More than a can. 

I spied with my little eye, some cans of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin, and my heart fluttered. I smiled at the stranger pushing her shopping cart down the same aisle as me.

At my local supermarket, here in little ole New Zealand that’s a bit of a find you see. We use pumpkin more in savoury soup, and as a side with roast meat. And if we want it puréed in any way, shape or form, we’re more likely to do that ourselves…none of this canned business….

But when I saw the can of Libby’s, I didn’t just see a can filled with an orange vegetable, and I saw more than an ingredient for a very important  component, of a very important meal.

Two years ago when we left the land of the brave and the home of the free,we flew downunder via a brief stop in Fiji. It was tough having to be there for a family wedding, but if needs must. We’ll always remember the questioning looks the Fijian Immigration Officers gave us as our suitcases went through the X-ray machines. For part of our precious luggage were some cans of Libby’s Canned Pumpkin….The Fijians were familiar with canned corned beef, pumpkin; not so much.

Why was precious luggage space and weight occupied by such items? Why did I rejoice so much upon discovering the cans in my local supermarket recently?

Well you see, we learnt and saw many things in our four and a half year stint of living Stateside.
My family and I discovered the delights of peanut butter m& ms. Of root beer floats, the convenience of gluten free bisquick mix and the joys of Sonic Hot Fudge Sundaes.
We used to say  that our favourite ‘American’ food was ‘Mexican’.
And we would also say that our favourite American holiday was without a doubt Thanksgiving. We loved learning about the first Thanksgiving  as our children learnt about it at school. We were thrilled to be invited into other families celebrations, to feast with them at their extended tables. We beg/ borrowed and stole special Thanksgiving recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation. But most of all we embraced what’s at the core of Thanksgiving; of taking time to take stock of God’s faithfulness, of remembering His goodness and blessings in our lives and actively recalibrating our hearts, to be thankful.

We moved from America with five suitcases in hand, five carry-on pieces and six cubic metres of belongings were shipped by sea. We left America with a whole bunch of beautiful memories, amazing experiences behind us and wonderful friendships established. But the most important American ‘thing’ we left with, is our very own little American.
And so he will grow up knowing about the town he was born in, being familiar with our friends and adopted family there, and we’ll delight in celebrating with him , the wonderful holiday that is Thanksgiving.

And while I’m perfectly capable of puréeing my own pumpkins, why would I, when I now know where to buy a can of Libby’s which is exactly the right consistency and texture for pie?

I’m a pretty simplistic kinda gal, but I sincerely believe the world would be a better place, if we could all sit down together over pie, with hearts centred on thankfulness. It does something to your innerds, when you take time to take stock of all we have, of the richness we’re surrounded with, and when you actively decide to live a life of thanksliving.

Canned pumpkin may be something you can easily get your hands on, or it may be more of a treasure search depending on where you live. I’ll always look at it, and fondly anticipate a certain meal in November, and with that, center my heart on God’s goodness and graciousness, no matter what else is happening in my life.

This year, I’m gonna eat my pie, and my soul is gonna soar, singing these words to this song;
Your goodness knows no bounds

Unfailing Love in you is found

Your faithfulness and truth remain

Through every age

(Lyrics to ‘Your Love Remains’, Grace Vineyard Church, Christchurch, NZ, 2014).

Who would have thought that canned vegetables have so much to offer? But they do, friends, they do.