6 Ways to Know How to Comfort Hurting People

6 Ways to Know How to Comfort Hurting People

How to comfort hurting people can be confusing, so much so, that we end up doing nothing. Doing nothing isn’t the answer. We weren’t put on this planet to go through hardship alone. Let’s pull up our bootstraps, and open our hearts and our arms for those who need to lean on someone. Learn my 6 simple ways to know how to comfort hurting people.

kids walking on path arms around each other

Step #1 with how to comfort hurting people: awareness

I admire people who can share openly what’s going on in their life; I’m not talking about people boasting about themselves, I’m talking about people who genuinely reach out for help. Why? Because it makes me feel human and gives me a chance to help in some way or form.

It takes courage, confidence, and bravery to open up and expose our hearts to the world. As I said earlier, we weren’t made to go through storms alone, so why do we try to keep it quiet and pretend everything is “fine”? Pretending is going to help people heal; it’s just going to cause more issues down the road.

healing verses from Bible
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When a friend needs comfort online

Recently, an old high school classmate of mine was going through a difficult situation. She had a choice; keep it to herself or share it. She chose to share it on social media, not for sympathy or attention, but because she needed help getting through the storm. I admire her for putting her stuff out there, especially on social media where 90% of the posts are only good things that happen in people’s lives.

My heart went out to her and her family. I knew I wanted to respond but I didn’t know what to say so I thought about it and responded to her the next day. She felt alone, you could read it even though she didn’t say it. And that struck a chord in me. Whether it was emotions, hormones, the Holy Spirit, or a soul connection, I started weeping for her broken and confused heart.

I thought back to my storm I endured years ago in my personal life, and how alone I felt. From experience, I knew the best thing I could do for her was to reach out to her, pray for her, and give her a promise that I would. Prayer does change things, and just knowing that other people are praying for you helps you put more trust and confidence in the Lord.

I believe my friend posting the updates about her situation was meant to not only keep everyone informed but for her to know who was sitting by her.

Sometimes you have to just exist with someone to do more.

When a neighbor needs a little comfort

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“As soon as you start thinking about the needs and burdens of others, and what you can do to alleviate them, or how you can bless and build up others, you begin to establish a new identity for yourself – your true identity.” –Matthew Barnett, The Cause Within You.

A while back I was talking with my neighbor. It started as a friendly wave across the street, then she started walking toward me. I was in a hurry but knew I had to adjust my plans. She had to get a load off her shoulders and I understood the importance of a listening ear. She needed comfort in knowing someone would listen to her.

After she was finished she looked exhausted. Knowing what to say to comfort her was hard. I thought about suggesting ideas for solutions, but she didn’t ask for a solution so I just listened and told her I was sorry she was going through all of this. She didn’t want advice, she just wanted to be heard.

6 ideas to comfort hurting people:

1. Visit them

2. Send them a card with a handwritten note in the mail.

3. Pray for them.

4. Call them on the phone instead of texting.

5. Let them know you’re thinking about them.

6. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Do not make it about you.

couple walking on beach

Step #2: put yourself in their shoes

The next morning I tried to put myself in my neighbor’s shoes and asked myself if I were feeling down, what would make me feel a little bit better? This is so incredibly important and powerful. You can live with this perspective with whomever you encounter throughout your day.

Buying something for my neighbor is what I wanted to do. A gift in delicate situations doesn’t have to be big or super expensive, it’s to bring them comfort and to remind them that people are thinking of them. On this particular day, I didn’t have any flowers in my garden, so I went to the store and picked out all sorts of colorful carnations. They are inexpensive but have a lot to say. So if you’re on a budget go for the carnations.

When I got home, I arranged the flowers in a mason jar and went over to her house. A soft knock on her door was all I did and she opened it immediately. I handed her the flowers and said, “Just thought you could use these.” No other words were spoken, yet her eyes got glossy. She kindly said thank you and I left.

Wrapping up how to comfort hurting people

Comforting hurting people doesn’t have to be awkward, it doesn’t need to be confusing, or worse ignored. The tough stuff is tough. Remember the two steps: be aware of what’s going on, and put yourself in their shoes. When you know the person well, you will know exactly what to do. Yet, if it’s an acquaintance, a simple jester of a card, flowers, or even a heart emoji will do. Keep your ears on them, shut your mouth, and allow them to process and heal in their own time.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

9 Comforting Gift Ideas to Warm the Body & Soul

How to Brighten a Room: 8 Simple Steps

How to Manage Depression: 3 Surprising Ways

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good!

How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

How to Start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

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By CT Copyright © 2016 Do More Than Exist All Rights Reserved.

The Purpose of Creativity, Not What You Think.

The Purpose of Creativity, Not What You Think.

