How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to build self-esteem is so critically important, that it WILL affect your future. I’m not saying for you to walk around and boast about yourself. In fact, the people who have the greatest self-esteem are those who listen more and talk less. I have 3 tips to help us know how to build self-esteem right now.

how to build self esteem

Lately, I have been reviewing my life and asking myself if I’m happy with how I’ve been living. In most areas of my life I can confidently say Yes, I love it. But in others, I can’t say yes. And when I can’t say yes, I start comparing myself to others in that particular area. And then I find myself with low self-esteem that seems paralyzing.

Comparing and Self Esteem

Yes, I’m jumping right to the Bible. There are many Biblical truths about self-esteem, we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we are chosen (John 15:16) to name a few. But there is one verse that really stricks me. Before I mention it, I want you to know that when we start comparing and trying to be like everyone else… just to be liked…that’s when low self-esteem makes its way to our thoughts, words, and actions. Is that what you want? I, personally, do not want you in this place. I’ve been there and it made me gain weight, brought on depression, and affected my path in life. Live in the freedom with who you are today and everyday in moving forward.

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A good verse to memorize

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

This verse is a good one to memorize, especially if you find yourself comparing and going along with the crowd. Not to mention how to build self-esteem. Claim this scripture as yours. Pray it, say it, and be aware of what you are putting into your mind. I was finding myself comparing my pattern of life to others’ patterns of life. The reason I started to even do that was because of one area in my life that wasn’t like everyone else’s, my career. 

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The comparing game

Seeing other people climb the corporate ladder, own a thriving small business, and stay in the job for years on end, made me feel small or, honestly, valueless. The problem was comparing. And how can I even start to compare? Everyone’s life is so incredibly different. We don’t know what others’ childhood was like, we don’t know their educational background, we don’t know what happens at home, and we don’t know the problems they deal with, so what right do we have to compare or judge for that matter. We don’t have a right. In fact, these “successful” people may be comparing themselves to you and want what you have!

So what do we do?

We mind our own business and focus on the goals we are passionate about. Our job is to enhance our talents, abilities, and gifts and to know how to love others by using what we’ve got. Our Creator (God) made us to be us and no one else. We need to trust in Him to embrace who we are and love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can love others the way we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet, there is one thing we must have to move forward, motivation.

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3 Tips to help stop comparing and how to build self-esteem:

1. Pray for your eyes to be opened to the talents, abilities, and gifts God has given you to be revealed and for your mind to be renewed.

2. Remind yourself that everyone is different… every day. Comparing is not helpful at all! Read affirmations daily. When you talk to yourself in a loving way, your self-esteem grows tremendously. This is a powerful exercise that will help you to love yourself. Get to know who you are. By the way, loving yourself isn’t selfish or conceited. You can download a list of my favorite affirmations in Freebies.

3. If you want something to happen, YOU need to make it happen. We can dream all day, but executing those dreams is scary. Ask yourself “How bad do I want it?” If you want it bad enough, you’ll need to pull your big girl pants up and go get it. You got this. Please keep moving forward without regrets. Take things step by step.

All in all

God is with us every step of the way, He wants us to enjoy life and flourish. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, instead help the world come alive by being YOU. Your uniqueness is an amazing gift, use it while you have it.

Be sure to check out these other great posts to build confidence.

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

Do You Know How to Smile?

3 Ways to Help our Kids Not Be Stuck in a Mold

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By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

One of the pillars to a happy life is to know how to reduce stress in your life. If you think you’ve heard it all about stress management, think again. Get these 10 impressive tips on how to reduce stress in your life so you can live a healthy happy life. Seriously, you’re going to want to check these out.

We’ve all heard the key to stress reduction is to manage your time. Yes, that helps. But there is one thing that gets in the way of all the stress management techniques out here and it is this: we are all different. If you learn anything from this post it is this: understand who you are. When you do, you will know what stress management tip will work the best for you.

how to reduce stress in your life puppy in basket

What triggers stress?

How to reduce stress in your life starts with knowing what triggers the stress. Ask yourself what gets your goat. Is it time management, getting stuck in traffic, not being able to say no to people, what about what you’re eating? It also could be a who. Who is it that stresses you out? Your stress trigger might even be a certain time of year, like the holidays, or even a certain event. What about regrets?

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that stress and anger go hand in hand, but usually, when we are stressed, anger follows. Not a good combo. Take a look-see at these 3 Simple Anger Management Tips. Just FYI, when someone in your family is angry, they’re stressed. Take what you learn here and gently pass it on to them.

10 Impressive tips on how to reduce stress in my life

#1 Drink more water.

Drink at least one more glass of water a day. Doing this simple task helps give you more energy. Water also cleans out the toxins that linger in your body. With that said, make sure you have the right kind of water filter. Plus, who wants to be dehydrated…talk about stress!

Along with drinking more water, gradually start to clean out the processed foods. When our bodies are filled with crap, we’re going to feel like crap, let alone look like carp or crap. The processed foods mess with your digestive system and could leave you with leaky gut…which causes all sorts of issues including food sensitivities, allergies, and weight gain. Aiming for a clean diet is a fantastic goal. Experiment with going gluten-free or dairy-free. I’ve got some recipes to get you started. Here are a couple of other posts to help you out:

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

Food Combining Does What? Manage Stomach Acid Now!

how to brighten your home

#2 Step on the scale

Another super effective way to know how to reduce stress in your life is weight loss. Touchy topic, I know. Just a suggestion here, you might want to explore the idea to know how to lose weight. Being overweight stresses our bodies out and how they function. The excess fat actually smooshes our internal organs. I get it, I experienced it. Being 20 pounds overweight did a number on me…talk about depression. Within 6 months, I lost all the weight and then some simply by making a few small adjustments. This was back in the 1990s, I’ve kept the weight off ever since. I’m telling ya, it’s not rocket science. The secret to losing weight is this…you gotta want to lose weight. If you want it bad enough, nothing is going to stop you from getting it.

