pancakes on plate
Daily Life, Discover Your Dream

Pancakes Are Sweeter When You Add Syrup

Every January, I celebrate the new year with a stack of homemade pancakes and round tables filled with friends. Blueberry, chocolate chip, even old-fashioned original pancakes—the baked scents reminds me life is good. The year is new. And I have people to share it with.

This year was different. There was only one person at my table.

Instead of celebrating within the walls of a welcoming church I’ve grown to love in Reno, I ate my pancakes on the back patio of well-worn restaurant joint in Southern California.

pancakes on plate

You see, last year on March 4th, Anthony and I moved from our Nevada home to pursue our dreams. I’d chosen “Dream” as my defining theme for 2013, and we reached the pinnacle rather unexpectedly early. In Los Angeles, I joined a creative team of exceptionally talented individuals in the bustling city, and Anthony began to write and revise his fantasy novels, the Shade of Silver trilogy.

What I didn’t know at last year’s start is that to “dream” is to accept change.

In Reno, we had grown deep roots. We had developed friendships, built careers. 

In Los Angeles, we were uprooted. Take a plant out of its pot, and place it on the dinner table. See how long it lasts. Plants need soil. They must have roots, or they will die.

I had been grieving the loss of my Reno roots for a while. But when we ordered pancakes on a Sunday morning, far from the church where we first experienced the New Year tradition, we memorialized. It was a good kind of remembering. We laughed, and we joked, and we reminisced. 

Then we looked across the metal bar that separated us from the sidewalk in this warm “winter” weather, and we knew: We need roots here.

Earlier that morning, at a different church located in Burbank, a pastor named Billy spoke from a slightly raised stage. “If you had a plant that wanted to bear fruit, but it never saw the sun, it wouldn’t grow any fruit.”

I’ve stayed away from the sun lately. It’s a poor effort to keep the thoughts at bay—in which I wonder about my decision to dream.

“Every good renovation starts with some demolition,” the pastor spoke, and for the first time in a long time, I listened. “God is not afraid of the toxic places in your life.”

This year, I want to remember where I’ve come from without wishing for the past. I need this plant to be pruned. I need mildewed leaves removed, and I want to see the sun. I want to make peace with this city, to find the soil and grow deep roots.

As Anthony and I talked about this, the waitress with dark hair and thick black eyeliner delivered our dishes. The golden pancakes on my plate were dashed with powdered sugar and a thick helping of whipped cream. Beside them, a tin cup of warm syrup waited.

Across the table, Anthony grinned at his berry-laden breakfast, and the waitress walked through the diner’s back doorway.

“Hey, Anthony,” I said and poured syrup on my pancakes. “Can we use your phone to take a picture?”

He agreed, held out his hand and aimed the camera. We both leaned in. Click.

A&A with pancakes

I won’t stand amid the demolition rubble any more.

This year, I’m choosing to rebuild.


Pans and Pickpockets Challenge: What theme will you pursue this year? What’s one word you’d choose for 2014?

Words and photos: Ally Siwajian © 2014


8 thoughts on “Pancakes Are Sweeter When You Add Syrup

    • Peter, thanks for sharing these devotionals. It’s great to read your thoughts more fully on the subject of growth too. This part of your writing really resonated with me: “Out of love, the Father prunes us. … If it feels like you’ve been snipped, then get ready. It may also be time for divine growth, new fruit, and a fuller life.” Now that’s encouraging!

  1. Always enjoy your articles. During our years in missions, we settled, uprooted and moved over and over. It was always sad to leave friends,,,(but they were friends forever) , but we finally learned to accept the move and then after a bit find new friends who would be friends forever. Even now when we re-connect, we just pick up where we left off. The best part is all the memories that we take with us wherever we go. We miss you guys, dear friends.

    • Thank you, Willie! It’s so encouraging to always see a comment from you or Diane on my posts. We miss you both too!

      I really like your idea—of finding new friends who become friends forever everywhere we go at every stage of life. What an awesome way to go about life! I’m definitely going to borrow this idea, Willie. Thanks for sharing what’s worked for you guys!

  2. Diane Williams says:

    Another great post, Ally! My word or 2014 and my theme is “DEEPER” I want to go deeper in my relationship with God, deeper in relationships in my relatively new soil here in Reno, deeper in my marriage which I treasure more each day and deeper in loving life! We miss you and Anthony! Diane Sent from my iPhone


  3. Terrie Patton says:


    As usual, I loved this article. I love all your articles, but it was interesting to read this one in comparison to the first one you wrote in Reno with the word “Dream”. God has brought you a long way, and I am so proud of the person you have become and the passion you bring to the table through your blogs. My word for 2014 is “intentional.” A rather odd word by itself, but when combined with other words I believe will be a very powerful year for me. I choose to live each day of 2014 with “intentional” Joy! I want the Lord to “intentionally” interrupt me from my daily routine to speak a word of encouragement to others; to “intentionally” love others as Christ loved us; to listen “intentionally” when others need to talk. I want to “intentionally” pursue the things of God more this year. I am expectant and “intentionally” looking for everything God has for all of us this year. Thank you for the challenge.

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