Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter.

Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter.

As a kid, I never thought about a water filter. Yet after being diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, I wouldn’t drink any water without one. How do I choose the right water filter? In this post, you’ll learn about drinking water and my journey of not submitting to bottled water. Plus you’ll understand what option is best for you and your family whether you live in the city or rural area.

Water has a lot to do with your health, in fact, water is life! If you’re not getting healthy clean water, you might be setting yourself up for autoimmune disease and other chronic health issues. If there is one physical gift that keeps on giving, it would be clean drinking water. It sounds kind of boring; after all, water is thought to be a commodity. However, pure clean water is not necessarily everywhere. Whether you live in the city, the countryside, or overseas, clean nutritious water is hard to come by. In our recent move from city water to well water, the drinking water became my #1 priority and it completely stressed me out. This situation is literally and physically taking a “challenge and creating light from it”…Simplify Firefly.

Water and your health, does it really matter?

Did you know that drinking water can affect your health? I’m not just talking about water-born bacteria like E. coli or Giardia; there are many other factors that affect water that can weaken our bones, disrupt our digestive systems, and even hurt our heart health. If you think about it there aren’t many choices for healthy, balanced water; treated water is full of chemicals, bottled water can leach estrogens or containments, distilled water can rob you of essential minerals, and well water can have harmful levels of iron, arsenic, and lead to name a few. Talk about stress! This was where I was when we moved.

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Water and my story

Water and I go way back. I now take it seriously and there are many reasons why I do. In college, drinking a lot of water helped me (tremendously) lose weight. Secondly, during my pregnancies, I got severely dehydrated due to HG which led me to get an IV multiple times. Thirdly, water is all I drink.

I grew up on city water, unfiltered. I drank it straight from the tap. In college, I drank it from the tap or drinking fountain. It wasn’t until 2007 when we decided to get a water filter. Before that time, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in my liver, which then cascaded into other issues. Could it be that most diseases come from our water?

Now a day, my digestive system is a sensitive one, so I need to be careful what I put into my body or my body will flare up. Not to mention, dehydration comes on pretty quickly, and water is the only element that keeps me stable. I highly recommend you get your water tested. You can call your township or city and ask them how to do it. There are kits online, but I’d go the local route.

So what are we to drink?

As you know, our bodies can’t survive more than three days without water. Sure you can drink coffee, soda, juice, energy drinks, and such, but those can be toxic to your system and cause all sorts of other health problems. And yes, water detoxifies your body, gives you energy, helps you feel good (better mood), and so much more! But what are we to drink?

Many would answer this question with bottled water. Bottled water first came out in 1767 and has gotten increasingly popular ever since! With recent worldly events, bottled water has been life-saving. I drink bottled water occasionally and am extremely grateful to have it on hand. But not all bottled water is the same. At the store you’ll see many options of bottled water, if you’re a serious water drinker it can be overwhelming. Let’s look at the pros and cons of bottled water.

PROS:

  • It’s convenient
  • Works in a pinch
  • There are many options to suite your needs

CONS:

  • Can be expensive
  • Different pH levels
  • Chemicals and estrogens leaking into water from the plastic
  • Not 100% sure what the water source is
  • Could contain added ingredients
  • Hurts the environment if you don’t recycle

Water filter options besides bottled water

Some would argue that filtered water by a home water filter is the way to go. Yet, others are strictly from the tap. This is all personal preference, but the one that gives me confidence in what I’m drinking is from a home filtration system. What does this mean?

A home filtration system can mean a few things. It can mean refrigerator water, water filter pitcher, RO system, under the sink water filter, or a countertop water filter. Let’s briefly take a deeper look into some of these options.

Refrigerator filter

Some people thoroughly enjoy their refrigerator water filters. The water is instantly cold and easy to access. Just remember to change the filter.  

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Water filter pitcher

Another route is the filtered water pitcher. The water pitchers are popular and do a great job. If you don’t drink a lot of water every day I’d suggest the water pitcher. You can put it in the frig or keep it on the counter. This option is better than buying plastic jugs of water.

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Reverse Osmosis

If you want 100% pure water, you’ll want to check out the RO System. The Reverse Osmosis System completely takes out all chemicals, bacteria, minerals, and good minerals from the water, so you are only left with H2O. This water tastes amazing! However, RO water has a tendency to be more acidic, like around 5.5 pH to 6.0 pH. This is because it takes out those minerals that balance pH. There are mineral filters that connect to the RO system to help put minerals back into the water, but I’m not sure about their effectiveness…the reviews are not consistent. Not to be a wet blanket, but I’ve heard the pH filters can be fickle from going from one extreme to the other.

More about water pH

And what’s up with water pH? I had no idea the pH level of water was different, but it is! Some water is alkaline and others are acidic. Ideally, you want to be right in the middle of it all. If water is too acidic it can eventually lead to health problems. The same goes true with water that is too alkaline. In our new home, I bought a ph tester and had chemistry class on our kitchen counter. It was actually fun testing eight different glasses of water. What I found was that some bottled water was actually acidic! Yet with the three different types of water filters I had on hand: RO System, under sink Aquasuana, and countertop Berkey; the RO was acidic, Aquasana and Berkey were alkaline. I also tested our water softener water, well water, and other bottled water.

