It’s all in the mix…

Apparently, the shortage of eggs that has accompanied covid-19, is because of a surge in home baking.
Even one of my offspring who doesn’t normally bake, has sent me a picture of a carrot cake, captioned ‘finally got round to using your recipe!’

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Recipes are guidelines. A list of ingredients followed by a set of instructions.

First step is to make sure we’ve got what it takes, or to tweak as necessary. It’s amazing what can result when we are flexible in our thinking.
Next step is start combining ingredients together. It’s at this stage that things don’t always go as expected. For example, adding eggs to a cake mix can cause it to curdle or ‘split’. But contrary to appearances, all is not lost, we just need to keep going.
Other times things don’t go according to plan, simply because we don’t follow the plan.
Maybe we skip a stage that seems unnecessary. Take sieving flour, it may feel pointless, but it loosens any clumps and allows us to gently fold it into the mix.
Then comes the baking for just the right amount of time.

This process reminds me of how life can feel. We have a plan. We prepare. We get off to a good start.
But when something happens that causes us to ‘split’, we can wonder if the situation is resolvable.

Paul, the writer of many New Testament letters, urges followers of Jesus not to fret or worry, but instead, pray.
To pray is to be honest with God. To be open about our hopes, and our disappointments; our deliberate wrong doings, and our mistakes; our doubts, and our delicate faith.

Truth is, I can sometimes be reluctant to hand over the mix to God, but when we do, everything starts to come together for good and we are changed in the process. Our priorities will be sifted, and our hardened attitudes and actions loosened.

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Then, with a gentle folding together of the unique ingredients that make us who we are, something good will emerge from the oven of life.

Truth is… A sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. (Philippians 4:7) 

 

Marvellous…

Marshall, my assistance Hearing Dog, needs daily ‘out-of-uniform’ walks when he can run free and play with his canine friends. One of our favourite places for this is in the ‘Groves’, a beautiful beech wood that’s a stone’s throw from where we live.

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It has numerous tracks that weave around the contours. In summer it’s mainly dry underfoot, but in winter the Welsh climate makes it squelchy! To make the paths that lead into town more accessible during inclement weather, some of the paths have been topped with crushed rock, including one which has a very steep gradient.
Recently I remarked to my adult son who was walking with me, “It must have been very hard work to make this path, just imagine moving all that aggregate up the incline”. He stopped, and with a bemused expression, replied, “But they would have worked their way down, not up!”
Clearly, I had missed the obvious. I always walk up the steep path (I use a different route going down) and therefore assumed the trail-blazers had likewise worked from the bottom up.
We burst out laughing, but truth is, sometimes my assumptions blind me to alternatives.
So I’ve been reminded to be more flexible in my thinking.

One of my favourite films is ‘Marvellous’. It’s the true story of Neil Baldwin who refused to accept the label of learning disabilities, and instead has had an extraordinary life as a registered clown, university welfare officer and football kitman.

two_neils_zpskmbeszuiNeil Baldwin, and actor Toby Jones who plays him in the film ‘Marvellous’

Whereas some people have tried to limit him with their narrow assumptions, Neil has broadened many people’s outlooks with his wide assumptions. If he wanted to do something, he did it, and astounded people with his results.
He wanted to be a clown, and so he joined a circus.
He wanted to welcome students at Keele University, and so he became a familiar figure over the years, with an honorary degree being awarded in recognition of his contribution to student welfare.
He wanted to work at Stoke City Football Club, and so he became Kitman, with the Manager famously saying it was the best signing he’d ever made.

We all have had, and have, difficulties in life, and these can lead us to feel we’re  pushing a load up an incline. But Neil offers us an alternative view. “I always wanted to be happy, and so I decided to be.” That’s not to say that he, and we, won’t experience setbacks, but as he says: “when bad things happen, I remember something good.”

Truth is… Unlike the culture around you, dragging you down, God brings the best out of you. Romans 12:2