Coding… What is it Good For?

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This past week, I stumbled upon an article on TechCrunch entitled, “Please Don’t Learn to Code“. As you might know, I’ve been learning Web Development and Design for almost a year now. Most days I love it, some days I’m frustrated and wonder if I’m crazy. This article caught me on one of those missing confidence days. I read it, hoping that the title was misleading. I thought maybe the takeaway would be something like, “Don’t think learning to code is a process with an end date: it’s something you will continue to learn for as long as you try.” Or something along those lines. I was wrong.

I will be honest: this article didn’t deflate me as much as I would have expected. There were some legitimate and good points. For instance, the tech industry is kind of getting this “idealism bubble” placed around it. Many people seem to think that shows like Silicon Valley and rags-to-riches stories like Steve Wozniak and Mark Zuckerberg (if you can call Harvard “rags”) are the norm in tech. If you learn to code, you will make a billion dollars and maybe get fame and fortune. Coming up with the next big thing isn’t that hard. You might go through some tough times, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. Like anything else though, learning to code isn’t a one way ticket to wealth.

This article also made the point that there are people who learn to code without realizing how difficult it will be. Tech is an ever-changing field, and working as a programmer is a life of never-ending learning and growth. The languages I am currently using to build websites are not going to be the languages people will be using in 10 years. They might not even be the languages we use in 5 years. And, that’s part of what appeals to me. I love the idea of continuously learning and improving while still making a living. I can see where that would be frustrating to some. It almost sounds like it’s frustrating to the author, who spent time learning a coding language that is not only not really used today, but that new coders didn’t have to learn before moving on to the newer languages. I don’t really see that as a negative, however. People who have known how to code for a while, and know languages that new coders don’t know have an advantage in that they knowledge base that others don’t. Those new coders will one day also know what it’s like to see the language they have been using cast aside for something else. It’s just a part of the life of a programmer.

One of the more ridiculous arguments that was made in the article was that learning how to code is like learning how to be a plumber. This really isn’t the case. When you learn to be a plumber, you fix pipes. Of course, there are different kinds of pipes and different kinds of problems, but they are generally all related. When you learn to code, there are tons of different things you can do. There are people who work on the back end with servers and databases. There are people who work on the front end, making things look nice and handling the things that people see. There are people who work in big groups on big websites, there are freelancers who work on their own. Some people learn to code and never use it for anything more than enjoyment. Some people learn it to cause problems for others by finding critical mistakes in code. I think the argument is a little over simplified. I also don’t think it makes much sense because it’s kind of true for all trades and fields. I worked as a barista in coffee shops for a few years. I learned how to make coffee and other drinks. I learned quite a bit about sourcing coffee and what different kinds of beans and roasts meant in terms of flavor. That knowledge, however, isn’t really transferrable to other jobs (besides the fact that I make a mean cup of coffee and I am good at customer service).

The trick is to find skills that are easily transferrable, and I would argue that coding is one of the better fields for that. Not only is tech really broad in terms of the necessary knowledge and how someone’s skills are applied, but the problem solving and knowledge of technological language are things that can be brought to countless other positions. Besides the fact that it takes a while to learn, I personally don’t think there is any harm in learning to code. It doesn’t back you into a corner in terms of how you can use those skills and what kinds of jobs you qualify for. It opens up doors for freelancing, and being useful around an office.

So, after reading that article, it really got me thinking about why I was learning to code. Obviously, a lucrative career is something that appeals to me. And the ability to continue to learn and grow is something I’ve been searching for. Also, the balance of logic and problem solving with creativity is something I have found that I enjoy. It was good to be able to think about these things and remind myself of why I am putting time and effort into this.

The day after reading that article, another article was posted on Facebook that caught my eye: “Please Do Learn to Code“, written by Quincy Larson, the creator and teacher at Free Code Camp, one of the sources I use to learn. Quincy is a great source of encouragement and knowledge about the process of learning these skills. He is the first one to say that basically anyone can learn these skills, as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort. I have friended him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter, because having people who are a source of encouragement has been really helpful for me.

