The apple falls close to the tree


It’s apple season and fall apples are ready for harvest. The neighbor’s bees have pollinated the whole Lower Blanco and our apple tree and everything else around us is producing fruit this year.

We planted the tree in 1995 and, for the first time, hundreds of apples are hanging on its limbs. The tree has lived through many seasons and we gave up on the tree a long time ago. We could have cut it down and not blinked an eye. Fruitless, it still remained an apple tree and had the potential of bearing apples.

It’s similar as to how we are. I read something this week that caught my interest. We are written in secret and the plans in the heart of God are from generation to generation. I had to think about that statement. We really don’t know how God has written on our life in secret and how it takes more than one generation to understand and to see the fruition of that plan.

I look in the mirror and I see my mother. Golly, when did it happen? She was tough; she needed to be tough, a widow at 36 with three teenagers. She was all business and didn’t have time for hugs and kisses. I inherited that harsh side and I have to work at being sweet. One of our grandsons inherited that harshness and also has to work at being sweet.

My father had an enormously generous heart and loved everyone. He left us early in life, but his DNA has passed down to one of our daughters, now to her son. That one gene has passed through four generations.

When I look at my Sweet Al, I see his mother. When did that happen? Like his mother, he has an unconditional love for his family, but one difference: she could only love two people, Al and his brother. She had no room in her heart for anyone else. Al has room to love everyone and doesn’t have to work at being sweet. That sweetness has been passed down to our daughter and her daughter.

This is part of our family tree. DNA, traits, character, similar qualities and personalities have found their way to the next, next and next generations. So, here we are. We are living a plan which we had no idea we were living. Yes, there is the good, bad and ugly, but they are ours and we love them. They are family.

The creative gene has been passed down through my grandfather, my dad, me, my children and now my three grandchildren. There are five generations of talented and creative members of this family. With that, comes being temperamental, moodiness, another world and marching-to-a-different-drummer kind of personalities that are hard to deal with.

As our children have married, they, too, have brought in their spouses’ family tree. We can see definite traits for the other side of the family.

We say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” It is true. The same traits are being played out in our grandchildren. When two of our daughters ask me what to do about their sons, I say, “It’s who they are, they can’t help themselves. You will live through it. It just takes a lot more prayer to get them raised.”

I spend an hour and half every Tuesday night on video conference, praying with three couples whose sons are part of the film department at BIOLA University, located in southern California. Our grandson is interning with a Hollywood film studio for his senior credits and will soon be headed to Hollywood and the movies.

Eight of us from Colorado, Arizona and California have built a fortified umbrella for these boys to walk under. I remind the other parents, when we pray, we are passing our faith on to our children and grandchildren. They are living out the promises we received from God 50 years ago.

“The plans in God’s heart are from generation to generation.” — Psalm 33:11 (NAS).

It’s like that apple tree we planted over 20 years ago. People questioned if it was an apple tree or something else. We told them, “All we know, when we bought the tree, it said it was an apple on the tag.” This year we are seeing the evidence of its kind.

Final brushstroke: It’s like having four children. We knew little about who they were and how to raise them. We had no idea how they would turn out. They are all a part of our family tree and are part of God’s plan. Today, my Sweet Al and I are living in tomorrow’s plan for our grandchildren. It is definitely a bigger plan than we expected.

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“Betty, your articles have a way of making me laugh with tears — something I didn’t even know was possible. I really enjoy your transparent stories and the way you strategically weave in scriptural truths that your readers can relate to. K Miller, Glendale, Ariz.”