Brad Hall

Even though I've gone off the rails a couple of times the past month, I have been trying to stick with my New Year's diet that I started as my New Year's Resolution.

I got a little off track during the week of the ice storm because we lost electricity, and so I wasn't going to be picky about what I ate.

And then I really fell off the wagon celebrating my birthday by eating a lot of delicious food and a lot of delicious carbs all weekend long.

However, this might sound a bit odd but the biggest tempter that I've faced on a regular basis waits for me in the parking lot every other night as I'm leaving the office.

See, as part of my diet, I try to limit what I eat late at night, and try to drink a lot of water when I feel the urge to grab a snack. So the result is that I often have a strong appetite at 1 or 2 a.m. when I'm heading home after my shift.

Oftentimes, it's no big deal because I can just go home and go to sleep, and save myself a few calories. But on some nights, I get hit right in the nostrils by the yummy smells that come from the Bimbo bakery just down the road.

It isn't every night that the aroma is that strong, but on some nights you can't help but get a whiff, and it sure does make me hungry. All I want to do is find the closest steakhouse and order all of the dinner rolls and butter that they have.

And since there aren't any steakhouses open at 2 in the morning, and since I'd probably get escorted out if I tried to break into the bakery, I instead go home and grab any snack I can find to satisfy the appetite that the bakery has given me.

It also brings to mind a couple other times when I'd pass by similar bakeries and factories that had delicious scents radiating from them.

As a child, I always rolled down the window on the way home from school to see if I could smell any chocolate chip cookies being baked at the cookie factory.

Then years later when I was in college, I'd often drive by the Jif peanut butter factory in Lexington on my way to work.

Both smelled wonderfully and I couldn't help but be reminded of them now that I'm working so close to a bakery.

You don't really think about it as such, but in addition to sights and sounds, certain scents can bring back old memories.

The smell of old books takes me right back to the visits I'd make to my elementary school library.

The smell of a kerosene heater reminds me of the days I'd spend at my cousin's house when she babysat me.

And the smell of sunscreen reminds me of our family vacations to the beach.

Scents and fragrances can also have an effect on you and can influence you just as much as anything else can.

As I've already discussed, the smell of food can certainly make you hungry and make you want to go find something to eat.

Pretty soon, we'll be smelling fresh cut lawns, and that will make me want to get outside and do some yard work of my own.

And there's an entire industry of perfumes, colognes, sprays and deodorants designed to give you a more pleasing scent to those around you.

In the Bible, Paul wants us to be aware that our "fragrance" as followers of Jesus should be noticeable to everyone we come in contact with. Our aroma should be so obvious that no one should even need to ask, "Are you a Christian?"

If we're being honest, though, we might confess that our "fragrance" is not often pleasant. Too many times we let foul language come from our mouths, and let our foul tempers get the best of us.

But it should be our desire that people say, "A Christ follower was here," whenever we leave a room.

2 Corinthians 14-17 says, " Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

Let's be thankful that through God our situation is never hopeless. He can always use us to spread the aroma of the Good News wherever we may find ourselves.

If we just stay focused on carrying out the Lord's will, then everyone will sense his presence wherever we may go.

Brad Hall is the nighttime editor at the Times-Tribune. He can be contacted at bhall@thetimestribune.com.

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