When life gives you strawberries…


Strawberry jam isn’t exactly the cure for a bad day. But, if there is one thing I know, it’s to enjoy each day and every single moment in it. It is in the best laid plans for the day that go awry that unknown opportunities arise. Monday was one of those days. We had been at a location near our family in Illinois for a few days. We were set to leave before noon. The plan was to eat an early lunch with everyone and then head out. On the way back from the restaurant, someone with a little voice declared, “Strawberries!!!” as we passed a u-pick farm by the side of the road. After just a few seconds of controversy (“we need to get on the road”), it was decided that we would stop for “just a quart or two”.

Little Hands, Big Berries

Strawberry Patch

Over the next 30 minutes, the kids ran up and down the strawberry patch looking for perfectly ripened berries. I’m not sure if they picked more or ate more, but nonetheless, we ended up with four quarts. On the way out, I added two more quarts of berries that were fully ripened and perfect for jam making. A little while later, when leaving our extended family’s farm the coach was abuzz with talk all about the picking adventure. When we arrived at our destination later in the day (emphasis on the late part), I took the time to go ahead and clean the strawberries and put them in the refrigerator for the next day.

By the next morning, two quarts had already been eaten. The girls’ excitement about making jam could not be contained. I made a quick trip to the local supermarket for a couple boxes of fruit pectin and a box of eight-ounce jelly jars. I already had sugar on hand.

Over the next 30 minutes or so, the girls relived our berry picking from the day before with stories of who picked more and why. In the meantime, as we mashed berries into jam, we also etched memories that I doubt will soon be forgotten. It was a simple recipe and easy to put together even in the coach’s quarters. We got 12 jars of jam out of those two quarts of strawberries. Two were saved for eating over the next few weeks. Four were put in the freezer for later. The rest were packed and shipped back home to the family members that we recently visited along with a note of thanks for a fun visit.

An excellent example of life skills learned in daily activities. We call this road school!

An excellent example of life skills learned in daily activities. We call this road school!

As I reflect on this simple experience, here’s what I took from it. We could have just passed by the strawberry farm that day and got on the road to arrive on a timely “schedule”. Instead, we threw the schedule out the window and took the time to stop. In return, we received the juicy, red rewards. And then I took a little more time the next day to let the girls help make the jam. The memories from it all far outweighed the time invested. It’s just a little reminder to take time to pick the strawberries!


  1. 1

    You have such a beautiful spirit MB! So moved by this story! I have found this to be so true! Stop and smell the roses! Life goes by too fast! The past is in the past and the future is in God’s hands. To learn to live in the “present” because it is a “gift” and savor every moment (and that strawberry jam that looks so yummy) !!! <3

  2. 2
    Cathy Leo says

    There’s a lesson here to be mentioned. Not only was thee strawberry picking a family fun day, but there was lots to be learned. A math lesson was evident with the measuring and there was a lesson to be learned that we can feed off the earth and that life is not only a bowl of ” Cherries”! Let the road take you to” Infinity and Beyond”! Stop the World! Get off and see what it has to offer. Sounds like you and your family are having ” The Ride of You Life” ! Your RV is an Instrument of Knowledge!

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