The 1-2-3-4 Cake

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A couple of Saturdays ago, I got up early for a day of baking. On the menu: my grandmother’s 1-2-3-4 cake.

She’d make this recipe for the layers of my birthday cake – layers slathered with a rich, sticky lemon curd and topped with freshly grated coconut. I can taste it now…

On this particular day, I went to my trusted (and overstuffed) recipe card file to find the instructions. But the recipe was nowhere to be found. I took all of the cards out – at least 937 recipes – but couldn’t find it. I began to panic, looking in every other conceivable place.

And then I stopped. And cried.

The recipe was one of my most treasured family heirlooms. My grandmother had written it down for me on a sheet of lined note paper, just before our wedding.

The realization that it was gone broke my heart. The realization that I couldn’t call my mother, who passed away just over a year ago, to get it from her overwhelmed me.

Thankfully, my optimistic husband insisted on calling our daughter, who, of course, remembered exactly what we’d done with it after our recent baking day together – to protect it from being lost, no less. It was found and the remainder of my day restored.

Why is a recipe, a Valentine’s card, a crocheted baby blanket, a photograph so important? Its significance is not in the thing itself – it’s the memory attached to it. It’s a song from long ago that we pull out and play every so often to remind us.

God has given us the good gift of family, the treasure of friendship, the power of love.

And it is this lasting love that compels us to, on occasion, look back with gratitude. I do that every so often with the 1-2-3-4 cake. And then I look forward with hope.

God has given us memories as a tool to strengthen our faith. When we look back on the things He’s done in past generations, our confidence in His love and care strengthens.

When we think about how He’s walked with us through every joy and challenge we’ve ever faced, we trust Him to always be our Good Shepherd.

And when we pass along to the next generation all that we know to be true about Him, we are investing in a legacy of faith for future believers.

“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”
~ Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT
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Memories are being made right this very moment. One day it will be my recipe or painting or very small lap quilt that will be cherished by those I leave behind. And I want my daughter, while holding that small lap quilt that took me nine years to complete, to think of how we laughed about me beginning it when she was 4 and finishing it just before she went into high school.

But even more, I want my children to have memories of our family recounting God’s goodness to us. I want them to feel God’s presence in their own lives day by day. I want them to be able to leave a legacy of faith to their children.

The things happening in our world right now, including COVID, will become a part of the next generation’s bank of memories.

So today, whether you are 18 or 88, be sure to make good memories with your loved ones.

Next on my grandmother’s list to bake and enjoy together?  An Old-Fashioned Pound Cake.

It was my mother’s favorite.


 Verse to Live By
Work willingly at whatever you do,
as though you were working for the Lord
rather than for people.
~ Col. 3:23 NLT

Make a good memory with those you love –
today is a good day!

~ Natalie

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