The Fragrance of Love: Family

by Cathy Baker

Families are like fudge… mostly sweet with a few nuts. Author Unknown

I LOVE my family. 

No naming names here Uncle Jim but I find this quote to be quite true, at least in my family—and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My dad’s mom (Ma-Ma) was a master-maker of that particular type of chocolate concoction, offering up a butter-like consistency with an ever so slight crunch of sugar.

I remember Ma-Ma’s arthritic fingers carefully stirring chocolate chips, vanilla, marshmallows, and nuts in her white Pyrex bowl.  

When God handcrafted our family He melded together a unique blend of personalities, strengths and weaknesses, much like He did with yours. 

In God’s sovereignty, He knits us in the mother’s womb of His choosing, for His purposes and ultimate glory.

Growing up, the dreaded part of the fudge-making process was the constant stirring of sugar and milk until it came to a rolling boil. If not carefully monitored, liquids quickly scorched, leaving behind wasted ingredients. 

The Waltons and other idealistic family shows left many craving that type of harmonic setting for their own families. Truth is, God has used the rolling-boil point of familial situations to teach me deeper aspects of my walk with Him, producing a peace that far surpasses that found on Walton’s mountain. In Him, nothing we experience as a family is truly wasted. 

After pouring the warm sugar mixture over the dry ingredients, the fudge is blended, poured into a prepared pan, and refrigerated. 

The baking process involves a variety of steps, and this final one reminds me of another family…God’s. I don’t need a village. I need a kingdom. People led by the living God who pour out truth, even if it means getting messy. We need not belong to the same denomination, worship the same way, or wear the same thing. When our desire is to put the Gospel on display, we blend beautifully. 

Of course, I can’t close out a post on loving my family without sharing pictures of my favorite three-wee family members. (Soon to be four via international adoption but we can’t share pictures quite yet. Stay tuned!)

Oh yes, I LOVE my family. (Especially my Uncle Jim who has rarely failed to make us smile over the years. He’s my kind of nut!) 

Your turn! Would you care to share one favorite thing you LOVE about your family? 

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who
fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– Psalm 103:17

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

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