9 Gift Ideas to Comfort Someone

9 Gift Ideas to Comfort Someone

Need some gift ideas to comfort someone? Whether you need a gift idea to physically comfort someone or gift ideas to emotionally comfort them, I’ve got 9 gift ideas to warm the body and soul. These are practical gift ideas, in other words, gifts that can be used daily. Candles and blankets are flooding the stores; as well as fuzzy socks and scarfs. Try something different this year, choose a gift people will really use and love. Here are nine great gift ideas that will make a lasting impression on them.

9 gift ideas to warm the body and soul

Gift ideas #1: Leg Warmers

Leg warmers were a big hit in the ’80s largely due to the movie Fame and Flashdance; not to mention the exercise aerobics. They may have been a fashion statement, but leg warmers are actually very functional and practical if I don’t say so myself! With leggings and skinny jeans trends, leg warmers are perfect to slide over your legs before going for a walk or walking the dog! I simply slide them over my leggings on cold days and head outside…perfect! Leg warmers are a great gift for people who live in the city and walk to work, for college students walking to the gym, and for the dog owner on cold days. I recommend these leg warmers on Amazon, pick your color!

Gift ideas #2: Heating pads

Heating pads. This sounds like an old person. Hear me out though, heating pads are an awesome way to get the blood flowing to the areas of your body to heal. They don’t just naturally ease sore muscles, but they give you peace of mind. Heating pads are portable, which is great for travel or sitting on the couch. There is nothing more comforting than a warm heating pad against your aches and pains. If you don’t have access to a bathtub or hot shower, a heating pad is the next best thing to warm the bones and bring a sense of calm to your heart. Great for camping/glamping!

#3: Hot Chocolate (Dairy-free!)

Hot cocoa – Dairy Free. Yes, it exists. For those of us who need to be dairy-free due to digestive distress, this hot cocoa is simply delicious. Let’s face it, there is nothing more soothing and joyful than sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. It not only warms your insides, but it warms up the childhood memories from playing in the snow. When I had to go dairy-free, not to mention gluten-free, I couldn’t have hot chocolate anymore. However, Swiss Miss now makes a dairy-free version! And I gotta say, it’s fantastic. If you have a dairy-free friend, a cup of hot cocoa would be a really awesome gift. You can easily get this on Amazon.

#4: Epson Salts (this is my favorite)

Epson Bath Salts: these are my favorite all year round. Epson salts aren’t just for after a chiropractic adjustment or massage appointment, they are for everyday use to release your muscle tightness and rid toxins from your body. They even have Epson salts infused with essential oils, which enhance the bath experience and give your body and mind extra care. My personal favorite is Dr. Teals Chamomile. When I smell the scent of these Epson salts my mind immediately releases and melts into the tub. This is one of the best comforting gift ideas if you have a bath lover.

#5: Mini Electrical Fireplace

Small electrical fireplace: This might sound silly, but these small electrical fireplaces are so nice to have around. These days, they are very affordable and portable! They are easy to use and instantly bring warmth to your room both physically and mentally. There is nothing better on a cold winter’s day than having the glow of a fireplace. You don’t need a fancy fireplace to get the same warm fuzzies.  What I love about electrical fireplaces is that you can turn on the flames without the heat, because sometimes, you might just want the ambiance without the extra heat.

#6: Essential Oils

Essential Oils: essential oils were the craze in the 20-teens, but they are still beneficial for the mind and body. My essential oils are used every day, mainly for mental goodness, but also for sore muscles. I do have my go-to oils, but there are some no-fail oils to give as gifts, like Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, and Frankincense. A little bit goes a long way and gives our senses a treat and healing. You can get a nice variety of oils for under $10 on Amazon.

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Gift ideas #7: Instrumental Music

William Augusto: Soaking in His Presence instrumental music. I usually don’t say much about music because everyone has their own taste, but this one is a must. When you just want to escape your reality without having to think about lyrics, this album is a keeper. Soaking in His Presence is beautiful, soft, and welcoming. Love, love, love this! When I want to feel closer to God Almighty, I play this music and pray. This is great when you’re driving and just need a minute to relax and calm your road rage. 😊

#8: Flowers

Flowers never get old. This is a great birthday gift idea and this is especially a great Mother’s Day gift idea. Add color to their kitchen table. This simple gift gives the gift of peace. Seriously, flowers are known to promote positive thinking and reduce stress! Talk about great gift ideas to comfort someone. Head to your local grocery store, Trader Joe’s, ALDI’s, or Costco to get some amazing deals on flowers.

Gift ideas #9: Silk Pillowcase

Silk pillowcase: this has been a game-changer in my sleep…for the better. A silk pillowcase is not only soft and cool, but it’s actually good for your hair! My husband even loves them. I know that a silk pillowcase sounds a little cheesy, but it is the bomb. If you don’t have one yet, I encourage you to get one for yourself! My husband loves his!

Wrapping it up!

In wrapping up these great gift ideas to comfort someone, I’m sure you found at least one of them to be a perfect fit for your friend or family member. Note: these gifts can not only be for Christmas gifts, but for Mother’s Day gifts, Father’s Day, Birthday gift ideas, and even gifts to mend a broken heart. May these gift ideas refresh and bring joy to yourself and those you care about. Surprise someone with one of these thoughtful yet practical gifts.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
5 Mental Health Tips for Teens

5 Mental Health Tips for Teens

Mental health tips for teens coming right up! Mental health is just like taking care of our physical health. The term “Mental Health” is not a bad word, it’s not “crazy”, and it isn’t something to take lightly. How to manage mental health is daily exercise, just like going for a walk or drinking water for our bodies. I’ve got five valuable tips you’re going to want to check out to get on the road to genuine joy!

mental health tips for teens

Hey Parents! Children are resilient, do you really think?

As parents, we are told to feed our children a variety of foods, to get enough sleep, and to exercise. We want them to learn how to read, do chores, and be responsible. But what about their mental health? No one told me as a parent to teach my child how to deal with stress, depression, or low self-esteem; we were told children are resilient. Yet, are children really resilient?

In some instances, yes we all are resilient. But with traumatic events that cause deep wounds, resilience isn’t going to work. From a loss of a friend, a major illness or injury, physical or verbal abuse, or embarrassing events, some experiences or words, for that matter, will stick with them and affect their psyche. Heck, it happens to us parents! No one wants to be depressed, let alone their child or teenager. But how do we help them know how to manage mental health?

There are many things we can try at home before jumping to a therapist and prescriptions. **Please know I am NOT a professional counselor, nor am I trying to be. I share information I have either experienced myself or are extremely interested in. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things.**

Mental health tips for teens: the beginning

For young children knowing how to manage mental health starts with them watching you do things. They aren’t going to naturally know how to manage depression, they need you to encourage them, show them, and walk alongside them.

My parents were big outdoor people. My mom gardened and my dad worked in the yard; we were outside doing projects and playing all the time. I learned at a young age how to develop a relationship with nature. It was not until later in life I realized how important that relationship was going to be. Nature is my #1 go-to for mental health because that’s what my parents did. For instance, gardening is essential for my mental health. There is something about putting your hands in dirt that helps reduce stress. I learned this from my mom.

