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
Download at my Etsy Shop!

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
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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.

step by step guide
Download at my Etsy Shop!

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.

Simplify Firefly Etsy Shop
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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.”

journal prompts
Download the journal guide from Etsy

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
click for details

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.

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

11 Quotes on Success to be Successful

11 Quotes on Success to be Successful

Quotes on success can carry many of us. For others, a lot of what determines success is how to talk to ourselves. How others speak to us plays a huge factor in our success as well. Yet, sometimes all you need are a handful of quotes on success to keep in your back pocket. Success quotes aren’t just words, but they are the hard work and sweat between the words that come from people who have been there and know what works.

Why success words matter

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

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

With something as simple as speaking or reading words with a purpose, it’s easier to start things, to accomplish tasks, and to make a difference. Brighten someone’s day by speaking into their goals; heighten your day by fueling your dreams. Remind them to take things step by step.

My top 11 success quotes:

Here are some of my favorite quotes on success. My hope is that these success quotes will encourage you to keep on moving forward. May you be inspired and motivated by this list of quotes.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

– Will Rogers

 If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. – Henry Ford

It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.

– Tony Robbins

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. – Jim Rohn

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.

– Ben Stein

What we do is never as important as how we do it. – Jane Nelsen

I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals, and I try to ignore the rest.

– Venus Williams

Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

– Sir Winston Churchill

We have to keep walking our own path, keep writing our own story, & trust that, somehow, it will all unfold in the right way. – Carrie Green

…a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12b

– Bible, Proverbs 13:12b
Step by Step Guide
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In closing

Words simply said can be a game-changer and open your eyes to the way you should go. It’s time to be successful, let’s feed our minds with words that reflect success. Take it from people who have been there and know what it takes. Believe in yourself and keep moving forward.

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

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

More great quotes coming your way!

Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors

10 Inspirational Quotes you Don’t Want to Miss

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3 Simple Anger Management Tips- Lion into Lamb

3 Simple Anger Management Tips- Lion into Lamb

Anger management tips are not fun words, but words to take seriously. If someone tells you that you have anger issues, they are… unfortunately…probably on to something. So how do we control our tempers before they erupt? I have three simple ways to turn our lion into a lamb.

Anger comes to the party

Let’s start this off with a good old definition of what anger is. According to Dictionary, anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Did someone come to mind when you read that definition? Childhood foe? Co-worker? If not, then this person could be you! Anyway…

It seems that every January starts with an unexpected visit from a lion who sets up camp. This wasn’t one of those sleepy lions, this cat was roaring. A New Year, a fresh start, and WHAM, my 2019 was faced with my first of many challenging days. This is 2019, I’m not talking about 2020, or even 2021!

My anger management was being tested and I was on the verge of taking the gloves off. Normally, if it were just one issue I would handle it pretty well, but anger-hungry events kept happening. As I look back at this year, I feel it prepared me for the years to come. So how can we transform a lion into a lamb? I have a few anger management tips that will work and have you laying in green pastures!

What’s up with Diet Coke?

Let me give you a taste of how January 2019 went along. Below-freezing temperatures hit our area, we had no school for eight days in one month! On one of those days my son and I were chatting on the couch when suddenly we heard an explosion from the garage, “What was that?”. My mind quickly questioned ‘Was someone breaking in? Where was the gas can? Did a tire pop? Was that a gun?’ As we peered, ever so slowly, into the garage we were welcomed with a light brownish slush on our screen door. The garage smelled a little sweet. Hmm. As I turned the light on, my eyes widened at the car, garage ceiling, recycle bins, and even our boots. This brownish, familiar smell, stuff had exploded everywhere. Yep, I guess that’s what happens to a 2-liter of Diet Coke when it freezes.

The test

It was at that moment I decided to practice my reaction to this roar, “All you can do is clean up the mess. Just do it and move on. Getting mad is not going to fix it.” I shut the door and stood there for a second. “At least it’s frozen”, I said to my son. I grabbed my stocking hat, tightened my scarf, and went to work.

