Have you ever been given a second chance? A true DO OVER? Those opportunities to begin again are treasures. You feel like you’ve really dropped the ball and then life hands you a shining moment; a chance to pick up the ball and get back in the game. Second chances come in many packages: remarriages, recovering from disease, reuniting with someone from our past, surviving a fatal accident, an unexpected twist in the second act, a comeback in the 4th quarter, etc. Second chances are the stuff of dreams! Jerome Kern even wrote a song about it in 1936, “…Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.”
We might put ourselves under a lot of pressure when we are given a second chance. Our stakes are higher and the need to succeed might cause us to choke and perhaps fail another time. We may be afraid to put ourselves out there for fear we will let someone down or disappoint the boss who is trusting us again. I try not to focus on those things, I instead focus on the shining moment, the opportunity!
When I doubt myself or my circumstances, I often think of my great second chance. I attended a performing arts conservatory that required a re-audition into the program after 2 years. This re-audition was horribly nicknamed ‘cuts.’ I was the shoe-in in my class to be let go. At the time, I think I was the only student in the history of casting pool to not be cast in a show, which could only mean they wouldn’t be finding a place for me to continue in the program. There was a teacher, a dear dear man, and someone of great importance in my life these 23 years later, Byron Grant. He fought for me and insisted that I stay to graduate. That one man’s belief in me, that I would come back and improve, was such a gift. Never once did I fear I would fail him. It was an opportunity to prove him right! Who I am today, this invincible girl that creates, inspires, and thrives, is the product of that great second chance.
Had I been cut, that too would have been a second chance, a do over, a shining moment from the universe to make my mark somewhere else. And that really is the point, my friends, failure isn’t some dead end; it is an opportunity to try again. It is only an obstacle, a chance to learn and grow from that experience, prepare for the next time and hum a little Jerome Kern to ourselves, to pick up and keep going.
This week in the United States, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. Which to me, is really a holiday about leftovers and leftovers are the epitome of second chances. One of the traditional leftover items from the feast is turkey. Everyone tries to stuff it into a sandwich the next day or revive it with more gravy. Or the bones are stripped clean for the making of casseroles or soups. I am telling you now, this recipe is so good that you might want to buy a bird with an extra few pounds of meat just so you can make this for brunch the weekend after Thanksgiving.
In Word of Mouth I shared that I was asked to develop recipes for a dried fruit company in Washington State, Stoneridge Orchards. (You can follow them on twitter and facebook to stay up to date on the exciting collaborations we have coming up in 2015!) Their creative marketing team gave me the assignment of making a brunch snack using holiday leftovers. I was given sweet and tangy dried cranberries. They were like shiny rubies. I was inspired and came up with this gem of a recipe!
Second Chance Turkey Salad
makes 4 cups
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 2 1/2 cups leftover boneless turkey meat, diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Combine everything and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This is great to stuff into a pita, to serve over greens, or as a snack with crackers or fried wontons chips.
This week’s blog is dedicated to the memory of Kerry Klein Butman, the treasure of the Neuhauser family. May they find her in all of their second chances, holding out her hand to help pick them up. My words this week are also dedicated to my friend Martin Massman, an absolute beacon of a man who has provided countless second chances with his generosity and infectious zest for life. May the days ahead be full of grace and ease for these two families.
The stunning images by Cheryl Stockton of Stockshot Photography always make my blog extra shiny. I am so grateful for her talents.