simplyenjoy


To begin again.

image

Hanging head

unfold my heart

reveal light to broken twisted parts

reach for the sinners lost in strife

pull them into more new life

refresh, renew, hearts turned to You

Faith leads away from confusion

Your love is real –

All else is illusion.

a war for souls

in the hearts of men

Jesus, help your people to begin again.

image

pleasure is a simple shift…

a cup of tea

a deep breath

a thankful prayer of gratitude

a snoring kitty

a knowing of hope

making room for more love

and only love.

accepting what is

what has been

and what is yet to come.

“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.” Proverbs 14:22

 



On starting fresh…

Happy New Year and God bless 2014!

image

Some words in my mind on this first day of the year…

fresh

start again

rejoice

be made new!

2013 was a year of great change… image New Year’s Eve sky.

I enter into the new year with hope and humility, determination and gratitude, peace and the blessed assurance that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. 2013 had moves, new jobs, losses, births, challenges with difficult people, exhaustion and disappointments. In all these old things, I stand in wonder at how God has carried us through. And I wait with expectation for the goodness to spring from the hardships. In the present, I choose to trust deeper. image This brings me to my resolutions…

1. Continue to release old pain and doubt at the foot of the cross.

2. Root into my new community through service and fellowship at a local church.

3. Continue a 40 day Daniel Fast, which I started today. Only fruits, vegetables, whole grains and water.  And lots of prayer! (It is only day one and I really wanted to eat some cheese…) http://www.daniel-fast.com

4. Make more art 🙂

5. Study, work hard and seek greater professional competency.

6. Love my family and friends and make more time to laugh!

As always, though…

One

Day

At

A

Time.

image

 

Love-me-tender Veggie Barley Soup (My concoction for the evening)

1 yellow onion

two stalks celery with leaves

2 white potatoes

3 small beets

green cabbage slices

handful of baby carrots

1 package sliced white mushrooms

Two fist fulls of chopped kale

Barley

Vegetable Bouillon

Bring a large pot of water to boil with the vegetable bouillon, carrots, beets, potatoes, celery and onion. When root veggies are getting soft, add the cabbage, kale, mushrooms and any extra seasonings.  Cook barley separately (1 cup dry barley to 2-3 cups water. Bring to boil with a pinch of salt, reduce heat to simmer and allow water to evaporate as barley cooks for 30 minutes or so.) When the barley is tender, add into the beautiful pink veggie soup and enjoy!

balance

May love guide us, hope fill us, and health dwell within us in 2014!



Throwing stones.

I’ve learned some valuable lessons in the past month that have really hurt.

I’ve learned not all professing Christians walk in love or even tell the truth.

I’ve learned not all employees in the mental health field are educated in mental health wellness.

I’ve learned when to speak, when to listen and when to stand my ground.

I’ve learned that wearing your heart on your sleeve (and, honestly, I knew this before) often gets you hurt.

I’ve learned not to make assumptions about other people – i.e.) “They work in the care-giving field so they must be caring.” FALSE.

But I’m not a victim.

I left a job because of unfair and unjust circumstances and I’m emotionally stronger because of it.

I have a greater understanding of this now: Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

…at the end of the day, I do believe God will close doors in our lives in order to protect us. He tells us that he has plans for our good and as a believer, I take that to heart and I believe it! God is not a man that He should lie. In some way, that I can’t yet see, blessings will come out of this situation.

He has already blessed me with employment at a great agency, a beautiful family and food and shelter. I know that my gifts are over-flowing. I may  not understand the “why” of it… but it is what it is.

And right now, I’m praying for ways to share my gifts and to really serve in a greater capacity…

And this is what has come to me – STONES. Quite clearly I heard the whispering. “Don’t throw stones like the accusers do… but build with them.”

So I’m building with the proverbial thrown stones that have been tossed my way and unknowingly, I’ve been building with them for over a year. I’ve been drawing in the sand of different beaches, arranging pebbles and stones and musing on my Savior.

I know I’m not perfect and I have certainly thrown my own stones in life and projected myself when I should not have. I know we all make mistakes. Jesus’s mercy is so great. It’s awesome and undeserved.

I’m praying the words I use will always BUILD UP others and not drag down. I truly know how it feels and it’s disheartening. It’s awful. No one should ever have to feel that way. I don’t want to throw stones… I truly want to build with them.