The basic idea of Quincy’s article is that learning to code is beneficial, even if a person doesn’t work in the field. Programming is how humans talk to computers. Since computers are becoming increasingly intertwined in our day-to-day lives, it follows that being able to communicate with them would be useful. I completely agree. We use computers to automate work for us. The example he gives is Google searches. Without Google, it would be really tough to find the information we needed, and it would not happen as fast as it does with Google. Before being able to search the Web, some people would spend hours or days looking for the answer they needed. Some people never found the answers they were looking for. Now, we can type something into Google and have more answers than we need in only a matter of milliseconds. That wouldn’t be possible without people who know how to code, though, because computers need a clear set of instructions to be able to do tasks. Programmers are the people who give computers those instructions.

Something I found interesting about Quincy’s article is that he called coding “the new literacy”. I suppose this makes sense. Programming languages are similar to spoken languages. The words and symbols have meaning, and there are people who understand it, and people who don’t. Technology definitely isn’t going anywhere, so being able to communicate with it isn’t going to harm anything. There are people who ignore the changing trends in technology, or fail to realize that they are being left behind, and they will not be able to flourish the way that people who keep up with the changes will.

I am going to continue to learn this skill, and encourage others to do the same. Even learning a little bit and having an understanding of how technology works is a skill that is beneficial. I will not let articles dissuade me and break my confidence. I think it’s important to think about why you’re doing the things you’re doing. It’s good to challenge yourself and your reasons for doing things. It’s also important to find people who support you and help you remain confident. It’s important to find mentors and friends who are proud of you and will help you when you’re having those missing confidence days. It’s also important to be realistic and know that nothing comes easy, and those things that are truly worth it may require a lot of work.

This couldn’t have happened at a better time for me: I have an entrance interview this week for a coding school. I am scared and not sure that I have what it takes. I am not sure that I’m qualified. But, it’s something I’m passionate about, and so I have to at least try! If I get in and am able to go to the school, it will definitely help me reach my goals and I will learn so much from the experience. Humans are made to learn new things, so why stop learning?

What do you do when you need a boost in confidence? Let me know in the comments!

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Feminism Documentaries

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On Friday, my husband and I were both feeling under the weather, and spent most of the day in the living room watching documentaries and cuddling with our two adorable cats. It’s probably kind of weird that we watch so many documentaries, but it’s definitely evidence that we’re meant for each other!

Two that we watched on Friday were related, and were both amazing! I’m going to talk about both of them today, because I loved them both so much! They were both very informative, inspiring, and a little sad.

The first one we watched was called She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. It’s about second-wave feminism in the United States. They talk to many of the women who were leaders in the movement, which was incredible! It was so awesome to be able to hear about the women’s liberation movement from the voices of women who were actually a part of it.

One of the coolest things about the movie was seeing footage from the time, not just of some of the protests and speeches, but also footage of the press and how they talked about the movement. It made me mad, because there were news stories where the reporters were really rude. It made me thankful that I wasn’t alive back then. It was also interesting learning about the women’s liberation movement and the role the civil rights movement and anti-war movement played. Those movements worked together because they tended to have quite a bit in common.

The most heartbreaking part was when they were discussing Roe v Wade, and the way things worked beforehand. One woman talked about how she had a friend from high school who only made it a few months into college and died because she had an unsafe abortion. The role that access to birth control and healthcare for women is so important. This movie made it clear that it’s not something to take for granted. It’s part of the reason that women now are able to have careers and plan their lives. It was a good reminder that access to healthcare, family planning, and birth control is still something that we’re fighting for here, and its importance shouldn’t be forgotten.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry can currently be streamed on Netflix.

The second film we watched was Miss Representation. This film was a good complement to She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, but it took more of a modern focus on media portrayals of women and how it affects not just adults, but also children. This film was made by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is the wife of Gavin Newsom, the current Lieutenant Governor of California. She is an actress, who has become a filmmaker and activist, drawing attention to how the media affects both males and females.