Creativity is for everyone. I’ll never forget the time when I was 10 years old; I reached for the flour in an overhead cupboard. My fingertips were millimeters away from the canister. One… more… bit… CRASH! I was successful in getting the flour down, but it wasn’t in the canister. I stood there and sulked as my older sister laughed at me. She called me “Casper” as in the friendly white ghost. Creativity can get messy and it isn’t just for baking cookies or making crafts. It’s way more than that.

Your dream is a gift God gives you. What you make of it is your gift to Him. Holley Gerth

How to be creative isn’t meant to be hard, it’s meant to be yourself. Taping into our passions helps us naturally be creative. A big part of how to be creative is permitting yourself to let go of the world and unlock the abilities God gave you. Doing that can be scary, however, getting the right frame of mind might help ease you into your creative side. Holley Gerth, the Christian author, said it perfectly, “Your dream is a gift God gives you. What you make of it is your gift to Him.” This involves creativity!

Don’t get discouraged in how to be creative

Back then my dream was to become a baker. I loved baking cookies, muffins, and quick breads. Mixing simple ingredients with my signature twist was so fun. Unfortunately, it’s harder for me to bake these days. Not being able to eat gluten puts a damper on the baking. But I still try and experiment with what I got. 🙂 My baking dream might have gotten messy with my diet restrictions but it hasn’t terminated my need to create.

How to know if you’re being creative

One way to know when you are using your creative side is when you lose track of time. It’s those moments in between clock numbers when you truly feel alive. Whether it’s cookies, a garden, a writing piece, or simply drawing a picture on your child’s lunch sack. It is gratifying to see what your creativity can create.

Why creativity is important: don’t miss this!

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Creativity isn’t just for fun. Creative thinking can solve problems, help us perform better at our jobs, help with depression, and it can help make a difference in people’s lives. Look at music, art, dance, and literature… what are those talents trying to do? Matthew Barnet has a great answer from his book, The Cause Within You.

He says, “Fulfilled artists do not paint or sculpt for the sake of creating more art. They do it to move people and challenge them to see the world differently. “

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The scary part about creativity

From CreatingMinds.org they say our creativity fades away when we don’t use it. As in the Bible, it says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything…” Matthew 5:13. (NIV)

In our busy lives, it’s important to take a time out to be creative; and to take a small step in becoming the unique person we were intended to be not just for ourselves, but for the sake of others. More importantly, using our creativity is an excellent way to love God! He gave you the ability and talent, use it to give thanks to Him.

All in all

The creativity flame still glows in us. Feed the fire within. There is no better time to get our hands busy; our minds will love it, our hearts will feel good, and we may spark something in someone’s minutes.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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By CT Copyright © 2016 Do More Than Exist All Rights Reserved.

How to Start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

How to Start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

Have you wondered how to start volunteering? I’ve got 4 great tips to help you succeed with your helping hand. But first, let’s reminisce. Have you caught yourself saying, “Oh, someone else will do it.”? We all know volunteering is essential for our charities, religious organizations, pancake breakfasts, environmental cleanups, and schools to name a few. And we all know we SHOULD volunteer for something, right? But why at times (not all the time) do we see volunteering as a daunting task?

How to start volunteering

Here’s an interesting volunteering scenario

Let’s say you’re at…a magic show. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine creates mystery, and the magician stands with a power pose and says, “I need a volunteer!” Eyebrows raise. Hands pop up. Voices chirp, ‘pick me, pick me’!

Let’s say you’re at…church. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine softens the ambiance, and the Pastor stands with a power pose and says, “I need volunteers”. No one moves, some eyeballs roll, and then…there’s a cough.

A little different isn’t it? Many people use the excuse of time. “I don’t have time”. I’ve used it, I’m guilty. But is that really the case? I wish it was…but if there’s something you REALLY want to do, you’ll make time for it. So what gives? Let’s start with the logical answer: Interest. If you’re not attracted to the task at hand; you’re not going to raise your hand for it.

three musketeers

Tip #1: Just say ‘No’?

Just say no. We don’t want volunteering to create stress! Well, friends, this is when you can practice it. Say what? I’m not encouraging you to NOT volunteer for stuff; I’m cheering you on to volunteer for stuff you ENJOY. Let me explain: if you don’t like the outdoors, then don’t volunteer to plant trees. If you aren’t a toddler-time kind of person, then don’t volunteer in the kid’s wing. If you hate the smell of pancakes, then don’t volunteer at the pancake breakfast. It’s okay! They don’t want you there. No one likes a grumpy volunteer or worse yet to hear how much you hated it.

When you enjoy a task at hand you do a better job, you have fun, and you make in difference in more ways than one. Now that’s rocket science, people. Having an interest in what you’re giving your time and attention to creates joy. BUT WAIT, there’s an exception to this ‘no’ thing: if you don’t know if you’ll like it, then totally do it! What a great way to test it out.

