Saturday, 4 October 2008
Sweeping Out the Cobwebs
"To help us the beauty of God's world to see -
Sweep out the cobwebs, wherever they may be."
Last week, when I was enjoying a bit of free time, we decided to do a fall clean here at Oak Cottage. Every picture was taken down and wiped off and the walls wiped down behind. Nothing was left unturned, and every speck of dust and cobweb was routed out and gotten rid of. We live in a very cob-webby part of the world, I have decided. Cob webs seem to grow here overnight. You don't have to live in a neglected home, or to visit a vacated house to find cobwebs though . . . spiders are busy all the time. They have much more time than we do, it seems, to go about their business . . . after all . . . they have houses to build.
As I was sweeping the cobwebs from the beams in our upstairs lounge, I thought about how good it would be to start sweeping a few cobwebs from our lives, instead of just from our ceilings and beams, and how, in doing so, we could clear our vision to the beauty of the world and life that God has so generously given us . . .
We clutter our lives with endless cobwebs . . . ignorance, bad temper, stubbornness, procrastinating, being lazy, neglecting things that need attention, being impatient with others . . . there is an endless list of things like this that we could all find piling up in our lives and preventing us from living life to the fullest.
For instance ignorance . . . does the cobweb of ignorance keep you from enjoying all the great achievements of man? Does it cause you to accept less than you are due on earth because you really don't understand the scriptures? Are there ways and things you could be doing better if you only took the time to study how? Perhaps we should all take a little bit of time in our lives to expand our knowledge . . . of others, of ourselves, of our countries, of our governments, of our world, of the scriptures . . .
How about the beauty that surrounds us? Do we take the time to stand and watch a particularly beautiful sunset until it sends tingles up and down our spines, or to sit in the garden and watch the leaves that fall from the trees this time of year in an aerial dance of beauty, or to stand of a night and watch the stars that twinkle above us??? Or does the cobweb of impatience rob us of these precious things, and only make us mindful of the passing of time and all the things we need to get done . . .
There is the joy of a child rushing in from school at the end of the day, all eager to tell you all about what they learned, who they saw, what they did . . . do you stop to listen to what they have to say, and share in their excitement or do you spoil the moment by only thinking about those muddy shoes they have just tracked inside the door and by voicing your dismay and annoyance at the muddy floor . . . the cobwebs of impatience and frustration clouding what could have been a perfect moment of sharing between parent and child . . .
How about that elderly neighbour just down the street? Have you bothered to take a few minutes to see if they need any help or cheering up? It needn't take much, or have you entangled yourself in the mesh of procrastination and find yourself with just too much to do and not enough time to do it in . . . certainly not enough time to do a kindness for another . . .
These are only a few examples of cobwebs we all use to clutter up our lives and which prevent us from experiencing all the joy and blessings we have been given here on earth to enjoy . . . the special little things and moments that might be overlooked, except for the sweep of the dusting broom . . .
Who doesn't love Fried Chicken. I know I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to this. The crunchy skin and coating are so scrumptious and delicious. It's not that good for you though and just loaded with fat and calories, as well as bad cholesterol . . . Oven fried chicken is often much better for you and can taste just as good as the deep fried kind!
*Fried Chicken the Oven Way*
This chicken is delicious, tender and moist. It’s not as high in calories or fat content than regular fried chicken, although . . . I still would reserve it for an occasional treat.
2 1/2 lbs skinless chicken pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8-1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, celery salt, dry mustard, pepper and paprika in a large glass bowl and mix well. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover andrefrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours, if you plan ahead).
After marinating, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and toss around in the mixture once again (to make sure pieces are well-coated).
Preheat your oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly spray a baking pan with some non-stick low fat baking spray and set it aside.
Place the breadcrumbs and parsley in a shallow dish, mixing together well. Roll the marinated chicken pieces in crumb mixture to coat on all sides. Place in a single layer on the baking pan.
Bake, uncovered, for about 45 to 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces you are using, turning gently halfway through or until the juices run clear when tested with a fork.
Remove to a warm platter and serve. We like to have this with mashed potatoes and gravy as a once in a blue moon treat! (In for a penny, in for a pound!)