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
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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 on 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 instruction 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.

life is like a 10 speed bicycle

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

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2022 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 you only have X number of social media followers, you don’t have hundreds of email subscribers, and your sales are down. Why are you doing this? You can make a lot more money if you did anything 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.”

They say "Show me the money!" You say "Show me you love me."

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 concern. 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.

Simplify Firefly Etsy

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? 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, to 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 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!

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 of 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.

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

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

How to simplify my life is more than just throwing your stuff out. We’re getting rid of stress and welcoming happiness into our home. Simplifying and organizing are sometimes used interchangeably, but we’re not going to organize today. We’re going to focus on simplifying our space by knowing how to do it without stress or frustration.

If you want to have peace, experience freedom, and have more space, let alone functional space, it starts with who you are and how you operate. You are a smart person, you’re creative, and you have an amazing future. So this task of simplifying is going to need your mind, creativity, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of yourself.

Are you ready to reduce stress in your life? Let’s break through the clutter to seriously unleash your potential to live a do more than exist kind of life in your space.

The top 5 pieces of advice to simplify my life

1. Simplifying your life is a lot harder than you think.

To make simplifying work for you, you must include your brain. To make this experience a fantastic one, you’ll want to do two things: get in the right frame of mind and understand your motives.

Do you want to find things easier? What about getting rid of sour memories to make room for sweet ones? Do you want to create more space? Clean up? Do you want to live lighter? Or do you want to downsize? What is your motive in simplifying?

teen planner
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2. Ask yourself questions.

Since I’m on a roll with questions, we’re going to keep going! When asking yourself, “How do I simplify my life?” Ask more questions. Let’s say you come upon your old t-shirt from high school ask yourself a few things:

– Why am I holding on to this?

– How is this going to change my life for the better?

– When was the last time I used it?

– Can someone else use it?

– Is this something I could sell this week?

– Is it worth the space in my house let alone mind?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you run into something that might be hard to let go of. When push comes to shove, just remember you can’t take it to heaven.

Simplify in 7
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3. Simplify my life step by step, but not too slow.

Okay, so decluttering and cleaning isn’t a fun thing for you? We all have our dislikes but we still need to do them if we want something done. For instance, I don’t like washing the kitchen floor. However, what helps me get it done is if I put it on the calendar. I can then mentally prepare myself and start visualizing how awesome it would be to have a clean kitchen floor. With that said, take a look at your schedule and block off some time to start your decluttering project. Get serious about your space.

Yes, this kind of task is a big deal. Have you seen those shows about hoarding? There’s a little hoarder inside of us all. Go about this step by step. Maybe tackle the kitchen one day, then the bathroom another day, and so forth. You got this!

Step by Step Guide
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4. Get it out of your living space.

When you start to sort through things, get them out of your living space. By removing it from your living space you’ll get a taste of how much you really miss it or not miss it; plus you’ll see how much stuff you are getting rid of. This is an easy technique that is extremely helpful.

This can be a big eye-opener and can even change your spending and collecting habits for the better! I have been known to do snow angels on the floor after a declutter day.

5. Make 4 piles.

Make piles: keep, donate, sell, and pitch. When you plan on having a garage sale, designate a space to keep all those things…like your garage or closet. Same rule for things to donate or to sell online. As for pitching, start a pile and fill your garbage bin every week until it’s gone.

When all said and done to simplify my life.

We’ve lived in the same house for over 17 years. Within those years we have had four garage sales and numerous trips to the donation center. Every garage sale blew my mind with how much stuff we were keeping and not using! With our quarterly clean-out, I still get amazed at how much stuff we accumulate in a matter of months! As for selling things online, the best place I’ve found to be is to use Facebook Marketplace.

When you get in the right mode for simplifying you’ll be surprised at the things you had kept over the years and the things you still want to keep. This is your living space we’re talking about, so make it the way you’ll love it. When you enjoy how you’re living you’ll be a whole lot happier.

