Joe Cool by Jo Russell

Roberta welcomed the happy sounds of three tall teen boys, foraging in the kitchen and cupboards for more food. Two were her sons, David and Pete. The third was Joe, who, since they had been toddlers, shared their love of food and adventure.

 

All three young men had been raised with outdoor enthusiast parents. It just followed that they brought adventure into the kitchen as they looked for ingredients to make smoothies. Out with the Food Channel! In with Extreme Food Makeover!

 

Extreme Food had begun the night before when the teens asked Roberta to leave the room while Joe added his secret ingredient to chorizo and eggs [sausage and eggs].

 

“What do you think?” Roberta’s son, David, asked his mom after her first bite. She thought about cinnamon added to some Australian meat recipes. But she was out of that spice. After many wrong guesses, Joe fessed up. It was vanilla.

 

Now the towering teens searched for food stuffs while discussing future adventures. Activities would have to span camping, hiking, biking, exploring, and camp cooking.

 

While sharing smoothies, the boys’ ideas for activities began to bud. “Hey, let’s hike the General Crook Trail. It’s only 136 miles,” Pete suggested.

Friend Joe’s enthusiastic answer was, “Oh, cool!”

 

More smoothies and venues were discussed around the table loaded with vitamin-packed shakes. Each was different. Some combined milk with fruit. Others blended juice and fruit.

Another great idea came from Pete. None was surprised. “I was thinking about hiking the Continental Divide,” Pete added. “It’s about 2,300 miles.”

 

Joe’s reply, “Oh, cool!”

Feeling confident to share his plans and dreams with friends and family, Pete confided his latest idea – to climb Mt. Rainier over the summer.

 

Joe’s response was, of course, “Oh, cool!”

The smoothie fruit drinks disappeared quickly as the boys slurped up their shakes made from a few bananas, peaches, apples, pear, and part of a can of pineapple. Soon all the usual ingredients were depleted.
Joe was still hungry, so he scrounged to find what was left for the fifth refill of the blender. Satisfied, he filled the container with milk and cracked an egg into it. Then he added a protein-packed plop of peanut butter, and then finished it off with a frozen hot dog. The smoothie was absolute creativity full of protein and calcium! So healthy was the strange tan-speckled shake that Joe was the only one who would drink it. His reaction was predictable.

“Oh, cool,” he said after his first mouthful.

 

Like Joe’s lack of ingredients for the final smoothie, the ingredients we get in dealing with life require the best of our creativity and faith in God. He always comes through for us. Some examples from the Bible follow.

Ingredients: only enough oil and flour for one last cake of bread for a widow and her son. They expected starvation to follow after this last meal. [1 Kings 17]. Then a stranger showed up and asked for water and bread. Prophet Elijah assured her that the Lord would keep her in oil and flour if she did so. She never ran out of ingredients while the land was without rain and crops. Perhaps another lesson in this is “never assume.” We expect predictable results from what we know of man-made solutions. God has no limits.

 

Ingredients and conditions: It’s hot, and the prophet has no food or water. His feet are blistered, dusty, and sore. Elijah has a price on his head. The prophet had gotten in trouble with the queen, Jezebel, when he had her priests killed [1 Kings 19]. The prophet assumed that Jezebel’s followers would find and torture him. He concluded there were no other believers left in that land. Life simply wasn’t worth living anymore. The lacy shadow of the broom tree was thin shade in the heat. But God’s angel fed him. God reported 7000 believed in God as Elijah did. Read to find out the rest of the story.

Ingredients for emergency kit: no back-up supplies. From Mark 6:5: Jesus advised his disciples to go around to the villages, but take no extra food, no money, no extra clothes or sandals, and no advance registration at an inn or bed and breakfast. Not only had God provided for their basic needs, but also gave them the power to heal many of the sick along the way.

God knows our needs. The challenges He gives us build character. Ingredients are often spiked with surprises. Let the adventures begin!

What more can we say to that than “Oh, cool!”

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com and Amazon.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

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