Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
As we embrace beauty and novelty, remember our pasts and maintain faith, we are able to help reduce experiences of evil. The interaction of these multiple factors can offer life and beauty to the world. (59, Monica Coleman, Making A Way Out of No Way)I'd like to write a long post about love, togetherness, and great food, but my laptop is having internet issues, so I am forced to write this on my new ! Droid phone, which was not intended for writing long posts or adding links. Have a merry Christmas and there'll be longer posts after Wednesday. In the meantime, I hope my quotes will serve to inspire you, as they do me .
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Cost:$5.00 donation requested at the door
Where:Ridgeview Institute - 3995 South Cobb Drive Smyrna, GA 30080
Time: Friday, December 31st 8:00pm to 12:30am
I will most likely be there and if you're in the Atlanta area, I would love to see you! It should be a really fun time-there will be a DJ, dancing, pictures, and refreshments. If you are struggling in your recovery, then this is a good group of people to get to know. Widen your support group-meet new people-don't isolate on New Year's, but start the new year with people who will understand what you're going through and have fun!
Monday, December 20, 2010
In fact, when any of us act and live as if our actions and decisions only affect us, when we deny the interdependence of the world, when we act as if we are not all connected and in need of each other, we produce evil. (55, Monica A. Coleman, Making a Way Out of No Way)
I will leave you with a few thoughts...I unintentionally was thinking about this the other day when I was at the grocery store. I have said before that I love shopping in the meat department at Ingles, because I can find some really good deals. What I'm not sure I've mentioned is that I'm in the process of really thinking about where my food comes from and the fact that I really don't want to buy meat if the animal it came from was treated inhumanely. There are no Whole Foods nearby, nor are they in my budget for more an occasional treat. I did some research and discovered that the Kroger near me sells Springer Mountain Farms chicken, which is American certified humane. Yesterday I was at Ingles about to buy some chicken that was on sale, when I remembered that even though the chicken I was buying said, "organic," that that did not mean the chicken was treated or killed humanely and I really struggled with whether I should buy it. I didn't need the chicken precisely at that time-I was shopping for today's dinner, which is going to be a vegetarian spinach lasagna. I picked up the chicken, walked about halfway through the store and then turned around and sadly and frustratedly put the chicken down. I decided that at least for now I will get my chicken at Kroger's. I kept thinking about how getting a good deal is not worth supporting inhumane treatment of a living being. We are all connected, even to plants and animals. It's a hard choice and I definitely do not believe that anyone should be following my example-each choice is the individual's to make. I know that in some areas, there probably isn't any grocery store that sells meat from animals that were treated humanely or they may be way too expensive for an average family. And I don't think that going vegetarian or vegan is always the best option for people. It's all individual-we all have to make choices. Where I am right now is that I am only buying American humanely certified chicken and cage-free eggs. I still eat other meat and unfortunately, I don't think there's any other kinds of meat sold near me that was raised humanely, so I only buy those kinds when there's a really good deal on it. Let me say it again, we are all connected and I do not want to cause evil for an animal or person. What are your thoughts on this issue?
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wash me in the detergent
Of Your love and mercy.
Make me clean again-
Rinse out my impurities.
It is time for some truth telling-
I know I have down wrong.
I have stained the clothes
That You gave me.
You are right to look upon
My blemishes in disgust.
Again and again, I go out and sin.
This is my truth,But Your truth is
That You can make me clean again.
Scrub me, O Godde!
Rub out my sin stains
And rinse me in hot water.
Then my burnt body will rejoice!
Do not just clean my body, O Godde,
But reach inside my soul and my heart.
Clean my heart-
Make a beautiful space
For the Holy Spirit to reside.
Replace my soul with a spirit of joy.
O Washer Woman of Righteousness,
I praise You! For all You demand
Is that I speak my truth.
You do not demand sacrifice
Or degrading demonstrations of guilt.
You simply want me to acknowledge
That You are the one in control.
My grasping for control
Has broken my spirit-
Mend me and love me anew.
Then my heart shall be filled
With joy and gratitude and
I shall exalt Your name forever.
To read the original, go here. This poem is a confession and while I was writing it, I was often thinking about what we say about confession at my church, Circle of Grace. There, we say that confession is not about guiltily beating ourselves up, but is more about telling our truth, for it is only when we have told our truth that we can be in right relationship with one another and with Godde. I really love that way of thinking. I also really like imagining Godde as a Washer Woman-a woman who isn't afraid to furiously and lovingly scrub out our stains. (From the blog, Roman Christendom, which unfortunately did not list the painter)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
On the other hand, I do think there are some qualities that are worthy of our striving to always possess and these are the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." These are the things to strive for, for these concepts are not just feelings, but actions-they are a way to live.
