We’re living in something of a glass-half-full world at the moment. Have you noticed? Most days either you’re loving all of this time with family and finding ways to spread laughter and happiness, or you’re scared, and anxious and struggling to get through. (Some days, you’re a little bit of both, and that’s okay!) For the most part, your feelings and attitude depend on your perspective. Are you choosing the “safe at home” or the “stuck at home” view today? Are you choosing to see this as an opportunity or a hardship?
Now, I’m not discounting the fact that this time has its fair share of difficulties for many of us. Maybe you’re out of work, but there are still bills to pay. Maybe you have to work, but you’re struggling to find someone to take care of your children. Maybe you have family or friends on the front lines, exposed to this virus day in and day out, and you’re worried about their health and the health of your family. Maybe you’re dealing with the very real physical and emotional effects of isolation. These are all legitimate concerns, and I’m not asking you to pretend like they’re not real or like you’re not experiencing them. And I’m not pretending like this is a cure-all for what we’re collectively going through at the moment.
But I think it’s possible, even in the midst of the struggle, to find small moments of joy throughout the day. I think it’s actually important to pursue those moments, for the very sake of our emotional and physical health. Because over time, as we pursue those small moments of joy they can help us find healthy ways of coping with an incredibly difficult situation.
MY PERSONAL JOY
For me, one of the things that gives me joy after a difficult day is baking. A couple of years ago I discovered a passion for baking from scratch that caught me off guard. Previously, my baking experience was limited to dumping a box mix into a bowl, adding a couple of eggs, and pouring it into a pan. But when we gave up refined sugar I had to also give up boxed mixes. So if I wanted a sweet treat, it had to be made from scratch.
Now, I’m not into particularly complicated recipes, but there’s something inspiring about mixing together a handful of different ingredients – a little butter, some flour, eggs, chocolate (most of my recipes use chocolate) – and pulling a delectable treat out of the oven that I get to savor for days to come. It makes me feel creative and like I accomplished something. Plus… hello, chocolate.
So last night after a challenging day of work-from-home and being the mom of a toddler, I sat down and started watching “In the Kitchen with Joanna Gaines.” She was doing a lot of baking, and the short segment, filmed by her kids during quarantine, filled me with this cozy warm sense of joy. It inspired me to pull out some of my favorite ingredients and bake, and I felt some of the pressures of the day slip from my shoulders as I mixed eggs and butter, flour and cocoa… I felt rewarded and happy long before the brownies came out of the oven.
WHERE IS YOUR JOY?
I know baking isn’t the solution for everyone. Maybe you like gardening, or reading a book, or being outdoors. There are lots of hobbies that we can’t pursue in quarantine, but it seems there are many more that we often push aside for lack of time that are just waiting to fill us with a moment of joy. So where is your joy? And how can you find a few minutes today to pursue that joy? Read a page or two before bed. Turn off the TV (or go in another room) and journal for a bit. If the weather is nice where you’re at, take a walk. (We walked several laps around our back yard two days ago just to get out and get some fresh air.) Pull out those scrapbooking materials that you’ve been saving for just the right time and get to work. Or finally organize that hall closet that fills you with dread every time you open it.
Just find those little tasks or moments every day to fill with your personal joy and allow that to bring a little light to your outlook. Who knows, when this is all over, you may have made a few fond memories and even some important life changes.
And for those of you who want to try your hand at the joy of baking from scratch, here’s the brownie recipe I made last night:
THE BROWNIE RECIPE
1 stick butter
1 cup organic, unrefined coconut sugar (this is what we use to avoid refined sugars, but you can use regular white sugar if that’s what you have on hand)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Crack the eggs and whisk them together, then set them aside. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and melt, then set aside.
In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together until well blended. (The mixture should be brown with no white spots.)
Pour the melted butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients, then mix.
Add in the egg and gently mix until just blended. The batter should be smooth and creamy, but thick.
Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan and pour the mixture in the pan.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Mine took about 25 minutes in a glass pan, but depending on your oven and your bakeware, it may take more or less time. Test with a toothpick in the center. It should come out clean when the brownies are done.
Let cool, and enjoy!
Please let me know how you’re pursuing joy in the comments below!
Hello! I’m a wife and mother, a mastiff lover, a believer, writer, designer and small business owner. I love cheesy movies, bike rides and chocolate. Welcome to my world!