Friday Favorites

Happy Friday friends!

I haven’t done a Friday favorites post in a long time, but felt like jumping back in to sharing my favorites of the week.

My favorite meal this week was when I picked up dinner from a sweet little tea shop in town. Their she-crab soup is delicious and I always forget how much I love it until I’m enjoying it again. I know this will be a meal I rely on this winter when we want to eat out – it is so flavorful and contains a generous amount of that sweet crab meat!

My favorite music this week has been A Legendary Christmas by John Legend. My favorite songs on the album are No Place Like Home and What Christmas Means to Me. I know I’ll have this album on replay throughout the next two months alongside my other Christmas album favorites!

My favorite show lately has been Trollhunters on Netflix. It’s by Guillermo del Toro and is so good! The animation is colorful and fun, the characters are endearing, I love the plot. I’m a big fan!

We stopped at the Cornell Orchard store on our way out of Ithaca on Monday and picked up a few of their apple varieties. I am obsessed with the RubyFrost apple variety. It is my perfect apple texture and the flavor profile is so full – just enough sweet and tart and crispness. You should try this variety if you get the opportunity!

My last favorite of the week is that college basketball season is back. On Wednesday we had the official season opening basketball game and they hung the new banner from making it to the first round of the NCAA tournament last year. It was such a fun night with the arena full of fans, a strong student section, the new pep band, a fun number of fans from the other school. It was just a great atmosphere. We may have lost in overtime after having had the lead for most of the second half, but I’m hopeful for a fun season. There is a lot of youth on the team this season, but I enjoyed watching the dynamic of the team playing together and look forward to the next few months.

What are you loving this week?

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A Weekend in Ithaca

This past weekend was full of dear friends and beautiful autumnal weather.

Friday night we went to the exhibition basketball game against Alfred to tip off the Bonnie’s season. It was fun to be back in the basketball spirit, especially with the new pepband and the enthusiastic student section. I hope this season provides a fun way to spend the next few months.

Saturday morning we headed to Ithaca for the weekend. We loved Ithaca when we visited last summer, and we loved it just as much this weekend.

When we got into town on Saturday we hit up Wegmans for some sushi and to grab a few gluten-free items that are hard to find at our local grocery stores, like flour tortillas. Then we headed to Ithaca Beer Company for lunch and beer. William had a tasty looking schnitzel sandwich and enjoyed two different beers, while I thoroughly enjoyed a couple glasses of their rootbeer. It’s easily the best rootbeer I’ve ever had.

After lunch we headed to Taughannock State Park to meet up with Laura and Dan and to stroll to the waterfall. It was cold, raining mist and the wind was out, but it was worth it.

After stretching our legs, we headed to our Airbnb to get ready for dinner at The Boatyard Grill to celebrate Dan’s birthday. William enjoyed these delicious looking stuffed shrimp, and I had a light mahi mahi and asparagus. Laura and Dan’s meals looked delicious too. Following dinner we headed to the Ithaca Commons to find a bar to watch the Alabama-LSU game; it took a couple tries to find one due it being parents weekend for both Ithaca College and Cornell. We stayed at the bar we found until half-time, then headed back to the Airbnb where William finished watching the game in bed and I fell asleep. Thankfully Alabama won and I didn’t feel quite so bad for falling asleep watching the game.

Sunday we woke up and headed to Ithaca Bakery for breakfast and coffee before heading to Dan’s Alma Mater and getting a tour from him of Ithaca College. What a beautiful campus they have, and it’s filled with incredible views from their hillside.

After touring campus we began our wine and cider tour with William serving as our DD for the day. We visited four wineries (Six Mile Creek Vineyard, Buttonwood Grove Winery, Toro Run Winery, and Thirsty Owl Wine Company – also our lunch location) and one cider house, Kite & String, and had such a fun time. We bought a couple bottles through the day and enjoyed the beautiful weather and the wine education we received from each company. I think my favorite this weekend was Toro Run Winery, especially their champagne style. It was incredible, and their lead wine maker is from the champagne region of France where his family had a vineyard.

