The Chocolatier Who Persevered (Diet for Dreamers)


Nothing says LOVE quite like chocolate. At least, that’s how the man who created Milk Chocolate Kisses felt. In fact, Milton S. Hershey was actually saddened that the rich, dark confection was available only to the wealthy, and even then, often only for special occasions. Hershey had big dreams of making chocolate both available and affordable to the general public. He dreamed of a day when the treat would be commonplace, and every day, everyone could have a chocolate kiss. But some of his sweet dreams could have ended up being lost at sea!

Hershey was born September 13, 1857. A descendant of Swiss and German ancestors, young Hershey grew up in a Pennsylvania Mennonite community. The future American entrepreneur originally spoke only Pennsylvania Dutch language, but that wouldn’t deter him from success in a mostly English-speaking business world. Hershey’s  father was something of a rover, and often left his wife and son for extended periods. As a result, Milton Hershey was forced to quit school after the 4th grade. But that wasn’t to be a deterrent to fame, fortune and philanthropy, either.

Backed financially by his mother’s family, Milton Hershey moved to Philadelphia in 1876 and started his first candy business. After only six years, the business went bankrupt, in 1882. Still undeterred, Milton started a second confectionery business a year later, this time in New York. Although initially successful, his new venture went belly up after three years.

Hershey returned to Lancaster, PA in 1886. His dream of bringing confections to the masses was still undimmed. So, using a candy recipe he’d picked up somewhere along the bumpy road to success, Hershey started the Lancaster Caramel Company. This business took off, producing sizable financial rewards and firmly establishing Hersey as a candymaker.

Hershey hadn’t made history yet, but he was about to. Hershey was enthusiastic about the potential of milk chocolate — at the time a luxury product available only to the upper class. He was determined to find a way to economically produce and sell it to the general public. So he sold his caramel company in 1900 and purchased a large piece of dairy land about 30 miles northwest of Lancaster, a move which ensured him large supplies of fresh milk for his cooking experiments.

Success: how sweet it is!  Hershey overcame obstacles and persevered; and a few months later, he introduced the Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar. It’s very tempting to stop typing here, so we can run out to the kitchen and grab one — preferably with almonds. Yes, right now!  Because we love chocolate! Actually, we’re chocoholics!  (Don’t judge us!) But we need to keep typing long enough to let you know Hershey’s tale isn’t over yet. Far from it. The man went on to make many more valuable contributions to the lives of Americans. He had new dreams to fulfill. But for a quirk of fate, these fabulous new visions might never have been realized. Everything — including the beloved “candy man” himself, might have been lost at sea.

Join us Friday for the tasty conclusion to this rich story!

God and Groceries (Angel in the Kitchen)


We always keep a shopping list in the kitchen. It’s a long notepad with a nifty little magnet on the back, which allows us to post it on Fridgey’s door. You remember Fridgey, don’t you? He’s our refrigerator. No, we’re not loony, just sentimental; and we’re telling you about our shopping list to illustrate an important characteristic of our Lord.

We keep our list handy, posted where we can easily see it, and we frequently update it. Whenever we’re cooking and notice we’re getting low on sugar or milk or what have you, we immediately add it to our evergrowing list. We learned a long time ago that if we don’t write it down while we’re thinking about it, we may forget it altogether. When we shop for groceries we want to make it count. We don’t want to come home without everything we needed. So before we go to the market, we grab our list containing all the stuff we jotted down during the week. Because nothing is more aggravating than coming home, putting away the groceries, and then starting dinner only to realize we FORGOT the oregano for the spaghetti sauce! When something like that happens, because sometimes we do forget to write down an item on our list, we either have to make an extra trip to the market, wasting time and gas, or change our menu plans.

“Let’s see, I need treats, toys and, uh, treats. Oh yeah, and I also need some treats.”

We’ve gotten pretty good at updating our list, though. So we don’t usually forget what we need. But we gotta have our list! And guess what? God keeps a list, too! What’s God need a list for? So He will remember what He needs. What could God possibly need? He needs us! He created us to have fellowship with Him, and that’s exactly what He wants. In a manner of speaking, we’re on God’s shopping list. In Luke 10:20, the “Great Physician” proclaims to anyone who puts his or her faith in Christ, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (KJB)

God has His own list, and He will never forget us. God keeps close track of His list, jotting down our names, constantly remembering us: “…I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16 NLT) Think about it for a moment: when someone really wants to remember something, like an important phone number, they often write it on their hand. It’s safer than a piece of paper, which can get misplaced. And when something’s written on your hand, you’re definitely going to see it … repeatedly!

Bottom line: God has not forgotten you and He never will! He’s got a list. Ask Him to put your name on it.

“…This is what the Lord says, the One who created you … ‘Do not be afraid, because I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called you by name; you are Mine.'” (Isaiah 43:1 ISV)