Today’s Gratitude – The little moments

November 5, 2013

Often the best things in life happen in the everyday moments. My favorite of yesterday was my daughter, Lindsey, laying at my feet by the kitchen table talking about how nice it is to lay on the floor.  About five minutes later I decided to join her and we cuddled underneath our kitchen table for a while.  It reminded me of something we would do as children, the simplicity of life in hiding.  We tried to recruit my other daughter, who decided this was a little too much.

I find that a lot of the best times in life, are taking the time to capture a moment.  Fortunately this is something that can work with whatever challenges we have in life.  I find that having fibromyalgia has made me more aware of my surroundings as I am moving at a slower pace.  There is more time for the cuddles, the conversations, and to watch for clues that something might be off-balance.

May we take the time to grasp the moments.

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Thanksgiving – Gratitude reflection

November 4, 2013

Hi fellow bloggers and readers,

Gratitude posts on Facebook have become popular these past few days.  Call me a little slow at times, but I was surprised when two of my friends both started gratitude lists.  It appears that November is a great month to focus on gratitude.  I have found myself pulling away from my spiritual morning practices as well as writing.  It is easy to get caught in all the activities and to be so worn out all I want to do is play computer games or relax with a good book.  Though this isn’t a bad thing, I find myself becoming more anxious and resentful when I don’t nourish myself.

Since it is day 4 of the month of gratitude, I will look back over the past few days to catch up.  I like writing the day after, so I can look for the blessings in each day.

1.  Gratitude for Friday:  Friday is my day of working as a caregiver for a lovely lady named Betty.  I am extremely grateful to have met Betty.  I have a job that nourishes me, with a woman filled with much wit, grace and wisdom.  It is the first time since my fibromyalgia diagnosis, where I worked in an environment that seemed to work with my limitations.  Though it is still hard to work when I hurt and am tired, I find that I also come home nourished and feel like I found something that works for both of us.

2.  Gratitude for Saturday:  Saturday is soccer day.  I am grateful for all the great kids I coach, and the coaches that dedicate so much of their time to enriching the lives of young women.  I enjoy their energy, dedication and willingness to learn.  I am also grateful that somehow physically this is something I can still do.  I come home feeling better after time outdoors being somewhat active and having great conversations with 12 and 13 year olds.

3.  Gratitude for Sunday:  Sunday was a day spent with my family.  Whether we are coaching together, eating, doing fun activities, talking or just hanging around, I am grateful for my husband and 2 daughters.  I am grateful that we enjoy each other, and that my daughters still like to spend time with us.  I am grateful for the young women they are becoming, caring, compassionate, energetic, smart and athletic.

Wishing you all a day of gratitude.  May we find the good in what today brings.


Health updates and daily life with chronic pain

May 3, 2013

I have been doing a lot of writing today.  It is feeling therapeutic as I take some time to reflect and surrender.  I have been battling several colds and injuries that have kept me less mobile, so writing is a better use of my time then all the computer games I have been playing.

I have written over the past 6 months in my blog about various changes I have made to my life to improve my health.  I have been more careful about my food about 70% of the time.  This means that I aim to eat really healthy most of the time, but still have my treats.  I have been eating various foods from the Medifast program, as well as taking the Raw Meal Powder to make shakes for my morning meals.  I find that a Raw Meal Shake is a great way to start the day (adding fruit and yogurt), and the Medifast desserts are a great way to end my day.  In the morning, I have about 5 cups by my computer – 2 shakes (can’t ever make it small enough), water, coffee, and sometimes airborne and/or tea.  Let’s say, I clear the system early with all the trips to the bathroom. In the afternoon/evening I tend to go for some protein (fish, veggie burgers, occasional red meat/chicken).  I use cottage cheese and salsa on a lot of things.  Those veggies are still hard to get in – need to add some to my shakes.  I feel better with a lower fat diet and with a moderate amount of carbs.  I would probably do even better if I could avoid the chips I had today.  I am brainstorming on how to pack my weird foods to work next week.  Maybe if I bring the salad, I will be forced to eat my veggies.

Exercise has slowed recently because of illness and injury.  I joined a soccer team to work on my personal soccer skills, but have missed a few weeks.  I also play racquetball, but this may not work anymore with my work schedule and other issues that have come up.  I love this type of activity because I feel more like playing than working out.  I enjoy the P90X weight routines, because they start out simple and progress.  When I am sick, I can go to an easier plan.  When I am able to keep a regular routine I can add time and intensity.

My pain has felt much better lately.  I had some work done on my back that has helped tremendously in working through the knots and tension.  Though I still ache, much of the time it is mild.  Once or twice a week the pain will affect my sleep.  The other times my sleep is effected is usually my own stress, or the cats sleeping at my feet.

I have been struggling more with the emotional and mental challenges.  I can’t always cope well with the stress around me, and can find myself discouraged and slightly depressed when I am sick for days on end.  I am doing more reading and have rejoined a support type of group which will be helpful.  I will however lose some of my other support when I return to work.  In many ways, I believe work will give me some time not to over focus on things, at the same time it could wear me down.  Keeping myself spiritually and value focused will be important so I don’t self defeat.