Martin Luther King Jr. quote walking
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The brain and nature balance

Get a load of this. 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 about nature. 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.

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What’s next?

Probably the biggest step in helping ourselves and our teens 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.

5 Mental health tips for teens

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…”

We may not have 90 minutes to take a walk but I’m sure we can do 20 minutes. 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. Yes, even your teenagers. Go with them. Just last night my son and I went outside and played with our dog.

More nature quotes & the power of the outdoors

Other outside activities for teens and kids

As for other ideas with your teen, start an outside sport together like tennis, pickleball, or throwing the baseball around. Do a project together outside, like a garden, build a hunting blind, do yard work, or have a campfire. Don’t have a yard? Head to the park. Go for a walk. Take up fishing together. My personal favorite is gathering the family together (all ages) and doing The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt Challenge. This is so incredibly fun and inexpensive, perfect for teens to let loose and have fun! You can download the instructions in my Freebies.

Plant trees or volunteer in a park or nature event. If nature goes away; so will our sanity.

For little kids, show them how to build a fort, climb trees, make an obstacle course, look for birds or pretty flowers, or play in the snow. When my son was little I liked to grab a camera (a camera separate from a phone) and ask for certain pictures to be taken, for instance, anything that is yellow, rocks, funny-looking sticks, and things like that. My son absolutely loved it!

2. Do something kind for the body.

Our bodies take most of the brunt of 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 to go for a run, have a yoga session, a massage, hot bath, or a cup of tea on the couch? Do something that makes you feel better that is good and pure.

Teens, understand your love language. Parents, know what your teen’s love language is, and yours for that matter. If it is gifts you can encourage them by getting them a simple gift that brings comfort, you can get some comfort gift ideas here. Words of affirmation is powerful, these aren’t just compliments, this is speaking truth into their minds. I have a list of affirmations in my freebies you can download. First things first, understand each other’s love language. You can grab the book: The 5 Love Languages to learn more.

Pray together

And don’t forget the power of prayer. Simply giving it all to our Heavenly Father to sort out, gives us natural peace. God is in control, he loves us, and wants us to live a life of love. There is nothing better and going to the source to ask for help, clarity, and healing. I also encourage prayer for protection over the Enemy. Body, mind, and spirit are all connected and affect each other.

John 14:27

3. Eat foods for your brain

Food matters! Your brain needs fats, 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. Berries are an amazing ‘happy’ food. Stock up on blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Your brain also needs to be hydrated. Drinking more water really does help with mood and clarity. There are many benefits to water. Stick with filtered water, there is no need to add sweetener or bubbles, your body knows what to do with plain water. Get a cool-looking water bottle and fill er’ up with some H2O.

4. Journal

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 yourself permission to let the hurt get out of you. Writing about your journey really helps process what’s going on. Journaling is a great exercise to help express emotions yet feel like they have privacy. When asked the right journaling questions, there can be a lot of healing. Plus it’s fun to shop for a fun journal.

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5. Head to a hobby

A hobby can do loads for mental health. It keeps your hands busy and your mind focused on being creative…and being you! Here’s a post on hobbies with a list of different ones to try. It’s time to get creative and feel the goodness enter your heart.

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 be 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 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 it 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! And your teen would love it and find it motivating.

Moving forward- mental health tips for teens

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. You don’t need me to say those things just leads to other issues. You can also look at these things as signs that your teen is going through a tough season.

If you have tried some natural ways to manage mental health and it’s not helping, another route would be to find a therapist, a Christ-follower if possible. The only true healer and protector is Jesus. Your church would know of someone, or you can ask some friends. Be sure you straight-up ask them if they know Jesus, if they hesitate with their answer, walk out and find a new one. For more ideas, this post from Mental Health America is a good one! I hope this post about mental health tips for teens was helpful.

Just so you know, I’m happy to pray for you and/or your teen. Simply contact me with your prayer request.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

17 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

How to Make Camping Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips!

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

The Purpose of Creativity: not what you think

How to Build Self Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

How to manage money better!

How to manage money better!

As you know, there are massive loads of information about how to manage money, how to budget, how to save money, and how to live a debt-free life. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing! I’ll reveal to you the #1 cause of our money management problems and give you a quick review of four different tools for how to manage money better. You’ll also get a free downloadable cash flow worksheet to get you started! Let’s keep it simple because it is simple.

money problems

What’s the #1 Mistake in Managing Money?

When we leave the house, we make one big mistake. I’m going to make this simple for you. The very first step to doing anything with your money is to know what to do with it before you leave home or get online.

When it comes to keeping track of our money you either love it, hate it, or are half-*ssed about it. And for most Americans, this can be a real pain in the butt. It’s not really the task at hand, but it’s the mind that messes with us. We know we need to do a budget, but we just don’t want to. Hence, we find ourselves in a hole deeper than we want to be.

A survey, conducted by Slickdeals.com asked 2,000 adults last August about their money habits. Topping the list of categories where respondents overspend is online shopping, followed by grocery shopping and subscription services. Take a look at their list, you may find some things surprising.

TOP 10 BUDGET KILLERS:

  • Online shopping 40%
  • Grocery shopping 39%
  • Subscription services 37%
  • Technology products 36%
  • Buying lunch everyday 35%
  • Household essentials 32%
  • Coffee 32%
  • Food delivery 32%
  • Gym memberships 30%
  • Entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.) 29%

Source: SlickDeals.net

financial harmony

Budget? Isn’t there a different word?

Trusting your brain with all the figures is not a good idea. We get distracted; we cheat and lie to ourselves. Then we hear the forbidden word “Budget”. Whether you make $30,000/year to $1,000,000/year everyone needs a budget, no one is excluded, not even a homeless person.

To make this more fun I’m not going to use the word ‘budget’, it sounds super boring.  Instead, I’m going to use “harmony”…that’s sounds kind of corny but when there is harmony in our finances, everything works together. And gosh, when we get jammin’, financial freedom will be a #1 hit for years! Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for? On a side note, no pun intended, when you go off-key you’ll TRY to believe the harmony still sounds nice, but in reality it stink-ith. Stop lying to yourself. Developing a routine saves us a lot of hard-earned cash.

How do we fine-tune our money?

First and foremost, I want to make this clear, a ‘harmonic wallet’ (B-word) isn’t created to punish us and hold us captive; it’s here to simplify life and set us free.

Money management has a few different layers. One layer is keeping a record of every single expense. This may sound tedious, but it’s the most important step to understanding where the cash flow holes are and where the money mountains prevail. However, keeping track is where most people fall.

WARNING! People will manage money for a few days and then stop. Just like a diet. Listen up friend, you’re not a quitter. If you want this bad enough, you’ll make it happen. I believe in you. Keep up the good work, it will literally pay off. This is the difference between living debt-free and frugal living. There is nothing wrong with frugal living, but when you depend on it to live every day it can be an exhausting life.

The know-how in a harmonic budget

This leads me to the know-how. Over the years my husband and I have used a few techniques that have helped us manage our money. Most importantly money management helps us understand what’s going on. Our money management techniques kind of mimic our camping life. We started with a tent, then we moved to a small camper, yet got a travel trailer, and now we have a 5th Wheel. We’ve learned something in every phase until we found our jam. In which our jam got us a 5th Wheel! Below are the four tools we’ve benefited from over the years.

