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.

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

beach

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.

does a body good

My mental issue

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 the 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. And maybe, it’s not my body that has the issue, but it’s my mind or spiritual health. Read this post about spiritual warfare…so good!

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’s next?

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!

Moving forward

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. So instead of cursing your body, bless it! 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. I’ve got a great recipe here.

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.

4 Must-Haves to Start Anything – Gotta Start Somewhere

4 Must-Haves to Start Anything – Gotta Start Somewhere

Mark Twain says it this way, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Getting started is probably the most difficult task of them all. We know what we want to do, we can see where we want to go, but we don’t necessarily know how to start. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top three must-haves in starting your goal, business idea, or task at hand. Let’s get started.

1. Have a plan.

Of course, I was going to say that. If there is no plan, there is no map. When the map isn’t in front of our faces, we won’t know what direction we’re going in. We could be going in circles for all we know…which has happened to me. In fact, I was going so fast around the circle that I actually thought I was going somewhere.

Take things one step at a time. The first step is the write everything down. I know all these ideas have been in your head and you may think that is enough, but get it down on paper. For some of us, this might even be scary. “What if it doesn’t look as good on paper as it does in my head?” This might be true for starters. But keep working on it. Draw pictures, use details, it can be hard to transform information from our brains to the paper. But at least we can see it now. When it is down on paper, your idea becomes real. Now that’s really scary. But if you really want this to happen, it starts with paper and a pencil.

2. Get organized

The next step is to take all those things you wrote down and organize them in categories or to-dos. I personally wouldn’t do this on the same day as step one. You just puked out your idea on paper, if that was hard, let it sit there overnight and start step two the next day. One exception to this rule is if you are on a roll and are ready to break it down, then go for it.

Organizing your ideas, the steps you need to take, the research that needs to happen, the tools you need to acquire is critical to your success. Think of anything and everything you think you need to make this dream happen. You won’t know if all, but you need someplace to start.

Lastly, break down these tasks into doable steps. I know you’re going to want to go fast, but there is no sense in going fast if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Step by step. In fact, when you take a step-by-step approach, you may find you will go faster than expected. Most importantly, with each step, we get a little more confident in what we’re doing. And with more confidence, comes the next step, then the next, and so on. Get the free printable on goals at Firefly Freebies.

3. Seek encouragement – this is a big one!

“Gotta start somewhere” is a great weapon to protect you from judgment. When you’re trying to describe your dream or idea to someone and they just don’t get it, you’re probably going to get some weird looks and unasked opinions. Remember this with your kids. When they come to you and say, “Hey Mom! I’ve got this great idea to make popcorn bowls out of my old basketballs!” If you want your child to come to ask for your opinion in the future, you better choose how you react wisely. The idea may stink, but they need to figure that out on their own.

Lesson one: tell someone you trust, who will give you encouragement, more on this in a minute. Lesson two; don’t say a thing to someone who may bash your idea into liver pudding. Remember, if someone comes to you to share an idea, this person came to you, they feel safe with you. They are seeking a green-light. No matter what the idea they tell you, give them a high-five! Anyone who drums-up the courage to tell someone something dear to their heart deserves a five.

My Story

This happened to me many times before I finally learned my valuable lesson of ‘pick who you share with’. The most hurting time was when I shared some ideas with someone I loved. You’d think that is the right person to share with, and sometimes it is, but those loved ones can be very critical. They don’t mean to be critical. They love you so much they don’t want you to fail. So to ‘protect’ you, they blast constructive criticism from the gate. Parents, spouses, best friends listen to me, please. You may think you’re helping, but you’re not. At this point, think before you speak, this isn’t your spotlight to steel with knowledge or ego, it isn’t a time to ask a million questions of how they’re going to do it, again, just be excited for them, let them have this moment and give them encouragement.

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Getting worked up

The embarrassing time when I shared my idea was at a dinner party with my husband and his colleagues. Wrong time. I panicked really. Of course, at any work function, one of the questions people asked is, “Where do you work?” I should have known better. Why wouldn’t they ask this, we’re all curious to know what people do and secretly compare our lives to theirs. We’re all guilty of that. Anyway…while we were sitting at the dinner table waiting for our salads, the butterflies started to flutter in my belly.

