An answered prayer. I made two birthday cakes for two very special people! Thank you for your prayers. I cannot express how much your prayers have meant. I am on the mend; however, from what I understand, it's going to be a while before I'm completely back to normal.
I made an applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting for my son. And the picture above is the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting I made for my daughter. That's the one I'm going to write about today.
This recipe is not one I've made before. Sarah picked it out from her cookbook. We made it together. It was special. I used a square cake pan. I know. It doesn't look square. I'll get to that in a bit. When I was flipping it over on the rack, only some of the cake came out. I was bummed. My wonderful husband cut the remaining pieces out of the pan for me. I had a plan, though. I was convinced I didn't have to make another one. I had a vision of piling all the pieces on top. I was convinced that I could make it work.
I knew that I wanted to have a circle cake, so it would fit on the cake plate. I needed something to trace. I used the cover of the round storage container that holds our peanut butter. We don't keep our natural peanut butter in the jar. One of my brilliant friends recommended mixing it, so the oils aren't all at the top making a huge mess every time we make a sandwich. Brilliant. I cut my cake. That went relatively well.
I didn't really want to make a double batch of frosting. I knew that I needed something to make all my pieces "stick" together. Since I had the peanut butter out, I slathered a layer on top of the circle piece. It was a spur of the moment decision. I carefully placed the biggest cake pieces on top. Then I started filling it in with little pieces. They weren't stuck together by anything. I just piled pieces (crumbs really) on top. I told myself, at least it will taste good.
Next, it needed to be frosted. Now the color of the frosting was slightly lighter than the cake, so the crumbs that were inevitably coming off and mixing with the frosting were so obvious. Not to mention that the top of the cake was not even. It was pretty bumpy. Don't forget it was just a bunch of cake pieces on there. I kept telling myself, at least it will taste good.
Since it was bumpy on top and I could clearly see the crumbs in the frosting, I decided to look through the cabinets to find something to put on top. I just wanted to distract from the bumps. I had no desire to go out to the store. I found some brown sugar. I sprinkled some of that on top. I found a few other things to sprinkle on top. I wasn't convinced that it looked any better. At least it will taste good. And maybe it won't look so bad in the pictures that I take to remember this day forever.
My husband said that it looked pretty nice. To be honest I thought he was being nice. We had a nice slice of chocolate cake after dinner that night. It did taste good. Especially with the peanut butter.
But here's the strange part. We had some people over later on, and they remarked how nice the cake looked. And that was after it was cut. I'll admit that I was a little surprised, because I knew how not put together it was on the inside.
I felt like it was all smoke and mirrors. It might look good, but it's just a big mess.
It got me thinking. For those of us who are regular attenders to Sunday worship services, do we feel like our lives as we present them on Sunday morning are all smoke and mirrors? We might look like everything's a-ok, but it really isn't.
For those of us who are not regular attenders, do we feel like we'd have to be all smoke and mirrors to fit in at church? Does that become a roadblock?
I know that the answer may be yes to both. And I know that our God is so much bigger than that. He knows it all. There is no way that we can be all smoke and mirrors to Him who created us. Our church should be a reflection of that.
Let us be a group of people who doesn't feel like we have to be all smoke and mirrors, when we enter the church building (or in our case the town hall). Let us be a group of people who can be honest enough to our friends and family that we don't have pretend that we live perfect lives. We are just a group of people who recognize that we are so in need of a Savior, Jesus. And we desire to follow our Savior, Jesus. Together.
I have this friend. She's the most honest person I know. I mean that in a good way. She's warm and endearing and is willing to say what's on her mind. In a good way. She's a Christian, and she's just plain honest.
Completely changing the subject. Or maybe not. Can I be honest? I'm pretty good at the stiff upper lip. Most of the time. But I'm going to be honest. I need some prayer.
Four weeks ago I got a tickle in my throat. It turned into a cough. Then it just got worse from there. I just went to the doctor for the second time yesterday. The last time I went to the doctor for sickness was, like, a decade ago. I have pneumonia. And now I'm starting my second round of antibiotics as well as cough medecine. Can I be honest? I don't want to be sick anymore.
I'm trying to not wallow in self pity. I've tried to be optimistic. I know that I'm not the only one who is sick. From what I hear a lot of people are. But can I be honest? I want to be healthy. For my children. For my husband. For my church.
I am going to ask you all to pray for me. I just want to be healthy. My little Daniel is turning one on Saturday. I want to make him a cake. Can you pray that I'll be able to make him one? My little Sarah is turning three on Monday. Can you pray that I'll be able to make her a cake? I know I could buy them cakes, but I'd really like to be able to bake them myself.
