on pumpkin cookies (& becoming)


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Oh boy… what’s there to say about this pumpkin cookie? This pumpkin cookie is not like other pumpkin cookies. It’s really special. It’s won awards at cookie bake-offs. It often steals the show. It’s been the star at thanksgiving dinners. This cookie’s got it.

I think the secret is the super soft, fluffy texture and the brown sugar icing. If you are not an icing person, the actual cookie tastes very good on it's own, but I think adding the icing takes them to a whole new level. The icing should harden slightly over the top, like that Smucker's Magic Shell chocolate syrup you used to put on your ice cream as a kid. (Please tell me someone remembers that stuff.)

We just came off a bliss filled month of vacation and private practice schedules. December has decided to hit me like a train, but I'm finally settling, breathing… yielding. I love that December always feels like a time of reflection. I’m reflecting on what I want this blog space to look like in 2018. I’m reflecting on if I should try to bust my ass and grow it, or keep it as this tiny, quiet corner of the web. INFJ over here... so tiny, quiet corner sounds about right to me.

My husband, Luke, is on night shift at the hospital. On these weeks, I run out of steam quickly. Before residency, I never considered what it meant to have him around… in my space. It was always the norm. But now, he’s often gone and I don’t feel completely like myself when he's not here. So that's three whole years of not feeling like me. This space is hard.

My fingers feel heavy tonight. I am literally forcing. these. words. out. Sometimes you are writing and you just can’t find the words. Your brain feels heavy and full in your head. Your eyes get cloudy. You feel like typing “blah, blah, blah” and so you do. Blah, blah, blah. Then slowly, you begin to hit delete, delete, delete.

So maybe I don’t have anything insightful to say about these pumpkin cookies. Maybe they are just very good. Maybe that’s enough for today.

You are very good too, by the way. That’s enough for today.

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Earlier this week, one of my dear friends, Taylor, sent me an interesting text message.

“I have a weird request,” I read on my phone.

“What?” I asked.

Taylor answered, “Can you send me a video of yourself saying ‘Taylor, you are more than enough. Jesus wants a relationship with you. It’s just important to make the decision to start one.’”

To clear up some background information, I met Taylor when she was a freshman in high school. I was a brand new Young Life leader in Athens, Georgia and Taylor stood in the corner every morning where girls sometimes talked to me. Over time, we became the best of friends. I kneeled by her side, holding her hands, when she invited Jesus in to her life. Fast forward to now and this “weird request”.

I already knew, but asked anyway, “Is this for a Young Life talk?”

Taylor responded, “Yes. My last one.” (Taylor is in her final year of college as a Young Life leader now. I am obviously a proud mama bear.)

I sent the video. A few hours later, my phone pinged again.

Taylor’s most recent message read, “It was silent and people started crying… Jesus was just extremely present.”

I considered this thought. Of course, He just was extremely present. He just is always extremely present. It is his job. To just “be”.

I told Taylor I was so proud of her -- proud of the woman of God she had become and was still becoming.

And I thought, gosh, this is it. We are in the becoming. He’s not done yet. It does get better than this. There is more hope, more truth, and more grace. We are the becoming ones. Because He Is, we are becoming like Him. Just because He Is. Just because of I Am. We are becoming like Him.

Life is about the becoming. Not the being. It’s the hard stuff. The dirt stuff. It's the stuff that takes work. And maybe the real work is resting sometimes. That's okay, too. 

Who will we be when we have finally “become?”

How will I finish this sentence? I became... 

I wanted a well rounded idea of the word “became” so I looked up the official definition. Became is the past tense version of become, meaning the becoming is done. What became of me? Webster’s read this: to be the lot of.

Psalm 16. A Tuesday night in college I will never forget on a sacred and holy living room floor. Mrs. Leslie's floor.

 

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;

   you hold my lot.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

   indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

 

This post is for Taylor (and Mackenzie). You have a beautiful inheritance. The Lord holds your lot. He holds what's becoming of you. His plans for you are in the pleasant places. You are becoming Him. Just like Him. You are the becoming ones, sanctified with every breath.

What became of me? I became like Him. And that is why we're here. 


Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Icing

For the dough

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter, sugar, and egg until light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). By the way, when you are creaming something, your butter and egg should be room temperature, so set them out a few minutes before beginning. I use a standing mixer, but a handheld one should do. Cream on a medium-high speed. While your mixture is creaming, add all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) in a separate bowl and sift together. Set dry ingredients aside. Add canned pumpkin and vanilla to the creamed mixture. Incorporate fully. Finally, add the dry ingredients. Mix until all white streaks are gone, scraping down the sides as needed. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to form your dough into round balls on a nonstick baking pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before adding icing. 

For the icing

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup powdered sugar

Melt the brown sugar, butter, and milk over a medium heat on the stove. Once fully melted, hard boil for 2 minutes. After boiling, remove from heat and add powdered sugar and stir vigorously, attempting to get all the sugar clumps out so the icing is smooth (unlike my example pictures... oops). The icing hardens very quickly. You will have about 1 minute to pour it on the cookies before it's a lost cause. If it starts to harden faster than you expect, give it a few stirs. When your powdered sugar is fully mixed in with the melted ingredients, pour the icing over the top of the cookies. I pour straight from the pan onto the cookie sheet for less mess. Allow the icing to set for 5 minutes. Then, eat your heart out!