That ridiculous question “Why did the chicken cross the road?” has been on a loop in my mind this week. I’ve come up with a bunch of reasons and circumstances for the little bird. Because his dreams were on the other side. Because the love of his life was waiting for him on the other side. Because he needed a change of scenery. Because someone needed help and he was the only one around. Yes, to get to the other side –but why? What or who is over there?
I make metaphorical ‘roads’ for myself all the time. Then I sit there and decide if I will be brave and cross them or if I will chicken out. Sometimes I think there are two kinds of chickens: the ones with fear, who don’t take risks or the brave ones, who take off running hoping for the best. I am pretty inconsistent, sometimes I play it safe and other times I just go for it. But sitting in fear and inaction isn’t playing it safe. It’s punking out on myself and playing small.
My Dad was an NFL football player and went on to become a very successful high school and college football coach. Growing up, I didn’t participate in too many competitive sports, but I was constantly competing in talent shows and pageants and auditioning for musicals. Dad took it all very seriously. As a coach's kid, I learned a goal is a goal, whether you're actually trying to kick the winning field goal or get the the lead in the school play. You set your sites on it and then work and train to be the best you can be. Both of my parents were incredibly supportive of my ambitions and dreams. There was a great deal of sacrifice and hard work put into those experiences with no guarantee of success. My Mom and Dad paid for lessons, drove me to endless rehearsals, and we took many long trips to far-flung towns that were holding talent shows with the promise of scholarship money.
It would have been very easy and perfectly satisfying to stay safe at home being a regular old midwestern kid. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to spread my wings and see what was on the other side of so many roads. I remember every time I wasn’t chosen as the winner or I wasn’t given the role my Dad would say, “ Well, you got that 'no' out of the way.” Or he would say, “You are that much closer to a yes, you just have to keep going.”
It’s pretty great when you have a parent that teaches you that perceived failure is really just a stepping stone to success. But it is not always easy to keep those lessons in the front of my mind. I was raised to be a brave road crossing chicken, but I feel like the older I get, the more cautious I am. I find myself playing it safe a lot more often than I used to, waiting for the traffic to clear before I make a run for it. I suppose it all comes from the human fear of failure, a fear that even the love of a mother and coaching of a father can’t diminish.
It’s my Birthday next week and I have been paying tribute to that risk taking little girl this whole month in preparation. I’ve made the scary phone call, I’ve persisted when it seemed a situation was hopeless, I sent the email that made me want to throw up, I pushed myself to take that 3rd class in a row even though my body was exhausted my mind said, Keep Going!
It feels really good to be on the other side of fear. The fear of “No” and rejection. If we can just keep pushing through, there really is something bigger and better waiting for us on the other side. What’s on the other side of YOUR road?
Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie
You can put in whatever veggies you want, these are my favorites for pot pie. And you don't have to use a rotisserie chicken, but it is a delicious short cut!
- Frozen puff pastry and one prepared crust in a tin
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 minced cloves of garlic
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cups mushrooms, sliced
- salt and pepper
- Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, chopped into cubes, save the drippings from the container
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 T butter
- 2 T flour
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- Thaw frozen puff-pastry according to package instructions. (Or maybe you are someone awesome who makes your own crust!)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-heat. Add vegetables and garlic, generously seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Add chicken pieces, chicken broth, and peas. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In another pan, melt butter and the chicken drippings, they may be gelatinous-that is FLAVOR! Stir in the flour to make a roux. Whisk in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and add the thyme leaves. Pour this gravy onto the chicken and vegetable mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour everything into the tin crust that has been blind baked. (If you make your own crust-good for you! Roll that out to fit the bottom of a pie pan. Blind bake it and add the filling. Roll out another crust for the top... why am I telling you anything more - you've made your own crust! You know what to do.)
- Place the thawed puff pastry on top, trimming the over hang and crimping the edges.
- Beat egg with 1 T water and brush onto puff pastry. Make a few slits with a knife and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.
Last week's winner of Gene's butterfly print was Paige Mackenzie Welborne! Thank you all for your generous comments! Don't be shy, you can comment any time. I love hearing from you!