“Out of sight, out of mind” is one of the saddest sayings I know. If you're trying to watch what you eat and you say it, that's okay. But when it refers to people, I think it's sad. I believe when you’re genuinely loved by someone, you shouldn’t have to be in their face for them to remember you. It gives me such a buzz when somebody emails me, calls or pops around. It shows that I’ve somehow made enough of an impression that they would think of me at that very moment, right out of the blue.
Below is a photo of some indulgent cupcakes sent through cyber space from a cousin in Brisbane. Obviously, when she saw those cupcakes, she instantly thought of me. She then took the time to carefully arrange them, get her camera out, take a photo and email it to me! It would have taken some effort on her part and I was honoured by her actions. A simple, yet effective act of love!The very next day, my doorbell rang and I was greeted by a special delivery from a gorgeous old friend. She had sent me a gift for no other reason, but just that it reminded her of me! A cute t-shirt with a panda eating a cupcake on it, a cupcake tea towel and a cupcake earrings and necklace set!! It was a simple gift that brought such joy!
Nowadays, it seems that whenever anyone I know sees a sweet little cupcake, they think of me! I don't know whether that's a good or a bad thing? It's definitely nice to be thought of, and I guess I shouldn’t really start worrying until my husband ditches “sweety” or “honey” and starts calling me “cupcake” instead! That’s when I’ll know that this “cupcake” analogy has gone a bit too far! Haha!
It’s amazing that cupcakes have become a type of love language in my world. I make cupcakes for those I love and in turn, those who love me shower me with all things cupcake! When I think about it, food in general is used as a love language in my family. Nothing says “I love you” more than making someone their favourite meal – my Mum is famous for this! Food is the hero that can bring delight and comfort to any situation! An intimate dinner can bring two people closer together, a feisty family feast can produce joy, laughter and family unity, and anything remotely related to cupcakes can tell a girl how loved she is!
Last week, some of my favourite foods helped to speak volumes about love in my life! My sister-in-law made my favourite eggplant pasta....
My niece spoiled me with my all-time favourite ice cream, the Golden Gaytime....
A friend accompanied me to a Thai restaurant for lunch......
....and a Gloria Jean’s Chai Latte afterwards. Chai is my favourite hot drink at the moment, as I don’t drink coffee; (hope that doesn’t disappoint any coffee lovers out there!)
I had falafel for lunch with my sisters and niece at a relaxed little cafe called “La Mono” at Merrylands, which has a Middle Eastern inspired menu....
You might be thinking that I’ve been gallivanting around the countryside so much that I’ve hardly spent any time at home in the kitchen. Au contraire – I always make time to cook for the people I love…especially since I see food as a love language!
Of course, it’s the sweet variety that is always the star of the show at my house. A Banana, Chocolate & Walnut Loaf, served with caramel sauce and ice cream was a hit…..
And melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread biscuits are always an ultimate family favourite……
Both the cake and biscuits looked great on the surface, but my search for the perfect cupcake recipe has caused me to be critical of all things baked. So when perused more closely, I could see that they were far from perfect. The cake had risen well, but had cracked on the top, and the shortbread had quite a few bumps here and there. Once the cake was served with a drizzle of caramel and a generous helping of ice cream, and the biscuits were covered with a sweet sprinkling of icing sugar and filled with apricot jam, the imperfections faded into insignificance! My disappointment soon turned into satisfaction as I watched my family enjoying the fruits of my love language.
Cupcakes and other baked goods can turn out a bit bumpy at times.
Whenever I make cupcakes that turn out bumpy or uneven, I feel a bit disappointed at first. But once I’ve worked out a way to make them look better, I’m happy again. I either cover the imperfections with some colourful frosting and sprinkles, or I cut the uneven tops off so that the cupcakes are smooth enough for rolled icing. Sometimes just a simple light dusting of icing sugar does the trick!
Life is pretty much the same as a bumpy cupcake - it has its ups and downs, and its bumps and curves. The “ups” in life are made up of favourite people, times, places and all those things that become part of our special memories. The “downs” in life are made up of all the stuff we’d prefer to forget. One thing is for certain though.... just around the corner, or over the next bump, the problem is eventually solved and life gets better again!
One of the things I loved teaching kids, as a Primary School Teacher, was the concept of resilience. It’s something I love talking to my own children about at home as well. It’s an important life strategy that primary schoolers better understand as the ability to “bounce back”. Resilience can be defined as the ability to recover quickly from an illness, change or misfortune in life.
Every person’s measure of emotional resilience or their ability to “bounce back” from a negative occurrence is different. Each person gets over a hurdle in their own timing and the last thing they need is to be judged or criticised. Instead, they need love, patience, encouragement and sometimes even a random display of kindness thrown in for good measure. When you know someone is going through a hard time, or is grieving or ill, reach out to them with an act of kindness. Drop some food around, call them, send a hand-written card, or give them a simple hug. It’s good to let them know you care. I believe it’s always better to risk rejection, than to never reach out at all. I believe it is much easier to “bounce back” from a hard time when you don’t feel all alone in the world.
I love the song lyrics from "Annie" the musical, “the sun will come out tomorrow”; so philosophical coming from a little girl:
I am often comforted by many Bible verses, but when it comes to praying for resilience, these are two of my favourites:
“weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)
“those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31)
Now that I am getting to the other side of my cancer hurdle, I now know for sure that times of trouble don’t last forever; I know there’s a light at the end of every dark tunnel; I know that every road has a turn in it; and I know that a rainbow appears after every storm. I also know that simple acts of kindness mean so much in a time of need – they are reminders of the generosity of the human spirit; evidence that although we may feel alone at difficult times in our life, that “out of sight” doesn’t necessarily mean “out of mind”.
I remember when I lost my Dad, I was absolutely grief-stricken. I felt as though I couldn’t face a day without him on this earth. It was like my heart would be broken forever. But this “storm” of sorrow eventually turned into a “rainbow” of thanksgiving. I started to focus on the wonderful memories of my Dad. I began to thank God for the blessing of having had such an amazing father who loved me and nurtured me, and had always kept me safe. Although he is no longer on this earth, the memory of my Dad and the love I have in my heart for him, helped me to bounce back from my grief. It will never be “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to my Dad or anyone else I love. And when you love someone and lose them, it’s so hard to keep living your life normally. But that’s where resilience kicks in.
As with any misfortune in my life, sickness or grief, suffering or loss, resilience is just putting one foot in front of the other, and step by step, day by day, hope will build perseverance, perseverance will build resilience....and before you know it, you will have “bounced back” to life!