Change Coming Means it’s Time to Bake
“Though your beginning was small,
your future will flourish indeed.”
~ Job 8:7
“You only have two months to cook for me, Mom,” said the baby. He’s moving out to do a co-op for a year for his engineering degree – over an hour away.
Only two months to cook – not the year and a half I’d thought. Being a mom has taught me to be more agile and comfortable with making quick schedule changes. I’ve asked him to make me a list of what he wants me to cook – I know granola bars and banana pudding are on the list, along with my hot chocolate recipe. My two shrimp dishes. He loves anything steak – so that, too. Rice and Pasta with most everything! He’s an oatmeal guy, but that’s something that he and his dad do.
No, we won’t have an empty nest. One moved back home for a while, but he’s quite independent. He does his own cooking and meal prep, so in about two months, I will be cooking really for just two. . .
We have been practicing for over a year on how to eat differently. . . to eat without the rice and the pasta. To eat low carb on the edge of no-carb – and the temptation to not dip the spoon in some cajun rice and spaghetti won’t be part of a menu plan. Changes at the right time are healthy for all involved.
But it will be different. No chocolate milk glasses littered around the kitchen throughout the day. This past summer, he was on a mission trip in Oregon for two months. For two weeks, I held back from texting to see how he was doing. I didn’t want to hover in any physical way, though I hovered through prayer. After two weeks, I texted, “How’s it going?”
He texted back, “It’s hard.”
My mom heart paused, wanting to fix it, but not knowing what it was that needed fixing, wondering what could be so challenging that this saucy baby of the family would admit, “it’s hard.”
I prayed, waited four hours before I responded to his text. If I answered too soon, he might think I was worrying, panicking. Four hours later, I texted simply, “What’s going on?” Translation to what I was running through in my mind: “What are you facing that’s so challenging you’re admitting to me it’s hard. . . will you be courageous enough to stick it out for two whole months? What is this Great Hard?”
The answer came fairly quickly, “I have to clean my own chocolate milk glasses.”
. . . and I laughed and thanked God. This son came home two months later, carrying himself with more assurance, talking with a greater maturity, his faith more deeply grounded.
The chocolate milk glasses at The Blue Cotton House, though, still need cleaning for the next 60 days!.
Yeah, he’s moving out. He’s going to be cleaning his own chocolate milk glasses without anyone reminding him. He’s going to be buying his own chocolate syrup. . . the baby. . . it seems like just yesterday he was learning to walk, and this day felt like it was 100 years away. He told me a about a year ago, “You need to up your game, Mom. You only have two more years. What about those granola bars and those bacon and egg sandwiches on toast with ketchup?” 100 years, two years, 60 days. . .
The same week, the 4th son received a job offer, starting when he graduates with his MBA in December. My husband thinks it’s important to celebrate both the big and the little things. We’ve been celebrating these opportunities, cheering on their walks out our front door into their independence, into the life God designed for them before they were born. Celebrations always start with a menu for me. . .
I have a Blue Cotton Celebration cake that I’ve cooked with over 3 decades. This is my new-updated version: Muddy’s Chocolate Celebration Cake. It was The Groom’s Cake for my 4th son’s wedding this summer. It’s been Birthday cakes and Wedding Shower cakes. It’s been a Friendship cake. It’s a “You Got a Job” cake, and it’s going to be an “I’m Going to Miss You” cake. Maybe a “My Baby’s Grown Up” cake, a “Life is Changing” cake, even a “Thank You, God” cake. In all scenarios, it’s an “I love you cake.”
Changes, new beginnings. . . I always feel so small at the beginning of something new – new lessons to learn, new people to meet, seasons to walk through. . . Change is coming for me, for this youngest son. I believe God has a plan for both of us to flourish in the changes ahead – He’s had them since before I was born. Instead of mourning the nest emptying, I am relying on God’s promise to continue growing, to flourish. . . there is cause for all around the table to celebrate – the happenings and our faithful God who provided them!
What a good, good God we have!
Muddy’s Chocolate Celebration Cake
1 Box chocolate cake mix
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup water
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Irish Cream
1 Cup Sour Cream
3 large eggs
1)Place all dry ingredients into the main mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.
2) Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. The wet ingredients don’t necessarily have to be combined before adding to the dry ingredients.
3) Add to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for two minutes. Be sure to make sure the ingredients at the bottom of the bowl are combined, too.
4) Pour into two 8×2 inch pans (or 5-6 4×2 inch pans), greased and lined with parchment paper, filling each pan until over half full.
5) Bake at 325 ◦ F until done (check at 35 minutes).
6) After the cake has cooled, put in the freezer for at least an hour, until firm. It will be much easier to icing.
