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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alex from So you think you can dance

This routine is fabulous! Now I have never had a therapist inspire me to dance, although I did try dance therapy once. It didn't work for me, as I was way too self conscious at the time to get any benefit from it. How sad!

The song frequently says, "Get out of your mind!" and there is some truth to that. I have a mentor who likes to say that when he goes into his mind, he gets mugged. What he is talking about is how worrying can cripple us, which is what those words remind me of. Often we need to "get out of our minds" and just be in the moment. Be in the moment and enjoy this dance.

Quote of the Day and Yoga

I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual. (The Message Bible, 35)

Speaking of flexibility, today I attended a yoga class for the first time in years. Traditionally I have hated going to any kind of class for exercise, because I was so paranoid that everyone in the class was staring at me. I can remember enjoying yoga alright in the past, but feeling too self conscious to want to keep attending. For years, I shunned group exercise and contented myself with solo power walking. Then fibromyalgia disrupted my life. I no longer can walk long distances and I need exercise that is easy on my joints. I tried water aerobics and I did enjoy it, but lazy person that I sometimes am, I don't like taking the time to put on a bathing suit. Also, I just did not feel adequately worn out when I was done-the session was over and I felt like I could have kept on going for a lot longer. So, today I tried yoga. My sponsor also has fibromyalgia and she claims it really helps her and I did remember sort of liking it before, so when my mom found a studio in Snellville that she thought I would like, I decided to give it a try.

My experience was a lot like the experience I had when I tried water aerobics. My joints did not hurt while doing it and I actually enjoyed myself. I had trouble doing a couple of the poses and the instructor had to help me a few times, but unlike my previous sessions, I was not embarrassed. One thing that helped me was that I went to a small studio, so there were not that many people. Also, like with the water aerobics class, my instructor was not a skinny mini! Words cannot express how much her body type eased my anxiety! The instructor was not huge- she just wasn't stick thin. In fact, her body type is remarkably similar to mine. Seeing someone with an average body size be flexible and okay with her body inspires me. Maybe one day I will be really fit too. I am already on my way to feeling good about my body and I am sure this class will help.

With this class I felt satisfied when it ended, so I signed up for a monthly pass. Hopefully, I will be faithful and this class will become a regular part of my week. I am also hoping that this class will help me want to exercise for the sake of exercising and not to lose weight. I want to want to exercise, because it raises endorphins and strengthens the heart. I want to want to be healthier and not just be another womyn who wants to lose weight. Since I already am a healthy eater and I am not going to starve myself anymore, if I lose weight at all, it probably won't be a lot. I am trying to be okay with this. I am trying to want to exercise for the right reasons. I know I do want recovery with my full heart and I would be lying if I were to say that exercise does not trigger thoughts of weight loss, but life is a journey. I know that if I keep on doing an exercise that feels good to my body, then eventually I will come to believe that I deserve exercise solely for the purpose of bettering myself and my emotions and not for losing weight. Today I made a committement to keep attending the class and I am for the first time excited about the thought of getting better at a kind of exercise. I can be fit at the size I am. I am me and that is okay.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dar Williams - "The Christians and The Pagans" (Live)

This is Dar Williams' holiday song and it is our favorite song by her. Once again, listen to the lyrics. I wish she had played it at the concert!

Dar Williams - "What Do You Hear In These Sounds"

This is a song about therapy. Listen to the lyrics, she gets the meaning of therapy right. Williams sang this song last night and I think it is fitting for a blog about recovery. My favorite part of the song is when she sings to her therapist, "I say, 'What?' Do you think I'm angry? Does that mean you think I'm angry?!"

Dar Williams Rocks!

