Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkins or Taters

I have some memories of Halloween and pumpkins that bring a smile to my face. When I was in elementary school, a favorite local television character in my area was Joey the Clown. On air, Joey sported the familiar white face of circus clowns with a large red bulbous nose and a top hat that resembling Red Skeleton's Freddie the Freeloader hobo look. I don't remember the reason mother decided to decorate a pumpkin to resemble one of our favorite television characters. I just know I was in awe of the completed project. I shouldn't have found it surprising she was able to pull off this pumpkin /clown creation. Most of our Halloween costumes were handmade creations from my mother's sewing machine. My greatest regret is I have no picture to share of this incredible memory.

Years later I was grateful for the inspiration. My son and I were able to put our artistic minds to work when he was given the assignment to use a pumpkin to create a character of his own choosing. His choice... The Cat in the Hat. I admit the painting was not nearly the challenge that the hat became. Using a large plastic garbage bag, we created the hat stuffed with paper with a cardboard base, taping the red stripes around the circumference and praying it would stay atop the pumpkin until the judging was over. I was eternally grateful I'd seen my mom's successful creation before my attempt to help my son. It laid a foundation for trusting myself to try something novel and the confidence to help my son achieve success as well.

Ever heard someone say “I wasn't in line when they gave out that gift?” I've been guilty of saying these words. I actually believe this kind of statement is limiting. It's my desire as a grandmother to model for my grandchildren a more positive attitude. I want to encourage them to believe we are all capable of creating things of beauty and inspiration to others.

When it comes to using our hands, some prefer sewing and needlepoint while others enjoy cooking, painting, or crafting with wood. We all can make use of our hands to create and bring to life things that bring joy to others lives. Letting go of the “I'm not gifted that way” mind set and adopting one of positively believing in ourselves will motivate us to try new things and encourage those we influence to do the same.

We may find we enjoy one craft over another but certainly God has designed each of us in a way we can mold, carve, stitch or bake some loving memories and influence into our loved ones lives. Like the pumpkins in the story, The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs, we come in different shapes and sizes and God's hand made us all. His creative power rests within each of us.

“My hand made all things. All things are here because I made them,” says the Lord.” Isaiah 66:2

At the end of the Pumpkin Parable, we find the pumpkin wearing a new face. It wasn't a Joey the Clown or Cat in the Hat face, but one that allowed the light to shine out into the dark. Liz Curtis Higgs has become one of my favorite stories to share with children in the month of October. I'm reminded that although we are all very different, we have a light within us that can bring influence to others around us. What He created in us can be shared with others, like stars  world shining in a dark world.

My mother rarely made pumpkin pie. It simply wasn't her favorite. That fall long ago, perhaps some mothers were making pumpkin pie while my mother was creating a character pumpkin for our enjoyment. I never felt I was missing out because we never enjoyed pumpkin pie. My mother had her own specialty. I'm pretty sure my father's love for Sweet-Tater pie may have had some influence on her decision.

Many times I believe we limit ourselves in what we are able to do by simply failing to believe in ourselves and God's giftings within us. Just as I was influenced by my mother's creations, we can encourage others by simply trying new things.

Apples or oranges? Pumpkins or Taters? God has graciously given many gifts to each of us. So let your gifts and light shine in your corner of the world. And if for any reason you feel you don't have gifts to give, step out in faith and follow the example of someone who has a gift you admire. Ask for their help in acquiring this gift. You will never know what you can do until you give it a try!

Mom's Sweet-Tater Pie

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs beaten

½ cup evaporated milk

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes I using canned eliminate syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla

¼ tsp. Salt

1 unbaked pie shell

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, blend well. Add potatoes,milk, flavoring and salt. Mix well and pour into pie shell. Bake 40 minutes

Favorite pumpkin recipe...

Pumpkin Crisp

Mix well until blended

1 (16oz.)can solid pumpkin or fresh

1 cup sugar

1 large can Pet milk

3 eggs

½ tsp. Cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans

Pour into wax lined oblong pan, sprinkle over with 1 box yellow cake mix (dry). Pour over 2 sticks of margarine melted

Sprinkle with ½ chopped pecans. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes til brown. Cool


1 (8oz.) package cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 small container cool whip

Spread over cake and sprinkle with pecans

****Remember to remove wax paper either before icing or freeze for about an hour after icing.

   Go for it!    It's not that hard!

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