Miss Representation talked to politicians, actresses, youth, activists, journalists, and others about the role that media plays in the lives of women and young girls. They discuss many topics, including how women journalists wear revealing clothes, like they are on screen as decoration, rather than as professionals informing the public.

They also discuss the film industry, and how there are not many women protagonists or directors. This is especially unfortunate since women make up 51% of the American population. They bring up an interesting point: women will watch movies and shows about men, but, in general, men will not watch movies or shows about women. This is really strange to me, and I’m not quite sure why it’s the case. That would explain why there are not as many female protagonists, however: it seems that the industry doesn’t think there is much of a market for it. That is starting to change, slowly.

One of the coolest things about this movie was that there were a couple different generations talking about the same issue. It’s cool to see the different perspectives and experiences, since they are so similar and yet also very different. Gloria Steinem, who has been working on this cause for a long time has been through different life experiences than a high school student, but both perspectives are important. It was also cool because the movie discusses how this issue affects men, which is important and interesting. A lot of time is spent discussing how the media’s portrayal of women affects females. And rightfully so. But, it’s important to note that this issue also affects boys and men. It not only impacts how they view the women around them, but also distorts their view of the way the world operates. I find this to be extremely interesting.

Miss Representation is also available for streaming on Netflix.

I think that both of these movies are a good pick for anyone wanting to learn more about the women’s liberation movement or feminism. They are also good movies for people who are knowledgeable about feminism and media’s portrayal of women because they both give great examples and food for thought.

Let’s chat! What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately?

Three Recent Realizations About Myself

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I’ve basically been living and breathing web development recently. I wish I had been keeping track of the amount of time that I’ve spent learning, building, applying for classes, reading, etc. It’s been a huge time investment for me. The one nice thing about it, though, is that I enjoy it. Spending a ton of time on something doesn’t seem so bad when it’s something you like. I recently finished a three month class from Skillcrush on some web development topics. It didn’t go deep enough to make me qualified for a job, but it did give me some good practice. I feel like I have a solid foundation, and now I just need to flesh out my knowledge a bit, keep building, and work on having an awesome portfolio and web presence!

Being laid off was maybe one of the best things that’s happened to me. I would like to go back to work, of course. It has given me an opportunity, however, to do some soul searching and figure out what I want to do. It has given me a chance to reflect on the jobs I’ve had in the past, the skills that I currently have, and what skills I’m missing. I’m trying to find the balance between finding a job as soon as I can and finding a job that I will actually enjoy.

Through all this reflection and learning, there are a few things about myself that I have realized lately.

  1. I am really lucky. I have the most fabulous support system, which has been really necessary during the last few months. Losing a job is one of the hardest things that people go through. Even though my previous job was not very satisfying, it’s still hard to be without work. I was already learning web development though, so when I was laid off, I already had something to work towards. I have people around me who are proud of me for taking my career into my own hands. I have found something I love to do, and I’m working hard to learn it, so it’s nice to have all that hard work recognized.
  2. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. I took a class last week about finding a job, and one of the things we talked about is the roller coaster of emotions that people go through when they lose their job. There are definitely the good days, when everything seems to be going according to plan. But, there are also the bad days, when things seem gloomy. Those bad days are the days when I internalize everything that’s happened, which is definitely not productive. It’s normal though. So, I just take the lows in stride, and wait for the upswing that will come.
  3. I have learned to be more appreciative. I have been lucky enough this year to watch spring unfold. I have watched the tree outside my living room burst into life after the winter. I have watched the bare branches become full of bright green leaves. I appreciate myself more. I have been able to take time to learn more about myself. It has helped me not be so hard on myself. I have been able to focus on me my family, my pets, my living space, and just breathe. I have grown to appreciate stillness and quiet. I have been able to appreciate my thoughts and the sounds of nature. I have been able to tear myself from the busyness of American life for a little while and experience the world around me. I appreciate that there is a program that allows me to worry less about money during this hard time so I can focus on getting a job that will make me happy. I will forever be grateful for this time and all it’s done for me.

