Run

I never thought I’d actually want to do this…but I’ve started running. Whenever running and I interacted before this, it was as a punishment on one of my high school sports teams. So I never really learned to appreciate running as something beautiful, since it was typically done with frustration and a yelling coach and all that jazz. But now that I’m running for me and seeing progress and enjoying the endorphins, I can’t deny the fact that I’m loving it. I wanted to share some running-related gems with you. Maybe it’ll inspire you to put those snazzy running shoes back on, or you’ll at least consider it. Even that’s something, right? 

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This is the spectacular view I’ve been blessed with whenever I go out for a run just before sunset. This is in Pacific Grove, CA, just before Lover’s Point beach. Pair this with upbeat Disney songs and you’re practically in heaven 😉 

Has anyone else had the privilege of reading some of Tyler Knott Gregson’s writing? It’s beautiful. This is one of my new favorites:

“Run. For your life, for your joy,

for your calm and peace of mind.

Run. Because your legs are strong 

And your lungs are aching for the taste

of air. Run. Because what’s the point 

of life spent walking in the middle?”

So. Go get to know your town in a new way. Run down its streets and admire the houses and all of the quirkiness. Give your lungs the gift of fresh air and listen to how much more genuine and authentic your laugh is after you get back. And relish in the soreness. It’s just your muscles thanking you, kind of like a misunderstood child bringing dirt and leaves into the house for the safety and betterment of the rollie-pollie population (note: this is a true story and this child is adorable, dirty rollie-pollie rescue mission and all). 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hi, friends! Happy New Year to you all!! I hope that you live life to the fullest in 2014 and love every moment. This year, I’ve decided to start a 101 in 1001 challenge and my own creation– 214 in 2014. Check them out! I’m pretty jazzed about it all (though somewhat intimidated, as well). I’ll be blogging relatively regularly about the adventures that come from all of these different tasks, so stay tuned! 

Change

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. 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

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. 

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Happy Fall, everyone! 🙂

Does this count as cinnamon bread?

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 😉  

Do Small Things with Great Love

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!

Our Sense of Wonder

“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.