Spring Cantatas and Apple Tree Memories

Over the last few days, I’ve noticed God is announcing Spring with resounding trumpets.  The beautiful songs of the red-winged black birds, robins and mourning doves are gracing my mornings with their melodies.  It’s a welcome change, announcing more changes are coming.  The days are getting longer and warmer, the snow is melting, and our gravel road is as muddy and rutty as any in the developing countries I’ve been in.  The seasons are changing. We’re getting ready to embrace new life in both the earth as well as spiritually during lent.

apple blossoms

Apple blossoms! It won’t be long and the trees will be bursting with fragrant color again!

Yes, Spring has definitely sprung.  The birds, especially the red-winged blackbird’s song instantly takes me back to my childhood front yard and the small apple orchard ‘yard’ we used to play in.  My brothers, sister and I used to climb the trees, build farms and club houses, spending countless hours under the canopy of the trees.

I can’t remember all the varieties we had, but I do remember the 2 best climbing trees didn’t have very good apples.  There was an Early Harvest tree with golden apples that were usually ripe in time for Mom to make fresh apple pie for the Portsmouth Picnic the end of July.  There was also a Crabapple and a Delicious tree.  The Delicious apples were the best toward the end of September after the cooler nights kissed them with a touch of sweetness.

Mary’s Fiat, Let it be Done to Me

purlple crocus plant

1st sign of spring flowers-a purple crocus reaches toward the sun!

On that note, Monday, March 25th was 9 months before Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  Therefore, we celebrate the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced God’s message to Mary.   God chose Mary for a very specific role, to be the mother of his son–who would save us all.  Her world was about to be turned upside down, as was ours.  Saying “Yes,” she was the 1st Christian, the 1st person to accept Christ.  Instead of fighting change, she embraced it.

Change is inevitable.  The Earth always changes with the seasons, the natural laws God instilled in it when he created it.  New plant life is starting to respond to the sun’s warmth.  Lent is a time for us to look at our lives and see what God is calling us to change in our lives.  Mary said ‘Yes!’ to God’s call, to a new life in Jesus, the Messiah.  She placed God’s needs above her own.  Did she know every detail of God’s plan?  No, and neither do we, but we do know to trust him.

Cinnamon Raisin Apples-No Added Sugar, “Just What God Gave It”

3 apples on cutting board

Apples from Mom & Dad’s tree last fall.

One thing I do know is that he calls us all to a closer relationship to himself and others.  I’ve been more mindful of God’s presence in my life and trying to be quick about thanking him in the moment during lent.  I’m also working on reaching out to you with more resources to help you pray often, eat well and move more.

Hearing the red-winged blackbird and thinking of the apple trees inspired me to make my Cinnamon Raisin Apples.  Basically, an apple pie or bar filling, but super simple and without all the fillers. This last fall, when I was cooking & sampling local food samples at a few local farmer’s markets, people kept asking how much sugar I used.  My answer, “Just what God gave it,” drew surprised smiles and usually led samplers to pick up the recipe.  I’ve also got a printable version here.


How are you saying “Yes!” to God this lent?

FYI-Good Food Connections is undergoing a change!  My new website www.JulieGrunklee.com will keep all the Good Food Connections blog posts and recipes, but will also reflect my new faith-based health & wellness coaching focus.  I’ll be sharing more ways to pray often, eat well and move more, helping you lead the active, productive life you desire and deserve!

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