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"How One Vegetable Can Create a Day of Wonderful Memories"

I love this time of the year. Everything is changing - the leaves, the temperature, our attire, children are settled in school, and the fall crops are ready for harvesting. The cold air has already moved in and made it's home for those of us living up north. I love packing up most of my summer attire and pulling out my fall/winter clothes.

The other day, I stepped out of my car and recognized that familiar smell of chimney smoke. Immediately, memories of fires in the fireplace came to mind when I was young. Dad would say, "you know, it's cold enough for a fire." As brothers, we would get so excited. Dad would allow us to chop the wood in the backyard and then build it in the fireplace. Then after it was lit, we would sit around and watch a great movie over some desert.

It's amazing how memories have a way of warming our hearts. It's as if for a split second, time stops and you actually re-experience that particular memory. I am very grateful to have many special memories of my childhood. Most of my memories include my entire family. Although I had different interests than my brothers, what each of us enjoyed was embraced by all the family members. We were supported and encouraged by our parents to explore and try new things.

Recently, I went pumpkin picking with some friends of mine. It was a wonderful time. As we went through the fields, what caught my attention the most was not the pumpkins (although there were plenty of them), but the children running around and the parents interacting with them. What's more precious than that?

Family time is so vital to the health of our development as humans. No matter what our age is and, no matter what our past may have been like, you and I can make a difference now. If you're a parent, I encourage you to assess how well and how much time you spend with your spouse and your children. And if your single, like me, you can also make a difference. Whether I'm with someone or not, I know I want to touch someone's life no matter how small it may be.

At the same time, I envision the day when my wife and I will take our children pumpkin picking. I can already see me holding them in my arms, raising them up to the sky, and looking directly into their eyes. My heart's desire is that my children know how much I love them and that nothing could ever break that love between us. I will chase after them as they run in between the pumpkins and, if necessary, I'll even get muddy with them. What matters to me is their joy and happiness - that they know how valued they are to their mother and father.

On my recent outing, we also enjoyed roasted corn, homemade lemonade, and candy apples. The day was eventful but it wasn't over when we left. These friends of mine invited me to join them for dinner with another family. Sitting down at their dinner table, enjoying a homemade meal and sharing many special stories really was the heart of what I always had growing up. It was the fellowship and love that tied everything together.

As I drove home that evening, I was filled with gratefulness for the time I shared with these two families. They generously included me in their family activities and even made me feel as if I was part of their family for the day.

It's amazing that a simple, orange vegetable could make an entire day a celebration of family. Thank you Lord.