I’ve read a few beginning-of-the-year blog posts about ‘choosing your word’ for 2012, and I think it’s a great idea. I just wasn’t finding a word that could really sum up my dreams and aspirations for an entire year.

After traveling, by myself, this past weekend, I finally found my word – balance.

Now that I’ve chosen it, I feel like repeating it ten thousand times – balance, balance, balance, Balance! Now it’s sounding sort of strange, but I’m still sticking with balance.

By leaving our normal, day-to-day routine, I was finally able to see just how out of balance I’ve been lately. We always have moments of joy around here, but my default mode kept rocketing back to this low-level of stress, annoyance and exhaustion. It was only time and distance that could help me see some of the not-so-useful habits I’d fallen into at home. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I’ll give you one representative example – because I feel guilty about working full time, I’d often end up holding B. in my arms while cooking each night. She’s almost two, and weighs about twenty-five pounds- sounds like a bad idea, right? But I didn’t want to put her down and let her cry for even a moment (because I’d been gone all day) – so there we were, sweating in the hot kitchen, me cooking one-handed; stress, annoyance, and exhaustion epitomized.

My absence helped everyone become more independent. The three of them enjoyed themselves immensely. B. started sleeping through the night. S. stepped up to the plate and helped his dad with anything he needed. It went so well, that my husband is hoping to send me away more often, and I’m up for that. I’m a mom and a wife, but I’m also Elise. Balance is being restored.

Even though this post isn’t completely about family meals, it does all tie together. I can find a balance between having aspirations about our meals and just going with the flow and enjoying the process, no matter the outcome. The same goes for blogging and writing – I realized that even though I want to post everyday, sometimes it won’t happen, and that’s okay. Balance.

Our meal tonight was simple, balanced, and happened to get the elusive five-star rating. It was an improvised soup – purple onions, green onions, chicken broth, coconut milk, carrots, rice noodles, edamame beans and shrimp. We slurped the noodles and got broth all over the place – perfect.


How do you balance the competing forces in your life? When you get out of balance, what can bring you back to center?


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