Did you ever have one of those times when things just didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to be?  The latter part of last week was that way for me. 

Knowing I was leaving Wednesday afternoon to go to Lebanon (Indiana), I realized I needed to get my granddaughter Melody’s birthday card and present ready to mail.  I machine-embroidered a unicorn on a tee shirt, packaged it up, and put it in my vehicle.  Since I wasn’t close to a post office, I decided to mail it from the Meijer in Whitestown, as it was right off the interstate.  The girl at the Customer Service counter was unfamiliar with how to send a package, so she asked for help.  The lady that came to her aid seemed to be knowledgeable, and I was thankful to know that Melody’s present should reach her by Saturday, which was her birthday.

The purpose of my trip to Lebanon was to attend my granddaughter Vivian’s ballet recital Wednesday evening.  I went early so I would have time to spend with my son Jonathan’s family beforehand.  After enjoying the recital, I returned to their home and stayed all night, sleeping in the spare bed in grandson Elijah’s room.  Vivian wanted to be with Grammie as well, so she brought in her pillow and sleeping bag and stretched out on the floor.  It was a long evening, and we all stayed up way later than usual.

On Thursday morning, I left for home around 9:30.  The trip usually takes about an hour, so I thought I would be home around 10:30.  A friend was picking me up for lunch at 11:00.  Traffic wasn’t bad that time of day, which was a relief.  When it came time to transition from I-465 onto I-74, the exit signs reminded me that I could also take Southeastern Avenue from the same exit.  Since Southeastern Avenue goes through Wanamaker, I decided to take a slight detour.  I wanted some Roma green bean seeds, and I had not found them in Shelbyville.  I knew the feed and seed store in Wanamaker stocked it; since it wasn’t that far, I figured I had time to stop and get some. 

Thinking all was well, I started traveling down Southeastern Avenue.  Somehow, things didn’t look quite right, but since I hadn’t been that way for a while, it didn’t register in my tired brain that they were NOT right.  I kept noticing that the area was getting more run-down looking; however, it wasn’t until I went around a slight bend and saw tall buildings – VERY tall buildings – that I realized something was drastically wrong.  I glanced down at the compass in my car; it revealed that I was traveling northwest instead of southeast!  By that time, I was almost to downtown Indianapolis. 

I contacted my friend Nancy to ask if she could stop by for me at 11:30 instead of 11:00.  She agreed, and I decided I didn’t want to go back down Southeastern Avenue.  I drove across Washington Street (a.k.a. US 40) to Post Road, took it to I-74, and came home.  I pulled into my driveway at 11:10 a.m.  I had just enough time to grab a quick shower before Nancy came to get me.  Although I had been very frustrated at my mistake, I asked the Lord to use it for His purposes.  As I drove down Washington Street, I felt compelled to pray for people who lived and worked in the buildings I was passing.  My final prayer for them was after I arrived home – that there were people who received special blessings because of my intercession for them that day.  I love how the Lord used my mistake for His purposes.

Melody’s package did arrive in the mailbox on her birthday; however, it came to mine.  The helpful lady at Meijer didn’t know what she was doing, either; she miscategorized my parcel as a “large envelope.”  It had a “Postage Due” sticker on it for an amount that was almost twice as much as what I had already paid.  Oh, well.  I tried to be a good Grammie and get Melody’s present to her on time.  Now I will make a trip to the actual post office. 

My grandchildren are such a sweet part of my life – sweeter than candy.  June is National Candy Month, and thus the recipes for this week.  I had a couple of new ones to try; however, the damp weather is not conducive to candy-making.  Here are some old-but-good selections:

Gold Bar Candy

1 (3.5-ounce) box vanilla pudding mix (DO NOT use instant)

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 teaspoon liquid butter flavoring

2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a medium saucepan, combine first 3 ingredients.  Bring mixture to a boil and continue to boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and liquid flavoring.  Pour mixture into medium mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer at high speed 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is no longer glossy.  Stir in pecans.  Fill buttered plastic ice cube tray sections half full with mixture. Refrigerate until firm.  Remove candy from trays and wrap in foil candy wrappers.  Store in a cool place.

Yield: about 2 dozen candies.

Cinnamon Crunch Bars

1-1/2 packets cinnamon graham crackers

2 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 cup butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange crackers in a single layer (sides touching) on greased 10.5-by-15.5-inch jellyroll pan.  Sprinkle walnuts evenly over crackers.

In heavy saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.  Continue to boil syrup 3 minutes longer WITHOUT stirring; pour over crackers.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and slightly darker around edges.  Cool completely in pan.  Break into pieces.  Store in airtight container.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups shelled raw peanuts

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together the first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart glass bowl. Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes, using an 1100-watt oven (add 1 more minute if using a 700-watt microwave).  Stir in peanuts.  Microwave 3 more minutes in an 1100-watt oven (add 1 more minute in 700-watt oven).  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Microwave 45 seconds in an 1100-watt microwave (add 1 more minute in 700-watt oven) or until candy is the color of peanut butter.  Stir in baking soda (mixture will bubble).  Working quickly, spread hot candy in a thin layer onto a lightly greased baking sheet using two metal forks.  Cool completely.  Break candy into pieces.  Yield: 1 pound.