simplyenjoy


Trust.
November 1, 2013, 12:21 pm
Filed under: Environment, Mind, Minimalism, Motivation, Poetry, Spirit, Writing | Tags: , , ,

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Happy first of November! I’m praying this month brings moments of cozy clothing,  family togetherness and comfort food. Hot chocolate, pensive misty days and perhaps a first flurry. Most of all I’m praying wisdom, protection, love and pursuit of truth and the healing love of Jesus for all those who are seeking. God’s love never fails. ♥

I feel cozy already.

Thank God it’s Friday and we’re into November.



Simple poetry.
October 2, 2013, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Mind, Minimalism, Motivation, Poetry, Writing

Feels like a day for poetry
And uncertainty
Government unsure and stuck
Middle class still working
Compromising, muddling through
Making meetings and dealing with life
Simplicity is…
Not wanting it all
Knowing all things slide through your fingers
Blessed is he who holds on
Loosely, but doesn’t let go
I see so much frustration
Aggravation
A medley of problems across the nation
On the daily, folks juggling life
Sets of issues
Joys and problems
Simplicity is…
Knowing you don’t know
What your neighbor may be facing
Being lead by grace
Instead of money chasing
Simplicity is…
A dinner on the table.
Clean sheets.
A friend to confide in.
Giving more than you take
Speaking less
Listening more
No need to impress
Or pull down another
Holding your love in peace
The glow of contentment
is the simplest ease.



Refresh & Renew: Simple tips for Burn Out.

In behavioral health speak, we call the tips used to deal with tough life circumstances or fleeting emotional spikes in mood “coping skills.”

What are some coping skills you use to deal with difficult moments? What do you do to refresh the hum-drum, routine buzz of life?

Do you find yourself getting jaded, bored or burnt out in your daily activities?

These feelings can lead to complacency, which can lead to apathy and poor health.

Some typical coping skills written into behavioral support plans of clients are:

1. Find a place for quiet time. Take a few minutes away from social activity.

2. Count to ten or recite an encouraging affirmation out-loud, “This, too, shall pass.”

3. Take a deep breath.

4. Take a break and go for a walk.

Without ways to continually refresh our minds and cleanse our perspectives, we’re in danger of walking around everyday carrying yesterday’s garbage. A few of my new coworkers tease me because I entered into my new job with one of the most envied schedules – Fridays and Saturdays off. I remind them I have another part-time job I work Tuesdays and Fridays, so I don’t really consider them my “days off.”

“I remember when I used to do that,” said my previously retired coworker who now works part-time. “Now I’m just jaded.”

He said this with a laugh and I know he’s only halfway serious, but still, becoming jaded is so easy. Yes, I may be young, but no matter your age, if you don’t have a good process of coping with stress, then apathy and burn-out seem an all too daunting potentiality. I have felt jaded more than once.

“You’ve got to keep it moving,” I tell him with a laugh. “In with the good and out with the bad… every day!”

I say this in all seriousness, but I know I often so quickly forget to let go at the end of the day.

I think of a river compared to a pond. A river is constantly flowing and self-cleansing. A pond sits stagnant and quickly gathers a layer of muck.

So I take to metaphors and visualizations (coping skills!) to deal with the onslaught of stress from the outside world.

The latest one is my duck metaphor. You’re a duck and the stresses of life are the water around you, let them roll off your intelligently-designed water-resistant feathers.

“A bullet can’t roll off your feathers,” my husband tells me.

“Why thank you for blowing holes in that theory!” I think. (Pun intended.)

I know he says it in love, however dark his humor is.

Because you know what? Life will bring troubles. And we’re not immune to them all. Fancy shmancy therapy talk doesn’t fix everything. That is why we call them “coping skills” and not “fixing skills.” That’s where radical acceptance and commitment come in. When we lean into our pain and embrace the reality that we will have troubles, that in itself takes away the power of the pain over us.

The Bible teaches us not to conform to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but 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.”

We don’t have to choose lethargy, apathy and complacency when such refreshing alternatives are offered to us because of the love of God.

Text graphic from Ministries of Truth for Women



Products of environment.

It is a great deal

better to live a holy life

than to talk about it.

Lighthouses do not ring bells

and fire cannons to call attention

to their shining –

they just shine.

– Dwight L. Moody –

Pigeon Point lighthouse

Photo by Ian Chamberlain via Environmentalgraffiti.com

Our first teachers in life are the adults around us. We learn by example. We watch how they behave, how they treat us and how they treat each other.

Still, as adults, we’re strongly influenced by the people around us.

We are a product of our environments.

Unless you are a robot or totally emotionally impenetrable, the fact is, we are influenced by the people around us. Just try to sit at a table with a group of people, place a basket full of hot rolls and butter in the center of the group and see what happens.

When we strive for positive change, taking an inventory of our environment, our relationships and our daily interactions with others is key.