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Tracking Tool #1: Old School

The Tent

Good old pencil & paper. There are LOADS of downloadable printables online; finding one that fits your needs is the hard part. It’s overwhelming. My rule of thumb: Keep It Simple. Think of your finances like a business, in fact, treat it like a business. All businesses start out with pen and paper. Grab the old college-ruled notebook and a No. 2 pencil to get started. You can also get a Budget Planner which brings a little ‘pretty’ to the party.

5 Steps with Old School

Step 1: Dust off the old notebook; rip out your old psychology notes, sharpen your pencil and jot down all the categories that take your money. For instance: groceries, auto gas, utilities, insurance, phone, memberships, or subscriptions. This is the first step. Just list the categories in one column.

Step 2: Start saving receipts and keeping track of what is EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer every month). Even if you’re putting these things on a credit card, keep the receipt. Remember this is a gradual approach to finding harmony.

Step 3: Pick a regular time once a week to go through the receipts and bills that were collected. Maybe Sunday afternoon or Thursday night. Write alongside the category of how much you spent that week. Keep the list going for the whole month.

Below is an example of what your paper might look like…this is for one month. Note the tallies for coffee.

keeping a budget with paper and pencil

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Step 4: Don’t forget your income! You can put your income on the top or bottom of your sheet. List all your paychecks for the month.

Step 5: It’s math time! Add up all the amounts from each category (row) and write in the total for that specific category. Then the scary part happens; add all the expenses together (column), then subtract that from your income.

PRO: Anyone can do it. All you need is a calculator.

CON: This method takes a bit of time. Generating a report would take forever and require a lot of math.

Simple Finance Journal
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Tracking Tool #2: graduate to desktop

The Small Camper

After we mastered the pencil & paper method, my husband and I decided to move up to a computer accounting program. I’m not talking Google Docs, which is a really great way to keep track; many of my friends use Excel these days. Do what fits your lifestyle. If you like Excel I have a free spreadsheet download below!

PRO: If you want to print a report or reconcile your account, an accounting program makes it so much easier…, especially for taxes. Essentially it’s a glorified check register with the ability to print reports. Another feature I really like is that you can have multiple accounts. For instance, we have our personal checking, savings, health savings, and our son’s account all in one program. And they are from all different banks! We use Quicken. It’s a simple way to start. Unfortunately, you do have to pay for it, but they have a 30-day free trial.

In our household, I’m the one who updates “the books”. I pay the bills, I keep the receipts, and I reconcile the account. My husband analyzes the reports and strategizes. We have our roles figured out…SUPER IMPORTANT!

CON: It doesn’t automatically update your account in real-time. So if you go to Taco Bob’s for lunch, Quicken doesn’t know that right away. Plus you have to pay for it but it’s not that much for what it does.

Tracking Tool #3: now to an app

The Little Bit Bigger Camper

We then experimented with Mint. It’s an online-only app for managing your money. Mint is FREE! But it’s a bit more complicated. You can see all your transitions, but in order to itemize them, you need to wait until they clear. It’s great for budgeting, tracking, and bill reminders, but it doesn’t have the reconciliation feature and reports can be a bit tricky. Again, do what fits your lifestyle, but please keep it simple. Other Apps to checkout are YNAB (You Need A Budget), nerdwallet, and mvelopes.

PRO: It’s free and on your phone.

CON: It’s free and on your phone. No reconciliation option or easy access to reports.

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Tracking Tool #4: The best of both

The 5th Wheel

We’ve now moved up to Quickbooks Online. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, do it the simple way with this program. It’s an online check register, with reports, and account reconciliation. My husband and I have been using it and are loving it! I can’t believe how much fun he has with this program. The downside of this program is that you have to pay for it. But, don’t look at that as an expense because the program and its capabilities can actually save you a lot of money. Worth it.

Click on the picture for more details.

PRO: You got it all here. You can access it from your phone or computer. Reconciles on its own. Captures expenses. Has budgeting tools…oops…I meant ‘harmony’ tools. And it’s easy to use. Many businesses use this program.

CON: You have to pay for it. You can only use accounts from one bank. It can be kind of confusing.

The Bottom-line in how to manage money easily

To create harmony is to understand where your money is going and how you will process that information. What needs to change? And how are you going to do that? David Bach says, “The solution to your money problems isn’t more money; it’s new habits.” 

Make harmony with your money by looking at your habits and experimenting with new ways how to change them without losing your lifestyle. This is the most effective way how to manage money easily.

Here’s a free Excel cash flow worksheet to help you get started. Simply click on the link and it will download automatically. Then in the lower-left corner, click the up arrow and click ‘Open’. You can then save it on your computer and start plugging away! Har-Money Worksheet.

Click to download.

Before you go, check out these posts:

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good!

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

How to Get Unstuck in Life: 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to Get Unstuck in Life: 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to get unstuck in life? Do you feel like you’re going nowhere? Are things not going your way? I get it. It’s a frustrating season to be in. With that said, let’s get a game plan to know how to navigate through these tough times. I’ve got five essential tools you’re going to want in your back pocket. Plus, read about my personal experience that wraps this all together. Let’s break free and keep moving forward.

hamster coming out of wheel how to get unstuck

Where I got stuck

In the autumn of 1998, I took a mountaineering class near Vail, Colorado. I felt lost in life and wanted to get back to nature to get a fresh perspective and restart. To say simply, I was seeking clarity in life. Being a young adult, I had the time to head to the mountains and take a breather; in a surprising way, I found a piece of my puzzle that helped me move forward.

My group consisted of eight people. The dynamics were a bit of a mishmash…many personalities and many opinions. As you know, this can make it very difficult in any situation. Survival tasks weren’t easy. On top of just existing, we were given a variety of daily challenges…on top of our normal survival tasks which weren’t easy. We weren’t in cozy cabins with a coffeemaker. We had tarps to sleep under, water filter tablets, and food rations. Yes, I signed up for this!

A few challenges we embarked on were rock climbing, summiting a 12,500 ft. peak, learning how to identify a storm, experiencing solo time for two days, and knowing how to do search n’ rescue.

On this particular day, our task was to follow a topographical map and use a compass to get to the next camp. Sounds simple, yet it was to be done without our guide and to not follow a trail. According to our instructors, it was a six-hour trip. Easy peasy.

We got this, right?

The day started crisp yet sunny, things were looking good; the challenging aspect of this task was to follow the leader. You see, each person had to take a turn to lead the group. We had to follow their direction; needless to say, it was a mess.

Let me reiterate; being stuck in life isn’t all about our circumstances. Another factor that contributes to our situation is knowing WHO is around us. People matter. Are you around toxic people or encouraging and loving people? On this day, our instructors should have added a rule for everyone to shut their mouths! After six hours into our trek, the sky began to darken. A bit of panic settled into some folks, including me. We knew what was coming, we just didn’t know how powerful it would be.

Within minutes rain, hail, and wind pounded our bodies. It felt like the heavens opened up and barfed on us. We thought about quitting; yet, the risk of getting hyperthermic was high, and stopping would put us in danger. Our backpacks felt like cinder blocks and our boots were filled with water. We felt stuck. Exhausted from arguments, weather, and complaining, we wanted to signal our guides to find us…to give up.

