Vanilla-Flavored Living

I’ve always heard that one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. However, due to the fact that I rarely purchase a whole “bunch” of apples, I have yet to experience this phenomenon. (Although I have dealt with this issue in the area of potatoes. One stinky potato can make the whole bunch yucky in a hurry. But I digress.)

This idea of one part ruining it all apparently pertains to vanilla flavoring.

I have recently learned (the hard way) that old or spoiled vanilla flavoring is rather, um, “ungoodly” for cooking stuff. I bake on occasion. I don’t bake a lot, only for other people. If I bake for myself, I end up eating whatever tasty, sugary delicacy I make. By myself. Which is really counter productive for my getting-into-shape-running-a-5k-while-enjoying-it mission.

Since I bake so infrequently, it takes me a while to use up baking supplies. In this case: vanilla flavoring.  My Mama was in town a couple weeks ago, and we were trying to whip up some cupcakes for my husband’s company of drill sergeants. (It’s a morale booster called Foxtrot Friday.) We thought we would be overachievers and make FILLED cupcakes.

Everything was going great until Mom tried to make the filling… She added the vanilla. And it refused to mix it with the other ingredients. She wrinkled her brow and sniffed the bowl. “Uh, Sharita… How long have you had this vanilla?”

I had no clue. That little container of flavoring had been in my possession for what we in the army family like to call “a hot minute.” As in, I couldn’t remember the last time I bought it. And based on how frequently I use it to bake… Probably a couple of years.

My bad. No wonder my vanilla-flavored protein shakes always tasted so… funky.

Needless to say, we trashed that batch and purchased a brand-spanking new container of vanilla within a few days. I cracked open the seal and it smelled… heavenly.  (And like magic, my shakes no longer tasted funky. Who knew, right?)

I couldn’t help but think about how just one tiny amount of an ingredient, aka a teaspoon of spoiled vanilla, can have such a profound impact on my recipe. I thought about how this holds true to our lives.

All it takes is one little “ingredient” in our heart, life or attitude to spoil the whole journey. Seriously, think about it. Consider those days when you are just in a “funk” because one little thing went wrong right when you hopped out of bed. Or if you are annoyed by something exceptionally small. Or you are holding onto a tiny seed of bitterness towards something or someone.

If you don’t ask God to correct the problem ASAP, that “spoiled ingredient” will spread throughout your day… then your week… then your life.

Do you have any parts of your attitude or heart that are spoiled? Have you ever experienced a “bad ingredient” in life? How did you deal with it? How did God help you through it? Be courageous and leave a comment below.

Today, I challenge you to take a good “whiff” of your life… Does it smell spoiled or funky? Or is in fact heavenly and beautiful-smelling? Some people say we need to live “colorful” lives… But in this case, I am all about fresh vanilla-flavored living.

From funky to fresh,

“God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.” –Psalm 145:14 (MSG)

Categories: attitude, challenge, faith, God, growth, Jesus, lessons, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Vanilla-Flavored Living

  1. From Funky to FRESH!!! Sounds like a 1980s sitcom!!!
    I find spoiled spots /o: and I do my best to get rid of it quickly. I see hurt bitterness that is decaying lives all around ~ I don’t want that!! Not for me and not for my children
    **Now I am going to go check the expiration date on my vanilla )o: **

    • Baha, here’s to 80s sitcoms 🙂 I definitely struggle with spoiled spots in my life– and God sometimes makes me do a personal recipe check.

      PS: Hope your vanilla is still fresh. Praying for you friend!

  2. dawn aldrich

    Sharita, this speaks volumes to my heart. Thanks to a friend, I got a taste of my own rotten smoothie – hard to swallow, but thankful for honest, forgiving friendships that stop me from taking another slug. Getting on my knees, today, asking Jesus to replace my spoiled ingredients with His sweet grace.

    • Oh Dawn– getting a taste of our own yuckiness is so hard sometimes. But sometimes very necessary. I am praying for the Lord to wash that away and replace it with his fresh clean grace.

  3. I didn’t even know vanilla could spoil! What a great devotion – thank you.

    • Obviously I didn’t either 🙂 Definitely a multi-tasking post– Maybe I should have called it “Cooking with Jesus?”

  4. A bit painful, like standing in front of a mirror naked, only the purpose of that (and who thought this exercise up was just plain mean) is to embrace your physical flaws as beauty marks. Now that I am thinking about it though, your “outdated, gone rancid ingredients” may be transformed into the ingredients for growth. I have always found cleaning out the cupboards to be a chore that inspires much procrastinating, but when finally undertaken the whole house functions again as it was intended to.

    • Lori-Ann, you always have such insightful things to say! I love your analogies here and yes, definitely agree that the naked-in-the-mirror exercise must have been created by someone who lives in a fun house 😉

      Replacing those outdated ingredients can be a great opportunity to grow and create a new recipe, better than before.

  5. dukeslee

    I do hope that my life is a fragrant offering unto the Lord. Thank you for sharing another thoughtful post.

  6. joepote01

    I can totally relate to baking supplies becoming outdated before being used up! So frustrating to realize while in the middle of cooking!

    Yes, we often fall into the trap of thinking we can isolate a pet sin and keep it tucked away in the closet, but it doesn’t work that way. Inevitably, it affects the rest of our lives, as well.

    Thanks for the great reminder, Sharita!

    • I love the way you put this– we can’t keep ANY part of our lives isolated in sin and hope it doesn’t spill over to other areas… All it takes is a teaspoon of vanilla to mess up the whole batch.

      Thanks for stopping by, Joe. Your comments bless me 🙂

  7. I love the challenge to take a “whiff” of my life.. glad it’s not an invitation to take a whiff of my home! Too many sweaty and dirty kids around here to smell fresh 🙂 Thanks for the reminder and the smile today!

    • Yes, praise the Lord it is sniff of our life and not our homes– We can only use so many Glade Air fresheners and Scentsy products to cover up the sweat and smelly army boots before the smells start to clash 🙂

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