Behind The Butter

beer in heaven

Today is my brother’s 21st birthday.

I like to think they haveΒ  banana bread cupcakes in Heaven because I know that’s what he would want to eat for breakfast. In fact, banana bread was the very last thing I ever baked for him before he passed away. He pretty much gobbled up the entire loaf (after I told him hand’s off) and said it was one of the best things I ever baked. Then, two days later, he died.

So today, on his birthday, I like to do and eat things that he would have liked to do and eat. Well, not everything of course—he was an adolescent boy after all.

But definitely these banana bread cupcakes.

Today I should be taking my brother to a bar for his very first (hah!) beer. Though our relationship was far from perfect when he was alive, I like to think that’s how it would have played out.

I also like to think Heaven has beer.

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  • Teri
    April 10, 2011 at 8:56 am

    *hugs*

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing
    April 10, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I’m sure he’s knocking back a cold one with all the disciples (well, perhaps they’re having wine — you know, to keep consistent with their New Testament image and all) πŸ˜‰ Love to you, Jenna. <3

  • Sana
    April 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Heaven does have beer, cupcakes and butter cream πŸ™‚

  • Angela (Oh She Glows)
    April 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

    What a beautiful post Jenna. I’m sure your brother is smiling down on you and loving this post. You and your family are in my thoughts. xo

    • Dee
      April 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      I second this. (hugs)

      • Baking 'n' Books
        April 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        Triple.

        I think this was the most beautiful post I’ve seen you write.

        And Banana Bread Cupcakes just make it infinitely better. Wise choice. Smart man.

  • Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life
    April 10, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I’m sure he’s loving your wonderful tribute while sipping on a birthday beer. We should all be sure to drink one in his honor today. πŸ™‚

  • Amber
    April 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I think the Trappist monks would agree with you. Probably up there enjoying some fine brews with the whole crew πŸ™‚

    • Becky
      April 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Great comment. Totally agree. Those Trappist Belgian beers are the best, and I think they are proof that God supports beer.

  • Jen @ keepitsimplefoods
    April 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Lovely tribute. These cupcakes look absolutely heavenly.

  • Jenn from Much to My Delight
    April 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

    What a touching post. Cheers to your brother on his birthday, and many blessings to you and your family as you remember him.

  • Michelle
    April 10, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Loved this tribute to your brother. My sister passed away five years ago at the age of 39 to cancer and every year, on her birthday, I bake her a cake and we remember all of the things we love about her. It’s very healing.
    Those cupcakes look yummy! And I am certain your brother is having banana bread and beer in heaven!

  • lauren
    April 10, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Love this post. May your brother rest in peace… and enjoy a cold brew in Heaven πŸ™‚

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    April 10, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Happy Birthday to your brother πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely be keeping him and your family in my prayers, Jenna.

  • Fancy
    April 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

    What a beautiful post, Jenna.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    April 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I am almost positive that there’s both beer and cupcakes in heaven. Thinking about you today!

  • Sarah
    April 10, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Hugs to you and your family from ours. We will drink one in John’s honor tonight.

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    April 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’m sure you’re brother is sipping on an ice cold brewski right now looking down on you and your family. Happy Birthday to your brother, Jenna.

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    April 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

    A wonderful post dedicated to the memory of you brother. And I am positive there is beer in heaven!

  • maren
    April 10, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Beautiful post. I’m sure he loves to see you enjoying banana bread in his honor. Hugs

  • Lacey @ Lake Life
    April 10, 2011 at 9:38 am

    What a great way to keep your brother’s memory alive. I’m sure there are both cupcakes AND beer in heaven (and spaghetti and meatballs because that was my brother’s favorite meal.)

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)
    April 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Sending hugs from So Cal!

  • Clearly Composed
    April 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Beer waterfalls and Chardonnay swimming pools. πŸ™‚

  • jen @ taste life
    April 10, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Oh Jenna, I’m thinking of you, sweetie. Such a lovely post and such a thoughtful recipe. I’m sure John is looking down and laughing and having a beer!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food
    April 10, 2011 at 9:45 am

    jenna,

    I think that is a wonderful idea. I always try to do the same sort of thing (activities my sister and dad would have enjoyed) when it is their birthday, the days that they died, and father’s day.

    as you said in a post a longgg time ago, he lives in you πŸ™‚

  • Amy
    April 10, 2011 at 9:46 am

    A very moving tribute. Happy birthday to your brother, and a peaceful heart to you.

  • Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles
    April 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Thinking of your family today, Jenna. I hope you can find peace and comfort today in God’s love.

  • Danielle
    April 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

    This was a very beautiful post πŸ™‚

  • VeggieGirl
    April 10, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Wonderful tribute, dear Jenna.

  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
    April 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

    beautiful sharing, jenna. love to you and your family.

  • kim
    April 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

    There is beer in heaven. Happy 21 to your brother.
    loved the post.

  • Kate G.
    April 10, 2011 at 10:09 am

    well, it wouldn’t be heaven without beer πŸ™‚ OR cupcakes! lots of <3 to you and your family.

  • Kayla @ An Honest Girl's Guide to Life
    April 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    He was so lucky to have you, banana bread cupcakes and all.

    Much love, Jenna!

  • *Andrea*
    April 10, 2011 at 10:12 am

    happy 21 to your brother! i’m sure he’s looking down at you so proud

  • Amelia
    April 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Thinking of you today Jenna. Lots of love to you and your family. <3

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner?
    April 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

    *Hugs*
    thinking about you!

  • Ida
    April 10, 2011 at 10:17 am

    gorgeous post. Happy birthday to your brother.

  • JessicaEn
    April 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    My Father’s birthday is on the nineteenth. I like to do the same type things on his birthday. He taught me so much.

    This post brought tears to my eyes. Death is one of the hardest parts of life and I hope you keep on keeping on, being strong. πŸ™‚ You and your family are in my thoughts.

  • Haleigh
    April 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Happy Birthday to your brother, Jenna. Stay strong, and I’m sure your brother is watching down on you with an iced cold beer in hand. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts today, xoxo.

  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy
    April 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Happy Birthday to your brother, Jenna. There has to be beer and banana cream in heaven…. I’m sure he’s eating some right along with you.

  • Tasha @ Voracious
    April 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

    This is so beautiful, what a sweet way to honor your brother and the life you two shared together. <3

  • Rebecca
    April 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

    A very happy birthday to your brother above.

  • Lola
    April 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

    ***hugs***

  • Lauren
    April 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I’m sure your brother would have loved the cupcakes. What a sweet tribute. Thinking of you.

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    April 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

    This is beautiful Jenna. Happy Birthday to your brother, and I’m sure he’s celebrating with the best of ’em up in Heaven with the best beer and the 2nd best banana bread cupcakes. πŸ™‚

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence
    April 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Beautiful post Jenna, and a great way to honor his memory.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    April 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Happy birthday to your brother Jenna. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I am sure he is smiling away at your tribute!

  • Errign
    April 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hug Jenna πŸ™‚ John is certainly knocking back a few brews & eatin’ banana bread cupcakes up there xoxo

  • Tess
    April 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’m thinking of you today, Jenna. I can just picture your brother up in heaven smiling down on you, beer in one hand and banana bread in the other. What a beautiful way to honor his memory!

  • jessica @ how sweet
    April 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Thinking of you and your family today jenna! Big hugs.

  • Karen
    April 10, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Such a lovely tribute to your brother, Jenna. He would be so very proud of you for following your bliss, and for all of your accomplishments since his passing (seems like yesterday…)

    Peace and Hugs,
    Karen

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    April 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

    So much love your way – and I’m sure he’s bragging about your banana bread up there.

  • Deirdre
    April 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I know today must be hard for you but you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Kendel @ Eating Abroad
    April 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

    What a very special post. You and your family are in my thoughts today.

  • Shannon
    April 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

    What a fitting way to celebrate your brother’s birthday…he has a special sister…my thoughts are with you today.

  • Kelly
    April 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I’ll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers today. I know he appreciates the banana bread dedication and probably gets to eat it any time he’d like up there.

  • Stephanie@MyThornsHaveRoses
    April 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Well good ol Benny Franklin said that beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Drink a beer in his honor and know that he’s probably toasting you in heaven at the same time. Much love your way today Jenna. πŸ™‚

  • Louise
    April 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    *hugs*
    this is a lovely post and a great testament to you and your brother.
    I’m sure he’s having birthday celebrations in Heaven and will be glad to see you doing something like this to remember him!

  • Ali
    April 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Oh, relationships with family are never perfect, yet somehow they’re the relationships that mean the most to us.

    To your brother – a happy birthday, and to you – kind thoughts and knowing that your brother couldn’t be in a better place than he is.