Right now, positive thinking is really important to me. Being able to see the silver lining and all of the good things around me is something that isn’t just for right now, but is something I think will come in handy for the rest of my life. Even though things aren’t always good, and life can be terribly difficult, it’s good to be able to come at problems with a bit of perspective.

Let’s talk! What have you learned about yourself this week?

Week in Podcasts: Somethings Old, Somethings New

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I had a super full week of podcasts this week! Work this week was pretty quiet, so I was able to focus on some data entry tasks, and I could listen to podcasts while I was doing it! There was also a big snowstorm on Tuesday, so I listened to podcasts during my long commutes. I’m so glad that there are so many great podcasts out there! It’s the perfect thing to listen to while driving and while doing work and chores.

To start off, I have talked about Serial before, and this week was a big week for Serial. Not only was there a new episode for Season 2, there was an update to Season 1! The episode for Season 2 was good, but I am still having a tough time getting hooked to it the same way I did to Season 1. I can’t decide what it is about Bowe Bergdahl’s story that is not as interesting as Adnan Syed’s, but it is kind of cool having a podcast about a case that is currently being decided, rather than one that was decided over a decade ago. This week’s episode is about why Bowe decided to abandon his post. It covered what he was planning on telling higher ups in the military, especially about the conditions that he and his fellow soldiers were living with. It was interesting hearing him and other soldiers discussing not only what their expectations of war were and how those expectations aligned with the reality they dealt with daily. There were some issues with the conditions, and I agree that those conditions should have been better, but many people are not sure that Bowe handled the situation correctly by leaving. I am going to have to keep listening, and maybe eventually I will have an opinion about what I think happened.

The update to Serial Season 1 has been really interesting. Adnan was given a hearing to determine whether or not his case should go back to trial, so host Sarah Koenig went to report on it. She covered what they were talking about in the hearing. There was a girl who came forward to be an alibi and did not testify in the original trial. They also discussed phone records, which used cell phone tower information to determine where Adnan was the day his ex-girlfriend went missing. Apparently, the evidence based on the cell phone towers, specifically information from incoming calls, is inadmissible evidence, because it is inaccurate. That was a huge piece of evidence used to prove Adnan guilty. The hearing is still going on, so Sarah Koenig will be doing updates occasionally to discuss what happens in the trial. I am so excited for more updates!

I also listened to an episode from Stuff Mom Never Told You called “Infertility’s Global Stigma”. As the title suggests, this episode talks about infertility and how it affects women all over the world. There is definitely a stigma around infertility, and it is not something that most people are open about. Often, and especially historically, women were blamed for infertility. Even though it is something that women should be open about, since it can be a huge struggle, so often women keep the struggle to themselves. The thing I love about this podcast is that they discussed how difficult it can be for healthy couples to get pregnant. People are taught that it is extremely easy to get pregnant, generally as a deterrent for becoming sexually active before being ready. It actually isn’t always that easy. Sure, there are some couples that have a very easy time getting pregnant. There are so many couples that struggle to get pregnant, however. Sometimes, it is a short-term issue, and sometimes it becomes obvious that some people will never get pregnant. As someone who may struggle with fertility due to PCOS, this episode really hit home for me. It was good to hear about other people’s struggles, and to know that it is something that no one needs to be ashamed of. It also made me hope that I do not have problems with fertility, I would really love to be a parent someday. This episode made me sad and hopeful, I commend the hosts for discussing the topic.

Next, I listened to a podcast that I have never heard before called CodeNewbie and I am so glad I found it. It’s mostly geared toward people who are new to code, it seems, but there is definitely something for everyone. The first episode includes an interview with Carlos Lazo, and talks about how he learned to code and got hired. One point made in the podcast that I am so glad they brought up is the fact that people who work in coding will always be learning, since the technology is always changing. I think that’s the thing I like about it so much. I love learning, and I love being in school, so working in an industry that is accepting of people who want to continue to learn and grow is very appealing to me. They also discussed how to interview for a job in the tech industry, which seem really scary. Not only do you have to do the standard interview where the prospective employer sees if they think you would fit in and have an idea of what you’ll be doing, but you also have to do a more technical part of the interview to show what you know. The advice that Carlos Lazo gave is to be honest in an interview about what you don’t know, but also make it clear that you’re willing to learn. This is a podcast I will definitely keep listening to, I love it!

