Friday 20 May 2011

Friday thoughts . . .

"If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, make sure you sweep the streets like Michelangelo painted memorable pictures, like Shakespeare wrote fine poetry, like Beethoven composed great music. Sweep your street so well that all will have to pause and say, 'Here lived a great sweeper, one who swept his piece of the world so very well.'"
~Martin Luther King Jr.

What a simple and wonderful message these words from the late Dr King contain. We don't all have to do great things to be important. We only have to do our best at whatever it is we do. I think a lot of young people today feel inadequate if they can't become rich and famous. We live in a world today that increasingly worships and idolizes pop culture, and anything less than the top of the pile is meaningless or worthless.

When I look back on my life, some of the people who have made the most impact on me, and who have left the largest impressions have been simple folk, doing simple things . . . but doing them well. People like my third grade teacher, who was also my Sunday School Teacher . . . a woman who loved teaching so much that she not only did it five days a week, but used one of her only two days off each week to teach us about the Lord.

Then there was a neighbour across the way who was doing her best to raise a child that was severely disabled. Her daughter could not speak and moved very little. She spent her days in a wheelchair, and I am sure that the mother's heart broke a thousand times a day, every day. It would have been very easy for her to put her daughter in an institution, but she did not. She cared for her at home, in the best way possible. In the nice weather she would wheel her out into the garden so that she could enjoy the sunshine. I can remember going over to visit her, and chat and sing to her. I do not know if she took any of it in, or if it ever made any difference to her, but it made a difference to me.

There was a janitor at the Junior High School I attended, who was always cheerful and upbeat. His name was Reggie. The kids all loved him. He never seemed to mind that he spent his days pushing a broom and cleaning up behind everyone else. He was very good at what he did, and he managed to do it with a smile on his face. It is not easy to impress a load of 12, 13 and 14 year olds, but he did it and did it well, and I dare say I am not the only person in the world who, some 40 years or more later, still remembers him.

I can go over in my mind, lots and lots of examples of people just like these three, who made strong, positive and wonderful impressions on me as I was growing up, and there is not a pop star in the bunch.

Today my life continues to be touched and enriched by the examples of others such as these. Simple people, doing simple things well, to the best of their ability . . . and with cheerful hearts. Therein lies the measure of a successful life.

It was a gorgeously sunny day yesterday. Todd took himself off into town in the morning. I didn't go because I am having a bad week this week with my knees. He did enjoy himself though and then he came home and mowed the grass in the garden. It was getting quite long and it was quite a chore for him. I plied him with glasses of lemonade and lots of loving support. I wish I could do more. Today looks to be even sunnier, as if that were possible. I know we need rain, but it is nice to enjoy the sunshine. It could just as easily turn to rain and rain for the rest of the spring and summer too, so we take the sunshine where and when we find it and enjoy it for all that it is!

I am off to my One Step Program this morning. I may try to walk there. The group itself are going on a walk insead of doing the aerobics, but I am afraid to go on it because they will probably be walking down the bike path and if something happens that I can't go any further, I would not be able to get back very easily. If I walk to the church hall where they do the counselling session afterwards and I run into trouble, I can simply call Todd on my phone and he can come and help get me to where I need to go. It is no longer one knee these days, it is both . . . and it is frustrating to say the least, but we do our best, or what we can.

One thing that I like about sunny and warm days is salads! They don't just have to consist of a few lettuce leaves, some cucumbers and some tomato either! I just adore vegetable salads, so colourful and filled with wonderful textures and flavours! This is one of my favourites. If you don't have a grill, and can't get corn on the cob, just use a good tin of sweet corn, drained, and chop your veg up and toast them in a skillet. I promise you it will be just as delicious!

*Grilled Garden Salad*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

This is salad season. I love this tasty salad with it's lovely colour and beautiful textures and flavours!

2 cobs of corn, husks and silk removed and discarded
2 small yellow squash, each cut lengthwise into 3 slices
2 small courgettes, each cut lengthwise into 3 slices
2 tomatoes chopped
1/3 cup of zesty Italian salad dressing
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced
3 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh Basil

Heat your grill to medium high. Add the corn and grill for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the kernels are browned and tender. Remove from the grill and cool slightly.

Grill the squash and courgette slices until tender, turning occasionally. This should only take about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill.

Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs into a bowl. Chop the squash and courgettes and place them into the bowl as well. Add the chopped tomatoes. Whisk together the salad dressing, lemon juice and garlic, Pour over top and toss together gently. Sprinkle with the Parmesan Cheese and Basil. Serve immediately.

Note: You may add 6 slices of crisply cooked streaky bacon, (crumbled) if you like.

I'm indulging my love of pasta today over in The English Kitchen with Baked Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta!


  1. Oh Marie, once again your words are so true and By co-incidence I had said something very similar to my son's apprenticeship supervisor this morning.

    I am saddened to read that both knees are bothering you so very much. Constant pain is bad but to have your mobility so restricted is not wonderful. I hope that the sunny and warmer weather could bring you some respite.

  2. Like you we are looking forward to another lovey sunny day...Yesterday we sat out for what seemed fact I must confess I dozed off at one point !!
    Hope all goes well this morning for you. It is so hard to loose weight when you can't do the exercises..I do wish they woudl hurry up and do something for your knees. My pal Pam should hear on Monday when or if they are going to do the first of her shoulders..
    That is a great idea for a salad.
    Thank you.. Love Sybil xx

  3. that salad looks lovely Marie, just right for lunch.I'm so sorry your knees are acting up and now both.The injection didn't help for very long.Good luck at your meeting today and thanks so much for all your kind words on my blog,

  4. It must be discouraging for you to have this set back with your knees. Try to do what you can and if it is too much- stop. You don't want to do more damage to your knees. You are loved--just as you are.

  5. Very wise words from Mr King and so true. I can think of several lovely people who lead simple, good lives and who brightened up my own life. They always stay dear to us and I know that I try as much as I can to pass on some of that same spirit in my everyday life.

    Marie, I'm so sorry to hear about your knees. It's so frustrating when our spirit is willing, but our bodies just let us down. Since I've had this leg brace, I have to say that my osteoarthritis in that knee is not troubling me so much. I'm still very careful not to overdo things, but the difference it has made is nothing short of miraculous. I hope you can find something to help you get back on your feet.

    Todd sounds like a keeper :-) I'm always thrilled to hear about him and am so happy to see that you found each other. Love to Miss Mitzie and I hope you have a lovely, sunny weekend.

  6. I am impressed that you can remember the names of these special people from so long ago. There have been many special people ...teachers ....neighbors.... etc in my life but I regret that I have forgotten most of their names. I guess that is a part of "old timers" setting in. However, I am thankful that they were there and set good examples for me through the years.

    I've not felt like doing much on the computer for a couple of days so I am catching up today. I just love your red umbrella post. We should all have faith like that little girl.

    So sorry your knees are hurting. I continue to pray for you. Much love, Lura

  7. I too remember names Marie from when I was so small,my first teachers name and I was only three when I was at nursery school.Yesterday was beautifuk here too and I spent it mowing grass and other jobs in the garden.My poor knees knew about it though and my bacjk today.Cooler today it was and rain this afternoon,which saved me watering.Have a pain free week/end Marie I pray.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  8. what sweet stories you shared of amazing people. you don't have to do anything grand in life to make a difference! its the simple things.

  9. p.s. prayers for your knees :( i'm so sorry they are hurting:(


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