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!

Love,

Julie

 

I’m Weird Like That

As a little girl, I went to lots of spend-the-night parties. I never told anybody, but I didn’t really like going. I’m weird like that.

After¬†Mother dropped me off, I’d find a quiet spot in the corner and stretch out my sleeping bag. I was usually the first one to fall asleep and first to get up. Saturday morning, I slurped a bowl of Cheerios, suitcase in hand, ready to hurry home.

This past Thursday, I was invited to a big girl spend-the-night party with three dear friends at a cabin in north Georgia. I love my friends, couldn’t wait to see them, but just before leaving home…I remembered.

I glanced at my cozy bedroom, the soft glow of the lamp, and smoothed my fingers over my quilt.

I felt a twinge of little girl feelings.

Good grief. Sometimes I’m the same little girl inside. Loving my predictable routine. Help me to change, Lord.

I petted Clyde goodbye, grabbed my suitcase, and headed for the mountains.

That night my friends and I went out for Mexican. We talked and laughed at the restaurant, and¬†back at Lisa’s cabin, we stayed up until 1 a.m. eating chocolate chip cookies. (Gluten-free with Pamela’s flour…..delish!)

I slept in Lisa’s daughter’s bedroom. She had¬†a comfy quilt like mine¬†and soft pink sheets. You’ll never believe it…

I was the last one up the next morning!

Here we are on Friday…me,¬†Leigh Anne, Dayna, and Lisa. ūüôā

Before we left, the four of us joined hearts and prayed.

I thought about my theme for the year.

Surrender.

Oh, the wonderful plans I have for you… God seemed to say.

You¬†mean, like¬†the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go?

You’ll see. Surrender. Daily.

I’m so glad I went to the¬†big girl¬†spend-the-night party! ūüôā

Maybe I used to be “weird like that.”¬†But not anymore!

Do you have any¬†weird ways¬† you’re working on changing?

Love,

Julie

 

Is There A Party Going On In Here?

This past Friday, Mother had her breast biopsy. Waiting hasn’t been easy for her.

My sister Jennifer, Mom’s husband Gene, and I joined her inside the curtained cubicle in pre-op. “Oh, good. Y’all are here.”

Pretty soon she asked for her big white sunglasses.

“You’re going to wear them in the hospital?” I said.

“The overhead light’s bright and I don’t have on any under-eye concealer.”

Jennifer fished through Mother’s huge Ziploc¬†baggie and handed her the glasses.

“This is too funny–you in these glasses. Can I take a picture for my blog?”

“By all means.”

I handed Gene the camera and we crowded around her bed.

 

“That picture’s terrible. Looks like I’m lyin’ a corpse. Take a another one and I’ll hold my head up better.”

Only my mother. ūüôā

 

“You and Jen look like nerd sisters from the sixties¬†wearing your glasses. Ya’ll take a picture looking like that. It’s only fair.”

 

“Listen to all the chatter in the other cubicles,” Mother said. “Sounds like a party. Wish I could meet everybody and work the room.”

“You could in those glasses.” Jennifer said.

Who knew you could have this much fun in pre-op?¬†We got tickled–started laughing hysterically, and¬†then the¬†anesthesiologist pulled the curtain back. Ahhhhhhh! He caught us snapping pictures.¬†I’m not sure he understood our humor, but Mother’s doctor sure did.

“I should have known your mother would have a party going on in here.” He flopped down on the end of the tiny bed and laughed with us.¬† Mother laughed so hard she cried.

After surgery, Mom ate some of Jen’s homemade fudge. She said she had so much fun, she wants to come back next week and do it again!

When you aren’t afraid, sometimes life just gets downright funny.

A merry heart does good like medicine…” Proverbs 17:22 (KJ)

P.S. Tuesday, 5:38 p.m. Mom just called. Great report! Benign papilloma!

Love,

Julie