Tip #2: Get to the volunteer destination

Do you ever say, ‘when I’m there, I’m good”? I have had dozens of experiences where I didn’t want to go but was grateful after I got there. But even when I’m volunteering for something I know I’ll enjoy, I STILL have to make an effort to hurdle the couch, forgo the beach, and ignore the ‘to-do’ list. How to fix this obstacle? Think about the end first. Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I’m done?” I bet you will have more courage and confidence! Then focus on that.

Another way to look at it is to put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and ask yourself if you were them, how would you want to be treated? Would you like someone to not help you because they were into their Netflix series?

Proverbs 31:25

Tip #3: But I’ll be all alone…

I have a hard time pampering this one because I’m an advocate for embarking on the unknown without knowing anyone. Why? Because you learn a tremendous amount about your character when alone. Questions like ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Who do I want to become?’ get an opportunity to plant a seed in you. It’s like searching for a piece of a puzzle. You know the piece is somewhere on the table; the hard part is finding it. But when you do find it, a small flutter happens and you get to see a little bit more of the big picture. So here it goes friends, “Suck it up and go.” Who cares if you go solo, there are people there in the same boat.

To help you out here is a website to get your juices flowing about volunteering: http://www.500volunteers.com/

Tip #4: Go in with the right attitude

Have fun. Remember who you’re working for, the Big Man upstairs. Help with a smile on your face. Nothing is worse than seeing someone help you in disgust. How does that make you feel when a grouchy person is helping you? I just wanted to remind you of that.

Also, this is super important. Go in without expecting a lot in return, you may not even get a thank you, prepare yourself for that. They are grateful, but they might not know how to show it or say it.

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4 reasons why volunteering is so important

There are several reasons with a bunch of explanations behind them, let’s check some out:

  • Assist those who need it…the less fortunate, the disabled, the elderly, and the young.
  • Create connections. Network.
  • Experience wellness. Studies have shown that volunteering helps boost self-confidence, and personal satisfaction, and even helps combat anxiety.
  • Career enhancement. Want to try a new career path before jumping headfirst? Volunteering gives you a taste without any waste. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.

Everyone deserves a smile, a thank you, and a helping hand. Seeing appreciation from the faces of the people I help is priceless and brings wealth to my heart. Be a success, and challenge yourself to help one person in the next seven days.

Wrapping up how to start volunteering

To sum up, how to start volunteering, you just gotta start somewhere. Without volunteers we DO get divided, we do fall. Think about those events at church, school, or the community center. It’s the volunteers who are the real Musketeers. Next time you hear the word ‘volunteer’, stay tuned to your instincts and pay attention to what you enjoy. Say ‘no’ when you need to and ‘yes’ when you want to. You’ll make an impact on not only the people you’re serving but on the bigger picture.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

8 Amazing Children’s Books for 4-year-olds

8 Amazing Children’s Books for 4-year-olds

What are some of the best children’s books for 4-year-olds? Storytime gives us parents, neighbors, or grandparents an intimate time to share an adventure with children. Below you’ll find a list of happy healthy kid-approved children’s books for 4-year-olds or school-aged children. Reading picture books aloud with kids brings more to the story. There are numerous studies about the benefits of reading with kids. It’s a great time to love others, have a laugh, or ignite a conversation.

Best Children's books for 4 year olds

Benefits to storytime

PBS Kids recommends starting early with storytime. To read often, read the pictures, and to take a minute and talk about the story, to ask each other questions about it. They go on to say, “The more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school” 

From All4Kids.org they say reading also helps with cognitive development, improves language skills, serves as a platform for academic success, creates a special bond, improves imagination and creativity, plus increases concentration.

What to read?

Not all picture books are the same. I’ve read hundreds of books and some books made one eyebrow go up. Toddlers want to giggle, they want happy stories, and they want the reader to be goofy. Let’s face it, we all want that! The stories below are picked as the best based on four criteria: the story, ease of reading, how the words flow, and most importantly, PLOT! I’ve done the homework for you on the best picture books for kids.

These are some of my favorite books I’ve read aloud to my son when he was little. Snuggle up with your kiddos and grab a picture book that will make them smile and feel good.

8 Best Children’s Books for 4-year-olds

Ink by Christy Troy
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Ink

Ink by Christy Troy (that’s me). After reading hundreds of children’s picture books, I studied up and wrote one too. Ink, a retractable pen, wants to be the favorite pen that sits in the shirt pocket. He knows how to get there, but he has a serious problem…he can’t write. Will the pen pals help him? Will Ink become the favorite pen? Hold on to your pen caps as Ink takes you on a journey that brings you a giggle and a surprise ending. When you go to Ink’s page you get free activity pages, just download and play!

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

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Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld is one of my favorite books to read to kids. I love the cadence and beat of the rhymes. Sherri and Tom did a great job with the word choice and illustrations. It is clever and very cute. Any child will love the imagination of trucks needing to sleep too. I just had to have my copy. You can get it on Amazon here. It comes in glow-in-the-dark! This is also a great gift to any truck lover.