Another new podcast I tried out this week is called The Station Wagon Podcast, which was actually recommended to me on Twitter by Marc, one of the hosts! This is a really interesting podcast, where a brother and sister duo give something up for two weeks, and talk about how it went! In the first episode, they give up sitting. That means that they stand at work, stand or squat at home, and only sit when commuting or when they had to (work meetings, etc). It was so interesting to hear how it went for them, and points where they wanted to give up. The funniest story of the podcast was a point where the other host, Julie, was at work. She had a meeting to attend, and was so excited for the rare opportunity to sit down. One of her coworkers told the person they were going to have the meeting with about Julie’s challenge. The person was super excited about her challenge, and told her she could absolutely stand through the meeting! How disappointing. I am so excited to listen to more of the episodes. I think that this podcast would be a good one for anyone to listen to. It’s not super technical, and is interesting, informative, but is also really fun!

Another podcast that was recommended to me was Developer Tea. By the title, you can see that this is also a podcast for people who work in web development. The cool thing about this podcast is that it’s a short-form podcast, which I am not very familiar with. I usually listen to podcasts that are around an hour long or more. The concept of this one is to have a podcast that someone could listen to while taking a tea or coffee break. I listened to the first two episodes. The first one was basically an introduction to the podcast and its host, Jonathan Cutrell. The second episode is about focus. This is something that I struggle with sometimes. It’s so easy to get distracted, especially at this point, when I am learning how to code. Focus is extremely important, in most of the things we do. A short discussion on focus, why it’s important, and how to increase focus was really helpful for me. I learned a little, and it made me think about my habits. This is a podcast that I am really excited to keep listening to.

I hope that you guys try out some of these podcasts, it’s awesome to support the people who make them, and learn things at the same time! Do you guys have any suggestions of podcasts I should try out? Let me know in the comments!

 

Week in Podcasts: The Evil-ness of Technology and Winning Friends

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It’s the weekend! I hope that everyone is having a relaxing and lovely day! Also, I hope my US east coast readers are all staying safe and warm after a pretty crazy Minnesota-style blizzard! So far, I’ve talked to my mom, turned on my new essential oil diffuser with bergamot oil, had a delicious cup of coffee from my Nespresso, worked on coding, watched something for tomorrow’s Lazy Sunday Binge Watch post and cuddled with my adorable cats! I would say that’s the start of a successful Saturday!

This week, I listened to some awesome podcasts, and I would like to tell you all about a few of them!

This week, I listened to two episodes of CodeBreaker. In case you didn’t read my last post about podcasts, I talk about CodeBreaker. It is a podcast with a theme of talking about different aspects of technology and whether or not it is evil. I think that’s such an interesting topic, and I’m happy to say that it has definitely kept my attention through more episodes. The first one that I listened to this week is about the Dark Web. Basically, the Dark Web is a part of the internet that the average person does not access. It offers anonymity to people who choose to go there. It has been home to some illegal activity, such as black markets selling weapons and drugs. Even though it gets a reputation for being evil, this episode did show that it might not be evil by definition, it becomes evil when it’s used for evil purposes. There was one part of the story about a couple that turned to the dark web to buy prescription drugs that the woman needs to live. The drugs were so expensive that they were not able to pay for them, without being unable to pay for other important things like food or electricity. The issue of not being able to get essential medicine is not really the point of this post, but it’s really sad that some people are in positions where they can’t. The point of the podcast was that there could be times where using the dark web, even for illegal activities, is perhaps not evil.

