Monday, December 8, 2014

Costume Jewelry Brooches as Ornaments

For years I've been collecting pretty pins/brooches, most from the 50's and 60's.  The trouble is, they are way too fancy for the clothing I wear every day. I just don't dress up very often.

My brooches spent some time in a glass-topped display coffee table, but I wanted to use them in a different way.  So this year I hung them on a Christmas tree. 

Add an ornament hook and you've got a gorgeous addition to your tree.  Put them near a tree light and you'll make the most use of their sparkle potential!

Often pins can be purchased at garage sales, on Ebay, Etsy, or borrowed from your grandma's jewelry box.  Some aren't expensive at all.  Mine are vintage, but you can buy them new and sparkly too.

So sparkle up and enjoy!  Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Wreaths in 30 minutes

Have you seen the price of ready-made wreaths lately?  $100 and up!  Considering we have double doors and need to have double wreaths, I decided to make them myself.

And it wasn't hard.  I went to Hobby Lobby when they had 50% off their Christmas stuff and bought the materials which consisted of:

1.  a ready-made swag
2.  a roll of 6" mesh ribbon (30' long.  Plenty for more than two wreaths.)
3.  a roll of contrasting 21" mesh ribbon (30' long.  This is enough for two wreaths.)
4.  very thin, bendable wire

The swag I found  was naturally vertical, but I made autumn wreaths using horizontal swags, bending them into a straight line, and hanging them vertically. (see photo at bottom of blog.) So find a swag  you like and improvise.

The star of these wreaths is the wide mesh ribbon. It was also 50% off. 

To make the 21" wide ribbon into a huge bow, I folded it in on itself and sewed down the middle to hold it.  Do not use tape (as you see I did at the left, using masking tape to hold it) as taking the tape off will rip the ribbon!  And leaving the tape on there makes it too stiff to gather at the center of the bow.

Learn from my mistake and sew it by machine or even by hand, using a running stitch.

Gather up the bow at the middle and wrap thin wire around it, twisting the wire ends.  I LOVE this wire.  It's so easy to use.

Then make another smaller bow with the 6" mesh.  You don't need to sew this bow as being less wide, it's manageable as is. When it's created, wire it on top of the big bow.

To make the hangy-down parts of the bows, let the ribbon (which has been on rolls) do it's own thing!

Cut to the length you want and wire it to the center of the bows.  I just left it in one long length, folded in half at the top, but you can cut it into two if it works better for you.

Attach the ready-made swag into the of center of the bows with wire.  Voila!  These Christmas wreaths cost me about $40 each.  And they're huge.   The one for autumn was only $25.

So whether you need a wreath for spring, summer, fall, or the holidays, buy these four materials and in 30 minutes you're done!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Canning Cinnamon Pear Sauce

A family of pears:  Papa, Mama,
Teen, and Baby
One of the best gifts my parents ever gave me was a pressure cooker for canning.  Over the years I've canned applesauce, peaches, salsa, and pears. I'd like to try tomatoes...

A task for another day.

Today I'm dealing with pears. My sister has a pear tree in her yard and just gave me a huge box of them.  You can't refuse or ignore free fruit, so I decided to can them.

Here are my step by step instructions:

You will need:

1.  a pressure cooker canner.  Mine hold 7 quarts or pints.

2.  another big kettle to boil the fruit in.

3.  a strainer on a stand with a one-handled rolling pin

4.  Canning Mason jars with the metal rims (that you can use many times).  You can get pint jars or quart jars.  I like the wide-mouth jars the best.

5.  dome lids.  You use these once and discard. The jars you buy have them already, but you'll need more if you keep canning in the future!
6.  wide-mouth funnel that fits on top of jars
7.  Pears or apples
8.  red hot candies
9.  Vitamin C tablets (capsules also work, but tablets dissolve better.) 

Walmart has these supplies.  Or Amazon.

1.  Wash the fruit and the glass jars.
2.  Put a big kettle of water on to boil
3.  Quarter the pears.  I cut off the stem, but you don't have to peel or seed them.
4.  Put them in the water and boil them until a sharp knife can cut them with no effort

5.  Pour them into a big colander to drain off the water.  They are nice and mushy now.
6.  Place your strainer over a bowl (mine is handily on a stand) and using a wooden one-handle rolling pin, strain the mushy pears into the bowl.  The seeds and skin stay behind, and the delicious pear sauce strains through. You'll have to do this many times, and will also have to repeatedly scrape out the inside of the strainer to get rid of the pear parts to discard.

