Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

This week, as those of us in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm reflecting on how grateful I am for so many things: my loving husband, my family and friends, my health, our sweet dogs, a warm home, employment. All this at a time when so many are without and struggling to make ends meet. My husband and I are blessed, and I thank God every day for all the good things in our life.

I am also thankful for this blog, which I have enjoyed working on for nearly three years now. And I am grateful to all of you who come here to read my posts and leave nice comments. Some of you are regular visitors and commenters, which I appreciate so much. I feel as though I know some of you personally, which is one of the nicest benefits of blogging.

During the past few months, however, I've been having mixed feelings about continuing my blog. In July I was transferred into a new position at work. Suddenly, things in my life had changed quite a bit. With a heavier workload, tighter deadlines and longer days at work, I had less energy at the end of the day. On weekends, I just didn't have it in me to work on the blog. In addition, I had also been going through a period of questioning whether anyone out there (other than my family, friends and regular followers) is really interested in my simple little blog. I don't have anything super exciting to share -- no exotic vacations or exciting home renovations -- just little bits and pieces of my life. I began wondering if it was time to say goodbye to blogging. 

Then one day I received a long, lovely email from Jane, a reader in upstate New York. Her words came at just the right time and touched me deeply. Just as I was considering hanging it up, along came someone thanking me for creating my blog and telling me how much she enjoys reading it at the end of the day. She even mentioned which recipes she has tried and how her teenage daughters liked them (or not). When I read that she looks forward to more posts in November, I knew I had to continue. Not just for myself and the enjoyment I get from it, but for readers like Jane, who follow but don't necessarily leave comments.

I replied to Jane, thanking her for taking the time to write such a thoughtful email. I told her it was just what I had needed to stay motivated. Jane, I'm sending you a special "thank you" at this holiday season, when gratitude is top of mind. I'm so glad to know that My Little Bungalow brings you enjoyment, and I hope it does to many others as well.

Before I sign off, I'd like to share one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Ina Garten's cranberry fruit conserve. It's amazingly delicious. After Thanksgiving, I like to use it on top vanilla yogurt for breakfast. I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving!

Ina Garten's Cranberry Fruit Conserve

In a medium saucepan, combine one 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries (cleaned), 1-3/4 cups sugar and 1 cup water; cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the skins pop (I usually have to double the time). Add 1 Granny Smith apple (peeled, cored and chopped), the grated zest and juice of one orange, and the grated zest and juice of one lemon; cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup raisins and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. Let cool and serve chilled.

22 comments:

  1. Dear Claudia,
    I am so grateful you decided to continue writing this blog. My mother isn't a computer user, but she is a vegetarian who enjoys your recipes that I collect for her. Thanks from both of us!
    A warm and wonderful Thanksgiving to you all~
    Loi

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    1. Thank you, Loi. I'm so happy to hear that your vegetarian mother enjoys my recipes! You are nice to pass them along to her. Thank you for always taking time to write. Happy Thanksgiving.
      Claudia

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  2. Another corner heard from: Happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU Claudia for sharing your world. I have "My Little Bungalow" bookmarked, and I like to check in periodically too. {Hey Jane in Upstate NY!} From - C.A. in the College Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio...

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    1. Hello there, C.A.! Thank you so much for reaching out. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!
      Claudia

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving, Claudia ~ I loved your story, how wonderful that your reader reached out to let know how much she appreciated your blog and all that you share...with such perfect timing!!

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    1. Hello Pam! I'm glad you enjoyed this. Blogging is such an interesting thing, isn't it? I enjoy yours as well. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
      Claudia

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  4. Claudia, thank you for continuing your blog. Ido not have a blog and really don't know all that is involved but I know that your blog is among my top five. I love your style, simple and beautiful. I have been inspired by many of your postings both decorating (love simple classic craftsman with a modern twist) and your recipes, several of which I have tried. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thanks again.

    Michelle in California

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    1. Hi Michelle. Wow, My Little Bungalow is one of your top five? That's quite an honor considering how many great blogs there are. Thank you for letting me know. I'm flattered. Happy Thanksgiving!
      Claudia

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  5. Hi Claudia! First, Happy Thanksgiving to you! Secondly, I am glad you have decided to continue on with your blog. I totally understand your feelings. You've got to weigh the personal benefits vs time spent (when there are always a million things that need to be done). Your table looks so festive and the recipe looks delicious.

