April 24, 2012

At Easter, my friend Marynelle posted the following on her Facebook page:

A lot of people remember to give something up for the 40 days of Lent. At church yesterday, our rector reminded us that the Easter season is 50 days and charged us with finding as much joy as possible in the next 50 days. In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge Accepted.”

Marynelle is one of my oldest friends—oldest in that we’ve been friends for half my lifetime (15 years), and she knows more about me than is really safe for me.  She’s guest blogged around here before and is generally a pretty awesome lady; one of the things I love about her the most is that she’s always pushing herself.  Which, in turn, inspires me to do the same.


I didn’t get the TV reference until I Googled it, but I accepted the challenge, too.  We agreed to text each other at least once a day with our pieces of joy.

Some days—most days, in this blessed life of mine—finding the joy is easy.  Usually, it’s obvious: Jill & I celebrating our anniversary, my students working enthusiastically on a kick-ass service project of their own design, planning a big dinner for friends I love.  But then there are those days when I find myself mired in frustration, anger, loss, sadness, or just plain grumpiness.  So I text Marynelle.

She’s helped me see that joy is not conditional.  Sometimes you have to dig around for it, and sometimes the quickest way to find it is to acknowledge what is NOT joyful in any given situation.  And let’s be clear—there are things that are decidedly not joyful.  There are things that just plain suck.  There is not “joy in everything,” no matter what the Hallmark cards tell you.

But I do think there is joy for the taking on any given day.  I am training my eye to see it, and myself to go out and make it, when necessary.  At the very least, this little project means I get a text message once a day from one of my favorite people—and that is a little piece of joy in itself.  I recommend it.

serves 4, easily halved or doubled

I almost added strawberries to this salad, but didn’t—you could.  Instead of croutons, you could substitute nuts.  A soft goat cheese would work nicely in place of the hard-boiled eggs, if you’re not a fan.

It’s a salad.  Play around with it.  Don’t take it too seriously.  Same goes for the dressing—swap in a different vinegar, trade olive oil out for walnut or avocado.


2 cups mixed greens
1 bunch asparagus
2 hard-boiled eggs
¼ cup mixed herbs, chopped (don’t omit!  they really make this salad work)
-I used scallions & dill; tarragon and parsley would also be nice
generous handful croutons
-to make your own, see this post

Trim the ends from the asparagus, then cut into 2-inch long pieces.  Rinse.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; while the water heats up, fill another bowl with ice water.  Cook the asparagus for 1-2 minutes at a rolling boil, then drain and immediately place into ice water.  Drain from ice water, drizzle with olive oil.

To assemble the salad, toss the greens, herbs, and asparagus together.  Top with the eggs and croutons.  Drizzle with dressing (see below) or serve dressing on the side.

for the dressing:

¼ cup olive oil
2 T. orange juice
2 T. champagne vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Whisk together, taste & adjust accordingly.



  1. So, on Sunday I preached about the disciples feeling joy and disbelief at the same time. Quoting from The Hello Goodbye Window (a fab picture book for kids), “You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes.” You’re certainly right that some situations just suck, but all too often I think we find ourselves managing completely disparate emotions at the same time. See also: Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Kindness”

    Comment by Katherine — April 25, 2012 @ 8:03 am

  2. K–yes YES. exactly this. all too often we are made to feel (or we make ourselves feel) that we have to wrap our feelings up in a neat package with a bow. but it doesn’t work like that. we feel lots of things, all of the time. thank you for articulating this so well!

    Comment by Blue Jean Gourmet — April 25, 2012 @ 9:02 am

  3. Love the recipe, love the poem. We’ve heard Ms. Nye at the Round Top poetry festival. She’s a gem. I’m off to the store for some scallions and parsley to make this salad tonight. Thanks. My salads
    are always so lame.

    Comment by carolyn truedell — April 25, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  4. The salad was great! Thanks for spiffing up our dinner.

    Comment by carolyn truedell — April 27, 2012 @ 11:17 am

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