My friend, Josh, posted on facebook that he had countless grapes up for grabs. I decided then I would try making and canning jam for the first time.
I got excited but immediately got nervous. I had never done anything like that. It could be hard.
I kept telling myself that plenty of people have done it, so it can't be that difficult. Fortunately, I have a friend about my age who has just started canning. She seemed more real than the full-time homemakers that I imagined who effortlessly canned jam while planning a school event and teaching their 3 year-old to read. I figured if this friend who has many similar interests and just as limited experience could maneuver this new task that I could, too.
Yet, I couldn't fight the nerves as I read online, purchased the supplies, and started the process. Even after pulling the jam out of the boiling water, I was nervous that the jam wouldn't set or that the jars wouldn't seal.
Even as I listened to jar lids popping, I worried if the jam would even taste good.
Well, the good news is that the jam tastes delicious. I added cinnamon and allspice because those were the only fall spices I could find in the pantry. The spices definitely livened up the jam.
And the best part was that I felt rewarded and accomplished when I was done. Not only had I performed a task, but I learned a new skill as well. I also created something that wasn't there before. It was a beautiful experience.
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
"Everyone can create. You don't need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
"Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty...
"...Remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn't it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it--your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
"...The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before--colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
"...The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
From "Happiness, Your Heritage" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Maybe next time I'll take pictures of the process and post them with instructions to help out the next person. (I found plenty of information on various sites, but I had to piece together the information from a few recipes and how-tos to come up with what I did.) Until then, here's the final product: