Words from a Noble Woman – Thoughts on Home and Hearth

As I present these meditations from our mysterious M.A., first talked about here, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. There are times she seems to contradict herself.

For instance, in the passages below, you’ll see how she first tells herself to not take her home too seriously, then in the second she says never neglect it. How do we reconcile these thoughts?

I think it’s important we realize that by all appearances, they are her private reflections. It’s natural that her thoughts drift from one idea to the next, first believing one thing, then another. It is, after all, how we grow as thinking individuals. Always open to new ideas. (Would that all people were this flexible, eh?)

Also, I can’t help but notice M.A.’s fondness for the semicolon. I counted up to four uses in one page alone! To own the truth, I grew faint. Did she use them correctly? Hell if I know, and I’ve been to college. (Perhaps, at least in this, Kurt Vonnegut was mistaken.)

But enough with our rambling preamble. Let us begin. Here are two more of M.A.’s entries (plus a recipe!) that I managed to decipher from her atrocious handwriting:

 MA 2

How common it is for a woman to seek retreat, to dream of a small cottage by the sea. “One day, one day,” she tells herself.
You allow yourself to be dissatisfied, thinking how a different place – a prettier home or better location – will bring you happiness. A shelter to escape, a place where you can let go of your cares and worry. This is but idle folly. The power for retreat lies within every woman; yea, it lies within her very soul.
Meditate on this, calm your thoughts, fill your mind with peace and the knowledge of a good day’s work. Give no heed to the superficial trappings of your surroundings. Better instead: seek your comfort from within, and when doubt prevails, make yourself a tasty salad; salads are good for the soul.

Do not neglect your home, however small or plain it may be. Women, far more than men, are attune to their surroundings; Tidy up.
Clear out that pile of magazines, dust your bookshelf, shake out your rugs.
Make certain that wherever your eyes rest, it is a pleasing space, simple and clean. Surround yourself with beauty; take care of your environment, both indoors and out.
And get a fern. Ferns are nice.

From M.A.’s Recipe Drawer:

Grilled Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: It's a salad. Chop some veggies and you're good to go
  • Print

A lovely, simple salad, perfect for lunch or a light summer dinner



  • 2 cups grilled chicken
  • 4 cups assorted salad greens*
  • sliced red onion
  • dried cranberries
  • 1 avocado, peeled & sliced
  • crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
  • chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Honey Mustard Dressing


Tear salad greens and divide among four plates. Top with onions, cranberries, avocado, cheese and nuts, divide chicken evenly. Top with dressing.

To make dressing: Add to blender 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons honey and 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, plus a few dashes of salt and pepper; Blend until oil is fully incorporated.

*Note from C.J.: I used a bag of baby salad greens and since I had leftover grilled chicken on hand, this meal was super quick to make. Plus, M.A.’s recipe for honey-mustard dressing is not only easy to make, it’s delicious. You gotta try it!

18 thoughts on “Words from a Noble Woman – Thoughts on Home and Hearth

  1. I think it’s the ferns. When was the last we cared about ferns? So she tells us to get a fern… now that seems a little peculiar and it has me wondering why ferns.

    I think the first thoughts of the cottage by the sea was just a daydream about how life could have been. In the following thought she comes down to the reality of that age, women can’t have their heads in the sand they must keep the house up and raise the kids.

    And I’m guilty also for I love semicolons and will use them whenever I can; they just lure you in and then you fall under their spell.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah, see, what you don’t realize is that there is a whole subculture of fern fanatics, who care immensely for the grand divas of plantlife. Be careful lest you be sucked into their midst. You will never escape.
      Semicolons, my friend, are much the same. But alas, you’ve already fell to their lure. My thoughts and prayers are with you. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do agree that making peace with what one has is the best recipe for content. But I couldn’t live without my daydreams which ironically frequently involve living in a glade surrounded by my own woodland which of course would by default contain ferns. Many ferns. Making salad is indeed an excellent distraction …. the chopping, the slicing, the arranging artfully and the making of the dressing for which I favour a screw top jar and shaking it hard for many moments which serves also as an excellent workout for the upper arms which in turn represent the passing of time in my life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s a bit of a paradox, isn’t it? We should be content with what we have, yet we must have our dreams and ambitions to make a better life and world.
      Usually my daydreams involve a somewhat decripit seaside cottage, much like the old movie “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”. If it came with ghost, that would be a bonus.
      Unsure what seaside air does to ferns, though. Maybe it’s just as well I live where I do. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Derrick Jarman, forever lamented, utter genius and one of my heroes (did his work reach the US … I’ve no idea but if not – seek it out) made a wonderful garden facing the often angry sea in East Anglia, England. Here’s a link … it’s preserved, I think actually protected now. Here’s a link but there’s much more if you search around. Maybe no ferns but so. Much. More …. https://www.gardenvisit.com/gardens/derek_jarman_garden_prospect_cottage_dungeness

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m growing more fond of M.A. with each post. (Artfully packaged and presented by you, of course.) And I could eat a salad every day for at least one meal and be quite content for years, assuming that I’m allowed to be creative with what is IN that salad; otherwise, monotony destroys the soul. (I’m fairly certain I erred with the semicolon usage, but that’s just the nature of the beast…)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Semicolons are the black sheep of punctuation; they lure you in and eat your soul. Once you learn to use them, there is no going back; you resist, but your willpower is weak.
    Nothing is better than a salad for lunch… unless it’s soup! *Gasp* I wonder if M.A. has recipes for soup?!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Being a Libra, I love that M.A. seems to contradict herself; it creates balance (notice my use of the semicolon). She’s right, too… Your home can become your prison if you let it overtake you and trap you in; however, I have noticed that I (more than my husband) AM very sensitive to my environment and a cluttered house grates on my nerves without me realizing it until I clean up and suddenly feel much better.
    I think that life is full of paradoxes. The things that hold us down can be the things that can set us free and the things that make us strong can be the things that make us weak. For instance, meticulousness can become perfectionism. Tenacity can become bullheadedness. Individualism can become isolationism.
    One can see everything as being on a huge sliding scale; actually, I wish maybe more people saw things that way… maybe that would make people realize that we all have a lot more in common than may be apparent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same way! I won’t realize how much clutter is getting to me until I look around and finally see it. Amazing how much a quick tidying up will snap me out of a sour mood. 🙂
      And I’m rather fond of paradoxes, probably for the very reason you state. They keep us from becoming extremists. An extremist can’t afford ambiguity, while a paradox demands it.

      Liked by 2 people

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