...a weekend to do whatever I want.
For Thanksgiving yesterday, I went with my parents and we volunteered at Phoenix Rescue Mission. This was the fourth year we have gone to the Mission to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the people who rely on the organization for food, shelter and help. It is always a wonderful blessing to meet people and hear their stories, praying that they get the hand up they need to begin again. Yesterday was a little different, the faces were different. There were faces that looked like my friends and family. The economy's impact was felt in that dining hall yesterday...and I was so glad to be able to help. For five hours, my heart was singing with the harmony that only comes when you give of yourself to others. I love volunteering!
After spending half of the day at the Mission, I went to the grocery store and bought provisions so I could bake away the rest of the day. I baked my first pecan pie...it looks pretty darn good if you ask me (we eat it tonight so hopefully it tastes as good as it looks). And, with molasses on the shelf for the pie, I also baked molasses spice cookies. It was wonderful to have the freedom and energy to dance in the kitchen to some of my favorite music playing on my iPod and bake something for others to enjoy. When Ryan got home last night, I was still a ball of energy, but my legs weren't keeping up with me. They started hurting at the joints. I felt like I had been walking at Disneyland all day. And, as I began to tell Ry about my day, I realized that I wasn't too far off. I had enjoyed my free day so much that I hadn't sat down once.
For the first time in six years, I had the Friday after Thanksgiving off. I wasn't exactly sure what to do with myself. So, I cleaned the house and organized the two bathroom cabinets. Around the time I was ready for a break, Ry gave me a call and said he was ready to meet for lunch. Yum...sushi!
I was back in the kitchen this afternoon, making cauliflower au gratin for Thanksgiving dinner tonight with the family and oatmeal cookies. I plan to make rice krispie treats and chocolate chip cookies. Yes, can you tell I am on a baking binge?
In between all of this cooking and helping, I finished a wonderful book -- The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It had come recommended by several people and I had purchased it at Changing Hands as a gift to myself on my birthday. Oh, it was divine! What a love story! I didn't want the characters to leave. I didn't want the book to end. It wasn't a sappy love story, but one that had beauty, sacrifice, tribulation, sensuality and patience. It is a wonderful book that I devoured and savoured during the week. I finished the book last night admist the peace of a quiet house surrounded by a lovely autumn storm, eating a tasty meal that my husband and I created together.
I have started reading Saturday by Ian McEwan. I have enjoyed his writing immensely in the previous books I have read of his so I am looking forward to this one.
So much happiness this weekend. Happiness is something for which I am very thankful. I am also very thankful for my loving family, beautiful friends, an adorable work-in-progress home, a job that makes a difference in the lives of others, and an all around blessed life. God certainly takes care of me through good and bad and I wouldn't be able to make it without him. His love is all around my husband and I...for that we are most grateful. Happiness.
p.s. All of the recipes I used this weekend are on CookingLight.com. It is a terrific Web site. If you have an ingredient you need recipes for, just type it in. There are so many recipes to search through. Here are links to the recipes I am enjoying:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies -I added pecans to mine and they are great.
Cauliflower Au Gratin with Gruyere
Pecan Pie with Oat Crust
p.p.s. I was complaining in a previous post about concerts. Well, they are still lacking around the Valley, but I am excited about the upcoming Bloc Party show at The Marquee. Snow Patrol will also be in town. Planning to see Bloc Party.
Letting the Days Go By
2 months ago