Baking With the Best Ingredient in Mind

Encouragement Wrapped in a Bow

by Cathy Baker

Remember this post from 2008?

  • Starbucks has the Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • The Beacon has the Hash-A-Plenty
  • My late grandmother, Elsie Knighton, had her egg custard pie

Like those “signature” dishes, my other grandmother, aka “Ma-Ma”, was well known for her pound cake in Fairforest,
SC, back in the day. For as long as I can remember, she baked at
least one pound cake a week. She sliced it into thirds, wrapped each section in
wax paper and added one last shiny wrap before delivering her thirds to the sick, lonely, and elderly. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t pay close attention to either grandmother’s mad cooking skills. In fact, years ago, I bought a rubber stamp that said, Don’t worry. I didn’t bake it myself, in hopes of putting the recipient’s mind at ease. I saw no hope in sight until I received my shiny red Kitchen-Aid mixer. It revved up my baking engine as well as my interest to find my own “signature something.” You know, the kind of recipe that comes to mind as quickly as your firstborn’s name.

I’ve tried several pound cake recipes (including MaMa’s)
only to have the pans sabotage my efforts. Yes, it was the pan. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

However, I’m confident that a day is coming when I’ll say goodbye to the rubber stamp and say hello to a tag that reads, Baked with Love, by Cathy.

My “Signature Something” baked in vintage Pyrex

Score! I may have discovered my signature something this weekend—pumpkin bread with a brown sugar glaze. The only obstacle? The glaze is so yummilicious you’ll want to ditch the drizzle and smother your bread like it’s a blanket. Brian called it “the kind of dish that makes you want to scrape the plate clean.”

And yet—where both grandmother’s were concerned—their signature somethings were far more than a delight to the palate. Each cake and every pie was baked with one thing in mind: other people, the best ingredient of all.

Do you have a signature something? A go-to dish that you share with others? I’d love to hear about it and if you’d like to share the recipe, I’d be honored to include it on my blog in the near future, along with my signature something. 

Whatever you do,  
work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your
You are serving the Lord Christ. 
Colossians 3:23, 24

Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Spiritual Heritage

by Cathy Baker

{ Day 30 }

One Saturday morning, several years ago, I headed to my hometown of Spartanburg to visit family, as well as Jayne, a woman who had advertised free liriope in Craig’s List. 

As we put shovel to dirt, I learned that Jayne had attended the same church as my paternal grandparents for many years. She was also the church secretary for ten of those years. Her face lit up when I mentioned my grandmother’s name. That happened a lot.

While taking a break on Jayne’s front porch she excused herself and returned a few minutes later with a wide grin. In her hands were some things kept from her time at Fairforest Baptist Church. At one point, she carefully pulled out a manilla folder. She told me the folder held one of her greatest treasures. When the folder opened, I immediately recognized the handwriting. It was Ma-Ma’s. 

Ma-Ma had written Jayne a small note, encouraging her teaching efforts when Jayne taught her class for several months. Attached to Ma-Ma’s note was a piece of notebook paper filled with handwritten names and phone numbers.

Shuping and Alberta Scott

With tears welling up in her eyes, Jayne shared how she
had mentioned in class one Sunday that the ladies needed to pray for one
another on a regular basis. On the following Sunday, Ma-Ma handed her
what is now tucked away in Jayne’s treasured file.

Ma-Ma was a prayer warrior up until she drew her last breath.

Jayne also shared how my grandfather, Pa-Pa,
would come to the church office and
give anonymously to different missions and needs. He never wanted to be
recognized or applauded for his giving.

It is a priceless gift to inherit such a spiritual heritage. May our grandchildren and great-grandchildren be able to say the same in the years to come. 

I hope you enjoyed the above post, originally shared in 2009. Since then, Ma-Ma went home to be with the Lord. Thankfully, my spiritual heritage stemmed from both sides of my family. All four grandparents were godly, beautiful examples of Christ. 

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your
It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.”

