Living Simply | October 1, 2015

Faith that calls for pumpkin-esk patience

Photo by Paul Brennan

After my husband and I started growing food in earnest several years ago, we began to look at produce differently. When we went to a pumpkin patch after our first big-garden summer, he looked at the field and laughed out loud. “I never noticed how funny looking pumpkins were,” he said. “How do such big things come from such small vines?”

He had a point. It hardly seemed possible that enough nutrients for so much fruit could be pumped through such thin veins crawling along the ground—and all from one small seed. Downright miraculous, if you ask me.

You are probably aware that pumpkin growers need to be patient people. Pumpkins need the heat of July, the cooler days in October, and that whole stretch of time in between to produce the iconic squash. They are not to be rushed.

Pumpkin plants also require quite a bit of space, stretching for many yards, and climbing over anything that gets in their way. Yet their vines are fragile, so, even though they’re unruly, they do require gentleness and careful steps.

Someone recently reminded me that living by faith requires pumpkin-esk patience. You can’t always say a quick prayer and see visible results overnight. Sometimes it even seems like seeds are planted and will never bear fruit. But God will not be rushed, no matter how much we push. “You have to stand still and wait,” said my friend. “Wait for the piecemeal will of God to be revealed.”

And you can’t go trampling through fields trying to find fruit, either. Waiting on God’s will means watching your step, and slowing down enough to pay attention to where you’re going. It means being gentle with what’s growing as it winds around whatever is in front of it, and remembering that it all stretched out of a tiny seed, planted in your heart by some kind Gardener of souls.

If you get a chance this fall, find a new angle to look at things you’ve seen a hundred times before. Give thanks for the miracle of fruits that grow out of tiny seeds, and for the way that they were nourished before they nourished you.

Quick crisp topping

Apples are another miracle fruit, growing on a tree that came from one tiny pip. One of the simplest things that I like to do with them is slice, sauté in a little butter with cinnamon and brown sugar, and top with a quick “crisp” topping.


Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a shallow pot or pan over medium heat. When it smells nutty and has slightly browned, add 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts are my favorite) and stir to coat. Then add 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Add a pinch of salt and stir until oats are toasted and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool and serve on top of any fruit, ice cream, or yogurt.

Amanda J. Garcia is a freelance writer living in Elgin, Ill. Visit her online at