Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Truth, Forgiveness, and Chocolate


I was looking through online listings of holidays and celebrations as I often do (hey, I'd been stuck in the house a long time, I'm sure there were worse ways to amuse myself). Sometimes I just end up laughing, but often I find inspiration. I've written about Cow Appreciation Day, Lost Sock Memorial Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day and even Clean Out Your Fridge Day.

But today, July 7th, today turned out to offer an abundance of celebrations. It is:

Tell the Truth Day
Global Forgiveness Day 
World Chocolate Day 

I can work with that.

As I often do, I ran the idea for today's post by some fellow bloggers, and some of them thought they might like to join in. Diane was first (as she so frequently is, you, Diane), she and I decided to take the day full on, we'd be addressing all three "holidays". Others may choose one of them, or even two. Either way, I'm looking forward to reading what they've written. Their links are at the end of my post, I hope you'll head over there too.

Truth, Forgiveness, and Chocolate | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

How I view truth has changed a lot in the age of coronavirus. Truth, or the need to tell it, is not absolute, there are levels. The well used example of "do I look fat in this dress?" doesn't necessarily require the same level of truth as "did you eat the last cookie?" And the repercussions of an untruthful response to "did you eat the last cookie?" holds nowhere near the level of ramifications associated with a federal dishonest response to questions about the number of US cases of coronavirus, or whether it'll just go away on its own or that it's encouraged to take an anti-malaria drug for someone without malaria, or whether or not we should look into inject humans with lysol, or if the actual number of cases we have is tied to the amount of testing we do.

What did Kellyanne Conway say? There can be alternative facts? Not in situations of consequence, not in the case of life and death. No. Truth has no politics, and when we treat it like it does? Worst case scenario, people die. That's how far a country that was a stalwart defender of human rights has sunk.

Truth matters. Duh. I used to say to my boys "before you do anything, think about whether you'd be willing to admit to it. If not, that's a pretty good indication that you shouldn't do it." I thought that made a lot of sense. For kids being raised to have a conscience, yes. But our current batch of politicians have forced me to look at that advice differently. It's a whole new level of immorality to act in a harmful way comfortable knowing you can just lie about it. How did lying become a viable option? How is this our current culture? 

The only way I can see out of this division, the only path forward for us as a country, is forgiveness. 

Right and Wrong | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.con | #MyGraphics #Coronavirus

There was one clear vision for this country. We may have disagreed on a myriad of issues, but we had our freedom and our morals and our values to unite us. This is no longer true. There are now two visions for this country, resulting in what I now see as us being embroiled in a civil war. We're never going to agree, as I said, we never have, but can we build a future that we can all live with?

It's going to take forgiveness. 

Let's not sugar coat this (warning, cookie reference), forgiveness from a place of anger and hurt and distrust (and disgust) is laborious and grueling and exhausting in practice. 

Can we do it? As a country? I'm just not sure. It's a process, and I have to admit I'm not there myself. But I'm trying very hard to take steps. Just like with truth, I see levels in the ability to forgive as well. On a micro level, when friends post statuses to FB that I find selfish or uncaring or untrue, I unfollow them for a while, not unfriend, just unfollow. The respite from seeing these posts, for me, is the foundation of forgiveness. I reserve the right to like them again another day.

When I observe store mandates to wear a mask, go up some aisles and down others, and social distance, I am showing respect. When someone targets me, comes down the "up" aisle without a mask to stand shoulder to shoulder with me, well that's not just refusing to follow precautions, it's actively aggressive. Forgiveness of this level of behavior requires a more concerted effort.

Covid Lesson | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.con | #MyGraphics #Coronavirus

When someone refuses to take precautions, they are literally taking others' lives in their hands. If it were to turn out that they're right and we should believe politicians, not doctors, and didn't actually have to take precautions, by doing so we haven't harmed anyone. But if I'm right and we should believe the scientists and wear masks and social distance, they could be killing people. So when the man on a recent flight to Boston who sat directly behind my mother refused the airline's attempts to get him to wear a mask, I'm not quite able to forgive. Same with the airline, btw. I wonder how I will ever forgive people whose selfishness allows them to recklessly jeopardizing my mother's life.

And if forgiveness is difficult on a personal level, burdensome on a local level, and grueling on a federal level, what would global forgiveness take? 

If we want to save this planet, we need to start thinking along those lines.

In the meantime, at least there's chocolate. 

Or is there? 

I've mentioned many, many times lately that I've had to change my husband's diet. He needs to eat much lower in fat and I'm watching how much sugar I use too. Since I wouldn't (well, mostly) eat the foods he loves but can't have in front of him, how I cook, bake, and eat has changed as well.

But. But. Chocolate! {{sob}}. 

I've been doing a lot of baking with fruit, which we've been very happy with, but oh how we both miss chocolate. I now spend about an hour or two a day researching articles about gallbladder attacks, fat and sugar substitutes, and have even made a list of how many grams of saturated fats there are in 1 TBSP of all of my go-to cookie mix-ins. Turns out you can use cocoa in baking to satisfy that chocolate craving, and mini baking M&Ms have the lowest saturated fat content of my mix-ins. I've made some other fat and sugar substitutes in these Midnight M&M Cookies, which definitely change the consistency, but . . . chocolate . . .

Lower in fat than most cookies, Midnight M&M Cookies are still full of chocolate flavor. Mini M&Ms add a crunch in every bite. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #chocolate

Midnight M&M (lower fat) Cookies

Lower in fat than most cookies, Midnight M&M Cookies are still full of chocolate flavor. Mini M&Ms add a crunch in every bite. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #chocolate

Truth is, I would give up chocolate completely, would forgo almost anything, if it meant helping to keep others safe. 