Don’t forget to exercise. Tie up the walking shoes and get out there. Walking has SO many benefits. Get your body moving when you’re stressed out. Exercise gets the blood pumping, clears your head, and increases the feel-good hormones.

Get yourself on the right track to good health and stay healthy: How to Stay Healthy: 15 Simple Ways

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#3 Put on the organizing hat

Get organized. I recently moved, talk about stress in my life. Why? Our stuff was everywhere! I’m the kind of person who likes to have certain places for specific things, like the toothbrush, which should be in the bathroom not the kitchen. When we moved, I didn’t feel at peace until I got organized. Boy, I learned a lot about how to make moving stress-free.

Organizing isn’t just for moving or packing for vacation. Organizing is kind of like having a routine. Studies have shown that we humans like routine. This goes for your kiddos too. How to reduce stress in your life starts with a routine. When a routine is in place, our days are happy and nice!

One of the simplest ways to get organized, especially in organizing your time is to get a planner. Sure we can remember most things in our head, but when we write things down and see them on paper, we can be a lot more productive and purposeful. Writing things down includes a daily to-do list. Every day I have a make a list. My daily to-do list is like my compass for the day. Be sure to take a look at these posts for more tips:  

3 Problem Solving Strategies People Often Forget

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

simple living planner for teens
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#4 Declutter all together

This is an instant way to know how to reduce stress in your life. Declutter your environment. Along with organizing, decluttering is similar. With organizing, you are simply moving one thing to another place. Decluttering is actually getting rid of excess things and things you don’t need anymore. When we moved, I made a trip to the donation center, a trip to the recycle center, another trip to the dump, and a sold a few things. I can’t stress enough how FREE I felt when I got all the clutter gone. Decluttering is a fun way to get instant gratification in knowing how to reduce stress in your life.

Another way to know how to reduce stress in your life is by decorating with certain colors. You can find a lot of decorating ideas on Pinterest or Houzz. But when it comes to accent walls or pillows, choose colors like whites, greens, blues, and purples. Studies have shown that these colors and a few more help reduce stress. What else? Here are a few more posts to get you motivated:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Cleaning the House: 5 Factors to Understand

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good

#5 Time to play outside

Get outside, daily. We are beings that need nature to survive and thrive. There is something magical that happens when you get fresh air and are amongst the trees. Take a break at work and step outside, even if you have to walk to your car and down the sidewalk for a bit. Look at the blue sky, walk around the parking lot, and listen to the sounds of what’s going on outside. Getting outside naturally resets your mental mindset. It breaks up your day. Here are some amazing posts about getting outside:

Nature quotes: the power of the outdoors

How to Make Camping More Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt Challenge

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#6 Time for a hobby

Dust your hobby off and dig into it. One super fun way to know how to reduce stress in your life is to get a hobby. A hobby is a healthy way to break up the pressure to perform and balance out the hormones. When people think of a hobby their first answer is typically knitting, gardening, or woodworking. I like to think of a hobby as something to get your creative juices flowing while keeping your hands busy. Here are some suggestions for you to explore: Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

#7 Forget the drama

Say no to drama. One of my goals in life is to manage the drama that comes at me. Whether it’s the news, a family matter, or another relationship fiasco I will achieve a drama-free life!

One way to say no to drama is to meditate. I’m not a person who meditates. But I do enjoy listening to instrumental music when I’m stressed. Meditation helps a lot of people and I encourage you to try it. But if you’re not someone who enjoys meditation there are other things you can do. I already mentioned listening to instrumental music, notice I didn’t say Metallica. When we listen to music without words, our minds don’t need to process both words and music. Instrumental music naturally calms the state of being and allows free thoughts to flow, which lower those nasty stress hormones.

Another alternative to meditation is to simply enjoy the silence. Turn the background noise off for a few minutes. Talk to yourself. Open the window and listen to nature. Silence is soothing when you need to think and rest. Enjoy the silence.

Sometimes when there is an overwhelming amount of non-sense drama circulating around you, how to reduce stress in your life right then and there is to laugh. A good old belly laugh turns the stress hormones off and the happy hormones on. What’s even more fun is laughing with your family. There’s nothing irreplaceable than a good corny joke the whole family can enjoy.

Check out these 5 valuable ways to manage mental wellness in kids and us.

lee Iacocca quote on stress

#8 Get your volunteer game on

Give others what you need. Volunteer, be generous. Giving your time to someone else helps your mind shift from circling around you to helping someone else. When we give attention to someone who needs it, a.k.a. love, this releases those feel-good hormones which will melt away the good old stress hormones. Volunteering also helps with depression. When you’re feeling down and out about yourself, go help someone. Don’t know how to start volunteering? Ask your local church, search online at library events, ask your child’s or grandchild’s school, or head over to your community center. Heck, you could even voluntarily pick up garbage around your neighborhood.

