Friday, 17 October 2008

Friday Morning This and That

'"I walked with my friend, a Quaker, to the newsstand the other night, and he bought a paper, thanking the newsie politely. The newsie didn't even acknowledge it.

"A sullen fellow, isn't he?" I commented.

"Oh, he's that way every night," shrugged my friend.

"Then why do you continue to be so polite to him?" I asked.

"Why not?" inquired my friend. "Why should I let HIM decide how I'm going to act?"'
-Sydney J Harris

I was thinking about this little story the other day and it really hit me hard. This Quaker friend of Sydney J Harris is so very right. I have a person that I come into contact with from time to time that really is not very nice, and in return I sometimes feel like not being very nice back. In fact, the time spent together very often colours my day in not so nice a way, and can leave me feeling a bit blue from time to time. In doing so . . . I am giving this person power in my life that they have no right to have.

Then I thought about this scripture:

"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:44,45

It occurs to me that, whilst I cannot control this other person's actions, I very much can and should control my own. Nobody is more unhappier than the perpetual reactor. Their centre of emotional gravity is not rooted within themselves, but in the world outside . . . their temperature being raised or lowered by the social climate they surround themselves with, totally at the mercy of these elements.

I cannot achieve serenity until I become the master of my own actions and attitudes. To let another determine if I shall be rude or gracious, elated or depressed . . . . is to relinquish control of my life to them. The only true possession is self possession. I think from now on I am going to start praying for this person whenever I can and start ignoring their negative actions towards me and reacting positively rather than in a negative way. I may not be able to control the things they do or say . . . but I can control myself, and if there's one thing I've learned about getting on in life . . . it's this . . . it's awfully hard not to like or care about someone you are holding up in prayer.

I have a really busy day on today. I am cooking for a luncheon and haven't done one in a while so that's really exciting! I hope we have a reasonably sunny day. Days just seem nicer and better when the sun is shining! I wonder why that is?

My team teaching partner taught the lesson at Seminary last night and did a wonderful job!! I really enjoyed it and got ever so much out of it. I think the kids did too, and it was nice to get to know her better. She's a lovely lady and I'm really looking forward to our year of working together on this. At Mutual we did crafts with the girls. The Young Woman's President cards and spins her own wool, so we got to see and experience how that is done and I found it ever so interesting!!! I think the girls did too. I found myself wondering about who the first person was that decided that you could take the wool off a sheep and turn it into something we could wear and keep ourselves warm and dry with, and what exactly it was that triggered them to think about it! (I know! I'm an odd duck. I often wonder about things just such as this!) We all had a laugh thinking about a caveman sitting there shivering and then looking over at a sheep and having the light bulb over his head go on!

I made this delicious Chicken Salad yesterday for our lunch. I had made some at work earlier and thought to myself it was the perfect thing to make at home for Todd and I as well. It truly is delicious. (Of course I cut the amounts down at home as there's only two of us!)

*Tarragon Chicken Salad*
Serves 4

What a lovely salad this is, full of crunchy sweet bits of apple, celery, grapes and a wonderfully rich dressing. There's a lot of flavour going on here, and it's all good!

3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, washed, dried and cut into halves
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 heaping TBS of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise (I used low fat)
1 TBS, plus 2 tsp tarragon vinegar*
the juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup of tarragon packed in vinegar, drained and stems removed**
1 TBS minced red onion
salt and black pepper to taste

First make the dressing. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz until totally smooth and flecked with little bits of green. Season to taste and set aside.

Put the chicken, celery, grapes and parsley into a bowl. Combine gently and season to taste with some salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over and stir to mix thoroughly. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Serve on plates lined with some lettuce and garnish with some more parsley or celery leaves if desired. Serve immediately.

This salad will keep in the fridge for several days. Delicious!

**Note: I make my own tarragon vinegar. I just take one bottle of white wine vinegar and put it into a non-reactive saucepan. I add a healthy bunch of tarragon and then just bring the vinegar to the point of boiling. I put it aside to cool and then I remove the tarragon and stuff it into the vinegar bottle and then, using a funnel, I pour the cooled vinegar over. I store this in the refrigerator. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!


  1. Hi Marie --

    I loved your post about how we are in control of how we react to people and situations. I try to drill this into my 12 year old daughter all the time. It's so true.

    I can't wait to make your chicken salad recipe -- I love chicken salad. Wonderful!

    I am sitting in a hotel at Disneyland checking your blog -- I just had to see what you had to say today. Thanks for always making my day better!

  2. I love the pictures of the colourful leaves. We don't get much colour changing here in San Antonio. Me being from the Midwest, I miss it...

  3. Lovely looking salad Marie!

  4. I pray each night Marie for people who are like this to me.I have learned not to let people like this control me now.So I do understand how you must feel at the time.Too much illness came to me through these happenings.I hope today doesn't wear you down though I know you love your job.The salad looks delicious.Have a lovely weekend.I have just done a complete posting and once again AOL disconnected me so I have had to re-do it all again grr.Please say a prayer for me today I am needing one right now.In my prayers always you and yours.Have a lovely weekend.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  5. Very true what you've written. I find myself having to remind myself of that on a day to day basis, it's a hard thing. Maybe with practice it will get easier. Compassion is a far easier emotion to deal with, gentler than anger & ucertainty.
    I will probably try your chicken salad recipe but with no Tarragon LOL I don't like Tarragon at all...but then I don't care for Cilantro or any of the herbs like that for some reason :( Maybe substitute Dill? I love Dill LOLOL.
    Blessings Marie** I love you! Teresa

  6. Hi, sullen people really annoy me too my hubby makes a big issue and always replies in a loud voice thank you very much or whatever the case may be he usually gets a smile in the end. Have a lovely weekend. Love Joan.