Stuck and the power of the mind

Listen up friend; the mind is a powerhouse, meaning, when you feed the mind with doom and gloom, you’re going to get what you put into it. We were not in a good place. Yet, we didn’t want to give up. How were we going to change our attitude to keep moving forward? Someone knew what had to change.

This is how we got unstuck

Out of nowhere, someone yelled, “Come on Nina, hot drinks. Christy, dry socks. Seth, spaghetti!” That person was a genius. He rocked us from ‘stuck’ to ‘moving forward’; and all it took was a little visionary picture. We pictured ourselves eating a warm meal, sipping hot tea, and wearing dry socks. As we continued to hike, we kept talking about how good the spaghetti was going to taste and how cozy our feet would be in warm dry socks. This picture naturally encouraged us. Our attitudes shifted. We got along, laughed, and grew stronger. Our goal of being cozy became a reality within two hours.

vision is a clear picture

5 essential tools how to get unstuck in life

The backpacking trip is a small example of what a new picture (vision) can do. Having a forward-thinking picture of our future is one of the keys to surviving in this complicated world, most importantly, through our personal storms.

1. Focus

Get focused.

Take a few minutes each day and think “big picture”. How are your decisions today going to affect tomorrow; and who will those decisions impact? Got down and journal what you want your future to look like and who is in that picture. Play around with ideas on how you’re going to get there.

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2. Pray

Pray about where you are right now and where you want to go. Prayer is a very powerful tool that can change things. Prayer heals and it protects. When we are vulnerable, we need to be on alert. To rephrase, the Enemy has a hay day with our thoughts, attitudes, and who knows what else. Please, stand firm in Christ. I have a post on Spiritual Warfare you might want to check out.

Ask God to help you align with His will and to help you have perseverance.

3. Know your personal values

Line your vision up with your values, passions, and strengths. Personal values play a huge role in managing stress. Joy and confidence will fill us if our personal values align with our decisions. Be sure to check out: How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Ask yourself these questions: What is important to me? What do I love to do? What would be the best day ever? Values play such a big role in our happiness; pay attention to how you’re using them. To learn more about your personal values and to know what they are, I have a free exercise in Freebies.

Psalm 91:11

4. Talk

Talk with someone who understands your big picture or what you’re aiming for. This is huge. Just talking with someone who genuinely listens and asks the right questions can be a game-changer. Certainly, do your homework before calling from a Google search. Simply, find a professional who you trust. Ask your church or a friend you trust.

5. Get creative

In times of how to get unstuck in life, get your hands busy and start crafting up a vision board. I personally like to call them a “Big Picture Board”. Put pictures with what you want to pursue to make it achievable and motivating. There is power in ‘seeing is believing. There is a free guide to making your Big Picture Board (vision board) in my Freebies.

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Wrapping up how to get unstuck in life

Daniel Harkavy says, “Vision defines what you stand for, why you exist, and who you will become.” Having vision in a storm will make you stronger, wiser, and clearer about how to move forward.

This isn’t new news friends. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not put out the Spirit’s fire. Vision is bringing the picture out of our minds and experiencing it with our senses. The first step to how to get unstuck in life is to know you are stuck. The second is to want to get unstuck, this is where creating a vision for your future steps in and moves you forward. Know what you’re going after and envision it happening.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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

How to manage money better!

Drama-Free Life? A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

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

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

Have you ever gotten overwhelmed, in a funk, or frustrated about the pace of life? Having a hobby can help quiet the roar of chaos and make you feel human again. I’ve got some great hobby ideas for you. But wait! I know what you might say, “I don’t have time for a hobby”. I used to think that way too, but after a little experimenting, I found my hobby to be a superhero to my mental health. Let’s get a better understanding of why a hobby helps us then get hobby ideas to try out.

What exactly is a hobby?

A hobby is an activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working. The keyword in that definition is “not working”. The hard part is knowing when to stop working. What I love about a hobby is that time isn’t ticking in your ear. You’re not looking at the clock to see when your shift is over. A hobby is your gift to yourself, so you can be yourself! When we’re under heavy stress our bodies produce more cortisol which can be harmful to our health. But when we’re engaged in, let’s say, a hobby, we’re producing the ‘feel-good’ hormones.

I like to look at a hobby as a type of recreation that rejuvenates your spirit. It’s an activity that challenges you in a way in which you want to be challenged. You see, your hobby is YOUR hobby. No one can tell you how to do it unless you welcome the suggestions.

Top 13 reasons to get a hobby:

1. Helps enhance meaning in your life.

2. Gets the creative juices flowing.

3. Increases personal satisfaction.

4. Builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Relieves stress.

6. Gives you something to talk about other than work.

7. Helps you meet new people.

8. Contributes to society or the community.

9. Boosts brain power and cognitive function.

10. It has the potential to create extra income.

11. Gateway to happiness.

12. Helps prevent boredom when boredom can be harmful to you. Let me expand: overeating, depression, drug use, looking at things you know you shouldn’t, or alcohol use usually come into play when we’re bored. Boredom and its adverse effects are going to get the best of us at times, but when we have a hobby we have an easy way out and can focus on that.

13. The icing on the cake about a hobby is that it actually helps you do a better job at work. CNBC posted an article about how a hobby can improve your work performance. For one, it helps prevent burnout. As said earlier, it helps inspire creativity and enhance your problem-solving skills. A hobby helps reduce stress. 

More on hormones.

silhouette standing in start

Hormones are a love/hate relationship. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. As said earlier, the most damaging hormone is cortisol which is produced in our bodies when we’re under stress. The good news is that happy hormones do exist, but to get them we must do a few things. There are four major blissful boostersendorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Each hormone serves a different purpose, in a nutshell, this is what they do:

  • Endorphins are essentially the body’s pain killers. Vigorous exercise or even eating spicy food releases endorphins.
  • Serotonin is the mood mediator. Get outside. Being in the sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which helps produce serotonin. Or even low-intensity exercise helps.
  • Dopamine is a gratifying hormone, in terms of goal achievement. It’s all about goals and achieving them to bring on the dopamine. We set an achievable goal and go after it, when we reach it, dopamine is experienced.
  • Oxytocin. This is the love hormone. I think my husband has an abundance of this one! LOL. Physical contact, hugs, massage, and sex release this hormone.

When it comes to your hobby, aim to achieve one of these hormones. Now if you want to experience all the bliss boosters at once, you might want to look into “R5HHPJ” as your hobby: Run 5 miles while holding hands with your honey, drinking hot pepper juice from your water bottle…now that’s a hobby!

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What are some great hobby ideas?

This is a loaded question because you can make a hobby of your own; the trick to finding one you love is to try some on. Here are some hobby ideas for you to check out:

Knitting, exercising, reading, sales shopping and discount hunting, start a blog, music, woodworking, organizing, auto work, boating, horseback riding, hobby farming, candle making, photography, dance, winemaking, beer brewing, cooking, traveling, wilderness survival, Bible memory, drawing, painting, decorating, gardening, hunting, fishing, camping, running, write a book, kayaking, cycling, walking, surfing, sewing, essentially any sport, collections, puzzles, and pretty much anything other than work.

