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.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Our hopes for the future are implied, and therefore in some way present, in what we have done. (120)
~ from "Making a Way Out of No Way" by Monica A. Coleman


Have a Merry Christmas, or Happy Ramadan, Solstice, Chaunakah, or Kwanzaa!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eat to Love and Love What You Eat

Right now I am in Maryland visiting relatives. For dinner, we are having mashed potatoes, stuffing, creamed spinach and mushrooms - the mushrooms are divine! - and a roast. Everything is already made by my Uncle Kirk, who loves to cook and is great at it. I am making the roast.


New Things I Ate This Morning: a bagel with cream cheese and lox, capers, and onions. It was fabulous! I mean, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! Kirk told me that the secret was to sprinkle lemon juice on top of the salmon, so that it did not taste too fishy.

New Things I Ate Last Night: slices of an apple that was dipped in caramel, nuts, and chocolate. Yum! Homemade Clam Chowder!!! I had never had it homemade before. I mean, I had had it restaurant-made, but never homemade, especially for me. (My uncle had made it for us, so that if we wanted something after being in the car twelve hours, we could.) Creamy, vegetabley, clammy, bacony goodness! Yum!

It's funny, but on Shapely Prose, a reader joked about the phrase, "Eat to live, not live to eat." I do not just live to eat, but I don't simply "eat to live" either. Some days, like today, I do nearly live to eat. I am eating with friends and family and it is food filled with both the energy I need and with enough love for my life to thrive. We need more than healthy high-fiber bread and skim milk in this world, although there is nothing wrong with those things. We need calories and fat grams of love to bring us together.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rosemary Zucchini and Squash Pizza

This pizza was out of this world! I baked squash and zucchini medallions that was covered in rosemary and olive oil from my mother's garden for fifteen minutes.
Then I put them on a piece of garlic Nan, with feta and mozzarella cheeses and then I baked it some more-about five minutes.

The veggies that did not make it on the bread were still baked a little longer and were put in a bowl with the cheeses. Fab!

I have discovered that I just love baked veggies-the heat carmelizes their natural sugar and with a little seasoning, you just cannot go wrong. The bread, although toasted, was super soft and the whole thing melted in my mouth.
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I told my mom today that I am just going to have to suck it up and learn to love and accept my new body. I say "new," because I have gained about ten or fifteen pounds, which has made my boobs bigger and quite a few of my clothes no longer fit me. I saw my nutritionist a few weeks ago and she stated that my eating is great and that I should not change a thing about the way I eat, which was a relief. She did say that I should get more exercise, which for me is either walking, water aerobics, or yoga, because of my arithritis. I have been meaning to do water aerobics at the local park, but I keep on failing to show up in this busy holiday season. I do want to move my body more and I do really want to try out water aerobics, but I finally had to face the fact that right now I am just too busy. Being too busy at times to take perfect care of one's body is okay. In fact, it's more than okay-sometimes it's necessary. Since I do not need to change my diet and since I will not have time to do any serious exercise until I get back from going to Virginia and Maryland to visit relatives, I need to just learn how to love my body. So my belly's a little bigger, so what?! I'm happier than I perhaps have ever been and that matters so much more.

Friday, December 18, 2009

How I Feel

This cartoon describes exactly how I feel, because I just love my new job!

Here are more Ezekiel inspired poems:

God Alone Is God

It is time I give up my idols
And seek instead Godde's justice-love.
Let my sin slip away,
Like the dead skin
That hides the fresh,
Pure skin underneath
And let Godde's light shine
Out from every pore.
"May Your Light Shine" by Margo Langohr
Ez 6:14 "God alone is God."

Do not declare me "emotional"
As if it is a curse -
Godde gave me these emotions!
She told me to cry out
And to beat my breast -
For it is better to mourn
The loss of a nation
Than to pretend
That indifference
Is what makes the world
A wondrous place.

Ez 21:12

12 Cry out and wail, son of man,
for it is against my people;
it is against all the princes of Israel.
They are thrown to the sword
along with my people.
Therefore beat your breast.

Godde never forgets us,
But we forget Godde
Everyday that we
Do not give thanks
for the color purple.

Ez 23:35

35 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution."