Last night I went to a Dar Williams and Sara Watkins concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points and had a great time. I went with my two college roommates at Berry College, along with a husband. I didn't know Sara Watkins before going to the concert, although I had heard of her. I am now a fan! She plays violin and sings and has a bluegrassy sound. Dar Williams, if you've never heard of her, is a feminist Christian folk-rocker who writes really deep lyrics. Variety Playhouse is a wonderful venue, because it's fairly small, so the atmosphere is intimate. Williams is a wonderful performer, because she talks about the inception of each song before playing. As a fellow artist, I find that to be invaluable. Both she and Watkins are very witty and well, just plain cute. And so are we! As I was with my friends, I was struck by how well each of us is now doing. We met ten years when we were freshmen at college and we have each gone through some really trying times. These times threatened to break us apart and it was actually Myspace and Facebook that brought us back together. Now I feel like we are a million times stronger, because we know we can go through anything and come back kicking. We still call or email each other when we need to vent, be consoled, or celebrate. Soon there will be another in our midst, as one of them is pregnant with a baby girl, whom I cannot wait to meet! We discovered Dar Williams together in college and Williams often sings about recovery, so it was very fitting that we went to see her. I am going to post some of her songs in a minute. I am very thankful that these people are back in my life and that we are going down the path of recovery together.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lime Rum Cake

Tuesday was one of the best days I have had in a long time. My brother came home and we celebrated Father's Day. That morning, I made a lime rum cake. It's supposed to be a key lime rum cake, but I didn't realize we had key lime juice until after the cake was put in the oven. First, I had to put on my apron! Isn't it cute? My mom got it for me and it states, "I love Mom."

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
5 eggs
2 tablespoons rum, or amount desired
2 teaspoons Key lime juice
1 tablespoon grated Key lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons Key lime juice
3 tablespoons rum
I used Haitian rum in the recipe and while the cake was cooking, I used it to make myself a rum and coke.

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. I used a silicone pan and I have talked about how much I like silicone cookware before... Here's a tip: Go ahead and spray the pan with Pam. The cookware's directions say that you don't need to, but if you do, then your cake will come out like a charm!
2.Stir the flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
3.Cream the shortening with 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar in a large mixing bowl until light colored and fluffy. I am going to take this moment to praise my kitchenAid mixer! Not only is it a lovely, sexy, red, but it has a stationary arm, so that I can prepare the next step in the recipe while it mixes. Also, the mixer is so strong, I don't even need to soften the butter!

4.Beat in the eggs, one at a time until mixture is light colored. Stir in 2 tablespoons rum, 2 teaspoons Key lime juice, Key lime zest, and vanilla extract until thoroughly blended. Stir in the flour mixture alternating with the milk. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.Here's another tip: Always taste your batter before baking it to make sure it tastes right. In fact, you should probably taste it before putting it in the pan! I did not and so when I realized that I had forgotten to put in the sugar, I had to put the mixture back into the bowl, add the two cups of sugar, and then put it back into the pan!

5.Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 90 minutes. Actually, for me, it only took about an hour for the cake to cook, so definitely check the cake after an hour.

6.Meanwhile, make the glaze by creaming 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan until light colored and fluffy. Stir in 2 tablespoons Key lime juice until evenly blended. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons rum. Isn't that pretty? It tastes pretty too.
This is what the cake looks like after an hour. Beautiful, huh?
It came out perfect and tasted perfect too. The cake was moist and the rum was not too strong. The glaze was like a taste of heaven!

Unfortunately, I had to wait to eat my piece of cake, because we went out to eat first. Fortunately, the restaurant was great! It's called "Three Blind Mice" and is in Lilburn, GA. I wish I had brought my camera! It was very exciting to be at this restaurant, because it is probably the only upscale restaurant in all of Gwinnett county. My family has waited a long time for a restaurant like that! It's not that we eat out at expensive places a lot, but special times do call for a special restaurant and we were tired of always having to drive forty-five minutes away. This is what I had: Slow-roasted Beet Salad with Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese,Butternut Squash, Belgian Endive,and Toasted Walnuts with my entree being penne pasta with tomatoes and carmelized onions in a creamy tomato sauce. I loved both dishes, although I would have liked the pasta to be cooked a little more al dente.

I had a wonderful day Tuesday eating, but more importantly, spending time with my family. And then this weekend I went to Lake Alatoona with my Ridgeview family. Ridgeview is a place where I went to treatment and it is unique in that it has an aftercare program where the people have really become a second family to me-with my church being my third. I am extremely fortunate to have such a wide support network and that it is filled with genuine people. My cup overflows.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. (The Message Bible, 34)

I think this is a beautiful quote and I promise I will post food pictures tomorrow! I now have a part-time job as a preschool teacher and it is kicking my butt. Majorly sore all over...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sermon "Safe Haven"

I feel like lately my blog has been a little unbalanced, as it's mostly been spiritual postings. I am going to post some recipes soon-tomorrow, I am hopefully making a rum key lime cake as a belated Father's Day gift to my dad. Posting recipes takes a little more time than the spiritual stuff, because I have to upload pictures and find the recipes, etc., but there will be more diversity here soon. Also, the spiritual stuff is really on my mind nowadays, because I am studying theology with my minister. So bear with me another day, as I talk about more spirituality.

Yesterday I led the worship and preached at my church, Circle of Grace. It was a great experience and I think I did a good job. I find it very validating to be allowed to preach at my church, especially considering that I have never been to seminary. In my sermons, the talk is always centered around recovery, which is something I do have credential in-that is, I have great life experience in recovering from mental illness.

Today I am posting the scriptures I used and my sermon. My sermon has a lot to do with Circle of Grace, but hopefully you can still get some meaning out of it. (Just so you know, the scriptures come from The Inclusive Bible.)
Psalm 22:19-28

But you, YHWH, don’t be far off! My strength, hurry to help! Rescue my life from the sword, my dear life from the power of these dogs! Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor soul from the wild bull’s horn! Then I will proclaim your Name to my sisters and brothers, and praise you in the full assembly: “You who worship YHWH, give praise! Daughters of Leah, daughters of Rachel, glorify YHWH! Sons of Jacob, fall down and worship! For God has not despised-not disdained-the suffering of those in pain! God didn’t hide but answered them when thety cried for help!” You are the theme of my praise in the Great Assembly, and I will fulfill my vows in the presence of your worshipers. Those who are poor wil eat and be satisfied, those who seek you will give you praise-long life to their hearts! The whole earth, from one end to the other, will remember and come back to you; all the families of the nations will bow down to you. For yours is the kindom, you Ruler of nations!

Galatians 3:23-29

Before faith came, we were under the constraint of the Law, locked in untl the faith that was coming would be revealed. In other words, the Law was our monitor until Christ came to bring about our justification through faith. But now that faith is here, we are no longer in the monitor’s charge. Each one of you is a child of God because of your faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, if you belong to Christ, you are the offspring of Abraham, which means you inherit all that was promised.


I am really happy to have another opportunity to lead worship and preach today. I feel that before I get into the sermon, I should explain myself though. Right now, I am studying the Bible and theology with Connie, because I feel called to preach. I have actually felt this way for a very long time and it is only recently that I have had the self-confidence to say that I would serve the call I felt. The call is this: something will happen and I get the urge to talk about it. Words come into my head and they become a sermon and the sermon does not leave my mind until I have a chance to talk or write about it. When I say a sermon does not leave my mind, I mean it-what I need to say may stay with me for months! I want to thank Circle of Grace for giving me the opportunity to speak my piece.

Dwight told me that I need to say something funny or an anecdote, so I am going to begin with something funny! This morning, when I was looking over the scriptures for today, Harry was barking extremely loudly and driving me crazy. I was reading Psalm 22 and the phrase “Rescue my life from the sword, my dear life from the power of these dogs!” really came alive. Those words became a literal prayer for me.

As many of you know, I volunteer with NAMI-the National Alliance of Mental Illness-as a facilitator. When I first started facilitating, inwardly, I had a lot of trouble, because there was a woman who told me she did not want to recover. My first instinct was to tell her to leave. I didn’t and I tried not to let my anger show, but it really got to me, because I take my recovery very seriously. Later on, I was talking with the executive director of NAMI about some of the problems I was having and I asked him, “Why would someone come to our group if that person does not want to recover?” and he replied, “Some people come to NAMI’s support groups, because they are the only place where they feel safe. She must need a safe place of no judgement to talk about what she is going through.” As soon as I heard those words, I immediately thought of our covenant to be “safe haven” to each other and I felt as if Godde had just hit me on the head! I felt slightly ashamed that I had to be reminded. I take our covenant very seriously and I strongly feel that I should carry its principles to everyone I meet, for we are all children of God.

When I read the lectionary for today, the message that stands out to me is that we are all descendants of Abraham and Issac-we are all God’s children. It seems that is the message that God has been trying to remind me for a while now, because before that conversation, when I was talking with my sponsor about my feelings, she kept on telling me, “You must be more patient with people-remember they are also a child of Godde!”

