When my husband was little, his mom looked at her boys (four at the time) and said: “Pick your cake and stick with it!” So each of them picked a favorite cake and every year, that was the cake they had on their birthdays. It was a wise move for a woman who had four boys by the time she turned 21.
My husband picked carrot cake.
When we first got married, I don’t think I had ever made a carrot cake. But I began that year and have made one every year since. It is a production of sugar and oil; of carrots and coconut; of pineapple and nuts. It is delicious. Truly delicious.
Yesterday evening I went out to buy all the ingredients. As I was paying for them, I looked at the woman at the checkout counter and said “I think I might make the best carrot cake in the world!” She burtst out laughing and relayed her story of trying to make a carrot cake, wondering why it didn’t turn out right only to realize she had forgotten the carrots. At home I began the process — first whipping up eggs to a light yellow, then adding the other ingredients until it was ready to bake. It now sits on our kitchen counter, a splendid golden brown, ready to be iced with homemade cream cheese icing.
I have noticed that the older my husband and I get, the less interested we are in celebrating birthdays. Yet, in so many ways, we have so much more to celebrate now than when we were younger.
We can celebrate the confidence that comes when you realize your security cannot be in your looks or your physical strength; when you ruefully laugh at another grey hair and an extra chin. We know when we look in the mirror that we don’t have to believe everything that we see.
We can celebrate a growing family, a grandchild who even at two months old lights up our life, bringing giggles and so much joy.
We can celebrate our children – amazing human beings in their own right. Each uniquely gifted, each walking a journey that includes both joy and pain.
We can celebrate the extraordinary friendships we have with both family and friends — some who have walked by our side for years and others who have more recently come into our lives.
We can celebrate the miles and kilometers that we have traveled; the countries we have traversed; the people we have met along the way. We can celebrate the journeys that are still to come, the adventures that are awaiting us.
We can celebrate that we don’t give up. Ever. We are doggedly determined to continue living through the hard; determined to love better and learn more.
We can celebrate that we know how important it is to express love, to walk through the hard stuff, to support each other when life gets stormy and forgive each other when the inevitable conflicts and opinions start to choke out compassion and love.
Most of all, we can celebrate God’s great kindness to us; celebrate a God that has promised to sustain us through old age and beyond.
So Happy Birthday Cliff!
Thank you for bringing the world so much laughter and joy. May we celebrate well today!
Note: We can also celebrate Carrot Cake!
- 2 cups grated carrots (I put them in food processor with pineapple juice)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 cup crushed pineapple
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Put carrots in food processor or equivalent and add some of the pineapple juice. Blend and set aside. Beat up those eggs! When they are whipped to a frenzy add in the light brown sugar. Beat that up until it is smooth and perfect looking. Then add white sugar and do the same thing. Add the oil and beat until blended. Add in cinnamon, vanilla, baking powder and soda. Add 2 cups of flour and blend till smooth. Then add mashed carrots, coconut, pineapple and walnuts. Mixture will be dense. Put into greased 9″ by 11″ pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and then frost with your favorite cream cheese icing.