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





This morning, as I went out into the 6am-dark and chilly world, with Miranda-the-labradoodle in the lead, I noticed a sad feeling. My heart felt a little slow to wake up. My eyes saw the sidewalk ahead and little else.

I tried gratitude and still was cast down.

What was that feeling?


As Miss M and I strode along, my eyes uplifted. I saw clouds scudding across the moon. I felt my body striding along. I thought, “I keep getting better.”

I’ve kept getting better all of my life. It’s all been progress. Why not practice hope just like I practice gratitude? The trend has always been towards improvement… with some notable valleys.

After the accident in 2011, hopelessness was as much of a trauma injury as my crushed bones and lungs… as potentially fatal as the infections and blood clots… but without a ready cure from the outside. There didn’t seem to be that glimmer of hope inside that was needed to connect with all the love and prayer coming my way.

My physical therapists told me I would be able to walk Miranda again. I said, “Please, don’t lie to me. Please, tell me the truth.” They told me again that I would walk Miranda. I borrowed a bit of their hope. It was enough to make me willing to try to stand up when I was afraid.

Then one morning I had a surge of energy. I was hungry for the first time in months. At 30 pounds underweight, and advised by everyone to eat whenever I could and whatever called to me, I took myself in my wheelchair to the elevator, to the lobby, to the coffee stand, and outside to the healing garden. By myself! I had coffee and a cookie and wheeled myself back to the gym where I ambulated using a walker farther than I had the day before… and I wasn’t afraid. That was a good morning and then I was tuckered out and hopeless all over again, in spite of the evidence that good things were in store for me.

Once I got home after 4 months in the hospital, I would wake up at 6am seeing only the ceiling and little else. There was nothing to get up for. Just a long day ahead of… struggle. Struggle to turn over, to stand up, to brush my teeth, to prepare food, to eat, to go to physical therapy. I could have been grateful to be home and recovering. I wasn’t.

How did hope return? A good regimen of medications, EMDR, time, therapy, love, prayer, the 12 steps, friends, books, G-d. And learning that I could do for myself.

Before coming into the 12-step rooms, I used to fantasize a lot. I’d be happy once I was thin, had a loving husband, was good at a job, lived in a nice place, wore attractive clothes. Fantasizing left me miserable. I used to describe it as a fantasy hangover. That wasn’t hope. I didn’t really believe those things could happen. Of course, they did happen.

I rarely fantasize any more. Some part of me has assumed that this is it. It’s as good as it’s going to get. Why hope?

Hope because, as a 12 step fellow told me, healing is infinite. Hope because, when I really look at it, my life keeps getting better. Hope because, very, very slowly, with lots of help, I’m getting better as a person.

Anything worth doing takes practice. Today, I’m practicing hope. Hopefully, I’ll keep practicing for many years to come.

My hope for today is to do G-d’s will, even in small matters.

Love & Light,


16 Comments to Hope

  1. March 25, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Dearest Valerie,
    Thank you for this heartfelt expression of living in the present moment, of awareness of the infinite potential available in that moment, of deep healing that abides within as we recognize our connection with Divine, G-d, Unity, Light- and live in willingness to stay awake and aware of that infinite potential.
    For me, hope is often found in that crack that may appear in the surface of things-as-I-think-they-are, when I can be with what is. Then I know I am surrounded by Love.
    David Frawley says that “Love is the true healing force.” What wonderful guidance.
    Thank you for your strength and resolve, for your willingness to so eloquently express and share your experience.
    Blessings- Cathryn

  2. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    March 25, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    You are brave. You are wise. You have shown endless courage. And you are taking chances with your creative body and soul. Mike and I love your voice lessons in the studio. When you are singing, I can tell how much he enjoys working with you by the way he supports you and his pleasure in improvising. Betsy said, after you left on Saturday, “she has a beautiful voice.” It’s true. You have taken the challenge to get to know your new singing voice, and it is becoming an even greater gift. You show HOPE each time you are with us. All I can say is that I am so glad to be part of your recovery, dearest daughter.

  3. Terri Premo-Peaphon's Gravatar Terri Premo-Peaphon
    March 25, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I am blessed to call you a friend and inspiration. Love you my friend!

  4. Kathryn's Gravatar Kathryn
    March 26, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    Dear Valerie,
    Thanks so much for your words on hope. Great to visit Cup of Kindness today after a long spell away. Keep posting on Facebook so I don’t miss your posts. Grateful to be trudging the happy road with you today.

  5. Sis's Gravatar Sis
    March 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting (and a little bit heartbreaking).

    To me it is about doing instead of dreaming. Once when things were very rough in my life due to a financialy scary time, I saw a therapist. He was wonderful and helpful in so many ways. However one thing didn’t work for me at all (and he realized it right away as did I).

    I was having trouble eating because of all the stress and I had lost a great deal of weight. He asked me for my favorite mode of relaxation tmhat involved food and I said being on beach relaxing, swimming, reading and then enjoying wonderful food and sipping cocktails. He asked me to imagine that with my eyes closed as he talked me through it. Given what we were going though with money, it was indeed a fantasy to imagine these things. And it was a DISASTER that left me in a puddle of tears. This is why – I do not want to live in my imagination. I want to live in what is here RIGHT NOW.

    When things right now are wonderful-then it’s great. When things are not wonderful at all it is very hard. But it is real. It is now. And it is the truth. And I want to face it and fix it as best I can. So we took a different path together and he helped me figure out a way I could feel more grounded in that moment, to fix what pieces I could and wait out the rest, as difficult as it was.

  6. Em's Gravatar Em
    March 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Valerie –

    Thank you for another insightful and honest post.

    I appreciate your distinction between fantasy and hope. I too noticed that as I became more present in my day-to-day life thanks to my 12 step program, I found less and less need to escape into my head. And because – again thanks to my program – I have accomplished things I never dared to imagine for myself, I do have a real sense of possibility. As I am turning 64, it feels like the world is still opening up before me.

    I guess I would call that hope!

  7. Em's Gravatar Em
    March 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Ah, another Aries girl … I knew I liked you!

    Yes, the change for me was so gradual it took me awhile to realize the difference. I mean, I still enjoy escapist entertainment of all kinds. And I feel my imagination and creativity reviving. But I really feel those things now, rather than just the numbness I was seeking.

  8. Em's Gravatar Em
    March 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    As dost Thou. Uhm, Thee?

  9. Em's Gravatar Em
    March 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    PS, speaking of “friends” … I just messaged you on FB. I think it’s in your “other” folder. Heh.

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