for stuff you ENJOY. Let me explain: if you don’t like the outdoors, then don’t volunteer to plant trees. If you aren’t a toddler-time kind of person, then don’t volunteer in the kid’s wing. If you hate the smell of pancakes, then don’t volunteer at the pancake breakfast. It’s okay! They don’t want you there. No one likes a grumpy volunteer or worse yet to hear how much you hated it.

When you enjoy a task at hand you do a better job, you have fun, and you make in difference in more ways than one. Now that’s rocket science, people. Having an interest in what you’re giving your time and attention to creates joy. BUT WAIT, there’s an exception to this ‘no’ thing: if you don’t know if you’ll like it, then totally do it! What a great way to test it out.

Fix #2: Getting there

Do you ever say, ‘when I’m there, I’m good”? I have had dozens of experiences where I didn’t want to go but was grateful after I got there. But even when I’m volunteering for something I know I’ll enjoy, I STILL have to make an effort to hurdle the couch, forgo the beach, and ignore the ‘to-do’ list. How to fix this obstacle? Think about the end first. Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I’m done?” Then focus on that.

Another way to look at it is to put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and ask yourself if you were them, how would you want to be treated? Would you like someone to not help you because they were into their Netflix series?

Fix #3: But I’ll be all alone…

I have a hard time pampering this one because I’m an advocate for embarking on the unknown without knowing anyone. Why? Because you learn a tremendous amount about your character when alone. Questions like ‘who am I?’ and ‘who do I want to become?’ get an opportunity to plant a seed in you. It’s like searching for a piece to a puzzle. You know the piece is somewhere on the table; the hard part is finding it. But when you do find it, a small flutter happens and you get to see a little bit more of the big picture. So here it goes friends, “Suck it up and go.” Who cares if you go solo, there are people there in the same boat.

To help you out here are some websites to get your juices flowing about volunteering. http://www.volunteermatch.org/about/ or this one http://www.500volunteers.com/

Fix #4: Go in with the right attitude

Have fun. Remember who you’re working for, the Big Man upstairs. Help with a smile on your face. Nothing is worse than seeing someone help you in disgust. How does that make you feel when a grouchy person is helping you? I just wanted to remind you of that.

Also, this is super important. Go in without expecting a lot in return, you may not even get a thank you, just prepare yourself for that. They are grateful, they might not know how to show it or say it.

puzzled about volunteering

“Okay Christy, geesh, I get it; so why is it so important to volunteer?”

There are a number of reasons with a bunch of explanations behind them, let’s check some out:

  • Assist those who need it…the less fortunate, the disabled, the elderly, the young.
  • Create connections. Network.
  • Experience wellness. Studies have shown that volunteering helps boost self-confidence, personal satisfaction, and even help combat anxiety.
  • Career enhancement. Want to try a new career path before jumping headfirst? Volunteering gives you a taste without any waste. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.

Everyone deserves a smile, a thank you, and a helping hand. Seeing appreciation from the faces of the people I help is priceless and brings wealth to my heart. Be a success, challenge yourself to help one person in the next seven days.

To sum all this up, without volunteers we DO get divided, we do fall. Think about those events at church, school, or the community center. It’s the volunteers who are the real Musketeers. Next time you hear the word ‘volunteer’, stay tuned to your instincts and pay attention to what you enjoy. Say ‘no’ when you need to and ‘yes’ when you want to. You’ll make an impact on not only the people you’re serving, but on the bigger picture.

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

The #1 Mistake I Make When Busy Takes Over.

The #1 Mistake I Make When Busy Takes Over.

Is it me, or is it true that the last six weeks of school are insanely busy? Every year I say to myself, “I can handle May and June; I’m prepared for it.” But when it hits all the neat and tidy thoughts explode into chaos. Seriously! What am I doing wrong? The answer to this question is not what I’m doing right or wrong, the answer sits before my action.

