The Lesson of the Cinnamon Cake Mistake

As I pulled the coffee cake that our family calls ‘Cinnamon Cake’ out of the oven, Jake considered the baking treat with a scrutinizing eye.

“Mom, the cinnamon cake looks different,” Jake observed. “What did you do???”

I remained silent.

I knew what had happened, but I didn’t want to disclose my mistake.

Not yet.

I hoped that the boys would eat it anyway.

I stayed quiet as I sliced a piece of cake for my incredibly observant son. He took the piece and sat down at our dining room table. Jake took an initial bite. Jake offered nothing more and asked for a second helping. I breathed a sigh of relief.

What was my mistake?

What had happened that caused Jake to notice that his cinnamon cake looked different?

I can summarize the situation in one word – distraction.

Are you familiar with this state of being?

A distraction is any person, place, thing or myriad of thoughts that diverts one’s attention from the task at hand – disrupting focus and concentration. Merriam Dictionary defines the term as an extreme agitation of the mind. Synonyms for this term include disturbance, interference, diversion, complication, interruption, disorder and preoccupation.

As I prepared the cinnamon cake this morning, I confess that my thoughts were not on the baking process. Instead, some phone texts had come through and reached me early in the morning. Their words consumed my thinking.  These perplexing issues percolated in my mind as I fixed my family’s morning breakfast. Although I had prepared my grandmother’s recipe and knew it inside and out, I failed to add one crucial ingredient.

I didn’t realize my error until the cake was already in the oven.

What would happen?

Was this crucial ingredient really so crucial?

After 45 minutes of baking time, I pulled the cake from the oven. It definitely looked different. The exterior was darker than usual. The cake had only risen to 2/3 of its typical height. As I cut into the cake, the cinnamon filling flowed onto the plate instead of its typical effusion. It was definitely less moist. Jake was correct. The cake had an entirely different appearance and texture.  But, for me, the question was the taste.

Would the cake be edible?

As I shared, Jake took two servings.

However, later, when our family gathered for our morning devotion time, I confessed my mistake.

“Jake,” I began. “You were right. The cinnamon cake was different today.”

“How?” Caleb and Jake inquired in unison.

I confessed.

“I forgot to add the yogurt.”

“Why, Mom?” Jake asked.

“I was distracted. I was thinking about something else and although the yogurt was right out in front of me on the counter, I failed to add it to the batter. I’m sorry,” I shared.

“It’s okay, Mom,” Caleb offered.

Jake wasn’t so forgiving.

“Mom, you shouldn’t be so distracted,” Jake admonished. “Stop worrying.”

“You’re right, Jake,” I admitted.

And Jake was correct.

I allowed circumstances which are completely out of my control to consume my thoughts. As a result, my focus and attention on my present life – what I could control – like adding yogurt to the batter of the cinnamon cake – was negatively affected. Big time.


What is particularly convicting to me about this situation is that one of my determinations for the New Year is that I want to be more aware of my Lord and Savior as I live out my day-to-day life. In other words, my desire is to be less distracted and more intentional with my thought life and actions. Today’s event underscored my need and my resolve to release the worries and concerns of my life to my Heavenly Father.

My God has a plan and purpose for my life – which even includes paying attention to breakfast preparation.

His word promises:

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

New International Version, Psalm 16:11

There are some amazing spiritual truths for me in this verse. To make known means to reveal, to know by experience, to be very familiar with, to be instructed, and to know more. This definition comes from the Hebrew transliterated word yada. Yada is an informative, experiential, and intimately based action directed from my Heavenly Father to me.  The wondrous, abundant joy that I am offered in His Presence satiates and satisfies – leaving no space for worry, fear, distraction or disturbance.

The deal is though that distractions come at us at all times of day in all types of formats – sometimes when we least expect them:

A hurtful, insensitive word

An urgent, demanding email

A distressing phone message

An unexpected interruption

A disruption in one’s daily routine

An interfering family member or workmate

An entertaining Facebook post – because even something fun can be time consuming

A health complication

A fuss and hullabaloo over this, that or any other possible thing

And before we even realize it, our minds are off and running in an entirely different direction from our present course – all because we fell victim to or purposely chose to accede our attention towards distraction.

Yet, in the face of every distraction, disturbance, or even a nondescript hullabaloo, my desire is to pay attention to the Presence of my Lord and focus upon Him. No concerning phone texts, no situations which are beyond my reach or power to control, not even a cinnamon cake that is missing a crucial ingredient should cause me to ignore, forget, or disregard the truth that my God is present in each and every circumstance and has something to say to me in it all.

So, as another New Year approaches, my aim is to seek out a greater and more intimate revelation of my God in my life – in my thoughts, in my words, in my actions, and in my state of being. How this will all play out in 2019 I can’t yet tell you yet. But, for my God to be revealed and for me to experience and be satiated by His eternal joy, I can relate to you that it means less distractions from this crazy world and more attention and focus upon my Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

For me, it starts today.

That’s the lesson I take from my cinnamon cake baking experience and my son’s own exhortation:

“Mom, you shouldn’t be so distracted,” Jake admonished. “Stop worrying.”

So, I will.

Less Distraction. Less Worry. Less Anxiety. Less Fear in 2019.

This is a pretty good lesson to learn from a cinnamon cake mistake!

Join me?

2 thoughts on “The Lesson of the Cinnamon Cake Mistake

  1. I hope so…I have the same problem!

    1. Wishing you a glorious New Year, Sondra! Blessings!

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