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    April 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

    This is a beautiful post Jenna. I know your brother is smiling down on you today. πŸ™‚

  • Nicole @ Making Good Choices
    April 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

    There definitely is beer in heaven! Thinking of you and your family today.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    April 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I just started sobbing. I am so sorry Jenna. Oh my heart breaks when I read this. It sounds like you’re coping, but my deepest sympathy on what must be an extremely surreal and challenging day on so many levels for you.

    And yes, I am sure you and your bro would be out drinking beer and having a blast today. There is for sure beer in heaven πŸ™‚

  • Honey
    April 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Jenna, what a sweet tribute to your brother! Happy 21st birthday to him and happy thoughts to you. He is very lucky to have such a kind sister!

  • Christie {Nourishing Circle}
    April 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Love this tribute to your brother, Jenna. I always think of banana pudding on my brothers birthday. Before he passed away, he used to always make the best banana pudding and I miss it. Love and light to you.

  • Jaime
    April 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    sending you love and hugs today, Jenna. There are definitely banana bread cupcakes and beer in heaven πŸ™‚

  • Amanda
    April 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Jenna, I know your brother is up in Heaven enjoying a cold one right now and thinking of you. This post also made me realize how fortunate I will be when next year, my sister gets to take me out for my first drink. I’m thinking a beer would be appropriate.

  • Mom
    April 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    You are a love ~

  • French Heart
    April 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Tears. My brother at 19 lost control on a downhill mountain curve and drove off cliff with he, his best friend, and our family dog in the car–after his beloved dog leapt from the backseat into his lap. The car was totaled, the dog lost for a week in rugged territory, the boys survived their injuries. When he did tragically die decades later–and despite an abundance of proud accomplishments–he was still at essence who he was at 19. A witty, graceful, sporty, honorable guy who loved animals, being by the water, music, and great food (especially things for him by his mother or sister).

    I think that essence always remains. So imagine that your brother is thrilled with all the cupcakes, rose petals, beer, and love coming his way on his special day. It’s a brilliant day in Carmel today–will throw rose petals in the sea for him towards sunset when the surfers are out. An ocean of lifting prayers to you and your family.

    • Mom
      April 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      ~ John would have Loved to surf those waves! Thank you Suzanne ~

  • mary (sisters running the kitchen)
    April 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    very thoughtful post Jenna. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. i hope these banana bread muffins bring you comfort!

  • Anna
    April 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Such a beautiful post.

    You know what, I think heaven DOES have beer (I mean, Jesus’s first miracle was turning water to wine at a wedding, right? And we, his people, are his bride, and he is our bridegroom. So, I vote “yes” to beer!)

    Happy 21st birthday to your brother! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Dishes of Mrs. Fish
    April 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    What a beautiful post! Thinking of you on what I can only imagine is a very difficult day for you and your family.

  • Heather at Heather's Dish
    April 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I know it’s been a while since everything happened but I can imagine your sorrow is still very strong. I know I will never get over the miscarriage I just had a few weeks ago but I can imagine that heavens a pretty tad place for 21-year-old boys and infants alike. Praying that you can find comfort and joy in the amazing life of your brother.

  • Toronto Girl West
    April 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    You have a way with words – and also a way of making me cry.

    May God bless and comfort you and your whole family, Jenna.

    *hug* πŸ™‚

  • Kristin @ FoodFash
    April 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    What an excellent way to celebrate/honor your brother’s birthday!

  • Mrs. Muffins
    April 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Beautiful post. My mom went to Heaven last October and every time I try a new food that I know she would have loved, it hurts. *hugs*

  • Megan
    April 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. Happy birthday to your brother.

  • Rebekah
    April 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    So sweet, sending prayers your way.

  • Justeeen @ Blissful Baking
    April 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    A very sweet post πŸ™‚

  • Moni'sMeals
    April 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    really sweet Jenna. He is lovin this.!

  • Kathleen
    April 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I love that food memories can bring us closer to our loved ones that have passed. I always make my late husband’s favorites on his birthday. I’m thinking of you and your family on this day. (((hugs))) P.S. there better be beer and cupcakes in heaven!

  • Emily Malone
    April 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Sending an extra hug your way today. And a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your little bro! Because birthdays are DEFINITELY celebrated in my heaven.

  • Linda
    April 10, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    So sorry, sweetheart. Huge lump in my throat. Your brother may be gone, but your memories will live forever. Take care.