My margin in the next four weeks is narrow. Some people see busy as a badge, some see it as a weight. And if you’re like me, I actually like to be busy…its fun for me…most of the time. But right now, it’s no joke; I am too busy to enjoy ‘busy’. I feel like someone should slap me in the face and say, “Get a hold of yourself Christy!” There are probably a lot of issues in this paragraph, but that’s a different post.

Don’t get me wrong I’m excited about having fun this summer with my family, but since I work from home, balance and harmony with projects and play can be super challenging! So I have a choice during these anxious weeks on the edge of summer: I can work on these things every spare moment, or I can embrace this time and live in the moment.

Carpe Diem

Right now I’m supposed to tell you that I chose to live in the moment. That I am skipping down the sidewalk smelling the lilacs, singing the words Carpe Diem, and hosting a butterfly on my shoulder. Yeah, that’s…not…happening. Yes I want to smell the lilacs, yes I want to change the world, yes I want to love on my family, and yes I want to get things done for church, the community, my job, the school fundraisers…yes, yes, yes! Um…hmm…so…this is when you see me draw circles in the dirt with my toe. Yep. I just realized what’s been happening. “Yes.”

It’s my fault. My expectations and my make-believe expectations others have for me weakens my stance. The answer to ‘what am I doing wrong’ sits on one of two words: YES or NO. I need to pick one when someone asks me something. More importantly, I need to pick one when I ask myself of something.

p;ink chair

So which word is going to hold the most weight?

It depends. It depends on your personal values. Values? According to Dictionary.com, values are a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life. Let me ask you, do you know what your values are? Have you ever really thought about it?

If we want to be true to ourselves, values hold a lot of weight. So check this out, if people could use their values as a guide to their ‘yes’ or ‘no’, then life would be so much more enjoyable, don’t cha think? Isn’t that what were after? Joy? Then why is it so hard to use our values? Why have I collapsed these past weeks? Because I FORGOT to use my values to hold me up. I forgot! This was my #1 mistake!

If you were a knight geared up for battle, what piece of equipment protects you from arrows? What piece of equipment gives you a little more confidence when running towards the battlefield? Do you remember that scene in the movie 300 when all the soldiers used their shields to protect themselves? That’s what values do.

I wrote this post to remind you to not lose sight of your values; to put your values in-front of your YES or NO. And to not forget the power and protection that values hold. Young eyes are watching you.

Head to my Freebies for a free Printable to help you define your values.

Like the post? Please ‘share’ or ‘like’ on social media, this helps the post reach more people. Thank you! And don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts, tips & tricks, and surprises! Subscribe here.

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

3 Steps to Preserve Our Space

3 Steps to Preserve Our Space

lost in space ad

Okay, so right now on Netflix, my family and I are watching the remake of the 1965 TV series “Lost in Space”. It’s about the Robinson family who goes on a space adventure to find a better planet to live on…earth is dying. Well, they crash on this alien planet, which is incredibly beautiful but has a whole bunch of mess with it. To top it off they have ridiculously dishonest “Dr. Smith” and a bipolar robot, named “Robot”. Will Robinson, the youngest in the Robinson family becomes friends with Robot. Robot protects Will and warns him if danger is near. This is where we hear the infamous, “Danger Will Robinson”. The crew battles crazy challenges that are stupidly entertaining and unrealistic, but I love to watch them play the game of survival. Each character has their own distinct nature that anyone can relate to. And now Netflix just came out with Season 2, which is just as good as Season 1. I’m addicted to this show! Go watch it.

Space Invaders

This post isn’t about a Lost In Space review, although I could go on and on about it. Instead, I wanted to bring your attention to a different kind of space, physical space. Space in our homes, our backyards, and our overall planet. Our space is getting invaded by…ourselves. If there is space, we want to fill it. This is true with our stomachs, our homes, our phones, Pinterest page, and our closets. I could go onto say that space affects our wallets, but that’s a different post. When we manage our space, let’s say the kitchen cupboard, we can see our options easily and we’re less stressed because it’s organized. But what if we went beyond the cupboard and into our backyards. I know that’s pretty drastic, but hand with me.

