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One Indian summer weekend my husband decided we needed fresh apples to enjoy all year. This meant canning, which was an activity completely unfamiliar to me, a mostly city girl with country ways. My shiny, unused, 20-year-old pressure cooker showed I had good intentions in the past. The price tag and advertisement stickers still clung to the lid, and the instruction booklet with recipes languished inside. It seemed that my new-old pressure cooker would finally blow off steam. I donned my underused overalls and sneakers and we drove to the nearby orchard.
"Now don't pick the little apples," he instructed me as we eagerly began our journey through the beckoning orchard on that glorious fall day.
"Why," I replied, having already chosen several of the no-nos, "I like ‘em, they're cute!"
"Just don't pick them," he repeated, with no explanation whatsoever in response to my question.
These particular apple trees were small, placing the apples within easy reach. I gingerly began plucking the fruit of beautiful shades of reds and yellows from the generous trees. I picked large ones, medium ones, and occasionally, a little one would catch my eye. Just right for a quick bite. Pluck! You're mine!
The apples also came in lopsided, underdeveloped, and leftovers, previously enjoyed by bird families and overweight worms. A number of all sizes and shapes found their way into my picking basket for transportation home.
From somewhere among the trees I heard a reminder, "Don't pick the little apples."
"His eyesight sees around corners," I mumbled to myself. When we were satisfied with our harvest, we drove home with our fruit laden baskets. That afternoon we began the chore of peeling and slicing. After I was schooled on the best way to peel apples, we sat down and got busy.
I soon realized that after laboriously peeling and coring a little apple, nothing was left to slice. When I noticed the number of apples in my peeling basket were mostly "small" in size, I shot my husband this "if looks could kill." I asked his grinning face, "Why are you putting all the little apples in my basket?!"
He smugly replied, "You picked ‘em, you peel ‘em!"
After applying Ben-gay to my tired, sore and cramped hands for the rest of the weekend, I drove into town on Monday with a big brown bag full of the little apples to share with family, friends, and co-workers. Little was fine with them.
Imagine my surprise, when watching TV a few weeks later, a June Cleaver type homemaker was displaying for sale at a never-before-heard-of price, an apple peeler! And, a slicer! When I confronted my apple-peeling spouse about these handy kitchen gadgets, he replied with a wink, "I already have a peeler and slicer and she's a lot more fun!"
When God tells us in his word or in the still small voice in our hearts not to do something, he always has a good reason.
"Obey me and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well." Jeremiah 7:23 (NLT)
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