One year

Hi y’all!

Exactly one year ago, I hit ‘publish’ on this post. I went from being a regular person to being a . . . blogger.

Why did I start blogging? Three reasons emerge with clarity:

1) I had been working for about 8 months at an office job that required my butt to be in a chair from 9-5, however did not give me a full 8 hours of work.

I tried to fill the empty hours with reading books, reading the Pioneer Woman’s blog, and researching periods of history I knew nothing about (is it called ‘researching’ if it’s just on wikipedia?) in order to become a better wife for my historian husband. However, there’s only so much reading one can do in a day before one’s eyes bug out and one starts screaming and pulling out wads of hair from one’s scalp. I was going crazy. I needed something to do, something I could create during those long hours. I needed to make the transition from just being the recipient of writing to being the writer. Since I sit in front of a computer screen all day, blogging seemed like the perfect solution.

2) The Pioneer Woman. She inspires me, makes me laugh, and made me realize that blogging wasn’t necessarily an online journal in which I had to weep and moan and publicly gnash my teeth about various and sundry dramatic events in my life (this would have been problematic since there is no drama at this point). Blogging could be whatever you made it to be! There is a time for gnashing of teeth, but for me, that time is not now. Plus, the PW had killer step-by-step photographs for all her recipes which I was dying to emulate.

3) Photography. I had purchased my Nikon DSLR in February of 2010, and I suspected that blogging would be a wonderful outlet and a motivational kick-in-the-butt that would push me to become a better photographer. And it has! Please compare the following pictures, one from a recipe very early on, and two from more recent recipes.

This is a picture of Mush, from my first month of blogging . . . it’s not looking very appetizing, but ironically it’s my favorite recipe among all the ones I’ve posted. The picture: dark and underexposed, screwed up white balance (too heavy on the blues), sketchy focus.

And here’s a picture of my Shredded Brussel Sprouts from February, looking worlds better. Ah, the sweet smell of progress.

And that Mushroom Sage Pasta–oh heavens. I need to make that again soon.

I can’t wait to see where I am–photographically speaking–another year from now.

What have I learned from blogging?

1) The world of blogging, in general, is so extremely positive. A whole network of women, including old friends, family members, and bloggers I’ve never met face to face, leave the happiest and most motivating comments on a daily basis. Thank you ladies! And gents . . . the few of you that stumble around here.

2) I love writing. I love photography. I want to get better at both, and this is a great medium to do so!

3) I’ve learned about myself through this process. I’ve learned that it’s important for me to be engaged in creative endeavors–it makes me feel alive, and I believe that when I unleash my creativity (be it through day-to-day cooking, blogging, photography, writing, singing) I’m fulfilling some part of my Purpose in life (big ‘P’ purpose–you can read more about that here). Another point: I grew up in Spain, where sarcasm and pessimism reign supreme. Yes, Spaniards also like to party and are absolutely wonderful people, but there’s a cynical edge to the culture that is undeniable. It wasn’t until I moved to the States for college that I started to suspect I wasn’t actually a melancholy semi-depressed individual. I was pretty darn happy. I like being happy. I like seeing the good side of things. And I like sharing that happy-go-lucky attitude through my writing–an attitude whose feet (I hope and pray) are firmly planted on a deep eternal joy that comes straight from God. There’s no place for flimsy and ephimeral joy in a world that has so much pain and suffering–I want to have a hard-core joy. One that weathers life’s twists and turns and hurts and falls. It gives me a pick-me-up to write from that perspective, and I hope it gives you a pick-me-up to read it. I am an optimist with a firm foundation for that optimism, and blogging has really made that clear to me.

I could wax on and on–but instead, being that it’s my . . . argh! I told myself I wouldn’t use the world ‘blogiversary’ . . . year milestone (phew), I think I’m going to go have a fresh cup of coffee to celebrate. If you feel like reading some tidbits from the past, some of my favorite posts have been these 2 serials:

1) Erica’s wedding (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

2) My trip to the Pioneer Woman’s ranch (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Questions for the future of blogging:

1) How can I con my sisters into writing guest posts for me?

Erica and Heidi, please send your recommendations on that last question. I figure you can tell me how to con you better than anyone else out there.

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14 Responses to One year

  1. Yay, Happy blogi…er, year milestone! Hmmm, I “met you” as I played on WordPress with my oh-so new baby blog. Your header is what drew me in! :) I knew I was officially a “blog follower” when I thought someone hocked your recipe photo and put it on TK as their own. I gasped in horror, and something in me rose up to defend my friend, Jenna. Oh, phew! Lovenest on TK IS Jenna! Good thing! It was about to get u-g-l-y! hee hee :) Great job, girl, keep up the good work! ~Tonya from 4 little Fergusons

  2. Wendy says:

    Congratulations! One year is certainly something of which to be proud, not to mention your entertaining writing and interesting perspective. (insert clapping here). Bravo!

  3. Sarah says:

    congrats on one year! woohoo!

  4. Happy one year! I wish I had an interest in improving my photography–can I just have you take my photos for me?

  5. Twinky says:

    Happity-hap-happy to you!!
    I look forward to your musings and photos every day and pout a bit on weekends when there is no new posting. I am so glad you do what you do and you are what you are, especially the synthesis of Spanish culture in the process of discovering who you are.
    As for that first picture of Mush, I think it is a fabulous photo! I do not see it as too underexposed… the colors are rich and well defined…. I would hazard the comment that sometimes your more current tendencies in food photography lean towards a wee bit too lighty-brighty and washed out. But that’s my opinion!
    Congratulations, my dear daughter, on all your creative endeavors: may God continue to prosper you as you use all the multitudinous talents He has heaped on you!!


  6. surlykitchen says:

    congrats on you 1 yr anniversary. i, too, started mine to fill the free time i found myself with when i went on disability for my stomach illness. plus i have been able to be creative, and hear from others, like me, who suffer from stomach diseases.

    i really enjoy your blog and your stories. can’t wait to see what your second year brings.

  7. Veronica says:

    It’s so funny that the Pioneer Woman was who exposed you to the other side of blogging because she was the first blog I began checking on a daily basis. She got me addicted and now I check several on a daily basis and even took a shot at my own.
    Congrats on one year!

  8. Heidi says:

    Jenna, I have but one suggestion on how to get me to write a guest post: produce some offspring.

    Just kidding. I’ll do it free of charge… one of these days

  9. Tracy says:

    Happy blogoversary (sorry, couldn’t help it)! I am glad you are blogging! :-)

  10. Eleanor says:

    Congrats, I love ready your blog and trying the food recps. When is pie month?

  11. Veronica says:

    I saw my name up there and thought I was going crazy b/c I didn’t remember reading this and commenting! lol! I don’t see my name too often, so it’s cool that you have two Veronica readers. Maybe her and I should get together and form a band or something. ;) Anyway, happy 1st blog anniversary! I steered clear of the word you dread for your gift. :) I’m so glad that your job, PW and photography all combined to get you to start blogging b/c you’re seriously one of my favorites. You are a great writer and have the ability to engage anyone with photographs and stories of your family, which is no small feat! Looking forward to those guest posts….and pictures of the offspring you’ll have to produce to get them! lol

    • Jenna says:

      It’s funny that you mention that, because when I first saw the ‘other’ Veronica’s comment I first assumed it was you! =) Thanks for your words of encouragement, and for steering clear from ‘blogo . . . etc.’ =)

  12. Wendi says:

    Happy happy birthday to JEB. Looking forward to what the next year brings for the blog.

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