It's Sunday so you know what that means! It's the Sunday Brunch. This is the first week of the Yule and Advent Season and We are super excited to celebrate with everyone this year. This week we have an Advent/Yule candle lighting liturgy you can do with your family and friends. We also have a five ingredient beer bread recipe that is delicious, a seasonal Sunday Setlist, a new Book Brunch, MMM That's Good Coffee (Or Tea and of course The Song of the Week. Bon Appetite!
Advent - Week One - HOPE
Here is a little Liturgy you can use as you light the First Advent Candle. Gather round the advent wreath and light the first candle. Read the liturgy and then ask everyone to share what Hope means to them. Close with everyone sharing one thing they are thankful for.
Week 1 Candle Lighting Liturgy: HOPE
I light one candle here for hope
and it is like a small lamp,
lighting a bedside table with open book,
after a long day,
the glow of heart monitor in ICU,
a headlamp for a hiker on an unfamiliar trail,
or a miner down a shaft,
a toddler’s paw-patrol nightlight,
or early-morning oven in a bakery.
We light one candle so we will remember
to notice this week’s ordinary lights of hope.
For ordinary and available to all
is the hope of Advent.
I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long. (Howard Thurman)
Song of the week
Five Ingredient Beer Bread
Prep Time 10 MINUTES
Cook Time 45 MINUTES
Total Time 55 MINUTES
Servings: 1 loaf
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 (12 ounce) beer (we've used Guinness & Sam Adams Octoberfest)
1/4 cup honey (or brown sugar, but honey is best)
6 tablespoons cold salted butter, sliced into 8 slices
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 9x5 loaf pan with butter.
2. Add the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. Pour in the beer and add the honey. Mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Arrange the butter slices on top.
3. Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top of the bread is lightly browned. Sliced and enjoy warm!
MMM That's Good Coffee (or tea)
Trung Nguyen - Premium Blend
We first tried this coffee at a Vietnamese food truck from Huntington, WV. The owner saw Mic's Oak and Crow Coffee sweatshirt and asked if he like iced coffee. Of course he said yes and she let us try a sample. It was amazing. The owner later sent us what coffee she uses to make her iced coffee magic and this is it! You have to try it.
DEEP INTENSE FLAVOR: This Vietnamese coffee blend Robusta and Arabica coffee beans with our unique proprietary blend to bring you flavorful, intense coffee that will keep you energized and refreshed
FLAVOR PROFILE: Grown high altitude regions to bring you an Arabica (59.9%) and Robusta (40.0%) whole bean coffee blend with hints of Chocolate (0.1%) that delight your senses with each sip
It's Sunday! You know what that means - It's the Sunday Brunch. Today Mic shares a little about feeling blue in the most wonderful time of year. This weeks delicious recipe is a Crispy Cheesy Hash Brown Egg Bake. We also have a message from Karl Forehand on Being and Becoming, as well as the weekly faves: Sunday Set List, Book Brunch, Song of the Week and The MMM That's Good Coffee (or Tea). So buckle up - it's brunch time. Bon Appetit!
Song of the week
FEELING Blue in the most wonderful TIME of year
It's that time of year again. It's the holiday season. Turkey, family gatherings, pumpkin pie, christmas songs, decorations, hot chocolate and so much more. For some of us it's also a season of depression. We can't quite explain it, but something begins to happen as the season changes and the night grows longer. Some call it the blues and just struggle to put on a brave face and just try get through it. I have been walking through this for a few years now. It's strange to have a time of year that was so dear to you when you were young become a season of just trying to put on a happy face. I feel like I can actually have a conversation about it now because I have talked to so many of you who are going through the same thing. So - Let's talk about it and share ways we are helping our mental health in this season.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.
In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior whenever the seasons change, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.
In most cases, SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer; this is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression.
What causes SAD?
Scientists do not fully understand what causes SAD. Research indicates that people with SAD may have reduced activity of the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Research also suggests that sunlight controls the levels of molecules that help maintain normal serotonin levels, but in people with SAD, this regulation does not function properly, resulting in decreased serotonin levels in the winter.
Other findings suggest that people with SAD produce too much melatonin—a hormone that is central for maintaining the normal sleep-wake cycle. Overproduction of melatonin can increase sleepiness.