7.  Stir in some red-hot candies and sugar.  Or not.  Make it to your taste.  I used about 1/4 c. candies for the bowl you see (that held enough sauce for 3+ pints), and 1/4 c. sugar.  But sometimes I've used no sugar at all.

8.  Using the wide-mouth funnel, fill the jar to 1/2" from top
9.  Add one Vitamin C tablet.  This prevents the fruit from changing color.  It's mostly for use if you want to can fruit slices in a sugar syrup (see directions at the end of the blog), but I always put it in the sauce jars too.  Habit.  And more vitamin C is a good thing!
10.  Wipe off the top of the jar rim with a towel (so it will seal well) and put a flat lid on it, then screw on the metal ring. 
11.  Place the jars in the pressure cooker in a circle, with one in the middle.  In my cooker I can get six around the sides and one in the middle. It's okay if they touch.  Read the directions for your pressure cooker, but mine says to add 2 quarts of water around the jars.
12.  Secure the pressure cooker lid and place the jiggle-pressure bauble (what IS the term for this?) at 5# pressure on top of the cooker.
13.  Turn the burner on high.  When the bauble starts bobbling (ha!) and continues to bobble about 4 times a minute, it means the air inside the cooker has been removed.  NOW start timing.  10 minutes. You can turn the heat down to Medium Hi, but you want the bauble to keep making noise at 4 bobbles /minute.  It can be more, but not less.
14.  When the ten minutes is up, turn off the heat and leave it alone!  This is very important for your safety.  I set the timer at 45 minutes and leave it alone for that amount of time.
15.  After 45 minutes, open the lid, but angle it toward the back because you will be releasing a lot of steam.  Carefully remove the jars to a towel on the counter.  You can use a fancy jar grabber tool, but I just use a towel.  The jars are very hot!
16.  Leave the jars alone to cool.  No breeze, just naturally. After 8 hours or so you can remove the metal screw-top lids.  The tops of the gold dome lid should be indented, meaning there is a good seal!  I like to write the date on the lid with a Sharpie.

Voila!  I made 7 pints of pear pieces and 13 pints of pear sauce!  It took 3 hours.

More directions:  To can pear pieces (you can see them behind the sauce above), I peeled and cored the pears, but did not boil them because they were ripe already.  I added a sugar water--sweet to your taste--to 1/2" from the top.  Add Vitamin C and repeat #10-16.

I know there are other methods, but this is the way my mom taught me, and I'm not going to argue with her (she's 93!)  Try canning.  It will make you feel so domestic and healthy!

Check out other food items I've pinned on Pinterest!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Leaf in the Forest

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
Isaiah 32: 3
If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?
We didn’t know where we were—but we weren’t lost.
My husband and I love New England in the fall.  We’re “leaf peepers” (that’s an actual term.) Our agenda?  To have none.  No schedule, no reservations, and no goal other than seeing what each day had in store.

Our pattern is this:  we get up early, eat breakfast, and head out on country roads, taking the odd turn here and there on a whim, depending on our trusty GPS to get us back to civilization.  Our aim?  To be surprised and discover a perfect vista of golds, rusts, and reds that makes us gasp in awe and delight.  When we hit the season right, our “Oooh!” quotient runs high and the view around every bend seems to one-up the last.

The day of the incident (and I call it an “incident” merely to entice you to keep reading) we were driving in eastern New Hampshire and found a highway that bordered that state, just inside Maine (Highway 113 if you’re interested.)  It was a narrow two-laner, with huge trees edging the road, nearly encroaching on it, and hanging overhead like a canopy.  We drove through an amazing tunnel of leaves.

There was no traffic.  None.  It was as if we were alone in the world.

But we hadn’t seen anything yet.

My husband kept saying, “I can’t believe this road!  I can’t believe these trees. . .”  Then suddenly, he put on the brakes, and did a three-point-turn-around, right there on the highway.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“You’ll see.”

