Lessons from Pumpkin Pies

This weekend, I tried something I’ve never tried before.  I made a pumpkin pie.  From an actual pumpkin.  Now, this may be an easy tradition for some, but spending a bit more than three hours to cook a dessert is quite a feat in my book.  It was fun, a bit scary, and took dedication; after all, I could have spent all of this time and had a terrible result.

And, so, while waiting for the pie to reach the necessary 175 degrees, I thought about how I’m thankful that I have people in my life that encourage me to take risks, to try something new.  Sure, it may seem like a simple exercise in baking, but doing something new can wake you up and show you a new perspective.  It can keep us from complacency.

It may be a bit of a cliché; but I am so thankful for these little opportunities to stretch myself to a new way of thinking, to learn, and, hopefully, to share some of that learning someday down the road.  I’m so thankful that I get to meet new AmeriCorps members each year, that I get to learn from different nonprofit organizations each year, that I am able to participate in their efforts to try new ways to meet real community needs.

A bit earlier in the week, well before I even considered making a pie, I shared a coffee with a neighbor who is unemployed and searching for work.  Though I couldn’t do much more than empathize and brainstorm, I walked away inspired.  Here is a woman who is thankful for every opportunity that comes her way; she is volunteering at a few different organizations, taking care of family, and meeting new people regularly.  Being unemployed has changed her perspective and, in some ways, she seems thankful for that.  She is thankful for opportunities yet to come and looking for the chance to start anew and serve her community.  I am so thankful for her and for the positivity that she manages to share, even when unemployed for three months now.

So, it’s been an interesting week for me, and one that kept coming back to being thankful.  I’m thankful for everyone who chooses to take a new step, to meet someone else’s needs, to spread positivity.  I’m also pretty thankful that my pie turned out to be delicious, because it reminds me to be thankful for all of the little things, too.

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