Messy Cupcakes and a Tidy Sum of Blessings

My five-year-old niece Devon calls me from the phone she got for Christmas. 

It’s not an iPhone or any kind of phone that’s technologically smart. She got an old-fashioned rotary phone. 

The kind that could have sat on someone’s desk in the 1950s or 60s. A plain old brown one with a plastic rotary dial. 

Devon loves it. My brother-in-law activated the jack in her room and Devon thinks it’s hilarious to make calls from her very own phone. She giggles as she talks to me. 

She's coming over to bake cupcakes for my sister’s birthday. “I wanted to call and ask if I can spend the night with you after we make the cupcakes,” she says. 

I tell her yes and she says she has to hang up and pack her bags. I call her back. As she picks up in mid-ring, I hear the rotary jingle interrupted. “Don’t forget to bring your cupcake pajamas,” I tell her. “And pack your puppy apron.”

Usually when she helps me bake, I let her crack the eggs or throw butter into the mixing bowl, but tonight I’m going to give her a pastry bag and have her pipe polka dots on the cupcakes. 

“Yay,” she hops up and down. “I love to pipe! Piping is my favorite!” 

I get out the bowls and spoons and turn around to find Devon has stacked all 12 of my color pots into one tall leaning tower on my counter. I picture a rainbow of frosting dye that is terribly hard to get off surfaces splashed across my floor. But no harm done. She safely unstacks them.

She chooses blue and purple for the polka dots and we mix up the frosting. 

She pipes dots and a heart and a bunch of lines she calls the Eiffel Tower. 

She wants to use the rotating cake turntable. I set up her workstation with two platters of cupcakes, two piping bags and cupcake toppings. 

She starts decorating and twirls the turntable and before I know it, I have white and chocolate sprinkles and blue glitter flying across my kitchen. 

I tell her to hold on so I can get a handle on the clean-up. She tries to help and picks up my throw rugs to shake them out, sending even more showers of sprinkles careening across the floor. 

With frosting bowls and cupcake pans stacked in the sink and icing and cupcake toppings everywhere, Devon says, “Looks like a cupcake explosion in here.” 

And I wonder how long it’s going to take me to clean up this mess. 

Then she stops, looks at me and grins as a song starts to play on the radio. “It’s our favorite song!” she says and turns it up. 

It’s “Blessings” by Laura Story. We often listen to it when we’re in the car. Devon sings along. She knows every word.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family
Protection while we sleep . . . 
But what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know you're near
And what if the trials of this life
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings. I do have a lot of them. 

The kind that come through raindrops and the kind that come with sunshine. 

Blessings that are cloaked in raindrops might be the hardest to recognize but if I look closer, I catch a glimpse. 

To see that they offer the deepest significance. The wildest growth. The chance to see God at work in my life. 

But blessings that stream in with the sunshine are far easier to capture my attention. 

A phone call from my niece. Who wears cupcake pajamas and a puppy apron. Who thinks spending a Friday night with her auntie is the best kind of fun. 

That a messy kitchen means cupcakes and chocolate sprinkles and blue bits of glitter. 

That the music of a song called "Blessings" gets her singing that every promise from God is enough. And reminds her that when we're together we are blessed indeed.


  1. Awwww I loved reading this - brought tears to my eyes actually. Blessings is one of my favorite songs too. What a blessed auntie you are! - Shawna

    1. Hi Shawna!
      Isn't the Blessings song great? Love the message that what you think is a problem or challenge may be God's mercies in disguise! Thanks for reading!

  2. Valerie,
    I'm sure your niece idolizes such a caring aunt.

  3. Another great article! What great blessings - and what wonderful memories you and Devon are both building! What a special relationship you both have!

  4. What a heartwarming story and reminder that blessings are everywhere, you just need to look!

    1. Even when we don't recognize them right away or they are buried in a messy kitchen! :)

  5. And we are blessed to have you and your wonderful perspective on pretty much everything! :)


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