Yesterday I opened my home to Balcony Girls. We made homemade applesauce and talked about what it means to be a gracious girl: learning to forgive and love others, even when you feel like they don’t deserve it.

Even when they don’t deserve it? What a hard concept to teach a ten-year-old girl, as this is the age where girls can start becoming very mean! But as we went around the circle, each girl defined what the word “grace” meant to her.

Their definitions were sweet, straight from the heart, as the girls take this part of the group very seriously. The quietest girl even shared. And come to find out, their 5th grade teacher, Mrs. P, taught them about grace on the first day of school! But the most priceless line came from one girl when she raised her hand and said: “Grace is what we do every night before we eat!”

Although we were discussing the word as an action, she was right! We do sit down at our table at night and thank God for the food before us. And for our beautiful families (whom we don’t deserve), and a hearty meal (usually enough food to feed two or three families!), and the fact that we feel very loved, even though most likely we messed up that very day. We are accepted and valued and we have a place where we feel nurtured and safe. Bottom line: we have way more than we deserve.

Will the girls remember the applesauce process that they learned today, of pushing all of those apples through the Kitchen Aid, jarring, and then canning them? Most likely, they won’t. Like me, I learned it as a child from my mom, but I had to relearn it as an adult.

My prayer for today is more that each girl learned just enough about grace, to take a nugget home with her and to turn it into graciousness in her own corner of life.

Yes, “grace” is what we do every night. And every waking moment, when we live it.
Each girl canned their own quart-jar of applesauce to take home with them. And of course, we all indulged in WARM applesauce, with yummy whipped cream on top!

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