Was He Preparing Me?

Today, I watched a video about mental illness and mental wellness. As I watched my mind drifted back to my childhood and I got a powerful jolt. Was God preparing me for this new direction in my life even then? Let me explain.

The last few years I have been involved with the African American Family Wellness Group which is the black cultural competency component for the Department of Mental Health. My interest in joining the group was birthed in my dealing with the young men and women that participated in our after school program. These children had varying mental wellness issues. Some were diagnosed as ADHD; others had image problems that resulted in acting out. Still others were academically deficient but there was no learning disability present. They got behind in their grade level, behaved badly and ended up in special education where they continued to slide down that slope to dropout land. That just exacerbated the problem which were originally unnoticed, unattended, emotional problems stemming from family drama, bullying or some other trauma. I realized that the parents of these kids needed help so they could help their children.

I never had any intent to get involved in mental health. Like most people, when mental illness is mentioned I thought of the clinically insane, mentally challenged people that need medication, continuing therapy and observation and possibly institutionalizing. That was my experience.
When I was a young child, one of our neighbors gathered us neighborhood kids up to take us to entertain people in the minimum security section of the local mental hospital. We called her and the ladies with her, The Gray ladies, because they wore gray uniforms. I knew we made the people happy but I didn’t like it when they wanted to hug us and kiss on us. It was creepy. But we had to let them to a point. We were shown how to minimize their contact without hurting their feelings.  Was this the first step in my training?

My next phase of training occurred at age 16. A government employment program designed for underprivileged kids (aka black kids) was the tool used. We were assigned to the Park and Recreation department of Bryce Mental Hospital. Yes, the very same hospital with the Gray Ladies. We assisted the psychologists and therapists with physical activities and games. That was a very educational summer. Our clients included the criminally insane, nymphomaniacs, manic depressives, schizophrenics, and a young lady of society placed there because she embarrassed her parents by getting pregnant.

My last phase at this hospital was while I was in college. I was employed as a file clerk. Phase Three. I worked directly with the Supervising doctor and his nurses. I had access to all their records. That is why I was amazed that I didn’t know the gentleman who cleaned my office was a paranoid schizophrenic with homicidal tendencies until my last day there. I knew he was ill but I never had a reason to fear him. That day he asked me if there was anything he could do for me, my office, before Monday. I told him I would not be back. It was my last day because I had to return to college. He lost it. I was trapped in my office. He never threaten me. My fear or panic was short lived. I felt sad that I had triggered him. He was whisked away to be medicated.

Was I being prepared for this next phase in my life? I have a passion for the mental wellness of Black male kids and their families. I want to interrupt the prison pipeline. I want to restore their esteem and understanding that they were created for greatness not prison slavery. I want to wake up my community to the power they possess to change these dynamics. I want to save their lives.

I am more awakened and ready for this journey. Let’s do this, God. Thanks for preparing me, even when I could not recognize your hand or your presence.

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Journey Through My New Food Frontier

 I originally posted this on Blogger. I wanted to compare WordPress views with Blogger views. I am still comparing them.

I had the most amazing day at Barnes and Noble. A few weeks ago I began my food experiment journey into the world of gluten-free and dairy free recipes. I am happy to report the non-dairy butter was and is awesome. I found a recipe for non-dairy shortening. I haven’t tried it yet but since it is from the same cook I expect it to be amazing as well. That experience combined with my new love for certified organic foods got be excited to learn more. I went to Barnes and Noble on a search for a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan cookbook. That was kind of silly since vegans are dairy free. 😀

Nevertheless, I spent some time searching for a cookbook that would satisfy my education and cooking for my Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to find a particular book that I had seen in an Adventist market. I didn’t see it so I went to customer service like a good little researcher and asked about the book. I didn’t find the book but I did discover that I had only tapped the service of Barnes and Noble’s cookbooks. The WHOLE back wall contained cookbooks. I just HAD to come back another day when i could explore.

Much like that little kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait. I was so excited that I came back and purchased a gluten-free, dairy-free cookbook without the research.. I got home and decided it really did not do it for me. The next day I returned the book and spent that amazing day searching for a cookbook that would meet my needs.

I found it! I found it! I found the perfect book for me. It has recipes but it is more of a “How to make your own” book. It is a Vegan substitution cookbook, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Steen and Newman. Guide to Vegan Substitution bookThe guide explains the relationship between items used to prepare a meal for carnivores and herbivores and how to make the substitutions for the best results. As I said in the last post, I was expecting a diverse set of dietary needs to visit my home for Christmas. I needed to change my mac and cheese and sweet potato pie ingredients to accommodate animal product free, dairy free, and gluten free allergies. Rather than guessing and serving the meals with trepidation, I went boldly into the kitchen to prepare the requested dishes. The mac and cheese was a hit. I know because there was very little left over. We  ate so much that we didn’t have room for the pies. That was left to today’s dining experiences.