#9 How to manage money

Get a handle on your money. I know this is a sensitive topic, but if you understand how to manage money smartly then you will be set free from stress about money! The very first step in how to manage money is to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. At the end of the day, there should be a little money left over. In my Freebies, you can download a budgeting spreadsheet. Here are some great posts to help you make your money work for you.

How to manage money better!

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

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Gift Ideas for Hard to Buy People

Isaiah 41:13
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#10 Know yourself better

How to reduce stress in your life final tip. To get to know yourself and your values. When you align your values to the choices and decisions you make, you will naturally have less stress. Talk to yourself. Seriously, talk out loud to yourself about your day, what you want to get done, what you got done; talk about your dreams, what you want for dinner, how amazing you are, things like that. There is nothing silly about talking to yourself.

Wrapping up how to reduce stress in your life

Simply put, learn how to relax. When you can get your mind and body to relax, you have a direct stress management technique to lean on. All this depends on your identity and understanding who you are.

Find what helps you relax that is not dependent on another person. This is your thing, not theirs. Things like going for a walk, taking a bath, reading a book, or for some people can be chores that serve as therapy; for instance, doing laundry, ironing, washing dishes, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn. If chores work for you, then keep it up! Keep your relaxing regimen clean without the use of drugs or inappropriate actions. After all, kids get stressed too and they may ask you how to manage stress.

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

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

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

What exactly is a hobby?

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

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

Top 13 reasons to get a hobby:

1. Helps enhance meaning in your life.

2. Gets the creative juices flowing.

3. Increases personal satisfaction.

4. Builds self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Relieves stress.

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

7. Helps you meet new people.

8. Contributes to society or the community.

9. Boosts brain power and cognitive function.

10. It has the potential to create extra income.

11. Gateway to happiness.

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

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

More on hormones.

silhouette standing in start

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

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

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

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What are some great hobby ideas?

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

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

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

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In conclusion

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

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

Planners aren’t just for adults, teens need them too! Get a daily planner for teens today and teach them how to manage their time and develop this amazing skill. Teens may think they know everything, but we can help them learn how to get organized. As you know, when you’re organized you feel better, you’re happier and nice to others. A simple planner might just help everyone get through the teen years.

Planner history

In the 1700s the planner was invented by your very own Benjamin Franklin. And in 1984 the Franklin Planner was brought to our eyes thanks to Richard I. Winwood. One of our most valuable things on this planet is our time. How we plan our minutes determines the outcome of our lives. Let me be bold: No one is to blame, except for you, for how you use your time. A planner is a great tool to help you guide your teen in planning their days, know what to look for, and make this year a great one.

best planner ever what to look for

Two things that need to happen for a productive life

For you to experience an amazing, productive life there are two things that need to happen. The first is to know yourself to the best of your ability. When you understand who you are and where you want to go in life, directing your time becomes a little easier. And when your time is managed the way you like it, you are at peace. Understanding your identity isn’t an easy thing, we are ever-changing beings. I’ll give you some tips in a minute.

The second thing that needs to happen is for you to have a plan, at least something to go by. Organizing life starts on paper. As we all know, we can plan all we want, but the Lord directs our steps. Wandering aimlessly is straight-up stressful. Try traveling without a map…this includes your phone navigation. Think about a time when you were lost. Do you remember how that made you feel? Is being lost, the source of all stress? Hmm. Yet, there is one thing that keeps on ticking, time.

Teens and tweens struggle with time management, it’s okay, managing time is a skill they need to develop. The other thing that needs to happen in life is encouragement and positivity. I created a daily planner for teens to do just this. To focus on the good things, to give encouragement, inspire, and speak truth into their hearts.

Identity, how it orchestrates our day

Understanding identity is a HUGE thing right now. People are exploring what they like, who they like, what they believe in, etc. Identity is a controversial topic because it involves all the things people get mad about race, religion, sex, politics, vaccines… The crazy part is that we all want to be liked, so in some weird ways, we go along with the crowd even when we don’t want to. This creates a whole different ball of twine and a blog post, but my point is for us to understand who we are.

As the Bible says, we are to not conform to the pattern of this world, but instead, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, for then we will be able to test God’s will for our life, his perfect, pleasing, and goodwill (Romans 12:2). In other words, seek your Creator to understand who He made you to be, then you will understand where you should go.

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That was some fun theology, this is not to discourage you, this is to encourage you. Because when you think you have to do this life alone, that you need to figure everything out yourself, and you have to make every minute count, not to mention, keeping up with what everyone else is doing…give it to our Mighty God in Heaven. Ask Him, your Heavenly Father, to help you, direct you, open your eyes, and protect you. He will. I guarantee it!

Planner plan

In 2020, we faced a dead stop in life with the COVID pandemic. The time came to a screeching halt. Many of us went bananas, others went on an extended mental vacation. There were many things we learned while being at home, some things we didn’t want to know like how lonely we were, how much we depended on others, and how much we needed “me” time. Getting sick wasn’t the only fear going on, knowing what to do with our time competed for first place. To help you with your time there is one thing you can invest in: a planner. Yes, even if you work from home, a personal planner is a must!

As 2021 came to be, life seemed completely the opposite of 2020. There was a new super speed! Traffic got heavy, people got rude, and many of us tried to fit as much as possible into our days. Were we trying to make up for time lost during the year before? Did we have different priorities? The year 2021, was a transition year and we were trying our hardest to get back to “normal” as much as possible. And now we’re all cranky and have headaches. My planner was definitely full, yet it was a true life-saver in staying sane. 