Before you go check out these other posts:

Stress Free Moving: 2 Critical Steps

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Benefits of a Garden: 1 huge reason to take up gardening

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

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

To Live Without Regrets: 5 Time Management Tips

To Live Without Regrets: 5 Time Management Tips

Time management a thing of the past? Never! What are you doing in between the numbers? In other words, how are you spending your time when you’re not working? If you were to look back on your life do you see any regrets?

The saying “Time is money” seeps into my heart every time I hear a life end prematurely, or when I hear of a sobering diagnosis of a family member, or a grave attack on the innocent. Let me ask you this: Do you truly and honestly value your time? How dare I ask that question! No matter our race, age, religion, pocketbook, or sex we all have time.

live without regrets alarm clock

Time management tips and sex?

Sex has a lot to do with time. Not physical sex. Got ya there, but sex as in sexagesimal.

Wikipedia assured me that sexagesimal has nothing to do with actual sex, but it has a lot to do with time. In the 3rd millennium BC sexagesimal was defined as a numerical system for time having a base of 60.

Sexagesimal helped us put numbers on the clock. What we do in-between those numbers defines how we live. The choices we make affect how we use our time.

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Regrets, what are they?

Regrets happen when you feel sad or sorry for something you did or didn’t do…with your time. If you ‘Google’ “regrets in life” you’ll find a slew of articles. One of those articles was about a nurse, who cared for people on their deathbeds. She had a lot of conversations with her patients about regrets. What’s interesting is that she heard a lot of the same thing.

The most common regrets include:

  1. To of had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. To of had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. To let myself be happier.

Did any of those regrets strike a chord with you? Scary to think that one of those could be our regret someday. But we don’t have to think that way. We can take charge of our time between the numbers and use them to better ourselves and the people around us so that when we can live a grateful life of freedom.

5 time management tips to live a life without regrets

1. Pray

Praying has got to be the most effective way to live a life without regret. Our Creator made us, He knows us best. Let’s align our prayers with His will for us! When we do He will open doors, He will help us prosper. Makes me think of His truth in Jeremiah 29:11. “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 a hope and future.” Ask Him to help you use your time and talents the way He designed us to.

2. Define

Write out your priorities. Where do you want to spend your minutes, what type of work makes you feel productive, what relationships do you want to work on, and what can you do to work towards your passions. Writing things out on paper helps you see where you want to go. This exercise is great for getting to know yourself better.

3. Use a vision board

Vision boards are a great tool to help you stay focused on your goals so you don’t have any regrets. This is a fun project for yourself and even your family. A vision board allows you to dream big. Did you hear that? You have permission to put anything on your vision that you want! Simply put, a vision board is being able to see your goals and dreams. They are reachable, especially if you look at your board every day and do at least one step toward making that board come alive. You can find directions on how to make a vision board in my freebies.

Step by Step Guide
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4. Put the phone down

Seriously. The phone is distracting and it will prevent you from making things happen. This is especially true for our teens. It’s not just social media I’m talking about, which can be very debilitating, but it’s the meaningless crap people get wrapped into. Before they know it, 45 minutes passed. Give yourself time with your family. Set boundaries with your phone and do something that works towards your goals. The world has managed 2000 years without a cell phone. Incorporate a turn-off electronics day.

5. Schedule “solo time”

Learn to love discovering yourself, organize your thoughts, and listen to your heart. ‘Solo time’ or ‘Me time’ is actually one of my favorite times! This time rejuvenates me. It helps us clear our minds from the madness of the world and to refocus on what really matters. This time is a great time to love yourself. Talking positively to yourself with affirmations is effective and talking to yourself for that matter helps us solve problems and plan our day. There are some affirmations in my Freebies for you. A ‘solo day’ isn’t just to pamper yourself, but to challenge yourself and build self-confidence and courage. Try something new. Do a challenging workout. Create something amazing that you love. And don’t forget to journal.

Wrapping up time management tips

We all may experience a ‘regretful season’ in life. I know I have. How to fix more regrets in the future boils down to knowing yourself. Knowing yourself better helps you make smarter decisions so you won’t have any regrets. Build that self-confidence up so you have the courage to conquer your goals and dreams. Stop regret in its tracks. Notice what is happening. Be aware of your surroundings and keep moving forward.