Here I was a stay-at-mom-home who was trying to start a blog. I wanted to say something important like I’m launching a new product. Everyone else has these big fancy things they were doing. My blog was just starting out and wasn’t too confident about it. I guess I could say I’m a stay-at-home-mom, which I’m very proud of doing, but I got stupid. My hands were getting sweaty as the person next to me told us what she did. These people have awesome jobs. Me? I had a hobby. And the annoying part of this experience was that it was loud in the restaurant so you had to yell for anyone to hear you. Go figure.

What do you do?

Yikes! My turn. Oh boy. “I’m starting a new blog to help people go after their true dream in life and do more than exist.” At the time my blog was domorethanexist.com. From my answer people just stared at me, which seemed like five minutes. Because no one said anything I felt like I had to explain myself. I should have stopped there. Not really knowing what I was saying I went on and fumbled, but tried to catch myself. Big “L” to the forehead.

When I was trying to explain the blog their expression on their faces made me feel so out of place like I had a bug on my face and they were trying to figure out if they should smack it or let it crawl in my mouth and choke me. All this was going through my head until I said my magic words “Gotta start somewhere, right?”  All of a sudden, the bug jumped off my face and into their mouths, they couldn’t argue, they couldn’t judge. Those four words made all the difference, and who knows maybe they were jealous they weren’t in a position I was. Toast to that! Wipe to the brow.

Two quick lessons at the dinner party:

  1. Know your pitch before you go to a dinner party
  2. When you get that ‘bug on your face look’ use “Gotta start somewhere, right?”, they’ll simply nod their head and repeat, “Gotta start somewhere.” Try it, it’s funny.

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Where do you get true encouragement?

Know who to go to.

This goes back to some of the things I just said. If you know the person you’re going to is going to be critical, don’t talk to that person. I know that’s going to be hard, because sometimes we have this weird emotional acceptance thing that goes something like this, “if Sally (the critical person) approves of my idea then it’s gotta be a good one. I’ll just keep asking her opinion on my ideas until I get a thumbs-up from her.” STOP IT! You’re playing the acceptance game, fold your hand and leave the table. If you continue to go to this person your self-esteem will tank. Don’t have anyone? Talk to me! Seriously, send me an email and we’ll talk.

The Bible.

The Bible is full of encouragement. In a weird way, the Bible is not dated, meaning God speaks to us individually through His words no matter what year it is. One verse may mean something one day, then a year later that same verse may mean something totally different. He knows what you need to hear and when you need to hear it. You just have to willing to read the pages. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV).

Teachers, mentors, coaches, our kids.

Teachers are great encouragers, so are mentors, coaches, and even your own children. When I tell my son an idea I get a ‘high five’ right away. Kids are pretty smart, they’re extremely observant. On a side note, just the other day, I was trying to figure out a new plugin for the website and it took me forever to figure it out, when in fact, I couldn’t get it to work. My son had asked how my day went and I told him I had wasted it on a silly plugin, nothing got done. His response surprised me, “Mom, you didn’t waste your day, you learned what not to do!” I laughed, smiled, and said, “Right On! I needed to hear that. Thanks, Bud.”

Yourself.

If anyone can encourage you, it can be yourself. Gotta start somewhere. With that said, head over to my Freebies and download my top favorite affirmations.

Random places.

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More sources of encouragement come from non-fiction books, YouTube videos of motivational speakers, stories from those TV talent shows, music, and even a stranger. When I first started out I got encouragement from Holley Gerth’s book, “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream“. I still reference it today. So good!

4. And lastly, tap into courage.

In 2008 I started blogging. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it for that matter. Note the dinner party. All I knew was that I needed to start somewhere. In the various books and ‘how to blog’ posts I read over the years, I’ve noticed a common denominator; nothing happens until Courage is invited (make picture quote).

