Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ritzy Poppy Seed Chicken

After craving a comforting gooey chicken casserole, I threw this together tonight. I combined a few recipes and also improvised with what I had. It turned out "lick your fork" good. When I posted it on my wall, friends asked for the recipe, so here it is.

2 stalks broccoli, cut up and steamed
1.5 pounds chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonaise
splash of milk
3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar
1 t. lemon juice
dash of garlic salt
1 t. poppy seed

1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crumbled
6 T. melted butter
1/2 t. poppy seed

* Steam broccoli and drain. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  Mix the next 8 ingredients and then spread over broccoli.
Combine cracker crumbs with melted butter and poppy seeds. Sprinkle over top.  Bake uncovered 350 for 30 minutes.

I served this with watermelon and cantaloupe salad.  And we didn't need to wash the forks!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spit it Out

"Don't beat around the bush. Just spit it out!"
"Get to the point. What are you trying to say?"
"I'm not following you. Can you explain it better?"

Has anyone ever said that to you? Or, are you the person thinking this to yourself as a friend or colleague goes on and on? I admit to both. And both situations can be so frustrating.

I've been guilty of trying to deliver a hard truth cloaked in lots of words meant to temper the blow. I've waxed on about how hard it is to say or what we all sometimes need to hear isn't always what's easy. Blah, blah, blah. When, really, I should just begin with "This isn't easy to say, but I'm going to be truthful with you." Then, speak and be ready for what comes.

In other scenarios, I've squirmed while listening to speakers (mostly ineffective, I might add) talk a blue streak before ever getting down to business. Nothing exasperates me more. It takes a lot of prayer to keep me from loud sighing, facial expressions showing annoyance and excessive leg crossing. "Get on with it!" I want to shout. Patience is not an easy virtue for me. So much time is wasted on speakers who enjoy hearing their own voice.

But, what about the times I need to get to the point and just avoid it? I don't say what needs to be said, period. I don't wrap it in soft cotton or throw it out there in bright sunlight. It just never gets said. What are those hard words and why are they left silent?

I can answer the second part of that question easily. I want people to like me. Who am I kidding? I want them to think I'm the best thing since Steve Jobs created Apple. If I say that, they won't like me at all. May even avoid me or ridicule me to others. And then what?

What are those hard words? Well, they may have to do with truthful answers to "How do I look?" or "Was I wrong to say/do that?" Friends say they want you to be truthful, but are rarely ready to hear it, so we smile and say the polite things to avoid hurt feelings.

But, what I'm ashamed to admit is that most often, the hardest words to say center around the one who gives me the most. He asked his best friends, "Who do you say that I am?"

Today, this verse got me:

But many people believed in Jesus. Even many of the Jewish leaders believed in him, but they were afraid of the Pharisees, so they did not say openly that they believed. They were afraid they would be ordered to stay out of the synagogue. They loved praise from people more than praise from God. - (John 12:42-43)

  • Did you see what I put in bold? Ouch. My lesson for today... and everyday. How about you?

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.
It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth,
I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven."
(Matthew 10:32-33)

These aren't cloaked at all.
They're straight to the point, yet I'm squirming.

Thank you, Jesus, for being such a loving friend to tell me truth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reasonable Excuse?

I can get on a soap box about doing Bible Studies. (Did you just stop reading?)

I won't step on it right now, but I couldn't help sharing this silly list I once made to lighten up a class I was leading. I've heard some creative reasons for not taking a Bible Study - no matter how interesting or easy it was. These aren't ones I've actually heard, but who knows - maybe someone will try give one a shot.

Top Ten "Reasons" for Not Taking a Bible Study:
  1. The dog ate my Bible.
  2. Doest thou glean understanding from King James vernacular? I thinkest not.
  3. The side screens work for me.
  4. I don't want to get too spiritual.
  5. I like a book I can relate to: one with action, drama, romance, heroes.
  6. I don't speak Latin.
  7. Those thin pages give me paper cuts.
  8. I'm an audio learner.
  9. I've watched the Ten Commandments and Passion - got it covered.
  10. I can't find the app.
So, what's your excuse... I mean, reason?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Say What?

I love words.

For grins, I just took an online test for the SAT. (No, I'm not going back to college.) It involved choosing the correct definition for various words. Surprisingly, I scored 100% and at the end, a screen appeared saying:
"The average person who scores 100% on this Word List knows at least 11,085 words."

Really? So, why can't I remember them?

To the dismay at times of my friends and family, I enjoy learning new words and trying to use them. To "pepper my speech" with them. Why would you settle for simple words when you can paint such a picture with a great word here or there? Oh, I don't walk around speaking with flowery Victorian language. I'm a Southern girl who loves to keep it easy most of the time. I'm mostly a "Y'all set-a-spell" kinda girl. But on occasion, I enjoy a surprise in a sentence.
  • Dappled sunshine filtered through the tree branches.
  • The clouds overhead were portentous.
  • Mrs. Gotrocks wore a very ostentatious dress to the gathering.
So, there you have it. Three new words to try rolling off of your tongue today. Or, if they aren't new to you, perhaps they just want to be taken for a spin in your speech. Give one a try. You never know when you'll need to improve that 11,085 word vocabulary.