Friday 24 September 2010

Friday thoughts . . .

About 20 years ago now, something happened that would change the way I looked at life and people forever. I learned a lesson that would have a profound effect on the way I lived the rest of my life.

My ex father in law passed away . . . and the fragility of life and relationships came crashing home to me. He had not been a particularly kind man to his wife, or his children, although I do have to say he was never unkind to me. He had spent most of his adult life in a drunken alcoholic haze, which was very sad. Upon his death, the family behaved in a most peculiar way and not one of them shed a tear . . . no-one outside of the immediate family was allowed to go to the funeral . . . not even us, the daughter and son's in law for whom he had been a part of our lives for a very long time. The immediate family held their grief silent and close to their hearts, not even willing to share their feelings with the ones they supposedly loved.

I did cry though, and I grieved . . . I grieved for a life having been wasted and now gone, for missed opportunities forever gone and never to be re-captured, for words never spoken and tears never shed . . .

I learned that life is fragile, and all too soon over, and that . . . for bad or for good, we had better grab hold of it while we can . . . and say all the words that need to be said . . . and cry all the tears that need to be cried, before it is too late and the opportunity is forever gone . . .

I learned that we are given the parents and families we are given, for whatever reason, and that we need to embrace both the good and the bad, and accept it for what it is. That families are precious, no matter what else they may be . . .

I learned to love my parents, unconditionally, for who they were, warts and all, and to let go of all the ghosts of the past.

I learned that all any one person is doing at any given time, is the very best that they know how to do according to the sum of their experiences and knowledge. When they know better . . . they do better. No-one can ask for any more than that.

I learned to be grateful for a childhood in which I was never hungry, cold or without a roof over my head, and . . . most importantly, I learned that my parents loved me in the only way they knew how. It might not have been manifested in the same way that I perceived other parents as loving their children, but it was love all the same, and it was mine. We should always be grateful for love, no matter how it is shown.

I became, I believe . . . a better person, a better mother, a better wife, and a better daughter. Life is too short to hang on to the negative. Find the positive in all things and you will be much happier for it . . . life will not be wasted . . . and your love will not be in vain . . .

I did another painting yesterday. This is one for the Christmas Cards. Hop on over to The Artful Heart to see it in all it's glory, and while you are there, don't forget to sign up as a follower to get in on the Giveaway for some lovely cards!

This is one of my favourite ways to cook chicken breasts. Chicken breasts can be very dry and tasteless . . . They can use a little bit of help to put some flavour in there. Here’s my secret way of doing that!

*Flash Fried Chicken with Lemon, Capers and Parsley*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Simple meats are so much tastier when you prepare them simply with simple ingredients and not much fuss. These chicken breasts are cut thinly and then flash fried, preserving much of the moisture. The flavours of lemon, parsley and capers really go well with chicken. It also helps to make a little bit of chicken go further.

3 chicken breasts
3 TBS plain flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and mashed a bit, but still in one piece
The juice of a lemon
1 TBS of capers in vinegar, drained well and chopped
3 TBS coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Slice each chicken breast into three or four thin escallops, through the middle horizontally with a very sharp knife, being very careful not to slice through your hand. I like to hold the palm of my hand on top of the chicken, pressing it down gently and slice through it that way. It also helps if the chicken is really cold.

Place the plain flour on a plate and dip each escallop into it on both sides, patting them lightly to help the flour adhere.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat along with the garlic. Once it becomes very fragrant add the chicken pieces, trying not to crowd the pan. (It is better to do a few at a time. If you have too many in the pan the chicken will steam instead of fry.) Fry the meat on both sides quickly, until golden, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.

Remove from the pan as each is done and continue to fry until all the meat is lightly browned and seasoned. Return all the chicken to the pan and squeeze the juice of the lemon over top of it all. It will bubble up and begin to glaze the chicken. Toss in the chopped capers and parsley. You can add a tablespoon or two of hot water if needed and give it a swirl to make a sauce. Remove the chicken from the heat immediately and let sit for a few minutes, covered, for the flavours to develop, then serve hot with some boiled potatoes or rice. Delicious!

Baking in The English Kitchen today, some delicious Raspberry Buns! Oh so scrummy!


  1. Oh Marie
    You have me in tears here. You have taken me back to my own fathers funeral, the strangest funeral I have ever been to.

    You always give me food for thought!!

  2. Lovely post.Isnt it so sad to have wasted such a gorgeous life God has given to us,Imsure there are alot more out there that have.

    Loving your chicken recipe I love the spices you have chosen for it,thanks for sharing.

    Happy weekend!

  3. You had me in tears this morning Marie as I too, learned this lesson long ago. Whatever childhoods we were blessed with good or bad, has a very significant message. You can make life better or worse for yourself - it is our free option to do so. I have happy memories of childhood as well as some not so good but through it all - I think everyone does absolutely the best they can with what knowledge they have. Love and forgiveness will set you free.

  4. Almost 18 years ago I had the same type of life changing event when my husband died. He was the kind of man that everyone loved. He lived a good life though and left a lot of grieving people behind. Not at all like your FIL. It sure did wake me up to the value of each and every moment of our life.

  5. Sweet thoughts from a grateful heart. We are blessed to be alive, however we ended up where we are. God is always good! :)
    Have a lovely weekend Marie!

  6. good post, Marie, and thank you for sharing your story. by the way, can I come over for dinner. seriously, like right now??


  7. wow. so this what i really needed to read this week marie-thanks. i get down about certain family members sometimes and i let myself feel hurt by things they do, whether intentional or not. its hard for me-sometimes they make me feel like they don't care. but i need to remember they are family and they are trying. i need to just love them for who they are and forget their weaknesses and try not to let things bother me as much. since i definitely have plenty of my own weaknesses too!


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