Monday, August 5, 2013

Compare apples to oranges, people are like fruit salad

When life throws you lemons [pray] make lemonade and “chill” with a bowl of fruit salad.

Apple and Orange
Apple and Orange

Apples and oranges are different, just as people are unique individuals.

If it were possible for an apple to convert an orange to change in order to become like itself the apple, most of the juice would need to be sucked out of the orange. When “Mr./Ms. Know-it-all” pushes me to “become him/her”, frustration sets in, causing loss of concentration, positive energy, creativity and ambition to do things that work best for me. I cannot prevent his/her insistence. Human nature leads each of us believe our own way of thinking is superior to others—we long to hang on to our individuality.

A quick prayer and an optimistic outlook helps me bite my tongue when subjected to behaviors of controlling personalities. I do not attend every argument I am invited to. Occasionally, my task being inspected can be transferred to him/her so it can be “done right” and I can move on to other things. In situations where how a task is carried out really doesn’t matter, I might as well take advantage of opportunities to learn something new and tackle the challenge of doing it “his/her way”. We’re not competitors—we’re on the same team! I do accept invitations to learn new tricks. It will take a while to catch-on, it may be less efficient than ways I know well; yet, different methods do make sense sometimes. I’m willing to pack in my brain, new (sometimes useless) information. Simultaneously, I’m determined to remember and maintain use of skills I am comfortable with for their proven efficiency. Once “enlightened”, discernment to choose the best option, based on all the variables of a situation, is necessary. All this effort may decelerate the process of completing the very tasks which were hoped to accelerate, but perhaps it is a test of perseverance.

I value opinions of others even though I do not always appreciate or agree with them. Alternately, I hope for mutual respect; however, I must be patient when it isn’t granted. Certain tasks can be accomplished in a variety of ways through the use of technology, equipment and software which have been specifically designed to meet the preferences of people with a broad range of artistic, eye-hand coordination and cognitive skills. Discernment in handling issues varies based on the matter and the level of virtues blessed with.
  • Opinion
  • Previous critique
  • Past praise or success
  • Education
  • Habit
  • Experience
  • Talent
  • Skill 
  • Creativity
  • Knowledge
  • Physical capacity
  • Mental capabilities
  • Spirituality
  • Maturity
The happiest couples (or associates) never have the same character and talents—they have the best understanding of their differences. I say, let an apple be an apple, let an orange be an orange! We are a diverse variety of God’s creation, tossed together like fruit salad. The recipe calls us to allow His Spirit to stir us so we become something amazing.
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. …If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Corinthians 12:18,26
Bananas and Lemon
Bananas and Lemon


Lemons and bananas compliment each other unawares.

“When life throws you lemons, make lemonade” is an axiom about optimism and resilience when things are bad. Squeeze a lemon—dunk sliced bananas and chopped apples in its juice for protection from turning soft and brown. A sour person, however caustic or acrid, may actually have my best interests in mind and care about me (especially if it benefits him/her in some way). Imagination is detrimental when it is used to assume that others are against me. When I resist imagining negative intentions, I don’t need to take on a defensive attitude. A peer once told me, “you must have a heart of steel” regarding a situation she was imagining for me. When another person’s sour attitude is shoved in my face, I become temporarily shaken, but by the grace of God, I let it bounce off and try to forget it—that’s when a poor memory serves me well! Annoyed by the behavior, I still care and have hope for the person. Everyone has bad moments (or days). Some may not even realize they’re rude if they are immature or have not learned social graces. When I offer “lemons” the benefit-of-the-doubt, a calming peace allows me to pull positives from ugly situations. I push myself to seek ways to grow through adversity. Amazing is the power of a humble spirit open to critique! Someone driven to control me may be seeking a power trip, but oh well—it might provide him/her with insight to the Spirit of humility as a witness to my response!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Watermelon
Watermelon

Watermelon served as dessert for dinner brought out a terrifying imaginary picture. Humorous in an adult perspective, it was a childhood lesson on teasing and the meaning of the word gullible.

When I was a child, I was teasingly told that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, watermelons would grow out of my ears. I found out everyone cannot always be trusted, but to honor truth and learn from wise people. Watermelon contains annoying seeds that need to be spit out in order to fully enjoy the thirst quenching qualities of the refreshing fruit. Likewise, annoying behaviors get in the way of positive relationships, so it is important to focus on separating the bad from the good. I try to look past people’s irritating “bad seeds” in order to see and appreciate their virtuous qualities. I seek to plant healthy Christian “good seeds” of faith to help others grow. My favorite fruit salad is made by scooping the watermelon out of its shell to create a bowl that holds a variety of fruits together. No one is perfect. We learn from each other and share knowledge. We scoop each other out of our shells. Our shells hold us together.

Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe or muskmelons have a hard, scaly, tough rind.

