I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Best Bran Muffins Ever!!!

I wanted to cook something with the beautiful organic carrots from my mother's garden...
I used Martha White Honey Bran muffin mix as a base...

And I used our mini Cuisinart for the first time to chop the carrots, which worked wonderfully-I just wish the mixing part had a handle!
Stirring in the carrots-they really brighten up the mixture!
Then I chopped up about a 1/2 cup of walnuts too and added them and a huge hunk of honey to the mix.
Next I put the batter into the new silicone baking pans I had just bought. At first, I was a little skeptical that they would be as great as advertised, but they are!!! Silicone baking pans are wonderful, because they cool faster than a regular metal pan, they are microwave and dishwasher safe, are non-stick-no need to grease!-but best of all to remove the muffins from the pan you just lightly push on the bottom and the muffins pop right out!
Yummy! (Although I think I'll add a little cinnamon if I make them again...)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Insomnia-Induced Poetry Session

Last night I had an extreme bout of insomnia, which is quite common for me now, what with the frequent muscle and joint aches and pains. Since all I could think of was the pain, I chose to write it down, instead of letting myself drown in a midnight pity-party. And I am so glad I did, because it enabled me to produce some poetry that I believe I can be proud of. Tell me what you think!
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Do not believe the lie

Self-Doubt
Worry
Trouble
Heartache
Panic
Death

Do not believe the lie

For once
Believed
'Tis hard
To come
Back and
LIVE.


Do not let death be your living,
But live into death with Joy!
(painting by Monica Stewart)
I am in awe of people who write happy stories
Or of suburban dramas of petulant inner turmoil
Or of the gritty horrors that happen in the imagined mind.

I, myself, can only write my own truth to power-
Which is not happy or imagined, though it is
Oftentimes the petulant cry of the little lost child
Who demands to know why her "truth to power"
Does not include more moments of humdrum happiness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Psalm 17

Hear me, O Holy Mystery!
Show Your marvelous lovingkindness
Towards all who keep your covenant.
Show it to those who do not, BUT
Do not hold back Your anger.

I love You Godde,
And I cannot wait to rest
inside Your marvelous presence.

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Click here to compare. I don't have much to say tonight, except that I hope I get more sleep than I did last night...
Also, isn't this picture beautiful?! I just love randomness and so I googled images for "loving kindness" and this was the first picture to appear and it is exactly what I was looking for. The reason this picture came up too, is because it was posted on the blog, "100 Musical Footsteps: Ascension in Music" and the poster describes and defines loving kindness followed by a lovely trio involving two flutes and a bassoon. Click on the picture to read and listen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Simple, yet Delicious-Cheesy Tuna Salad Baked on Pita Bread!

Before...

I got this idea from an article in the newspaper about kid-friendly snacks. It's a pita with a generic tuna salad on top (tuna, mayo, and pickle relish), which is smothered in shredded chedder cheese and then baked for about eight minutes. So easy, cheesy, and very satisfying! I just had to share... ;)
After!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

NAMI's Family to Family Class Now in Loganville, GA Starting Sept. 14th

The class will start on Monday, September 14th and run for 11 consecutive Mondays. (Classes 10 and 11 will be combined to keep the class from having to return on the Monday after Thanksgiving)

The class will start at 7:00 and end at 9:30 each Monday night. The doors to the class location will open at 6:30 and everyone must be out of the building by 10:00.

The class will be held in the upstairs classroom of the Dream Center of Walton & Gwinnett, which is located at 109 Lee Byrd Road, Loganville, Ga. 30052.

Brenda Vinson will be teaching this class and Alan McDaniel, president of NAMI Gwinnett, will assist her.

According to NAMI's (National Alliance for Mental Illness) website, here is the description of the class and its benefits:

Family to Family "Knowledge is Power": This is a free 12 week education course for family members, taught by NAMI-trained facilitators; it comes with a large notebook full of ways to help you understand and cope with your mentally ill loved one's disease.

A must for every family of a person with mental illness.

The course covers many topics such as:

Major brain disorders (including)
Schizophrenia
Schizoaffective
Major Depression
Bipolar Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Basics about the brain
Problem Solving Skills
Medication Review
Self Care
Communication Skills
Registration is required:
Contact Jean: 770-234-0855

This video explains the course's benefits and has many positive testimonies. It is about the Hispanic Outreach version, but it's benefits can also be applied to any Family to Family class.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Psalm 16 - "My Flesh Will Rest in Hope" - Finally! An Update on My Health!

My flesh will rest in hope
And my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

For You will not leave my soul in Hell-
You will show me the path of life and
In Your presence is fullness of joy!

At Your right hand are pleasures evermore,
Even if I cannot see them-
Even if my purse is poor,
My house small,
And I forsaken,
I know that You will provide pleasure
Greater than those housed by the flesh.

For that I praise You and
Am grateful for what will come.
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Compare this to the original at Bible Gateway - this time I even have the link set to the appropriate Psalm!
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I've gotta say that this Psalm is exactly what I need to hear right now, for my flesh-meaning my physical body in this case-is not providing me too much pleasure. Monday I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I think I've been dealing with it pretty well. I am very frustrated much of the time, but I know that with time and Godde's help, I will "make it work." (As Tim Gunn would say!)

