A Giant Head of Lettuce for Mother’s Day & Learning to be Flexible

Mother's Day | Reluctant Entertainer

We were all set for company last night. The table was set. Lights were on. Music was playing. We had a little fire going in the fire pit off to the side. Appetizers were out and the food was prepped and ready to go inside.

My friend Jeannie was coming for a casual Mother’s Day dinner. Nothing fancy, I told her, just healthy and light. A good weeknight meal.

Jeannie is the one who’s helped us a lot with our yard, sharing plants and dividing bulbs from her yard, and all she wanted for Mother’s Day (when I asked her) was quality time. She’s not big on “stuff.”

Outdoor entertaining | Reluctant Entertainer

And then, of course, we threw in something “earthy” for her gift; something she’d really appreciate.

Jeannie’s Mother’s Day gift was she would be able to cut any head of lettuce from the garden before she left our place.

Seriously, there is nothing like homegrown lettuce, and ’tis the season – in Oregon – for the most buttery, tender lettuce you’ll ever find.

Garden lettuce | Reluctant Entertainer

I’ve known Jeannie for 30 years. She’s been more than a mom to me, and I’ll leave it at that. She’s one of the most wonderful women in my life. Here we are sporting our (unplanned) pink pants!

Mother's Day | Reluctant Entertainer

Dinner was prepared inside: Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew and a fresh garden salad with shrimp, cilantro, feta cheese, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, and avocado. And fresh crunchy warm bread. And dessert that Jeannie brought.

We were just getting ready to sit down in the great outdoors …

Shrimp and avocado salad | Reluctant Entertainer
Red Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

And then it happened.

Thunder and lightening. Darkness and pouring down rain.

Rain storm

So we quickly moved the entire table setting and party to the inside.

I was serving a delicious stew recipe anyway, so it felt nice and cozy eating inside rather than outside.

What I love about hospitality is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You make changes as you go, pick things up and move them. People will cancel on you, and unordinary things sometimes take place, but you learn to go with the flow.

And it all works out in the end. And that’s one thing I’ve learned from Jeannie over the years, to bend and be flexible.

I’ve shared this before, and I think it’s time to share it again:

Many of us are crippled from birth. The backbone of our standard for living comes fused into unyielding rules and regulations. We are rigid in our determination to control life’s course and outcome.

We’re sure, for example, how people ought to look, behave, and respond. Things have to be done a certain way – our way. Then real life sneaks up and whacks us from behind, seeking to break our unbending back and our stiff neck, threatening to paralyze us.

There is a cure. We are offered opportunity to exercise the suppleness of godly grace and perspective. Each time life throws us a punch, we can do a deep-knee bend, forcing our muscles of faith, hope and understanding to stretch.

Eventually that brittle backbone will grow strong and supple, bending with the rhythms of grace, yet standing tall and firm in the face of compromise.

All of this requires considerable daily “give.” Such give is not a one-time choice but a lifestyle of generosity, spontaneity, and openness to truth.

How often I have thought that if I could give just one gift to my children, it would be the golden gift of flexibility.  –(Susan L. Lenzkes)

As the night came to a close, Jeannie went to the garden, in the rain, and cut herself a nice big head of lettuce to take home with her. (Top photo)

Thank you, Jeannie, for the gifts you’ve taught and given to me in life!

How do you handle situations where you have to make a quick change? Have you learned the gift of being flexible? 

   

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16 Responses to “A Giant Head of Lettuce for Mother’s Day & Learning to be Flexible”

  1. #
    1
    Kristina — May 10, 2013 @ 3:19 am

    Sandy this is beautiful in so many ways. a fun evening with a dear friend, made even more memorable with a change of plans.

    flexible.

    I have definitely had to learn to be more flexible these last couple years, sometimes feeling my time is not my own as I care for Dad. I would not change much, though, as it has been quite a learning experience and quite the ride.

    happy Mothers Day!

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    2
    Marie at the Lazy W — May 10, 2013 @ 5:51 am

    As if the photos and recipes aren’t enough, what a beautiful message. Flexibility speaks right to the core of not only hospitality but also submission, trust, humility, faith, and patience. Thank you so very much for this Sandy. Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. #
    3
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 10, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    This is such a sweet story. Hi Jeannie! Does it really just all-of-a-sudden rain like that up in Oregon?? And I’m immensely jealous of your ability to grow such fabulous things in your yard. One of these days I’ll have a good system!

    • Sandy Coughlin replied: — May 10th, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

      Yes, the storm came fast, Lori. I can’t wait to see your new yard/garden when you move! Happy Mother’s Day!

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    4
    bridget {bake at 350} — May 10, 2013 @ 7:44 am

    What a sweet post, Sandy! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to meet Jeannie. She’s a treasure!

    • Sandy Coughlin replied: — May 10th, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

      Thanks, Bridget. Jeannie really loved connecting with the “Texas” girls. :)

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    Amy — May 10, 2013 @ 7:54 am

    What a wonderful post and sweet friendship! Thank you for sharing. I’m thankful to have been able to meet such a great example.

    • Sandy Coughlin replied: — May 10th, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

      Thanks Amy. Happy Mother’s Day to you, friend!

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    6
    Tara G. — May 10, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    I lived in Ukraine twice. I am way more flexible after those 4.5 years! :)

    • Sandy Coughlin replied: — May 10th, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

      I know, Tara. Your story is amazing. Happy Mother’s Day!

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    7
    Elen Grey — May 10, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

    I just love your big heart. Are you putting the stew recipe up here, because it looks divine?

    • Sandy Coughlin replied: — May 10th, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

      Yes! Recipe is coming. It was too long of a post to put up here. I’m having it for lunch today, Ellen.

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    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — May 10, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    Great post, sounds like a great evening full of good hearts all around. I love the idea of a big head of lettuce as a gift, I often find that fresh vegetables are some of the best gifts you can give!

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    9
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — May 10, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    Great reminder that hospitality is way more important than perfection! :) Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  10. #
    10
    Maria — May 12, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

    I just adore Jeannie! I love this post! You are the perfect friend and entertainer! Happy Mother’s Day to you! xoxo

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