Circle of Life (chocolate cake)

Today was a Circle of Life Day.

I started the morning with a baby naming celebration for twins, born 1 month early, then spent the afternoon at a Memorial Service for Addie’s teacher, Frank, and ended the evening with dinner in the backyard with our cousins from Idaho.

I get it. You’re born. You die. And in-between, you try and spend as much time as you can with people you enjoy.

In honor of this magnificent day,  I baked what I now call my Circle of Life Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake. When folks have babies, I bake one for the family. When I pay a Shiva call (the Jewish ritual for condolence calls), I bring the cake. It’s my dear friend Jill’s recipe. I’ve adopted it and adapted it. I barely follow the instructions anymore. I use what I have in the house (No sour cream? Use plain yogurt. No oil? Butter will do just fine.)

After dinner, we cut large slices and enjoyed every bite. It was our metaphor for taking big bites out of life. That seemed to be the lesson of the day. Whether one is celebrating the beginning journey of life or mourning its’ ending, starting a new chapter as empty nesters or figuring out a next chapter, all we can do is eat up every moment and savor the flavor.

At Frank’s service, they played a photo slide show.  The Vaughan Brothers song – Tick Tock – was the soundtrack. I loved it. I found it on YouTube for you. Perhaps you’d like to bake the Circle of Life cake for your family and friends; pop on this song while you stir the batter. May it become about more than baking a cake. Maybe it become about enjoying a slice of life.

The Vaughan Brothers song – Tick Tock  


Circle of Life Chocolate Cake


1 package of instant chocolate pudding

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 package of Fudge cake mix

6 oz.  chocolate chips

¾ cup of water

½ sour cream

4 eggs

Mix everything together, fold in chips, pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. If you really want to impress em’ , mash up any kind of berry, drizzle on plate and over cake.  Easy and DELICIOUS!

How do you MindFULLY celebrate  the Circle of Life? Let us know!


Sad News. Over the weekend, authorities think they may have found Frank.

Not much has been said, but according to news reports, “The body of a man thought to be Frank Stanley, 44, was found during a search Saturday in the Pike National Forest. His family was notified of the discovery, a family spokeswoman said Saturday. Stanley’s sister confirmed the death to 7News, and a family friend said his body was recovered from a fall of more than 100 feet.”

Ugh. My heart sank at the news. I was truly holding out for a happier ending. Knowing Frank, I was praying that he had set up camp somewhere and was using the skills and intelligence with which he taught my daughter, to keep himself safe until he was found.

School starts tomorrow.  Looks life this year’s lesson is about life.

We talk of only having this moment. Of not knowing what time brings. Of only getting one real chance at life and of the question, “How are you going to live it?”

Please do not let Frank’s passing be in vain. Let it be a reminder of what matters to you. And then let it be how you live.

Our family heart goes out to Frank’s family.

May he be of blessed memory. Amen.

A Prayer For Frank

Today’s MindFULL Creative posting is about the power of prayer. It’s about holding out hope.

This blog is supposed to be about ideas and musings that inspire. But no matter how we try, sometimes life intercedes and we are overcome with fear and sadness. It’s a part of life. So, as I sat down yesterday to write, I couldn’t help but notice that all of the fun things I had lined up to write about didn’t really matter in the face of my own fear and sadness.

One of my daughter’s teachers has gone missing.

According to news reports, Frank has been missing since July 25 near Bison Peak in SE Colorado). His blue Jeep was found Thursday at the Lost Park trailhead after friends reported that he had failed to return from a hike. Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener said the search began Thursday night and includes four search teams, including one canine unit.

Yesterday a group of parents joined in the search. Late evening emails suggest that there is more of a Search and Rescue game plan formulating, but still no idea of how this  happened. Teachers reported to school today. Classes begin next week. Everyone is concerned and anxious.

When my daughter returned home from camp yesterday, we told her the news. Ever optimistic, she suggested that Frank, a loner, simply extended his camping stay. But her eyes misted and she, too, knew that this was serious.

It’s my worse nightmare. A missing child. No matter the age, you always worry about their well-being. All I can think about is Mrs. Stanley and her angst.

So, in the spirit of MindFULL Mondays, can we all simply stop for a moment and send a prayer out to Frank; that he is using his Boy Scout skills to stay alive and to his family, that they receive their son back safely. Being inspired isn’t simply about doing something. Its about being something. Compassionate. Caring. Mindful.

Let today be MindFULLY full of recognizing all that you hold dear. And please, let us pray for Frank.

How do you MindFULLY hold out hope? Let us teach each other. Let us know!