For the Love of Cheese and Boats


Last weekend I spent a day at Cocoa Beach walking on a riverside harbor beside rows and rows of docked boats.

I don't know much about boats, but since my co-captain on this day trip is a boat aficionado, I've been trying to learn more about them.

I've ridden on a few boats -- on lakes here in Florida, on a lake in Italy and on a double-decker boat down the Seine River in Paris. I've also once sailed across Tampa Bay on a friend's small sailboat, where a dolphin swam along beside us, making for an enchanting trip.

But mostly I just like to look at boats.



During my day in Cocoa, I also spent some time reading books in a park, eating pizza on a rooftop deck, and deliberating about buying a $21 cheese-slicer.

It was one of those fancy ones where the handle twists to adjust the blade for different widths of cheese slices.

I’m pretty particular about cheese.

There's a lot to love about a slice of cheese {not too thin or too thick} nicely paired with a cracker for that perfect bite. In fact, I've recently purchased and discarded two inferior cheese gadgets that chipped away at the cheese instead of slicing it.

So I figured this fancier model of a cheese slicer might be worth the investment.


My companion on this quest to Cocoa doesn't care too much about cheese but he offered to buy the slicer for me since I am enamored with cheese.

{Well, let's face it, after visiting an Italian goat cheese farm and taking a French wine and cheese tour, I do adore cheese.}

It might seem that a day filled with boardwalk-wanderings, boat-sightings and cheese-slicer-evaluations was rather inconsequential but it was more than that.

It was a meeting in the middle of cheese and boats.

And maybe that place was the rooftop bar, where I found myself eating pizza {loaded with cheese, of course} while watching boats out on the water.





And just like so many things I was so sure of, I'm finding I know far less about meeting in the middle than I thought I did.

But maybe it's never too late to learn.

If your Valentine's Day, or your month of February, or maybe even your entire new year of 2018 isn't turning out quite how you've dreamed, take heart.

Is it possible that maybe you're in the middle?


Maybe you're in the middle of your story. Maybe you don't know all that God is doing.

He might be doing a work in you, or he might be working in your circumstances. He might be going ahead of you, making a way where there was none. Or he might be waiting for you for catch a glimpse of his fingerprints all over your deepest disappointments.

And he might be right there beside you, showing you that he's in the middle of it all, inviting you to meet him there in the middle where he's doing something new.


So the kitchen gadget store offered to completely refund the investment if the cheese slicer didn’t live up to its promised potential.

That sealed the deal.

So far, I’ve sliced one block of cheese with it. I’ve tested the different cheese-slicing widths and it has performed flawlessly and efficiently.

And even though I'm pretty sure I've already gone overboard with my cheese talk, I was delighted to see that my friend Elizabeth Minchilli who I met in Rome, shared these cheesy recipes on her blog this week.

Just in time for you to launch a grate {get the pun?} Valentine's Day menu.


I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.



Comments

  1. How something described in the dictionary as "coagulated milk pressed into a firm mass" can taste so good with so many varieties is amazing as much as meeting in the middle can be the answer to so many issues is also amazing

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    1. The dictionary does make it sound rather unappetizing, doesn't it?! Maybe cheese is really a miracle-food! :)

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  2. I'm glad your cheese slicer is working well so far! And the boat photos are beautiful! I love your reflections about being in the middle of the story too. It's not an easy place to be but I think so much of it is about learning to trust God and hold onto the fact that he knows where the story is going even when we don't.

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    1. Hi Lesley,
      I'm glad God is the guide leading us and we are the followers, especially when the way ahead isn't clear! xo

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  3. Cheese talk is my favorite! It's just so gouda! Love the photos! Glad to hear the cheese slicer is working well!

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    1. Brittany,
      Haha love the Gouda pun! What you say about cheese talk is so true -- and certainly not full of holes! :)

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  4. I always love your posts and it wasn't too cheezy for me!

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    1. Susan,
      There's never enough cheese . . . . :) xo

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  5. Your time with boats and cheese sounds like a relaxing day, Valerie. I'm glad your cheese slicer is working well! My husband and I love aged cheddar cheese. Once in a while we get a 10-year block of it in Sam's Club, and we even got older ones when we were once in Wisconsin in an Amish cheese shop. And pizza? Yes, bring on extra cheese! I love your photos and story sharing. :) Also the insight into the middle of our stories and what God is doing in our hearts and lives, even when we don't know or understand what He's doing. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy,
      A 10-year block of cheese -- what an extravagant delight that must be! It is amazing just how many different cheese and flavors can come from the process . . . and I'd love to try them all! Thanks for joining me in the spirit of my boat and cheese adventure! xoxo

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  6. I've been in the middle in recent months. It can be messy and uncertain and filled with angst. I'm learning more about simple prayers of trusts. I've abandoned my laundry list of requests, carefully designed outcomes, and all such nonsense.

    I sense God is at work. I remember His faithfulness. And that's good enough for me.

    I settle into the waiting room and bide my time knowing He's got this ...

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    1. Linda,
      Oh how right you are about our laundry lists of requests and carefully designed outcomes -- that's exactly what they are - nonsense! Maybe we should sit back and savor the wait, as well as what comes along after it! xoxo

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  7. Dear Valerie,
    I was so touched by your thoughts about being in the middle, and then I was reminded of The Muppets singing the song from a poem by A.A. Milne, "Halfway Down," which begins with:

    "Halfway down the stairs
    Is a stair
    Where I sit.
    There isn't any
    Other stair
    Quite like
    It."