Remember a hobby is something that gives YOU personal enjoyment yet still a little challenge to enhance your well-being. Think of it as keeping your hands and mind busy getting lost in creativity. This could very well be the peacekeeper you’ve been looking for to help balance life.

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In conclusion

There are some great hobby ideas out there to suit you, you just need to experiment with which one or ones find your fancy. Hobbies do change too. Pay attention to when you might be phasing out of one hobby, so you can start searching for new hobby ideas. Just remember, hobbies are not a waste of time, they are our therapy to keep us happy.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

5 Stress Management Tips: Habits to Break free

5 Stress Management Tips: Habits to Break free

Stress has touched everyone; knowing how to manage it is something we can all get better at. Just look at our world in the early 2020’s. Ouch. Let’s get this straight from the get-go, stress management is a skill. Managing stress is something we learn and practice over and over again. Whether we need help with managing work stress, health stress, stress with parenting, social stress, or stress when moving; let’s hone in on how to get better at it with 5 of my favorite stress management tips!

5 stress management tips woman looking at stars

Fix it, please

Years ago I accidentally deleted my entire website. Yeah, ‘File Not Found’ stared at me in the eyes. My stress level went from three to a hundred in a matter of milliseconds. As a result, about 5 seconds later Worry settled in, and in a matter of 60 seconds, anxiety settled in.

Furthermore, because I did my own website work, I couldn’t just call a web person and say, “Fix it please”. All this hard work…GONE. The “undo” button or back arrow was pointless in this case. I tried it. Do you ever have times like these? When you ask yourself, “Why did I just do that? Did that really happen?” Wishing there was an “undo” button?

It’s funny when these stressful mistakes occur and we believe for a split second, maybe it will go away and fix itself, or everything will go back to normal if I just close my eyes. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this.

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Hubby? Are you awake?

Above all, what really put the icing on the cake was that this website disaster occurred right before bed. Like sleep was going to happen! My brain was fried. Knuckles locked. Fingertips deaden. The courage to push the keys on my keyboard was in deep jeopardy. As a result, when I did find the strength to push buttons, I immediately checked my backup. Well, guess what, it wasn’t working! My ears got hot and my gut started to cramp. Stress management tips to the rescue, please!

Talking this situation out with someone is a great stress management tip to start with. My husband was sleeping already…not that he knows anything about websites…but I needed someone by my side, to listen to my predicament. Through the years I’ve found healing when I talk to someone about an issue. When we “vent” it’s like we release the problem from our minds and put it out in the world for the world to figure out. Maybe the listener can relate to how to deal with the subject. I see stress as a pressure cooker. When there is too much pressure, we need to open the cap to let some steam out.

When no one is there

Since my husband was sleeping, I didn’t want to disturb him; he has enough sleeping issues as it is. With no one available, I folded my hands and closed my eyes tight, “God, I’m freaking out. I made a mistake and I’m not sure how to fix it. Please help me dig deep and figure this out.” And then I prayed again. God is always awake and He’s available.

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What’s next? The size of my problem.

After giving it to God, I needed to do something else for a minute. All I wanted to do was escape, to get out of the room, away from the keyboard. In the black of the night, I slide on my slippers, grabbed a towel, and walked outside. The dark sky was peppered with a twinkle. It was a welcoming reminder of how small my problem was and how big the world stands. “Was anyone else in their backyard stressing out like me? Probably.

As I folded my towel into a neat square, I anticipated sitting on it to just be. The shadowy trees surrounded me, but not in an intimidating way. No bugs, no noises, just stillness. I watched my breath let go. The quietness blanketed my shoulders. The earthy air filled my nose. And I felt a peace embrace my soul. There at the moment was God telling me all was going to be okay.

fall trees quote

Selective Perspective

The value of this stressful night revealed to me the power of perspective. If I didn’t get stressed out, then I wouldn’t have prayed, I wouldn’t have felt the nudge to go outside, I wouldn’t have encountered nature in its nightly glory, and I wouldn’t have experienced the healing powers of my backyard.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces, like your backyard, helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, instills focus, accelerates healing, increases energy, and improves sleep.* And you wonder why I craved to get outside…

The article goes on to say, “Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones.” Nature has the ability to heal and to soothe the soul. Going outside isn’t just for kids to play in, but for us to pray in. You’re going to want to check out my post on Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors.

Focus on the calm

Consequently, I know this is hard, but when you encounter a stressful situation, I challenge you to focus on calming down immediately. In doing so; you will gain a better perspective of the issue and will respond in a wiser manner. After a good 15 minutes, I wasn’t worried anymore. Whether I had to start from scratch or come up with a different solution, it was going to be alright. That night in my backyard I stood up, shook my towel out, and walked back inside. My feet slid out of my slippers and I went to bed. I actually slept.

5 Stress Management Tips

#1 Talk it out.

#2 Pray without ceasing

#3 Go outside and take a breather

#4 Rest to be your best

#5 Back-up everything that’s important to you.

My take away

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, I got up extremely early to mend my mishap. With a well-rested body and mind, I was diligent to figure this out. Hence, venturing into the back end of my website was scary but I succeeded and found an older backup. Thank the Lord! Later that day I took a long walk amongst the trees while being grateful for my state of being. Practice how to manage stress. Next time you’re stressed out, take out these 5 stress management tips and see how you do. You may be surprised at how simple it works.

Before you go, check out these other great posts on stress.

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

4 Simple Reduce Stress Strategies for You & Your Kids

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

3 Simple Anger Management Tips: Lion to lamb

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget

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

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

Ready to manage stress in a healthy way? Stress is now becoming a part of our everyday lives. The pace of life is heightened, people seem to be edgier, and anxieties of all sorts are making their way to the front of the line. However, there are ways to manage stress in a healthy way that will make you happier and healthier than submitting to medication or drugs. Today I have four questions to help you manage stress in a healthy way.

woman with horse manage stress in a healthy way

“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes.”

While writing this post a lyric from the old childhood song, She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain got stuck in my head. She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes ‘whoa back’. Busyness can take many forms: a badge of accomplishment, a strained ball-n-chain, or simply a lifestyle without margin. When we get in the busy mode we have blinders in our peripheral vision, our backs are heavily weighed, and we kick ourselves to go faster. The term ‘whoa back’ isn’t in our vocabulary, so slowing down would be a crime!

However, at some point, we will get bucked off and hit the ground, it’s just a matter of how hard we hit. After we dust ourselves off we most likely will ask what the heck was that. Staying on the horse is about knowing when to say “not right now”. It’s about knowing where we need to slow down. And it’s about knowing how to do it.

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4 tips on how to manage stress in a healthy way

Question 1. What is causing me to stress out and fall off my horse?

I recently got bucked off of not knowing what caused my unstoppable momentum. My schedule had no margin. If I wasn’t working on my blog, I was working on my side gig, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was busy with some other project, and then finally…I would fill in the cracks with my family. My priorities were out-of-whack, seriously backward! The harmony of the many roles I played each day was out of tune. And the problem was an overloaded schedule. I knew it but ignored it.

Was I addicted to being busy? Running from something? Trying to impress someone? I’m not 100% sure, but I know when I fall prey to comparison, my schedule builds. If she can do it, I can do it. The word “no” doesn’t exist. The word “stop” is blasphemy.

