Wednesday, I came home to our apartment full of young men baking cookies, ten of them to be exact.  Epi and a couple of other mentors from the program decided to have group at our place that afternoon and teach the guys how to make chocolate chip cookies.

Having our house full of youth from the neighborhood is one of Epi’s and my favorite things. Since we married  and started our home, one thing we both wanted to happen was have our place be a comfortable, welcoming space for the youth we interacted with.

With this vision in mind, it was great to be able to come home and find guys filling our apartment.  Some were in the kitchen mixing cookie dough or scooping the leftover dough into Ziploc bags to take home and bake themselves.  Other guys were sprawled out in our living room, playing PlayStation and listening to music.

Hanging out in the kitchen with everyone was hilarious.  When one too many eggs was dropped into the bowl, flour was tossed are the guilty.  Soon after, the conversation turned to tattoos that hadn’t quite worked out and we were all laughing.

Baking is almost like magic, you put a lot of things into a bowl, mix it up, and scoop the sticky, small cookie dough balls onto a sheet, and put it in the oven.  A little while later, out comes a much bigger, flatter item that is a cookie.  I loved watching the guys’ reactions as sheets of cookies were pulled out of the oven and exclamation made over how different they looked.

It is this baking magic that especially captivated one young man. One of the mentors pulled Epi and myself aside to tell us when the first group was baking their cookies, this guy was so amazed at the dough changing he sat down on the floor in the front of the oven and didn’t move.  He kept staring at them, even as the rest of the guys moved out onto the back porch or to the living room to play video games.  At one point in the process, he turned and looked at this mentor and said, “They’re transforming right before my eyes! They’re turning into cookies!!”

I am thankful for cookies, and I am especially thankful for transformations particularly the unexpected ones.  I am thankful for laughter, a full apartment, and the privilege it is to be able to host such wonderful guests in our home.