Of course, I was thinking of the book, "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker when I wrote that particular poem. "The Color Purple" is one of those books that literally changed my life and I am pretty sure that is has changed the lives of many people. I know it's changed Oprah's... I saw Alice Walker at Charis' birthday celebration and I absolutely hate to say it, but I was not impressed. She read a lot of her poetry-too much, in fact. She went on and on and church we were in was very hot and uncomfortable. Walker said that we should all go camp out at the borders of disadvantaged countries. That that should be our priority, which sort of pissed me off-How am I going to pay for this when I don't have any money myself and what about the disadvantaged people in our own country? What if I have a different calling or if my personality is not attuned to camping out at the borders of other countries? My minister said she thought that Alice Walker may have forgotten her roots and she seemed privileged. I don't really think I can judge, as I don't really know her, but I sincerely hope not. What I can say is that I sincerely hope that no one ever thinks that I have lost touch with my roots or that I am too privileged.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Glue Dots" Save the Day!

Just in case you ever want to make a candy cane reindeer, I am going to let you know what makes the red pom-pom nose, the two googly eyes, and the gold (or brown) pipe cleaner antlers stick! Regular glue does not work. Modge Podge does not work and neither does rubber cement. I know, because I tried them all! Now I am sure that super glue or a glue gun would work, but the pieces, especially the eyes, are so small that unless you are really careful, you could really hurt yourself. But never fear-use "glue dots!" These are stretchy little dots of putty with a super strong adhesive on both sides and they work like a charm. For the eyes, you can even pull the dot in half, and roll each side into a tiny ball, perfect for sticking on something so small. To be fair, it was my mom that thought of them. I had already tried the traditional forms of glue and was beginning to think that I would have to come up with a different craft project, when my mom suggested trying the glue dots. You can buy them at any office supply or craft store.

Isn't my Rudolph adorable?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Discord Can Produce Hope

But not all discord is bad, and discord is always preferable to becoming numb to the world. Discord and conflict are necessary factors in the process of change. Discord can produce hope just as easily as it can produce horror or pain. (67)

~from Monica A. Coleman's book, "Making a Way Out of No Way"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The World Should Be Full of Monster Cookies!

[...] God wants us to have intense experiences. (65)
~ from the book, "Making a Way Out of No Way" by Monica A. Coleman


Yesterday was full of loving and it was absolutely wonderful. First, I went to my friend, Katie's house, and we watched the movie Julia and Julia to get us in the mood for cookie making. After a few cups of tea and peanut butter and honey toast - Yum! - we were definitely in the mood to bake cookies. We had to make these cookies for the cookie swap at my church's Christmas party that night. Katie - my friend - made cute, little lemon cookies, but I made big, honkin' Monster Cookies. The recipe is from the book, "Mrs. Witty's Monster Cookies," by Helen Witty and this is a much loved book, as my mom and I used recipes from this book all the time when I was a kid

The cookies are called monster cookies, because they are so big - six inches! - and the ones I made are called "Apple Saucers." They have apples, walnuts, raisins, oats, apple juice, lemon extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, making them the perfect holiday or fall treat. And they are so hearty that they are also a perfect breakfast bar and much yummier than any breakfast bar that you can buy!

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 Cups (packed) light or dark brown sugar
2 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Big pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 Cups chopped, peeled, firm tart apples (about 2 medium apples)
1 Cup raisins or currants
1 Cup regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
1 Cup coarsely choppeed walnuts
1/4 cup apple or orange juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

2. In a mixing bowl (using a wooden spoon) or in the large bowl of an electric mixer (I used Katie's fabulous KitchenAid electric mixer, which I do slightly covet...), cream the shortening until soft.
3. Then beat in the brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the lemon extract.

4. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir half of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chopped apples raisins, oats, and nuts.

5. Stir in the juice, then add and mix in the remaining flour mixture.
Form and Bake the Cookies

For six-inch monsters: For each cookie, measure out a level 1/4 cup of dough; place the mounds of dough well apart on the greased baking sheet (most sheets will only accomodate three, but mine handled six just fine!). Flatten the dough, using your fingers or a rubber spatula, to make neat five-inch rounds.

As Katie and I were baking together, with Christmas music playing in the background, it seemed as if the room was filled with a loving glow. In fact, I believe it was. I remarked to Katie that, "I think this is what the world is supposed to be like-just two people baking cookies together-and not what it usually is." Katie agreed, saying that she tries to make the world this way as much as she possibly can.

In the book I am currently reading, "Making a Way Out of No Way," by Monica A. Coleman, evil is described as being loss and inwardly, I grieved just a little bit over the loss that so many people have of the kind of wonderful, joyous moments, like the one I was experiencing. I want this world to be full of joy and I want to bring joy into this world.

