Monday, April 29, 2013 is what is on my mind this evening.
It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
I see it taking place in so many different forms, and I am absolutely convinced that it always blesses...
always encourages...
and always those who are the givers and those who are the receivers, both come away with thankful hearts.

I can tell you with certainty, that every time I see this box in the grocery store isles, I am always transported back quite a few years, to the time I was first introduced to tacos.  It was the year 1974, and I was going to school on the west coast.  A new friend invited me to her home in Portland, Oregon for the weekend.  She lived in a tiny apartment on the third floor, of a quaint, old home in the city.  This in itself was a new experience for me, as I had lived my entire life in the country.  Teresa was most gracious.  She lived with her mother, who worked nights in the nearby hospital.  She was responsible to make our dinner, and she eagerly told me that we were going to have her favorite tacos.  Really, I had never heard that word before and was looking forward to the introduction.  Teresa pulled out the box of taco shells, and then worked her magic to cook us the best dinner.  I will never forget it!  Her and I sat at the little round table, overlooking the city lights, and together we ate tacos until we lost count.  I was hooked.  It was warm, gracious western hospitality, and she made me feel so welcomed(despite my tinges of homesickness.)

Believe it or not, whenever I see this box at the grocery store, I always, without fail, remember another hospitality memory.  I was newly married, and was shopping one day at our local mall.  I was in one of the beautiful, new women's stores, and the girl helping me find what I was looking for, what a young woman my age.  We struck up conversation immediately.  We found out we had a lot in common, and made plans to get together in the near future.  As our friendship progressed, she and her husband invited us to their home for dinner.  We were so honored to receive the invitation, especially from a couple we had just met.  When we arrived, they told us that they did not have any dining room table, and their kitchen table was too small, so they decided to eat in the living room.  We all sat down on the floor, around their wooden coffee table.  Honestly, it was so much fun!  I could not believe their realness, and lack of apologies.  Their hospitality spoke volumes to me, and I learned that evening, that hospitality was more important, than entertaining.  Chris had bought boxes of Chef Boyardee pizzas, and she kept making them, and bringing them into the living room, where we eagerly inhaled every last bite.  I will never forget that evening!  I left there more convinced than ever, that inviting people into your home, is the best gift you can give to them.  Whether it is tacos, pizza from a box, or the most elaborate feast is the thought and the friendship that is the most important of all.

Speaking of real, genuine western hospitality... I excitedly found this new publication in my mailbox.  A few months ago, my name was pulled in a blog giveaway, and I discovered, much to my delight, that I was to receive this beautiful new masterpiece, that was a few years in the making.
There are an extremely gifted group of women on the western side of our country, that came together some years ago, and decided to share their love of cooking.
They gave themselves the name of "Mennonite Girls Can Cook", and you know what, that is the most appropriate name.
I have looked forward to receiving my copy, ever since I found out that I won.
I have their first cookbook, and keep discovering how skilled they are.
As I opened each page, I know I am in for a treat.

Each page is so beautifully done, and each food picture so expertly captured. 

I know right now, that I cannot wait to make this "Chili Cheese Dip".  I like every single ingredient called for .

This cookbook will be going to bookstores all over the country.  Take my word for it, you will want one, and it will serve as a perfect gift too.
The cookbook includes, gorgeous pictures, delicious recipes, words of their friendship, their faith, and their passion for cooking.  There are hosting tips, gluten free recipes and meaningful editorials.

If you want to, you can visit their website at ...

Another very special aspect of the cookbook is, that the royalties will help provide clean water for children and adults living in

Thank you MGCC for making my day today.  What an extra special gift to receive on a very cool, overcast, and wet Monday in April.  I can't wait to curl up on my favorite chair, with my hot cup of coffee, and read from cover to cover, when time allows.


Stacey said...

Those are fun memories and good lessons Judy. Congratulations on winning the cookbook. :)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

So glad your copy of the cookbook arrived in your mailbox today. Most timely! May you enjoy it...the stories,the recipes and the photos.

I so enjoyed the stories you shared on this post about hospitality and the impact it has had on you. I think you are right...that inviting people into your home is one of the best gifts you can give them.

Lovella ♥ said...

Judy, I am so happy to know your copy has arrived for you. Thank you for sharing it on your blog today. You are always so hospitable and kind and generous on your blog and I am also so happy that we had a chance to meet.

Anneliese said...

I love the stories you shared leading up to the book win! Isn't that what it is all about? Hospitality is a gift we can give even when we do not have a table.
Thank you for
the hospitality that radiates from your blog.

Kathy said...

Such a beautiful blog post on hospitality. We are always delighted to hear from our readers....and so glad you are enjoying your gift. Thanks for celebrating with us here on your blog. Kathy

lindsey said...

You are right about hospitality, it is so much more than entertaining. I also love taco's and would so much love to join you for a taco supper and a chat. That book looks wonderful, how blessed to receive it through your mail. I do look at the website and may just see if I can buy myself a copy :)

Happy@Home said...

You share such wonderful examples of heartfelt hospitality. How nice that those two boxes could evoke such nice memories for you.
Congratulations to you on being the winner of the cookbook. The cover is so pretty and I am sure that the inside is filled with wonderful recipes and examples of sharing the gift of hospitality. I'm planning to order a copy through Amazon.

Christine said...

How special.
It's a win, win, win with this cookbook.
Don't you just love cookbooks that have beautiful pictures? I do!

You are an inspiration. Keep the life lessons and stories coming.


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