Nicole

It’s easy to make new friends on facebook, or twitter, or pinterest, or instagram, isn’t it? Friend requests come flowing in and I think–wow, if they lived next door, would they really want to be my friend? ! 🙂 Since I have neighbors who seem terribly uninterested in striking up a friendship with me or my boisterous family, I’m thinking the distance of my computer to yours has a lot to do with the courage folks seem to have in seeking out new people to correspond with…

Over the years, especially through the online work I do with Conciliar Press and other writers, I’ve made lots of real friends that I’ve never actually met in person. These people are dear to me, and if we ever have the chance to meet face-to-face there will be shouts and hugs and much admiring that other three-dimensional being.

But the other online state of friendship has more to do with pithy comments and pressing little hearts as likes. It’s just a bit of fun, and if I happened upon some of these folks on the street I might not know what to do with them! 🙂

All this to say, I’m proud of Nicole, and pretty pleased with myself, too, that the two of us decided to meet and say hello. We were introduced via facebook through a mutual friend–and there wasn’t really any pressing reason for us to strike up a friendship, except that we’re both part of the dying breed of redheads 🙂 And we both like books, and chocolate. (Okay, those three things might be enough!)

No matter how it happened. I mixed and molded. I baked and hip hopped across town, a loaf of warm sourdough filling the car with an almost edible odor. We sat, and chatted, and  I admired her curls, and she talked about her work as a librarian… It was lovely.

Here’s to Nicole, and hopefully many future gatherings where books are at the forefront of the conversation!

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Friends

2013 is off to a wonderful start!  We returned home, from time in Arizona with family, and jumped straight in to celebrating one of my favorite days of the year: Theophany. Do you love Theophany too? All the water, and the splashing, and the rejoicing with creation?

In Santa Barbara, we bundle off to the beach each year and sing, and the little ones splash into the waves after the cross. It’s always a day of joy! And sandwiches.

This year there was a downpour, so the crowd was a bit thinner, but I came prepared, wrapped in my Irish wool cape, complete with hood. (A definite Saint Brigid moment…) My husband found a neighboring umbrella, and my little one licked the raindrops off his lips. Lots of people were getting soaked. And then the Gospel was read–and the clouds parted–and the sun came out–and the rain stopped! No joke. The photographer for our local newspaper caught the moment as we all laughed and marveled.

Sandwiches came next, and to my delight I was then presented a gift. Several friends had been conspiring over the holidays and they stood around and told me to open the gift–right then.

First the card

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Which was so sweet. Then the wrapped box, which revealed this! A beautiful cast iron, prosphoron baking pan!

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(And only the day before I had opened another card and gift, from another very special friend.

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I do feel loved. )

So now I have a very special baking pan for the communion bread I make for the church. Do you remember when I mentioned this a while back when I posted my recipe for prosphoron?

But more than a pan, I have confirmation in how love travels, person to person. Whatever it is you are giving, whether it’s bread, or a baking pan, or a trip to the moon, what matters most is the friend.

Thank you, my dear friends…

Kate, Seraphima, Joanne, Judy, Carla, Obadiah, Sara, Kristi, Father Nicholas, and Kh Tammy…

Shipped with Love

A box landed on my front porch. Inside was a recipe, a card, and two bags of chocolate chip scones. It was from a reader here, whose heart was touched by the suffering and struggle of Deacon Howard, our dear godfather and friend who recently passed away.

And the scones just happened to arrive on a Saturday morning. Off to vespers they went with me that evening, and as everything seems to have its own particular path, even scones, they landed in the hands of our priest’s wife, who just happened to be having Deacon Howard’s widow over for dinner.

From the hands of a warm and loving friend in Pennsylvania to a grieving community in Santa Barbara–that’s three thousand miles for love to travel, and love doesn’t seem to mind the journey or the miles.

The Heavenly Smell of Warm Bread

Sourdough–cooling in the early morning light

All through church! a dear friend said emphatically to me after the service. All through church I smelled that loaf of bread!

Oops.

For over twenty years our parish has been trying to build a church on a piece of land here in Santa Barbara. Our city hasn’t been very receptive to our plans, but persistence has won in the end, and the ground has been broken! In an effort to help with the fundraising, our church recently held an event, and I sent out the word to all my children’s book authors and together we donated lots of books, and even an original illustration, to help the effort. Of course, when I donated a copy of The Woman and the Wheat, I also offered to bake a giant loaf of bread to accompany the book–just to add in a bit more fun.

My son happened to be graduating the same day as the fundraising event, so I couldn’t attend, but learned later that we raised over forty thousand dollars. I also learned that a fellow writer bought my book along with the promise of the giant loaf of bread. He came up to me a week or so ago, an enormous smile on his face and said something like, I just couldn’t NOT buy that book, knowing that I’d get some of your delicious bread. 

Usually I get notes about my writing, but Richard loves my bread!!! Really. I think every other time we talk, somehow the conversation is turned to bread and all its glory.

Anyway, I mixed that giant loaf of bread for him, and baked it off fresh and hot right before church last Sunday morning. I wrapped it in some brown paper, tied it with a string, and placed it under Richard’s seat so he wouldn’t forget to take it home after the service.

And there it sat, cooling, letting off that warm fresh bread smell all service. All service. Forgive me!

And if my friend, who sat next to Richard, wasn’t such a good baker herself, I think I’d make her a loaf all her own–as an apology.

Well, maybe I’ll just bake for her anyway.

Cheers, friends!

Not About Me

We are delighting in the last days of summer sun–the sleep-in mornings–the late nights of eating ice cream and being silly together. We have had a tremendous summer! We Meyers have all remained healthy, safe, and had new adventures. We are grateful! I am grateful.

And yet… there is another part of me–a part that is not about me…

I have two friends with cancer, another in and out of the hospital, and several who are struggling with depression and relationships. For some, this summer hasn’t been all about road trips, making stripety bags, and baking brownies. For some it has meant hardship, headaches and hoping for better times.

Last week I found myself on the doorstep of several of these friends. Offering food (including bread of course!) and my time to just sit and chat. You do this,

and I do this.

Sometimes, it’s better just to give and not blog all over the place about it.

So I’ll stop there.

***

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

–Winston Churchill

Zazpiak Bat

There was a minor car crash in the neighborhood the other day, which caused us to veer from our normal street route. Only two blocks from our home my husband and I gasped as we passed a house flying a Basque flag.

Basques aren’t too plentiful in Santa Barbara. It’s an odd and statistically slim heritage... I’ve only met two others here in all our eleven years. So, the flag was amazing–they live two blocks away? I just had to bring them bread!

So I did. I baked some rosemary rolls (in-the-round), walked the short jaunt, and introduced myself to Angela and her family. New friends. New Basque friends.

Another sweet sip of joy–by way of a round loaf of bread!