It's the most wonderful time of the year! I know, I know that phrase is supposed to be reserved for the Christmas season, but man I love this time of year. The smell, the weather, bonfires, smores, hot dogs, pumpkin pie, falling leaves, raking leaves and then your kids jumping in the pile. It's reading books by the window on a rainy day. It's football games (American and European) on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Family gatherings and neighborhood harvest parties. It's Mabon, Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Saint's Day and Thanksgiving. It really is the best season of the year.
Fall also reminds us that it's time to SHIFT. There are a lot of cultures in our history that saw the fall as the beginning of a new year. A time to prepare for the long winter and dream about the newness of spring. To reflect on the past season and harvest and set intentions for what they wanted to see manifest in the next season of life and harvest. It's a good reminder for us as well. What did you "harvest" this past season? What do you want to plant for next year and see manifest? What do you want your life to look like in the next season of your life? What do you want for your family? Spend some time this week and write out what you see. Don't see this as goal setting because "goals", like resolutions become stale because they don't see the big picture - they lack passion. Intentions have purpose. The ask "why do I want to see this manifest in my families life?" Starting writing these thoughts out and then start putting them into action one step at a time.
- Pastor Mic
Song of the week "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone
BISCUITS with the Boss (Ted Lasso milk bar biscuits)
Like everyone else in the world, Linz and I (Mic) have fallen in love with the show Ted Lasso. I won't give anything away from the show, but there are these biscuits (cookies in the U.S.) that become their own character in the show and they look delicious. Well Lindsay found the recipe and tried it and well - They are amazing and perfect for a brunch dessert. Check it out:
(Side Note - If you decide to check out Ted Lasso just now that there is some salty language in the show. Definitely 16+)
Ted Lasso x Milk Bar Biscuits
1. Heat an oven to 315 degrees and prepare an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter and sugars vigorously until smooth.
3. Stir in the egg yolks. Add the flour and salt, mix just until the dough comes together.
4. Using damp hands, press the dough in an even layer in the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a thin, golden brown layer forms on top. Let cool completely before cutting into two even columns and then six even rows.
5. Arrange in pink boxes if you have them.
Yield: 12 Lasso-size slices
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On this special edition of The Sunday Brunch we are joining with folks around the world to make Mental Health a priority. We have a special video message from Pastor Mic, a blog from a good friend Joe Webb, a brand new book brunch and Sunday playlist as well as Dad's Famous Waffles and Homemade Maple Pecan Whipped Cream for this week's Brunch. Check it out:
Depression and suicide: what you need to know and what you can do. Depression is a common mental health condition. For some people depression is mild and short-lived; for others, it is more severe and longer-term. Some people are affected only once; others more than once.
At worst, depression can lead to suicide. There is a lot that can be done, however, to prevent and treat depression and to help people who are thinking about suicide.
The short documents posted below provide information about depression and suicide and guidance on prevention and treatment.
Dad's Famous Waffles and Homemade Maple Pecan Whipped Cream
I (Mic) made these last Sunday and they were a huge hit with the kiddos and I even think I impressed Lindsay. If I can do this you can too.
What You Need:
Pre-Made Waffle Mix (I used the Kroger Brand)
Heavy Whipping Cream
Sugar Free Maple Pecan Coffee Syrup
Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray and turn it to your desired setting.
Start mixing your pre-made waffle mix together (Follow the instructions on the Box). Make sure you get most of the lumps out - you don't want flour pockets in your waffles (YUCK!).
When your waffle iron is ready pour on your mix and evenly distribute it over the iron while making sure you don't add to much as it will overflow. Now depending on how you like your waffles is how long you leave them on. We like ours crunchy so we leave them on a little longer than normal. Once they are done place them on plates and get ready for the best part!
Next up the homemade whip cream. Pour about a half cup of heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl. If you have a stand alone mixer - kick that baby on high and let her do the work. If you just have a hand mixer then you will have to help it out. Mix it till it starts getting that fluffy whipped cream look. Now ad about 2 teaspoons of the maple pecan coffee syrup and then mix until it looks like a cloud of whipped cream goodness.
Put a PLOP (or Two!) on top of the Waffles and add a sprinkle of cinnamon. Next you can add your favorite syrup and Dig In!