This brings me to joy, which is the advent meditation for the week. Joy is probably the hardest fruit for me to swallow, because I think our society equates joy with ecstasy. It reduces joy (and love) to a mere emotion, instead of an action. I haven't heard many sermons on joy, so I don't have much to go on, but here are some of my thoughts on how we can stay joyous throughout the year. To me, being joyous is like being in awe. Think of a little child at Christmas-the child looks at all the lights on a Christmas tree and is transfixed by its beauty. We seem to want children to experience life this way, but we adults are supposed to be more grounded and cynical. We are not supposed to look at life in awe, but I think that's what the spirit of joy asks us to do. We should look at Godde's creation with joy and awe and wonder. When we are living joyously, then we are grateful for what life offers us. To experience joy we have to be aware of our surroundings. We need to be aware the beauty around us and appreciate it. Likewise, we need to be aware of the struggles and injustices that are around us and figure out how we can joyously work to bring about Godde's vision to those situations.
This kind of awareness is called, "mindfulness" in recovery circles and this brings me back to how joy can be experienced even by those who experience depression. It's sometimes impossible for a person to experience happiness when one is depressed or struggling with life's uncertainty, but I do believe one can practice joy, even though depression does make it harder. In my eating disorder recovery, I was taught to be mindful of my body-to notice how eating made me feel and to notice my body's natural cues. Similarly, in my depression recovery I was taught to be present to the moment. Instead of dwelling on the future, I should focus on what I am physically feeling this moment. This helps ground me and helps me notice the little, simple joys in life. Living in joy does not mean that I am always happy, but that I am actively in awe over Godde's creation and that I am actively taking the time to be mindful of it. Many times this awareness does lead to happiness and gratitude, but not always-what it does always offer is clarity and when one's mind is clouded by mental illness this is a blessing.
Here is India Arie singing her song, "Little Things," in which she sings about mindfulness.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
In every moment, in every context, God is calling us. (54, Monica A. Coleman, Making A Way Out of No Way)>I think it is usually hard to hear Godde, because we have to be quiet and attentive to hear Godde's whisper in our hearts. At Christmas time we have to be especially careful to listen for Godde. If we are Christian, then we know deep down why we are celebrating that holiday, but the meaning often gets lost in the shuffle of buying presents and going to parties. Even though we are busy, Godde still wants to be in relationship with us and still wants our energy and attention.
This year, I am going to my brother's for Christmas and my mom wants me to be in charge of the food. I am both honored and nervous at the same time. Today at my E.D.A. meeting, we were discussing the stress of the holiday season and it occurred to me that the way I frame my thoughts about cooking at my brother's will determine if I stay stable or not. If I decide to only focus on what I have to do, I may be prepared, but I will be frazzled. My perfectionism will kick in and I will worry that I am not pleasing everyone and that my dinners are not perfect enough. On the other hand, if I think about how happy I am to see my brother and how much I love the Christmas season, then I will be more relaxed and I will actually be able to enjoy myself. I can let my cooking be a breeding ground for ED or I can feel proud that people trust my cooking skills. When I am calm and thinking clearly, I know which way Godde wants me to go. Godde wants me to stay in the moment, to enjoy the time with my family, and to know peace. Today, in this moment, I choose Godde's peace.
Monday, December 6, 2010
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Some of the commenters had complained about the cooking process taking too long. I read the recipe and I realized that I knew some tricks to make the cooking easier and shorter. Knowing that I had some tricks to share was another reason why I chose this recipe.
On to the recipe!
1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Step two leads me to my first trick-the original recipe tells you to boil the cauliflower, but I never boil or steam vegetables anymore. Instead I follow the directions on the Ziploc Zip'n Steam bag. So much easier!
3.Melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the flour, and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in most of the bread crumbs. Remove from the heat, and stir in the egg yolks, cheese, and finally cauliflower.
4.Whip the egg whites in a large glass or metal bowl until stiff.
This is trick #2-If you've got a KitchenAid mixer, use it! Doing this by hand would take a long time, but the mixer mixes so fast that the egg whites were stiff in no time. It was pretty cool!
Fold the cauliflower mixture into the egg whites. Transfer to a ceramic or glass 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs on top.
This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven-a bright, cheery yellow!
And this is what it looks like when it's about to go into my mouth! Yum!
