We all have them, those memories from childhood that make us smile, that we try to recreate.  So many of my favorite memories have to do with Grandma’s kitchen.  I remember Grandpa Anderson making us buckwheat pancakes for breakfast one morning and how wonderful they tasted.  I remember being in the spare bedroom or on the couch and waking up to hear Grandma singing hymns and puttering around as the smell of biscuits hung in the air.  I remember all the aunts sitting around a table practically sagging with the heavy load of food at Thanksgiving, talking and laughing with the heads thrown back and slapping their hands on the table, laughing until they cried.  There was a lot of laughing at my Grandma’s house,  lots of coffee, and lots of cousins.

 One of my favorite memories is of Grandma making apple butter.  It seemed so magical, she would stand over the huge pot, stirring it constantly, and the wonderful smell of tart apples would fill the kitchen. Then at some point, she would let us throw in a handful of little cinnamon candies, little red dots.  Later, when the apple butter was just right, she would set up the huge canner, and shoo us out of the kitchen while she canned the apple butter, preserving it for later.   When it was done, several jars would make their way home with us, to be opened on cold winter mornings, spread on hot toast and gobbled up.  Strange that I only remember opening the jars,  the pop of the sealed top as it was pryed off the jar. It was always a quart jar too, never a pint or half-pint jar. 

So yesterday, after we finished homeschool and I was starting dinner I realized that I had a lot of apples left over from Christmas, and that if I didn’t do something soon, I was going to have to throw away a lot of apples.  “Why, I’ll make apple butter!” I thought.  I had read a recipe recently about making apple butter in the crock pot, and apple buter without added sugar is core, so it seemed perfect.  I peeled and chopped the apples.  It seemed to take forever, as I peeled apple after apple, cored them, sliced them and dumped them in the crockpot.  Finally though, it was done, and I added some apple cider and put the apples on to cook. I called Sean and told him to pick up some jelly jars, because I was making apple butter, and I didn’t want all of it to go to waste. We were going to have apple butter all winter!

So I got up this morning all ready to can the apple butter. I got out the book I bought years ago about canning, called “Putting Food By” and I read all about processing jams, jellies and spreads.  I had washed the jars and lids yesterday.  That was when it hit me. I was not going to have enough apple butter to last all winter. I probably wasn’t going to have enough apple butter to last all month, the way these kids eat.

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I got two tiny half-pint  jars of apple butter.

 How did she do it? How did that one little woman put up all that food, not just apple butter, but corn and beans, tomatoe sauce, canned tomatoes, pickles, vegetable soup,  tons of stuff.  Not just enough for 5 people, but enough for her and Grandpa, plus enough to share with her 7 children and their families.  More importantly, why in the world am I not doing more?  True, I didn’t get a huge return for my investment in jars and time yesterday, but I have two more jars of apple butter than I had yesterday at this time, and jars for other endeavors down the road.  If Grandma could do it, there isn’t a reason under the sun why I can’t.

The Lord has been leading me lately.  When you are trying to make ends meet, keep the commitment you made to homeschooling and being home with the kids, and still provide everyone with the basics, you spend a lot of time on  your knees asking for help and direction. I am unwavering in believing that I am exactly where the Lord wants me,  but I also know that if He wants me to stay here, something is going to have to change.  Silly me, I prayed believing that since I am doing what He wants me to do, He would just make everything all right. Sean would get a raise, and we would keep on doing what we had always done, and everything would be fine.    I’ve come to the realization though, that for me, for us, that isn’t what He has in store.  I’m not exactly sure what all is in store for us,  other than we need to plant and maintain a garden this year, our own garden,  planted with things that we enjoy eating.  We need to get some more chickens, and I am pretty sure there are some angora rabbits in our future as well.  We might never have a garden as big as Grandma’s, but we will do what we can do.

Lord, just help me to be more like Grandma. Let me praise You daily, morning, noon, and night.  Help me to teach my children to walk inYour paths and to follow Your ways.  Let me be as sweet as Grandma always was, with never a harsh word for anyone, even when she had to be dog tired, Lord.  Most of all though, Lord, Thank you for the wonderful examples you gave me, my mom, Grandma, and all my aunts. I couldn’t have asked to grow up in a more wonderful family Lord, with such fine Christian women all around me.

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And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers   –Deuteronomy 30:9

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