  7. Marie, don't let others get you down!

  8. Hi Marie

    As always, your post provokes thought...I come into contact with those sort of people quite often....I presume it comes with living in a big city! Occasionally it gets to me, but mostly I'm like the guy in your quote and am still polite whether they are or not!

    I'm like you too in often thinking about who first thought of doing something, or trying something. I often have little pictures in my head like your caveman!

  9. As always your blog is the best way to start my day. I`ll be using your Chicken Salad recipe later today. I know it will be delicious.

    Excellent post!

  10. hi marie
    thank u for such a great missive.
    I truly needed to hear this. There has been a bit of confrontation in john's family and we are not the
    'favorites at the moment'.
    It makes me feel petty holding on to my anger over this. Silly human!!
    Bless u

  11. what a poignant post! We, indeed, control our emotions and our reactions to others. That chicken salad looks wonderful! I like to put dried or fresh cherries in mine in place of grapes sometimes. Much love, Raquel XO

  12. Hello dear Marie
    Thanks for the words of wisdom today. What you said is so true. The chicken salad looks delicious as usual. I love chicken salad.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  13. I used to work with a bloke who was a control freak and a terrible verbal bully. Unfortunately people like that can always reduce me to tears - if not when they are there, then the very minute they are out the door. I was always urged to "stand up to him" and I knew I shouldn't let him have it all his own way. I would tell myself that next time he wouldn't get away with it, but he always did. I used to feel sick just to see his car coming onto the site.

    love, Angie, xx

  14. I hope everything goes ok at work tonight! Do you have to pack too? Bloody woman.

    Chicken salad looks delicious. I wish you were here in Texas! There's so many holiday events I know you would love!

  15. Marie I'm so glad you shared this story with us today. I'm going to pass it on to my Bible study group. blessings, marlene

  16. What a fabulous message. I want to copy it and post it everywhere for several folks I know to read. Really, esp a family member who needs it so badly, but he would probably get offended.You know the type who thiong they do no wrong! BAH!! Thanks so much for the insight and you share it so beautifully. I am agog over the chicken salad. I did copy that one and also, my daughter, Amanda loves your blog. She copies many of your recipes and spends time with you everyday. She is an aspiring chef. Actually, when they move to Boston in January (boohoo) she wants to go to a cooking school.

  17. great thoughts-we have the power to choose how we respond to these types of people. its so hard to be nice to someone when they are being unkind though, isn't it? why can't people just be nice?

  18. Great thoughts for the day. One comes to mind that I used to say to myself at least once a day when I worked outside our home for the Federal Bureau of Prisons~it was because there was this woman well she was very unhappy I guess so after a while I just learned to say~ "It's unfortunate that some peoples lives are so miserable that they feel they have to inflict their pain on you" and that helped me out.

    On another note Ahhh I just can't wait to get to make that chicken salad it looks yum yum yum yummmy.

  19. Hi, Marie! We cannot control the actions of other, but we can control our own. I am finding the practice of loving-kindness very helpful in such situations as you describe extend loving, kind thoughts to total strangers, even those whose behavior might be better, goes a long way toward a calmer mind and happier heart. It's not always easy, there are times when it's hard, but I feel better for it! Your recipe today is wonderful. I don't eat meat anymore, but I like the idea of the red grapes here. Hubby would like this one! Happy weekend, my dear friend. LOVE to you & Todd ((HUGS))

  20. You are right about those who are so "love-less" towards us, and often so without any reason whatsoever. Unfortunately we have some who are related to us like this. I guess the FATHER wants us to practice becoming more like HIM...flawed humans that we are. Even if we do not respond in like kind, it tears away at the spirit. One relative of ours was most instrumental in helping our daughter go down the path she is still on (athiest)...even though that was not the intent I do not think, she refused to pay attention to what we asked of her in how she communicated with a young teenager. Thanks for the reminder to pray...I have preferred to just not think of this person at all. I realize I do need to pray for her, every day. This old world is so difficult sometimes...but the one we are going to will be so different!!

  21. That chicken salad looks delicious!!

  22. Yes! It's so true. My dad always told us to never let anyone determine who we are. This advice comes in handy. Now if only I could remember it everyday.....
    That chicken salad looks delicious too.

  23. This is a wonderful chicken salad recipe Marie! The picture is so good I can taste it!

  24. Yummy looking chicken going to "test" it out on my family soon.

    Love your thoughts about other people controlling our many times it is easier to react, rather than just act. I have come in contact with some ugly acting folks, and they can spoil your day, if you choose to let them. It's hard to not react though...especially when they are being just over bearing....

    Please stop by "my house" and visit me sometime. I generally post poems, music, thoughts, and anything else I get happiness from.


  25. I really like the sound of this chicken salad with grapes and apples!


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