A Cereal Crime! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Have you been the victim of a cereal crime?

The Marx Brothers: Breakfast shenanigans!

Not serial, but cereal — as in a breakfast food produced from roasted grain. Although “serial” does denote an act or behavior committed repeatedly, at regular intervals, and sometimes even compulsively; which pretty much describes our breakfast habits, such as eating cereal. And not really a “crime” as in a wanton and often calculated violation of legislated laws; but rather something we consider a deplorable practice (as in “Shame on you!”) born out of wanton greed and/or calculated (planned) results. Confused? You should be. So let’s settle our brains with a bit of background.

Breakfast cereal was created, quite by accident, in 1898. At the time, Dr. John Kellogg was operating a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. After his brother Will arrived to help run things, the two men decided to whip up a batch of granola (using wheat berry) to feed their “patients.” Although the brothers failed miserably at preparing granola, they accidentally hit upon a method for creating wheat flakes, thereby forever changing the course of culinary history. Dare we state it? The first flake was a fluke!

Will Kellogg continued tinkering in the kitchen, using other grains, and eventually created corn flakes. He told his brother, the good doctor, to keep the recipe a secret. But John was so proud of the process used to create the flakes, that he couldn’t resist demonstrating it to one of his patients, a businessman named Post. Big mistake. C.W. Post immediately implemented the new process in the manufacture of his own Post Cereals, thus getting the jump on the brothers Kellogg, and ultimately becoming their greatest competition! Apparently the early bird gets far more for breakfast than just the worm!

We stated that Post was a “patient” at Dr. Kellogg’s sanitarium. Allow us to explain. In this case, the sanitarium was sort of like a club for health nuts. Not to be confused with a sanatorium — which is sort of like a club for the mentally ill. (We’d write “nuts” again, just to underscore the analogy, but that would be in very bad taste.) So … at Kellogg’s sanitarium a doctor created a bunch of flakes. But at a sanatorium doctors treat a bunch of flakes! (*Cough* Totally inexcusable!)

Chico Marx: Hey, boss, he no looks-a so good.

After his brother divulged the secret for a smart breakfast, W.K. Kellogg left the sanitarium in a huff. In 1906, he started up the “Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company,” hired 44 employees, and created the first commercial batch of the breakfast cereal that would eventually be called Kellogg’s Corn Flakes!

But what’s all this about a “cereal crime”? Well, have you ever opened a new box of corn flakes — or Wheaties, or Rice Krispees, or (fill in the blank) — and wondered why the package is only half full? (Or, depending upon your general outlook, half empty.) You go to the market, grab the biggest container of cereal you can find, perhaps one of those cheaper, store brands packaged in a box the size of a steamer trunk, take it home, and … Hey, dude, where’d my cereal go?

Like, no way, Scoob!! Where’s the rest of our cereal?!! Ruh-roh!

Feel cheated? Turn the box over and read: “Some settling may occur.” What the manufacturers are trying to say is this: We filled this box to the brim with good stuff! Honest! But afterward the stuff got all shaken together, and it settled. But, trust us, it’s still a full box!

Really? A full box? Hey, boss, it no looka full to us! “Full” is full, half empty ain’t full! And yet, the cereal company plainly states on each box that at one time it was full. (Sure….) But what about now? The label further states that the cereal company actually knew in advance that “some settling” would occur! For shame! Such wanton — and calculated — neglect. Why can’t these companies fill the box, shake it down, fill it some more, let that settle, and then top it off? Imagine the joy of opening a box of Fruit Loops and actually finding it FULL! What a thing to behold, a box brimming with a breakfast bounty!

Yeah, we know, some things in life just can’t be helped — such as the law of gravity. Still, that half-full box can give one pause to ponder the great mysteries of the Universe. And the Creator of the Universe knows this! In fact, our Heavenly Father understands our disappointment over such things. Which is why He’s careful when supplying His many gifts, talents and blessings. He’ll never give us half of anything! He fills the “cup” till it’s running over — and He takes special precautions to prevent settling during “shipping”!

Read the back of the box (of God’s promises). The “label” — that would be the Bible — plainly states: “…Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give … will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (Luke 6:38 TLB)

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Count the Cost (Diet for Dreamers)

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Previously we mentioned that if you’re going to accomplish anything worthwhile in life, you’ll need to make some sacrifices. Whether it’s building a lasting marriage, raising great kids, or achieving some long-held goal or dream, you’ll need to be willing to pay the price.

Every business deal, ministry, relationship, project, hobby, or activity — every great human endeavor — comes with a price tag. Once we understand this truth, we’ll tend to analyze and evaluate every goal and situation. We’ll start counting the cost before committing to something new. After all, would you agree to purchase an item without knowing its cost? Unless you’re Donald Trump, probably not. (But we seriously doubt even he  would make a blind financial decision.)

Once we stop long enough to count the cost in time, energy, effort, sacrifice, patience, love, understanding, and faithfulness, we won’t be so quick to enter in to just any relationship or project. Knowing we’re accountable when it comes to “paying the tab” might keep us from blindly charging into things. And the things we do decide to commit to, we’ll do so wholeheartedly, knowing the cost and being mentally prepared to pay it.

Some endeavors come at a truly great price. So it helps to be psychologically prepared. Ready to give it our best shot, so to speak. The author Charles Bukowski once wrote:

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing [friends] and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. …You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. (Factotum)

If you’re going to make a go of something, make a “good go” of it. No half-hearted attempts. “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23 King James 2000) But again, know before hand what the price is — what you’re getting into. Spare yourself and your loved ones any unnecessary heartache. Once you understand the cost of realizing ANY dream, and make a commitment to pay that cost, no matter what, you’ll be more likely to follow through on every endeavor.

Count the cost. Be committed and ready to foot the bill. Then stick with it and pay the price. “Jesus said … ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 ESV) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” (Luke 14:28 NLT)

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