I’ve been away a while, haven’t I? Didn’t realize it had been five months… Time is flying these days. I’ve got to practice writing. The discipline slips away just like any other activity and it is tough to hone again.
Most of the time, life feels so cyclical. I learn and forget the same things over and over. When it comes round again, especially here, I think to myself that certainly no one wants to hear these words again. Why would you want to hear about how I’m trying to un-busy myself? How I’m trying to write more? How I still cherish all the same things in this life, knowing that they are gifts that come and go? But still! Here I am again.
I think it’s okay, because we’re all like this; we all live according to a theme. It’s what makes us each so distinctive. And I’m learning that all the things I continually obsess about- setting myself apart from everyone else, always being innovative, trying to appear perfect- are not worth the energy. Why put so much effort into creating a perfectly unique profile of myself when the reality is that I am already what I’m hoping for. I am, you are, already so remarkable because of the way we’ve been made. And there is so much treasure to be found in the deep places that we’re embarrassed by, or ashamed to show, or fearful of judgment.
I learned that just yesterday morning. One day I hope to rely on sage wisdom that I’ve harbored away for years. Until then- fresh wisdom is good enough. Over the years, however, I have learned that no matter how many times I read it or study it or hear it from other people, my Father’s truth won’t mean much until I hear it from His own voice. And that’s what He told me yesterday that made my eyes glisten with both tears and hope. “I love it all.” It was like He poked His finger into my heart and rummaged around a bit and then smiling, looked me hard in the eyes and said “All of this? I love it, every bit of it.” And I melted.
That’s all I need to know. That’s why my voice matters. That’s why I can be the Ellyn that He so craftily thought up, without any additional bells or whistles that I so foolishly think will make me better. That’s the only reason any of us exist at all, to hear those words.
Have some cake in this blissful weather, friends, and celebrate the freedom of love.
Pineapple Coconut Cake
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Coconut Italian Meringue Buttercream:
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 5 large egg whites (2/3 cup, 140g, or 5 oz)
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 cups butter, softened to room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 6" pans and line with parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk wet ingredients with pineapple and coconut. Add wet to dry and stir until it just comes together. Pour into pans and bake about 35 minutes.
To make the icing, boil sugar and water in a saucepan until it reaches the softball stage, 240-244F. Mean while, whisk egg whites in a stand mixer to medium stiff peaks. With mixer running, slowly stream in the syrup and beat continually until the outside of the bowl is room temperature. Add your softened butter in small chunks until the icing is thoroughly mixed and looks glossy and smooth. Mix in vanilla and coconut extract.
When the cake layers are cool, cut each in half so that you end up with a deliciously soft four-layer cake. Ice and garnish with toasted coconut, and you're done. Cake for all.