This is my practice:

Displaying 20131210_093440.jpg
balance

Balance – Marconi Beach – Cape Cod National Seashore – Eastham, MA Winter 2012

cross

Standing on the promises – Longbeach, CA Summer 2012

fruitsofthespirit

Fruits of the Spirit –  Monomoy Beach, Chatham, MA Summer 2013

underwater

Immanuel – God with us – Westerly Town Beach, Westerly, RI December 2013

Photo: Tidings of comfort and joy ♥ Moonstone Beach, South Kingston, RI

Tidings of Comfort and Joy – Moonstone Beach, South Kingstown, RI December 2013

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

Matthew 19

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”



12 Things

Source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6296/12-Things-Successful-People-Do-Differently.html



In the moment (grace)…

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on “living in the moment” and “in the now” in popular culture. We ingest messages of “just do it” and “go with your gut” and “YOLO – you only live once” in social media, reality TV programs and even in our social circles where we’re possibly even encouraged to make impulsive decisions.

But what if we don’t only live once?

What if all of our choices and actions have a huge impact on our life and the lives of those around us? It’s actually absurd to believe that they don’t.

Behavioral science 101: You are already being what you will become.

It’s the butterfly effect. Our choices and actions influence others and vice-versa.

Consider how strong habit is for a moment. Consider how difficult it is to change deeply conditioned negative habits. When we are comfortable with a behavior, even if it is maladaptive for our lives, it takes an incredible amount of effort to begin to change or modify the behavior.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

But change it we can, if we allow space for the change. This requires a shedding of the attachments to the behavior that keeps us performing it.

Our daily choices literally shape and wire our brain to behave.

One of the reasons we may find change so difficult is that we try to do it all in our own strength. We use our own effort, our own force and our own ideas and strategies.

We try instead of surrendering.

“I’m trying to eat healthy!”

“I want to go to the gym, but I don’t have time…”

“I try to get along with him/her, but it’s so hard…”

“I tried doing it that way, but it didn’t work.”

Try. Try. Try.

All human effort inevitably leads us back to the futility of our carnal thinking.

In the book of Romans chapter 7 we see the yo-yo reality of trying to accomplish change and right living entirely in our own strength, as it is written:

15 I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. 16 I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them.

18 I know there is nothing good in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. 19 I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. 20 I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me.

21 Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law. 23 But I see another law working in the parts of my body. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls the parts of my body.

24 What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? 25 I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Instead of facing our challenges head on and allowing God to restore us and to lead us through, we often, in fear, turn away to walk down different roads and rely on our own strength. Perhaps an alternative path can give us some space and perspective for a time, but if the problem or negative habit is never dealt with and released, it will keep rising up. If not now, then later. Avoiding the truth only leads us in delaying the inevitable.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

The “in the moment” philosophy of popular culture is beneficial in reminding us to release the need to control outcomes and elements in the external world in order to feel more internally free. However, it in a way deemphasizes the personal power and responsibility in the individual in choosing their own behaviors and responses to the stimuli. Every day we are choosing our actions and our motivations for those actions.

DSCF5926

Instead of simply reacting to the world around us, we are actually behaving in ways that create culture and create a tone and pattern for the future.

It’s easy to slip into living “in the moment” and the moral relativism that is intrinsically linked with this philosophy. If anything goes, then we’re under no authority and nothing is required of us.

But, we know in reality, that’s not the case. We have many responsibilities and there is always work to be done.

When I think of what it truly means to “live in the moment” I think of Jesus, hanging from the cross, forgiving right then and there what most could never. It’s that in the moment realization that you control nothing and no one that is the most radical freedom available to human beings. And it’s totally accessible in the cross of Jesus Christ. It’s a free gift of salvation with far-reaching redemptive implications for our lives. Instead of trying so hard to change, it’s easier to surrender space in your heart and allow Christ to move in and work.

The love of Christ is the only love that turns the other cheek, that loosens attachments, that allows us to love and serve and give as unto the Lord and not as unto man.

Man will always be flawed. There will always be people darkened by the futility of their own minds and hearts. Yes, and even believers wander and stray.

But the cross is always there. And the resurrection of Christ is a beacon of renewal that reminds us change and transformation are possible through Jesus. It’s always available when we reach out for it and when we surrender to it…

..and we stop trying so hard.

What a paradox.

What a beautiful mystery.



Worn

 



Offense (not about football.)

Your value

is not determined

by how somebody else

has treated you.

Champions

refuse

to be offended.

They will not live in offense.

notes taken from A Sermon

 



Taking courage.

Today thousands of people  are reflecting with still heavy hearts on this date, though a dozen years have passed since 9/11/2001. The loss and sacrifices of so many civilians, responders and emergency personnel is etched in hearts and minds. But we move forward, as we always do. And in these days when still more decisions are being made about our country’s involvement in conflict and international affairs, there are no easy answers.

There are no simple cliches of consolation that can erase the day.

Simplicity seems lost in these days of foreign interests and terror.

How do we see so much hurting, remember the pain and shock, and still feel hope?

