What do I enjoy?

Recently, I have found myself wondering what I really enjoy doing.  I have so many expectations for myself, activities I should try, places I should go, foods I should cook with, etc.  And while I do enjoy trying new things and pushing myself outside of my comfort zones, I think it is also important for me to simply enjoy life sometimes, which raises one question.

What do I enjoy?

For a while, I think that I lost sight of the little things in life I do enjoy because I was so focused on trying new things or working or just getting through and surviving.  So I’ve both spent time thinking about what I enjoy and asked a dear friend who has known me for years to remind me what activities bring me delight and joy.  To be honest, once I thought about it, the following list was not surprising since these are activities that I have enjoyed for a good long time.

  1. Exploring and traveling – I genuinely love to wander around and discover new places, which is probably why I love to travel.  I have yet to travel the world, but I hope to one day.
  2. Playing the piano – I began playing the piano when I was six and was even a piano performance major prior to injuring my wrist in college.  Playing the piano is one way that I express myself, a comfort that I can always turn to.
  3. Listening to music – Along with playing music, I love listening to music, analyzing it, or just enjoying the moods it evokes.  I love my tried and true favorite artists, but I also love learning about new artists and expanding my musical horizons.
  4. Writing – Though I am afraid of failing and therefore don’t write or blog as often as I should, I find writing to be very therapeutic and simply delightful.  Once I injured my wrist, I began to use writing as an outlet to express myself and my thoughts, even if it is simply in my journal.
  5. Reading – My punishment as a child used to be that I was forbidden from reading.  From an early age, my mother instilled a love of reading that I still maintain.  I was an English Literature major post wrist injury solely because I love to read.  I now try to read at least one new book a week.
  6. Taking pictures – Though I’m definitely the most amateur photographer ever, I find great delight in taking pictures of random objects in my life.  My most favorite way to take pictures is to just take my camera with me on a walk or exploration and photograph what I find to be interesting.
  7. Planning and organizing – I’m an organizational freak.  Organizing and planning soothes my soul.  When I’m upset, I’ll often organize; my thoughts sort themselves out as I physically sort through and organize whatever happens to be lying around.  The ability to organize and carry out a plan is so refreshing.  I love to plan, even though I know my plans will always change.  At least I figured out the puzzle of the plan and understand its components first.
  8. Cooking – This hobby is more recent than most, but I have really enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes.  I like to play with flavors and think of new recipes, as well as being able to cook a delicious meal when I’m just craving homecooked goodness.
  9. Baking – Though I don’t typically have a major sweet tooth (pregnancy has changed that a little), I enjoy baking.  Being able to create a good scone to go with my morning coffee or pie or cake for a friends’ birthday is just amazing.
  10. Conversing with friends – What can I say?  I love a good conversation with people I love.

While I will definitely continue to push myself to try new things, I think I am going to try to make time to devote to the hobbies and activities I know I love.  So far, I have greatly enjoyed playing music while I’m home cooking or cleaning or reading.  I’ve spent more time in coffee shops talking with friends, reading, and writing.  It’s been good.

What do you enjoy?

Resolved

Though I am a day late, I thought I would share my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 with you all.  Without further ado…

I am resolved…

… to get into better shape by maintaining a daily pilates or yoga practice five days a week and by walking at least four days a week.

… to read the Word of God daily.  My friend Megan and I are following a combination Old Testament and New Testament plan together.  I think (rather, I know) that the accountability will be motivating and humbling.

… to read two books a week.  Since graduating, I have sadly neglected to read as much as I should, though I do still love to read.  Any suggestions are welcome. 🙂

… to post at least weekly.  This resolution is a bit undefined at the moment since I am still attempting to realize which of the many blogs I have I should focus on and how many I can reasonably maintain.  I love this blog too much to give it up entirely, so I will probably use it to post random, personal thoughts rather than have a specific purpose… at least for now.  I’ll update you on my other blog projects as they develop.

… to listen to music daily.  Somehow, I have fallen out of my old habit of listening to music all the time.  I blame a previous addiction to TV.  However, since I am no longer watching TV and rarely watching movies (combined with the fact that I love music and hate silence), I have determined to listen to music daily while I walk, work around my house, or sit in a coffee shop writing.

… to try one new recipe or cooking idea each week.  These attempts will be blogged about over at cupcakescoffeeandcoconut.wordpress.com.  I’m excited to see what I discover!

In contrast with previous years, I have not resolved to embark on major changes, rather just to be dedicated to what I am already working on.  If I happen to learn Italian or take more pictures, then so be it.  But for now, I’m just going to live my life with more focus and intention.

Writing

I haven’t been particularly faithful to writing recently.  Part of it has to do with not having internet access at home.  Part of it has to do with laziness and insecurity – sometimes I just don’t feel like I’m a writer at all, let alone a good writer.  And part of it has to do with writer’s block.  I simply don’t know what to say.