I want to be honest. This hasn't been easy. But I have to say that I'm so thankful to be in a church family that has already been so good to my family. We've been eating a lot of yummy meals. The family has chipped in to help.
Can I be honest? This is one of the best parts about being in a church family. There's so much to be said for being a part of a community that is just "there" for you. So, if you needed a reason to come check First Baptist out, there is one. Out of many. To be honest we'd love to have you! You don't have to have life all together or figured out to check us out.
And if you're sick, please let me know. To be honest, I'd like to pray for you.
Sorry about not writing for a while. I’m back. I’m full of new ideas for new posts.
I have found that a lot changes after becoming a mom. Here’s been my new challenge: praying while taking care of a toddler. I find myself keeping one eye open while praying (anywhere and everywhere). I’m too afraid of what might happen, if I don’t keep my open eye on my little one.
This has been on my mind a lot lately. Sometimes it bothers me that I can’t shut both eyes. Oh sure, I pray when I’m alone. In order to do that I get up early, but then I have to keep both eyes open for fear I’ll fall asleep. I admit it. I have fallen asleep while praying. Sorry God. Anyway, I feel like my attention is diverted away from God, when I keep one eye open.
I think, though, God’s been using that struggle in my life as a reminder. Whenever I find myself in this predicament, it has sort of become this reminder to me. In order to have stuff to pray for I have to know what is going on – what needs to be prayed about. In order for stuff to be prayed about I have to make time to pray. Every time I pray with one eye open, it reminds me that I’ve got to know what’s going on in this world. I need to keep my eyes “open.” It also reminds me that I can’t stop praying. I need to keep my eyes “closed.”
God desires for us to come to Him with prayers, so I’ll pray with one eye open.
The picture below is our fridge earlier this week.
We NEEDED to go shopping. One of the major adjustments for us moving to Vermont was grocery shopping. Before Vermont we were within ten minutes of five major grocery stores. Now it takes a while to get to any larger grocery stores.
We were supposed to go grocery shopping early last week. We thought, “Well, we can make it ‘til Saturday, since we’ll be in Lebanon anyway.” Saturday plans were cancelled. Then we thought, “Well, we can make it ‘til Monday, since we’re going up to Gove Hill.” Monday plans were cancelled. Tuesday wouldn’t work with the town meeting. Wednesday didn’t work with meetings and such. I finally went shopping yesterday!
Our relationship with God can go in a similar direction. We start to get busy. We tell ourselves, “Tomorrow I’ll read my Bible.” The next day we tell ourselves, “I’ll spend time with God praying tomorrow. I’ll have more time then.” Before you know it a month has gone by and we feel like we’re running on low (like my fridge).
Lent is beginning on Wednesday. Lent is the period of time that we prepare for Easter. Lent is a good time to refocus ourselves on cultivating our relationship with God. After the kids go to bed we can give up one show that we kind of sort of like and read Philippians. We can wake up a half hour early and thank God for all He’s done in our lives. We can unplug from technology for an afternoon and enjoy God’s creation by skiing. We can take some steps to carve out time with God.
Here’s a prayer that can get you started:
you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
(Psalm 63:1-8 NIV)
I've fallen in love all over again. It's probably not what you think. I am so enjoying skiing again. It's been years since I've hit the slopes. This winter I'm loving the fact that I can go out. Last week I went out on my own for about an hour. I would prefer to go with someone else; however, it is what it is (a common phrase in our house). I prayed that God would provide me with opportunities to talk about my faith to other people on the chair lift.
God does answer prayers.
I spoke to a guy who asked me if I was skiing all day. I said no. One answer led to another question. I got to tell this guy on the chair lift about living a life of faith in Vermont. I spoke to another guy who suggested I get new skis. I politely told him that I would need to save up first. All in all I got a chance to share with a few others about what God has done in my life. I hope God can use that.
Yesterday I enjoyed skiing in warm weather. I prayed the same prayer as last week. I talked to a few people, but the conversations never led to faith. I wish they had. I also don't want to push something if God doesn't seem to be answering my prayer. I talked to a guy who told me that he lived in the "regular Londonderry." At least I got a good laugh.
It may seem like talking about our faith is as difficult as pouring molasses after it's been in the refridgerator (yes, I've used that image before). It doesn't have to be. Prayer first. Again I say prayer first. We can get in the way of ourselves. That's why I say prayer first. I may seem like a broken record. Anyway, I fallen in love all over again with skiing. I also love how skiing on my own lets me talk to others about my faith.
This is written by Kathleen Blackey, follower of Jesus and co-pastor at First Baptist Church.