This is the time of year to explore the bounty of pumpkins being displayed at orchards, farmers’ markets, and stores. Every fall, my home boasts displays of apples, pumpkins, and squash – true measures of a plentiful fall harvest. And they’re not just decorations. My bounty ends up on our dinner table.
Take pumpkins for example. A couple of those medium sized ones (about 6 inches in diameter) yield enough puree to make a delectable custard. Cut the pumpkins in half, remove the seeds, and place them skin side up on a baking dish. Bake them in a 350 degree oven until soft (about 45 minutes) and allow them to cool. Scoop out the pulp and mash or mix it into a puree.
Here is my favorite recipe for Pumpkin Custard:
3 cups pumpkin puree
¾ cup honey
2 Tablespoons molasses
¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can evaporated milk (or 2 cups scalded milk)
Mix in order given. Butter a baking dish and pour in custard. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until set. If you prefer, pour filling into an unbaked pie shell and bake for the same amount of time. Yummy!
There is another kind of pumpkin in our home, one far more precious than any that grace our table. “Pumpkin” is a term of endearment my husband I use for our grandson. Do you have a similar term for your grandchild? Let your grandchild hear you say it. Children need to be reminded how valued they are, how they are uniquely designed by our Creator. They can never hear it too much.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C. S. Lewis
The arts are an integral part of my life. Over the years, I’ve engaged in a plethora of mediums ranging from painting and drawing to pottery and photography. Some time ago, I began writing a children’s story for my grandson with the intention of making it into a book. “Aha,” I thought. “Wouldn’t it be nice to include some watercolor illustrations?”
I imagined the soft, flowing quality of watercolor lending just the right characteristic to illustrate my story. But watercolor is one medium that I have not explored beyond self-instruction and a small watercolor pencil set. Initial results clearly showed my knowledge of the craft was insufficient to meet my goals. I needed an expert.
A few days ago, I attended my first watercolor class, taught by artist David Smith at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It was time and money well spent. That’s not to say that my maiden voyage into this watery medium was noteworthy. It is to say I thoroughly enjoyed the comradery of fellow artists and learning techniques for using this medium.
The lesson is: if you’re unsure how to overcome an obstacle between you and your goal, get instruction from someone who really knows what they’re doing. Once you figure out how, it’s a matter of practice, practice, and more practice until you get the results you seek. My journey on the road to mastering the art of watercolor illustration has just begun.
The same thing about practice can be applied to writing a Spiritual Legacy Memoir, only it’s called editing. After I finish the first draft of an entry, I make edits until the words on the page are as clear, concise, and readable as I can make them. Not surprising, it gets easier with practice. I suppose this can be said about most things in life. Just don’t give up. Excuse me now. I have a date with some watercolor paints and paper.
Some of the most exciting action and sensational scores happen during the 4th Quarter of a football game. Players’ emotions overflow. Spectators fuel the energy with cheers, chants, and edge-of-the-seat engagement with action on the field. This is no time to relax. It’s like that fat lady singing thing when all parties involved know every decision and every effort made from this point on counts toward the final score. If players are determined to finish with a crowd-pleasing win, every member of the team has to stay strong. The same is true for the 4th Quarter of life: those years when people realizes 75 percent of their days are showing up in the rearview mirror.
It’s a human tendency that we value success, our call to stay in the game of life until the clock runs down. But, unlike football, the game of life has eternal implications for us and our spectators. And unlike football, there will be no more games to play when life’s clock runs down, no opportunities to recoup the losses. Now, let’s put this into perspective. Take a wide receiver. He is responsible to perform a specific function as part of a team: catching a pass and running it to the goal for a touchdown. The thing is, if wide receivers don’t give their best effort, it is unlikely they will be able to score any points. Likewise, grandparents fill a valuable role with their family team.
There is another important difference between football players and grandparents. We’re not just fighting against another team. We’re fighting against the powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) We are an integral part of a family with a God-given command to share our faith in Christ with the generations that follow. If this were to become the only significant achievement we reach in life, we will have scored a winning touchdown and a prize that surpasses any trophy made by human hands.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14