Saturday, 21 March 2009

I got to be me . . .

Be the Best of Whatever You Are

If you can't be a pine on top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley . . . but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush, be a bit of the grass,
And some highway, happier make;
If you can't be a muskie, then just be a bass . . .
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew.
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is near.

If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun . . . be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail . . .
Be the best of whatever you are!
~D. Malloch

I got another rejection letter yesterday, right out of the blue. It was from a card company I had sent some of my work to back in November and I had completely forgotten about them. It seems that my artwork is not their image either . . .

I sat and looked at my paintings and studied them for a time. My heart felt really low, and for a few moments I thought . . . maybe these are not any body's image. Maybe these are really not very good at all. Maybe nobody will ever like them . . .

Oh, I have looked at other people's drawings and whimsies, and loved them. But I cannot be them . . . all I can be is me. Each picture that I paint comes straight out of my heart and is inspired from what lays within. Sometimes the voice of God flows from the end of my brush . . . and at others it is my own whimsical thoughts that dare to express themselves. But they always contain a piece of me, and I can no more try to be another artists' voice than I can stop breathing. My paintings have always been, and shall always be my own voice, and maybe nobody will love them but me, and maybe many will love them, but . . . I'm experiencing too much joy to give up, or to lay my brushes down, and maybe it will be a hundred years before anyone appreciates them, or maybe it will be never, but I will not quell the song of my heart
on someone else's say so. I just got to be me . . . and try hard to keep being the best me that I can ever be.

My Todd does love to eat a good pork chop now and again. We did try to stop eating pork a time back, but dear me . . . we do get a craving once in a while. I cooked these lovely and moist stuffed pork chops the other night, and they were wonderful. I adapted this recipe from a cookbook I have, entitled, "365 All-American Favourites." It's loosely based on theirs, but with a delicious twist of my own added.

*Tasty Stuffed Chops*
Serves 4

Imagine a wonderfully succulent pork chop, stuffed with a flavour packed stuffing filled with herbs, sweet raisins, sun dried tomatoes and crunchy pine nuts . . . now cover it with a luscious gravy filled with some of the same flavours . . . D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!

1/2 cup of seasoned stuffing crumbs
(I used pepperidge farm)
2 TBS pine nuts
2 TBS golden raisins
2 TBS apple cider balsamic vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 TBS minced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 TBS chopped flat leaf parsley
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
4 centre cut pork chops, each about 1 1/2 inches thick

Place the raisins into a small bowl, along with the balsamic vinegar. Set aside to infuse for about 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Toss in the pine nuts and dry fry them for several minutes, stirring constantly until they are nicely toasted. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Add 1 TBS of the oil to the pan and saute the onions, cooking and stirring until golden and soft, about six minutes. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes longer. Remove 2 tablespoons to a small bowl and reserve for later.

Scrap the remaining onions and garlic into the bowl with the pine nuts. Toss in the stuffing crumbs. Drain the raisins, reserving the remaining vinegar for later. Add to the stuffing mixture, along with 2 TBS of the tomatoes, the parsley, lemon zest, and some salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Using a sharp knife, cut a deep pocket horizontally in the centre of each chop, taking care not to cut all the way through. Fill each with some of the stuffing. Pin closed with a toothpick, and season each side lightly with some more salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 TBS of oil over medium high heat in the skillet. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add the remaining chicken broth and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer, turning once, for about 15 minutes, until the chops are cooked through. Remove the chops to a plate and keep warm.

Add the reserved vinegar, onion mixture and sun dried tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to the boil over high heat. Boil and reduce until the sauce thickens slightly, some 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve the chops on heated plates with some of the sauce spooned over each.

PS - Don't forget to leave a comment on my Spring Giveaway post to be in on all of the fun. The giveaway will go on until 31st of March. I shall pick a winner on the 1st of April! All those goodies could indeed be winging their way over to you in just a few weeks!


  1. Oh Marie, don't change a thing: I absolutely adore your drawings/pictures!!

  2. Don't ever give up hope or what you love to do. Right now I think every one is cutting back. One of the big card companies in our state had cut several employees from their jobs. The news is full of people cutting back right now so just hang in there. Mean while you are getting the satisfaction of having something you like doing.
    I hope your Saturday is a great one!
    'On Ya'-ma



  4. Marie, I think your drawings are so adorable! Each one is unique and stays within your style. So what is the card company is wrong. Stay true to yourself and what you are inspired to paint! They are the best. And that pork chop looks delicious and making me hungry alto it is only 6am here and too early for breakfast! Have a happy day.

