Posts tagged ‘Angels’
I’ve been getting up pretty early these days, which is a whole new thing for me and I must confess to doing my share of sleeping in at least one weekend morning but – back to the point. I’m finding that if I get up early enough, I don’t feel rushed in those first waking moments and I can actually get outside and take a look at the world and try and make a spiritual connection with the universe. I find if I can actually beat my life out the door, I can really make myself open to what each day has to offer. And then, for like eight to ten minutes, I’m calm and connected. It really feels good. I’d like to say that this state of serenity lasts throughout my day, making me an absolute treasure to be around, but that would be a stretch. However, it does get the day off to a beautiful start and that’s better than my usual rushy ways. Between that and working out a few mornings a week, I’m really front loading my days in the balance department. I hope I can stick with it.
The holidays are often a time to loose track of one’s daily routines. The health of mind, body and spirit can get lost between all the events and family members and food. I’m going to try to keep it together this year and hang on to what’s most important to me. It’s beginning this weekend with a trip to my mother’s. We’ll see how I do. Anyhow, I hope we can all remember what’s most important this holiday season. Maybe when you get a little overwhelmed, you could come into Living Light for a refreshing juice or smoothie. A wheat grass shot is often just the right thing on a busy day. Don’t forget that refreshing your body often helps to refresh your mind, too. As far as your spirit, just keep the connection. Love with your heart and not your wallet. And be compassionate with yourself when those cookie trays start showing up!
Every morning, I have a little centering ritual which includes looking up the patron saint, or saints, of the day. For example, today’s patron is Demetrius the Wonderworker. Don’t you feel better already? I know I do. It gives me the opportunity to read a little story someone thought was relevant and important and cool enough to actually submit for validation by the church. Are the stories true? Who cares! It’s a connection with the past and helps me get the day off to less self centered start.
Today we are setting up our annual Day of the Dead altar in the café. I love this yearly tradition. Employees here at Living Light are encouraged to bring in items to place on the altar in honor of someone who’s special to them but no longer with us here on the planet. The altar always turns out so beautifully. We’ll have to take some pictures to share in an upcoming post. It’s a community event, too, so there are altars to see all over town. Besides the altar, we’ll be participating in the celebration by offering a trio of raw Mexican chocolates in the café. This will also be the public debut of our new pastry chef, Donna Marie Heagen – a saint in her own right! Come check out her confectionery mastery! The cost is $5.00, but you get a five dollar certificate good in the Marketplace so it’s all good. Locals – definitely come check it out!
My intrepid co-worker and fellow blogger Kristin has been so good about keeping the holiday mood going in our blog whereas I just completely fell off the holiday wagon (sleigh?) last week. I don’t know why – just wasn’t feeling it, I guess. But I’m back in the holiday mood now and ready to rock it. Some of you may be saying, “Why bother?” and I don’t really blame you but, you have to admit, these winter holidays really do draw us all together – whether we’re loving them or hating them. The bottom line is we can’t avoid them so we may as well obsess on them.
Which winter holiday do you like best? I don’t know enough about some and way too much about others to make a real choice. But – I have a tree inside my house right now and we’re all going to open presents on the twenty fifth. But – none of us are going to church and my daughter and I may feel a little more spiritually connected to the twenty first. Anyhow, all the winter celebrations appear to include light, on some level. What a nice, unifying thing – so beautiful – and such a nice shiny addition to these ridiculously short days.
Light is an obvious component of our philosophy here at Living Light. Our mission statement begins: Living Light International is an organization of dedicated individuals devoted to sharing knowledge about healthful, vibrant living and transformation of body, mind and spirit. This includes, among other things, living lightly on this planet – doing as little harm as possible. What a beautiful spiritual focal point for the season. Let’s all be living lights!
Since my November newsletter topic will be The Power of Gratitude, I’m doing a mini blog about the subject today. Number one gratitude item: it’s Friday afternoon, and I’m looking forward to the weekend. The weather is getting all misty and foggy and mysterious…only nine days til Halloween! Everyone knows black cats on Halloween are good luck AND they have nine lives.
Now, isn’t that a coincidence! And I’m grateful that Brenda Hinton introduced me last week to one of our real life angels at Living Light. Someone who has taken time out from a busy life to come to our school and volunteer her time in our school kitchen, and of course learn oodles of interesting things in the process!