Salad Pie

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Salad Pie by Wendy BooydeGraaff is a fantastic book to ignite imagination for outside play. Wendy is a colleague of mine. She and I were in a children’s book-writing group together. She did a great job making you feel like a kid again playing on the playground. The illustrations by Bryan Langdo capture the beauty and emotion of playing outside. This adorable story makes me, as an adult, even go outside and make salad pie! Nice job Wendy and Bryan.

When a Dragon Moves In

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When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore illustrated by Howard McWilliam brings me back to my days as a kid on the beach in Florida. My dad and I used to build amazing sandcastles, but we never thought a dragon would move in. I love this story. The humor is cute and the pictures are engaging. The dragon kind of reminds me of a dog…so funny. This is one for the library, especially if you want to escape to the beach!

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The Apple Pie Tree

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall illustrated by Shari Halpern is a classic. I read this book over and over with my son when he was a tot. It’s educational, it’s easy to read, and you learn how to make a pie! This is a great book to help our kiddos recognize words. And learn how an apple grows through the seasons. A keeper for the home library, and fun to read during apple season!

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More rhyming books

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Dig Dogs Dig by James Horvath is a construction lover’s gem. My son loved to play with construction trucks in the sand and gravel patch we made him. He’d make the noises with his mouth and have them talk. So cute! This book has a great rhythmic cadence. It’s fun to read and has a fun story. Plus there are dogs in it! Great job James on writing and illustrating. A keeper in our house.

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Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae illustrated by David Wojtowycz is a super fun book to read. We read it so many times that our book cover is getting tattered. We learn about all sorts of jungle animals and what their jungle job is. The pictures are colorful and cute. You feel good after reading the rhythm of this book. Bravo!

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My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk is a great book for entertainment. With its catchy rhymes and engaging pictures, you’re sure to get a laugh. Storytime has a whole new meaning…giggle time. This is another book of ours that has had a workout. Nice job guys!

Wrapping it up

Every year more and more picture books come into print. Not all picture books are the same, be sure to look for well-written stories, have a pivotal point, and have a happy ending. Remember, I have read hundreds of children’s books and there are a lot of bad ones…so take note of the good ones and purchase them for your library or baby shower gifts.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13 yrs. old)

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

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

7 Firefly Facts & How to Care for Fireflies

4 Planting Tree Tips + Earth Day & Arbor Day Activities

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13 Amazing Family Games with Teens Worth Playing

13 Amazing Family Games with Teens Worth Playing

The first family games date back to Egypt in 3100 BC. That’s right, BC “Before Christ”. It was the game of Senet that set the stage for board games. Today stores are filled with an overwhelming display of games. Let me save you some time and money, the best place to find amazing board games is in your parent’s closet. And secondly, the trick to making family games fun is to find the right game the whole family can enjoy, not just an 8-year-old.

13 family games worth playing

I’ve got a list of 13 family games with teens that are worth the time and money. Believe me, we have one child, so when it comes to games, we parents want to like it too. However, I wouldn’t advise ‘borrowing’ your parent’s games, those games and the memories they hold are theirs, so keep the games in their closet. It’s time to get your own games and create tattered box memories with them.  

What makes a game fun?

First of all, I’m not talking about games about poop or getting whip cream in my face. The toy companies certainly don’t make games like they used to. The family games that make the top of the pile are games that require skill, cognitive skills, and where we’ll learn something like strategy. They are games with a little history.

With that said, the games listed below are for ages 8+ for the most part. Keep Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and Hi Ho Cherry-O for your younger crowd. In fact, those are the best choices anyway for that age range.

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The 13 best family games with teens

If your game closet is looking empty, let me remind you of the top 13 picks for family games with teens. Some of these games you might have played as a kid and forgotten about them, I sure did. Note: these games are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Battleship (2-player)

Battleship involves strategy, it also involves reading your player. Reading your player in a poker kind of way, did their eyebrows go up when you got close to their aircraft carrier? Keep your eyes peeled. You can get it on Amazon.

History: Battleship goes back to World War I by using a pencil and paper to play the game. In 1967 Milton Bradley came out with the plastic board version.

Catan
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2. Catan

I personally have not played Catan yet! But I will be getting it soon. This game has rave reviews. It’s about developing your own civilizations. This brings you back in history a bit. I hear it’s easy to learn how to play, but difficult to master. I’m getting this one! Check it out on Amazon.

History: Catan was created in 1995 in Germany.

3. Chess (2-player)

This too gets lost in the game pile. We recently taught our son the game of Chess and he beats me every time! Chess requires strategy and getting to know your opponent. Again, reading the player and getting in their head to figure their next move is key.

History: Chess goes back to close to 1500 years! Whoa. It originated in northern India. For more info check out Wikipedia.org.

The game of clue

4. Clue

This game never gets old. Clue is best played with more than two people. Put some mystery in your game night with Clue. Amazon price.

History: This game goes back to the UK air raids of World War II in 1943. When Anthony Pratt and his wife were stuck inside during the nightly air-raids they invented this game.

5. Connect Four (2-player)

I love Connect Four. My son and I have an ongoing Connect Four title. Like the WWE title, ours is Connect Four. This game is all about strategy. We play the best of three games. History: It’s been around since 1974.

6. Gin Rummy (cards, 2-player)

A classic card game that never gets old. You can find how to play here. Plus many other games at Bicycle. History: This dates back to 1909.

7. Monopoly

I don’t think I need to say much about this iconic game. Monopoly and I have a love/hate relationship. If you want to play a game for hours or even days, this is it! This is a great family game to play with teens. However, learning about strategy and money radiates from this game. Head to Amazon to get a fresh game.

History: The original name of Monopoly was The Landlord’s Game. It was designed by Elizabeth Magie in 1902 and patented in 1904.

8. Operation

Who doesn’t like a little zap and lights? Operation is as close to blood and guts you’re going to get in my family games list. It takes about 15 minutes to play. If you have shaky hands, this is not your game. I suggest using your reading glasses for this one. History: This game has been in circulation since 1964.

camping activity pages
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9. Pay Day

Move over Monopoly, yes I did just say that. Pay Day has become one of our family favorites. Unlike land in Monopoly, you learn about money, taking risks, debt, and did I mention it’s a quicker game? You can play as many months as you’d like. History: It was first created in 1974.  Yep, Amazon has it.

10. Jenga

Jenga is like a cross between a cardhouse and pick-up sticks…sort of. Any age can play this game. And it certainly comes in all sizes. It’s a great game to break the ice. History: created by Leslie Scott in the early 1970’s. Jenga means “to build” in Swahili.

Family Game Night

My family game-night memories

Family games with teens was actually quite fun! Family game night is a vivid memory for me. My dad wanted to take one night a week to hold a family game night. At first, when my sisters and I were young we got into it, but as we got older the more we grumbled. I remember a time when my dad announced that it was Family game night and we all rolled our eyes and moaned. His stern response was, “You’re going to play a game and you’re going to have fun!” Ha ha ha! I’ve used that response in my family. But it’s those game nights that formed a special yet goofy bond between our family…even when we didn’t want to play, we still had fun.

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11. Skip-bo (cards)

We dug Skip-bo out recently. In fact, I forgot how to play and had to have one of my son’s buddies re-teach me. Since then, we have been playing almost every night. Yes, it’s true. We play a quick 10-card stack of Skipbo. I’m happy to say I beat them all last night with my secret strategy!

History: Skip-bo first came alive in 1967 thanks to Minnie Hazel “Skip” Bowman.

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12. Ticket to Ride

Once again, I have not played Ticket to Ride but looks awesome. It involves a train adventure in which players collect and play matching cards to claim railway routes through the United States. This game has gotten awards. The youngest game on the list came into being in 2003. Find it on Amazon.

13. Yahtzee

This is a great game of chance. If you don’t mind a little noise and love strategy, Yahtzee is fun for everyone. I’ve even seen it in giant size for camping!

History: The history of this game is a bit confusing. Some say it dates back to 1938. Others say it was essentially invented on a yacht, hence, “Yahtzee” by a wealthy Canadian couple.  

Family games with teens boils down to memories

Okay, that does it for my brief review of family games with teens. You might have played these games at your home when you were growing up. I hope I took you back to some great memories. But now it’s time to make amazing family game memories with your kids.

To get any of the games listed above, simply click on the links. The links will take you to Amazon.

Before you go check out these other great posts:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

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

How to start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bars EVER!

8 Best Children’s Books for Four-Year-Olds

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved

Cleaning the House: 5 Simple Factors to Understand

Cleaning the House: 5 Simple Factors to Understand

Cleaning the house has been one of the most toxic yet healthy tasks in life. Sure we could pay someone else to do it but stay humble friend. Living in a clean house is not just healthy for our bodies but for our psyche. Learn how to make cleaning less stressful by understanding 5 key factors.

how to clean the house, 5 factors to understand

There have been numerous times my husband has suggested hiring someone to clean our house. Each time he brings it up three reasons keep me from saying yes:

1. I would still clean the house before they came to clean!

2. It’s hard to find a good cleaner, let alone one you can trust.

3. It’s one more thing to add to the budget.

Someday I will probably get there, but I honestly don’t have any excuses for why I can’t clean my own house. If you’re like me, listen up to loosen up about cleaning the house.

Why cleaning the house matters

First off, living in a clean home does a body and mind good. When we don’t dust or vacuum as often as we should, dust mites build up and can lead to allergies. Not to mention lingering smells and sticky surfaces. It’s like a welcome mat for various germs and bugs with large bodies and little legs…that will motivate me to clean!

Like mowing the lawn, cleaning provides that same kind of instant gratification. Accomplishing a clean house is a huge win, especially if you put your sweat into it. Don’t let pride get in the way of cleaning. Everyone should clean. Some top CEOs are known to clean a restaurant bathroom.

