The Mystery of the Box Cake!

Today I want to share with you something that my mother never failed to communicate to my sisters and I. And that something is the mystery of the box cake.

I grew up dreamy, zealous, ambitious and wildly creative and my three sisters grew just the same. We were encouraged to dream, to desire impossible, beautiful things for ourselves. We were always told to aspire above what is average. And that is the way our heart grew: formed by love but filled with the expectation that we can do and be absolutely anything, anywhere, anytime. Our parents afforded us opportunities that they were never given and they let us know that they were both happy, and obligated to cultivate and nurture and package us for the futures we desired. In the confectionery isle, we would be in the cake section. And if you looked at the box, you’d want to buy us.

In the confectionery isle, we would be in the cake section.

My mother, for the duration of our primary education found interesting ways to teach us meaningful lessons. Some of them were very plesant. Others served their purpose well- and those we disliked the most. One day, while preparing us for exams, she called me into the kitchen. Back then, she was quite the baker lol. Don’t tell her I said ‘was’ okay. But she was, and we always had a box or two of cake. I don’t remember what sparked this lesson but she asked me to pass one of those to her.

She said “what is this?” and like any child I responded “it’s a cake mom.

What is this, Christina?” she asked again. “It’s a box of cake?” I said most uncertain this time because I did not know what answer she was looking for. To me, it was a cake. And somehow, when it moves from the cupboard to mom’s hand, what I enjoy is cake. So it must be a cake. Right?

But the next thing mom said stayed with us for life for two simple but distinct reasons. The first is because she repeated it, constantly, maybe even until we mocked her sometimes. But the second, is because she found ways to show us how vital it was to understand this concept.

She said “This, is a potential cake.

If you add a few ingredients and mix it just right and allow it to bake, you will then have a cake. But in this box, this exquisitely packaged box, it is just a cake in potential. If no one bakes it, it will never become.

I didn’t know it then, but mom was preparing our minds for the principle of process. Together, our parents had packaged us with many of the necessities to live a life where we would materialise and realise our dreams- but we were never to believe, that in that state, without being processed, that we were cake. Leaving home for school was the equivalent of a box of cake leaving the shelf in a supermarket or being taken from the pantry at home. Leaving the nest, is just the beginning of process.

Many of us, and I mean a whole lot of us, are stuck because there is great disparity between our box full of potential and an actual cake. We are loaded with an array of furnishings that set us apart from others who were not afforded the same opportunities as we were. We sit and sleep on our accomplishments scholastic and secular, on every word of promise and destiny released over our lives from the heart of God. And yet, we are the ones that roll in our beds, sick to our stomachs from dissatisfaction, discontent and despair.

It’s acceptable if you can’t identify where you are but once you learn who you are, you can surely become who you must!

It’s acceptable if you can’t identify where you are but once you learn who you are, you can surely become who you must!

If I were you, I’d get off the shelf, I’d leave the pantry. Let that which is meant to make you, make you. Let that which is meant to bake you, bake you! Let your process strip you of your pride. Let it cripple your ingenius defenses and bring you to the place of purpose. Allow it. Let it happen. Because there is only one thing worse that a poorly baked cake, and that is a cake whose mixture got so clammy, the only alternative was to throw it out.

Real quick, before you go, just imagine with me, that it’s your birthday. Your friends throw you a surprise party and you are happy. They walk you up to a small table and finally remove your blindfold and scream “Happy Birthday!” With all the excitement, you open your eyes and infront of you is a beautiful box of strawberry cheesecake. I wonder where you’d stick your candles and wouldn’t you be disappointed….

Contemplations

What is your whole life worth? And would you change it if you could?

A few days ago I celebrated a birthday. It was quiet and I was surrounded by my immediate family. In the evening I cut into a very scrumptious chocolate cake baked by my little sister and I took some pictures. That’s what I remember. Those moments, though vaguely described are the snippets that my subconcious tucked away- and whenever I recall this birthday, those are the memories that will resurface. I measured my day by its moments. There were no fireworks, no restaurant, no fancy food; just the smiling faces of my loved ones championing me, congratulating me and making a silent promise by their presence to be there, always.

