Welcome Hi, I’m Robin, and I’m a Jesus-Blogger. Nope, that isn’t really how I introduce myself to people, but sometimes I wish I could be that open and honest about what I do. Trying to explain to people what I do for my “job” now is often quite challenging. The fact that you could say I’m “non-profit” right now doesn’t really help matters. But then I remind myself that I’m not doing this for the approval of people, although I’ll admit compliments and words of encouragement do go a long way. I’m doing this because I truly feel I’ve been called upon to share some messages with people. I’m doing this because on any given day I may say just the right thing to offer encouragement or hope to someone who’s struggling. I may have that one reader that says, “Oh, yeah, I can totally identify with that feeling!” And we make a connection via blog-land. Kinda makes you feel like sparkles and rainbows, doesn’t it? Well, some days it feels more like mud puddles and dust bunnies.
Food For Thought No, I’m not talking about income or keeping up with social media or inevitable criticisms. I’m not even talking about technology snafus or the amount of time I just spend sitting at the computer now. Nope, it’s more personal than that today. I’m talking about being a faith blogger when I’m NOT OKAY! I’m talking about how hard it is to teach God’s wonderful provision and “the joy of the Lord is our strength,” when I’m feeling anything BUT joyful. There have been days over the past year that I have wanted to do almost anything over sitting down to tell you a story of hope and encouragement.
I try very hard to keep this blog on the positive side. God knows we have enough negativity coming at us from all sides in this messed-up world! And then there’s reality. The tagline for this blog even states, “Sharing stories of real faith, real life, and really yummy food.” Notice that “real life” sandwiched right in the middle there? Yes, because this IS real life and we’re all going to experience down times. Sometimes it’s just nice to know we’re not alone. But even if this is real life I’m sharing, you don’t want, or need, ALL the details that may leave me mad, sad, or depressed. You don’t want to know when my hormones are raging or I can’t concentrate because I had a disagreement with my husband. Then there’s a theory that because I’m a faith and spiritual writer, I should be able to see the good in all circumstances and never struggle with doubts or discouragement. Well, that’s pretty far from the truth for any spiritual writer or leader! I’m just going to let you know, right now, there are days I struggle so much with sitting down and sharing positive thoughts with you. Yes, see how REAL we’re getting here! It’s a good thing I keep a writer’s notebook and journals, because I definitely have days I need to pull from something more positive than my own current state of mind. I don’t feel you need another article on politics or violence in America, so I avoid many of these topics. They are not beneficial to the overall goal of this site. But that doesn’t mean I’m not wrestling with these issues in the midst of bringing you a humorous situation with my husband or a new dessert recipe. Likewise, if you are a frequent reader of the blog, you may be aware that I battle with depression and anxiety. While there’s been an improvement in my mental health over the past year, I still have times that it hits me pretty hard. I had issues this winter during our dark, gray months when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kicked in and I also really hit a low month revolving around my fortieth birthday. There’s a good chance you can pick up on my lowest times based on the topics I write about, but that may not always be the case. At any rate, as real and honest as I try to be, I don’t want to just sit down and say, “Hey world, I’m sad and crying right now and I don’t know why and I’m going to tell you everything that’s wrong with my life today.” I don’t want to necessarily write about all the times my faith wears thin and I wrestle with God over my many doubts. I have a feeling that would have a negative effect on trying to grow my audience. So, I struggle through the low days, sometimes having so much trouble focusing on what I’m writing, that I hope it comes out coherent on your end. Other days, I begin to feel better just by listening to my own encouragement.
Here’s a great truth I learned from reading Why Her? by Nicki Koziarz. This empowering truth is, “You don’t always have to be okay.” I appreciate how she shared her own personal experience of losing her mother during the writing of this book and how it was the hardest season of her life. She knew she had work to do, she knew people meant well when they encouraged her with words like, “Hang in there, you got this.” But there came a point when she just said, “I’m not okay.” And that’s a reality WE ALL have to face in life sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor or Sunday School teacher. It doesn’t matter if you work at a Christian college or write for a Christian publication. It doesn’t matter if you’re a faith-based writer and blogger. It doesn’t matter if you run your own ministry organization. There are going to be HARD times. These are the times we don’t feel like being the encourager for someone else, because we need someone to be the encourager for US. And we all need to get to an honest place with each other so that we can say, “Hey, I’m not okay.” We DON’T want to stay stuck there, which is where that depression battle can be such a thorn. We DO want to give each other some grace for the times when they may just not be okay to share wisdom or leadership for that day, because the next day we may need that same grace extended to us.
Today’s Recipe Do you remember earlier when I said it “Kinda makes you feel like sparkles and rainbows”? Well, I have a great “sparkles and rainbows” dessert today, and it’s right up my husband’s alley! My husband loves all things “poke cake,” so this weekend I made my husband a mostly-sugar-free version of the classic Rainbow Jell-O Poke Cake. The sugar part comes in with the rainbow sprinkles, but they are just so cheery! Now this isn’t an original recipe, by any means. It’s been around longer than I have! But who can resist the combination of cake, gelatin, cool whip, and all those rainbow colors?
Rainbow Jell-O Poke Cake (sugar-free version)
- 1 box Sugar-Free Cake Mix (yellow, or white if you can find it)
- eggs, oil, and water to prepare cake mix
- 3 boxes Sugar-Free Jell-O mix, 1 each in strawberry, orange, and lime
- 3 cups water
- 1 container Sugar-Free Cool Whip
- rainbow sprinkles, if desired
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, baking in a 9×13 pan. Allow to cool 30 minutes. Using the dowel-end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake in rows.
Boil water for Jell-O. Empty each Jell-O packet into a separate cup. Pour one cup boiling water into each container of Jell-O and stir to dissolve. Pour each cup of dissolved gelatin over cake, one at a time so that it seeps down into the holes of the cake. I only used about 3/4 of each cup of Jell-O for this cake.
Refrigerate cake for four hours. When chilled, top with entire container of Cool Whip and rainbow sprinkles. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.