When I’m cleaning I like to think of all the money I’m saving from paying someone to do it, not to mention all the calories I just burned! Cleaning the house has benefits, two of which are weight loss and money management.

5 factors to determine how often I clean

I’m not a deep cleaner every time I clean my house. Deep cleaning and the number of times to clean will depend on your situation. I’ve found there are five factors to determine how often to clean your house.

Pets

If you have a shedding dog or other messy pet, cleaning is probably going to happen more often. To easily clean fur off of furniture, use a dryer sheet, rubber gloves, or a lint brush.

Best Children's books for 4 year olds

Kids

The number of kids determines how often to clean. With kids, you must consider their ages. Starting a child out at 5 years old with an easy cleaning chore helps them understand you’re not their servant. The older they get the more they should help period.  

 

Allergies

If your husband’s allergies flare up, dusting and vacuuming will be more frequent. When my husband sneezes in the morning, I know it’s time to clean. My son has the same issue. I’m getting a lot of miles on my vacuum!

Location

Where you live plays a factor in how often you clean the house. Do you live in a dusty field, near a construction site, or a pollen-invested forest? Again, in these instances, allergies could attack.

Personality

And lastly, don’t forget about your personality. Ask yourself these questions: Are you a ‘Laidback Jack’ or an ‘Anal Andy’? Do you like to do things yourself or are you a delegator? What about how you were taught? How often are you entertaining? Understand who you are and how you want to move forward.

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All in all

When it comes to cleaning the house, get in the right frame of mind. Schedule a cleaning day and make sure your kids or husband understand what cleaning is and what their responsibilities are. Remember your cleaning schedule depends on where you live, who lives with you, and how you’re living!

Before you go check out these amazing posts:

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

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

How To Be Less Busy: #1 Mistake People Make

How to Brighten a Room: 8 Amazing Tips!

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

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

5 best pieces of advice for simplifying

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

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

The top 5 pieces of advice to simplify my life

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

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

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

2. Ask yourself questions.

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

– Why am I holding on to this?

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

– When was the last time I used it?

– Can someone else use it?

– Is this something I could sell this week?

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

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

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3. Simplify my life step by step, but not too slowly

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

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

4. Get it out of your living space.

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

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

5. Make 4 piles.

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

6 questions to ask while decluttering

When all is said and done to simplify my life.

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

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

Before you go check out these other posts:

Stress-Free Moving: 2 Critical Steps

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

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

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

16 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

16 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

Road trip essentials make the journey not only easier but more fun. What items are considered essentials? When it comes to road trips there are two things that make it great: being prepared and memories. I like to think of it as if I were on the road and got stuck, would I have all I need to get by.

road trip three people in car

Whether we’re going to Florida for Spring Break, heading to a campground across multiple states, or simply hopping in the car en route to the nearest metropolis, I’ve got a list you’re going to want to check…literally, check.

If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of cat this post is not for you. But if you enjoy being prepared, but not overly prepared, this is the post you’ll want to pin or better yet download my Independent Road Trip Check List. For more great free downloads, sign into my Freebies!

Road Trip Essentials

1. Car Insurance and Registration

Check to make sure your car insurance and registration are current. There is nothing worse than getting pulled over in another State and you can’t find your registration or you happen to see that it expired. This happened to us. Ouch.

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses! Make sure you have a pair of sunglasses for everybody in the vehicle. Not sure your dog needs them, but everyone else should have their own pair.

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3. Phone charger or USB Cord

Phone Charger/USB Cord. Now that paper maps are on the way out, and GPS on our phones are an essential app, make sure you don’t run out of phone battery. Need a USB cord? Check out this one from Amazon.

4. Umbrella

Get it at Amazon

Umbrella. Simple, yet super important, especially if you’re changing a tire in the rain. Been there, done that.

5. Blanket, but not just any blanket.

Blanket. I always have a blanket in my car, specifically a Mexican blanket because they are super warm and durable. Not only it is there for emergency slide-offs, but the dog can sit on it, the kid and use it, or I can sit on it.

6. Water.

Water. When we road trip, we simply buy water bottles at the grocery store. It’s so much cheaper and easier to hand someone a water bottle when they need it.

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7. Hand Sanitizer and Extra Face-Masks

Hand sanitizer and extra face masks. These two items are not only essential during virus outbreaks, but they help us tremendously in the Rest Stop bathrooms. The mask helps with blocking the smell, and the sanitizers give us a little extra germ protection. Hey, I found these awesome disposable black masks on Amazon.

Get it at Amazon

8. Emergency Kit

Roadside Emergency Kit that includes Jumper cables and First Aid Kit. There is a kit that is easy to use. You can check it out here.

Get it at Amazon

9. Portable Air-compressor

Portable air compressor. I love this thing. Not only does it help with tire pressure, but if you’re camping it’s great for basketballs, air mattresses, and beach floats. This has been so handy on the road and off! A portable air compressor is the way to go. No more searching for air!