Later that afternoon I was craving a Diet Coke slushie. After I went through the car wash I went to the store and got one. The funny thing was as I backed out of my parking spot, someone else backed up too…we met in the middle…crunch; hmm. My soul took a deep breath in and out, and my inner voice said, “Okay Christy. No one was hurt. There is no car damage. These things happen. Learn from this, and then move on.” This is just one example of one day I had that January.

Isaiah 41:13
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Anger Management Tips from Lion to Lamb

Even though January was a bit rough, in hindsight, I’m actually glad it all happened. It’s usually through the bad stuff where we grow the most, no? The salty season reminded me that I have values and morals. I have goals. And I have a family who loves me after a bad day…month…LOL. But that’s not all this lion-of-a-month taught me. He taught me how to transform him into a lamb.

Every week was peppered with dire events: work difficulties, health issues, relationship misunderstandings, car problems, communication predicaments, extreme weather conditions, and big decisions to name the least. I regularly thought about the superstition that bad things happen in threes, but there were more than three! “What’s going on?” It kind of felt like I was in a boxing ring dodging punches; then I’d get an uppercut to the gut and a hook to the nose. My opponent would then roar like a lion and stand over my body. Okay, maybe not that intense, but I needed to fight back with class.

Tip 1 – Name the Lion

The first trick to fighting the urge to blow your top is to notice it. Identify it. Give the feeling a name: Doubt, Insecurity, Frustration, Unfairness, Confusion, or whatever it is. No one likes to call these out, but it helps to pinpoint the issue. What exactly are you upset about? Are you mad at a person or are you upset about this person’s behavior? Do you have chronic physical pain? Are you sick and exhausted? Is your work stressing you out? Feeling overwhelmed? Family drama?

Pay attention to what is going on around you, not to sulk in your despair, but to put a stop to it! What exactly is happening? Why is it affecting you so much? Can you name it? In my instance in this particular case, it had been cloudy for weeks, sickness everywhere, bills coming in, and goals were strapped for time. On the not-so-obvious note, my hormones were haywire, my values were compromised, and people-pleasing got the best of me. But when I named why I was getting angry, I could then fight back with the right punches.

Anger Management Tip 2 – Focus

The second tip to anger management is knowing the pace. The frequency of these downers was happening one right after the other. My thinking immediately shifted from rolling it off my back to what was coming next? This can be looked at as a good thing and a bad one. The good help with being alert, ready to act, and prepared for the not-so-fun. The bad taints perspective. It’s like we’re looking for the grim so we see the grim. Here’s the trick with the good and the bad: what you focus on is what you’ll see the most of, pace yourself.

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3 – Skill. Train the Lion

When it comes to anger management tips, this tip is like a tip on steroids. Skill in managing your emotions is a must, and yes, it is a skill! How are we handling the situation? This skill needs to be continuously worked on. My awareness of how I managed these troubles became clear to me. Some I did well with, others…um…I could have done better. I don’t like to admit I blew some things out of proportion, but gosh, it happens to all of us. So how do we train and master the skill of anger management?

Here are 7 techniques:

yell stop
  1. Understand the triggers. Have a plan of how you’d like to react. Play it over in your head and practice.
  2. Use this opportunity to better yourself, not to hurt others, but to strengthen your character. Get to know who you are.
  3. Flip the switch and focus on the good things. Seriously write down or discuss at the dinner table what good things happen that day.
  4. Turn to God. He might be trying to get your attention or even protecting you from something worse. Yes, spiritual warfare happens. Fight off the Enemy with God’s armor, Ephesians 6:13-17. It also helps to call the enemy out on it, “STOP! Away from me!” Jesus did, why wouldn’t it work for us? Ask Jesus to help you.
  5. If you don’t have someone you can trust to vent to, write in a journal. Get it out.
  6. Give your mind a break and your body a good sweat. Exercise helps your brain be more creative and it kicks in your problem-solving skills. Not to mention, exercise helps relieve stress. Here are 10 Breakthrough Tips on how to reduce stress in your life.
  7. Distract your thoughts. Again, get your mind on something else that keeps you busy for a while. It gives you time to regroup.