What to look for in a planner

There are a lot of planners out there that not only address our day-to-day but also have journal prompts and inspiring quotes, etc. Planners have come a long way since the 1770s; in fact, planners started out as journals. However, depending on your needs, we should be careful of what kind of planner to get; some can be time-consuming, stressful to keep up with, and distracting. Many planners look beautiful and fun, but I worry some people may get too focused on filling out their pretty little planner instead of living life and making things happen. Planners are a tool to keep you focused and sharp.

Download this daily planner for teens today

With that said, I created two downloadable planners in PDF format that is simple and essential to anyone’s life. I prefer the downloadable planner because you can print as many pages as you like! Both Simple Living planners come in three sizes so you can find a fun binder and put your own spin on it…which is great for making it your own.

Simple Living Planner Plus
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The Simple Living: All You Need Planner will help you stay on task. I designed it so it still gives you a few daily journal prompts that are fun to do. It is 17 pages. My goal is for this planner to help you get through your days feeling confident and productive. It focuses on the important things that will save us time and headaches.

The second planner I designed is the Simple Living: All You Need Planner PLUS. This 25-page simple planner PLUS is a great way to kick off a new beginning and to be strong and successful throughout! I absolutely LOVE this planner because it feeds my mind, energizes my goals, and makes me feel good! This planner is like your personal life coach. It’s filled with healthy mental goodness that anyone can benefit from no matter what age. It has all the same great pages as the first planner, but with bonus pages suited to feed the mind and creative spirit. Designed for a daily planner for teens or tweens but so good for a planner for mom or grandma. Feel the love through this planner, truly a game-changer.

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Wrapping the planner up

Using a planner is an excellent way to get the most out of our time, but choosing the right planner is what will make or break you. Start the New Year on the right foot and allow happiness to penetrate your heart. It all starts with your time, organizing, and utilizing it well.

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved
How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

How to Manage Stress in a Healthy Way: 4 Tips

Are you feeling like you need to slow down? Get ready for a showdown with your opponent: speed. Going at a fast rate and stress go hand in hand. However, there are ways to manage stress in a healthy way while keeping the pace of life. But first to have endurance and finish strong, a ‘whoa back’ is in dire order. Today I have four questions to help you manage stress in a healthy way before stress takes you out.

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

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

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

teen planner

4 tips on how to manage stress in a healthy way

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

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

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

How comparison happens

busy horses running wild

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

Why am I so tired?

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

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

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

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

woman laying on log slow down time

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

3. Where do we need to slow down?

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

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

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

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

Wrapping it up

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

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

Learn How to Relax: 5 Essential Must-Have Tips

Learn How to Relax: 5 Essential Must-Have Tips

When it comes to learning how to relax there are a few things one must do to achieve a peaceful relaxed state. If there is one thing that can mess with our minds when we’re trying to relax its guilt. To feel guilty because we are taking a break can absolutely ruin our efforts in relaxing. Why? Because “busy” is the norm in this day and age. “Busy” is acceptable and at times “busy” is how we measure our days. Let’s give permission for our mind and body to let go and loosen the tension.

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What does busy mean anyway?

Why would we need a definition of busy? Because it helps us understand if we really are busy. Merriam-Webster Dictionary says ‘busy’ is: engaged in action, occupied. My definition of ‘busy’ is this: ‘Busy’ is yearning to do things you want to do without having the time to do them. The difference between the two definitions is this: when I’m ‘engaged in action’ with an activity I want to do, I’m not ‘busy’, but when I want to do something I can’t because of running errands, etc, then I am ‘busy’. You might need to read that again to let it sink in. Where do you lay right now with ‘busy’?

How to relax?

How do we relax so we have the freedom to work on the things that bring purpose into our lives? Or on the flip-side, how do we not think about anything and just be?

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

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5 essential tips for us ladies to learn how to relax

But how do we ladies go about finding relaxation when so much pressure is put on us daily and even socially?

1. Change environments

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

If you’re stuck inside there are a few things you can do to escape. You can find a space that is only yours; a closet works, the laundry room, even a corner space that says you. Make this space a place for your soul to regenerate. Get some amazing wall art and lose yourself in the picture, find inspirational quotes or scripture and post them on the wall, decorate with string lights, put splashes of your favorite colors throughout, and be sure to have something cozy. Make this a space you can’t wait to escape to.

2. Write things out, this is how.

Writing all the crud or to-do list down on paper can lessen the power it has in your mind. When it’s on paper, it makes something that was a big deal in our minds, easier to digest. We, humans, tend to let our minds get away from us. I personally enjoy taking a clean sheet of copy paper, grabbing a pencil, and drawing a circle. From the circle, I create branches of all the things I’m thinking about, then I break those branches into smaller do-able bites. A journal works too.

Speaking of journaling. Writing freely helps too. Ask yourself thought-provoking questions that can get to the meat of the busyness. Here are some great questions to get you started.

Proverbs 31:25
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3. Converse with God

Talking with God helps to release the chains and give them to Him. Did you catch what I said? “Talking with God, not at Him or to Him, but with, like a friend talks with a friend. He wants a relationship with you, he wants to hear your side of the story, and he wants to help you. All you need to do is talk with Him.

For instance, I escape to my favorite walking place and pray while I’m walking. For me, hearing my voice speak rather than trying to sort it all out in my mind helps me focus on the conversation. Then I stop talking and just listen; this gives me a breather and a chance for God to breathe into me.  I enjoy Jesus Calling as a nice devotional to help hear His voice.  

