Gratitude – Explore and discover something new

November 12, 2013

Had a fun day yesterday with my daughters.  It was a day off to recognize the Veteran’s who have served for our country.  Much of yesterday reminded me of the beauty of something new.

My oldest daughter, will be joining FC Portland to play some competitive soccer.  It was fun to watch her excitement picking up her new uniforms and the wonder of what the season will be like with a new team.  She has never played at this level, so much to learn as we navigate through the new channels.

When we came home, we decided to go for a walk along some nature trails in our neighborhood.  They had added some new trails that we haven’t been on before.  It was fun to explore the path (and the non-path), go over the bridge, and meet a friendly cat along the way.

My younger daughter, had this desire to learn to be goalie for her soccer team.  We went to the local high school and shot some goals on her.  She was a trooper trying to figure out how to slide, catch the air balls, and anticipate where the ball was going.  Love her spirit and desire to try something new, whether this is for the weekend, or the season.

May we take some time to look for new opportunities, new experience and new memories.


Gratitude – technology and the ability to text…

November 9, 2013

I have enjoyed using my phone as a quick way to check in with friends when life seems overwhelming or to encourage me in my day.  I find if I send a text to a friend before doing something stressful, than I have more strength for the journey.  If I have a rough day, or feel upset by something I can give a quick vent, and continue to address what I need to do.  I have a few friends that are also my texting friends, where we check in with each other periodically.  Texting is quick, can be done in a minute or two, and readily available.

As much as I love texting, it only works for me as a supplement for relationships that are already strong.  The reason it works, is because it supports conversations we have already had, and a relationship that has been built by regular visits and conversations.  It is meant for the positive, not for debates or conflicts – this is much better dealt with in person.   It feels like twitter – where you give a few sentences reminding you of what is most important.


Gratitude for Friends who understand

November 7, 2013

I had a great conversation with my friend, Lavelle, yesterday.  It was one of those conversations where you are completely in tuned with one another, and understand where the other person comes from.  There were many times I couldn’t believe she was expressing exactly what I felt or had been thinking about.  She is insightful, smart, always wanting to learn and grow, and makes me laugh.  I am so grateful to have Lavelle in my life.  We have gone through many challenges over the years, and somehow we seem to keep coming back to a common place.  Thanks Lavelle.  

In my life of chronic pain, I have found that friends and support are extremely valuable.  Though not everyone understands my pain and the physical problems I go through, I have many friends that keep me going through the day to day stuff.  I have other friends that are involved in my soccer world, friends that center around my children, and friends I have met in groups I am part of.  Many of my family members also feel like friends, sharing a common bond.  

I may not always understand why some friends last for a season and others for the long haul.  Often it seems to be a willingness to work through what comes our way, common values, and to be open minded in forgiving.  Most of my relationships have gone through conflict, some pretty difficult ones.  When there is communication we can move forward, learn about ourselves and others, and move towards healing.  Willing to look into how we contribute to the problem and what issues may be related to something else seems to help.  Also being willing to give some grace and compassion, realizing many things in life aren’t always understood and don’t always need to be talked through.  Some areas of life we may not agree upon, and it doesn’t help to keep hashing it out or trying to change a person’s point of view.   Keeping focused on the strengths of the other person and how they enrich my life is helpful, humor is also of great benefit.  


Gratitude – moments of solitude to rejuvenate

November 6, 2013

Yesterday was a busy day with lots of activity.  It is hard for me to mentally and physically keep up on these types of days.  My body feels worn out and my mind can barely process.  Fortunately in the middle of it, I was able to find some time to refresh myself.

One of my favorite parts of the day is the morning.  I drink a Raw Meal Powder shake with some yogurt and fruit and have a great cup of Starbucks coffee.  I hang at the computer and write, catch up on Facebook, play computer games, read and listen to inspirational music.  It gives me a chance to wake up (something that takes awhile with Fibromyalgia) and also prepare myself for the day.

I am grateful for these moments to rejuvenate and refresh my heart and mind.  I generally do best if I have some solitude in the morning, early afternoon and evening before bed.  If I have a busy day of activity, I tend to go in overload, and will need longer periods that day or the following day.  Though I wish to be less tired, I am grateful that my fatigue can lead me to more moments of reflection and solitude that enriches my soul.


Seeking something spiritual I can hold on to

November 5, 2013

This past week I have been thinking a lot about what spirituality looks like and how to move beyond my own distortions of what a God/The Spirit looks like.  Often when I think about God, I think of someone who is allusive, uncaring, judgmental and unfair.  Though my religious upbringing was filled with many wonderful spiritual connections and memories, when the road gets tough it is easy for me to focus more on those who have hurt and failed me, and the teachings that seem to leave me stuck.

How do I surrender my life to something that doesn’t feel solid?  Where do I find this rock that feels real and brings me peace?  For me it begins with finding a little bit of openness, to watching for the spiritual, for sensing what works.  What truths brings me to grace and love?  If I can clear the slate, something new may be able to enter.