Besides food, there's another kind of comfort that many people need this time of year. The holiday season is a time when many people become depressed or anxious. It's hard not to be when the media pushes us to have the "perfect" social gathering. During the holidays, we're supposed to make the perfect meals at the perfect family and friends get-togethers where we're supposed to give the perfect presents. We spend our days thinking about the things we want and the things we need to do, which causes deep dissatisfaction. It also causes an inability to be grateful for what we have and to live in the moment. The peace and goodwill that we are supposed to feel at Christmas, in reality, is often absent. This week the advent theme is peace. I find the many passages about peace in the Bible to be comforting when I am stressed out. Here is one:
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
It helps when I read these words, to close my eyes and meditate upon them. I am trying to slow down my pace, so that I can enjoy the moment and can feel some inner peace, which is so important to my recovery. Last week, I made some decisions that made me very stressed out, because all I could think about was how people were going to react to my decisions. I spent so much time and energy worrying that last Friday I ended up not being able to attend an event, because I was too tired. Of course, once I finally talked with the people I needed to, I discovered that there had been no reason to worry! I am trying to let last week's intense worrying be a lesson to me. I want peace to enter into my soul this week and not spend my time worrying so much. Advent is a time when we wait for the coming of the Prince of Peace. Let us make room for his peace to enter in our hearts.
Friday, December 3, 2010
The possibilities we consider when we make decisions come from God. God orders these possibilities, urging us, or to use more process language, luring or persuading us, to choose those options that lead to a vision of the common good. (54, Monica A. Coleman, Making a Way Out of No Way)
I really want to learn more about process theology. The next book I order from paperbackswap.com is going to be by Alfred North Whitehead, who was a leading process theologian heavily referenced in Coleman's book. (So order one of my books!) Making a Way Out of No Way inspired me to read Octavia E. Butler and she turned out to be my new favorite science fiction writer, so I figure I cannot go wrong with investigating another author mentioned in the book.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Jane Slayre - Sherri Browning Erwin and Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books and while I know that many purists think it’s awful that there has been a rash of reworkings on the classics, I must say, I loved it. In this version, Jane is a vampire slayer. I’ve always loved what a strong woman Jane Eyre is and in this version, she is even more adventurous and independent, which I love. In fact, although I hate to admit it, I think I like this version better than the original. SPOILER ALERT: Also, I’ve always had a little trouble with the insane wife in the attic part, as it is a bit stigmatizing and I was quite happy that the wife is in the attic for a different reason.
Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams – This is the Hitchhiker’s book that Douglas wrote and it has a different feel than the others. I got the sense that Adams was a little tired of the series, although I could be wrong. It’s a sadder book than the others, but I love the fact that at least for a little while Arthur Dent found happiness and satisfaction in life. It seems fitting that he would find joy in being a sandwich maker. I would love to do a spiritual analysis of this book.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
And I will not be silent.
In fact, if you listen,
You will hear me
From sunup to sundown.
My words are eternal light.
My words are for everyone:
For the heavenly hosts
And for all humankind.
Gather round, all you righteous-
All who are in relationship with me.
Let me assure you-you are enough.
You do not need to give up what gives you life.
I love you and you are my beloved children,
So do not fear. What do I want?
I want to hear your songs of praises.
I want to hear your cries of joy
And cries of pain. I want to be
In right relationship with you.
But to you, evildoers, this is what I want:
I want you to acknowledge your evil.
Know that when you watch a crime,
You commit that crime.
Do not remain complicit.
You speak evil and spread lies
And you thought I did not hear.
You thought I was complicit in your bullying,
But I was not, for I am Godde.
I hear everything
And I listen to your cries.
Let me hear your praise;
Let me be your salvation.
It occurs to me that we often ask Godde for what we want, but we seldom listen for what Godde wants. This psalm is all about being in a relationship with Godde and how we must listen to each other. I believe that Godde wants to be a part of our lives, but so many times we just shut Her out. Often we think Godde is silent, but I wonder if it's just that we aren't listening carefully enough.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I've been thinking a lot about how much I worry lately. I go to the grocery store a lot with my boyfriend and this has highlighted to me the fact that I still have issues with food. I want these issues to go away and the only way to do this is by fiercely attacking them. I worry about friends a lot too and there have been times when I have avoided friends instead of dealing with the worry that comes along with a friendship. The only way to attack this kind of worry is by forcing myself to talk to certain people. But as my minister pointed out last Sunday, Jesus tells us not to worry. Godde provides all we need and everything will be alright. Notice I did not say "everything we want!" And when I say everything will be alright, I don't mean that we never experience tragedy in our lives, but that no matter what happens, Godde is with us, encouraging us to choose the better path.
A recipe where I worried a lot, but everything turned out alright in the end were these pineapple beets. You see, my mom said that if you boil beets, you can rub the peel right off! Unfortunately, it seemed to take forever for the beets to become appropriately tender and finally my mom announced, "This beets are tender now or they never will be!"
So I rubbed the beets with a paper towel, being careful not to burn my hands, and the peel like magic came right off. It was pretty cool! Even better, the beets were perfectly tender.
