Sunshine in the Valley

humor and encouragement from my heart to yours

So I found this awesome cake recipe

I don’t know about you, but I find cookbooks fascinating. I love browsing through all the pictures and recipes and getting ideas for future yumminess. Bethany gave me Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake-Off, and as I paged through it the other day, I found a cake that looked amazing.

Ring-of-Coconut Fudge Cake.

“Coconut” and “fudge” were what initially caught my eye, but when I saw that it was a bundt cake on top of everything else…..

Ohhhh yeah. ;)

Bundts are the cakes to end all cakes. I normally prefer pie and cookies in general, but bundts are irresistable to me. I had to try this one.

So I did. And am still getting rave reviews from the family three days later. :D Moist, chocolatey, with that ever-so-delightful filling… it’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Well, ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. :lol:

So for all of you who are now hungry for this Amazing Cake, I shall happily provide the recipe. But I must tell you, it is highly addictive. You have been warned. :P

Ring-of-Coconut Fudge Cake


1- 8oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

1/2 c. flaked coconut

1 c. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I used milk, yum)


2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

2 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. hot coffee or water (I used water)

1 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chopped nuts, opt. (the nut-haters loved me for leaving these out)


1 c. powdered sugar

3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

2 Tbsp. margarine or butter (butter makes everything better)

2 tsp. vanilla

1 to 3 Tbsp. hot water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and lightly flour 10-inch tube or 12-cup Bundt pan. In medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients with an electric mixer; blend well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, oil, and eggs; beat 1 minute at high speed. Add remaining cake ingredients except nuts (I combined my dry ingredients first before adding); beat 3 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the greased and floured pan. Carefully spoon filling over batter; top with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.

In medium bowl, combine all glaze ingredients, adding enough hot water for desired glazing consistency. Spoon over cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store in refrigerator.

Yield: 16 servings

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Life is fragile

It’s kind of ironic that I was just talking about the clinic in my last post.

I found out this morning that one of the girls who cleans our clinic with her grandmother was killed in a tragic car accident in the wee hours this morning. Two other girls died with her.

She was beautiful. Just started college. Excited about playing on the volleyball team. Gone in an instant.

Life is so short. All it takes is one moment, a blink of an eye, and it’s gone. Yet I know that our days are numbered by God, that life is not lost until those days are accomplished. Even though it seems so senseless, there’s a plan and a purpose in tragedy.

But I don’t understand why Lauren died.

I may never understand why such a devastating thing had to happen.

My heart hurts so much for her grandparents, whom I see every day at work.

But I don’t have to understand to trust that God knows best, and sees what I cannot.

I can appreciate the days I have while I still have them. I can love my friends and family wholeheartedly… and tell them so while I still have the chance. I can live life to the fullest and seek God with my whole heart, making a difference in the lives of others, while the opportunity still lies within my reach.  I can choose to live my life in light of eternity, and realize the things that really matter.

These are the lessons to be learned in the face of a tragedy. It is the only real way I know how to cope with one.

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Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?!

Well, this week I reached a very happy milestone of sorts. I celebrated my first anniversary at Cornerstone Clinic! :D It is so hard to believe that it has already been a year…. seems like only a few months ago that Practice Plus called to tell me I was hired. August 25th has rolled around once again, however, and I am even more thankful to work here today than I was when I first got the job last year.

To my complete surprise, Ruby decorated the break room and prepared lunch for the entire clinic to celebrate the occasion! :shock: I could hardly believe it! She felt that it was a momentous occasion, because I am the 7th partner she’s had in 7 years…. the first to make it to even one year. :lol: So she felt like partying, and who can blame her? ;) It was so sweet and special, and lunch was delicious: brats, peppers/onions,  potatoes, and rolls. Ruby is such a wonderful partner to work with… as demonstrated by her sweet gesture on Tuesday, it was obviously not her fault the others left! I love her to bits.

I honestly thank God every day for the privilege of working for a Christian clinic, with doctors who love God and love their patients…and love us! We really are a family, there for each other in good times and bad. I love my particular duties as well; as a detail person, I enjoy all the action and little things I have to keep track of throughout the day, as well as all the patient contact. The nurses are amazing and so fun to work with! I know I am right where God wants me, and it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world! I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know this: I will be very happy to stay here a long, long time. :)

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I love August…

…or at least I do when it means lots of fun times with family and friends! And no days with temps of 100 or more. And mainly good things happening rather than otherwise. This one has been amazing. :D

I spent a whole week with my precious friend, Bethany, and we had great fun together…

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…hanging out….

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…exploring Amish country together….

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…and thrift stores with all their lovely old books….

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…delightful heart-to-hearts….

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…and goofing off….:)

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Friends are a blessing! So are wonderful siblings… I spent a really fun day with the guys and Susanna on Saturday in Hot Springs….

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We had a blast hiking in the national park!

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I love these kids so much.

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…even when they’re crazy. :shock:

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Afterwards, we had a very fun, and very close, game of miniature golf. The final scores were all within just a few points of each other! ;)

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The past two years have taught me to value the people who really love me -and who are so very dear to my heart- more than I ever have before. The people who are there in thick and thin….the ones who love me on my best days and on my worst days… the ones who are always there even when life goes crazy. Those are the people who count the most, when all is said and done.

These are some of those people. :D

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Um…hello? :)

I have found so much pleasure in reading the blog entries of friends and acquaintances that it has inspired me to begin my own… to have a place where I can share the silly- and serious- events that make up the life of my family and me. And boy, if things continue as they have for the past 2 years, I should have plenty to write about! :P  Seriously.

And it may be a far-fetched wish, but I hope to provide a little entertainment and encouragement along the way while I’m at it. Fact is, life is hard. Stuff happens that doesn’t make any sense and you’re either gonna spend your life laughing “in spite of it all” or crying over it. Sometimes both. But I am determined to laugh….to keep smiling even in times when it looks like the sun will never come out again. Because it always does. :) God is always there, teaching and loving  and guiding, in the big stuff and the little things….and there is always reason for HOPE.

Welcome to my life. :)