Help Me Try Out My New Toy!

holiday, baking, recipesSanta brought me an early new toy– a cookbook template I’d love to fill with your favorite recipes, photos and memories surrounding your family gatherings. Graduations, pre-Christmas parties, weddings and friendly pot-lucks are already gearing up early this month and every one of them has wonderful food. Party chit-chat often involves traditional family favorites or new dishes people want to try. We love those treats! Our desire to eat three times a day drives a creative enthusiasm around the topic of delicious food.


As you gather with those you love this holiday season collect those recipes and stories or memories surrounding your meals and holiday traditions. Take those scraps and bits and bobs of recipes from Aunt Leta, Grandma and Uncle Joe’s fabulous BBQ sauce and bring them all together in one place. I’d love to craft these together into a one-of-a-kind personalized cookbook for you and your family. What a meaningful, unique gift that everyone will cherish and add to over the years.


The first five people to help me test my new cookbook template will receive a 15% discount on their project. Offer expires on 12/15 so get in on the goodies now!


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Delight Your Family with Holiday Highlights

holidays, memories, childhood, ChristmasWe love to hear our elders reminisce about holidays. Their memories help tie families together and strengthen bonds. These gatherings  sometimes bring challenges but they sure do stick in our hearts and minds. The topic of holidays is great material for story gathering, especially for the younger generations who’d love to know what your childhood was like. So much changes over the decades, world events, technology, customs — open up the door for a sneak peek into this part of your story. Make sure you add in some of these details as you go through the following questions. You’ll all be glad you did.


The book Recording Your Family History  provides some great prompts for recording your childhood holiday memories:


 “Think back and describe who would be there

around the table and what it was like for you on that holiday.”


Here’s a few questions to start with:

Can you describe in detail one particularly memorable year?

What type of food would you eat?

What was your favorite tradition?

What was it like?

Were there special religious festivities as part of your holiday celebration?

Did you ever receive or give a gift with especially great meaning?

How about now, what do your holidays look like?

Do you still make special recipes handed down in your family?

What holidays have you celebrated that carried forward from your ancestors? Tamales? Lutefisk? Baklava?


I’d love to hear about your holiday memories, drop me a line.


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¡Celebra la Agricultura!

Agriculture, farmingCelebrate Agriculture! Whatever language you say it in, shout it loud this fall. I’ve been crazy busy this week getting ready to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of an irrigation district in southern New Mexico. It’s  fun to be part of telling the story.  I’ve been immersed in great photos old and new of hardworking people building, farming, irrigating and otherwise engaged in the age old struggle to produce food, clothing and shelter. It’s humbling and awe inspiring.

So this harvest season my thanks and appreciation to all who make this happen. Remember your agricultural roots next time you sit down to some enchiladas and pecan pie.

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The Power and Value of Ordinary Conversations

friends, conversation, friendshipWe need to be reminded of the power of ordinary conversations and their ability to encourage. This morning I interviewed a colleague at a local business where I do some public information writing. She is professional, friendly and extremely competent. Before today we had only visited on a surface level for a few minutes at a time. But today was different. We sat and just talked. Yes, I was interviewing her for the company newsletter, but I was also just listening to her story. She spoke about resilience, about choosing joy in difficult circumstances, about loving your children and valuing your work and friendships.

Her face lit up when she shared about some of the amazing adventures she’s had that bring a sense of fun and a zest for life that inspires her. She is generous hearted and inspires her adult kids by scuba diving, learning to fly a drone for work, challenging herself with weightlifting training and rescuing abandoned furry friends, giving them a new home.

She spoke of the power of unexpected surprises as God watches out for you. Of all the people who have “got your back” that you weren’t even aware of. Her delight in choosing to live a full and interesting life is contagious. I left our visit inspired to live life more fully, reminded to choose joy and kindness when life is hard.


Over the next few days, choose to go a little deeper in the conversations you have with those in your life circle. Make the connection, human to human, you’ll both be the richer for it.


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Sharing Your Story is a Powerful Experience

parents, grandparents, memory, story, familyHelping someone share their story changes lives. The process of speaking and hearing memories and experiences will transform you both. We have a craving to be heard. This is one of the best gifts I can give people I work with. Yes, it is wonderful to hold your book in your hands and share this tangible expression with those you care about. But the entire process of creating it is validating and honoring.


Think of the stories that have stayed with you over the years. I bet one or two came to mind that have worked themselves down deep into your soul. It may have been an event or a person/relationship that was so transformative that you mark time in your life by referencing it or them. This can be a powerful force for good. Even simple life lessons shared with others have a way of resonating in our minds and hearts long after the conversation or event. Use this to gain momentum in getting started with your memoir. Or use it as a gift you give to someone you cherish—invite them to share their story and really listen.


Short and Sweet Memoir Exercise:

Give yourself 5 minutes:

  1. Think about some person or event that was a trail marker in your life.
  2. Write or talk out the basic story — no second guessing about whether it’s important or not. Write or speak    everything you can get down in just 5 minutes, then stop.
  3. Now, spend 10 more minutes, go back and fill in details, just scribble them in the margins.
  4. Next, set it aside for a day or two.
  5. Finally, go back and read it again and fill in anything else that you’ve recalled while your story was bubbling away on the back burner of your mind.


My free gift to you— just because October is my birthday month!

Want the above mini-memoir exercise professionally edited? I will be choosing one story (max 3 pages) and up to 3 photos sent in to  and will work with you to edit, polish and make it the best it can be. Whether you do this for yourself or a family member or friend, now’s your chance to craft a beautiful little life story (yes, they can be this short, just a snapshot). My goal is to bring you joy with your story. Do the exercise, send it in to me and I’ll contact you if you’re the winner.

Happy Story Telling!


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Contact Me

Please contact me for more information or to to schedule a free consultation. I look forward to visiting with you.

Karen Ray Photo

Karen Ray

Address: 2877 Willow Creek Lane, Las Cruces, NM, 88007

Phone: 575-323-1048