The bell has a very sweet sound. I keep it on a tiered shelf in my home office along with souvenirs from many other trips. Partly because of that wonderful first trip, and partly because my adult daughter lives in Oslo, Norway, I have since made many more trips to Europe, and to other places as well.
I think the novelty of the things we see and do when traveling is one of the reasons those experiences stick with us and make us feel so alive. We break away from familiar settings and our normal routines when we travel, and we meet new people, too. But though I’ve experienced many lovely moments during trips abroad (and also during trips closer to home), some of my most joyful moments are everyday small moments.
I might be driving in a car not far from home, for example, when I come upon a stunning view of snow-capped mountains (I live in the Pacific Northwest), or a row of trees with brightly-colored fall leaves, and a feeling of awe and a profound sense of well-being washes over me.
Some of the small moments that bring me joy are ones I experience alone, such as when meditating, writing in my journal (or on a story), or reading something that is deliciously well-written, fascinating, funny, or insightful.
But my most joyful small moments are usually ones that connect me to others. These include daily walks with my husband and our small dog, coffee after yoga with gym lady friends, lunches out with my two sisters, and holiday dinners with extended family. Also, phone calls with faraway family and friends (including my amazing co-author, Joan Holub), get-togethers and meetings with other local children’s writers (like Dia!), and simple pleasant exchanges with acquaintances and strangers.
More often than I would like, I fail to take advantage of (or am oblivious to) the numerous opportunities I have each day to be joyful and alive. (The downside to things we do habitually.) Still, I am grateful for the times when I do remember to savor those small moments – to listen for those ringing bells.
7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.
7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me on January 12 for a guest post with children's book author Erik Brooks.