It’s baaaa-aaack!! That’s right — Pumpkin Spice lattes are back in the stores! Along with pumpkin spice lattes, there’s pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice Pop-tarts, pumpkin spice Twinkies, pumpkin spice Peeps, pumpkin spice beer, pumpkin spice pancakes, pumpkin spice burgers, and even pumpkin spice hummus. (Pumpkin spice hummus?? Something just isn’t right about that one…pumpkins and squash aren’t native to the Middle East, or even that hemisphere!)
Have you ever wondered when, where, and how Pumpkin Spice became popular and morphed into the semi-official symbol of Fall? We can all thank Starbucks for practically single-handedly inventing the Pumpkin Spice craze back in 2003 with the introduction of their Pumpkin Spice Latte and pumpkin cream-cheese muffins (drooool). Every other pumpkin spice product on the market has Starbucks to thank for for their new extremely popular seasonal product lines (though the pumpkin spice hummus and burger still remains questionable). Personally, I’m surprised they didn’t patent the flavor AND the name!
Fall has been my favorite time of year for as long as I can remember. There’s the ending of summer, harvest-time, the changing leaves, the cooler nights but still-warm/sunny days, sweatshirts, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course, football! Back home in the country, the coming of Fall meant the long, hot days of summer were over and we didn’t have to work nearly as hard, though we still had to chop, throw, and stack heaps of wood for the winter months. Since we had a very long driveway (1/4 mile), we also had to put up snowfence every year just so we could get onto the main road after a snowstorm. And since I’m from Ohio, “Go Bucks! (Michigan sux)”
Back when I was a kid, people used to burn leaves (an environmental catastrophe today!) and I’ll never forget the smell of that in the cool air as we would march down to the high school football games. I don’t remember much of last Fall because of what happened in my personal life, so this year, I’m doing my best to embrace it and enjoy every minute of my favorite season. This year, I hope to leave the smoke of last year’s upheavals in the past and make this one especially memorable — particularly as the holiday season approaches. (Hey, Walmart’s already selling Christmas lights!!)
Just like there are the different seasons in the year, there are different seasons in life, not that I consider divorce to be a ‘season’. There are the nice, wonderful Spring-times when everything is fresh, new, and bursting with new life. There are the carefree, fun summers full of vacation-days, sunshine, water-fun, and baseball.
Then there are those Fall-times, where summer has ended and
winter starts to creep in. I never really thought about how depressing winter would be without Christmas until watching “The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe”. Without Christmas to look forward to, winter can be very long, cold, and bleak — especially in the Midwest where the sun can vanish for weeks at a time!
The good news is that every season ends sooner or later — even in Arizona and Florida where only the temperature really changes. Every season has a beginning, a waning, and an ending. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I stop and look back at those long, difficult seasons of the year or in life (those mid-Januaries to late-Februaries), I find that I end up remembering them mostly for good, though usually not until the summer. Sure, there are the dark, depressing, or even traumatic moments I can recall, but all-in-all the memories of those times don’t seem quite as bad as they were at the time. I consider that a gift that those rough times are eventually smoothed over and we can remember the good in them, though it may have been very challenging at the time.
Solomon (the Preacher) writes in Ecclesiastes 3 that everything in life has a season — EVERYTHING — the good, the bad, the ugly, and even the tragic. No dark period ever lasts forever, unless you let it — unless you dwell on it and keep dredging it up. Unless you can’t (or won’t) let it go…
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
So whatever you’re going through right now, whether it be a death in the family, an ailment, a divorce, kids that drive you up one wall and down the other, prolonged unemployment, a challenging time at work, or anything else, know that it won’t last forever and that there’s a purpose in those dark times.
From Romans 8:28, we know — not we believe — we know that ALL things work together for good for those who love God. There’s a reason for every season we go through in life, even the dark seasons. Especially the dark seasons. We grow the most when it’s dark, not when it’s light…
So as we enter this Fall season of the year, let’s regularly take time to enjoy it as much as we can. even if it’s one of those dark seasons in our lives. Go out and have that extra Pumpkin Spike Latte and those pumpkin donuts (or even that nasty pumpkin hummus). Take a long drive and look at the leaves changing colors in all their glory, pile ’em up high and jump into them with the kids, and sip hot cider at a cold football game. Pick out a big fat pumpkin and carve it up just for the sheer joy of it.
As the year starts to wane, let’s give thanks for our many blessings and remember the reasons for these seasons!