 

More water filter systems

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Under-the-sink filtration system

Yet, another route is to use an under-the-sink filtration system. We used this water filter system when we lived in the city, and we loved it! New filters were sent to us every 6 months, so we didn’t have to remember to get them. It’s super convenient and easy to use. This just gives you a little more peace of mind that your water is safe. We have been using Aquasana since 2007.

Get it on Amazon

Countertop filtered water

Countertop filtered water is yet another option for filtered drinking water. This water filter is gravity fed using carbon filters. It’s easy to use, looks cool, and can even filter pond water ready for you to drink! This water filter is a rock star, it filters all the bad stuff out but keeps the essential minerals our bodies need like calcium, magnesium, potassium. The ph level is where it should be, the 7.0 range. If you drink a lot of water every day and don’t like cold water, I would highly recommend the Berkey Water Filter System. You just have to remember to fill it.

So what one do I use on well water?

I asked this exact question when I moved into our country home and there wasn’t an easy answer. People around us all did different things. Bottled water was one, refrigerator water another (but I don’t like cold water), and water pitcher. It took me hours to figure out what one would be best for me. As I said before, water is the top beverage I consume each day. So if I’m drinking water with a lot of chemicals in it, then my body is getting a lot of chemicals. And with the health issues I have, my liver doesn’t need to work any harder than it needs to.

In our home, we have a water softener, and I frankly do not like drinking softened water. It’s a water-weight thing if you know what I mean. Soft water makes me bloated and I’m not a fan of excess sodium adding up in the body. So after many trials of different kinds of water filter systems, with softened water, without softened water, not to mention the different types of bottled water I tried, we finalized on a direct line from the well (non-softened water) to our drinking spigot on our kitchen sink; the drinking spigot goes through an under the sink water filter system, and then we filter it again with the Berkey. It’s a little complicated, I agree, but our well water is getting filtered twice yet leaving in those essential minerals our bodies need. I am a very happy camper and am at peace with our drinking water. And I feel great!

Water filter conclusion

Water makes a 100% difference in your health, hormones, mind, and inflammation. Do what is best for you, your body, and your mental wellbeing. Take your water seriously! My recommendations include:

#1 Get your water tested for containments, metals, and bacteria.
#2 Understand the pH level of your drinking water.
#3 Invest in a drinking water filter for you and your family.

For city water, I’ve found Aquasana under-the-sink unit or a Berkey to do the trick.

If you have well water, a combo of Aquasana under-the-sink and a Berkey works well.

Out camping? I recommend a Berkey.

In the dorm room…campus water isn’t the best…it’s a Berkey or a water filter pitcher.

All in all, the Berkey is the way to go.

Check it out on Amazon

Cheers!

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good!

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good!

If you want to simplify your life, there is only one thing you need to do. When people think of simplifying they generally think of decluttering, painting their interior walls white, and swapping out their tv for books. All those things are awesome but simplifying is so much more than organizing and making a trip to the donation center.

What does this look like?

If we could strip down our homes, our closets, cars, fancy hair colors, elaborate foods, and our swag what would you see? How would you feel? To answer those questions kind of depends on where you are in life. But no matter where you sit on this stripping down, we all have a common ground. We all have the same amount of time, we all need to have clean water to survive, we all have bodies to take care of, we all have drive and purpose unique to our own, we all have family (whether by blood or by friendship) and we all have a heart.

So when people come to me and say “I want to simplify my life”, I get excited for them and understand them. They are ready for change. For I know their main target, whether said or kept silent, is to find peace and joy in this chaotic world.

Simplifying does get them there, yet the more we uncover the rubble of our homes, lifestyle, and everyday living, the more we will see what’s happening around us and in us. It is then where we conquer and achieve the peace and joy we were set out to claim.

Simplify Firefly Etsy

Do you want to simplify your life?

Okay, then, you want to simplify your life. Then, love. It’s love that will simplify your life. Love comes first. Love for God, love for your family, love for the things you enjoy, and love for the things you are grateful for.

That’s right, if you can just prioritize love, then everything else will take care of itself. It is what our Creator wants us to do, to love Him, and to love our neighbor…which is everybody in case you didn’t know. Love will get you places and put you on the path He has created just for you.

What do I mean by love?

I’m not talking about sexual love. Nor am I addressing the love of steak or red velvet cake. The love I’m talking about is genuine. Love is very complicated yet simple in form. I address the simple because it really is the little things that make such a big difference!

What is the simple form of love?

The simple form of love is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. This is so easy, yet so difficult because we get in our own way. When we can put ourselves to the side…happily…we will experience the peace and joy we’re after.

How do we learn to love in this way?

We look to Jesus. He came to earth to give us an example of how to love. Not only that, he then took on a brutal beating, got nailed to a cross by his hands and feet, and suffered a slow death of his earthly body…for you. He went through all of this to forgive you of your sins so that you can talk with God directly, and go to heaven.

This past May I have done a little experiment and practiced what I just preached. It has been an amazing venture. And I have learned a great deal on how to simplify my life. I simplify loved my neighbor.

How do you love your neighbor to simplify your life?

You listen. Listen for keywords, for joys, for a cry for help. What are they going through, what are their needs, how can you bless them, or put a smile on their face? If you were in their shoes, what would you want? Listen to your own heart, what stirs it, did something strike it, is there something you know you should do?

With my experiment, I did just that. I put myself in others’ shoes and it really changed how I talked to people and what I did with my time. And you know what happened? It took the focus off my own problems and I experienced joy and peace.

Then do.

