Making Consommé is a skill required of all chefs engaged in classical training. It is a crystal clear soup that is born from good stock.
Egg whites, lean meat, vegetables and aromatics are ground together to create a substance called clearmeat. This is introduced to the stock and simmered slowly to form what is known as a raft.
In due time, this raft slowly rises to the surface and clarifies the stock below to create the intricate new dish. A hole is then broken in the raft and the treasured consommé is carefully collected.
Ladle by ladle, it’s separated from the pot.
At last, the finished delicate and delicious consommé is crystal clear and infused with deep flavor.
It is now served in its own bowl to be enjoyed.
Yet, it knows it would not be what it is now without all the ingredients that went into its raft. Those who patiently and courageously rose up to offer what they had to its creation. The flavors you taste in every bite, but do not see.
Here is where I want you to see what went into my creative, spiritual, and personal consommé. I am deeply aware that I did not get here alone.
Here is where I say thank you to all of the incredible people and forces who have most influenced all that is Soul Food Gallery and my book.
Their presence moving through my life, clarified my awareness, held my hand through my healing and activated my heart. They also protected me and kept me warm in their own ways while I developed my own flavor.
Thank you to the Blessed Divine Presence, in all the ways It has consistently shown up throughout my life...through people, through energy, through inspiration, through the rerouting and the open doors. I thank God in every way God came to me.
I am utterly grateful for The Angels that surround me. You have always carried me. Thank you for delivering me safely. You have helped me understand and alchemize my life. I would not have made it without your love, guidance, protection and support.
I am forever grateful to the art itself, which has deeply healed me. Thanks for coming.
Ben, you and I were made for each other. Words cannot properly describe how I feel about you.
You are my true friend. My true love. My great supporter.
You make me laugh on a regular basis and have shown me the value in that. And you hold me when I cry. Because of your love, I have been able to get to the place where I can share this work with the world.
We have an interdependence that is remarkable. You’ve turned this Lone Ranger into a Team Player.
I enjoy you. I love you for all of my days and beyond. I’m so grateful we met when we did.
You have treated your artist in residence like gold, even when I felt like a roll of tin foil. And I’ve learned to treat myself in that same manner because of the love we share. Thank you for all of it. And might I add, you have built Soul Food Gallery the most beautiful home in cyberspace.
To Joy, our daughter. My treasure. My inspiration. Thank you for helping me bring forth what I have to share. Thank you for reminding me who I am. Thank you for the Play-Doh Intervention.
Thank you for picking me to be your Mommy. I love you always and forever.
Thank you to my parents who are beautifully human. I love you deeply. Thank you for helping me in all the powerful ways you have.
To my beloved brother, Adam, the marathon runner. Thanks for embracing your path; it helped me embrace mine.
To my Godmother, Kimmie, who has fulfilled that role in my life to a T. Your love is healing balm.
To Kelvin, my ambassador of family and to Steve, thank you for opening the door. Those tomatoes were made of gold.
To my beloved extended Vota, Smeets and Taylor Family. Your presence helped create this work in powerful ways and I am grateful for you.
I also must express deep gratitude to the following brave souls who brought me the soul food I needed at each era of my spiritual development and healing.
Some of them I’ve had the great privilege of studying with in person. Some held my hand through rough waters and danced on the shores with me in great jubilation. Some of them wrote a book that changed my life.
Some of them broadcast free deep water content that was monumental in my healing process and helped me feel a sense of community. Some chose me out of a large crowd and graciously delivered a timely and powerful intuitive message. They were all generous in their own way and part of the raft that helped make this work.
I deeply thank the following spiritual teachers and organizations who have made a profound impact on my spiritual development over time.
Michael Bernard Beckwith, Rob Bell, Brene` Brown, Celebrate Your Life, Sonia Choquette, Em Claire, Elizabeth Gilbert, The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Denise Linn, Lindsay Mack, Dan Millman, Mary Morrissey, Robert Ohotto, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Caterina Pellegrino, Cheryl Petersen, Larry Rohr, Yahfaw Shacor, Danni Stillwell, Terry Taylor, Erica Grantham, Iyanla Vanzant, Neale Donald Walsch, Laurie Zanelli, and Cynthia Zeki.
And thank you to a group of people I affectionately call My Soul Food Gallery Support Team. They consist of all the glorious friends and family members who had the time and desire to give feedback and help as this project was developing. These are some of the wisest and kindest people I know. You’ve made all the difference. Thank you for your guidance, legal advice and truth telling. Thank you for cheering me on.
My Soul Food Gallery Support Team, also known as my trusted friends and family, are as follows: Kimberly Bill, Dana Cox Lipe, Juli Dreifuss, Gwen and Sean Fitzgerald, Nikki Gardner, Kristen Hester, Jeannine Locasto, Nelson Posada, Beth Salinas, My Parents: Krislette and Douglas Smeets, My Husband: Ben Taylor, and Colleen Wisniewski.
There were a handful of sanctuary places where I wrote my book. I thank the following places In Illinois for existing and cheering me on: Letty Mae’s Tea Room, The Starbucks on 12640 S. Route 59, The C.W. Avery Family YMCA, and Krema Coffee House.
Thank you to the Sedona Arts Center for the opportunity to showcase my work in such sacred, legendary space. This has been a guiding light for me as I finished all that would become this offering.
I sincerely thank every person who dives in to enjoy, share and celebrate all that is Soul Food Gallery. I truly appreciate your support on all levels and am so glad you are here!
And to Life and those along with me throughout all my life experiences.
Whatever it looked like, it all mattered. And I thank you.