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Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

A recent reading I had for Sunday school talked about having gratitude for the gifts we are given and expressing that in prayer. It said God does not ask us to be thankful for all things because some things are bad; but God does ask us to be thankful IN ALL things.

Sometimes when you are in the midst of a difficult time your struggle and sadness is such that it is hard to see anything beautiful and good, but it is there. Goodness and God are all around. For me that is how I make it through the hard times, by seeing the small (yet actually big) blessings all around me. When my mother had cancer I of course was never glad for the cancer but I was so thankful for the love of friends and family and the great love of my mother that was expressed in such a time.

I am thankful for the specific moments, like when a friend writes a sweet note or brings you food, but I am mostly grateful for God allowing me to know the depth of such love even if it was through such grief. I try to remember that in a world without suffering there would be no need for compassion and mercy, so this is to be our path and it is how we identify ourselves with Jesus –  who suffered so greatly out of an unbelievable love for us.

You do learn something in experiencing loss. Harry Potter saw Threstals – strange, scary looking, yet elegant and gentle horse-like creatures – that no one else could see except those who had watched someone they loved die. JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, had lost her mother and she was writing from experience. Through grief – which is essentially a by-product of love, she knew she saw something that others may not see yet; something tragic yet beautiful; something that set her apart and changed her; something that informed her about the depth of love.

As we approach Thanksgiving no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, I hope we can sit down at the table and be thankful for the bountiful blessings we have been given. It can be hard to see in the midst of sorrow – but often it is when we see the clearest. Maybe that is why tears wash our eyes clean.

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

-In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.

-Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.

-Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

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