We’ve had many wonderful angels in the 5 1/2 years I’ve been at Living Light. Koali Pontual Thorne is not only an amazing kitchen angel, but a terrific photographer as well. She’s doing a series on Facebook called My Life as an Angel, and I highly recommend that you friend her on Facebook to see the amazing photos she is taking in our kitchen. I’m absolutely blown away by them. Thank you Koali, for documenting your experience here at Living Light. No one else has done it in quite the insightful and artistic way that you have, and I’m grateful that you decided to join us here to share your multitude of talents.
At left is a collage Koali did about one of our famous dishes, Linguine Parody with Pine Nut and Cashew Truffle Cream. Super delicious looking as well as tasting! I’m grateful that each angel who comes here brings individual gifts that we couldn’t have imagined before we met them. And our students, too, each bring with them amazing talents and life stories. We’re very lucky to attract such wonderful people here on the rugged Mendocino coast–a little oasis all it’s own.
And I’m grateful that our pastry chef, Meagan Ricks came back after just a couple of months being away. We just love her sweet smile and winning ways, not to mention her sweet treats! And during the holiday season we will have our rightfully famous Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Cream available at Living Light Cafe!
“Dear Hilloah. Thank you for the very positive experience serving as a “kitchen angel”. Linas, Joe, Gina, BarbaRaw, Tyler and Brenda were a joy to work with. I was unsure on how I wanted to use my knowledge and skills as a career and I feel that I’ve gained a better perspective on my career goals. I found out that I really enjoy catering. Participating and planning the morning breakfasts and lunches made me see why my catering events have been unorganized and unprofitable. I’ve returned home motivated and organized.
Again, I had a wonderful experience. I just may take the catering class again in November.”
There’s nothing like knowing that your job reaches beyond your desk. The appreciation for what we do here, from our students, our angels and our graduates makes it all worth while.
Here we are at the autumn equinox – one of the two days a year that are perfectly balanced between light and dark - twelve hours of each. That’s pretty cool. It begins the sign of libra – the scales. In the early Christian tradition, Michaelmas – the feast of Michael the Archangel (who is also portrayed with a scale), replaced the pagan celebration of the changing season. It begins the fall. – the end of the harvest – all that. Of course, it means from here on till Christmas the daylight will be a little shorter every day which can be kind of a bummer, but can also be kind of cozy once the day is done.
Balance is one of the things at which I don’t always excel. Often I wake up full of optimistic hope and find myself a taut little ball of worry by lunch time. Sometimes I put all my thoughts and energy into others, while at other times I’m completely self-absorbed – usually all in one day. It’s a tough one for me. I tend to feel more comfortable with extremes. But on this day of balance, I’ll try and maintain an even keel and, for once, eat as much healthy stuff as dessert!
Speaking of dessert – this November we are offering Pastry Arts – Unbaked! II. We only offer it once a year, at holiday time, but if you’ve taken the first Pastry Arts – Unbaked! you won’t want to miss it. And – if you haven’t taken the first class, don’t despair – you can take them back to back (with a little break in the middle for Thanksgiving). Pastry Arts I will be held November 20-23 and Pastry Arts II goes from November 27-30. My hero, Vinnette, will be here to teach alongside our in-house pastry master and resident intern, Tyler Levitetz. So give me a call and sign up for our holiday pastry classes – the perfect way to balance out your year.
One of the tasks I manage as an Enrollment Specialist is signing up our Kitchen Angels. Some people aren’t yet ready to be students, but they would love to be among like minded people helping in a fast paced kitchen. Our kitchen angels come for as little as nine working days or as many as 37. Even our graduates sometimes come back as Kitchen Angels, since they want to find out how a real raw food kitchen is run. One student who wanted to open a café was so glad she participated in the Angel program–she said she had no idea about the amount of work and scheduling it takes to run a raw food kitchen.
She said that anyone thinking of opening, or even working in a café, should be an Angel first.
do a variety of work: they mop floors, wash dishes, inventory produce and supplies, put deliveries away (you need to be able to lift 40 to 50 pounds to do this), iron tablecloths, wash and fold towels, and perform other duties as needed. They are right in the thick of things!There is limited food prep required, since Angels have not yet been trained as Living Light Chefs. Those who have gone through our chef training are able to do more food prep. One of the popular perks of the job is that Angels are able to watch demos twice a day with our students.
One of our Angels this year made a beautiful collage to express the joy she felt being an Angel here at Living Light. I heard from many people, both staff and students, that she herself was a joy. They were right!
I have a spy in the bookstore! They have found some of my weaknesses: fantasy/science fiction. Now they are finding book series for me to read.