On the way back to town from our wine tour, we stopped at the overlook for Taughannock Falls which was gorgeous. Then we headed back to the Ithaca Commons to stroll around before grabbing dinner at Viva Taqueria and Cantina.

Monday morning on our way out of town we grabbed drinks at Ithaca Coffee Company and drove the Cornell arboretum before grabbing some apples from the Cornell orchards that were developed in their program.

It was a fun weekend that was packed full. I am so glad we got to spend it with Laura and Dan!

TBB Asks : November

1. Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?

I used to keep one for the month of November every year, but haven’t in a couple years. I think I’ll keep one starting on my birthday this year. Writing something I’m grateful for every day of my thirtieth year feels appropriate.

2. Hosting Thanksgiving at your house?

YES! I adore hosting Thanksgiving! We’ve hosted our friends in Idaho for the holiday. Last year my parents, brother & dear neighbors joined us. This year my parents, sister & her husband, my brother, and our neighbors will be joining us again.

3. Favorite food from the Thanksgiving meal?

Growing up I always loved my Mama’s rolls and corn pudding. Now, I love our homemade cranberry sauce and a good autumnal salad.

4. What one thing in nature are you most grateful for?

I don’t know that I can choose just one! Nature rejuvenates my soul unlike anything else. I love the sunshine, I love being near different bodies of water, I love the changing of seasons.

5. Pumpkin pie?

I’m making a pumpkin cheesecake this year for my family. My mama makes tasty pumpkin pie though.

6. Traditional cookbook?

I love cookbooks and the fun recipes and beautiful pictures they contain! I also love family recipes passed down on all my recipe cards!

7. Oven baked or deep fried turkey?

I’ve only had fried turkey once, Thanksgiving 2003 in Georgia. Every other year it’s been oven baked.

8. Thanksgiving leftovers?

Yes! I almost like most Thanksgiving foods better the next day!

9. What is one household product you are most grateful for?

My washing machine and vacuum!

10. Are you most grateful for home cooked meals or restaurant meals?

I mostly prefer home cooked meals. I’m spoiled by my husband, Mama, and Father-in-law who are all so talented in the kitchen!

October Reading

October was over in a flash this year, and I know with our fun visits planned in November, it will be gone before I can blink.

I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped to in October, but I did surpass my yearly goal of 75 books, so I’ll count it as a success.

If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I finished this book of poetry today. It was beautiful and compelling and full of lamentation.

I’ll admit that I don’t read much poetry, though I am trying to read more.

This pushed me to confront uncomfortable stories and themes because of my own privilege, but I’m so glad I read these slowly and heard their cries.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You by Shannan Martin

I loved this book. I think Shannan has a gift for storytelling and I resonated deeply with the message she was sharing through this book.

I loved the quote from Henri Nouwen she shared at the end of chapter three, “listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends.” I loved this perspective on hospitality and community.

Mutuality is a concept we work diligently to impart on every volunteer that comes to the Warming House, especially our students. I loved when Shannan said, “Most of us want the kind of friendship that is defined by mutuality, where we’re too busy enjoying each other to watch for pecking orders or power rankings… We want two-way street paved with the truth that life is more bearable when we walk in the same direction.” It’s such a beautiful encapsulation of the true heart of mutuality.

I also love how Shannan discusses hospitality, and the conflict that can arise in what we perceive to be needed, versus what the heart of hospitality actually looks like. “Hospitality. It sounds kind of fancy, but its meaning is simple, bare-bones, pure, and entirely holy – you are invited. There is room for you here, next to me. I receive you with gladness and offer my truest self… Here, we are safe. We are warm. We are free.”

In a world that feels so angry, broken, hurting and fractured, it was a powerful reminder to remember about the holiness of the ordinary. Welcoming others into our lives that are also messy and complicated, but not being ashamed. Having a heart of hospitality, a spirit of kindness, a listening ear, and a desire to really know and form community with our neighbors.

I will be recommending this book to everyone, especially my students and co-workers in ministry. A gentle reminder of the ability to minister in the ordinary places, and to welcome our neighbors gladly.

