Surprised by joy……

Life is tumultuous.  I used to have this idea that life was like a boat in a harbor, peaceful and calm.  Sometimes the boat would leave the harbor and venture into the stormy seas but always find its way safely back to the harbor.  I have come to realize that my perception is wrong.  Life is a boat in stormy seas and sometimes, just sometimes, we get to go into the peaceful harbor for rest.

I suppose that we haven’t written much about our caking because we haven’t been doing as much caking lately.  But I also suppose that we haven’t written much lately because life has been tumultuous and a little crazy.  I find myself apologizing again to those of you who are regular readers of our blog.  Posts have been few and far between.  Work on my Mother’s house (we’ve made three trips with work teams to do construction), Megan working and a few other bumps in the road here and there have kept us from writing.  It’s high time that we come back.

We’ve still been doing cakes but I must admit that we haven’t been nearly as busy as we were a few months ago.  Not sure why, but it’s probably just as well.  Megan is tired when she gets home from school and I’ve been trying to help pull things together with my Mother’s house.  Things are coming along there but there is still so much to do.

So I keep coming back to joy.  No matter how difficult things get, there always seems to be joy.  No matter how melancholy I get, joy comes sneaking in.  And it comes in the form of a cake, and a smile, and an “the cake turned out exactly the way I hoped!”

A few months ago I got an email from a friend whose husband was going to be running in the Philadelphia marathon.  She wanted to surprise him with a cake.  He had sprained his ankle in training so there was some question as to whether he would be able to run or not, so she asked if we could cancel if necessary, but otherwise wanted to go ahead with ordering something for him.  As usual, we were happy to take on a new challenge.

She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted so we emailed back and forth a few times before a final decision was made.  We would do some of the landmark buildings of Philadelphia that peppered the route of the marathon.  She also wanted her husband at the finish line.  The cake was to be a surprise for him, but as a surprise for her, we also put her and their three kids on the cake.  We would deliver it the day of the race after they all got home.

Delivery time came and that’s always a little stressful but we got it into the house and put it together.  This cake was a half sheet and really heavy.  When you watch the cake competitions on television (and I’m assuming that if you are reading a cake blog, then you probably also watch cake shows), and part of the competition is getting the cake from the prep area to the display table, and it takes 15 people to move the cake, I totally understand why.  The bigger the cake, the more fondant, the heavier the cake.  This one weighed a ton.

The marathoner wasn’t home, just our friend who had ordered the cake and her baby and so we were able to set it up for the surprise.  I accidentally cracked one of the support bars for the Liberty Bell, but other than that, everything was ready.

And now for the joy….

Her husband walked in.  He saw his wife, then he saw us.  We don’t always get to see the recipient’s reaction but it’s always so much fun when we do, especially if it’s a surprise.  He couldn’t quite figure out at first why we were there.  He knows that we do cakes and then he saw the cake.  His wife said, “I ordered a cake for you for running the marathon.”

I’ll say it again….this is why we do cakes.  Sure, we enjoy the challenge and we enjoy working with fondant and gum paste but it would be nothing without the payoff of seeing the joy on a person’s face when they see a cake that is designed just for them.  He looked at the cake and said, “That’s me!!!”

He hugged both Megan and I and then wanted us to take a picture of him with his medal from the marathon beside the cake.  Then his little boys saw themselves on the cake.  His wife who had ordered the cake was smiling from ear to ear.  Everyone was smiling and laughing.  Oh…my…heart……

“Thank you, Lord, for giving Megan and I the ability and opportunity to bring joy to people’s lives through our cakes.  It still seems silly to me sometimes but remind me that you give us talents and abilities to bring glory to you by uplifting someone else.  Thank you, Lord, that no matter how hard life is, there is still joy.”

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