Monday, September 24, 2012


In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
                        Psalm 139:16
I had a birthday last week.  I celebrated with friends and family by eating, singing and hiking.  My name was included on a yummy cake and I received more happy birthday wishes than I will probably ever deserve.  I still feel about birthdays the way I did when I was six.  A party is in order.

Our relationship to birthdays can sometimes change as we get older.  As children we celebrate them with party hats and bright colors.  When we get all “grown up,” we dress in facetious black, and decorate with tombstones and cards that say “Over the Hill.”  I have never understood exactly why we do this, but I suppose it is our way of laughing in the face of a reality about which we are none too happy.

We worry a great deal about getting older.  We have little appreciation for the wisdom of age – at least this is my assumption given the enormous industry we support that promises to make us look younger.  We bewail the passing time.  Having reached what some call “middle age” I can attest that the years do fly quickly.  I, myself, have no interest in them being over any time soon.  Still, the fear we have of adding the inevitable numbers onto our lives is bewildering.

All this was thrown into stark perspective for me this week.  I assisted in the funeral of a church member who should have been too young to need it, and I grieved with a dear friend over the loss of a loved one.   I have huddled with families who were not yet ready to lose a dear member, even when there had been enough days enjoyed by the beloved to have called theirs a full life. 

In light of these experiences, our worry over birthdays seems more than a little absurd.  We waste our energy on so many things.  Fretting over the passing time shouldn’t be one of them.  Each birthday represents the greatest gift we can possibly be given: breath for another day and the ability to look at the sky.  Every year, we receive from the hand of God the best birthday present of all.  I won’t wear black to celebrate it.


The recipe below is not a birthday cake, but one we shared with good friends recently.  I hope you enjoy it.


Blueberry Crunch Cake

¼ cup butter                        ½ cup sugar
1 large egg               1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder         ¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup milk                        ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

¼ cup butter                        ½ cup sugar
1/3 cup flour                       ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan; set aside.  For the batter: In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar and egg together until light and fluffy.  Combine the dry ingredients together and stir by hand into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and vanilla.  Spread batter in prepared baking pan and top with blueberries.

For the topping: combine the topping ingredients using pastry blender, two knives or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over the blueberries.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tested done when wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool slightly before serving.  Makes 9 servings.

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