It looks like a heart in my hand!
Pineapple beets are delicious! The pineapple makes them sweet, almost like a desert, and the dish is just as good cold as it is hot. Here's the recipe:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can sliced beets, drained
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch and salt; add pineapple and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the beets, butter and lemon juice; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The pineapple beets are on the left. They have an almost jelly consistency and I will definitely make them again. Next time, without the worry.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
...one can conclude that evil is loss, and that it is overcome by the way we remember the past, the way that God remembers us and searches for the best in us, and through the vision for the common good that we can experience in God's calling. (53, Monica A. Coleman, Making a Way Out of No Way)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
While I try to eat healthily most of the time, there are, of course, times when I cannot. One of these such times was at the Highland Games at Stone Mountain last October. The Highland Games are a Scottish heritage festival with competitive outdoor games, traditional music and dancing, vendors and food. People come dressed in kilts and other traditional garb and hang out with other members of their clan. My boyfriend, Charlie, belongs to the MacLeod clan. He has attended the Highland Games all of his life and so the Games have a very special place in his heart. I was excited to be able to share this special event with him, as I had only been one time before. Funnily enough, I found out that I am also a MacLeod! The MacLeod tartan is bright yellow, so we're called, "The Loud MacLeod!"
While there, Charlie insisted that I try the traditional food, which is all fried. Fried food used to be a huge fear of mine and I did catch myself say to him, "Oh, this is scary!" but I was mainly joking. In reality, I didn't freak out at all, but tried a meat pie,
and a sausage roll.
They look different, but they're all basically the same: a flaky pastry filled with the same lightly spiced ground beef.
I enjoyed myself and I am sure I will be going to the Highland Games for many years to come. I am also proud of my recovery. Hopefully, next year I won't even feel the need to joke about being scared of the food, because next year I am going to try another not-so-healthy Scottish food-a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage. I'll admit, to me it sounds gross, but everyone claims it's really good. Read my blog a year from now to find out my reaction! (Let's hope I think it's tasty...)
Friday, November 12, 2010
God attempts to save what is lost and find value in every aspect of the world. (52, Making a Way Out of No Way, Monica Coleman)
Right now I am having a very frustrating experience dealing with a harmful person. I really cannot get into the situation, but I will say that I was extremely angry this morning. But then some friends helped me realize that I am giving this person way too much power over me. Several friends suggested I find something to be grateful in and I guess I was in a healthy frame of mind, because I took their advice. This surprised me a little, because usually I like to talk about what made me mad over and over again, which keeps me in the mode of righteous anger, but I realized today that I did not want to stay mad. What is happening to me is wrong, but staying angry and hurt only harms me more. And then I read this quote and I realized that I could find value in what had happened to me today. In fact, I can find a lot of value in what happened! You see, I am a very unconfrontational person and today I had to confront someone. In the past, I would have become so uncomfortable that I would have cried would have resorted to self-harm in order to run away from my feelings. They often say in recovery circles that people in recovery cannot afford to stay mad, not even if the anger is justified and I am beginning to see why. I don't think the people are saying that I should not experience anger at all-I cannot help my feelings, at least at first, and I think anger can sometimes be a good motivator. What I should not do is dwell in the anger for a long period of time, because after a while, stale anger becomes toxic. I was so angry that I quickly recognized that I needed to somehow let go of it or the anger would become harmful to me. I am thankful for this realization. The value in this situation is that I was shown just how healthy I now am and that realization makes me genuinely happy.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I changed some of the wording in the sermon, so that I don't name the people I talk about-I wouldn't want anyone to get in trouble...
In the second year of Darius the ruler, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of YHWH came through the prophet Haggai and told him, “Speak to Zerubbabel ben-Shealtiel, the high commissioner of Judah, and to Joshua ben-Jehozadek, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people. Ask them, ‘Who is there left among you who saw this Temple in its former glory? And how does it look to you now? Doesn’t it seem like nothing in comparison? But take courage now, Zerubbabel!-it is YHWH who speaks. Courage, High Priest Joshua ben-Jehozadek! Courage, all you people of the country!-it is YHWH who speaks. To work! I am with you-it is YHWH Omnipotent who speaks- as I promised I would be when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit remains among you. Don’t be afraid! For YHWH Omnipotent says this: A little while now, and I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the treasures of all the nations will flow in, and I will fill this Temple with glory, says YHWH Omnipotent. Mine is the silver, mine the gold! Says YHWH Omnipotent. The new glory of this Temple is going to surpass the old, says YHWH Omnipotent, and in this place I will give peace, says YHWH Omnipotent.