10. Towel. Don’t use your blanket.

Towel. Unlike the blanket, the towel is great for unexpected spills or a quick dry-off running through the rain…when you don’t want to bother with your umbrella. It’s also great for Fido to sit on.

11. Tissue.

Tissue. I can’t count the number of times I’m using a tissue to blow my nose. Make sure you get some before you leave the house. Napkins or even a roll of toilet paper works well too. Another good one to add here is butt wipes.

12. Snacks.

Snacks. This is essential. Snacks save you money and they save you from gorging on your next meal. Some great road trip snacks include trail mix, grapes, cereal mix, popcorn, meat sticks, or celery sticks.

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13. Paper and Pen.

Paper and pencil/pen. As a passenger, I’m always thinking of my to-do list or my next great idea. Have paper and pen ready to jot down your thoughts.

14. Games!

Road Trip games. If you have kiddos and don’t want them to get tech-neck, grab a few games. Of course, the Alphabet game is super fun for everyone. There are three versions. The classic version is to find the letter of the alphabet in any form. The second is more challenging, find a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet…good luck on Q and Z. And the last version is to find an object that starts with the letter…this is super hard. Don’t forget to add Corn on Cob Song Fun to the trip!

15. Snow Scraper and Mini Shovel (weather dependent).

Depending on where you are going, you better throw in a snow scraper, a mini snow shovel, and a small bag of kitty litter. When I was in college and traveling out to Colorado, I always had my portable mini snow shovel in my trunk, and I used it! You never know when you’re going to hit black ice and end up in a snowbank or ditch. Mini snow shovels work a lot better than your hands!

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Get it at Amazon

16. Weapons!

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Weapons. Yep. I said it. At least carry a pocketknife or pepper spray, heck, get a taser. A pocket knife is good to have on hand for lots of reasons. Pepper spray buys you some time, as does a taser. As for handguns, it depends on your opinion of them, where you’re going, knowing what States allow them, having your permit, and understanding the safety of them. Be smart, not stupid

All in all.

That does it! It sounds like a lot but it isn’t really. Most of the stuff is already in your vehicle. It’s always best to be prepared, rather than getting stuck and depending on some creepy guy. The best advice I have to offer any road tripper is to simply be aware of what’s going on around you. Pay attention to the road, know what’s happening around you when you make a rest stop, and be safe. Use that head of yours at all times!

Road trip checklist

Be sure to download my free Independent Road Trip Checklist, for more great (and free) downloads join my e-mail list and you’ll have access to all my freebies! Get access to my Freebies here.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to Make Camping Comfortable

The BEST Homemade Granola Bars EVER!

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13 yrs. old)

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13+ yrs. old)

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13+ yrs. old)

Scavenger hunt to the rescue! Do your kids have a lot of time on their hands? Are your tweens feeling dumpy and bored? I have a fun low-cost solution for you! My scavenger hunt takes at least three hours to complete. Can you hear the angels sing? This adventure keeps the kids busy and the tweens having fun! This isn’t your average scavenger hunt. You may find yourself and even your teenager wanting to participate.

Scavenger Hunt
Download it today! Click the picture or head to Freebies.

Not your typical scavenger hunt!

This hunt is like no other. First off, it’s not just a list of things to find. It involves reading, drawing, exercise, strategy, skill, teamwork, creativity, and cognitive thinking.  Seriously the kids loved it. They were outside and having fun. And strangely they got along! As a parent, it was gratifying to watch how much joy was happening to the kids. A memory for sure!

Another fun difference from other scavenger hunts is that it tells a little story. The story starts out with Larry who is lost and needs to find his way home. He has to go through the first three challenges to unlock his map, materials, and list. Then the rest of the challenges help him find his way home. He gets hungry on the way, wants to find presents to bring home, and needs to spend the night. And the most exciting part of all is that he needs to create a flying vessel to get home!

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Who is Larry?

Larry is one of my son’s stuffed animals. I just grabbed a small one that would be suitable for flight. You can use an egg…this would be interesting…or a water balloon for that matter, or a cardboard cutout. Essentially, Larry can be anything you want. However, with the stuffed animal, I found it made the hunt more personal and “real”. They really had fun with it.

Who is this scavenger hunt for?

This challenge is for 8 – 13-year-olds. Yes, an activity for tweens too! Younger kids can be helpers on some of the challenges that are too hard, obviously, that is up to you. You could make adjustments to cater to younger kids. This is a definite fun tween activity when they’re bored.

Scavenger Hunt Challenge
Download it today! Head to Freebies.

Materials and Set-up

As for materials, use items you already have in-house. No need to run to the store. This is what can make the scavenger hunt more challenging…after all, it is a scavenger hunt! For instance, for Larry’s flying vessel I just found some yarn, balloons, a plastic cup, a piece of fabric, foil, and threw in some other things from my junk drawer. Who knows what kids will come up with?

