Sunday, 21 September 2008
Living a life that counts . . .
One day . . . this life you and I are living will come to an abrupt end. There will exist for us no more sunrises, no sunsets . . . no months, weeks, days or hours . . .
All of our trinkets and belongings that we have collected during our sojurn here on earth . . . they'll all either be in the tip, or they'll belong to someone else. You cannot take it with you . . . however much you may have treasured it here on earth.
It will no longer matter how wealthy you were, or how famous or powerful. If you've made your mark at all in those areas, your significance will be relegated to the anals of history books, and, let me tell you . . . there are very few that make it there. I can only ever think of one Winston Churchill, one Mark Antony . . . one Moses . . . I have often heard it said that one's memory only lives long enough for the generation that knew you personally to remember you . . . once they are gone and forgotten, so are you . . . unless you have indeed made a most generous mark on the world . . . for the worst or for the better, it doesn't seem to matter which.
It will not matter how much you owned, nor how much you owed. It's now either someone elses' blessing . . . or problem as it were.
That next door neighbour that you couldn't stand the sight of . . . that close friend that you could never forgive a betrayel from . . . that person at work that got the promotion you should have had . . . your husband's secretary, you know the one, she's the one with the long legs, beautiful hair and killer smile . . . *POOF* . . . gone . . .
Everything you hoped for . . . dreamed of . . . wished for . . . aspired to . . . all that you wanted to get done, but never did . . . your wins . . . your losses . . . all expired and faded away into nothingness . . .
It won't matter anymore where you lived, or what you lived in . . . how pretty you were, or not . . . how sexy, how smart, black or white, man or woman . . . .rich or poor . . . old car, new car, fat or thin, tall or short . . .
The value of your days will be measured not in how much you bought or how much you created, but in how much you gave and shared with others of the things and talents with which you were blessed whilst living here on earth.
They will be measured not in how smart you were, how much you learned or however successful you might have been . . . but in how much you taught of what you knew, and in how much of a mark you made while you were here to do so . . .
Every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example . . . these are the marks you will have made. What will matter is not your competence, but your character, not how many people you knew . . . but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone . . .
What you remember will no longer matter, but . . . the memories that you have left with those you loved and who loved you, the memories of the people you touched in whatever way you touched them . . . this is your lasting legacy. What will truly matter is how long you will be remembered . . . and by whom . . . and for what . . .
Living a life that matters is no accident . . . it doesn't just happen and is not a matter of circumstance . . . living a life that counts is a choice . . . that, only we can make. I choose to live a life that counts for something, how about you?
Last weeks Make Me Bake Challenge was a delicious Pineapple and Coconut Cake. What a delicious choice that was you made! Todd thanks you from the bottom of his lucky, skinny arsed heart! Yes, he is one of those fortunate people who have been blessed with the ability to be able to eat whatever they like, without gaining an ounce! As for myself . . . I only have to sniff and I gain ten pounds. (Ok, I confess . . . I do a bit more than sniff . . . . )
*Pineapple Coconut Cake*
Serves 6 to 8
The last hurrah of summer before it becomes a distant memory, this deliciously moist yellow cake is filled with a scrumptious pineapple filling before being slathered with a fluffy frosting and covered in a drift of lovely coconut . . . Y-U-M-M-O!!!
3/4 cup butter
1 cup whole milk
2 cups flour
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 (20 ounce) tin of crushed pineapple (DO NOT DRAIN)
2/3 cup sugar
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
pinch of salt
2 large egg whites (save the yolks for something else)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1 TBS light corn syrup
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut to cover
First make the filling. Whisk together the flour and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and then cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the butter is melted and everything is thick and well amalagamated into a lovely chunky sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 325*F/160*C. Grease and flour two 9" round cake tins, or three 8" round ones. Set aside.
Place the butter and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the butter melts. Stir well and then allow to cool to room temperature.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
Combine the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat well with a hand mixer on high speed, scraping the bowl down often. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow, smooth and thick. Stir in the flour mixture, using a large spoon, and mixing only until the flour disappears. Stir in the cooled milk mixture and the vanilla. Mix only until smooth. Divide the batter evenly amongst the prepared pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden and spring back when lightly touched in the centres and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cook in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely, right sides up.
To make the frosting, bring some water to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. In the top, or in a heat proof bowl that will fit snugly on top of the bottom pan, combine all the frosting ingredients, except for the coconut. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for one minute, until pale and quite foamy. Place the pan over top of the simmering water and then increase the speed to medium high. Beat for 7 minutes, until the icing becomes thick, white and shiny and triples in volume. Continue to beat until it forms soft peaks. (This could take as long as 15 minutes) Remove from the heat and continue to beat for another two minutes, until nice and stiff. Use immediately.
Place one cake layer, top side down, on a cake plate or server. Cover it with about half of the pineapple filling, spreading it almost to the edge of the cake but leaving a slight border all around. Place the other cake layer on top, right side up. Spread it with the remaining filling. Cover the side and top of the cake generously with the fluffy frosting. Place the cake on top of a flat baking sheet and sprinkle generously with the shredded coconut, carefully patting it on to cover any bare spots until it is all used up. (The pan helps to catch any coconut that doesn't adhere to the cake)
Serve on the day you bake it. The frosting does not keep. If you want to keep the cake longer you can cover it with an every day white frosting or a cream cheese frosting, sprinkling with coconut when finished as well. Delicious!