A Sweet Answer to Her Prayer- Angela Logan


I was up to my elbows in cake batter when I heard a sharp rapping at the front door of the house. Coming! I shouted from the kitchen.I hoped it was my fiancé, Melvin, with supplies for more cakes.Not Melvin. A stranger, a woman with a rigid expression.Are you Ms. Angela Logan? she asked.Yes.I’m from the health department. You need to cease baking and selling cakes from your home. Immediately.Stop making my cakes? There must be some mistake…It’s a health-code violation. You cannot sell baked goods from your home. They must be made in a state-approved commercial kitchen. She handed me a notice and left.I shut the door and sank to the floor. Lord, no! I cried.Those cakes were my last hope to save my house. If I sold a hundred apple cakes, that would give me enough to make the first of three payments to qualify for a mortgage-loan modification.Melvin and my teenage sons, Marcus, William and Nick, had helped me spread the word. A reporter from the local paper had even interviewed me, though I had yet to see the story in print. I’d gotten quite a few orders already. How could I fulfill them if I couldn’t bake? And that payment was due in five days!I buried my face in my apron. What was I thinking? I wasn’t a business owner. I wasn?t even a professional baker.I was an actress. I’d dreamed of making it big in the movies. It never happened. I’d done commercials, one-woman shows, had bit parts on TV. I made enough to get by, but with three college-bound boys, I needed a regular paycheck.So I enrolled in a nursing program at the community college and found side work as a hairstylist.Then the storm hit. The recession of 2009, and an actual storm that left our roof, windows and top floor in shambles. I hired a contractor to fix the damage, but he took our money and ran. Not long after that, my talent agency went under and I didn’t get paid for acting jobs I’d already done.I fell behind on mortgage payments. Foreclosure notices rolled in. A credit counselor worked with me to apply for the loan-modification program. The catch was, I had to make three trial payments to qualify. How in the world would I do that?The idea came in a flash of inspiration: cake! What if I baked and sold cakes? Cake makes people happy. I learned that from my grandma Melissa.The highlight of my childhood Sundays after church was going to Grandma’s and having home-baked treats, like her famous glazed lemon cake. While my brothers and sister devoured their pieces, I studied mine. Did she use real lemon juice? How did she get it to smell so yummy? Grandma, seeing my interest, taught me her secrets, like using only the best and freshest ingredients.I developed my own specialty raising my boys as a single mom. Apple cake using the freshest Gala and Delicious apples, Saigon cinnamon, organic sugar, cream-cheese frosting. It was the boys? favorite (they’d even hide pieces in their rooms!) and a big hit at school bake sales and church functions.Then I reconnected with an old friend, Melvin George. We fell in love, and he fell in love with my apple cake too.When I floated the idea of baking my way out of foreclosure, he was all for it.You bake and I’ll deliver, he said. Normally the boys rolled their eyes at any idea of mine (teenagers!) but this time they were totally into it.That’s how Mortgage Apple Cakes came to be, just 10 days before I had to make my first loan-modification payment. If I sold a hundred cakes at 40 dollars each, that would cover the payment and then some. But would people pay that much? And who would I ask?You’ve got to tell everyone you know that you’re in trouble and need their help, Melvin said.That was going to be hard. I was used to making it on my own. All these years as a struggling actress, the only one I’d ever asked for help was the Lord.I swallowed my pride and wrote an e-mail. Buy a Cake, Save a Home? was the subject line. I explained my situation and ended with, Would you be willing to help me? I sent it to everyone on my contacts list.I even admitted my problem to my nursing-school classmates. I stood up in class one day and said, I’m selling cakes to save my home. Would any of you like to buy one? Hands shot up.We got 42 orders in four days. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I could pull this off after all! Even with only one mixer and four cake pans.But now the health department had shut me down. How could I have been so foolish as to think cake could save my house? I dried my eyes on my apron and broke the news to Melvin and the boys. It’s over, I said. There’s nothing else I can do.There is one thing we can do, Melvin reminded me gently. We can pray.And we did. Lord, I know those apple cakes weren’t my last hope, I prayed. There’s always hope when I turn to you. I called the reporter who’d interviewed me and all but begged him to get the paper to print the story. I’m running out of time, I told him.Actually, your story will run tomorrow, he said. It’ll be in the obituaries section.I groaned. He might as well have told me the story was dead. Who would see it in the obits?Turns out: just about everyone! The manager of a nearby Hilton hotel called and offered me the use of their kitchen. I was whisked away in a limo to appear on a national news program. Orders poured in from all over the country, so many we could hardly keep up.The boys set up a website and Melvin helped with shipping. Those apple cakes saved our house after all.Now, five years later, Mortgage Apple Cakes is a full-fledged business. I’m proud to say a portion of the profits goes to helping folks in financial trouble.Oh, and remember how I dreamed about making it in the movies? Producers at the UP network heard my story and found it so inspiring, they made a movie out of it!