Earth and survival go hand in hand. Everything we need to survive is outdoors; the sun, trees, plants, clean air, water, resources, and beauty to entertain. Our Heavenly Father created us to live on earth, but let’s face it, we are invading it and destroying the power pellets to make it work properly. In “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren he expresses, “You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it”.  I think he meant this in a purposeful way, but you can also look at this with a physical sense.

“GPGP” what?

I recently heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). The pristine Pacific Ocean that is the lifeblood to our planet is slowly and steadily being filled with garbage. Right now the patch has more than doubled the size of Texas! Whoa, say what? The Pacific Ocean isn’t in my backyard, but it’s a crucial part of why and how our environment works.

Let me take the mic for a minute

I understand everyone is not into nature, but you’re still a human who drinks water, breathes air, and who likes to go to the beach for vacation. Our existence impacts the earth’s existence, and if the earth dies, so do we.

Most of us have taken initiatives to do our part to help preserve and protect our backyards. Thank you! But some of us just don’t get it, or frankly, we don’t care. For instance, we have big trash bins but no recyclable bin, we use chemicals on our grass, and we keep the car running while sitting in a parking lot. There is a lot to be said about comfort vs character. I’m not asking for people to give up toilet paper, I’m just asking for awareness…your personal wakefulness on the subject. Think of it this way, if we don’t take notice of our actions, our future grandchildren just may be called the Garbage Pail Kids.

What is space?

John Muir answers that question pretty straight forward: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

John Muir quote in trees

Whether you are a city slicker or country folk, the outdoors is a necessity in life; it’s our peacekeeper for the mind, body, and even relationships. It’s our space that doesn’t need to be filled with all our stuff. So what can you do today to help with our space issue?

Here are 3 survival steps to start with:

#1 Connect with nature. Kind of how Will Robinson connected with the robot. After they developed a relationship with each other, they took care of each other. Go barefoot, roll in the leaves, swim in a lake or ocean, exercise outdoors, have a picnic, start a garden, or simply let her entertain you. Make time to do this.

#2 Put a picture of the GPGP or any garbage dump on your refrigerator. Seeing is believing. Be proud of how much you recycle. Measure how much you do. Your actions will influence your neighbors or at least get them thinking!

#3 Plant a tree. Trees do a whole for us, like helping us breathe! Trees are easy to take care of and they bring personality to your yard. Heck, you can name them if you want! I named my Blue Spruce “Bruce”. Need a tree? Go to the Arbor Day Foundation. You can have them plant a tree for you where it’s needed most!

ocean with Mother Teresa quote

We may not be lost in space, but we may just lose space on our planet. Cue the robot, “Danger, Will Robinson.” Find your own ‘earth thing’, then own it.

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

1 Simple Way to Make a Difference Globally

1 Simple Way to Make a Difference Globally

What is one way you’d like to make a difference in this world? I have an easy and super effective idea for you and your family to look at; which could not only save a life but an entire village. We often take this one thing for granted, and most of us will continue to do so until we understand what it’s like to not have it. Let’s play a little game to see if you know what this is.

Quick quiz

Try and guess this simple thing that has a big impact, answer these three statements:

  • I planted a garden and depended on this to see my first flower bloom. What is it?
  • I had no energy, no appetite, no hope, all due to a rare disease that hindered me of this. What is it?
  • My husband left for a two-week venture to Nepal, his bravery and drive brought him there because of this for the people. What is it?

Do you know what it is? I bet it’s on your desk right now. It’s something so simple yet filled with power in a thousand ways. If you take notice of this you too will see where this small thing has made a big impact on your life. I know I’m not the only one.

My delighted encounter

When my husband and I moved into our new home I was giddy to have our own place. Before then we lived in apartments and duplexes. Some we fixed up and rented, others we lived there…no fixing needed. What a difference a house made for us! Sure there is a lot more responsibility, but as many I dreamed of my first real home. Granted it wasn’t brand new, but at least I could make a snow angel on the carpet without hitting any furniture!