Before you go, check out these amazing posts

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2022 More Than Existence 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 few years, there has been an increasing amount of spiritual warfare. Many walk around completely oblivious to spiritual warfare. They think they just have bad luck, a bad day, or that nothing good happens to them. STOP! Get a handle on what’s happening around you and change the course of your day immediately! Learn what it is and how to fight spiritual warfare with these 7 steps. Claim your life back today!

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 spiritual warfare? 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: “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 in which the Bible talks of evil.

The Gospels are FULL of instances where Jesus and his twelve disciples drive 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. It still exists today even though Jesus owns the Victory. Satan still messes with us to throw us off course. We need to stand firm in Christ to fight. And yes, there is a heaven and a hell. Satan exists along with other fallen angels. And 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 3 years. 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 in 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, four MRIs 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 30 acoustic compression appointments, and saw 5 doctors, not to mention hours and hours of researching online for an answer.

There were nights when I cried myself to sleep. Prayers desperately went up for relief and healing. I dug into the Word even more. It just so happens in Psalms 91 it occurred to me that the Enemy probably had 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 claim your life back.

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 whacky, but remember who you’re dealing with…don’t entertain the enemy or test him.

good will happen today
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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 anger. 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 our mind is still hanging on to them. 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. 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?

journal prompts
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Step 3

The third step was to repent my sins. I wanted all negative ties broken. Asking for forgiveness for 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 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.” This is a GREAT verse to add to your prayers.

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 everyone. 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.”

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Step 5

The fifth step was to renounce, refuse, and reject any lies, or fears that were/are 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 of 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 spiritual warfare: 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 am 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 is 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; although, 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! If you want to know Jesus and invite Him into your life you can pray a prayer found here.

Resources

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.

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 spiritual warfare like you mean it! This isn’t a one-shot deal, it should be done as often as you need.

You can also head to my Etsy Shop and find numerous scripture wall art prints to hang in your home or office! My hope is that you’ll understand more about this spiritual warfare stuff so you know how to recognize it and fight it off! Blessings to you.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Benefits of a Garden: One Huge Reason to Take Up Gardening

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in You & Your Kids

How to Get Unstuck In Life: 5 Essential Tools to Break Free

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

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

When economic strife hits do these 9 must-do steps to help with money problems. There is no way in predicting tragic storms, destructive earthquakes, virus pandemics, wars, a house fire, 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.

Step by Step Guide
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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 hsuband 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 simple. 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

simple finance journal
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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, but I do not recommend this. 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.

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.

Simplify Firefly Etsy

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 reciept incase you have buyers 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.

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.

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.

You can simply go to my Etsy Shop and download my Simple Finance Journal to get you started. This is a great tool to manage your budget and get your personal finances in check!.

simple finance journal
Download at my Etsy Shop!

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 Starter. 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! With Quicken Starter I have enjoyed the program; it’s easy and clear.

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.

Click on the picture for more details.

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.

Step by Step Guide
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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. 

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Save money on grocery shopping every time you shop. Let’s get to be better shoppers so when inflation hits we’re not going hungry. I’ve got seven surefire ways that will help you to know how to grocery shop and save money. It’s not just coupon clipping anymore. You’ll be amazed at how much you save by making these simple adjustments. Let’s jump right in.

7 ways to save on food

1 – Join store membership

One of the ways I save money on meals is to join the store membership. One of my stores kicks back $7.00 after I reach a certain goal. They also have online coupons. Not to mention member-only specials! And you can even shop and scan with the app. These memberships offered at your store may know your buying habits, but you’ll save money using them.

2 – Buy what’s in season

Another way I save is to adjust my menu with what is growing in season. For squash dishes, I delay until fall and early winter. Strawberry pie is a March and April thing. There are lots of options. Big shout-out to farmers to make this all happen. Thank you farmers! Here is a quick guide to knowing what fruits and veggies are in season so you know when you’re getting the best deal on them. Download my In-Season guide now.

