So Much More Than Chicken Salad

Have you noticed that when¬†girls get together to celebrate, it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re eating, we share one thing in common.

We love laughing and talking–just plain being silly and having fun.

Maybe you do too. ūüôā

This past Friday, we had a¬†birthday luncheon for my mother and sister at¬†a quaint little¬†tea room in Atlanta called The Swan Coach House.¬†We’ve always just¬†called it The Swan House. This picture is from their Facebook page.

They specialize in Southern yumminess like as cheese straws, chicken salad, and frozen fruit salad. The chicken salad¬†is to…die…for!

Here we are from left to right–minus my other daughter Jamie and our son’s girlfriend Brittany who couldn’t make it.

My daughter Katie, my sister’s daughter, Libby, me :), my sister Jennifer, and Mother.

Right before this picture was taken, Mother had been craning her neck to check out everyone’s shoes.

“I don’t get out enough,” she said. “I can’t stop staring at people. Look at the hostess’s shoes. Aren’t they adorable? Beige and¬†wheat colored flats with¬†black trim. They match her dress perfectly. And I’m wearing a very brave shade of bright yellow today. Want to see?” She raised her foot slightly. “I’ve never had yellow shoes.”

“Y’all know I don’t know about colors, or clothes, and I hate to shop,” I said.

“We know, Mom,” Katie said. “That’s why I shop with you.”

After lunch, we went to my sister’s house to open presents.

Mom hugging Libby and me …

Libby, our matriarch, and Jennifer …

I felt a touch of anxiety as they opened their gifts from me, but bless their hearts, they oohed and ahhed over them.

Sitting there on Jen’s back porch, I said, “This has been so much fun. We should do it more often.”

We talked about going to the Fox Theater in Atlanta, or maybe even flying to New York to see a Broadway play.

“We could, you know,” Mother said.

“We should,” Jennifer added.

Driving home I thought about something.

At The Swan House, everyone feels like a beautiful swan. And if you ask for a box for left-overs, they return with your carry-out tucked inside heavy tinfoil fashioned into a perfect swan.

But we left with so much more than swans.

In our hearts, we carried out sweet memories.

My sister’s amaaaaaazing chicken salad recipe (gluten-free!)

Jen’s Jenerous Chicken Salad

3 or 4 boneless chicken breasts

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

A stem of grapes, red or green, cut in half–a good handful or so

Slivered almonds, about half a cup

A big spoon of mayo (start with maybe a third cup)

Sour cream, (optional) about a teaspoon or two

Salt and pepper to taste

Thyme (optional) about a teaspoon

Boil chicken breasts in water sprinkled with salt, pepper, and thyme. Boil for about 45 minutes. Let cooked chicken cool. Either shred it with a fork or chop it really small. Stir in other ingredients. Delish!




Lord, Bless the Banjo Players

(If you’re receiving this post twice, please forgive me. Some of my dear readers emailed to let me know my blog didn’t arrive as scheduled yesterday. I’m reposting. Blessings on your Thursday! Love to you all.)

Every¬†morning my husband Rick and I¬†start the day out rocking and talking on the¬†front porch having¬†a PORCH PARTY. Sunday morning I was in a talkative mood. Surprise-surprise. ūüôā

“Do you ever think much about banjo players?” I said.

“No, can’t say¬†I have.”

“You know that song ‘I Will Wait’ by MUMFORD AND SONS?”


I ran and got my laptop.¬†“Watch this.” I found the song on YOUTUBE.¬†“Most people notice the guitarist or the lead singer, but¬†check out¬†the banjo player. Look at his passion.”

“Um-hmm,” Rick said,¬†rocking slowly while I danced in my chair.



“Good music,” he said. “So, what’s your point about banjo players?”

“Where would we be without them?”

He gave me the woman-I’ll-never-understand-you look.

“Not just banjo players. I mean, quiet people. Background people.¬†The ones¬†who give their best and¬†rarely get noticed.”

“You mean, quiet givers?”

“Exactly. Like people who¬†knit baby booties and hats for the PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER where I volunteer. You should see the mamas’ faces when they get a handmade gift.”

Rick nodded. Sipped his coffee.

“I know a woman who paints recovery rocks for AA members. Can you imagine how that must feel? To find out someone cares. Maybe someone you’ve never met.”

“Quiet givers,” he said. “They don’t do it for show.”

“And they can light up a room. Or¬†a life.”


“They have no idea how deeply God’s using them,” I said.

Lord, bless the banjo players–the background people who give¬†quietly.

Because of their faithfulness…

 The rest of us can dance.

Do you know any quiet givers?

(Pic of booties Flickr Angela Schmeidel Randall)