A Walk in the Park- Judy Ann Eichstedt

Faith is not without worry or care, but faith is fear that has said a prayer.~Author UnknownI am not a person who puts too much faith in dreams. I always seem to find a logical explanation for them. However, something happened that made me realize that God talks to us in dreams, as do our loved ones who have passed away.It happened when things were at an all-time low for us. We had become homeless just months before, and we finally were able to save enough to get back into a house. My husband had not found work, and we had no money. Many times I went to the Dumpsters in the back of grocery stores to find food for my family. It was a dark time.I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. It was hard to see how things would improve. When you’re eating from garbage cans, it’s hard to stay positive. However, my faith in God and reading the Bible kept me strong even in difficult times.We were living in Oregon in a two-bedroom house with six children and no utilities. With no running water, I had to get water in a bucket from a neighbor’s house. I needed $150, as a deposit, to turn on the water and lights. I just could not come up with the money.On a Sunday night I poured out my heart to God and told him how much money I needed for the utilities. I felt as if I was at the end of my rope. I did not know what to do. That night I had a very strange dream. In the distance I saw a campfire with men sitting around it. As I walked closer, I saw tents and horses as well. It looked like they were soldiers in the Civil War. All the men wore uniforms that fit the time period. The men were looking down at the fire as I walked up to them. Then one man looked up at me and smiled. He had a very big smile and he acted as if he knew me. I just stared at him. He had a pleasant face, but he looked tired. We looked at one another for a moment or two before he spoke.”Take a walk in the park,” he said. His voice was strong.”What did you say?” I asked.He repeated, “Take a walk in the park.””Who are you?””Parkhurst,” he said. “I am called Parkhurst. It’s a family name.” And he laughed.I woke up and remembered every detail of the dream.The next morning I walked to the store to return some bottles for the deposit, and right next to the store was a little park off to the side. I froze as I stared at it and recalled my dream. I walked away, into the store. As I headed home, Parkhurst’s words came to me. I turned around and went back to the park. I did not see anyone in the park, so I started on the walking trail. Around the corner I saw a woman jogging toward me so I moved over for her to pass. I kept walking and looking for some reason I was there, but found none. Then someone touched me on my back and I turned to see the jogger.”Hello,” she said. “You must be the one.””I don’t understand,” I told her.”I dreamt last night that someone needed some money, and I handed it to them at a park,” she said.My mouth fell open but I did not say a word. She handed me an envelope, said “God bless you,” and off she went. I yelled “thank you” when I could talk again. I opened the envelope, and there was $150. I had to sit down.I went over and over what had happened. I prayed and had a dream with a message from a strange man, and this woman had a dream and knew how much money I needed. I could not believe it, for nothing like that had ever happened to me. I hurried home to tell everyone.It was not until twenty years later, when I took up genealogy, that I discovered a man named Parkhurst Shurlock who served in the Civil War. He was a sergeant in the 100th Co. D. I could not believe what I was reading. He was my great-great-grandfather.As I did more research I learned the name Parkhurst was a family name, and to keep it alive they used it as a first name. About three years ago I found a photo tintype of Parkhurst Shurlock. It was without a doubt the man in my dream. I had come face to face with my great-great-grandfather.

Cloud bread

INGREDIENTS

1 1/8 cups Eggland’s Best 100% Egg Whites, at room temperature

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Pinch of Salt

2 oz Cream Cheese, Softened

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Pour 1 cup of Eggland’s Best Liquid Egg Whites into a medium bowl, add cream of tartar and salt, then beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, add cream cheese and the remainder of the egg whites, then, beat until combined.
  4. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Divide batter into 8 clouds on prepared baking sheet, spacing 4” apart.
  6. Options – Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
  7. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes
  8. Options – While hot to sprinkle with cheese
  9. Let cool slightly

A heavenly chef

Monday night madness, I thought, glancing at my kitchen clock. Church orchestra practice was in less than half an hour, and I still had things to take care of—cook some chicken to take for lunch that week, feed the dogs, change out of my work clothes.I filled a pot with water and stuck it on the stove, turning the gas burner up high. Orange flames licked the metal. Hurry, hurry. I stared at the pot, then caught myself. A watched pot never boils, I thought. I set the chicken next to the stove, all ready to go.Now the dogs. “Bubba, Paco, dinner!” Our six-year-old basset hound and five-year-old Lab mix scampered in. They eyed the chicken on the counter. “No, no,” I said. I scooped kibble into their bowls and they chowed down.By then the water was rolling furiously, so I threw the chicken in. Finally I glanced at the clock again. Gotta get a move on!I ran to my bedroom and changed. “Go play,” I told the dogs, letting them out into our fenced-in yard. Then I grabbed my keys and headed to church. I made it to my seat at the chimes just as everyone else finished tuning their instruments. Phew!Practice went well. We were all getting our parts down and I felt confident about mine. It wasn’t till I was pulling out of my parking space afterward that it hit me. The chicken. I’d left the pot boiling!I tried not to break the speed limit on the drive home, but dreadful visions filled my head. Everything we owned burned to ashes. The dogs, were they safe? Lord, I prayed, things are just things, but please, watch over Bubba and Paco!I turned onto our street. No flames or smoke or fire trucks. The house looked fine from the outside. The dogs were fine too, romping in the yard.Inside, I didn’t smell any smoke. I rushed to the stove, turned off the burner and peered into the pot.The chicken wasn’t burned. There was still plenty of water sloshing around in the pot—two and a half hours after I had left it boiling. Two and a half hours!Someone was watching the pot after all.