Today I’m praying for continued healing and praying for our leaders in these complicated times.

Every day we have to remember how fragile our world is.

But I choose to remember how great God is and how vast His knowledge.

And these words are all I have today.

Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

I lift up my eyes to the mountains —

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2

 



Simple (?) forgiveness.

A good message for a Monday, to clear any residue or debris.

Sometimes others hurt us. And sometimes we allow them to. And yes, sometimes we hurt others, consciously or not.

It’s a fragile dance – this life. A dance between loving, forgiving, yielding and interacting.

How can we soften what has been hardened?

How can we begin to bend freely to the whispers of forgiveness, making them an integral part of our daily life?

Those who life has hardened have buried their trust. Stuffing down any lingering “childish” fantasies in adulthood that life is anything but disappointing and people do not meet our expectations, we decide walls and grudges are more important than forgiveness.

Only a relationship with God can teach you where you could reach and where you can rest.

How far do you go?

Where do you go?

Forgiveness seems simple, but the work it takes to get there is not always simple.

It’s uncomfortable to let go of our opinions and judgement. It’s uncomfortable to hold pain, yet it’s uncomfortable to release it, also.

What are you holding today?

Are you ready to let go?

What would happen if you did?

What would happen, if, just on the inside, you said to your self, “I forgive ________ for ___________. And I also forgive myself for being hurt.”

True forgiveness takes place in the heart.

It always has.

Psalm 130

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2     Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.



Simple List: Common Cognitive Distortions

In Practice

Putting social psychology to work for you
by Alice Boyes, Ph.D.
A giant list of ubiquitous cognitive distortions.
Published on January 17, 2013 by Alice Boyes, Ph.D. in In Practice
Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive Distortions

Becoming mindful of these common cognitive distortions will help you understand yourself and other people better, and improve your decision making.

1. Personalizing.

Taking something personally that may not be personal. Seeing events as consequences of your actions when there are other possibilities. For example, believing someone’s brusque tone must be because they’re irritated with you. (Tips for not personalizing.)

2. Mind-readingGuessing what someone else is thinking, when they may not be thinking that.

3. Negative predictions.

Overestimating the likelihood that an action will have a negative outcome.

4. Underestimating coping ability.

Underestimating your ability cope with negative events.

5. Catastrophizing.

Thinking of unpleasant events as catastrophes.

6. Biased attention toward signs of social rejection, and lack of attention to signs of social acceptance.

For example, during social interactions, paying attention to someone yawning but not paying the same degree of attention to other cues that suggest they are interested in what you’re saying (such as them leaning in).

7. Negatively biased recall of social encounters.

Remembering negatives from a social situation and not remembering positives. For example, remembering losing your place for a few seconds while giving a talk but not remembering the huge clap you got at the end.

8. Thinking an absence of effusiveness means something is wrong.

Believing an absence of a smiley-face in an email means someone is mad at you. Or, interpreting “You did a good job” as negative if you were expecting “You did a great job.”

9. Unrelenting standards.

The belief that achieving unrelentingly high standards is necessary to avoid a catastrophe. For example, the belief that making any mistakes will lead to your colleagues thinking you’re useless.

10. Entitlement beliefs.

Believing the same rules that apply to others should not apply to you. For example, believing you shouldn’t need to do an internship even if that is the normal path to employment in your industry.

11. Justification and moral licensing.

For example, I’ve made progress toward my goal and therefore it’s ok if I act in a way that is inconsistent with it.

12. Belief in a just world.

For example, believing that poor people must deserve to be poor.

13. Seeing a situation only from your own perspective.

For example, failing to look at a topic of relationship tension from your partner’s perspective.

14. Belief that self-criticism is an effective way to motivate yourself toward better future behavior.

It’s not.

15. Recognizing feelings as causes of behavior, but not equally attending to how behavior influences thoughts and feelings.

For example, you think “When I have more energy, I’ll exercise” but not “Exercising will give me more energy.”

16. All or nothing thinking.

e.g., “If I don’t always get As, I’m a complete failure.”

17. Shoulds and musts.

For example, “I should always give 100%.” Sometimes there are no important benefits of doing a task beyond a basic acceptable level.

18. Using feelings as the basis of a judgment, when the objective evidence does not support your feelings.

e.g., “I don’t feel clean, even though I’ve washed my hands three times. Therefore I should wash my again.” (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder example).

19. Basing future decisions on “sunk costs.”

e.g., investing more money in a business that is losing money because you’ve invested so much already.

http://www.30traveler.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sunset-punakaiki.jpg

20. Delusions.

Holding a fixed, false belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. For example, believing global warming doesn’t exist. Or, believing you’re overweight when you’re 85lbs.

