I had a sales rep for a food company ride with me yesterday while I visited my accounts. I love when I have them ride with me because they bring lots and lots of food samples to show to my customers. The best part is that they insist that I take home whatever samples we have left over. Yesterday I got to bring home snacks for the girls. I’m pretty sure that it’s their favorite part of my job as well. One of the yummiest samples that she had with her yesterday was cheesecake batter. Yep, you read that right, cheesecake batter! You can poor it right in to the crust and bake it. No preparation, no mess, no labor and no mess ups. You can also add anything you want to it. Throw in some chocolate chips and you have a chocolate chip cheesecake. Put a packet of lime drink mix in there and you have a keylime cheesecake. Swirl in some strawberry and yep, you guessed it, strawberry cheesecake. You can make bit sized cheesecakes too. Here’s the best part, it’s pasteurized so you can eat it right out of the tub. I resisted sticking my finger in the tub and tasting it but it smelled amazing. You can put it in a dish right out of the tub and use it as a fruit dip. It’s the best short cut that I have seen in a long time. It’s great for restaurants but there is a down side for me. Cheesecake is my favorite desert to make. There is something therapeutic about following a recipe and creating something with your own hands. I love adding the chocolate chips to my cheesecake and folding them in. It is the final step before I bake it and it starts the build up to the excitement of the final product. I love to show up somewhere with my cheesecake and present the fruit of my labor. I don’t think that it would feel the same if I simply added chocolate chips to a batter and baked it. I couldn’t take credit for it. There wouldn’t be the same pride baked in to it. It is rewarding to me to bring my homemade cheesecake to a family gather. It also shows my family that I took time to make something for them instead of just mindlessly pouring batter in to a pan. If you are trying to save money on labor, waste, portion control and consistency then I recommend the batter mix but if you want to create something with your own hands and heart then break out the ingredients. It got me thinking about the other areas in my life that I have started taking short cuts to achieve the same results. I am ashamed to admit that my husband and I often cut off our triplets during their night time prayers so that we can get it done and get them in bed. We don’t cut them off because we don’t want to hear them talking to Jesus. We cut them off because they are five and they ramble on forever plus there’s three of them. We would be their all night if we didn’t cut it off. I sometimes cut my oldest daughters stories short. She feels the need to give me every single detail of a story that could really be only a sentence or two. When I say every detail I really mean it. She wanted to tell me that her friend told ehr that she couldn’t spend the night and it literally took five minutes. I ended up knowing what the friend was wearing and what she ate for dinner. I started taking short cuts with my husband a few years back. Instead of stopping in my tracks when he got home from work, I would finish folding the laundry or whatever task I was on and then go to him and welcome him home. I took short cuts in my affection towards him as well. Instead of looking in his eyes, reminding him how important he was and giving him a genuine hug and kiss, I would brush by, slip a meaningless peck on the lips in and say “love you”. Whats wrong with me that I would even short cut the word “I” in “I love you”? It wasn’t laziness, it was simply me being too busy and consumed with insignificant things that I started to take short cuts with the significant things. I have to change that. I get in bed at night at start to think of all the little short cuts that I took that day and guilt starts to creep in. What would it hurt to let my oldest go on and on about her story, at least she is talking to me and definitely not leaving out any details. I can only pray that she remains that way throughout her teen years. If I start taking short cuts with her now then she will learn to give me short cuts and leave out the most important details. Then there are the triplets prayers at night. Is it really going to hurt them if we let them stay up for an extra thirty minutes so that they can tell God thank you for all that they have. What about my husband? Taking short cuts in your marriage will never end well. Loving your children, parents and siblings is something that almost comes naturally and without thinking but to love your spouse wholeheartedly takes work and constant nourishing. Taking a short cut in your marriage is treading on deadly ground. My worst offense is short cutting my prayers. Sometimes I’m in a hurry or tired or just not prepared to face my Lord in the state of mind that I am in. That is my most destructive short cut and the one that I should never take. Are you taking a short cut somewhere that you know you shouldn’t? We need to slow down, look around and realize that the short cut isn’t always the best way, it’s just the fastest. Take the long way today. Look around at all the things that you might be missing in an effort to hurry things along. Instead of cutting a conversation short, take the time to really listen to what someone wants to tell you and see what you might have passed up on. Instead of going with your standard hello or goodbye with someone that you love take a minute to put a little extra genuine love in to it. Put the batter back in the refrigerator and break out the ingredients. Let’s pray “Sweet heavenly Father help us to focus on the journey and not the finish line. Show us how to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the long way instead of taking the short cut and missing out on the best part. Open our eyes and ears so that we don’t miss anything. Most importantly open our hearts. In Jesus name, amen.” I have four buckets of cheesecake batter sitting in my refrigerator right now. I am supposed to take them to customer to sample and hopefully buy. How many buckets do you think are really going to make it out of my house?