Pick the Apples!

What do you do when you discover a fully loaded apple tree in your neighborhood has fallen to the ground in the middle of the apple season? You pick apples!

Lots of them.


We rescued three heaping bags full,


sacrificed just a bit of time (about 7 hours),IMG_20140804_100611_966

threw in a good amount of sugar and spice (for good measure, as Grandma would always say),


and followed through to the finish with a little toil (blisters and steam burns are true trophies).


The reward? We’ll enjoy the blessing of this impromptu harvest throughout the long winter to come!


Sometimes a season comes early. Sometimes unexpected. What do you do with it? Go ahead and pick those apples.



Our youngest son is running cross-country this year in high school. He began intense training throughout the summer, and decided to continue his commitment to the vigorous workouts of the regular season.


He loves it.

He really loves the feeling of finishing.

He really loves the social camaraderie among his teammates.

Cross-country is an awesome sport. Everyone should try this!


He hates it.

He really hates getting up in the morning and going to bed at night.

He hates flat feet and the fact that running does not always feel natural.

Cross-country is a tough sport. Why do people do this?


Despite this love/hate relationship with his chosen sport, he has dedicated himself to practice in anticipation of his first big race of the season. Last weekend that day finally arrived.


At the sound of the gun the race began.


23 minutes and 56 seconds later he crossed the line. He finished. Gasping for air, thankful to be alive, he discovered his place in the race… 100th!


100th place.


That just sounds distinct doesn’t it? How many of us can say we have come in 100th? In anything? Just think about it!


And then came the compliments.

Great job!

We’re so proud of you!

Way to finish!


But then came the reality.

Reality tells us 100th place is not that great, even if there were 50 more runners left behind to cross the line.

Reality tells us we have a lot of work to do to compare to the first place finisher.

Reality tells us we should look into something that is a little easier to accomplish.


Sometimes we are really fortunate that our teenagers DON’T listen to popular reality.  100th place has not scared this runner away from continuing to invest time in doing what he loves, enduring the parts he hates, and striving to accomplish the goals he has set this season of his life.


Reality is this type of thinking.

It is not called finishing in 100th place. 

It is called finishing 100%.