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Easter brings Hope and Optimism

By Jean Tanner

 “The great gift of Easter is hope.”- Basil C. Hume

 Easter and Springtime—sandwiched together—brings out the ‘child’ in ALL of us, even we older folk that have ‘more-white’ on top our heads than some ‘snow-covered’ mountain peaks. There’s just something in the air that makes you want to shout and be happy, delighting in the coloring of Easter eggs and sampling special made desserts, just for the Easter celebration.

Speaking of delicious bakery treats AND meeting “The Cake Lady”, Melyssa Harrison, herself at last fall’s Saturday market in Fountain Inn, SC and striking up a conversation with her asking how her Balance Bakery business came to be she relayed this story to me: “I started baking for a family member with a low tolerance for sugar, but love desserts, like most of us around these parts. I played around with recipe’s until I found the ‘perfect-match’-reduced sugar treats—only NO ONE could tell the difference.

"Of course, this family member shared with everyone, literally ‘gifting’ friends with my cakes! People started requesting cakes. Before long, my ‘sissy’ suggested I start a business. Well, that was that. I started the process of certification and training, and Balance Bakery LLC was born in 2018. I must admit that sometimes the Lord can be funny, because I knew He had to be working in the midst of this.”

I interrupted her and ask, “How exactly do you know this?”

Melyssa's reply: “I’m so glad you asked. You see, I DO NOT COOK! Some may even say I hate it. I CAN cook, if pushed to do so---I found a passion for baking along the way too. I can’t say when, but it crept up on me like ‘nobody’s-business’. I love to see my recipients smile and ask for ‘more-please’! In short, I have a passion for serving people CLEAN foods, SIMPLE ingredients and DELICIOUS ENJOYABLE food without breaking the bank or ruining our ‘tummies’!

"I bake “scratch-made-treats” with ingredients you can spell and pronounce like: FLOUR, BUTTER, MILK, EGGS and SUGAR. My repeat customers are always requesting Banana Pudding pies, German Chocolate or Butter or Butter Pecan cakes and Oatmeal Walnut cookies, just to name a few.”

Melyssa’s Balance Bakery (DHEC approved) is located at The Purple Porch Store, 3209 Wade Hampton BLVD in Taylors, SC where she utilizes a commercial kitchen and would love to serve you at any-time you’re in the “up-state” SC.

After consuming some of the sweet Easter treats what’s more fun than hiding and finding the Easter egg’s we, as a child, helped dye to place in a basket before the ‘big day’.

 “Egg hunts are proof that your children can ‘find’ things when they really want to!”-anonymous

There are actually ‘Wooden Easter Eggs’, I found out from friend, Theresa Westerman, when she showed me a basket of painted wooden egg’s she has treasured from childhood days and relayed to me how they came about.

Theresa said: “My parents were from Eastern Europe. As such, I was fortunate to be raised celebrating Ukranian and Polish Easter traditions. Both regard Easter as a VERY important day, on par with Christmas and in some instances more important than Christmas. The Saturday (Holy Saturday) before Easter is a busy day preparing an Easter basket to be taken to church for blessing. The basket contains a piece of ham, sausage, salt, pepper, bread, piece of cake, horseradish, piece of butter, painted eggs and a sugar lamb."

The baskets are colorful with the eggs and the Wooden Eggs are often added for the beauty and to make the baskets ‘eye-catching’. Sunday, very early Easter morning, families go to church and once everyone arrives home, the homes come alive with families gathering to eat breakfast. Before eating breakfast, much like Christmas with the sharing of oplatek (Christmas wafer), people share wedges of ‘blessed’ Easter eggs from the basket. They exchange wishes and a Wesolego Alleluja (Joyful Hallelujah). Ukranian eggs are called Pysanka and Polish call them Pisanki”.

As a child, running through daddy’s fields planted in peas and corn it was always a delight to find a vining Maypop plant, also called the Passions flower, wrapped and growing up a cornstalk with ripened yellow fruits the size of large lemons hanging from the vine with a scent of Mango’s when opened to eat.

To me, then, at that time, as a child, taste and smell was the only thing that caught my attention. Then years later, as an adult, I read and learned the significance between the Maypop, Easter and Christ’s Crucifixion. Called the Passion flower because the flower parts of its beautiful unique lavender bloom represent the crucifixion. The fringes topping the center of the five petals are symbolic of Christ’s ‘Crown of Thorns’ and the five ‘pollen-bearing’ antlers are like the marks of His wounds. The division of the pistil where the seed develops represent the nails of the cross. The leaf itself is a symbol of the spear which pierced His side, while the tendrils of the plant represent the whips and cords used to beat and bound Him, with the column of the ovary representing the pillar of the cross.

 “Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”-Janine D. Giovanni

 Like a little branch that sprouts from a stump—the overcoming nature of hope—God has promised resurrection, like every leaf in Springtime. Where there is hope nothing can stop us from believing and arise to the top of difficult and sorrow, “like a little branch sprouting”.

 Job 14:7 “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.”

Hope springs eternal bringing out the optimism in all of us.

It’s no coincidence that Easter and Spring coincide within weeks of each other. It was in God’s plan. In a “From the Pastor’s Heart’ monthly letter I receive, Rev. Charles Stanley comments on the troubles, challenges and hardships we face in our everyday lives and that they can only be defeated by our need for ‘eternal’ hope—hope that is bigger than the circumstances surrounding us—and that’s exactly what Jesus offers.

Dennis the Menace in the March 30th daily comic, even agrees with Rev. Stanley’s statement of truth illustrated by his nightly bedside prayer, knowing he could depend on Jesus when he said in his prayer, “Even if my friends gang up on me—I’m never outnumbered because you’re always on my side.” Now, THAT’S ‘child-like faith’!

As Easter is celebrated each year, churches and cathedrals around the world will ring their bells with choirs singing triumphantly, “Christ the Lord is risen today” and a majority of these churches will have wooden crosses displayed draped with shrouds during the Easter season in the three colors of Easter: purple, black and white. Beginning with purple—representing passion and redemption, placed on the cross during the 40 days of Lent; black—representing sorrow, placed around the Cross on Good Friday, the day of Christ’s Crucifixion; white—representing the JOY of the resurrection, wrapping the cross on Easter Sunday!

How joyous it is, when traveling through valleys and over the hills in the mountains to rise to the top of the hill and find a small church nestled amongst a cluster of trees with its white steeple and topped with a cross breaking through the top of trees catching the sunlight, as if speaking to the heart saying, “On a cross, Jesus was crucified for our sins, but He’s alive today. He arose!!”

 Happy Easter!

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