Well… maybe “Foto Friday” needs to be moved to Saturdays. But I’m embracing the imperfections and frustrations of the daily grind, so for now I don’t mind the misnomer.
Today’s pictures are of the vegan banana muffins I made for a spontaneous brunch I hosted this morning. From the inception of the idea of a brunch to sipping on coffee and mimosas this morning was less than 24 hours. And it was such a needed and fulfilling time!
Finding community where I’m currently living has been trying at times, partly due to this being the first place I’ve moved post-college (where community was practically built into the experience). There are also plenty of other reasons I’ve come up with for why it’s been difficult. Well, plenty of other reasons I blame. But I made a commitment not to leave this place before I come to terms with the things that make me dissatisfied with my life here. I don’t want to constantly move on from one experience to another, seeking greener pastures and always being disappointed when my too-perfect expectations are not met.
Hospitality is a virtue I value and enjoy, and I’ve thankfully had many opportunities to practice it over the past few years. I love preparing food for others, creating a space within my home that will bring people together, and expressing my care and value of others by taking the time to cook for them. I’ve had neighbors and individual friends over for meals quite a bit, but have yet to host a dinner party. However, over the past few months I’ve been inspired to continue to branch out in developing my gift of hospitality, most recently by Shauna Neiquest‘s book Bread and Wine (her writing is absolutely an experience–I feel like I’m devouring every word and physically brought into each moment as I read. I highly recommend her!) and also one of my favorite food blogs, The Yellow Table. From the first time I found this blog and discovered Anna, the blogger, has many similar ideas about the power of food and the table, I have faithfully read every single post. I also highly recommend her blog–it is inspiring beyond just for recipes! And finally, through The Yellow Table, I heard about a project called If:Table, which is based off the idea from Acts 2:46 where it talks about the early church breaking bread together daily. The project encourages groups of 6 women to gather for 2 hours once a month for dinner and conversation over 4 questions (which are provided for you).
These women’s amazing writings about the power of food and the table to create community have further fanned into flame my desire to have my home be a place where I welcome in friend and neighbor to feed body, mind, and soul. So, while showering yesterday morning, I decided to stop bemoaning about all the various reasons why community is so hard here, and do something about it! It felt surprisingly vulnerable to send out an invite, but for the chance to spend the morning lingering over a meal together having great conversation–totally worth it. Relationships and community require perseverance and effort and vulnerability. It’s been taking me quite a while to really learn that, but I’m coming around…with a little help from my friends.
And finally, speaking of vulnerability and perseverance, photography is not something in which I feel skilled or talented. And after a couple scarring photography classes in college, where I was completely mortified to show my photos on critique days, I still don’t like putting my photos out there for others to see. I really didn’t want to work on photography as a hobby/skill to develop during my “Alternate Grad School Experience” because it would require me to face my insecurities. However, I decided to give it a try and started Foto Fridays a couple weeks ago…with the complete intention of taking iPhone photos, putting cool filters on them, and calling it a day. But I’ve realized that doesn’t really count, at least not for me. So as I made my muffins yesterday, I pulled out my DSLR and decided to force myself to start somewhere. Hopefully I’ll look back at this post in a couple months or a year and see some big improvements. 🙂