Do you like picking your own fruit? We’ve had a long-standing tradition in our family of picking our own…what ever’s in season, from strawberries in June to apples in September, and everything in between! When Alan and I were first married, we always picked blueberries in the U.P. (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) with our parents. There the berries grow on tiny bushes about a foot high on the forest floors, under the jack pines and along the roadways…where ever they can find enough sunshine to flourish. You have to squat, bend, or crawl along, and the berries are small but bursting with flavor. Every berry is precious because you feel like you’re on a treasure hunt. Here are some pies my friend Nancy made this month from her stash of U.P. berries. Our kids were amazed when we moved down to the lower peninsula and they discovered that blueberries can grow on bushes that towered above their heads! Cultivated blueberries are typically milder in flavor but they are very sweet. They are plump, plentiful, and prized by humanoids of all ages! So, even though Alan’s hair has turned grey and we’re training in the next generation of pickers, we still love to pick blueberries every August! This summer we’d already gone twice and brought home literally gallons of blueberries. Once we went with Stephen and Joel, but after eating them fresh for days, and making blueberry buckle and pies and pancakes and…well, we ran out of berries and had to go back for more so we’d have some to eat fresh again and then be able to freeze some for this winter! However, we never seem to tire of blueberries, and so for Camp J., I decided it would be fun to take Gerlinde’s family to pick, especially since Johannes’ family has been living in Norway, and they are used to the little berries like we have in the U.P. So, I called and asked a local farm if they still had berries. To my delight, Dunneback Farm said they still had berries, so we rushed right out to pick!
Sadly, when we arrived with our buckets, we were informed that they had blueberries for sale, but not to pick. 😦 It reminded me of the first time I invited some new friends (Van and Anita) to go apple picking. I called the orchard at just this time—the last week of August—and asked for the orchard’s hours. However, when we arrived the following week to pick, they weren’t open when we came…because the hours changed after Labor Day. So, I realized that you can’t just ask simple questions like, “When are you open?” and “Do you still have fruit?” You have to ask complete, very specific questions, like, “Do you still have fruit that I can pick?” and “What will your hours be on Sept. 6?” Not being able to pick fruit is a small disappointment, but missing out on the fruit of the Spirit and going to heaven would be monumental. To believe in heaven and God are good things, but just believing in God is not enough to get you to heaven. “You believe there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). Do you also know Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)? I hope no one reaches the gates of heaven only to find that they are shut out because they failed to ask the right questions and believe the truth.