Since Hobbit's Day was not to long ago, we thought it would be fun if this weeks Sunday Brunch had a Tolkien theme. We have a Lembas Bread recipe, a Hobbit inspired book brunch and a Lord of the Rings themed playlist. We hope you have as much as fun as we did putting all this together.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Frodo, quoting Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter Three
Elven Lembas Bread
Lembas, also called Way bread, was a special type of bread or cake made by the Elves in Tolkien’s books. It was pocket-sized and exceedingly nutritious. It stayed fresh for months when wrapped in leaves, and was a type of superfood carried along on long journeys. Think super-powered energy bars.
According to the books (I’m referring, of course, to the Lord of the Rings trilogy) Lembas was brownish on the outside, and cream-colored on the inside. The secret of Lembas was very closely guarded, and it was not given to anybody who was not an Elf except on very special occasions. Like other products of the Elves, it was offensive to evil creatures; the loathsome creature Gollum refused to eat it.
Just a few ingredients and a few minutes of your time to mix them together, and you'll please any Lord of the Ring fans with these tasty breads!
1 cup butter
½ cup brown sugar or ¼ cup honey
2 cups unbleached flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream together the butter and sugar or honey. Add the flour and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Put out on suitable surface and knead until quite smooth, about 5 minutes, adding a bit of flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking.
Roll out to about ¼ inch thickness and cut into 3" to 4" squares, scoring with a knife halfway through each square with a butter knife. Place on buttered cookie sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Living Abundantly By Showing And Sharing Gratitude
Would you like to live abundantly full of happiness and contentment? How about a life with excellent physical and mental health? Greatly increase your chances of that happening by showing and sharing gratitude. That’s right, something as simple as practicing thankfulness and expressing how grateful you are for the people and things you have in your life has a powerful impact. Here are some simple things you can do starting today to show your gratitude.
• Tell the people you love how grateful you are for them. We often take the ones closest to us for granted. Make a point to do it regularly and be specific to make it meaningful.
• Think about the people who challenge you. Express your gratitude for how they help you grow and make you stronger.
• Take a few minutes each week to write a letter or email to a person who has made a difference to you at one point or another. This could be a teacher, a mentor, an old friend … anyone you can think of.
• Give the gift of your time to someone to show without words how grateful you are to have them in your life. This is particularly important for the elderly people in your life. Your time with them is limited. Make the most of it.
• Start using a gratitude journal and make the time to write down three things you are grateful for every single day. It will brighten even your worst days and put things into perspective.
• Forgive yourself when you don’t reach all your goals, or things don’t go your way. Be grateful for what you have and what you are learning from each experience.
• Compliment the people around you. Make them feel good about themselves. It’s a powerful way to show gratitude in an indirect way. Small, meaningful gifts and acts of service do the same.
• Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone you work with or a total stranger. Random acts of kindness are a wonderful way to spread gratitude and bring more positivity into the world.
• Give a hug and a kind word to someone who’s struggling. Show them through physical affection that you’re there for them and grateful to have them in your life.
• Show your body and mind gratitude for what they do for you day in and day out by taking care of yourself and investing in regular self-care.
I’ll leave you with a quote. Take a moment to read it, re-read it, and really let it sink in.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
William Arthur Ward
In this week's edition of the Sunday Brunch we have a delicious Cat Head Biscuit and Gravy recipe plus a devotion from Pastor Mic and a new Brunch Playlist plus more books for the Reading Brunch. Here we go.
Why It’s Important to Help Others
Think back to the last time you helped someone, whether it was holding the door open for a classmate or raking your elderly neighbor’s leaves. While you were doing it and afterward, how did you feel? We’re going to make a safe bet you felt happy and more positive about life. That’s because the fastest way to feel joy is serving others.
An old Chinese Proverb tells it perfectly, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
But serving doesn’t just make your heart feel good. Studies have shown that there are mental and physical health benefits to serving, like reducing depression, lowering blood pressure and lengthening your lifespan.
Putting other people’s needs before yours also strengthens your relationships. It connects you with the one you’re serving, and if that someone is someone you know, it creates a stronger bond with them.
It also enriches other people’s lives. Taking time out of your busy day to even bring a friend a bowl of soup when they’re sick makes them feel better and can uplift them during their rough time.
And perhaps the best benefit of service is the chance of that person paying it forward. If you help someone, they’re more likely to do something nice for someone else that day. Your one act of kindness could have a major domino effect.