By the way, corn allergy is coming to visit for the weekend. What’s one more. Corn, in some form,is in almost everything.  Read your labels people.Got to label read!

Blogger versus WordPress

I decided to create this blog in WordPress to compare to Blogger. I found some limitations in Blogger that I couldn’t get around. Now I am learning WordPress’ free blog template. So far I am not sure how this new featured image thing is going to work . I may have to change the template. I removed it. Pretty easy.

Most of the features are very similar. I think the most important thing for me is WordPress seems to make it easier to add polls and contact forms to the post.  I also wanted to add text to the sidebar that was not a widget.

I have just discovered a problem with the Gravatar. It will let you crop the picture but it won’t let you rotate it. Make sure it is small enough before you upload it. It says it will make what I choose the picture across my google platform but it won’t let me use the picture I already have with google or google+. Something is wrong with that. Are you listening WordPress or WordPress users.

For those of you who think you are seeing things, I also have a blog called Pat’s Thoughts Out Loud. I will continue to post there until I determine which one to keep.

 

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New Food Frontier For Me

#dairyfree #foodallergies #cooking

I had the most amazing day at Barnes and Noble. A few weeks ago I began my food experiment journey into the world of gluten-free and dairy free recipes. I am happy to report the non-dairy butter was and is awesome. I found a recipe for non-dairy shortening. I haven’t tried it yet but since it is from the same cook I expect it to be amazing as well. That experience combined with my new love for certified organic foods got be excited to learn more. I went to Barnes and Noble on a search for a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan cookbook. That was kind of silly since vegans are dairy free. 😀 Nevertheless, I spent some time searching for a cookbook that would satisfy my education and cooking for my Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to find a particular book that I had seen in an Adventist market. I didn’t see it so I went to customer service like a good little researcher and asked about the book. I didn’t find the book but I did discover that I had only tapped the service of Barnes and Noble’s cookbooks. The WHOLE back wall contained cookbooks. I just HAD to come back another day when i could explore.

Much like that little kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait. I was so excited that I came back and purchased a gluten-free, dairy-free cookbook without the research.. I got home and decided it really did not do it for me. The next day I returned the book and spent that amazing day searching for a cookbook that would meet my needs.

Guide to Vegan Substitution bookI found it! I found it! I found the perfect book for me. It has recipes but it is more of a “How to make your own” book. It is a Vegan substitution cookbook, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Steen and Newman. The guide explains the relationship between items used to prepare a meal for carnivores and herbivores and how to make the substitutions for the best results. As I said in the last post, I was expecting a diverse set of dietary needs to visit my home for Christmas. I needed to change my mac and cheese and sweet potato pie ingredients to accommodate animal product free, dairy free, and gluten free allergies. Rather than guessing and serving the meals with trepidation, I went boldly into the kitchen to prepare the requested dishes. The mac and cheese was a hit. I know because there was very little left over. We  ate so much that we didn’t have room for the pies. That was left to today’s dining experiences.

By the way, corn allergy is coming to visit for the weekend. What’s one more. Corn, in some form,is in almost everything.  Read your labels people.Got to label read!

We Forgot!

#peaceonearth #respect #Christmas #joy #stress #spouse #love

I remember when I was a child this was the most inspiring, joyous time of the year. My grandmother shopped downtown listening to Christmas carols being piped through speakers on the city streets. The night air was crisp and clean. People who you didn’t know, greeting you with smiles and Merry Christmas on their lips. It may have been stressful to some but it sure didn’t feel like it. The list of things to be done seemed like a privilege and a joy. Giving wasn’t something you had to do. People who couldn’t afford to buy gifts made them. Those were usually the best ones. Sharing what you had was magnified.

But Now…

There seems to be more concern with how much I can get and how much did you pay for it. That put unnecessary stress who can’t spend a lot. We forgot the joy is in the giving, however little and the fact that someone thought of you. We forgot! We have taught our kids to be unappreciative. Then we get mad at them when they are.

The stress of this season breaks up relationships. We have come to value the things given over the giver. If your spouse or significant other doesn’t give you what you want at the price point you expect, there is NO Peace on Earth. We forgot. 

  • Let’s remember to treat each other the way we want to be treated; with love and respect.
  • Let’s remember to value the person more than anything they give, even if all they can give is a smile and a hug.
  • Let’s remember the joy many of us felt as children.

    If you don’t have those kind of memories begin to make them now. Those of us who have them, share that love with them.

  • Let’s remember “To do to others what we want done to us.”

          I guess in this perverted world I should explain. I mean treat others with the love and respect you want to get. Don’t fight in the stores and don’t curse people out in the parking lots.

  • Let’s remember to be kind and spread joy.
Don’t forget. The Messiah’s birth was to bring Peace not Stress. 
Remember!
Have Very, Blessed, Joyful, and Loving CHRISTmas celebration!