One of my favorite book haunts is Windsong Used Books & Records. (Yes, records, not CD’s, cassettes, or 8 Tracks.) I will find a book that intrigues me and learn that it is a series. I buy it and then go to Cheshire to buy the rest. If I am lucky I get the first book, read it, and then decide if I want the rest of the series or not. Usually, however, I get book two or three and have to wait until Cheshire orders book one – I HATE to read out of order - even if it doesn’t matter to the plot. By reading books in order of the author’s “out put”, you get to grow along with the author as his or her style emerges.
Recently I was at the used book store and found Diane Duane’s Stealing the Elf-King’s Roses. It was not apart of a series – great! It was a science fiction/fantasy that was very good. Linda at Cheshire told me that she had a series called So you want to be a Wizard and did I want it? Sure! She ordered the first book and after reading it I told her to order the rest. When I picked them up she also suggested a series that I might like by Maria V. Snyder. So I ordered the first book. BIG MISTAKE! It is wonderful and I could not put it down. I called Linda back and ordered the rest. She had book three, but not book two. ARRRGH! “Do you mean I have to read the other two series I am currently reading: I have to wait?!” “Yes, Hilloah, that is exactly what I mean.” Oh man!
Last Friday, the two Angels in the kitchen came down to say their goodbyes to the office team. They told us they had entered the Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest and gave us samples. Yummmm! This contest is great as we are hearing from a lot of people from around the world who are interested in raw vegan food. I can hardly wait to see who wins! Voting for the People’s Choice starts today, July 7th, so go vote!
Work coming out of my ears.
Deadlines and paperwork and piles of unruliness swarming on my normally organized desk. Half empty cups with residues of green juice, smoothies, and caffeinated beverages abound; and I haven’t taken a break in 4 hours. I was feeling exhausted, like I was never going to be able to climb back on top of things.
That’s when it happened.
Our office filled with swarming students.
It was graduation and the students who just finished seven weeks of intensive Gourmet Raw Food Chef Training and Pastry Arts Level 1 flooded our office full of smiles, hugs, and tears. They are elated; ready to sail into the world and create, teach, and heal. They fill the room with refreshing vibes and everyone working is sucked from their cubicles and into the warm current of their energy. One of our Kitchen Angels, Dawn Markle made a beautiful collage of a million little things that she has collected during her stay here. Like a college yearbook, we all rush to sign it. Vinnette Thompson, our Pastry Arts teacher brings in treats from the class and our mouths fill with succulent bites of Tiramisu, Key Lime Pie and Lemon Poppyseed Cake. Students share where they are going next and we exchange contact information and hugs goodbye.
In another rush, everyone is gone and yet nothing is the same.
The energy is clear. I sit down to my pile and instead of being overwhelming, it looks artful to me. I laugh easily at how much I have to do and dig in with gusto. My mind is refreshed, full of love and laughter and the warm touch of affectionate people on my shoulders. Now I pick up my pen and remember why I do this week after week: because it makes a difference. Because of the fabulous people. Because in the end, it makes me feel so very, deeply happy.
My name is Hilloah Tanner, and I’m an Enrollment Specialist at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. I have one of the most exciting jobs of all: I talk with people all over the world, learn their stories, and help them to come to our school in Fort Bragg as students or Kitchen Angels.
One of my favorite activities outside of school is organic gardening. My husband Archie and I have many fenced gardens. I emphasize many because on our almost six acres of land there are a lot of deer who delight in “nibbling” on our fruits,, flowers, and other “goodies” meant just for them (as they see it).
We have a 1,000 sq. ft. garden for corn, squash, cucumbers, and dahlias; another for our olleberries, raspberries, and loganberries; one for our lettuce, spinach, celery, and basil; one is a holding garden full of potted trees and bushes; and the last is in front of our cabin around a pond. It is full of roses, bush peas, radishes, foxgloves, and much more. The Mendocino Coast is great place to grow a garden, and we are inspired because as members of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens we not only enjoy the gardens year round, we are also invited to their great plant sales. We’re also lucky to have a great “grass roots” organization here, Noyo Food Forest. They teach members of our community, including the children in our local schools, how to grow and enjoy organic gardens. I love learning new ways to use the produce of my gardens at Living Light, and sharing recipes with like minded people. We all share fruits, vegetables, and plants from our gardens. This is my first post, and I’ll be writing a new post every Tuesday.
Talk with you next week!