4. Watch a good show, read a book, or listen to instrumental music

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When we are entertained it gives us time to relax and just be. It’s a chance we get to wander out of our reality and into a story. Whether it’s a good movie or book, get the comfy clothes on and kindly alert the family to not interrupt your time.

Here’s a tip, be picky of what you put in your brain. If you’re looking to just feel good and float on a cloud, don’t choose The Silence of the Lambs; maybe try La La Land, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Steel Magnolias. Ask yourself what you want to get out of a show before you start channel flipping. And yes, it’s true, what you put in your mind affects how you think, and how you think affects how you act. Be careful of what you put in your mind, you could be inviting darkness in.

Instrumental music is an extremely effective way to relax. Find a track you enjoy. When I get stressed I turn to Soaking in His Presence by William Augusto. He does such a great job of putting me in the right frame of mind. This music is also amazing to pray with. Love it!

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5. Create

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Creativity gets your mind off the stress and into a relaxed state of being. Entrepreneur.com has a great article on the benefits of putting our creativity to use. There are scientific studies on how it can reduce stress. Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that when you “lose yourself” in the composition of a song (creating)…, you are essentially entering a healthy flow state. No wonder I feel so great after I create something. Try experimenting in the kitchen, rearrange your furniture, color, sew a baby quilt, and create a playlist…we all have creative abilities. Tap into your creativity and make it a hobby.

In conclusion

There are other obvious tips to relax like taking a hot bath, getting a massage, taking your time in sipping a fancy coffee, or watching the birds, my last bonus tip is to set boundaries for yourself and those around you. Don’t let others steel your relax time, protect it with all your might. If you’re at the coffee shop and there is an annoying person by you, get up and move.

I challenge you to tap into at least two of the above suggestions this week to relax. Ask yourself what do I need to let go of to give myself the time I need? Know how to slowdown and be less busy so you can be your best!

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

How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word.

How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word.

How to live your dream life starts with looking at one word in a completely different way, this one thing can be a huge game-changer in how you move forward. To help paint this picture let’s look at a movie.

In 2018 the movie I Can Only Imagine debuted and has made over $85 million. The song I Can Only Imagine hit radio stations 19 years earlier. The story behind the song is based on the life of the songwriter, Bart Millard. When the movie came out, I personally thought it would be a boring movie. Two years later, I finally watched it and my emotional response shocked me.

Why did the movie grab me so much?

This past summer I was in a funk. We had just come off a 3-week vacation camping at a nearby campground…kudos to my husband who stayed there the entire duration, but for me? My busy brain came home now and then to get things done around the house, to tend to appointments, and so forth. The campground was only 30 minutes from home. I just couldn’t settle down. It wasn’t until the last week that I could finally sink into a vacation. Have you ever experienced something like that? I was actually mad I couldn’t submit to vacation.

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My funk.

Since I did most of my chores while on vacation when we got back home I didn’t have any motivation to do anything! Needless to say, I needed to reset my brain and escape to a movie.

As I was flipping through movie options my finger stopped at “I Can Only Imagine” and thought, what the heck; it’s Sunday, why not watch a Christian movie.   

When someone tells you it can't be done, it's more a reflection of their limitations, not yours.

From the start of the show, I was into it. The crazy thing about this specific movie was how emotional I found myself. My heart was jumping from one character to another. One minute I was sad for Bart, and the next I was upset about his mom. I was sad his dad was so confused. Then my heart ached for his dad when he was trying to figure out the Bible on his own. And then back to Bart of how he heard from God and pursued to live his dream life. But what was I really crying about?

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The truth comes out

Deep emotions surfaced from my own past, and as I peered closer to the anchor which has kept me down, I saw a four-letter word written on it. Through my blurred teary eyes the word “can’t” became clear.

“You Can’t”

Throughout my life, I have heard “you can’t” from people I love and respect, from people I have trusted, and mostly myself. With ideas and dreams I’ve shared, I was hopeful for encouragement and instead got, “that’s silly”, “you know how hard you’d have to work?”, “you don’t want to do that”, “do you even qualify to do that?”… “you can’t”… these words not only were verbally spoken, but the Enemy whispered them in my ear too. They pretty much say, “don’t even try”.

Not only did I hear it from my family and friends, but I heard it on the media. “You can’t do that without this.” “You can’t lose weight without this system and support team.” And the list goes on.

To add more shine to the word “can’t”, my body was telling me I can’t! My digestive system got so messed up that I’m unable to eat a “normal” diet. I actually have to think about what to order at a restaurant and make sure it’s safe for me to eat. Other aliments loitered and set up camp for months and then years crippling my ability to sit for long periods and walk without pain.

I was really starting to believe I couldn’t do the things I had ideas about. It felt like no one took me seriously or believed in me…even me. Do you know what that’s like?

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Moving On

As I reflected on the movie and looked closer at the word “can’t” I realized something. Do you know how some people get motivated when other people tell them they can’t do something? Then you turn around and the next thing you know they’ve achieved that very dream someone told them they couldn’t do! From a Christian perspective take a look at the configuration of the word “can’t”. What do you see?

This movie showed me something I’ve missed for so many years. If you want to l live your dream life, the next time someone says you can’t, look at the letters of the word very closely. You may just be thanking them for that. Simply said, anything is possible with Jesus.