  • jenny
    April 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    beautiful. thinking of you and your brother today! and drinking a beer for both of you! πŸ™‚

  • Tami
    April 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    My brother left us early as well….lucky for me some of his crazy!!!!! Friends took me out for my 21st bday

    I hope your parents are doing something special today too

    Xoxo

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    April 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    What a beautiful post Jenna. It brought tears to my eyes.

  • Kristin Eats
    April 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Touching, personal, and sweet. Fabulous as always, Jenna. Hope you feel so loved today.

  • Kelly
    April 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    There is most definitely beer in heaven. Hugs to you and your entire family Jenna.

  • Paige @Running Around Normal
    April 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Aw Jenna <3

  • Urban Wife
    April 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    May God continue bringing you and your family peace. And what a lovely way to keep his memory going strong. πŸ™‚

  • Debbie
    April 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    What a wonderful tribute, banana bread cupcakes and beer all around!

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    April 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I believe your brother is sipping a beer and eating banana bread and smiling down on you and your family. /hugs/

  • Nancy in Naples
    April 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    So beautifully written, Jenna . . . thinking of you, your Mom and Dad today.

  • Megan
    April 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Beautiful tribute! Thinking of you.

  • kaila @ healthy helper!
    April 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Way to look at this day in such a positive light Jenna…..truly inspiring.

  • Anne P
    April 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    <3 Thinking of you today, my dear.

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    April 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Thinking of you today, Jenna. I am sure he’s having a beer and would be so pleased you wrote this for him and included the banana bread cupcakes. Happy birthday.
    Heidi xo

  • Nan
    April 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Thinking of you and your brother, Jenna. After I read your post, I read through all the comments and I hope that it continues to bring you comfort knowing that SO many people are thinking of your brother today (and I am sure many other days too).

  • Heather
    April 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Awww, Jenna, we all know loss, but a loss like yours I hope to never know….I hope to think we take the good things with us. Memories of a brother is something to carry with us throughout all the years. All the best.

    ~Heather from Philadelphia.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    There is most definitely beer in heaven!

  • Anna
    April 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    There might even be TOO much beer. Happy birthday, John!
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers today, Jenna.

  • Michelle | Gold-hearted Girl
    April 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Keep celebrating. πŸ™‚ Banana cupcakes are the way to do it. They remind me of sunshine!

  • Tracy
    April 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve been following you since your blog was probably 1 month old, just want to send my thoughts/prayers to you today. There’s definitely beer in heaven; or whatever makes it perfect for each person.

  • RenΓ©e
    April 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This is a really lovely post and the perfect tribute πŸ™‚ Happy birthday to your brother, I hope you and your family are well today <3

  • allie p
    April 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    St Peter’s Pub–I’m sure it’s there, every hour is happy hour.

    Awesome tribute!

  • Amanda
    April 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    There is definitely beer in heaven. Thinking of you on this difficult day, I hope your family is doing well.

  • Jamie@everydaydolce
    April 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I will say a prayer for you and your family, that God would bring you peace and strength to endure the next few days. I lost my father at a young age. There is nothing that can alleviate the pain of losing a loved one. But knowing he’s being taken good care of up in heaven helps πŸ˜‰

  • Jessica
    April 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Aww.. hugs! On a similar note.. I used your recipe to make these for my brother-in-law’s birthday last night!! They got rave reviews =) You can see what they turned out like here: http://curlsandlaughter.blogspot.com/2011/04/banana-bread-cupcakes-wcream-cheese.html
    Take care! πŸ™‚

  • Curly J
    April 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Aww.. hugs! On a similar note.. I used your recipe to make these for my brother-in-law’s birthday last night!! They got rave reviews =) You can see what they turned out like here: http://curlsandlaughter.blogspot.com/2011/04/banana-bread-cupcakes-wcream-cheese.html
    Take care! πŸ™‚

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    April 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    This is such a sweet tribute to your brother. I started reading your blog at that time and love how you’ve grown out of it.

    I think you would have enjoyed the cold one with him at the bar but I think God has that taken care of πŸ™‚

  • erin @ small things
    April 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Whenever I hear about someone’s death I always imagine that my father meets them with an extra margarita in hand to ‘welcome them to the party’. Perhaps your brother offers them the banana bread cupcakes to seal the deal.
    thanks for sharing this

  • alexis
    April 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Thinking of you today Jenna. Happy birthday to your brother.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    April 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Happy Birthday to your Brother Jenna. I’m sure he is very proud of you up in Heaven :).

