Gratitude and Daily Life
But while awareness of opportunities inherent in life events and circumstances is the core of gratefulness, awareness alone is not enough. What good is it to be aware of an opportunity, unless we avail ourselves of it? How grateful we are shows itself by the alertness with which we respond to the opportunity.
-Br. David Steindl-Rast
I don’t write much about my normal daily life but recent events have led me to spend more time than usual in the house, giving me the opportunity to relish those parts of my days other than all the hiking that we do when we’re in Utah. Though less active days were unplanned they have been a gift which has allowed me to indulge some of the other pursuits that round out my life and have served as a reminder to savor the moments in the everyday.
As I’ve previously blogged about, Abby has been recovering from a cracked pelvis which has prevented us from going out everyday and hiking. After Tom and I felt we could leave her for a reasonable amount of time he and I began doing shorter hikes, but not long after that I aggravated an old injury which required me to take some time off. The first few days of rest I spent largely reading but I soon began new baking projects and resumed taking walks. As Abby improved she and I been doing some longer dogwalks and I’ve since gone back to doing some hiking, but I’ve carried the slow living mentality with me: reveling in the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, valuing the time spent mixing and chopping in the kitchen, and engaging in a more thoughtful way with what I’m reading. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable.
As I said, there’s been a lot of baking going on. A few weeks ago I wrote about how I had been enjoying playing in the kitchen, content and happy to mix up stuff and let out my inner mad scientist. I had indulged my love of baking last fall too, perfecting my pumpkin and zucchini bread recipes while trying my hand at things like creating a vegan caramel sauce, but this year I sought out some totally new projects. As I finished up roasting and making sauce with the tomatoes from my friend Terry’s garden I transitioned to experimenting with new desserts, inspired by some of my blogging and Instagram friends, while incorporating variations into my own recipes. The result has honestly been too many baked goodies but also hours of enjoyment as I puttered about the kitchen.
Abby doesn’t help eat my baked goods, but she does a great job of supervising:
Pumpkin everything is my favorite so I may have to steal your recipe ideas there! Also, the thimbleberry shortbread sounds amazing! Most people I talk to have no clue what thimbleberries are. Do they grow in Utah or did you buy them from somewhere?
Pumpkin is totally my favorite too. I never heard of thimbleberries until last year when we were in Michigan’s UP; the jam was a gift from Tom’s cousin. They definitely don’t grow in Utah. Where have you seen them? I lived in NY/NE for my whole life before I started traveling full time and met Tom and I never saw them there.
They grow in the wild in Montana! When my family and I would go hiking in late July/August, we’d be able to pick them all along the trails up above about 4,000 feet. I’ve never seen them anywhere else.
I had no idea! All I kept seeing in Montana were huckleberry-related things. I’ll be in the lookout when I go back – they’re delicious! Thanks!
I like to cook but I’m not much of a baker so I’m in awe of your wonderful creations. The thimbleberry shortbread with jam sounds particularly yummy. I agree, it is nice to slow down and enjoy “normal” activities like reading and baking.
Thanks, Caroline! I very much enjoy doing cooking too but because I do it everyday it doesn’t seem all that special if you know what I mean. And yes, that shortbread is really yummy; I advise you to check out the (easy!) original recipe on vagabondbaker.com (my version is vegan and converted to US measurements but I’d be happy to send it to you).