God was continually telling the Israelites to tell their children what He had done for them. Traditions and memories are important to pass on to those who come after us for they help to tell us who we are.

Perhaps because I am suddenly in touch with people who live in America – through our blog posts – I am more aware than I have ever been of the Thanksgiving celebrations.  This post is in tribute to a tradition that my sister and I held in our family as small girls.  It does not involve turkey or pumpkin pie or cornbread, but rather it revolves around that other irresistible gastronomic delight – chocolate cake!

What traditions and memories will you pass on to the next generation in your family?


‘In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ Joshua 4:21-22

As soon as we heard the sound of wooden spoon on china bowl we would run into the kitchen in eager anticipation. We watched as butter and sugar were creamed together; held our breath as eggs were broken – no shell – how skilled our mother was at such things. Our small hands were clumsy and eggs would be crushed in them rather than broken neatly. Flour, and baking powder and – yes – cocoa were being added! Out came the little paper cups, placed with care into each small hollow in the baking tin and, as the little cakes were put in the hot oven we licked the bowl and spoons clean. Is there anything more delicious than chocolate cake mixture from the bowl?

Then we were off! Shouting encouragement to each other and telling our mother where we were going in case she could not find us at the crucial moment, we raced out of the back door, down the steps and turned right, to the coal bunker. Opening the door slightly we could climb up onto the top of the bunker, then onto the ridges that surrounded the window at the back of the garage and from there squirm our way onto the flat garage roof.   It had a buttress wall at the front and we would amuse ourselves spying on our neighbours walking by. Sometimes we pretended to defend our fort from marauding ‘baddies’ but these games only lasted until we heard the back door open and our mother call us. Then it was a race to return to the back of the garage to receive one of the best treats of our childhood.

Hot chocolate cupcakes, straight from the oven!

Our mother would always warn us that they were hot, and we frequently burnt our fingers and our tongues, but the smell and the taste – too hot or not – was too good to resist.

I have no idea when we first sat on the garage roof eating hot chocolate cupcakes. We never did it for anything else. But it is a special memory of my childhood and one that is brought to mind every time I smell hot chocolate cake. A simple joy that coloured our childhood with love-light.


About Mandy Hackland

My love in life is to encourage others to deepen their relationship with God. I write devotional material, stories and small group studies with that in mind. I live in South Africa and also love spending time in the bush, bird watching and walking. I do live in the city but make the most of the green spaces that surround me.
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