The Kindness of Strangers

Wild, Strangers, Photo Credit:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

Last week I finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed. It has been a long time since a story has stayed with me several days after completion. As a matter of fact, I read the final chapter rather slowly as I did not want the experience to end.

The book is a memoir of Cheryl’s 1,000-mile hike through the Pacific Crest Trail.  It was during this trek that she met some remarkable people, including herself as she bore and discovered a completely new Cheryl. The stories were heartbreaking, inspiring and thought-provoking.

One of the paramount elements in this book was the ever-present kindness of strangers along the PCT. People Cheryl had never met would invite her into their homes, cabins and RVs to share a meal, let her shower and get a good night’s sleep. Storekeepers had designated areas where they allowed the hikers to set up camp for free. There were give away boxes at every stop for hikers to take what they needed and leave what was no longer useful to them on the trail.

I felt a kindred spirit with Cheryl.  Not as a hiker, no. I’m not outdoorsy enough to do something that “Wild”, ha!


The memory this book awakened was that of a 12-year old runaway, Elysia (that’s me). Living off Winchell’s donuts, sleeping in my friend’s closets or at the laundromat.

It was at this said laundromat that I had fallen asleep in the middle of the day. When I woke up, there was a couple folding their clothes with their son. “Well good morning Sleeping Beauty”, the husband said with a smile.  I shyly returned the smile. He cracked some jokes with his wife and kid and we all chuckled at something I cannot remember today.

They were done folding their clothes and had loaded them up.  The husband came back in and said that they were picking up a pizza and heading over to the park. He asked me if I would like to join them.  After a week’s diet that consisted of glazed, chocolate, powdered and sprinkled donuts  – pizza sounded just grand! I paused for a moment, thinking this could be dangerous. But I got good vibes from them so I hopped in their car and off we went.

Pepperoni pizza! Life was good. After we were all full, their son headed out to the swings. Somehow the subject came up about why I slept in the laundromat. Well, it was warm for one.  “I ran away from home.”, I said.

No judgment. They didn’t even ask me why I had taken off from home.  Though I am not sure I would have known the answer then. I am sure I was afraid of something.  It might have been big, it might have been little. The inconsistency of the parenting I was receiving was altogether confusing.  My mom might just blow one thing off or kick my ass…it was always a toss-up.

Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty “Wild” myself even at the age of 12, already smoking, drinking and doing drugs. I hated being told what I could or could not do. But these “rules” changed from moment to moment. I think my parents were just as confused as I was. I don’t blame them. Raising a bunch of teenagers can be pretty damn scary.

The lead singer of BowWoWow had the most excellent Mohawk-Mullet style haircut and I had wanted it badly. Mom said “Hell No!” Being the rebellious young woman I was, I normally would have just gone out and had it cut anyway.  But there were two things that could have happened. My mom would either yell at me and tell me how stupid that was, or she would have taken a pair of scissors and chopped the whole thing off. That very thought was enough for me to put a halt to such vain rebellion. Doing drugs was much easier to hide.

So back to this couple.  As they dropped me off at the laundromat the husband told me that they would return the following Friday. If I were still there, we could get some breakfast. It was during this breakfast that I decided it was time to go home. Having a roof over my head was worth living in uncertainty…at least for another couple of months when I would again find myself taking off.

I never saw the couple again and don’t remember their names. But their spirits show up every now and again, when a stranger smiles at me or holds the elevator that I am rushing to catch. Or when someone slows their car to let me get into their lane.


I feel there is more kindness in the world than we give credence to. The rise of social media has shown more hate than we would have liked to imagine. It is unfortunate. Yet, I believe this is because all the good people are too busy doing random acts of kindness out in the real world and have no extra time to comment on a news article. I’m okay with that.

I hope someday I will honor that couple and be a kind stranger to someone…just like they were to me.

Stay blissful my friends – E

How to be Comfortable in Your Own Skin





Lately, it has been damn hard being comfortable in my own skin. I never was one to sweat much but now…it has been uncontrollable.  I can’t stand wearing glasses due to them pinching my nose because of all this perspiration. I know it’s not just me because there are so many people complaining about the excessive heat this year. Though I would like to attribute my latest uneasiness to global warming, I will be honest with myself. This is indeed the result of hot flashes.