Steve Saint

Staying in Step with the Spirit: The choices we make today will impact the steps of future generations to come.

Heavenly Father, help us to realize the ripple effect of our words, actions, and thought-life as we seek You for a covering of wisdom. (James 1:5) 


When Friends Were Friends For Life

Kayla Cron
  •  I remember the day she was born.
  • I remember the day(s) I caught her eating crackers off the other children’s plates if they turned their head for a split second (and the adorable unrepentant grin she displayed when I caught her eye.)
  • I remember the night her #10 jersey was displayed on the Brashier gym walls in recognition of the 1308 points she scored during her b-ball years there. Yes, 1308 points! (I’m still convinced it was the glow-in-the-dark b-ball we gave her years ago that was the catalyst for such proficiency!) 
  • I remember the invitation we received this past week for her high school graduation and the cookout that would follow. 

family has been an integral part of our lives for over 20 years now. Her
mom, Teresa, and I co-taught a women’s Sunday School class and bible
studies for years and have remained best friend’s ever since. All of
Teresa’s children feel much like my own. Her four girls feel more like
daughters and I suppose they always will. 

 Rach, Christi, Kayla, Steph, and Andrew

As we sat around the table last night during the graduation celebration, I couldn’t help but think of my grandmother, aka Ma-Ma (my dad’s mother) and the many life-long friends she made during her 60+ years at Fairforest Baptist Church. Throughout my life I watched as she not only loved her friends, but their children as well. I think Ma-Ma especially gravitated towards the daughters, seeing how she had her hands full with four boys at home! 

Today’s “church years” don’t seem mirror those of my grandmother’s, when people remained in one church their entire lives. Nowadays, prayer partners part and families follow. 

Yet, nights like last Thursday remind me that we, as the Church, are one regardless of the walls we choose to sit within on Sunday mornings. Relationships can last far beyond the goodbyes. It requires a little intentionality and sacrifice but it’s worth every effort. Our lives are richer for knowing Kayla (Miss Graduate!), her parents, and siblings, as well as other friends we no longer attend church with but remained connected to. 

I’m grateful that in some ways my friendships—and the friendships developed with their children—mirror those of my grandmother’s days. 

How about you? Did God bring anyone in particular to mind while reading this post? If so, I encourage you to make the effort to touch base with them. It may just be God’s perfect timing at work!   

The next best thing to being wise oneself
is to live in a circle of those who are. – C.S. Lewis

Honoring a Life Well-Lived

Shuping and Alberta Scott

We celebrated Alberta Scott, my paternal grandmother’s, life yesterday morning at her church, Fairforest Baptist. Years ago, she had chosen her music and Scripture verses. It was simple, yet very meaningful. I couldn’t have agreed with the pastor more when, at the end of the service, he said with every confidence that the first words she heard were “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Many lives were blessed as a result of hers.

I purposefully had not shared the funeral information with my different email groups because I didn’t want anyone to feel that I was expecting them to make the trip to Spartanburg for her funeral. So, imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw my friend Lesa, aka “Fruity” Frady, coming through the doors with another friend, Shay, from First Baptist. Shay had worked with my dad years ago and now she and Lesa (friend of almost 20 years!) are neighbors.

I had just recovered from that surprise when another friend, Sandra, walked through the doors. Sandra was in the Ladies’ Class at Temple Baptist and now she’s in our class at First Baptist. She’s a single woman who works for a not-so-nice law firm in Greenville. Because I was aware of her delicate work situation, I kept asking her how she had managed to take time off to drive over for the visitation/funeral. She finally shared, with a smile on her face, that she had worked overtime the night before, would work overtime that night, and again tonight, to make up for the time lost. I was overwhelmed by her sacrifice… and still am.

It was nice gathering with the entire family for lunch after the graveside service, but I left wondering why in the world families rarely gather like that anymore unless there’s a funeral. I’m hoping that will change.

Life truly does fly by but a life well-lived resonates throughout generations.

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