What I want to believe, what feels spiritual to me:  There is something powerful and spiritual when I look at the mountains and the ocean, when the leaves change in the fall, when thunder strikes in the sky, when plants grow, and when a baby is born.  I also feel a spiritual power when I truly connect with people, when I take in love and grace, when a coincidence seems beyond my understanding, when I meet a soul mate, when wisdom and clarity come in a time of need.  I can feel something different when I hear or read a truth, when people’s lives are an inspiration, when someone forgives me for my wrongdoings, when I give grace from somewhere beyond me.  I feel something powerful when in a meeting of people sharing their hardships and people give compassion and kindness, when I am meditating, when I am listening to inspirational music, when I move forward in recovery and healing.  I feel a sense of humanity and spirit when I am humble, serving others, in need, and vulnerable.   There is something amazing that happens in yoga and when running, being intuned to my body and what has been given to me.  I feel a release when I am grateful.

I can trust that the Spirit is not people, things or places.  It can be in all of these things, but it is not these things.  People bring both the spirit and the human, religious people do the same.  None of us can claim to truly know all about the spirit or about his/her truths – this is why it is called faith.

May the truth continue to reveal itself to me, may the Spirit guide me today.


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.


Step 1 unmanagability and powerlessness

November 4, 2013

Having chronic pain is something I am powerless over and can’t always manage.  I have good days and bad days.  The good days make me feel like I am able to function well, I feel healthy, and empowered to accomplish my goals and build relationships with people around me.  On my not so good days, I see the pain and fatigue show up in my life limiting me from doing what I want, but still able to function overall.  On the really bad days, I feel depressed, get tired of crashing, and seek the quick and often unhealthy escapes.

Powerlessness is what happens physically to my body.  Fibromyalgia has a path of its own that I don’t always understand.  Certain activities and situations can draw me into an overwhelming sense of fatigue and pain that at times can catch me off guard.  Though I can limit this pain to some degree by watching my stress, exercising, being healthy, managing activities, it will always be there ready to be activated.  Sickness and unintended stress can sometimes seem to come from no where, causing me to become more aware of this thing inside my body.

Unmanagability is what happens in my life because of my chronic pain.  When my fibromyalgia is in full force my life can revolve around my pain and fatigue and often other areas get neglected.  The more I try to control it,it can just make it worse as too much activity just wears me down.  When things feel totally out of control, I seek to escape this feeling and don’t always have the capacity to make good choices.  I get really tired and can’t  think straight, and don’t always care anymore to make the needed effort.

As depressing as this all sounds to me, seeing the reality allows me to look for a new solution.  I can be aware of what is beyond my own ability, and surrender this to God, a spiritual power, to the earth, to friends, or something that brings a sense of release.  Then I look at what I can do to keep my fibromyalgia in check as best as I can, and prepare for those days where life seems to sweep me under.  Often for me this is finding my support network, reaching within myself and seeking something spiritual.  If something isn’t working, seeking the truth of it, allows me to search for something better.  May today, I focus on what brings me peace and health, and prepare myself for the darker days with grace, wisdom and compassion.


Accepting my imperfect body

November 4, 2013

It is difficult for me at times to accept my body for its imperfections.  From a young age, I have struggled with focusing on whatever wasn’t right with my body.  This could be weight, being too tall, not being good at a particular sport, or having a bad hair day.  Our society is very focused on the physical, and a perfect physical body often appears to be a perfect person.

Each day my body seems to fail me, I have to find a sense of compassion and grace.  What I had hoped for, is not always what reality is.  My body can hurt in situations it shouldn’t hurt, can wear out before I want it to, can limit my activities because I am too tired, or lead me to do things I would rather not do.  I can’t always control what comes my way, and this powerlessness can result in frustration.  If I can find a way to bring some acceptance and love to the less than, I will have more compassion for myself and be able to integrate all that my body is.  When I bring love to myself, this also flows out to others around me.  I become less judgmental, able to focus on the more important things in life.

Today, I will try to be more aware of when I put shame upon myself.  I will strive for serenity, accepting the things I cannot change, and making changes in the areas I can.


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.


Memoir Book review: The Invisible Girls

August 24, 2013

I enjoyed reading the book Invisible Girls by Sarah Thebarge.  Her memoir read like a diary, where I felt like I entered into her world and hardships.  The memoir was an interesting contrast and comparison between her personal struggles with breast cancer, spirituality, relationships and infertility with the struggles of a family (mother and five daughters) she met on the train from Somali.  Her honesty and ability to dig deep into her thoughts and feelings pulled me into her book, gaining new understandings along the way.

I have had many encounters with people from other countries including refuges.  Sarah, however, allowed me to really picture the culture and language clash with her details of everyday situations.  I was inspired by Sarah’s humility of what she didn’t know and her willingness to keep trying to help in a situation that wasn’t simple.

I could relate to many of the spiritual challenges Sarah talked about in her story.  Though I can see blessings all around me, it can be hard to feel God with health issues, unemployment and Cancer that is abundant with family and friends.  My mind and heart don’t always connect with the questions that only seem to provide a glimpse of answers when I look at the Sun and the Stars.  Many of the spiritual clichés that I have grown up with seem to bring further disconnect from the God in which I hope is watching over me.  I could feel my heart’s brokenness yet a glimpse of encouragement as her memoir seemed to illustrate a Spirit that resided within her.


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