A Sermon from Sugar Maple Syrup 🍁

There was a change in the air. Such a subtle change, that the animals on the farm paid no attention. But the grove of sugar maples on the distant bluff felt it and took notice “it’s go time” they whispered. And the whisper echoed across the valley “it’s go time.” “Go time” “Go time”…

The Farmer couldn’t hear the whispering, but he looked at the calendar and smiled “it’s go time” he announced. His energetic family cheered at this news-the sap was beginning to run!

The tall tall trees watched them coming across the field. They had a lot of respect for the family. Any time of the year the younger members of the family would form an Indian band traipsing through the forest on an imagined adventure. The corner of the forest held lots of evening volleyball games, and campfires. The Family loved this grove of trees, and took good care of it. They were not to be feared.

And so the process of tapping began. Similarly to donating blood, the tree stood unafraid as the taps were driven in about 1.5 in and a bucket hung to catch the glistening water that soon appeared on the end of the small metal tap.

The process of tapping trees was not a small order, but after several hours, the job was complete. Now it was time to wait.

The change in temperature forced the sap to move. “Beat you to the top!” The drops of this life blood shouted to each other. They understood their job assignment- transport the very life of the tree from the roots to the tips of the branches overhead. Working quickly before the temp dropped, they surged upward.

But the travel route was obstructed and one by one the droplets of sap found themselves exiting the safety of the bark on the tree. Sprinting past an entire colony of ants who had collected at the tap. The ants were pushing and shoving, trying to get more than their share of the sweet water.

Narrowly escaping the enemy, the bead of sap ran to the end of the tap and dropped silently to the bottom of the bucket. And there it stayed, as its comrades swiftly, silently fell to join it.

The next step in the process included a trusty 2750 John Deere, a collection tank, and the farm family. They descended on the woods and the half filled collection buckets. Back and forth they tromped, emptying the sap buckets into the tank until the tank was almost full and the tractor struggled to pull it through the mud.

The trees rejoiced when they saw the load of sap safely delivered to the sugar shack. But then they lost sight of the process.

The sap was pumped into an overhead vat. “We had a good run today”, the Farmer stated “even with the fact that it takes 40 gals of sap to make 1 gal of the finished product, it was a profitable day.” And everyone smiled-if the Farmer is happy, everyone’s happy.

But the sap was unprepared for what happened next. It was rather uncomfortable. A float restricted the flow of the sap as the refining process began.

The sap entered a large cooking vat. A wood fire started the sap boiling. The Farmer’s sons carefully tended the fire so scientifically that a timer went off every 7 minutes asking for more wood for the fire. They paid careful attention to the temperature of the product as the rapidly changing sap ran through the channels of the open surface of the cook stove. The entire sugar shack was filled with the most deliriously sweet scent as the water was evaporated off, changing the product from sap to syrup and leaving only the pure sugary syrup behind.

Once it reached the desired consistency, the syrup was drawn off and the next sap moved in to take its place.

The journey of the maple sugar syrup was nearing completion. The final stop was the Farmer’s Wife’s kitchen where the hot syrup was placed into jar and sealed. The maple syrup glistened in the jars ensuring delicious breakfasts for the next year.

I see some of the journey of the sugar maple sap in my own life. We start out strong, eagerly anticipating what we expect to be our story.

But that doesn’t always come to be. And the refining process hits us hard.

No matter how good life is, how blessed we are- there are still tough things we have to work through.

I don’t know what fires mold your life, but 1 Pet 1:7 encourages me:

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

May the results from the painful circumstances/refining fires of today produce fruit in my life as sweet as pure maple syrup!


Nicaragua 2018

I honestly had to keep reminding myself that this was reality and not a dream. (The 100* F+ also helped me realize that this was indeed happening) I was back in Nicaragua rushing all over the place with my little sister Deborah.

The fact that she hears wedding bells ring the end of May made this trip even more special. One last escapade with my little sis as a single woman 🙂

Our flight home got in during the wee hours of the morning, so we tried desperately to strike up conversation with each other to hold sleepiness at bay.

Me: so what was your favorite part of our adventure?

Deb: I don’t really know. It was all fun.

Few minutes of silence, then:

Deb: what was your favorite part of our trip?

Me: I don’t know. It was all fun.

