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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Meatloaf Blues? (Angel in the Kitchen)

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There’s a scene from an old sitcom, and it plays something like this: a teenage boy walks into the kitchen and asks his mom, “What’s for dinner?” After she tells her son she’s lovingly made his favorite, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, the boy whines, “Aww, meatloaf? I just came from Johnny’s house and his dad’s grilling steaks!” Who’s to be pitied more? The poor mom who’s slaved over the hot stove trying to please her family — or her ungrateful son, who’s got the meatloaf blues, a symptom of “the comparison complaint”?

Unfortunately, we all periodically suffer from this complaint. It’s a common malady of the human race, but there’s a cure. Just stop! The kid in the aforementioned sitcom ought to have been happy that his mom cooked his dinner to start with — let alone made his favorite — and we would all do well to stop comparing what we have with what someone else has. Life is more enjoyable when we’re grateful for what God has provided us. And, personally, we LOVE meatloaf, with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy! Of course, we serve a pretty mean meatloaf at our house!

Still, we tend to get caught up in comparing, and when we do, we inevitably reach the same conclusion: there’s always something better than what we have. The neighbors are having steak and we’re stuck with meatloaf! Or, we’re having meatloaf but the neighbors are having meatloaf with gravy! Yes, the dinner is always more delicious on the other side of the fence — or is that grass? After God led His people out of bondage from Egypt, He daily provided them with a perfect food called MANNA! Manna was “a flaky substance” that “tasted like honey wafers.” (Exodus 16:14,31 NLT) The Israelites collected the manna each morning, and we can imagine it might have been a little like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. To quote Tony the Tiger, “They’re grr-reat!!”

But God’s people started comparing, as we all tend to do, and suddenly they were “homesick” for the foods they ate when they were slaves! Seriously? Yeah, the “comparison complaint” really is a sickness; and we’ll never truly enjoy life if we’re always “sick” about what we could have, but don’t have. How can we enjoy a delicious cool glass of freshly squeezed orange juice if we start contemplating what else we might have had? Remember the TV commercial for vegetable juice? The guy suddenly stops sipping his OJ, slaps his forehead, and cries, “Wow, I coulda had a V-8!” Don’t fall prey to the comparison complaint. Enjoy the moment. “This is the day [or food, or home, or opportunity] the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NLT)

Another symptom of the comparison complaint manifests when we start comparing ourselves to others. Trust us on this one: no matter how beautiful or talented you are, how much money you make, or how big your home is, there will always be someone somewhere who’s just a little prettier, more gifted, more prosperous, more whatever. So … since these things are all relative to begin with, then why compare — and compete? Catch the comparison complaint and you’ll probably also come down with “inferiority fever” followed by “insecurity sickness”!

On the other hand, there will always be those who don’t seem to measure up to you and your standards. Should you take what God has blessed you with as a reason for pride? If you do, then you’re suffering from the vanity virus.

We mentioned we serve a mean meatloaf. We have a friend who started comparing her cooking skills to Wilma’s; and she felt she came up short. As a result, she was reluctant to have us over for dinner. Sad and unnecessary! We all have different gifts and abilities, and there’s no point in comparing. When we do, nothing good ever comes out of it; instead, we miss out on the joy of life. But our friend was mature enough to confess she was feeling a little inferior in the kitchen. We told her not to worry: we’re not into comparing and competing. And we’re grateful whether we’re served pheasant under glass or a plain pizza. Then we reminded her just how talented she was in areas that remain a complete mystery to us.

Our friend relaxed, realized what’s most important, and then had us over for a take-out pizza. And we’re not sure why, but … apparently her fellowship added a lot of extra flavor to the food, because it was one of the best pizzas we’d ever had! Get the lesson here? Please don’t catch the comparison complaint. At first it just makes you sick, but later it can kill your joy. “I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.” (Romans 12:3 GOD’S WORD)

Remember the symptoms: the meatloaf blues, inferiority fever, insecurity sickness or vanity virus. Nip them in the bud before you get an incurable case of the comparison complaint.

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