Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup and check them all out. See you there:
My subject is What is the best gift you have ever received? It was submitted by: Juicebox Confession.
I’ve had some difficult Swap prompts. I mean some really difficult ones, some almost had me paralyzed. Like the time I had to write my post "Cat in the Hat" style the time I wrote about getting a middle of the night phone call from the CIA and the time I tried to explain my newfound knowledge of household mysteries brought on by having been bitten by a radioactive dustbunny. So this prompt is a piece of cake (get it? baking? cake?) right? No, I have to tell you, this was a really hard prompt for me. I could easily have said that the best gift I ever received was my kids. Especially considering all I went through to have them.
But that’s a story I’ve already told (well, parts of it anyway) and honestly that answer, though true, is just a little too cliche. In fact, most of the answers I was coming up with were the same, just too “already been done . . . to death”.
I’m going to go in another direction completely. I’m going to tell you about a gift that showed up in the mail about 3 years ago.
At the time I had a computer that sat on my desk in the kitchen and another one that was in the office. Both were very old, slow and barely functional. I knew we needed a new one, but I wasn’t really using it a whole lot and wasn’t really looking to spend any more time sitting in one spot. My sister had been trying to convince me to get onto Facebook. I knew I should because my kids were on, but I really didn’t see the point. I just wasn’t interested.
Shortly afterwards my sister had surgery to her foot. During her recovery there were times when she was in pain and had to stay in one place for long stretches of time. She tried again to talk me into getting onto Facebook. She was 1500 miles away and if I could play Scrabble and chat with her online, it would give her something to do while immobilized. So I did it, I joined the land of the living.
And then it arrived. In the mail. From my sister and her husband. A laptop.
From that day to well over a year later we always had a Scrabble game going. Sometimes we’d play and chat late into the night. And her daughter, my niece, sometimes would have a game going with me as well.
I ended up reconnecting with friends from as early as high school, friends who lived all over including in other countries. I was interacting with family far away on a daily basis. And I started posting pictures of all the baking I was doing. And venting through humor about my kids, my life, my frustrations.
One day I made a comment on Facebook, sort of in passing, about having enough stress that I could probably write a whole blog just about baking and venting. Three different friends picked up on it and started pushing. Hard. And I did it.
Now I know people all over the US and the world who I’ll never meet. They help me and support me and cheer me on. Some are bloggers, some have liked my Facebook page or follow me on twitter, pinterest,linkedin, or bloglovin. Now I’ve been published in two anthologies and I have more offers on the table.
So the best gift I’ve ever received? It wasn’t for any occasion at all. It was a laptop. And it changed my life.
Ingredients (makes about 40 cookies):
1 box Strawberry Cake mix with pudding in the mix
3/4 tsp strawberry extract
8 oz cool whip defrosted as per container directions
1 cup powdered sugar
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix together cake mix, extract, egg and cool whip.
*Drop a teaspoon amount at a time into powdered sugar. Roll around in the powdered sugar and put onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 20 at a time.
*Bake for 13 to 14 minutes.
*Let sit on cookie sheet for one minute, then remove and cool.