I had to get the guts to try. “Gotta start somewhere” gives us permission to take a step forward, to try it on for a bit. They say, “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but you gotta at least try. So if you fall, it’s because you didn’t know what you’re doing. And that’s okay. Now stand the hell back up and figure it out.”  

What is courage?

It’s the moment in time where we take a step of faith not knowing what will come of it but do it anyway. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) Gotta start somewhere.

When we put ourselves out there, people are going to judge. The magical element of courage is that we don’t care what other people think, we have a vision and we’re going to try our hardest to see that vision become part of the big picture. When people watch, give them a show. Show them how to move forward, how to stand back up, and how to fight.

Those bug-on-your-face looks are beaming with curiosity or maybe jealously. Remember, everyone has their own opinion, and they are only opinions; it’s you who you need to believe in.

How do we ‘start somewhere’?

  • Pray. Daily. In Jesus’s name. “Lord, light my fire within. What is my next step?”
  • Plan. Step by step.
  • Practice. Try your dream on, take it off, try it on again.

You stepping out in faith may not only help you but others who want to do the same. “Gotta start somewhere” isn’t just permission to try; it’s also to inspire others to do the same.

By CT Copyright © 2017 Simplify Firefly. 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.
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)

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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!

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

Chaos vs Simplicity. A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss.

Chaos vs Simplicity. A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss.

The world is dominated by chaos especially now; pandemic, racial injustice, a shaky economy, broken homes, and anxiety-filled minds. If you look at what’s on TV, YouTube, and in theaters, you wouldn’t be surprised by the health of our world. Right now is a great time to pull out your secret weapon to fight chaos and kick it to the curb. Learn how to access your boxing gloves and how to use them effectively every day. You’ll be surprised how much simpler life gets and enjoyable.

The start of the school year

Starting school during a pandemic is stressful. No one knows what to expect or how to react. In fact, there is no right way. At least they have some type of school. As the kids head off to school or start their online education, we moms, whisper to ourselves about the tranquility we’re about to experience. Let’s face it, it’s been months of constant contact with our precious babies. We love our children, but to help them survive on their own, they need to leave the nest. With an extra cup of coffee, a wide stretch of our arms, and a sigh of relief, we can finally relax and have the house (or room) to ourselves. Or is that false?

Yes, it’s true that the kids or gone or quiet, but it’s false that tranquility is immediate, it’s going to take some work to get there. When ‘me time’ comes we have this grand plan what we’ll do with ourselves, but we soon find our left brain playing ping pong with our right. Before we know it, mental chaos settles in. “I’m home alone, I only have X amount of time to get everything done! I’m not going to get it done! Can I get anything done? Oh my gosh! I just wasted an hour doing nothing!” This is what I call ‘Silent Chaos’.

Who is Mr. Silent Chaos?

Last month, I was feeling Silent Chaos put his welcome mat on my doorstep. My health was a mess, my kid’s EOE flared up, our kitchen was being remodeled, we were living in our basement out of boxes, work was overwhelming, and we had this pandemic going on. Mr. Silent Chaos paralyzed me. I was pissed. Who and what is going on? As I peeled back the layer of this mess I clearly saw that the Enemy is going on. Satan is having a heyday with this pandemic mess we’re in and I’m actually more upset at myself for letting him set-up camp in my life. Do you hear me?

My go-to for cleaning my head out

When there is too much going on in my head I usually grab a piece of copy paper and write down ALL the things on my mind and categorize them in different departments. This way I can visually see what I have going on in there and I can come up with a game plan on how to tackle it. This technique usually does the trick, but this time I was still unsettled. Grr.

My enlightenment, who knew?

As I was listening to my daily devotional, the pastor talked about something that helped explain why I was feeling so overwhelmed. It was something I didn’t think of and that’s what I want to share with you.

Personal values do what?

Did you ever think personal values had a role in our serenity? I used to think personal values were like jewels in a black velvet bag; you learn them when you’re young and then carry them around with you. BUT don’t you dare get them out and use them because they’re valuable. Did I sure have that backward.

It had been a while since I opened my bag of personal values. Let’s face it, I’m an adult, and values are taught when we are children, right? Not so, those are morals. Morals are beliefs that are taught to us. Think of morals as “acceptable” acts. Parents usually teach morals to help a child determine what is right and wrong. Personal values come from within; they define what is important to us and help us make the right decisions that align with our heart. When personal values are used correctly we ultimately experience happiness with our decisions.

Ahem. There is no better time than now to review your personal values. For me and Mr. Silent Chaos, my personal values had to intervene to save the day, along with some Bible verses of course. When our values align with our decisions, life is SO much easier and happier.

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How could something so simple have such a big impact?

The first week of school is a GREAT time to revisit our values. And that’s what I did, I took a minute and grabbed my values exercise and reviewed what I wrote down as my core values. During the exercise, I realized some values had changed and that was probably one of the causes of my chaotic feeling. When we understand WHY we’re making certain decisions, we understand ourselves better and can move forward by making the right decision for our sanity.

After my values exercise, my mind felt clearer and cleaner. It felt like getting new running shoes, I was ready to run hours on end. At this point, I could now go back and look at my paper where I wrote everything down and organize it according to my values.

If you’re at a point where ‘simplifying your life’ sounds like heaven, then sharpen your pencil. Chaos isn’t welcome in my home anymore. In fact, if I can keep myself in-line with my values and speak God’s word, then the enemy doesn’t have a foothold on me. Fight back with what the Lord put in you, use your personal values.

“If you watch your life, you’ll be amazed at how many times a week Satan launches an attack against you for the sole purpose of stealing your peace. When I finally saw that, God said to me in my spirit, “Joyce, if the devil wants your peace that badly, then there must be something pretty powerful about being peaceful.”

– Joyce Meyer

Download my personal values exercise now. Here are some great verses to fight off the enemy, I highly recommend memorizing these. Get full access to all my freebies here. Our world needs you to be your best to beat this beast of a year.

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

The Best 13 Ways to Naturally Help the Winter Blues

The Best 13 Ways to Naturally Help the Winter Blues

The winter blues are upon us, but they don’t have to be. According to Cleveland Clinic having the “winter blues” is actually normal. You’re totally fine to feel a little down during the colder months. They refer to it as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Um, yeah, I know I get it. No matter where we live we’re bound to crave sunlight. 

What can we do about it?

Here are the best 13 ways to naturally reduce the ‘winter blues’. I go from the most common to the most unique. My personal favorites are #9 and #13.

1- Get Outside…even if it’s cloudy.

2- Open up the shades and pullback the curtains.

Increase the amount of sunlight in your home. Open the shades and curtains. This is so incredibly healthy for your mind and wellbeing. In fact, this is probably one of my biggest pet-peeves. It will be a beautiful day outside and I’ll go visit a friend and they will have their blinds or curtains closed. Listen, people, you’re missing out on a lot of good stuff and entertainment from nature.  Open the d@#n shades!

3- Take Vitamin D

Taking vitamin D3 also reduces upper respiratory infections…2020.

4- Exercise

Who cares if it’s cloudy and gray outside! Bundle up and get out there. A bit of fresh air does a body and soul good.

5- Set a sleep schedule

When you’re on a sleep schedule, your body will naturally flow with it. It’s take a little time, but within a week or two you should be feeling the positive affects.

6- Look at what you’re eating.

Change up your diet and eat more Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts, flax seeds), berries, dark chocolate, and bananas are beneficial too. Source: Healthline.

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7- Try Light Therapy

Light therapy also helps, but talk to your doctor first. There are a few lights to look at on Amazon. Here’s one that’s inexpensive to try: Miroco Light Therapy Lamp.

6 More Fun Things to Calm the Winter Blues

8- Add plants to your indoors

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Some other fun things we can do to brighten our blue months (January and February) is to bring green plants into your living space. Having plants, even if they’re fake, gives off a fresh feel to the room. Try putting a houseplant or two in your kitchen. If you don’t do well with plants, and what I mean is keeping them alive, head to your favorite hobby store or hop on Amazon and pick up some fake greens.

9- Light it up inside!

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Move your Christmas lights from your tree to other areas of your home. I have a fake tree in my kitchen; year-round I put a string of white lights on it and turn them on in the evening and early morning. In our basement, I have a string of lights on my fireplace mantel. A few lights can go a long way! If you don’t like the typical dark green string, get the white! You can find them on Amazon.

10- Turn your nose on

Fill your home with lovely smells. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about the smell of banana bread baking, but it brings warm hugs to my soul. Chicken soup does the same thing. Whatever your childhood favorite smell, make that smell happen!

11- Get into nature…with your ears

Play nature sounds. There are a lot of great nature sounds you can download. My personal favorites are the ones with birds, something that mimics my backyard in the warmer months. If the ocean is your favorite spot, tune into the sounds, and close your eyes.  

12- Embrace the season

Welcome the stillness of the winter. Every year I find myself craving time alone when it’s snowing outside. Since I live in Michigan we get our share of snow. The snow has this magical way of quieting life down. One of my favorite places to be in winter is sitting in the snowbank at night…especially if it’s snowing!

13- Warm up the bones

Don’t forget to warm up your bones. If there is ever any sunshine, grab a camp chair and camp out in front of the window or door where the sunbeams shine through. I did this just the other day and my soul immediately felt better. No sun? Try your fireplace. No fireplace? Light a candle. No candles? Take a hot bath. No bathtub? A cup of hot chocolate or tea works too…with a pair of cozy socks.

Victory over the Winter Blues

Let’s beat the winter blues at it’s game. Shine light where you can and warm up your soul using all your senses. Be aware of your surroundings and how you can change them. You got this!

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. 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!

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.

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare. Do you believe it? Over these past nine months, there has been an increasing amount of spiritual warfare. Due to COVID, political unrest, and equality issues to name some big ones, I was stressed and wanted to know answers as to why this is all going on! What I found amazed me in the power it had over me. I wanted my life back. So I did these 7 things.

I wanted the truth.

Back in April of 2020, I started to seek truth in the only book that has truth, the Bible. And goodness, what a transformation it has done on me. I want that for you. People have even said to me, “Christy you sound so good,” “Christy, I can tell a weight has been lifted.” I owe it all the Jesus. Seriously, this guy changes things and makes things happen!

What is Spiritual Warfare?

Spiritual warfare is the invisible war between good and evil. Wikipedia defines it as, “…the Christian concept of fighting against the work of preternatural evil forces.” So how do we fight this? How do we know we’re being affected by it? Is it really true? These are all great questions, let’s get started on answering them.

Is this real?

The book of Truth says in Ephesians 6:12 this: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This is only one of the references in the Bible where it talks of evil, Satan, demons, and fowl spirits. There are hundreds upon hundreds of times.

The Gospels are FULL of instances where Jesus and his twelve disciples drove out demons. You can find these books in the New Testament, the second half of the Bible. The Gospels include Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This is really an interesting read with a wealth of knowledge that will change your life.

Yes, spiritual warfare is real. Yes, there is a heaven and a hell. Satan exists along with other fallen angels. And yes, we have to fight them off. No, I’m not a crazy person.

My wake-up call.

Many things led-up to me looking further into spiritual warfare. Was I indeed a battlefield? Sure enough I was. In fact, we all are. The Bible says we must be alert, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Not only did I have a physical ailment with no explanation, but I suffered for 18 months. Let me tell you, it was a royal pain in my rear…literally. It’s not fun to talk about, but I know someone needs to hear this.

Romans 12:2

My story of spiritual warfare and how I fight.

Somehow is some way, I hurt my left hip which radiated pain not only down my leg at first, but then moved to my groin and compressed some delicate nerves. Sitting for long periods of time was NOT happening. Even walking was rough. Just the fact that I don’t know how I hurt myself is a huge clue to who is behind this.

The x-ray showed nothing, two MRI’s, one of the hip and the other of the groin were unmarkable…nothing was wrong. No one could give me an answer as to why I was experiencing this horrible, crazy pain. I saw 8 physical therapists, 4 chiropractors, went through 22 acoustic compression appointments and saw 5 doctors, not to mention hours and hours of researching online for an answer.

