Africa, Faith, Gardening, life, Spiritual Encouragement, Uncategorized
Comments 7

An Apple In Hand {A celebration, a Revelry, a Reason for Joy}

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.” {Isaiah 61:10}

copyright Alyssa Santos

copyright Alyssa Santos

I’ll never forget when my new friend, Werku Gole, smiled as he stared into a glass of clear tap water.

We were having a dinner to get to know Werku and his little wife, Hallelujah, who live and minister to their countrymen in Ethiopia. That was thirteen years ago.

After Werku smiled at his water, he took a long drink and sighed. I caught him reveling.

Reveling in the goodness of clean drinking water, reveling in the possibility of it.

How often am I guilty of not being present in the blessings in my life? Guilty of missing even the possibility of blessing?

The common goodness becomes commonplace when I fail to take notice and celebrate. A baby’s small cry or the dust motes dancing in the sunbeam, the taste of dark chocolate or the rough surface of my husband’s hands can be ho-hum, hum-drum, unnoticed, unworthy of my delight as I dart about the task of completing my schedule.

Oh, but to fill the glass and gaze into the clear spectacle of it. To feel the draught as it slides down the throat and into the body. To take notice, to count it all joy. To count. It. All.

In 2009, I was able to visit Werku in his home, and then, I realized, as I tasted the water in my glass ten time zones away from our state-of-the-art purification systems, what a delicious, amazing thing clean water actually is.  I set the glass aside, because although it was pure enough to drink, the liquid was cloudy and the taste altered by some unidentifiable source.

I did revel in Hallelujah’s miraculous cooking and the steaming cups of coffee and the gift of finally stepping foot in the place I’d longed to visit for so many years.

Gifts shimmer all around us. Are we noticing?

Something about the turning of the seasons seems to spark an interest in our awareness. We notice the crisp bite in the air around Labor Day, or the swelling warmth as June melds into July, or the fresher, earthier scent of rain in early March. The change of seasons is evocative and inviting to the senses. We pause, take note, and revel.

Take the apple.


copyright Alyssa Santos

A humble, common fruit. It’s ordinariness in lunches and upon teacher’s desks across North America makes us forget its compact loveliness.

I love fresh apples in the fall.

They seem to hold all of the spring rains and summer sunshine, long, sweet June days abuzz with bees and heady July nights when the frogs sing lazily under leafy shrubs.

Those are my favorite days, when we open doors to the sunshine and till soil and tuck seed away on a hope and a promise. Those days when the kids scramble for coins and chase the music of the ice cream truck and come in at dusk wearing the scent of earth and nature tangled in their hair. Those days the garden seems to explode in blossoms – peony, roses, iris, swaying Canterbury bells, spires of indigo delphinium crowd the fading, late-blooming lilac – all come into party, dress in their best. Those days the air vibrates with heat and honeybees, whose sweltering pressure breaks in thunderclap and lightning and summer rain.


copyright Alyssa Santos

Apple juices are, in fact, summer rain distilled with a squeeze of April dew for freshness. 

I love those lingering, sundrenched days of summer strung together like daisies in a chain. Those days are bliss. They are my favorite.

In summer, I am one of Peter Pan’s lost boys, I am prone to water fights with my kids and long conversations under the stars. In summer, I am young. I am ageless.

copyright Alyssa Santos

copyright Alyssa Santos

The apple crunches and summer is released into my senses and I relive summer all again. Apples are not the autumn fruit everyone supposes them to be.

copyright Alyssa Santos

copyright Alyssa Santos

No, apples are the grand finale of summer, the rolling thunder and gentle flight of butterflies, the lavish languid August afternoons, the red and golden flames of summer sunsets compressed into one, glorious, miraculous orb.

What shimmering gift makes you pause, my friend, and breathe awe and gratitude? Is it the warmth of a sweater, the jangle of keys at the door, the promise of home, the smile of a friend, a moment to pray, or a tiny hand in yours? What makes your senses and your spirit awaken to joy? What makes you revel?

Linked up with the lovely writers at Woman to Woman Wednesdays

Linked with Lisa Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday

And with Emily at Emily Weirenga dot com



  1. Definitely seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary through the pictures you’ve painted here.
    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my 5 minute post!

  2. Alyssa,
    Nice to meet you. I’m hopping over from Emily’s link up. How neat that you know some Ethiopian followers of Jesus, and that you got to visit them. Did they do the coffee ceremony too? We have relatives from Ethiopia and we are delighted to learn more about their country of origin, and to hear of God at work around the world.

    Thanks for your line here: “The common goodness becomes commonplace when I fail to take notice and celebrate.” Mmm, so true.

    Have a great week,
    jennifer Dougan

    • Hi! Yes I did see the coffee ceremony there. I also got to visit several villages where the Community Health Evangelism ministry is effectively changing community health in practical ways as well as reaching many with the gospel. I love Ethiopian coffee , mmm, and drink it every day. We get it through

  3. Oh, you’ve captured the beauty of living fully aware- aware to the gift of a juicy red apple, a glass of clean water- and so many other things we can quickly pass by without a thought. Your words are poetic- love this: “apples are the grand finale of summer, the rolling thunder and gentle flight of butterflies, the lavish languid August afternoons, the red and golden flames of summer sunsets compressed into one, glorious, miraculous orb.” I may never look at an apple in the same way again! Thank you.

    • Thanks, Alicia. This began as a writing prompt in the journaling life group I attend – it’s fun to take a commonplace thing and really explore it. I think that when we do, we can see God’s fingerprints and his love even things like apples.

  4. Such beautiful words. We take for granted so much. Thank you for sharing.

    Thank you for linking up with Woman to Woman’s Word Filled Wednesday! Please join us each week. God bless!

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