All you need to do is draw a map and set up the course. This usually takes about 30 minutes. I had a lot of fun doing this. It brought me back to my childhood fun. To make it more interesting, I allowed a phone to be present for the kids to shoot videos and for taking pictures. They enjoyed this part, especially making the trick shot video. I simply downloaded an app called Clips. My son had to show me how to work it, in other words, it’s easy to figure out.

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Scavenger hunt example

Here’s a video summary of this scavenger hunt we did the other day:

Larry is waiting for you!

Ready to have some fun and watch your kiddos have a blast? To download and print Larry’s Scavenger Hunt Challenge head over to Freebies. OH! One last thing, it’s a lot of fun as a family to do too! Not to mention at a campground when on vacation. Enjoy!

Before you go, check out these other great posts!

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

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

13 Family Games Worth Playing, Plus a Little History

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good!

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good!

If you want to simplify your life, there is only one thing you need to do. When people think of simplifying they generally think of decluttering, painting their interior walls white, and swapping out their tv for books. All those things are awesome but simplifying is so much more than organizing and making a trip to the donation center.

The #1 Way to simplify your life for good

What does this look like?

If we could strip down our homes, our closets, cars, fancy hair colors, elaborate foods, and our swag what would you see? How would you feel? To answer those questions kind of depends on where you are in life. But no matter where you sit on this stripping down, we all have a common ground. We all have the same amount of time, we all need to have clean water to survive, we all have bodies to take care of, we all have drive and purpose unique to our own, we all have family (whether by blood or by friendship) and we all have a heart.

So when people come to me and say “I want to simplify my life”, I get excited for them and understand them. They are ready for change. For I know their main target, whether said or kept silent, is to find peace and joy in this chaotic world.

Simplifying does get them there, yet the more we uncover the rubble of our homes, lifestyle, and everyday living, the more we will see what’s happening around us and in us. It is then where we conquer and achieve the peace and joy we set out to claim.

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Do you want to simplify your life?

Okay, then, you want to simplify your life. Then, love. It’s love that will simplify your life. Love comes first. Love for God, love for your family, love for the things you enjoy, and love for the things you are grateful for.

That’s right if you can just prioritize love, then everything else will take care of itself. It is what our Creator wants us to do, to love Him, and to love our neighbor…which is everybody in case you didn’t know. Love will get you places and put you on the path He has created just for you.

What do I mean by love?

I’m not talking about sexual love. Nor am I addressing the love of steak or red velvet cake. The love I’m talking about is genuine. Love is very complicated yet simple in form. I address the simple because it is the little things that make such a big difference!

What is the simple form of love?

The simple form of love is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. This is so easy, yet so difficult because we get in our own way. When we can put ourselves to the side…happily…we will experience the peace and joy we’re after.

How do we learn to love in this way?

We look to Jesus. He came to earth to give us an example of how to love. Not only that, he then took on a brutal beating, got nailed to a cross by his hands and feet, and suffered a slow death of his earthly body…for you. He went through all of this to forgive you of your sins so that you can talk with God directly, and go to heaven.

Not long ago I did a little experiment and practiced what I just preached. It has been an amazing venture. And I have learned a great deal about how to simplify my life. I simply loved my neighbor. During this time I also discovered more about myself, a bonus.

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. Mahatma Gandhi

How do you love your neighbor to simplify your life?

You listen. Listen for keywords, for joys, for a cry for help. What are they going through, what are their needs, and how can you bless them, or put a smile on their face? If you were in their shoes, what would you want? Listen to your own heart, what stirs it, did something strike it, is there something you know you should do?

With my experiment, I did just that. I put myself in others’ shoes and it really changed how I talked to people and what I did with my time. And you know what happened? It took the focus off my own problems and I experienced joy and peace. Whoa!

Then do.

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Here are some ideas to love on your neighbor:

  • Mow their yard
  • Shovel their driveway and/or sidewalk
  • Rake their leaves
  • Make them a special treat
  • Make them dinner or buy them takeout
  • Drop over some flowers for no reason
  • Share your garden goodies
  • Send them a card
  • Invite them to go on a walk
  • Think of them while you’re shopping, pick up a surprise for them.
  • Wave to them
  • Smile and say hello
  • Pray with them, pray for them
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for how to lend them a hand
  • Listen to them when they need to vent. Then listen to them again. Remember they’re not looking for you to solve their issue, they just need someone to listen to them. So instead of giving them your free advice, ask them questions and be curious in what they are trying to express to you. Listening is a huge way to love.

Simply said

To simplify your life please know that life is not necessarily about stuff being organized neatly or having a blank calendar. Simplifying life is about making a shift of priorities and focusing on what your Creator would like you to focus on…love. He’ll take care of the rest. Here’s a great post about How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps.

Before you go check out these other great posts:

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

How to manage money better!

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

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