Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sheltering -- Pumpkin Style

If someone were to pay you 10 cents for every kind word you ever spoke and collect from you 5 cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor? ~unknown

My friend, Stacy, (name has been changed to protect the guilty) was a young wife and eager to make her husband proud cooking for their first revival.  One thing she was sure she could do was make a pumpkin pie.  The crust formed a perfect circle.  The pumpkin was spread in the pan. All was ready -- time to bake it.  Stacy was so happy when it came out of the oven.  Admiring the golden brown crust, she sprinkled cinnamon on the fragrant orange masterpiece. She couldn't wait to serve it.

Stacy's husband beamed all through the meal.  He knew how hard his bride had worked to make this a special meal despite her lack of experience and their tight budget.  I don't recall what Stacy served for the main course, but I do know the crowning glory was the pie.  Well, until the evangelist took his first bite. His face reflected panic -- to swallow or not to swallow?

You see, Stacy's mother always used pumpkin pie filling.  Stacy used solid pack pumpkin with its bland earthy taste. No matter how delicious the pie looked, without the sugar included, it was disgustingly bitter.

How many times do we approach people without the sweetness we need?  Our abrasive words, stinging with sarcasm or imitation sweetening substitutes, can hurt, whether spoken, repeated or posted on a Facebook wall (of course in hopes they will be read by the nameless one intended).

But like solid pack pumpkin, adding the sweetness of the Holy Spirit keeps the words of our mouth acceptable, not only to others, but also to our Heavenly Father.

I find such joy in keeping my words sweet.  But when I allow my words to trample over the quiet checks of the Holy Spirit, to rush out in judgment or with deliberate criticism, I grieve.  And in the grieving, I taste solid pack pumpkin.  Unsweetened.  The tasteless words spoken cannot be unsaid.

Each day, when I spend time with God, I pray these words as a benediction: "Let the words of my mouth be acceptable unto God and my Redeemer."  I love the sweetness.  The joy.  The spicy pumpkin orangeness of acceptable words.

* * * * *

Little Pumpkin Boy

I saw a little boy with a pumpkin hat and thought my 'lil pumpkin boy needed one, too.  

I found the Beanie Baby Pumpkin Hat pattern and believe me when I say this is super easy.  I finished it in an evening.  For Camron I added five rows and adjusted the stem to fit.  I didn't make the vine.  Wouldn't a red one with a brown stem be cute?

I used Vanna's Choice yarn.  It crocheted great.  Morgan saw me finishing the hat and thought she needed a purple hat.  It was a toss up -- pink or purple but purple won.  I used this pattern from Craft Bits.  The only problem is she thought I could finished it before her momma came to pick her up.  Mawmaw's not that fast!

It would be cute to gift the hat along with A Pumpkin Prayer by Amy Parker.  This is a book teaching thankfulness for God's blessings.  It's a board book for ages one and older.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chipped Yet Usable

                    Usefulness is not impaired by imperfection. You can drink from a chipped cup. 
~Greta Nagel

My sister's hands cradling her favorite cup
My sister has a favorite cup she uses when she visits my mother. She chooses this particular cup because she claims it has its own personality -- not only does it feel good in her hands, but it has a history that makes it special. You see, the cup is chipped along one side.

It isn't that my mother is short on porcelain or china cups. She has a “life-time” collection of beautiful tea cups to choose from. If the cup had been mine, I would have thrown it away. Instead, my mother carefully washes it each time and puts it away, ready for Melodie to use on her next visit.

I wonder how many people would have thrown me out because of my chips and imperfections. A chip around the rim from impatience, an ugly scar marring the outside caused by unconcern, and the hint of a hairline crack on the handle stemming from flippant habitual prayers. Does God ever get tired of my promises to deepen my walk with Him -- my determination burning within until the daily living causes me to bump into laxness and causes yet another chip?

And yet -- God! The Creator of my world and Creator who breathed life into me. The Father who disciplines, yet loves with abandonment. The Father who grieves over my sins while forgiving and forgetting with joy. He joys in my chips, soothes His hands over the imperfections, and uses me once again.

The next time I have tea with my mother, it will be my hands cradling the chipped cup -- finding joy in the reminder that God uses me, chips and all.