Simplify in 7

Here are some ideas to love on your neighbor:

  • Mow their yard
  • Shovel their driveway and/or sidewalk
  • Rake their leaves
  • Make them a special treat
  • Make them dinner or buy them takeout
  • Drop over some flowers for no reason
  • Share your garden goodies
  • Send them a card
  • Invite them to go on a walk
  • Think of them while you’re shopping, pick up a surprise for them.
  • Wave to them
  • Smile and say hello
  • Pray with them, pray for them
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for how to lend them a hand
  • Listen to them when they need to vent. Then listen to them again. Remember they’re not looking for you to solve their issue, they just need someone to listen to them. So instead of giving them your free advice, ask them questions and be curious in what they are trying to express to you. Listening is a huge way to love.

Simpliy said

To simplify your life life is not necessarily about stuff being organized neatly or having a blank calendar. Simplifying life is about making a shift of priorities and focusing on what your Creator would like you to focus on…love. He’ll take care of the rest.

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

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10 Inspirational Quotes You Don’t Want to Miss

10 Inspirational Quotes You Don’t Want to Miss

Inspirational quotes are not all fairies and rainbows. Inspiration is meant to make things happen, not to sit on a cloud and wander. We all need encouragement or stimulation to get moving. We all certainly know how to complain, and lately, in the world, there has been A LOT of that going on. Let me remind you (and myself) that complaining gets you nowhere where you want to go, but doing does! This all boils down to what motivates us. Is it money? Freedom? Flexible schedule? Wellness? What gets you moving?

inspirational quotes

Right now in the world – ouch

The number of “Help Wanted” signs is at an all-time high, but people don’t want to work. We’re in a strange time right now that will eventually catch up to us. And when all this unemployment does kick at our heels, what does that look like? Enticing money bonuses come and go, yet encouraging words last a lifetime. I wonder what would happen if more words of inspiration were spoken instead of handouts? Think about that for a minute. People need encouraging words. They need something to inspire them to want to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you make millions or a few pennies, everyone needs to know they are important and wanted.

Why words matter

When we’re inspired, things happen. Not only that, but when we read or hear an amazing quote, something ignites us inside. We are all different people, motivated by a variety of things in a number of ways. When the right words are said or heard, it makes life meaningful.

Some of the most powerful words are the simplest words, like ‘Thank You’ or ‘Good job’. How does it make you feel when you hear, “Keep up the good work!” or “I believe in you”. What about “You’re really smart”, or “You’re full of creativity”? Some of my favorites are, “You’re a hard worker” and “I appreciate you”.

With something as simple as speaking or reading words with a purpose, it’s easier to start things, to accomplish tasks, and to make a difference. Brighten someone’s day by speaking into their goals; heighten your day by fueling your dreams. To help you with this, I put together a list of my top 10 inspirational quotes that get into your (excuse me for being frank) short & curlies. May these words inspire you or someone you know.

My top 10 inspirational quotes:

1 – Be the change that you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

2 – Every great achievement is the story of a flaming heart. – Harry S. Truman

3 – Focus on things that are small enough to change, but big enough to matter. – Kat Cole

4 – I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do. – J. Stanfield

5 – Live out of your imagination, not your history. – Stephen Covey

6 – Most of us don’t need more instructions; we simply need someone who believes in us. – Bob Goff

7 – No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others. – Charles Dickens

8 – Your dream is a gift God gives you. What you make of it is your gift to Him. – Holley Gerth

9 – We’re here to make trails, not to follow ones. – Christy Troy

10 – When someone tells you it can’t be done, it’s more a reflection of their limitations, not yours. – Dr. Andy Baldwin

In closing

Words go a long way in peoples’ lives. A few words of encouragement or inspirational quotes can definitely change the course of life and open doors we didn’t even know were there. Why don’t we try for a week to stop complaining and to do one task about the things we complain about. I wonder what would happen?

Feel free to share these quotes from this post, or download affirmations or scripture to embrace and do more than exist.

Don’t know how to start? Here’s a post to spark your tinder: Gotta Start Somewhere. Check it out!

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

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My Top 10 Quotes on Overcoming Challenges

My Top 10 Quotes on Overcoming Challenges

There is nothing so comforting to the soul than encouraging words. Quotes and inspirational sayings, young and old, impact our mental health. I’m sure you have infamous words of knowledge with hopes of being passed down through generations. I encourage you to bring light into people’s darkness with those sacred statements and with ones that got you through.

What are we to do?

However, words and even quotes from the living and deceased can be destructive and lead you to believe numerous lies about yourself. Words go both ways, and the way we interrupt them can either help us rise or make us fall terribly onto a slippery slope.

This blog post is about quotes and how to face challenges, but before I share my favorite top 10, I offer a word of caution to your tongue. If you are not speaking kind words that are helpful and encouraging to the receiver, then SHUT IT, not just for their sake, but more so for yours!

Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 (NIV)

Healing Words
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Sticks and stone…yeah, right.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me. This lyric was to help those who were being bullied. It’s unclear who said it, but it was recorded in March of 1862. Boy did they have this wrong. Words do hurt a lot longer than a bruise from a stick. If only our hearts healed as quickly as a shiner to the eye.

Unfortunately, the most (not all) hurtful words come from people we love or respect. I’m sorry if you have experienced this. Remember hurt people, hurt other people. They have their own issues and, unfortunately, are taking it out on you. It’s unfair. There is no question. With that said, do not believe them. They don’t know you as God knows you. Instead, go to the Book of Truth to hear the truth about you.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

It’s time to destroy those meaningless words people speak and to plant words of purpose into your heart and soul.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Here are my top 10 favorite quotes to bring words of encouragement when faced with a challenge.

