Hi! I’m so glad you’re here today! I have a recipe to share with you. Excuse my tears. I can’t believe I’m crying already, but there is a heartfelt story attached. This recipe is a huge gift and an ironclad lesson on what is important in life. Well, it is those things to me. Let me tell you about it, and then you can decide what it means to you.
The story starts approximately 20 years ago with my friend, Shelly. She was kind and generous, the type of person who made everyone feel welcome. Her children were the same ages as a couple of mine and our paths often crossed at church and at the kids’ school. As our friendship grew, we spent quite a bit of time together.
I’m an introvert. I need to recharge away from people. But this is a lesson I have only recently learned about myself. Back then, I didn’t understand it at all.
One memorable evening, I was past due for some alone time. I felt guilty for being irritated when Shelly came over. I felt like an inferior friend because she was so happy to see me while I was thinking about how many days in a row this visit made.
We were in the kitchen, and she was talking to me while I prepped dinner. I was making Chicken Divan, one of my family’s favorite recipes. Before I realized what was happening, she pulled a pencil out of my junk drawer and proceeded to line-out and hand-scrawl right in my cookbook.
I already admitted to being irritated, but it wasn’t at Shelly until that moment. She was messing with my recipe. This was the only meal I made which included broccoli and was still a hit with my kids. Why would she take such liberty?
To be honest, I don’t remember the rest of the visit. I hope I wasn’t rude because that recipe turned out to be a huge gift. The next time I prepared it, I followed Shelly’s suggestions. And you know what? We all agreed it was even better her way!
I do remember the smile on her face when I gave her our consensus. She never held my irritation against me. Like I said, she was very kind to me.
Fast forward a couple of years. My family and I had moved thousands of miles away. My mom still lived near Shelly and helped us keep abreast of each other.
I remember being on the phone with my mom. I don’t recall her exact words, but she told me that Shelly had gone into the hospital for a routine procedure, and something had gone terribly wrong…
Her life had ended so quickly and unexpectedly. I knew she loved Jesus and I’d see her again in Heaven. It still took my breath away.
One evening in the weeks that followed, I pulled out my recipe book to make dinner. I opened to the familiar page and saw Shelly’s handwriting. I fell sobbing to the floor. (I’m a blubbering mess even now as I retell the story!)
Shelly had given me a huge gift. The pencil marks were a stamp of friendship. I remembered how irritated I’d been with her, and I wished, more than ever, I hadn’t been. Her handwriting in my book was suddenly so precious to me.
To this day, every time I pull out this recipe and see Shelly’s notes, I am reminded about what is important in life. People, time, shared knowledge and experiences… these things are invaluable. Introverts, like me, need to be intentional about alone time so we can fill up, show up, and fully enjoy these gifts.
Tell me, do you have a moment in mind which you would change if you could? Or maybe one that you can change and should? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Here is a “clean copy”, if you will, of the Chicken Divan recipe, Shelly’s way. I’m passing along the gift. You’re also more than welcome to save the photo with Shelly’s handwritten notes, if the lesson is important to you and it will help you remember.
Either way, if you make the recipe, be sure to tell me how you like it! I think Chicken Divan is perfect for a crisp, cool evening. But let’s be real, its good in the middle of summer too! All of life is important. Savor it while you can.
- 3 to 4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
- 10 ounces frozen broccoli, lightly cooked
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup slivered (or chopped) almonds, toasted
- Spread chicken pieces and broccoli in a 13 x 9 – inch pan.
- Mix both cans of soup, mayo, curry powder and salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Pour over chicken mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Top with slivered almonds. Bake another 3 minutes.
- Serve over rice.