Both serotonin and melatonin help maintain the body’s daily rhythm that is tied to the seasonal night-day cycle. In people with SAD, the changes in serotonin and melatonin levels disrupt the normal daily rhythms. As a result, they can no longer adjust to the seasonal changes in day length, leading to sleep, mood, and behavior changes.
Deficits in vitamin D may exacerbate these problems because vitamin D is believed to promote serotonin activity. In addition to vitamin D consumed with diet, the body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight on the skin. With less daylight in the winter, people with SAD may have lower vitamin D levels, which may further hinder serotonin activity.
Negative thoughts and feelings about the winter and its associated limitations and stresses are common among people with SAD (as well as others). It is unclear whether these are "causes" or "effects" of the mood disorder, but they can be a useful focus of treatment.
So - What Can We Do About It?
First off - I'm not an expert here. I'm just going to share what I have done to help with the "blues" over the holidays. I hope that my thoughts will open up conversation where we can help each other during the holidays. This is a safe place to share with each other. Ok. Here's what I do:
Vitamin D I actually just started taking this in the last few years. I don't remember who recommended or if it was an article I had read but I do know this - It helps.
When It's Sunny - Go Outside If you can't go outside, sit near a window. Open up those curtains and let the light in. Go for a drive. I know it sounds crazy - but the Sun is very therapeutic this time of year.
.Make Time For Fun The hustle and bustle amplifies the symptoms of SAD or it dulls them until they finally explode down the road and you are left emotionally paralyzed (I know this from experience). Make time to just have fun. Jump in that pile of leaves with your kids. Have a snowball fight. Go to a christmas concert or play. Whatever is fun for you - GO DO IT!
Read A Book I know what you are going to say - "Mic, all you do is read books". I get it. I'm a broken record when it comes to books. But honestly - Reading is a good escape. It activates your brain and energizes your imagination and creativity - more than watching tv. I'm not saying you have to be a bookworm like me but grab a book about something that interests you and spend a half hour with your nose in it. Watch the magic happen!
Talk To Someone Communication is the best medicine with SAD. That can be your spouse or a good friend you trust. Maybe you need to talk to a professional therapist. You can click the FIND HELP tab on our website to connect with someone. Opening up and talking can help you see things that are helpful and hurtful while your walking through this season. Others may be able to see what triggers your depression or what helps it.
Start A ThankFul Journal Spend a few minutes in the morning or evening jotting down a few things you are thankful for. Then in those moments where you feel overwhelmed - grab your journal and read through your notes. Sometimes you just need a perspective change.
Know Your Limit Sometimes you just need to be alone. Don't push it. Don't be afraid to tell friends or family that you can't make it to something because you need a moment. If they are truly family they will get it. If not - It's still ok. You need to be healthy. Self-care is not selfish - it's actually better for everyone. Think of where the world would be right now if more people would practice self-care. I think we would actually walk in more empathy, compassion and sympathy for others because we learned to have it for ourselves.
Medication I put this one last because I want it to grab your attention. If you have been struggling with depression for a long time - please listen to me. Call your doctor and talk to them about it. Sometimes our bodies do not produce (or under produce) certain chemicals and other things that I do not understand that help regulate things. We need help and there is no shame in asking for it or taking prescribed medication that helps. Medicine is a true miracle. Please do not be afraid or ashamed of asking for help. If you need to talk to someone about this or need some encouragement - please feel free to message us on our FACEBOOK page or contact us HERE. We are here to help.
I really hope this helped some of you today. If you struggle with SAD as well what are some of the ways you deal with it. Let's stay in touch and help each other this year.
Crispy Cheesy Hash Brown Egg Bake
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
2. Peel the potatoes, then shred on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large bowl of water and swirl around to remove excess starch. Drain and rinse, then place the potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze until they’re completely dry.
3. Add the shredded potatoes to a clean, large bowl with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Toss until fully combined.
