Choose Wisely

July 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

vegan breakfast, vegan brunch

I woke up this morning thinking about breakfast and destiny. What on earth do these two things have in common? Well, read along.

This week has been pretty tough. I’m going to start sounding like a broken record, but as my friend told me last night, it’s probably going to be tough for a very long time. I think she is right…

We spent last week in DC. I’m proud to say my dad has received numerous honors and recognition for the work he did, a true testament to his hard work and dedication to Orlando. Last week was a tribute event put on by several travel and tourism organizations to honor my dad. I was nervous the entire week leading up to it. I wasn’t sure how it was going to feel to go through all these public testimonials again. Certainly it was hard enough the first time.

While I did tear up at numerous times, overall the event was just beautiful. Not only did the steering committee completely outdo themselves in putting on a lovely event, but the testimonials were amazing. Having been several weeks removed from his death, I was able to listen this time and actually absorb what was being said. At the funeral, everything was a fog. I really can’t remember much of it at all. Plus I had time to talk to people and everyone said the same thing: “Your dad was truly special. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have been able to _____.” Stories abounded regarding dad’s generosity. His desire to help others succeed and be their best selves.

I had to speak again, as I did at the funeral. While I wrote a completely new piece for this event, I kept one thing I had in the original – my dad’s life lesson to my sister and I: Choose Wisely.

That was it. That was the message that he pounded into our heads day in and day out. I used to find it silly that he would always ask me, “Now Vanessa, what’s my motto? What will you always remember I said when I’m gone?” And on queue, I’d say “Choose wisely” and roll my eyes. How thankful I am now that he was always making sure we knew the lesson he most wanted us to learn. As I said last week:

“My dad felt that if you chose wisely, you could live an incredible life and realize your full potential. He chose wisely every single day:

He chose the best life partner.

He chose to live each day to the fullest.

He chose to never say “I can’t” and always say “I can”

He chose to dream and create what others said couldn’t be done.

He chose to embrace challenge.

He chose to greet life with a smile.

He chose to always put his family first.

I hope that my dad’s life will serve as inspiration to others. I hope that you whom he called friends and colleagues will never forget his zest for life. I hope that you will remember that he was a man of ideas – that this is a life where we are supposed to dream big and go for it – as he would say, ‘Why not?'”

As I was thinking of what to say for this event and crafting those words, I spent a lot of time thinking about destiny. What is our destiny? What life will we choose to live? What I will choose and where I will go is still unknown. But in light of everything, I want to make sure I’m the one making choices. Not just drifting by aimlessly.

So, you’re probably wondering what breakfast has to do with this? Well, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, ready to start the day. This isn’t something that has happened often in the past 58 days so it was cause for a little celebration – waffles to be exact. I’ve yet to make waffles since turning vegan so this was my first shot. I found this recipe. (Although these were a bit too dense for my liking, Luis loved them and cleaned his plate. That’s a banana sauce of sorts on top in case you’re wondering. Just bananas, a little brown sugar and coconut oil on top the stove. Yum!)

I promise this story is all coming together! Breakfast makes me feel optimistic. There’s something about starting the day with a little indulgence and eating lazily, sipping coffee while the minutes tick by without a care in the world. As I ate, I recalled writing about French Toast on my blog here. I re-read this post and could not believe that in it was my dad’s motto: Choose Wisely!

As I read it, I could feel the hope and excitement I had at the start of 2011. How optimistic everything looked when now much in my world seems dim and grey. I could feel the conviction of my words.

Don’t be scared. Go for it. Do it.

Re-reading that post, I felt a little piece of myself returned. A little scrap of hope to hang on to. I remembered a stronger self. And how funny that today would have been so different if I had not woken and thought of waffles…if I’d not eaten those waffles and in turn thought of my french toast post…if I’d not read those words full of conviction and strength.

I guess sometimes to find inspiration we just need to celebrate, even if it’s just a batch of waffles. You never know what may be revealed…

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§ One Response to Choose Wisely

  • surreel1 says:

    “Choose wisely”.. THANK YOU!.. Gary’s wise words for us all. . now given in echo by you, Vanessa!!. .. (ummm.. Each decision, sets a path.. we can retreat sometimes.. and CHOOSE WISELY again!!
    .. .. ahh.. there are always choices in the RIGHT NOW, here.. even if it’s just attitude in what is).

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