Don’t Blame the Lettuce

One of the pastors at my church spoke today on seeing in our selves and others the promise and potential, a very encouraging word based on Christ as a child, that his promise and potential had been foretold and drove the actions of Mary, Joseph, the three kings. It reminded me of a quote by Thinch Nhat Hanh I’d read recently, which I thought was good enough to share in this context.

“ When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”

I don’t normally quote Zen Buddhist monks, but we all get a base hit once in a while right? Anyways, the point is that understanding one another, and allowing their promise and potential to grow is the best way to strengthen a relationship.

Tale of the Tape: Grocery Shopping

I used to love grocery shopping, something that apparently more men are getting into. It’s competitive (you vs the stores & budget), involves money, and if played right, gives you an hour (or more) of time to pop in those earbuds and listen to music/podcast/audiobooks while cruising the aisles.

Now, I’m not too proud to shop at an Aldi’s, but for a variety of reasons focus a little more “up-market” with Meijer (a midwest chain), Dominick’s (part of Safeway) and… Wal-Mart (and before you stick up your nose, somebody is spending $36M an hour there).

Between reviewing sales circulars, shopping apps and coupons sites, I probably spend close to 2hrs on research each week before heading out. Still, I’ve sometimes wondered if I’m really saving as much as I think I am. Recently I took up the challenge of comparing a regional chain to the superstores Meijer and Wal-Mart, and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

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Love, Breakfast

Nutritionist will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I would agree with them. But for me its importance is less to do with its heartiness and more about how it symbolizes a hearts intent.

I really enjoy making breakfast for the family on weekend mornings. The waking relatively early,  thoughtfully preparing something we can enjoy and eat together while discussing the past week and upcoming activities are a bonding event as well as a  are way for me to convey how important they are to me. And to give them all a big hug that says I Love You.  Truth be told, it is also helpful for conveying “Sorry”, “Congratulations!”, “May I Please…”, or “There is something I need to tell you.” But you get the point.

And while I love to cook, sometimes going full-on Cracker Barrel isn’t in me. And that is okay. The very effort and (most impactful) presentation go a long way to someone who is refreshed from sleeping in and hungry.

Here’s a little secret: I also benefit, getting 60-90 minutes of personal time to reflect,  read, or listen to a podcast too. It’s a give/get I learned by taking Ian out to breakfast on Saturdays. Jacinda would sleep in, I could read the paper while he played in the park. Returning home, he would go down for a nap and I would get rewarded for being such a thoughtful dad with time off for good behavior.

We all live such busy lives. Rare is there a day of the work week that we are all gathered for a meal. Some of the fondest memories I have from growing up are of meals my mom presided over, bringing the family together.  I’d like to think my token is appreciated, anticipated,  hopefully remembered.