21. Assuming your current feelings will stay the same in the future.

For example, “I feel unable to cope today, and therefore I will feel unable to cope tomorrow.”

22. Cognitive labeling.

For example, mentally labeling your sister’s boyfriend as a “loser” and not being open to subsequent evidence suggesting he isn’t a loser.

23. The Halo Effect.

For example, perceiving high calories foods as lower in calories if they’re accompanied by a salad.

24. Minimizing.

e.g., “Yes I won an important award but that still doesn’t really mean I’m accomplished in my field.”

25. Magnifying (Cognitively Exaggerating).

For example, blowing your own mistakes and flaws out of proportion and perceiving them as more significant than they are.

Making a mountain out of a molehill, but not quite to the same extent as catastrophizing.

26. Cognitive conformity.

Seeing things the way people around you view them. Research has shown that this often happens at an unconscious level. See the Asch experiment. (video)

27. Overgeneralizing

Generalizing a belief that may have validity in some situations (such as “If you want something done well, you should do it yourself.”) to every situation. This is a type of lack of psychological flexibility.

28. Blaming others.

29. Falling victim to the “Foot in the Door” technique.

When someone makes a small request to get a “Yes” answer, then follows up with a bigger request, people are more likely to agree to the big request than if only that request had been made.

30. Falling victim to the “Door in the Face” technique.

When someone makes an outlandish request first, then makes a smaller request, the initial outlandish request makes the smaller request seem more reasonable.

31. Focusing on the amount saved rather than the amount spent.

e.g, Focusing on the amount of a discount rather than on whether you’d buy the item that day at the sale price if it wasn’t listed as on sale.

32. Overvaluing things because they’re yours.

e.g., perceiving your baby as more attractive or smart than they really are because they’re yours.

Or, overestimating the value of your home when you put it on the market for sale because you overestimate the added value of renovations you’ve made.

33. Failure to consider alternative explanations.

Coming up with one explanation for why something has happened/happens and failing to consider alternative, more likely explanations.

34. The Self-Serving Bias The self-serving bias is people’s tendency to attribute positive events to their own character but attribute negative events to external factors. (Tips for overcoming the self-serving bias.)

Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive Distortions

35. Attributing strangers’ behavior to their character and not considering situational/contextual factors. 36. Failure to consider opportunity cost.

For example, spending an hour doing a low ROI task and thinking “it’s only an hour” and not considering the lost potential of spending that hour doing a high ROI task.

37. Assumed similarity.

The tendency to assume other people hold similar attitudes to your own.

38. In-group bias.

The tendency to trust and value people who are like you, or who are in your circle, more than people from different backgrounds.

39. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Getting external feedback can help you become aware of things you didn’t even know that you didn’t know!

40. The tendency to underestimate how long tasks will take.

41. The belief that worry and overthinking will lead to problem solving insights.

In fact, overthinking tends to impair problem solving ability and leads to avoidance coping.

42. Biased implicit attitudes. Psychologists use a test called the implicit association test to measure attitudes that people subconsciously hold. Results show people subconsciously associate fat with lazy etc.

It’s useful to be mindful that you may subsciously hold biased attitudes, then you can consciously correct for them.

43. The Peak-End Rule.

The tendency to most strongly remember (1) how you felt at the end of an experience, and (2) how you felt at the moment of peak emotional intensity during the experience. Biasedmemories can lead to biased future decision making.

44. The tendency to prefer familiar things.

Familiarity breeds liking, which is part of why people are brand loyal and may pay inflated prices for familiar brands vs. switching.

45. The belief you can multi-task.When you’re multi-tasking you’re actually task (and attention) shifting. Trying to focus on more than one goal at a time is self-sabotage.

46. Failure to recognize the cognitive benefits of restorative activitIes and activities that increase positive emotions.

For example, seeing humor or breaks as a waste of time.

47. Positively biased predictions.

For example, expecting that if you sign up to a one year gym membership you will go, if this hasn’t been the case in the past.

48. Cheating on your goals based on positive behaviors you plan to do later.

For example, overeating today if you expect you’ll be starting a diet next week. Often the planned positive behaviors don’t happen.

49. Repeating the same behavior and expecting different results (or thinking that doubling-down on a failed strategy will start to produce positive results). 

For example, expecting that if you nag more, your partner will change.

50. “I can’t change my behavior.” (or “I can’t change my thinking style.”)

Instead of telling yourself “I can’t,” try asking yourself how you could shift your behavior (or thinking style) by 5%.

How to Become Mindful of Your Cognitive Distortions?

Try printing this article and highlighting the cognitive distortions you think apply to you. I suggest you then pick one cognitive distortion at a time and keep a running list for a week of how that cognitive distortion manifests in your life.

Dr Alice Boyes

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