Being a woman truly is a blessing. I would not trade my femininity for anything in the world. The female body, well that is sometimes the cost that must be paid for the title of queen or goddess. Whichever we choose to call ourselves. From the cradle to the grave, we women have much physical discomfort. While one irritation will indeed go away, it is soon replaced by something just as annoying.  So In menopause, women no longer have to deal with the monthly visits from Aunt Flo, but cousins Bitchy and the Heat-miser are there to take our auntie’s place. No wonder we women find it so difficult to be comfortable in our own skin.

woman-2046408_640 These days I find myself asking, “Do I really need to turn the AC on at this moment?”.  Sometimes the answer is “HELL YES!!”.  Other times I decide to challenge myself. Will I survive this hot flash?  Will I melt from all this perspiration? It might sound dramatic to you but with the rise of unknown circumstances comes a bit of anxiety.  Because “This has never happened before”!

Being the warrior queen that I am, I step up to the challenge – maybe a little shaky at first. But I will prevail. I will stand my ground. I gave birth to three children after all. Now that was real pain.  I AM a warrior and my sword is love.

At every opportunity, I will allow myself to go into a full meditative state when I start breaking into a sweat. I will chant. I will send gratitude up to my God for making me a woman. For designing me to be exactly the way I am at this very moment. Because I am real.  Because I am alive. Thank you, God!

I definitely have more sureness in my feminine self than I did when I was a young, gloriously beautiful princess.  This too is part of God’s design. We women become more confident as we lose our youthful beauty.  Another fine paradox!

When I was younger I had a smoking hot body.  Now I am just a hot mess. But back then, I worried more about what other’s thought of me than I do today. Was I a good enough wife, mother, daughter?  The answer to these questions is a resounding “No”.  Of course not. I had so much more to learn about these three elements.  I also had a lot to learn about being comfortable in my own skin.

Oh! It_s Friday again. Share the love that was missing during the week. In a worthy moment of peace and bliss. S. O_SadeRead more_ https_www.spiritbutton.comfriday-weekend-q

Then there is the issue of negativity towards being a woman. A common put down is to be called a “P*ssy”. Well, what is wrong with that? Vaginas are awesome! Vaginas are powerful!  I could really take this in so many directions but that might be for another blog. Either way, We females have been taught that it is wrong to be feminine. We need to run; we need to fight not just like men but better than men.

Well, I run like a girl. I fight like a girl…and sometimes I even cry like a girl.  This is okay.  We are women and we are designed to function as such. All this excessive male energy taking over females is contributing to an already unbalanced world.

Yin and Yang represent the male and female. Where one is weak, the other is strong. This is God’s design. Stop trying to be something you are not. Embrace your feminine selves!

Now about whether or not others like us. That is none of our business. If someone stands in judgment of us, well they are really just judging themselves. Do you ever worry about people in line at the grocery store…judging you? Well, stop! They don’t even know you and you will probably never see them again. If you do, will it really matter what they think of you next week, next month, next year? You might even find that you don’t particularly like them. Nothing wrong with that.

Being comfortable in my own skin is going to bed with a clear conscience. The knowledge that I made every effort to be the best Elysia I can possibly be. No more and no less than that. No better and no worse than anyone else. If I had made every effort to repair any poor actions or inactions and made a note to do better next time, I can sleep in peace…That is if the hot flashes don’t wake me up. But that’s not the point.

Oh! It_s Friday again. Share the love that was missing during the week. In a worthy moment of peace and bliss. S. O_SadeRead more_ https_www.spiritbutton.comfriday-weekend-q

How do we become comfortable in our own skin?

  • We remember to love and nourish our physical, mental and spiritual bodies.
  • We approach others with that same love (not like – love).
  • We take responsibility for our own actions and work to make things right with others we have offended.
  • We spend time doing for others without expecting something in return. This is called “service”.
  • We find closed-mouthed friends that we can vent our reality too. Friends who won’t judge us.
  • We become the same type of non-judgmental friend that we wish to have. Begin the change…
  • Most importantly, we have a connection to Spirit daily – with an open mind and an open heart.

Try these and let me know how it works for you.  Stay blissful my friends. – E

If you liked this,  check out: Let Go, Keep Going, or Start Over

Welcome Back my Friend


My love covers me with a soft, velvety throw preventing any befalling chill.

We cuddle next to a smoky, crackling fire.

The smell of moist earth pleasantly fills my nostrils as the sound of the fallen leaves crunch under my feet.

A spirit-filled cool breeze grasps my hands as an old friend stopping by to visit.

Autumn is indeed here to share precious moments and create new memories.

With Autumn comes craving for the taste of smooth, warm pumpkin, cooked to perfection.

Sipping on hot apple cider brings a warming glow from within.

My dear friend has brought many gifts throughout the years:

  • A brother
  • A son
  • A daughter
  • Halloween Candy
  • Bobbing for Apples
  • A new life
  • Tears
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Play

My heart is full of love for my friend! I want to share her goodness with everyone!