    Enjoy the day with family and friends! xxleslie

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    1. Leslie, thanks for your support, and happy Thanksgiving to you too! I hope your day is wonderful. I'm sure your home and your meal will be lovely. Enjoy,
      Claudia

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  6. Pamela in WashingotnNovember 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Count me in as another silent but avid follower of your blog. I really appreciate your accessible and comfortable decorating style - a number of your recipes have become repeat favorites in my kitchen and it's been a real treat getting to know your sweet dogs.Thanks so much for sharing, Claudia - have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Pamela! So great to hear from you! Thanks for reaching out. I'm thrilled to hear that some of the recipes I've shared have become your favorites. And I'm glad you enjoy the posts about our dogs -- they are an important part of our life. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
      Claudia

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  7. I too am so grateful every time I receive your blog in my inbox!! It makes my morning (here on the west coast). It makes me feel so close to you dear friend even though we live so far apart! Thank you for your commitment to your blog and happy thanksgiving. I for one am thankful for my family, friends and your blog! :)

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    1. Thank you, my sweet friend. I appreciate all your kind words and support. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
      Claudia

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  8. I love all the colors you've got going on in the dining room. It's so pretty.

    I don't know why our blogs become an obligation. I wish it weren't the case. If you were to write down things in a journal and you didn't have time to write down your thoughts for a month, you would feel guilty about it. But I feel the same way if I'm not feeling motivated to write a post. And every now and then I'll get that post up and someone will e-mail or comment that has never commented before saying how much they enjoy reading or how much inspiration they get from what I'm doing. And that's why we do it. I'm glad you decided to hang in there!

    And I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thanks, Steve. I appreciate you always taking time to leave a comment. Your blog is one of my early inspirations to begin blogging, so thank you. I hope your Thanksgiving day was wonderful. Ours was very happy indeed.
      Claudia

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  9. Hi Claudia! What a pretty natural table setting. I love your blog and hope you continue. You represent a calm curated home and a love of nature and handcrafted beauty to me. A thoughtful and honest blog.

    There are no rules in blogging. Do as you wish. I have been loving not blogging these days as I house is taking time to sell and I really feel it is not mine anymore. I will probably start up again at some time when we relocate. I may lose readers but that is okay with me. I try to view it as a creative outlet and just for fun as I have no business to promote. I think the way we should look at it is just sharing when we feel inspired!





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    1. Hi Cindy! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I agree, there are no "rules" but I had been so good about posting every 5 or 6 days, until this fall, when I had only 2 or 3 posts in an entire month. I know it's okay to slow down, or even take a break. I will follow your advice and remember it's my creative outlet and not my career! Thanks,
      Claudia

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  10. Claudia: How could I have missed this post until today? Well, two birthdays, Thanksgiving, and house guests is how!
    Oh, I know exactly and only too well what you have been feeling. We never know how many lives we are touching with our blogs. I've been taking the Blogging Your Way course this month (sadly it ends next week) and have learned to really try and see who my readers/followers are and how important I am to them, and what more they might be wanting. It's a long process indeed. But please, do continue, and I will continue to delight in your posts!
    And yes, I must make this conserve!

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    1. Libby, thank you! That course you're taking sounds interesting. I know what I've been feeling is common among bloggers. But now, thanks to the considerate comments from you and others, I have a renewed enthusiasm for continuing!

      I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.
      Claudia

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  11. Hi Claudia, I loved your Thanksgiving blog! I'm so happy you decided to continue, I'm sure it's not a decision you take lightly with so many other priorities to juggle. I was so pleased to see so many fans comment as well how much they enjoy your blog. I knew there were more out there!

    I am so grateful I found your blog and have had the chance to make your acquaintance.
    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing the new recipe. I'll have to dig up a great holiday Sangia recipe with cranberries I made last year for you to try!

    Jane :)

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    1. Thank you, Jane. You're very sweet. I too am happy to have made your acquaintance and I've enjoyed our correspondence. Yes, please share your holiday sangria recipe -- sounds festive and delicious! Enjoy the holiday season!
      Claudia

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