The winters are long in New Hampshire.
I love spending time writing beside the wood stove – either on my computer or with pen and paper. Though our home is rarely quiet, my break from social media has created some much-needed mental peace that, for me, encourages creativity. I had missed it.
Having everyone home every day can have us feeling a bit of cabin fever, but we have been trying to embrace cozy here by baking and reading, playing board games and doing paper crafts. Baking is a part of our homeschool. My boys love it, and these molasses cookies have been a huge favorite lately. We make dozens of them at a time and they are gone in a flash. I thought I’d share the recipe here since they are so easy to make and come out looking amazing with their little crackles on top. They are a little cripsy on the outside but chewy inside, and they’re even better the second day, if you can keep them in your cookie jar for that long. The kids love rolling the dough into little balls and then rolling those in sugar before putting them on the baking sheet. We devour them by dipping them in hot chocolate or milk (or coffee – I may have had a few for breakfast this past week).
Molasses cookies (about 4 dozen)
3/4 c shortening, 3/4 c packed brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 c molasses, 2 1/2 c flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 c granulated sugar (reserved)
Cream shortening and brown sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and spices in a separate bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Chill dough until firm (about 90 minutes). Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls and roll balls in reserved granulated sugar before placing 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Recently the weather warmed up to a balmy 40 degrees and we took a family walk down to the frozen lake. It’s become an annual event, and we really look forward to it each year. Our nearby lake is a popular spot for ice fishing, and there are often bobhouses on the lake, so we know it’s safe to walk on. It had been well below freezing for several weeks beforehand. Still, standing right on top of the spot where we’ll be swimming in six months’ time is a little surreal.
I just love the conversations that happen on that walk. The time spent together with no other agenda is just so special. It’s being out of the house together like this – without the chores and the bickering – when I’m reminded that these are my people and we love being together. It’s easier to find these times in the warmer weather, but harder in the winter. I’m so grateful when it happens!
I’ve also been planning to add a few items to my Etsy shop. It’s gotten a bit of a facelift this week, and I have included another hand-lettered print with the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns – Be Still, My Soul.
I can hardly get through it without crying (“thy best, thy heavenly Friend” – just typing that gives me goosebumps), and yet the reminder that the Lord is for us is such a good one that I need to see it every day. My own tendency is to become anxious and fearful when I can’t see a way through a situation in my own strength. So this simple lyric brings the entire hymn to mind and reminds me that I don’t have to do anything in my own strength at all. That, in fact, my job is to trust in the Lord with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding. Being still is hard for me. I feel like I need to do and when I can’t do, I worry.
And finally, I just received notice that my new Offer it Up mugs are on their way and will also be listed in my Etsy shop soon. I had my hand lettering printed on coffee mugs so that I can remember to start the day by offering it to Him. These should be available around February 7th.
Do you have a favorite hymn that speaks to your heart?