The second episode of CodeBreaker was also really awesome. It was about software updates: are they evil? I honestly have had bad experiences with software updates, so I was really interested to see what the podcast had to say about it. They told one really interesting story about the International Space Station, and how it got a faulty software update, which made it difficult for them to communicate with earth. It is amazing to think that one tiny mistake in software coding could cause such a huge piece of technology to not function properly. The second really interesting story was about people who have pacemakers. There was a malfunction in some peoples’ pacemakers that caused them to shock the person after the wires attached to their heart got loose. Not only would that be painful, it could also be deadly. In order to fix this, a software update was sent out to people with the affected pacemakers so that their pacemaker would start beeping if the wires got loose and the person needed surgery. That is a time when a software update has definitely saved lives. So far, I think this has been my favorite episode of CodeBreaker, and I am really excited to listen to more!

I also listened to an episode of This American Life called How to Win Friends and Influence People, and all of the stories related to friendship in some way. There was a really fantastic story by Paul Feig, who is pretty well known writer. It is about how his dad didn’t think that he had friends, so he made Paul read How to Win Friends and Influence People in order to get more friends. It didn’t really work out well. There was also a story by David Sedaris, who is one of my favorite authors, about the popular kids in school, and what happened when one of them hit David in the mouth with a rock. He is hilarious, and so good at telling a story, so that was a really fun segment to listen to. There was also a really sad story about a guy who lost his wife in a car accident. After that, he started dressing up like a superhero whenever he got the chance. He kind of became a local celebrity, which was really interesting. He took the chance to live life to the fullest, which was inspiring.

I didn’t have much time to listen to podcasts this week, but the ones I did listen to were really fantastic!

Let’s chat!
Do you have any podcasts that you have been listening to? Have any of you listened to any of my recommendations?

Have a happy Saturday!

 

Deep Thoughts Thursday: A List Post for the New Year

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Happy end of 2015, everyone!

I thought I would do a quick year in review, so I can give some of my impressions of how this year went, and what I hope for in 2016. So, here’s my post of lists!

In many ways, 2015 was one of the best years of my adult life, and one of the hardest. I suppose variety is the spice of life, right? How was this one of the best years?

  • This was probably the best year of marriage so far, for my husband and I. We moved into an apartment we love at the end of 2014, we have two adorable cats, and we are working on being healthier, happier and more successful adults. He started a new job that he likes, and I am working on blogging and learning to code. So, I would consider this year a success for our little family! 🙂
  • Like I mentioned above, I am blogging and coding. This year has been huge for me when it comes to doing things I want to do. Things I have always wanted to do. Almost a year ago, I started this blog, and I think it’s been pretty successful! I have some wonderful readers, and I am really enjoying myself! Coding is frustrating and so much fun all at the same time. Sometimes I feel crazy for trying to teach myself, instead of forking out money to have someone teach me. But, this allows me to learn at my own pace, and if I need to stop working on it for a little while, I am not out any money, just valuable practice time!
  • This year, I have started trying to get healthier. It’s a slow process and something I want to work on more next year. It’s good to work on it though, and I really feel like it’s better for the process to be slow rather than too fast and unsafe. This is a priority for me when it comes to both my physical and mental health. 2016 will have this be a priority again.
  • I turned 30 this year, and that is a pretty exciting milestone! I am pretty happy to be out of my 20s. I am still confident that my 30s will be a really awesome!

And how was it one of the hardest years?

  • I think that as I get older, it becomes more and more clear how complicated and difficult the world is. There are many beautiful things about the world, but there are also things that are really hard to hear about. It’s hard to know what to do to fix the ills of the world. I know it’s part of growing up, and it’s not like I was blissfully unaware of what was going on in the world before now, but this year these issues have become clearer and more at the forefront of my mind.
  • As I have talked about here before, I was diagnosed with PCOS this year. This is still new to me, still something that I am trying to navigate. In many ways, I know that this is going to be an uphill battle for me in the future. I am lucky to have very supportive friends and family, which I am so thankful for. But, the thought of maybe not being able to have kids is terrifying to me. I have been spending some time trying to prepare myself for that. It’s not that I am focusing on the negative things, I am simply trying to be realistic. There is a chance that kids won’t be in the cards for me. At least not biological ones. Which is heartbreaking. But I am confident that 2016 will bring some answers to this and will bring some progress to getting the symptoms under control.
  • My grandmother died a few months ago, and I know it’s something my family is still working through. Today would have been her birthday. I know that it’s a blessing that she is not hurting or struggling anymore, but it’s still sad. There is still a void in my family. I have been lucky that I have not lost many people in my life so far. It is still sad, of course.

