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.

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

 

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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.

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.”



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.



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.

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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.



Still searching…

 

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.



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