Chilly Challenges and Slushy Situations (Diet for Dreamers)

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Dairy Queen serves a cold concoction guaranteed to create an addiction. It’s called a Mocha MooLatté, an icy blend of strong coffee, intense chocolate, and fat-saturated cream. NASA would be wise to jettison orange-flavored Tang in favor of this slushy drink. Having future astronauts consume a Mocha MooLatté right before liftoff could save taxpayers tons of money in rocket fuel. In fact, our astronauts might even be able to reach Mars without a spaceship!

When we bought our first Mocha MooLattés, the lady behind the counter at DQ warned us, “You’ll be soooorry!”

Really? How come? “Because,” she laughed, “you’ll be back tomorrow for another one! And the next day and the next.”

Visions of begging on a littered street corner suddenly filled our heads. We imagined ourselves pleading with passersby for spare change, all so we could buy just one more Mocha MooLatté — Please!

But the pusher at DQ — excuse us, the nice lady at DQ — was wrong. We had no intention of returning the next day. After we drank our slushy drinks, we got back in line immediately! Even she was surprised! Combining all that sugar, chocolate, and caffeine can definitely create an addictive rush, but the real danger in consuming this rich, delicious concoction … this refreshing, invigorating … incredible, absolutely divine drink — gasp, we need help! — is the dreaded side effect that comes from careless and wanton consumption! Sigh! BrAiN fReEZe!!

spock-brain-freeze
Even Vulcans can get brain freeze!

Brain freeze is that sensation you get — that feels like your head is about to explode — when you drink something really cold really fast! However, as we previously discussed, there’s another kind of brain freeze, which makes you feel like your head is about to explode; and it can freeze you dead in your tracks while in the pursuit of your dreams and goals. It’s caused by the iciness of loss, disappointment, and despair; too many rejections, dead ends, closed doors, missed opportunities, setbacks, weaknesses and failures.

As previously stated, the solution to brain freeze is to change one’s perspective on life, problems, and failures; and to foster a CAN-DO attitude. We need to look at our adversities as the perfect environment for personal growth; at setbacks as opportunities for comebacks; our problems as invitations for innovation; and a closed door as a sign to simply keep on knocking. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.

Have you been frosted over by life’s frequent frustrations? Here’s an anecdote to help thaw your mind: In the late-1950s, Omar Knedlik, a WWII veteran who owned and operated a dilapidated Dairy Queen in Kansas City, created another iconic frozen drink by sheer accident. Knedlik’s restaurant equipment was always breaking down at the most inopportune times; and after his soda fountain finally gave up the ghost, Knedlik was faced with one of those potentially brain-freezing problems.

With customers to serve, each expecting a cold soda to wash down the burger and fries, Knedlik had to improvise: he loaded his freezer with bottled pop, which created a new problem. Knedlik couldn’t get the hang of knowing just when to take the sodas out, so usually the bottles of carbonated liquid were partially frozen. And yet, his customers seemed to like the slushiness of these icy soft drinks, and would typically ask Knedlik if they could have one of the “pops that were in a little bit longer.”

Knedlik immediately realized his troubles were blessings in disguise. Using the air conditioning unit from an old car, he built a machine in the back room which mixed and partially froze flavored waters and carbon dioxide, to create a slushy, fizzy drink he called Icee.

Most of us know Icee by another name: Slurpee. In fact, if you’re like us, you might imagine that Icee (with its polar bear mascot) is a copycat of the more famous drink sold by the 7-Eleven chain. Not so. Icee is the original, but when Knedlik licensed the product to the convenience store chain, he asked that the name be changed so as not to limit further marketing deals. Now that’s what we call fully thawed thinking!

Life is fraught with slushy situations and chilly challenges, but as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph….” (2 Corinthians 2:14 Jubilee Bible 2000)

Out of adversity come change, growth, and innovation. Understand this and you’ll start viewing any circumstance, any problem, any setback as a new opportunity. Dear dreamers and fellow creators, every experience, good or bad, provides a new opportunity to seek God, to ask for His wisdom and direction — and to press onward. And if you’re a writer or an artist (in drama, music, or graphics), these experiences are just more material for your work. If your an innovator, every new challenge is grist for the mill, because the Lord is able to turn every curse into a blessing! (Deuteronomy 23:5)

Yeah, I know this looks bad, but I gotta plan.
Yeah, I know this looks bad, but I gotta plan.

So, if you want to avoid brain freeze, then drink plenty of Slurpees (and Mocha MooLattés in moderation), but keep this positive perspective. Train yourself to NOT allow your problems, weaknesses, failures, setbacks, disappointments, dead ends, closed doors, or rejection to freeze your personal growth or progress as you pursue your dreams. Always remember, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God….” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Cultivate this positive, victorious mindset, as well as a CAN-DO attitude, and you’ll never have to worry about getting brain freeze.

