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“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

Tuesday afternoon, cold, frigidly cold. The sun did peep through the cloud cover and smiled briefly before tucking the clouds over its face again.

We have a thin covering of snow, which is enough for me. I guess my worst fear is we’ll get enough snow that the snow plows will come out of hiding and terrify our horses.

Even if it’s cold, if it isn’t windy, I can tolerate it pretty good, but wind and snow make me want to hibernate.

Of course, if I knew our horse wouldn’t be terrified of snow plows, it would help.

I saw something the other evening that made me appreciate our small, slow, basically homely looking horse.

Someone was stopped on the county line road, thankfully not in the middle. The horse was a fine-looking one, high headed, high-stepping, probably, and in all likelihood, at least part Dutch with a pedigree a mile long, but it wasn’t moving. Not forward, not backward, no amount of coaxing was working.

I plodded on my merry way. I guess they got it off the road somehow, sometime. It wasn’t there when I went to work Saturday morning. Maybe they had to get a big forklift and pick it up.

Oh my! The sun is smiling again, faintly. Maybe the forecast for bone-chilling, frigid weather is incorrect. Maybe.

I did see a robin Monday morning on my way to work. Maybe he was just a scout, checking things out. I think he had on socks! (Not!)

When I think back to the winters of the late ’70s and early ’80s, we lived in a flimsy, drafty mobile home with three little girls. I wonder how we survived. And yet we did. And I don’t remember having any anxiety like I do now. Maybe because I was younger, stronger or just young and dumb. Yeah, that!

One winter, it was below zero for a week. We had frozen pipes, frozen drains, had to carry water in and out, heat it in kettles on the stove. We survived, and I believe we were even happy! Not saying we aren’t now, but we’ve come a long way and have many blessings.

I do know with all the snow we had, we had a lot of fun playing in it with the girls. We didn’t have a real sled, so Erwin took a piece of corrugated metal, fastened twine to it to pull it, and fixed a cardboard box on it. I don’t recall how he made it stay on, but it did.

We put blankets and carpets in it for our girls and took them for a ride to the neighbors’. They were making ice cream, so we went in and ate some with them.

Now Hubby thinks it’s too cold to eat ice cream in the winter. Me, I could eat ice cream three times a day, year-round. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t agree with me anymore. At least not very often and in large amounts.

I can’t even remember not liking winter back then. I was always glad for spring and summer. It was a lot easier to chore then.

Matter of fact, I think not liking winter came along with my responsibilities at this place when my dad had to have a lot of care, like dialysis three times a week. I was always afraid the weather would be so bad that we couldn’t get out. And that kind of lingered on after he was gone.

But in all honesty, I must say, this winter hasn’t been quite so bad. Maybe I’m finally growing up a little. Or maybe just growing in faith and the Lord. Yeah, that.

In closing, wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.

How about this cake? You can serve it with whipped topping or warm with ice cream. That would be best!

Brown-sugar spice cake with caramelized apples

For cake

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

11/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup peeled, finely-chopped apple

For caramelized apples

6 medium apples, peeled and sliced (about 8 cups)

1 cup packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom only of 9-inch-square pan with baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and eggs with electric mixer on low speed until blended; beat on medium speed until well combined.

On low speed, beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt and sour cream until mixed; beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Stir in chopped apple. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around pan to loosen cake. Remove cake to heatproof serving plate. Cool cake about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, cook sliced apples and 1 cup brown sugar over medium-high heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until apples are tender and caramelized.

Spoon caramelized apples over cake. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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