Friday, May 15, 2015

Use Your Words: The Sounds of Hope

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using: business ~ steady ~ bankrupt ~ unstable ~ security
They were submitted by Battered Hope.

I try not to take these assigned words in the obvious direction. Sometimes the words are random enough that there is no obvious direction, but when there seems to be, I like the added challenge of just not going there.

In honor of my friend whose word prompts I'm using, today I’m going to tell you about sounds that give me hope.

I’m not one of those people who feel that change is detrimental. I know that as a society we grow and evolve. The result is that a lot of what we considered right or normal evolves too. I see that as progress, not to be feared but to be embraced. We’re now able to talk about more: bullying, gay rights, religious freedom, legalization of marijuana, diversity of all kinds.

So when I say that I see a steady decline in our way of life, it’s not the changes in terms of morals and values that I’m referring to.

I’m talking about the depersonalization of business. The fact that I cannot depend on customer service at any level. That I have to press numbers until my fingers are numb to try to talk to a representative of a business to whom I’ve already given my money. When all I really want is what I’ve paid for, and the opportunity to discuss my needs or dissatisfaction, or possibly just to ask a question. Knowing that it’s futile, that they’ve set up this system deliberately so I cannot get through to them.

I’m talking about being bombarded daily with proof that so many of those we’ve elected to represent us are morally bankrupt. Egos gone wild.

I’m talking about how unstable the relationship has become between those we pay to protect and serve and those they’re paid to protect and serve. How many of our citizens are no longer coming home to dinner with their loved ones for reasons that are just beyond comprehension. And how those actions have steadily undermined our ability to feel safe.


Creamy Orzo Dinner | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner
Creamy Orzo Dinner

My house backs up to woods. If you were to head back into the woods, turn right and walk for just a few minutes, you’d end up at an elementary school. This is the school that my boys attended.

All year round, but especially in the spring when the windows are open or when I’m out on the back deck I can hear, but not see, recess. It is a joyous, carefree sound. Kids laughing and screaming right up until that whistle blows and silence is once again restored to the neighborhood.

But those few times a day when the sounds of recess carry to my home, I find myself smiling. There is a sense of security that comes from that playground. Because although many may hear shrieks and squeals, I hear hope. And I get to hear it almost every day.
 
Links to the other Use Your Words posts:

Looking for more of my work? 
* Please vote: the letter to my sons, The Whole Truth, is featured on the The TODAY Show Parenting Site. To vote, all you have to do is click "vote" at the top of the page.

*I'm also on the Huffington Post talking about Lightning Strikes: What the Weather Taught me About Infertility

*My recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Nacho Style is featured in Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipes on MSN: Food and Drink

*And the voting is in for the Dedicated2Life's top 100 Passionate People of 2015 and I came in at #5
Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Creamy Orzo Dinner
                                                                        ©www.BakingInATornado.com
 
Printable Recipe
 
Ingredients:
1 cup orzo
2 tsp chicken bouillon
3/4 # asparagus, ends removed and chopped into approx. 1 ¼ inch pieces
 
8 oz portobello caps, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped
 
1 ½ # boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
Approx. 1 tsp garlic powder
 
4 TBSP butter, divided
2 TBSP flour
1 cup milk
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP chopped chives
Cracked pepper for serving
 
Directions:
*In a large pot, cook orzo according to package directions with the chicken bouillon added to the cooking water. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus. Drain but cover the pot to keep warm.
*Place the cup of milk on the counter to warm up a bit.
*Melt 1 TBSP of butter in a sauté pan set on medium heat. Add the portobellos, garlic and green onion. Stir and cook until the portobellos just start to get soft. Add to the pot with the orzo.
*In the same sauté pan, melt 1 TBSP of butter. Add the chicken and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook and stir until the chicken is completely cooked. Drain and add to the pot with the orzo and vegetables.
*In the same sauté pan, melt the last 2 TBSP butter. Stir in the flour. Cook and stir for one minute. Whisk in the milk. Add the cream cheese, salt, pepper and chives and whisk until the cream cheese is completely melted.
*Add the sauce to the pot with the orzo, chicken and veggies. Gently mix well. Serve with cracked pepper.

36 comments:

  1. I love the direction you took your words.
    I agree with 100%.
    Thankfully each generation seems to want to do better, to be more fair than the last. Hope for the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and to me nothing says "hope" like the sounds of children playing.

      Delete
  2. Neat. Love how the last three paragraphs take us to a new place while wrapping things up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Had a particularly disturbing experience with ordering and paying for and not receiving my Granddaughters' Christmas presents this past year. It will forever colour how I transact business over the internet.
    And I love the sounds of children playing. Describing it as the sound of hope is perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Diane. It really does make me smile.

      Delete
  4. Last night I did not hear the children playing and I noticed it and missed it -- it was beautiful that you brought that up and I never thought of it as a sound of hope - but one of joy. Thank you. When I wrote those words I was hoping that the person who received them would use them as emotional words and not the obvious. Was thrilled that you did that! The first word bankrupt made me think about how often we feel we have no love or positives in our lives and it went from there. GREAT JOB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really so gad that you're happy with how I used your words.They were great prompts, really got me thinking past the obvious.

      Delete
  5. We live near two schools---one is a middle school---not so great because those kids get rowdy (and honestly, those were my LEAST favorite years---raising tweens . But there is also a church school on the corner of our street and I can hear the little ones out there playing. I'm with you on that--a very comforting, secure feeling of hope. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we actually live near 3 schools. I'm not really a fan of being around when the high school gets out.

      Delete
  6. What a great post and using your assigned words! For my own company we really try to exceed our customer expectations because we are all frustrated with waiting for a live person!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you're doing the right thing by your customers, it can only be good for the company.

      Delete
  7. Well done Karen - such a creative use of the prompts! And, congratulations on your Dedicated to Life placement. Quite an honor!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit that I looked at those words for quite some time before deciding what to do with them, but I'm happy with the direction I took. Glad you liked it too.

      Delete
  8. I love the sound of hope! Cheerful children's' laughter is the best sound :-) Made me smile!
    I'm with you on how frustrating it is to get what you have paid for. Is it too much to ask?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually miss the sound over the summer when school is out. I used to hear it in the neighborhood over the summer but now most of the kids are in college.

      Delete
  9. Oh Karen this left a smile on my face. You used your words wonderfully.

    I was watching a show on NatGeo the other night and they said the #1 addicting sound that beat out our cell phones and food wrappers crinkling-was the sound of a baby giggling. And I absolutely love that we as humans love the innocent sounds of joy and happiness from our youth ❤

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you smiled. And I agree, it's affirming that we get so much out of the sounds of joy and happiness.

      Delete
  10. Love what you did with this. In a world that does seem morally bankrupt, somehow the joys and innocence of childhood does give hope for a better tomorrow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I was hoping people wouldn't see where I was going with this message.

      Delete
  11. Boy you sure slam dunked that one! It made me smile as well. It's funny that you say that though after I've spend the last two days with telephone/internet repairmen that don't know the butt from their hats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I feel so sorry for you. That is a very frustrating way to spend two days.

      Delete
  12. I love the sound of kids playing at school. We live very close to the local high school and 3:00 in the afternoon is the noisiest time for our street as they all rush out of school and on to better things. It reminds me of when I was a kid, there were always children in the street from the end of school until dinner time. That 20 minutes of chaos a day is a nice way to take me back to my own childhood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is such a fun sound. I just can't help but smile.

      Delete
  13. Childrens laughter is the most hopeful sound I know of.
    Love that you took it where you did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Minette. They were fun words to use.

      Delete
  14. I absolutely love how you used your words. I, too, love hearing the carefree sound of kids playing. I miss it now that my kids are older. Unfortunately, all I hear from the local school is the band practicing and the high school football games.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we hear a lot of the band practicing from the high school too, which I actually like to hear, except when practice takes place before school and wakes me up.

      Delete
  15. I am so happy for all the things you have accomplished recently! It's an honor to call you a friend, Karen. I will definitely have to try this recipe, although I might have to resort to bribing when it comes to the asparagus and mushrooms. Otherwise, YUM!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Robin.
      As far as the recipe goes, you can make substitutions, it'll be just as good.

      Delete
  16. I love this post and the direction you traveled with the words! I love the concept of being aware of our shortcomings in life and how we can improve upon them!

    Congrats on all the amazing things you have happening right now. You are amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Loved your post. There is a lot of negative things in the world, but there is definitely a lot of hope! Excellent piece. Thank you. I agree that customer service is ridiculously horrible. I'd like to see that change soon. I've never made orzo, but this looks insanely delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there's always hope and those kids remind me of that every day.

      Delete

Warning: Comment at your own risk. I have Comment Moderation, meaning I approve all comments before they show up here. So go ahead, I'm not scared!