Eat Pray Love Luncheon in the Park with Girlfriends

Table set for Eat Pray Love Lunch at the park

I was just reminiscing about this luncheon I had for my girlfriends…

I absolutely loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love”. It was an inspiration to me full of eating, praying and love! Yeh, duh! My girlfriends had all read the book and most felt the same connection that I did to Elizabeth’s experience. I decided that I wanted to celebrate the book and the movie coming out with my girlfriends. So…I planned a Luncheon and Movie date with some of my closest friends.

Everything I did for the luncheon was inspired from my reading. I kept in mind the countries she had visited: Italy, India and Indonesia along with her adventures and the food she ate.

I wanted this to be a memorable experience for my girlfriends. It was important to have the food, decorations and the atmosphere depicting the book.

 

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Food was a big part of Liz’s Italy adventure including some wonderful fresh fruits. Here I served melon wrapped in prosciutto with grapes as the first course.

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In the book there was a very special bonding of the relationship between Elizabeth and her friend Ketut’s wife. When Ketut’s wife offered Elizabeth a cup of coffee the first time, she served it in a Mason jar. The second time she brought her coffee, she brought it in a Mason jar on a china saucer. Hence, I used a Mason jar to serve the ice tea on a saucer. The other interesing thing that Ketut’s wife did: she brought the sugar in a little bowl. Hence, I used these little crystal bowls for each one of my guest to serve the sugar in.

I loved this exchange in the book between Ketut’s wife and Elizabeth. It was hard for Ketut’s wife to accept Elizabeth at first. It took her some time before she trusted and allowed her into her heart and have a relationship with her. I can completely see where Ketut’s wife is coming from. Here is this lady from America coming into their life, asking lots of questions of Ketut, and spending a lot of time with him. I, too, would have my guard up!

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Sticking with the Italian food, I served an artichoke and tomato salad with olive oil!

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There is a wonderful scene in the book when Liz visits Rome. She is enjoying a pizza and practically has an orgasm while she is indulging in every single bite of this amazing pizza. (Reminds me of the movie “When Harry Meant Sally” remember Meg Ryan sitting in the coffee shop? hahah)

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Liz did a lot of praying and meditating during her journey so I thought the Buddha statue from Cost Plus was a perfect centerpiece.

The stargazer lily is my favorite flower. The fragrance is exquisite and represented the large fragrant flowers from the gardens of Bali.

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I wanted my friends to know how grateful I am for their friendship so I wrote a thank you note to each individual guest which also worked as a placecard.

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Heart sugar cookies reminded us of the love that Liz received at the end of the book.

The elephant sugar cookie represented the scene from the trailor of the movie where Julia Roberts has the encounter with the elephant in Bali.

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I got the India tablecloth from Cost Plus, too. It did such a good job at pulling all the decorations together and depicting India.

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No party is complete without party favors! I included elephant and heart sugar cookies, tea, and homemade berry jelly.

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A toast to good friends, love, peace, Italy (most of us are Italians hee hee), and spiritual growth.

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College Boy made these prayer beads for each of my guest. A heart replaced the 109th bead of the prayer necklace. The necklaces graced the table representing Liz’s spiritual journey. Each of my guest took a prayer necklace home to remind them of this beautiful day together.

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College Boy was so sweet to put these together for me on such short notice! Isn’t he cute with his prayer beads on?!

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“…it is wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” –Elizabeth Gilbert

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Tirimasu for dessert was the perfect ending to this Eat, Pray, Love themed luncheon in the park
My girlfriends and I left that park and headed to the movie theater where we cried, laughed, and cried some more. We each could relate to Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey. Each in our own way we could feel the love, the hurt, and the spiritual growth. We wanted to be Elizabeth Gilbert.

After two hours of being on the journey with Elizabeth, we wanted to continue our journey when the movie was over.

Which one of us friends would most likely leave everything and take that big leap of faith to visit three different countries? Could we take that leap of faith?

I would jump at it! Got a book deal you want to give me? I’ll pack my bags while you draw up the contract and wire me my first check. ok?

It will be a great journey!

 
pam

Sing it Grandma! Holy Holy Holy

Today I decided to go to the earlier traditional service instead of my usual contemporary service two hours later so I could get going to see Sissy and New Hubby for lunch.

I debated….

Maybe I wouldn’t go.

No. Something inside me said, “You need to go.”
My inner voice said, “Go. Just stay until after the sermon.”

Ahhhhh….Yes! Now I know why I needed to be there.

Holy, Holy, Holy.

I needed to remember.
I needed to honor.
I needed to remember the love.
I needed to cherish the memories of my dear mother-in-law, Grandma B.

Holy, Holy, Holy.
How many times have we sung this song in life?
If you are a traditional church goer, probably too many to count.