How comparison happens

During these comparison seasons chatting with colleagues and hearing stories of massively insane schedules makes me wonder how they get it all done. Am I doing something wrong? Am I not doing enough? Are they really getting it done? This thinking catalyzes my expectations of myself, which can be good and bad, but differentiating between the two is a challenge.

Why am I so tired?

This superficial race is mentality exhausting and frankly, it’s stupid thinking. No one is perfect. Who has it all figured out? No one is ever skipping down the Yellow Brick Road with all her ducks in a row. Everyone has different strengths. Yet, the problem with comparisons, whether it be on social media or in grocery store conversations, is that we don’t know the whole story. We don’t always see the condition of others’ hearts and how it weighs on their wellness. We just see the ‘yes man’ and subconsciously start to compete.

The ‘yes man’ is a vicious cycle and a damaging one. We agree to things we don’t want to do, we fill our schedules to please others, and we constantly aim for perfection. But what happens to us in the process? What happens to OUR well-being? What happens when we’re running here and there and everywhere with no time to spare? Mistakes. Mistakes happen.

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2. When do I know when something has to change?

My red flags come from a variety of sources. One source is my family when they voice their opinion. Another source of red flags is when I don’t have time to get outside to garden or walk. The biggest warning that something has to change is from my body, the one vessel that makes it all happen. If there is one thing that will slow us down, it’s our bodies. My mistake is not listening to these messages. Before you know it your body will tell you when to change things. Unfortunately, in 2019 I ended up with horrible piriformis syndrome which forced me to slow down, way down. Injuries aren’t the only signal from our bodies, being overweight, being chronically sick, and developing a disease can tell you too.   

woman laying on log slow down time

The Bible talks a lot about slowing down, taking a Sabbath (Exodus 20:9-10), just be (Psalm 46:10), and coming to Him who are weary and need rest (Matthew 11:28). These are just a few references in the Bible. But the Lord has a reason for teaching us how to slow down. I believe one of those reasons is to give our bodies and minds rest so we don’t make big mistakes.

3. Where do we need to slow down?

This question is simply answered by paying attention. Where are you most stressed? What is occupying the majority of your time? How is your schedule affecting others? Are the people around you agitated? Needy? Lonely?

Perfecting balance in every area of your life is not a destination. It’s a moment. We can’t be everywhere at once. There will be days when the schedule weighs heavier in one area than another, but the key is to recognize it. Quieting the mind and sitting in silence helps see where there is congestion. Slowing down a racehorse isn’t easy, so start by giving yourself five minutes of silence. This awareness helps you try harder the next day to find that harmony. Consciously be aware of how you’re using your time, you’ll see where it needs to slow down.

4. How do we slow down before it’s forced upon us?

This is a great question. I’m still figuring it out. One thing is for sure, we need to set boundaries. Setting boundaries gives us permission to say “Not right now” or “No, but thank you for thinking of me”. Boundaries give us our space to recuperate so when we do say ‘yes’ we can be our best. You can say ‘no’ to others, but it’s imperative to also say ‘no’ to yourself and the expectations you’ve created. Learn how to relax.

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Wrapping it up

How to manage stress in a healthy way starts with being aware of what you’re reacting to. Asking yourself key questions will help you understand why your body and mind are working on overdrive. What is causing this stress? Knowing when to change something. Where you need to make that change. And how to slow down. Please note that racing with other horses is a game, not a lifestyle. Set your boundaries and take the time to love yourself.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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

Finding Grace in the Cards We’re Dealt – 3 Tricks

Finding Grace in the Cards We’re Dealt – 3 Tricks

How to navigate life with the cards we’re dealt can be challenging, finding grace in it all may sound nuts. Yet, grace is a big player when it comes to winning. No matter what the situation is, we will get through it if we believe we can. I try to remind myself of that every time a ‘crisis’ rises. But why are we so hard on ourselves when trials surface? Check out these three tricks to playing our cards.

Finding Grace in the Cards we're dealt. 3 Tricks to playing your cards right.

The Hand We’re Dealt: to fold or play?

A few years ago I was talking with my husband about my physical ailments. You see as a kid, my deep desire was to achieve optimal health. I exercised, I ate well, and I wanted to run a marathon. Then the disease kicked in. As a kid I got sick numerous times a year, as a young adult I fracture my hip which has left me ‘run-less’, and later in life, my immune system attacked my digestive health; among other unforeseen troubles, my dream was turning into dust or was it?

As I was going through my list of hurts, my husband said something I’ve heard many times but for some reason, it struck a chord in me that day. He said, “You gotta play the cards you’re dealt.” It was a way of reminding me that I’m not in control, yet to trust the One who is; and that I have a choice to fold my cards or to keep on playing them.

Right now in this post, I’m probably supposed to tell you to not “fold your hand”; but it’s in the folding of our hands where we learn how to play. When we ask God for help in our hardships, He helps us find the right path to run down…if we’re willing to step in that direction. So yes, fold when you have to, not to get out of the game, but to study the game and learn a better strategy.

Josh Billings Quote

First: Be good to yourself

Part of the reason challenges are challenges is because we are experiencing uncharted territory in our lives. If we knew how to do EVERYTHING we would have no stress, there would be little pain, and there would be zero challenges. Sounds like a boring life. Problems in life or challenges are a good thing if you look at them with a teaching spirit. Playing the cards we’re dealt involves us looking at life with fresh eyes…our eyes, not the world’s, nor the eyes of your close friends, but our eyes. the eyes God gave us.

Comparing, perfectionism and impatience can throw us way off track. Anger comes to play, then before you know it we blow up we lose sight of how to get through it. God put us on this planet to teach us, to love us, and to get us ready for eternity. One of the ways He demonstrates His confidence in us is through grace. Finding grace may just be what we need to fully see with our eyes the core of our being and to know how to move forward.

Proverbs 31:25

What needs to happen: finding grace

There are times when we need to be our own advocates. When it came to my health, our only vessel that gets us around on this planet, I made it my mission to get healthy. With this quest, I tried a lot of things and failed, yet I learned. Today, I’m not where I want to be but I’m not giving up. This is where grace gets dealt into the game. When we’re in a swirl of emotions and super hard on ourselves, it’s critical to get some space to find grace. And it’s there in which all becomes clearer and we get wiser with our decisions.

What ‘grace’ am I talking about? The grace of civility towards ourselves; when we’re going through a rough season, remember to love yourself, not to punish or blame yourself. Be good to yourself, respect your well-being, and understand where you are and where you want to go; because it’s in those moments of grace, where the untangling begins, and where we see what cards to play next. Simply talking to yourself kindly, getting creative, treating yourself to a hobby, taking care of your body, mind, and spirit, and reducing stress will help you experience grace in such a good way.

Secondly: Get in the right mindset in finding grace

camper with dog

One late August I rediscovered how to wrap myself with a little grace. To transition from a busy summer to the starting of the school year, my family and I went camping. We hooked up the RV (don’t judge me, we got our tent badge years ago) and settled in a wooded campsite. Faint smells of last night’s campfires drifted under my nose, and the quaking leaves and distance boat motors rested on my shoulders. And the canopy of trees comforted my busy head. That weekend I made it a point to go for a walk at least twice a day, not for exercise, but for rest.