I am enjoying the warmer weather and more time outdoors.  Oregon is beautiful this time of year, and energizes me.  We have a few weeks of down time before my commitments pick up, so hopefully grace will follow me into the busy time of the year.

Blessings.  ET


Unwelcomed Memories

May 3, 2013

I lay here awake, feeling trapped in my memories.  Being triggered into flashbacks, and reminders of days gone by.  I try to escape the pain through activities or modes of tuning out yet they remain to block me from fully engaging in the moment or connecting with people intimately.  Sometimes life feels too complicated and too difficult to let people in.

I am taken back to my youth, when I was in high school.  A time of great confusion and a time of tremendous growth.  I was taken in by an incredible spiritual mentor who nourished me in my faith, and took the time to learn about who I was.  I trusted him, I needed him.  He taught me much about relationships, spirituality and life.  But some how through it all, it started to feel more complicated.  In many ways it felt similar to dating.  Too much time alone in places not meant to be – his house, with his family, many car trips and the adventure to the camping area where he baptised me.

One event changed everything, yet it changed nothing.  The beauty of denial and the inability to grasp the reality of that which you hope to not understand.  I am not sure how the trip to the camp site came to be, but I remember him driving us to Clark Creek, which was at least a 30 minute drive from where we lived.  When we arrived we walked around the campground where we had youth camp where I recommitted my life to Christ, then to the creek where I was baptised.  He persuaded me to take a swim with our clothes on in the creek.  It was really cold, and I remember feeling uncomfortable yet enjoyed the time together.  When we went to the car, my clothes were clinging to my body from the dampness.  He wrapped something around me (a sweatshirt I believe) and ended up touching me on my breast.  I felt fear and vulnerability of what was to come, especially since we were alone by the creek miles from home.  He was my youth pastor, this wasn’t making sense. He proceeded to act like nothing happened and we drove home.  I thought it must have been an accident, yet the situation created a sense of wonder.  What will happen next?  Can I trust him anymore?  What really happened?  Everything changed, yet it seemed the same.  I continued to see him for many more years, both alone and with his family or other youth.

It has been over 20 years ago that this situation took place, yet I can see that it created spiritual blocks that are difficult to break.  Though I can’t blame him for all of my spiritual conflicts, I realize it contributed to my personal trauma when it comes to the church and spiritual leaders.  It didn’t help that my family life also had inconsistencies of spirituality and dysfunction which probably drew him to me in the first place.   I have spent years in therapy, spiritual work and doing personal recovery, yet I feel at a loss of how to completely heal the wombs.  A few years back I attempted to reach out to some of the church leaders in this church, and to my former youth pastor, but resistance and denial indicated that more loss was likely than personal gain from any connection to these people about our relationship.  I am not sure why I expected more, I just assumed that someone (besides my therapist) would be interested in what I had to say.  Regardless, his complete denial and defensiveness of any outings taking place, made it pretty clear that he wasn’t willing or able to look honestly at what happened.

So where do I go from here?  There is no answer really, as not everything has a clear pathway.  I can continue to seek healing, and remember that brokenness in all of us, including myself.  I have done many things in which I regret, and am grateful for the forgiveness, love and grace I have received.  My heart somehow has to find the balance between openness and being aware, allowing the Spirit in, while being discerning of what isn’t God but the humanness of people.  I pray that God will bring healing to each of us on this path of finding freedom and peace through the brokenness of our past, and our current reality.  There is always hope – hope for a brighter day!


Stuck in Time – Roles we play

February 25, 2013
Solid Rock

Solid Rock

As I have run into many old friends and acquaintances this past week, I am reminded of how I feel stuck in a time zone. I have played a variety of roles over the years, and built many relationships. Different situations and time periods have brought out different parts of who I am or who people perceive me to be or how I perceive them to perceive me (generally not the same thing). When I run into a variety of people from different time zones, or different role periods, I find myself confused, as if I am struggling to feel solid in my identity.

Over the past 14 years I have belonged to a community of people from a place I call my “church home”. I love what the church brings – hope, love, faith, service, community, strength, and relationships. It also brings for me confusion, judgement, conflict, vulnerability, and questions about my beliefs and experiences. In my church home, I have gone through periods of sporadic involvement, little involvement, outsider, regular attendee and active leader. In many ways, the best and worst parts of me have been known in this community I call my “church home”.

As I walk the halls of the church building I feel like the wind is blowing in a variety of directions. I see teenagers and girls who are in my coaching world. The place of today, and where I spend much of my extra hours and devotion. I also run into people who were active in a mom’s group which I led, or a committee I was on, where we connected together for a purpose and passion. Then I turn around to the people who were around in the middle of my darker/addicted mind-set, watching me spin out of control. Next to them might be the person who recalls my early fibromyalgia days, and has compassion for my illness. And then, almost worse than the rest, is the new leaders and attenders, who are completely unaware of my existence and history, seeing me as “the newbie” or “nonexistent”. I can’t make sense of the history and the various feelings that emerge from within. How do I change and intersect these places, and block out the negativity that can haunt and paralyze me?