For nearly 20 years I went to traditional church services with my in-laws.

Presbyterian.

We sat on the right side about six rows back.

grandma b and grandpa j

Sweet loving in-laws.

My father-in-law, Grandpa J, always was in the choir. He sang tenor. I loved hearing his voice. I loved watching him. I love him!

Grandma B always sat with me and the kids and their dad.

Grandma B took church seriously.

We needed to be sure to sit quiet. No talking once you sat down. This is to be the time for you to get in worship mode. This is the time to honor God.

We were there to worship the Lord.

We said the Apostle’s Creed.
Grandma B knew it by heart.

We sang the Doxology.
Grandma B sang it like she didn’t even have to think about the words. They flowed out of her mouth so naturally. The words were planted deep inside her memory. The words were words she believed in.

And then there was the song that we sang so much in that Presbyterian traditional service.

Holy, Holy, Holy.

She sang that song proudly. She knew that song. She had sang that song since she was a little girl.

I can still hear her voice singing those words.
She believed. She loved. She had faith.
She believed this was the only way, the way of God.

The funny thing was, Grandma B couldn’t carry a tune very well. It did not matter to her that sometimes she sang a little off key. She didn’t care what anyone else was thinking. It wasn’t about if you could sing on or off key. It was about singing the words. Praising the Lord. Participating in the service.

This was a great lesson I learned from Grandma B. She was always teaching me great lessons!

She taught me that it was more important to participate then to be the best or perfect. It isn’t about being the best or perfect. It is about being a part of. That was a great lesson I held close to my heart and soul. It was a lesson I tried to teach my kids….that they didn’t need to be perfect….just try…just do.

I now try to remember that when I sing songs at church it is about the words in the song and the praising of our Lord. It is about the lessons in the songs and worshiping our Lord. It is about being present in the song and God smiling from above.

Sorry to anyone that stands in the pew in front of me and has to hear my sour notes or when I sing off key. I hope that you can just smile and say, “She really loves the Lord! Listen to her belt out that song!”

Grandma B….
She inspired me.
She taught me.
She loved me.
She loved me like she was my mom not an in-law.
She taught me how to worship God.
She taught me how to pray.
She taught me how to be a dedicated wife and mother.
She taught me how to honor.

Today at church, they sang this song, Holy, Holy, Holy.

I sang….

Holy, Holy, Holy.
Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning,
Our song shall rise to thee…

Then I couldn’t sing any more. I had tears to hold back.
I only could hear Grandma B’s voice. I only could imagine her sitting next to me.

I only could imagine her placing her hand on my knee during the service as she often did. It was her way of showing that she appreciated me and to thank me for being there with her.

I imagined her grabbing her tissue to wipe her eyes as she often did as the message touched her soul.

I only imagined as she looked at me from the corner of her eye and shared a quick smile.

She was proud of me.
She was proud of her sons, her daughter, her husband, her grandkids and her family.
And believe me, she let the world know how proud she was!

Church was a place for her to share her family with the world.

After church we would have to talk with all her friends. Grandpa J and Grandma B had many friends!

Grandma B and Grandp J

Grandpa J is saying, "She is a special lady," as he points to me. They are bragging about their family as they often did quite proudly!

She would brag about each of us. She was always so proud of us.
Grandma B has so much love for her family.
I don’t think I will ever be able to sing that song again without thoughts of Grandma B.
I don’t think I will ever stop shedding the tears when I think about our relationship.
Grandma B will always be special in my heart.
Grandma B helped me love the Lord.
Isn’t that what life is all about?!

Blessings to you for reading my blog. I hope that you have a Grandma B in your life. If you don’t, maybe you could think about being a Grandma B to someone who needs a guiding hand…a guiding loving hand!
Love,

Pam

I Have Great Friends! |#178

Purple cactus flower "You are the best"
I have great friends.
Wonderful friends.
Amazing friends.
Friends that stick by my side.
Friends that don’t judge.
Friends that inspire me.
Friends that live a God-ly life.
Friends that share their love of God.
Friends that taught me how to walk by Faith.
Friends that live their life by Faith.
Friends that believe.
Friends who believe in me.
Friends who believe in God and all that he has to offer and all he has to teach.

I have great friends.
I have awesome friends.
I have friends that walk the talk.
I have friends that would never forsake me. As God will never forsake us.
I have friends that will always stand by my side. As God will always stand by my side.
I have friends that will carry me through any life experience that I may need to be carried through.As God would carry me.
I have friends that know what is going on with me without speaking a word. As God knows me without speaking.
I have friends that pray for me. As God prays with me.

Could a girl ask for anything more?

And you know what the most amazing thing is?

