Be glad and rejoice with me. – Philippians 2:18
The discipline of celebration is changing my life, and I invite you into the same practice. Come tap dance with me on the fresh graves of apathy and cynicism, the creeping belief that this is all there is, and that God is no match for the wreckage of the world we live in. What God does in the tiny corners of our day-to-day lives is stunning and gorgeous and headline-making, but we have a bad habit of saving the headlines for the grotesque and scary.
To choose to celebrate right here and right now might seem irresponsible. It might seem frivolous, like cotton candy and charm bracelets. But I believe it is a serious undertaking, one that has the potential to return us to our best selves, to deliver us back to the men and women God created us to be, people who choose to see the best, believe the best, yearn for the best. Through that longing to be our best selves, we are changed and inspired and ennobled, able to see the handwriting of a holy God where another person just sees the same old tired streets and sidewalks.
God is alive, and He is transforming and redeeming His world, even when we can’t see it.
Where do you see the fingerprints of a loving, holy God in your life today, even in the mess and darkness?
Emily’s Poppy Seed Cake
Emily first made this for me years ago, and since then I’ve requested it many times. I adore this sweet little cake, especially the glaze. Emily’s Grammie, Mary Barnell, got the recipe from her church group, and she has been serving it at Emily’s family Easter gathering for more than twenty-five years. Emily makes mini-cakes as shower favors sometimes, and I’m always delighted when she does.
Poppy Seed Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 3⁄4 cup melted butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat all ingredients for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into four small loaf pans or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Bake for one hour. The top will crack.
- 1⁄4 cup orange juice
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
Cook orange juice and sugar together until sugar melts. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in extracts. While cake is hot, spoon glaze over the top of the cake and let it set for at least 20 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Excerpted with permission from Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist, copyright Zondervan, 2015.
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If you’re in the middle of a mess or dealing with some serious challenges, you might not feel like rejoicing. Dance anyway! If you’re in pain, you might be making that your daily headline. Choose to point out to yourself and to God the beautiful things (even if they seem small) every day instead! Naming and thanking God for His daily gifts — like the sunrise, fog over the ocean, a card from a thoughtful friend, the smell of brewing coffee, and the loveliness of snuggling with my babies big and small — is changing my life too, especially in the middle of yucky circumstances! What blessings are you noticing and rejoicing over today in the middle of the tough stuff? Come join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full