legacies & pumpkin chocolate chip cake 

My company is having a Thanksgiving potluck on Friday, and I’m bringing my grandmother’s pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

It’s a favorite around our house, and a go-to this time of the year. I bought enough to make two: one for work, and  another one for Taylor and I because of course.

It’s the perfect mix of fall spice with sweet, and so easy to whip up. The recipe calls for semi-sweet chips, but I make mine with dark chocolate chips because I love the bitterness. I also threw in a handful of walnuts this time around, but I bet pecans would be delicious as well.

It’s the perfect after dinner treat, but I’ll admit I’ve eaten a slice for breakfast with black coffee more than a few times.

Every time I make it, I think of my grandmother. She passed four years ago, but the memory of her – her laugh, how she moved around her kitchen, how she always smelled delightful, and always had cookies waiting for us when we walked in – hasn’t faded a bit.

She was lovely, in every sense of the word.

She was an artist in the traditional sense – I’m staring at one of her paintings right now as I type. But, she was also an artist with her life. She created beauty everywhere she went, in every relationship she made.

My favorite memories with her involve us crying tears of laughter, late night games of dominoes, and sitting with her at the breakfast table catching up on life.

She could always tell when I was hurting, and she asked great questions. From a young age, she called me a free spirit. It was a loving way of saying I was a major handful, but I also think it was her way of telling me that it was ok to be myself, that I was loved even if I was all over the place.

I think she could see the free spirit in me because it was in her too. And as I’ve gotten to know myself better in the past few years, I’ve come to realize I take after her a great deal. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

She’s left a legacy of love that’s imprinted on my heart; a legacy I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren one day. Tonight I missed her, so I pulled out my cookbook full of her recipes and made pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

……………………

Sandy’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

– 3 cups flour

– 2 cups sugar

– 4 eggs

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 2 tsp baking soda

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1 cup oil

– 2 cups pumpkin

– handful of chocolate chips

– handful of walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a greased bundt or tube pan. Bake for around 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

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day 14: start with gratitude

Here’s what I know today: gratitude is a choice. I’ll be honest – my heart is still heavy from events of the past week – but I’m looking for ways to move forward. I’m looking for flashes of light in the darkness. For me, gratitude is what’s helping me sit in the tension – the tension of a bitter and sweet reality. It’s forcing me to acknowledge the light along with the darkness. Our world holds both simultaneously, and there can’t be one without the other. I’m working to be more honest, to see both and acknowledge both in my heart. I’m working to start with gratitude.

Here’s a few things from the past few days that I’m thankful for:

  • Celebrating the birthday of a long-time friend. We’ve know each other for 10 years, and it’s so sweet that we still get to live daily life with each other. That’s been one of my favorite things about getting older – having friendships that have endured through many seasons of life.
  • Gorgeous Austin weather. Taylor and I spent a few hours at a park close to our house on Sunday afternoon soaking in the sunshine and cool breezes. It was the best.
  • Backyard patio lights, and dreams of cozy crisp nights hanging out with friends on our back porch.
  • Friends who invite us over for drinks and a bonfire on Sunday night.
  • Honest conversations with old and new friends about the events of the past week, about how we respond, about what it looks like to truly engage and make this affect our lives.
  • Words that remind me that I’m loved. That my primary identity is not wrapped up in what I do, but in my identity as a loved daughter of God.

Happy Tuesday, friends.