Thursday, 2 April 2009

Whatever, Wherever, Whenever . . .

"Whatever your God has blessed you with, take it with a grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that, in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily."

I've decided to do a thankful post this morning. Watching all those angry protesters on the telly yesterday made me count my blessings and wish that they would too. Yes, things in the world are a bit more precarious at this time than they were at the same time last year, but I reckon that most of us have a great deal of blessings and things that we can be thankful for, and today I am going to dwell on them.

I have a job. That is a great blessing to me. It not only gives me a purpose each day and income, but it also affords Todd and myself this cottage to live in. My job may not always be exciting. It is sometimes quite dull and full of drudgery, but it is a job, and in today's financial climate, that is something to indeed be very thankful for.

I am thankful for the guidance of my church leaders that have been telling us for years now to store up for a rainy day, to stay out of debt and to be prepared. As each day passes I see even more the wisdom of their teachings, and I am grateful for a heart that listens and does what I am told to do. It might have meant that while others were wearing all the latest fashions and driving around in the newest cars, we were wearing things from a charity shop and driving an old banger. We are also free from all the heartache and hassle of being in over our heads in debt, and we have a nice store cupboard full of food to eat should we ever find ourselves in the position that we need to rely on it. (There have been many times we have had to do just that!) Now we need to kick our own arses and get our 72 hour packs in order.

I may end up each day with more aches and pains than I have muscles, but I am grateful for my health. I have two good eyes that can see, even if I do need to wear glasses. I have two strong hands that can do all the things that they need to do, and I have two working legs and feet that can carry me wherever it is I need to go. I don't suffer from any great illnesses and my lungs are in good shape. I do need to lose weight, but I am working on it, however slowly.

As I sit here and listen to the birds awakening outside these four walls, I am truly grateful to be living in such a beautiful place, where there is peace and calm. The other afternoon as I walked back over to work, I was assailed by the most beautiful sounds coming from a tree next to the hedge along the lane way. Up amongst it's branches I could see a nest, and sitting on the branch next to it, a robin singing it's heart out with the most wonderful song I have ever heard. I could not help myself. I had to just stand there for several minutes and drink it all in. It was a treasured moment.

I am loved. I have a Heavenly Father and a Saviour who surely love me, this I know to be true. I have a husband who loves and cherishes me, even if I do annoy him from time to time with my messiness. I have parents and a sister and brother who love me as well, and some pretty wonderful children and grandchildren who also care deeply for me. When I add to that my friends, both near and far, I can see that I am surely loved and that is a wonderful thing.

I am grateful for my faith. Faith that keeps me going and upright. It heals me when I am wounded and gives me strength when I feel weak. It shelters and carries me through all the storms and battles that life would throw my way. It gives my life purpose and joy. I know who I am. I know why I came here to earth, and what to do while I am here. I know where I am going when I leave this veil of tears and I know how to get there. It is a precious knowledge and a wonderful thing to possess, this faith of mine.

I have intelligence and talents and a life filled with an abundance of joy and blessings, both large and small. I have a heart that can appreciate the little things and that is willing to share my many blessings with others. Any wise man knows that it is in the giving that one truly loves and that you don't and can't really begin to fully live your life until you learn to give it away . . . my cup does runneth over. I am blessed, and I'll wager . . . so . . . are . . . you.

I found this lovely little recipe the other day in an old Taste of Home, Country Chicken recipe booklet of mine. The title of it first caught my eye and then I had all the ingredients so I thought why not . . . I mean how could I resist something called "Sunshine Chicken?" We were not disappointed.

*Sunshine Chicken*
Serves 4

Moist chicken, covered in a deliciously golden sweet and sour sauce, this wonderful dish surely lives up to it's name. I love anything sweet and sour. This went beautifully with some steamed rice and some string beans.

1 (3 ounce) packet of lemon flavoured gelatin powder
3 TBS butter, melted
3 TBS prepared mustard (not the hot English mustard)
1 tsp salt
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 TBS thinly sliced almonds

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F.

Combine the gelatin, butter, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl, whisking well together. Place the chicken breasts in an ungreased 11 inch by 7 inch by 2 inch baking dish. Brush well with this mixture and then pour any remaining mixture around the chicken in the dish.

Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, basting once halfway during the cooking. Remove the cover, baste again and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer or until the chicken juices run clear. Remove from the oven and serve.


