Another name for Cheesecake Day is Hawken's birthday. Tomorrow he turns 17 -- pretty amazing because when he was an infant we were told there was a good chance he'd only live for two years. I guess he showed them!
We have cheesecake because years ago, when he was maybe two he was on a special diet and the only kind of cake I could figure out how to make for him with special ingredients was cheesecake. I made him a special one and then I made one for the family. It turned out we liked his better! So now, every year we celebrate his life with cheesecake (I'll give you my recipe, such that it is, at the end).
So I guess you could say we have a cheesecake tradition.
And it's an important one to us. I messaged my college daughter yesterday and wrote, "You're going to miss cheesecake." She said, "I Know!"
Have you seen the movie It's A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart? It's been around since 1946, and it used to be played on the TV during the holidays a lot but it's kind of been replaced by Hallmark Christmas shows and the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story.
It's the story of George Bailey. George finds himself in a very impossible situation and contemplates suicide because the life insurance payment would cover the funds that were lost. Clarence the angel gives George a chance to see what life would be like if George had never been born. As we are shown George's life we see how his one ordinary life mattered a great deal. If he hadn't been born many would have been lost and miserable.
And that's what I think of when I think of tomorrow. Hawken Zachariah Hinrichs, a life that has and continues to change so many lives just because Hawk exists.
From society's point of view Hawk's life is a waste. And because of that my life is being wasted because instead of using my talents and skills to make money or make a big mark in this world, they are being used at home taking care of Hawk full-time.
Society's point of view is wrong.
God's ways are not our ways. The way He thinks isn't the way we think. Isaiah 55:8-9 says this thought better. It says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
Hawken doesn't talk to others. He doesn't reach out to others. He just lives. He enjoys food. He enjoys books. He enjoys rolling on the ground. He sometimes makes happy noises. He is often very quiet. He tells me when he needs changing by making the I-need-changing noises.
He doesn't go many places in public. He goes to church. He goes to school functions with me. So, I really can't tell you how God uses him in other people's live, but God does. He's changed people's heart using Hawk as he is. I know this because people have told me.
I guess the reason I share this is because God will do the same with your life and mine. If we know Jesus Christ, where we go He goes. His Spirit lives within us, and when we are present, the Spirit is present. I don't even think we have to do anything but be there and God will work. Of course there are times He leads us to do something specific or say something specific but often it is just being present.
God's ways are so vastly different than society's ways. Even we Believers have a hard time understanding that what we view and what we are told is important is not. We can easily get off track doing things the world's way (bigger is better, flashy programs, polished appearances) thinking that is how we get results. And we might get some that way but they won't stick if God's not in them.
If we choose to listen we'll hear God telling us to do things His way. If we choose to listen and observe we'll see that God's ways are often secret. God's ways are often silent. Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a speck of a seed, yeast; buried treasure, a merchant, a fishing net. These aren't glamorous things. These aren't objects that the world would say is a good way to get God's kingdom filled.
So, I promised you my cheesecake recipe. Before I share it I want to apologize -- I don't use a lot of measuring so it won't be very specific.
And now I am telling you a lot more specifically because my cheesecake is in the oven. So here is Jane's Incredibly Easy but very Real Cheesecake:
4 packs of cream cheese
3 x-large eggs
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Tablespoon of vanilla
1 cup of sugar
Have cream cheese softened. Put in bowl. Add eggs. Mix until creamy. Add flour and vanilla and sugar. mix again. Taste. If sweet enough (don't want it too sweet) then you pour this into your prepared graham cracker crust (see below). I use almost an entire box of graham crackers, 1 1/2 sticks of butter and maybe 1/3 cup of sugar. Mix these (after crumbing crackers) and press into rectangular cake pan and bake for ten minutes. Cool before adding cream cheese cake mixture. Put the oven on low heat, maybe 250 and then bake until firm.
I've left the original post below but you can surely ignore it.
(What you need is 4 packs of cream cheese, 4 to 6 eggs, sugar, vanilla and maybe a bit of cornstarch or flour if you have to thicken it.
First make the crust. For this you need graham crackers, butter and sugar. Take your graham crackers and make them into crumbs. Add butter and sugar. Add enough butter to make the crumbs stick together. Add enough sugar so the crust is sweet but not too sweet. Put this in your pan and bake it for ten minutes at 350 degrees. Take it out and let it cool. I usually use a large cake pan -- the rectangle size 9 1/2 by 11? I don't know what it is. Something like that.
Okay, so back to the cake. I forgot to mention you should have taken the cream cheese out to soften for a while. Now that you have softened cream cheese put it in a bowl. Add the eggs. Mix until mixed well with no lumps. Use a mixer for this! Add maybe a half a cup of sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla. Try it. Is it sweet enough? If it is you've added enough. Pour into crust. It shouldn't be runny. It should be very thick. If it is too runny you'll have to add a bit of thickening cornstarch.
Okay, heat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the cake in. It will have to cook for a long time -- maybe check it after an hour. You'l know it is done when you can stick a knife in it and it comes out clean.)
Once done put it in refrigerator and once it is cold you can eat it plain or with lots of toppings. Yum, yum, yum.