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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Late night thoughts

This evening I went to see Looped at Outcast Theater. Sandy O'Brian brought Tallulah Bankhead to life on the stage. I really didn't know who Tallulah was until this evening. It is too much to remember all the who's who's in the acting world, especially since I was just a babe when she passed into the

The thread of the story of a troubled and drug addicted woman haunted by the underlying guilt of thriving while her mother dies soon after her birth continues to haunt and mold the woman through her life. She is forward and brash, promiscuous and often screams that this is the reality of Tallulah. 

I think not. The quick witted wisdom and sarcasm of the actress is a continual shield from the agonizing pain she has felt from the beginning of her existence to her death. I can relate. This is a difficult road to hoe. Each time that you convince yourself of the good that you are, the mirror reflects your haunting past and the guilt that you have chosen to accept as your own.

There is only a few shows left and I recommend that you see it. It is a dark comedy, as is with several of Outcast's Theater's productions slating the tagline of Theater on the Edge.  

I got home to the news of the shootings in Roseburg, Oregon and I find myself searching for answers as to why this happens in America. Tears well up in my eyes, my heart aches. I am grief stricken. I have often said that I can find beauty in everything and in this random act of hatred beauty is no where to be found. The beauty will have to come from the actions, reactions, and reconciliations of those who are left behind.

This brings me to why I do what I do--own Sweet Mona's. We sweeten the world and it sounds like a mighty task that I have undertaken. It is not. It is just simply sharing chocolate with friends on a daily basis. Chocolate encourages happiness. And that's a wonderful thing.

There is a difference to be made and we are the only ones that can make it. Let's make a difference. Make choices that show others how sacred life is. Choose life at every chance. And choose chocolate soon thereafter.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Resting In What Is

This week I got to spend some time with my girlfriend holding her baby for a few hours. While I'm there we talk and she rallies around the house doing things that she normally doesn't do without the baby in tow.

Watching her and her family often makes me think back to my own raising and the differences. My friend continually encourages her children and tells them what they can do. I on the other hand continued to hear time after time what I couldn't do. "I wonder what I would be like if I had people around me while I was growing up telling me all the things I could do instead of telling me all the things I couldn't do?" I said to her. She said I just need to take a break from working so hard to make things happen.

That's when I realized I needed to rest in what is. Here we are in November. It's a time to be thankful and I find my mind racing to figure out a new project which always has to do with the chocolate shop. My brain continually runs in a loop of how can Sweet Mona's be made better? What can I do to ensure that it can financially sustain itself? How can I bring in more people? How can I ensure we make it through the five months of road construction during the 2nd Street Project? Will I be able to keep my staff levels up after the holidays? Where is the best place to advertise? Should I really buy a building or should I try to expand off the island? Or should I just sell it?

I hear the rumblings of a high school counselor saying "you can't do that, your grades in science just aren't high enough to get into a good school."

Even now tears well up in my eyes thinking why couldn't that counselor "You can do anything you want to with the right training and with a little help. This is how."  He and others didn't and so I have spent a good part of my life thinking I can't and working up to I can do it.

It's time to rest in what is. Rest in what I have become, what I have built, who I am and just see where it all goes. It's time to stop exerting so much effort to force things into existence. It's time to just rest. Rest in what is. Give thanks for what is. And continue loving what is.

My life is amazing--sweet really. I have a husband that loves me more than I think anyone has ever loved me. I have children that have grown up to be amazing adults. I have beautiful grandchildren. I have a shop that allows me the opportunity to share the sweetness of chocolate. I have great employees. I live in a great community. I have wonderful pets. I have wonderful friends. This is what I must rest in, releasing the fears of what might be, or could be, and just let them be.

That's me and my brother up there when I was a little girl. The picture was taken in June 1962 and I was just over a year old. It was before I heard the words you can't. I've come a long way. it's time to rest in what is.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dream Big or Go Home!

From the beginning of this amazing journey following the chocolate brown brick road to Willy Wonkaville I have dreamed of the business being big--really big. I used to say things like "some day I'll be bigger than Godiva". This is an interesting thought since I really have no desire to make chocolates in the shadow of Godiva. They are massive big business! And besides, I'm pretty sure Sweet Mona's chocolates are better than Godiva.

Everything has to start small. It's tempting when I see someone who looks really successful to say "Wow! Where did they come from? It seems like they've become successful overnight!" Well, I know that's not true. Success doesn't come overnight. It comes one baby step at a time.

Earlier this year, I began a journey to buy a bigger building. I was not successful in my attempts. I wanted to buy a 5,000 square foot building and make the lower floor the chocolate shop, complete with an ice cream bar, viewing area, chocolate making classes, and of course a good amount of seating. And the top floor, I wanted to turn into a chocolate hostel--or hotel. It wouldn't have been very big but I had modeled it after the McMenamin's Historic Hotels. I wanted to engage the artists to create their own room themed around chocolate and offer nightly accommodations to travelers coming to Langley.

I quickly learned that I did not have the financial foundation to create such a dream. And so I looked outward to try to find money. The dream became convoluted and I worked different ways to get into the building. I really kind of lost track of the dream in the every day attempt to find the financial backing to do it. I had to let it go.