Some Sadducees-the ones who claim there is no resurrection-came forward to pose this question: “Teacher, Moses wrote that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife and no child, the brother should marry the woman now widowed, to raise up children with her. Let’s say that there were seven brothers. The first one married and died childless. The second brother then married the woman, then the third, and so on. All seven died without leaving her any children. Finally the woman herself died. At the resurrection, who will be her husband? Remember, seven married her.”
Jesus said to them, "The children of this age marry each other, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of the resurrection from the dead don’t take husbands or wives. They can no longer die, like the angels-they are children of God, since they are children of the resurrection. That the dead rise again was even demonstrated by Moses when, in the passage about the bush, he called the Most High ‘the God of Sarah and Abraham, and the God of Rebecca and Isaac, and the God of Leah and Rachel and Jacob.’ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. All are alive to God.”
Sermon - "The Big Picture"
When I read those verses in Luke, I laughed out loud-the question posed by the Sadducees seemed so silly! I imagined Jesus thinking to himself, “What?! That’s what you’re going to ask me? What a stupid question!” *big sigh* And the Sadducees didn’t even really care about the answer. As it explains in the first verse, the Sadducees were the ones who claimed that there is no resurrection and here they are asking a question about the very thing they claim to not believe. They were not asking the question, because they were genuinely interested, but because they were trying to trip Jesus up. In short, they didn’t get it. They didn’t get that Jesus was there to show us how to be better people and how to be free, as Connie likes to say. The Sadducees, like so many others, were fixating on an unimportant question, instead of looking at the big picture.
The Sadducees were a priestly group, the Aaronites, associated with the leadership of the Temple in Jerusalem. Sadducees represented the aristocratic group of the Hasmonean High Priests. They insisted on strict literal interpretation of the Five books of Moses, the Written Torah. So the Sadducees were a group of great religious and political power, who believe on a “strict literal interpretation” of their holy book. Sound familiar? I think humans often get caught up in the unimportant questions of the day, but it’s even sadder when it’s a person in power. It’s like the story of the youth minister at Chrissy’s church. A few weeks ago, as many of you know, I was with a youth minister who started talking about “those people” and their “gay lifestyle” and whether living the “gay lifestyle” is right or wrong. I think this is definitely another case of a religious person in power who is not seeing the big picture. Who a person likes sexually has nothing to do with whether that person is righteous or not. What determines whether a person is acting righteously is found in Mark 12 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 And also to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.. Is the person loving Godde with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength? Is the person loving her neighbor as herself? Then that person is righteous!
When the Sadducees ask Jesus the question, they are asking a very specific and I would argue, an unimportant question, but Jesus gives them a broad answer to try to open their minds. Jesus answers with, “Every human being is important-for we are all children of Godde. (my own words) God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. All are alive to God.” You see, the Sadducees wanted Jesus to single out one of the husbands as being the most important, perhaps the most pure, but Jesus wasn’t about to fall for that trap. He instead affirmed all people-that all are important and worthy of Godde’s grace, as a child of Godde. I think he was also making a sideswipe remark at the Sadducees, for when Jesus says, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. All are alive to God” he is basically urging them to ask another question. This time about how to live! It is ultimately how we live that matters and I think that is what Jesus was trying to convey to the Sadducees. Whether they got the hint or not, I don’t know.
As I was thinking about the Sadducees question and about the incident with the youth minister, I also thought about how it scary it can be when people in power do not get the big picture. When the youth minister starting talking about “those gay people” and “their lifestyle,” I felt hurt beyond belief. It hurt that someone in a position of Christian power didn’t get the big picture of Jesus. It hurt thinking that this person was teaching young people not in the way of compassion and liberation, but in judgment and close-minded literalism. (And I hope we all know that literalism is still a type of interpreting the Bible-for unless the priest follows all the codes for removing mildew that are in Leviticus, which I am pretty certain he does not, then he is still disregarding some laws as more important than others.) I felt angry and scared at the possible consequences of what he said, for he implied that someone living the “gay lifestyle” would go to hell. What if what he said led one of the kids down the road of self-hate? Or bullying? Or being bullied? Or even worse, I couldn’t help but think of the recent teen suicides and think to myself, “What if? What if? Oh my Godde, what if?”
