A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale.

This past weekend, a group of girls and I went on our annual “girlfriend camp vacation.”
We’ve gone to various places over the past few years including a beach week at Ocean Isle and having various “camp staycations” at each other’s homes.

One of my BFF’s (who I affectionately named Bubby about 20 years ago when Hubby and I met her and her Hubby on an airplane heading to the same cruise) and I created Girlfriend Camp (or GFC as we have coined it) quite a few years ago for just the two of us to get together.  We would meet up a couple times a year at one or the other’s house or at a destination in between since we live about two hours apart.

Since then, GFC has expanded to some of her friends and some of my friends at different times.  We are now all friends and share a very special GFC bond!

This year, Bubby wanted to visit Lily Dale, NY as part of our vacation.  I had never heard of it, but am always up for an adventure and new experiences.

And that it was!

Lily Dale is a small community  located in southwestern New York.  It has a population of 275, but welcomes approximately 22,000 visitors each year.  The purpose of Lily Dale is to further the science, philosophy, and religion of Spiritualism.

It is a place of pilgrimage for many Spiritualists and others interested in Spiritualism, the paranormal, and New Age topics.  Many medium and Spiritualist healers reside in Lily Dale.

I can’t say that I’ve been convinced to believe that Mediums can communicate with spirits (even though a Medium provided me with the name and spelling of my recently-passed brother), but what I can say is that it is a lovely and loving place.

No matter who we encountered during our visit to Lily Dale – whether they be other guests or Lily Dale residents,  every person was kind and loving.  There is a true sense of peace in this little place on earth.

There are small trails through the woods to walk –  one of which is a “Fairy Trail…”


where lovely little fairy houses and communities are on display,

and room is made for fairies (and visitors) to dance with nature.

Gathering places have been created….

for people to gather, pray, meditate,

and possibly connect with the spirits of their loved ones.

Healing services are held, and ribbons of healing and prayer are tied on a prayer tree in chains to offer continuous remembrances for loved ones.  Guests are offered the opportunity to write a prayer intention or a name on a ribbon.  By the end of each summer, hundreds of ribbons are tied to the prayer tree and sing gently in the breeze. At the end of each summer, healers gather in prayer and respectfully take the ribbons from the tree. They are brought to the closing ceremony, where a final blessing is said over the ribbons for healing and for the world.

Here we are in Lily Dale.  Full of love.  Full of life.  Feeling the peace.  Open to the experience.

And the next day……. in true GFC fashion – we spent the day visiting winerys and breweries and celebrating life and freedom and peace and friendship.


Cheers to girlfriends!  Cheers to friendship!  Cheers to kindness!  Cheers to acceptance!  Cheers to open minds!  Cheers to peace!  Cheers to love!

And finally,

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Cinnamon Pecan Crumb Cake

cinnamon-pecan-crumb-cake-piece

BEWARE:  This Cinnamon Pecan Crumb Cake is only for the most serious crumb cake lovers!  Are you one like me?  Do you love more buttery, sugary, nutty crumbs than cake?  If so, this is the cake for you!  And I dare say it should not be consumed without a large steaming cup of coffee to wash down the “crumby” goodness.  Be still my coffee crumb cake lovin’ heart!

Let’s take a closer look at all that “crumby” deliciousness…

cinnamon-pecan-crumb-cake-piece-2

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  This is a seriously “crumby” cake!

cinnamon-pecan-crumb-cake-piece-3

With buttery, nutty, cinnamony wonderfulness, this cake is a serious indulgence justified as breakfast when served with coffee…. but Hubby discovered it works very well as an evening snack when topped with a scoop of Vanilla Caramel Gelato!

If you don’t like your cake quite so “crumby,” you could double the cake batter or half the crumb topping.  Also – be careful not to overbake and dry the cake out – –  unless you are eating it with vanilla caramel gelato or dunking it in coffee.  In that case – who cares!

