This is the kitchen where we talk about food, life, and recovery—a spiritual path to healing and peace.

You are invited to keep coming back to A Cup of Kindness to share your experience, strength and hope; fears, doubts and insecurities; and to pick up information, inspiration … and have a little fun!

My story
In January 2007, at the age of 51, I joined a 12-step program and began my recovery from food addiction, losing 75 pounds in the process. Read more…

In January 2011, at the age of 55, I began my recovery from a multi-trauma accident, 36 fractures, damaged lungs, and post traumatic stress. Read more…

I am deeply grateful for all the kindnesses, large and small, offered to me in recovery. Here I am... alive… still making progress … still not perfect … finding a new way forward in a growing community of women and men who share a lot in common around food and life.

I hope you'll join me in this kitchen and let me know what's cooking with you.

A Cup of Kindness

Open Heart Project


Do what you can…




I was on my way to a meeting this morning and I really wanted to call one of my 12 step fellows. I reached for my phone and realized that it was back at home in its wicker basket. I thought, “I could have called her yesterday, but I waited until I had to call her and now I can’t call her.” It took me back to the 1980’s when I worked the night shift on a med-surg floor at a small inner city hospital.

“Go when you can, not when you have to.” That was our slogan. We were so understaffed and overworked that we sometimes didn’t get enough time in a 12.5 hour shift to go to the bathroom. So, if we had a couple of minutes, we went to the bathroom whether we felt like it or not.

My mind went to a phrase I now hear three times a week, “Do what you can when you can. A life of sane and happy usefulness is what we are promised… ”

Here’s what I do when I can:

  • clean up the kitchen while I’m cooking and wash the dishes when I’m done eating
  • put stuff away as soon as I’m done using it
  • go to the bathroom (!)
  • forgive
  • apologize

Then, of course, there are many things I don’t do as soon as I can. I’m afraid. I delay. I get in my own way.

I’d like to be a better friend and reach out as soon as I think of it.

I’d like to tell the truth more readily. I’m learning to be more honest about my feelings in the moment. Maybe there are times when it’s OK to say, I’m upset-angry-frustrated-sad-scared-generally pissed off. I can be faithful to my own experience. Better to do it when I can, not when I have to.

“When you can.. ” is key for me. A long time ago, my sister Louise said to me, “Let’s not push the river.” I knew right away what she meant. When it feels like I should do something, but I can’t seem to do it, and there’s this tension in my body, my shoulders are hunched, and my fists are clenched… I’m pushing the river.

When I open my hands, relax my shoulders, and say, “I’ll do it when I can…” fear dissipates. Space opens up. I have the patience to wait and the clarity to see and act on the moment of “I can.”

I will do what I can when I can. I have faith in a life of sane and happy usefulness.

Love and Light,



8 Comments to Do what you can…

  1. Myra TAte's Gravatar Myra TAte
    August 2, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I would like to say that you are wise beyond your years, except that I know for sure that you are wise Because of Your Years. much love and many thanks for your help today.

  2. August 3, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    my favorite mother daughter communications
    all the best
    yeah a pretty satisfying way to go doing when it moves you before the pressure catches hold

  3. Luanne Paynick's Gravatar Luanne Paynick
    August 3, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Good morning Valerie,
    Thanks for sharing. I love your sister’s expression “Let’s not push the river.” Great imagery. And, I can so relate to your description of what you experience when you are in the midst of “pushing the river.”
    Your message helped me, once again, gain clarity about how doing things when I can has several meanings for me. Showing up and doing what I can in the moment – because I can. And, waiting until I really can when I’m “pushing the river.”
    As always your insight and clarity is much appreciated.

  4. Liz Thorson's Gravatar Liz Thorson
    August 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Loved your message, Valerie!! I’m going to carry it with me each day and night!! Thank you for sharing!!


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