Author: Marci Seither

I am a sucker for freebies. 

Several years ago I was grocery shopping with our kids. We were thrilled when we saw on a huge display advertising a free Jell-O mold in the shape of the continental USA with the purchase of three packages.  

My little entourage helped pick out colors that would match the theme of our upcoming patriotic holiday. I even picked up some Cool-whip, strawberries and blueberries like the recipe on the plastic mold suggested. It was going to be fantastic and was officially “test kitchen approved”. 

Up to this point I hadn’t put a lot of thought as to what a “test kitchen “ actually looked like, but I am convinced it has a refrigerator just designated for USA Jell-O molds. No egg cartons, Pyrex pans of left- over chicken enchiladas, sticky jelly jars, or half- gallons of milk. Just a refrigerator with an empty shelf waiting for someone to slide a pan of something on it so it could receive the “Test Kitchen” seal of approval. 

Everything went fairly well with the strawberry layer in our USA creation. We let it set up for an hour and started on the next layer. 

The kids and I held our breath as we poured the blue liquid and berries onto semi-set strawberry foundation. We had cut it close. Real close. 

“Best dessert ever!” One of the kids shouted and they all agreed. 

So far, so good, that is, until I tried to pick it up.

I noticed right away there were tremors on both coasts with a tornado watch in the Midwest. It wasn’t long before Florida was declaring a “State of Emergency’ with high tides. 

“Quick, someone open the refrigerator door! Whoa, WHOA! Move the pickle relish!! Whoa. Whoa. Oops!”

Blue liquid with a few stray blueberries sloshed down the inside of the refrigerator. I took a deep breath and decided to go back to square one. 

“Okay, let’s find something flat so we can set this flimsy thing on it!” I shouted over the loud slurping sound of our 6-year-old sucking spilled Jell-O off the counter as if he were a human shop vac. Our 8-year-old handed me a cookie sheet.

I made another attempt at putting our “not as cute as it was when we started” mold into the refrigerator. Misjudging the gentle slope of the shelves, a tidal wave crested the side..right down my leg. 

I am very sure the staff member who works in the test kitchen did not have four kids hovering around them while trying to balance an entire Jell-O nation in one hand while clearing out Corning Ware with the other. I am also certain that they have yet to experience the sensation of liquid Jell-O between their toes. 

Finally success! Of course the blue layer would be thinner than anticipated; but the kids were thrilled at the thought of their creation. 

After mopping up an endless sea of blue and stepping outside to rinse off my feet I had to admit, as fun as the recipe looked, my balancing act didn’t pan out too well. 

While I tried to blame those who probably made this recipe in a very controlled environment or the fact that the mold was flimsy, I was actually the one at fault. I had added ingredients that pushed the Jell-O to the limit. Strawberries and blueberries were great additions but they threw off the balance because I had added too many. Too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing.

How many times do I toss in a few things to my day, my to-do list, the schedule because it would add a bit of color and flavor? Or because it seems like it is a good thing? 

How many times have I ended up with a mess?  

What are you trying to balance in your life?

Maybe it is time to place your Jell-O mold, or whatever you are in the middle of trying to juggle, in the hands of the One who holds ALL things together, all the time.

For me, the thought of ever making another USA shape Jell-O is out of the question. However, I did see a super cute mold in the shape of a Christmas tree, and it was a free-bie. I’ll bet it is even “Test Kitchen” approved. 

Now, that would be cute. Or maybe not.

 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”     Colossians 1:17

Click <HERE> for recipe!