Have you ever experienced a time when something unexpected happened that threw off all your plans but ended up being a blessing in disguise? Of course you have. We’ve all had those moments when we realized that whatever was causing a disruption to our plans was actually a good thing, in some cases, a bounty of blessings.
Earlier this summer, Ken and I were planning our drive across the country from our home in Maryland to our cabin in Colorado. One of the things we love about this drive is that there is so much to do between here and there. Each trip is a grand adventure, and we always look forward to the stops we will make and the people we will be blessed to see. We had the entire trip planned out–a stop at the Air Force Museum, dinner with friends in Ohio, a tour of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, a trip to the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, a quick visit to the Cathedral on the Plains, and a drive up Pike’s Peak. Everything was perfect until about three days before we were to leave.
An Unexpected Detour
I had everything completely planned when Ken walked into my office and said he had bad news. He had just found out that there was a crucial video call in the middle of our drive at which he needed to make a presentation. We were going to have to pause the trip from 9am until noon on the morning we were to leave Eastern Indiana. This meant more than a three hour delay. It meant that we would have to cancel not one, but two of our stops because the timing of the carefully planned trip would be thrown completely off. It also meant that I would have to find a way to occupy myself for three hours other than sitting in the hotel room listening to Ken’s work call.
Luckily, I had a few days to do some research and rework our itinerary. I wasn’t sure what I would find, if anything, to keep me busy that morning, but I found a true gem, a bountiful blessing, just back over the state border in a rural paradise called New Paris, Ohio. Wesler Orchard provided me with something to do, something to eat, and several blessings I hadn’t anticipated…
As I drove to the farm and market, I delighted in the beautiful tapestry that was a blend of woods, farm fields, and orchards. Around every turn was a spectacular view, and it made me appreciate the area in a much more profound way than our zip down Route 70. I opened the window to fresh country air and breathed in the beauty and bounty one can only find along quiet byways.
Once I checked in at the farmer’s market and was given my basket and directions to the cherry orchard, I made my way along the dirt road with light gusts of a gentle summer wind blowing through my hair and the comfortable warmth of the morning sun on my face. I listened to birdsong as I picked cherries and felt the caress of the leaves as they danced in the breeze. By the time I filled one basket with cherries and another basket with blueberries, the early morning sun had turned into a mid-morning blaze that sent a stream of sweat down my back. I headed back to the market and added local honey, strawberry preserves, and fresh peaches to my load. These were blessings I never counted when I started that day with no idea what the morning would bring.
That quiet morning, when I was supposed to be riding down the highway, I had the opportunity to revel in God’s splendor. I was reminded of the Psalm of David that extols God’s gifts and blessings of the land.
Thou visitest the earth and waterest it,Psalm 65
thou greatly enrichest it;
the river of God is full of water;
thou providest their grain,
for so thou hast prepared it.
Thou waterest its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
Thou crownest the year with thy bounty;
the tracks of thy chariot drip with fatness.
The pastures of the wilderness drip,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
I had a morning to reflect on these blessings we receive when we least expect them, these beautiful reminders to slow down, marvel at the world around us, and just be. There was no hurry in my step, no frantic gathering of the produce, no rushing to get to the next place. There was just the sun, the air, the fresh fruit, and the sweet surrender to God’s plan for my day.
When Ken and I finally got on the road (an hour earlier than we anticipated), there was no need to rush. We had rearranged our itinerary and took it as it came, enjoying the stops were we able to make.
And what did I do with all those fresh berries and cherries?
Well, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade; and when God blesses you blueberries and cherries, you make Cherry-Blueberry Pie.
It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.
Crust (This is the ONLY recipe I ever use for pie crust. It never fails to make the flakiest, tastiest, award-winning crust every time.)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a quality mixer or food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and mix with pastry blender (or process) until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream. Mix (or pulse) until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls.
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
Pinch of salt
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
3/4 pound raspberries (3 cups)
1/2 pound blueberries (1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup of sugar with the tapioca and salt. In another bowl, toss the cherries with the raspberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and toss gently.
Mix the flour and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle in the crust; tap out the excess. Spoon the filling into the crust.
Cut the remaining dough into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Arrange the strips across the pie in a lattice pattern. Trim the overhanging strips to 1/2 inch and press them to the crust. Use a fork to flute it. Freeze the pie for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Brush the butter over the lattice crust and rim and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cover the rim with a crust cover or foil. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour, or until the crust is richly browned and the filling starts to bubble. Let cool on a rack until warm before serving. Enjoy!
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
September 17, 2022 – Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, PA 12 Noon-8pm
The event is a festival atmosphere featuring amazing music, Catholic and Christian vendors, the presence of Religious orders, food trucks, family and kid-friendly activities and games. Tickets available.
October 15 and 16, 2022 – St Mary’s County Fairgrounds, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. All ages are welcome for a day of sun and seafood! See event website for more details.
October 29, 2022 – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. The event features live music on two stages, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, an oyster stew competition and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and Chesapeake-related documentary screenings. More details coming soon.
Write What You Know Writer’s Workshop
November 12, 2022, 10am-Noon – Leonardtown Library, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be giving a workshop for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She will talk about how to write a more authentic and readable novel by writing about what you know – the people, places, and events that have shaped your own life. More details coming soon.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
Amy’s new book, Seeking Tranquility, was released on June 15, 2022. Buy your copy now!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021), Seeking Tranquility (2022).