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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Psalm 49 - I Have Something to Say

My words are for everybody.
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-
Their glittering clothes are but fancy shrouds.
To you, who are rich-
You are a foolish, foolish people!
Your shining gold blinds you
And you are dying inside.
Your jewels may shine brightly,
But it is nothing compared
To the light of love you are denying.
At the end of your days,
You are left with death.
Like the beasts you are,
You will die without redemption.
To compare it to the original, go here. What do you think? I am a little out of practice writing these psalms, as I haven't written any in about two months! I don't feel as satisfied with the result of this poem as some of the others I've written and I really welcome people's comments.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm Breaking Out of a Rut and Into a Wonderful Breakfast Sandwich

When I was consumed by my eating disorder, I lived by order and repetition. I tried to eat as little as I could get away with and when I did eat, I ate the same things, day after day after day. Then, as I got better and started grocery shopping on my own, I got into a rut where I would not buy anything unless it was on a list or a coupon. I am still working on getting out of my ruts. One way I try to do this is by buying the meat at Ingle's that is "reduced for quick sale." I figure the meat will still be good as long as I put it in my freezer right away, I save money, and perhaps most importantly, it oftentimes forces me to cook a kind of meat or cut of meat that I would not normally choose. Tomorrow I'm cooking drumsticks for this very reason.

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

Spiritual Quote of the Day - "Evil need not have the final word."

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

God is the "One Who is Known on the Journey"

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 - Stop the Hate

This is the outfit I wore to Atlanta Pride this year. That's right, it's a cute summer dress, even though Atlanta Pride is now in October. It amazes me that my country is so big and diverse that even though I was incredibly comfortable wearing a tank top, sundress, and sandals, there were some places in the United States with snow! I must say I really feel sorry for those people.

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

Spiritual Quote of the Day

God is more than two men and a bird. ~ Sandra M. Schneider

Comments are Welcome, But Respect is a Must

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

Lawrenceville's "Terror in the Square" Really is a Terror-Support Another Haunted House Instead

I have no problem with most haunted houses-it's fun to get scared every once in a while. My boyfriend even works at one and if I am able to get up my courage, I may take a tour through it. (I am notoriously squeamish about haunted houses and all my friends laughed at me when they heard that Charlie works at Netherworld.) I do, however, have a problem with how many haunted houses are themed as psychiatric hospitals filled with "crazies." My hometown, Lawrenceville, opened a haunted house which bills itself as "... a late 1800's sanitarium psychiatric ward for the criminally insane" where you can watch and participate in torturing inmates. Now vampires and devils are not real, or at least are debateable, but real people lost their lives and really were tortured in psychiatric units in the 1800s. In fact, people still die in psyciatric units and this is a very serious matter that I just cannot take lightly. Georgia's state hospitals are under scrutiny for having over 100 deaths that were probably preventable and when reviewed, Georgia's state hospitals received the high score of a "D." Some haunted house aficionados do not see how these kinds of haunted houses perpetuate the stigma that already surrounds mental illness and maybe I would agree if we also had haunted houses that featured cancer wards or primary care doctor's offices, but they don't. Somehow it is okay in our country and culture to demonize victims of mental illness, but not those with other diseases. Now I am not saying that we should demonize anybody-I am just trying to paint a picture the best way I know how of how these kinds of haunted houses hurt. Below is part of a letter that the president of NAMI GA wrote to the mayor of Lawrenceville:

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

I Am Too Worn Out Tonight, So Read This Instead!

I have had a very trying day and nothing better expresses how I feel than this piece written by my minister, from her blog, A Gracious Heresy. A Gracious Heresy: SEX:"It is so utterly simple: it ain't about who you have sex with it's about how you love, how you are in right relationship with another."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A New Pasta Dish and Silent Sunlight

My parents are vacationing right now in sunny, beautiful Hawaii! That's what you get to do when you are retired, but I am stuck here at home taking care of the dog and the house. This does not usually inspire me to cook great meals, because as everybody knows, it is just not as fun to cook only for yourself. But there was one day when I went to the local farmer's market and got inspired enough to make a great meal. The basis of the meal was the pasta I bought from the market:
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
Artichoke Hearts
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.

