$5 Pumpkins

“We had one that we sold for a dollar…. but now we just have the 5 and 10 dollar sizes left.”

The 8 year old salesman was explaining my options as I perused the back of the trailer filled with orange and green pumpkins … of the 5 and 10 dollar size. I chose a fat, round orange globe with a dent on one side and handed him a $20 bill. His mom let him do the math to determine my change. He thought for just a moment and smiled big when she affirmed his correct computations and then his dad handed me a 10 and a 5. I learned that later that day he would be heading to play in youth football game in our unusually warm Missouri weather. I proceeded into our local coffee shop ordered a dirty chai tea latte and an apple danish, loaded up my pumpkin and headed home.

My pumpkin now sits on my porch with my one traditional red mum I purchase yearly for my limited fall decor. My apple danish is half eaten – gosh its good. The cinnamon sugar crusted dough wrapped around warm apple filling reminds me of something my mom made years ago. My latte is cooling as I enjoy the view from my deck. The cloud cover and cool morning temps are providing a perfect setting for the beginning of a day that I’m going to work hard at keeping….. Slow.

I’m a natural early riser. Its unusual that I sleep past six, most mornings rising between 4:30-5, with no alarm. After my first cup of coffee I’m ready to roll. Living the life of an entrepreneur means if I don’t get to work – I won’t get fired but it also means I won’t make any money. Sitting around is just not an option. Until it really needs to be.

I recently heard that a vacation is not what we all need when life gets crazy and overwhelming. It was the opinion of this author that it is a readjustment to our every day life rhythms that will bring the relief we need . One week away will feel good but if the life we return to still holds unnecessary obligations, bars to high for our current life season and broken relationships left needing mending – the peace from our week on the beach or in the mountains or fill in the blank of your favorite getaway – will quickly slip away.

This last week I said No to three worthy and noble opportunities. One yes would have allowed me to use my love of writing. Another would have provided a way to encourage people I deeply love and a third would have supported our school community. And I said NO to




If I looked at my calendar I could have squeezed these activities in – there was room. There was room if I pushed myself to the very edge of the limits of my capacity. There would be no wiggle room, no extra, no margin, no space. I’ve learned living like this is draining and life sucking and actually quite dangerous. When my life is so full and I am moving so fast, I am certain I miss the lessons I need to learn and the loved ones that need me most.

I do not know how much smarter I’ve grown in my almost 51 years but I can say in many areas I have added much needed wisdom. Growing comfortable with a simple NO has been such a gift. The three no’s of my week allowed me the energy to dive in to the list of commitments I had already made. I was able to focus on the tasks in front of me that demanded my emotional and physical energy. I was able to pause for the phone calls from my college daughter looking for feedback on a choice she was making and another call from my dad who was reporting on my moms first round of radiation – her final step in her breast cancer battle. I could complete the tasks for my business, teach for my online bible study and also joyfully serve with other parents and students in our concession stand at our school football game. My week was full, and fun and busy.

And it was also free.


It was free from bitterness that has come when I have over committed in the past.

It was free from scrambled brain syndrome that occurs when I fail to leave any room to breath in my schedule.

It was free to take some moments on my Saturday to chat with and 8 year old pumpkin salesman.

To learn about his life and support his business.

To add a splash of orange color to my front porch.

To sip a double shot dirty chai tea latte.

To think of you, the reader, and pray that when you put your phone down or close your computer after reading these words…

You will pause and breath and search out your own pumpkin salesman, or coffee shop or that you wont..

and you’ll experience the joy and peace of your heartfelt, powerful ability to say..


my $5 pumpkin