Culinary Oddballs (Angel in the Kitchen)

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No, “Culinary Oddballs” is not the title of a new sitcom about a couple of kooky cooks; today we’re discussing those freaky food misfits frequently found in the kitchen: fruits and veggies that have the chutzpah to be DIFFERENT!! These curious culinary nonconformists keep us on our toes; just when we think we know them … we often learn something new and surprising.

Veggies are many and varied. Although most people agree that veggies are the edible parts of plants, the actual classification of vegetable varies slightly from culture to culture. Carrots and turnips are roots, celery and asparagus are stalks and stems, and spinach and lettuce are leaves. What’s a tomato?

Tomatoes go great in salads, hanging out with all the other veggies; but in reality, this red rascal actually isn’t a veggie, at all. The misunderstood tomato belongs to the fruit category. So, one might wonder why grocers don’t display the tomatoes side by side with the apples and strawberries. Perhaps it’s because — unlike his fellow fruit — the noncomformist tomato doesn’t make great jam or taste very good in a pie.

When pondering veggies, the avocado is another of the usual suspects. But again, it belongs to the fruit category. Peas? When we used to leave these little green guys on our plates, our mommies would say, “Eat your veggies!” Alas, peas belong to the category of seeds and nuts. Weird? Well, we are talking about something that lies dormant in a pod until some unsuspecting person comes along and … no, wait, we’ve got peas confused with those things from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Don’t touch it! That’s no pea pod, mister!

Coconuts? They’re also seeds. Really really big seeds. Who knew? But all this just goes to demonstrate: in the kitchen there are certain culinary oddballs that don’t conform, don’t necessarily fit in with the rest of their group, and are generally misunderstood. Do we neglect them? No, because they’re tasty, and we find ways to help them fit in.

In life, just as in the kitchen, we continually encounter social misfits. People who for various reasons don’t quite fit in with the rest of the crowd. Maybe these people think or dress differently, maybe they’re just shy, maybe they simply have different beliefs, interests, goals and dreams.

Have you ever felt like an oddball? Maybe at school, or at work, or even in your own family? Cheer up, and welcome to the human race. We’ve all been there. In fact, some of us never left! But being an oddball isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most intelligent, creative and fun people often come across as a little different. And even the most popular, well-adjusted individual eventually finds him- or herself sticking out like a sore thumb within certain situations, at certain times, or among certain groups of people. None of this means we can’t toss ourselves together to make a social salad.

Face facts: sooner or later someone’s going to misunderstand you, and mis-categorize you. It’s okay. You’re not alone. So relax and learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Repeat after us, “Thank you [God] for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14 NLT)

Remember that you have GREAT value. After all, God sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, in order to redeem you! And you will always be an important part of God’s family: “…He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 KJB)

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NLT)

Tuesday: “A Strategy for Salads”

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Wait for It! (Diet for Dreamers)

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Most of us know that when it comes to fulfilling dreams, opportunity arrives in its own sweet time, and success can take years to achieve. So we wait for it … patiently. But waiting is never passive. Waiting is a process. Waiting requires us to exercise our faith, to be expectant, to be watchful.

We need to spend whatever time it takes (to achieve our goals) studying, training, practicing and preparing. Waiting allows us the time necessary to get ready. Waiting on a dream to come true is like waiting on a meal. Waiting helps us to work up a hearty appetite. We can smell success in the air, we hunger for it, we work harder and more diligently to prepare that meal. And when we finally get to sit down and eat it, we realize we enjoy it a lot more. For obvious reasons it tastes better and we appreciate it far more.

We absolutely LOVE pizza. Good New York-style pizza! We Frequent a fantastic Italian restaurant where the waiters speak in broken English, and the pizza is delicious. But when we’re really hungry, as in practically starving after a long day of running errands, it’s like manna from heaven, food of the gods — something that was truly worth waiting for.

Okay, sometimes “Whatever time it takes” feels like eternity. Why, oh why are we having to wait soooo long. Hey, however long the process takes, whether we wait a year or 30 years, it’s going to feel too long. Like time itself, waiting is relative. Just ask Einstein. The secret to waiting is knowing that God’s timing is perfect. He knows exactly when and how we need to succeed. Remembering this fact is the key to NOT gOIng CRazY!

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NASB)

We can personally testify that waiting ain’t easy! And although it’s an unsettling truth, people sometimes have to wait years, even decades, to see their dreams come true. Now there’s an uncomfortable thought none of us want to entertain. But what if you should have to wait a long, long, LONG time to achieve your goals? What will you do? Will you grow impatient? Will you even consider giving up?

We hope not! Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” And he never did!

But we still need to face the cold hard facts of life: some dreams take longer, and some people work years to achieve their goals. We mention this NOT to push you over the edge of depression, but rather to encourage you! To motivate you not to give up. Waiting is hard, but it can also be productive. As we stated last week, spend the time getting ready — or, depending on how long you’ve been waiting — getting ready-er!

Learn to trust God while you’re waiting. And work up an appetite!

“…They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJB)

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