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How to Avoid Brain Freeze (Diet for Dreamers)

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Brain freeze is that sensation you get — that feels like your head is about to explode — when you drink something really cold really fast! When it hits, all you can do is stop what you’re doing and wait for it to pass.

But there’s another kind of brain freeze, which makes you feel like your head is about to explode; and it can stop you dead in your tracks; frozen in the pursuit of your goals; with your hopes, dreams, and every creative thought struck by a glacier of loss, disappointment, and despair. Too much rejection too soon can do it. So can dead ends, closed doors, missed opportunities, setbacks, weaknesses and failures.

The solution to brain freeze is to change our perspective on life, problems, and failures; and to foster a CAN-DO attitude. We need to look at our adversities as the perfect environment for personal growth; at setbacks as opportunities for comebacks; at our limitations as possible strengths; our problems as invitations for innovation; and a closed door as a sign to simply try a different door. And we need to learn to think outside the box! Hey, after all, necessity is the mother of invention.

Here are two examples of creative dreamers who avoided brain freeze by following this advice; two savvy businessmen who were definitely thinking outside (above, beneath, and all around) some sad situations that might have boxed in less enthusiastic people.

At the 1904 World’s Fair, held in St. Louis, Missouri, an ice cream vendor suffered an acute attack of brain freeze after he realized he was unprepared to meet the demand for his frozen treats. Although there was a steady stream of customers who wanted his product, the hapless vendor was nevertheless about to pack up and go home — all because he had run out of the small paper containers he used to serve the ice cream.

Enter Doumar the Undaunted! Actually, our hero’s name was just Doumar; Abe Doumar, a sixteen-year-old immigrant from Damascus, Syria, who at the time was working as a traveling salesman. Doumar had been mingling with the crowd at the World’s Fair, in an attempt to sell novelty paperweights, and he needed to take a break. He decided some ice cream would really hit the spot, but the first vendor he approached was “Mr. Brain Freeze” (he who hath no serving containers).

Doumar took a quick look around, and noticed a pastry cart nearby, where a man was selling Belgian waffles topped with a dollop of whipped cream. So he walked over and purchased one served plain. As he returned to the ice cream vendor, Doumar gently rolled the soft, warm waffle into a cone. Then he asked Mr. Brain Freeze to fill the cone with a scoop of ice cream.

Voila! The ice cream cone is born!

Doumar also suggested the two vendors join forces, and soon these men found themselves swamped with requests for warm waffles with ice cream. Other vendors working the fair quickly copied the innovation — there were around 50 ice cream stands and over a dozen waffle carts in the park that day — and hence, several different vendors wanted to take the credit for inventing the waffle cone. Regardless, the treat caught on in a big way, so that by 1924 Americans were consuming an estimated 245 million ice cream cones per year.

Doumar never bothered to patent his idea, but he did design the first machine built especially to bake cones. It was a four-iron waffle machine Doumar used three years later in Virginia, where, during the Jamestown Exhibition of 1907, he and his brother sold 23,000 cones in a single day.

Afterwards, Doumar designed a semi-automated, 36-iron waffle machine capable of turning out 20 cones per minute, and in 1934 he opened Doumar’s Drive In in Norfolk, Virginia. The restaurant is still open today, and still serving fresh waffle cones baked on Abe’s original 1905 four-iron machine.

Abe’s son, the late Albert “Big Al” Doumar, circa 2010, operating the World’s First Cone Machine.

Now, don’t think for a minute that Doumar didn’t suffer through his own share of adversity. He had to weather the destructive forces of a hurricane, endure a few economic slumps, as well as the ever-changing dining habits of a more suburbanized world. Through it all, however, Doumar avoided brain freeze by thinking warm, friendly, “we shall overcome” thoughts.

The Apostle Paul similarly overcame tremendous adversity in the form of persecution, beatings, and a stoning so severe that his friends left him for dead. Paul also endured cold, hunger, and loneliness. He was shipwrecked and afterwards survived a venomous snakebite — at a time when there was no antidote. (You can read of his travails in 2 Corinthians 4:8-18; 11:16-33 and Acts 27 through 28.)

But the much put-upon apostle who took the Gospel to the gentiles never suffered from brain freeze. Even while chained in a cold, damp, and dark cell in a rat-infested Roman prison, Paul wrote this warm proclamation: “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” (Philippians 4:13 AMPC)

No more Brain Freezes — Please!

In other words, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Philippians 4:13 MSG)

This is a truth that can thaw the onslaught of brain freeze. Remember it. Confess it. Believe it. And refuse to be boxed in by your circumstances, limitations, or any adversity.

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