Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pumpkahontas, Muffins, and a New You

A list of what I like about summer: flip flops, flowers.  The end.  My favorite season arrived, and the list of what I love about fall is much longer: boots and football, cool weather and denim, changing leaves and scarecrows, chili and bonfires, apple cake and coffee, fall colors and sweaters, and all things pumpkin.  Let it be known that I loved pumpkins long before they were trendy. 

Mary Jahn's
pumpkin muffins
Having no baking ovens, early New England settlers filled a hollowed out pumpkin with milk, honey, and spices, then cooked it over hot ashes. Luckily, the pumpkin pie followed, and we've transformed this versatile squash into cheesecake, latte, dip, pancakes, fudge, bread pudding, and ravioli.  My friend, Cindy, treated me to coffee and a pumpkin muffin to kick off the season, then another friend, Mary, posted a picture of homemade pumpkin muffins. And even though these muffins were reason enough to proclaim WELCOME FALL, I celebrated my first trip to Anderson's new Krispy Kreme with a pumpkin cake donut.  However, the delicious pumpkin crisp I made decades ago was honestly the best pumpkin dessert EVER.  No one else thought so. That's ok, there was more for me.

The more pumpkins the merrier and the more creative the better. They've come a long way from sitting on the front porch with triangle eyes, nose and jagged smiles, then rotting shortly thereafter.  We don't have to carve free hand anymore; in fact, pumpkins don't have to be carved (paint, glitter, ribbon and rhinestone them), nor do they have to be scary. Pumpkahontas, THE most creative pumpkin, made her debut at Anderson Memorial Hospital's 1987 fall festival decorating contest.  I'll never understand why she didn't win: a Native American pumpkin with braided black yarn pigtails and feathers.  What could be more creative? And I don't even have a picture of her to prove it.

Amy's 1st
painted pumpkins
I believed my pumpkin transformations improved drastically each year: carved initials, designs, and drilled holes. Until, my cousin, Amy, posted her first painted pumpkins on Facebook.  This was pre- Pinterest, the home of  hundreds of ridiculous pumpkin transformations: pumpkins turned into flower pots or ice buckets, stacked as snowmen, painted as Cookie Monster, carved as a Volkswagon Van (it's adorable) or an image of Cinderella's carriage, wrapped like a mummy, and monogrammed.

Pumpkins aren't just for pies, and aren't you glad pumpkins don't merely exist as Jack-O-Lanterns rotting on the front porch? We don't have to exist rotting on the inside either.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Does He love us no matter what? Of course. Transformation isn't about UNbecoming us.I remain Katy when I (usually kicking and screaming) allow God to change my thoughts, words, and actions.  He created me and expects me to be me but wants so much more for my life, freedom and an opportunity to be new. Blogger Jack Hunt writes, "Jesus is about transformation, about finding us just the way we are, but not leaving us that way. When the sick come to Jesus, they leave healed. After the lame meet Jesus, they walk home. The blind can see after he touches them. Even the dead come back to life when Jesus calls them out of their tomb."

..throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:22-24

Just when I think I can't change more, or when I think, "I've arrived, I'm doing exactly what I need to do," God shows me areas that need to be transformed: attitudes that hurt others, habits that become addictions, desires that leave me empty, and words that don't reflect Him.  He isn't saying "you're not good enough for my love."  We always want the best for those we love, don't we? He has a purpose, but there are obstacles. One of them is me.  Transformation isn't instant.. A new nature is a lifelong process of digging out seeds of bitterness, pulling out thick tangles of deception, cutting out dark spots of jealousy, scrubbing away pride, adding self-control, goodness, and peace, as He carves, blends, and paints a new person, a new mind, with a greater purpose.

Why rot on the porch with a jagged smile when you can be transformed?


I told you it was adorable.