I am in Florida with family this week; a precious time of focusing on rest and relationship. I am with Brenda, Kevin, Tippy and Tori. Paul is taking care of Molson the dog and Hazel the cat at home in Canada.
This morning Brenda asked what goals we had for this year. As I pondered, gave up, and turned the question back to her, she gave me mine--"Write on your blog!" she said. And so I am.
I have some catching up to do since I last wrote on December 15. I had baked 55 pies at that point, since mid November, when I felt a "God nudge" to bake pies to raise money for the global, non-government funded branch of Christian Horizons, the organization I work for.
To those who might read "God nudge," and not understand what that means, I can only say that it's not something that happens to me every day, but I recognize it when it does by an inexplicable inner "knowing" that I am supposed to do something. It usually makes no rational sense and by following the prompting, I am stepping out entirely in dependence and trust that if I do my part and just follow, God has the details covered.
I believe to the core of my being that God exists, and that he engages in relationship with any human soul that opens heart and ears to his voice. But following his voice is a scary ride. On December 15 I wrote:
I am running out of apples and I don't know when Tony's apples will arrive, but I do know that so far, the making of the pies has been provided for in ways that have amazed me...It was ten days to Christmas and I had 59 more pies to bake by December 24. I had amazingly met Tony, the owner of a produce company on December 14 at my Saturday hairdressing appointment, and he had promised me Northern Spy apples. But on Monday morning I wondered, would they really come?
Paul and I had been reading Ann Voskamp's devotional, The Greatest Gift--Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas during Advent. That Monday morning the story was of Jonah, who Ann wrote was startled awake "by the gift of utter dependence." I wrote in my journal that morning that:
He (God) has given me that gift too, in the South Sudan, Apple Pie Project. It is a gift that fits uncomfortably, with feelings that flit between exhilaration--and the potential for--what? Fear? Panic? Whatever it was that the disciple Peter felt when he took his eyes off the familiar figure with him out on the water--that feeling.I continued:
I receive the gift and take it with firm hands and a slightly quaking stomach, both faith and human weakness mingling.That morning I was driving to work when Susan called to ask if I had seen my friend Brian's post on Facebook. I hadn't. She told me that he'd written that the first thing Tony had done when he got to work that Monday morning, was make a phone call and order my apples. The Northern Spy's would be at my house that day! And they were.
Is this what it should feel like, out here atop the waves (of pie?)
The week ahead had two evening Christmas concerts involving grandchildren. I baked pies afterwards deep into the morning hours. The Northern Spy's were the most exquisite apple I had ever tasted or sliced. Alone in the silence, I savoured the sound of sharpened and honed knife blade squeaking and crunching through the firm white flesh of apple, and the velvety feel of perfection in the hand, of a round of palest cream, chilled pastry dough.
Dear friends, Irene, Susan and Kathy, came alongside, peeling and weighing apples, spraying pie dishes--giving moral support and doing anything they could to help.
By December 20th, the pies were done, by the grace of God and with the help of many friends!
This was about pie, but so much more. There are stories to tell of where pies went and how they were sold and resold. Of pie negotiations and happiness brought to people who enjoyed them.
And even this vacation, which came about because Brenda and Kevin rented a holiday villa in Florida for a week after Christmas and which happened to have a spare room, meant that recovery time was built into this adventure.
What a much needed gift this rest has been; a perfect ending to the pie project, at least for now!