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October 3, 2023

Dear friends,

A few weeks ago, I got the pleasant news that I will once again carve pumpkins for the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. This is such a weird skill of mine, and it gives me so much joy. I have planned out my strategy and have started to collect the materials I need for the contest. Last year, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but this year I have a more definite plan in mind of how I’m going to carve.

I started carving pumpkins because the youth group for which I was the minister had a pumpkin patch fundraiser every year. It was a ton of work but raised funds for us to go on our mission trip every summer. This meant I had long hours sitting in the pumpkin patch, so I grabbed a carving kit and wondered how detailed I could actually make a pumpkin. It turns out, there are all kinds of techniques and strategies, and I continue to collect them.

Sometimes I wonder if we take everything too seriously. We are so concerned with being productive and efficient that we forget how to have fun and do things for their own sake. My pumpkin carvings only last one night, maybe two, but it does not take away my joy of creating them. In Psalm 104, the Psalmist describes the creation of God, and God’s joy in creating it. God does not create these things to be efficient, God creates them for joy. I hope this week we will take a moment to have joy in one another and know that God looks on us with delight.



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