Only a few days ago, we officially said goodbye to summer and hello to fall - at least on the calendar.
I have loved the brilliant colors and visitors of summer.
But I am equally looking forward to the oranges and yellows of fall when the evenings bring a slight chill to the air and you get that snuggly feeling from pulling on a sweatshirt at a football game.
I know the chill of fall will make way for the colder days of winter. Though the ice and snow can sometimes cause hardships for travel or for work here on the farm, there is also great beauty in the season.
And after ice and snow and cold, we will be ready again for the birth of spring.
Isn't it amazing how God has created such a miraculous world, so full of visual beauty and reminders of His majesty and power?
Change is unavoidable. Days begin, days end. Weeks start, weeks end. We pull another month off the calendar and before we know it, it's time for a new calendar.
The years pass. The activities change. But the busyness remains. And I think we sometimes wish away the moment, anticipating the next moment.
I believe God wants us to appreciate the moments He gives us. God sets our lives into different times and seasons because He has a purpose for each one of us. There is no question that there will be times of storms and times of rejoicing.
"To everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1.
As I was writing this, the children's song, "This Is the Day," kept drifting through my mind. It's a song in which the leader sings, "This is the day," and the followers repeat, "This is the day." The pattern continues with the leader leading the way and the followers echoing the phrase:
This is the day (This is the day)
That the Lord has made (That the Lord has made)
Let us rejoice (Let us rejoice)
And be glad in it (And be glad in it.)
What would happen if I imagined the Lord leading that song every day? What if in the midst of my storms (usually of my own making), I realized that my Lord was there to walk through the day with me? I know it sounds simplistic, but what would happen if we relished every moment and every season?
Every stage of life brings fruits to remind us of God's presence and to make us thankful. These gifts remind us that God loves each of us with an unmatched, unrivaled intensity ... every day ... every season.
Every season gives us reminders of God's bounty and providence for us. Is there anything that tastes better than summer's first tomato, picked straight from the vine? Is there a better meal for the first cool day of fall than a steaming bowl of chili and homemade cornbread? Is there anything more tasty than a hot cup of cocoa after a day of sledding?
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." Psalm 34:8
Taste and savor each season of your life. It's what we are called to do.
If you want to savor the taste of fall in your own kitchen, try this recipe for Apple Butter Coffee Cake. Each year at our church, the Stafford United Methodist Women make apple butter to sell during a bazaar. (This year's bazaar is Saturday, November 13, and you're all invited from 9 AM to 2 PM!)
When I make this recipe, I use the UMW Apple Butter. The red hot cinnamon candies in the recipe give our version the distinctive pink color. But you may use any apple butter. It just might not look exactly like my version pictured here.
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup apple butter
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Topping (see below)
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Mix dry ingredients together, and add alternately with sour cream. Add vanilla and apple butter. Put half the batter into a greased 13- by 9-inch pan. Sprinkle with topping. Place other half on batter on top and sprinkle with rest of the topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Topping1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Combine all ingredients and sprinkle over batter.
If you want a "fancier" presentation, you may put this is a Bundt pan. I usually put half the batter into the pan and sprinkle with half the topping. Then I use the rest of the batter and sprinkle on the remaining topping. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing onto a pretty serving platter.
I usually glaze the coffee cake with a thin frosting made of melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and a little milk. Spread on the cake while it's still warm. If you're making a Bundt cake, drizzle the frosting in "swags," creating a decorative pattern. For the Bundt cake, you may want to wait for it to cool a little before frosting, so the frosting stays in place and doesn't puddle on the plate.