I’ve been doing a lot of reading these days. More reading than I’ve done in a really long time. And God is stirring up a lot of things in my heart right now.
I’m reeling inside. The thoughts, feelings, and emotions I’m experiencing are abundant to say the least. And I’m discovering passions I didn’t know I had. Almost daily. Counting the books I purchased at Half Price Books, the ones I borrowed from Kory’s office, and the ones I’ve downloaded on the Kindle that we share, I have a figurative stack of books at least a foot high that I’m tearing into each day.
It seems I can’t get enough. God has wet my appetite in a big new way, and now I’m starving for truth and enlightenment with respect to the call God has upon my life as a Christian. To say I’m being challenged is a gross understatement. God has me examining almost every nook and cranny of the life I live, and I’m questioning things I see from almost every possible angle.
It’s exciting to feel God moving like this. To know that He has something up his sleeve, but to not know exactly what that might be. To not know what lies in store around the bend but to know without a doubt that change is coming. And it’s good. It’s like my own little revival, which coincidentally (or maybe not so much), is taking place just as our church is kicking off a revival of its own.
But it’s also painful. Because in the face of my reading and study, I know there are changes that we should make as a family if we truly want to live the life God desires for us.
Changes to take better care of the world we live in.
Changes to do more with less.
Changes to grow in our generosity to others.
Changes to share more of our time in service as a family.
Changes to combat the temptations that consumerism puts in our path.
And changes to spend our money with companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I know it. And it’s enough to overwhelm me. (And my family, God bless them. Just a few weeks ago, we had a family lesson about doing a better job with recycling. The kids’ eyes began to cross as I showed them the new assortment of labeled recycling bins in the garage. One each for styrofoam, lightbulbs, cooking oil, plastic bags, batteries, and wire coat hangers. Those in addition to the recycling bin we leave at the curb. But they were such good sports! And now we have a contest going to see how many bags of trash we can eliminate on a weekly basis.)
Yes, all of this coming to a head has made even the simplest things more complicated for me. Like disposing of my trash. And making my weekly trip to the grocery store. Which, I must say, was a trip I had down to a science before all of this.
One of my regular purchases at the grocery store is a large box of Go-Go Kids Apple Sauces for school lunches. We have reusable clam shell lunch containers, so I reasoned that it was OK to use the individually packaged apple sauces since we weren’t using baggies. After reading Seven and The Hole In Our Gospel, though, I began to second-guess myself.
So last week, I went to the grocery store with the intention of buying one large plastic jar of apple sauce and putting it into reusable containers in lieu of the Go-Go Kids option. But as I stood in the aisle of the grocery store looking at the tubs of apple sauce, I heard a voice in my head. And it said:
“Why don’t you just make your own apple sauce? You know how to do it, and the kids have told you a gazillion times they like it better than the store bought stuff. And then you won’t have a tub to recycle…because you recall what you read in Seven, don’t you? Most of the environmental damage is done by the time the food hits the shelves at Kroger.”
Thanks a lot “voice in my head.” And Jen Hatmaker. And The Hole In Our Gospel. Oh, and you too, God. Thanks a lot for stirring all of this up! I can’t even buy apple sauce with a clean conscience anymore! I had a five minute debate with myself in the aisle at the grocery store! (Literally. Like, out loud. So that other people could hear me. Am I the only one who talks to herself in public?)
Who has time for this?
The “voice in my head” was right though. It usually is. (I hate being wrong. So I have a love-hate relationship with the “voice in my head.”) But I’ve been making apple sauce for my kids for years. And they love it. Even Kory eats it.
The stuff is amazing.
But I’ve always done it “when I feel like it.” Not as a matter of course. So after conceding defeat to the “voice in my head,” I passed on the tub of apple sauce and went to the Farmer’s Market instead to buy fresh apples. And pears. (Because apple sauce with a few pears in it is THE BEST.) I also came home with four pounds of organic turkey breast for school lunches, fresh jalapeños, peaches, green beans, and a handful of other things we enjoyed all week.
And last week, I made homemade apple sauce for my kids. It turned out delicious. And they were thrilled to discover it waiting in the refrigerator for them when they got home from school. (If you’d like to try it yourself, the recipe follows this post.)
It was a very small thing. I know that it was. But, for me, it was another step in the process of acting my way into a new way of thinking. About my life. My priorities. My family. Our responsibility as Christians. And our role in the world in which we live. Sometimes the smallest of baby steps can spiral into much longer strides. So for me today, it was homemade apple sauce. For you it’s likely something altogether different. But for all of us, there are undoubtedly small things we can do today as gestures of love to God’s creation and to others who share it with us.
What are you doing to live a “greener” life? In what small way can you make your life a bit more “green” today?
Homemade Apple Sauce Recipe
6-12 Apples or a combination of apples and pears (any variety of apples except green; any variety of pears will do);
Honey (if you desire a sweeter sauce);
Lemon (if you desire a sauce that’s more tart);
Cinnamon (if you know anything about what’s good)
Wash the fruit and place it into a large dutch oven with a lid. Fill the dutch oven with water until the fruit is immersed halfway. Cook the fruit on the stove with the lid of the dutch oven cracked just enough to let out some steam until very tender. Remove the fruit from the stove.
One piece at a time, place the fruit into the food mill (which is set on top of a large bowl) and rotate the blade clockwise until all the apple sauce puree drips into the bowl. Repeat with each piece of fruit.
Chill the apple sauce and then taste. Add honey, lemon, or cinnamon based on your preference.
When I say this is easy, I mean no peeling, no coring, no slicing. And it’s delicious. Every time. With no waste!