When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apple Butter

My house smells like apple butter.  Wonderful, cinnamon aromas sifting through the air.  I love the smell of apple butter when it is cooking.  However, more than the smell, I love the lesson that making apple butter has taught me.
We bought two large boxes of apples several weeks ago and put them out in the garage where it is cool and the apples stay fresh longer.  The kids have been eating them for lunches, snacks, and caramel apples.  The apples in the last box were starting to get bruised, wrinkled and soft.  They were no longer very good for eating.   The nice thing about apple butter is that you can use the fruit when it is bruised and mushy.  You take the apples and peel them, core them and slice them into pieces and throw them in the crock pot, bruises, blemishes and all.  You add a few other ingredients and let them simmer for several hours.  When it is finished, it is amazing. 
Now, you are probably wondering what I mean by a lesson!  It is pretty simple actually.  You see, the apples are bruised, stained, and not very good.  By adding to them and cooking them, you end up with something that is better than you ever thought it could be.  It fills our entire house with the delicious smell of bubbling apples.  It is a lot like our earthly lives.
We are born into this world crisp and clean like new apples.  Time goes on, and we do not stay the way we started.  We get bruised and stained with sin and trials.  We get discouraged and frustrated.  We loose our shine.  We loose our way.  We might even look undesirable to others.
But we are never un-redeemable to the Savior.  He takes us with all of our bruises and sorrows and adds to us until we become something completely different than we were, and oh so much better!  He can make us more than we ever believed or thought possible.   Through Him, we become more like Him.
Repentance makes us into what He needs us to be.  Sometimes, it does not seem very pleasant, but once we trust in Him, changes take place and we become better.  We can't do it on our own, but with His help we can become perfect.
All the pictures in the world, could never describe to you how wonderful my house smells right now, nor could they describe how great the apple butter tastes when it is finally done.  The same is true of the changes that the Savior can make in your lives. 
No matter how hard I try, I could never explain so that you understand, how much He loves each one of us and how absolutely amazing the principle of repentance really is.  He ALREADY suffered for all your sins!  No matter what you have done, you can still turn to Him and change your life.  No matter how bruised, torn or broken you are, He still can help you become what He needs you to be.   You are not, and never have been unloved. 
To me, it is amazing how we can take something that appears useless, and turn it into something that is wonderful!  Apple butter reminds me of how the Lord takes us and changes us to be His. Through Him we can be forgiven and redeemed. 

Mom's Apple Butter

6  lbs apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
4 cups white sugar
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Place apples in crockpot.  Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Mix well.
Cover and cook on high one hour.
Reduce heat to low and cook 10 to 12 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and dark brown.
Mash apples with a potatoe masher.
Uncover and continue cooking on low for one hour.
Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, freeze.
You can also prepare jars and put in jars.  The heat from the apple butter with seal the jars.  Leave on counter for several hours, check seals and put on shelf.

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