  5. Your pictures are just beautiful. Keep up the good work. You WILL be recognized eventually.

  6. Marie, please, I dont wish to hear any more negativity nfrom you, Your cards are beautiful, your food amazing, and God made you perfect in all things. YOu bless me eveytime I visit your site. I just wish i could cook up a plate ful that looks half as good! I loved hearing about your beroom. It sounds beautfiul too. Have a lovely weekend. We are at the b&b and it is so wonderful! Cant wait to blog about it!!

  7. I really enjoy your drawings! I still have your Christmas card on my cork board in my new office!

    I love me some stuffed pork chops!!

  8. Your picturea are beautiful and they're beautiful cause they come from you, you can't change them Marie they come from inside your being and we know that's of God. Nuff said, no changing of the pictures. Your pork chops are scrumptious lookinging!!

  9. Your art is beautiful, Marie. And best of all it is uniquely yours. Don't change a thing.

  10. Hi Marie, what a shame that those card companies can't see what your readers see in your artwork. There is definitely a niche for your charming designs and it is the company's loss. I wish that more people had the opportunity to see your work and be touched by it. The Lord never closes a door without opening a window, just keep looking for that window! It is nearly lunchtime here and my mouth is watering over those pork chops!

  11.'ve got me craving pork chops before I've had my morning coffee!!

  12. Don't doubt yourself. You're very talented. Remember--real people don't run companies. Salespeople do.

  13. Dear Marie, Please never give up on your wonderful little paintings. I adore them and only wish I had the money to buy loads and loads and loads of the,,,My walls would be full !!
    much Love Sybil xx

  14. Dear Marie,

    You are a very gifted and talented lady. Always follow your inner creative feelings. You paint beautifully!
    Your little characters are the essence of you. They are delightful! One will see...!
    Keep getting the pleasure from your talent. Never stop!
    Much love
    Jeanie xxxx

  15. That chicken looks really tasty!

  16. If they dont like your pictures they have to be idiots ,when Iompare your charming little people to some of the cards around ...well !! Oh pork chops now you are talking (ages since we had some ) Mmmm ? Jan xx

  17. Marie this is really nice and tasty!!! I love all your draws Im agree have part of you and is really nice:: xxxxxxx, hugggs to you and Todd, Gloria

  18. Your art is too wonderful to change. Have you considered publishing them yourself. Your blog following would certainly purchase them. It could grow from there.

    The pork chops sound delicious!!!

  19. Marie
    I really enjoy your blog and LOVE your artwork! It is so beautiful. Please don't give up! Keep trying. Afterall,drawing brings you joy and you are glorifying God by using the talents he gave you!

  20. I agree with Marthe.... don't change a thing. I love your sweet little people. I can not imagine why a card company has not picked you up?????? It makes no sense to me!!!

    I love your paintings and I love you. Don't give up.... there is a market out there for you. I just know it.

    XOXO, Lura

  21. Marie, this is your best one yet! That little hedgehog just steals my heart! Your paintings are darling! I think Hallmark will be knocking on your door very soon! Or American Greeting. Just a matter of time!

  22. If I had a shop it would have a whole corner just for your cards and paintings! And sock monkeys too. Don't you dare change a thing. I would think "Blow the publshers, They've had their chance." and have a little holiday in North Yorkshire I bet there are gift shops up there that would love them.

    love, Angie xx

  23. Marie your artwork is beautiful - but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You just haven't showed it to someone with beautiful eyes yet! Don't ever give up. Because your joy in your work shines through in every piece. Much love, Raquel XO

  24. Dear Marie
    I want to encourage you to keep on drwaing. When I looked at the delightful painting you had on this post I loved it of course, but I also thought" Marie should see about getting someone to publish these as greeting cards, or note cards or something". Then to my surprise you tell us about a rejection letter.
    Don't be discouraged. I really think there is a market for your work. You've got a gift. But more important than selling it, your gift brings glory to your Ceator each time you use it and He is pleased!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  25. hang in there marie! you are an extremely talented lady-your artwork is fantastic!! and you are right-be yourself. don't change a thing! thats what i love about you! i think these card companies must be stupid! :) persevere marie and you will be rewarded!


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