Practicing these training techniques over and over again will help us see lions as lambs. Give’r a try and keep moving forward.

journal prompts

Blue Monday? Seriously?

Ironically, during the latter half of the month, my husband heard on the radio that the third Monday in January is called “Blue Monday”. Apparently, a university professor used a formula to calculate the most depressing day of the year. WHAT?! The date was calculated by these factors: poor weather, debt level, post-Christmas blaa, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, and low motivation levels. You can see the formula here. After my husband told me that news I felt SO MUCH BETTER! Light bulb moment here: I wasn’t alone. And maybe that’s all we need to know when going through a lion season…we’re not alone.

In conclusion: anger management tips

Anger management may be kind of embarrassing, but taking the steps to know how to handle the triggers will not only help you have more peace in life, but it’s better for your heart, relationships, and self-confidence. These tips are to be practiced over and over again, so that next time a challenging and tempting situation comes up, you’ll know just what to do to keep your cool. Keep moving forward and pay attention to what sets you off.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, 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 a 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 coffee maker. 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, that being stuck in life isn’t all about our circumstances; the people around us could also be at play. 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

The mind is a powerhouse. When you feed the mind with doom and gloom, what do you think will come out of 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 to 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 for 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. We are in a vulnerable state and should be on alert when we are going through a storm. 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 to 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
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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. Do your homework before calling from a Google search. 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, make sure you check these posts out too.

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.

Ink children's story
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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.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

Mental health is just like taking care of our physical health. It’s not a bad word, it’s not “crazy”, and it isn’t something to take lightly. How to manage mental health is a daily exercise, just like going for a walk or drinking water for our bodies. How to manage mental health in youth is a whole nother ballgame. I’ve got five valuable ways you’re going to want to check out to know how to help manage mental health in your teen or child.

manage mental health in youth peace sign

Children are resilient, you 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 know how to share toys. 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. I like to keep things simple. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things.**

How to manage mental health in youth: the first steps

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, to 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 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
More inspirational quotes here

It’s not too late for your teen

What if you didn’t have the chance to show your young child how to process foul events? You can help them now. It’s not too late to walk alongside your teenager who might be going through a rough patch. Your teenager needs you more than they did as a toddler. As you know, parents helping teenagers is a delicate balance. Let’s face it, there is only so much a parent can do before your teen gets annoyed.

Forcing them to talk isn’t going to work. But being a non-judgemental friend is going to help. Start by confiding in them. Tell them you’re dealing with something and you’re going to go for a hike or head to the beach. Tell them you need them to come with you, to hang. As much as they refuse, the more they need to come. Show them how you manage mental health. Personally, I garden, walk outside, pray, journal, talk to a trustworthy friend, memorize Bible scripture, and listen to instrumental music. My son knows this because he sees me do it. Comforting hurting people is essential to their mental state, it also helps you too! Here are 6 Easy Ways to Comfort Hurting People. You may find some good stuff there.

The brain

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.

how to build self esteem
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What’s next?

Probably the biggest step in helping ourselves and our children with mental health management is to digest that we have something going on. Upon discovery, many may experience anger at first, but others will feel relief that they finally figured a piece of the puzzle out. Does that make sense? All in all, when we can embrace it and understand it, we’ll have a better chance of managing it and living that amazing life we always envisioned.

5 valuable ways to help manage mental health in youth

Here are some creative ways to help you and your family manage our mental well-being at home in a natural way. Be sure to check out my post on How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps and How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips, these posts have some great information in them.

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. You can download the instructions in my Freebies.

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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, things like that. My son absolutely loved it!

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

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. This teaches our kids how to comfort themselves when pampering is needed and you are not around.