We are very chatty at 2:30 in the morning. 🙈

The truth is- the entire trip was a highlight. So without further adieu, here are a few pics from our journey.

Deborah hasn’t been gone for quite a year, so it was easy to slip right back into her Nicaragua slot, catching up with her friends, remembering the best food in town, best coffee shops, fabric shops etc.

I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen the Garrobo that lives in the eaves of the girl’s house until this trip. These fairly large reptiles are supposedly a delicacy in soup. Anybody interested in coming for supper? 🙂

Our visit to the Pacific was another must 🙂 so beautiful!

Deb and I caught a bus to Esteli and spent some time with Delmar and Sarah. Thoroughly enjoyed seeing their world.

The agriculture in Nicaragua has me fascinated. The rice is really growing. (Volcano Mumbotumbo in the background)

We discovered a dairy farmer right up the road from Sarah’s house. The cows didn’t seem to bothered by the gringas that were watching the goings on 🙂

Another super fun evening was a birthday party for one of Deb’s friends. We roamed all over the city collecting things for our mini garden obsession. I’m enamored by how you can take the same ingredients, give them to different people, and come up with such unique end results. These ladies were such good sports and so creative!

Feb 14 in Nicaragua is “the day of love and friendship”. And caught up in the spirit of the festivities of the day, we made cut-out sugar cookies for the project at children’s church. This in theory is a lovely idea. Reality is that cutting out heart cookies on a 95* counter top is hectic at best. Bless Jody for helping salvage that near calamity 🙈 It was so much fun watching the children decorating their cookies. Even if they did occasionally lick their icing knives before sticking them back into the icing bowl 😆

Little hands, shoe-less feet, lonely eyes looking back at me

Will we leave behind the innocent to grieve

On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun

These could be our daughters and our sons

And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating

I know my God won’t let them be defeated

Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Boys become kings, girls will be queens

Wrapped in Your majesty

When we love, when we love the least of these

Then they will be brave and free

Shout your name in victory

When we love, when we love the least of these

When we love the least of these

-Audio Adrenaline

I know this sounds a little crazy given my single status, but Valentine’s Day really stood out to me. In fact I’m challenged to practice this day of love and friendship quite often- To show love to the least of these.

Faith, hope, Love. But the GREATEST of these is love.

Happy Valentines Day, a bit late this year. 💞

Go share some of Christ’s love,


Baby Visits Galore 😍

Twice this week found Julia and me circling the parking lot looking for an empty space.

Twice we made our way through the big doors of a hospital.

Two different states, two different cousins (one from either side of the family) two different babies. Two different set of challenges.

Same fierce love.

My Mom’s quotes a plaque from her nursery room days as saying “Every mother’s child is beautiful” This excited cousin certainly doesn’t argue that. 😍

We met Miss Olivia first. Sweet little darling weighing in just under 5 lbs. She surprised the world by arriving 5 weeks early. I was delighted to get a chance to hold her briefly and marveled at her tiny perfection. Katie, she’s precious! 💞

.Mr Kaiden was next on the list. The trip to PA was uneventful-they even have SNOW there.🙈We followed very exact directions to the NICU where we found him and my cousin Marj. I’d never been inside the NICU before and I was amazed by the number of TINY little people attempting to overcome challenging situations. (The March of Dimes had the little “grow with me” cutouts encouraging parents to take them and take pics of their child at each stage-I scanned through 1 mo, 2 mo, 6 mo… 5 lb… 2 lb…my mind kinda froze on that one for a while)

Kaiden has a heart issue going on-he’s been through one surgery already, but still a few more hurdles to cross. He’s so innocent, so precious, and fits right into his family.

As I watched both babes sleeping, I couldn’t help but shake my head. Fortunate little people have no idea how many people are cheering for them, and what a blessing the Christian church family is. Parents, Grandparents, entire communities-eagerly waiting any news of progress, willing to drop whatever to help out the situation.

“I hope you feel that love, Little Ones, and years from now, when these days are just a memory-that unwavering Love will guide your way.”

Eph 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Isn’t it beautiful to think God already has us prepared for the journey He’s called us to?!



Bonus Pic: Deb’s fiancé is the baby whisperer. Clearly, I need to ask him for some tips 🙈 Hopefully next visit, we can become better friends, Mr K. 😉