Hello dear ones and thank you for joining me here in my happy place for my final blog post of 2017. It’s been such a great year and I want to thank all of you for popping in to visit my kitchen, my family, my home and my heart. I am honoured to have you come and sit with me a while and share in my fanciful creations.
For my final post I want to share a little of myself with you, so you can see the face and meet the mama behind the cakes, kiddies and dessert tables.
I want to tell you a little of my story.
Twenty two years ago I became a mother and it changed my world. My heart exploded and I felt like the first woman in the history of time itself to ever experience the all powerful, raging force of mother love. I was completely hooked. Addicted. I could never imagine ever having my last baby. Motherhood was entirely the greatest experience of my life and I relished every moment of it. I had found my destiny, my calling, my purpose.
Being a housewife suited me. It still does. I loved to bake and started making muffins, biscuits and cakes for the many people who called in to visit. Back in the day it was organic spelt grain and my trusty Schnitzer wheat grinder. My older children still can’t quite comprehend how far I’ve fallen, using white sugar, white flour and food colouring in my current decorative baking endeavours.
My husband and I started pastoring a growing church in a lovely coastal town 17 years ago. I thrive on the opportunity for home hospitality that pastoring creates. Our visitors are always welcomed with freshly baked goodies coming from the kitchen. It was around this time we also began homeschooling our children. Life was good, busy and productive with three little kiddies running around.
We didn’t quite see the curve ball coming straight for us, which would rock my world, mercilessly rip apart my mother heart and challenge every belief I had.
Eleven days after our fourth child, a beautiful, healthy, nine pound baby boy was born, he died. Noah Gabriel was our third son. My pregnancy was healthy and there was nothing wrong with him. Bizarrely, I came down with a virus on the last day of my full term pregnancy and the long story short is our dear little baby contracted the virus, was born into the world, fought on for a while, then left us to go to Heaven, dying in his father’s arms.
Just like that. (You can read his story HERE)
That was fifteen years ago now. And I still cried this week putting up our Christmas tree without him. The all powerful, raging force of mother love bears a few more scars these days. The challenges have become bigger. The grief has shaped me, ground me down to nothing only to be lovingly rebuilt again by the master hands of my Creator. My roots have dug deeper. I am older, stronger, weaker, more worn, battle weary even. But mother love has won out again.
Now, in the blink of an eye, we have five more beautiful daughters. If Noah had survived, would we have these precious girls? I don’t know. They have been the delight of my heart and the healing balm of my soul, and I am oh so grateful to God for sending them to us.
Life has a way of chugging along. I am learning to hold on loosely to my lambs. They grow up, get married, move away, live their lives. Homeschooling has an ebb and flow. While I have been consistently teaching my children over the years, some have gone to school while others have stayed in the nest. I am currently teaching our four youngest girls at home and love hanging out with these treasures. They also make really cute models.
I have been a housewife for over two decades now and this year I became a grandmother. Through it all, I have continued to bake.
After our youngest was born five years ago, I fell into decorative baking while making cupcakes for my mother in law’s 80th birthday. Oh my. A passion was unleashed and a whole new world of creative expression opened up before me. What started as a few cupcakes with sugar paste daisies on top has literally snowballed into themed dessert tables, wedding cakes, styled parties, baby showers and an insatiable desire to bake, create and share the sugar love!
As my passion has grown, so has my love affair with all things vintage. I began collecting all manner of odd bibs and bobs that would look fabulous on my dessert tables. Old rusty biscuit tins, vintage thermoses, cake stands, rustic pieces of wood, retro gingham aprons, lace doilies, you name it. Whatever had styling potential would find it’s way into my hands where I would work my magic and create unique vintage styled dessert tables. I fill these tables with cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, sugar cookies and colour coordinated lollies and sweets.
Along the way my eldest daughter suggested I start a blog to showcase my work, offering to set one up for me. I have always been ‘Mama Bear’ and love being in my kitchen, so it seemed fitting, with nine dear kiddies now under my wings, to call my new blog “Mama Bear’s Kitchen”.
I post every Saturday morning, sharing cupcake recipes, styled parties or photo shoots, wedding or celebration cakes I’ve made for others. While I am still a hobby home baker, I cannot tell you how much I thrive on this little creative outlet that brings so much colour and beauty into my world.
Do I still love motherhood as much as I did twenty two years ago, or has my passion shifted a gear into a new direction? I am the first to confess that raising children is not for the fainthearted. Parenthood can be a brutal and unforgiving teacher. There is no way around it. It’s tough. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done. Dedicating the prime years of my life to raising a lot of children comes at a cost. It is not a popular path in our modern culture. Our choices mean I don’t have a lot of other freedoms, or huge chunks of time to devote to my creative passions, but I am happy doing what I can with what I have. My eyes are on a higher purpose and that all powerful, raging force of mother love drives me to keep going, to finish well, to pour all I am into this high and noble calling.
While I may not have the thriving baking business, party styling book or super successful standing in social media that I see other talented mums enjoying, I know where my true success and purpose lies. It is right in front of me, in those little and big faces that need their mama. And if I get to bake a few cakes, style some fancy tables and gosh, even get featured in a few magazines along the way, then wow…how good is that?
I am most certainly going to enjoy the ride and still have dreams of one day spreading Mama Bear’s wings with the girls when they are older. For now though, in amongst the washing and cleaning, teaching and feeding the troops, I am absolutely going to create as much beauty as I can, sell the odd cake, have fun with my girls, style a few more dessert tables and maybe even collaborate with other talented artists out there.
So once again, thank you. I appreciate you walking along this road with me. As always, my mind is bursting with a zillion creative ideas and I look forward to sharing them with you in the coming year.
Wherever you call home, have a wonderful Christmas season and I’ll see you in January. Can’t wait.