I think it’s a good sign that there are more things that come to mind about why this year has been awesome instead of reasons why this year has been tough. I really hope that 2016 is even better!

Here are a few things I am planning on working on in 2016:

  • My health: I think that this is my number one goal for the coming year. There are things for me to work on both mentally and physically, and I am really excited to make some progress!
  • Blogging: I have a great foundation with All Things Autumn, even though I have fallen off a little bit in the last month or so. I am so excited to jump back on the bandwagon in 2016, and bring you all more exciting and awesome content! I am also excited to take some classes from WordPress’s Blogging U.
  • Coding: I am hoping to be able to use the skills I’m learning by summer. That will take lots of hard work on my end, but I have motivation, so why not run with it?
  • Cookbook material: I started 2015 wanting to publish a cookbook. I have been working on content for it, but I need to keep working on it! This year, I will start working on some more original recipes to include in it! I will hopefully learn a lot of new cooking techniques! And hopefully find some good, healthy things to eat along the way!

In general, 2015 was not a year of big accomplishments for me. It was not a year where there were tons of big events to put in a scrapbook. Most of the successes for me have been internal, quiet and small. It may be the introvert in me, but I am satisfied with it.

Tonight, my husband and I will be quietly celebrating the start of a new year at home. We found ideas of foods that other cultures think are lucky, and we’re having them for dinner: pork, greens, and beans. I am glad to be spending tonight this way!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

 

Deep Thoughts Thursday: Thankfulness

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Since today is Thanksgiving in the US, I think it’s the perfect (and obvious) opportunity to talk about thankfulness. I was to start off by saying that I don’t think that people should only talk about and think about what they are thankful for during the holiday season. The holidays are a natural opportunity, but finding things to be thankful for all the time and living with an attitude of gratefulness is really important. As I’ve mentioned, I am trying to make more of an effort to focus on all of the good things in life, all of the things that I am lucky to have. Both when things are going great and not-so-great, I want to reflect on things to be grateful for. I just think it would be good for me to take a step back from my busy life and reflect.

A few days ago, I wrote about some of my favorite things, which would basically sum up what I would say if I were to list the things I am thankful for this year. It’s not that those things don’t bear repeating, but I think I said what I wanted to say. If you didn’t read it, go check it out!

People in the US have mixed feelings about Thanksgiving. There are people that basically feel that it is honoring the settlers who came over and brutally treated the indigenous people. While I agree that the slaughtering and taking land from the people who were here first was wrong, and a really dark time in America’s history, Thanksgiving to me isn’t about that at all. To me, it is a time to spend around the table with my family, reflecting on the blessings of the previous year. I spend this time eating more food than I should, and enjoying the company of my loved ones.

One of my favorite things about holidays is how they have evolved. For me, holidays are not necessarily about commemorating the same message as when it was celebrated originally. The beauty of holidays is that there are so many opportunities to make your own traditions. Not everyone eats turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Some people go to multiple dinners, some to one. I used to watch the Thanksgiving parade on TV. I really only stopped a few years ago. My family has Thanksgiving dinner as more of a lunch, so every year, we are at least a little hungry again by dinner time. My mom and I used to make dressing for dinner, since that’s one of our favorite parts of the meal. This year, my husband and I will have chicken enchiladas with a pumpkin enchilada sauce waiting for us in case we get hungry. And, even if we are too full to eat it today, we will be able to eat it tomorrow, and keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive for one more day!

My point is that I have a lot to be thankful for. This year, I am especially thankful for traditions, especially the special traditions I just share with my family.

What about you, dear readers? What are your favorite traditions and holidays? What are you thankful for?