I don’t have just one friend that fits this bill…

I have many, many friends that fit this bill….

They know who they are…

As God has a personal relationship with each of us who believe and doesn’t need us to boast about that relationship.
My girlfriends have a personal relationship with me and don’t need me to boast about our special relationship.

God is power. My friends show God’s power.

God always loves me. My friends always love me.

And I….
I am the luckiest girl…
with all that love and support and guidance and faith and belief and strength…
How could one not live the life that God meant for us to live.

I love you, my friends!
Thank you for sharing your love of God with me.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for teaching me so much!

I am grateful!

365 Day Project: Gratitude Bucket | Day # 178

Luminaria Ceremony: American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life

There were a lot of children participating in the West Sacramento American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. Some who were inflicted with the awful disease but many who had family members that were battling the disease or had lost their life to it. These kids especially touched me as they spoke about their loved ones.

10 year old decorates luminaria bags

One young ten year old especially touched my heart as I was able to work with her at the Luminaria table. She volunteered a few hours decorating bags for loved ones who were not able to decorate their own bags. She had told me about many family members that had cancer. Her aunt got cancer awhile she was pregnant and lost her baby. Her papa whom she was the closest to of all the grandchildren, lost his life to cancer. Her story was of determination to fight the cancer. She knew by giving her time to this event that we would be that much closer to fighting this deadly disease that has impacted her young life.

5 year old carries luminaria bags for Relay for Life

Another little boy, only five years old, he was a doll! He helped us load all the luminaria bags onto the trailer for distribution around the field. He placed each bag so carefully as if he was remembering each person that the bag represented. It was quite amazing to watch. He looked at each bag and was sure to place the artwork in one direction. I later caught up with him awhile he was selling light sticks for the evening show to thank him for his hard work and diligence. He understood why he was at the event. At his young age of five, he had been impacted by the disease. He was there to help fight it.

Kids help at the American Cancer Society Relay for life.

Kids help at the American Cancer Society Relay for life.

Kids help at the American Cancer Society Relay for life.

Many young adults were there lending a helping hand. They were there because they are givers and wanted to help. Yes, Mom and Dads, your young adults have kind hearts. Yes, America, there are good people out there…our kids are not what the news always represents. There is so much more then what we hear on the news. These young adults helped all Friday evening to set up, returned Saturday morning at 6am to help and stayed until 10pm. (I am sure they showed up Sunday to help break everything down, too!) They stayed working…and giving from their heart. They didn’t have to be there. Many of their parents were not there. These young adults were there because they had heard about the event from a friend and decided to be part of the Relay for Life.

Kids help decorate luminaria bags at the American Cancer Society Relay for life.

Another Mom and her young daughter worked with me all day at the luminaria table. They were there because they knew the event volunteer coordinator and she had mentioned the event. They didn’t have any plans that day so they thought they would come out for a few hours to help. They got so wrapped up in the event that they volunteered for 13 hours! From a few hours to 13 hours! Why did they stay that long? They got trapped (in a good way) to the energy of the day. They were surrounded by love and enthusiasm for life and hope…hope that there would be a cure for cancer one day.

There was so much positive energy during the day as the music played in the background and relay groups continued to walk around the track. Some walked in solitude awhile others walked in big groups.

decorated luminaria bags

cancer family member decorates luminaria bag

Did I do a bag for my Dad?  I have to confess I did not. I thought about it. I wanted to do a bag but yet I didn’t. I hadn’t volunteered there because of my Dad. I had volunteered there because of all the other families. Besides I didn’t want to deal with my emotions that day. I was there to serve, to listen, to show compassion. I watched as many people decorated their bags. Some smiled because their bags were in honor of someone who was cancer free for several years. But there was those who you could tell it was hard to sit and write the name of the loved one they had lost…the one they were writing in memory of…. Lots of emotions went into those bags.

This day wasn’t about me.
It wasn’t about my Dad and the cancer he suffers with.

This day was giving, listening and being present for others.

I will come back to this event some day not as a volunteer but as a participant. Some day when I want to honor my Dad for all the cancer battles he has fought…but for this day only….I am thinking about all the other people that are here and the burdens on their heart and in their mind because of this nasty ugly deadly disease.

Yes, during the luminaria ceremony, I shed a tear or two for my Dad but I quickly shut those tears off and focused on all the loved ones that were on that football field…at that moment.

I hope each and everyone of you keep moving forward to helping fight this battle. It would be awesome to say that we have conquered this ugly disease. That the event is now….a Relay of Life NOT a Relay of life to fight cancer.

Thank you to all the volunteers and relay teams for allowing me to experience your stories, your emotions and your love. I will carry your stories in my heart…..

Holding on to HOPE…..

Pam

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