Backyard Maple Sugaring !!! part I

We are blessed to share a beautiful property with our church since our church provided housing for pastoral staff.  In gratitude for the wonderful things that God puts in our lives, sometimes right in our own backyard, we share these pictures 🙂 With a little creativity, resourcefulness, diligence, and family team work, we are going to have a bountiful harvest from 7 very large maple trees.  The first 24 hours we collected 7 gallons of sap!  Knowing that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of syrup, we will harvest each day in high hopes to obtain 2 gallons of sweet maple syrup in the end!  LONG LIVE PANCAKES!!!

An activity that the WHOLE family can participate in.  Everyone got to drip a tap or two, hammer in the taps, and connect the tubes to the bucket.

 Jamie LOVED the power of the drill!! She was amazed to see the sap drip out right away.  Little Joanna wanted to help with everything (note the tongue sticking out for concentration 🙂 )


Joel liked the drill and really wasn’t interested in the sap– power tools!!  Sarah INSISTED on pulling the cart with all the supplies.


Sophie was the hole inspector, she has a good eye for detail.  Jacob drilled holes once all the little ones had “moved on” to running in the grass 🙂

Our Sugaring Team!!!


Josiah found a lower jaw bone of a deer.  With a lot of Coyotes on the property, skull bones are found often.  Last month, while on a walk with Nauna & Nat, Josiah found a raccoon skull.




A roasting oven/crock (18 qt)– a busy mom’s way to cook down sap into maple syrup 🙂 Works like a charm- holds a lot, cooks slow, no burning issues, no need to hover. Perfect.


 Look at that glassy surface…… a vision of goodness 🙂

Tune in soon for the end result 🙂

Joy-filled anticipation

Our children remember it clear as a bell, as if it were yesterday.  A young man volunteering his time to serve at the Children’s Institute at our homeschooling conference.  With much enthusiasm, he and his siblings led the little ones in a lesson on pride.  Blowing up a balloon over and over again until it EXPOLDED in his face!!! THAT is what pride does, he and his siblings taught. Pride grows and grows and then explodes in our lives.  Oh our children talked for weeks about that lesson!!! They laughed and gigled remembering the exploding balloon! They will never forget it- never!

What a great first impression!  Our children will never forget the lesson and example the Wilkes children all had as they served that week.  WE, the parents, will never forget the example that MR & Mrs Wilkes set by choosing to serves as a WHOLE family in ministry.

Well, that young man was Joshua Wilkes, along with the rest of his wonderful siblings.  Their whole family taught that week.  And that was how our two families met. We have enjoyed building a friendship with them over the years.  This past fall, Josh got married to Lisa, and our children could not wait to call them “Mr & Mrs Wilkes”. 🙂

A few weeks ago, we have much joy-filled anticipation as the NEW Mr. & Mrs. Wilkes were coming to ur home for a visit!!!  The kids gave them tours, played games, learned a great new game called “Bible Runner” (thanks Josh), colored pictures, and more.  It was simple family fun.  We couldn’t have asked for a better visit!  Thank you Josh and Lisa for visiting our home along your travels.


When Does Relevance Make You Irrelevant?

As a pastor of a main line church, one of the challenges is relating to the masses while being true to the gospel.  I have been on both sides of this issue, trying to be flashy and engaging, as well as avoiding everything that might hint at being of the world.  Below is an article that I came across that was posted by the NCFIC on their website.  I do not know the author or the group that wrote the article, but I appreciate the warning.  Read the article and let me know what you think: Evangelicalism’s Addiction to Novelty.