In a recent interview (following this blog) I was asked about my writing rituals. I talked about music I listen to and what I have on my desk—how flowers, essential oils, and a candle help me focus. But I forgot to mention a room with a view.
In the beginning stages of a story, when I have something scenic to stare out at, it sirs my imagination and sometimes gives me new directions in a story. The last time I gazed out to the changing November leaves through my window, I was reminded of the daily texts I used to share with my cousin before she passed away. We created a practice of sharing “Moments of Joy” with each other—big things or little things; it didn’t matter. Nearly every day we shared whatever we had observed or experienced that had sparked joy.
It was a helpful way to clear negativity and boost mood. A quick and easy way to rest the mind from the sometimes anxious, sad, or hard parts in life that impact everyone.
If my cousin had been alive when I took this recent photo from my writing room, I would have sent it to her immediately and written: Moment of Joy: My view of fire-red leaves today! It made me realize how much I missed this intentional practice we followed together. I stopped thinking about it after her death; it wasn’t the same without her.
But, as often is the case, after a few seasons of grieving, I returned to this memory for comfort. And sometimes we can return to memories with new purpose. So, in Cori’s memory, I’m launching “Moments of Joy” on my social media pages as a reminder of what’s good, and right, and beautiful in life—even in the midst of whatever challenges we may be facing.
I hope you’ll follow along and share with me your own “Moments of Joy”!
Link to Debra’s most recent interview: https://bettybolte.net/?p=3326
I’ve been thinking about the art of mindfulness…
One of the many benefits of being a writer and a reader is the opportunity to practice mindfulness. As a psychotherapist I’ve taught this skill many times: learn how to pay attention and experience life rather than hurry through it. When you slow down and engage in every moment it’s good for the heart, mind and soul. (Such an important skill to use as we raise our children and grandchildren!)
For me, the art of writing includes the practice of mindfulness with intention. My goal is to intentionally use all the senses in every scene I write about so that the reader will unintentionally awaken to mindfulness as they read. You slow down and experience the story, rather than just “read” it.
One of my favorite places to go is the McKenzie River in Oregon. Becoming more mindful just happens there. Experience it in my next novel!
Baking chocolate turtle cookies is a family tradition in our home. I was about ten-years-old when my Grandma Snow shared her recipe with me. Why are they so special? Well, first they’re chocolate. But the fun part is making them in a waffle iron! The ingredients are simple, the preparation is easy, but some patience is required. We can only cook four at a time in our waffle iron, so the temptation to eat them as we go is torture for my granddaughter and me!
This special recipe is my gift to you this holiday season. Make them with someone you love.
GRANDMA SNOW’S TURTLE COOKIES
10 level T. cocoa OR 4 squares of chocolate
2 sticks butter plus 2 T.
1 ½ C. sugar
2 C. flour (note: I have done these with Gluten-free flour too!)
Combine cocoa and butter over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter is melted and well blended with cocoa.
Beat 4 eggs in a bowl, add sugar, combine egg and cocoa mixture and then add flour.
Heat waffle iron (set to medium heat). Brush with vegetable oil, and drop batter by the teaspoon-full onto waffle iron.
Bake 1 ½ min. and remove with fork. Place on cookie sheet lined with paper towels. (Reapply vegetable oil to waffle iron as needed)
5 T. cocoa OR 2 squares chocolate
1/3 C. milk
¼ C. butter, plus 1 T.
Melt ingredients in pan stirring until thick. Remove from heat and ADD:
1 t. vanilla and 2 ½ C. powdered sugar.
Beat until smooth. (It will be thin. I use a spoon to cover the cookies and fill in the holes)
SPRINKLE WITH GREEN SPRINKLES while frosting is still wet. (This is the perfect task for children!) ENJOY!
I was just a child the first time I vacationed at my Grandma Snow’s cabin in Minnesota. The moment I stepped into her kitchen, I gasped so loud it startled everyone within earshot. In front of me stood an old, rustic pine wood hutch holding a beautiful set of antique flo-blue dishes. I swooned over every dainty teacup, delicate plate and elegant bowl displayed there.
Since that day I’ve loved all things blue.
My grandmother never forgot my spontaneous reaction to her favorite blue dishes. When she died at the age of 96, she bequeathed the entire set to me—a gift so precious I hardly have words for it. The color sparks joy, of course, but it’s the memory of her I see in each lovely piece that is the true gift.
This blog is dedicated to her.