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Awe & Gratitude  

I have so much gratitude and awe for what God has done in our home this past year.

Today is the first anniversary of an enormous event in our lives and we are giving thanks to God, and to the VA doctor who, on a routine well visit last year, noticed something suspicious and sent my husband to the emergency room.  My husband has never been ill.  We never dreamed something was actually wrong...until the ER doctor walked in...

It turned out that he had been having something called "silent heart attacks" for at least eighteen months without us knowing, and he was having one right then.  We were utterly stunned.  My father died from his fifth major heart attack.  Just out of high school, I was the one who spotted the first one.  I thought I knew all about them from life with Daddy, but I'd never heard of silent ones.  They explained that everyone dismisses them, just like my husband did, thinking it was "just aging". 

His heart stopped the next day during a heart catheterization.  The following morning he had an emergency quadruple bypass.  There is an 18 - 24 month recover period.  We still have a long way to go, but he has come so far and he's doing great!

I have no words for what this experience has been like for us, but we are even more in awe of our God than we were to start with.  His loving hand and constant help, protection and provision has been tangible and impossible to miss.

I made a sweet thank you for him to take to his VA doctor for his first anniversary.   This is homemade marshmallow fondant and tastes wonderful, even if you aren't a fondant lover. 

I also made one of my special fun cake loafs.  The doctor requested chocolate, so chocolate it is!  I love these as every slice is unique and fun.  I hope they enjoy their treats.  :)

I wish I could make some for God too!  After all, man can put forth his best efforts, but it is only God who gives and preserves life.  It's also only God who has the power and right to determine where each soul He has created will spend eternity.  I pray that if you have not repented of your sins, asked Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to be your Lord and Savior and been immersed in baptism into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that you run, don't walk, to the nearest Bible and take care of that right now!  We are not promised even the next breath and once we breathe our last here, our eternal destination will be un-changeable.  It's the most important thing you can do in this life, to be sure you belong to Him.  The second most important is to be sure all your loved ones know this too.

Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day!  This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24  Amen! 

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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes  

I've been so excited to try making these.  My first try didn't turn out as pristine as the picture I saw on Pinterest, but I'm sure I'll get better with practice.

I used a boxed spice cake mix and amended it to be Pumpkin Spice, following directions I found:
Add 3 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, 1/2 cup water, 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon & 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.  It said to follow the box's baking directions.

Here's what I learned -

My box said 325ยบ for dark baking pans, so that's what I did.  It said 12-17 min. for cupcakes and to use the toothpick test for doneness.  I tested repeatedly and baking longer yet still kept having some stick to the toothpick.  I ended up baking them 24 minutes and I think they could have taken a bit more as they all came out beautifully domed...then fell as they cooled!

I thought with all the additional ingredients that I'd end up with much more than the 24 the box made, but I only ended up with four more.   Sadly, even filling my cups 3/4 full, only the last four, which I filled higher and cooked longer, gave me the nicely domed top needed for these cuties.

They are delicious, but my homemade marshmallow fondant tops are lacking due to the caved in cupcakes.  I used more frosting under the fondant to try to fake the shape a bit. 

Next time will be better.  But for now, they couple adorably with the fall leaf sugar cookies I shared in the last post.  

Beating down the perfectionist inside, as a whole, they make a very happy gift box indeed.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to enjoy the gorgeous fall God is giving us, and tell Him thank you!

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Brilliant Fall Leaf Cookies  

I love autumn!  I love the smell of it.  I love the feel of it.  I love the crunch beneath my feet.  I love all the dried goodies God leaves for us to find and decorate with and make things from - acorns, pine cones, cat tails, cotton, nuts and pods of every kind.  I love gourds and pumpkins and Indian corn and dried wheat.  It's all so wondrous! 

What happy memories I have of our family apple picking at an orchard once as a child.  Sweet and precious memories of my own girls picking them in our yard and then turning them into all manner of goodies to last us the winter.  This makes my heart sing!

I made corn husk dolls with my girls when they were growing up and decorated a wreath with them.  My mother played with corn husk dolls as a girl homesteading out west during Dust Bowl days.  It was fun for us to experience something from her life and it connected us to our much loved Little House On The Prairie books too.  It's good to remember skills that allowed people to live off the land.  It's good to work with our hands and have the joy of creating.  Tiny moments linking us to our Creator who made everything there is.

I remember using kernels of Indian corn to play Bingo with when I was small.  Another good memory is getting all the vines to make baskets and wreaths with when my father-in-law trimmed his muskadine vines one year.  I loved weaving baskets and making wreaths!  I still have the baskets I made.

I love how God turns trees and bushes into gigantic bouquets of brilliant beauty for all of us in the fall, then back lights them with the sun so they absolutely glow!  Sigh!  A gorgeous gift from Him to all of us.

When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew it was one I would have to make, but I only had one leaf cutter, left from when the girls were growing up.  Last night I finally found some maple leaf cookie cutters at my happy HomeGoods store and I set right to it.  I made two batches of sugar cookies, divided, colored and refrigerated them. 


I pressed the back of a silk leaf onto the dough for the veins and touched up with a butter knife wherever I felt there should be more.

Ohhhh so pretty!  Into the oven.  And this is how they came out!

I'm really pleased with them, but as I took the pictures, I realized that if some of them had been mainly one color with just a touch of another color, it would have been more visually pleasing in a box or in a dish.  They would have stood out more rather than this sea of sameness.  Each one is entirely unique, but this way, they all look the same.  I think that next time I might make some that are brown to mix in and maybe some solid green. 

These are not my favorites, but they were available for this photo, so, there you have it!  Now for the fun of giving them away!  I paired them with my Pumpkin Spice cupcakes you can read about here.

Praise God for His power and might, for His unfathomable mercy and love!  Happy fall y'all!

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