4. Transfer the potato mixture to the baking dish. Spread evenly.
5. Bake for 1½ hours, or until the potatoes are tender throughout and golden brown on the top and bottom.
6. Press the bottom of a glass into the potato mixture to create 6 evenly spaced wells.
7. Shingle slices of cheddar cheese and ham around the wells, then crack an egg into each one.
8. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese melts and the egg whites are set. The egg yolks should still be slightly soft.
9. Serve and sprinkle with chives, if desired.
MMM that's Good Coffee (or Tea)
Silver Bridge Coffee has a Mothman Blend and it's the BOMB. It's a rich and intense combination of two African coffees that creates a bold, rich, full-bodied cup of coffee. If you love a powerful cup of coffee! Our family (the Cox's) snagged this the last time we were at the Mothman Museum and we are so glad we did. Snag a bag today.
About Silver Bridge CoffeeSilver Bridge imports the finest Fair Trade and organic coffee from all over the world. Freshness is key to optimal coffee flavor, so Silver Bridge goes from roaster to coffee cup in the shortest amount of time. Handwritten roast dates are on the back of every bag we sell at many of our stores.
Silver Bridge is the first company in Ohio to offer 100% recyclable Single Serve Pods. We fill our own single serve pods and the proprietary cups have a seal that acts as a valve so we can fill our pods within 24 hrs after roasting.
This is Karl Forehand speaking at the LEaning Forward Conference. It's a great talk on being and becoming. You can catch the rest of the conference HERE.
It's Sunday so you know what that means. It's the Sunday Brunch. This week we have a great blog post by Karl Forehand on the value of STILLNESS. Karl has become a voice that we have really enjoyed lately and we hope this weeks post is valuable to you as it has been for us. This week's recipe is a Delicious Molten Chocolate Crackle Pie. The song of the week is the Ted Lasso Theme - Yes its a tv show them BUT - 1. It's by Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons). 2. It's Ted Lasso and 3. It's a killer tune. We also have the Sunday standards: a new Book Brunch, MMM That's Good Coffee (or Tea), and the Sunday Set List. Alright, enough with the intro. Bon Appetit!
Song Of the week
The Value of Stillness by Karl Forehand
I grew up in a tradition that didn’t value the contemplative. It was rather stoic and rigid when it came to our practices. We sang songs in church, had quiet times where we read the Bible, and listened to lectures in a formal setting. This was about the extent of our experience except for study classes where very little questioning was allowed. it was essentially another lecture where we answered guided question meant to lead us toward an objective.
When I began to deconstruct, I became more open to practices from other traditions. I discovered that yoga and meditation helped me, even though I didn’t practice them regularly. More than anything I was relieved to discover that they didn’t take me down a dangerous path or lead me to destruction like I was warned. The “be careful” messaging never was that specific — mainly, because none of those people knew for sure I was doing something wrong. They just knew it wasn’t their practice so it was scary to them.
Molten Chocolate Crackle Pie
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Fit the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Brush the edge of the crust with beaten egg, then sprinkle with vanilla sugar (or coarse sugar). Lightly prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, beans, or rice. Freeze 10-15 minutes.
3. Bake until the crust is set, 20 minutes. Remove pie weights and continue baking until the crust is golden, 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce the oven temp 350°.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt. Whisk in the melted butter, hazelnut liquor, and vanilla, whisk until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the baked crust.
5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the pie is puffed on top, but still wiggly in the center. The longer you bake, the more set your pie will be. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Let cool 20-30 minutes, then serve the pie warm, dolloped with whip cream. Or chill and serve chilled with whipped cream.
6. To make the whipped cream, whip the cream using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the maple syrup, hazelnut liquor (if using), and vanilla. Whip until combined and fluffy.
All Butter Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons hazelnut liquor (optional)
1. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Pulse until the mix clumps together to form pea-size balls. Add the hazelnut liquor (if using), then add 1/2 cup cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and forms a ball. If the dough feels dry, add 1-2 tablespoons additional water.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out into 2 rounds. Use as directed.
MMM That's Good Coffee (Or Tea)
INTO THE VOID from Oak and Crow Coffee
Dark and soulful with a long smoky finish. Dark roast coffees are tricky. Care has to be taken to retain the flavor characteristics, so that they will come through smokiness of a very dark coffee. Into the Void has that balance.
