The Moral of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

It all started when I was making some chocolate chip cookies last week. 

I had on my white apron; the oven was warming up; I had the cookie sheets all greased and ready; and the wooden spoon was in my hand. 

I started to get out the ingredients I needed.  It was all the basics – like- brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, water, baking soda, baking powder, flour, and chocolate chips.  My recipe book was laying open, and my attention was focused on making sure I followed every step properly.  I absentmindedly picked up the one-cup measuring container and put in the correct amount of white sugar and brown sugar; but when I went to add in the eggs….well, let’s just say that there was quite a commotion. 

Brown Sugar started it all, “Well, what do we have here?  Some ole’ runny Eggs coming into our territory and trying to cut in on our business!” 

Of course, White Sugar couldn’t keep her mouth shut, “That’s right, Brownie, we have someone that thinks they are mighty important.  Takes alot of nerve to show up looking the way they do.” 

“Enough!  We have every right to be here.  I’d say that we’re one of the most important ingredients there could be in chocolate chip cookies,” remarked the irritated Eggs.

“Ha!  One of the most important?  You are one vain ingredient.  Everyone knows that the most important part of chocolate chip cookies is the chocolate chips,” scoffed the Chocolate Chips from the counter where they lay.

“Well, most important or not, I don’t think anyone should be in this bowl but the Sugar family,” replied Brown Sugar.  “Our family goes way back.  The Sugars are renowned and well-known throughout the generations of time.”

“Noone knows about baking and chocolate chip cookies more than we do,” piped in Baking Soda and Baking Powder.  “If everyone would just go back to their place in the cupboard and let us in control, we would have the best cookies out there.” 

I would like to keep dialoguing the conversation for you; but the argument became so heated with everyone talking at once, that it would be nearly impossible to recollect everything that was said. 

I then knew that I needed to intervene and try to work out this problem before all my ingredients became so overheated in the process that I would never get my chocolate chip cookies done. 

“Time out!” I yelled as I waved my wooden spoon in the air. 

There was a dead silence as everyone turned to look at me. 

“You all think that you know best, that you are the best, and that you don’t need each other.  Well, we are just going to see exactly how grand and special you are on your very own.————-It’s time to hold a baking contest!” I announced with a twinkle in my eye.

Cheers erupted as each ingredient boasted of a sure win.  I started to get out more bowls.  In one- I placed Baking Soda and Baking Powder, in another- the Eggs, in a third- the Chocolate Chips, and fortunately for the dishwasher (which was myself)- White and Brown Sugar already had their bowl.  I then came to Water.

“I don’t want to be by myself,” he remarked.  “I’m not anything special.  I can’t do anything.  Just leave me out of this.” 

I didn’t reply to his remark, but kept it in the back of my head. 

“On your mark, get set, go!” I said.

Oh, what happened next brought tears of laughter to my eyes.  How I wish you could see the way they acted.  The Sugars sat there and thought and thought about how would be the best way to go about this; the Eggs swirled and swirled around in the bowl with no result except getting whipped up in a frenzy; the Chocolate Chips didn’t do a thing- thinking that they were enough just as they were; and Baking Soda was barking orders to Baking Powder which ended up confusing them both.

When I could see that they were exhausted and quiet (after about twenty minutes), I took them all and poured them in my mixing bowl and started to stir and stir them together.  I finally added in Water to the mixture telling him that he was actually quite needed to this process, put the dough on sheets and stuck them in the oven.  After fifteen minutes, soft and gooey chocolate chips were cooling on my counter. 

So all that to say, that, even though I wish my ingredients were so talkative and interesting; none of that really did happen.  But I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like if that were true.  For devotions last week, I read in

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

King James Version (KJV)
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Until we work together as ONE INGREDIENT instead of separate ones, we will never get those chocolate chip cookies made.  And not one ingredient is more or less important than the rest. 

I think I will try to think of that each time I reach for a chocolate chip cookie.

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Stars and Sparkles

“There’s nothing better in life than to just be the little star you were meant to be and sparkle in the spot in space where God put you. It may not seem like much at the time, but your whole-hearted shine will give the world a brighter night.”

It was one of those days. 

Did you ever read Pilgrim’s Progress?  Well, sometimes I can sympathize with Christian locked away in Doubting Castle by Giant Despair. 