When people in power don’t get the big picture, there can be serious consequences. That’s why I liked the verses in Haggai: Courage, all you people of the country!-it is YHWH who speaks. To work! I am with you-it is YHWH Omnipotent who speaks- as I promised I would be when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit remains among you. Don’t be afraid! We are Godde’s workers and Godde’s children, as Jesus said. When people in power fail to see the big picture, it is our job to point it out. This is hard and scary work, but Godde tells us not to be afraid and to have courage. Godde has brought us out of many troubles and will do so again. We are a redeemed people, filled with Godde’s holy spirit. We are free if we will just remember who we are-we are Godde’s children, who need not be frightened. When people in power try to fool us, like they did to Jesus, we need to remind ourselves that we are the daughters and sons of the Most Powerful and Holy One. This does not make us more important than those that try to bring us down, but it does empower us to keep going. To stand up for ourselves and for those who are less powerful. I left that day when I was hurt by the youth minister and told him that I did not agree. I left with dignity and though I was very hurt and I cried a long time afterwards, I knew that I could not let the person who was only seeing the problem have the last word. I knew that only because I knew who I am. I am a child of God and I am important. And so are we all. Let us not be afraid, but remember the Holy Spirit is with us. Let us not get caught in the small picture of literalism and judgment, but become empowered in the knowing that we are all Godde’s powerful and loved children.
And here’s another message of hope: the big picture is that when it comes to the people in power, according to Haggai, Godde is going to shake things up- For YHWH Omnipotent says this: A little while now, and I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land. Things are going to change and we are the agents of Godde’s change. YHWH All powerful says that there will be peace in this place. Sadly, there probably won’t be total peace on Earth during our lifetime, but you can carry an inner peace with you knowing that Godde fulfills Her promises and has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us through our days.
(from the funny Christian comic, The Back Pew.)
I hoped you liked my message. I would love to hear your comments!
Friday, November 5, 2010
And Another Thing – Eoin Colfer – This is the sixth in the Hitchhiker’s Guide “trilogy” and I give it a C+/B-. This book has many very funny moments and I love how Colfer brings in obscure characters from the other books, like Wowbagger, but the book just doesn’t have the same flow as the books by Douglas Adams. The book took me a long time to read, whereas I practically devoured the earlier ones. I still have one more hitchhiker’s book to read: Mostly Harmless, which is the last one written by Adams. Somehow I missed reading this book, which is a travesty! Read “And Another Thing” if you are a fan and you’ll be sure to smile-just don’t expect the same sort of Adams magic.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Louis Sachar – This is a classic book from my childhood that I enjoyed reading to the girl I work with. She thought it was hilarious and strange. Each chapter is a different short story about one of the kids or teachers at Wayside School and they are really funny. The stories are really short and entertaining-a quick read. This book is definitely my recommended reading for the month.
Monday, November 1, 2010
That is, a constructive postmodern theology insists upon a belief in God, a cosmic purpose to our lives, and that it is possible, even advisable, to have a sacred relationship (as opposed to one of domination) with the earth. (50, Monica Coleman, Making a Way Out of No Way)
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Rich and poor alike,
Listen to my wisdom-
I have something to say.
To you, who are poor-
Do not fear,
Justice is coming.
Realize that while the wealthy
May possess beautiful mansions,
They are building their own graves.
No amount of money can restore their souls-
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Several weeks ago, breakfast turkey sausage links were the reduced item. I bought the item with some trepidation, for even though they have less fat and grease than regular sausage, breakfast sausage are one of my top fear foods. And I have to admit that when I cooked my first sausage, right before I took a bite I thought to myself, "Whew! I've cooked one, I'll try it, and then I can throw the rest away!" It was a very eating disordered thought, but I was convinced that I would not like it. I was SO wrong! In the end, I did not throw out any of the sausages, and instead I learned to enjoy every bite.
Now you know that I love sandwiches and I quickly discovered a great way to eat the sausages-on a cinnamon raisin bagel, with a slice of provolone cheese. Dip the bagel into pure maple syrup and your mouth will be so happy! Who knew that cinnamon, maple syrup, and turkey sausage goes so well together?
I used this maple syrup and I am glad I did. Please, please, please if you ever make this sandwich for yourself, do not use an imitation, low-cal syrup. Maple syrup was another one of my fear foods when I was eating disordered, because of all the calories. But life is meant to be enjoyed and low-calorie syrup is not enjoyable. Anytime I hear someone say something like, "I'd like to eat this, but I'm watching my carb intake..." I want to scream, "Just eat the damn food!" Food is essential for our survival, but I believe it is also meant to be enjoyed. I don't know exactly where this falls in theology, but recovery has taught me something that I did not used to believe was true: God wants us to be creatures of joy and to delight in Her creation. One of the ways we can delight in Godde's creation is through food.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Although the changes we experience always involve some loss, evil need not have the final word. There are always ways to preserve life. (45, Monica A. Coleman, Making a Way Out of No Way)
Unfortunately, I have a cold and feel pretty miserable, although I am excited that I got asked to preach again at my church on November 7! Hopefully, soon I will be feeling good enough to write more substantial blog posts...
