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Have You a Courteous Heart?


Last Halloween I sent Lynn a book.  Within a week, she had sent a note to say Thank you, and by Thanksgiving, she mailed a long letter telling me how much she enjoyed the book.  Now, this may not seem earth shattering in and of itself, but it does prove that even in these hectic times, some souls still possess a gracious courteous heart.

          What is a courteous heart, you ask?  Manners, breeding, decorum, savoir-faire all define courteous.  A quality that is so often missing in our society, but one that Lynn possesses.  Her courteous heart often refers to the gift I gave her five years ago.  I do not remember what it is I gave her, but she does.  It is her repeated gratitude over my kindness that illustrates her genteel manner.

          The courteous heart can do everything beautifully from allowing shoppers with fewer items ahead in line, to passing the salt before being asked at dinner.  For the courteous hearts, a simple “Good Morning” is pleasing.  It is too bad that most people growl the sentiment as they rush past us making a sound something akin to having a tooth pulled.  Then, there are those who just simply refuse to acknowledge others at all unlike the courteous of heart. The courteous speak distinctly and with kindness so one never has to ask, “What did you say?”

          Think about the usual birthday gift or Christmas present.  It is the one wrapped in pretty paper and adorned with ribbon.  A symbol of what all friendly acts should be–kindness performed with imagination.  Then what is giving?  Ah, the courteous heart makes it their business to know what a friend really wants.  One friend I have believes it is her job to give the most thoughtful of gifts.  Once, I mentioned that I crave cucumbers in sour cream, and I wistfully dreamed of eating this fare at every meal.  I will tell you, I have never had a meal at her house since, without finding a delicious bowl of cucumbers in sour cream.

          It is not easy, this business of giving; it is an art.  An art requires time and imagination to pull off.  For instance, for my thirty-fifth birthday, my husband contrived a treasure hunt that I had to follow under the direction of tiny sticky notes.  The clues–some being very vague–lead me to a hotel room. My arms were loaded with packages I had found along the hunt.  When I arrived at the hotel and opened the door to room 132, I found, to my delight the best surprise party I have ever experienced!  There will never be a gift more spectacular as that.  It was not wrapped in pretty paper or ribbons, but packaged with thought, imagination, and hard work.

          The courteous of heart often out perform ordinary folk in manners and decorum, even in everyday tasks.  A co-worker named Joe, understood kindness to an impressive dimension.  He never let a morning pass without a personal greeting and a smile, he held elevators for others, sent out cards in sympathy and in congratulations, avoided gossip, and expressed a positive thought about all he met. He accomplished all this with the humblest of attitudes.  His courteous heart was automatic. Joe had lived it for so long that his kindness and courtesy functioned without deliberate thought.

          Must we all be like my co-worker?   It would be nice, but I would not go that far.  Joe is a perfect mentor, and we can all strive for his ideal.  Maybe it is enough to ask- that when you are shuffling through your daily existence-stop every so often, say “Good Morning,” and mean it.  Listen to those you love and hear what they are truly yearning for, and then do your best to give it to them.  It could be something as simple as a good book or a bowl of cucumbers in sour cream.

          A courteous heart is so rare.  Often, there is not enough time to do all the things we must do, and it seems, no time to consider others.  However, if you are interested in enlarging your mystic organ where true human kindness flows, learn to put yourself in another’s place, and anticipate their thoughts.  The courteous, remember, does kindness with heart.


©Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.










Southwestern Chicken Chili

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Busy weeknights are a common place occurrence at the Jennirific house.  Sometimes dinner makes it into the crockpot in the morning and sometimes it just doesn’t.  I am sure we all have those days. 
This recipe is a go to for me because it turns out wonderfully no matter which method I am able to apply to it, crockpot or stove top.  Packed with veggies, protein, and fiber this meal will keep the family fueled through all their activities!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and chopped (you may increase amount to taste)
  • 2 medium chopped red, green, and/or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 15- to 15-1/2 ounce cans Great Northern, pinto, or cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pot of Pot of Gold Bouillion
  • 1 lb chopped cooked chicken* (see note below)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped.
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • Broken tortilla chips (optional)


  1. Add olive oil to a 4 quart or larger stock pan along with chopped onions.
  2. Sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper and continue to sauté, 1 minute
  4. Add bell pepper, beans, cumin, salt, chicken stock, and bouillon.
  5. Allow to come to boil
  6. Add chicken, cover, and reduce heat to a low simmer.
  7. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  If chili seems too thin to your taste, remove lid while cooking to help reduce the liquid and thicken the chili.  The chili will continue to thicken after cooking, do not reduce all liquid.
  8. Stir in about ½ cup of chopped cilantro
  9. Serve, garnish with cheese and chips if desired.

Finished cooking and ready to serve!


  • In a slow cooker stir together the drained beans, chicken, onion, sweet pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cumin and salt. Stir in chicken broth.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. If desired, top each serving with shredded cheese and broken tortilla chips.

*A note regarding adding cooked meat into recipes.
 For this recipe I usually cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the same pot I will cook the chili in.  This allows the chili to soak up all the flavors left over from the cooked chicken.  That being said, you have to season the meat before cooking.  A simple sprinkle of black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder will give your meat a great flavor and ensure the dish you are adding it to also has a great taste.  Meat without seasoning equals bland food as an end result. 

Facebook Manners

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     The lessons of life never stop educating.  It does not matter how old or young you are, everyday there is something new to learn.  Let us take the Facebook phenomenon for instance… people are learning how to socialize in a revolutionary way.  In some cases, they are learning the hard way that good old fashion manners are necessary even when using new fangled devices. Here are some manners and etiquette rules that any Face book user should try to abide:

1.      Never say anything on Face book that you would not say around the table at a family dinner.

That means…if you would not discuss politics at Thanksgiving with Uncle Matthew, then do not discuss it with him on Facebook.

2.      Swearing is rude and should not be used in a social context. 

3.    You do not have to be friends with every person who requests a friendship.  Just like in real life, we have true friends and then acquaintances.  We do not invite every acquaintance over every day for a chat.

4.  Some things are personal and should not be shared with everyone.  Discussing your bedroom antics, personal body issues, and foot fungus is not only disgusting and offensive; it is downright stupid.

5.  Remember:  What you speak can be denied, but what you write is written in stone.  Things you write can be copied and possibly used against you.  Be careful what you engrave in the stone of eternity.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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