To get you started download my 30 favorite affirmations right now. And for more freebies head over to my freebies page and unlock numerous resources to get you moving forward.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, whether you’re a Christian or not, give it try, you may just experience a breakthrough.

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

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Tired, bloated, indigestion after you eat? Let me fill you in on a little secret, it probably has something to do with food combining. Our stomach is known for acid. Stomach acid, along with the help of enzymes, helps break down food. Not only that but it actually helps support the body in absorbing protein and vitamin B-12, which we only get from protein (meat). In this post, you’ll find tips on how to feel better and get more bang for your nutrition buck! How to reduce stomach acid, how to increase stomach acid, how to test which one you have, and why food combining has a lot to do with stomach acid is in this post. Plus! You can download my free easy to understand food combining chart!

Let’s jump into the stomach.

If you have high levels of stomach acid you’re probably experiencing one of these symptoms: acid reflux, burping, or you may even feel nauseated. If you have too little stomach acid you may feel bloated, experience diarrhea or constipation, have food intolerances, osteoporosis, leaky gut, malnutrition, and heartburn. It’s kind of confusing, eh?

If you have either too high or too low of stomach acid it puts stress on the digestive system which can lead to further problems down the road, for instance, if you have heartburn (GERDS) and don’t pay attention to it, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and upping your chances of precancerous cells. If the stomach acid is too low and left untreated it can lead to hair loss, GI infections, anemia, lupus, allergies, chronic autoimmune disorders, and thyroid issues to name a few. Yikes!

how to manage stomach acid

How do you know if you have high or low stomach acid?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in. I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version of what I’ve learned. *Consult your physician before jumping into new things.*

There are a number of things you can do to figure this out:

1) You could visit your doctor and have them order a test. Most likely it will be a CBC (complete blood count) and CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel). From the test they’ll look at a variety of factors, some include iron and phosphorous levels.

2) The other test is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test, this test requires fasting for 12 hours and swallowing a tiny electronic capsule. You will need to drink a baking soda solution and then the capsule will record how long it takes your stomach to restore normal acidity levels. Cool!

3) If you don’t like doctors or want to spend the extra cash, there is a simple at-home test is called the Baking Soda Acid Test. The accuracy of this test is not 100%, so it’s best to do this test regularly to get a better idea of where you are on stomach acid.

Here’s how to do it: Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda in four ounces of water. In the morning before you eat or drink anything else, drink the concoction. Next, start your timer on your phone and time how long it takes to burp. If it takes more than five minutes or you experience no burp at all, it’s a sign of low stomach acid.

IBD Triggers

Tips on how to reduce gastric juice:

1) Understand what food combinations cause high acidity. See my chart on freebies.

2) Eat smaller meals. Overeating can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which causes it to open and leak acid into your esophagus.

3) Try a low-carb diet. When our system can’t digest carbs well, we get gassy and bloated, which then leads to GERD. Numerous studies support this idea. Looking into amylase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbs may significantly help you when you can’t say no.

4) Limit the guilty pleasures of caffeine and alcohol. The alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the caffeine weakens the sphincter. They basically have the same effects on the sphincter. Try decaf coffee instead, that’s what I do and my body has adjusted well after the caffeine withdrawal ended.

5) Chew gum. This helps increase saliva production and helps clear the esophagus of stomach acid. It helps with symptoms but doesn’t solve the root cause. No wonder my son loves gum!

6) Cut back on carbonated drinks and citrus juice. Again both of these kinds of beverages weaken the esophageal sphincter.

7) Mint is a no-go. Mint chocolate-chip ice cream should take a backseat if you experience symptoms. This refreshing herb is so relaxing that it too relaxes the sphincter. Peppermint tea, peppermint chocolate or candies, and peppermint-flavored gum have the potential to fire back, literally up your esophagus.

Some other tips to help alleviate symptoms are not eating too close to bedtime, elevating your head while sleeping, and avoiding laying on your RIGHT side. These tactics help calm the acid and keep that pesky sphincter closed!

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4 little ways to increase low stomach acid at home

1) I wouldn’t hit the meat & potatoes to fix your low stomach acid, instead, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar that includes the Mother. This is an easy way to help your stomach acid get ready to work before a meal. Mix one tablespoon of the vinegar in water and drink before a meal.

2) Like honey? Try Manuka Honey. This honey comes from New Zealand and has amazing antimicrobial properties. It helps with IBS, indigestion, stomach ulcer prevention, oral health, and like most honey, helps with wound healing and sore throats. Get more details on Manuka Honey here.

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3) Chew. “Chew, chew, chew.” When we’re hungry, we tend to eat fast and take big bites! It’s like a welcome mat for a stuck burp. Chew every bite so it turns into mush. There is no need to eat your food fast. Simply use a smaller fork to help with bite-size.

4) Digestive enzymes also do the trick. Unfortunately, the first time I tried these they gave me diarrhea. They can actually cause constipation in some people too. But don’t let this discourage you. Digestive enzymes play an important role in vitamin and nutrient absorption. As you age or if you have a digestive disorder, or have pancreas issues, your enzymes deplete and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, one sign is a change in bowels and/or seeing undigested food in your stool. Yes, you should look at your poop! So before I completely gave up on digestive enzymes, I gave them another try. This time I played with the dose. Instead of a whole pill before a meal, I only took a pinch and it worked a lot better. After your body gets used to them you can move forward from there.

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What are digestive enzymes?