Diet shmiet – this cake is worth the calories!  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Pecan Crumb Cake

Ingredients:cinnamon-pecan-crumb-cake-piece-2
  • Topping
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
    • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • Cake
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
    • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Prepare  8 or 9 inch square baking pan by spraying with vegetable spray and lining with parchment paper so it overhangs sides of pan. Spray the parchment paper with vegetable spray and set aside.

Make topping by combining flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the melted butter. Stir to combine, then add the pecans using your hands to thoroughly mix. Topping should have a loose, crumbly consistency.  Set aside.

Prepare cake by whisking milk, oil, egg, and vanilla in medium bowl.  Add sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour.  Stir until just combined.

Pour the cake batter into prepared pan. Add all of the crumb topping evenly over the batter.

Bake approximately 30 mins.  The cake will rise, and the topping will bake into the cake batter.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 mins. in pan. Run a butter knife along the edges of the pan to loosen cake and lift it out to a cutting board. Cut into 9 squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to garnish if desired. 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*recipe adapted from Garlic&Zest

You Caught My Eye Most of All

rusted railing west village new york city

West Village, New York City

In a quaint little village
on the west side of the city,
this chipped and rusty railing caught my eye.

Away from the shiny steel skyscrapers,
the honking horns and the bustling crowds,
this brownstone’s ornate railing
tells stories of its duties, its purpose, its history.

The bicycles that were chained
after a trip to the market, a visit to a friend, or an afternoon escapade.
The support of the hands of family members and friends that entered and departed.

You supported, you protected, you guided, you anchored.
Your beauty is far beyond aesthetic.
You have stories.
You have secrets… you have joys… you have tears.

Of all the things in this grandest of grand arenas,
You caught my eye most of all.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Broken

911 Memorial Rose

911 Memorial, New York City, New York, USA

Broken Hearts…
Broken Dreams…
Broken Families…
Broken Bricks…
and Broken Mortar.

All of these things may have been broken
by those with hatred and evil in their hearts…
those who have no regard for the sanctity of life
those who despise our freedom…
our liberty…
our justice…

But they cannot break our spirit.
We will not be a Broken Nation.

On my visit to New York City last week, I had the honor and privilege of visiting the 911 Memorial site where our nation experienced such great tragedy that awful September 11th day. It is evident by the rebuilding, the memorializing, the reverence, and the beauty, that we will not… and cannot… be broken.

Happy Memorial Day.
Celebrate Peace and Love,
Jodi

These week’s WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is Broken. This is my contribution.

New York – New York! And the Blogiversary Winner is….

albert and jodi

Albert of “Albert’s New York” Blog – Best Tour Guide Ever!

I just returned from a jam-packed three-day trip to New York City.  Two days were spent at a business meeting, but I was also fortunate enough to have some free time to explore the city on my first visit with one of the best tour guides ever… ALBERT!!!!  My buddy from Albert’s New York Blog.  Here we are on the roof top of his apartment building where we had the chance to view the sunset and a beautiful view of the city.

And this little cutie is as charming in real life as he is on his blog.  I hope you will check it out.  I’m guessing you will fall in love with him as I have.   And what a wonderful gift after our loss this week to get to hug and meet this beautiful new friend.

When I found out I was heading to New York, I immediately wrote to Albert and asked if he wanted to meet up and wondered if he had time to show me around.  He and his Lady and Guy were so amazingly gracious to spend the afternoon and evening with me.

I’ll have more to tell and photos to show soon, but for now I promised to announce the winner of my One-Year Blogiversary card today.

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks

I was so overwhelmed and truly humbled with the response and the amazing comments.  Thank you all so much for all the love!

I asked hubby to pick a number from one to………….  and before I could even give an end number, he firmly stated, “7.”

So the W I N N E R of my One-Year Blogiversary Card is the 7th person to comment – BILLIE MOAN!

Congratulations Billie!  (Please email me your address at mckinneyjodi@gmail.com – and it will be on its way!)

I am back in Mars – and though I adored New York – there really, truly is no place like home.  (even when it’s Mars!)

Happy Friday everyone!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi