Today’s bloguary (daily writing challenge) prompt is:
“What is your favorite quote and why?”
The title of this blog actually draws from my favorite quote, which is,
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
This quote may call some to explore far away lands. It can also serve as a reminder to find adventure where you are.
It’s inspiring to me that adventure can be many things and that you get to decide what your adventure is.
This quote also motivates me to take action on my dreams because it’s in getting up and following our dreams (even if it’s just baby steps at first) rather than just imagining an exciting, purposeful life that we can live our very own adventures!
This quote is also mentioned in the About section of the blog, and I’ll explore this theme more as the blog grows.
I started this year (21 days ago now) with a vision of how a successful year would appear when I looked back on December 31st, 2022.
Being able to smile when reviewing writing I had published was one of the images I added to my vision…so to grow in that direction, I have just now joined a writing challenge from the WordPress platform. This will certainly be a challenge because it involves writing in response to a new prompt every single day in January.
I’m a little intimidated and hope that I can provide quality content…and set aside enough time to publish each day. But I’m telling myself, “yes, I can,” and I’m excited to see what happens.
*I’ll let you know what I’ve learned on 2/1!
The prompt for today is:
“If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?”
My answer is: This year!
Many people have beautifully written about visiting with lost loved ones in the past or seeing how their family has grown at a certain point in the future (someone even added that they would be interested in going back to witness the dawn of time-which I’m not sure is an actual year? But, hey, that’s creative!). These ideas are fantastic. However, I chose 2022 and would like to make the argument for you to as well.
This is a wonderful year.
Of course, I would like to re-live many things in past years, and it would be pretty cool to see what I achieve in the years ahead, but I read the question as, “which entire year would you time travel to?”
While I love to think about all of the great moments, no year is without it’s difficulties as well.
All years are different, but no year is intrinsically better than another…except for the year surrounding you, everything you’ve learned as well as your hopes your dreams are here right this second.
If it hadn’t been for all of the years in our pasts, we wouldn’t be where we are today, with all of the lessons learned and all of the potential in store.
I encourage you to feel the warmth of joyful memories and hopes for a distant year and to reflect on all you’ve discovered during relaxing and even difficult years… then really embrace where you are right now and make each day part of your best year yet!
Instead of asking myself what would happen if I could go to the past or future, I’m challenging myself to ask what can happen if I rise to challenges this year.
Say, “yes, I can” when presented with challenges, and you will be enjoying yourself too much to consider traveling to a different time.
When I remember my foray into the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park, I have a very distinct image of myself leaping across a bottomless cravass, arms flung wide, wind in my hair, sailing joyfully through the breeze.
This is NOT how I looked though. I’m 100% positive of that.
In real life, when faced with a gap between two rust colored boulders, I made it across, essentially carried by my sister’s fiance, while reaching frantically for my sister’s outstretched hands, with cheeks damp from tears, and a behind covered in dust…decidedly less glamorous.
You may be asking, “Um, Erica, how did grungy real-life terror translate into the effervescently confident leap of your imagination??” “Did you actually hit your head on one of those rocks?!”
I faced my fears, so in my understanding, I was soaring!
The Back Story:
Moments before crossing what I call a bottomless crevasse, I found myself sitting in fear, repeatedly sobbing, “I can’t do it”…and perhaps even flinging my arms at my sister and her fiance as they offered help.
To provide context, I am scared of heights. I’m not talking, like oh gosh, I’d never go skydiving. I mean, others need to climb the eight foot stepladder to place the star on the Christmas tree for me. I also have a bum leg, which amplified the potential danger of landing wrong on the other sloping side of the small gorge.
My family had also learned earlier in the week that the NPS means serious business when identifying an excursion as difficult, and at that moment, I was two thirds of the way through an “extremely difficult, non-ranger-lead hike”for which my family had just sat through a mandatory safety and environmental awareness video.
The beginning of the hike was a fascinating step into a side of nature none of us had ever really experienced. Life in these canyons thrives in a delicate and harshly beautiful echo system. We were all thrilled by the unique discoveries and views at every turn.
The Fiery Furnace had also presented several challenging moments, requiring us to scramble over sandpaper boulders and shimmy through canyons narrower than some of my purses, all while experiencing the very definition of baking in the desert sun.
We were a good bit more than halfway through the unmarked (of course, it was unmarked, why make this easier?) trail when I reached the crevasse, a fissure wider than my laptop between two mammoth boulders. A rust colored wall rose up to the right, and to my left, the boulders curved into the darkness of an abyss, presumably several stories deep.
