Chapter 1

No one really told me or should I say prepared or forewarned me of the pressures motherhood would entail.  I remember hearing the horror stories after horror stories of women going in such great depth of detail to be sure I heard every gruesome, grotesque, and squirmish moment they had when each went into labor and then the aftermath of tearing, ripping, being cut, and so forth.  The blood, the pain, the sweat, the screams, yes, all were a messy contribution to the delivery of a baby, however, no one cared to shed some light on the pressures of making ends meet, having enough food in the fridge, gas in the car, money in the bank, or clothes without holes or shoes being too small.

I drive a lot on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Ok, it is not that much, but when we share a car and those are the days I have the car, it seems like a lot more than not at all.  As I drive, I think. I think and I think and I think.  The background sounds of music, kids, and perhaps the odd horn honking from behind, don’t compare to the loud words blaring in my head on cruise control. The thoughts come like a news headline typing words out without a break, without a breather, man, don’t they ever stop, I ask?  How can they, they are everywhere.  Everywhere I look, I am reminded.  Bumper stickers, billboards, restaurants, schools, children, low income housing, fancy cars, dream homes, farms and fields, closed for the season fruit stands, gas stations, pollution, and so many other little contributors to take my attention from reality into some twisted defiling realm where fear lives.

I thought starting new schools were chaotically arduous. I thought Math 11 was impossible. I thought deadlines for essays were brilliantly challenging. I thought the thought of dating was embarrassingly dreadful, except of course, when I met the only man I ever really dated and then married, but all these thoughts and worries, don’t truly compare to the heaviness in my heart I have at the moment of obsessively obsessing for the greatest life for not myself, but for my kids.  It is a profound ache, an indescribable longing to touch the hem of God in a way I have never done before, with a faith that can only cripple the fear with an authority to speak the truth despite the dramas and questions that puzzle my being. As a mom, and as moms, we pour out all we have to be all we are.  As a university student, I was naive to the responsibilities a wife and mother would have.  I would tell my friends, that one day my kids would come home from school to fresh baked cookies on the table and we would sit on top of the table and eat them. Last week my friend asked me, remembering my declaration of freedom, if we have eaten cookies on the table, yet.  I told her, “No, the table we have is over 100 years old, I don’t want to break it.” My slight declaration of freedom had been orderly suppressed with caution. When did this happen? Why did it happen? I am not going to blame it on life, disappointments or discouragements, instead I am going to embrace it as part of the process of my maturing and my developing of character.  It is part of the small stepping stones designed for me to skip across with renewed advantage and regained strength.  Not by my might, but by His.

Birthday Cupcakes

For 2’s birthday all he wanted was chocolate cupcakes.  Oh, a child after my own heart. I love both chocolate and cupcakes.  I can’t believe he is now three.  It is fun to watch the kids and listen to them talk to each other.  Did I talk like this when I was their age?  There is a kind of pressure I have been feeling lately.  How much will my everyday interactions with my kids affect them both positively and negatively?  I remember most of my childhood from the age 2 1/2 years and up.  My words and facial expressions are being constantly imprinted into my little loves.  When I was running this evening, I was thinking about the different pressures currently overwhelming me. I am slightly neurotic, yes, especially with germs, so that is something I feel overwhelmed with, also finances. They have to be the ever constant beast in my life, just like my weight.  Losing weight and saving money are a handful of numbers and equations that I allow to fill my brain and consume my thoughts.  Sometimes I run to burn off steam, other times I run to distract myself, tonight was one of those nights.  I needed a distraction.  I had a really good conversation with my grandma earlier and I have come to the realization, whether we are in our 30’s or in our 80’s, we all have the same struggles and pressures in life, they just present themselves to us differently. I don’t want to live in fear.  I really don’t.  That is why I am dedicating this recipe to the worry warts.  Those who worry about weight, those who are concerned about money and germs, sickness and death. This is for those who lack discipline and fear they won’t be able to stop themselves from wanting to eat more.  The neurotics, the fear mongers and the scaredy cats, all of you, fear not, this cake will not harm you, it will liberate you…within reason, of course.

Birthday Cupcakes

(Inspired by Rebar’s chocolate cake)
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 Dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 Tsp baking soda, aluminium free
3/4 Tsp baking powder, aluminium free
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup strong coffee
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used 3/4 cup milk with 1 Tsp vinegar added to it)
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used 1/3 cup grapeseed oil only)
2 eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk)
1 Tsp pure vanilla

5 oz (150 g) milk chocolate
5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate
1/2 lb (225 g) butter, softened
1/4 lb (112 g) cream cheese, spreadable
1 Tsp pure vanilla

How To Play:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tray. Set aside. Combine the sugar, flour,cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt in the bowl of a mixer and whisk on low to combine, making sure it is lump free. Add the coffee, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium-low for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides. The batter will be pourable.
Use a ladle to distribute the batter evenly into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes sit for 10 minutes before removing them from the tray.
* Note: This recipe is for a 8″ round cake, so there is extra batter. I made 4 small heart shaped cakes as well, to use all the batter. I don’t think it would enough to make 2 dozen cupcakes, but perhaps if they were small ones, it could.
Next, the icing. This, as mentioned above, is actually for the 8″cake’s filling, but I used it as an icing for the cupcakes instead. Melt the milk and dark chocolates in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes. Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix the cooled chocolate into the creamed mixture.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, spread icing evenly over each one, gently transfer the iced cupcakes in the fridge and serve when ready.