And if more people could say that, there'd be so much less I'd have to try to forgive. 

Before you go, click on these links to read more posts using today's theme(s):

Diane of On the Border shares Truth, Forgiveness . . . and Chocolate
Jenn of Sparkly Poetic Weirdo shares Truth, Forgiveness and Chocolate.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Midnight M&M Cookies       

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes about 40):
2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup mini M&Ms

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

*In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking cocoa, salt, baking soda, and coffee granules.
*In a smaller bowl, whisk together the canola oil, maple syrup, brown sugar and eggs. Mix into the larger bowl and once completely incorporated, mix in the mini M&Ms.
*Roll into 1 inch balls, flatten slightly and bake for 10 minutes.


  1. Frankly, as long as hey stay away from me and mine, I don’t care. However that premise cannot stand as it has been brought home this very week. My Daughter in Law works in a pharmacy. All had been well until yesterday, now she is isolating herself from us because it found it way into her place of work. They cleaned and reassured everyone, but how much do you trust a corporation, as much as a politician.
    I am going for my chocolate cookie now and try not to worry.

    1. I'm sorry for your daughter in law, I'm going to keep her in my thoughts and hope she doesn't get sick. I know that she's been hyper-vigilant and will keep you safe. Let me know when she's out of isolation.

  2. Cannot for the life of me understand why people don't wear masks. Well, I guess if they follow the Orange Doofus, they must or appear disloyal. Sigh.

    1. Yes, either that or they're so selfish they don't see the value in doing anything for the greater good.

  3. You always bring the big issues into 'bite-sized' (pun intended) portions that I can read, understand...and agree with.
    What would we do for those we love? To keep them safe and . . . alive.
    Forego chocolate? Lower our fat intake?
    Wear a mask?
    I LOVED your 'admission' advice to your boys. But you're right. In an age of alternative truth, it does put a whole new spin on it.
    I am open-mouthed in shock as I realize some people would sacrifice even their loved ones for what they perceive as strength and freedom and personal choice.
    I'm proudly wearing my mask for you. And your boys. And all of my precious worldwide family.
    This I do for you!

    And P.S. The statement 'Do I look fat in this dress?' may have a direct correlation to 'Did you eat the last cookie?' Just sayin'...

    1. I am proudly wearing a mask for all as well. Even those who don't value my life, because I couldn't live with myself if I didn't value theirs.

  4. This post somewhere resonated with me, Karen, especially when you wrote about friends posting uncaring and hateful posts on their timeline! I too see the only respite from all such updates is by unfollowing, and may be unfollowing them for quite some time until I wrap my head around this truth that, negativity finds it's voice sooner than any positive updates. Hatred, negativity, mean gestures and words stand tall raising its head in pride; while kindness, care, and love for humanity, respect and consideration for each other everything is crushed under ego and immorality. I am writing this message from a place of forgiveness too! May we continue creating a better and safe world together even through our tiny often unnoticed contributions<3

    Thank you for this post! At times it feels good to connect with similar thoughts and mind that speaks care and concern messages<3
    I hope you have been doing good! And have been able to stay connected with your son. Take care and please know that I always keep you in my thoughts.


    1. In a time when, as you said, we see the ugly as much as the kindness, your words of support mean a lot. Thank you.

  5. Your post is filled with wisdom...and a mouth watering recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Is it the fat, sugar, or cocoa that's an issue for gall bladders? Sometimes I can fool my stomach by dusting raisins or Craisins in unsweetened cocoa powder. That doesn't work when I when I GOTTA have chocolate, though :-)

    1. It's mostly the fat (baking cocoa is fine, it doesn't have fat so I can use it). They say to cut down on sugar too, and I initially did but I've been adding it back in to his diet (in increments) and so far he's doing fine. I'm finding ways to get our chocolate fix through using the cocoa in recipes and using chocolate pudding mix in recipes as well.

  7. Wait, what? World chocolate day!! I need to go get some!!

  8. While we may not agree on everything (and who does?), i keep thinking, "For freedom Christ has set us free" means not the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to serve one another in love. That means, for me, mask up and protect us all.

    Since i work with some very, very vulnerable people as my clients, i have to take it very serious. Some of them, even a cold could be fatal, so i see myself taking these precautions for as long as i work, not just until this has passed.

    How i do hope we can get to a place where serving others, doing what's best for all not just for self, is the base motivation for our decisions personally, as a nation, and globally.

    1. I have had that hope, that those who consider themselves religious and/or just plain caring and compassionate would step up and just do the bare minimum in the name of keeping others alive. I'm quickly losing that hope.

  9. That's hard, forgiveness. It would be a long time before I could ever forgive the officials of this nation (including state officials) who used this for personal gain, or to inflame their followers, or for any other reason. Their followers, perhaps I could forgive, but then you see media interviews with patients, which some hospitals are starting to allow, and you find "I was so careful and I only socialized with one neighbor..." "I shut myself up but finally, I went to a birthday party, just one time". And I think, who infected these people? Perhaps someone who just didn't care? It makes me want to eat a whole lot of chocolate, knowing I really can't trust anyone. No one. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. People are getting infected because that one birthday party may have been attended by a carrier. You just don't know, that's why people need to do the right thing for the good of all.

  10. There is a ton of wisdom to this post, but leadership comes from the top. We have capitals at every level loaded with feuding children seeking nothing but power and having no clue how to do it except to divide. Until WE as a people finally get through that we don't WANT that, rather than falling right in line with them, it's a vain hope that forgiveness will help anything- except for the extreme benefits it provides ourselves and those we interact with.

    1. With gerrymandering, voter roll deletions, voter suppression and a "president" asking for and accepting assistance from foreign countries, I'm not sure how we as a people CAN get through that we don't want the status quo.


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