Top 10 Quotes

1. Look less at the mountain and more at the first step. For the first step can be harder than the whole journey.” – Christy Troy

2. We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons. – Jim Rohn

3. The best way to recover from rejection is to make someone feel accepted. – Christy Troy

4. The secret of change is to focus all your energy NOT on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates

5. If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr.

6. Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

7. Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character. – Les Brown

8. Decisions are easy when values are clear. – Unknown

9. To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are. – Roy Bennett

10. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try. – Michael Jordon

The Bible is not that scary

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There are no better words than what is in the Bible. The Book may be intimidating but it is the most liberating. It’s hard to know where to start. And it’s easy for me to tell you to start wherever. Personally, I started with the shorter books like James, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Peter.

It’s also good to look in the Concordance in the back of the Bible and look up a word you may be struggling with, for instance, “love”, and to then look up the verses that pertain to that particular topic. Most importantly, be sure to read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So good! As for what version of the Bible? I personally like the NIV Study Bible.

Wrapping it up

Thank you, God, for your Word, for it is filled with words to live by, with genuine love, protection, and instruction. Help us to have the desire to read and to do what we’ve read. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Remember, it’s words that form us, not sticks and stones. Keep shining your light. I believe in you. Seek the words you need to hear to help you move forward. Here are some printables to help you along!

quotes and inspiration
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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

I’m Bored! 10 Things Your Kids Can Do Right Now!

I’m Bored! 10 Things Your Kids Can Do Right Now!

There are three words that wreak havoc on a busy mom, “Mom, I’m bored”. Before you get all mad remember that we’ve all been there as kids too. Don’t you remember saying the same thing to your mom? And what did she say? “Go outside and play.” We went outside and stared at everyone in the neighborhood with an expression that says, “play with me!” Going outside didn’t kill us, in fact, it made me appreciate the outdoors more. Ye, we made it through some boring days, but if it wasn’t for our moms and their ideas we’d probably be off-balance a bit. Ha ha ha! Thanks, Mom!

I'm Bored

Chores are not what they’re looking for

Mom’s are great for thinking up solutions to boredom questions. A few ideas I like to rattle off to my son are: clean your room, organize your closet, dig a hole, read, vacuum the living room, wash windows, sweep the driveway…and the chore list keeps building. But chores are not what a kid wants to do when they are bored.

Outside fun to cure the ‘bored’!

During the pandemic the phrase, ‘I’m bored, probably went from hearing it to 3 times a day to 20 times a day! We, moms, get so sick and tired of hearing it. And yes, we can say to them to go outside and play; there is nothing wrong with that. They’ll find something to do in God’s creation.

In fact, the Outdoor Industry Association states from their study that, “Reconnecting youth with the outdoors has become critical to the health of future generations and the health of our natural landscapes.” Getting outside is HUGE for our kiddos. Please encourage them to do so. To help you out I created a slew of printables for kids that encourage them to learn more about the outdoors and have fun doing it. You can head to my Etsy Shop to check them out.

10 ideas of how to answer ‘Mom, I’m bored”

1) Make them laugh.

When they say “I’m bored” reply with “Hi Bored. I’m Mom, how are you doing today?” Encourage them to read some jokes or to create three new jokes for supper time. Try to avoid the eye roll or a harsh reply. Instead, give them a tickle in their side and tell them you want a comedy show after supper. Reiterate their creativity and how funny they are. Here’s a joke book I created with family-friendly laughs.

2) Create a talent show.

Speaking of shows. My family enjoys watching talent shows on TV. Why not have your own talent show? Have you kids put together their very own talent show. They can do multiple talents and practice, practice, practice. Have them make a talent show sign, tickets, and maybe even create a theme song or commercial! This is super fun. Kids can do magic tricks, dance, sing, do bike tricks, trampoline routine, swimming tricks, trick shots, drawing, card tricks, jump rope, chalk art, you name it. Golly, I want my son to do a talent show now!

3) Restaurant fun!

Have them play restaurant for real. This isn’t necessarily a chore. But have them cook dinner, complete with menu, table service, and multiple courses. They’ll need an appetizer, soup or salad, main meal, and dessert. If they aren’t old enough to cook, have them make a pretend meal and menu.

4) Get out the scavenger hunt on steriods

Get them busy with a scavenger hunt. There are many scavenger hunt printables out there, or you can simply create your own, it only takes a few minutes. If you have older kids I highly recommend my very own Scavenger Hunt Challenge! This involves a little bit of set-up, but it will keep them busy for three hours, yes 180 minutes. Personally, I found it very fun to watch. You can download this hunt by subscribing to my newsletter, you’ll find it in my Freebies!

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5) Write stories or comics

Some kids love to read, others do not. My son is the NOT one. Instead of reading, have them create a comic book with pictures and bubble text. Give them ideas of what to write about by what your child likes. He is into gaming? Pizza? Sports? Robots? Hunting? Motorcycles? You can get these blank comic books on Amazon to help guide them into making a masterpiece! My son made a whole series of comics about his superpower and his superpower friends. It was hilarious!

