“Short-Sighted” in the Kitchen!

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By now most of our dear readers surely must realize we’re a few bucks shy of being certifiably eccentric. (Given our present financial state, please refer to us as simply daffy.) True, we give our kitchen appliances names, and then write about the adventures of these “angels.” We call them angels because, like God’s celestial messengers, these kitchen tools and appliances generally have a life-changing lesson to impart — if we look for it.

Early in this series, we introduced Luke and Nuke, the identical microwave ovens residing in our home. (Yes, having microwave twins now allows us to fix TWO bags of popcorn simultaneously. …Uh, hang on, we didn’t actually have microwave twins — we bought them. At Lowes. Really. After all, you can have a headache but you can’t have a microwave — not even if you’re listed in The Guinness Book of World Records. Ahem, moving on….)

I’m LUKE! He’s Nuke. Can’t you see the difference between us?!

Luke and Nuke have their own little rooms, so to speak. They reside in two compartments located among the kitchen cabinets — well above the countertop — because one of us is a stickler for keeping the counters free of clutter! (Note: I’m pleased to say, “That would be me!”  —Wilma) And it is from their “perches” that Luke and Nuke survey the scene below, quietly watching and awaiting our every quick-cooking need.

I’m NUKE! I’m better-looking than Luke. Smarter, too.

We recently called upon them to cook two frozen mini-pizzas. The instructions on the box stated: “place pizza on top of carton, then place carton into microwave.” We did this — twice — and 90 seconds later Luke and Nuke beeped us that it was snack time!

The next day, Wilma wiped out the insides of both microwaves using an all-purpose cleaner. She wiped down the walls and door, as well as the top and bottom (the rotating glass tray), to ensure there were no spatters of cheese and sauce clinging to the insides of our kitchen pals! This isn’t an easy task for Wilma, because she has to stretch in order to reach Luke and Nuke. Like we mentioned, our twin microwaves each have their perch, and Wilma is … hmm … How can we describe her state? Ah yes, she’s “vertically challenged”! (Note: In other words, she’s short!  —Tom)

Wilma thought she’d thoroughly cleaned out Luke and Nuke, but when she reached up and felt around on their glass trays (Note: On her tippy toes, even!  —Tom), she soon realized there was something still sticking to the glass. So she wiped the surface again, only harder this time. And yet, she could still feel something gritty! Something that felt “fuzzy” like rough cardboard. Wilma was understandably perplexed, so she fetched a stool in order to climb up and get a better look inside the mysterious workings of Luke and Nuke.

This is not our kitchen, btw.

Once she got on the stool, and gained a higher point of view, she discovered that some of the paper from the pizza cartons had stuck to the glass trays! Apparently the paper packaging of the average frozen food carton has a tendency to stick when microwaved. Too bad the pizza company didn’t list that little fact in their cooking instructions. But that’s not our point here. What’s important — according to Luke and Nuke — is that initially Wilma couldn’t see the problem from her “short-sighted” point of view. Furthermore, she was unable to address the problem until she gained a better, higher view of things. (And address it she did, with a soft scouring pad and even more determination.)

In life, just as in the kitchen, we often face problems which leave us perplexed and not knowing how to proceed. But that’s usually because we approach life from a shortsighted viewpoint. We continue to view our circumstances from a natural, even worldly, perspective; so we’re unable
to see the higher working of things! Then we attempt to fix things in our own strength — we get on our tippy-toes! However, when dealing with a truly “sticky” situation, this approach never quite works. We need a step up in order to gain a better, more spiritual look at life.

If you’re facing a challenge today, we encourage you, first, to get a “higher” perspective of what’s going on. Seek God through prayer and Bible study, and ask Him to help you see people and the problems of life the way He sees them. Learn to adopt a divine perspective of life. Second, don’t try to solve all your problems in your own strength, “stretching yourself on tippy-toes” until you pull an emotional muscle! Grab a “spiritual stool” and take a step up! The Psalmist writes, in “A Song of Ascents” [ascent as in climbing]:

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. –Psalm 121:1-4 ESV

Ask God for His love and acceptance. Ask Him for His help and guidance. Ask Him for a helping hand and a spiritual boost up! Whatever you’re facing, you are Not alone! Your problems did not catch God off guard or take Him by surprise. Trust Him, He’s got this! So ask yourself, “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God — soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (Psalm 42:11 MSG) In other words, stop focusing on the problem and focus instead on the problem-solver: the storm-stopper, the miracle-working God of the Impossible!

