Changing of Seasons

Have you been to WalMart or Target lately, and seen the brightly colored center-aisle displays of crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, lunch boxes and other “Back to School supplies? I recall that time of the year when our daughters would get new dresses for the first day of school, and new shoes and socks too, and of course the never-ending need for school supplies. For me it’s kind of fun to see them, and a few aisles away, to see the autumn displays and even Thanksgiving plates, napkins, and floral arrangements. These sights signal to me my most favorite time of the year. They conjure up memories of the brightly colored trees of New England, where I grew up. And I think I can even smell the heavenly aroma of freshly made applesauce, apple pies, and I can picture Thanksgiving’s pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

I also love to see the pots of mums, that when I can afford one, I love to put one outside by the door. This morning at 7 o’clock, it was only 48 degrees here in the mountains–frost will soon be “on the pumpkin,” as the saying goes. I think of soup, homemade bread and baking cinnamon rolls.

Mmmm…gotta’ stop writing about this, or I’ll be getting out my Bosch and mixing up a batch.

Changing of the seasons is like the changing of the life seasons, in a way. Ron and I are in our Autumn years, for sure! For some, this would be sad or difficult, but for us it’s like the memories of childhood, starting school again after a hot and steamy summer and the fun of the beach. Mornings are requiring the addition of sweaters or light jackets, only to be shed during the warmth of the day. At this time in our lives, mornings require time for reading/worshipping, writing, and planning the day. Today I will do a bit of baking for the freezer, which by the way, I need to re-organize before I can put newly prepared items for November’s recovery from a total knee replacement. In a way, I feel a bit like a squirrel, packing away store for the winter. So yes, even I am going back to school–the school of hard knocks, where I will learn once again to walk after my second knee replacement.

Soon will come the shedding of leaves and the barrenness of winter, which in my opinion, has a beauty of its own. Hopefully, after the initial shocking pain post operatively, I hope to hunker down to finish a book we have been writing. You’ll want to read that when it is published, since it’s about our adventures in our GMC4107 Buffalo bus, in which we lived and drove from seminar to seminar. Those were our “summer days” of pure enjoyment as we traveled and taught together, and experienced some of the most heart-wrenching experiences ever. So often one of us will say to the other, “I really miss our bus!”

Life has its seasons for sure, and as we slip into the cold and snow of winter, we look forward to the warmth of our stoves, the fleece-lined slippers and snuggly robes, a “cuppa” hot tea, and maybe one of those cinnamon rolls. For sure, we won’t be going out as often, especially in snow and ice, but the comfort of our home will be just what we need to be happy.

Oh, and by the way, ladies, do you follow Pinterest? I found several recipes for Butternut Squash Soup–talk about warming the tummy for the upcoming colder months! The one I made and doubled was the Thai version, with less red curry paste than the recipe calls for. It is delicious, and Ron and I couldn’t seem to get enough of it. Good thing I doubled the recipe. Try it–you’ll love it! (I’ve shared the recipe below!)

Stay warm and see what this school year will have in store for your learning. May the Good Lord keep you warmed by your memories, your relationships and the coziness of your family and home, is our prayer.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

2 1/2 lbs. butternut squash
4 large garlic cloves
1 or 2 inch piece fresh ginger
1 handful fresh mint or cilantro
1 large yellow onion
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
5 c. Vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Agave
1 tablespoon fresh Lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2  tablespoon Coconut oil

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add squash, garlic, ginger, curry paste, and salt. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Add broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is completely soft, about 20-25 minutes.

Blend soup well using a blender (do not fill blender more than halfway with hot liquid and use a kitchen towel to protect your hand from any escaping steam). Purée soup and add back to the pot. Add coconut milk and reheat the soup until just hot, then stir in the lime juice and agave. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Use a spoon to drizzle a bit coconut milk over each bowl. Top with a sprinkle of cilantro or mint.

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