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit
    April 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Sometimes I forget how you lost a sibling at such a young age. I’m in awe of your joy and your strength πŸ™‚

  • Rika
    April 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I’m sure it does, Jenna. I’m sure it does~ πŸ™‚

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    April 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    My heart goes out to you today. This is such a lovely post. I’m sure your brother is looking down on you and is proud of the beautiful life you have build for yourself.

  • Hannah @ PalmBeachRunner
    April 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    This is so touching! I am getting teary-eyed. I can tell that you have much love for your brother and I bet he is looking down from a brewery in Heaven

  • Brooke
    April 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Jenna, thinking and praying about you and your family today. Such a beautiful post. I always think about you when I think about my step-father who died suddenly just two weeks before your brother passed away. Much love, love.

  • Krista (joysofk)
    April 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    This made me tear up. Your brother would be proud of you. I know he is drinking a beer and smiling down at his big sis today. Hugs!

  • Jennie (in Wonderland)
    April 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I can only imagine how proud your brother must be of you and all you’ve accomplished.

    Happy 21st to him, and yes, I don’t think it would be Heaven without beer (and wine!).

  • kellyo
    April 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Beautiful…

  • kristina@beancakes
    April 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    prayers to you and your family. and happy birthday to your dear brother. i’m sure he is looking down on you and that delicious cupcake!

  • Mellie
    April 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry!

  • M
    April 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Thinking of you and your parents and John’s friends as you all continue to
    celebrate and treasure your brother’s short but adventurous life.

    I hope you can feel his presence when you need to talk to him and
    feel his love and energy when you look out to the waves and the ocean.
    And hope you can smile in your heart with all the little things like
    favorite foods and quirks.

    I will raise my next glass to your little brother Jenna !

  • Sharon
    April 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    My brother went to heaven three years ago. At his funeral his friends placed several of his favorite things (beer and golf clubs)in his casket. So yes, there is definitely beer in heaven.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts
    April 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    What a beautifully written and very poignant post…I hope that you and your family get through this day ok. I am sure that your brother appreciates your baking in his honour and your wishes regarding banana bread and beer in heaven.

  • Michelle
    April 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Jenna,
    Thank you for sharing such personal and beautiful thoughts; my eyes have definitely welled up with tears. I will pray for your family and your brother today; I’m sure that God has provided him a wonderful birthday.

  • Michelle
    April 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Jenna,
    Thank you for sharing such personal and beautiful thoughts; my eyes have definitely welled up with tears. I will pray for your family and your brother today; I’m sure that God has provided him a wonderful birthday.

  • Alexa @ SimpleEats
    April 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I couldn’t stop tearing up when I read this…absolutely beautiful and touching.

  • The Newlywed Chefs
    April 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I’m teary, too. This post was very touching, Jenna. Thinking of you and your family!

  • Emma
    April 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I just had to pop in out of my anonymous state as a reader and tell you that this post resonated with me. Today was my birthday as well, and I turned 20. Your reflection on your relationship with your brother made me reflect on that with my own which I hope to continue to improve and work on. I hope you are well!

  • Lee
    April 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Very sweet. I’m sure he’s drinking a beer right now and thinking of you.

  • Taimi
    April 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I also had to speak up as a normally anonymous reader. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting something so touching and reflective. My best friend died and I always make funfetti cupcakes–her favorite–on her birthday. Even four years after she’s been gone, it makes me feel connected to her. Thinking of you and your family on this tough day.

  • Tammy @ Palm Trees and Manatees
    April 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Jenna. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you. I can’t imagine how difficult today must have been for you, and I think it’s beautiful that you enjoyed the things you know your brother would have enjoyed. I truly believe our loved ones are always with us, and I hope you feel his presence today and every day. Thinking of you with love and hugs.

  • melissa
    April 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    so beautiful…and you certainly know the best way of honoring him possible. thinking of you and your family…

  • Gina G
    April 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    <3

  • Lindsey @ Morningstar Project
    April 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Love this story. Told just how he probably expect it – based on food and not the embarrassing photos of him drunk at a bar you would likely post for a 21st bday. Your brother is definitely smiling down πŸ™‚

  • RunEatRepeat
    April 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Sending hugs, love and prayers for your brother in Heaven.