Yet, the best part about our house is that it had a backyard. A garden was definitely in order. I wanted to see something I planted with my own hands grow. There is something magical about planting something. Getting my hands dirty was like therapy. Gardening renewed my mind, I didn’t think about work, or my to-do list, for all I focused on was the steps to gardening. Step one, weed, then break up the dirt (my favorite), push in a small hole, plant the seed, cover the seed, then water. That first day in the garden was so fun. My dirt-filled fingernails delicately pushed the last seed into the ground, I gently covered the seed, and then watered. Now the sun does its job. And all I have left to do is to make sure it has water to grow. I knew this easy project was going to make a difference, not only for our own eye but for our neighbors. We reaped a harvest of food over the years with our garden, flowers delighted our souls, and we passed the love onto our neighbors. Some of our neighbors got inspired and even planted their own gardens. This garden made a difference in our small neighborhood, all because of water.

A fight that still haunts me

Exhausted and debilitated from nonstop nausea and uncontrolled vomiting I clenched my cross desperate for relief. Eight months of day-in and day-out sickness tormented my body and mind. I remember saying to myself, “This must be what it feels like to die”. If you have ever been severely dehydrated, you know what I’m talking about. Your body hurts, standing up straight is a joke, nothing sounds good to eat or drink, you can’t see straight, think right, and your head pounds. There is not an ounce of energy in your body. And when you pinch the skin on the back of your hand and the skin doesn’t bounce back, you know you’re severely dehydrated. I still use this trick today.

If I drank too much I’d throw it up. Nothing is worse than wanting to drink water, but can’t because it makes you sick. My body was present, but I was gone; all from a rare pregnancy disease. I kept thinking, “What do women do in 3rd world countries where the water is dirty and medical help is scarce? How do they survive? How do they thrive? I don’t think they do. An IV pierced my collapsed veins. The color in my face came back and I felt somewhat human again.

The lack of water can literally kill, it can leave a scar on our psyche, and our body doesn’t forget it. That’s the scary part that our bodies don’t forget. For instance, when I get the stomach bug, my body remembers dehydration and immediately shuts down to preserve what it’s got. Thankfully I can go the to ER for fluids. If I didn’t, I probably would have died eight times already. Water saves the day.

On a global level

My husband’s heart beat towards a little village in Nepal near the epicenter where an 8.1 earthquake hit in 2015. The earthquake killed at least 9000 people; it flattened villages, triggered avalanches, landslides, not to mention destroying watersheds. Never being on a mission trip he chose to go across the globe, to camp on the ground, ride treacherous roads for 10 hours, and have land leeches eat at his feet.

While he was there he took notice of what the people needed most…and acted on it. They needed water. People were getting sick because of the dirty water. I kept thinking of my dehydration experience, granted they may not have been vomiting, but diarrhea can do the exact same thing. My husband was a changed man after that trip. He made it his mission to get water filters to that village, then from the help of Genesis Waters, he was able to install two entire water filtration systems for the village. People walked miles outside of the village to use it. After seeing how one simple necessity could change an entire village, he dove into helping more people with clean water and is now a board member of Genesis Waters. To this day hundreds of people from that small Nepal village are using the exact water filters; they are feeling better, stronger, and cared for just because of water.

click for information

Anyone can make a difference with water. Our neighborhoods, the health of our own bodies, and villages across the globe. Clean water makes us stronger in more ways than one. Not one person can survive over three days without water. This may not be an exciting cause to support, but it is a life-saving one that will make a difference for generations to come.

Simple ideas to make a difference with water:

  • Drink it for good health, a clearer mind, and a cleaner body. Use a water filter for home. We use this one. I absolutely love it and trust it.
click for details
  • Conserve it. Get a rain barrel. We have one like the one below. You can also limit your time in the shower less and flush less.
  • Help the environment. Plant trees or a garden near a creekbed, the vegetation naturally filters water from rain and melting snow that runs into it.
  • Support organizations like Genesis Waters who can bring clean water to people in 3rd world counties. Trust me, you don’t ever want to experience dehydration via disease or lack of water…neither do they or their precious babies.
  • Teach your kids about water. Kids can get into this. It’s something they can relate to immediately.
  • Minister with it for others.

