Some people hate change, and some people embrace it. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I can see both sides of the argument here: those who hate it don’t want to leave something great behind, and those who embrace it are ready for the promises the future holds.
I’ve undergone a lot of change since the start of the quarter. Looking back over the past seven weeks, it’s hard to believe how much has happened. I’ve dropped from my sorority, resigned from my job, met a ton of amazing new people, made decisions about the future, declared two majors and a minor, and have grown as a person in new ways. Phew. While life will never really slow down, I can see a nugget phrase in the midst of the craziness. Are you ready for this one?
“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”
Aaaaaamen! I have seen this in action over the quarter. If you put yourself first and are brave enough to do what’s right for you, life will be a whole lot better. I’ve been blessed with new opportunities, new friends, and newfound joy. And I can honestly say that I haven’t been this happy since my Catalina years. Santa Clara truly feels like home to me now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Oh, pumpkin, it is so wonderful to see you! Last Fall, I began to fully appreciate the power of the pumpkin, especially in baked goods. This twist on the classic snickerdoodle is a perfectly magical example of just that.
Snickerdoodles are already super yummy (primarily when they are the size of CD-roms), but changing up the game is pretty fun. By adding chocolate and nutella or pumpkin and extra cinnamon, you get a whole new cookie that is still held up by its true, doodley cinnamon sugar coating. Personally, though, I am enamored by any sort of pumpkin baked good. And it’s October for heaven’s sake! Naturally, pumpkin snickerdoodles made a comeback in the kitchen of 312.
Happy Fall, everyone!
Once upon a time, a friend of mine asked me to bake cinnamon bread. Okay, simple enough! So I asked him what kind of cinnamon bread he would like. This, as I now know, was not the kind of question to ask a male. “Cinnamon and bread,” he replied, not expecting that I had around 7 other ideas in mind. After the bread argument, I came home determined to find a recipe worthy of his definition. I can happily say that I have most definitely found sweet, cinnamony victory.
This is a quick bread recipe that is super simple to throw together. A stick of butter and 3/4 of sugar blend together in your mixing bowl while you sift together 1 3/4 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Once the butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add in two eggs, one at a time, and a bit of vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and alternatively add the dry ingredients with a cup of sour cream (flour, sour cream, flour, sour cream, flour). Mix until everything is just combined and then prepare yourself for the execution of a marvelous cinnamon swirl.
The cinnamon sugar is easy peasy: 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and a few tablespoons of cinnamon. That’s it! I have been making little individual cinnamon breads in large muffin tins, but the same rules apply. Add some batter, then some cinnamon sugar, then some batter, then some cinnamon sugar. Once you’ve got three of four layers, take a knife and zig-zag each muffin for the swirl. Top with some more cinnamon sugar and pop them in a 350 degree oven until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, around 25 minutes. Then get rid of them before your suitemates realized you’ve baked for the third day in a row. You know what makes sense to me right now? Staying on the cinnamon kick and making cinnamon rolls
Today (October 1) is the feast day for St. Therese of Lisieux! She was an incredibly selfless woman who kept quite the journal (if you’ve ever read any of her writing, you know you’ve been floored by her genuine appreciation and happiness), but something she strove to do was to do small things with great love. I really, really love this. To me, the little things in life truly matter (why else would I have a quote about it decorating my room?). I believe that smiling at everyone, having small yet genuine conversations with strangers, and random acts of kindness are not only ways to make other peoples’ days, but yours, as well. I cannot express how bucket filling it is to do something small with great love. Baking, for me, is the perfect example of this. Just by making a friend cinnamon bread (note: look forward to a post on a great great great recipe) or inviting them over to bake cookies, you can make a huge impact on someone’s life. Not like you’re going to be life-changing, or anything, but those little things have a much greater magnitude than we all expect. Just think about it: doesn’t it make you happy when someone goes out of their way to say hi? Isn’t your day a little brighter when a random person helps you out if you drop all of your books? I’ve decided to make this a commitment to myself: to be aware of and eager to do small things with great love. You should join me, and we should save the world. Ready set go!