Here is something else that is pretty and that I want to share-a video of me singing Cat Steven's "Silent Sunlight." If you'll recall, that was the original song that I wanted to post up here, but I could not figure out how. You may also recall that I now know how!

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

September Books

I had a super busy September and so I did not have time to read as much as I usually do. Hopefully there will be more books reviewed next month.

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.

Godde's Wisdom

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 normally can't stand Glen Beck, but I thought this was a good segment about one of the groups that will be performing at the upcoming Expo.

FREE Event-Atlanta Abilities Expo

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

Canine assistance demonstration

Interactive, adaptive sports

Inclusive dance demo and instruction

Artist Market where talented local artists with disabilities will display and sell their artwork.

FREE loaner scooters
FREE wheelchair repair
FREE shuttle service

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

Spiritual Quote - Jesus' Alternative Wisdom

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)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National Mental Illness Awareness Week and An Important Message from Ellen About Bullying

This week is National Mental Illness Awareness Week. The teen suicides across the country remind us that queer folk have an extremely high rate for mental illness, especially for depression. There is no doubt in my mind that the rate would not be as high if being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or otherwise queer were more accepted in our society. I once heard a trans womyn say at a conference that at least when it comes to being trans, the consequence to not accepting one's self is surely suicide. It is, of course, much easier to accept one's self when society already accepts you. Unfortunately, many mainstream religions, regions, and families teach us that being who we are is a sin and a failure. But I believe that Godde wants us to be all that we are fully, including the part of ourselves that is queer. If you are being bullied at school, hang in there, for life does get better. Remember who you ultimately are-a beloved child of Godde.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Plus-size models on Ellen (Crystal Renn, Kate Dillon)

"However you're made is the right way for you."

Ellen on Body Image, and Beauty

Spiritual Quote-God is Gracious

In many of his parables and aphorisms, Jesus invited his hearers to see God not as the judge, not as the one who has requirements that must be met, not as the legitimator of conventional wisdom-but as gracious and compassionate. (82, Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Let Us Break Bread Together" for World Communion Sunday

Whoppee!!!!! As you may recall, I have wanted to do a regular feature on this blog for a very long time where I perform some music. Well, tonight I was finally victorious-I finally figured out how to upload a homemade video. I'll even share my secret: you need to download Any Video Converter-it's free! Today is the first of my videos-I hope you like it. It's me accompanying myself on the piano while I sing John Carter's "Air" (Let Us Break Bread Together). I am going to be playing and singing this song tomorrow during church for World Communion Sunday.
I hope you enjoyed the performance! I learned this version of the spiritual when I took voice lessons at Georgia College & State University. It makes me happy to know that I am now in a place where I can sing again, because there was a time when I was too depressed to sing.

I actually decided to figure out how to upload the video as a coping skill. You see, earlier tonight some feelings of doing self-harm were resurfacing and I was frustrated. Fortunately, I now know how to cope with these feelings and it is to be creative. Creating a piece of artwork makes me feel alive and reminds me that there are good things in life. It more than distracts me, but reawakens me to the life-giving core of energy that wants me to continue thriving and does not want me to hurt myself. There are positive ways to deal with feelings of wanting to self-harm, besides doing it. I understand that self-harm causes endorphins to rise, but it also causes shame to arise too. If you are a person who struggles with self-harm, I suggest trying to create something. Years ago, I used to draw and paint my emotions when I wanted to cut and that worked too. Creating something new not only raises endorphins, but it inspires feelings of accomplishment, instead of shame. Draw a picture, write a poem, sing a song. As the famous Sesame Street song, "Sing" says, "Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing, sing a song." Your spirit will thank you.

By the way, I want a catchy name for my videos-what should I call the segments of me performing in the future?