Godde’s children need to have a place that is safe haven. So what is safe haven? It is a place where people without fear can be all that they are created to be. Theologian John Spong in his book, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, writes, “Jesus touched the depth of being, and the Christ experience is nothing less than our call to be who we are, inside the love of God. I worship this Jesus when I claim my own being and live it out courageously and in the process call others to have the courage to be themselves.” (242)

My safe haven is Circle of Grace, because it is a place that I feel accepts all of me. It accepts who I was made to be in God’s image. Once when some of my NAMI friends were talking about certain issues within the organization, I told one of them that I trusted my church more than I did NAMI. The person I told got really upset and exclaimed, “That’s awful! If you cannot trust a fellow consumer with your troubles, then who can you trust? A consumer should be able to fully understand what you’re going through.” The problem is that I am more than a simply a consumer and I am more than simply the sum of my problems. I need a space where the people see all of me. I need people who say, as India Arie says in one of her songs, “I see the God in you.”

Lately, I have come to realize that Circle of Grace is my safe haven, because when I serve at Circle of Grace I feel like I am living up to my potential. I think the experience of living up to one’s potential or “being all that one can be” feels different for everyone, but it is a certain, specific experience. For me, I feel like I am a full, contributing, responsible adult. I imagine some people might feel this way all the time-maybe too much!-if they have someone that they are responsible for, and perhaps they need to feel more carefree, but outside of Circle of Grace, I rarely feel this way. Because I am still trying to find a job that will adequately support me and because I am still battling the consequences of having low self-esteem and depression, I often am afraid to make my own decisions and I feel like a little kid. Serving Circle of Grace gives me validation as a person of worth and a child of Godde.

It seems to me that to be a place of safe haven, we need to be accepting of all. If, as Paul writes, there is “no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female,” then that means there is no judgement. I’ll be honest, I have a problem with that. Now my own problem is not connected with what you may typically think of as prejudice-I don’t think I have major hang-ups over gender, nationality, race, sexuality, age or ability - my big thing, is does that particular person DO enough? I think to myself, “I have worked so hard to get to where I am today. That person over there isn’t doing what I’m doing. Therefore, he or she isn’t working hard enough. I must be better than that person.” My sponsor clued me in that when I think that way, I am really being resentful. I am resentful that I have worked so hard to be doing well, while other people aren’t, but the fact is that I choose to work towards wholeness. If I have a resentment, I need to take it up with myself. But I don’t think Godde wants us to be resentful, because to be resentful suggests that there is a hierarchy and we are all equal in the eyes of Christ. I think it is very interesting that in some of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction, she says the greatest human fallacy is that we are hierarchial.

I have always had a problem with “doing.” I tried to live perfectly, but all that got me was an eating disorder. I thought if I did all the right things, then I would be accepted, but people still thought I was strange, because of my many obsessions. The good news is that I no longer think that following the way of Christ means being perfect-it means instead being all of who you were meant to be. This is a hard concept, because it also means that there aren’t a lot of rigid rules that one needs to follow in order to be right with God. As Paul says, “But now that faith is here, we are no longer in the monitor’s charge.” We no longer have to try so hard. Instead, I believe we need to lean upon each other in faith.

And what is faith? Marcus Borg writes in his book, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time,” faith is often “believing things that one would normally reject.” For instance, believing in a virgin birth or that during Pentecost, flames danced above people’s heads. I propose to instead think of faith as following in Jesus’ way. Now faith is more of an action. We must follow the One who is all-inclusive and is full of liberating power. We must not judge or create barriers to growth in Godde. We are all one in Christ and need to be places of safety for each other, just as Godde is a place of safety for us. Let us be all that we can be together.

I must say that since I have been cat sitting for Connie and Karen this past week, I have seen Circle of Grace members be safe haven for each other. I have seen it every morning when Barbara makes me and anyone else who happens to be at the house breakfast. I have seen it when Brooke takes Harry to Wag A Lot. I have seen it when Brooke and Marlene make dinner for other people and I have seen it when Dwight listened to me yesterday say that raspberries are my favorite food and then gave me raspberries later that night. We are already helping, listening, and honoring each other and that to me is also what being safe haven is all about. I am truly grateful for it.

