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


My history with G-d



It has been six weeks or so since the surgery to remove the hardware that held my back together for the last couple of years. During this recovery, it has been very interesting to watch my connection to G-d go missing and then slowly come back.

Here’s a bit of my history with G-d.

My very first memory in life is of standing in front of a gravestone, probably at the age of six, in Rock Creek Church Cemetery (we lived just outside of its gates), with my hand up saying, “I vow that I will never be like my father; and there is no God.”

As I grew up, I called myself an atheist. I enjoyed visiting places of worship. I loved religious architecture, art, and music. I had no judgement of others for their religious beliefs. They believed and I did not. That was all.

Then, in my late thirties, something changed. The hospital where I was working as a nurse had just closed and my next job hadn’t yet started. My first marriage had been empty for ten years. We were close to bankruptcy. I weighed 250 pounds. If you had asked me, I would have said, “I’m fine.” However, some curiosity had come over me. I wanted to learn about Buddhism, so I called a temple-monastery in town and the monk who answered the phone told me to come for a visit the following Sunday.

I showed up. I sat on a cushion on the floor. I heard beautiful chanting. I meditated for the first time. Within minutes tears began to flow down my face. One word repeated in my mind, over and over again. “Loss. Loss. Loss.” Suddenly, my body seemed to push out. Zzzzhupp! Zzzhupp! The container that had been holding in all feeling — physical, emotional, spiritual feeling — started to crack open. Something else poured in and over me like warm oil.

This Sunday’s Thought from Heather Lende’s blog puts it beautifully.

“When a wave of love takes over a human being, love of another human being, love of nature, love of all mankind, love of the universe, such an exultation takes him that he knows he has put his finger on the pulse of the great secret and the great answer.” — Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in Cross Creek

Paradoxically, in practicing Buddhist meditation which does not take a position on the existence of G-d, I began to experience a connection to the G-d of my understanding… the One from whom all goodness flows.

Buddhist meditation, Quaker Meeting for Worship, Passover services, and a 12-step program for food addiction became my training ground. They didn’t give me an intellectual idea of G-d. They gave me an experience of G-d. So, when the really big thing happened, I had some innate understanding.

As I lay in the ambulance, I felt huge wings above the vehicle slowly beating. Something good was with me.

At my worst moment, on the ventilator, tied down, disconnected from everything familiar, traumatized, unable to tell everyone what to do and how to help me, I was so enraged that I decided to kill myself. I figured out how to do it. It was such a relief to know there was a way out. And suddenly —  Zzzzhupp! Zzzhupp! — I cracked open. G-d entered in the form of the Serenity Prayer. My new mind made a good meaning out of my circumstances. I felt peace… for the moment. Peace came and went during that first eight months or so of recovery.

After this recent surgery, I was disconnected again from the familiar, not so dramatically, but enough to lose contact with G-d. Gradually, week by week, prayer by prayer, with each 30 minutes of Quiet Time, I’ve entered back into the fold. Thank you, G-d.

So, I’m grateful. I know that when this connection is broken, it’s time for me to sit quietly. It’s time to notice… patiently. G-d is there, patiently waiting. I will return.

Love & Light,


8 Comments to My history with G-d

  1. Sissy's Gravatar Sissy
    April 23, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Patience….one simple word. But so very challenging sometimes – a lot of the time. Sitting quietly is about patience, yes? Does openness come from patience? Does awareness come from patience?

    I read this the other day:

    “Awareness means that you simply see who you are without struggling to change. Your awareness makes all the necessary changes, not your struggle.”


  2. April 23, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    thank you,
    well told

  3. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    April 23, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    You took me on a long trip. I understand now, better than before. Thank you. I will read Cross Creek. As an adult I read The Yearling, a marvelous story of a boy and his love for a deer he brings up and the consequences to him and his family.

  4. Theolyn's Gravatar Theolyn
    April 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Valerie, thank you for sharing your very personal, powerful writing. It is always interesting to see and hear how each person handles trauma in their lives. Also how miraculous our human minds respond to the conditions of our bodies. Our human bodies were very specially created!

    Thank you again,

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