Saturday, April 14, 2012

Strong Storms and Flavors

Tonight we're anticipating some strong storms here in Oklahoma. I go between a sense of increased adrenaline as the tornadic activity strengthens and an unease as I wonder if I'm in the best place to ride out the storm. Oklahoma is a state of many weather patterns. It's never boring here.

This evening for supper, I ate the best salad I have ever made in my kitchen: Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad. My brother and I really enjoyed the flavor of all the ingredients together. Of course, I do have a penchant for avocado, lime and cilantro - shrimp could only profit from companions like those.

I made a few changes/additions to the recipe, mostly because I didn't have red onions, but also because I forgot to read the instructions all the way through before I started putting things together.

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled
1 medium tomato
2 avocados
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
4 T Lime Juice
1 tsp olive oil
Small handful of cilantro
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's) plus a 1/2 Tablespoon of garlic powder. Add one pound of shelled shrimp and cook until pink. Cool shrimp down in seasoned water if possible. This gives the shrimp a great taste so that is doesn't draw the flavor from the other ingredients.

Use a food processor to  finely chop the onion, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro together. Mix olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper with onion mixture and let set while you prep the other ingredients.

Dice tomato and avocados, and chop shrimp into bit sized pieces. Stir gently with onion mixture and serve.

Makes a light supper for 2.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

When Words Aren't Enough

On Thursday I was asked to visit with a girl that had just received news about the death of her grandfather. As I waited for her to finish with her phone call, I sat there thinking through the emotions that, I knew for a fact, she must be experiencing. Having just recently lost my own grandfather, I was trying to figure out what to say and I discovered that I really couldn't say anything. Reliving my own experience told me that, no matter what I said, sometimes words don't go far enough.

Some people are excellent at communicating through words, but we all run into situations where we are left speechless. For some of us, this happens more frequently than others. I'll find myself in a situation where I wish I could be charming and witty, but the only thing that comes out is flat and boring. I remember a situation when I was in a history club at about age 9 or 10, we were preparing a skit and we all had to give ideas. All I can remember is sobbing in front of the other girls with no ideas to share - oh, and the awkward feeling that fell over the group afterwards.

As we grow up, things change in the way and proficiency of how we talk. However, this doesn't always mean that we become great communicators. How many times do we wish that we could say what we feel and then the words don't match the emotions on the inside? The heaviness that plagues me sometimes is extremely frustrating, almost debilitating. Apparently, though, my face reveals things I may or may not be thinking, which probably just confuses the whole situation.

Hiding in these facts is a truth for all of us, and a blessing. No matter who we are or what we do, there will be times that words will not be enough to convey the pain, joy, love, and sorrow that we experience. This truth in the Christian's life is blessed by the knowledge that when we don't know how to pray, the Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf with a groaning too deep for words. (Romans 8:26) And, here is the extra jam on the sandwich (so to speak), He is praying according to the will of God himself. He's not just conveying our deep thoughts to God, but He's actually praying the way we should. How humbling, overwhelming and gracious our God is to us.

So, as I agonize over what I did or didn't say, I can dwell on the truth that God hears what I wish I could ask. He knows my fears and my desires. And most of all, He has made me his own - of His own choosing, not because of what I say.