It created a great sadness inside of me. Of course, I know I said "Everything happens for a reason. It just wasn't the right time. I almost had it put together." The bottom line is that I couldn't pull it off.

This post is to really say to you and to the world that I am still dreaming and I am still searching for a way to grow my business. For me, It's not an option, I have to keep moving forward. And really in my heart, I know it's not the money that keeps holding me back, it's something inside me that's not ready to move forward. I have to figure that out.

I still have a big dream. I want the business to grow into a manufacturing facility that distributes chocolates to stores all across the country. Can you imagine it? Trucks filled with Sweet Mona's chocolates leaving on the ferry every morning to distribute sweetness to the country?  It just makes me smile thinking about it. And a business in Langley that draws people from around the country to see the chocolate being made here and staying in a chocolate themed room with options to learn about chocolate?

I may  not ever be able to "pull it off". It won't stop me from dreaming about it and imagining how wonderful it will be. And it won't stop me from enjoying what I have here in Langley. We are successful. Sweet Mona's Chocolate Boutique ships out chocolates every day to people around the country sweetening the world and we offer a wonderful chocolate experience to our guests. I stand in gratitude for what we are and we will become.

Sweet Mona

“May the impression I leave today be the inspiration that moves mountains tomorrow.”  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Today is Apple Day at Bayview Corner

Tristan Stanley & Julia Lawrence
Welcome to Apple Day! Apple Day is celebrated every year at the Bayview Corner and we've been a proud participant for  many years. It is such a fun day! It's filled with apples - caramel apples! In  plain and pecan! 

And then there is the Mutt Strut. That's where all our furry friends march around in costume vying for prizes. More fun!

The Apples
And I mean who can resist caramel apples made fresh and ready for eating! They look amazing and taste even more amazing. We use organic Granny Smith apples and cover them with our best on the planet caramel dipping some of them in pecans.

Also, it's customer appreciation day at the Bayview Market so there's drawings going on there too. This is a Whidbey Island tradition.

Happy Apple Day!
Mona Newbauer

“May the impression I leave today be the inspiration that moves mountains tomorrow.”  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Witchy Woman

Witchy Woman
Each morning the darkness seems to stretch into the morning later and later. The fog thick with a mysterious hum to it. From my home I can hear the ferry horn blasting to warn any boats that may be in the way to move quickly as this large vessel crosses the sound.

I love the mystery of life. When I was five years old I  used to lay in my bed and try to figure out what was real and what was only made up in my mind.

I am sometimes mesmerized by all the groups and religions that seem to think that they have figured it all out. They know how it works and it's only by doing or being what they believe that you can get to where you want. And what is it that people want? The top tweet yesterday on Twitter was about weight loss--I wonder if there's a church out there for the God of the Perfect Size. Inside, I giggle, knowing that there probably is.

Why isn't it enough to just be who you are in the moment? And be happy about it? Why is it there is something inside that always wants more? I've decided that as of October 2013 I have everything that I want and everything that I need. I am happy. And really what can be more mysterious than being happy?

I am Mona Newbauer. I own Sweet Mona's, Chocolate Boutique. I am a witchy woman who likes to share sweet treats, hugs, and happy moments. It really doesn't get much better than this.

“May the impression I leave today be the inspiration that moves mountains tomorrow.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Meet Mikayla Elfrank!

Mikayla comes to Sweet Mona's through the apprenticeship program at Langley Middle School. We are so pleased to be a part of this program. We've seen quite a few students come through and go on to do amazing things since we began participating nearly seven years ago!

Here's what Mikayla has to say about herself:

"Hi!, I'm Mikayla. I'm 14 and currently in the 8th grade. I like horseback riding and sports. I joined 4-H for gaming and showmanship. The horse I ride is Ruby. She is an ex performance horse. I haven't been riding for long but I already love it.

Sports wise I've been playing softball since 1st grade. I'm going on my 9th year playing. I'm a catcher. I love my position because I'm in charge of watching every thing.
I've played basketball for 3 years and it's so much fun.

My best friend is Gwyn Ramsay. We've known each other for 3 years. She's funny and weird but we have lots of fun together. I hope to go to UW or UM. I'm a huge huskies fan. My family is crazy to live around. We are always busy. I have 4 siblings. One older brother, 1 younger brother and 2 little sisters. My family sticks by my side and supports me through everything. I'm glad I have them."

And we're glad to have her here and hope that she has lots of fun while she's playing in the chocolate! Welcome Mikayla!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Welcome Becca!

Meet Becca!
The latest addition to the Sweet Mona's staff is Becca Babcock. She will be working customer service magic behind the counter over the weekends and one or two afternoons a week at Sweet Mona's as the holiday season comes upon us.

She is a graduate of South Whidbey High School and has been on and off the island since she was 15 when she moved from Bellingham. When she first came to the island she really thought that the island was boring. Now after living off island for a short while, she's decided that she loves Whidbey Island more than any other place she's lived.

Her favorite thing to do is a grab a coffee and go for a morning walk at Double Bluff. She aspires to be a preschool teacher and has a passion for children. She loves to allow her inner child out when being around them.

We are very happy to welcome Becca to Sweet Mona's. Stop by and give her a welcome howdy!