He drove back a hundred feet and pulled onto a narrow shoulder.  He turned off the car.  “Come on.”

He led me to a small sign at the side of the road that marked a hiking trail.  Small sign.  Easily missed.

But he hadn’t missed it.

Thank God.

We walked single file into the woods, the path more like a deer trail than one meant for humans.  The trail was thickly carpeted with leaves and it was evident no one had passed this way for ages.   Perhaps ever. 

As I picked up a red leaf as big as my hand, and then an orange one, then a bigger yellow one, I was like a kid in a candy store.  “Look at this one!”  Soon I had a leaf bouquet, their colors as vivid as if I’d dipped them in vats of paint.

It didn’t take long for us to be deep enough into the woods to lose track of the road, to be fully encased in this netherland beyond our own.

When I allowed my gaze to move from the floor of the forest upward, I saw that we were experiencing showers—not of rain but of leaves.  For all around us leaves fell from the trees, dancing their way from branch to ground, landing on our heads and letting us catch them with the simple effort of an outstretched hand.

Without agreeing to it, both of us stopped walking and stood perfectly still, a dozen feet between us.  We faced each other, our heads shaking back and forth in utter incredulity.

“Listen,” I whispered.

I heard Mark take a breath and hold it.  I did the same. 

And then it happened.

My eyes caught sight of one specific leaf.  I watched as it let go of its branch and sashayed to the ground, turning, bowing, floating . . .

And then I saw it touch the ground between us.

I heard it touch the ground.

I heard it.

I looked at Mark.  The awe in his face revealed that he had seen it too; heard it land.

All logic said it was impossible to hear the moment when a floating leaf meets the ground.  The sound is too infinitesimal, the decibel-level un-measurable to the human ear. 

And yet . . . we’d both heard it on a trail never-traveled, off a solitary road in Maine.

We were reluctant to leave that place, and when we got in the car and turned on the engine, the sound seemed a sacrilege.  Yet as the road led us to a town, and people, and the world and its worries, we looked upon all of that busyness with new eyes that understood what really mattered. Neither of us has ever forgotten what happened in the woods.  It was the highlight of the entire trip, a moment when God led us to a special place to show us something.

Just for us.

Just because.

If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?

Oh yes. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Wearing Underwear and Other School Necessities

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1: 9

 "School days, school days, dear old broken rule days."

Three months ago our kids sprang into summer. Hurdled—dragging us with them. But now that school is back, it's like trying to stuff a puffy pillow into a pillow case.  I want to hold them by their waistbands and shake vigorously.  You vill fit into this.

We’ve all had our fun—or whatever that was—and normal beacons.  Unfortunately, our kids will not go down without a fight.  To help them surrender their summer freedom without calling out the National Guard, take note of these valuable back-to-school rules:

1.  Thou shalt get up on time. During summer, my kids got up when they woke up, so a week before school starts, I play my oldie-goldie favorites.  Full blast.  At 7 a.m.   The effects of "Rock Around the Clock" and "Shout" on a child's sleepy mind makes the intrusion of an alarm clock seem mellow once school actually begins.

2.  Thou shalt wear shoes.  Shoes are for civilized people— not my kids.  Unfortunately, schools have the rule, "No shirt, no shoes, no service" (do flip-flops count?) Therefore, I take advantage of the shoe company's ad campaigns and point out how fast they'll be able to run, jump, and play with rubber cushioning their little piggies. Gullibility can be a gift.

3. Thou shalt wear underwear.  During the summer, my kids live in their swimsuits (it does save on laundry). But since school officials frown at the smell of chlorine and too much skin, I  relegate the faded suits to the nearest toxic waste site. Then I buy my girls some of those Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday underwear to remind them that the days of the week have names. For our son?  A package of spanking new whitie-tighties.  What can I say?  They’re a classic.

4.  Thou shalt eat at a table.  With chairs.  And napkins.  And even a fork.  After spending the summer eating between ball games, water fights, and Barbie marathons, I set the table and make them sit down and eat.  If they say please and thank you, I toss them a cookie.  Good dog.