How You Can Start Today
So how do you start? And who do you start with?
First, you have to make helping others a priority. Most people think, “I don’t have time to serve someone today.” And it’s true; we’re all busy. Between school, work, family obligations, ETC. you likely hardly have enough “me” time. But, you do have the time. You just have to prioritize what’s really important.
The second thing you need to do is simply love. And Galatians 5:13 tells us “by love serve one another.” You can serve someone by simply expressing your love to them. A hug, a compliment or lending a listening ear are all small ways you can show love to someone; ways that mean more to that person than you may ever know.
Other ways you can start serving today include:
Cathead Biscuits and sausage gravy
4 cups self-rising flour (we use White Lily)
3 tbs vegetable shortening
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 -1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter for brushing
Preheat oven to 475. Grease an 8 inch pie dish.
Add flour to a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Dump in shortening and a splash of milk. Use the edge of a spatula to cut and blend into the flour, adding a little more milk at a time until it comes together as a sticky, slightly wet dough. *You may not use all the milk.*
Portion into 8 equal-ish pieces into a large dish; 7 in a circle, last one in the center. Pat down and smooth tops. Bake for 15-20 minutes, watching to make sure the tops don’t burn. Brush with melted butter, return to oven for a minute or two, then serve!
1 pound breakfast sausage (or bacon!)
4 tbs grease (from sausage, bacon or butter)
4 tbs flour
2 cups whole milk, preferably room temp, plus more to thin as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Brown sausage over medium high heat, crumbly as it cooks. Remove sausage to a plate, turn heat down to medium low.
You need about 4 TBS of grease in the skillet. Add butter or bacon grease if there isn’t enough from the sausage. Using a whisk to stir constantly, sprinkle in all the flour. Cook while whisking for about 2 minutes to cook out the flour taste.
Turn off the heat and slowly stream in the milk while whisking vigorously to help prevent any lumps. (You can leave the heat on if you want, but I feel like you get a smoother gravy this way because the milk doesn’t seize up from the intense heat).
Season with salt and pepper, and turn the heat back on to medium low. Keep whisking over the next 5-10 minutes as the gravy starts to thicken up. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding more milk if needed to reach your desired consistency. Remember to adjust seasoning each time you add more milk! Then add the sausage back in and you are ready to serve.
Practicing gratitude regularly has an impact on your life, your health, and your mental and emotional wellbeing. But it doesn’t end there. It will also have a big impact on those around you and the world at large when you start to turn your gratitude outwards and share it far and wide.
Roman writer and philosopher Cicero called gratitude the parent of all virtue. In other words, if we practice gratitude we’re also getting better at things like kindness, generosity, orderliness, courage, honesty and respect to name a few. What does this mean in practical terms? If we practice gratitude, we can’t help but become a better person.
Now let’s take this a step further. What if, instead of simply practicing gratitude for yourself, you take it out to the world at large? What could happen? What force of good could you create? There is no telling how many lives you could influence for the better. Let’s take a look at how you, I, and everyone else reading this can start to turn their gratitude outward and share it with those around them.
Random Acts of Kindness
Do something kind for a stranger. This can be something as simple as giving an open and honest smile to a stranger on the street or a few kind words and a compliment for the cashier ringing up your groceries. Or it could be taking a meal to an elderly neighbor or buying a drink for the person behind you in the coffee shop drive-thru line. Make it a goal to do something kind for someone each day and do it intentionally.
Respect And Thank Those Who Serve You
There are so many people in our communities that serve us from first responders to the waitress at your favorite restaurant. Make it a point to be respectful and thank them with words, with actions, and in the case of that waitress with a generous tip. Show them how grateful you are for everything they do to make your life easier.
Volunteer In Your Community
What better way to show your gratitude than to give your time and your skills. There are many opportunities for anyone to volunteer in various projects and for a variety of different causes. See what’s available around you and make an effort to put in some time to volunteer each month. Not only is it a wonderful way to give back and spread gratitude, but you’ll be amazed at how much you get out of it.
Develop Deeper Relationships
Last but not least, I would like to encourage you to work on developing deeper relationships. You will have a stronger sense of gratitude and lead by example when you make the time to listen and actively work on coming closer to the people you love.
Now that you have some ideas, the ball is in your court. What will you do today, this week, or this month to spread gratitude in your own circle of influence? Go out there and make an impact. Make the world a better and more grateful place.