I’ve talked about how Circle of Grace is a safe haven for me. I was wondering how it has been one for you or if you have other places/groups of people that are safe haven, how have they been a safe haven? What does “being all that you can be” feel like to you?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

India Arie Get it together

One shot to your heart without breaking your skin
No one has the power to hurt you like your kin
Kept it inside, didn't tell no one else
Didn't even wanna admit it to yourself
And now your chest burns and your back aches
From 15 years of holding the pain
And now you only have yourself to blame
If you continue to live this way

Get it together
You wanna heal your body
You have to heal your heart
Whatsoever you sow you will reap
Get it together

You can fly fly

Dark future ahead of me
That's what they say
I'd be starving if I ate all the lies they fed
Cause I've been redeemed from your anguish and pain
A miracle child I'm floating on a cloud
Cause the words that come from your mouth
You're the first to hear
Speak words of beauty and you will be there
No matter what anybody says
What matters most is what you think of yourself


The choice is yours
No matter what it is
To choose life is to choose to forgive
You don't have to try
To hurt him and break his pride
To shake that weight off
And you will be ready to fly

One shot to your heart without breaking your skin
No one has the power to hurt you like your friends
Thought it will never change but this time moved on
An ugly duckling grew up to be a swan
And now your chest burns and your back aches
Because now the years are showing up on your face
But you're never be happy
And you'll never be whole
Until you see the beauty in growing old
This song is my own eating disorder recovery theme song and I am sharing the lyrics at EDA (eating disorder anonymous) today. I think positive words are really important in combating the negative voice of ED and these words really help me. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sometimes Godde Purrs

This afternoon I came back to the house where I am cat-sitting really bummed. I had just found out that I have some more bills that I don't have the money to pay and I felt extremely overwhelmed. I laid down on the bed and worried and cried. As I was moaning, a soft body started rubbing against me. It was Miranda, my minister's cat! Miranda is an orange, female cat, who is very friendly. She was a comforting presence, but I continued to cry. Miranda then started purring, but I simply petted her and continued ranting. She then commenced purring right in my ear. I could not miss her happiness and I realized that I had a choice: I could continue feeling sorry for myself or I could take pleasure in hearing one of my favorite sounds. I had an epiphany, because I felt like Godde was talking to me through the cat's purr. It was like the line in Alice Walker's book, The Color Purple, "I think it pisses God off when you don't notice the color purple." Well, I realized that perhaps it would piss Godde off if I ignored a cat purring. So I stopped my crying and immersed myself in the moment. I loved the cat and Miranda in turn loved the attention. Soon after I felt good enough to sit up and take action. I was still shaky, but I was by now in a positive enough frame of mind to know that I needed to call someone. I ended up talking to a friend, who really helped me calm down.

This is what I learned today: take the time to fully listen to your surroundings. Be present in the moment. Listen to the purr of a cat or the voice of a friend-you never know where you will hear the sounds of the most holy one.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

He touched their eyes and said, "Become what you believe." (30, The Message Bible)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this scripture means 'I'm after mercy, not religion.'" I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.

Blue Skin Does Not Replace People of Color

I watched the movie, Avatar, last week and I must say I was only slightly impressed. Yes, the movie has great special effects, but for a movie that is filled with blue people, it sorely lacks colored people. In fact, there is not one person of color in the whole, very long, movie. To me, the movie's plot seemed insulting without a single person of color involved. The Na'vi people seemed a lot like the stories about Native Americans and yet the connection was never made. You see this a lot in science fiction-that science fiction writers can dream up new worlds, but they often cannot dream up a world that is without the patriarchy, racism, and homophobia. If you are going to dream up a new world, why not go all the way and dream of a new way of life also? Since the Na'vi are so obviously based upon Native Americans, I cannot say that the writer of Avatar was very original at all. Perhaps James Cameron thought that if the movie was filled with blue people, then there was no need to include brown, yellow, or red ones, but he would be wrong. Thinking that having blue aliens in a movie replaces people of color is at the very least, negatively racially motivated. Please, if you ever write science fiction, be more creative than the people who wrote Avatar!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (The Message Bible, 24)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Mirror

