The Big Freeze (Angel in the Kitchen)

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We’d like to introduce you to yet another member of our family of faithful kitchen appliances: our upright freezer! Take a bow, Freezer! Freezer? Ahem. Sorry, folks, but he prefers to be addressed as MISTER Freeze! Okay, that’s cool. Now say hello to our readers, Mr. Freeze.

Mr. Freeze? Uh, he’s not talking today. Please forgive him. Like Mr. T, he has a bit of an attitude but, after all, it is his nature to be cold.

Mr. Freeze has been with us for quite a few years. He’s older than his cousin, Fridgey. In fact, he’s the eldest of his clan, and he’ll soon turn 25! — Mr. Freeze! Be nice. (He doesn’t like it when we discuss his age.) Anyway, because Mr. Freeze is an older — excuse us — a “classic” model, he has a habit of quickly accumulating a thick layer of ice on each of his shelves. But as we’ll soon explain, this characteristic has come in handy.

Mr. Freeze is a loner — mostly — so he resides in our garage. But he’s never totally alone; Mr. Freeze periodically hangs out with our blue SUV. That is, when Blue isn’t running the road. And at night, while we sleep, these two faithful servants share stories. Blue usually has the most exciting tales to relate, hair-raising adventures of the freeway and … well ….

Mr. Freeze has his own share of legends to relate, and one night he — What? Okay. Mr. Freeze wants to tell the story:

It was a dark and stormy night … and all through the house, not a creature was stirring — except this one goofy mouse.

Christmas Eve Caper: “Did somebody say big cheese?” NO! We said Big FREEZE!

That was way back in 1999, during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve. While my friends, Tom and Wilma, snoozed, a massive ice storm moved over the southeast and dropped several inches of freezing rain. (Grrr, what a show-off!)

My friends awoke to the sounds of tree branches breaking under the weight of a thick coating of ice. (The nerve! I make the ice around here!) Anyway, there were downed power lines everywhere, and Woodhaven didn’t have electricity for ten days. But did Tom and Wilma’s food go bad? Not while I’m on the job!

Sure, I didn’t have any power either, but I’m well insulated; and my layers of ice kept things good and cold — just like a big igloo cooler! So everything that needed refrigeration, I kept nice and fresh! Hey, Fridgey, did ya hear that?

Mister Freeze, open wide and say “Aah.” My, what thick ice you have!

Um, we all heard it, Mr. Freeze. But yes, it’s true, you saved the day! You’re a hero, a true legend in the annals of kitchen history. And because you’re an elder appliance, you deserve our respect and admiration.

By the way, some people are just like Mr. Freeze: they come across as cold (and distant). When we get around these people, they tend to give us a frosty reception (they’re grumpy). But like Mr. Freeze, they’ve endured many storms in life. Their outlook and emotions have been chilled by hurts and disappointments; and they’ve built up protective layers to insulate themselves from the world. Many of them have become as cold and hardened as pack ice.

Jesus warns us, “Because lawlessness will multiple, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12 Holman Christian Standard) In other words, the chill of our hurts and disappointments can cause pain, resentment, distrust, unforgiveness, and even a general feeling of bitterness to accumulate like layers of ice around our hearts. We can eventually become much like the shelves within Mr. freeze: bound by “ice” and frozen in life.

It’s easy to turn and walk away from people who are hurting and “iced up.” Because as Joyce Meyers often states, “Hurting people hurt people.” But the mister and missus freezes of this world nevertheless need our help, as well as the thawing influence of genuine love. King Solomon wrote, “Love is as strong as death…. [It] flashes like fire…. Many waters cannot quench love….” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NLT)

Love is the most powerful force in the universe; and God’s love is life’s universal antifreeze. 1 Corinthians 13 describes its “composition.” When we apply it, God’s supernatural Agape Love allows us to endure a little frostbite and eventually break through the ice that insulates people. God’s Love allows us to look beyond bad attitudes and nasty dispositions. It enables our Lord to use us to melt the coldest heart.

So drop the ice pick and put down the tongs, because “Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8 ISV)

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Frozen! People Should Never Act Like Peas

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Hello, dear friends! I’m Mr Freeze, Tom and Wilma’s faithful upright freezer!

