It's baking time! I love the fall season and it inspires me to bake. I've been attending a women's group that meets once a month and this time, it was my turn to contribute snacks. Since I was in the mood for sugar cookies and pumpkin bread, this is what I brought!
Yes, I have cookie cutters shaped like squirrels, acorns, and apples. I also have Noah's Ark themed cookie cutters and pretty much anything else you could imagine. My mom has been collecting them for me for years!
It's been very warm lately, with most days in the mid 60s to mid 70s. All of that is supposed to end this week, but before it did, H1, H3 and I took advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a stroll through Colonial Williamsburg. The trees were gorgeous with their fall foliage. Most of the animals were out too, and H3 took delight in petting the sheep and horses. I'm going to have to teach her that horses don't say "moo" though! She really does know better, but for some reason was rather insistent that horses and cows make the same sound. Silly girl!
Now that cold weather is finally arriving, I'm looking forward to snuggling up next to our fireplace. H1's dad bought us several truckfuls of wood to use--we don't own a truck, so it's really hard to try to get the free stuff around here, and most of it isn't offered in the nearby area. I really enjoy the smell of the house when the fire is crackling away!
Fall cleaning and organizing is slowly beginning. I have a lot more to go, but I'm slowly chipping away at my to-do list. Tackling my craft room is next on the agenda. There's a walkway through there, but not much more right now since we've just been throwing stuff in there while cleaning out the rest of the house--mostly the closets and the attic! I have three huge trash bags to put in the dumpster so far, and I've donated more to church. I'm amazed at how much stuff has ccumulated in the last 5 years!
Before ending this post, I want to take a minute to reflect and commit to "paper" my gratitude for what God has given me. 'Tis the season, you know! My beautiful baby girl is 2 years old. She is strong and healthy, smart and strong willed (which is both a blessing and a difficulty). I have a home, granted not one I own, but it has been a wonderful house for us to rent and my landlord has been kind to us. We even have new floors! H1 still has a job. This year has been a challenge for many of our friends who work at local plants and the shipyards. There have been massive lay-offs and thousands have lost their jobs and their homes. God has been good. We certainly aren't overflowing with extra, but He has provided exactly what we've needed and will continue to do so. When we moved here two years ago, I believe He guided us to the little contemporary church we belong to. This church has become more than I ever imagined. They are our family here. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we have received from them. The calls, the prayers, the get-togethers. During our greatest times of need, these people have surrounded us with God's love, even in light of this past week. Men have stepped forward to stand alongside H1 in prayer. Women have come forward with love, patience, and words of hope and encouragement during my losses. Friendships that have been slowly cultivated over these last couple years have bloomed. God is good. This Thanksgiving season holds a lot of pain for me. It does take a bit of effort to remind myself of everything beautiful. A book a read recently by Shauna Niequist focused on seeing the beauty and joy that God brings during the darkest times in our lives. Bittersweet. That was such a good title for a book, but also a really good title for life. Without the pain, without the sorrow, you can't understand the fullness of God's love and grace. Not that I believe we can ever grasp it fully, but the experience is amazing all the same.
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."
Despite everything going on, that's my reality right now. I'm listening for that quiet whisper. There is great comfort in the stillness, kneeling in awe before a mighty God in recognition of who He is.