5.  Thou shalt stop growing.  The age-old goal is to get last month’s Visa bill paid before they outgrow their new clothes.  That hasn't changed, but styles have. Remember the thrill of wearing a special first day of school dress or shirt?  And new school shoes?  Crisp. Neat.  It's hard for a tee-shirt—new or not—to be crisp.  And a pair of baggy shorts and untied sneakers are eons away from neat (and that's my daughters’ attire.)  As for the extra inches they keep adding to their physiques, try the old book-on-the-head trick.  It's a good way for them to get in touch with the dictionary.

6.  Thou shalt read.  The end of summer signals the downloading of muscles and the uploading of the brain. A week before school starts, I make them read quietly for an hour a day.  When they ask what they did to deserve such punishment, I tell them this is the way it was done in olden times.  At this point, if they reference my age, they have to read for two hours.  Want to try for three?

7. Thou shalt remember 1 + 1 = 2. If you've been good parents (exceptional, extraordinary parents) you've made your child read, practice their clarinet, and add random numbers throughout the summer to prevent brain mush.  However, if you've been busy figuring out how to keep them safely occupied while you’re at work, or what to make for lunch for three months, you may have accepted brain mush as a viable summer alternative.  If so, you need to reintroduce the concept of math. Take the kids shopping and ask them to figure out how much their jeans cost at 40% off.  Or how about:  If Mom and a carload of kids leave the house at 2 o’clock to go on errands, traveling at 45 mph until the kids spill their drinks in the car after five minutes, how many minutes—and miles—will it take for said mother to decide to go home and shop online?  After taxing their brains in such a manner they'll be eager to get back to school.

8.  Thou shalt listen.  No, not to their computer, I-pod, Game-boy, cell-phone, or TV.  And not even to you.  For during the craziness of summer haven’t even you sometimes forgotten to linger in the silence, to hear your own breath go in and out, to savor now.   For how can we hear what God has to tell us if we constantly have noise inundating our lives?   He listens to us.  Isn’t it time we return the favor?  “But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." (Habakkuk 2: 20)  So shush yourselves. Turn everything off.  And listen to the Teacher of the universe.

9. Thou shalt breathe a sigh of relief.  This advice isn’t just for us parents.  Even kids get tired of summer and long for—

Never mind.  Number nine is just for parents, because after enduring the question "But Mom, what can we do now?" 275 times (and coming up with 270 good answers and 5 questionable suggestions) we need to rejoice in the fact that our child's pain is our gain, and wallow in the upcoming nine months of school. 

Until next summer—when we’ll forget everything we learned and make the same mistakes.  Don’t fret it.  That’s just the way it is—and has been since time began.  “Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.”  (Ecclesiastes 1: 17) 

Wisdom, madness, folly . . . that’s summer.  Enjoy it.  Every chaotic minute.  For this too shall pass. 

Too quickly.





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Collecting Attributes

Each man has his own gift from God;
one has this gift, another has that.
1 Corinthians 7: 7

I'm a collector from way back. As a child I collected fancy paper napkins. In high school, candles. Pitchers, irises, fans. I've enjoyed my collections, even as I've abandoned one for another. There’s joy in the searching, joy in the gathering, and joy in the sharing. And for me, the search usually starts where there are antiques.  My favorite haunts are antique shows where dozens of dealers assemble their booths, teasing me with aisles and aisles of displays, just waiting for me to dive in. And drool.

As I enter such a show, my eyes scan the booths, skimming past the Fiestaware, the Depression glass, and the Monkees lunchboxes. Like a missile locking onto its target they find what they are searching for: antique purses.

Ooh, there’s a beaded one from the twenties. And another marked with a Whiting and Davis stamp. There’s a Lucite purse from the fifties (the fifties . . . does this mean I’m an antique?) The purses are not in perfect condition, but the fact they have missing beads, torn linings, and tarnished handles only adds to their character. I make allowances.

I usually enjoy such gatherings, quite willing to drown in the smell of old wood and dust. Yet on one day, in such an antique-lover's paradise, I had trouble concentrating. Among the Chippendale chairs and the tin toys I was drawn to the dealers instead of the deals. A lady from Texas greeted every customer with a firm handshake and a southern drawl. A dealer from Oregon charmed with a soft voice, wearing a veiled hat. Another had a laugh that ricocheted off the glassware. Turns out the people were as interesting and unique as the items they sold. They were collectable.