I was laying in my bed last night and started the whole self-pity thing.  Now if you have ever had any experience with a selfish self-pity, you know that it usually gets worse and worse.  My mind started out with how my life is so boring…i try to plan fun things to do, but no one wants to do them…if there are parties, I’m left out…no one ever cares about me….everyone thinks I’m weird….and well, I think you got the point. 

But of course, I didn’t stop there.  You can’t stop with just that when you’re on a steady roll of depressing thoughts. 

I then started to think that no one really likes me, and I thought about how there are at least one-hundred and one reasons why people shouldn’t like me.  My nose is too big, my quirks are too strange, my personality is too loud and obnoxious (okay, I won’t list all one-hundred and one reasons for time’s sake- you get the idea). 

The next step of my pity party was to start thinking about how my life is so meaningless.  
By now I was sure I would be spreading the love of God in some foreign, disease-stricken land, or rescuing sex slaves from the brothels of a mystique Asian country, or caring for orphans that have been neglected or unloved.  I mean if I would die tomorrow because of a spinning tornado or crashing plane, I would have not even made a difference in this life.  Really, all I do is work for the family business and go to church every Sunday—that sounds like a real booming life, right?! 

Sounding like Eeyore yet? 

Well, that’s about how I was feeling. 

And then I started thinking about stars.  Yup, that’s strange to start thinking about stars when you are self-pitying yourself; but what can I say, my mind is afflicted with A.D.H.D.  I started thinking about all the thousands and millions and trillions of stars in the night sky.  What if one of those tiny, far-away stars started to think that she was of no importance, that she doesn’t make a difference, that she doesn’t matter?  Her misery would slowly cloud over her until not even the faintest of light would sparkle anymore. 

But instead, those stars are just happy with the little space where God put them.  They may not feel like they are doing anything grand, especially when they look around them at the big ole’ planets spinning and dancing.  

However, they realize that as long as they let their light sparkle as brightly as they possibly can, they are making a difference.  They add a bit of light to the darkest of nights. 

Then God told me—-

That even though I may not feel like I’m worth anything or making a difference, as long as I’m following Him and giving my sparkliest best wherever I am, I am worth the whole world to Him.  No, I may not be on the mission field like a Mary Slessor, but I can reach out to the ones around me.  No, I may not be rescuing young girls like an Amy Carmichael, but I can pray for them.  No, I may not be helping orphans like a Gladys Alward, but I can share the money I make with the ones who are helping them.  Besides, what good does it do to sit around in self-pity?  That is pure selfishness when I focus on myself and my problems- instead of what I could be doing for God and others. 

So with that, God gave me the key to exit my little dungeon of despair. 

All through the thought of a little star somewhere way up in the night sky that just kept on sparkling!  

Skunks and Peanut Butter

 I do believe that life will never be boring in this household.  Who would think that a mother, father, brother, (and me, of course), a yellow parakeet, and two dogs could be so interesting?  I could probably fill page after page of some of the escapades that goes on in my little area of life.

One of the most recent adventures included a skunk and our two dogs.

Ever since we moved into our home (which has now been about a year and a half), we have had the pleasure of being able to sit on our front porch and enjoy the pleasant smell of skunk spray wafting on the summer breeze— or being able to eat dinner while the gentle fragrant odors of the neighborhood vermin fill our nostrils.

So our easy conclusion, from the scents we smelled on many an evening, was that we had moved into a community that was harboring skunks.  We probably wouldn’t have minded as badly if the skunks would have kept far away; but no, they had to tramp around our private property.

And that is where the dogs enter the story.  Our dogs are pretty pampered and spoiled; they are allowed to have free roam of the whole backyard.  They exercise their territorial rights very well, and guard their land to the extreme.  Any low-flying bird or innocent bunny that wanders too closely into the realm of “The Dogs” will soon regret their trespassing.  Animals talk in hushed whispers of the viciousness that lives within the backyard.  They school their children to fear those two big mammals with sharp teeth and low growls. 

Well, it so happens that Mr. Skunk decided to risk the chance of entering the feared domain.  Who knows why?  I never got the chance to ask him.  Perhaps he was trying to be brave and daring and show off to his friends; perhaps he was coming home from work and decided to take a shortcut; perhaps he thought dog food would make a better meal than his usual courses.  Perhaps he never had the true fear he should have.  You know how skunks can be.  They seem to think they are the masters of the animal world because of their stinky weapons. 

Whatever the reason was, Mr. Skunk should have never given into the temptation to enter the forbidden realm of “The Dogs.” 

There was not even a body left to send home to his family for a proper burial.  There were only a few pieces of fur to be kept in remembrance.

Like people, skunks do not always learn from experience.  After such a terrible tragedy, why would you even let the thought of entering the territory of “The Dogs” enter your mind?  Oh, the powers of temptations- they make the strongest of us fall. 

Let me explain myself.  In the back yard, I also keep a garden.  In the garden lives a groundhog, protected from the dogs by the bamboo fence that surrounds it.  My ever-caring brother decided to catch Grandpa Groundhog for me by setting a cage trap.  He carefully set it up and applied a big hunk of peanut butter inside to lure the annoying creature. 

Grandpa Groundhog was too smart for that little trick, but Miss Skunkette just had to get a taste of that peanut butter.  Inside she went, and down came the door.  She was trapped.  When the dogs realized that there was a trapped skunk in their midst, they of course were delighted.  But how can you get at a caged skunk?  They were trying to figure that out when Miss Skunkette decided that she had had enough of this craziness and let loose her beautiful aroma.  Dog 1 was smart enough to stay in front of Miss Skunkette, but Dog 2 received the full blast.  Needless to say, he was not a very happy dog or a very good-smelling one.

And so ends my little story.  The dogs lived on, but the skunk didn’t.  Dog 1 never suffered a bit; however, Dog 2 is still living with the every-present cologne of Skunk.

So the moral of the story is simply this: Never give into the temptation of peanut butter- for its powers hold a sway that not many can overcome!  

 

FoRgIvEnEsS- yup that’s a hard one

   I just had to share this.  Every night for devotions, the family reads a little story out of a 365-day devotional about Christians and Martyrs.  We happened to read about Anne Askew last night.  It really made me stop and think about FoRgIvEnEsS. 
 
  Anne Askew was a woman separated from her family, kicked out of her house by her husband, and taken to the Tower of London because of her Protestant beliefs.  There she was forced on the rack and tortured constantly.  She would faint from the pain; so the torturers would lower her, wait for a little, and start torturing her again once she revived.  She was racked so much that she was crippled from the ordeal.  From there, she was eventually carried to the stake and burnt as a heretic.  This was the prayer she prayed before she left this earth.  
 
 
  “O Lord, I have more enemies now, than there be hairs on my head! Yet, Lord, let them never overcome me with vain words, but fight thou, Lord, in my stead: for on Thee cast I my care! With all the spite they can imagine, they fall upon me, who am Thy poor creature. Yet, sweet Lord, let me not set by them that are against me; for in Thee is my whole delight. And, Lord, I heartily desire of Thee, that, Thou wilt, of Thy most merciful goodness, forgive them that violence which they do, and have done unto me; open also Thou their blind hearts, that they may hereafter do that thing in Thy sight, which is only acceptable before Thee, and to set forth Thy verity aright, without all vain fantasies of sinful man. So be it, 0 Lord, so be it “

Anne Askew. 1546

  After being put through physical and emotional pain, Anne forgave her torturers!  All anyone has to do to me is simply say the wrong thing to me, take something that I thought should have been mine, or even treat me with less respect than I thought I deserve— and I become this uptight, grumpy, grudge-bearing, unforgiving MarJanita.  I can’t imagine if I would have been in Anne Askew’s shoes; I would probably have been praying, “O Lord, I have more enemies now, than there be hairs on my head!  (I really hope you do something really terrible to them to avenge me this agonizing pain)… Yup, that’s all I ask, Lord; just do whatever You have to do to teach them a lesson.  Amen.”

  Perhaps I should start to see things through Christ’s eyes, the way Anne did.  Perhaps FoRgIvEnEsS should start to become more of a daily routine with me.  If I start with the small things that aggravate me- like halfheartedly-done jobs, pathetic attitudes, terrible drivers, and annoying customers- maybe I will start to form the habit of FoRgIvEnEsS and be able to forgive the “big things”. 

After all, I pray to become more like Christ; and I can’t think of a greater example of FoRgIvEnEsS than the Savior hanging on a tree saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”!