This week, in an effort to gain greater self-discipline, I began a kickboxing class at a local martial arts school. I’ve been to two classes so far and am feeling muscles that have been long inactive.

To say I was intimidated to begin this class is an understatement. I walked in to find this powerhouse of a woman (maybe about 5’2″ and 125 pounds soaking wet) throwing fast jabs and hook punches at our teacher’s gloves. She sidestepped around him swiftly, releasing a powerful cry with each punch. This was not soothing restorative yoga practice. This was tough, gritty, dig-deep exertion.

Some beliefs from the school’s “Student Creed” that mirror the principles of behavioral science:

1. I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health.

2. I will develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.

3. I will use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and others, and never to be abusive or offensive.

4. We are a Black Belt School: We are motivated. We are dedicated. We are on a quest to be our best. Asa!

This student creed, along with a list of other Black Belt principles; Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit, are repeated out loud after and during every class, reinforcing the mission of the school.

“How do we lead?” the teacher asks.

“By example!” the students cry back in unison.

1 Corinthians 33-34

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. 

Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning;

for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.”

 



Dealing with Unsupportive People.

“You have to support your children to have a healthy relationship.” – Connie Sellecca

I stumbled upon this article today in my Facebook newsfeed from www.mindbodygreen.com and felt it was worth a reshare on my FB page and on my blog here.

I have struggled with this challenge in my own life and know a lot of people my age who have also struggled with feeling less than supported in their ideas, especially if they were creative outlets or ambitions that veered from the norm. Given a lot of young peeps these days do have some entitlement issues and the need for more emotional validation, but every human needs to feel loved and supported. The lack of support and even discouragement can do a lot of damage.

One of my biggest “grasshopper leaps” (you’ll see the reason for the language after you read article below) was deciding to move to Costa Rica in 2009 and live there for an entire year. I was extremely supported by so many people, in fact, I was helped in fund raising, packing and researching my trip by countless friends, family members and people in my hometown. I was and am so grateful for this life experience.  But still, even though I had such support, my human negativity bias continued to see those who did not understand what I was doing or who were less supportive of my dreams. Perhaps I really am being strange and wacky, I thought. Perhaps my instinct and inner voice telling me to pursue this dream was not correct. (I see today that this was wrong and living in Costa Rica was the best thing I have ever done.)

Throughout my childhood and young adult life this unsupportive mentality has come from one specific person and I have always brushed this aside and strived to find understanding of her and with her. I have tried to be the bigger person – to open my mind and to know that misery loves company. If someone was striving to make me miserable, then it was because they were miserable. I told myself they could feel what they felt and say what they wanted, but it wouldn’t get to me or affect me. For the most part, it hasn’t, but not dealing with the root feeling of being unsupported had been leaving a secret residue of  shame and guilt inside of me for most of my young adult life.

The difficult part about this was that this unsupportive person was a family member and Christian. So I learned a lot about “what it meant” to be a Christian from her and what it meant to be a happy and healthy woman. Needless to say, I wasn’t learning in the best way. I equated service with suffering and womanhood with weakness. But in my grasshopper gut I knew there was more to the story and there was more to the world. I knew serving God and loving God could be tough, yes, and produce hardships, yes, and even cause stress, yes. The Christian life is not all rainbows and sunshine (but this is what my protagonist in this blog would have you believe all the time.) What I learned as I grew older is that the projections, questions and insults of unsupportive people were less about me and more about them. They were about their own pain, their own limitations and their own baggage. The deflecting attitude of the unsupportive person may come from a genuine sense of care, worry or protection, but when it strives to hurt, deflate your dreams and discourage your God-given passion, then it’s time to step back and ask more questions. Seek more understanding.

I still love this person dearly. I respect her. I admire her. I can see with compassion some of the struggles she has faced and still faces. These things are points in her journey that may not allow her to have supported my leaps and bounds, but she was still always there – ready to give me a hug. Ready to speak a sassy word or just to ask, “Stephie, what in the world are you thinking?” But we have, I believe, built a better relationship today. But it took a great deal of understanding, perseverance and talking. And it took a lot of releasing hurt and pain at the cross of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another daily,
as long as it is called “Today,”
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

4 Lessons in Dealing with Unsupportive People

by Hope Zvara

September 25, 2012

Nothing in this world is the same. Nothing in this world is constant. Everything in this world is an opportunity to change, leap forward and grow.

Once, I was driving with my mom and kids in the car with my moon roof open. Out of nowhere, a grasshopper leaped into my car and sat on my thigh as I was driving. My mom, kids, and I squealed in excitement for different reasons. My kids thought a grasshopper in our car was silly. My mom and I instantly thought about leaps forward in my life. The grasshopper hung around for a while, then I cracked open my window and it sat on the edge for a few minutes. My mom commented, “Hope you teach us in yoga to meet our edge, honor it and see what you can learn from that view.” With the thought of sending it home, I gave it a small tap. Out it flew and back in it came. We all laughed, and my mom and I said at that moment, “Remember to trust. Big leaps forward in my life are necessary and present for me right now.”