  1. This post just popped up as I was turning off the computer.... so you see here we are together even though we are half the world apart. I love it when I just happen to see your post pop up. I can picture you in your pjs sitting at your computer, Jess at your feet, cozy in Oak cottage, typing away.

    I am cozy in a comfy chair with my lap top just a key stroke away, thinking of you.

    I love everything you wrote in this post... you have such a good attitude and insight. That is one of the reasons I love you so much.

    Have a great day. (Yawn) I am off to dream land now. Maybe I will dream of the beautiful grounds at Oak Cottage... and singing robins... and you. That would be a treat. Much love, Lura

  2. Loving the look and sound of sunshine chicken Marie!! I've never seen 'lemon flavoured' gelatin powder before though! Where do you get it?

  3. Good morning Marie!
    I often count my blessings. Even when Peter complained about the garden I told him I'd rather that than have to live in a tower block with just a balcony!
    The Sunsine Chicken sounded lovely until you said it was sweet and sour! I'm not a lover of sweet and sour although I'd eat it if it was put in front of me at someone's house, ha ha!
    Have a good day! Love, Pat

  4. Hi, Marie! It was disheartening seeing all the news of yesterday, the protesting....A stop-and-count-one's-blessing in response is a great thing! I'm with you on all the sentiments here. :o) Love you for all the sunshine you well as sunny chicken recipes ;o) Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS!! ((HUGS))


  6. Every day I am made more aware of the fact that we should be thankful for those blessings we have. Thank you for sharing yours with us today. 'On Ya'-ma

  7. There are also friends that have never met you who love you too! (me!)

  8. That chicken looks so good! I love that it's called "sunshine chicken"!

  9. Marie,

    I LOVE your blog! I found you via a link on Wings of Eagles where the words "Marie in Manchester" caught my eye. I have scrolled up and down your blog but I don't see any mention of where in Manchester you are? My Mum was born in Salford and moved to Prestwich when she was a young girl. Her family lived there for many years and it was always home to me as my Grandma, Aunt and Cousins were there also. Even when my American Dad's Army career took us all over Europe, we still came back to Prestwich for our holidays.

    My family settled in California after my Dad retired from the Army but with their golden years approaching, Mum and Dad returned to England to live. They still had that military travel bug in their systems and lived in Bispham, Morecambe, Prestwich and Haslingden before finally settling in Bury. Sadly, Mum died there in 2003, and Dad returned to the United States and passed away just this February.

    So, after that big long introduction, you can maybe understand why I think of England as home and how wonderful it was to find your blog with your recipes and day to day entries.

    My blog is private, but I would love to have you visit. Please send me an e-mail to and I will send you an invitation.

    Bless you, you have really brightened my day today,

  10. Hi Marie!

    What a wonderful post! I think it's so great that you are focusing on the good things. It is easy to get caught up in all of the doom and gloom. I think if everyone had your viewpoint, the world would be such a more harmonious, pleasant place!

    Seeing my little neighbor girl with her brain cancer has really changed my perspective and made me appreciate my sweet family and spending time with people I love.

    I hope you have a wonderful day!


  11. Marie,
    I have so enjoyed your Blog! What a wonderful insight you have to life! I am giving a Relief Society lesson on trials in 3 weeks and would really like to use a few of your comments, if you don't mind.

    I found your blog through a friend of yours here in Utah. I think you sent a package to our office to look at some art work not long ago.

    Anyway, I now have to check it each day for wonderful pictures, lift-me-ups and recipes! God bless you! You are amazing!

  12. It sounds lovely! And what a great point you have. Even if we hate our jobs, we're lucky to have one and to have a fabulous family!

  13. Marie, I loved your testimony and needed to hear it today. I also am so grateful to my loving Father in Heaven for all the bounty and blessings he offers and blesses our family with. My cup also is over flowing! I feel him close today.
    You hyacints (sp) are gorgeous and I am so glad you heard a beautiful symphony from the robin. I saw one pull up a worm recently to feed her young. Life is a miracle and we need treasure each moment.
    Thanks for the great reminded because we to need to kick our own 'arses' and get our 72 hour packs in order!:)
    Thanks for the Taste of Home and have spent a small fortune on their cookbooks!

  14. I'm thankful for you Marie, because of your daily inspirational posts and your wonderful heart.

  15. Hi Marie
    Thanks for the remindewr of all that we have to be thankful for. When you know that you have a heavenly Father who loves you, then it's much easier to put everything in perspective.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!