“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
My tendency is to live from one project to the next, marking my life with goals, successes and the trying process of reaching those goals. Ambition in and of itself is not bad but what I find is that the constant desire to want something that I don’t yet have robs me of truly enjoying what I have now.
Recently I watched the documentary entitled, Happy. It looks at various cultures around the world and how happy they are. I’m not certain how one can measure happiness but as the images of dancing villagers in a remote tribe, a rickshaw driver in India who has “nothing” by our cultures standards, and a group of older women on a remote Japanese island who gather daily to converse, play games and build intricate origami creations it’s quite easy to see that these people are truly happy.
My first thought when watching the film is that true happiness comes when you concern yourself with the happiness of others. All of these people live in community. They support one another, celebrate with each other and carry one another’s burdens.
When a wave of sadness hits me I tend to analyze my emotions and my life extensively. “Why am I feeling this way? What do I need to change? What can I do to be happier?” Not bad questions but did you notice all those “I’s” in there? I make it all about me. Rarely do I reach out for help and more importantly, rarely do I concern myself with the happiness of others as much as I obsess about my own happiness.
Days after watching the movie and reflecting on my own need to change my attitude and my desire to find more joy in my days I realized that a change in attitude requires more gratitude. It helps that it rhymes.
When expressing gratitude my energy is spent focusing on all the good in my life. Making others happy by thanking them for their presence in my life inevitably fills me with great joy. Taking a moment at the end of a long day to think about what I have to be thankful for today can do nothing but alter my attitude for the better.
A big reason why I’m writing this here is to give myself some accountability. When I write it then I’m more likely to do it or keep doing it. And also I wanted to start the gratitude here with you people.
I’ve said it before but it bares repeating at least a few times a year – thank you. Thank you to those of you who come here and leave here silently. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and spend some time with me.
Thank you to those of who comment. I’m not very good at responding to comments but that is no reflection as to what they mean to me. I read every single one and I value their affirmation and encouragement more than these mere thanks can express.
Thank you to those who write personal emails. I’m humbled by your generosity and willingness to reach out and encourage me in such an incredibly powerful way.
Your continued support along this journey is often what powers these pages. You are what keeps me coming back here and propels me further.
Thank you is not enough but it’s a start and I feel better for having said it.
Cornmeal Loaf Cake
adapted from Bon Appetit 2006
This hearty cake is perfect for sweet syrupy berries and softly sweet cream. It’s also perfect in the afternoon with a bit of tea or coffee. The crunch of cornmeal and sweetness of honey mark its uniqueness and leave you lingering in the kitchen slowly cutting away at the golden loaf. I find the texture improves after the first day.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan.
Whisk flour, cornmeal and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and honey a in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating constantly, then beat in vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl the mix again. Add dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Finishing mixing by hand as to ensure everything is well combined.. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake cake until brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.
Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap well once completely cool and store at room temperature.
Maple Whipped Cream
I don’t care for too sweet whipped cream but if you want more sweetness and more maple flavor feel free to add as much maple syrup as you’d like. I don’t imagine you needed my permission but it’s there no matter.
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
Combine the cream and the syrup and whip until soft, billowy peaks form.