Karen’s Chocolate Icing:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
7 Cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Beat butter and cream cheese till fluffy.
- Add cocoa powdered and vanilla. Beat till combined.
- Add one cup powdered sugar at a time until done, incorporating heavy whipping cream halfway through. If icing seems still too stiff to spread easily, add a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
Remember Me Monday: #81 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessings
Sweet Tea & Friends Monthly Link-up
You brought tears to my eyes with your thoughts today, dear friend. What a blessing to know that our Father has planned all the changes we and our loved ones will walk through. Thank you for this encouragement! And I pray that He will continue to encourage you as well.
Thank you, Bettie! I am so excited for God’s plans for you – Congratulations on your book release! I look forward to reading it!
Maryleigh, thank you so much for this post. Our two are grown, married, and with children of their own. But I still needed the reminder that our God is with us in the middle of every change – change in seasons, change in schedules, change in circumstances. How precious is the thought that He is with us, in the midst of every and all changes. And that cake … looks delicious! I definitely want to try this one! Blessings, friend!
Knowing that He is with us and knows what needs doing makes all the difference! So glad He has plans for us to flourish in every season! Let me know how you like the recipe!
Aww! Blessings as you anticipate another change. They can be so hard—but chocolate cake and Jesus help!
So true! Jesus and chocolate cake make all the difference!
oh my gosh that’s some gorgeous cake, girl!! my husband’s birthday is on Friday. sure wish you lived closer …
OH, I’d definitely help a friend out if you lived closer! Happy Birthday to your husband!
Oh, Maryleigh, this post resonates. Our youngest is a senior in high school this year. I’ve been trying to wrap my thoughts around the fact that, quite possibly, a year from now, only my husband and I will live in our home. After so many years of boy laughter, fights, tears, joy, hugs . . . it’s going to be different. I love that you and your husband make a point of celebrating the big and small things in your family’s life. What a beautiful legacy you are leaving them and their families. Thanks for sharing those recipes. 🙂 They look beyond delicious!
God has a flourishing plan for us, Jeanne! I look forward to hearing what God does with the new season you will be entering! It will be awesome!
I can relate to this! My youngest son graduated last year and our “baby” is a high school Senior this fall. I’m already feeling the loss but God is good!
Thanks for linking up with us at G&T!
God has a flourishing plan! Enjoy this beautiful season – the senior year is so special!
That looks delicious! And as I ponder my own birdie leaving the nest next year I can so relate!
I love keeping up with your daughter’s senior year! She shines! God has plans for flourishing – for all of us!
A beautiful post Maryleigh, one that brought many memories to mind with each of our daughters.
It’s just hubby & I now, has been for a long while & we are content.
Your cake looks very delicious.
God makes room in each season for content! I’m walking in faith about that! Thanks for coming by Jennifer!
Love, love, love this post, Maryleigh (and not just because it involves chocolate cake)! My older girl turned 21 today and younger daughter will be 18 in a month, so lots of changes ahead around here too. You’re so right about pausing along the journey to celebrate the big and small milestones and mile markers.
God has flourishing plans – for our children – and for us – regardless of our ages and seasons! Learning to celebrate the big and small is part of that flourishing!
The cake looks amazing! And the text about the chocolate milk glasses made me smile!
I’m still smiling over the chocolate milk glasses, too!
I Love visiting at your place. I always find such encouragement in your words.
Oh dear, that sounds sooo yummy.
Thank you bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friend.
So glad you stopped by, Paula! Thank you for your encouragement! Shalom! ~ Maryleigh
I also have to tell you. This made me teary it was so touching to me.
It makes me teary when I think about it! When he was a baby, 22 years seemed an eternity away. Now that it’s here, it feels like its flown!Thank you, friend, for understanding!
Count me in the crowd of those with wet eyes as I read this post. We’ve been empty nesters for awhile, but the sentiment remains close to the heart, regardless of how long ago it’s been. I’m glad you had a little longer with your “baby” and that you’re getting to enjoy the independence of an older back home for a season too.
And that cake! What a beautiful and yummy tradition. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I’ll be featuring your post this Friday on my blog at the Grace and Truth linkup.
Lisa, I’m not sure we’ll ever be complete empty nesters – two of my grandkiddos live in our neighborhood and I help out with them. The baby said yesterday, “It’s like you still have a two year old.” LOL – toys everywhere, 1,000 questions – while the one who returned home is like a cat – you rarely see him. I’m fortunate that most of our boys walk through our doors at least once a week. Thank you for your graciousness, Lisa – I’m honored to be featured on your blog at the Grace and Truth linkup! Shalom, my friend! ~ Maryleigh