And while I may not be exerberantly happy over my diagnosis, I am grateful for the time that I now have to do the things that are truly important for me and my recovery. I finally saw my therapist, who I hadn't seen in at least a month and I got to attend the Aftercare group at the Ridgeview Institute, AND I can continue to attend both of these functions every week if I wish! Which is a huge relief, actually. Especially with the aftercare group, as it houses some of the most supportive people in the world and I get to see a wonderful friend on a regular basis, whom through sheer business and having the wrong priorities (money over recovery), I had let our friendship slide.

Today I made banana nut muffins with my "bam!" ingredient being lots and lots of cinnamon. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to share, but rest assured that they were good!

So raise a muffin to recovery and recovered friendships!
(I used Martha White brand, because I had a coupon!!!)

This made me laugh! Bam!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Psalm 15

I asked Godde, “Who may abide in Your temple?”
And She replied, “Why, everyone honey!
Those who believe in me shall not be moved.”
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Compare it to the original by typing in Psalm 15 in the search bar at Bible Gateway. They are vastly different, but I hope you can see some similarities too.

Of course, the last line is from the song, "We Shall Not Be Moved," so I've included a video of Mavis Staple singing the song. Very powerful!



I've been having some health problems lately and had to quit my job and yet my spirit is better than has been in a while-partly, because now at least I'll have the time to look after my health...Sometime this week I'll write more about what's going on with my health.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Live in Hope-Live in Beauty

"Hope, [...]the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it."

Man, what a boring definition of hope! I haven't been feeling well since about five o'clock and since loud noises give me headaches and since there are a lot of raised voices and loud electronics in our house, I've been hiding out my room for a while now. I'm in a tough spot while living with my parents, because while I often don't want to be around loud noises, i.e. yelling and blasting electronics, I also don't want to isolate. Being around loud noises gives me a headache; isolation makes me lonely and depressed. What's a girl to do? Heck if I know!

Anyway, I was feeling pretty down and so I searched for "hope" on Google. It was sort of a silly act, but I was curious to see what results would appear. The above quote was one of the first responses and it immediately woke me up. "The desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it." Well, I suppose, technically, but where's the passion, or the, you know, "hope?!" I mean if you're looking for it, that kind of humdrum phrase just ain't going to cut it. It's the kind of definition I would expect from a dictionary, but this was from a religious site! To be fair, when I clicked on the link, the site had a much longer definition, but still-yawn!!!

Instantly, inspired by my minister's last sermon about the importance of appreciating beauty and creativity I thought of my own definition:

Hope is when one continues to live in the knowledge that life is beautiful even when everything that is felt by the senses seems like dull dust falling through one's fingertips.

Of course, if you need a movie clip to prove this point, look no further than the inspirational work by Roberto Benigni, "Life is Beautiful". If you haven't watched the whole film, do it now! Though not without a box of kleenex by your side...

For those unfamiliar with the story, it is a love story about a man with a beautiful heart who risks it all so that his son does not lose hope and all innocence while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. He pretends the whole dehumanizing experience is really just a game. The clip below is phenomenal and will make you smile.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Psalm 14

Psalm 14

O Godde, I am held captive by the foolish.
They deny Your presence.
They say that I am foolish,
And they do not seek Your goodness.

Godde, I cannot find You here,
But I can find You among the poor
Giving food to the needy.

Help the foolish ones find You there too,
For they are also in need.

I love You, Godde;
Save Your people!
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Compare it to the original at http://www.biblegateway.org

My version of the Psalm reminded me of the song, "Save the People" from my favorite musical, Godspell. In case, you're not familiar with the story line, the guy with the bucket represents John the Baptist and he's just baptized Jesus. The dude wearing the Superhero shirt who does most of the singing is Jesus. This version is from a high school musical and I thought they were pretty good! My only complaint is that the musical is known for having really wild and fun outfits, while these kids just dressed in plain hippie clothes. Not nearly outrageous enough. Unfortunately, the videos on youtube that had the costumes perfect had singers which were out of tune! Good singing trumps costumes every time, in my opinion... Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Have You Seen Elizabeth Monika Hunter?!

Cross-posted at What About Our Daughters

*I saw this announcement from the blog, Acts of Faith in Love and Life and felt obliged to share it:

15 year-old Elizabeth Monika Hunter

has been staying with relatives in Capitol Heights, MD and is now missing as of midnight August 3rd. Her sister Renee Jennings sent a private email that’s been forwarded requesting help. Hopefully we can get this cross-posted at several blogs and across social media to send the word out.

Due to her age and their categorizing her as a runaway, the police said they cannot issue an Amber Alert and will only take information for a Missing Person’s report which takes 48-hours to kick in. Monika’s sister lives in NYC and isn’t able to monitor the situation locally and has asked for help from the blogosphere.

Prince George Country police department, Palmer Park Precinct will be handling this case. It’s been assigned to Det. Vessels 301-772-4492. Case#09-215-0405. The main number at the precinct is 301-772-4901. Let’s encourage the police to make haste with looking for Monika as the area is apparently unsafe and she is new to the area, has limited to no funds and no cell phone.

Reach Renee at: reneejennings@rmediagroup.com.

This could be your neighbor, sister, schoolmate whomever. Since only high-profile cases get immediate attention, let's make this one!