As I walked through the sun-beamed shadows my mind went back to my roots. As a child, I played in the woods for hours on end. My imagination soared between the branches. And my energy and creativity flowed with every step I took. It was there where I felt like I could accomplish anything, where I felt strong and confident, and where I felt healthy. And here I was once again in the mindset I needed to continue to take on.

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Thirdly: have a place of refuge

My childhood goal for optimum health gave me a run for my money. My body has confused me over and over; funny how that works. If God wants me to have good health, He’s not going to give it to me on a silver platter. He knows I’m smart. He knows that if I want it bad enough, I’m going to use the abilities He gave me to figure it out. A challenge indeed, but also a way to build character. There must be something He wants me to learn in all this.

With that said, when I face a new challenge with my health, I head to the woods and fold my hands. I can’t stress enough how many times I’ve heard Him speak and direct my path of who I need to talk to next, what to try, or even getting a last-minute appointment. It’s been in my special sanctuary where I get instructions on what cards to play next.

God puts our special place of refuge in each of our hearts. My special place is in the outdoors, walking down a lined path of trees. Yours may be the beach, the mountains, the lake, the prairie, the park, the farm, or the river. Think of where you feel your best in nature, then go there for a dose of grace. You just may find your card strategy in reaching your goals and get a rekindle under your feet.

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All in all

The grace you give yourself is what will help you have a winning hand no matter what cards you hold. Don’t underestimate yourself, you have gears you’re not even aware of. Just remember that whatever you’re facing it’s important in finding grace to be good to yourself, Get in the right mindset and have a place of refuge. Most of the time, you just need to look at the cards differently and be creative. All in all, finding grace is all you need to succeed.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

My Top 10 Quotes on Overcoming Challenges

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly, All Rights Reserved.

No More Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

No More Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

Want no more money problems? Listen up to these 9 must-do steps. There is no way in predicting tragic storms, destructive earthquakes, virus pandemics, wars, house fires, the sudden death of a loved one, or unemployment. If we could tell our money ‘a tornado is coming, hang on tight’, life would be so much easier. In fact, we can tell our money to do that, but what if we weren’t ready? In knowing how to fix money problems you can do some simple steps. To get started, I’ve got 9 easy-to-do steps to help you manage money wisely starting today!

First things first

First and foremost, remember these times of despair are just that, a time. It’s not forever, it’s not the end of the world; it’s just a season that is visiting for a while. It may seem like an eternity but it will pass like all our other seasons IF you want it to. The hard part is getting through it without much pain. But you must get through it, keep moving forward! Want to know more about motivation? Check out How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything.

Your 1st priority

Your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family. If it’s a spreading sickness, do everything in your power to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Did a storm hit your house? Then get your family to a safer shelter. If you lost your job, then start looking for a replacement job, even if it pays less than the work you had before, just get something going so you have a little income.

When the overall shock has faded, this is usually about a week to 10 days depending on the severity, you can start working on these 9 must-do steps to get your life back on track and put your money problems behind you.

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9 Steps to Manage Money Wisely

1. Clean up the unnecessary subscriptions

Get rid of unnecessary subscriptions: magazines, the gym (unless you’re using it), weight loss programs, email subscriptions that you’re not using every week, and might I even say cable TV? When you add all these things up, you will be surprised at how quickly things add up! It will make you sick. Stop giving your money away to companies you’re not using! Again, look at the numbers and the amount of time you use these things. Is it worth it? Is it distracting you from accomplishing your goals?

2. Work on your budget

Having a budget is the BEST tool out there to manage money wisely. Money problems happen when a budget is not in place. What I love about a budget is that it can help you find the holes and to see what holes need to be filled. For instance, my husband and I recently redid our budget and found that we were spending way more than we thought on eating out. Ouch! I like to think of a budget as a treasure hunt or a crime scene. It lays it all out so we can solve the case.

A budget doesn’t need to be restrictive, tedious, or confusing. Keep it simple. Paper and pencil work great. Or step it up to an excel worksheet. I already created one for you that you can use for free. Go to Freebies to get yours.

If you want something beefier that has printable reports I highly recommend Quicken or Quickbooks. We use both for different accounts.

Budget tip

Start your budget out simply. Scale down and only focus on your necessities. This may be hard but look at it from a survival perspective. What can I, or we as a family, live without for two months? Do we have an emergency fund?

There’s another post about budgeting to checkout. #1 Cause of Money Problems, plus 4 tools to solve it

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3. Make extra money

Wipe your money problems away by making extra money. There are some amazing side gigs out there that I’ve even done! For instance, you can grocery shop for others. This is actually a fun job if you like the grocery store. There are numerous delivery services that are desperate for people to work. I suggest searching online using keywords like “work-from-home jobs”, “part-time jobs”, and “best side hustle jobs”. There are a lot of opportunities.

Heads-up: Many bloggers say to start a blog. FYI – You’ll be spending more money on starting it than making any money on it. They are only telling you to start a blog to sell their blog-building tools or to exercise their affiliate programs. Building a profitable blog takes time and money, it’s not impossible, but it is a lot of hard work, especially starting from scratch. Just being honest here.

Simply look at what businesses are booming in tough times and then go there and inquire about opportunities. For instance, health care during a pandemic, delivery services, construction workers, or restaurants. Search with an open mind and ask yourself what you would enjoy and be willing to try.

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4. DIY (Do It Yourself)

Do things yourself. Ideas in this arena include selling your crafts and creations on Etsy, cleaning your own house, mowing your own yard, and for minor fixes around the home get on YouTube to find ways to fix things yourself. Doing things yourself can help save you money and give you gratification and confidence!

5. Cut Costs

Cutting back on costs can be kind of fun to figure out yet still be content. Things to look at are the number of visits to: the hair salon, getting your nails done, trips to the grocery store, and the car wash. Other ways to cut back are to shop at a lower-priced grocery store, and to be mindful of your utilities: shower or bathe once a day instead of two, turn off the lights when not using that specific room, turn the thermostat down one or two notches, ‘when it’s yellow let it mellow when it’s brown flush it down’, turn the faucet off while scrubbing those pearly whites. Things like that. Here’s a great post on how to save money grocery shopping that you should check out.

6. Sell stuff

Sell stuff through Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, or other trustworthy platforms. This is a great time to declutter your home and really ask yourself if you need certain things. Selling your things is a lot easier these days too. If you don’t want to hassle with a garage sale, sell things online. I have done well using both methods. In my last garage sale, I squashed a money problem using my profits. It felt so good!

7. Be smart

Make smarter buying decisions on the necessities. Okay, toilet paper baffles me, unless you have an underlying condition like Crohn’s, colitis, or cancer, cool your jets on the TP. Simply take what you need for two weeks then manage the toilet paper you have in the house.

Ask yourself if you really NEED a particular item before buying it. Look for deals or coupons. Opt to never buy full price for anything! Always keep your receipt incase you have buyer’s remorse and want to return an item.