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? (24, The Message Bible)
This quote rings very true for me, because I am very short. I was teased a lot as a child. The worst was when people would come up to me and exclaim, "You're short!" It's so rude and yet if I ever said anything sarcastic back, I always got the impression that I was being the rude one. For some reason, it is more acceptable in our culture to be the one making the obvious and rude observation and not the one making the obvious and correct comeback. Another statement that I used to get and still get is, "Oh, you make me feel tall!," which is slightly better. Long ago, my comeback to that statement is that I figure Godde put me here to make other people feel better about themselves. Now that statement is true-we are here to help others. I spent a lot of time in my childhood being a little bitter that I was so obviously "different," but as this quote says, no amount of wishing would help me grow. I stopped growing in fifth gradde and I have remained four feet and nine and a half inches ever since. Now I do not worry about my height and I do not try to keep my toes in painful high heels all the time anymore either, because I accept the way I look. What matters more-looking a certain way or being happy? Ths also applies to the weight I have put on-I have gained some weight, which does bother me a little bit, but I tell myself not to worry, because my happiness is so much more important.

Now while standing in front of a mirror will not make you grow an inch or lose an inch, for that matter, it is crucial to develop a good relationship with one's mirror. It is important to be able to look at one's self and say, "This is what I look like and I accept it." Hopefully, one can eventually say, "This is what I look like and I like it!" So I am going to start posting pictures that I have taken of myself in front of my mirror. I got this idea from Marianne Kirby from her blog, The Rotund, which is a wonderful fat acceptance blog. Kirby often posts pictures of herself of when she thinks she looks good and this has encouraged me. I think we need to honor the days when we feel good! I used to think to myself, "I think I look good today, I wish someone would take my picture..." No more-now I will take my own pictures when I feel like it. No more will I be afraid to show my face.
This is an outfit that always makes me feel good-the skirt is loose and flowy and the shirt is fun. It says, "Make music not war." I feel hip, creative, and just me in this outfit. I feel happy, confident, and at ease. Everyone needs an outfit that makes them feel good-what's yours?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quote of the Day

God doesn't require attention-getting devices. (23, The Message Bible)

Ugh. I am so tired. Ideas are swirling around in my brain, but they will have to wait...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Medieval Times are Fun Times

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Medieval Times to celebrate the girl I tutor's eighteenth birthday. We had fun watching the show, although I must say that more than watching the show, I enjoyed seeing Chrissy-the girl I tutor-enjoy herself. Chrissy has a developmental disability and depression and anxiety. In a world that often demeans or makes invisible those with developmental disabilities, I think it is so important to make sure that she feels special, appreciated, included, and at ease as often as possible. It makes me happy when I think she feels that way.

In fact, I feel that is my main purpose in working with her-to make sure she has some time where she feels special and joyous. Of course, learning how to count money and follow directions is very important, but I feel there are much more important things than academics. As someone who has often felt devalued and anxious due to my mental illness, I can attest that feeling valued and at ease is critical to having a good quality of life.
(Me and Chrissy)

Now onto the food! At Medieval Times, you eat with your hands.
There isn't the best lighting, so I did not take a lot of pictures of the food. The food was okay, but nothing I would order if I was at a regular restaurant. Well, I might order a tomato bisque at a restaurant, but this bisque tasted like something out of a can. I consoled myself with the fact that one does not come to Medieval Times for the food, but for the show and bad English accents!(Tomato Bisque)
The one exception to the food was the chicken, which was very juicy and tender. It was not heavily seasoned, but the simplicity of the chicken combined with its superb juiciness was refreshing. And man, they gave us each a half of chicken! I took half of mine home and put the chicken on top of a baked potato with salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

Unfortunately, this meal was not without some inner turmoil for me. Because the portions were so huge and there were so many courses, I ate too much. When I eat too much, the uncomfortableness I feel in my stomach causes me to obsess and to want to get rid of that feeling as quickly as I can, which means throwing up. Fortunately, I am learning how to sit with uncomfortable feelings and so I did not succomb to the urge to purge. It makes me angry that the way I deal with feeling uncomfortable is to want to purge. I wish it were not a part of my mindset, but you know, recovery is a process. More and more I am trying to view life as many processes instead of a straight forward journey of right and wrong. I no longer succomb to my desires to act out, but that does not mean that I will not still have the desire to do so sometimes. And that is okay. Life is a process and people are rarely healed completely all at once. Sometimes when I have difficulty accepting this, I say to myself, "It's a process, life is a process," over and over again. Overall, I had a great time at Medieval Times, despite ED wanting to win. It did not and perhaps next time I go, I will be able to stay more in the moment and the moment will be a little easier. There is only one way to know and that is to continue living life and experiencing new things.

