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© Debbie Porter – 22nd June, 2005

We go through various phases in the Porter family; phases that I fondly refer to as playing "lolly leapfrog." The same thing may happen in your own home, although you might prefer to think of it as the "candy conversion," or perhaps the "sweetie shuffle."

It always begins quite innocently. For example, I’ll just be wandering up and down the aisles at the local supermarket, when suddenly my eyes will be drawn to a packet of marshmallows in amongst all the other confectionary. Without thinking too much on the matter, I’ll pop the pack into the shopping trolley and continue on my way.

Before long, those little pink and white pillows of gelatin, water and sugar, will reign as the Porter’s preferred sweet of choice and powdery fingers and lips will become a commonplace sight. As pack after pack is consumed, the shopping list will regularly contain reminders to buy another bag (or two … or maybe even three).

Then, just as suddenly as it began, the marshmallow madness will come to an end – usually mid-packet. For whatever reason, the phase will pass and sanity returns.


Before long, I’ll be wandering up and down the aisles at the local supermarket when my eyes will be drawn to a packet of jelly babies …

And so the cycle continues.

We’ve been through just about all of them, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. For some, the phase may only be a brief flirtation, while others become a grand affair. Either way, they all come and go in exactly the same way – with the exception of chocolate and Australia’s most popular chewy mint (very "creatively" called "Minties"). Those two dietary staples are, of course, always in the pantry.

We have just been through the musk stick stage (which was a very brief, but passionate fling on Steve’s part, until he begged me never to buy them again) and are now completely hooked on Snakes.

I suspect that this particular sweet may be peculiar to the Land Down Under – and the more I think about it, the more I realize just how peculiar the concept is. I mean, who in their right mind would have thought, "Hey, let’s make a candy that looks like a reptile. That should be a real winner."

Strangely enough, jelly snakes ARE a real winner and have been around for generations. You know how it is – a jelly baby just doesn’t quite have enough to keep you going. But if you take all that jelly baby goodness and turn it into a nice long snake, then you’ll be really satisfied.

Of course, eventually snakes weren’t quite long enough either, so they had to introduce "Killer Pythons" as well – which are multi-colored jelly snakes, about five times the length and width of "normal" jelly snakes.

We’re a weird lot down here. I guess the next logical step in confectionary creation would be to introduce caramel funnel web spiders or perhaps licorice redbacks; but I digress…

When one of our current passions is something like marshmallows or musk sticks, where the whole packet tastes and looks much the same, then there’s no problem. However, when a sweet comes in a variety of flavors and colors, then we have trouble.

Whenever there is a variety, there will ALWAYS be one color or flavor that no-one wants to eat. When it comes to our latest passion, that one unloved addition is the yellow snake.

Everyone loves the red or orange snakes. They’ll even munch on the blackcurrant ones if the red and orange ones run out. But the yellow ones just sit there, all forlorn and neglected, unloved and rejected – waiting for someone to finish them off so that another packet can be purchased.

I’m no different to the rest of the family. Red snakes are my favorite, closely followed by the orange ones. The yellow ones, although definitely not detestable, probably rate at the bottom of my list.

That’s why love is eating the yellow snakes.

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that it’s only in the huge displays and major sacrifices that our love can be shown. Fair enough, the little things are often overlooked by the recipients of our affection, but the reality is that whenever we put the needs of others before the desires of our own, we are showing love.

Believe me, I would much rather gobble up all the red snakes; but it’s my very tiny, probably totally unnoticed act of love for my family, to eat the ones that nobody really cares for.

Mothers tend to do things like that – but it would probably become fairly disheartening if no-one else ever did anything like it. Thankfully, that’s not the case. I see little acts of selfless consideration and love being shown by all the members of the family at different times and in different ways.

Steve shows it each morning when he gets out of bed at 5 am and tiptoes around the house, opening cupboard doors and drawers as gently as possible, so as not to disturb the rest of the family as we sleep.

Matthew and Kylie demonstrate it quite regularly by letting each other have something that they may have also really wanted. From the last bowl of ice-cream to the television for a favorite show, they often lay down their wants in preference to the other.

And as for me … I’ll keep on eating the yellow snakes.

* * *

"Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another."
~ Romans 12:10 Amplified ~
Debbie Porter has encouraged, inspired and entertained thousands of men and women around the world through her writing since June, 2000. Her greatest desire is to encourage and build up the people of God to believe in their God given potential and to step into everything they were created to be. Deb lives with her husband and two teenagers in Sydney, Australia. You can contact Debbie through the "Your Letters" page of FaithWriters’ Magazine, or by visiting her website at http://www.breathfreshair.org