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, May 1, 2013

HAWMC Day 29 and 30 - Praising My Strengths

Today is officially the last day of the Wego Health Activist Writer's Monthly Challenge!  What I liked about it was that the daily prompts helped me write more often and to think about topics that I wouldn't normally write about.  (That was my very short recap-day 30's topic.)  But I am going to go back in time by one day and complete yesterday's prompt-talk about three things that I can do well.  What a fun topic, right?! 

Finally, I have a prompt that lends itself easily to food-porn!  I haven't done a post about food in a while and I am glad to do so.  I really do love to cook and I love trying out new recipes.  I am a very harsh critic, which is one of the reasons why I haven't been posting recipes as much as usual-I like to only post recipes that I really like and I tend to be a harsher critic than my parents are.  For instance, while I liked this recipe for stuffed bell peppers, my mom absolutely loved it.  I made it a long time ago and had almost completely forgotten about this recipe until yesterday when I ran across these pictures.  I made it on a day when my dad was out of town, because he doesn't like peppers of any kind.  Fortunately, his being out of town coincided with a package of three green bell peppers that were on manager special.  Some people think it's gross to eat food that is on manager special, but I don't see a problem with it as long as I cook the food right away. 

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I had never made stuffed bell peppers before, but had always wanted to.  I finally got my chance when my dad went out of town!  I thought this recipe had good results and the finished product looked pretty!  (The recipe is actually from weight watchers.  They have some pretty good recipes that are good in their own right, in my opinion.)

Ingredients
  •     3 medium green bell peppers, halved and seeded
  •     1 medium uncooked onion, chopped
  •     2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  •     1 4 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes
  •     1 can of corn 
  •     1/2 tsp chili powder
  •     1/2 tsp table salt
  •     1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  •      1 cup cooked brown rice

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the bell peppers until tender, about 4 minutes, then drain. To prepare the filling, spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, corn, chili powder, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice.
 Stuff the filling into each bell-pepper half. Place the stuffed peppers in a shallow 2-quart casserole. Cover with foil and bake until heated through, 20–25 minutes. Yields 2 bell-pepper halves per serving.

Here's a close-up shot:
The result was pretty satisfying-much more filling than I thought they would be.  I would probably add a little mozzarella if I make them again, but my mom thought they were perfect.  To make them spicier, you could use a can of rotel, instead of plain diced tomatoes.  I love the presentation!

I have learned that I love to cook and that I cook pretty well.  I made an awesome dish of roasted brussel sprouts, ham, and mushrooms the other day that I liked so much that I am going to make them again tomorrow.  I will definitely share the recipe with you sometime soon.

Another thing that I do well is write poetry.  Well, I am good at writing in general, but right now I am thinking about some poetry that I wrote recently.  I usually write my poetry when I am upset.  It really helps me process my complex emotions.  I find that it is much easier to express myself through poetry than in prose when I am really upset-I feel like the short, descriptive phrases are able to reach much further into my psyche than is possible than with prose.  There is a closeness, a vulnerability, that belongs to poetry and poetry alone.  Here is a poem I wrote during Easter to explore my own theology:

Am I A Christian?

I call myself a Christian.
But I don’t believe in a virgin birth.
And I don’t believe that Christ rose from the dead,
Except metaphorically.

I believe we all live eternally
In the memories of the people
Still “alive.”
We all live forever-
Our bodies decompose
And become one with the Earth.
We give life to the trees,
Who in turn give us life
Through the oxygen they provide.
In this way we never
Fully die and we never
Were really born.

Godde is the life that connects us.
I learn about living in the Holy
One’s way through the stories of the Bible.
Christ’s way is the path I choose to follow.

 I call myself Christian,
But I am tired of pretending.
Sometimes I feel like
I don’t belong anywhere.

It is hard to hear
About ghosts moving furniture
And people ascending into heaven
Or descending to Hell
Without rolling my eyes.

 I don’t believe in Hell
And I don’t think I believe in Heaven.
I don’t need to-
I am satisfied with the cycle circle of life.

I am looking for someone like-minded;
For a place where I don’t have to pretend.
I don’t want to hide.

At church, we speak the same language,
But we mean so many different things.
That is the way of the world though.

I am tired of speaking in metaphors.
I want to find someone
Who can match my passion and
Intensity, dedication and logic,
But who is not over sixty or married.
I am afraid I am alone.
I am afraid that there is no one
Who wants to break down the
Walls of the patriarchy with me;
No one who feels the pull of the Sacred so deeply
That I choose to keep on living in my mortal form,
Even though that means a lifetime of longing
For what I cannot have-
A lifetime longing for death
And yet knowing that my peace
Would not please Godde.

 Sometimes it seems like this world
Is a terrible injustice-
A terrible price to pay
For the beauty of being alive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I really like it.  It expresses some of the spiritual issues that I was inwardly wrestling with at the time.  You can also tell that I was a little depressed and extremely frustrated by the language I use towards the end.  I don't feel depressed or nearly that frustrated anymore, which goes to prove how helpful poetry can be!  This brings me to my third good quality - I have good insight and I enjoy exploring my feelings and ideas.  I used to think that everybody did that, but as I have met more and more people in therapeutic settings, such as outpatient hospital groups and therapy classes, I have learned that many people do not possess such self-awareness, insight, or even a willingness to try to understand themselves.  I am almost always willing to explore my issues!  Being self-aware, I believe, helps me enormously.  When I am sure of my beliefs, my strengths, and even my weaknesses, then I am more self confident.  I know what I can be proud of and what I can improve.  I believe that all human beings are imbued with more power than we can even imagine and the only way that we can begin to realize it is by being willing to look inward and explore and get to know ourselves intimately.  This kind of self exploration involves vulnerability and I think a lot of people are not willing to go that far.  When a person is vulnerable, she risks being hurt, disappointed, and feeling intensely uncomfortable.  All of these things are painful, but the reward at the end is the satisfaction of knowing yourself more intimately.  Getting to know myself is a job that never ends, but it is a job that I really enjoy doing.  Besides, getting to know myself by writing poetry and by creating art is fun to me and incredibly satisfying.  There is a joy that comes from being able to express myself fully and well.

This has been a longer post than usual-I hope you enjoyed it!  What are three of your strengths?

2 comments:

  1. I just want to thank you for your poetry.

    I first found your site or four years ago when I was looking up feminist Christianity online. When you were writing your Psalms.

    I've printed off your Psalm 39 and keep it in a small frame in which I carry it around. Thank you.

    Claire Major
    Columbia, Missouri

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  2. Thank you so much for your comment! Your comment really touches me. I stopped writing the Psalms, because I discovered that several other poets had reworked the psalms and so I got discouraged, thinking that perhaps their work was better than mine. Your kind words may be the encouragement I needed to start writing them again.

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