08 December 2011

I Don’t Want To Be Like Chocolate!

Over the past few months, Heidi-Mari and I got hooked on the Lindt Chocolate Studio.  In October   CJ, Heidi-Mari, Josua, Christo and I did the Chocolate Appreciation Course as part of Christo’s birthday celebration. 

It was such a treat!  I never knew it was possible to experience chocolate with all 5 senses and having so much fun decorating Lindor lollies!

Then a few weeks ago Heidi-Mari and I went on the Chocolate Decoration Course!

This was quite an intense course. 

Before we could even start making any exotic chocolate decorations, we had to learn about the very delicate structure of chocolate.

A few interesting things about chocolate:
When melted chocolate returns to solid form, the cocoa butter in the chocolate forms a crystal structure. The strange or amazing, depending on who you're talking to, thing about cocoa butter is, it can crystallize in six different forms.  The crystal structure they take on depends on the temperature at which they are formed. If the chocolate is allowed to cool on its own, the crystals of fat will be loose, resulting in a chocolate that is dull in appearance, with white or gray streaks, soft & malleable, greasy to the touch and a chalky taste.  

That can be quite unappetizing.
Below is a table of the six crystal structures of cocoa butter (thanks to Wikipedia.com), the temperature at which the crystal is formed and their characteristics:

17°C   (63°F)
Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
21°C   (70°F)
Soft, crumbly, melts too easily
26°C   (78°F)
Firm, poor snap, melts too easily.
28°C   (82°F)
Firm, good snap, melts too easily.
34°C   (94°F)
Glossy, firm, best snap, melts near body temperature (37°C).
36°C   (97°F)
Hard, takes weeks to form.

Making chocolate considered "good" is about forming as many type V crystals as possible, which results in a shiny, smooth in appearance and taste Chocolate, and it breaks with an audible snap.  After the Chocolate Appreciation course that is just as an important point, as the melting sensation in your mouth or the amazing aroma of different cocoa beans. 
So how do you go about to produce enough ‘good’ stable crystals so the chocolate will harden into a very stable hard chocolate with a slight sheen, snap when broken, and will keep for months at cool room temperature? Well, that was exactly what our very experienced Chocolatiers taught us for the first hour of our course!  You have to temper the chocolate -  forming the most of the type V crystals by carefully manipulating the temperature during the crystallization.

At first all six forms of crystals have to melt (different temperatures for dark, milk and white chocolate too!) Then the chocolate is cooled while solid chocolate is stirred into the melted chocolate to ‘inoculate’ the liquid chocolate with crystals (again different temperatures for dark, milk and white chocolate).  Crystal types IV and V will form.

The chocolate is then gently warmed to working temperature, eliminating any type IV crystals, leaving just the type V (again at different temperatures for dark, milk and white chocolate).  After this point, any excessive heating of the chocolate will destroy the temper and the whole process will have to be repeated.
The chocolate has to be kept at the tempering temperature while being used.
On Saturday, Heidi-Mari and I tried tempering our own chocolate for the first time!  We had all the right tools, the right chocolate, and were excited! 

One hour after we started tempering, it was clear we did something wrong and the chocolate didn’t want to set.  Somewhere along the process it was exposed to too much heat!  It was so sad.  We had to start all over again.  Thankfully you can use the same chocolate again, just add a fresh batch ‘seeds’ or solid already tempered chocolate.  The second time we were successful and we could start our chocolate decorations!

But what an effort.  The whole time we had to keep an eye on the chocolate’s temperature. The chocolate would cool down below the ideal temperature range, then we had to heat it up, but extremely careful to not overheat it.  All the time we tried to enjoy the moment, but it was a stretch!  
And while I was in the flesh, thinking of chocolate, searching the internet for some more tips on how to ensure perfect tempering with the first attempt, I was in spirit studying the Fruit of the Spirit, yearning to be more of Jesus, especially for my husband and children.

This week I studied Gentleness.  According to the Spirit Filled Life Bible’s Word Wealth, Gentleness is: A disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, balanced in spirit, unpretentious, and that has the passions under control!  The person who possesses this quality pardons injuries, corrects faults and rules his own spirit well.
And it hit me like cold water!!  The opposite of gentleness is to be like chocolate!
I recently listened to a teaching by John Maxwell.  He teach specifically on leadership. I love listening to his teachings when I have the time.  A mother is a leader - probably the most important, influential leader in all the world, leading foolish and immature human beings,to become mature people who can change the world!  In this teaching by John Maxwell, he specifically focus on leaders who are high maintenance leaders.  Leaders who are more impeding, than leading.  More path blockers, than path finders. 