I froze, pretty literally petrified. I went through every emotion, stubbornly insisting I was going back the way I came. However, though everyone else tried to reason through it, I knew turing around wasn’t an option with no trail markers and less than an hour till sunset. My parents, sister, and her fiance had already carefully taken wide steps over to the awaiting boulder. I couldn’t get across to meet them though. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. Surrounded by everyone urging me onwards, I still could not and breathlessly insisted on this as I sat ugly crying on scorching stone with terrifying images of the result of a single misstep racing through my mind.
Several moments of sheer panic passed, and I realized that I had to move forward. It was a simple fact. Back wasn’t a real option and neither was spending the night in untamed wilderness, so I stood up. I willed my legs to stop shaking and allowed for Dean to steady me as my sister waited to pull me toward her.
It was a horrible experience.
I have never been so excited to see civilization (our lone rental car in a deserted parking lot) after rounding the last turn.
However, this experience challenged me to see that I can do far more than I sometimes give myself credit for, and I have been able to carry the lessons of this moment into other areas of my life.
My bet is that you too can hardly imagine what you can do when you stop sitting in fear. The best path forward may not even be clear cut; both directions could be fraught with frightening difficulties, but sometimes, you just have to choose one anyway. Then as you are being as strong as you can be, accept some help too…you may even be surprised to find who is around to help you.
Even when you can’t easily say, “Yes, I can”…try!
You’ll see that you can do so much more than you expect! You may even feel like you’re flying afterwards, and that’s what you’ll remember later!
“Yes, I Can” is January’s theme and a great start to a new year!
Happy New Year, Readers!
You may have noticed a few advertisements telling you that this is the perfect time for a refresh…a time to refocus on your goals. Well, I couldn’t agree more!
However, before you can start working towards the dreams you see in your future, you need to have an inkling that you can achieve them. Spoilder alert: I think you and I both can!
I’ve also noticed that knowing (or at least being really sure) that you can achieve something is a good foundation for actually getting up and achieving it.
So how do you say, “yes, I can!” if you’ve never actually done the thing you’re trying to do?
I’ll share what works for me:
Once upon a time, a friend challenged me to list two things for which I was thankful each day for two weeks. The objective was at the end of two weeks to feel more of a sense of joy than I had a the beginning because I would end up being able to clearly see many of the blessings in my life written on paper.
After a few days, I started adding “prouds” beside my “thankfuls.” I then defined the two: “Thankfuls”as beautiful gifts in my life.” “Prouds” as “positive things I do with the things I’m grateful for.”
Here are some examples (big and small):
I have two healthy eyes
I made a healthy choice, wearing sunglasses on my car trip.
My Loving Grandparents
I took them to enjoy their favorite activity today, a visit to Dairy Queen.
Working for a company with opportunities
I worked hard and earned a promotion.
I’ve realized I liked the cause and effect nature of these lists. At the end of two weeks, I wasn’t just passively thankful. I was motivated because I saw so many things I was proud of. If I could do all of these “prouds,”over the last two weeks, I could certainly do them again…and even add a few next week!
It was a lightbulb moment! I had evidence of things I can do, and I told myself I can do more!
I challenge you over the next two weeks to try listing your own thankfuls, followed by prouds. Grab a pretty journal, and see where you end up! I’ve seen beautiful gratitue journals at Anthroplogie or Novel in Memphis that should allow you to add a “Prouds” collumn. Honestly, my journals are lined notebooks. See what works best for you!
Let me and your other fellow readers know how this works for you, or better yet, share if you’ve discovered your own way to apply this to a specific goal.
Make these quick pizza rolls to celebrate an unexpected snow day🙂
Quite a few years ago, my family started the tradition of eating Pizza Roll-ups on snow days.
Snow days are a precious time in Memphis. They’re fickle at best and very rarely happen. Actually, the higher the forecasted chance of frozen precipitation, the less likely it will actually fall from the sky. Honestly, you’re more likely to see a polar bear within the city limits…since there is actually a polar bear at the zoo. However, on the few days a year when we wake up to backyards blanketed in two inches of white, we Memphians are prepared for the unexpected.
