Celebration Cheesecake

I made a cheesecake yesterday. I ate some today. It’s delicious. I feel not guilt about this.

I really love cheesecake, and this happens to be the same week that three students showed up on my doorstep to surprise me with a cheesecake last year. I told Maggie a couple weeks ago that I planned to make a cheesecake this weekend, and she didn’t love my lack of reason. Not that she thought I couldn’t just have a cheesecake, but there’s more to it always.

When I called Jacqui this Thursday, we were talking about how she doesn’t get a graduation ceremony, and her start into a career looks different than she expected because of covid restrictions. I told her my cheesecake would be in honor of her graduation a hemisphere a way. (She’s also planning to enjoy the same recipe this weekend.)

My nephew’s birthday is this week as well. I’ve never been in the same time zone as my nephew on his birthday. He was born while I was living several states away, and now each year I thank God for that goofy baseball loving buzz cut kiddo while teaching students an ocean away from him. My sister tells me she hopes her sons will have the kind of connection with me that we both have with our Aunt Becky that developed during our adolescence. I hope my nephews know how much I love them even though I can’t be there to watch their baseball games or bake them allergy approved birthday cakes (my nephew can’t have dairy).

A lot of people I love dearly have November birthdays, actually, and the specific student I pray for when the 8pm alarm goes off on my phone daily is one of them. That kid once promised to make me a cheesecake – which has nothing to do with this current cheesecake. I just really like cheesecake, guys.

But my identity is not in the cheesecake. I’d give up cheesecake in a heartbeat if God asked me to. And I’d live a better, Jesus loving life with no regrets. For now, I get to enjoy the cheesecake as a celebration of my current life. The life that allows me to celebrate birthdays of dairy allergic loved ones and graduations of precious others on different continents.

November is a long month for teachers and students here, so I need every cheesecake moment I can get. We have a long stretch with no breaks until Christmas, and I’m celebrating moments where I can eat baked goods but also moments where I can have a cup of tea with wise and encouraging women like Beckie Melli who is visiting Kandern for a couple of weeks. This woman showed up at my hospital bed the week I broke my back and spoke words of love and truth over me. She showed up at my house and did the same again on Friday. I also got a fun Friday night celebration introducing friends to my nerdy Guy Fawkes tradition, and I’m cherishing the moments I find to build connection with people around me.

With all that good in mind, I’m asking for prayer to see more of those blessings through the coming weeks as I continue to care for my body to the best of my ability. I look forward to sharing positive physical updates soon. Let’s all ask God for more miracles this week.

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