As I reflected the implication on me as leader in my home, I had to ask myself: “am I leading or am I impeding?”  Am I a path finder or a path blocker, a high maintenance leader and the biggest problem in my own home? I once heard, “Mothers is not supposed to loose it, they are supposed to find it.”
Immediately I saw the correlation between a high maintenance Mother and chocolate!  

Sadly I pinpointed some characteristics of a high maintenance leader in myself.
  • Wide, mood swings
I’m a drama queen, one day up and the other day down, often it is impossible to quite figure out where I am. Some days I’m not approachable at all and my family have to tip toe around me.  My wide mood swings cause them to stay on edge, kills consistent communication, having them on guard all the time.  It’s especially weary on my dear husband and older children.

  • Not in control of my passions
I’m a passionate person.  I do everything with passion, unfortunately not only the good things, also when things get stressed and I’m not in control, I react passionately wrong! When I’m busy with something I struggle to leave it to help a little one or stop when time doesn’t allow to carry on.  
  • Overload and under underpowered
I often overload my children with tasks, without making sure they understand or have the physical or emotional ability to do the task. The results, a low moral and lost of creativity.

  • Think of themselves first
How often I’m concerned about how am I going to look when my children are acting foolishly. Or even worse, what is going to happen to me, in a difficult situation? Selfishness is a sure sign of insecurity.  Did I mentioned I’m insecure? 
I often manipulate others, devalue servanthood, undermine teamwork, and bring out the worse in my children. 
According to Maxwell, leaders cannot afford to be insecure.  Leadership needs maturity, it is hard work, high expectations!
Leaders need to be responsible and accountable to themselves and others;
Leaders need to set positive examples and are valued by their production;
Leaders are subject to others opinions and continually face people challenges;
Leaders serve.

  • Negative
A negative attitude make everyone around me sad.  Negativity limit creativity, fail to express gratitude, hinder communication, is the lid on the growth of the people in my home.
Now, there are three kinds of people.
  1. People who know their weaknesses, but that are unwilling to change;
  2. People who is to insecure to ask, “What am I doing wrong.”
  3. People who know their weaknesses and change.
Since I’ve studied gentleness, I’m conscientious to be even-tempered. I especially take care to be balanced in spirit and have my passions under control. I don’t want to be like chocolate.  Just the slightest change in temperature or drop of water added and its a mess  and you have to start all over. 

Thankfully our Heavenly Father is a Father of second chances and we can always start over. 

I’m up to the challenge to change, I no longer want to be a high maintenance Mother, it is weary on my family and weary on me too!  
Who is taking up the challenge with me? Face the facts, dear Mother and let the truth set you free!! 
In 2 Peter 1:2-8, Peter (a man of great passion, who allowed God to temper him) encourage us with:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Fruitful Growth in the Faith
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I need knowledge of the Word of God, along with diligence, self control and perseverance, to see sweet fruit in my home. What do you need to be tempered? 
Come my fellow Mothers, are you up to the challenge?  You are welcome to share your challenge or part of it, in the comments below.
With much love


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your post. I can be a little high maintenance too. (or a lot)I will work on this, thanks for the insight.

Wendy said...

Linnie, this is a very insightful post and I will be taking it to the Lord for His work in my heart.

Anonymous said...

I feel so akin to what you describe as high-maintenance and trying to be gentle, that I posted a link on my blog to your site.

A couple of months ago I realised that my moods were unpredictable and that my boys didn't know what to expect from me! I prayed about it and God has helped me to change. Those little foxes that come along to test your patience/nerve/gentleness still catch me out, but I am trying to stay on the path.

Another thing I found was vitamin supplements (esp. with kelp in) affected my hormones! When I cut down on the dosage, it was a lot better/easier to control my emotions.

Thanks once again for a very informative and motivational post.

Love, best wishes

PS: Enjoy the chocolates that are perfect temperature made ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh Linnie - I feel the same way! I am always doing what I don't want to do in my heart - I say things and then regret it after. I am so high maintenance and easily more of a burden than a blessing. I need God to change me so much!!! I struggle with being graceful with people who disagree with me - especially with family - I struggle with giving grace to others - and I struggle to be consistent and to keep my word. I feel like such a mess! - but I also feel like God has refreshed me in my heart after reading this and as I cry out to Him - change me Lord!! Thanks Linnie! I will pray for you too. much love, Karyn

Jenni C's said...

i have wanted to read your post when you posted a while ago...i love chocolate..;) wow what a powerful post, i think like Wendy says..this is something that would..need some pondering about and talking to God...i think the next time i buy some Lindt chocolate ..i will have some more thoughts..on my mind..

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