Real cooking is more about following your heart than following recipes!
December brings us the holy season of light for those who celebrate Christmas or Hanukah. It is a time of giving, celebrations and often a growing to-do list as we go about creating a special holiday for our loved ones.
The winter season for me has always inspired a turning inward and a settling in, a time of reflection for true meaning beyond the glitter, ribbon and wrapping. A time many of us come together to give thanks, praise and remember the holiness that is our life.
As I begin the process of decorating, organizing and shopping, I am moved to open a well-worn book with its faded cover that belonged to my late mother-in-law. Sifting through her favorite recipes as I trace their faded edges, it is as if I am beside her at the kitchen island, gold-rimmed glasses resting just above her nose, her hands moving in rhythm as she strokes, samples and stirs.
Copper pots and pans simmer with the glow of fresh vegetables, garlic sizzling and butter gently sautéing. My mouth waters as the mushrooms pop and the meat marinades, each bite more delicious than the first. A conversation about the littlest of things makes for tender moments and a day I would live all over again. In this kitchen, recipes and love brought family and devoted friends together year after year. There are countless memories of Christmas past and special gatherings.
Like a story being retold, memories come alive within its well-worn pages dotted with cooking oil, faded coffee ring stains, her handwritten notes in the margins, the recipes she doubled, the dinners prepared for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning; food has the unique ability to capture moments in time.
It is in remembering these tender moments that I feel the passage of time as it wraps around me like a collection of years. Each recipe is more than a memory but rather ingredients for a sweet, simple, yet rich and satisfying life.
As we enter this special season, may you hold in your heart that which is most dear and everlasting!
After all, it is what we share that lives on!
2023 will soon be in the rearview mirror. It has been a year filled with growth and discomfort. There have been so many beautiful moments and so many challenging ones.
The closing of another year often stirs up emotions deep within and long ago. Memories of those no longer with us, thinking we need to recreate the "perfect holiday," another year ending, JOY for all the good and the many blessings that fill our daily lives or sheer relief that '23 is over!!! Nonetheless, it is a place in time when we have the chance to reflect on the year past and plan for the one ahead.
What are some of the things that you remember as your favorite moments?
Are there things you wish you could change?
What is it you would like to bring with you into 2024?
A December tradition in my home is to watch one of my favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If you haven’t seen it in some time, I hope you will be open to the magic of its message. George Bailey grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, determined to make something of his life. He experiences every setback imaginable and wishes he were never born – to which his Angel steps in and gives him his wish – he is able to see life without him in it. He is terrified, deeply saddened and will do anything to have his precious life back.
We often don’t see the impact we have on others and to the world around us. I hope you will take the time this sacred season to remember your goodness, remember what matters most and honor your commitment to living your “It’s a wonderful life!"
The Way Forward
by Yung Pueblo
You are seeing the results of your commitment
and the power of your courage;
the fact that your mind feels lighter
shows you that you are moving in the right direction
you are entering into a better life
where your reactions are less intense
and your mind has more flexibility and determination
everything is not perfect;
there are still challenges and times of struggle
but you are learning not to let the down moments define you
and you are more gracefully embracing change
the inward journey has sparked your evolution
opened your perspective to a new level of clarity
and each connection you cherish now has new depth
but the journey is not over
as you prepare yourself for another period of growth
with your highest goals in mind and the truth you feel;
your inner wisdom will show you the way forward