As you may remember, I spent the entire week last week flat on my back on the couch in pain. My massage therapist, thank You Jesus for her, said that she thought that while I was sick a month ago, I managed to cough a rib out of place causing my back to hurt. And then I decided to move furniture. Siiigh… anyway, yesterday was the one week anniversary of my furniture moving disaster and I decided to celebrate my new ability to stand erect again by making dinner. Except I couldn’t… there were no clean dishes! At first I was angry with the other members of my household that had so lovingly left this pile for me to take care of, when I realized I had done it to myself. At no point did I ask any of them for help with those dishes. And what’s even worse than that, I hadn’t even taught them how to do them in the first place so even if I had asked them for help, they wouldn’t have known how to do it (my way). As I plunged my hands into the first tub of warm sudsy water (our dish washer is broken) it occurred to me that my job as a mother is not to do all the work for my children, but rather teach them how to do the work on their own. My main purpose isn’t to coddle them and shield them from hard work, but rather to introduce them to it gradually as they grow so that when they are old enough they can go out and effectively manage a household of their own, and leave my husband and I to enjoy a nice empty nest! I made a mental note to teach the children how to hand wash dishes in the near future and also have a talk with them about noticing when someone needs help, even when they don’t ask for it, and then giving them that assistance post haste!
Then this morning I got a text from my dear friend Jennifer (Hi Jennifer, I love you!). She has five beautiful girls…all at home, all sick… and so is she. LOVELY! I immediately told her that I was making dinner for their family tonight, AND she immediately turned around and told me not to bother. WELL, if you know me at all, you know how stubborn, I mean… strong-willed, I can be at times and I had decided that I was going to pour out the help for Jennifer that I had not received during my stint in sickness. So, I told her that I would think and pray about what God would have me bring, but I was going to bring something over there. Period.
After I had lunched on the most delicious tortilla filled with a schmear of cream cheese, peanut butter w honey & Nutella rolled up next to tart little apple slices (soooooo yummy) I felt pulled to go pray before picking up the laundry or the laptop again for the day. Among all the things that God and I discussed during that time, we also discussed my love offering to Jennifer and her family. While I had been thinking chicken noodle soup, He suggested I take her some “feel better fudge” aka salted caramel fudge. And I had to admit, He was right, what’s better for a house full of sick girls than chocolate!?! But then I got to thinking about the flip side of that, what is it that we need the most when our souls are sick? We’re all His bride, so are we not then a house filled with sick girls? I pondered what the spiritual version of feel better fudge might be? And of course, He answered me with the most obvious answer of all; the cross! Our spiritual feel better fudge is the sweet good news that because of Jesus’ sacrifice we are all eternally forgiven. If the feet that bring good news are beautiful what are the lips that speak that very truth? Or the fingers that type it? J He then showed me a woman holding a cube of chocolately fudge swirled with sweet and salty caramel. When she went to take that first bite her teeth just sank into the soft chocolate, allowing it to give away and break off a bite-sized morsel into her mouth where she gratefully closed her lips around the sweet goodness of it, holding it in her mouth and allowing the heat of her breath to melt it. As it melted it surrounded her tongue with the most amazing flavor and sweetness, balanced perfectly with a touch of salt and then slowly swallowing down that perfect truth that she is saved, and loved and forgiven completely; allowing it to become part of her innermost being.
James 3 tells us that with our tongues we both bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (verses 9-12) And so I ask, my dear friend, can a tongue that has just tasted of the sweet truth that they are completely forgiven by the One whom they have so brutally betrayed continue to withhold forgiveness from any man or woman who has recently wronged them? Not if she has fully accepted the forgiveness that has been offered to her she can’t. And not if she is continually feasting on the forgiveness Jesus offers.
Salted Caramel Fudge
(This recipe is a combination of two of my favorite recipes and it’s a little bit eye-balled on the ratio of fudge to caramel.)
2 sticks butter
2 c. white sugar
1 bottle dark Karo syrup
2 c cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 pound semisweet chocolate
2 Tbs butter cut into small pats
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
* Heavily butter a 9×13 pan and a large mixing bowl and set them aside.
* In a double broiler (not on the heat yet) combine all fudge ingredients except vanilla. Put water on to heat but do not put chocolate over the heat until the caramel is completely finished.
* Melt butter for caramel in a heavy sauce pan. Add sugar and syrup, continue cooking at a low boil. When completely mixed very slowly add the cream, slow enough that the mixture continues to boil.
*Stir constantly until it is in the soft ball stage.
* Remove from heat, add vanilla and mix well.
* Pour into well buttered mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
* Put the chocolate mixture over the heat and stir all ingredients until chocolate is melted and well mixed together. Remove from heat.
* Add in the vanilla and stir well. Pour into 9×13 pan.
* Take the mixing bowl of caramel, be careful it will still be quite HOT, and scoop caramel over fudge until you are satisfied with your fudge to caramel ratio. There will be a lot more caramel than fudge. If you want you could double the fudge ingredients to get them to match up more effectively, or you could just have extra caramel to eat by itself. It’s up to you.
* Use a knife to swirl the caramel into the fudge.
* Sprinkle the Kosher salt onto the caramel fudge to taste.
* Chill for 90 minutes or until set.
* Cut fudge into desired size with a sharp knife. After each cut, wipe knife with a damp paper towel. Enjoy!