Honestly, this is the best coffee we (Lindsay & Mic) have ever had. Plus $5 of every purchase goes to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Grab yours HERE.
Sunday Brunch Set List
The Book Brunch
This is the time of year when we give thanks. It’s the time when we look around our lives and feel grateful for all that we have. Our families, friends, and all of the love in our lives. We are grateful for the work that we do. We look to see the silver lining in all of our difficult situations, and feel grateful for the opportunity to learn so much from. Did you notice how abundant you felt when you were standing in place of all of that gratitude?
Gratitude is a powerful thing to exercise when we are looking to create more abundance in our lives. Why? Because as we focus on all that we are grateful for, we begin to feel more abundant, and when we begin to feel more abundant we then begin to attract a flow of abundance in our lives. What you focus on grows. Like attracts like. That’s why you won’t increase the abundance in your life by focusing on all that you don’t have.
There is a blessing for us in the loving expression of gratitude. As we focus on what we have, we create more of it. As we focus on on our joy, we create more of that. As we focus on love, we indeed create more of that, and love is core and central to all manifestations in our lives. When you create from a place of love and intention your life will become more joyous and rich that you could have ever expected.
We are all energetic beings – and the energetic vibration of gratitude is one of the highest and purest vibrations available to us. Love and gratitude go hand in hand. Sending out this kind of pure positive energy into your life will bring more of that back to you – it’s universal law, it’s the Law of Attraction. Gratitude can start a positive momentum in your life that change your life forever. When you begin having an “attitude of gratitude” in your life, you jump start the process of manifesting all of your desires.
The question is, “It’s Thanksgiving, but shouldn't we practice gratitude all of the time?” The answer is yes! Especially if you would like to create more joy, peace, and prosperity in your life.
Integrating Gratitude Into Your Daily Life
1. Look for what you want to see vs. what you don’t want to see. To often we go about our day waiting and expecting awful things to happen, or we expect to be disappointed. We walk around saying, “I don’t like this, and this, and this….” and look for things that need changing. You would find that your world may conform to more of your liking if you focused on what you did indeed want to see. “I like this, I like that….oh and I really love that!” What a shift in vibration, do you see?
2. Appreciate and be grateful about something about you. Be grateful that you have a beautiful smile and a heart of gold. Be grateful that you are a savvy business person, or that you are inventive or intuitive. Be grateful that you are a wonderful parent. Be grateful that you are not perfect. (Wouldn’t that be a bore?)
3 If its hard to find something to be grateful about yourself, start by looking around your world and appreciating that. The snow, the leaves, the sun. Look for beauty in your life. Focus on the penny that you do have vs. the one that you don’t.
4. Keep track of all the good things that happen to you in your calendar or daily journal…even the little things. This affirms that good things do come your way, and you can begin to trust in God and the Universe as the source of your supply. Appreciate the synchronicities that occur in your life, they were given to you as a gift to affirm that you are indeed on the right path.
5. Want to see some fast results? For the next 30 days – set aside time to write for 10 minutes all of the positive things you can about your life, your relationships, your body, your work, your home etc etc. You will not be the same person at the end of those 30 days!
6. Open your mouth and let the gratitude flow from your heart. You will find amazing things begin to happen to you and those around you. Can you imagine what might occur? Play with this and adore someone today.
It's Sunday and you know what that means - It's time for the Sunday Brunch. This week we have a great article from Mic on setting intentions as well as a delightful Banana Bread recipe from Lindsay. As always we have a brand new SB playlist, Song Of The Week, Book Brunch and a new section: MMMM That's Good Coffee (or Tea). So here you go - The brand spanking new edition of the Sunday Brunch:
Song of the week
Why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals
Career goals, life goals, business goals and, of course, resolutions.
There was a time, not so long ago, where I lived by goal setting — and told others it was the way to go. But I have to tell you a secret. I found something better to help achieve whatever you want to do and go wherever you want to go.
Sure, nothing beats a goal when you want to get things done. But an intention goes way deeper than that: it’s a powerful tool to boost your inner strength. And if you’re determined to grow through your actions, then an intention could be the key to unlocking a lifelong habit of excellence.
Here’s why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals. Goals or intentions? Let’s have a look at definitions.
