As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebrations {A Book Review}

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 in our Father God who plans our days and gives good gifts. 

It is 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 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.  



  1. Ahhh, that is so very special. Don't you just love the way our Father delights in giving us good things like that? I've heard of that cookbook before, I must check it out now!

  2. This cookbook sounds wonderful, Cheryl, I love their blog as well, congratulations on winning the cookbook.
    I also love Vee, she is one of my best friends here in blogland., as I count you as one two.~smile~

    When I first started blogging at my first blog, she was the very first person to welcome me, and as they say "The rest is history".
    Looking forward to your 31 days of "Celebrations".

  3. Oh this just makes tears well up...what some might see as serendipity, I recognize as A God Thing. I am sending this sweet post link to Judy and Lovella. They'll love it. Perhaps I'll wait unti Judy gets back on her own porch. ; >

  4. This is the loveliest wake up call! I just woke up (7am here on the pacific coast) and this is the first blog I read today. Thank you for this book review unlike any other.

    Thank you for reading the introduction. I've been told that it is rare to have someone read the introduction of a cookbook.

    God has indeed been part of us and with us while we wrote and planned and we humbled by how he brought us like minded women together in unity in this project.

  5. What a sweet post. I'm planning to visit the MGCC book signing in our town on Saturday and pick up my very own copy of Celebrations!

  6. This is indeed a fabulous book review and draws me in! I am looking forward to your series and need to check out the book!

  7. Thank-you so much for your very kind review of our cookbook...Celebrations! I'm just snooping around your blog here...and reading the words under your header...and thinking you would have fit well into our group of ten. We have chosen to use what we have been given to serve Him here and investment in the Heavenly realm. And we are always amazed at what He is doing through our blog and cookbooks! Enjoy the book.

    Too bad we weren't both traveling in Maine at the same time...we could have met up at Vee's most hospitable 'haven'.

  8. Cheryl, Let me introduce myself. I am Charlotte from Mennonite Girls Can Cook. What a beautiful review you gave our book, Thank you. It just touched my soul that you were blessed that it brought tears streaming down my face. I needed a blessing like this today, thank you for blessing ME!

  9. Good morning Cheryl. I too come with a heart felt thank you for the beautiful cook book review, and for taking the time to express what stood out to you. We are always so touched and blessed through kind words which encourage us in this ministry. I'll look forward to coming back here for a visit, especially in October when you will be Celebrating during the 31 day blog series. Life is a celebration and we were all really touched when Vee had a cookbook give a way on her blog, and now we get to meet the winner. Another friend found here.

  10. I'm Anneliese, another one of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook and I just want to thank you for your sincere review. What you wrote, is what we would dream readers to feel.
    I also want to tell you that I love what you have written under your header. I can tell you have brought the feeling of your home right into the blog world. May God bless you as you use your gift of hospitality to draw others "home."

  11. Hi Cheryl, I'm Bev from MGCC and I'd like to thank you for the lovely summary of our book. Your descriptive list of what you appreciated about "Celebrations" is precisely what we had hoped and prayed for when we planned this cookbook. Thank you for giving us such a positive review on your blog. We so appreciate all our blog friends and the enthusiastic cooks who support us. God bless!

  12. Cheryl, this is a very heart-melting post... you make me want to go out and buy a copy of the book ! and I would, if I wasn't one of the authors and already have a box full! smile.
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful review! May the Lord bless you... and I'm sending you a very big (((((HUG))))) Julie

  13. I cannot think of any one more worthy of this win and who will put this book to such good use. Enjoy! I am looking forward to your 31 days. xo

  14. Love your review -- and all the comments:) You are a blessing to many people, Cheryl.


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