Feast of St. Francis

Today is the feast day of one of my favorite saints. Is it incorrect to have a favorite? Maybe, but even when I was little, Francis felt like a friend. He loves the earth and encourages us to care for her and everyone and everything on her, and that connects deeply to my love of nature, the environment and animals. Once you really begin to learn about Francis beyond a child’s understanding, he becomes even better.

One of my favorite prayers and hymns growing up has always been the prayer of St. Francis. I try to pray it every day alongside the Our Father, Hail Mary, and St. Jude Novena.

My continued prayer is this. May the world we pray for in the prayer of St. Francis guide our daily actions and interactions, and influence how we choose to live our lives.

Do you have a favorite prayer or saint?

TBB Asks: Fall 2.0

The link-up may have been yesterday, but I still wanted to join in answering these questions about my most beloved season.

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Favorite fall color? Mustard, Crimson & Olive.

Apple cider: Hot or Cold? Hot.

Caramel apple: Yes or No? Yes.

Pumpkin doughnut or apple cider doughnut? Neither.

Long or short cardigan? Longer are cozier, shorter look more put together.

Favorite football or fall party food? Wings & blue cheese.

Orange or white pumpkins? White.

Hayride or bonfire? Bonfire.

Favorite fall baked good? Pumpkin bread.

Most anticipated fall activity? I love handing out Halloween candy, I love hosting Thanksgiving. I love morning walks with the fog and fall foliage. I love fall hiking. I love watching football. I love wearing cozy sweaters and flannels. I love breaking out my bean boots. I love fall flavors. I genuinely anticipate it all from the simple and daily, to the bigger holidays. I just deeply love this time of year!

 

September Reading

September flew by so quickly I feel like I’m still catching my breath! I read some amazing books in September that I’m excited to share with you.

Courage Is Contagious: And Other Reasons to Be Grateful for Michelle Obama edited by Nick Haramis

What a delightful slim book of essays honoring just a snapshot of the deep impact and legacy of Michelle Obama’s time in the White House.

Each essay was interesting and important, and I feel I learned from each of them. I especially loved the two essays by high school freshman who shared what Michelle means to them and the dreams they now have for their future. What a strong and empowering role model!

My favorite essay was actually the very first in the book by Alice Waters primarily about the impact of the White House Kitchen Garden. She has a line, “It was a living, growing representation of the bounty and generosity and diversity of the United States…” I miss that message coming from the White House, but truly believe that is the heart of our country and it just hit me deeply. Maybe it’s the line of work I’m involved in and my Franciscan values and heart for social justice, especially around food, but it connected with a layer of my own depth of admiration and respect for Michelle.

If you are looking to reminisce, be inspired, be empowered, feel encouraged, or just to not feel alone for a minute, this is a wonderful book and you should spend an hour or so reading it and revisiting it.

How To Be A Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis

This was an engaging memoir about the author resonating with different literary characters through adolescence into adulthood.

I enjoyed reading about parallels to believed or well-known characters and how she used their characteristics to become a stronger version of herself. However, this did read a bit indulgently.

If books and characters are deeply embedded in your personal identity and self-awareness, this may be worth checking out.

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider

I am obsessed with this book and need to own it. It is physically hurting me to return it to the library because I loved it that much!

I really enjoy the voice and style Tsh uses to share her own and her family’s journey of traveling the world for a year, yet still living in the present and enjoying the small daily gifts around them.

It feels relational and endearing and aspiring and hopeful, yet vulnerable and honest too. I truly, deeply loved this one and already plan to read it again soon.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

This was a book I deeply related to. A small blue-collar town that rises and falls with it’s youth sports team is a familiar story in the various communities I’ve lived in, as well as being a familiar trope that I love in books, movies and TV shows. The way the town handled a sexual assault was what made this book different.

Each character was flawed and honest in their individual pains. The book explores relationships and asks what of and looks at how strong you have to be to stand up and say something. There is real character growth and development and I liked that it felt genuine.

While hard to read at times, I definitely think you should.

Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

This is a fun YA series about time travel, complicated family history and relationships, high school, and figuring out who is telling the truth. These books read quickly, have fun characters, and a quick glimpse at different times in history. If you’re looking for a light read, pick this series up!

What did you read in September?