“Without wonder, men and women would lapse into deadening routine and little by little would become incapable of a life which is genuinely personal.” -John Paul II
My theology class is seriously awesome. We’ve only met twice so far, but I’m enamored. In one of those two lectures, our Jesuit professor went over the importance of our sense of wonder. It sounds so silly (and nerdy) of me to admit, but I absolutely loved what he had to say. Wonder is key. As the quote explains, our lives would turn into a “deadening routine” without it. And it makes sense, too! Having a strong, perceptive sense of wonder somehow fuels my happiness. Thinking about something bigger and beyond myself is so inspirational: it makes me smile and fills up my bucket! I thank God for the ability to feel this sense of wonder, to be curious, and to reflect. Like Father Scholla said, the human is made for revelation, and revelation is a cause for joy. With wonder comes revelation, and with revelation comes joy. I can dig it.
Aaaaand here’s another nugget phrase! This one, like the others, is whiplash worthy. I’ve got a mental picture of your thought process doing a double take, but very profoundly, and somewhat violently. I don’t mean any harm. It’s just that this is a pretty fantastic nugget phrase.
This one came from scuID. On our first night together around the campfire we shared something personal that was holding us back. Most were fears, some were things we wanted to change about ourselves, but they were all candid and genuine. Before we began, Lori (read: proud mama) set the scene by telling all of us that what we were about to do might be scary and intimidating (Sharing a very private insecurity? Having to be vulnerable? Um, yes, scary and intimidating), but all we needed was 20 seconds of insane courage. You know, like that one movie about the purchase of a zoo. Just ground yourself, go for it, and be courageous for a few seconds (20, to be exact). I’ve thought about this nugget phrase a lot lately and have been surprising myself with how often it is applicable. Meeting new people, making those connections, being vulnerable, opening up, speaking up– all of these things can be deterring and unsettling! And with school just picking up again, they are all happening on a daily basis. But telling myself to just have 20 seconds of insane courage has made all the difference. The first hill that you’re fighting to go up is the hardest and the steepest, so think of the insane courage as a kick ass jet pack that will get you right to the top. I believe, truly, that it can even go so far as to give you a nudge so you can go downhill swiftly and assured. Next time you’re in a pickle (read: you are a sophomore who feels like a freshman due to a newfound lack of involvement and it’s freaking you out), remember that all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage to get you through. Pickle free. Promise.
I realize that I’ve been writing a lot of serious things lately, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m not sure it’s good, either. I guess I haven’t tried out a new post-worthy recipe in the past few weeks (it’s not like things have been busy or anything!), but I definitely want to get on that ASAP. I have way too many things bookmarked. So this is my written contract of sorts, okay? I suppose I’ll just have to accept the business of sophomore year is busy business, indeed…
OH HEY! Did someone say acceptance? I totally want to write about that! What are the odds?
I am considering this to be part two of the epiphany I had this week. Let me start with a question: have you ever surprised yourself with how well you’re handling something? There has been a lot on my mind lately, but I feel very much at peace about all of it. I finally understood yet another aspect about myself after I got off of the phone with Nana (my feisty ninety-three-year-old grandmother) yesterday afternoon. Once upon a time, she’s 93. A spring chicken, right? She hasn’t been doing super well recently and since I just lost my other grandma in April my thoughts can’t help but to fast forward to the inevitable. No part of me wants to think of that. There’s no way in heck that I want to feel more grief. But after we got off of the phone yesterday, I, of course, teared up at the thought of not being able to call her someday. But then, I stopped. I took a deep breath. I reflected on what has happened over the past year: who I’ve lost, how much I’ve grown, what I’ve learned, what they’ve taught me in their absence. I’ve learned to accept the fact that life is in no way going to be rainbows and frosting all year round. Sometimes, you get typhoons and yellow mustard (no offense to those who actually enjoy yellow mustard, but I could not think of a more vile spread to compare to frosting). Coming to accept this little factoid about life, then, in addition to accepting yourself, are two of the driving forces behind smooth sailing. Remember, the winds of the sea might change your course, but you’re the one in charge of the sails.