No one could pinpoint the source of the injury. This was so unsettling, so frustrating! The location of the injury didn’t allow me to ignore it either. I proceeded to go through 18 months…18 months…of physical therapy and half that time was pelvic floor PT. My reasoning was that maybe they’ll find something.

There were nights when I cried myself to sleep. Prays desperately went up for relief and healing, yet nothing was happening. I dug into the Word even more. It just so happens that in Psalms 91 it occurred to me that the Enemy probably has something to do with this pain. I dug deeper into the Word, and even read books on spiritual warfare. My eyes were opened to a whole new way of going about this injury.

The game-changer.

For the record, the PT helped, but it didn’t do all the healing. What helped me even more was putting on my armor and fighting back. My prayers got more specific, my physical therapist even prayed for me, AND she understood spiritual warfare. In fact, she shared with me how she fought and still fights back. And you know what happened? My body started to feel better, my hope returned, my faith got stronger, I wasn’t complaining as much, I had spunk in my step, and I felt stronger in more ways than one.

Just the other day my gut was bothering me. There was no reason for it to be upset. So I went into my bedroom and gave it a whirl. “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all fowl spirits and demons who are messing with my digestive tract to leave right now and go to the foot of the cross. It’s by the blood of Jesus that I command you to leave!” Instantly, my gut felt better, no joke. I totally needed that confirmation.  

It was time to claim my life back.

Goodness, this seems more like a journal entry for me than a blog post. But listen up, I learned some more super important game-changers that I want to pass along to you to help you in this area.

I’m not writing this post to teach you everything I learned, there is a lot of information, so much so I don’t even know how to explain it! This post is to give you quick tips and a taste of what you can do to clean up shop so-to-speak.

Seven steps to peace

Step 1

The first step I took was to physically clean out my home of any objects that may have been subject of evil doing. I know this sounds silly, but if objects can be blessed like a prayer shawl, objects certainly can be cursed too. Yikes! Be careful about the things you collect, including books. And be watchful of gifts you receive or have already received. Most things are probably fine, but if you question anything that may have been cursed or made with the hands of witchcraft or a religion that goes against Jesus, get rid of it. I know this sounds voodoo, but remember who you’re dealing with…don’t entertain the enemy or test him.

Step 2

The next step I took went beyond knickknacks. I went deep…into my old journals. Digging out my journals from high school, college, and my twenties was an eye-opener for me. First off, journaling is super healthy. It’s great to journal lessons you have learned, to write down prayers, to journal about great things and dreams, and to write about positive memories.

It’s also great to vent on paper, it’s better to beat up a pencil and notebook than to take-it-out on a person. Write it out. Don’t hang on to it. Vent. But then pitch it. Physically throw the journal entry away or burn it. When we keep our old journals, the ones filled with darkness and distress, in some way or form your mind is still hanging on to it. Do you know what I mean? Destroy those entries full of complaining, anger, bitterness, and foul language. Who are you saving those journals for? Why would you ever want to reread those things, ever? Get rid of that darkness. It’s done. All over. It’s behind you. Why relive it?

What motivated me to destroy these entries was that I personally didn’t want my family to ever read them or for me to read them again. Toxic. In fact, I have no idea why I hung on to them for so long! So…I ripped out the bad stuff and burned them. There were even some journals in which I just burned the whole thing. Yep! I literally took gasoline, stepped back, and torched them in our portable fire pit; kind of like breaking up with a boyfriend and burning his things. I broke up with my old self. It was so liberating! I didn’t want to remember that junk, so again, why was I hanging on to it?

