How It Began
The following pretty much sums up the conversations that led to the start of this blog:
Julie: “I think you should start a blog…in your spare time.”
Jen: “I think you should do it with me…in your spare time.”
Julie: “Joey could probably help us…in his spare time.”
Jen: “My brother could probably help us…in his spare time.”
Julie and Jen: “We don’t really have any spare time.”
Julie and Jen: “We're startin' a blog!”
Moral: Spare time is overrated...and, so is sleep!
Why "Sycamore Sisters?"
The name just kind of “clicked” one day – much like our friendship and the friendship/relationship of our two families!
We wanted to incorporate an aspect of our neighborhood into the title of the blog, as the close relationship between our families stems from God placing our families two houses apart from each other…in a neighborhood lined with Sycamore trees! We feel blessed to live so close to each other and to be able to experience the “neighborhood feel” that we experienced when growing up – a feeling that isn’t so common in today’s world!
We also knew that we wanted to infuse our faith into the overall feel of the blog. Not only do we share a street address, but we share the same Catholic faith – attending the same church and (our kids) the same school. Our faith is a daily part of our families’ live, and getting to share spiritual connections and experiences with each other’s children/families is a true blessing.
It just so happens that the Sycamore Tree has a religious connection!
The sycamore belongs to the same family as the fig tree. Its name comes from the Greek “sicon,” fig and “moros,” blackberry bush. The Sycamore has leaves similar to the blackberry bush and fruit similar to the fig. There are several biblical references to the Sycamore tree:
- In Jesus’ time, there were a great number of Sycamores in the Holy Land. Its wood was commonly used because the Sycamore’s wood is harder than that of a fig tree. Today, the sycamore is a rare tree in the Holy Land. Sycamores can be found in Jericho and in Gaza. One of them in Jericho is 15 meters high. The fig tree is never higher than 5 meters! (Sycamore trees stand tall and strong...like we try to do in our faith…families…and friendships!)
- During the time of King Solomon, "the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the Sycamores of the lowlands" (I Kgs. 10:27). (Sycamore trees could be found in abundance, but stood together…kinda like in the same neighborhood!)
- The fruit of the sycamore was considered as humble food. The prophet Amos, shepherd of Tekoa confirmed, “I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets. I was a shepherd, and looked after Sycamores: but it was Yahweh who took me from herding the flock, and Yahweh who said, "Go, prophesy to My people Israel' (Amos 7:14-15). (The prophet Amos lived among the Sycamores, spreading God’s Word by trying to live by example…we’re tryin’ to do the same!)
- Egyptian sources tell us that in ancient times the Sycamore tree was quite common in the Nile valley. It was known as the “fig of Pharoah,” and Egypt was known as “the land where the Sycamore tree blooms.” The Egyptians considered its shadow a delight. They used its wood to build coffins for mummies and made giant obelisks with it. They also dampened the wood and used it to crack rocks, including granite. (Though common, the Sycamore tree had unique and special purpose….we try to remind each other to remember this…and to instill this is our kids, as well—each and every person is unique and special in God’s eyes!!!)
- Likely the most well-known mention of the Sycamore is in the New Testament: “He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd; so he ran ahead and climbed a Sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today’ (Lk. 19:1-5). Zacchaeus was in search of the truth and took the first step – climbing up the Sycamore tree; Jesus takes the second one, calling him by his name. (The Sycamore supports the weight of those in search of God’s Word, allowing us to be called by name.)
And, what about the “Sisters”?
Well, we started off as neighbors (“Hey, honey! There’s a family two doors down that looks around our age!”)
… add some chit-chatting in the front yard
…+ additional kids around the same ages
…+ Julie invites Jen to be part of a Bible Study (with a few other fabulous, incredible women!)
…+ kids figuring out that they can have play dates pretty much everyday
…+ husbands coaching sports teams and kids being teammates
…+ carpooling to school each day…
… and what started out as “down the street” has become a super wonderful (“sisterly”) friendship between families…
… thus, Sycamore Sisters (whose kids now act like siblings…Sycamore Siblings!)!
Plus…we just liked how it sounded with “Sycamore”!