What a week! What a month! I am very much looking forward to taking a few days’ break from blogging, hunkering down with my sweet (and loud and funny and busy) family, and soaking up the last joyous minutes of this holiday season.
While I spend most of my time here raving about The Best Food on the Planet, I appreciate the often and sometimes poignant reminders that my life is much more than food and blogging.
Truly nothing in my life would have meaning without that sweet, deeply-held belief that this glittery, bustling, wonderful Christmas season exists because of a precious baby born thousands of years ago in humble circumstances only to become the Savior of the world…for me…for all of us.
I am endlessly grateful for that knowledge and the opportunity it gives me (and sometimes forces me) to recenter and reprioritize. Again and again.
In this season of giving, I thought it would be appropriate to again say thank you for all of those who generously donated to Mentors International earlier this year after I told you about my experience in Ghana, Africa. I have thought of your generosity over and over again during the holidays; what you gave is so much more than a donation, so much more than money. I met some of the amazing people your donations will help – because of you, their lives will change for the better. Truly, you have demonstrated what it really means to give.
I received this message from Mark, the CEO of Mentors, this week:
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so generous with the Mentors International families we are helping to lift from poverty with “A hand up; not a handout.” Due in great part to your readers’ generosity, since July 1, 2016, Mentors International has been able to place $120,000 new dollars into the Mentors Ghana loan fund.
During that same time we have distributed:
Loaned out $295,000
Added 362 new, active loans
Created 121 jobs
Added 478 new clients
Hired 2 additional staff
Impacted an estimated 6,000 people.
This is a HUGE impact. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you!!!!
I echo Mark’s remarks and simply say: Thank you! You have inspired me in so many ways; we many never know the full and far-reaching impact of your generosity.
And because this is a food blog, after all, a quick note about food for Christmas Eve and Christmas! Our traditional Christmas Eve meal is detailed below (two desserts because…um…I’m having a real personal struggle deciding between creme brûlée, which we always have, and the new sticky toffee pudding I just posted).
And Christmas Day I keep it really simple. I make cinnamon (or sweet) rolls in advance to bake the morning of, crackers and cheese and appetizers for the afternoon, and we are starting a new tradition of soup and bread bowls on Christmas night (all made ahead of time so I can enjoy the day with the family) with lots of leftover treats and snacks because we will have food coming out of our ears by that point in the holidays.
What will you be eating this weekend? Please, please share.
Also, this coming Friday, the 23rd, will be the last newsletter for December unless I manage to get one out on the 30th (we’ll be traveling during that time to visit my in-laws in Portland, OR, so I’m staying a little uncommitted at this point). You definitely don’t want to miss the exclusive recipe in this week’s edition (no-bake, easy, decadent, and rock-your-world worthy). So sign up here if you aren’t already on the list to get the weekly newsletters!
Mostly, I want to say, thank you for being here. I appreciate you so much more than you realize, and from the very sincerest part of my heart, I truly hope your holiday season is filled with love, laughter, and peace.