Quote of the Day

I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quote of the Day

You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. (21, The Message Bible)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. (19, The Message Bible)

And thank Godde that I am here at all! This is what happened to my car:

I am humbled that I am still alive and I feel an even stronger drive to pursue life in the way that I am meant to-bright, colorful, and letting my God-light vibrantly shine. Last night I got the chance to share my recovery story at NAMI and I emphasized how hopeful my life is now. It felt good to share my story and perhaps pass a little of what I have to someone else.

May Books

“Imago” by Octavia E. Butler – With the previous book, I was mad about leaving Lilith and then this time I was mad about leaving the story of Akin, but I quickly fell in love with Jodahs. My only complaint is that I never realized the meaning behind the title of the book, but perhaps I did not read carefully enough. I guess I’ll have to read it again sometime! I wish Butler had not died, because I could read about her characters forever. She really knows how to make a character come alive.

“The Eternal Tomb” by Kevin Emerson – This is book five in the “Oliver Nocturne” series and it is simply dreadful. The girl I work with picked it out. (So don’t blame me!) I know we started in the middle of the series, but even so, the book was really confusing with too many big words. As a writer, I don’t think books should have huge words unless they contribute to the flow and meaning of the book and few books should be filled with them, especially when the audience is for preteens. I just don’t think Emerson is a good writer and I find it sad and frustrating that someone who is not a proficient writer has published so many books!

“Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women can Transform their Relationships with Food through Myths, Metaphors & Storytelling” by Anita Johnston – Fabulous! Johnston tells many folk tales from around the world and relates them to recovery from an eating disorder. I read this quickly and absolutely loved it. I have a quote book and I did not bother writing down any quotes from this book in it, because I wanted to quote the whole thing! I heartily recommend it.

“Kindred” by Octavia E. Butler – So far I have not found one book by Butler that I have not loved! In this book, Dana, who is black, keeps on going back in time to the time of slavery in America. The relationship between Dana and the man she keeps on going back in time to see is intriguing. The book brings slavery and its horrors to life and I often wondered how our nation could have had such an awful practice. The characters seemed like real people and I felt like Butler must have lived through that time herself!

“Clay’s Ark” by Octavia E. Butler – Besides her characters, I love the fact that Butler’s novels are very action oriented. A lot of the teen books I read with the girl I work with go by VERY slowly, but in Butler’s books the action is intense. Her books would make great movies. This book is probably my least favorite of her books, although I still could not put it down. In it, the astronaut, Clay, comes back to earth infected with an alien organism and he has to figure out how to stay human.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Psalm 42

As the darkness long for light,
So I yearn for You.
I stumble around in the dark
And with hands outstretched,
I feel for Godde.
I cry out, "Where are You?!"
I remember my past
And my days in the sun-
Life was not always so painful.

Why be miserable, O my soul?
Remember hope!

I try to remember,
But I just get flooded by my past
And I cannot move.
I feel like I am the only one
Doing the remembering.
O Faithful Friend, remember me
And remind me of my worth.
Take my hand and lead
Me down the paths of hope.
To read the original, go here. My friend, Monica Coleman, did an excellent post about how remembering the past can sometimes be helpful when dealing with depression.

The first Tuesday of the month is always a speaker meeting at my NAMI group. Usually the speaker is a professional in the mental health community, who has great insights on new treatments or governmental policies, but this Tuesday, they are asking for members to talk about their own recovery story and I volunteered to be one of the speakers. I am excited to share my story. Many of the people there already know my story, but it will be a chance for me to practice speaking in front of a large group and get some practice for motivational speaking. Who knows, maybe I will get another speaking opportunity out of tonight! In a little bit, I am going to write down what I will say and perhaps I will post it here too.

The main message that I want to convey tonight is the same one that I try to push here-that hope is real and that change is possible. I feel that sometimes NAMI focuses too much on the current problems and not on the hope that life can change. But life is all about change. It is time we embrace it!