Archive for November, 2012
It’s beginning to look a lot like winter. First of all, we have quite a storm system blowing through Fort Bragg right now. It’s very wet and although we have sunny skies in between storms, the down pours and winds themselves are quite impressive. If you’re headed our way, be sure and check the roads for closures because there’s been some flooding. I’ve been lucky both here at Living Light and at home as far as power outages – I’ve been all powered up so far. Anyhow – it’s “between storms” right now and it’s a lovely day out. Far out for now!
And secondly, looking forward to the beginning of winter means, of course, the holidays. There’s so much to do every weekend this month! This weekend’s holiday cheer is a benefit concert by Willits Brass (featuring my sweet boyfriend) at the Company Bar (featuring sweet Amanda) for Project Sanctuary. All good fun for a good cause. The weekends coming up will have lighted truck parades and lighted botanical gardens and more parties and gosh – what a whirlwind! Sometimes…. I must admit…. I feel a bit overwhelmed by all of it and kind of wish I could just hide at home and read. But, I always have a good time once I get myself to these things and I have such wonderful friends with whom to do them. The holidays are all about connections – to your community, your family and your friends. I’m feeling so good about the connections in my life right now I just know this winter will be beautiful. As we near the solstice, let’s connect to all those things plus the planet. As we move through these dark days, let’s light our worlds.
Yes, it’s true. Co-blogger Mary Elizabeth and I have definitely begun our holiday blogs in earnest. I’m sitting here writing with my headphones on, listening to holiday music on Pandora, and it’s only two days until we can add snow to the blog! Meanwhile, it is also my son Simon’s birthday, a very special day to me. I was fortunate to be with him recently in the south of France, and he lives far away, up in Prince Rupert, B.C. So, I’ll have to be content with sweet memories of Christmases past as I wrap his gifts to take to the post office. Mary Elizabeth’s kids are younger and still live with her, so they are all together on the holidays – something to be grateful for, especially since both of her children have birthdays close to the holidays, too. Holidays are interesting times. This Thanksgiving Day it was sunny and beautiful here. I went on a four and a half mile walk wearing a bright pink scarf, and every single person I encountered along the way said hello or Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t know if it was the pink scarf, the holiday, or the sunshine, but I hope everyone’s holiday season is filled with such kindness and goodwill. It’s something to keep in mind as we navigate through all the activities and opportunities that happen at this time of year.
I have so very much to be thankful for right now. Oh my goodness – it’s ridiculous! This week’s holiday really helped me to put it all in perspective. First of all – I have some wonderful, beautiful, amazing friends. I had the honor of seeing some of them on my holiday journey this week and it was such a fun reminder of why they’re my friends in the first place. I’m so grateful to an often benevolent universe for these special gifts! Second of all – I’m grateful for the opportunity to actually connect with my father. I don’t do it very often, but have made the Thanksgiving journey so many times now it’s a real tradition. It was just my daughter and me this year – no brother, son or boyfriend. But – that’s okay. If we felt a little lonely, so be it – we also felt connected to the past and were present for this year’s small celebration. And thirdly – I am so very, very grateful for my coastal home and the people who fill it. I love all of you!
Tonight is our Living Light holiday party. This is always a good time. It’s a chance to get dressed up and hang out with work friends. I’m looking forward to it. We always play games and have a white elephant exchange and yummy food. It’s another connection for which I’m grateful today – a chance to connect in such a festive way with the people I see almost every day. And it’s another chance to be present for my life today and be honored by the opportunity to work for and with such wonderful people. The holidays have begun in earnest and I’m happy to say I’m right there with them!
Did it sneak up on us again? How does it happen every year that the holidays surprise us with their sudden dramatic entrance? You’d think by now we’d be wise to it and well prepared WAY ahead of time. In our office we’ve decided not to listen to “holiday music” until the day after Thanksgiving, just so we don’t get tired of it before end of season. The frost isn’t even on the pumpkin here yet and its already Thanksgiving! We might as well say, “just in time”, since the season of peace and plenty is an opportunity to open our hearts once again to love and giving to others the best of ourselves. When we brush aside the tinsel and commercialism, it’s always wonderful to remember the heart of the matter. On that note, we’ll take one holiday at a time – not to jump ahead of ourselves. This Thanksgiving Day Living Light is hosting a vegetarian community potluck and world peace meditation beginning at 2:00 PM. And we have a great New Holiday Traditions online video course available, just in the “nick o’ time.”
Can Thanksgiving really be just a week from today? Come on. That’s crazy talk. Fortunately, each year I do the very same thing so I needn’t come up with any plans and fortunately again, my annual plans include Thanksgiving dinner at a pretty posh country club so I really don’t have to plan, let alone cook, anything. But – I do need to locomote myself and my children to this annual event which is a six hour drive with the last bit often through chain-requiring snow. This is really no problem, either. All sorts of people put chains on their cars everyday. Plus my daughter and I are world class ride-around-in-the-car types now, and my son has an iPod so we’re all good. And this year, we’re adding a stop at some of my very most beloved friends’ on our way to and from our final destination. It all couldn’t be nicer, really. It just feels so soon! I mean, once Thanksgiving has come and gone my kids birthdays are right around the corner and about a minute later it’s Christmas. Oh well – nothing to be done about it, of course. I mean – I have had a year to prepare – it’s not a surprise. But – I’m no where even close to having saved up the money for that Bettie Page dress I’ve had my eye on for months and now it’s almost time for holiday parties and how’s that going to work?
Okay – hopefully that was my holiday complaining for the year. Let’s get on to my holiday happiness which is, as you know, eating. Did you know we have whole cakes and pies you can order from our café? We do. You can get one of our raw vegan pumpkin pies for your celebration next week. Yum! And we have vanilla or chocolate cheesecake. We have a super fancy lemon poppy seed cake that looks stunning and tastes divine. You need to give us a day or so to create your masterpiece, so come in and order one today! Happy holidays!
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!
Last Friday, Living Light participated in the Fort Bragg Food Bank’s first annual soup and chili cook off. And guess what? We won!! Our Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder beat all others – quite the vegan victory, if you ask me. We were up against some local heavy hitters, too. I’m so proud of Joe and his whole kitchen/café crew, especially Living Light Gourmet Raw Food Chef grad, café employee and chef extraordinaire Elyse who made a most beautiful hostess at the Living Light table. I’m also proud of our own Amanda who planned the event and sits on the food bank’s board of directors. I got to witness this sweet victory from behind the bar, where my boyfriend and I served local beer and wine to the soup-hungry attendees. If you missed the event, you can come in and try this award winning treat in our café – just call ahead and see when we’ll have it available. But be sure and come next year. We’ll be defending our Golden Spoon against all comers and it’s for such a worthy cause – especially at this holiday time of year.
Speaking of the holidays, I think it’s time for fellow blog goddess Kristin and me to start rocking our holiday blogs for 2012. We like to use this time of year to reminisce and share holiday stories and ideas. It’s pretty quiet here at work as the school closes for a few weeks and the new year rush doesn’t usually kick in till after Christmas. It gives us a chance to highlight some of the more personal sides of Living Light and its employees. I bet we’ll have more examples of the role Living Light plays in the local community, too – more reasons to be proud. The Golden Spoon is a great start, though. I can’t wait to see how we’ll top it next year!