6) Photography at it’s finest

If you want them off the gaming, turn on camera mode. Have them head outside and take pictures of what’s going on around them. You can ask for a gallery of photos that you all can review at dinner time. Have them take pictures of leaves, flowers, wildlife or bugs, or anything blue, yellow, or red. They can create a game with photos too; for instance, you have them take 10 pictures and you have to guess what they all have in common…like things that move.

7) Obstacle course to the rescue

Have them create an obstacle course. With American Ninja Warrior going on, this is super fun for kids. Essentially, sidewalk chalk can go a long way here. They can draw different jumps, hopscotch boards, cartwheel areas, and walking on a line. The kids can set up things to climb and jump over. If you have a play structure or live by a school or playground they can do things there. They can even pretend to not touch the ground as one of their obstacles!

8) Playlist creation

If you have an older kid who can navigate a phone and a playlist, have them create a playlist for YOU! This can take them forever.

9) Puzzles and Printables

As I mentioned earlier, have them do puzzles. I created some amazing activity kits that will keep them busy and have fun doing it. My activity kits include camping, fishing, fireflies, trees, and more. All of them are made for 6 year-olds and older. They are fun to do as a family too! You can find them all here.

Tree Activity Worksheet
Here’s the tree activity kit. There are many more kits to choose from!

10) Start a business

Have them think of a business and plan it. They could start a coloring business, mowing business, flower arranging, baking, trick show business, LEGO building business, video making, practice being a nurse, toy cleaning gig, toy fixing, dog walking, swing-set testing, Hot Wheels cleaning,  you name it.

Bonus!

BONUS IDEA! Create your very own putt-putt golf course around the yard or at a park. All you need is a putter, a few golf balls, and a cup or a piece of yarn to make a “hole”.

Wrap up

There you go! Ten ways, plus a bonus, to answer the dreaded “Mom, I’m bored”. Remember to be happy, thankful for their honesty, and to encourage their creativity.

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Top 4 Sabotages to Our Goals? You’ll Never Guess Them.

Top 4 Sabotages to Our Goals? You’ll Never Guess Them.

Off-track? When our goals and declarations stutter to a stop, our proactive self immediately turns into a reactive being. We get into a vicious cycle of reacting to our circumstances instead of making things happen. I’m here to help you prevent that from happening. Learn my 4 repair tricks!

What ain’t gonna work

Forward is the right direction, no? As with anything in moving forward, it’s a lot easier to use a flashlight than to stumble in the dark. Understanding our triggers and how to defeat them is one key to victory. Picture this; we start the year off strong. The first week we’re super motivated. The second week it gets a little harder. The third week something happens; we’re not sure what…but we veer off course; so much so we decide to set up camp. I’ve personally been there many times. Frankly, my old patterns are comfortable, they’re easy. But friend, there is something else I’ve learned; “comfortable” and “easy” ain’t gonna getcha where ya want ta go. So let’s learn more about what trips us up in the first place.

Simplify in 7
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Here are the top stumbling blocks:

L = LIES we believe.

It’s too hard. Let’s face it, when things are hard ‘quitting’ comes to mind. This year quitting is not an option. Your goals need to be challenging, but they don’t need to be hard. There’s a difference. It’s called pace and workload. It’s too hard is a lie. When actions are taken step-by-step anything is possible.

THE FIX: Breakdown your resolution and put a plan in place. Write down what you want to do every week, then every day, then every morning and evening. Just make sure you win. I don’t care how small the step is, you’re still moving forward. Make the day count.

A = ACTIONS WE DON’T TAKE.

There’s a lack of motivation. When I’m unmotivated I procrastinate. I wait until I FEEL like it. Well if I waited until I FELT like it all the time, nothing would move forward. There are a couple of things I’m talking about. The first is to understand the purpose. Why must this get done? What space does it fill? What piece of my goal does this satisfy? The second is the FEEL part. This is a time when you pull-up your boot-straps and put the emotions aside.

THE FIX: Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I get this done?” If your answer is ‘relief, amazing, good, a load off’, then that means it needs to happen…make it so.

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Z = ZOMBIE GOALS.

Our goal is not specific. It’s like we’re walking around like zombies. Let’s say my resolution is to manage my finances better; I declare “I’m going to save money this year.” Then what? Ask yourself these questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Who is going to help me? What changes am I going to do? When am I going to review these things? Where am I going to go if I need help? How am I going to succeed? When you have the answers to these questions you have a better view of how it’s going to happen.

THE FIX: be specific when writing your goals, something like this: “I’m going to review my cash flow and budget every Thursday after work.” To help you out in the goal department I created a printable on the Freebies page.

Y-YELLERS get our attention.

We get distracted. When our focus isn’t on our end goal we flounder around in circles. Some people get stuck in this pattern and find it harder and harder to break free. To breakthrough this twister, we must intentionally turn away from the distracting force and focus on what lies ahead. I read an article a few years ago about the power behind just seeing the word “FOCUS”; it said that it can mysteriously snap us back on track. It sounds crazy, but I tried it, and it worked for me. 

THE FIX: when you find yourself getting distracted, recognize what is happening and remove yourself from the distracting environment. Write the word “focus” and place it in areas where distractions linger.

And…there it is

If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, the acronym I used was LAZY. Our resolutions fail because we get lazy. Been there, done that! We are human ya know. Another way to look at it, it that you might say we get a “lazy eye”, not physically, but mentally. We lose sight of our WHY, why am I doing this anyway, we might ask.

The word “lazy” means: unwilling to work or use energy. Talk about a knife in the wound. Lazy isn’t a bad word, especially on your day off. But it can be used against you in all other states of affairs.

