Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Autumn 2011 Pumpkin

I have grown up with savory childhood memories of love, laughter and creativity.  My family carried on our own traditions, miniscule to others but expansive in my life.  Halloween marked for us some fun traditions such as our pumpkin hunt.  My brother and I would get very excited for this and we took it quite seriously. 

Typically it would be a weekend day and my parents would take my brother and I to a huge field spilling with bright orange pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, shades, inclusive of imperfections and mud.  It was always such a treat to pick our pumpkins.  We would drive about 30 minutes to get to the best pumpkin patch.  Seemed like everything my family did included driving a distance, and only added to the precious time of togetherness.  My brother and I would step out of our car and gaze into the field, each of us already having an idea of what we were looking for and off we rushed into this field of orange.  It had to be round, it had to lean in the right direction and have a good surface to reflect our pumpkin carving designs.  We learned quickly not to pick it up by the stem, only to ruin a perfectly good pumpkin.  What’s a festive pumpkin without a stem? 

Derek and I would call for our parents to check out our finds; to “ooh” and “ahh”  in amazement and encourage our excitement and belief that we did in fact have the two best pumpkins in the patch.  After much praise, pride and approval, we would hold our pumpkins close to our chests, wobbling to the farm stand as if we were holding boulders and with grins we were off to carve.  We gutted and Dad carved.  He made the most intricate designs and we were proud.

Today, where we used to pick pumpkins stands a new church building, but every time I pass it, I will never forget all our pumpkin memories. 

My friend and I decided to have our own pumpkin carving party.  I went to a small farm and gazed across the field.  Sure enough, the perfect pumpkin caught my eye again.  This time I carved the pumpkin and enjoyed the creative day with a sweet friend.

What designs did you choose this year?

Happy Carving

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fullness of Life

“We are often tired, but I believe it is a result of the abundance of our lives.  It is not busy, but it is full.”  These are the first lines I read of a letter received from close family like friends.  Profound, wouldn’t you agree? 

What are we doing with our lives?  What am I doing with my life?  Are we living abundant lives, and what does this look like?  So many questions, so much time to ponder, but I do not believe the answer is that difficult to find. 

I’ll be honest with you, I have been blue lately and can easily blame my frustration on where I am in life.  Comparing myself to others is like second nature and often I long to be on my neighbors green grass.  True, my work life makes it difficult to be consistent with friends, family and in service opportunities, but I have an option of reactions of heart.  How do I choose to make my life full and how does that fullness manifest itself in my life?  Maybe looking to where fullness comes from should be the first response in the search.

We all have searched high and low for this answer to fullness in life and I believe my friend has described it well, “it is not busy but full.”  It’s not necessarily about filling all of your moments with something to do, but our innate nature, our souls know there is more to it than this, no one can deny this.  There is a value to our lives that we give, a longing for something deeper, a desire for connection, and when we are missing it in our lives, it reflects, and differently for each person. 

Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I love the Psalms; they are beautiful expressions of truth.  Beautiful lyrical expressions of souls that are poured out by writers shared with their readers.  And they are most wonderful because they are of the inspired word of God.  We are told that there is fullness of joy and that God knows that path of our life.  This is only one verse of the Bible proclaiming this truth, but God has not left us with one verse, but with truths occurred, testimonies of lives lived, encouragement through parables and stories and words spoken by a God who loves and lives the Gospel.  He is different and says come

So how should I make my life full?  Truthfully, I miss people; I have a heart for people and a need to be around them, to meet new people, to share in their stories and to love them.  That is just who I am and when I cannot do this in conventional ways, searching for unconventional ways almost makes me wary.  Do you ever feel like you are not doing what you are meant to?  I do.  But is that pride?  I don’t know, but I know God and friends teach me and counsel me to help shape and make me better.

Ultimately, your and my fullness must come from the source of the One who knows our path of life.  Only in His presence is their fullness of joy and fullness of life.  So quickly, very quickly, I look left and right and see what I think is greener grass, only to be fooled by a mirage in the desert, pulling me away from trust in the One who knows my path.  Sometimes the path seems to have long flat moments.  I’m not sure if they are supposed to be flat or we are supposed to seize opportunities along the path; I’m thinking the latter.
This path is not as long as I’m making it out to be so I have to keep my eyes on God who knows and serve along the way.