Creatively serving others
Before the leaves start falling, Apples of Gold signals the arrival of Fall. For me and for the rest of the team that comes together to mentor younger women, it’s Apple’s time again.
Based on Titus 2, this program is designed for older women to teach younger women. A biblical model. A creative approach.
Over a period of 7 weeks Apples of Gold covers these topics: Kindness and Hospitality, Loving Your Husband, Loving Your Children, Submission, and Purity.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time. Proverbs 25:11
What Apples does is model aspects of living that can make life rich and full.
Hospitality models both a value and a practice.
Kindness shows regard for someone else.
Loving your husband and protecting the marriage relationship undergirds all relationships.
Loving your children extends values and influence beyond your own home.
Submission shows respect for authority.
Purity acknowledges God as Creator and Redeemer.
Synergy and Preparation
It takes about 20 people to make an Apple’s team. Like football, some players sit on the bench for part of the game. But on the same night each week, everyone shows up at game time for an intense 3 hours of focus.
synergy––the working together of disparate things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual efforts.
That’s how I define and describe what happens at Apples.
Participants and team members meet in the designated home first for causal conversation and appetizers. Next, time is allotted for cooking demoes, followed by biblical teaching about that week’s topic. After that, a meal is served, arranged so that each mentor spends time with mentees, 4 people seated face-to-face around a table.
A decorating team sets the tables, preparing the setting to correspond to the topic. The meal is prepared by the cooking team. And on top of all this, servers and dishwashers and administrators, without whom none of this would happen, all have a role to play.
For our team, this adds up to 38 people (including the 15 mentees)––a hive of energy, enthusiasm and relentless activity.
Our church has sponsored Apples for 12 years. I have been part of the team for the past 5 years, serving in various roles.
A learning experience for everyone involved, some people are designated Mentors and others are the worker bees behind the scenes. We learn from each other, advancing the role of women, both in and out of the home.
Mostly, we model by example things we value. Community. Being together. Serving. Sharing. Growing. Playing well with others.
More than momentum, this endeavor takes heart.
What motivates people to invest so much time and dedicate their resources?
Well, for starters, there’s whipped cream.
Joni and Stacey have their annual gorge on whipped cream. After dessert has been served to everyone else, of course.
“What happens at Apples stays at Apples.” Right.
Loving Your Children
Week 4, the meal gets served on compartmented trays, reminiscent of school days and cafeteria food. But this is not standard school fare.
The menu includes Italian Sandwich Bread (a kid-favorite), deviled eggs, fruit skewers, and vegetable sticks in fresh Ranch dressing.
For dessert, Poor Man’s Eclairs (not pictured), a layered vanilla pudding dessert made with graham crackers and chocolate icing on top. A close friend shared this recipe with me 30 years ago, and it’s still in the rotation of crowd-pleasers.
One of the Mentees made this meal for her family. They shouted, “We love Apples!”
Click on Gallery menu or here Apples of Gold Gallery for more pictures
Cooking demoes and favorite kitchen gadgets
Here, Erin and Erica model their onion glasses. That’s right. Glasses to wear when you chop onions. They really, really work.
This is Joni. A valued contributor to the cooking team, Joni usually does something, or says something.
“I don’t know why I brought this,” Joni says. “I never use it.”
This meat tenderizer looks like something from a medieval torture chamber.
As Joni cracks up, so does everyone else.
Erica (pictured below) showed us how to make her mom’s sugared pecans recipe.
When Erica got married, her mom made over 100 batches to package and give out as wedding favors.
Talk about a labor of love.
Oops. Mistakes happen.
This picture recreates the moment I grabbed the window cleaner instead of Pam to spray the muffin pans. (Same size can, both cans on the counter, inches apart).
“Carol!” I froze.
Actually, I did realize my mistake before the sound of panic and distress pierced the otherwise calm cooking area, because window cleaner is white and cooking spray is yellow.
But does anybody believe me?
I think not.
The cooking team made Beef Bourguignon the week of Loving Your Husband. A lick the bowl clean hit.
Pictured below is Taco Soup and Heavenly Corn Muffins, week 5. Not every meal has to be a touchdown and extra point. This scores at least a field goal.
Hostess and a Playing Field
My daughter Erin opens her home for the duration of Apple’s season. Though this requires rearranging the furniture and running her husband, 4 kids and their dog Harvey out the door from 5–9 every Tuesday, these adjustments make Apples possible.
Just as a football team needs a playing field or stadium, so Apples needs a place to meet.
Week 6, the team wears white for the topic Purity and all the food served that night is white. Jimmy Crack Corn (a white popcorn coated in almond bark with toffee bits), Chicken Enchiladas, Cilantro Lime Rice, white corn tortilla chips. For dessert, Red Velvet Cake frosted with Cream Cheese Icing illustrates the purity of Jesus Christ.
Week 7 marks a celebration when all the participants and team members invite their husbands to join the entire team for dinner.
Sort of like an end of season awards banquet.
Savor the food, the fun, the learning
Here’s to my Cooker Girls, CGs, the greatest cooking team in the history of Apples.
Together we prepared over 300 meals.
SCORE! That’s teamwork. That’s synergy.