That's when I started collecting people—or at least their attributes Smiles, thank yous, the twinkle in their eyes. The way they sang in their cars, kissed their baby's nose, or offered me their place in line. The by-product of collecting strangers' attributes was that I began to open my eyes to some attributes in my own backyard.

I now notice how my husband always warms my ever-cold feet when we share the couch—without me even asking.  I enjoy how our oldest daughter Emily emails photos of family events within a few hours of getting home (I am quite willing to relinquish the pressure of chronicling every gathering to her able hands.) My heart swells when I watch the face of our son Carson light up when he makes his new baby smile (wasn’t he a baby just yesterday?) And I marvel at the stories our youngest daughter Laurel shares (she's a special-ed teacher) about the students that challenge her—and that are changed by her.

Once I started to look at the amazing qualities within my own family, it became easier to skim past the parts of their personalities I didn't want to collect. For just like antiques, my family is not in perfect condition—and shocker—neither am I. Yet the fact we have missing beads, torn linings and tarnished handles only adds to our charm, and even our value.  I make allowances for them, and I appreciate them doing the same for me. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)

Although my collections come and go, I hope I never give up collecting attributes. There is joy in the searching, joy in the gathering, and joy in the sharing. There is good happening all around us if only we open our eyes and see it. The special looks, idiosyncrasies, and attributes of the people in our lives make them as collectable as precious treasure. And as such, they are . . .





Monday, July 21, 2014

Bosom Buddies

"A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
                                                                                       Proverbs 18: 24
True friends are as rare as lightning in a blizzard—and just as dazzling.

I'm friendly.  I can talk to a total stranger and hopefully make them feel at home. I can negotiate the proper party mingle, and can even be quite witty with a plate of cheese and crackers in my hand.  But as far as enjoying many deep down bosom-buddy friendships?  Only a few have brightened my life.

When I lived in Nebraska I had one particularly good friend, Katie.  She and I met while we were both appearing in the chorus of "Annie" at the community playhouse. Within minutes of meeting each other we fell into the easy rhythm of lifelong friends. We listened, we laughed, we gave advice, and kept secrets.
But then, after seven years of friendship, I moved to Kansas.And I missed her. She was as bad a letter writer as I was, so we made due with a few visits and phone calls (this was in the olden days—before emails and Facebook.)  Without contact, we drifted apart.

One day, feeling rather sorry for myself, I prayed that God would bless me with another bosom-buddy friend.  I knew I was asking a lot, and I was pretty much resigned to having a life full of numerous acquaintances but few sisters when  . . . the name "Katie" popped into my head. 

"No, God.  Not Katie in Lincoln.  A new friend, here in Kansas."

I didn't think about my prayer until two weeks later when I went to a Christian writer’s group for the first time.  It was a wonderful evening. Their openness and willingness to talk about how they had experienced God working in their lives was true inspiration.  After the main meeting, when we sat around drinking iced tea and eating goodies, I found myself next to a woman who had the most beautiful freckled skin and red hair.  And when she smiled . . .  We got along famously, our laughter and camaraderie drawing the envied notice of other members.  "You two act as if you've known each other forever."  That's what it felt like.  Friends forever.
I went home thrilled to have found a new friend.  The next day I wrote her a note, taking a risk by exposing my hopes that our friendship would grow and even putting myself on the line further when I recounted my prayer for a best friend.  I sent the letter, feeling foolish, vulnerable—and hopeful.  Oh, well.  If nothing came of it, I wouldn't be any worse off than I was before.
Katy McKenna and me

A few days later, she called.  My note had made her day. We met for lunch and talked for two and a half hours over burgers and fries.  To have a friend I could talk to about God and family and writing . . . she was truly an answer to prayer.
And not surprisingly . . .

Wait for it . . .
Her name was Katy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trying to Earn It

Faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11: 1

I admit it.  I am a cause-and-effect person.  Logic rules. 

Some of the cause-and-effect lessons learned are pretty mundane:  if I eat the entire carton of cherry chocolate-chip ice cream I won’t have room for dinner—among other consequences.  If I don’t clean the kitchen my mother will stop over unannounced.

