Today’s Observations
Today was my Dad’s much anticipated 80th birthday party.  It was the kind of humble celebration that one would expect in this small rural town.  Card tables set up in the garage and around the lawn with folding chairs and floral plastic tablecloths; an eight foot buffet table full of food; coffee brewed in a 30 cup percolator; and a huge beautifully decorated sheet cake from the local bakery.  Just in case you didn’t know who the birthday boy was, my Dad wore a bright 6″ diameter button presented to him by his grandchildren that read, “It’s My 80th Birthday”.  Ninety-eight people came out to honor my Dad. They ranged in age from 3 to 83.  They came from as far away as Minnesota and from as close as across the street.  They were people he had taught with, people from the senior center, high school kids who volunteer to help my parents with projects around the house, and of course, family.  “Cards Only.  No Gifts.” was the instruction on the invitation… but some chose to ignore that instruction.  What I was struck by, was the kind of gifts these good folks brought – 3 prize tomatoes fresh from the garden, 80 Asian Pears picked from the orchard, Salmon caught and frozen just yesterday, homemade peanut butter cookies that have a reputation that preceded them, and homemade Limpa Bread – a Swedish favorite from a Swedish friend.  There was something that touched me about these simple gifts.  There is a kind of generosity that is expressed in giving from your garden, or in baking a loaf of bread, or in sharing a salmon that you wrangled yourself, that is unmatched in any kind of store-bought gift.  I think it is the effort, and the love, and in some cases, the toil that goes into it, that makes it so special.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think my Dad wants me to return the GPS we gave him and replace it with a tomato.  But it occurred to me that there was something for me to learn from these good people of Castle Rock.  And perhaps the next time there is a gift to be given, I’ll be less likely to run to the store, and more likely to open my cupboard, to see what I can make with my heart and my hands.

Today’s Menu
Pam’s Simple Apple Cobbler for breakfast
Snacks – mango, banana
Fruit salad, olives, pickles, and nuts at the party
Pam’s Simple Apple Cobbler for dinner

Today’s New Recipe
Today was a challenging day to make a new recipe, but I did come up with a new concoction that is very, very simple.  It is great anytime of the day,  and satisfies that sweet tooth that I have.

Pam’s Simple Apple Cobbler (4 Yums)
1 apple grated
1 small handful of raisins, soaked
Cinnamon to taste
Dash of nutmeg

Place everything in a bowl and toss and enjoy.

Today’s Affirmation
I generously give of my heart and soul and hands.