Mind the Language! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Hot DOGS and HAM burgers! Seriously? Of course not. There’s no ham (or pork of any kind) in a hamburger. And you can eat a hotdog in front of your pet dachshund without feeling guilty. But these food names are just two examples of our crazy, sometimes confusing, English language. In the kitchen, in particular, our loony lingo truly takes the cake.

It turns out a pig in a blanket is perfectly kosher — as long as you’re eating a Hebrew National frank. By the way, we’re confused. What’s the difference between a hotdog (also hot dog), a frankfurter and a wiener? Can we please reach a consensus on what to call these sausages? Why do hot dogs need a whole pack of names. Woof!  Oh, and does “spicy” mean flavorful from
spices, or simply HOT — a quality derived from the addition of peppers? There’s no consensus on that one, either.

A Dutch oven isn’t an oven at all. It’s just a heavy, lidded POT — the kind you cook with, not what hippies and politicians used to smoke. French fries are not French; bread pudding is not the kind of pudding many think, it’s a dense gelatinous mass of flour and raisins; a grilled cheese sandwich isn’t really grilled; and is barbecue a cooking process, or a Southern dish of pulled pork?

What’s up with eggplant? Did it grow from an egg? Maybe it’s the offspring of chickweed. Ouch! Also, we hate for this to get out, but there’s no egg in an egg cream drink. Do you love pizza? We do, too. We also love our friends, family, and our Lord. Wonder how God feels when we apply the same term of devotion to Him as we do to a slab of dough smeared with tomato sauce? In other languages — Spanish, for instance — there are separate verbs for differing types and levels of “love.” Here, though, we can honestly say we love our spouse and the dog.

Adding to the confusion are regionalisms, (expressions that developed in certain areas of the country) and slang. “He’s a real piece of work” sounds good, but it ain’t. “She’s a space cadet.” Wouldn’t you need to be smart to go to Space Academy? “Let’s take a ride.” (No, we don’t want to bump you off.)

Love is a many splendored thing — literally.  We LOVE (?) pizza!!  ♥♥♥

We’ll drive in the parkway, and then park in the driveway.  –Hey!! We’re about to run a stoplight! Or is it a “traffic light”? After all, it signals us to stop AND go.

We’ve read that the English language is one of the most difficult “second” languages to learn due to all it’s exceptions. Spelling?  “I” before “E” except after “C” — but only on the third Wednesday of every other month. Does grammar sometimes prey on your mind? Maybe you should pray about it? What’s the difference between “read” and “read”? Depends on whether you’re starting a book or finishing it.

We could go on. But we simply want to emphasize that mastering the English language — and therefore, verbal communication — isn’t a piece of cake. Nor is it easy as pie. Often, we have trouble saying what we mean, and we don’t actually mean what we say. HELP!!!

God admonishes us to take care in what we speak, and in how we speak it. For instance: “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 NLT)

Furthermore, research states that 80% of all communication is non-verbal. Our eyes, hands, and even our posture speak volumes. And we all know that “Actions speak louder than words.” In fact, people pay more attention to what we DO than to what we say. “Seeing is believing”! Application? Don’t simply talk about the teachings of Christ, MODEL them! Saint Francis of Assissi wrote, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

“…Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22 NASB) “…Speak my Word in truth….” (Jeremiah 23:28 NLT)

In other other words, say what you mean and mean what you say.

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Cover It! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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“I’m Luke!”
“I’m Nuke!”

We goofed the other day, while cooking a couple of chili dinners. You’re supposed to cut a slit in the plastic film covering these dinners and then microwave the trays for 90 seconds. We did that. Then you remove the plastic and stir. Did that too. Then the little black plastic trays go back in the microwave for another minute. We put one tray in “Luke” and the other in “Nuke,” and then punched Quick Minute on our twin microwaves.

Luke and Nuke sang out BEEP! almost in perfect harmony, we opened their doors and … what a mess! We’ve often heated dinners like these with no mishaps, but this time we forgot to put the plastic covers back on the trays! Guess we were busy talking about our book projects and absentmindedly tossed those protective plastic covers in the trash. Live and learn: It looked like something had exploded in these microwaves. And that’s pretty much what happened. Beans have a tendancy to POP! when microwaved. When you have a bean burst, it hurls shrapnel in every direction: chili sauce, cheese, and bean fragments. The insides of Luke and Nuke were smeared with gunk! Cleaning up this mess was time consuming and not much fun. But we knew we needed to fix our mess before the chili sauce and cheese dried and got hard. Believe it or not, we can all learn an incredible lesson from this unfortunate mishap. Yes, we all need to cover our dinners in the microwave, but we also need to frequently cover our mouths.

Words are like beans. When we get hot, they tend to pop out of our mouths and make an emotional mess! Ever have someone tell you to just speak your mind? Uh, we’re not sure if we want to hear everything you’re thinking. We have some friends whose mouths seem to work faster than their brains. Forgive us for mixing our metaphors, but once the cow’s out of the barn, it’s too late to shut the barn door! So instead of blurting out things we later may regret, we need to carefully weigh our thoughts and words before they charge out of our mouths. Decide if what we’re about to say is helpful. Will it improve the situation. Will it BUILD the listener UP, or TEAR the listener DOWN.

We’ve all heard that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” WRONG! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21 KJB) Words actually have the ability to heal or to hurt. In fact, wars usually start and end with words. Words, when hurled by a malicious or unruly tongue, can wound like tiny spears.

Remember how as kids we’d embarrass our parents by blurting out some really stupid and inappropriate things? Maybe we even made fun of other kids. But hey, we were kids, right? Unfortunately, some of us still are, or at least we act like it. We take great pleasure in making smart comments, often at the expense of someone else’s feelings. We gossip, insult, and aggravate with our words, never pausing to consider the damage we’re doing. The Apostle Paul writes, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT)

In other words, stop spewing words that wound. This includes words that wound unintentionly — because some people seem to suffer from Foot-In-Mouth Disease. Whether, intentional or not, we can take precautions that will prevent making a mess, by covering the chili in the microwave and the words in our mouths. Cover those little black plastic trays with plastic; cover your mouths with prayer.

If you forget to cover your food before nuking it, you’ll have a mess on the surfaces you can see and clean. But if you forget to cover your mouth, the mess you make is often unseen, smeared beneath the surface: hurt feelings, anger, resentment. If you can’t see these emotions, you can’t clean the stains they leave. So they harden….

Ask God to cover your mouth: “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3 NIV)

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