As for your teenager, you can encourage them by getting them a simple gift that brings comfort, you can get some comfort gift ideas here. And don’t forget the power of prayer. Simply giving it all to our Heavenly Father to sort out, gives us natural peace. I also encourage prayer for protection over the Enemy. Body, mind, and spirit are all connected and affect each other.

John 14:27
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3. Eat foods for your brain

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

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.

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. Encourage your teen to write about their journey. 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 their very own journal.

teen planner
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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 probably love it.

Moving forward

I’d have to say the majority of people try to ignore their mental state or try to numb it with something else like drugs, alcohol, shopping, or eating. You don’t need me to say those things just lead 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 just not helping, another route to managing our mindfulness would to find a therapist, a Christ-follower if I might add. 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!

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

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors

Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors

If you can’t physically get outdoors, reading nature quotes will take your mind there. We were born with this internal love that connects us to nature. The awe of sunsets, oceans, and majestic mountains gets our attention. The outdoors is extremely entertaining and incredibly powerful. Things like storms, trees, flowers, and even vitamins like vitamin D can bring healing to our mental health, bodies, and even hearts.

Nature quotes the power of the outdoors scenic mountains

Preparing to enter nature

Do you ever get that feeling something is off-balance, that you just need to get out and breathe? I sure do. In fact, this past weekend I said to my husband, “I have got to get outside and surround myself with nature. I’m feeling anxious and need to clear my head.”

One of the things we can do to prepare for the outdoors is to get in the right mindset. Reading nature quotes is a great way to anticipate your outdoor venture. Nature quotes do a couple of things, they give you a mental visual of what you might experience, and they set the stage. They open your mind and prepare you to open your eyes to things you might otherwise not notice.

Simplify Firefly Etsy

Taking a look back to move forward

There is just something about being outdoors; you’re surrounded by beauty and uniqueness that our pioneers and Native Americans lived in every day. This gives me awe that in some areas of the outdoors it looked the very same as when our ancestors were around.

When I was a child I would play in the woods for hours. I’m sure you can relate if you lived in rural areas. I’d make a fort and pretend where my kitchen was the living room and the bedroom. Making a broom out of a stick and pine branches made me feel purposeful and resourceful. Know what I mean? This is probably why I enjoy camping.

Napoleon Hill quote about oaks

Our children and nature

Outdoor play is so good for our children. It not only stimulates their creativity, but nature actually helps them be creative. Playing outdoors creates confidence. It helps our kids develop a relationship with nature, and it comforts their natural spirit. Playing in God’s creation also brings them closer to Him. Here’s a post you gotta check out: 5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us. It talks about developing a relationship with nature. And gives ideas on how we can get our kids outdoors. It also covers our mental well-being and how to manage it naturally.

Nature can be our secret haven

For some people, like myself, nature is one of our favorite worship sanctuaries, it’s our haven, refuge. It’s informal and a perfect place to be one on one with God. Even if we don’t go into the woods or visit the meadows and mountains or beaches with the intent to worship God, nature has a way of rejuvenating and healing our souls. It’s like osmosis.

Christy standing by tree reducing pressure

Being outdoors doesn’t mean you have to exert a lot of energy to benefit from it, like climbing a mountain or going mountain biking; you can just be, and soak in that unexplainable need for it. It keeps our minds fresh and it maintains equilibrium with our daily lives. There is nothing more pleasing to the eye than the serenity of God’s creation. 

7 Amazing Nature Quotes

Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.

Verna M. Kelly

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

– Albert Einstein

Beauty heals.

– Unknown

The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence’ the stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.

– Mother Teresa
Albert Einstein quote nature

When I get into the woods my cluttered mind says “Thank you”, my soul says “Ah”, and my spirit whispers “Be still”.

– Christy Troy

The oak sleeps in the acorn. The bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of reality.

– Napoleon Hill

I can’t change the wind, but I can adjust the sails to reach my destination.