Goal: “An aim or desired result”.
Simply put: what you concretely achieve.
Intention: “Something that you want and plan to do”.
In essence: the process you go through until you get to “what you concretely achieve”.
I like to see goals as a practical, efficient way to see the future. Want to stay on track and hit a result? Then set a goal!
Setting goals work so well because it’s part of a cognitive process of planning and analysing. It gives you full control on how you’re going to move from A to B. And your brain loves that. It rewards you with feel-good hormones such as dopamine each time you engage in the process.
Sounds great? But in the meantime, life happens. You find it hard to increase willpower and self discipline and stick to the plan. When the time comes to evolve from motivation to resilience, it’s difficult to follow through.
If you’ve ever been stuck and found it difficult to embrace a positive perspective, then setting intentions could be a magic shift for you. Because your intentions support goals from the inside.
Setting intentions is the act of stating what you intend to accomplish through your actions. It’s a commitment to what you want the journey to be about as you move on or move up.
When you are intentional about something, your focus is in the moment: who you are, what you do, why you do it. And it requires presence along the way, checking inside as you work on the outside.
This is why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals. Intentions bring a special quality of focus. They act as a powerful reminder of the bigger perspective. And they trigger introspection: result aside, what am I hoping to gain from the process?
The difference between setting intentions and defining goals
Let’s be practical. I will use this example because it was all over tik tok and social media over the summer: “I want to stand on my head”.
Let’s set a goal: achieve headstand and balance on your head for a good 30 seconds.
With that end result in mind, you’re going to practice hard, try (and fall, many times). Experience frustration (why others and not me) or even fear: what if the upside down is full of monsters? (Not kidding. For your brain, body upside down = scary thing).
Weeks, months or years later, high fives and champagne out, you’re finally upside down, noticing that (1) there are no monsters out there and (2) you need to carefully adjust your eyesight otherwise you squint.
How many of you would say “I made it!”? And think of the next thing to run after?
How many of you rejoice and then deconstruct the process: building upper body strength, overcoming fear, or developing the grit to stick to something that matters to you?
Now, let’s see what setting an intention would look like: simply to know how it feels to balance on your head.
You’re likely to pay attention to each moment where you get one inch closer to the end result. Notice that split second where you could lift your feet off the ground? What was missing to do more than 1 wobbly second? Is it balance? Strength? Lack of focus? Fear of monsters in the upside down?
Bear with me: we haven’t achieved the full 30 secs headstand yet. But part of the result is real already. You’re in it. You have a high degree of awareness of the whole process. You integrate the benefits as you work on your target, no matter what the end result looks like, no matter when it becomes real. Your intention supports your goal 100%.
I’ll say it again, goals are great to get things done. But I know human nature well enough to tell you that they can be a trap. A trap where you focus so much on the outcome that you ignore the journey, its lessons, and the joy of going through it.
That’s why I think setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals.
How to work with intentions
Let me share with you how I do it for myself. Usually, setting intentions is for me a process that follows 4 principles:
Each month, I have a bit of quiet time Then I have a look at my goals and I get to work with my intentions. As my holistic view of life is to align whatever I do with body, heart, mind and soul, I tend to do that with intentions, too.
Here's a few examples:
Goal: go to bed at early 4x / week.
Body intention: I am rested and energised.
Goal: Set boundaries in a relationship with a friend who constantly crosses emotional lines. Nicely.
Heart intention: I am compassionate towards people who is not where I am at right now.
Goal: stop for 5 minutes each day and do some breath work.
Soul intention: I am in tune with my feelings.
I remind myself about my intentions every day. I review progress on my goals every week.
Setting intentions on the back of your goals can act like magic. Because you bring the wider perspective of growing through your actions. You get into a self-exploration routine. And you do so each time you analyse your results.
How? By giving your inner a leader a voice to ask ”is there another way to do this?” each time you feel stuck.
How do you go about your goals? Post your ideas in the comments on Facebook or right here on the blog.
The Book Brunch
Lindsay's Banana Bread
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium bananas, mashed (think baby food)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 9x5 loaf pan (you can also line it with parchment paper/grease).
