My belief is no matter what religion you believe in or not: To believe in the spirit of humanity. To be kind. To treat the people you love with tenderness, patience, and respect. To extend a hand when you can. To love with everything you got. To let people live their lives as they see fit without judging them. I believe in unconditional love.
Two weeks ago I was out having dinner with my family and on the ceiling of the restaurant was a painting of Jesus. My 4 year old son asked me who was that man and what was he looking at? I found myself at a crossroads of how to explain faith to him. I myself am still coming to terms with what I believe and what I don’t believe, plus I wanted to be mindful to not force my beliefs onto what my son should believe. Instead I would love to open him up to all sorts of different religions and theories and let him decide on his own as he grows and matures.
I decided to start a gradual introduction of religion, so he would have the tools needed when he gets older to make that decision on what he chooses to believe. I announced we would have a family movie night, and I was going to make a heavenly dessert of coconut donut cakes to go with our movie viewing. I wanted to make the evening fun, and show the lighter side of faith first. I had heard that “Heaven Is For Real” was a great family friendly movie and could be our initial stepping stone into the world of faith. The movie didn’t depict the type of church I grew up with, but the message was the same. I’m not sure if my son understood what heaven was from this film because I asked him to draw a picture of heaven and he drew a picture of my coconut donuts instead, but he did understand the core of human emotions and reached his arms around me as the film left me teary eyed, saying “You’ll be okay Mom.” That’s all I could hope for from him at this age.
I absolutely loved that Heaven is for Real was based on a true story and was the story of a small-town couple who must find the courage and conviction to share their 4 year old son’s life changing experience with their town and the world. The film stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly as Todd and Sonja Burpo, the real life couple whose son Colton claims to have visited heaven while having a near death experience. I got my DVD at Walmart, which includes an exclusive bonus disc. That bonus disc filled my enquiring mind…. because of course I didn’t want the story to end… I wondered what happened to them, and where are they now? Here are a few of the bonus tracks you could look forward to if you buy your disc at Walmart.
- The Burpos: 11 Heavenly Years Later – An intimate sit down with the Burpos and a look at their home town to get a sense of their life now and how Colton’s miraculous story changed them.
- Heart of the Movie – Todd Burpo reflects on the events from his story and how they are reflected in the film
- Answers – Todd Burpo reflecting on the events in the movie.
- Religious Leader Vignettes – Religious leaders reflect on the themes of the film and how they translate to real life lessons for everyone.
What is your faith? Do you have one or many or none? When was the last time you had a family movie night? What would you like to eat these coconut donut cakes with?
Ingredients for coconut donut cakes:
- 2 – sticks butter (room temp)
- 3/4 – cup dark brown sugar
- 1 1/4 – cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 – teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 – teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 – teaspoon salt
- 1/8 – teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 – large egg
- 2 – egg yolks
- 1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 – cup butter milk
- 2 – cups powdered sugar
- 3 – tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 – cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray a donut baking pan with a non stick baking spray. I used a mini donut tray and a normal sized one. Set to the side.
- In a mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. For about 3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Set to the side.
- Slowly add eggs to butter/sugar mixture and continue to mix until fully mixed in.
- Alternate between adding in the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Mix until fully combined.
- Fill the donut cavity one third of the way up. Use your finger to smooth the top of the batter. For the mini donuts I used 1 teaspoon of batter, and for the normal sized donuts I used 5 teaspoons of batter.
- Bake for 7 minutes for mini donuts, and 12 minutes for normal sized donuts.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In a bowl whisk powdered sugar and whipping cream together to make an icing.
- Dip each donut into the icing.
- Top with coconut.
- Let set on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.