Not so long ago, I stood beside my husband as he said goodbye to his mom. And while that day in itself was indeed a solemn occassion, what I remember is a guy fighting desperately to hold back the unrush of tears, so he joked with his friends instead. His pain would not pass his eyes, and he held his breath and I don’t believe he breathed until all of it was over. Until she was in the ground. Until he said goodbye forever. I will never forget that. And neither will he. That moment will remain with us…I believe for eternity.

Earlier this year, I said goodbye to my yorkie. His name was Buddy Blue. And I cannot begin to describe to you, what I felt during and after the moments of his passing. Somehow, the way he died left an indelible mark on my memory, and if I’m not careful, it begins to influence my fondest thoughts of him, marring it with darkness and gloom and despair.

I bet, if you were to be completely honest, you’d say that there are moments fixated in your mind that have the potential to jade even the best of memories. To those I say, resist.

And then, there are other scenarios; beautiful, peaceful, calm, serene moments that you have embedded in your being, so deeply, that even the stain of bad days can’t infringe. To them I say, remember.

Because we measure life by moments- we are hardwired that way. And whether we decide to accept it or negate it, our lives can be summed up by the moments we hold dear, captured in joy, laughter and sheer bliss. It is summed up by the moments we replay over and over, until we are depressed and by the moments we sometimes will our minds to forget.

We forget sometimes that activity does not always mean great quality. And in those seasons when our lives are marked by quiet moments we begin to write ourselves off. Don’t do it anymore. Activity communicates quantity, but your moments will dictate the quality of life you leave behind. You can shape your moments until they become the hallmark of your acheivements. Work and rework them until they are a testament of all the failures you never let stand in your way. Design them, fashion them into the legacy you envisioned for yourself when you were just five. Define them so that they can define you! You get to make them count. And you can start right now. RIGHT NOW!

What is your whole life worth? And would you change it if you could? I don’t know about you, but I’m almost sure I’ve exhausted the number of times a person should ask themself these questions. Maybe, it is simply because I want my life to mean something. Or maybe there are parts of the story I am ready to change. But then I wonder, almost instantly about how much I’d be changing my entire story. If the sum of each part, makes the whole, won’t it all change if I start replacing pieces?

And if none of that makes sense to you, ask yourself this, what if your moments could save a life, would you want to change it then? What if your greatest achievement till now, was that somewhere out there, oblivious to you, was one girl or one guy, or an old lady that drew strength from your story? Would you change it then? And what if recreating your moments meant that you would not be you, what then?

                              W h a t  t h e n?

Pilot.

To begin, you must begin.

Any person who procrastinates will tell you that their greatest challenge is not a lack of desire to do but an absence of discipline to see anything done. Well, it’s what I can say for myself. Writing has been a passion of mine since forever. And the desire to blog has never left my veins. Yet, for all my longing and wanting and grand ideas, I could not materialise my blog because passions don’t birth dreams- discipline does. AND I WAS NOT. Infact, I hadn’t been for a while. But I couldn’t understand, why beginning was so challenging…

I was consumed with the hypotethical notions of folks who probably didn’t even know that I spent my nights and early mornings jotting little notes down, because I could not keep them out of my head. I was not ready to do whatever it would take. Honestly! And I knew. Because questioning the boldness and bravery of others was just an added avenue for me to hide behind; more time for me to waste, more excuses I could create. Passions do not birth dreams. And it wasn’t until recently, that a friend said something I couldn’t stop hearing in the form of the words: “don’t take too long.” There isn’t a day that has gone by since then that I haven’t thought of what my friend said. And there is no doubt in my mind that those four words led me to my decision of being disciplined. Full of ideas, but disciplined. Ready for more, but disciplined. Passionate but disciplined; because everything else might get me to start, but without discipline, none of it will be rightly sustained.

Maybe you are like I was, but don’t take too long. Maybe you dream big but you can’t begin- don’t take too long. Maybe you know someone who might be encouraged by this. Share it and don’t take too long. Remember, to begin, you must begin.

Don’t take too long

Whether these words were spoken lightly or on purpose- I do not know. But they did reverberate against the walls of my subconscious- need I say more?

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