Lessons from a purple smoothie

June 10, 2008 | 16 comments

The other day I found myself with a house full of hot, hungry children, so I whipped up the perfect summer snack: banana-berry smoothies. I must admit I felt unusually Martha Stewart-esque as a poured the dark purple concoction into the cups and passed them out among my kids and the girls.

As I stood in the kitchen and sipped my own smoothie, I had to chuckle when I looked around at all the purple mustaches. For some reason this inky dark treat has a tendency to get everywhere and, sure enough, it was all over all the children’s faces. A couple of the girls were poking fun at the others, not realizing that they actually had smoothie all over their own mouths as well. I had to shake my head at how clueless children can be: there they were, making fun of one another, not realizing that they all looked completely silly. The absurdity!

I let out another smirk at the messy-faced little people around my kitchen table and excused myself to go to the restroom. As soon as I walked in I caught sight of myself in the mirror and saw:

I had a big, huge smoothie mustache.

There were specs of blackberry skins all in my teeth, and even a purple smear across my forehead. I looked completely ridiculous. In fact, my condition was worse than most of the kids’.

As I compared the mental image I’d had of the situation just a few moments before to the much more realistic image that the mirror now showed, I felt like this situation was a perfect analogy for a bigger lesson. I’d imagined myself as completely set apart from those messy-faced people at the table. I was so busy looking at how silly they all looked that I didn’t take the time to carefully ingest my own smoothie, or even to consider that I might have something on my face as well. And as I stood there chuckling in the kitchen, little did I know that every time I smiled at their erroneous smoothie-drinking ways, I was showing a mouth full of black-specked teeth.

The situation felt strangely familiar, since it is a lesson that I’ve had to be hit over the head with over and over again in the past couple of years: it seems like every time I spend even a second focusing on the proverbial smoothie mustaches of others, God eventually puts me in front of a mirror to show me that I am one of those messy-faced people too.

In case anyone wants to make their own purple smoothie, here’s the incredibly simple recipe: one banana + a bag full of frozen berries + vanilla soymilk + a few seconds in the blender = cold deliciousness. Drink carefully! 🙂


  1. Jaime (ChaseNKids)

    This was a beautiful entry and one I could totally relate to!


  2. zoom

    I always look like I have consumed a vat of bugs after most concoctions like that. The skins of blueberries are especially tenacious.

    I loved this.

    Having my own issues with judging others, this was a gentle reminder of getting the log out of my own eye BEFORE getting the speck out of other’s eyes…

  3. Veronica Mitchell

    So true. I can pretty much count on one thing in life: if I start complaining about someone else’s flaws, I discover those same flaws in myself. It’s embarrassingly reliable.

  4. Phillip Platz

    Kind of reminds me of Matthew 7:3

    “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam that is in your own eye?

  5. Tara

    Great post, I love moments like this!

  6. Jenni

    So true!

    I found you through Meredith and am loving your blog.

  7. Kelly @ Love Well

    I made my son a purple smoothie this morning (frozen blueberries and bananas, blueberry yogurt, cranberry juice — it was all I had — and ice).

    He requested it. But when it was ready, he wouldn’t drink it.

    I wonder what kind of spiritual application I can get out of that?

    Probably, don’t believe everything a four-year-old says.

    (Great story, Jen. Let he who has no purple smoothie on his forehead cast the first stone, eh?)

  8. Mary@notbefore7

    Perfect analogy! So true.

  9. Samantha

    This was just the reminder I needed today to step back and look at my own issues before I judge someone else for theirs. I’m heading to the bathroom to wipe off my smoothie mustache. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. kris

    loved it…we are big smoothie makers/drinkers around here and BOY was it a good reminder…much more relateable to my day to day than the ol PLANK vs SPECK one in Mt! thanks!!

  11. Heather

    Awesome post–Perfect illustration.

  12. Ajeesh Koshy

    i found the post boring n repetitive, until i read the last paragraph!

    it indeed touched me… made me think…

    gud 1 jen….

  13. Jenny

    Haha, guess we need to be mindful of “the blender full of smoothie in our own eye” before judging the cup in someone else’s”

    That was actually pretty lame, it sounded a lot better in my mind…

  14. asnipofgoodness

    Well said my smoothie drinking sista, well said. While we wipe that messiness off our own faces, it would do us well to then help the others wipe theirs, judgement free! The analogy continues….

  15. Amanda

    I am so glad to see the you turned away from an atheist ideal to one that includes God…
    but I have a question for you.
    How do you get to Heaven?

    Can’t wait to hear your responce.
    God bless-

  16. Anne Marie


    You will find that most Catholics, those who are well versed in the faith as well as those who may not have as much training but simply love the lord, have a healthy respect for Jesus’ position as the ultimate authority and the final word as to who will enter heaven. In other words we don’t “get to heaven”, Jesus brings us to heaven if HE has prepared a place for us AND we have not rejected his gift.

    The Nicene Creed which all Catholics world wide pray every Sunday enforces this belief with these words. “We believe in one God…and in his son only Jesus Christ…he will come again to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end”. His judgment will determine our place in heaven.

    With this we put our trust in the lord and follow the Psalmist admonition to “Be Still and Know that I am God”. You will find that Catholics in general refrain from elevating themselves to the judgment seat reserved exclusively for God.

    As we stumble along on earth we generally strive to live the gospel message in particular the beatitudes knowing that Jesus tells us in John 15:14 you are my friends if you do what I command. In other words Jesus tells us that action on our part is required if we are his friends.

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