Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lessons From A Lettuce Wrap

Uh oh. I've been feeling it coming on for a few days now. 

Quietly, stealthily, it sneaks up on me like a cat in the dark.

Every year, I tell myself, It won't happen. Nope. Not this year. I've got in under control.

But today, I realized that it's here, right on schedule.

Christmas stress.

Here's the thing. I've laid in a perfectly fine plan for my holiday celebrations, and all the preparations are moving along just fine. Still, suddenly, inexplicably, my mind burst forth with doubts and inadequacies about all things Christmas:

My cards are lame.
The ornaments I'm making look amateurish.
My home is sorely under-decorated.
I've neglected to buy gifts for at least a dozen people.
I should be playing more Christmas music and watching more Christmas movies.
I'm way behind on my wrapping schedule. 
There are way too many needles on the floor under the tree.
I wish I had more time to catch up with friends.
No matter what I get done, there are at least three more things that are left undone.
My holiday plans lack pizzazz.

And as ridiculous as that list looks to me now, each one of those fears felt real and important to me for at least a few moments today.

Until I made a plate of lettuce wraps for my dinner. 

I was in a rush when I tossed them together on my plate. Thoughtlessly, I chose a few ingredients from the sandwich-making buffet that I laid out for the whole family, and plopped them down on the romaine spears.

As I carried the plate toward the table, I glanced down at my meal, and suddenly saw it in a whole new light.
The bright red salami and grape tomatoes pop against the cool, green leaves of romaine, complementing each other and creating an electrifying energy. 
Many shades of white - in the romaine ribs, the pepper jack cheese, the tiny accents of mayo - provide texture and contrast to the arrangement. 
The glossy white plate holds all the elements together in a cohesive arrangement, and provides a satisfying sense of unity to the composition.

Suddenly, my simple food felt festive and exciting to me. Like a little Christmas still life on a plate.

And I was reminded that Christmas is more than a darling Target ad,
or a perfectly color-coordinated Christmas tree,
or a home full of drop-dead gorgeous DIY-ed holiday decor.

Of course, Christmas is ultimately about a newborn baby in a manger who has come to turn the world upside down.

But Christmas is also about
slowing down,
living in the moment,
and appreciating the amazing miracles that are to be found right under my nose, even if they aren't as glitzy or perfect as I might expect them to be.

So thank you, dear lettuce wraps, for reminding me.

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Read more about my getting-ready-for-Christmas adventures:

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Lessons can be learned in the most unlikely places; here are a few that have caught my eye:

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For more stories about my carb- and sugar-free eating adventures, read:


  1. thank you, lettuce wraps and dear, diane again, for reminding me, too.


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