Teaching our kids compassion- two ideas

Want your kids to feel the compassion for water? Here’s idea #1. Recently my son’s class went on a field trip. They had been learning about a village in Africa where they had to walk five miles to a river to retrieve water. And the water wasn’t even clean. The women and children were sent there with big tubs to fill up and balance on their heads as they walked another five miles home. As a class, they reenacted what these people had to do. Instead of tubs, each kid was giving two empty milk gallons containers. The kids had to walk two miles through a forest to get to a pond. They filled up their jugs and had to walk two miles back with the heavy jugs. The class, of course, didn’t drink the water, but that experience helped them be more appreciative of what they have at their fingertips…a faucet.

Idea #2

Another idea to do with your kids is to simply take them camping. This can be as simple as buying a couple of jugs of water and living off of those for the weekend. Or you can take it to the next level and purchase a water filter and filter your own water from a body of water. I’m talking rustic camping; no showers, no potties, no water pump. This experience will not only toughen your kiddos up, but again help them be thankful for what they have. And they’ll have a lot of fun! Here is the water filter my husband recommends.

click for details

Together we can make a difference in this world if we just focus on water. Simple, yet powerful.

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

Teaching Generations How to Work Hard – 4 Tips

Teaching Generations How to Work Hard – 4 Tips

There have been recent conversations in our home about what it means to ‘work hard’. Different generations have different definitions, I get that, but I think we can all agree that hard work takes four things: integrity, sweat, humility, and sacrifice

When I put an image to ‘working hard’ I picture the Brawny Man in the red flannel shirt with sleeves rolled up. Or I picture Pa from Little House on the Prairie; again he had his sleeves rolled up. Why do I associate rolled sleeves as hard work? It seems I’m not the only one. According to the Cambridge Dictionary to roll-up-your-sleeves signifies a person is ready to work.

Are your kids missing out?

When I was a teen I was taught to work first, then play. I also was taught that having a job was important and that you had to work for what you wanted. There has been a lot of chatter about Millennials (people born between 1982 – 2004) not knowing how to work hard. This disturbs me. For one, I’ve met many millennials that have two jobs and living on their own. They’re hard workers, they’re happier, and they’re confident.

Working hard gives me pleasure. I feel good about myself and I love the feeling of accomplishing something. At the end of the day, I can say with a smile on my face, “I put in a hard day’s work!” But are some Millennials missing out on this natural high?

In a study by Vanderbilt scientists, they discovered that people who were willing to work hard had higher dopamine levels than those who were not keen on the idea. Remember dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy and good. In other words…a University of Connecticut researcher, John Salamone states, “Low levels of dopamine make people…less likely to work for things. So this work-hard-bit has to do with your brain.

Teach how to work hard

Here are four tips to weave into the lesson of how to work hard:

  1. Make realistic attainable goals.
    • This is a small example; my young son was shooting hoops. He wants to be a great basketball player, so I said he couldn’t come in for dinner until he made 5 shots in a row from where he was standing. I gave him a realistic goal, one that challenged him, and one that would give him great pleasure. So what happened when he made his goal? He jumped up and down and cheered! Need a little help in making goals? Check out my free printable in Freebies.
  2. Focus on your dreams. What drives you?
    • If you want it bad enough, you’ll naturally work hard to get it. How bad do you want “it”? That diploma, that promotion, that certification, that house, that small business, that weight loss?
  3. Exercise and eat healthy foods.
    • This one has to be one of the easiest ways to get motivated to work hard. If you feel good, you’ll be more confident, make better decisions, be more alert, and be more creative…and probably make more money. Here’s a post I wrote on weight-loss and how to get started.
  4. Integrity.
    • By simply having strong moral principles, being honest, knowing what is right from wrong, and following through with commitments will help you. It’s hard work to have integrity, but when you do the right thing you again trigger the dopamine.

Let’s hold each other accountable to use our gifts, abilities, and morals to work hard, to make a difference, to be driven, and to be part of the big picture. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to roll-up your sleeves.

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

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