Fall Aspens or Cooking for the Homeless

I’ve lived here since 1996.  Those of you who know me well, know I think that’s way too long.  I’m  a mid-west girl, born where you can plant and grow a big garden or jump on the train and see the Cubs that afternoon.  When Alyce thinks about fall, she thinks of cold nights, cool mornings, red maples, soup and cookies.  Not 80 degree days and so little water that the herb garden wants to croak.  Hmph.  In all these years, not being a mountain person, I’ve never made it up to the mountains to see the aspens in the fall.  Let’s just say it was one of the mistakes I’ve made lately.

 I don’t like heights.  I literally cannot go on the big escalators in the Dallas airport.
  Just picture me on the drop-offs in the mountains.  No, it’s not pretty.  Glacier?  Going to the Sun Road?  That’s me, glued to the floorboards.  Does that mean I can’t cook a mean steak over an open fire in a decent campground?  No; I can do that.  I can do it well.  Especially if there’s a bottle of Cab waiting to go with it.  A little grilled shrimp for an appetizer.  But look over the edge?  Right.  That’s you, not me.  Still.  I took the pictures.  The Chicago girl.

I have to tell ya.  They were impressive.  I shouldn’t have waited so long.
The non-mountain girl.
The water girl.
The girl who loves the beach  house and won’t ski because she might hurt her hands.
The piano, you know.
At the end of the trip, we stopped at Bier Werks in Woodland Park.
I don’t drink beer, either.
Not since 1971.
But here I am.
First I’m looking at aspens and, the next thing you know, I’m calling friends in Divide and inviting them to Woodland Park for dinner.  With beer.  What’s next?
In a jam-packed week (love that expression) of re-writing music, teaching double lessons, getting the house hoed out for the carpet cleaners, writing 4 articles, and so on….it was also my week to cook for the homeless.  The church I attend (if I’m not directing a choir) feeds the homeless regularly at several venues.  I participate in the IHN venture  … Inter-faith Hospitality Network.  I’m privileged to be part of this church, even if/ like it or not/ it’s from a distance.  I’m proud of what they do.  I’m proud that I hang my hat where people sincerely move things from the gospel into daily living and make that their life’s goal.  That the table is BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGG and all are welcome.  Me, too.   I miss them when God calls me elsewhere, but I stay tuned in and tied loosely by teaching piano lessons to their pastor, going on wine trips with members, and by cooking for the homeless they house in their building.
I’m probably like a lot of other Christians.  I like the sound of “feeding the homeless,” but like getting up to see the aspens, I’ve been afraid of the heights or whatever you want to call them.  The last five or six years, though, that fear has disappeared.  Not sure how.  Little by little.  First I delivered groceries and turkeys at Thanksgiving.  Got to know folks who had no pan to cook a turkey in and didn’t know what to do with a frozen big bird.  Then I took baskets at Christmas to people who couldn’t speak English, but knew chocolate when they saw it.  Next I just dropped off meals….I didn’t run back to the car, but I didn’t linger.  Slowly, I got to the point where I sat down to eat.   I knew I could be in any of the chairs at the table if I just missed a couple of house payments.  I began to go and stay.  I began to cook lovely meals.  Homemade soups.  Homemade whole wheat rolls.  (Scroll down for recipe links.) My very best desserts.  And God, wonderful creator, brought me back.
For what’s a Christian cook for?
If not to cook for people who have no food?  No home?  
Alyce’s Chicken Minestrone Soup
served with pesto and Parmesan cheese

Bill Kalbus’ rolls made new… taught to many and eaten by many more.  Including a couple of really cute little guys about 5 or so.  With Colorado honey.   Hmph.

And I’m not scared any more.  Why else did God teach me to cook? Or put me near the mountains temporarily?

Click here for my Chicken Minestrone Soup Fast!  recipe (published on examiner.com)
Click here for my Whole Wheat rolls post right here on More Time. 

Sing a new song;