3 – Go to different stores

A third trick is to go to different stores to get the best price. For instance, the coconut milk ice cream I buy isn’t on sale at my normal store, but it is on sale at my secondary store. This may be a lot of running around, so you’ll have to make the call whether it’s worth the gas, but I find this technique helpful. I have about five go-to stores to get the best deals. But how do you remember where you got what? You can download Where I Buy Memory Guide and tuck it in your planner or handbag. Now you’ll never have to remember where you got what again!

simple finance journal
Download in my Etsy Shop!

4 – Buy store brand

Buy store brand. There is not much difference in taste and quality from name-brand goods to store brands. Plus you can save a substantial amount of money. Next time you’re at the store see for yourself and compare brand name prices with store brand.

5 – Watch the ingredients

Watch the ingredients! Yes, you can save money by reading the nutrition label. How? Some food manufacturers use ingredients that are addictive, like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and MSG…not to mention salt and just plain sugar. When you eat more, you buy more of it! Steer clear of HFCS and MSG they could be triggers for your indigestion. I know they’re tasty but they don’t do you any favors from a wallet and health perspective.

IBD help

6 – Don’t skimp the protein

Don’t skimp on the protein. Sure some proteins can be expensive, but so are second helpings and snacking! When our bodies don’t get the protein we’re then hungry all the time, which can lead to overeating, weight gain, and crankiness…yes, carbs do that. Make a point to eat some protein at every meal. To save even more money, buy protein in bulk at a membership store like Costco or Sam’s. Be sure to look at the price per unit to make the best decision.

Sources of protein include nuts, dairy (unless you’re sensitive), seeds, chicken, fish, pork, beef, turkey, tempeh (soy), quinoa, broccoli, and lentils.

7 – Forget the delivery shopping

I know this is a luxury, but it’s not necessary to survive. Prices using this service go up at least 10% per item. Then you have the annual dues, not to mention the tip for the shopper. And, yes, you need to tip your shopper or your delivery person. When you go to the store yourself stick to your grocery list, with no exceptions. Eat a snack before you leave home or work so you’re not hungry while you shop. Going to the store yourself will allow you to check the freshness of produce and meat, plus it will give you a chance to choose healthier options, read labels, and discover new products; not to mention, to get out and interact with your local grocery store.

In conclusion

When it comes to knowing how to save money grocery shopping, use your head, not your stomach. Know ahead of time how much you have to spend. Understand what meals you need to cover in the week ahead. Study the grocery store deals. You can save money grocery shopping by making just a couple of simple adjustments.

Check out these other great posts on how to save and manage money:

How to Manage Money Better

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-do Steps

Stay Connected

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

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

If you were to ask Mark Twain how to get motivated, he’d say this, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Getting started is probably the most difficult task ever. 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 how to get motivated to start anything.

How to get motivated gotta start somewhere

Super important. Read this.

Before getting into the tips on how to get motivated, I want to address one thing. Fear. Fear can hold us back from…well…everything! The fear of failure is a big one. Unfortunately, our world measures success primarily based on money. So if the world saw you start a business and see that you didn’t make any money, then the world would say you failed. Not cool. However, the Bible says in Romans 12:2 to not conform to the pattern of this world but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind, it is then you will be able to test and approve God’s will for you, his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

The Bible is truth, the world is broken. Your business that didn’t go the way you thought? Isn’t a failure at all. It showed the world that you had the courage to make something happen, you learned a tremendous amount about business, and you’re living a life without regrets; that is a whole lot of success that you can take with you where ever you go. Don’t be afraid to start anything, be afraid of not starting it. There are other ways to measure success and I encourage you to take a stronghold of these other ways, for if you only measure by money, you’re going to miss a whole lot of blessings. Read up on 5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers.

seeds you plant
Download print on Etsy

4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

If you jumped to this spot without reading the two paragraphs above, back up, and please read them.

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. This creates busyness, and we all know being busy can be a trap. With that said, you may want to check out how not to be busy and How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers.

