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All That Glitters

December 1, 2021

Kris Camealy


Years ago, during the Christmas season, we invested in new icicle lights for the outside of our home. My husband spent hours out in the cold, climbing up and down a ladder carefully stringing the new lights from the gutters, framing our front porch and garage. When he was done, as was the tradition, the kids and I joined him in the driveway after dark to ooh and ahh at the twinkling all around our house. The lights glittered and dangled exactly as we’d hoped they would.

A handful of days later, when we rounded the corner onto our street in the dark, we noticed immediately that something had gone wrong. Not a single dangling icicle bulb was lit. Every bulb hung by my husband, on the 9 or so strands,  was out. Instead of our home looking like she was ready to celebrate the Holiday, she looked grim and scrooge-y, sitting there dark, in the dark.

I don’t remember what words escaped our frowns that night as we sat out there in the freezing cold, parked in the darkened driveway. I remember the frustration, the disappointment, the discouragement, and the lament over the hours lost in the bitter winter winds, working so hard to make something beautiful—only to see all of that effort wasted.

We did all the things to investigate the situation. We checked breakers and extension cords, we checked bulbs and fuses, we checked for fraying wires or for water damage from the snow. Nothing worked to restart the lights. The strands themselves had been duds. They were irreparable. 

We surrendered and left the outside of our home dark that year for Christmas.

In the days after the light fiasco, between the holiday baking and gift wrapping, I thought a lot about how something so small as the lights refusing to light could steal so much of my joy from the season. Every evening as I’d pull into the driveway, I was reminded of how our best laid plans had all gone awry, and how this was so often an unavoidable fact of the human condition. Man makes his plans and all of that—and yet, even so, Christmas would still come to us.

That year, while the porch sat in the dark, the kitchen lights stayed on all day and hours into the night. I couldn’t do anything about the state of the outside of our home, but I could love my family through the steady supply of warm dinners and stacks of Christmas cookies. I’ve made no secret of how my kitchen is holy ground for me—a sanctuary of sorts where I meet Jesus at the counter, in the same way that Brother Lawrence, or Father Robert Farrar Capon did.

While the outer trappings of the Christmas we’d anticipated fell apart, we gathered together at the table remembering that all that glitters is not at the heart of the season. The heart has always been the primary concern of the Holy. The ways we dress up the outside can be lovely, but they aren’t what’s most important. We knew it then, and even still, sometimes we need to be reminded.

This unassuming Rosemary Chicken dish is a delight year-round, but might be especially tasty on a cold night when you need something warm to comfort you from the inside out. Plus, if you want a little more heat, you can simply increase the amount of red pepper flakes to light your fire. (Wink)


Rosemary Parmesan Chicken {in a creamy sauce}



  • 4 chicken breasts, split, pounded to ¼ inch thick
  • 1 Cup Parmesan (divided)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup flour
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh Rosemary springs (4)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • Cast iron/oven safe dish (I prefer cast iron so I can move the pan from the stove top right to the oven)



  1. Combine flour, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper in a dish
  2. Split, and pound chicken breasts until thin
  3. Dip chicken in egg and dredge in flour mixture
  4. Cook chicken in Butter & Olive oil until crispy on the outside (it will cook more in the oven)
  5. Remove all chicken from skillet and place in oven safe dish. (If using cast iron, rest chicken on a plate)
  6. Add 2 more TBSP butter to pan and stir in Heavy cream, additional Parmesan and Rosemary. Scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan and stir together.
  7. Add chicken back to the pan and cook in the oven until the chicken is done. (Use a meat thermometer, chicken should register at least 165 degrees)



Serve with mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower or rice and green beans or tossed salad. This dish can be made dairy free by substituting ½ cup of coconut crème for the heavy whipping cream, and olive oil for the butter (this will change the flavor a bit). It can also be made gluten-free by substituting a gluten-free flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs for dredging.

Featured image is courtesy of Kris Camealy and used with her kind permission for Cultivating. 


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  1. June says:

    This sounds amazing, Kris, just the thing for New Year’s Day. I love how tiny twinkling lights can transform our homes at Christmas, and really, anytime. It only takes a small light, a small bit of kindness to enlighten hearts.

  2. Kris says:

    June, I hope you enjoy this dish. 🙂 And yes–a little twinkling can go a long way in the dark. Wishing you and yours a joyous New Year!

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