I often believe that the healing and transformation is in the process. Perhaps all my feelings are a way for me to be more graceful to myself and just step into the fears that permeate my whole being. I tend to believe that I have to do something to make up for the things I did that were destructive to my soul and hurtful to others. It is easy to simplify people’s responses, when I move into a shame based center. When I find my own place of peace, is allows me to be more centered and have a better balance of inward and outward focus. I may still feel the fear and shame, but my decision won’t come from that place. Maybe things will change for me if I look to receive the grace and love, than to question or seek to understand the complicated thoughts and feelings of another towards me.

I feel ready to get out of this zone. I honestly don’t know how this will happen – but I aim to at least see the next layer. Instead of focusing on what I perceive from others and the role I am playing, I can focus on the vision for myself and where the Spirit leads me in that moment. It isn’t a battle to win, I have nothing to prove to myself – this is about being open – about seeking to grow and build relationships with this community I am in. It doesn’t have to look a certain way, and I may not ever be “the leader” I once was, yet I can be someone with greater love and grace that continues to transform me from within.


living life as a coach with fibromyalgia

February 18, 2013

The winter months have been busy with coaching activities. I am an assistant coach with 3 teams, 2 soccer and 1 basketball. It sounds a bit crazier than it really is. Most days it is helping navigate young female sport players around the field or court. I enjoy the physical activity and interacting with players and coaches in a healthy atmosphere. There are usually several girls who enjoy having a female coach around (most of the other coaches are male), though I tend to be structured and disciplined, I also connect on the emotional level. My favorite thing about being a coach is connecting with the players and building them up. My second favorite is the team dynamic, and strategizing on how to create a stronger team by building on the strengths and working through the challenges of the individuals.

My biggest challenge tends to be dealing with the mental processing and dealing with conflicts that arise. Since I don’t know the game of basketball real well, it takes a lot out of me to learn the fundamentals and think about what I can do to help. Though overall the conflicts with players and coaches are pretty mild, issues still arise. As a coach, I want to make an impact on the individuals, and when I say something I wish I hadn’t said, or missed an opportunity to build a player up, I feel disappointed in myself. With about 15 coaches in the 3 teams, it is a lot of personalities to deal with, especially when I prefer to please. There is some simplicity with men, in they appear to be more direct and move on, I also realize we can be a different species, and find myself longing for a girls’ night out. Any stress (whether real or perceived) or mental challenges can zap my limited energy, and increase my pain level.

I have also been trying to build a health coaching business. I absolutely love coaching people, but don’t care for the networking aspect. I am constantly battling inner conflicts of my own values and insecurities. I believe in the food program/healthy living that is the core of the business I am trying to establish, but also realize it isn’t for everyone trying to lose weight/become healthy. I personally have felt better as I am trying to change my eating habits, and am able to do things like coach 3 teams. I love being fit and healthy. Because I am uncomfortable promoting to people, I feel like a failure because I don’t know where to find people who would be interested in such a program, and don’t want to overemphasize weight loss because it can imply that I am criticizing people. I find myself completely shutting down, and realize this has little to do with my current reality. I will keep attempting to deal with the inner conflicts so I can see more clearly what direction to move here.

I am grateful to be so involved with my family. Did I mention my husband is a coach on two of the teams? It really is a family affair in the coaching world. I think back to 7 years ago when I spent a great deal of time on the couch resting from the daily activities and energizing myself so I can connect with those around me. Though I was still involved with my family, it was much more difficult to engage in the outside world. There is no magical cure, and it takes a great deal of soul-searching each day to determine where to invest my energy. Some days it seems to work, other days, not so sure. I will keep trying, keep searching, keep praying, to find the balance and build those relationships.  In the meantime I will keep making those memories on the field and on the court.


Merry Christmas everyone

December 24, 2012

Hi, my fellow writers and readers.  I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.

The last few weeks, it seems everything has gone by quickly.  Lots of distractions in the holiday preparations – shopping, baking, decorating and seeing friends and family.  My routine and diet have been changed, and order seems to be less predictable.  At times this has been great fun, and other days it can be a challenge to keep up.

We plan on spending the holidays with family members, and making phone calls to our loved ones.  We tend to spread it out over a few days, as it is less chaotic and makes for easier and more meaningful conversations with people.  We spend more time playing games with the kids, and cooking/baking in the kitchen.  We enjoy a Christmas service and reflecting on what matters to us.

Christmas is one of those holidays where I like to create the best of memories.  I hope for family peace, family fun and a sense of the Spirit around me.  I enjoy giving and receiving the gifts from people who care about me.

As much as I hope for the best of memories, often the holidays can bring sadness and anxiety.  Life is full of conflicts, losses, personality conflicts, past issues, and health problems.  The more I can accept this as part of what makes us who we are the more I can dive into the greater meaning of Christmas.

Christmas for me is about love, peace, forgiveness and hope in my relationships with God and other people.  It isn’t about perfection, finding the best gift, or having a life without conflict.  As I learn to see God’s light shining like a star, in the midst of what is before me, the clearer vision I will have of how to reflect and act in the moment in front of me.  I pray that this season guides me to what is of most importance, bringing a foundation for the start of another year.

Merry Christmas All.  Elissa


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