Sprinkles and Grit


I made cupcakes this weekend. Two dozen, delicious yellow cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Homemade from scratch… they were not… but you can’t fault a girl for using boxed cake mix and Pillsbury frosting in a pinch.

I like baking. The combining of ingredients, swirl of egg yolks, whipping of a fork does something for my anxiety, my overactive mind. The end result is always delightful and fun. Cupcakes deserve sprinkles on top. So after frosting the little morsels, I turned each one upside down, and dipped the frosting in a mixture of colorful sprinkles. Yellow and pink pearls graced the top of each little treat, casting a shiny glow across the glass baking pan they rested in.

I eagerly set the little cakes out for my ‘Galentine’s’ Day Party which I hosted on Saturday night. Not one gal ate them. Between a mixture of gluten intolerant and health conscious friends, all of the cupcakes sat untouched.

I had to convince these ladies’ husbands to eat the cakes when they came to pick up their wives. Both my husband and another guy took a bite of the pearly cake and said, “Those little balls on top are too crunchy. These things are hurting my teeth.”

The pretty decor was literally causing discomfort when being ingested.

I wasn’t offended at the lack of consumption; more cake for me and my co-workers at work this week. However, I was just struck by the fact that although the sprinkles were displayed beautifully, no one cared to take a bite.

Rewind just a little further and stop on Saturday morning. The sun was shining and it was in the 60s as I sat a local coffee shop and shared a warm drink with one of my oldest friends with whom I’ve recently reconnected. Think kindergarten (OK WHO KNEW KINDERGARTEN WAS SPELLED WITH A T?) old, we shared lots of time together giggling and dreaming about boys and our futures. Years after high school and college drew us apart. She lived in New York. I stayed here. Both of us lost our fathers along the way.

And as I sat there, with a warm feeling only old friends can create in your heart, this beautiful woman said to me, “Our experiences have given us grit that other’s don’t yet know how to relate to. We can sink into that grit, and let it move us forward. Even when moving forward feels like crawling, and the grit and persistence feels more like sand that is digging into our knees.”

If someone asked me if I wanted sand on my cupcake, I would immediately say no. Glimmering sugar is much more preferred.

But in life, it can be easy to pass on the sprinkles. We are drawn into the beauty and then push aside the glimmer as shiny little orbs that kinda hurt.

Grit, true grit, shapes us into who we are meant to be, giving strength in the most unexpected of places. This abrasive sand is fairly unavoidable.  And those who remind us to keep crawling just are so beautiful.

So here it is this week. The list of beauty: cake, friends, Galentine’s Day, husbands who whine at your baking, the reminder to keep crawling, saying thank you to the painful experiences that give you grit, persistence, and blessed cream cheese frosting.



P.S. Don’t forget – I want to hear about your Valentine’s Day expressions of love. Don’t forget about the “Where Your Heart is Challenge.” Write a love note or a poem. Send me an email about it. I’ll post it here.


the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.
When I looked up the definition of tenacity, I was surprised. I knew its connotations with perseverance, determination, and the unwillingness to give up. But I was surprised but the formal definition. How does one have a quality of gripping? My hands possess that quality, I suppose, and maybe, so does my heart. I think I was struck, however, by the positive connection to gripping here. It seems like something to strive for, right? You want to grip on tightly to all that is good, and has promise. Doesn’t our society send conflicting messages here too? We are told repeatedly, to let go, have peace, unburden yourself…..loosen that grip on all those things that are not serving you. And then, we turn around and respect and praise someone for having such strength, and the ability to hold onto hope with a gripping force.
I suppose I should back up and explain why I looked up the definition in the first place. Dylan got a full time job offer this week – hallelujah! A full time position, in his industry, moving him in a direction he wants to pursue. He has to commute, and the situation is once again, not perfect. But we move forward joyfully in this answer to prayers. I was going to praise him for his tenacity – determination, perseverance, and the grace to wait for the right position, rather than pounce on anything that could have come his way. It is nice to know God has opened a new door for him, and that we made it through this time. Thank you universe! But I found myself immediately rushing into new what ifs. WHY DO I DO THIS? What if we have to move back to Boulder and I can’t find a new job ( I do not, at this point, want a new job). What if Dylan struggles in this new position? (There are no indicators…. Katie, it’s day two). What if the commute is exhausting and the price of gas gets too high? (likely… but doesn’t God provide as exhibited by what you JUST went through?) I was annoyed at myself and my ability to quickly say, “whew, Thanks God for helping us with this one, but what about all of the other possibilities of things that could potentially be problematic”. Tell me this is human nature, help me remember to, perhaps, loosen my grip.
And so, this week, I also posted a Facebook status about my impending frustration. I posed a simple question, and got some great responses.
My status said this, ” Feeling Frustrated – tell me good things about the world, ready go!”
The responses are beautiful, and I want to share:
  • Community Cat Coordinator – a position for a non-profit here in town that works with feral cats – I hate cats, so this made me laugh and my friend knew   that it would bring a smile to my face.
  • The Elephant and the Dog that are friendsbella-dog-bubbles-elephant-1
  • Easter!
  • 5 Thoughts that will make you instantly happier  – Click on the link for the article
  • Sunshine and a light breeze off of a river
  • Summer – it’s coming
  • A friend reminded me I’m getting married in September
  • Jazz for Cows – this is a thing

  • Shamwow!
  • Double Cheese Doodles – click this link to listen to an excellent story about simple pleasures!

So thank you to my friends who can encourage me, and remind me that the world is good. I am learning, that this beauty thing, it’s a choice. Every day we can turn on the news, talk to friends, and be aware of tough, heavy situations. But too, I can ask for help, and get pleasantly reminded, that gratitude is where my roots are going to thrive. Thank you for helping me remember what it is important to hold onto, what I should be gripping on to with a force greater than myself, and what I can brush off, and let go, and rid myself of to lighten my load.

I had another conversation with a friend this week who is going through some big, exciting, maybe terrifyingly wonderful changes in her life. We were talking about our blogs, and she shared with me her own definition of beauty that she is zoning in on these days. She left me this image, a quote by Keats, and since I love books, and quotes, and tattered pages, I leave  you with this image for the week.

"What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth"

“What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth”

What are you gripping on to these days? What are you imagining as beautiful? How are you sharing your joys with others?