Pass the… Chocolate Cake

But the Lord’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now for those who honor him. And God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren (Psalm 103:17, Common English Bible).

This is part 27 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

OK, I confess, cake is not one of my downfalls. I have many downfalls, but cake is not generally one of them. I don’t necessarily dislike cake, it just isn’t something I generally get real excited about either.

That being said, one of my downfalls is my mother-in-law’s chocolate cake. Well, more specifically the chocolate icing on my mother-in-law’s chocolate cake. The cake itself, it’s chocolate cake but the icing, she adds something to it. I’m not sure if its a longtime family secret of not, but I like being part of that family so I won’t disclose the ingredient on this thread, and no, it isn’t alcohol. But, when my mother-in-law makes that cake, my blood sugar jumps 50 points just hearing about it.

I am not the only one who loves her chocolate cake. Of course my wife loves her mother’s chocolate cake. When Cindy makes a chocolate cake she follows her mother’s icing recipe to the letter. There are others too.

Several years ago we were at a family gathering with a lot of extended family, it was the birthday of Cindy’s paternal grandfather. There was a store bought and decorated cake there. And, there were several people who took a share or two. I was not one of them. Neither was one of Cindy’s uncles. I heard Ricky say words to the effect, “If I am going to give up calories on a piece of cake it won’t be for that store bought cake, it will be for that chocolate cake.” I concur.

As I think of my, now more than 40 years with Cindy’s family as either a guy who came around dating their daughter or the almost 40 years as a married-in member of the family, I cannot recall my mother-in-law making that cake unless it was for a family gathering. But, you also have to understand, Cindy’s family is huge. Cindy’s mother had four siblings. Cindy’s father had three siblings. Each had multiple children and Cindy is one of four children in her immediate family and all of them have at least two kids and the biggest number of them have multiple grandkids. All that is to say, it doesn’t take much to have a family gathering around there. And when a family gathering happened, far more often than not, that divine chocolate cake make its way onto the table.

That alone makes me thankful for family. If it weren’t for those family gatherings I might never have tried one of the best chocolate cakes in the world! When I see chocolate cake, I am thankful for family.

Especially since becoming a pastor, I have also learned that many of us have family members who really aren’t family at all. I have found another chocolate cake that is up there with my mother-in-law’s cake. It is a person who is part of the Sweeny church family. Again, I think it is the icing that makes the cake. Out of self-preservation I will refrain from whose I think is best. On the one hand I still have to be pastor for one person while on the other, I still have to be part of Cindy’s family. There is no way to win in that situation.

But regardless of whether it is at church or with my family or walking through the line at Luby’s (and no, I don’t eat the chocolate cake there), when I see chocolate cake I think of family and I am immediately grateful.

I don’t know how far back the family recipe for either of these chocolate cakes go back. But, knowing it could be a good long while, I am also reminded of our lesson for today, from forever ago to forever from now, God’s faithful love is for those who honor him. I am blessed with a wonderful church family. I am even more blessed with a believing, worshiping family in both my in-laws and in my own family. As long as I can remember, my parents were active parts of church life. My sister and her husband are as well. When I married I fell into the same kind of family. It is the way I tried to raise my own kids and I know my sister and Cindy’s siblings worked to do the same. All that reminds me that God will continue to bless our families, all faithful families, through the grandkids and beyond. For that, I am thankful. I am thankful for chocolate cake because it reminds how blessed I am in my family and at church

So pass me a hunk of chocolate cake. I have come to know, that is some pretty good stuff.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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