Sometimes our circumstances seem harsh, but the Bible states, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God….” (Romans 8:28 GOD’S WORD) Understanding this simple truth is another “step up” to gaining a heavenly perspective. It’s also extremely helpful to remember that people are not problems!  But like all of us, people only have problems!

View that aggravating neighbor or irritable coworker from God’s divine perspective: through the eyes of His love. Love covers a multitude of sins! (1 Peter 4:8) Then count your blessings — NOT your troubles — with a genuine spirit of gratitude. Concentrate on the Most-High God, and not on all the things that get you down in the dumps! Get a higher, spiritually-minded perspective of life … from a perch well above the kitchen counters — er, above the trials and tribulations that clutter our wonderful, sometimes crazy, world!

“…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9 ESV)

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The Cheese Stands Alone!

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We often make baked ziti, which (for those poor souls who’ve been culinarily deprived) is a lot like lasagna — layers of noodles, marinated
ground beef, and different cheeses. Once we took a huge dish of it to a friend’s house to share, and it was absolutely delicious! Wish you could’ve had some. 🙁

When we returned home we were tired, so we did the cook’s equivalent of that old housekeeper’s trick, “sweeping the dirt under the carpet.” Well, it’s not THAT bad. We decided to wash the messy pyrex baking dish in the morning — after we slept on it, so to speak. So we stuck the dish into the oven, where we wouldn’t have to look at it. Bad move!

Who wants to wake up to a messy dish in the sink? Not us, which is why we hid it. Honest, we were going to wash it the first thing when we got up the next morning. Only we hid it a little too well. “Out of sight, out of mind.” We didn’t give that dirty dish a second thought! Not the next day, when we were busy writing; nor the next, when we ran errands; nor the day after that, when we … well, long story short, we didn’t use our oven for days! Sure, we cooked on top the range, but we didn’t need to bake anything.

When we finally did open the oven, to look for the pizza pan — What? You don’t store your pizza pan in the oven? Ours won’t fit anywhere else! — we were confronted by that messy baking dish. Sitting there. Alone. In the dark. Sulking. Hardening the cheese and sauce of its aching heart … until all that was left was a dried up, crusted over scab of forgotten ziti. Okay, we’re being dramatic. But the cheesy residue of our long-forgotten meal was almost impossible to clean up.

We destroyed our kitchen sponge, using the coarse side of it to scour the dish — and to no affect. That cheese had hardened to cement. A jackhammer wouldn’t have been totally out of the question, but we settled on an SOS steel-wool pad and several minutes of hard labor. A just penalty befitting our crime of neglect and forgetfulness. And then — yuck! — we needed to toss out the SOS pad!

In life, just as in dirty dishes, we all face problems that are much easier to handle when dealt with quickly. Sooner or later, we all manage to make a mess of something, and it’s a lot easier to clean up our messes when we deal with them immediately. Hiding from an issue, avoiding an unpleasant task, leaving a hurt friend or family member to “harden” while we “sleep on it,” only makes the job more difficult — if not impossible to handle.

When dealing with people, never allow angry or harsh words to thicken and crust over, creating a barrier that separates a relationship. After an argument or misunderstanding, work quickly to resolve matters, bring peace, and heal damaged emotions. “I’m sorry” should never be the least-used words in your vocabulary! Don’t wait until later, either. “Don’t go to bed angry.” (Ephesians 4:26 GW) Swallow your pride; for the sake of harmony, humble yourself and seek the person’s forgiveness. “…God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 ESV)

Keep those relationships sparkling!

There are far too many cheesy messes in our homes and workplaces, our neighborhoods and houses of worship. And in many cases we’ve allowed them to harden. Know what? God wants us to do the dishes — no matter how hard we need to scrub. “…If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar … and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there…. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23-24 NLT)

Take care of your cheesy messes before the job gets tougher. Don’t put it off. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Things will just get harder. Do it quickly, so both your dishes and your relationships will sparkle.

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