Playdates with God: Apple-picking

I picked apples all day as my husband gently sawed limbs. Our red delicious had to come down—it had grown too large and was causing some issues with the neighbor. I gathered those golden globes like fallen coins, plopping them in the wheelbarrow to sort out later. The fruit on the tip-top of the tree was ripest—a juicy red just waiting to drip down a chin. I couldn’t resist taste-testing the others, savoring the tart sweetness that made me feel like a little girl.
When I was young my siblings and I would spend hours outside under the apple tree, plucking snacks out of the air. If we grew hungry for more we might venture inside for a slice of homemade bread spread with my grandmother’s thick, molasses-colored apple butter. We never appreciated it back then—apple butter was something we ate when we were out of peanut butter and jelly. But yesterday, as I made a basket of my shirt and hugged an armful of nature’s goodness to me…I could almost smell the cinnamon on the breeze. I couldn’t wait to get inside and get to work. 
I’ve never made apple butter before, but I knew I wanted it to be a little different from grandma’s. I’ll share my recipe later but for now, I just want to say how sweet a Sunday Sabbath is with the smell of cooking apples and cinnamon wafting through a sun-drenched kitchen. It reminds me of something I read in The Sabbath World: Glimpses of A Different Order of Time:
The Kabbalists say that on the Sabbath each of us is granted an additional soul, a neshama yeterah. I imagine that oversoul as a big, fleecy blanket. –Judith Shulevitz
Maybe. But I think my oversoul might have the scent of cinnamon and apples.

Over at The High Calling, we read The Sabbath World: Glimpses of A Different Order of Time  as one of our book club selections. Today we are starting a new book discussion on The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. Such a good and helpful book. Will you join us? I’m learning the secrets…

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


  1. Nannette Elkins says

    Oh how you have taken me back! I used to have about 12 apple trees and I have to admit I made the most delicious apple butter! We canned jar after jar that family and friends begged for, It was a friends recipe that I still hang onto today even though I have moved from my beloved farmhouse when we went overseas for missions work. You can’t buy that kind of apple butter in the store! I am sure your apple butter was delicious…and a sticky mess, lol. It’s hard work! Blessings to you on this Monday morning. ♥

  2. Ceil says

    Hi Laura! I love that scent of cinnamon and apples too! Thank you for having this bloghop, this is my first time using it. Such a great way to get to know new people. I am sure it’s work for you, but you should know that it’s appreciated!

    Looking forward to getting to know you better!

  3. Kim Adams Morgan says

    Laura, I had an apple tree when I lived in Charleston and loved going out and picking apples. There are so many things you can do with them and the smell just fills the home and reminds me of my Mom. Your post just took me back to those special times.

    We love apple harvest time in NC – Apple everything is made in our home. Thank you for hosting. Kim

  4. says

    We took a train ride yesterday as part of our little village festival and I passed an orchard that was full of apples. Not quite ready yet but getting close. Made me want to cook some homemade applesauce and now your blog mades me think about apple butter too. So cool you tied this with Sabbath. love it

  5. Rina says

    I’d love to taste your apple butter, Laura. I have no idea how it’s done. In our side of the globe, we can never grow apple trees, just as you can never grow mango trees over on your side :).

  6. says

    I can almost smell it too. It’s so hard for me to see trees cut down, but I know that’s life and has to happen at times. Glad you were able to savor the apples and turn it into a spiritual lesson for all of us to benefit from.

  7. says

    Yes, please to that recipe! I made apple butter once, many years ago, but as I was the only one who liked it, I haven’t made it since. Must have been my recipe.

    Yes to cinnamon, too. Oatmeal isn’t the same without cinnamon and some kind of fruit for me. (Or apple butter? Yum!)

    Thank you for sharing this lovely playdate. Your joy in relishing God’s gifts makes me smile. Smile and wonder where we might plant an apple tree.

    Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus, friend.

  8. says

    This post makes me hungry. Where is the recipe??? 🙂

    I am a big fan of cinnamon anything — candles that make the house feel warm and cozy, spice generously sprinkled into my oatmeal, or ingredient infused in a yummy doughy substance that melts in your mouth.

  9. OutnumberedMom says

    Cinnamon and apples…yes! And how neat to have a childhood memory connected with that. Makes it even more precious.
    (My students love the cinnamon apple candle in my room…I’ll be cranking that up far too soon!)

  10. says

    Such a recollection…to a time when smells and fragrances helped to mold us. Baking bread, simmering soups, apple pies…each one brings back a memory I am glad I have and can hold onto. Glad you shared, but sorry you lost a tree. We have lost so many this past year from the drought that your loss makes me sad along with the sweetness of those smells of apple butter. ~ linda

  11. says

    Oh, how I wish I’d been in your kitchen on Sabbath, dear friend. This brings back so many memories for me. I used to take my little ones apple picking each year when we lived near a gorgeous orchard. I have so many memories of my diaper-clad toddlers toddling from one tree to another, taking a bite out of nearly every apple they could reach! Thanks for sparking a smile as I remembered today.

  12. soulstops says

    Dear Laura,
    I think I can smell some cinnamon wafting all the way to California…Just got back from breathing in the salty ocean smell…what a wonderful way to sabbath 🙂

  13. Brianna Wasson says

    I love apple butter. And wafts of cinnamon. And the super fun idea of making a basket out of a shirt for apples. What a beautiful way to celebrate God — playdates every Monday. And what a beautiful space you have here, my friend. 🙂

  14. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    We have an Afrikaans song here in South Africa that tells the story of how every woman is associated with a different smell. Well, with a bit of imagination, I can almost get the lovely flavor of you enveloped in cinnamon and apples! Can’t wait for the recipe.
    Hugs XX

  15. smoothstones says

    Man. If I’d been your neighbor, I would’ve negotiated for apple butter. Done. Sorry about the tree, Man. That stinks!

  16. Mary says

    What beautiful thoughts! I love the idea of playdates with God and how he shows up so unexpectedly on a daily basis. Thank you for letting me link up with you.


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