Peace in Disagreements

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This holiday season turned out to be a lot more stressful than I remember other years having been. This year involved a lot of discussion. And such discussions led to disagreements. Getting together during the rise of omicron led those in our family to ask a lot of questions:

  • What’s safe?
  • What isn’t safe?
  • Should we still be worrying about all this?
  • Should we test people before gathering?
  • When should we test?
  • Whom should we test?
  • Where can we get tests?
  • Are rapid tests reliable for the omicron variant?
  • Has anyone been exposed?
  • What day did you get exposed?
  • Who’s vaccinated?
  • Who’s been boosted?
  • What is the best venue for our gathering?
  • What are we serving, from a food perspective? (just kidding…..I didn’t ask that, but I was certainly wondering!)

Here’s the thing: questions are great. Questions can lead to answers. Answers can bring knowledge. Sometimes answers bring comfort. But when family is involved, things can get dicey. Because we love our family members. And while we want what’s best for everyone, we can disagree about what’s best.

Because we’re different. We have different opinions. We have different beliefs. And some of us, like, ahem, little old me, don’t always have an answer.

I’m not a scientist, a medical professional, an epidemiologist, a politician, a religious leader, or much of an authority on anything except soup (Truly, people, I make a mean soup. Come over any time!)

To say I cried a little this Christmas season would be an understatement. I cried, I yelled, I lost sleep. I let my confusion, fear, and disappointment in disappointing others RULE. I don’t like when people disagree. Former ultimate people-pleaser speak: I just want us all to get along!!!

Finding peace in this headspace was a challenge.

So, what did I do?

I let it go.

I said, ok, we disagree, and that’s ok. It has to be ok. This is what we need right now. The path is disagreement. If God wanted us to agree all the time, we would have been all the same. Which, if I were choosing, I would have made all of us Oprah. (I know, I know: agree to disagree….but I love Oprah. I also love Sonia Sotomayor. I could have gone with that choice, too, since she has the work ethic of a god.)

I breathed. I baked. I cooked. I tried to do the things I love to do and kept going.

And you know what? I found my way back to peace. I always find my way after a little time and effort.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace?

Peace in Cauliflower Rice

There’s a veggie with the word “flower” in its name: no wonder I love you so!

All the people in my family enjoy cauliflower, so I’m always on the prowl for a new way to cook it.

First off, I’d like to say that I never heard of cauliflower rice before. I assumed it entailed chopping up some cauliflower. Make it small like rice, right?

Assumption confirmed.

There is nothing special here. Cauliflower rice is just super small, food processed rice. I used a good old fashioned knife and took out all past aggressions on one head. It was kinda messy but ultimately easy and glorious.

Then I found this cute recipe on the Primavera Kitchen blog site and thought, ok this looks easy enough.

Truth: it was a little watery— but don’t worry, Primavera Kitchen blogger, Olivia. This was not because I followed the recipe correctly. I added too much stock because I think I read the lines wrong or assumed, “this looks like it could use more stock.”

Nope. Wrong. I was wrong.

Then, the recipe says to add soy sauce to taste. Well, who does that? What does it mean? It means I will add too much or too little. In today’s episode, I didn’t put enough. So, that’s ok, but probably I’d use a full 2 tablespoons next time.

My usual go-to when something isn’t salty enough is to add parm. I didn’t do that tonight but wonder if there is a different cauliflower rice recipe in the world that includes parm. That is a likely objective next time I’m recipe browsing.

All said, I paired this dish with chicken and Hubs ate two servings. A note to my unbeknownst reader: Hubs says he’s off carbs for a few weeks, so he could have eaten more of this than was originally served to him because he was hungry. Or at least hungrier than usual.

I thought the dish was awesome. I remain about 70% sure I overcooked it by about 3 minutes. I’d love to blame the children for that one, but everyone was oddly avoiding my cooking endeavors— which meant a peaceful night for Mommy in the kitchen. So, it’s more likely that I got distracted by something, which (full disclosure) was probably the peppermint bark my neighbor left in the mailbox the other day. Thanks for that!!!

All said, I ate more of this dish than I probably needed to, but feel confident I consumed all dietary antioxidants required for the day. Amen to that. I feel more peaceful already.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Snowflakes

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Our little family of five celebrated a quiet Christmas this year. It wasn’t exactly how I planned things, and that surprise led to a little bit of disappointment. I love big family celebrations, especially this time of year. So when there wasn’t one on the horizon, I needed a pick-me-up, BIG TIME.

This year, instead of getting sad or depressed, I decided to pack my own sunshine and deliver it to everyone.

“What would Buddy the Elf do?” I wondered.

This gave me a GREAT idea. Remember that scene when Buddy spends the whole night at the department store, sleeps for 45 minutes and prepares everyone for Santa?

BINGO.

I spent the days leading up to Christmas cutting snowflakes. Not all day every day, but I made sure that the kids and I spent a good bit of time cutting. We made over 40 snowflakes together, each one unique. We made paper snow chains and mobiles, too.

I stock-piled our little arts-and-crafts project for Christmas Eve and then took to my elf’s work with Hubs while we ate cookies and giggled like mischievous gnomes.

When we were done, the glow of the Christmas tree reflected on each tiny snowflake dangling from the ceiling, creating an indoor winter snowscape like I’ve never seen before.

We restored peace in our home through creativity and creation. We smiled knowing the kids would just love it when they came down the stairs on Christmas morning. We found peace in snowflakes and could do nothing but smile.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Kiddo Realizations

I had the most interesting conversation with LM1 today.

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Today we headed to the store to exchange a Dave Pilkey book he’d received from Santa Claus. It was a duplicate to one he already had (whoopsie daisy!). LM2 was with us and considered that maybe his big brother would not opt for another book.

“Are you going to get a Lego set?” LM2 wanted to know.

I explained that when we returned the book, we received a credit to the store for the price of the book. Legos and books do not cost the same, so it makes sense to simply choose another book for the same price and call it a day.

“What?” LM1 said, a bit shocked.

“What?” I said.

“Wouldn’t buying a Lego save money?” LM1 said.

“What?” I said.

The thought that Legos could cost less money than books was interesting, to say the very least. The fact that LM1 was looking to save money and potentially get more for less (perhaps 2 Lego sets would equal the cost of a book?) makes him his father’s son.

“Why would Legos be worth less money?” I said.

“To make a book it takes days. I mean, months,” he said. “Maybe more. The author has to write all those pages. And then they draw all the pictures. Legos are easy to make. A machine can make thousands in a second. It’s a robot thing that makes them.”

Pause.

Breathe.

Pause.

Think.

Continue walking down the aisle.

How to explain to a child that (1) he is partly correct; books take a long time to craft and publish, (2) time spent in production is not equally quantified in determining the cost of a product, (3) he is a genius and I love how his mind works, and (4) I love that he understands and appreciates what it takes to create a book?

HOW DO I EXPLAIN?

I tried, people. I really tried.

But mostly, I felt proud. His little realization brought me so much love and admiration for my son, I could only bask in the moment. I let it fill me up and spill out into the aisles. I explained as much as I could about how our little world works and then I promised to have Daddy explain more later. It’s moments like these that make me smile, feel alive, and bask in gratitude. It was just incredible.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!