Step 3

The third step was to repent my sins. I wanted all negative ties broken. Asking for forgiveness of all my wrongs was humbling. You may think it’s no big deal, but to have a fresh start this needs to happen. In the past, I had asked God for forgiveness, but this time I was more thorough and I continue to this day to ask the Lord if there is something I missed to bring it to my attention. I don’t want any sin holding me back from what God wants to do in my life. This is a daily practice for me, I sin all the time without even knowing it!  In Psalm 139:23-24, David asks, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Step 4

The fourth step was to forgive anyone who had wronged me, including me! I didn’t say forget. I am not a Bible scholar, nor am I trying to be one, but I do know that you must forgive those who hurt you…yes, this includes your neighbor. Most of our offenders didn’t know what they were doing because the Enemy had such a big hold of them they had no way of telling what was right from wrong. Yet, there are some people that DID know what they were doing… The verse that comes to my mind is Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Step 5

The fifth step was to renounce, refuse, reject any lies, or fear that was/is holding me back. The Enemy is sneaky, and he only wants to hurt you. When you hear a lie like, “You’ll never succeed at this.” Get on top it immediately and say, “That’s a lie Satan. I am complete in Christ!” It’s also a super good idea to slam him with scripture you’ve memorized. In Ephesians 6 we are given the armor of God, and one vital piece of that battle gear is the Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Memorizing has been a powerful experience for me. Granted I only know a handful right now, but when I use them, I can feel it. Fighting off the Enemy is a daily thing for me along with repenting my sins, and forgiving others. Just remember that in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Here is a site that is full of scriptures to memorize and use to fight with: hopefaithprayer.com

Step 6

The sixth step was to look at what I’m putting into my mind daily. Am I listening to gossip? Depressing music? Lies on the news? Am I watching trashy TV? What are my conversations full of? What am I watching on YouTube or what video games are I playing? How are these shows helping me? I’m not perfect, I have temptations, but I do have a mind. And if I want to live a life of joy and peace, I am going to try my best to control the things I put in my mind. Did you hear that? “What we put in our minds is in our control.” We have a choice here. No one is forcing you to watch Silence of the Lambs. The Bible teaches us what to put in our minds Philippians 4:8 gives us an idea, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, what is noble, whatever right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”(NIV)

Step 7

The seventh step was to pray. I’m not just talking about prayers of “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food.” Prayers for protection, love, and to do His will have power behind them. The Lord wants to hear from you, He wants to talk with you, and He wants to bless you. But the first step is to pray. In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus teaches us how to pray. He uses the Lord’s Prayer as a guide in what you should include in your prayers. Some pastors follow an acronym for prayer: ACTS.

Don’t make praying complicated; you can pray however you like, however, if you’re looking for help, you can use the above acronym as a guide. If you’re vibing in your prayer life, stick with that!

To Round It Up

Whether you are dealing with physical pain, relationships, weird moods, nightmares, or just feeling off, my hope is that you’ll take a step back and see WHO is really at fault here. By all means, don’t discount your doctor, just add some spiritual fighting power. I recommend going through these seven steps so you can get clarity in your everyday life and fight like you mean it! This isn’t a one-shot deal, it can be daily.

Along with reading the Bible (Ephesians 6:10-18 is a good start), I also recommend these books.

Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer

The Invisible War, Chip Ingram

Moving Mountains, John Eldredge

I HIGHLY recommend the Wild At Heart App. It has many powerful prayers that help fight the Enemy.

You can also head to my freebies and download the Stress & Anxiety Protocol, it’s a free download. My hope is that you’ll understand more about this spiritual warfare so you know how to recognize it and fight if off! Blessings to you.

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

5 Effective Ways to Shut the Mind Off!

5 Effective Ways to Shut the Mind Off!

How to turn your mind off

When I can’t shut the mind off I sometimes experience ‘anxiety anaphylaxis’; sounds worse than it is, I just get super moody. Why does this happen to me? I can sum it up in one word: BUSY. When it comes to being a mom, ‘busy’ is born right along with your little one. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE being a mom and I don’t mind being busy every once in a while, but it’s when BUSY takes over that I can’t think straight, my ‘to-do’ list turns into ‘to-do’ book, and the calendar looks like someone threw-up on it. Been there?

Busy Badge – not so

If ‘busy’ was a noun it would be a ball-and-chain latched to my ankle. I don’t see ‘busy’ as a badge of accomplishment; I see it as a stock or pillory. Here’s why: ‘Busy’ is yearning to do things you want to do without having the time to do them. That’s my version of the definition. Merriam-Webster Dictionary says ‘busy’ is: engaged in action, occupied. Here’s the difference between the two definitions, when I’m ‘engaged in action’ with an activity I want to do, I’m not ‘busy’, I’m free. You might need to read that again to let it sink in.

definition of busy

How do we do it?

How do we shut the mind off to have the freedom to work on the things that bring purpose into our lives? Personal development? Or on the flip-side, how to not think about anything?

Men are pretty good at being able to turn their minds off. My husband and I will be having coffee, talking right along than five minutes of silence go by so I ask what my husband is thinking; and he says, “Nothing”. Seriously? Mark Gungor, author, and motivational speaker has an excellent and hilarious way of describing the differences between men and women’s minds. For instance, men have this thing called the ‘Nothing Box’. I mean, what the heck is that? You can watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWiBRL-bxiA so funny.

5 Effective Ways for us ladies

But how do we ladies go about finding how to shut the mind off?

1. Change environments

Escape from the environment that is causing you to constantly think of your to-do list, or the problem you’re facing. For instance; for me, I need to step away from the house. Because I’m a stay-at-home-mom I live in my work. So when I’m at my house it’s natural for me to always have a project going. For short term results, I’ll go to my favorite store and wonder. I didn’t say buy stuff, just window shop. For long-term effects, we get out of town; and for my family that means camping. If you’re stuck inside get some amazing wall art and lose yourself in the picture.

desk with notebook and computer

2. Write things out

Putting it down on paper makes things more do-able. We, humans, tend to let our mind get away from us. We play-up our tasks way harder than they really are. Yet, when we get it down on paper it helps calm our neurons. I personally enjoy taking a clean sheet of copy paper, grabbing a pencil, and drawing a circle. From the circle, I create branches of all the things I’m thinking about…primarily my to-do list or ideas…then I break those branches into smaller do-able bites. Or go the traditional route and invest in a journal.

affirmations
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3. Converse with God

Talking with God helps me release the chains and give them to Him. Did you catch what I said? “Talking with God, not at Him or to Him, but with, like a friend talks with a friend. He wants a relationship with you, he wants to hear your side of the story, and he wants to help you. All you need to do is talk with Him. For instance, I escape to my favorite walking place and pray while I’m walking. For me, hearing my voice speak rather than trying to sort it all out in my mind helps me focus on the conversation. Then I stop talking and just listen; this gives me a breather and a chance for God to breathe into me.  I enjoy Jesus Calling as a nice devotional to help hear His voice.  

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4. Watch a Good Show

There is no better feeling than turning on a movie at my fingertips. The comfy clothes come on and my ‘please don’t ask me anything’ time starts. When we are entertained it gives us time to relax and just be. Our brains need it, especially to sleep. It’s a chance we get to wander out of our reality and into a story.

Here’s a tip, be picky of what you put in your brain. If you’re looking to just feel good and float on a cloud, don’t choose The Silence of the Lambs; maybe try La La Land, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Steel Magnolias. If you don’t have a Smart TV a Fire TV Stick is the way to go. It’s super easy to get Netflix, Hulu, and Prime video to name a few…and cheaper! Ask yourself what you want to get out of a show before you start channel flipping. And yes, it’s true, what you put in your mind affects how you think, and how you think affects how you act.

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5. Create

Creativity gets your mind off the stress and into a different state of being. Entrepreneur.com has a great article on the benefits of putting our creativity to use. There are scientific studies on how it can reduce stress. Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that when you “lose yourself” in the composition of a song (creating)…, you are essentially entering a healthy flow state. No wonder I feel so great after I create something. Experiment in the kitchen, rearrange your furniture, color, create a playlist…we all have creative abilities. I really love this adult coloring book: Psalms in Color.

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I challenge you to tap into at least two of the above suggestions this week to shut the mind off. Ask yourself what do I need to let go to give myself the time I need? Want more about ‘busy’, check-out this post.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved.

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