My 2017 “Man of the Year”

Welcome  I hope there will be many posts in 2018 on the topic of gratitude.  Today, however, is our concluding post for this week’s theme of gratitude.  Today I am going to share the person for whom I’m most grateful for this year.  And I can’t celebrate this person without sharing one of his favorite recipes.  Thanks for joining me today.  Note–I may receive a small compensation from affiliate links found in this post.  For further information, please see my Terms and Disclosure page.

Food For Thought  You know how Time magazine always picks a “Person of the Year” and People magazine likes to share the title for “Sexiest Man Alive.”  Well, I don’t need either of these publications, their staff, or even the random public to tell me who the prize winner is in both of these categories, especially after this past year.  On day 20 of the “Thirty Days of Gratitude Challenge,” I was asked to write and reflect on the person for whom I’m most grateful.  This one was a no-brainer!  This has to be my husband, hands-down!  He’s always been a wonderful guy, not that he’s perfect by any means, but his attitude and actions toward me this past year in the midst of my personal crisis were nothing but heroic, at least in my mind.

My husband has been by my side, supporting me for over 15 years, since meeting in 2002.  We are approaching our 14th year of marriage and I can truly say we are more devoted and in love with each other than ever before.   Considering some of the things we have faced in the past couple of years, I think it’s a strong testament to the fact we were meant to be together.  He’s put up with some crazy antics and tantrums from me over the years, but over and over again he has vowed he will always be there for me.  And he is.  I really feel the ultimate test for us came in 2017 when my teaching job came to an end with some dramatic flair that I don’t want to go into today.  While dealing with a crushed spirit and broken dreams, I had this crazy idea to go my own way and become a blogger and writer.  I shared my ideas, my reasons, the signs I felt I’d been given, but I also was honest about the financial aspect.  I didn’t want to mislead him with thoughts of quick paychecks or that this line of work would be without a down side.  His words: “You do it, lady!”  In fact, he had so much faith in me that he bought me a new laptop when I was just getting started.  He helped get my home work space started.  And along the way, when I’ve been discouraged with the slow progress or worried that he misses my steady paycheck from teaching (I’m sure he does, to a point!), he continues to offer encouragement and support.  He has made comments like, “You help people, and that’s what matters,” or “You work just as hard as people leaving to go to work every day, it just looks different now.”  I also know that he likes my improved mood and that my schedule can be more flexible to his timeline.  There are so many ways he could have shot down my ideas and goals along the way.  He could have used logic and reasoning to talk me out of doing what makes me happy.  He could be critical of how I use my time at home each day.  But he does none of these things…he is nothing but loving and supportive, and his actions are genuine.  I have always felt strongly that God brought us together for a reason, and if you would like to read more about God’s hand in my marriage, check out my post Lady in Waiting.  But for today, with a heart full of gratitude, I am incredibly thankful for my husband, his love and support, the growth we have experienced together in our marriage and in our faith, and for the years God will bless us together.  Are you grateful for your mate today?  Are you letting them know it by how you show it?

5 verses for encouragement
Read more about encouragement in scripture and let it build up your marriage.

Today’s Scriptures  If there is one thing I would want you to take away from today’s post, it would be how valuable the encouragement I receive from my husband is to the success of our marriage.  And please don’t think this is a one way street!  I often pray that I can be as much of an encouragement for my husband as he is for me.  This encouragement and support for one another is supported in scripture.  One example I can think of, although it wasn’t in marriage, but in a friendship, is how Aaron and Hur supported Moses in the battle with the Amalekites.  Seriously, they physically supported Moses by helping to lift his hands so the Israelites would win the battle (Exodus 17:10-13.)  But you know that had to do something for Moses’ morale to have friends providing support and encouragement in that way.  Let’s try to offer that steadfast support for our mates!  And here are some additional verses on encouragement today.

1 Thessalonians 5:11  “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Hebrews 10:25  “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Ephesians 4:2  “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Ephesians 4:32  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Today’s Recipe  It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I found out that one of my husband’s absolute favorite desserts is “poke cake.”  Do you remember those easy cakes from your childhood?  My mom made them a lot, with lots of variations, always with a boxed cake mix, but with different Jello and pudding mixes used for the “poke.”  Apparently, my husband’s grandmother made poke cakes and he has very fond memories of that treat.  He didn’t know anyone else knew about poke cakes, so he had never brought it up before.  When he found out I knew how to make poke cake too, I couldn’t get one prepared fast enough for him.  When even shared it with some of his siblings so they could all reminisce!  The caveat is I can only make this for him about once a year.  My husband is diabetic and there is nothing even a little bit sugar-free about this dessert!

Like I said, there are many variations to a poke cake, fitting for just about any taste…chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, caramel, fruity, boozy…you name it!  Today’s recipe is for the Ultimate Lemon Poke Cake!  I call it ultimate because it has quadruple the lemon flavor!  So be warned…if you don’t like lemon, this isn’t for you.  But don’t worry, I have lots of other dessert options on my recipe index page.  But if lemon is your go-to flavor, you will love this…lemon cake, lemon jello, lemon glaze, and lemon cream cheese icing.  Using freshly squeezed lemon juice is a big flavor booster here.  Enjoy!

ultimate lemon poke cake
Quadruple the lemon flavor!

Ultimate Lemon Poke Cake

  • 1 lemon cake mix
  • 1 small box lemon gelatin powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 large fresh lemons
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray.  With electric mixer, combine cake mix, gelatin powder, eggs, and oil.  When eggs are thoroughly incorporated, add hot water and continue to mix until smooth.  Pour cake batter into prepared pan.  Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from the center.  While cake is baking, juice one lemon (it should yield between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of juice.)  Whisk in cup of powdered sugar until a light glaze is made.  When cake has finished, but still warm, use the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes throughout the cake.  Pour lemon glaze over the top of the cake allowing it to run down into the holes of the cake.  This will produce the absolute most moist cake you’ve ever eaten!  Allow cake to cool completely.  To prepare icing, beat together cream cheese and butter.  Add zest from remaining lemon.  Juice the lemon and add to the butter mixture, beating on low.  Slowly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until desired frosting consistency.  When cake has finished cooling, frost with the lemon cream cheese icing.