Growing up in the south was just awesome. I’m sorry for anyone who didn’t get that upbringing because I got a healthy dose of biscuits & gravy, collard greens, blackeyed peas and fried everything – okra, chicken and yes, even an occasional fried Oreo.
So when I was a little girl I grew up eating fried chicken. We’d devour it Sundays after church. We’d haul it to our football tailgates. We’d speak well of the dead as we bit into a juicy piece of fried chicken after a funeral (unless the deceased was a little crazy, then we would just do the polite thing and say, “Well bless his heart…”).
I’ve been raised on 3 generations of fried chicken. My great grandmother’s (Motherdear, as we called her) my grandmother’s (known as Granny) and my mother’s (who has now claimed the title, THE Nana) chicken frying expertise has long been documented in our family. (My mouth is watering a little just thinking about their batches of perfectly brown, crispy chicken sitting on a plate, even as I type.)
But sadly, I’m afraid this southern tradition of cutting up a whole chicken by hand, cleaning out the gizzards and innards, soaking the pieces in buttermilk, shaking them in a brown paper bag full of flour, salt & pepper and frying them in a skillet full of Crisco may come to an end with The Nana.
Why, you ask? Why can’t I carry on the tradition? Why can’t I bring that indescribable food joy to my family?
I’ve got a one ugly word answer for you.
And it ain’t cholesterol.
It’s gluten. That’s right, I’ve been hit with a gluten intolerance so all fried foods are a big no-no for me. See life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will. I figured I’d be frying chicken for decades and would one day pass that baton to my daughter to carry on. (And before any of you say there’s GF flour out there just stop. I appreciate it but it just ain’t the same as regular ‘ol Martha White.)
And I’ve learned over the past 4 weeks that the Apostle Paul’s life didn’t work out the way he thought it would, either. He thought he would be going to Rome to preach the good news and would bring thousands to know Christ through that preaching. He was partly right, partly wrong. He did (and continues to) bring thousands to know Christ, but it was from a jail cell. He wrote much of the New Testament while he was in jail, waiting to be executed. And through those writings we get a wealth of information, instruction and wisdom.
Paul’s jail sentence was obviously much worse than my giving up one of my all time favorite foods. But this verse holds true for both circumstances: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Learning to be content – no matter what your circumstances – is one of the keys to a peaceful, joyful life. So enjoy what you do have and do not lament over what seems to be lost. Choose joy today.
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