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My perspective about personal goals and resolutions is this: no one is going to do it for you. If you want it, YOU have to go get it. Staying reactive to things in life isn’t life, that’s existence…you just exist. But when you use your knowledge, resources, talents, strength, and creativity to go after your own goals…that’s not only productive, that’s doing more than existing.

Take things step-by-step, check your motivation, use specifics when setting goals, and FOCUS. May you be filled with dreams, plans, and amazing goals for your soul.

By CT Copyright © 2021 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved

10 Amazing Courage Quotes + 3 Tips

10 Amazing Courage Quotes + 3 Tips

Do you have a collection of courage quotes? Let me ask you this, do you have courage? Are things happening in your life or are they just going with the flow? If you’re finding yourself on a hamster wheel day after day, you might need a little courage to change it up a bit. You’ll be surprised how a few good words make a difference in your life. Check out my favorite courage quotes and get three bonus tips!

Let’s face it; if you don’t have courage, you’re not going to go anywhere. Round and round we go, over and over, and we wonder why we’re stuck where we’re at. It’s because we haven’t ignited the courage in us!  

Courage gets us places. It makes our dreams come true! Yet courage can look pretty darn scary. Well friend, it’s time to look up and put on some courage today.

Remember this: People can encourage us or they can tear us down. If you are surrounded by depressing people, couch potatoes, and hamster wheels, it’s time to make a change. You have dreams, and I know you want to achieve them, so do something about it today.

3 Tips on Courage

Tip One

Tip #1: Go to the Bible and get to know Jesus. The more you know about Him, the more he can open doors and guide you. If anyone has the courage it’s Him! He is the perfect example of how to have courage and how to trust in God. Read through the Gospels to see how he did it. Seriously, Jesus is the way to go.

Tip Two

Tip #2: Go out and find someone who will encourage you. Encouragers are people who have a genuine interest in you and your future. These people hang out at church; yep, back to Jesus. They can also be a friend, a family member, or you can seek to hire a coach. Whoever that may be, connect with them on a regular basis. I do offering coaching, just send me an email.

Tip Three

Tip #3: If you don’t have someone in your life who encourages you to take that first step or simply want to try it on your own, read quotes from people who’ve been there and done that. Digging into some books that pertain to the dream you want to go after is a good route too.

Some great books I recommend are:

Jon Acuff’s “Finish” and his book “Do Over”. Holley Gerth’s, “You’re made for a God-Sized Dream”, and Miles McPherson’s, “Do Something”.

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Encouraging quotes along with quotes on courage are kind of like affirmations; they inspire us, they help us believe in ourselves, and they give us hope. With a little inspiration, belief, and hope anything is possible. Head over to my Freebies to download some affirmations today.

10 Quotes on Courage

Here are some of my favorite courage quotes that may help you achieve what you put your mind to.

The secret to happiness is freedom…and the secret to freedom is courage. – Thucydides

Have courage and be kind. – Cinderella

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Make sure you don’t die waiting for prosperity to come. – Lee Iacocca

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Courage is spreading your wings without looking down. – Christy Troy

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

Every great warrior must learn to endure and overcome the adversities of life. – Lailah Gifty Akita

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. – E. E. Cummings

Be fearless in who you are. – Christy Troy

The Bible is not that scary

There are no better words than what is in the Bible. The book may be intimidating but it is the most liberating. It’s hard to know where to start. And it’s easy for me to tell you to start where-ever. Personally, go for the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Then maybe dive into the shorter books like James, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Peter. Take it a step further and go to the Concordance in the back of the Bible and look up a word you may be struggling with, for instance, “courage”, then look up the verses that pertain to that particular topic. This method has really helped me! As for what version of the Bible? I personally like the NIV Study Bible.

Thank you, God, for your Word, for it is filled with words to live by, with genuine love, protection, courage, and instruction. Help us find the right words, the right people, and to have the courage to keep moving forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wrapping it up

Keep shining your light. I believe in you. Seek the words you need to hear to help you move forward. Have courage friend. Here’s another post to help you: 5 Easy Ways to Build Courage & Confidence. You got this!

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. 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

p;ink chair

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 the 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.

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 we’re 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.

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

Blogging: 4 Reasons Why + 3 Tools to Get You Started

Blogging: 4 Reasons Why + 3 Tools to Get You Started

Do you ever wonder why some people blog? Or what about getting started with a blog, what do you need? Blogging serves everyone differently. Some people write to write, others try to make money, and others simply do it because they enjoy it. These are all great reasons! I personally have three motives for blogging and three tools to help you start on blogging.

What does “Blog” even mean?

According to Google, a blog is a “web-log”. Some say it serves as a personal diary or platform for personal opinions. Yet, businesses write blogs to support their products, and people write blogs to teach about their talents or interests. In other words, it is informal writing compared to published books. You do not have to have a degree in English to write a blog, you don’t even need to have a high school diploma, anyone can write one.

Why do I write a blog?

Back in 2009ish, I started writing a blog. Frankly, I had no idea what I was doing. Blogging was fairly new back then. I could have taken many angles with my blog; my first intent was to teach people about joy. Then somehow it transformed into wanting to share the lessons I’ve learned in life to help others save time. Since then, I’ve pretty much kept with that theme.

