Simple changes.

Good morning!

As we creep into Fall, I’m very reflective of how I spent the summer. I’m not going to write about how time flies or the theory of relativity or anything, but seriously, moving to a new state and starting two new jobs at the beginning of the steamy season surely does have a way of making the days seem more rapid and complex. Hence, less blog entries. But, oh, how I missed WordPress. And though I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about writing, and talking to plenty of new peeps about this spectacular site and the blogging world.

Who do you know that has a blog?

How do they generate traffic?

What makes a blog entry worthy of being Freshly Pressed?

These are all things I’ve been pondering on my little hiatus.

And I simply decided I’m just going to continue blogging for the love of it.

Simple as that.

I love doing it.

And if what I share resonates with someone else, if it helps someone else or even cracks a smile… then that’s GRAVY, baby.

Now that the newness of my recent life changes are settling and the crisper air outside is reminding of the slow change upon us, I plan to steal more cozy moments with a cup of tea and my familiar WordPress.

Today, though… it’s THIS: A delicious protein and fruit smoothie…

No exact measurements, well, unless you want to count my half-hazard methods.

A fist-full of crushed ice.

A few strawberries

A pour of blueberries

A couple scoops of Greek yogurt

A spoonful or two of Hemp Protein Powder

Matcha Green Tea Powder (tear open a tea bag and pour it in.)

A squirt of flaxseed oil

About 1/4 to 1/2 cup orange juice to help it all swim and blend together in a peaceful coexistence.


In this busy season, I’m reminded by my dear loved ones (whom I also call to accountability) to remember to care for myself mind, body and spirit as I work to help others in my job. It is all too easy in the care-giving field to teach, instruct, help, listen and care and at the end of the day to forget yourself.

This is truth: you can not help anyone before you help yourself. You cannot give anyone a glass of water from an empty well.

Taking the time to replenish yourself is not selfish… it’s necessary… and it’s a beautiful gift to those around you, provided you’re sharing it and helping others along the way!

Joy is contagious.

We can’t help everyone, of course, but we can help some, and, at the very least, you can help yourself.


Amidst all the busyness, hubby and I are undergoing some external renovations as well – a new bedroom look and an orderly office and arts space for me. Here’s the sign I got yesterday for my office door. It’s not just a warning for outsiders (hubby and the cat,) but a reminder for myself.

Am I taking responsibility for my words today? For my choices? My actions? The way I handle things?

What about my mood? Do I take responsibility for that?

It’s a daily practice, this taking responsibility for your choices. Like it or not our behaviors not only affect us, they have a lasting impact on those around us.

I used to believe that I was responsible for so much more than I actually am. Guilt and shame were like a second skin.

These days, it’s much easier for me to say, “I don’t choose guilt or shame. I choose to focus on what I can change. I choose to be free in Christ and ask Him to lead me.”

He is the one we proclaim,

admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom,

so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 

Colossians 1:28 NIV

I realize that when you give something to God, He takes it, He bears it and He does not throw it back in your face later… “Love holds no record of wrongs.” You can totally trust God with abandon. This isn’t how life in the world works, of course. If you mess up, you better own up and be held accountable for your mistake. Hopefully, you’re surrounded by merciful people who can be understanding of said mistake and that help you through it. But whatever the error, God is always willing and able to listen and take it and help you grow through it. There is life beyond mistakes through Christ.


This is artwork I painted on my kitchen back splash. Remember Jesus loves you… Simple as that. Life gets complicated and has a way of trying to make us forget.

Have a blessed weekend!

How we behave.

The true test of character is not how much we know how to do,

but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.

– John Holt –

TGIF (The Goal is FOrWARD.)

This is one of the most empowering and up-lifting tunes! Perfect Friday song.

Ain’t no other direction to go except forward.

Get rid of emotional hindrances…




being thin-skinned

easily offended


We may feel these things from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we have to believe these things.

Today I simply choose peace.

I choose life!

I choose to move forward.

What can you leave behind today?

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends,

let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit,

perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

2 Corinthians 7:1


There’s Hope.

“The difference between a successful person

and others is not a lack of strength,

not a lack of knowledge,

but rather a lack of will.”

– unattributed –

Sometimes there is a gap between knowing what to do

and doing what needs to be done.

Call it confusion, ignorance, being lost, being alone, being broken, being afraid – whatever it is – it blinds us from having a clear vision for the future.

It can be difficult to decipher in these times what the next step to take is…

We may have a dream,

or a goal,

or a vision for our life,

but we are not sure how to approach it, achieve it or move forward in the moment.

In these moments we can trust that God has an ultimate purpose and vision for our lives that is far beyond our comprehension.

“Listen to advice and accept instruction,

and in the end you will be wise.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart,

but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19: 20-21

Hope is like an anchor for the soul.

Hope keeps us patient while we wait for answers.

Love keeps us secure while we trust for guidance.

Forgiveness keeps us free from the failures of the past that dare to steal the hope of the future.

God tells His people that His plans are good and their hope shall not be cut off.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Faith keeps us on the path with God, moving with the leading of the Holy Spirit and helping us to discern God’s will for our lives.

Encourage one another.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!
Strive for full restoration,
encourage one another,
be of one mind, live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.

He will cover you.

(Courtesy of Google images.)

“He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield…”

Psalm 91:4











Strengthens the weak.

Protects the weary.

Refuge for the wounded.

Solid rock.



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

Hurricane by Natalie Grant


For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.

He is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:9-10

Faith to move forward…

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,

but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which

God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


There is such power in prayer. God always meets all of our needs according to his perfect will when we pray in accordance with His will… when we trust Him and not try in our own strength to get everything right. God is God alone and I know He doesn’t depend on our prayers to help Him move and work, but God can do what He wants to do. And he knows exactly what we need.

I’m feeling so small in the world today, I guess. I am in awe of an omnipresent God who really loves us and hears us. It’s such a mysterious wonder.

Some very specific prayer requests I had last week were answered Saturday and yesterday and I just want to praise Him.

It was like everything bad that could happen happened at once… then this past weekend God just parted all the clouds…

and it was just a humbling reminder

that God is always in control

He always knows what He’s doing…

and we must trust Him through the difficulties…

And I am so grateful to live in a country

where I can truly worship freely

and speak the name of Jesus…

not in pushy, arrogant judgement…

but in healing, edifying, encouragement to those who need a good word.

Just as what was done to me yesterday…

I know my God answers prayers…

In His own way.

In His own time.

He already knows what we need for our families, for our homes, for our jobs, for our health… everything. He knows what we need. I’m choosing to trust God today.


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 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.

Valerie Rumfelt

An on mission writer with winning ways to follow Jesus

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