– Jimmy Dean

Wrapping it up

John Muir loved nature and God. He published over 300 articles and 12 books about wilderness, nature, and preservation. He co-founded the Sierra Club which helped establish a number of national parks. John says it perfectly here,

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

– John Muir

May you make an effort to get out into your haven over this next week, to read some of these nature quotes before heading out in nature, to take a step back into time and see the world through the eyes of the pioneer and Native American. You may be surprised at what nature does for your heart and soul.

More great quotes coming your way!

11 Quotes on Success to be Successful

10 Inspirational Quotes you Don’t Want to Miss

10 Amazing Courage Quotes

My Top 10 Quotes for Overcoming Challenges

4 Tree Planting Tips

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

Kid Activities at Home: 10 Things You Can Do Right Now!

Kid Activities at Home: 10 Things You Can Do Right Now!

Need some fresh kid activities at home? There are three words that wreak havoc on a busy mom, “Mom, I’m bored”. Remember we’ve all been there as kids too. Bored is not a bad thing, but it’s a lot more fun when we can spark an interest in our kids and get them out of their funk. Here are 10 fresh ideas you can pass on to your kids and even teenagers!

I'm Bored

Chores are not what they’re looking for

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

Outside fun to cure the ‘bored’!

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

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

10 kid activities at home

1) Make them laugh.

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

Lunchbox Note Jokes
Download in my Etsy Shop!

2) Create a talent show.

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

3) Restaurant fun!

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

4) Get out the scavenger hunt on steroids

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

Buy on Amazon

5) Write stories or comics

Some kids love to read, others do not. My son is the NOT one. Instead of reading, have them create a comic book with pictures and bubble text. Give them ideas of what to write about by what your child likes. Is he/she into gaming? Pizza? Sports? Robots? Hunting? Cooking? You can get these blank comic books on Amazon to help guide them into making a masterpiece! My son made a whole series of comics about his superpower and his superpower friends. It was hilarious! To get the juices flowing read them their favorite children’s books. On that note, check out my new children’s book, INK!

6) Photography at its finest

Find it on Amazon!

If you want them off the gaming, turn on camera mode. Have them head outside and take pictures of what’s going on around them. You can ask for a gallery of photos that you all can review at dinner time. Have them take pictures of leaves, flowers, wildlife or bugs, or anything blue, yellow, or red. They can create a game with photos too; for instance, you have them take 10 pictures and you have to guess what they all have in common…like things that move, things that fly, etc. Don’t want them to have a phone in hand? We had gotten our son this fun children’s camera. It worked great and he absolutely loved it!

7) Obstacle course to the rescue

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

8) Playlist creation

If you have an older kid or teenager who can navigate a phone and a playlist, have them create a playlist for YOU! This can take them forever but it also helps them feel needed and special.

9) Puzzles and Printables

As I mentioned earlier, have them do puzzles. I created some amazing activity pages for kids that will keep them busy and have fun doing it. My activity pages include camping, fishing, fireflies, trees, sports, and more. They are fun to do as a family too! You can find them all here.

tree printable for kids
Download in my Etsy Shop!

10) Start a business

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

Bonus!

BONUS IDEA! This has been one of my favorite kid activities at home EVER! Create your very own putt-putt golf course around the yard or at a park. All you need is a putter, a few golf balls, and a cup or a piece of yarn to make a “hole”. Seriously, this is fun for your toddler to teenager.

And don’t forget to camp in the backyard! What a fun activity for all your kids and your dog. Pop up a tent and roast some hotdogs on a fire. Here are some ways to camp more comfortable!

Wrap up

There you go! Ten ways, plus a bonus, to answer the dreaded “Mom, I’m bored”. Remember to be happy, thankful for their honesty, and to encourage their creativity. Be sure to check out some of my favorite family games and children’s books to read as a family!

Before you go, check out these blog posts:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

17 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

4 Simple Reduce Stress Strategies for You & Your Kids

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

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