Monday, October 25, 2010
Yet God is not simply the destination, but one who is known on the journey. It is a journey from the life of bondage to life in the presence of God. (125, Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)
Friday, October 22, 2010
Atlanta Pride used to be during the hottest part of the summer and at first, I was skeptical of the change, but then I remembered that the last time I had gone in the summer, the heat had made me so miserable that I had vowed never to return. With the parade being in October, the weather was absolutely perfect. I took my boyfriend to the festivities on Sunday, because he had never been to a Pride celebration before and I just felt that that was a crime! We could only go for a little bit, because I had church that night and he had work, so we bypassed the parade and simply hung out at Piedmont Park. I heartily recommend doing that, especially if you are short like me. I mean, the parade is lots of fun, but unless you are really tall and come really early to get a good seat, then it is extremely hard to get a good look at any of the floats.
Charlie and I had a great time looking at the booths there and so I shall give you the highlights!
First, we came upon this funny guy:
I thought he was hilarious and so is this sticker I found:
Protectyoursmonster.com is a very clever company that strives to teach people about HIV/STD prevention in a cute and creative way. I really love the Woo-Woo comics!
Another product that I thought was very creative and cute were the t-shirts from dykosaur.com.
This is Ptrannydon and I think she is an extremely sexy dinosaur!
Charlie and I were heading back to the car when we spotted a line of angels:
The one in front is holding a sign that reads, "Stop the Hate," which actually brings me to my main topic-stopping the hate. Hate often comes from fear and ignorance and unfortunately recently I have heard from those aplenty. Earlier last week I was in the midst of a person IN POWER who spoke of "those" gay people and about "them." It was very othering and I felt quite powerless. This person kept on talking about the "gay lifestyle," which is a phrase that always irritates the hell out of me, because it is a nonsense phrase. You see, one chooses one's lifestyle, but contrary to semi-popular opinion, one's sexual orientation is not a choice. One can choose to fully embrace one's sexuality, but one cannot actually choose one's sexual orientation. I told the members of my church about what I had experienced and here were some of their reactions: "My lifestyle is Christian. I just happen to be a lesbian." "Gay lifestyle?! People keep on talking about the gay lifestyle, but I haven't seen the benefits of it yet. Where's my gay lifestyle?" As for me, my lifestyle is also that of a Christian. And a feminist, an activist, a musician, and a geek. I happen to be queer-bisexual, if you must be exact. My sexuality is an important part of me, of course, but it is not my defining feature. I do not talk about sex all day nor have I ever converted anyone to the queer side. If a person is in a committed relationship with a same gendered person, but does everything the way a straight couple does, are they living the gay lifestyle? Or does a person need to be in drag, fart out rainbows, and sing Elton John tunes at the top of one's lungs? What if the person is a mix between the two? I mean, really, the term "gay lifestyle" means absolutely nothing. I just hope that one day all the people that are so close-minded and ignorant will take a chance on life and will actually listen to people without judgment.
By the way, Charlie and I ended our time together by dining at F.R.O.G.S. I recommend the mango margherita and the fried chicken tacos!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
A recent (deleted) commenter from my last post: [...]but don't you dare tell someone they shouldnt go because of its theme. My response: I will "dare" to say what I feel I need to say, because this is my own damn blog.
Well, I was initially excited today when I noticed that I had three comments for my last posting, but that excitement soon turned to irritation when I realized that these commenters were just supporting Terror in the Square. It's not that I do not want disagreement or healthy dialogue on my blog, because I really do. I absolutely love it when people comment on my blog and I really don't mind when people disagree with me, as long as it is done in a respectful manner. Unfortunately, these comments were extremely disrespectful and I am sorry to anyone that read them. Hopefully I will not get much more of these kinds of comments or I will have to change my comment policy, but it is imperitive that I keep this space full of respect towards me and my readers. I know that no space can really be a truly "safe space," although that is what I state I want this blog to be in my mission statement (under the picture of the egg). As the sole blog moderator, I have control over what comments get published and just so everyone is on the same page: if I feel a comment is disrespectful, it will be deleted. This is my right and in the future, I probably will not provide an explanation.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
As you may know, Terror in the Square is a haunted house being held just off of the square in Lawrenceville. The attraction, if you care to call it that, was scheduled to open tonight. The advertising for the event bills it as "... a late 1800's sanitarium psychiatric ward for the criminally insane" where visitors can "witness an actual electrocution and take part in the experiments conducted on our patients."
Needless to say, we find nothing funny or entertaining about using disabilities as attraction to provide entertainment. This is absolutely appalling and disgusting.
Would you have allowed this to take place had it been designed to create fun for visitors by way of using people with obvious physical defects? Cancers or other illnesses? Of course not. Yet something made it okay to allow this to take place at the expense of persons with mental illness and their families and those of us who struggle to improve their lives.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) spends countless hours and much effort trying to stop the stigma that so harms those with an illness and the families of those same people. This is indeed harmful to that effort and those people.