In a nutshell, there are three main types of digestive enzymes: proteases, lipases, and amylases. Here is a list of the enzymes and what they do. Helpful Hint: Pancreatic enzyme names usually end in “-in” (like trypsin or pepsin), while other digestive enzymes usually end in “-ase” or “-ose” (like lactose, sucrose, fructose).

The trick for making digestive enzymes work for you is to first determine if you are a candidate for supplementation. Know your body, pay attention to how it reacts after you eat. Are you burping, bloated, having to run the bathroom, heartburn, stinky gas and a lot of it, or cramping?

The next step is to determine what kind of enzyme you need. Asking your doctor, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine doc for their recommendations is the way to go. Just note the FDA does not regulate digestive enzymes, so everyone will have their own opinion, but you know your body best. You want clear ingredients from a reputable manufacturer.

Third, you’ll have to experiment to find the right dose. Remember this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Seek advice from a qualified health provider before trying something new. This post is to help you investigate how to help heal your body and ask the right questions to your healthcare provider.

digestive enzymes list

Stress can increase stomach acid?

Does stress increase stomach acid? That’s a great question. The answer is debatable but most likely. Stress affects our muscles, our immune systems, and our minds. All of those things work together to keep our bodies functioning. When one is off, it affects the other. If your muscles are tight around the stomach, it might push your stomach contents around and increase pressure. It doesn’t hurt to manage stress. For managing stress you’ll want to check out this post: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips.

Food Combining 101

Back to Food Combining. Yes combining food makes a difference with stomach acid. Food combining gives you a little bit of control. When certain foods are put together they can either wreak havoc on your stomach or can give you energy. For instance, the classic steak n potato with melted butter, well it’s going to spoil in your stomach. You will most likely have bloating, stinky ‘wind’, and indigestion. This combo could also contribute to weight gain. And the melon salad with grilled chicken, well that’s going to do the same thing. This is not to confuse you, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping a diet with a few simple rules will reap benefits in the short and long term. I made a simple, easy-to-understand food combining chart to help regulate your stomach acid. In my kitchen, I tape it to the inside of one of my cupboards. Don’t forget to head to Freebies to download yours today. All in all, remember to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach and only eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Keep this post handy to reference for a quick guide.

Let’s end on a yummy note. Here’s a recipe to get you thinking in a low-acid direction: Better Belly Steak Dinner.

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

5 Easy Ways: How to Build Confidence & Courage

5 Easy Ways: How to Build Confidence & Courage

In 2007 my confidence collapsed and my heart panted for fullness. My independence, which I held on to so tightly, attached to others. The attitude to do more than exist went to merely existing. I desperately needed to know how to build confidence and courage once again. Have you ever felt this way? Our adversities are not only confusing but paralyzing. However, there are 5 antidotes to help resurrect us.

how to build confidence wolf running on bridge

A little background

My hardship started in September of 2007 with a pregnancy disease that birthed at five weeks and proceeded to torment me for 31 weeks thereafter. During that anguish my skin was pale green, my mind a twisted mess of nausea, and relief was too far to be seen; I literally was fighting to just exist. Being dependent on others to help me function, let alone trust, made me feel like a failure. Things like I can’t even take care of myself, swarmed my thoughts. Any physical excursion or consumption, or even water, was a cautious and fear-provoked decision. My ribs pierced from wrenching, and dehydration was the foremost threat.

The instant my healthy 7.1-pound baby boy was born, the sickness disappeared. Yet, the mental anguish was far from healing. Have you experienced an event like this in your life? Was it an illness, an unexpected break-up, a massive hit to your bank account, or a loss of something that meant so dear to you? I think the worse of it all is when it’s done, when we think we made it through, after-shocks sucker-punch us with unforeseen triggers we didn’t see coming.

When things don’t go our way

Those days still impress on my psyche today, how can it not? Yet immediately following the birth of my son, the fear of pregnancy halted our family plan. Two years later I knew I had to fight it. I knew I had to give it one more try; after all, every pregnancy is different. This is where I’d like to tell you the second time around was easier, but friend, it was far from that and left our arms empty. I have a post on infertility if you want to read it.

Answers to ‘how was I going to recover my confidence and courage’ slowly inflated my hope. Those answers didn’t come from a special diet, therapist, or medical doctor. The true answers came from one source, Jesus.

You see when I prayed before our second pregnancy, I didn’t hear a “Yes” as I did with our first. With our first baby, my husband and I waited eight years before I drummed up the courage to even pray about it. And when I did pray, I heard a clear “Yes!” But the second go around, I heard a solid “No”. Of course, I didn’t want to believe it, a no to another child? That doesn’t make sense! So I took my destiny into my own hands. And it didn’t turn out as planned

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Subtle answers

Bit by bit I had to rebuild my confidence and courage using my anguish as building blocks and my faith as mortar. Jesus didn’t come down from a cloud and profoundly say, “You are healed, child”. I certainly would have accepted that if He did! It was through His followers who physically passed His love on. He used other people in subtle ways to comfort my broken heart and body. Jesus equips us to love, and honestly, that’s all he wants us to do, is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Paul says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)  

I needed to not only learn to love who I was now, but I needed to learn how to use love to become the confident and courageous person I sought out to be. Moving from just existing to living a life of fullness isn’t about accomplishing amazing feats or earning a special degree, and so forth; it’s about loving others the way Jesus does. It sounds easy, but it’s the doing that’s hard.