Welcome to the latest edition of The Sunday Brunch. Each Sunday we want to bring a small devotion and discussion, some cool things to do and a fun recipe for your family to enjoy some time together. This week we have some awesome Croissant Breakfast/Brunch Sandwiches, an updated playlist and new books to check out as well as a short devotional for the family. It's time for The Sunday Brunch.
This week we thought we would look at a few more poems from Mary Oliver. Many of you commented on how her words really spoke to some of the things you had been feeling this past year. We picked a few more poems that dealt with loss and healing since so many of us have been dealing with those very things.
When you are in the middle of a dark grief of the soul, sometimes the most comforting thing you can feel is someone’s understanding. Someone who helps you feel seen and reminds you that you’re not alone in this season. Make sure you take a few moments today to talk about the feelings and emotions that rise to the surface when you read these poems.
But What If You’re Stuck In Negativity?
Practicing gratitude and focusing on positivity is easier said than done. Especially if you are struggling with anxiety and depression. If you ever find yourself spiraling into the deep pit of depression then get help if you need it. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a counselor or getting therapy. It’s the smart thing to do.
When things aren’t quite that bad, there’s a lot you can do to get yourself unstuck from all that negativity. Start by acknowledging them and putting them into words. How exactly do you feel? Is it anger or annoyance? Frustration or disappointment? Try to be specific. Dig deep. Yes, it can be painful and some people prefer to avoid thinking about these feelings, but the first step to getting yourself unstuck is determining exactly where you are emotionally.
Once you’ve identified the feeling, you can start to work on discovering what caused them. Sometimes the answer is obvious. Other times, not so much. In either case, I encourage you to dig deep because often the obvious answer isn’t the real root cause. Yes, you may be mad at our spouse for running up the credit card bill, but if you dig deep, you may discover that there are some underlying core values that don’t align between the two of you.
Once you find the true reason for your negative feelings, you can start to work to resolve them. What that looks like will vary from case to case. The important takeaway here is that it gives you something specific and meaningful to do. You no longer feel out of control or helpless. It’s something you can work with and that alone will help you think more positively.
In addition, it allows you to distance yourself a little from the negative feelings. You may still be upset with your spouse, but it also gives you the space to remember everything you love about him or her. It gives you the space to act outside of the negativity and have a good relationship while you work things out. And sometimes, it may give you the mental space you need to realize that it is up to you to decide if you want to continue to dwell in the negativity, or choose a route of forgiveness. You can’t change everything or everyone. Sometimes your path toward positivity is to acknowledge your negative feelings and then let them go.
Of course all of this is easier said than done. A journal can be a great tool to help you along the way. Try talking to a close friend or confidant when you feel stuck and you can’t see a path towards positivity. An outside perspective can give a lot of clarity. Meditation can be helpful as well.
Last but not least, surround yourself with positivity. Get outside and enjoy nature. Spend some time helping others. And don’t forget to remind yourself regularly of everything you have to be grateful for.
Welcome to our first edition of The Sunday Brunch. Each Sunday we want to bring a small devotion and discussion, some cool things to do and a fun recipe for your family to enjoy some time together. This week we have a beautiful poem from Mary Oliver, a fun booklist, Spotify Playlist and a delicious Peach Crisp.
The past year and a half has been hard. Many of us have lost friends and family and struggle everyday with what to do with our grief. When you are in the middle of a dark grief of the soul, sometimes the most comforting thing you can feel is someone’s understanding. Someone who helps you feel seen and reminds you that you’re not alone in this season of loss.
Mary Oliver is a poet who understood grief all too well. Her words serve as a comfort to other hurting souls who are in the thick of their pain. If you are in a season of sadness, please know that I am aching alongside you. I hope her words can be a flicker of hope for your heart as well. Here are a few Mary Oliver poems to soothe our souls in any season of suffering.
Fewer Stress Hormones
When you are anxious or scared, the body releases stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and the likes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It helps you react fast when you’re about to be hit by a car and make you run faster when you need to get away from someone. But it works against you and robs you of your health and wellbeing when it’s a response to something that isn’t a physical danger. Like tax day or worrying about what your co-worker thinks of you.
