Yes, No or Not Right Now

The interaction was nearly silent. My son was hunched over the carrying case to his laptop. I could see his hand plunging deeply in each pocket. With mother’s intuition I knew instantly that he was searching for the mouse. He grimaced and the pace picked up. He was frantically moving his fingers from corner to corner of his bag. Silently and without notice I thought, “please let him find his mouse.”

If You Teach a Boy to Fish

I knelt at his side and began my own rummaging. Then, I saw the relief erupt upon his face like a patch of summer freckles.

“Thank you God,” Calvin exclaimed pulling his new mouse from deep within one of the compartments.

“Did you know that I just said a prayer?”

“You did?”

Instantly, I began to think about both sides of this interaction. It’s not about religion as we come from a wide and beautifully diverse set of backgrounds. It is also not about thinking that we can get whatever we ask for. But it is about faith or a deeply held belief that if we ask for what we need, there will be a response. Whether that request is for health, nourishment, friendship or protection – whether that request is made via a prayer, a mantra, or simply putting it out to the universe, those requests are answered and it comes in one of three forms. They are; yes, no or not right now.

In our simple petition to locate the computer mouse, we were given a quick and positive response. In the case of healing prayers for a close friend who is struggling with metastatic cancer, the answer isn’t nearly as simple or as forthcoming. Perhaps it isn’t “not right now” but “not in the way that you’re thinking” but it doesn’t mean that healing isn’t occurring.

And so the second side of this equation points back to Calvin’s exclamation upon finding his mouse. His is indicative of our own faith tradition but that response of gratitude expressed without hesitation is a key to a much larger positive energy. Call it gratitude. Call it the Butterfly effect. Call it whatever works for you. I’m resolved in believing that offering the instant gratitude is a very large part of why things might work out for us.

How do you express it?

Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup
Serves 6
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups ย low-sodium broth
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 bunch green Swiss chard (1 1/4 pounds), ribs removed and reserved for another use, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils with the water, stock and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the lentils are barely tender, about 25 minutes.ย Meanwhile, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, crushed pepper and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cilantro and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the chard leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes.ย Add the chard to the lentils, cover partially, and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, season with pepper and olive oil and serve. This is a great way to use up the swiss chard that is at the end of it’s season in my garden. Do not omit the cilantro – the flavor impact is amazing.

Leave a comment


  1. authorjaneward

     /  April 26, 2011


  2. What a sweet story! I am happy to find you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. How lovely.

    But at first I thought you were talking about a pet mouse that he couldn’t find. In which case, both of you would have been saying a prayer.

  4. Sally Mom

     /  April 26, 2011

    Tammy, that was absolutely beautiful and so aptly put. I love the energy and the positive reflection on asking and healing. It is true, often not coming forth in a way we would recognize but absolutely occurring.
    Sweet message. Thank you

  5. So sorry to hear about your friend. Whatever the answer might be, it will become clear in time.

  6. Wonderful post, Tammy.

    Prayers or petitions are more often answered with a “YES” when we remember to express gratitude for all we have already.

    I’m going to make this soup right now . . . with spinach, instead of swiss chard because that’s what I have on hand.

    • Let me know what you think but do not omit the cilantro. I just love it.

      • Turned out great, but I modified the recipe quite a bit based on available ingredients in my kitchen:

        * using spinach instead of swiss chard
        * adding celery, carrot, and brown rice
        * seasoning with curry instead of cilantro
        * omitting the lemon juice

        I have never been able to follow a recipe for soup without changing it to suit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Thanks for the inspiration!

        • Thanks for trying it Nancy and I don’t mind your modifications at all. Do try it sometime with the cilantro and I should say that I also omit the lemon juice.

  7. everything we need is there, for the asking, and it’s our expression of gratitude that makes the circle of request-receive-give thanks complete.

    those gifts come, often, in unforeseen forms, at unexpected times.

    in my best practices, I say,”may the blessing be”—an undirected prayer that relies on the divine, in its limitless capacity for love and wisdom.

  8. It is silly, isn’t it, but it is through losing things and finding them again that I feel his presence near. Rather like my relationship with my husband: he moves mountains on my behalf, but the tiniest signs that he cares are so touching.

  9. I love this post. Watching our kids grow and mature into capable beings is so wonderful. How we are all interconnected reminds me of the insight I gained from the movie “What the BLEEP do we know” a film explaining about quantum physics and our relationship to matter and how thought really does have a way to change what we perceive.

  10. lovely post, sorry to hear about your friend..i strive to believe in faith mixed in with postive energy..


  11. I loved your son’s response . . .and your natural prayer when you saw him searching. I try to trust that whatever the answer, it is a good one . . .one that comes from knowing more than I do about the situation.
    Praying for your friend . . .and you as you do all the things loving friends do.
    Thanks for another wonderful recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚ You take good care of us and answer our prayers . . .what can I fix for dinner tonight?

  12. Tammy, beautiful post and what a cool son you have. I too believe strongly in both prayer and gratitude – as Meister Eckhardt says “if the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you’, that would be enough.”

    Good post!

    • I have tried so hard this year to convince my prayer partners that thank you is necessary and adequate at different times.

  13. I honest to goodness thought you meant a real mouse. My heart, too, was pounding!

  14. Thanks for sharing this. I really needed to hear it. And I like the way it starts with an example that is not too serious, but touches on how this can be applied to things deeper or more emotional.
    I love the idea of asking, and remembering that you do often get an answer. It’s just that it doesn’t always come to you the way you hoped. But that is not always a bad thing.

  15. I thought the post was about a pet mouse at first too…… wondered why he kept it in a bag and why you were ok with that ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I very much believe in the power of faith and gratitude, regardless of religion. Thank you for this beautiful post!

    (Couldn’t find any turnips yet, but I’ve not given up yet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I might even have a recipe from a few months ago I haven’t posted yet, so I could use that one first if I won’t find any turnips in the next days.)

  17. Thanks Miss Tammy.
    I needed that.

  18. i’m ok w that ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Tammy,

    This post is glimmering with wisdom and beauty. What a beautiful tribute to the many miracles that we are gifted with and a lovely reminder that they don’t always look the way we think they will!

  20. Naomi

     /  April 28, 2011

    Oh, this is just beautiful, Tammy! Thank you for the lovely reminder to express gratitude, like right now. You’re a gem ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. If you get a chance you should check out “365 Thanks Yous” a similarly hearwarming look at gratitude. (It’s a quick read even for the busy.)

  22. Just beautiful, Tammy. When we are in a state of gratitude, we are in Grace.

    I look forward to making the soup. Kale is so good for us and I’ve been using it in smoothies. This will be a welcome change.

  23. A lovely incident, Tammy ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. How true and wonderful your words are! Gratitude for even the smallest of things makes our hearts glad. Have a wonderful weekend. blessings,Kathleen

  25. Tammy, just a heads up…I linked this post because of this fabulous demonstration of gratitude.

  26. A wonderful story AND a yummy recipe? Two for the price of one! Thank you!

  27. Beautiful thoughts tammy! Yes, it does work for me too.

  28. I love this story – I do this when I lose things too! The photograph on the blog today is a lot of fun.

  29. Loved this, great story and really helps to put things in perspective.

    The soup sounds just delicious as well.

  30. Bookmarked! ๐Ÿ˜€

  31. I agree. What may seem like an unanswered prayer may have been answered in an unexpected way.

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