The solution to your money problems isn't more money; it's new habits. David Bach

8. Whoa-back on large money deals

It’s human to be uneasy during uncertain times, but only allow yourself one day to ‘freak out’. After that, get your battle face on and make adjustments. However, the one caveat to making change is to not make any major financial decisions in the first 7-14 days. For instance, don’t cash in your 401K or buy a new car/house, or rank up your credit cards. Put your mind to work and figure out some ways how to adjust in ways that help you and not hurt. Put together a budget and get a plan in place.

9. Emergency fund

When all is back up to speed, start to build your emergency fund for the next time something like a pandemic or war sucker punches us again. One way to do this is to put a little bit away every paycheck. Some people do 10%, others 5%, and so forth. You will be amazed at how quickly this adds up, especially if you put it in a savings account that accumulates interest.

In closing

I believe in you. You totally got this. Just remember your first priority is to take care of yourself and your family with the necessities. Work together as a family. Working together will not only bring you all closer together and working as a team, but it will be a lasting memory and bring more happiness into your home.

Before you go, check out these great blog posts:

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to be Smart and How to Teach Your Child

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

To measure success in this day and age it pretty much boils down to a number. Sales numbers, weight on the scale, pant size, steps walked, income, number of orders, miles ran, test results, and so forth. There is nothing wrong with measuring success by numbers, I personally love it, but numbers can also drive us batty. I’m here to tell you that numbers can lie from time to time (from a personal success standpoint, not as in lab results). I’ve got a HUGE question to ask you plus I’ll give you five amazing ways to measure your success without involving numbers.

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without numbers

Not long ago a friend ask me a few questions about my blog and she had a hard time of why I was pouring so much time and energy into it. The numbers threw her off. The conversation went something like this, “Christy, the numbers don’t make sense of why you are doing this. You can make a lot more money if you did something else.”

Can you relate?

If you get frustrated when people tell you things you already know…especially about the numbers, then I know you get it. If you get weird looks when you tell people you’re a stay-at-home mom, a full-time volunteer or you spend a lot of time on your hobby, then I’m sure you also get it…if not more so.

First off, there are times when we didn’t ask their opinion but they gave it to us anyway. This is where we graciously explain what we do and why we do it without getting defensive. In fact, if people do this there is most likely something stirring in their hearts that needs healing. Either way, this is when we swoop in and stick up for ourselves and honestly, yet kindheartedly, ‘shut them up’. Most importantly, it’s when we say, “I measure success differently, let me explain.”

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My friend. What she said.

As I mentioned earlier I had to have this hard conversation the other day with a close friend. She was confused and even got a little heated…this, I can’t figure out…but I think it was out of a lack of understanding. She obviously measures success and happiness by numbers and numbers only. I love my dear friend and she knows that that’s why we can be brutally honest with each other.

Just so you know, she’s okay with me blogging about this conversation. And for the record, I’m not saying she is wrong in how she measures success but opening her mind to different ways of measuring broadened her perspective and even helped her in her line of work. The thing that bothered me most was the tone she used in talking to me. It was stern and serious like she was my boss or an investor. I felt like I was on Shark Tank being blasted by Mr. Wonderful. I certainly wasn’t asking her for anything. But I simply took a deep breath, reminded myself that my friend is trying to help me, and spoke from my heart.

When the heart comes out in words, things change. Throughout the conversation, she listened. She nodded her head, even cocked it at times. You could tell she was unraveling her confusion. The tone in her voice changed and she said, “I didn’t even look at it that way. I get it now.” I simply responded with, “Cool.”  

 

What does your work provide?

When you lose sight and get stuck in the numbers game, to measure success by numbers and numbers only is eventually going to bite you. This is a time to remind yourself why you’re in this game. Rather than ask yourself what the numbers are telling you, a bigger question you should ask yourself is this: What does (whatever-you’re-working-on) provide for you? This is a HUGE question. And it’s how you look at it that determines your success.

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5 ways to measure success

1. Outlet

Blogging provides me with an outlet. I’m the type of person who measures her day by what she created that day. Did I write a blog post? Did I create a social media post or inspiring quote picture? Did I work on my shop? Did I incorporate a new plug-in or fix a few things on the website? Another way, Did I help my son with something or make him laugh today? Did I try a new recipe? Things like that. Having an outlet to feed your creative beast is not only therapeutic but is a seriously good vitamin for mental health. My blog provides me with a place to bring my ideas to life, express my thoughts, and help others in the same boat. This is a success!

2. Voice

I come from a large family with a variety of personalities. If you happen to be the baby of the family, like myself, sometimes it can be hard to be heard. In large conversations, I have found that to be heard and listened to is like a battle. You need to fight for space. And even when you do get the soapbox you’re likely to get interrupted. Do you hear me? On the flip side, the pro of this family position is that I have become an excellent listener, which in some ways is more powerful than speaking. But when I have something important to say when people won’t let me have a voice, my blog gives me permission to speak without interruptions.

what success is by Booker T. Washington

3. Purpose

Life purpose is something every human craves. We want to feel like we’re making a difference! My blog helps provide that purpose. Whether 500 people read my stuff or ten, I’m at least going beyond my walls and reaching out to the world. I’m at least taking the steps to do something I am passionate about. For instance, as I mentioned earlier, my blog gives me a platform. I’m passionate about helping people live simply and helping their kiddos enjoy the small stuff. I’m also passionate about our mental well-being. And I love to try and raise an independent child in a fun way. My blog allows me to fulfill those passions by writing about those topics…it gives me purpose.

4. Education

I can’t stress enough how much my blog has exercised my brain! There have been numerous programs I’ve had to learn to get to where I am today. Sure I could have paid someone to do it all, but what good is that if I don’t understand how it works or want to make a small change? I personally like to try things on my own first. If I can’t figure it out, then I’ll pass it on to someone else. Having my blog has kept my mind sharp and eager to learn. It’s exciting and it’s a confidence booster when you figure something out. Success! Is what you’re working on giving you a challenge?

5. Gratification

According to Merriam-Webster gratification is the act of pleasing oneself or of satisfying one’s desires. After a big week of working on my blog, I love looking back on the week and saying to myself “You did it, you figured it out Christy, and made it happen!” It’s so gratifying to see all your hard work put into action, kind of like mowing the lawn. Stepping back to see a job well done satisfies the soul and brings warmth to the heart.  

Numbers don't always tell the truth.

Wrapping up how to measure success

Measure success by what your work provides for you. On that day I talked with my friend, I told her, “I know you like numbers, but numbers don’t always tell the truth about success. My blog provides invaluable benefits. It gives me an outlet to express my creative side, it provides me a safe place for my voice to be heard, it gives me a purpose to get out of bed every morning at 5:30 A.M., it exercises my brain and keeps me learning new things every day, and it satisfies my soul. So thank you for your concern about my numbers, but numbers do lie when it comes to this.”

Do not give up on your passion. Do not let anyone tell you to shut your doors because they don’t understand. Keep moving forward one step at a time. Your time will come when people will turn their heads to see what you’re up to. Shine your light the way you like to do it!

Take care friend,

Christy

Bonus: How to start a blog

Starting a blog can be overwhelming. There is so much information out there it’s hard to know where to turn. My suggestion is to check out my post on starting a blog. You can also start by writing blog posts right now in Word or in your journal.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word

10 Inspirational Quotes You Don’t Want to Miss

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

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

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