Take things one step at a time. The first step is to write everything down. I know your ideas are in your head, it’s time now to get them down on paper. For some of us, this might even be a scary thing to do. Draw pictures, use details; it can be hard to transform information from your brain to paper, but at least we can see it now. Using a planner helps, especially if it probes questions and helps you organize. Being organized encourages your mind to get clearer on where you want to go. When your thoughts are down on paper, your idea becomes real. Now that’s really scary. But to move forward, it starts with paper and a pencil.

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2. Get organized

As I mentioned before, how to get organized is a huge step in getting motivated. The next step is to take all those things you wrote down and organize them into categories or to-dos. Organizing your ideas, the steps you need to take, the research that needs to happen, and the tools you need to acquire are critical to your success. If we take things one step at a time, we won’t get overwhelmed and will stay motivated.

Lastly, break down these tasks into do-able 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. 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 my Freebies.

Speaking of confidence. A lack of confidence can completely stop you in your tracks. We all struggle with confidence, it happens to the best of us, but what differentiates the ones to move on and the ones who go nowhere is getting back on the horse. Here are some tips on how to build self-esteem.

Napoleon Hill quote oak sleeps in the acorn

3. Seek encouragement – big one for how to get motivated!

“Gotta start somewhere” is a great weapon to protect you from judgment and to help you stay motivated. 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-for 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, be wise in how you react. The idea may stinketh, 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 or an “Oreo Cookie” response: say something good, then your constructive critisim, then something good again! Anyone who drums up the courage to tell someone something dear to their heart deserves encouragement.

Encouragement from inspirational quotes

Inspirational and motivational quotes can also give you encouragement. Here are some great ones I look to often:

My Top 10 Quotes on Overcoming Challenges

10 Amazing Courage Quotes + 3 Tips

11 Quotes on Success to be Successful

teen planner

Super important about encouragement…read this please!

My ideas got hammered many times before I finally learned my valuable lesson of ‘pick who you share with’. I touched on this briefy above. 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. Parents, spouses, and 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 ask is, “Where do you work?” I should have known better and prepared for this. Why wouldn’t they ask? We’re all curious to know what people do and secretly compare our lives to theirs. We’re all guilty of that. In a weird way, this experience helped me know how to get motivated. 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 I wasn’t too confident about it yet. 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. Go figure.

What do you do?

Yikes! My turn. “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 the 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.

look less at the mountain

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 be 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, and so are mentors, coaches, and even your own children. 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 plugin, but 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, Honey.”

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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. Depending on others to motivate you isn’t doing you any favors. How to self-motivate is a BIG bonus. Practice different ways that will teach you how to get motivated.

Random places.

You're made for a God-sized Dream Holley Gerth
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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. How to get motivated? 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, courses, and ‘how to blog’ posts I read over the years, I’ve noticed a common denominator; nothing happens until Courage is invited. 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.

With courage it’s important to understand who you are. If you don’t know who you are, knowing how to get motivated is going to be tough. What makes you tick. Where you want to go. To learn more about yourself you’re going to have to make time for yourself. Embrace “me time”. Here’s a post on 9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself.

encouragement matters hands holding

What is courage?

Courage is the moment in time where we take a step of faith not knowing what will come of it but we 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 live in freedom.

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. Here are 5 Easy Ways to Build Courage & Confidence.

Wrapping up how to get motivated

I’m going to keep this to the point in a simple way. And if you skipped the whole post on how to get motivated, you might want to reconsider and go back and read, you may miss the blessing you need to hear to get motivated. In the meantime, here is the nutshell review:

  • 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. Trust who you tell.

There is one last bonus idea that you can try to get motivated, and that is to dress the part. Simply put, play dress-up. How to get motivated? “Gotta start somewhere” isn’t just permission to try; it’s also to inspire others to do the same.

Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2022 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.

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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Get on Amazon
Get on Amazon
Get on Amazon

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

secret to happiness

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 wherever. 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: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips. You got this!

More great quotes coming your way!

Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors

10 Inspirational Quotes you Don’t Want to Miss

11 Quotes on Success to be Successful

My Top 10 Quotes for Overcoming Challenges

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

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