Friday, June 14, 2013

a bitter glory

Some times, I do not think I pray very big things. Some times, I do not think I ask for all that much from God.

Some times, I get the impression God does not really care what I am asking for, but he does care about my best interest, and his plan. That is hard to swallow.

I have recently had a small dream, a small prayer, a hope, taken away from me. It wasn't even something I had outright asked God for, it was something I always assumed would be there. Those roads were closed off to me, as the song says, while my back was turned.

When it was taken, I was crushed, and a part of me felt a little betrayed and more than abandoned by God. Thankfully, some wonderful sisters in Christ from my church held my heart close to theirs and said - "Cry out. He can handle it. Ask the questions. Let your heart break. He will not leave you."

So I did. I sat on the floor and cried. I cried praying at night with my husband. I ran hard and harder, looking for some peace. I shut my Bible. I opened my Bible. I shut it again.

Strange things started happening. It wasn't big, it wasn't small. As I turned to God and said, "Anything but this," he turned to me and said, "But this, this is for my glory." I have had so many blessings poured out on me over the past few weeks and every single one I was willing to give back to God for what he had taken.

God was not interested in negotiating this-blessing-for-that-one with me. He is patient. He is kind. He did not turn from me in my distress - he handled my crying, my brokenness. But he did not budge.

The more I resisted, the more glory I saw around me. A bitter glory. A glory despite my pain, a glory that still included me, while I was still hanging out on the floor.

In it all, the more glory I see, the more I see of Him. The more I see of him, the better I do at accepting his plan while dealing with my hurt. The more my bitterness turns to praise.

I don't quite understand it. I can't really wrap my head around it except for this one thing - grace. Grace to love me as a daughter when I'm broken. Grace to work with me despite my resistance. And grace to pull me forward into a place of glory.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Twinkle, twinkle cupcakes

(clearly, Duff could have done better)
I get asked to make desserts a lot for events. I make some pretty delicious stuff, I'm not going to lie. I do my best to make it a little pretty, but I'm not Duff from Ace of Cakes.

So when I was asked to bring a nursery-rhymed themed dessert to a baby shower, I sort of panicked. If you say, "Hey, it's a red/black/white theme", I can work with that. Black & white polka dot cupcake wrappers, red sprinkles - no problem. But this one really left me stumped.

To complicate it, this shower is for one my dearest friends in the whole world, and probably my oldest friend. We've known each other for, well, over 20 years. Not going all out was not an option. However, I am not artistic. I make tasty treats... but I cannot draw a stick figure.

"How I wonder" was the theme of how I was going to pull this off
After considering my options, I went with Twinkle, Twinkly cupcakes, because I thought they'd be easiest to translate into reality. The cake I used is a "homemade" white cake with a sprinkles, since I know how much the mom-to-be loves candy. With light blue frosting, silver and gold star sprinkles, I knew I would not have to roll out fondant stars, mold chocolate into shapes, or take too long to assemble. I decided to make cupcake toppers to make the theme very clear.


The credit for the toppers really needs to go to a very kind friend from church who makes cards. She lent me her punches for circles and stars and even threw in glittery paper. All I had to do was assemble.

Looking at it all now, I'm pretty proud. And mostly, I cannot wait to celebrate this new life with my friend. Their story of adoption is so close to my heart, and I feel like we have prayed for years for this - it is amazing to see the fruition.

Recipes -
The cake recipe is Recipe Girl's White Wedding Cake, with 1 cup of rainbow sprinkles thrown in. I know the "base" for this a box mix, but let me explain 3 wonderful things about this recipe. (1) due to the stabilizers in the box mix, this cake travels really well  (2) it makes 36 cupcakes, a great amount  (3) it tastes really good.  http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/03/16/white-wedding-cake-cupcakes/

Frosting was a basic vanilla buttercream with normal blue gel food coloring. Go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gale-gand/quick-vanilla-buttercream-frosting-recipe/index.html if you need a recipe to follow.

I found most my star sprinkles at Joann's or Michael's. Some times I order large quantities online.

The results?
Not too shabby for a girl who can't draw stick figures!