Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Artificial Sweeteners - Splenda & Equal

Image by Bukowsky18 via Flickr

Sitting outside at what passes for a sidewalk cafe setting in my little neck of the woods the other day having iced tea with a friend, I was struck by the amount of sweeteners there are in the world now.

My friend takes sugar in her iced tea and when the young women who served us brought out the container full of sweetener packets, I was reminded of just how many choices we all have when it comes to making what could be bitter just that much sweeter.

In the little white rectangle sugar packet holder there were the typical white packets filled with honest-to-goodness real sugar, along with the packets of artificial sweeteners that not too long ago in the grand scheme of things didn’t even exist. Those packets weren’t plain white, no, they were the color of Easter eggs, light blue, pink and yellow. They carried with them the promise that if you used them, you wouldn’t have to deal with pesky calories because they were calorie free, adding sweetness without the worry.

The little yellow packet’s really caught my eye, because it reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my son’s friends about, believe it or not, Splenda. And, lest you think it was a conversation about the evils of artificial sweetener, it wasn’t, it was about always being prepared.

He was telling me a story about his grandmother, and how his entire family had gone out to eat but the restaurant didn’t have his grandmother’s preferred sweetener of Splenda so she just took a little yellow packet out of her purse to use in her iced tea.

Slightly amused by his retelling of the story, I asked him if his grandmother always carried Splenda in her purse.

‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘And, she’s not the only one. All her friends carry it too, just in case. So, they know they have it when they need it.’

Then he smiled and shook his head, saying, ‘Yeah, when someone at the table asks for Splenda all of them dig in their purses and out comes all these packets of Splenda.’

It’s quite a picture isn’t it? The thought of a group of grandmothers all pulling out their Easter egg yellow Splenda packets at the same time, just because someone wants to sweeten their iced tea or coffee.

It’s the very picture of being prepared, which is just how we should be with the LORD and His word. We should always have it somewhere on our person, just in case we, or someone else, needs it.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, ….”

1 Peter 3:15

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We’ve all seen them, the signs, the little magnets, the mugs that read, “You know you’re …..”. You can fill in the blank, “a mom” “a dad”, “married” “single” or “getting old”.

It’s the “getting old when” that hit me as I went into the local newspaper office as a fill in reporter this week. I’d been called in as a pinch hitter until they found someone who wanted to cover every government story no matter where its was, how long it took to wind down, when it took place or how much like watching paint dry it turned out to be.

In fairness not all of the meetings are like watching paint dry. I actually like a good number of them, but that may say something more about me than it does about the meetings.

One of the nice things about being a pinch hitter is the reality that because you’re helping out, and well, they’re in a pinch, you get to choose your assignment. So, because of time restraints and an overwhelming interest in water (in California otherwise known as liquid gold) I raised my hand to cover the water districts, until such time as a young eager reporter type is found.

So off I trooped to the local newspaper office to write my news stories about the most interesting topic in local government with my lunch in tow and my cardigan.


Now, that is a hold the presses statement, me with a cardigan in tow just in case the air conditioning got too cold and I needed something to put over my shoulders.

Something to put over my shoulders?

These are all statement that should cause anyone hearing them to think of only one thing, that deep, long toll of the bell that indicates that time is marching on.

In other words, if these things were written on a mug they’d read, “You know you’re getting old when ….”, fill in the blank.

Then something happened that cemented that I have arrived on that precipice of getting old. Believe it or not something beyond the cardigan just in case I got cold. A friend once told me only people over 40 are allowed to bring cardigan’s with them anywhere, even in 100 degree heat, because they’ve earned the right to prepare.

What I found myself having done goes beyond preparation.

I had become my grandmother, but worse.

Coming from English stock and raised in America, I have long had the internal conflict, tea? or, coffee? When I was younger there was no doubt that it was coffee all the time (trying to find a decent cup in the UK was an interesting endeavor to be written about in another blog). But, as I have gotten older, coffee has taken its rightful place in the morning and sometimes in the evening too, but tea has settled firmly into the afternoon pick-me-up spot.

There I was, at about 3 o’clock in the freezing cold office with my old lady cream-colored cardigan on when I decided I wanted a cup of tea.

What did I do? I took the mug and teabag out of my purse where I had put it that morning, planning for such an eventuality (thinking ahead, what a concept!) and headed for the break room.

As I passed a friend who is a little older than me with my mug, I realized what I had in my hands and what I had done.

“It’s amazing what you do when you get old,” I leaned over and told her laughing.

“You have no idea,” she said before she started to laugh too.

As I walked to the break room mug in hand, that God must have been smiling too. Because no matter how old we get, or young we are, He still takes great delight in His children.

“There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven;”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Holman)

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