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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)

TITLE: Grace In Unexpected Places
By Bill Schwan


As he emptied the grass clippings, he took note of the size of the wet spot in the yard that served as his composting pile. Over the past three years, clippings and leaves from all over the neighborhood had made it about two-thirds its original depth. But it would be a number of years yet until the depression would be an actual part of the yard.

He flipped the bag upright and looked out over the four-foot tall weeds that filled the wet spot beyond the edge of his grass clippings every summer. He noticed that there was more light visible through the center of the weedy patch than around the edges so he pushed aside a handful of greenery to examine the cause.

Three feet in he found a blanket of vines that had obviously discouraged the growth of weeds. Further examination revealed a total of five pumpkins beneath the large, prickly leaves. Though two of them were still green in the southern hemisphere, three were fully orange. A discovery of this magnitude had to be shared, so he turned off the tractor and headed to the house.

“Can you two take a quick break?” he asked his wife and daughter who were at the kitchen table playing Candy Land.

“Sure. What’s up?”

“There’s something in the back yard you need to see. Constance, do you remember Mr. Scary Face from Halloween last year?”

“My jack pumpkin light.”

“Yes, your jack-o-lantern. Do you remember what we did with all the yucky stuff inside the pumpkin?”

“You put it in with the leaves?”

“Yes I did. I want you to see what happened.”

As they walked to the wet spot, he explained the situation to his wife who seemed more excited than he had expected she would. He pulled the weeds aside and invited Constance to check what was inside.

She stepped into the unanticipated pumpkin patch, looked around and finally saw the pumpkins. Her eyes widened and her tiny jaw dropped. “Mommy, do you see?”

“Yes I do,” she said and smiled more in response to Constance’s reaction than the fact of the pumpkins.

He recognized the approaching moment, knelt down between Constance and the largest pumpkin and put a hand on her shoulder. “Do you like what happened?”

“Oh yes, Daddy. Thank you for planting them.”

“But I didn’t plant them. All I did was throw away something that we both thought was yucky. And look what God did with that yucky stuff. He took it and made a beautiful pumpkin patch out of it. God can take the messy stuff in life and turn it into something wonderful.”

While Constance made a detailed examination of the rest of the crop her parents watched contentedly.

“You know, that was a nice little observation about the messes in life.”

“You’ve got to take advantage of every teachable moment. Who would have thought that carving a jack-o-lantern last year would have resulted in this moment? God’s grace is everywhere. And I don’t just mean in the pumpkin patch.”

“You mean that little explosion of joy when she saw the pumpkins?”

“Exactly. So, have you ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Johnson11/26/09
very cute story... with a goood lesson about teachable moments, and God's grace.
Cherie B.11/26/09
Well written. I especially like your observation that "God can take the messy stuff in life and turn it into something wonderful.”
How true! :)
Lollie Hofer11/27/09
What a sweet story with an incredible message about God's grace. Well done! (My husband has had a compost pile at the back edge of our yard for years and he's NEVER used it for anything...we have three pumpkins sitting in our bay window that are about done for the season...hmmmmmm.)
c clemons11/30/09
Nice story.