1. Gives you a voice

The main reason I started a blog was because I wanted a voice. When I’m in a conversation I tend to listen more than speak. I have learned a tremendous amount about people just by listening to them. However, at times when I do speak, others see it as a chance to speak too. Interrupting others is rude, in case you didn’t know that.

Listen up, speaking is not the only way to be heard in this world. People can voice themselves through music, dancing, drawing, cooking, and frankly any hobby or craft. Blogging gave me an instant voice through writing without interruptions.

2. Processes information

Writing to me is like therapy. It forces me to think about what I want to say and how to say it. When I get thoughts down on paper, it helps me see what really is going on in my life. Then when I blog about it, it helps me figure out what I want to say to others in order to help them in a similar circumstance. Blogging assists me in processing a challenge I am facing.

People learn through stories. If I can share a story of a challenging time in my life where I learned how to navigate through it or something miraculous happened to me to solve it, I want to share that information with others! Testimony is powerful. When we can relate with other people, things happen. Healing happens. Inspiration happens.

3. Remembrance

The other reason I blog is to leave a part of me on this planet. I know that sounds kind of corny, but thinkg about it. A lot of the time when I blog I think about my family. When I’m long gone I still want them to be able to see me, hear me, and learn from me. Whether it’s through a blog post, YouTube video, or social media post, I want my family to be able to see that even though I am in heaven, I am still here with them.

4. Make extra money

Many bloggers blog to make some extra cash. If you can make money on your blog, I see it as an added bonus. There are A LOT of blog posts that tell you how to make money and how easy it can be. But don’t be deceived. Making money by blogging isn’t going to happen overnight. First and foremost, keep your day job. For dollars to roll in, it’s going to require time, energy, researching, and lots of testing. I’m not writing to deter you, I’m just giving you a heads up that it can be harder than people protray…in which they are probably selling a blogging course. Some people make loads of money and I give them a total high five!

I have spent some bucks on a few courses and found them helpful. Did they put me at the top of Google or give me the magic secret to making money? No. But they did give me an education on how it all works, which is super huge to understand. Just know, that there isn’t one course that covers all. Blogging is fairly new and it’s always changing. I highly recommend YouTube and courses that have had many positive reviews.

3 tools to get started blogging

If you want to get started writing a blog it’s going to take a little money. You can try to go free, but at some point, it’s going to require some dollar bills. The amount of money you spend depends on what you want.

Here are some things you’re going to want to think about:

Domain name.

This the website’s address. It must be unique. Think of a few ideas then head over to Domain.com and check to see if it’s available. You can buy your domain at domain.com.

Publishing platform.

This is where you make the website or blog. The platform allows you to design your site and blog on it. WordPress.org is the most popular and it’s free! However there are some plugins (these are like apps on your phone) that can cost money, yet, most are free. Other publishing platforms are Wix, Squarespace, or Blogger. I personally prefer WordPress.org.

Hosting.

This is what connects the domain name to the publishing platform and puts it out there for the world to see. Hosting will cost you money. I highly suggest Flywheel. The people are way cool and it’s easy to use. Hosting is paid for on an annual basis.

Connecting the domain name, publishing platform, and hosting all together can be tricky. If you can’t figure it out on your own, you can hire a webmaster to do it, or you can watch videos on YouTube. Just like that, you’ve got your blog or website for that matter!

Learn from a trusted teacher

If there is anything you get from this post it’s this, there are A LOT of courses out there that claim they can help you, I’ve fallen for some of them and have lost a lot of money. My bad. However, there are a couple of really good ones! My first recommendation is to check out Start A Mom Blog. Suzi does a fantastic job at teaching. She is funny, super smart, and her husband now works with her. They are very down-to-earth and easy to understand. Hands-down, start with her first. You can learn more here.

Wrapping it up

Keep it simple. Only get what you need. You can always add things later. First and foremost, understand why you want to start a blog. After you have that figured out you’ll have a better idea of what you need and who your audience will be.

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Infertility: What I would have done differently

Infertility: What I would have done differently

In 2010 today I lost a beautiful innocent soul. At 15 weeks pregnant, I had a miscarriage, we call her Sarah. Infertility is not something that is easy to talk about. I almost didn’t post this because I didn’t want people to think I’m seeking sympathy, because I’m not. I’m seeking the fellow broken-hearted. Our trials in life aren’t meant to be hidden, they’re meant to help others in need; and today, I felt a nudge to reach out to those who had miscarried or have had infertility issues.

This post is not for everyone, I understand that. Although, we all have our dark times in life: loss, poverty, addiction, abuse, divorce, or illness. I can’t say I’ve been there in all cases, but I can say, “My heart breaks for you; for I know what it feels like to suffer. You are not alone.”

It’s scary to open your book of life, let alone your heart to people, but maybe your story is just what someone needs to hear. “Never waste a hurt,” is what Pastor Rick Warren said during a message. And that is my purpose of this post. My hope is that you’ll feel loved, cared for, and will receive encouragement in one way or another. I give this post to God and ask Him to speak to you.

Infertility.

Miscarriage and infertility isn’t something that can be forgotten. It is a painful, difficult, and piercing experience. And some days…no matter how long it’s been since, no matter how young or old your baby was; you get a stir in your heart and fall to your knees and cry. I know I do. It’s okay to do that. You are not alone.

When this miscarriage happened, both my husband and I bled with heartbreak. We were confused, mad, and in disbelief. You hear it happen to other people but not you…not you. We walked around like zombies, not saying a word for days. With Christmas around the corner and a 2-year-old tugging at my robe…it was hard to put on the Christmas spirit.