I need tough skin when others poke with rejection, probe with rude remarks, refuse to listen to (or understand) reason, deny apologies, focus on my (confessed) imperfections and decline my love. Bullish behavior is associated with spiritual immaturity. Everyone sins, including those who know better. It is part of life on earth. Like cantaloupe’s thick skin, the ability to confess and repent of my own sin comes with the gift of faith. The suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my sake, offers forgiveness. His sacrifice assures hope and keeps hurtful words and actions from damaging my soft inner soul.

Green Grapes
Green Grapes

Grapes which are not spoiled, are versatile—fresh, fermented or aged.

Rotten grapes need to be picked off and thrown away to prevent their bad taste from spreading to the fresh fruit and spoil the whole bunch or ruin the entire salad. This process reminds me of Baptism which is God’s command for us. Like washing fresh grapes, through water and Word, we are given the free gift of faith which trusts Him. I could turn away and refuse to trust and grow in the Word; but faith will always be there and it is new every day I receive it. Living in faith is a constant challenge. It isn’t glamorous or understood by those who reject it. Faith helps me see the bad grapes in myself—through repentance it offers grace, forgiveness, freedom and the certainty of eternal salvation.
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
Out of thanksgiving for the opportunity to live in peace, faith helps me become active, productive and share Good News.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18
Dehydrated grapes are raisins—wonderful in trail mix snack, Thanksgiving turkey dressing and many recipies. Wine is made with grapes through fermentation, improving with age. Wine is mentioned a couple hundred times in the Bible. The most significant reference being all about the blood of Jesus Christ in The Lord’s Supper / Holy Communion / The Sacrament of the Altar.
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3
strawberries
Strawberries

Strawberry flavor depends on the climate and soil where they are planted.

When I was a young girl, I picked fresh strawberries from the patch on the rich soil at my parent’s farm. After filling an ice cream pail full, we’d rinse them, take out the stem and serve them in a variety of ways. My parents planted seeds of faith and provided the fertile benefits of devotional readings, church and Sunday school.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Pineapple
Pineapple

Pineapple has a prickly surface. People with a prickly exterior naturally emit negative tension vibes.

People may be cold and non responsive to other’s attempts to be kind and cordial. We are often are willing to share criticism, but nothing positive. When I’m under someone’s critical magnifying glass, I suddenly become clumsy and my heart races as though it’s being pumped up like a beach ball receiving pressure from a stabbing knife. No one is immune to falling into some degree of this gloomy nature from time to time. By the power of the Holy Spirit I recognize it in myself and seek to resist it. Receiving God’s help, I take a step back before responding to an irksome situation—I count to ten when I become a victim under the attack of someone possessing this personality. The same Spirit tells me when someone’s bark is worse than their bite, so I can have peace when I’m barked at and remain calm when I’m bitten. Satan feeds me crap and wants me to have hurt feelings, become insecure, resentful, revengeful and allow negative anger to take hold and grow roots in my life. Wisdom, tenacity and courage are abilities achieved when I apply the healing balm of God’s Word heard in church and through devotional Bible study.
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
Blueberries
Blueberries

Blueberries are full of healthy antioxidants and provide beautiful contrasting color to fruit salad.

As a child, I took a trip to visit my eldest sister in northern Minnesota. We ventured into the forest to pick tender, wild blueberries. The delicious bounty returned to my sister’s kitchen and together, we created blueberry pie. Berries are among the first plants to regenerate in areas recently cleared of trees or recovering from a forest fire. Like berries that grow again after their habitat has changed or following natural disaster, people bear each-others’ burdens. With prayer, patience and gentle support, we share life’s difficulties. Sad events bring about comfort, encouraging words and hugs. We trust each other and give thanks for faithful, honest advice. Blessings of laughter come with funny times. Love, kindness and joy fills our lives with sweet deliciousness. These are the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23
Fruit Salad in Watermelon Bowl
Fruit Salad in Watermelon Bowl

Watermelon Bowl Fruit Salad

Mother’s Recipe

This is my favorite summer treat for picnics, parties and potlucks! Chill and wash everything (including melons) before cutting.
  • Watermelon, stab zig-zag pattern with a long knife, then split open.
  • Cantalope, cut in half, discard seeds. Use a melon baller to scoop out balls of fruit. Scrape out the rough edges of the watermelon interior—set upside-down to drain rind to use for bowl (top can be used as cover). Honeydew melon, optional.
  • Pineapple, cut in chunks (or use canned, drain).
  • Green grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries, cut the stems out and slice large ones in half.
  • Apples, chop.
  • Bananas, peel, slice.
  • Lemon, squeeze for juice to coat bananas and apples before adding them to the salad (or use bottled).
Gently toss—chill if fruits were room temperature when starting—serve immediately. Bananas and strawberries will begin to get soft in a day or two, so you might want to find and eat them before storing leftovers in the refrigerator.