When my masters asked me to tell you readers about frozen foods I naturally jumped at the opportunity. Well, actually I just sort of continued to stand in the corner of the room I share with Blue the SUV. (Which for some strange reason, Tom and Wilma refer to as the garage.) Anyway, the history of frozen foods is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. In fact, just thinking about it sends chills down my cooling coils!

Believe it or not, people have been preserving foods by freezing them for hundreds of years. Fishermen and trappers first started the trend by storing their fish and game in unheated buildings during the winter. They had learned, quite by accident, that freezing foods slows down and even halts the forces of nature — namely, the growth of bacteria which otherwise hastens spoilage. But the first large-scale commercial use of preserving foods by freezing was in 1899, when warehouses in Russia routinely shipped about 200,000 frozen chickens and geese to London each week, where specially devised cold-storage facilities kept the meat frozen until it went to local markets.
Later, in 1929, Clarence Birdseye introduced the American public to “flash freezing”: quick freezing reduces the formation of large ice crystals, which can damage the taste and texture of foods. The company started by Birdseye continues to be an innovator in the production of frozen dinners and vegetables. But today there are dozens of businesses producing what companies such as Swanson once called “TV dinners”; as well as frozen pizzas, pies, cakes and ice cream — mmm, just the sort of heartwarming comfort food I keep in my frosty compartments.

Further advancements in frozen foods came about out of necessity: during World War II, the U.S. Military researched better ways of freezing orange juice and dairy products for troops serving overseas; and in 1957, when then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Russia, the U.S. government devised new ways of packaging frozen foods for her trip. Speaking of Russia, I’ve always wanted to vacation in Siberia. I understand that year round the weather is quite lovely.

But enough about me and my passion for all things frozen. I want to share an interesting observation about people: some of them are frozen! Not literally, mind you. But remember that I said freezing stops the forces of nature? In a manner of speaking, it puts life on hold — and sometimes people want to do the same thing.

There’s a character in Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations who did just that: Miss Havisham stopped all the clocks in her house, then shut herself away from the world after she experienced a devastating disappointment. She was to be married, on what should have been the happiest day of her life. Many elaborate preparations had been made, including a long dining table exquisitely set and groaning beneath an abundance of gourmet foods; and crowning the center of the table, a wedding cake fit for a king and his queen.

All of Miss Havisham’s guests had arrived to join in the celebration, and together they waited with the bride-to-be — uncomfortably, for what seemed an interminable time — for the groom to arrive. But he never did. So, the wedding guests silently returned to their homes, and Miss Havisham, whose heart was broken, whose dreams died that day, withdrew
from the world. She cloistered herself in her darkened mansion, with all the wedding preparations left untouched, preserved as a burial shrine to her dead hopes. The clocks stopped ticking and she stopped “living”! Miss Havisham, for all intents and purposes, allowed herself to become mentally and spiritually “frozen in time”; trapped like an ancient relic in the ice of her own pain and grief; unable to move beyond the disappointments and bitter memories of a single moment.

Brrr, pretty dramatic, huh? But just like Miss Havisham, there are people today who, because of past hurts, mistakes and disappointments, are “frozen” in their own emotional and spiritual growth, no longer moving forward in life — no longer even enjoying life.

Have you made bad mistakes? Have you been severely hurt, betrayed, or disappointed? At some time or another, we all have. But the more important question is, were you “flash frozen” in your moment of grief and despair, anguish and disillusionment? Symptoms of being frozen include frequently reliving a past hurt, harboring a grudge, being afraid to trust again, or refusing to start over. If any of this describes you, it’s time to come in from the cold: take steps to forgive and forget; make a conscious decision to put the past behind you, and then start moving forward.

People should never act like peas!

It always helps to “get things off your chest” and out into the open, so consider talking to a trusted friend or a spiritual leader. If necessary, seek out a professional counselor. But above all, ask the God of all comfort to heal your emotional wounds. (2 Corinthians 1:3) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 ESV)

There’s room for only one Mister Freeze around — and that’s me! But I only keep foods frozen! I like people well thawed! And unless you’re a box of snow peas, you shouldn’t allow anything to keep you frozen. Don’t allow someone who wronged you in the past to continue to steal your present peace and joy, or your future growth and happiness. Break out of the ice. To quote the lyrics of a popular song from Disney’s Frozen, if there’s something bothering you, “Let it go!”

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NLT)

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