Book review: What I know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

February 10, 2015

I have always admired Oprah Winfrey and the difference she has made in so many lives.  She shows honesty, vulnerability, spirituality and wisdom.  When I saw her book at the library, I thought it might be a good read, but wasn’t expecting the degree of insights this woman shared.  She also had a way of making me feel like I was sitting next to a good friend, who understood my journey.  Some of the topics she discusses are possibility, gratitude, connection, and power.

Though I have heard it before, her writings on gratitude, made me start looking at things in a different way, and I have started to pay more attention to what I am grateful for.  “Here’s the gift of gratitude:  In order to feel it, your ego has to take a backseat.  What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding.  Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation.  And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for” (page 79).

Lately, I have been experiencing more physical pain and fatigue. Much of this is do to some increased stress in my life as a result of some choices I made.  It can be hard to see the gratitude when I can feel so empty inside.  Yet, when I look around, every day brings something beautiful and a source of life.  I see this through calls and texts from friends, through looking outside at the trees blowing in the wind, and through reading books that make me go “aha”, I want to live this way.

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Gratitude for silence

November 13, 2013

I love the sound of music, of children laughing, of cheers at a sporting event.  Hearing life is an amazing thing.  I also really appreciate the stillness of a quiet moment to reflect and hear my own thoughts.  To contemplate something greater – something spiritual around me and within me.  To hear the wisdom that brings clarity to a problem.  To look around at the beauty of creation, to see what surrounds me, to look at the details that I often overlook, to be aware of my feelings.  Being able to remain in the silence can be a way to let go and accept what is.

I am grateful for my walk yesterday, where I turned off the headphones, and took in the silence.  I felt refreshed, gained some new insights, and enjoyed the beautiful fall day.  May I remember to step away from life’s busyness periodically to take a moment to breathe in what is around me….


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.


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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