Today is my birthday, and I’m thankful for the gift of of my son’s life.
Recently my beautiful son Jaye was hit head-on by a car while taking a leisurely summer afternoon motorcycle ride. He’s ok.
Jaye could have been gone in the blink of an eye, but I believe that angels were there to protect his life in that moment. About a month before his accident, after joyfully showing off his bike, I recall standing on the side of the road praying that God would protect him. I trust that is exactly what He did.
As we all make efforts to comfort Jaye – and ourselves – with words like, “It could have been worse,” it has been really, really awful for my son as he struggles through long, painful days, work with doctors to heal his shattered arm, recover from a big surgery, and grapple with the thought that he may never have full use of his right hand.
It’s true that each day I’m thankful to God that my son’s life in that moment was spared, but I also ache for the difficulty he’s having in the day-to-day. There’s also no lack of trust and understanding in the fact that some of our hardest moments can change our lives for the better, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience much sadness and loads of tears over for my son’s pain.
Along with that, I’m not stretching the truth to say that in my strong moments (which is the majority of the time), the truth is clear: even if the worst happens, life can and will be beautiful. I believe this with all of my heart, all of my mind, and all of my soul. They are not just words. It’s the way I think, the way I trust, and the way I live my life.
Although Jaye is on a long road to healing, dealing with the piles of doctor bills and the maze of lawyers, police reports, and accidents involving an uninsured motorist (ugh, the person who hit him), my son is a winner with a heart of gold. This is test of faith for him, I’m sure, but I’m already seeing his positive spirit and sense of humor shining through.
Are you wondering how I can post a happy little Oreo cookie cake after sharing a hard moment in my son’s and our lives? Well, it’s actually easy to do. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that food and love happen in the midst of even tragedy. And to take that a step further, food and love can sometimes be even more celebrated during hard times.
And it’s not that I’m saying these are the hardest times either. Maybe they are – maybe they’re not. Tomorrow can bring something even more difficult, but I’m not scared of that. And I hope I’ve taught my children to not fear difficulty or even tragedy. Bad things can happen, and they do happen.
I’m reminded of my favorite scripture when I think about these things. It’s John 16:33, when Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Powerful. We were not promised a life absent of trouble. We can not expect that we, or our children, will live our lives with no pain. Pain happens in this broken world, but I know and trust, and have experienced, that joy is accessible to all of us – even in the midst of life’s hardest and painful times.
So yes, cake. Let’s make and eat cake, and celebrate today because tomorrow is not promised. Celebrate the smiles, hugs, and moments like the one above when my little grand daughter Maya comforted my big Jaye with a precious kiss. Can you see the peaceful joy on his face?
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup Guinness beer
- 1¾ cups sugar
- ¾ cup dark cocoa powder
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 package Thin Oreo Cookies
- 2 packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 1 sticks butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar, depending on desired consistency
- optional: sliced strawberries for center filling
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- For a double layer cake, grease two 9" cake pans with butter, line with parchment paper; grease top of parchment paper with butter too.
- In mixing bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda; set aside.
- In small sauce pan, melt butter with Guinness on medium low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.
- In medium mixing bowl whisk together sour cream and eggs; stir in vanilla extract.
- Once cooled, add Guinness mixture to sour cream mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly add flour mixture and stir until just blended. Pour equal amounts in cake pans.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out dry when inserted in the middle.
- Let cool for about 15 minutes in pan, remove and cool on rack.
- Optional: Slice each cake in half, horizontally, for a 4-layer cake.
- For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time until desired sweetness and consistency. Add cocoa, vanilla extract and beat until blended.
- To make the cake, place first layer of cake on cake platter; spread generous layer of frosting. if making two layers, add the optional sliced strawberries. For a 4-layer, just repeat the first step.
- and then add sliced strawberries. When finished with the layers, frost entire cake. For decorative layer, gently press Oreo cookie tops/bottoms into sides and top of cake. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy!