Archive for November, 2011
I just returned from my annual three-day trip to the mountains to see my dad for Thanksgiving. It was me, my kids and my ex-boyfriend. Just like last year! Only the boyfriend wasn’t an ex yet, and last year there was tons of snow on the ground and this year there was none. Everything looked pretty holiday-like anyway with lots of fall colors and wintry decorations. Anyhow – we all had the opportunity to give thanks for one another and reflect on how lucky we are. Whether any of us actually did that is questionable, but I certainly tried. My kids are pretty good at listing off what they want for the holidays which can get annoying, but this year I’m trying to use their litany of wants to remind me to hold my own intentions. What do I want? I want to be confident and comfortable in the decisions I’m making for the future. I want to be present for my kids, with our without presents. (Don’t worry…they’ll get plenty of presents.) And I want a couple Young Living oils – “forgiveness” and white angelica, just in case any of you were wondering what on earth to get me this year.
Speaking of presents, Wednesday is Living Light’s holiday party and part of the fun includes a white elephant gift exchange. Traditionally, I move during the holidays and this year is no exception! Moving makes for perfect white elephant hunting, believe me. Do you think I could get away with bringing my couch this year? Anyhow – it’s always nice to get together with all my fellow employees and share a part of the holidays with them. I know Cherie, Dan and Terilynn put a lot of time into planning this event to make sure it’s a special time for all of us, too. Again – the holidays remind us to be thankful for the people around us – children, co-workers, ex-boyfriends – all of them!
Yesterday, fellow blogger Mary Elizabeth, with two kids and her (former) boyfriend in tow, took to the road to visit her Dad for Thanksgiving. Last year they got lots of snow.
Martine Lussier is wisely driving south and taking the night train up to Shasta to meet her boyfriend. Here in Fort Bragg it is raining cats and dogs, and I don’t have to drive far to share a Thanksgiving meal, for which I am grateful. That’s the only thing about the holidays – it really is kind of over the river and through the woods – only nowadays we listen to the news about gas prices and freeway routes instead of hitching up the old gray mare. I remember one starry night when I lived up in northern British Columbia (where my son still lives). We hitched up a sleigh to two big Clydesdale horses, and stopped at different neighbors’ houses on the way to the lodge for a holiday gathering. Memorable. Really, that’s what the holidays do for me – bring back memories of different times, places, and people. I like to listen to Frank Sinatra and songs of the 1940s, because that’s what my Mom liked to play during the holidays. And I like to watch old movies for the same reason. Well, I’ve resisted long enough. I started to get out some decorations this morning, and over the weekend I’ll put them up. I think I’ll go for the natural look this year: eco-friendly, and all that jazz. We’ll be putting together a list of eco-friendly gift ideas from Living Light Marketplace. Stay tuned.
I was in San Francisco last week and had the opportunity to have dinner at Gracias Madre, the all organic, all vegan Mexican restaurant opened by the Café Gratitude people right smack dab in the middle of the Mission District. Although it may not have blended perfectly with its surroundings, it certainly seemed comfortable there. The atmosphere inside was welcoming and warm and the food I ate was yummy. I sat at the bar, which serves beer and wine, and had a green juice (there’s no place like home…). It’s all non-gmo with lots of the produce grown at Be Love Farm. The intention is love and gratitude for all our mothers, including mother earth. If you eat cooked food (and even here at Living Light we serve cooked grain and soup), you should check it out.
Speaking of food, Thursday is Thanksgiving. The kids and I will be heading up the Sierra’s to my dad’s house in a couple days. I was just looking at the pictures from last year’s trip. There was a ridiculous amount of snow – very festive for pictures – but kind of a pain. We’re not really equipped for, well, weather that requires equipment. But, I’m feeling extra thankful right now and hope I can hold on to it through this next installment of Holidays 2011, regardless of the weather or any other external factor. If you want to have happy holidays then you will. If you want happy holidays served to you on a platter, you may not. A good way to start is to take a moment to say, “Gracias, Madre”.
