Life lessons from a pumpkin patch

After spending the past two days in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC with Lara Casey and her team, I am so pumped to pick all the beautiful flowers from the vine - and concentrate only on a few “prize pumpkins” I’m growing in life.

pumpking patch family

Have you ever fallen victim to the season of “yes?”

  • Yes to hosting a baby shower of your brother-in-law’s cousin from out of town

  • Yes to volunteering at school twice a week and bringing turkey to the fall festival

  • Yes to that extra project at work that your colleague passed on

  • Yes to attending every single birthday party your kid is invited to

  • Yes to serving on the board of your favorite non-profit

  • Yes to coordinating the go away party for your husband’s coworker

  • Yes for organizing the first Sunday School class at your church

None of the things above are inherently wrong. Of course it’s nice to do things for other people. And I truly believe that giving back and doing things for others brings the very best out of us. But I used to be one of those people that would say yes to all of the above, all while trying to raise two children, keep a house clean and walk the dog.

I came back from the Making Things Happen Conference in Chapel Hill, NC led by Lara Casey at Cultivate What Matters. And, while there were so many takeaways, one of the biggest one was the following quote - and also the very timely visual of how to grow a prize-winning pumpkin.

Too much of a good thing is still too much. - Lara Casey

You see, Lara gave us a sneak peek of “Rita” - a very large and beautiful pumpkin she grew in her garden. While preparing for this task, she ran into a farmer who told her that the secret to growing a pumpkin is to select one or or two flowers from the vine that will eventually become a pumpkin - and to remove all the other beautiful flowers off the vine.

Concentrate on one single flower to grow into a formidable fruit.

According to Growing and Gathering:

If you want to try your hand at growing even bigger pumpkins you can prune your plant even further to leave just a few fruit on each vine and see just how big they can get.

These remaining pumpkins will now get a chance to receive all the water, energy and food that the plant is taking in, and will grow bigger and better for it.

Lara made the parallel between growing impressive pumpkins and selecting a few things in your own life that should be prioritized over everything else.

To make things happen in your own life, to reach your goals and life a fruitful, joy-filled life, pour your sunshine, energy and soul into just a few things that are worth of your time, attention and talents. Genius, right?!

If I commit to everything under the sun (I’m a huge fan of Gold Stars!) to please everyone else around me, I will become tired, resentful, run down and burned out. I’ve tried this and I just can’t do everything all at once. I can try - but I won’t do anything very well.

Alternatively, if I select a few things that I KNOW I want to grow - my faith, my family bond and a few key projects to provide for my family - those good things will benefit from all my love and energy.

I don’t want a bunch of tiny pumpkins. I want several large and impressive pumpkins. Too much of a good thing is still too much - and I’m not bending over backwards anymore to add more to my plate, unless it makes sense within my very own pumpkin patch.

What do you think? Do you fall victim to saying yes to things, only to regret all that’s been added to your to do list?

I can’t wait to write more about the conference. Happy Hump Day, y’all.