I woke up happy this morning. I’d been dreaming about a funny incident that happened when Bob and I were dating over forty years ago and it brought a smile and a giggle as I woke up. I can tell you right now, though—the mood isn’t going to last! I went out to the kitchen to get my coffee and then I remembered—no coffee for me today or tomorrow morning, either, for that matter! I have to take a stress test, and the rule is “no caffeine for 24 hours prior.” I’m not one of those “don’t even speak to me until I’ve had my coffee” people, but I do enjoy a cup or two in the morning and I was bummed to realize that it wasn’t going to happen today.
I normally drink decaffeinated, but the last time I bought coffee the decaffeinated was not on sale (and it was horribly expensive) but the “half-caff” was, so I bought that instead. Even if I had the decaffeinated in the house, though, I probably would play it safe and not drink it. They say you still get some caffeine in the decaff. The same is true for the caffeine-free Diet Pepsi and root beer. I’d better play it safe and forego my favorite soft drinks. And then—horrors! The thought came to me—the list said no chocolate, either! Chocolate has caffeine. I have to get through the next twenty-eight or thirty hours with no coffee and no chocolate??? Oh, come on!!!
That cup of coffee first thing in the morning is my favorite time of the day. For one thing—it feels like a little bit of love to me. You see, for years Bob has made my coffee for me. We have two coffee makers—one for his regular coffee and one for my decaff. Every night before he goes to bed, he gets both pots ready for the morning. Even when he’s going out of town, he fixes enough to last me until he gets home, sometimes using both pots just for me. It’s just one of his little tokens of love for me that means so much. Coffee just doesn’t taste quite as good to me if it isn’t made by Bob.
Then there’s the coffee itself. I use a BIG mug so that I don’t have to run back out to the kitchen for that second cup. Two packs of Sweet-N-Low and some flavored creamer and umm…good to the last drop! Location is important, too. When the weather is warm, I love to take my coffee out to the sun porch, settle in the old recliner with the sun shining in and the breeze coming through the windows and the birds singing outside… What could be better than that? Even in the winter when I’ve hunkered down in my nice, warm living room with my coffee and my Bible and my laptop, I feel cozy and grateful for the shelter of my home and the warmth of my husband’s love.
So yes, I will miss my coffee for the next day and a half—but don’t even get me started on the chocolate! Now, I don’t get chocolate every day. I probably don’t even get it every other day. But it is just the fact that at this moment there is chocolate in the house and I can’t have it—on top of not having my coffee! Have mercy!
Chocolate is another little token of love my husband treats me to now and then. My favorite is Russell Stover’s Sugar-Free Toffee Squares. (I only eat sugar-free.) He’ll usually bring me home a little bag once a week. There are only six or seven pieces in a bag so I have to spread it out and make it last, but oooo—I savor every piece! I’ve searched the internet for a recipe for sugar-free English toffee, but so far have come up empty-handed. It’s just as well. If I made it myself I would eat too much of it, I’m sure, and I don’t need that. (But if anyone has a recipe, please send it!)
I love chocolate anything! Chocolate candy, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate pie, chocolate pudding, chocolate brownies, chocolate pastries, chocolate donuts—if it’s chocolate, I love it. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you’re looking at it), I can’t eat all that chocolate. I’m diabetic, so I am pretty limited to a little sugar-free candy, ice cream or pudding now and then. But I can dream, can’t I?
Actually, I’ve had chocolate on my mind all week. I’ve been helping our Director of Ladies Ministries at church come up with some ideas for the up-coming Mother-Daughter banquet and a couple of the themes I tossed out involved chocolate. One of them was “M&M’s—Moms and Misses” using, of course, M&M’s in the decorations, desserts and entertainment. The other theme was simply all about chocolate—called maybe “In the Cookie of Life, You’re My Chocolate Chip” or “Simple Pleasures, Chocolate Treasures.” We could have chocolate fountains and of course, lots of chocolate desserts, and decorate with pink and brown with touches of silver, perhaps, like chocolate kisses. It would be cute to have little girls sing dressed up with sandwich-style signs like chocolate kisses or chocolate chip cookies and pink tights and shirts underneath. We could play Chocolate Bingo with M&M’s as space markers for either theme. And so on… The ideas just kept flowing—like thick, melted chocolate in an aromatic wave of deliciousness…
Oops, sorry. I got carried away there…
Who doesn’t love chocolate? We women, especially, love chocolate. It’s true! You heard about the fellow, didn’t you, who found a bottle floating in the ocean? He opened it and out popped a genie who gave him three wishes. The guy wished for a million dollars, and poof! There was a million dollars! Then he wished for a convertible, and poof! There was a convertible! Finally he wished he could be irresistible to all women, and poof! He turned into a box of chocolates!
But, seriously… I have heard it explained that “chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your mood, your feelings and behavior. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally.” And the moral of that story is— eat lots of chocolate!
And then of course, chocolate is just a healthy food all around. You realize it is a vegetable, don’t you? It comes from the cocoa bean and beans are vegetables, right? We’re supposed to eat lots of veggies, right? So there you go! Eat your veggies! Actually, someone has said there are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles, and of course healthy eating always involves the four basic food groups! And there’s this theory going around that chocolate slows down the aging process. It may not be true, but do we dare take the chance? Someone else has called chocolate the Breakfast of Champions! And why not? Put “eat chocolate” at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.
Emotionally, physically—chocolate is good for you! Did you know it’s good for you spiritually, too? Why, the first chapter of Genesis tells us “In the beginning, the Lord created chocolate, and He saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the dark, and it was better.” Oh, wait—I might have misread that… (JK, of course!) But I know chocolate must be good for us spiritually. One of Julie’s mugs says so! It says, “God sends no stress that chocolate and prayer can’t handle.” And if Julie’s mug says it, that settles it for me!
Okay, I’ve been joking around here! (You didn’t take me seriously, did you?) There is some truth to it, I hear, that a limited amount of dark chocolate is good for you, but as in all things, in moderation. And it’s sure a lot more fun going down than fish oil or Brussels sprouts or even broccoli! Isn’t God good to give us something as delicious as chocolate on our earthly journey! Someone has said, “God gave the angels wings, and He gave humans chocolate.”
And isn’t it wonderful that, in reality, we don’t have to depend on chocolate or coffee or booze or pills or anything earthly to lift our spirits, or lighten our load, or bring us pleasure, or be satisfied, or cause us to feel safe, or give us a good time, or energize us, or relieve our stress! The Bible tells me that when I am walking with Jesus:
His words are sweeter than honey (or chocolate!)—“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10)
He carries my load of care—“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (I Peter 5:7)
He gives me strength and power—“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power…” (Colossians 1:10, 11)
He satisfies me—“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” (Psalm 53:5)
He brings me joy—“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)
He keeps me safe and secure—“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)
He gives me peace and comfort and freedom from stress—“Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)
The old hymn goes, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold…” I’d rather have Him than chocolate, too! Wouldn’t you?