Or do I?

Over dinner, John, a friend, and I discussed writer’s block… yes, we are all nerds.  My friend made an interesting point… if we are discussing something we are interested in, we never ever have talker’s block.  So why do we have writer’s block?  Why not just write the thoughts we have?

Honestly, I don’t just write my thoughts because I want to be a perfect writer.  I’m such a perfectionist that I inhibit myself.  I really should try to get over that.  And this blog will be the space in which I try to do so.  Hence this post actually.

So while I’m still not committing to writing daily, I will try to write more frequently.  I do have a few good rants/thoughts/subjects that I’m contemplating on life, work, and people.  That pretty much encompasses just about everything now, doesn’t it?  I’ll leave you to speculate for now…

Relaunch!

Featured

With the beginning of the week comes the beginning of a new project!

I’m going to begin posting every day again… well, at least I’m going to try.  🙂

To aide in my attempts, I’ve assigned each and every day a general theme, though ideas or thoughts outside of those themes may appear here as well.  I’m not generally a fan of limiting myself and value freedom above just about anything in life.  Just in case you didn’t know.  Now you do.

Monday’s theme is going to broadly be goals, by which I mean any sort of goals, ideas, or changes for my life that I want to share with you.  This week’s goal is to actually start blogging again.  So far, so good!  Though I am only one day in…  we’ll just have to find out how dedicated I am to this project in the coming days and weeks.

I welcome any comments, ideas, thoughts, or suggestions you may have for me!  What goals have you set for life?  For your summer?  Or just for the week?

Post #55 – What do I want to eat right now?

So there may be some benefits to blogging when I eat my breakfast.  You know, like being more consistent since I do eat breakfast every day.  Also, getting my post done early so I don’t have to think about it later when friends want to hang out.  And last, but certainly not least, not having to think too terribly much about the topic, which is what happened today since the topic is what do I want to eat right now (and who would it be with)?

Though I am making a delicious breakfast consisting of a glass of milk, a cup of Espresso Roast coffee from Starbucks (brewed at home), a banana, and toast with melted peanut butter (which would only be better if it was crunchy peanut butter), that is not what I would pick if I could eat anything I wanted right now.  I would eat a cranberry orange scone with a grande nonfat latte at Starbucks with Lo.  That is what I want to eat and who I want to eat it with.  Since Lo currently lives in Portland, and I am broke and trying to eat more healthy food anyway, I will enjoy the previously mentioned breakfast.

One of my best friends Lo and I!

Since I don’t frequently get to purchase Starbucks’ cranberry orange scones, I recently decided to try my hand at making them at home.  Below is a fantastic recipe from Taste of Home.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Glaze (optional):
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Orange Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange marmalade

 

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 7 teaspoons sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg. Add to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.
  • On a floured surface, gently knead 6-8 times. Pat dough into an 8-in. circle. Cut into 10 wedges. Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  • Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack.
  • Combine glaze ingredients if desired; drizzle over scones. Combine orange butter ingredients; serve with warm scones. Yield: 10 scones.

 

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 331 calories, 17 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 65 mg cholesterol, 396 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

 

 

Post #54 – When to publish?

There are many thoughts floating through my head today.  Life is surprising.  I might just wind up posting random posts on this blog in addition to the postaday2011 topics that I am trying to keep up with.  We shall see.  For now though, today’s topic is how do I know when to publish my posts?

The answer is really quite simple.  I publish my posts either when I have nothing else to say and I’ve reread and edited the content, or when I’m in a hurry, I publish something when it is long enough for me to not be too terribly embarrassed by it.  I generally prefer to think about my topics and ramble on eloquently for a while so as to turn posts into little articles that I would be proud to use as writing samples.  However, that doesn’t always happen.  Like today for example.  This post is quick, just the thoughts off the top of my head in the midst of a crazy and overwhelming day.  Life happens.  Sometimes, writing does too.

Post #14 – Why I started to blog

I have been blogging on and off since high school, back when Xanga was all the rage.  I’m not sure exactly why I started to blog then, other than I’ve always used writing as a way to express myself.  As an introverted thinker, I find writing to be very relaxing.  It helps me process and sort my thoughts and relieve stress.  I love having the time to choose the perfectly nuanced word to express what I’m thinking or how I am feeling.

I do know that I started this particular blog shortly after I permanently injured my wrist and could no longer play the piano for hours a day.  Playing the piano and music in general was my preferred way of expressing myself prior to my injury.  Since my injury, I have become an avid writer.  In addition to journaling, I blog here, at www.rachelbuckingham.wordpress.com, and several other blogs.  I am also a freelance writer, currently writing several articles and my first novel.

In addition to using blogging to express myself, I started this blog as an effort to write more and hone my skills.  That is also the reason I have chosen to participate in the postaday2011 challenge.  A writer cannot improve without writing (and reading in my opinion).  So I blog because I love writing; it is an extension of myself.