Because Autumn loves not just me. She loves all beings.

Take some time to say hello to Autumn and feel her presence.

Get to know how she befriends the earth, the trees and all of God’s creation.

Close your eyes and let her whisper endearing words in your ears. She’ll speak of riddles and allegories from throughout the ages.

Let her breeze kiss your lips lovingly.

Will you remember this very moment?

Time will slow down and then speed up. Our friend Autumn will be gone too soon, as she breezes in and out of our lives in her usual manner. But lament not, for she will be back in what will seem like a blink of an eye. For today, let us enjoy the hour we have with her.

Stay Blissful My Friends. – E

I Am a Warrior & My Sword is Love

I go into to battle every day with no reprieve.

A soldier, a comforter and a queen.

Only there is no hate, no enemy to despise.

From the heart is where the battles arise.

Sickness, injuries, feelings of despair;

might fall upon those in my care.

I’ll pick them up, lift them up and empower their spirit.

With a full heart and strong, willful grit.

This woman warrior truly understands fears.

I stand with courage and wipe the tears;

of those who are willing to seek support.

Anyone who asks, I am happy to assist;

with loving arms and a virtuous kiss.

In every man, woman, and child, I see God’s beautiful light.

This is more the reason I fight;

for their spirits, their hearts, and their very lives.

I’ll take on humiliating blows from they who put me down.

It might sting, rock me a bit and jostle my crown.

I straighten it, stand firm and respond with ardor.

If it helps my opponent, I will even take more.

Because I need not strike, push or shove.

I Am a Warrior and My sword is Love.

Mondays with Michael – Happy, Joyous and Free


I never knew life could be so great, never again did I think I’d have a smile on my face.
I give credit to God and the Angels, what a beautiful day.
They brought me from the dark to the light, through the Angels and God, I love the new Mike.
When I pray I always cry, tears of gratitude, I know longer want to die.
They taught me how to live, no longer selfish, I have so much to give.
I’m here to help others through the disease, you can recover, you just have to believe.
The obsession is gone, it’s a miracle.
I’m happy, Joyous, and Free…
Never Give Up…
Live 2 Love…

Sunday Shot of Bliss X. Spiritual Beauty


The thing about beauty to me is that I will never attain MY concept of beauty. I am far too imperfect. My features are too big, my body too jiggly – I could go on. Ironically, I see beauty in everything and everyone around me, but myself.

So what is beauty?

Beauty – noun, plural beauties. 1. The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

I grew up in a family that has vanity issues. We all have it. My older sister was/is very beautiful. She also suffers from bi-polar disease and borderline personality disorder. Throughout our developing years she often told me how ugly I was, pointing out my nappy hair; big nose; big lips; oh and my arms were too long for the rest of my body. I bought into it and in doing so, continued to feed my vanity.

How many years have I spent dieting, buying special makeup and hair products that guaranteed to make me look like the supermodel in the ad? Hello! I am not a supermodel!  My daughter once asked me why I don’t have any pictures of myself in my 20’s and I honestly told her that up until a few years ago, I hated taking pictures. There was one picture of me that I did like and it was a picture of my arm. My favorite picture of myself was a picture of my arm…

I have often rebelled against such vanity in an Ecclesiastical sort of way, only to be drawn back in by the latest beauty fads on the market. It is apparent in just about every form of media that I am not the only one.

“I am very dark, but lovely,  O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar,   like the curtains of Solomon.” – Song of Solomon 1:5

I feel that as a society, we are finally getting the true concept of beauty. It is not always blonde and blue-eyed. Sometimes it is short, red-haired with freckles. Sometimes it is 170 lbs. worth of beauty. But it is always love when it is looked upon with love.


So what is spiritual beauty?

I guess spiritual beauty, just as in physical beauty is seen in the eye of the beholder. Only, let that beholder be yourself today. What are your spiritual beauty ideals?  Here are a few of mine:

  • Grace and Courage under fire.
  • Kindness
  • Joyfulness
  • Gratitude
  • A person who takes care of her spiritual, mental and physical health.
  • Women who empower each other and lift each other up.
  • Love and respect for ALL of God’s creation.
  • Passion for a cause.
  • Love of family and of God.

Beauty in the Moment

It is often recommended that we focus on the moment. So while we are doing something as basic as rinsing those vegetables in the colander while preparing our meals, let us pay attention to all the senses surrounding this activity. Let us take a moment to acknowledge the love we are putting into this meal. In this love and nurturing of ourselves and others, we will know our true spiritual beauty. Because beauty is simple as it is stunning…it all depends on the moment.

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony

In beauty I walk

With beauty before me I walk

With beauty behind me I walk

With beauty above me I walk

With beauty around me I walk

It has become beauty again

Hózhóogo naasháa dooShitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa dooShikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa dooShideigi hózhóogo naasháa dooT’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa dooHózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’

Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me

I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.

I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.

I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.

I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.

I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me may I walk.

With beauty behind me may I walk.

With beauty below me may I walk.

With beauty above me may I walk.

With beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.

My words will be beautiful…

Stay Blissful My Friends! – E

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Does Music Soothe A Savage Beast?


Curious to this often misquoted text, which actually is written as follows “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage BREAST” I wonder if William Congreve mis-spelled the words. Because, I do believe that music does indeed tame or soothe the savage BEAST.

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. – 1Samuel 16:23

With this thought, I am reminded of one of my not so better moments in life. A bus ride to Sybil Brand Institute for Women back in 1990.  Having not paid a fine, I was sentenced to 10 days at this facility. Oh joy. How I have managed to chose the hard lessons in life.

This was to be quite a long day, being booked in the Van Nuys, CA courthouse then off to holding for several hours with a diverse group of women who had a lot to talk about, shout about and fight about. Now I am known to have a mouth of a sailor but even I could not compete with the vicious expletives being tossed around. Everyone was smoking, cursing, yelling, spitting and just being genuinely obnoxious.

We all had our own histories of traumas, drug use and such. I don’t believe I was better or worse than any other woman there. I was just…well a little bit quieter. That says a lot about where I was at the time. Because quiet is not a word often used to describe Elysia. But on this day, I was observing.

The young girl, who could not have been much older than 18 told us about how she was ready to give up her child to the system for good, though she was pretty sure that  she was done with drugs for good this time. When we got to SIW, she would find out they were kicking her loose and made sure to let us all know she would be thinking of us while she “sparked up that first rock”.

There was the woman who was arrested for child endangerment because of the amount of guns her husband had in the home. She was informed by another woman of the inevitability of getting jumped and then put into protective custody.

Oh and this one homeless girl who had been busted for using and was wearing an upside-down sweatshirt for pants. She was a bit off in her humor I might add, using her attire as part of her jokes…

The girl I was to be handcuffed to on the bus was a heroin addict and in the beginning stages of “kicking”. She would soon be sick and get an uncontrollable bloody nose. The girl sitting behind us would soon get a bloody nose as well, but not from that kind of kicking. She would be getting her ass kicked by a couple of guards due to her belligerent manner.

Even during all this, I held no judgment for any of these women. I understood the reality of their lives – our lives. If only they could be, well a little bit quieter…

Finally the moment arrived for us to get on the bus. I thought it was nice that the driver had KOST 103.5 playing on the radio. Though it was difficult to hear the music behind all the loud voices of my co-passengers. “Biiiitch! I been looking for you!” and “That’s the hoe that has my old man’s kid”!

Then it happened. Daryl Hall and John Oat’s “One on One” began to play. A collective sigh moved amongst us. And everyone knew the lyrics! A beautifully soft chorus sang out. It was truly sweet indeed!

I’m tired of playing on the team
Ooh-It seems I don’t get time out anymore – Whoa-oh-oh (yes they sang that part too)
What a change if we set the pace face to face
No one even trying to score – Whoa-oh-oh (yes they sang that part too)
Oh oh I can feel the magic of your touch
And when you move in close a little bit means so much
Ooh yeah, you’ve got to understand baby
Time out is what I’m here for 

One on one I wanna play that game tonight
One on one I know I wanna play that
One on one I wanna play that game tonight
One on one so slow”

I laughed a little, definitely smiled…as I sang alongside these savage beasts who were women just like me. We were making poor choices with our lives. Some choices because we didn’t know any better and some because well, we didn’t care enough about ourselves to do otherwise.

My life is much different these days. I am happy to say that was the last bus ride to jail I have ever taken. Though, I will always smile when that song is played on the radio. Reflecting on a moment that was instantly changed from humiliating to soothing. Music indeed had tamed our savageness, for at least a few minutes.