At the first whisper of snow, the whole town breaks into a palpable panic. The commute home takes twice as long, and every parking space at Kroger instantly fills. Since all Southerners know their cities don’t own snow plows, the fear of being trapped at home or work without food seems real. *Actually, we even apply this understanding to legitimately snow covered lands. I’ll never forget my family worrying by the windows one night watching snow fall in Aspen. We wondered how we would get to the airport the next day only to be astounded when a snow machine had cleared the driveway before sunrise. *
We also know that this frozen world never lasts long. Sometimes all accumulation melts by noon, so anyone wanting to sled has to start early and not waste time slipping and sliding on uncleared streets. This fleeting wonderland also doesn’t leave much time for cooking or eating a meal, which is why Pizza Roll-ups are the perfect solution. The comfort food combo of pizza and crescent rolls couldn’t be any cheaper, easier to prepare, or yummier…how could anyone turn down this cozy snow day fuel? Also, cleanup is a breeze, so even grownups can get outside for a snowball fight!
Memphians, if you’re already on your way to Kroger to stock up on milk and bread for the snowpocalypse, I would totally recommend adding the ingredients for snow day Pizza Rolls, too! For you non-Memphians, I’m sure Pizza Roll-ups taste great in any climate!
Recipe for Pizza Roll-ups
2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls
1 bag of mozzarella cheese sticks. Cut a few cheese sticks into inch long pieces. Cut these pieces lengthwise
1 box of pepperoni
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
Preheat oven to temperature on crescent roll tube.
Roll out crescent roll triangles on an ungreased cookie sheet. You may need two cookie sheets.
Place two or three pepperoni on the widest part of the crescent roll triangle.
Place one cheese stick piece on top of pepperoni (see below).
Roll the crescent roll triangle into a crescent roll shape like usual, making sure to keep pepperoni and cheese inside.
Place rolled up mini pizzas into the oven, and bake according to crescent roll tube instructions.
While the mini pizzas are baking, warm marinara in a sauce pan.
Serve cooked pizza roll-ups with warmed marinara as a dipping sauce.
Confession: my name is Erica Marchbanks, and I’m moderately addicted to patterns. I love bright, cheerful, repeated designs. The more pattern, the better! My mom thinks it’s precious, my sister thinks I need help, but I just think about Lilly Pulitzer…and sometimes Vera Bradley…which sometimes gets me in trouble.
To be specific about my love of pattern, blue & yellow based motifs are pretty great, green & pink are even better, but I’m a major sucker for any shade of blue & red/coral images splashed across whatever product you may be selling. For instance, I’ve gone so far as to call Lilly’s She She Shells “my pattern.”
So, it’s no surprise I was quite smitten with Vera Bradley’s Marina Paisley a few years ago. I looked at the magazine, spied that pattern, and marched myself straight into the Saddle Creek Vera store, determined to purchase something great. This would all be well & good if I had chosen something even slightly useful…but alas, that was not true.
I bought a recipe holder. Ok, well, maybe it would be useful for other people, but at the time my cooking skills were sub par, and I didn’t have five special, go-to recipes to my name. What was I to do? My recipe holder was so beautiful. I had chosen one where my favorite part of the pattern was front and center (a vital part of shopping for the pattern lover). It was clearly the best, not overly expensive object in the store. It was looking great in its new home. I had to keep it. I just decided it would have to look nice empty. So I called my grandmother, a fellow pattern lover, to tell her all about my new recipe book.
It was just the phone call I needed (how do grandmothers always know what to do?). Along with patterns, my grandmom shares my love of chocolate. She offered me her favorite Kahlua cake recipe to add to my new organizer and told me she would love a piece of cake if I wanted to try the recipe that night. I tried the recipe, & to my surprise, it really was easy and delicious! I brought my grandmother half the cake, and carried some to a friend’s birthday party. Everyone asked how to make this dessert. I was on a roll! The first recipe in the booklet was now my go-to recipe! I couldn’t thank my grandmom enough!
Over the last few years, I have brought this cake to many events, & with different garnishes, it has fit every occasion! Somehow, following my seemingly silly interests melded with a little grandmotherly magic and mixed into a cake for any party.
So without further ado….
Here’s the recipe for
My Grandmother’s (Very Easy) Kahlua Cake:
(Remember, it’s tasty. I didn’t say healthy.)
1 box Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake mix
1 small box Jello brand instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups Sour Cream
3/4 cups Vegetable Oil
1/2 cups Kahlua
6 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Mix everything except chocolate chips.
Mix in chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased bunt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Decorate for the occasion if you want to….mine isn’t that beautiful, but looks aren’t everything…it’s perfect as it is.
…just don’t take it to a party I’m going to…unless you want double the Kahlua cake!