This story goes back a month.
No wait, it goes back about four months.
No, I can take it back even further...a couple of years ago maybe.
Of course, many of you know by now that I can make a short story long. (At least that's what my husband and my son have told me. The girls just listen...and then tell me one of theirs.)
But the long version is that I met Vee almost two years ago via her blog, A Haven For Vee. Vee has a way of just inviting you in and pouring you a cup of (cyber) coffee and having a chat. So on this particular day, I stopped in and introduced myself...and we've been friends ever since. We even had a face-to-face meeting when our family visited Maine last spring (that's the "four months" part), and we all found her to be just as charming and welcoming as she is on her blog. (For the record, we also loved her husband John; they are a lovely pair!)
So back to a month ago. Vee wrote about a meeting that she had with another blogger, Judy from My Front Porch, and her husband Elmer. Judy and Elmer were also traveling through Maine, as part of a road trip from their home in British Columbia to Pennsylvania...through twenty-one U.S. states!
Which brings me back into the story.
You see, Judy is one of the authors of the bestselling cookbook Mennonite Girls Can Cook. And "the girls" have recently released a brand new book, Celebrations. And Vee was offering a copy of the new cookbook as a giveaway to a reader. And I won the giveaway!! Indeed I did!
Want to know something crazy? I had already chosen the topic for the 31-day blog series that I am writing in October. I have named it CeLeBRaTe!! and I will be talking about marking milestones and special days with home celebrations. So when I opened this book and began to read it, I felt at home immediately.
Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebrations is so much more than a cookbook!
It is friends...the ten authors who are real life friends.
It is photography...beautiful pictures of occasions. Lovely table linens, mouth-watering food, pretty platters and tea cups and bowls, festive gatherings, adorable children, friends and families.
It is stories...stories that tug at the heartstrings. Personal stories of marriage and birth and holidays and death.Stories of connections with people. How it's all a part of life and how it is celebrated.
It is faith...faith in our Father God who plans our days and gives good gifts.
It is inspiration...to celebrate God's good gifts with occasions. "We choose to make memories, because we recognize that we have but one life to live," says Lovella Schellenberg in the introduction.
Yes, it is food too...recipes for all occasions! The ladies each share recipes that they have used in their own celebrations, along with the stories that accompany them, photographs that make you want to dig right in, and helpful tips for recipe success, kind of the "inside scoop."
As I read this cookbook, I felt like I had connected with some kindred spirits, fellow believers who are honoring the Lord through serving people.
And I don't think a cookbook has ever made me feel that way before.