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



I’m going to voice therapy four days a week. It’s to retrain my vocal folds which were damaged by the endotracheal tube while I was on the ventilator last year; and to increase my diminished lung capacity.

During one voice therapy session, I had a flashback to that period on the ventilator when I could not speak a word. I could not recognize myself and I felt no connection to the Divine or anyone around me. I was vacant – nobody home. There was only rage that no one could understand me.

In a moment the flashback abated and I started to cry… with gratitude. Here I am now, graced with a voice and a way to strengthen that voice. I’m no longer stuck in primal dread. I am learning to surrender to, make friends with, and transform my memories and the sensations that accompany them.

I touched into the void, felt the release and then stood back enough to tell my story.  Leslie, one of my two voice therapists and the founder of The Language Experience, handed me a tissue and made it clear that she understood my story. And so we got back to work.

I keep noticing what it’s like to have a voice; to speak; to speak the truth; to tell one’s story.

Last week, my friend Jonathon announced on Facebook, “Dudes and dudettes: let it hereby be known that I am, from this day forward, a Permanent Resident of Canada. WOOoRRDD!!” (Good envy on my part here.)

For those of you as out of the socio-cultural loop as I am, Urban Dictionary (profanity alert if you choose to click through) says “word” basically means “truth”.

The first chapter of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The Word… Logos…

Logo – an ideogram, a concept, a symbol. I have been working with my friend, graphic designer Agnes Hogan, to create a logo for this space. And it was created – the logo that I love. See it above. Agnes said she hoped it would give me strength and confidence, and bring lots of happiness.

I am feeling stronger, more confident, and happier. I have a voice. I have a symbol. I speak my truth.

Through the Word, all things are described and made coherent. In the Word is Life and Light. The Word heals.

And yet, as we return to the Creator, doesn’t the Word begin to dim and doesn’t the world become a place of darkness… and reflection?

My grandmother Liz said at the end of her life, “Are you preparing?” And she, a woman of most excellent words, went quietly.

The Word… the Word on the breath… the created from the Uncreated…

The spoken Word… and the Word remaining within…

The last Word…

Returning to the Creator without a word… in comfort and awe.

Love & Light,


6 Comments to Word!

  1. Margarita Plasencia's Gravatar Margarita Plasencia
    March 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I recall seeing you with the endotracheal tube when I visited you in the hospital here in Miami. I will neve forget the look in your eyes. It was a look of desperation. I prayed for you all the way home that day and still pray for you every day. I am so happy to see how well you are recuperating and what positive attitude you have. Thank you for setting an example of incredible strength and faith! May God continue to bless you all the days of your life.


  2. Melinda's Gravatar Melinda
    March 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Valerie!
    You are a powerful role model of strength, grace, courage, vision and determination to heal. You are an inspiration for all of us who are so blessed to have your presence in our lives. I know for sure that, as your vocal cords recover, you will speak with more strength, clarity and truth than ever before.
    Thank you for sharing your journey of recovery and healing with us.

  3. March 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    What a beautifully crafted declaration! I started working with a voice coach in January after Dan Newby (Newfield’s CEO) threw out the idea at a conference I attended in November, and it’s also opened up a very powerful space for me. I just blogged about it — and I share your reverence for the stories we have to tell.
    Thanks so much for your heartfelt sharing!

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