Enjoy the music and stay blissful my friends! – E

We Can Do Whatever We Want

The question is, should we do whatever we want?  No, stop looking at that person you like to judge, and stop lowering your head to the one who judges you. See everything is permissible as 1 Corinthians 10:23 says. But there is more! Keep reading…

Everything is permissible, but not everything is-PA-EVALDIVIA8

Being an alcoholic and an addict, I can certainly relate. There are so many people I know who can drink in a manner we refer to as “moderation”. As for me, there is no moderation – though I tried to convince myself otherwise several times. So it is not beneficial for me to drink alcohol. The same thing applies to sugar. My husband buys cookies and can eat a total of three. I’m already on my sixth before he has finished.  Sugar is now un-beneficial to my physical health.

On the other hand, my husband can only eat small portions of meat while I can eat quite a bit. Funny thing is, as I am on this Paleo type of diet the hubby tries to convince me that I shouldn’t eat as much beef. So as long as I chose to do me and he chooses to do him, we have total peace in the home. See some things are beneficial for one person yet not beneficial for the next.

There are countless fad diets out there and some that actually work. What we have to be conscious of is what works for ourselves as individuals. There are countless recovery programs out there for addicts and alcoholics. Again, we must choose what works for our very own personal needs.

dharma wheel

“Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. (What are the two?) There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable.

“Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata (The Perfect One) [1] has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment and to Nibbana. And what is that Middle Path realized by the Tathagata…? It is the Noble Eightfold path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. This is the Middle Path realized by the Tathagata which gives vision, which gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment, and to Nibbana.” – SN 56.11 PTS: S v 420 CDB ii 1843 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion

The Middle Path is an appealing option. How many of us have tried starvation diets, only to find ourselves sick from binge eating? I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to quit drinking and using followed by a much worse relapse. Some of these relapses lead me straight the hospital. So I avoid these types of extremes and abstain just one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.

So while all things are permissible – ask yourself if there is something that is no longer beneficial to your mind, heart, spirit or health.  Whether it is food, drink, lifestyle, and even relationships. Then search out a way that works for you to move on.  Once you set your plan in motion; remember you can do this one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.

Now Go – And Stay Blissful My Friends – E

Wake Up!



Sometimes it feels like my eyes are closed even when they are open. My mind and body fighting for control. My body wants to awaken but my mind, well not so much. I must explain that I am a skilled master in the art of sleeping. A few of my friends used to call me “The Dreamer” when we were young. Yes, I love the many places I visit while in a state of slumber.

But the name of this article is “Wake up”, not “Goodnight”, and shit gets done in the conscious world. That is where the action is.


“Wake up, wake up, Deborah!    Wake up, wake up, break out in song!

Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.” – Judges 5:12

Deborah ranks among the most famous women of the bible. She was a warrior as well as a judge.  In Judges 4, Deborah instructs Barack to “Go take with you ten thousand men of Naptali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor”, and God would deliver Sisera and his army into Barak’s hands. Barak’s reply was “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go. This is an indication of Barak’s high regard for Deborah.

Deborah agrees to go along saying “Certainly I will go with you. But because of the course, you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” This prophesy proves to be true, as Sisera was eventually assassinated by a widow named Jael. Deborah’s courage and wisdom brought about 40 years of peace for the Israelites.

I want to be like Deborah! Don’t you? Well, the first thing we must do: Wake up! Then we suit up and show up for life. Are you lingering in the dream-world today? It’s an honest question. What are your dreams? What actions can you take today toward achieving those dreams?  I asked myself this earlier this year. The answer was always, “It’s just not the right time.” So at 1:00 AM on a Saturday, I purchased my URL and started!

Then I made a commitment to write three times a week, with exceptions for vacations or work-related events. Just doing this has started the wheels in motion. I am not always happy with what I write, but I do it because this is what I love to do. I love to share my heart, to lift others up.


Isaiah 60 is a powerful promise. One of which I love most, being the vain woman I am (just keeping it real):

“Then you will look and be radiant,   your heart will throb and swell with joy;” – IS 60:5a

 This promise is better than any miracle skin serum I have heard of!  But seriously, Isaiah 60 encompasses God’s mercy and our redemption. Mercy that which we have not earned. Redemption from our old bad behaviors and selfishness. Directing us from shame, ridicule and violence into joy, calm and peace. I think we can all identify with shame and low self-esteem at some point in our lives. I also know that most of us just want to be happy and to be at peace with all of God’s creation. Hard to imagine the possibility with all the negativity on TV and social media. But it is attainable. We can get there.


Again, we first must WAKE UP!! Did you know that the word Buddha means “Awakened one” or “Enlightened one”?  Enlightenment is compared to waking up because we suddenly experience a complete transformation of body and mind when we wake up. Are you ready to be transformed?

Any kind of transformation will do? Maybe a new hobby, a better diet, a new career, a vacation or retreat to plan. Wake up! And Go!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E