Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Icing Smile for Trace!

I don't often share much about my clients...privacy, and all that. But, one time I do feel it is important is when my little cake-eaters are referred to me through an organization called Icing Smiles. I want to first do a shout out for the people who run this amazing program and second I'd like to highlight Trace and his 4th birthday cake!

Icing Smiles is a remarkable group, who's founder acknowledges that this is her calling from God. In fact, she comments, "We are not a faith-based organization. But without my faith, we would not be an organization." I respect this position since I, too, feel compelled by God to use my passions for His Glory. Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom birthday cakes for families impacted by the critical illness of their child. Birthday cakes are often luxuries that a family battling illness do not have. Bakers around the United States partner with Icing Smiles to create custom cakes for these children or their siblings. This gives them temporary escape from the day to day worries and helps build memories with smiles, bringing a glimpse of normalcy to the lives of these families.

I highly recommend that you check out the Icing Smiles website, and if you are a baker in the United States, I ask you to consider volunteering with Icing Smiles. You could contribute to making wonderful birthday memories a reality for these families. infinity and beyond!

Buzz. Such a recognizable character. The enormous chin. The crazy eyebrows. The ball-and-socket arms. Then there are all the badges and buttons. I wouldn't have chosen to do a gigantic Buzz but there was a very special reason...actually a very special boy.

Trace. And he was turning four. What a miracle! To date he has had several open heart surgeries and a stroke. He is scheduled for surgery again next year. It is hard for me to imagine a childhood full of doctors and hospitals, but this boy was all smiles when I finally met him.

When Trace's mom contacted me and said Buzz Lightyear was his favorite, I really had no choice but to start craving this cake. The arms were made out of rice crispies and the rest was carved cake. That chin did prove to be a challenge!

"Space Rangers" badge on the left arm.

The "Laser Button" was a last minute decision, thankfully. Trace's mom asked him as we were walking in to get the cake..."Trace, are you excited to eat Buzz's Laser Button?"  Whew! I'm so, so, SO glad I put it on.

Isn't he adorable? Trace, that is! On his way to the car he showered me with kisses and hugs. I even got his signature "puppy dog kiss,' which, as you can imagine, was a bit too wet for me. But, I think that meant he was happy. (Insert smiley face for really did make my day!) Here he is pictured with Buzz during his party. After a long drive Buzz started to lean...I think the sheer exhaustion from posing with that grin on the long car ride home. It makes my face hurt just thinking about it!

Happiest 4th Birthday to you, Trace. I pray that you were able to build great memories with your family, and that God would supply you all with strength and perseverance for the months and years ahead.

Those are TWO Icing Smiles!!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Important Than Cakes???

Far too often bloggers write in a way that expertly balances their specialty with just enough reality to hook their readers. That is the nature of writing and I am no different. Cakes are what I do...or at least that is the part I write about. But, I don't plan, sketch, bake, decorate or anything else in a vacuum void of any other life. Sprinkling in just a bit of humor from my week or an abbreviated story about my kids or husband makes my blog readable and believable...without revealing that my real life is often overwhelming, chaotic and very loud. And plus, still pictures look so serene!

What I am about to write is going to crack the facade of my cake world open and expose a bit of who we really are. I feel like it is important for my readers to understand that my work is not all there is to my life...and the life of our family is about to take a very big change.

So, you ask, what is more important than using your creative energy to design elaborate cakes?

Well, my highest priority is to honor God with my actions, words, thoughts...and my whole life. Breaking that down a bit, my values lay in my husband, in my kids, in serving others, and in walking down the path that God has put in front of us. On a day to day basis that means feeding and clothing my family and ensuring that the children haven't killed each other (not literally, of course!) by the time their Daddy gets home from work.

I know, I still haven't gotten to the life change, yet. Soooo...God has always challenged my husband and I to care for those who cannot care for themselves. And adoption has always been an idea that we have been discussing. After four wonderful biological children we kind of forgot about that tug on our hearts. Two years ago, this fall, God touched both of us in the same week, urging us that now was the time to get moving.

Little did we know, four weeks earlier a little boy was born in China...a little boy who's mother couldn't take care of him. She cared enough about him to entrust his precious life into the hands of another family. She swaddled him, pinned a little red note to his blanket stating his birthday, just two days before, and brought him to a safe place. There this little boy has waited until God arranged to bring us together.

Last month we received our PA (or pre-approval) from China which means everything is a go. And now we just wait! Lord willing, by April of next year our little boy, who we will give the American name Joshua, will officially be part of our family. Yay!!

So between now and then there is so much to do. Piles of paperwork and filing forms, planning and packing and cakes?? Um, not my highest priority right now. Well, I should rephrase that...taking orders is not a high priority right now. 

Our family is preparing (and bracing) for the amazing work that God is beginning in us. Our kids have been so mature, well, to the degree and they can selfless and compassionate. It will not be easy for any of us or our new son. So much loss and pain...I cannot begin to imagine. I am scared and overjoyed at the same time.

But, we don't have time to dwell on that. I have cakes to make, right? No, actually, we can go on only because we have complete peace and assurance that the King of the Universe is calling and leading us and will not forsake us, even to the end of the age. He never said life would be without hurt or trials. We already know that. In fact He insisted that we daily take up our cross to follow him...and that doesn't sound like a cushy life to me. That sounds endless, tiring, selfless, devoted. And why? Not for our own gain or gratification. Not for appreciation or recognition from men. And not so we can earn favor from a most holy God. But, we do this for His glory, that the world would see our actions and glorify the name of God.

There is more to life than being comfortable and profitable. And more to life than cakes.


His call.

Our obedience.

Want to help?

Check out our adoption agency's website to learn more about how you can support adoption.

Our kids got this great idea that they wanted to sell their artwork to help raise funds for bringing our son home from China next March. I found them in the garage affixing a sign to a cooler that read, "Artwork- $3.00 to $5.00". A stack of pictures in hand, they begged me to let them set up shop at the end of the driveway. After much dialogue we compromised on turnig the artwork into cards and advertising to a little bit larger audience. If you would like to donate for this cause email me a The artwork on the cards is drawn by the girls of the family...Kate, Annie and myself, with a blank inside. Cards will come in packs of three, including white envelopes. Suggested donation is $5.00.

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