What does peace look like to you? Does it have a sound? Does it have a scent?

For me, peace looks like a baby smiling in his sleep. Peace is also the feel of his cheeks, the smell of his hair, and the sound of his baby laughter.

When I was looking for a place to live, peace greeted me the moment I walked inside the house that would soon be my family’s home. The front door opened into a large entryway with a view of two beautiful glass windows arching from the second story down to the floor. Sunbeams flooded the rooms in two parallel rays that reached across the living area and landed at my feet. I stepped forward, literally into the sunlight, and I felt peace.

Peace is sitting in my favorite pizza kitchen, in the big round booth with worn vinyl seats, and laughing with my children as we grab humongous slices of “everything” pizza and fight over the cheesy mozzarella stretching across the table. Peace is taking the leftover olives, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, creating a face around a dot of pizza sauce left on the tray, and naming it “Olive, the Other Reindeer.” (That still hasn’t gotten old.)

Peace is holding my daughter or sons close to my chest and knowing everything will be alright.

Peace is being held in arms larger than mine, against a chest broader than mine, and knowing everything will be alright.

Peace is my fourteen-year-old and I having a good week with no “fights” and only a tiny bit of tension…and fist-bumping each other on Friday night because it was such a good week for us.

Every so often, one of my kids will share a really corny joke. I love, love, love corny jokes. I love being caught off guard with a random, “Wanna hear a joke?” (Uh…yeah!) I love that my children inherited my inability to actually remember the joke correctly once the telling has begun. I love the anticipation of waiting for the punchline. And I LOVE when it is a terrible, womp-womp, mess of a joke. My daughter sent me one this morning. I’ll attempt to share it with you and not butcher it:

“Do you know what the fastest liquid is? Milk, because it’s past your eyes before you ever see it.”

(I’m actually giggling to myself right now.)

Thinking about my daughter sending that to me makes my heart smile—that’s peace.

Peace isn’t just about the things that make me feel good though. I believe peace is a gift we are meant to share. When you show up into a space, come bearing peace when you can. Peace can be shared through so many of the gestures we offer—a smile, an invitation to share a cup of coffee, an offer to be present and listen. Remember an important date and celebrate it with someone with special words. Congratulate a colleague on an accomplishment and let that be the only reason you contacted them—no requests, no tasks, no work-stuff—just a pat on the back. Reach out to someone you met on a Zoom call and show interest in them and what they do. And so what if you missed the birthday, send something anyway. I bet it will still win a smile—a warm moment of peace.

Each of us can be messengers of peace, and we can teach those we influence (children, students, whomever) how to be messengers of peace, too—sharing wonderful news instead of bad news, tweeting triumphs rather than tragedies, snapping smiles instead of sarcasm, posting something positive, not pessimistic. Where we share good news and hope, peace often follows.

Just imagine what it could do in your home if “peace” was trending in your family.

Where do you and your family find peace? Or how do you construct it?

Personally, I connect with peace outdoors. Something about the sky, water, and nature around me settles my soul.

Peace is the sound of water tripping over rocks, or soft waves pushing against the shoreline.

Peace is skipping rocks across the lake with my son.

Peace is the sound of the wind rustling through the trees.

Peace is walking with my oldest son and listening to him share hilarious stories of his life branching into  adulthood and all the things “nobody ever told him.”

Peace is listening intently to the birds chirping and twittering to one another.

Peace is listening intently to my daughter chattering happily about her day.

Peace is dry leaves crunching beneath the soles of my shoes.

May your day be decorated with peace.