Better Together (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Ever notice how certain foods work really well together? Like bread and butter. Rice and beans. Cream and sugar. Biscuits and gravy. Peaches and cream. Salt and pepper. Lettuce and tomatoes. Mac and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. We call these delectable duos “palatable pairings”! We’ve only listed a few, but our list could on and on. And we’ve probably started you thinking about a few of your own favorite culinary couplings.

We can do this if we work together! We can unite to make an awesome snack!

Although any of the items listed above can stand alone, although each one has individual value and can fill a need all by itself, bringing two of them together greatly increases the appeal and value. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, but it can be a little dry and a little blah. Jelly is fruity and sweet, but it’s not very filling. Either one works well as a sandwich spread, but just ask any kid: mix the two and you have a nutritional sandwich that tastes like a snack! Because these two foodstuffs are BETTER TOGETHER!

Bet you already guessed this kitchen wisdom: there are tons of examples of things in life that work well together. Spices, such as brown sugar and cinnamon. Foods, such as apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Comedy teams, such as Abbot and Costello, or Laurel and Hardy.  Musical duos, such as Donny and Marie, the Righteous Brothers, or Simon and Garfunkel. (And by the way, did Art Garfunkel ever do anything noteworthy while he was on his own? Just curious.) And PEOPLE can work together to do great things. You, us, and them too.

No one is an island. God created people to be relational beings: to have interaction with Him, obviously, but also to interact with those around us. “…The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.'” (Genesis 2:18 HCSB) Although this verse relates to marriage, the first institution God created (which we’ll examine in a future post), its wisdom applies to ALL relationships.

The Bible is full of relationships. Actually, it’s all about relationships. And it’s THE Book of God’s relationship to us! God knows us better than anyone, and what He knows is that WE NEED RELATIONSHIPS. Every human being has a basic need and desitre to love and be loved, to share, to communicate, to socialize. Even the grumpiest, seemingly most unapproachable person needs to talk to someone! Perhaps that’s why social media is so popular today.

Two people working together are better able to achieve their goals and realize their dreams, because there is power in two people who are mutually supportive and accountable; two people who can encourage and assist each other. That’s what the “buddy system” is all about. That’s why there are support groups such as AA, and mentoring groups such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters. That’s why a prayer partner can help keep us tuned in to God. And why corporations hope you have a “best friend” at work. Such connections make work more bearable, and life more enjoyable.

Please don’t face life alone. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT)

“…One person (can) chase a thousand … (but) two people put ten
thousand to flight….” 
(Deuteronomy 32:30 NLT)

So find a friend, whether online, on the job, at church, or next door. And never forget that the Lord also longs to partner with you in every endeavor. He’s “… a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

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In the Wake of Rejection (Encouragement for Creators)

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New York book publishers in the early 1960s thought the idea stank — like old fish and seaweed — and that, as a writer, Ricou Browning was wet behind the ears. And he actually was, both figuratively and literally. Browning was an underwater cinematographer and stuntman in his early thirties, who had no previous writing experience. But in a splash of sheer inspiration, Browning got a great idea for a novel. At least, he thought it was great. Book editors at practically every publishing company, however, thought he was “all wet.”

Browning was born in Fort Pierce, Florida on November 23, 1930. As a child he spent most of his time playing on the beach, and grew up to be an accomplished swimmer and diver. By the time he was 20, Browning was producing elaborate underwater shows for various theme parks. By the time he was 24, Hollywood had discovered him.

Hollywood had a history of making bankable stars out of excellent swimmers. In the early 1930s, two Olympic Gold-medalists dived into film roles that made them box office attractions. Buster Crabbe surfaced in cliffhanger movie serials, playing the seminal space heroes Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Johnny Weissmuller swung into action as Tarzan of the Apes, making 12 crowd-pleasing motion pictures before his expanding waistline forced him to hang up his loin cloth. (Not to worry, though, because savvy film producers simply clothed Weissmuller in a safari outfit, and started making a slew of Jungle Jim movies.)

And throughout the 1940s and 50s, champion swimmer Esther Williams starred in flood of “aquamusicals,” which featured elaborate sequences of diving and synchronized swimming.

Following in the wake of these three great swimmers-turned-actors, Ricou Browning landed his own starring role … well, sort of … portraying the title character in Universal Studio’s classic horror movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Hey, it was good money, and the film spawned two sequels which kept Browning swimming in the dough — as well as the large fish tank used to film all the creepy underwater sequences. Unfortunately for Browning, no one could recognize him under the green latex gills and fins.

By 1960, Browning was directing and/or filming the underwater sequences for television shows such as Sea Hunt (with Lloyd Bridges) and The Aquanauts. But the young man had even greater creative aspirations. One day, while watching an episode of the ever-popular series Lassie with his kids, Browning started sloshing around a highly original concept in his waterlogged brain, for an adventure tale about an “aquatic Lassie.” He took his ideas to a good friend, and together the two men wrote a novel … which nobody wanted to publish. Period.

That might have been the end of the story, had Browning not bumped into his old boss, movie and television producer Ivan Tors. Browning had worked with Tors on Sea Hunt, and figured he’d found a fellow with whom he could drown his sorrows; but after Browning explained his “novel idea” to Tors, the Hollywood producer immediately suggested they turn the unpublished book into a movie.

Tors was an innovator, as evidenced by such successful television series as Science Fiction Theatre, in 1955, and a 1961 show called Ripcord, which ultimately popularized skydiving as an extreme leisure sport. Then, too, Tors was a huge animal-lover. He’d eventually create and produce two long-running TV shows, one about a vet in Africa, Daktari, and one about a boy and his bear, Gentle Ben. So the producer was eager to sink some time and money into the heartwarming story of … a boy and his dolphin.

Flipper, the novel nobody wanted to publish, soon became Flipper, the motion picture. The movie was a box-office hit, and earned a sequel less than a year later, quickly followed (in 1964) by a television show that lasted 3 seasons and 88 episodes. In fact, Tors ended the show while it was still a ratings hit, only because he wanted to pursue other projects. But not before Flipper (played by a bottlenose dolphin named Mitzi) helped its creators to soak up lots of cash, through licensing deals that included lunch boxes, coloring books, toys, and games.

Got a novel idea? Have faith and stick with it.

Browning (left) and Mitzi’s trainer, Ric O’Feldman, with “Flipper.”

Has someone tried to convince you, regarding your dreams, that you’re all wet? If their resistance to your work smells a little fishy, well, perhaps it is. Think of all the people who initially faced rejection, only to make a big splash later, in writing, illustrating, singing, acting, inventing, innovating and, in general, creating. So keep on treading the often turbulent waters of life and success. Swim with the “dolphins,” gentle and intelligent; and look out for the sharks.

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2 TLB)

It’s okay. I’m really just a dolphin, ma’am.
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