I believe that life is constantly giving you signs and constantly telling you things helpful to your life; if you choose to listen. My little grasshopper friend was a confirmation to me that everything I am currently practicing and living is all part of my leap forward. Like a grasshopper, sometimes when you are leaping forward or are about to, unexpected things come into play to try to throw you off. How many times in your own life have you been confused for something you are not? How many times have you been confronted with someone who won’t let go of your past persona and see you for as you are? How many times have you said one thing and because someone is unhappy with their own life, they turn it around to try to stop you from leaping forward.

Maybe you are a little like me: you go to the beat of your own drum, not like the norm, see purpose and a learning opportunity in everything, and want to continue to change. You want to grow. You notice that when the growth is very prominent, on the cusp of leaping from well-cut grass to tall grassy hillside, then into a sunny place; that there are people and things in your life that come out of nowhere, to try to steal that away from you. You are the kind of person who tries to be honest. Sometimes, people confuse that honesty with judgment (and usually because those people don’t want to hear the truth). They try to stop your leap in mid-air because they don’t want anyone else around them leaping if they aren’t going to. Like a grasshopper, what works for others will not necessarily work for you. Even more so, what works for you will probably not work for anyone else.

So how do you be like that grasshopper and not get squashed in the process?

1. Like the grasshopper, it is important to understand that at times you may need to stay still. take it in, not say a word and just let other(s) do the talking. At other times or at a moment’s notice, you may need to take a huge leap into the air and land somewhat blindly and just trust that it’s right.

2. Trust your inner voice. Like a grasshopper’s inner ability to sense sound with their legs, sense the sound of your inner voice and trust that your navigation is on par.

3. A grasshopper has an inner sense of knowing when to make its leap. Your progress is made in the form of mostly leaps, rather than steps. Likewise, your progress will most likely not be slow and steady, but a playful combination of leaps, hops, bounces and strides. Like a grasshopper, those can sometimes be misunderstood. Know that your hop will only make sense to you, and it is not necessary for you to try to get others to understand.

4. Finally, a grasshopper can leap up to twenty times its height. Our grassy friend can only leap up or forward never back. So sure, glance back and see how far you have come, but for you my friend, the only way is up and forward by leaps and bounds. Not everyone will understand it, but other grasshoppers will. When you need it most, you will know to leap to a sunny mound and meet your fellow grasshoppers there, so that you can glance back again and see what you were able to overcome.



Words on purification.

Just some snippets of thought today

from the quote calendar…

“May this morning light illumine our day and purify our souls. Let our tongues form no devious words; let our minds harbor no dark thoughts.” – Aurelius Clemens

from the Word…

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.'”  Jeremiah 17:9-10   

In this world it is so easy

to be misunderstood

and to misunderstand each other.

So many issues, so much stress, so many competing goals, visions, motives and expectations can keep us from communicating with one another.

Your first communication and greatest relationship is with God. The Lord sees all purposes of the heart. He sees all our ways – even the ones unseen by us.

So to ask for more light… greater insight… greater understanding… peace and wisdom of the heart… is to ask for better communication. Healthier understanding and acceptance of ourselves and one another.

No

matter

how

hard

we

try

the dark imaginings and imperfections slip in and blind us. Blind others. The human heart is so deceptive. So inclined to wander.

Lord, let there be light…

shed your grace and light today, Jesus.

Amen.

Detoxification water:

1 sliced lemon

1 sliced cucumber

A handful of mint leaves (8-10)

Mix all together in a pitcher of water and allow to steep overnight.

Enjoy throughout the week.

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Breakthrough.

the feeling of being tangled

pushed around beneath a wave

hitting unexpected

sand scraping elbows and thighs

hitting bottom

again

pulled by force above, beneath and around

grasping for the surface

you are

done with the deep turbulence underneath

panic setting in

the strength of push and pull

keeping you from breakthrough

separated from sweet oxygen

oppression keeping you from the gentle surface

the light of day

being kissed by rays and gentle breezes

where things are clear. evident. safe.

your eyes look up and the light seems so far

so dim beneath the awful droning chaos

the cruel relentless cycle of the water.

the attacks of waves

the roaring presence of inevitable nature.

the crushing, isolating pull.

you open your mouth to scream

and water rushes in

silencing attempts.

muffling your cry for freedom.

Thinking about all the troubles and strife of life this morning and praying for emotional healing for so many hearts and souls… This poem is just a metaphor. Walking toward the light at the end of the tunnel is a process. Knowing that truth and good always win is a daily exercise in faith. I flipped through my daily quote calendar and today’s words are: “What’s true of biology is also true of faith: If it isn’t growing, it’s probably dead.” It’s an unattributed quote and very interesting… and holy moly, it’s tough to believe that it’s July already! Sometimes I think “summer” should be renamed “time warp.”

 

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,

but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,

in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 12:3 

 

 




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