Stress hormones can lead to weight gain, depression, anxiety, and they take a toll on your heart. You know you should do what you can to reduce the stress you feel and as it turns out, one of the most powerful strategies here is practicing gratitude and positive thinking. So choose happiness and know that you are doing wonders for your mental and physical health.
So what’s the bottom line? When you are mindful of all of the things you are grateful for in your life then you can learn to appreciate all the good even in the midst of the bad and cultivate happiness. Stop waiting for the right person, the right circumstances. Don’t wait for happiness to find you. Be happy right now. In this moment. And use gratitude to help you get there.
Adversity - Staying Positive When Life Falls Apart
We take a lot of good things for granted in our everyday life. A roof over our heads, a steady paycheck, a loving partner, the ability to go out for a run on the weekends. The specifics vary, but one of the big advantages of modern lives is the many awesome things we can count on. We’re not used to falling short, so when something happens and our life starts to fall apart, it’s easy to fall into thinking patterns that focus on lack and despair.
Sometimes the bad things are a result of choices we made. Sometimes they are outside of our control. In either case, it is up to us to decide how we react to each crisis. One piece of advice that is important to remember no matter what adversity you face is to make sure you don’t forget about how blessed you really are. Gratitude can turn what we have into enough.
There’s a quote I love and would like to share with you by Melody Beattie. Here it is:
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
Think about how you can start to do this in your everyday life. A good place to start is to simply take a deep breath and pause for a moment when things go wrong and everything is starting to feel overwhelming. Then come up with one little thing you are grateful for during this time. It can be something as simple as being able to breathe fresh, clean air, or living to fight another day.
Find that something and start to build on it. What else are you grateful for? Keep making that mental list until the desperation starts to lift and you can start to think clearly. When you do, you can start to find your way out, no matter how bad things seem at first. And remember, you never know what good might come from the struggle you are facing right now.
When life gets crazy don’t forget to count your blessings and use gratitude to turn what you have into enough. Our ancestors were great at this. It’s time we picked that habit back up.
We’ve all heard how crucial it is to set intentions, goals and targets. Powerful goals electrify us. Clear intentions energize and pull us forward. Without a clear cut intention, we’re reactive and don’t get around to doing the important things when we want them done. Instead, we spend our time fighting random fires.
Without clear intentions, anything might happen. And usually does.
Literally, intentions are like the steering wheel on your car. Their whole purpose is to give you control over where you’re going. But when setting intentions or goals, keep in mind that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Now, it’s good to have intentions at more than one level. When we get up into the more conceptual intentions, such as “I will contribute to the wellbeing of those around me,” these become like a mission statement.
But then, be sure you move on to decide specifically how you will go about implementing your mission in your daily life. Specifics are essential. How — specifically — will you put your mission into action today? What will you actually DO about your highest intentions?
It’s important to set intentions for yourself because this is where the rubber meets the road. Just say “I’m going to do this and this.” It should be nothing big and overpowering. Just some stuff you’re meaning to do or achieve short-term. Be sure to write them down on paper. When you list them out, you can clearly look over your results afterward and check yourself.
At the end of today or this time next week, did you do what you said you’d do? Expressed like that, it’s clear that we’re building a kind of internal integrity check within ourselves.
When you’re first starting to build this new intention-setting skill (habit), it’s important not to pile on too much. Sure, it’s easy to get all excited about turning over a new leaf, but it’s essential that you start where you are NOW, not where you think you SHOULD be.
There are things that, from experience, you already know you can do. Set your intentions to do those things (plus perhaps a little bit more) and achieve them. Then, when you’re comfortable doing what you say you’ll do, then you can begin to stretch your intention muscles a little more.
But as in any new regimen, begin easy. Begin with what you can actually do. And only after you get comfortable with the intention-setting process should you start going for real growth. Patience – taking small, measured steps – is more than a virtue here. It’s the key to keeping yourself moving forward. (Notice I said patience, not procrastination.)
Attempt too much too soon, and the end result will be another round of demotivation and discouragement.
Instead, go about this logically and gradually: keep your eye on the level you want to reach next year, and let today’s effort take you 1/365th of the way there. Do this, and you’ll see real, measurable progress as well as achievements you’ll truly be proud of.
It’s all pretty simple stuff, really. Just training yourself to keep your word to yourself.
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Welcome. We are honored you stopped by to check us out. Please, pull up a chair and hang out for a while. We value your presence and conversation. Feel free to message us any questions or thoughts you may have.