It’s almost Thanksgiving already! Can’t believe that the month of November has flown by so quickly. It’s time for our annual holiday blogs at Living Light. Last year, we bloggers had fun touching on family traditions and memories and our personal feelings about the season, and this year we look forward to taking some extra time to connect with all of you. First thing to mention is that we have a local vegetarian Thanksgiving potluck on Thanksgiving Day here in Fort Bragg. It’s a lot of fun: we have an appreciation circle, a world peace meditation, and then everyone shares dishes that they’ve brought. The dishes can be raw, vegan, or vegetarian, as long as they are labeled. We’ve hosted it for several years now, and the food is definitely yummy! So whether you like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or football, or family gatherings, we hope you enjoy the traditional day of gathering together and remembering to be grateful. What a great reason to celebrate! We’re just finishing up our Pastry Arts – Unbaked! II class for the year, and the Living Light Cafe will have some wonderful desserts in the case, thanks to our pastry diva Vinnette Thompson and culinary programs manager, Martine Lussier. Stop in for a sweet surprise, or call 964-2420 to RSVP for the Thanksgiving potluck!
It’s that time of year again. The sun is still shining here in Fort Bragg- we’ve been lucky this fall, and I’m happy we’ve had so much beautiful weather. The season at hand is a call to each of us to remember to be grateful and count our blessings. It’s easy to get swept up in the commercialism that surrounds us at this time of year, and forget all about the reason for the season, isn’t it? Tomorrow is a significant day – it’s 11-11-11, and at 11 AM in whatever time zone you find yourself, you can join many people around the world who will meditate and pray for peace, with the intention of bringing more light to the planet. We’re doing a group meditation here at Living Light to honor and celebrate the beginning of the season of peace. We’ll gather together and hold the space for planetary transformation, which always begins in each of our hearts. One of my favorite poems is by Angeles Arrien:
“Gratitude before me, gratitude behind me, gratitude to the left of me, gratitude to the right of me, gratitude above me, gratitude below me, gratitude within me, gratitude all around me.” The simple words help us remember to keep the attitude of gratitude no matter where we are.
Halloween has come and gone making it official – the holidays are upon us! Besides heralding fun holiday blogs, this means celebrating, honoring traditions, entertaining and connecting. Thanksgiving is in just two short weeks. Two! For me this is an opportunity to connect without a lot of entertaining. The kids and I always go up to the mountains to see my dad who takes us out to a beautiful Thanksgiving meal. I’m really looking forward to seeing my dad, and hopefully my brother and his wife as well, and since I don’t have to cook or anything I’m also going to try and create a collage of gratitude (I’m tired of lists) to illustrate those things for which I’m truly grateful this holiday season. I know it will be fun and hope it will help me focus on what’s really important. Maybe the kids will want to make one, too!
Our soon to be certified Gourmet Raw Food Chefs are in their last week of advanced culinary classes. This week is Raw Event Catering and Elegant Entertaining and they are going to be actually doing just that with a catered lunch available to the public. The menu is Mediterranean and is absolutely delicious! Locals – you should come. Who doesn’t love a lunch out and this one is well worth it. I’m so proud of our students. I’ll bet they’re ready to connect with their loved ones at home after being here for so long. And, I’ll bet they’ll be leaving us with all sorts of exciting inspirations for fabulous holidays.
Today, our students are in the middle of RawFusion Spa Cuisine in Recipe Development. In this class, they are using all their skills that were perfected in Associate Chef training to create fabulous raw dishes. This class, along with last week’s Ethnic Flavors in Recipe Development, gives students the skills and confidence to present themselves as certified chefs, knowing that they can create perfect food without recipes. But unlike last week, they are working with a no to low fat palette of ingredients. Here’s what our website says about this class:
During the RawFusion Spa Cuisine class, you will experience the light and luscious fare we serve at our exclusive retreats in exotic locations, such as our Fall 2011 Bali Retreat. We designed RawFusion Gourmet Spa Cuisine to support an active lifestyle. An entire feast is created with a limited number of ingredients using various textures and flavors to produce an unlimited assortment of dishes. High in fruits and greens, RawFusion is the favorite cuisine of the Living Light staff.
By “Living Light staff” the author obviously meant everyone but me, because as you all know, my favorite is Pastry Arts. And boy am I in luck this month because this is the one time of year we offer both Pastry Arts I and II. My hero Vinnette’s up there and I cannot wait to see what she inspires her pupils to create this year. Let the holidays begin!