Isaiah 41:13
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5 easy additions to building confidence & courage

Since God is love. Who do you think we need to connect with to learn how to love? Rick Warren says, “When you are disconnected from God, you’re not really living; you just exist.”

So, how do we connect with our Heavenly Father? How do we hear clear answers? I go to church. I pray. Isn’t that connecting? Yes, friend, it is. But there are some easy additions which can lead us to live a do-more-than-exist kind of life that will naturally build confidence and courage. Let me share with you what I have learned so far in this journey:

1. Emotion

When clarity is the question, I don’t hold the emotion back. I pray with strong emotion, whether it be anger, sadness, joy, or excitement. Expressing it to Him helps keep things real. Emotion develops a relationship with Him, a trust.

2. Music

Listening, singing, humming, and dancing to music that is good for our souls, brings us closer to our Creator. In this day and age Christian music isn’t just hymns. It has developed to feed all our genres. The writers and bands have done a great job at helping us fend off the Enemy and open our hearts for answers and comfort. Give it a try. I really enjoy praying and listening to instrumental music. My favorite is Soaking in His Presence.

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3. Nature

Our beloved Anne Frank says, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” 

Numerous studies show that… simply sitting and looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones. And the University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation.” Maybe we should think about spending more time in God’s creation. Here are some nature quotes to get you in the mindset.

4. Church

There is something to be said about being around other Christ-followers. It’s kind of like a family reunion. Being surrounded by a common denominator encourages us, comforts us, and brings us closer to Him. We all have the same goal so to speak. The hard part is finding a church that fits you and your worship style. Keep hunting until you find it, you’ll know when you found it.

5. Gratefulness

Being grateful changed my game. For me to love myself and to pass the love on to others, I had to learn how to be grateful even when it didn’t make sense. Gratefulness brought me out of adversity. Before we move forward, understand I’m not grateful for the hardships we face in life. I’m talking about the little things that surround us, those things we don’t even notice; like clean water out of our faucets, cozy beds to rest our bodies, medical help at our fingertips, and grocery stores to feed us. I’m talking about the love He gives us in delicate ways like music, flowers, and comforting smells.

Yet, what about those moments when you step out and help someone? When you smile at someone even though you don’t feel like it…and they smile back? Sometimes to get what we want we have to give it first. I’m grateful for those promptings where we use our gifts to brighten someone’s day even when our life is a mess. It takes courage and confidence to make those things happen. And I’m grateful for the time He gives us and the freedom to choose how to use it, especially if it involves our calling.

In conclusion

If you’re hurting for confidence in a specific area of your life I encourage you to begin with being thankful for each comfort you receive every day. When we recognize the little things, the small achievements, the flickers of love passed hand to hand, then our courage and confidence surface and we begin to see what life is all about…love. 

Don’t miss out:

Download my favorite affirmations to help make you stronger. You can get them here. Plus! Here is another post you may find helpful: 10 Amazing Courage Quotes + 3 Tips

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

9 Comforting Gift Ideas to Warm the Body & Soul

9 Comforting Gift Ideas to Warm the Body & Soul

Need some comforting gift ideas? Surprise your special someone with a practical yet thoughtful gift this year. Gifts that make us feel good are a home run these days. Sure, candles and blankets are flooding the stores; as well as fuzzy socks and scarfs. Try something different this year, choose a gift people will really use and love. Here are nine great gift ideas that will make a lasting impression on them.

9 gift ideas to warm the body and soul

Gift ideas #1: Leg Warmers

Leg warmers were a big hit in the ’80s largely due to the movie Fame and Flashdance; not to mention aerobics. They may have been a fashion statement, but leg warmers are actually very functional and practical if I say so myself! In the 90’s I wore leg warmers to the gym all the time. During that time I was in college and had to walk everywhere, needless to say, I wore shorts. The leg warmers were super easy to slip on and off over my shoes. Today with the leggings craze, I use my leg warmers to walk the dog in the morning. I simply slide them over my leggings on cold days and I’m good to go! Leg warmers are a great gift for people who live in the city and walk to work, for college students walking to the gym, and for the dog owner on cold days. You can get a pair on Amazon and pick your color!

Gift ideas #2: Heating pads

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

#3: Hot Chocolate (Dairy-free!)

Hot cocoa – Dairy Free. There is nothing more soothing than sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. It not only warms your insides, but it warms up the childhood memories from coming inside after hours of playing in the snow. When I had to go dairy-free, not to mention gluten-free, I couldn’t have hot chocolate anymore. If I did, I would have repercussions that were not worth it. However, I just discovered that Swiss Miss now makes a dairy-free version! And I gotta say, it’s fantastic. If you have a dairy-free friend, a cup of hot cocoa would be a really awesome gift.

#4: Epson Salts (this is my favorite)

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

#5: Mini Electrical Fireplace

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

#6: Essential Oils

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

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Gift ideas #7: Instrumental Music

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

#8: Flowers

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

Gift ideas #9: Silk Pillowcase

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

Wrapping it up!

In wrapping up these great gift ideas, I’m sure you found at least one of them to be a perfect fit for your friend or family member. Who doesn’t want a little warmth to the heart and bones after two years of constant change and uncertainty? Note: these gifts can not only be for Christmas gifts, but for Mother’s Day gifts, Father’s Day, Birthday gift ideas, and even gifts to mend a broken heart. May these gift ideas refresh and bring joy to yourself and those you care about. Surprise someone with one of these thoughtful gifts.

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