In a standing mixer with a large bowl and paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together. While that’s going, mash the bananas. (I put them in a bowl and gave Rowan a potato masher. He had a great time! Lol)
Add eggs and vanilla to the butter/sugar. Mix well. Add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, mixing until just combined. Fold in the sour cream and mashed bananas.
Spread evenly in the loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (ovens will vary), until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
The Sunday Brunch Set List
MMM That's Good Coffee (Or Tea)
Kichwa Tembo means “elephant head” in Swahili, and this offerings present a classic, hardworking Kenya profile with citrus fruit like grapefruit, bright and tangy acidity, balanced sweetness, and some of the complexity expected from a Kenyan.
Rich, juicy and sweet with lots of caramelized sugar and grapefruit flavors. A great option for drinkers that prefer a full, darker coffee.
Great morning coffee with a shot of cream and a little sugar.
Hey we hope you enjoyed the latest edition of the Sunday Brunch. If you would like to contribute an article, recipe, book recommendation ETC, please message us on our Facebook page or Email us. We would love your creativity added to ours. If you would like to help support what we are doing here at Hope Community head over to our website and click the green give button. You can even set it up to do monthly donations. Thanks for hanging out and we will see you Tuesday evening!
(Lindsay said we had to include this pic of Mic with a cute cat from his mom's house - So Here you go!)
LIFE & Death
We start this week with the beautiful holiday of All Hallows Eve. We call it Halloween in the States and treat it a bit different than what it was in the past. All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day on Monday has generally been a celebration of Life and Death for centuries. We are thankful and celebrate all that has brought us and then we celebrate the life of all our friends and family that have passed on. It's really a beautiful family reunion so to speak. A time of reflection and remembrance. A time to be thankful for all the folks who paved the way for where you are now - old friends and ancestors. The early church saw this as a time to celebrate new life found in Christ and remembering the lives of the saints that had passed on before. Other cultures and traditions have done the same for centuries before the Church was even formed. It truly is a magical season to celebrate Life and those who have gone before us.
Here are some ways you can celebrate this season.
- Take a few moments at dinner this week to talk about what you are thankful for and then talk about a fond memory of a friend or family member who has passed.
- Light a candle and place it in your window in remembrance of a loved one who has passed
- Sit down with your family and grab a photo book and talk about your ancestors with your kids
- Write down a few things you are thankful for each day
- Have fun and create your own traditions
SONG OF THE WEEK
Trick or treat
It's the week of All Hallow's eve
I know last week I went on and on about how much I loved this time of the year. But once again - I love this time of year! I remember as a kid being so excited to figure out what I was going to be for trick or treat and the church "HARVEST" party. One year my mom made an entire Optimus Prime costume out of cardboard boxes and paint. I was so happy to walk the neighbor asking for candy and shouting "Autobots, Roll Out!" into the night air. I see that same in excitement in my kids as they pick out their costumes and talk about the candy they are going to get from walking the neighborhood.
After a year and a half of craziness, neighborhoods are looking to get together for some halloween fun. Trick or treat, parties, decorating with pumpkins and spooky skeletons - just some real carefree moments for once. What a great time to just be friendly and hang out with your neighbors. Pass out some candy and say " hey, how's it going?" A true moment to rise above all the junk and division and just be human, have a good time and be neighborly. This is such an opportunity to be a real Hope Dealer. Let's get out there and have some fun.
Song of the week "there will be time" baaba maal
If you were to ask me (Mic) what is one of my favorite things Lindsay will make for breakfast or brunch I will tell you Egg in a Hole. It's simple, delicious and if you have never had it then stop what you are doing and make it right now. Here is a simple recipe to try it out:
1. With a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, press a hole in the center of the slice of bread.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and melt in the butter. When the butter is all spread out, place the slice of bread in the skillet and crack the egg straight into the center of the hole.
3. Cook until the egg sets a bit on the bottom, 30 to 45 seconds. Sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper. After about a minute, flip it over with a spatula and salt and pepper the other side.
4. Move the toast around in the skillet, soaking up all of the glorious butter. Let it cook until the yolk feels soft. Here's the key: golden brown toast, white (not browned/burned) whites, soft unbroken yolk. Perfect.
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
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