  • Kim
    April 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Jenna, Just wanted to send another hug your way. I believe your brother and Jesus were looking down on your banana bread cupcakes and beer today, so proud of what you’ve accomplished and looking forward to eating them with you someday in heaven. πŸ™‚

  • Katrina
    April 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    You are such a wonderful sister! It’s so nice that you pay tribute to your brother every year at this time. He was lucky to have you πŸ™‚

  • Teri
    April 10, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I read your blog often, but have never left a comment before. Your post today really hit home, I lost my brother in December 2007, he passed away in a skiing accident, opening day at this ridiculously awesome mountain, a day he just couldn’t miss. I went back through your blogs, and loved learning more about John. He sounded much like my brother, Tal. Before he passed away, Tal and I went surfing to Costa Rica (skiing and surfing were his two loves), and he would wake up every morning at 5 to check the tides (I hated it, as I wanted to sleep in.. how I wish I would have known that was my last trip I’d ever take with him). He was so full of life and carefree, I learned so much from him.

    Your post brought back great memories, and definitely gave me a good (much needed) cry. Thank you so much for sharing, it makes me smile to hear about sibling love, and how you keep John’s memory alive.

    I’ll be sure to extra-enjoy my next beer, in John’s honour πŸ™‚

    Much love!

  • Lori Delgado
    April 11, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Jenna πŸ™‚ My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and the memory of your brother. Your post was so touching and I was totally teared up by the end. I am sure he is looking down on you with happiness !

  • Khushboo
    April 11, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Beautiful post! I’m sure youre brother is smiling down from heaven (and swigging a beer).

  • Marika
    April 11, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I don’t really know what to say… but he definitely would have loved those cupcakes.

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down)
    April 11, 2011 at 4:40 am

    *Hugs*

  • Sarah D.
    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 am

    A perfect tribute to your brother. So well put. πŸ™‚

  • Amanda
    April 11, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Jenna,

    John’s facebook wall was flooded with happy birthdays and we miss yous from everyone I graduated with. We miss him so much and it feels like just yesterday he was walking with us down the hall in his flat top baseball cap to history class. Big hugs today πŸ™‚

    -Amanda

  • Molly
    April 11, 2011 at 6:01 am

    These look heavenly!
    I fought with my brothers when I was younger and never had a good relationship until we all were out of the house. Pretty sure that’s how it works with 87% of siblings!

  • Green Dog Wine
    April 11, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Beautiful post and tribute to your brother, Jenna – I’m certain that your brother is smiling down on you right now WHILE drinking a delicious Heaven Beer! πŸ™‚

  • Cara
    April 11, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I am thinking happy thoughts for you today. **hug**

  • Amy
    April 11, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Jenna – I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to comment until now (catching up with google reader this a.m.), but please know I am holding you & you and your family in my thoughts and prayers today. Beautiful tribute post.

  • Alison (Fueling for Fitness)
    April 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

    A beautiful post. Thanks for reminding us all of how important is to celebrate those we love. Cheers to your brother.

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian)
    April 11, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Lovely post. I too bake the things my departed family loved. Makes me happy that I can enjoy a piece of their love through food. -hugs- Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  • Caroline @ The G-Spot
    April 11, 2011 at 9:38 am

    What a wonderful post, Jenna. Thinking of you and sending so many good thoughts your way.

  • Kath
    April 11, 2011 at 10:28 am

    <3 Jenna

  • sarah
    April 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

    thinking of you jenna! hang in there and im sure your brother is enjoying his beer in heaven:)

  • Lindsey
    April 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I hope you have a peaceful day remembering the good times and indulging in fond memories and banana bread. Your positivity is contagious <3

  • Karla
    April 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I just learned yesterday about your brother’s death, and am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful way to remember and honor him, by making the foods he enjoyed. God be with you.

  • Allie
    April 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    What a beautiful and simple post. I’m sure he felt your celebration in Heaven.

  • Lindsey
    April 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    praying for you πŸ™‚

  • Kay
    April 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Thinking of you, Jenna! And your sweet parents. Sorry a day late to send you a note, I was recovering from work. πŸ™‚ Thought of you when I served iced Emperor’s Bride Tea on Saturday. Do you need some more?

  • Clare - Never Niche
    April 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Giant hugs and love to you and your whole family. Heaven definitely has an open bar.

  • Mary @ stylefyles
    April 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    all the best, chica. there’s definitely beer in Heaven.