In case you are not aware of the sad state of mental health care in Georgia, NAMI grades the states every two years on a set of standard minimally acceptable requirements. In the last grading, Georgia received a grade of D. In fact, the situation was outlined in a very disturbing but informing series of articles by reporters for the AJC. The series, "A Hidden Shame" detailed problems in the state's system of care that allowed over 110 unexplained deaths of patients that were actually in state run facilities at the time of their deaths. At this time, the state of Georgia is at an impasse with the Federal Department of Justice due to the state's failures. Failures that allowed citizens to die under the guise of receiving care.
The name of Lawrenceville's haunted house is "Terror in the Square." If you want to be scared this Halloween, watch a scary movie or go to another haunted house (like Netherworld!), but please do not support a haunt that stigmatizes.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I had never cooked orzo before, but the seller said it was their most popular kind of pasta. There were so many kinds of great looking pastas there that I decided to go with the crowd. The pasta is very colorful, as it is made with saffron, fire-roasted red peppers, and porcini mushrooms. I must say this was a case where following the crowd really worked, because this may have been the best pasta I've ever had! I am definitely going to go back to the farmer's market and getting some more.
For this pasta dish, I decided to use up a bunch of leftover ingredients I already owned. I used:
1 Bacon Slice
1 Chicken Breast
Several Handfuls of Grape Tomatoes cut in half
Pesto, also from the Farmer's Market
First, I cooked the bacon, while chopping the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. After the bacon was done, I sauteed the chicken in olive oil and the bacon grease. I added the tomatoes when the chicken was almost done.
Once the chicken was fully cooked, I dumped all of the ingredients into a bowl and let the flavors meld together.
Isn't it a pretty dish? The dish tasted better the next day, cold. Since I could not share it with my parents, I shared it with my friends and they loved it.
In the song, Stevens says, "All my dreams have blown away," and that is true in my case too, at least when it comes to my earlier dreams of being a music therapist. Fortunately, I am able to say that I am not yet done dreaming and I am working on fulfiling newer, more realistic, dreams.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish – Douglas Adams – This is the fourth in the Hitchhiker’s series and I love it. This is also the book where Arthur finally gets to fall in love and I must say I’m a sucker for the romance. I love the scene where Arthur teaches Fenchurch how to fly. I relate to Fenchurch more than any other character in that she is very misunderstood and labeled “crazy” by those around her.
Ivy’s Ever After – Dawn Lairamore - This is a great book to read together with a child. It is an exciting book about a princess that goes on a wild adventure where she deals with dragons, trolls, and fairies. I love the fact that while the main character does have a romantic interest, the book does not end with her getting married or even kissed. So refreshing! The girl I work with really got into it and we would guess together about what would happen next. I really recommend this book.
Paul countered by speaking of "the wisdom of God" (which he also spoke of as "the foolishness of God" because it is the opposite of "the wisdom of this world") which "destroys the wisdom of the wise." (106, Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)
Friday, October 8, 2010
I learned about this event from a friend's email. I'm not sure if I will be able to attend, but I think it sounds fabulous!
When: October 15-17, 2010
Where: the Cobb Galleria Convention Center. It’s the Atlanta Abilities Expo and it’s the leading event for people with disabilities, their families, caregiver, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals.
Admission is free to this fantastic annual event and you can pre-register for priority access. Just log on and do it now.
Here's a quick "heads-up" on just some of the amazing things you can expect to experience.
The latest products and services for people with disabilities and great Expo-only deals
Breakthrough assistive technologies for people with physical, sensory and developmental disabilities at the Assistive Technology Pavilion
Low-cost daily living aids at the Retail Pavilion
Feeling healthy? Make sure with six free health screenings onsite, compliments of the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour
Compelling workshops on the issues that matter most to you
Donate old wheelchairs and other used equipment at the show. Others with disabilities are in need of your generosity
The hip-hop jams of 4 Wheel City
Face painting for kids
The comedy and musical stylings of B.J. Davis
Inclusive dance demo and instruction
Artist Market where talented local artists with disabilities will display and sell their artwork.
Other fun activities for kids, grandparents and everyone in between.
Don't keep it to yourself! Bring your family. Tell your friends. With all of its life-enhancing possibilities, this event is a must-attend for anyone in the Community.
The website is continually updated with new products and new expo features so visit it as often as possible.
Abilities Expo Atlanta is right around the corner so mark your calendar now, Friday, October 15 through Sunday, October 17 at the Cobb Galleria Convention Center. Click here for directions.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
That change-from having heard about God with the hearing of the ear to "beholding" God, from secondhand belief to firsthand relationship-is what the alternative wisdom of Jesus is most centrally about. (88, Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)