This afternoon, I made cupcakes. Normally, I would just go out and buy them at a store. Or, if feeling particularly industrious and thrifty, I would sometimes use a boxed cake mix and one of those plastic tubs of pre-made frosting. But not today. Today, I made the cupcakes from scratch, using a recipe, pulling out that bag of flour and the metal canister of baking powder that usually sit at the back of the pantry shelf.
And those cupcakes turned out really darn good, if I may say so. If you’re in search of a vanilla cupcake recipe, I highly recommend Life, Love and Sugar’s “Moist Vanilla Cupcakes” (no giggles, please) —https://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/moist-vanilla-cupcakes/. They are truly delicious, but my results are not as glamorous-looking as the ones featured on that blogger’s website. And it has something to do with powdered sugar.
My cupcakes HAD to have purple icing, a special request of our soon-to-be three-year-old daughter. It was part of a pact we had made about her taking a nap earlier in the day. So, as the cupcakes were baking in the oven and smelling amazingly vanilla-y, I searched my cookbooks for an easy frosting recipe that would require limited ingredients . . . because, well, we all know what this new-normal is like.
I found a glaze-like icing recipe that required two cups of powdered sugar. (Other recipes required a lot of said sugar. Eight cups, for instance!) But I only had about one cup in the sugar bag. So . . . halve the recipe! I made it work! And I tinted it a lovely lavender shade with food coloring to the delight of our little girl. Quarantine-style baking success!
Later on, I thought, “I’ll just place an online order for some more powdered sugar.” Previously, I had tried and failed to order other grocery items online. Like bread-making ingredients. Or instant mashed potatoes. Or tortilla chips. (Are we really eating that many nachos or that much chips-and-dip right now?) But, surely, not that many people are trying to bake cakes and frost them at home, are they? Well, they are, apparently! I found the same message displayed on-screen at all the grocery websites: Limited supply. Delays. Out of stock.
And I suddenly felt panicked. I couldn’t get my powdered sugar! What was I going to do?!?
And then I realized. . . . I don’t need it.
I’m discovering, in this time of pandemic and quarantine, that there are so many things I don’t really need in this life. Going out to eat (when I have perfectly good and plentiful ingredients at home). Constant busy-ness. A stockpile of extra stuff. My previous routine. My preferences. My way.
But I’m also discovering what I do need. And I’m guessing it may be what we all might be needing right now. . . .
Community. And this CAN be achieved at safe and healthy physical distances. I’ve reached out to (and been reached out to) by more family and friends in the past few days than I normally would. I have used phone conversations and text messages. My husband has even taken part in a “virtual happy hour” (love this concept!) and Facebook messaging. All of it has soothed our souls and inspired joy in unexpected ways. Connection matters.
Prayer, reflection, meditation, worship. If faith and spirituality are part of one’s life, these practices don’t have to stop during a time when we wisely avoid gathering in large groups. I’ve seen so many friends sharing worship services, hymn singing, yoga practices, etc. online. We’re finding powerful and boundless new ways to live the life of faith!
Patience. Now, we’re experiencing delays. Out-of-stock notices. Inconvenience. Let us be patient with each other. Patient especially on behalf of those most impacted or at highest risk in this crisis.
Kindness. Now is the time to be gentle. With ourselves and with others.
Empathy and selflessness. My favorite phrase I’ve heard that’s developed during this incredible moment is “It’s not about you.” We can do without. We can wait. We can physically isolate. Because these actions protect our neighbors, and our neighbors include those we know and love and those we’ve never met. Our current actions to take care are exponentially worth it. Life is precious.
Love. No explanation needed, right?
And now, sending love, peace, wellness, and joy (yes, even joy!) to all during this most unusual time. . . .