THE AMISH COOK: Gloria Puzzles Over the New Year
After having a week off, I'm ready to get in touch with you all again. Why not have a seat in my kitchen and join me as we chat over steaming hot chocolate? These days I keep thinking of life and jigsaw puzzles. You know how you keep straining your eyes, positive that there must be a missing piece somewhere till finally it just falls in place, and you wonder why it had been so hard to find.
As a busy mom with six little ones, I don't have the extra hours to dawdle over puzzles, but I do enjoy teaching my little ones the skill of putting them together. Somehow it reminds me a lot of real life. The reality that one day the puzzle will really be complete and the picture will be beautiful keeps drifting to the back of my mind. My puzzle pieces come in so many different shapes. It may be a fussy infant who can't talk, tell me what's wrong, or the question of why the adoption still hasn't gone through or why my dear friend needs to be battling cancer. The missing pieces leave gaping holes. What could ever fit in there? Why did some of these stark negatives ever transpire, anyway?
Then somehow, as I resign from my endeavors to figure it all out, and I leave it up to the Lord who designed the puzzle, the pieces begin to fall into place with hardly an effort on my part. The once stark negatives fade away as another corner of the masterpiece is being revealed. No longer are there pieces hopelessly strewn all over; now, every missing piece somehow gets replaced with more beautiful strokes as the painting is being revealed.
For me, there have been times when years pass by, and still, it just didn't all make sense why things need to be the way they are. But then, as I give the Master Puzzle designer all of the pieces, he once more begins placing pieces where I never thought possible, and the scene continues to unfold before my eyes.
When I was a teenager, my brothers and I would spend hours over puzzles; we began something new to help spur us on toward our goal. Each time we placed a piece, we'd have a triumphant, "Beep, beep!" Maybe, just maybe, if we'd share more freely with others about pieces in our lives that are coming together, we'd be encouraged along with those who have the opportunity of listening. It may be as simple as a little prayer being answered to find a missing sock or asking God what to make for supper. A friend recently shared with me how she often asks God what to make for supper; she testified how, without fail, an idea will pop in her head in time to feed her family dinner.
Not only do our little children enjoy actual puzzles, but there are also times my faith is put to shame by the simplicity of their faith. I love listening to them as they tell God that they need help with 'the puzzle of life,' which may be as simple as a lost toy. As they share it with Daddy, their joy of the answer to prayer is multiplied.
My friend, Lucy, and her family have been shining lights in this aspect. This fall, when Lucy was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we were all devastated. Now, as I look at Lucy's life, I see serenity and joy. That puzzle piece really looked ugly. "Why?" we asked. She's such a young girl- only 29! Without Jesus in her life, there would only be broken pieces, too jagged to fit anywhere; and now the Master Designer is weaving a picture in her life that is beautiful to behold.
Lucy, along with her family, is doing a fund-raiser to help pay her medical expenses. They are taking orders for anyone who wants a fresh homemade pie. So far, they have made close to 200 pies.
We have enjoyed every bit of every pie we got from them. They are undeniably good cooks and bakers. The children's favorite is peach, while Daniel and I opt for pecan blackberry.
One day when they had 65 pies to make, I had the opportunity to help with them for a while. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at their house, and I returned home with a renewed zeal to keep on keeping on.
So, my friend, take your hand, let's journey together, someday it will have been worth it all. Take only a step at a time; Jesus will be there to meet you and fit the broken pieces together!
Now that our cup of hot chocolate has been emptied, I'll be waiting to be in touch next week!
Maple Marshmallow Hot Chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, divided
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir in hot water,
add butter, bring to a boil. Add milk, maple flavoring, vanilla, and 8
marshmallows. Heat stirring occasionally, till marshmallows are melted.
Ladle into mugs and top each with a marshmallow.
Yield: 4 servings.