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Intersection Column | Welcome to the Sweet Life

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My husband is a serious ice cream maker. Actually, Steve’s a serious guy to begin with and he takes his ice cream very seriously. Especially vanilla ice cream. He reads textbooks about ice cream making, drives long distances to find just the right vanilla beans, compares his products to others, spends extra money on organic dairy products from small farms (keep in mind, this man comes from Dutch stock). Friends who come to dinner are automatically roped into a focus group to analyze dessert. They are given spoons, paper and pencil, and small scoops of ice cream for blind tasting. All this as Steve watches them carefully, trying to discern subtle reactions.

A few years ago, Steve attended Ice Cream School at Penn State. (Yes! There is such a thing as Ice Cream School! It’s been around since 1892.) I must say that when he returned home, his ice cream went up a few notches in deliciousness.

Steve does make outstanding ice cream. He's experimented with all kinds of flavors: salted caramel, peanut butter chocolate, strawberry. Generally, he's pleased with the results. But not with vanilla. It took him 59 tries before he was satisfied with his recipe. You might think vanilla sounds bland, but a good (really, really good) vanilla ice cream is intricate, with depth and richness.

Here's the curious thing: vanilla is foundational to all other ice cream flavors. Get it right and you've got your base.

Getting it right, though, is not easy. Vanilla is so pure that it reveals mistakes and inconsistencies. Strong flavors, like chocolate and coffee, can mask errors, but not vanilla. Small things affect its quality. Vanilla has utmost integrity.

Sometimes I think that we Christians need to be more like vanilla ice cream. Our walk needs to match up with our talk. We need to beware of gray areas. Just like with vanilla ice cream, small choices add up and affect our integrity: gossip, lies, shortcuts, hypocrisy.

Integrity isn't easy. Not with us, not with vanilla ice cream, either. (Why else would it take my husband 59 tries?) But if you've ever had amazing vanilla ice cream, well, the product speaks for itself.

And if you like ice cream (who doesn’t?), check out The Sweet Life. There’s a lot of real-life moments from our home woven into the story. Lots of ice cream making research took place to help make this story credible and edible. I have a hunch you’ll end the story with a craving for vanilla ice cream.


About the Author

With over 1.5 million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author. She is a Christy Award finalist, a winner of Carol and Selah awards and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. Her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading them. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.


About the Book

Dawn Dixon can hardly believe she's on a groomless honeymoon on beautiful Cape Cod . . . with her mother. Marnie Dixon needs some time away from the absolute realness of life as much as her jilted daughter does. Given the circumstances, maybe it was inevitable that Marnie would do something as rash as buy a run-down ice-cream shop—which may actually be full of sweet surprises.


Did You Know?

God handpicked three specific people to care for his Son, Jesus, while He was on earth.

  • Mary – a very young woman by today’s standards, chosen to carry Jesus during gestation. She offered the safety of her womb and nurtured Him as a child and youth. I imagine her to be a shining example of sacrifice and faithfulness.

  • Joseph – a specially selected stepfather caring for Jesus after His entrance into the world. He looked after Jesus’ training and welfare, provided the safety of a home and family, and possibly presented a good example of a kind yet masculine leader.

  • Joseph again – but a different Joseph, a wealthy man from Arimathea who cared for the body of Jesus after His death on earth. Joseph provided the safety of the tomb, burial spices and the place of Jesus’ resurrection.

God is still hand-picking people today to offer His Son to the world and to carry His message of love, forgiveness and salvation. Turn your ear toward the Father’s heart and listen for what He has called you to do.


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“Bookstores remind us the world is full of ideas and excitement beyond our tiny spheres of life. The universe comes alive in books; and bookstores, therefore, open heaven and earth to everyone. All you need do is read.”

-Linore Rose Burkard, Miss Wetherham's Wedding


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