simplyenjoy


To begin again.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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.”



Life to the fullest.

wpid-20131030_214253.jpgI’m not sure what it really is I want to write tonight… so I’ll just start typing… it’s been a while…

I’ve been distanced from my blog for a few weeks, wrapped up with work issues and the busyness of life. I’ve had an unexpected lull in work, the reasons for which I’m not going to divulge in this blog entry, but those closest to me will recognize the trials I allude to.

Sometimes it is very difficult to be different – to take a stand for what is right and to go against the grain. It is very much what I have been up against this month and I’ve been asking God why when I know that my heart is in the right place. More than that, I’ve been praying for the strength and wisdom to walk the right way and seek God in this confusion and to be the best me I can be. Sometimes, and especially this month, my “me” just hasn’t felt good enough for the status quo.

However, the question of why it’s happening is naive and juvenile. I recognize this even as I ask it and I realize that I’m not the only one who has faced opposition when doing the right thing. I’m not the only one who has suffered or hurt for telling the truth.

It’s difficult to tell the truth when it’s not what people want to hear. It’s also difficult to hear the truth and take it in when a person tells you. Both take courage.

But even in this trial I have sensed God with me. I am so grateful for some great coworkers, friends and family who know my character and know who I really am. I’m not perfect and I make mistakes all the time, but I’m trying…

I guess, what I want this blog post to be about is that you never know what someone is going through in their life. You can’t assume you know why they are acting in a certain way unless you ask and unless you inquire. I’m taking my current circumstances as stepping stones to a deeper life with Jesus and a growing experience. I know He has me right where I’m supposed to be. I know He is at work in my heart and in this situation. His love is so wide and so high and so deep. I’m taking the blind trust-fall backwards into His arms. Only he knows the outcome.

      Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
      and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
      submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Walking by faith and not by sight is not always so simple

Beyond this trial, I see that my life is so full and my joy still over-flows because of God’s grace. I have so much to be grateful for and I want to be in a position where I can continue to serve others through my gifts of encouragement, writing and caring.

Trust fall… go…

It takes courage to listen… it takes courage to speak… sometimes, it feels like a mighty act of courage just to take one baby step forward.

If you need courage today, I hope this encouraged you and I pray you take refuge in God for greater peace. God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom  to know the difference. Amen.

 

John 10:9-11

9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.



It is

It is coffee

6 a.m.

Morning stretches with me

lengthening across the sky

muddy periwinkle horizon

early on a Saturday.

Awake

deep breaths

of autumn air

we’re searching for the same things

truth and feathers and a spark

to warm us.

Always striving, looking, reaching

while others reinvent the wheel

to relabel the truth

and analyse how they feel

It is all here

under this veil

Coffee at 6 a.m.

It is.



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

 



Full-circle sittin’.

Waves splashed on large boulders today and sailboats breezed across the water.

Double-crested cormorants sat watch on the rocks.

The wind was playing in Connecticut and I had the familiar sense I’d been there before, though of course I hadn’t been.

“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding has been stuck in my head this past week…

I’ve been singing it washing dishes, driving my car, dealing with clients, feeding the cat… you get the picture.

“So I’m just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
watchin’ the tide roll away
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
wasting time

Looks like nothin’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same

Sitting here resting my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
It’s 2,000 miles I’ve roamed
Just to make this dock my home now

I’m just gonna sit at the dock of the bay
watchin’ the tide roll away
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
wasting time”

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Fresh Squeezed Juice of the day:

baby carrots

celery

Red Delicious apples

watermelon

Today I’m grateful for full-circle moments and gratitude. Full-circle moments in life bring opportunity and pleasure back, sealing clean a loop where it once was stolen… tiny mysterious knowings only the individual can discern. Moments like this are when God sends a breeze… a whisper… a reminder… “I see you, I know you and you are mine.”

I’m grateful to serve a God who sees His children, loves His children and gives His children what they need when they need it.

Psalm 139

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

 

Today was a beautiful, full-circle day. I’m thankful for it.



Grace to balance, courage to stumble.

little itty bitty tips

to untangle complication

sip coffee and smile

don’t spend more than you make… it doesn’t make sense.

it’s ok to be alone

it’s ok to reach out, too…

it’s ok to just be.

it’s safe to smile

it’s safe to ask for help

little by little

slow and steady wins the race

patience is a virtue

good things take time and yadda yadda yadda

and that’s alright, darlin’

ain’t no thang but a chicken wang

are you in a hurry?

be fruitful, not frantic.

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Some artwork I painted in my office.

Painting helps me slow down… and reflect.

The creative arts are also a great way to achieve better brain balance.

(Courtesy of Google Images)

The left brain: I am the left brain. I am a scientist, a mathematician, I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate and linear. Analytic and strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.

The right brain: I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. Movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.

What are some ways you search for balance in your life? Is it working for you? How do you define balance?



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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!




Valerie Rumfelt

An on mission writer with winning ways to follow Jesus

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