In these tender days, I didn’t need to hear “it’s common”; I needed to hear, “It happened to me, I know what you’re going through”. Not a pep talk, not a statistic, but a down to earth connection with someone who understands, who’s been there.

How can I help those of you who have had infertility?

1. I want to hug you

First off, know I want to hug you. There is something powerful in the feeling of touch. I remember when I was pregnant with my son. The pregnancy tortured me with relentless nausea and vomiting. Hyperemesis gravidarum is what I had…unbelievable. Not only was my body under torment, but my mind was a mess, and I spiritually felt dead. All I wanted was to feel His presence. I cried out of desperation to feel better, to just get a few minutes of relief. One Sunday morning I felt the need to go to the church. Getting through the service without having to excuse myself was definitely on my mind. Standing to sing and worship was too difficult for me, I was so weak. This bothered me. Then something amazing happened.

When we went out to the coffee area after the service, I saw a friend of mine. For some reason, I walked directly towards her without saying a word. She then wrapped her arms around me and hugged me. No words were spoken, but I could feel Jesus hugging me. I remembered saying to myself while hugging her, “There you are Jesus. Where have you been?” I quietly heard him respond with, “I’ve been by your side the entire time.” My friend had no clue as to what was going on. She didn’t know Jesus used her at that moment. This experience taught me that Jesus can use anyone at any time! I SO needed that hug.

2. You are beautiful, healthy, and perfect

Secondly, you are beautiful, healthy, and perfect. You did nothing wrong. I can’t stress the number of times I blamed myself for not eating this or that, or for the time I went to the dentist, or for not taking a certain vitamin. Putting the blame on yourself is exactly what Satan wants you to do. He wants you to feel like you did this, when in fact, it was most likely him. Um, yeah. God doesn’t cause these things to happen, the Enemy does.

3. Write a letter

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Thirdly, write your child a letter. There were a lot of things I tried to comfort my broken heart and wounded soul. But one thing that really helped me was by writing my child a letter. There are times when I still do write a letter to them. As a mother, there is nothing sweeter than getting a note from her. I believe in my heart that my child gets these letters in heaven. On a side note, I also read the book, “Heaven is for Real“. This story brought me tremendous love and confidence in moving forward.

4. Bless your body

Fourthly, bless your body. This is something I didn’t do and I wished I would have done. All I did through my pregnancies full-term and losses, was curse my body. To me, my body was broken. In reality, my body was doing just what it was supposed to be doing; remember every body is different. Most importantly, comparing yourself to others is a lost cause. God made you to be different for many reasons, but most of all to bring glory to His kingdom. Use what God gave you, don’t curse it. Bless your body and all its parts. Simply say, “I bless my womb, I bless my ovaries, I bless my heart…”.

5. Keep praying

Lastly and most importantly, keep praying. The Lord is close to you even when you don’t feel Him. Talk to Him about how you feel. He loves you and will comfort you more than anything else in this world. Pray specifically and boldly in Jesus’s name. Ask for forgiveness of your sins, thank Him for all He’s given you, and pray for guidance. There is an app from Wild at Heart that has many prayers to help you. This is a free app. I, personally, love it. Simply go to the app store and type in: Wild at Heart. It looks like a burnt brown rectangle with white letters.

3 things I would have done differently

1. No more gluten!

If there were some things I would have done differently to help my body along I would have, first and foremost, I would have stopped eating gluten/wheat products. At the time I didn’t show signs of gluten sensitivity or a gluten allergy, but in 2017 I was diagnosed with colitis which lead to a confirmed test that my body was severely reacting to gluten. This article says some startling news about undiagnosed celiac disease and pregnancy, including infertility. Even though I didn’t have celiac, I still stay away from all gluten. Gluten is over-rated anyway, it is highly inflammatory and does a number on your digestive tract.

2. Fight Spiritually

The second thing I would have done differently was to put on my spiritual armor and fight off the Enemy. Frankly, I didn’t know how to fight off Satan with his lies and attacks. Many people ignore the spiritual realm; they either think it doesn’t exist or they think you’re a crazy person for talking about it. But it does exist, the Bible says so multiple times in the Gospels.

When fighting off the Enemy, his foul spirits, demons…and curses for that matter…you need to command them in the name of Jesus Christ to leave you. I know that sounds kind of whacky, but if there is light, there is darkness. After you command them to leave in the name of Jesus Christ, fill your spirit with God’s word and goodness. This isn’t a one-and-done type of deal, this can be a daily need. There are some great books I suggest for you to read if you want to learn more. Here’s a post I wrote with the books listed at the end: Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

3. Help others

Thirdly, I would have focused more on helping others. There’s something about helping others when you’re in so much pain either with pregnancy complications, infertility, or miscarriage. Even though my physical strengthen couldn’t do much, I could have written people letters, made crafts for gifts, called friends, and talked about anything but the pain I was going through. There is healing in helping others. It takes the attention off you and puts it on someone else, which is love. And love heals.

You are amazing

No matter how many children you had or didn’t have on this earth, they are still your children. You will be reunited with them in heaven, you will hold them in your arms someday, and you will be all together. I do not know what you have gone through or what you are going through right this very moment. My hope is that this post helped you in some way or form to bring healing to your heart and soul. My hugs to you.

I want to pray for you. Please contact me through the contact page and tell me what I can pray for.

By CT Copyright © 2020 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

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