The Good Stuff

During the summer season for many years, I have put out a garden, full of the favorites that my family and I enjoy eating. In the garden, we grow Zucchini squash, which is a pretty flavorless vegetable. It is full of water, and you really have to stretch to find good recipes to use it in. A favorite around our house is Zucchini bread. It is packed with other ingredients, like brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and pecans, which makes the bread pretty dang delicious! The grated Zucchini is just there to kind of fill in the bread. It really doesn’t have the flavor to make much of a difference in the taste of the bread.
My wife has made the bread for several years, and she had made the comment the other day about how it seems to taste better than it had in years before. I woke up this morning and was looking at the ingredients that were used in the latest batch. A different type of brown sugar was used, as well as a different brand of vanilla extract. The pecans are different. In years passed, we were buying a lot of generic products to save money. It’s not like the current ingredients are much more expensive, but they are brand names that have a better flavor. They are what you could call, “quality” ingredients. I could be wrong, but I suspect that these quality ingredients have a role to play in the taste of the bread this year.
Quality is defined in many things in our lives. Not only does the quality of the ingredients make a difference in the foods that we eat, quality makes a difference in the world in which we live. Quality products, quality people, quality time or quality sleep. You can fill in the blank. I tend to focus a lot on a quality relationship with the people I love. Quality time with them, and quality ways of being, opposed to the poor quality ways I have been in the past.
I observe. It is always at play in my life. I observe myself, others, the world, my thoughts and things that are insightful. Many things. It is very important for me because I have a history of flying off of the handle, or making stupid decisions because I wouldn’t take the time to pause for a moment and think things through. To observe the overall. It is helpful to observe where I am as a person in the present, past mistakes, the past decisions I have made, the lessons learned, and how these things have shaped the world in which I am living today. The more I practice observation, the more the quality of the practice increases.
Another thing that is absolutely necessary is the quality of my walk with the Lord. The foundation of every other quality in my person is found in my relationship with Him. When this quality is poor in me, it is because I am putting Him somewhere other than first. I do not keep Him first at many times throughout my days, but that is growing, and always changing through His grace, mercy and sanctification. It is obvious to me when the quality of my relationship with Him changes throughout the day. I am always observing that too. He is the paramount quality within, that drives me to choose better qualities.
We have choices to make everyday. We can choose the generic, or we can choose the good stuff. We can make a difference within our own lives, and the lives of others, by choosing quality. I’d much rather have quality Zucchini bread. The bunk bread gets thrown to the side, and ends up in the trash.

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