    I am so grateful for your thoughts here. God is in the middle of it all with us, and it's not such a bad place to be when He is here! There is no other place like it, in fact. So, maybe, like you said, we should embrace this place and let Him show us what He has for us right here. And besides, even though I can't go back to my love of all things dairy now that I have to be dairy-free, I've found that I have a love for sheep's and goat's cheese that I never would have found otherwise! :) Love and Hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I love that little poem about the step in the middle! And I think I agree with you that being in the middle isn't such a bad place to be when we embrace it. Sorry to hear that you have to be dairy-free but goat cheese is pretty good too! xo

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  8. Oh my gosh, Val, I just love how you can take cheese and boats, and churn them together to create a message about our times in the middle! I've definitely had a bit of a knock off the bridge I was crossing at this start of 2018. But swimming in the waters has taught me strokes I would have never learned without being in the waves for awhile!

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      What a great frame of mind you're in -- swimming in those unexpected waters teaching you new strokes -- I love that! I think that's a great philosophy for all of life's unexpected detours, too and I envy your positive outlook! xo

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  9. I love your pictures! Sailboats are so relaxing to me. Oh and I'm glad the cheese slicer is working out. Love at first bite? :)

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    1. Sarah,
      Oh if only I'd thought of that pun! :)

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  10. Valerie, life's too short to deal with kitchen gadgets that don't work, so I'm glad you bought the cheese slicer. (I'm still giving thanks for the new potato peeler I got for Christmas.) :-) I love your thoughts about cheese AND about what God does in the "middle." I'm not really sure if I'm in the beginning or the middle right now ... as my girls grow older, I feel like I'm working myself out of a job in some ways. I'll always be their mom, of course, but the responsibilities that come with that role seem to be changing daily, and I find myself wondering what's next. It's comforting to remember that none of this is news to God--that He knows exactly what lies beyond the horizon. Hugs, friend.

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    1. Hi Lois,
      I love it that you got a potato peeler for Christmas! I'm all for receiving gadgets as gifts! :) I can imagine as your girls grow up that you'd have shifting feelings about wondering what's ahead but I think that's when God surprises us with a bend in the road that might not be what we expected but holds treasure, just the same! xo

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  11. Oh, sweet friend! Hearing you speak of Cocoa Beach made me long to go back there more than ever! My husband and I have been talking a lot about different FL spots that we loved to frequent when we lived down there, and there are many spots, (Cocoa Beach being one of them!) that we long to revisit, so we can reminisce AND so we can introduce those amazing, memory-packed places to our son. We moved from FL when he was just 8 months old, so he has never been to most of those special spots with us. We LOVE Cocoa Beach! Oh, the memories we have of going there quite often. I loved hearing about your day there, but even more than that, I LOVED hearing the tiny, little hints of something special, maybe????? Maybe the revelations of great things God had in store for you that I felt a few months back are coming to fruition??? I know...I am such a hopeless romantic, but I can't help but just wonder, at least a tiny bit, if my exciting revelations are unfolding in your life. :) I know God is doing something amazing...I can just feel it. I pray for you every, single day, and I am expecting GREAT things for you!!! Thank you for your many prayers for my family and me, too. You are such a dear blessing to me!

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Your words make me smile! Cocoa Village has changed so much (I hadn't been there in awhile) and it has new shops and eateries -- but the beach is always the same -- so glad to hear you loved it too and have fond memories of it! I'm grateful for your prayers and declarations for me :) and I will keep you posted! xoxo

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  12. Hi Valerie-
    This sounds like a perfectly perfect day! How beautiful and fun. The pizza restaurant looks so cute! I love your thoughts as always! So good to remember that God is up to something even when I can’t understand it. And that he meets us here in the middle too. Like you said maybe there is something nice and treasure to be had in these strange feeling middle places. Its where the stretching happens for me my view shifts and widens. I have never heard of a cheese grater like that. I was laughing inside about the cheese being cut just right because I have that issue. I like it just the right width- not too thick- ruins it for me. but a perfectly proportioned piece of lovely cheese on a cracker- Yum! Anyway thanks for sharing yor stories and your beautiful heart. What a gift you are. xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I'm so glad to know you love your cheese in a perfect bite too! It's the little things in life that are the most delightful, aren't they? :) Maybe the stretching and growing is the thing to value, even when we can't see it in the beginning and it's difficult, but eventually we unearth the treasure God is revealing to us there in those places! xoxo

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  13. Here's to enjoying the middle no matter how mysterious it may sometimes seem! I always seem to longingly circle the cheese counter at Wegman's but have yet to be brave enough to try anything-- probably because I don't even know what to ask for! You'll have to do a cheese review of your faves! And I've pretty much decided I'd rather look at boats like you than be one them in the middle of the water! But I guess that's something God's gotta work out in me- after all he did call Peter to get out of the boat and walk out into the middle of the sea with Him. Glad to hear you are enjoying the ride no matter where it takes you! xo ♥

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    1. So nice to see you here again Heather! I really do think I'm in love with cheese -- there are so many different kinds to discover that I keep wanting to taste (and learn) more! And I hope you soon step up and try some cheese at the Wegman's counter -- and keep stepping out of the boat (for your craft fairs and amazing creative ideas) because I think you're braver than you know! xoxo

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  14. May be I am in the middle... Thanks for this encouragement Valerie. My story isn't finished yet even though I have an idea that God gets the victory and glory out of my life in the end.
    Have a super blessed day!

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