There are heavier situations where this also applies.  If I want my husband to listen to me, I have to listen to him.  If I want to get a book published, I need to work hard.  Very hard.

I find comfort in this logical progression of action and reaction.  I can depend on it. I am most comfortable with people and circumstances that fit into this mold.

Enter God.  And faith.  And prayer.  Not just any prayer.  Big prayers for important, heartfelt needs.

Everybody has them, those worries that test our faith and make us wonder if God is listening, because if He is, why is the answer taking so long?

In my case it wasn’t even a question of yes-or-no, but when.

I won’t go into the details of the current prayer of my heart, because I want you to think about your big prayers, the ones that linger . . .  .

A big part of my problem with the waiting stems from my cause-and-effect attitude.  If I did thus-and-so surely God would answer my prayer.  Going along with my pragmatic nature, the thus-and-so has evolved as time went along. Trial and error, you know.

Yet no matter what I did I still didn’t have an answer to my prayers other than “no” or “wait”.

I am not a “no” or “wait” person.

But I am tenacious.  Call that stubborn.  If praying one way didn’t work, I’d try another.

And another.

And another.

Prayer is a wonderful thing, it’s our intimate connection with God.  He calls us to pray. And yet, I began to realize the way I was using prayer was more like a bargaining chip than an offering of love and respect to my Creator.  Over and over I let logic be my prayer-mentor, even as I followed the instructions of the Bible:
If I prayed without ceasing surely God would answer my prayer. “Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (I Thessalonians  5: 16-18)

No answer.

If I boldly went before the throne and asked for this prayer of my heart, surely God would answer my prayer.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4: 16)

If I specifically asked for God’s will to be done, surely I’d get an answer.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (I John 5: 14)

No answer.

If I made sure I said, “in the name of Jesus Christ my Savior” at the end of each prayer, surely God would answer my prayer. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14: 14)

No answer.

If my husband and I (and others) prayed for our need, surely it would be answered.  "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18: 19)

No answer.

If I tried real hard to be perfect, was nice to everybody . . . and giving, and loving, had quiet time with the Lord thirty minutes each and every day, went to church, sat right up front …

No answer.

If I prayed humbly, meekly, loudly, softly, on my knees, arms up-raised, prostrate on the ground, through tears…

No answer.

If I acted like I didn’t care…

Never mind.

I’d  been praying two and a half years and had utilized all these methods of getting God to answer me.  What was I doing wrong?

A revelation came to me one morning when I took a walk to get the paper.  I love this daily task when the day is fresh and new.  Each morning there is a different sunrise, and I look forward to seeing what new beauty God has created.  But on this particular day I was struck with a thought:  God makes a different sunrise every day for no reason other than He wants to create this beauty for us—as a gift.

As a gift.

As.  A.  Gift.

What had I been doing wrong?  I’d been trying to make my prayers be answered!  The praying was right.  The faith was right.  But thinking that I had to DO something SAY something THINK something or BE something as a requirement for God answering my prayer . . . as logical as those attitudes are within the secular world, they are completely off base in the world of faith.

God would answer my prayer not because of me, but because He loved me.  He would answer my prayer as a gift freely given, lovingly given.  There were no conditions to be met or hoops to jump through.  As with salvation, the answer to my prayer could not be earned, only given through God’s grace and love.

All He asked of me was to believe in Him and in His son, Jesus.

I stopped on the driveway and faced the gift of the sunrise, and there I suddenly knew the answer was surely coming—in God’s time . . . because He loved me.

I needed to stop trying so hard.  I needed to trust Him.  Love Him back. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37: 4)

I’m still waiting.

And honestly, it’s hard for me to let go of the logic and control and let God be God. And it’s hard for me to quit judging myself against a standard that even God doesn’t insist on.

But I’m determined.  And hopeful.  And . . .

Better off.  Because of the delay in His answer I now have a stronger faith and I am waiting a little more patiently in the knowledge of His love for me.

God answers all prayers.  That keeps me going.

P.S.  You’ll never believe this—or perhaps you will.  Two days after the sunrise revelation, I wrote this article, and ten days after that…God answered my prayer!  So don’t give up.  You may not be waiting on Him.  Maybe He’s waiting on you…