That Sinking Feeling (Angel in the Kitchen)


angelic-pop-up-toaster-smiling-with-wings-and-halo-emoji-102714Most of you know by now that we enjoy naming our kitchen appliances. Maybe we’re just eccentric, but sometimes we think these inanimate objects are more … well, animated than a few people we know. These appliances are a big part of our interactions in the kitchen, and we’ve come to view them as faithful friends and allies in our culinary misadventures. Keep in mind that these little guys continue to inspire us — through their various mechanical traits and duties — with many lessons about life, love, relationships, and the nature of God, and perhaps you’ll understand why we’ve grown so fond of these “angels in the kitchen”! (Incidentally, the word Angel means “messenger.”)

So far we’ve written about: Luke and Nuke, the twin microwaves; Thor, the mighty blender; Captain Keurig, the coffeemaker; Mac, the knife block; Fridgey, the refrigerator; Sparky, the gas range; Mister Freeze, the upright freezer (who lives in the garage with Blue the SUV); and our feisty little toaster who can talk. This swinging crowd of kitchen companions is frequently entertained by the musical broadcasts of Orson, from his perch on the country china hutch. (Although we haven’t discussed him previously, Orson is our antique cathedral-style radio!) And by the way, we’re typing this on Hal, our desktop computer.

We’ve also written about pots and pans, boxes and bags, weird cookbooks and funky foods. And that, dear friends, is pretty much the whole gang. Only we can’t shake that sinking feeling that we’ve forgotten someone very important; that in our haste we’ve overlooked something vital to the smooth functioning of the kitchen. Oh, wait a minute. Hear that noise? It’s the indignant gurglings of … the sink! Okay, okay, that’s Señorita Sink, thank you very much! And she’s tired of being overlooked and underestimated.

Have you ever stopped to think how important the kitchen sink truly is? It’s the source of water in the kitchen, and without it, you can’t maintain a continuous free flow of that water. After all, as the water flows out of the faucet, it also has to have a place to flow to — unless you want your socks to get wet!

The sink is a handy place to prepare fruits and veggies for salads and stews. It’s also the place where we gather our dirty dishes — and the place where we wash them. Were we to suddenly lose our sink, we’d sorely miss it. We’d be losing an important member of our kitchen family, one which facilitates the roles of all the other appliances and gadgets. And yet, most people never even think about the sink. It’s practically invisible, in fact: underestimated, devalued, neglected and overlooked!

When you visit the kitchen of a new homeowner, the host will excitedly show off the glistening new range, demonstrate the ice maker on the sparkling new refrigerator, and emphasize the spaciousness of the custom cabinets. But how often does he or she take you to the sink and gush about its wonders? When people walk into a home appliance showroom, they tend to gravitate to the section where the latest model washers, dryers, ranges and refrigerators are displayed. Does anyone ever head straight to the plumbing section — because they can hardly wait to check out the latest in new sink designs?

Oh, Señorita Sink, how we have neglected you!

In society, we have an organization that’s just as vital as the kitchen sink, and just as undervalued and overlooked. It’s the church! Or, if you prefer, the Body of Christ; the faith community; any place where believers assemble — a sink by any other name is just as neglected.

The church, like the sink, is a source of water (the water of the Word); and it facilitates the continuous free flow of the Word in society. It’s a place where spiritual food is prepared. It’s a place where dirty dishes (soiled vessels for God) can congregate — and be washed! But we tend to overlook its importance. We underestimate its influence in the proper functioning of our communities and … yes, even of our government. And many of us totally neglect it. We don’t drag our friends to it and gush about its wonders. Nor do we consider its presence important when we’re shopping for a new home. It’s often just an invisible afterthought in our towns and cities.

But were we to suddenly lose the church (and its Godly influence in society), we’d sorely miss it. Trust us, things just wouldn’t be the same! So ask yourself, do you have that sinking feeling you’re neglecting something important? We hope it’s not your neighborhood church!

Please, find a local faith community, attend regularly, and become engaged in serving. Support it, and pray for its hard-working spiritual leaders. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)


Looking for the Label? (Angel in the Kitchen)


One of the first things you want to do in the kitchen is label stuff.  When you don’t, you’re in for trouble. Some things look almost the same, but are actually very different.

White vinegar, bleach and ammonia are all thin, clear liquids commonly found in the kitchen. So, if you have an unlabeled bottle filled with clear liquid, it’s hard to know exactly what it is. If you mix it with a little olive oil, you have a 33% chance of coming up with salad dressing. You also have about a 67% chance of needing to have your stomach pumped.

Actually, things wouldn’t go that far. Minus the label, you’d probably be smart enough to test the stuff to determine exactly what it is. This takes some thinking, though. Let’s see, you could dab a bit in your hair: if it doesn’t go white, then it’s probably not bleach. You could give the stuff a good sniff: if it makes your head feel like it’s about to explode, and brings torrents of tears to your eyes, then it’s probably ammonia. Other look-alikes that aren’t taste-alikes: sugar and salt; flour, cornstarch and baking soda. If they weren’t labeled we’d have to figure out what’s what.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this article. But their expressions are priceless.

Some things look different but are quite similar. White pepper is just as peppery as regular black pepper; and a brown egg tastes the same as its paler counterpart — both make a nice omelet. But brown eggs are brown, and white pepper is usually labeled as such. Face it, in the the kitchen, we NEED our labels. When things are labeled we don’t have to think; we don’t need to test or figure stuff out. We can relax and turn our brains off.

One of the last things you want to do is label PEOPLE.  When you do, you’re in for trouble. Some people look almost the same, but are actually very different. Some people look different but are quite similar. So we need to figure out what’s what — or rather, who’s who. Face it, in the the kitchen, we need our labels. When it comes to people, we WANT our labels. When people are labeled we don’t have to think; we don’t need to try and figure them out. We can relax and turn our brains off.

Avoid the temptation: don’t label people! We need to approach every person as a unique individual — not as someone we’ve prejudged, categorized and labeled. Some of the labels we resort to out of laziness include: black, white, Asian, male, female, Republican, Democrat, good, bad, thin, fat, smart, and blonde. (Aha, see how stupid labels sound?)

Black-eyed peas, green peas, yellow peas, crowder peas, snap peas, snow peas, split peas…. Peas NEED labels. People don’t.

Labeling people is easier than getting to know them. Labeling people gives us an excuse to either interact with them or simply dismiss them. Labeling people limits our own options and demeans the person being labeled. It’s counterproductive — and it’s destructive.

Since labels help us keep “stuff” in its proper place, we assume that labeling people will help us do the same. We mark people as stupid or wise, helpful or worthless, givers or takers, etc., etc.! More times than not, our labels are incorrect. That blonde is a brain surgeon, the guy in the raggedy jeans is a business tycoon, the little old lady in the drugstore is a champion mud wrestler, those two suspicious-looking dudes staking out your neighborhood are Mormons, and that geeky kid with the thick glasses — the one who looks like the next Apple CEO — well, he’s just extremely nearsighted.

Gender, ethnicity (we never use the term race as a distinguishing characteristic, because we all belong to the same race: the human race), political affiliations, economic status, geographic origin, educational background and religious belief should never be used to label and limit people.

Do you like being labeled and categorized? Nobody does. We sure don’t. We never like it when someone feels they have us pegged, that they know what makes us tick and what we can and cannot accomplish. But we make allowances for these label-makers, “for they know not what they do!” We also try our best not to follow their example. Labels are for peas and pepper — not people.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28  KJ 2000)

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NLT)