“Where are the frostings?” Rosemary asked.
“They are in the green, recyclable grocery bag on the counter next to the refrigerator,” Shelia gestured.
“Got it,” Rosemary replied.
“Will someone please put down a towel?” Gena asked as she went to retrieve the first tin of cupcakes from the oven.
“I already set on the island,” I said pointing to the blue and white checkered cloth.
“Great, thanks” she replied.
With that, the oven door opened and the smell of chocolate and vanilla enveloped the kitchen. The cupcakes seem to mesmerize us all as conversation ceased as Gena moved from stove to island counter top.
“Ahh,” I breathed. “I can’t wait until they cool. I think I might eat three at one time!”
“I would pay to see that,” Shelia giggled. “I don’t think you can stop talking long enough to eat one much less three at one time!”
The girls snickered and returned to preparing their favorite cupcake recipe.
“Gee, thanks,” I laughed in reply. “And this year’s ‘Cupcake Retreat’ begins.”
As we retuned to preparing our batters, I thought back to our first trip and how the “Cupcake Retreat” came into existence. Eleven years ago we found ourselves stressed out, over extended and slap worn out from just living of our daily lives. It was then I decided to invite the girl’s to my Blowing Rock, North Carolina cabin nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains. It would be a great place to unplug, unwind and “blow off” steam.
Each friend eagerly and instantly accepted the invitation. We spent the weekend as women do talking about stresses at home, work and life in general. We didn’t want to solve the world’s problems, just ours. The weekend was a rejuvenating success so we decided to make the trip an annual event.
On the second evening of the first trip, I told the ladies I was going to make some cupcakes; I had a craving and my taste buds watered at the thought of eating the delicious concoction. Since I didn’t have a box of cake mix, I had to sift through the kitchen cabinets for all the necessary ingredients. As I began mixing the batter, Gena entertained us with her diaper story.
“I told my husband he needed to stop wearing briefs because it made him look like he was wearing a diaper. The kids laughed and agreed with me. So you know Taylor went to school the next day and told her teacher that Daddy wore diapers! We really have to be more careful about what we say around her!”
After the laughter subsided, Shelia began to tell us about her latest dilemma at work. As she spoke, my mind wandered to thoughts of the hardships and joys shared on our retreat. Each incident an ingredient in the batter of our lives; adding the correct ingredients served to bond things in our lives together resulting in a divine creation, substituting or eliminating ingredients just ended up making a soupy mess that didn’t rise to its intended potential. It was then I had an epiphany; the choices we make in our lives by our free will can either make us a happily formed person from God’s chosen ingredients or leave us bitter and broken outside of God’s grace.
“I think I heard God just chuckle,” I thought to myself.
God seemed to say, “I have given you all the ingredients necessary to fulfill the journey I have planned for you. It is your free will to take them and combine them to produce a ‘sweet’ life.”
“Just imagine,” I thought “how easy and stress free my life would be if I did not worry about life’s trials and let God lead me. I know it won’t always be easy, but the individual ingredients added everyday will produce the fruits, or cupcakes, God wants to share with me.”
After the self revelation, I suggested making the cupcakes an annual event as well.
“We can sift the ingredients of our lives taking out what we don’t need and add in what we do need while we make the cupcakes. In the end, we end up with a simple and wonderful treat in more ways than one,” I suggested.
“That’s a great idea!” Rosemary agreed.
“Let’s call it the ‘Cupcake Retreat’,” Gena suggested.
“Good idea. It’s settled then,” I said.
Since that first weekend, we have come through a lot of trials and triumphs together. Making cupcakes really made a difference in our lives.
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