Lessons from Coconut Syrup

My parents went to Hawaii in 1977 and brought back some coconut syrup. I had never tasted anything like it! It was so delicious and thick and I can almost taste it all these years later. I think we used it about twice before it started getting saved for special occasions. But you know what? Those special occasions never happened. One day my mom finally decided that yes, we could use the coconut syrup. Sadly, though, it had gone bad. We had to throw out that wonderful syrup. Now we didn’t get to use it at all.

Has this ever happened to you? Is there something in your life that you are saving for special occasions? Is it special china or fancy table linens? Those expensive, great smelling jar candles? Or maybe it’s your family’s favorite meal? Now I’m not talking about those things that are a part of a specific holiday celebration. Some things really do belong just with Christmas, Thanksgiving or a birthday. I’m talking about those things that you have stored up in some closet that you are saving for “some day.” Well, you know what? Today is some day! Get those special things out and use them before it’s too late.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. Use my grandmother’s good china with my rough and tumble crowd?!? Maybe not so much, I’m with you there. But maybe you and your dh can use the good china once a week, perhaps on Sundays, while the children use the more durable stuff. And while you’re at it, bring out the crystal candle holders. Whether you light the candles or not is up to you, but at least let them decorate the table. I’ll venture to guess though, that if you lower the lights for a candle lit dinner, the kiddoes will be so enthralled that they’ll forget to bicker with each other. They may even eat.

What else do you have stored away? I’m a hoarder of scented candles. But they don’t do me any good at all in the linen closet. They even lose their scent over time. I made a commitment to myself that as part of my morning chores, I would light a scented candle in the kitchen. I am really enjoying my nicely scented house everyday. And now that my candle stash has been significantly depleted, I have no guilty feelings about buying more when they are on sale.

But it’s not just “things” that we save for later. How many times a day do you tell your children “not right now” or “later” or “I’m busy.” I’m right there with you again! I’ve got 3 children at home to care for, crafts that I want to finish, and faithful blog readers waiting breathlessly for my next entry. I’m a busy girl! And my children have a knack of wanting my attention right in the middle of my most profound thoughts. Or when I’m in the bathroom. Or up to my elbows in poopy diapers. Sometimes they just have to wait. But there have been many times when I’m not really doing anything all that important. Or what I am doing can be put on hold. And while playing three rounds of “Pretty, Pretty Princess” may not be high on my list of priorities, it is important to Pumpkin Girl. Just like we put off the coconut syrup for another time, I found myself putting off the children’s requests for another time. Just what am I saving my time for? Is there anything more important than spending time with those you love?

So I have resolved to set some time aside for my children. Not school time or hauling them around on errands or sitting around while they watch a movie. I mean real time. Doing something THEY want to do. Even if it’s playing “Pretty Pretty Princess” or reading “Shrek 2” (ug!!). I try to make a point every day of telling them, “Hey, I’ve got some free time for you, what would you like to do?” They get so happy when I do this! I’ve even started keeping a list of the things we’ll get to “someday.” Craft projects, books to read, games we haven’t played in a while, all go on this list. While these things won’t go bad in the cupboard, my children will grow up and I’ll find that “some day” never came.

What are the coconut syrups in your life? Are they actual things? Or is it your time? Or both? What can you do to make sure you enjoy the blessings God has given you before they go away?

( Epilogue: My husband recently went to Hawaii on a business trip and brought me back some coconut syrup. I used it on my pancakes every week until it was all gone. I even let my children have some, but only a little! It was just as good as I remember it. I’m sorry it’s all gone, but I am glad that I ate it instead of having to throw it away.)

More Mac and Cheese, please!


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  • Thanks for the inspiration. I do hear myself saying, “not now” or “mama’s busy” waaaay too often. I’m gonna try the free-time line tonight after dinner and see what happens.

  • The Lord knew I needed to hear your blog today. I came here through Joy in the morning’s blog. I love your story of the coconut syrup…. but more … than that…
    I tell my children… especially the littles… 4 & 3 (and even the 8 yr old) …. we will in a little bit, or tomorrow…. and I think about all the things I have saved up in the closet… or books that I am going to read with them. WHEN? NOW. For I know very well this time will be gone. I have a 21 yr old…. the time to hold him in my lap and read to him are gone… or build legos with him, watch a funny movie, play play doh (that my 4 yr old asks to do every day~ what a mess!)

    so the Lord knew I needed to hear this…. this evening … right now. I thank you.

    I am going to add you to my friends list.

    I am going to read more of your blog~

    Teena mom to 1/2 dozen

  • Hi! I was surfin’ blogs found on the SL forum and ended up here! I really like how you have fixed up your blog.

    I can not name all of the things I have had to throw out that I was saving. It’s a terrible thing and a terrible waste! I’m really trying hard to use what I have but I confess that I’m often a slave to habit (same dishes, same meals, etc.). Good post!


  • I use the coconut syrup… My only rule for doing so is that I must thoroughly relish and enjoy every bit of it. I want it to be a treasured experience. I want to be like one of those wine-tasters that don’t just take a sip. They put it in their mouths, totally concentrating on sensing every single flavor. They swish it round, swallow it, and then even relish the after-taste after it’s technically all gone. That’s the way I want to be with my life and all the things in it. And if it’s something that is unpleasant to swish around, then it makes me wonder if it’s something that I should have as part of my life anyway. That’s my philosophy at least! Enjoy your coconut syrup!

  • You are so right. I try to not put things on the back burner, but all too often I do. I need to stop and just enjoy the things my children find important.

    I am also terrible about using candles, and my expensive shower gel. I would rather use it than throw it away, but I am such a hoarder sometimes. 😀


  • Oh wow. Have you ever nailed it with this post. This week I vow to get out the stuff I’m “saving”…because who better to save it for than my family?! Bravo on this wonderful post!

  • Hi there! I’m here from Jules “Hidden Treasure” post. Congrats on making it as a finalist!

    This is an excellent post!
    I try not to horde things only for special occasions and I definitely try to spend quality time with my little guy. He’s growing up far too quickly already and he’s only 2 years old.

  • Oh boy you got me here!

    Too, too often I am saying, “Oh Sweetie, I wish I could do that with you, but I’m busy right now.”

    And you know what? With 5 young children I am busy!!!

    But I want to be busy with the important stuff…like playing Legos and dolls.

    Wonderful, wonderful post!

  • I’m here via Everyday Mommy’s Hidden Treasure nominations. This is such a good reminder. My children are now 22, 19, and 13, and though sometimes the days when they were little seemed so long, they go by so fast.

  • GREAT POST (just found you and love the thoughtful reminders-I’ll be back!)

    You know…you can MAKE that syrup-or a pretty-good version that you will like (esp if it’s been awhile since your last taste :) )

    Just use your fav maple syrup recipe and add cocnut extract instead of maple at the end-plus it will be heated and you can throw in a chunk of butter- mmmm!!!

    The only thing better than using a special treat is finding a way to do it yourself and make it one of the special things you do out of love for you family!

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