Pumpkins, Candy, and Costumes

It’s that time of year once again. The time when there’s that little nip of coolness in the air, especially the first thing in the morning. Even the sunlight seems crisper, giving us a hint of the chill that’s soon to follow. Yes, it’s that time of year that shuffles in the true end of summer. And shuffle is a good term, because I always go into it dragging my feet, kicking and screaming, because as I’ve said many times, I’m a spring/summer/flip flop type of girl!

And I can’t believe our summer is over. It’s really, really not fair. It’s cold when we get up, and even though it sometimes warms up a bit in the early afternoon, by the end of the day it’s getting cold again.

Yes, I will admit, the trees have turned into a palette of new colors; oranges and yellows and reds. And all those leaves begin to fall all over the yard, getting raked into piles of crisp color that we adults are just a bit tempted to jump into it when no one is looking, like we did when we were children!

My husband likes to drive over to the mountains and enjoy the spectacular views. And they are pretty. But if it’s up to me, I’ll look at other people’s pictures on line and think how pretty they are, and then dream about how long it’ll be until it gets warm again.

Then there are the pumpkins. Everywhere. In store and even restaurant displays, and piled along those roadside stands. Some even have carved faces already, and yes, we’ve bought a few of them, but our granddaughter is still a bit too young to carve them. I thought about painting them, but just didn’t get there this year. But I still remember growing up and my uncle making the most beautiful jack-o’-lanterns. Over fifty years ago, he was painting faces and other designs on the pumpkins rather than carving them, because they’d last longer. He was certainly ahead of his time, and if he were still here today, I’m sure he’d still be doing it, only much more elaborate.

And speaking of pumpkins, don’t you think the pumpkin craze has gotten a bit out of hand now? I do like pumpkin pie, but pumpkin spiced coffee? Pumpkin glazed donuts? Pumpkin flavored pop tarts? Pumpkin flavored Oreos? Please, no…… We even found pumpkin spiced dog treats last week, and no, we didn’t buy them! I really don’t think our dog would like them.

But he did enjoy dressing up in his Halloween costume. Sort of. He’s the one dressed as a football and wearing a football “helmet.” (You see, after several years without a dog, we are now the proud “parents” of a two year old Yorkie, and, well, Yorkies do like to get dressed up. Or so we hear.)

Now there are a few things that I can actually appreciate about this time of year.

For one, there is a LOT of candy on sale right now. And I do like to keep my candy bowl on my desk filled with all kinds of wonderful chocolate candy bars, miniature ones of course, just in case I get an urge during the day for a quick pick-me-up! Chocolate can do that, you know. And I’m sure many of you reading this are like us, and buy your supply of Halloween candy based on what YOU like to eat, and not necessarily what the kids are going to want, so you can enjoy the leftovers! Is there any other way to buy it?

I have to admit I enjoy seeing the costumes the kids are wearing when they come to our door to get their candy. The little ones are always adorable, and this year we’ll be looking at them in a different light, since our granddaughter will be dressed up in her own costume; and we’ll be helping take her around her neighborhood! Of course, her daddy, who is an avid hunter, wanted her to be dressed in camouflage, but I think Mommy and Grandmom and Grandpa had other ideas, as you can see from the picture! We think she looks adorable!

When I was growing up, most of us dressed up for Halloween, but very seldom in anything scary or spooky. My hometown had an annual Halloween parade, with several of the main streets blocked off so the participants could march around our little business district and the county courthouse. Children as well as adults paraded around streets in costumes and competed for prizes, and the streets were filled with onlookers. My aunt and uncle actually won first prize in the adult division one year, dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy. (How many of you even know who they were?) And if memory serves me correctly, I think some of the local churches sponsored the parade and contributed some of the prizes!

I can’t remember the last time I saw a Halloween parade. But they were a lot of fun! At least to us kids, and the adults who still acted like kids. It was just a fun time to enjoy ourselves, and get candy, of course!

So I guess I’m sort of stuck with it being fall. I can’t change it, so I guess I have to make the most of it. I can wear my jeans and sweaters with my boots, enjoy our toasty fireplace with a glass of wine, and count the days until Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And then I can remember that spring is, sort of, just around the corner! Thank goodness!

What’s In Your Heart?

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34

Our pastor delivered a powerful message this morning based on this scripture, which really made me stop and think…and reflect. And whether you are a believer or not, these questions are definitely something to think about.

What words are coming out of your mouth? Are you speaking love or condemnation?

Are you speaking reconciliation or judgement?

Are you trying to exert control over those you speak to, or are you showing the love for others that you say you have?

Do you avoid being around people you believe are living their lives wrong, talk about them behind their backs, or do you reach out to them and treat them the way you want to be treated?

Do you talk AT people without listening to what they have to say, are you too busy to take that extra time to hear THEIR heart, or do you stop and really get to know them, and have a genuine conversation with them?

Do you tell everyone how important it is to forgive, but continue to hold on to resentment and grudges in your own life?

Are you constantly pointing fingers at everyone and telling them how wrong they are, and not stopping to see that maybe you have faults as well?

Are you too busy telling others what they should be doing, and how bad they are if they don’t, or do you take the time to talk to them and try to understand where they’re coming from, so you can have a two way conversation instead of a one way lecture?

Do you find yourself making up stories, telling “little white lies”, because it’s easier than telling the truth?

Do you talk the talk, but forget to walk the walk?

Where is your heart? What’s in it?

What’s really in it? Love, compassion, forgiveness? Or greed, anger, jealousy, and resentment?

Are you really the person you say you are? If someone could look inside your heart, what would they see?

We all need to examine our hearts, our motivations. And when we do, I guarantee each of us, and certainly myself, will discover we need to make some changes.

The question is, will we? Or better yet, do we want to?

What’s your answer?