Later, I went to two Christmas parties, each of which had their own special kind of joy. My church party was shorter, but full of different people thoroughly mingling with one another, while my best friend's party was like five different, separate parties. I must say, I enjoyed both types of parties equally. It was nice getting to see some faces I had not seen in a while at both parties, including my blogger friend, Ashley, who runs the inspirational blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia. At my church party, there was lots to do and many people to talk to, but it left me feeling like there was not enough time or space to meet and greet everyone I wanted to. At my best friend's party, I gave myself permission to stay mostly with one group of people-a circle of friends that I had not seen in a long while. These people always make me laugh and by the end of the night, we were all talking about how our cheeks hurt and were going to be sore the next day from laughing so much.

This is how the world is supposed to be-full of joy, laughter, and new experiences. I dearly wish that it was this way for everyone.

Monday, December 7, 2009

No Longer Afraid of Portobello Mushrooms!

I don't know why, but I have always been afraid to cook portobello mushrooms. They seem very gourmet to me and my cooking is anything, except gourmet! They were on sale at the grocery store and I thought to myself, "Why not?!" So I grilled them on my George Foreman grill and they were fabulous! I am now proud to say that I am no longer afraid of these mushrooms.
First, I let them sit in this marinade for an hour.

After grilling, I put them on toasted Arnold Thins, slathered with cream cheese. The reason I chose cream cheese is because I know people often pair goat cheese with mushrooms and I figured cream cheese is similar enough to goat cheese to use as a substitute and I was right. As my friend yesterday said, "Cheese is better than butter!"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Corn Salad - "Cheese is Better than Butter"

I was going to make another pretzel salad for my church's potluck supper, but it needs a night to set and I was too lazy last night to start it, so I made a really easy -my own recipe!- corn salad instead. I discovered this recipe when I was making my fabulous cornbread one day and I used these ingredients for the base.

Ingredients:
2 cans of Green Giant Chipotle White Corn (I ended up not using the middle can...)
Sour Cream to taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese to taste
1/2 Small Onion

Directions: Mix well and enjoy!

I got a lot compliments, which almost did not seem fair, since it only took a minute to make! I am sorry that there is not a picture of the end result, but I guess I was too excited to remember to take a picture! Whoops!

I do have to share a great statement that one of the kids said to me tonight when I told him that one of the ingredients was cheese.

Me: Cheese makes everything better.

Kid: Yeah, cheese is better than butter!

Indeed, oh, indeed it is!

Psalm 29

You that are mighty in this world,
Realize that the Almighty is far mightier
Than anything You can imagine.
Recognize that Godde alone
Is the truely Glorious One.

Do you hear the crashing thunder
Or see the lightning flash?
That is really Godde speaking to our heart
And Godde's splendor being made manifest.
Do not be fooled!
The Holy One's voice is electrifying!
Giant trees are felled with one word;
Mighty mountains are like mere
Stepping stones to Godde.

So do not worry!
Let Yahweh shake your desert heart
And move you to seek Godde's justice-love.
Give up your false images of control
And stand in awe of Godde's
Thunderous love.

Let Love storm your own heart.
Let it strengthen you,
So that you may be strong
Enough to bring peace.
To read an excellent article about the original psalm, click on the picture. To compare it to the original, click here.***********
Scholars think that the 29th Psalm is the oldest psalm and it is basically saying to the Canaanites' storm and fertility god, Ba'al, "Our God is stronger than your God." Our God is also stronger than mental illness, disorders, and addiction of any kind. We have to trust in the Holy One, which I know firsthand can be really hard to do. It has been hard for me to give up control with both my eating disorder and with finding a job, but I find that the more I focus on God and on living, the less I need to obsess about food and I find that if I just trust in the process or journey of life, then I will find that the things I need will come to fruition. For instance, my job was finally made official this week-it took a long time and it was really hard to trust in God at times, but God has provided. It can be really easy for me to say, "Well, only sort of, it is not full-time and I won't get benefits," but I have to trust that this is where I am supposed to be and that life will get even better.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kickass Carrots!

This recipe is from Pioneer Woman and features fresh thyme. I used the last of our thyme from our garden at home.

Ingredients:
12 Carrots
Handful of fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper
1/4 Cup Olive Oil

The recipe is super easy and super yummy! My mom had found the recipe online and I must admit that I was a little skeptical at first, but these carrots are absolutely delish and I will definitely make these again.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the carrots lengthwise-this ensures that they will cook evenly.
3. Mix them in the olive oil (the recipe said 1/2 cup, but I think it would be fine to use less.)
4. Sprinkle thyme and a little salt and pepper.
5. Bake for 35 minutes.

The carrots will look a little withered when they come out, but that's normal. You can eat them with a fork or just pick them up with your fingers and eat them like fries. The only problem is that just like fries, they will be gone quickly, so make plenty.