Sometimes heaven sends you a pumpkin to let you know you’re not a loser

some pumpkin

I didn’t plant a single thing this year. No fuschias in hanging baskets on my back porch. No cherry tomatoes in big pots on the front porch and various other varieties along the back fence or the side lawn. No geraniums and sweet potato vine by the front door.

As a result, while my next door neighbor kept us stocked in zucchini and yellow squash, I didn’t partake of a vine-ripened tomato until I purchased a bag of them in September on the very last day Harward’s stand was in business for the season.

Nothing puts an L on a master gardener’s forehead like not planting or nurturing a single living thing.

Absolutely nothing.

And so I was surprised when one of my kids mentioned the pumpkin growing out in the back 40. Oddly enough, in just about the exact spot I designated for pumpkin growing a good 10 years ago when I took a landscape design class from Larry Sagers.

I felt it was a sign. Hold on to your dreams. To everything there is a season. Never give up. Never surrender.

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Today was a banner day at work. Not really. But the best thing was in the last hour of what was a very long and at times tense day, I got an email from one of the faculty. Instead of complaining, he was understanding. Empathetic, even. “I appreciate all that you do.”

Those kinds of words go a very long way to fix all that is not right in my world.

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At the very end of my LDS missionary service, which, like many I suspect, was both harder and more wonderful than I could have ever imagined, but during which I was much conflicted at times over how to be a mortal and imperfect being and still render service acceptable unto God, three things happened:

My mission president said of my current companion–a friend and sister whom I had met in the MTC–“It is good to see a smile on Soeur B’s face again.”

A family from a neighboring village whom I had worked with and loved drove to our apartment and camped out overnight just to say goodbye and to tell me they were being baptized the week after I returned home.

And a man we had taught in my very first city who had, at great sacrifice, also been baptized, stopped by in Brussels to say goodbye and thanks.

I felt they were signs…

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