We picked the Tunzi's up from the airport and it was lunchtime and we went right to LaTerasita and had lunch. I consider this the best Cuban place in Tampa and it's also the most economical. The lamb stew was so good today it was amazing. I have heard that when Jennifer Lopez comes to Tampa she eats at LaTerasita. I believe it! I love their food, all of it. The best cafe con leche for sure!
The Gertz's arrived a little while later and we went to our house and we spent the day/evening together here and had dinner at our house. We sat out on the patio for a few hours and talked, grilled steaks and I made Ceasar salad (my recipe...everyone loves it!), baked potatoes, corn, Cuban bread and a "MRSA" cake.
Just what is a "MRSA cake you might ask?" Well, MRSA is a staph infection that will kill you. (LOL) So, why in the world have I named a cake after it you might ask? Well, when Dustin had MRSA and was hospitalized last year and then came home to recooperate, we were ordered by the doctors to give him soft foods for quite a while. He ate mashed potatoes, macaroni, etc. constantly and we made huge pots of it for not only him but his friends. He had a constant stream of visitors coming in and out of here and we always feed whoever's here. He also loves chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I was trying to make as many variety of things as possible and things he liked since being sick was definitely not fun for him. I made one of these chocolate layer cakes practically every day when he was sick. When I didn't make them, his friend Jasmine made one that was equally as delicious. And the kids devoured it. Since I made them continuously at the time, I sort of dubbed them MRSA cakes! :-) We had this delicious treat tonight with ice cream and Kenya tea, (GRIN) another love of mine. I save the Kenya tea bags for when I have guests in or when I am feeling particularly achy in my heart for Africa. When I'm really missing my Kenya friends a lot I brew a cup of tea in their honor. And of course I pray for them.
We've washed up the ton of china from tonight's dinner, (it never all fits in the dishwasher) and gotten both tables re-set with china for tomorrow afternoon's dinner which will also include Casey. Cathy and Cherie said, "my word, how much china DO you have?" I have a weakness for dishes, I'll be honest... I love them.
To be exact, I have four sets of dishes and just gave one away today, proceeds to go to the children's ministries if indeed they sold it at their garage sale. Today was a busy day at Northside, between our children's ministries fundraiser and the homeless ministry we do feeding and clothing countless numbers of people in Tampa.
I thought I would post some photos I just took around my house today for you to see. I periodically post some so you can see where I live. Soon I'm going to take photos of my route when I walk. I am in a perfect neighborhood for walking -- it's absolutely beautiful...I'll show you soon. Every time I walk I say to myself, "why don't I do this seven days a week? I live in unbelievably beautiful surroundings!" But life takes over and I don't always like I should. I am commiting to do better.
Tomorrow I will take and post some photos of our friends who are visiting. Oh how I do love to have people visit! Did I already say that? Hospitality is one of my main gifts that I so enjoy flowing in. I love having people in, cooking, and doing for others.
I have tomorrow's dinner on already. I made the kid's favorite -- my "no fail" roast beef recipe. It cooks all night. You would not believe how incredible this roast beef and gravy is unless you tried it yourself. My kids don't like to eat it anywhere else, they are spoiled.
So the roast beef is cooking already and I also made my biscuit dough for tomorrow. That's another family & neighborhood favorite. I am trying to win my neighbors to the Lord through a ministry of bread. One of our neighboring families has always seemed very closed to the gospel. But they are really nice people. It has been my custom since living here in our current house (3 years) to split the bread when I make it and give half of it to them fresh out of the oven. I do this to reach out to them. When I make my homemade yeast rolls and bread or biscuits I just make a basket for them and have the kids take it over. I do this usually a few times a month. They love it and it although they have never taken up my invitation to come to church yet, or hear more about the Lord, I believe one day they will.
At least if nothing else, they will have met at least one Christian family that has reached out to them in love and have a good experience with. I want them to think of Christians and smile, and want to know more about us and the God we serve. Perhaps I will be the seed, or the person watering them so that someone else -- another Christian -- can meet them and reel them in for their "harvest." Some plant, some water, some see the increase. I don't care which one I am with them, I just want to be a "link in their chain" -- I think Andy Stanley made that phrase famous, not sure who did but I think it was him. Anyway, I'm a link in my neighbor's chain to come to Christ, at least that is what I am praying...and believing.
I envision them one day coming to Jesus and looking back and saying, "we used to think Christians were out of touch freaks, but then one day Deanna started bringing us that bread..."