Parody of the Pickles…and Perseverance

If you’re receiving this post late, I’m so sorry. There was an issue with my website service.

“Julie,” my mother said. “We aren’t those kind of people.”

“What kind of people?”

“Pickle-making people.”

My husband Rick had just brought in a mountain of cucumbers from his garden and we planned to make pickles.

Cinnamon Red Hot Pickles.

Starting the tedious process I thought, What in the heck are we doing? Mother’s right. 

Our ingredients included strange things like ALUM and PICKLING LIME.

Here’s the recipe I’m warning you. It’s intimidating. The recipe says it takes three days, but we started at night. It took four.

Washing, peeling, and removing the seeds from 5,000 cucumbers was quite an ordeal.

Next we cut them into a million pieces.




We cheated and used the dishwasher to sterilize the jars.

With each step, my doubt grew.

We’re wasting our time.

Mother’s right. 

We aren’t pickle-making people. 

It was messy. Sticky. Exhausting.

One night after eleven o’clock, I was so sick of making pickles that I went to bed and left Rick stirring.

Somehow, we made a monumental mistake and bought the wrong kind of Red Hots. 🙁 Ours turned into clear rubbery balls that wouldn’t dissolve.

Nevertheless, Rick charged on, hoping they’d miraculously melt.

They didn’t.

By day three, red sticky syrup covered the counter. Cucumber seeds clung to the cabinets, the floor, and the refrigerator door.

The final morning before Rick left for work he asked me to do the next step.

“You’re kidding,” I said. “We’ve wasted enough time. Let’s just quit.”

“Nope. We’re not giving up.”

Feeling foolish and frustrated, I took the stupid cucs out of the fridge.

To my horror, they were pale green and pink. 

Not candy-apple red.

Then my mother called. “I tried to tell you,” she said.

Throwing the mess away, I decided NO MORE PICKLES. 

This is it. 

I’m done. 

But Rick wouldn’t give up. 

He went to four stores in search of the right kind of Red Hots.

He found them.

This time, he called his aunt for her recipe.

We started all over again.

But guess what?

It worked!

We did it! 

We made absolutely incredible Cinnamon Red Hot Pickles! 

Mother still can’t believe we’re pickle-making people. 🙂

I saved her a jar. 

If you’re working on something that seems impossible:

1. Tune out all negative thoughts. And comments. 🙂

2. Don’t be afraid to change your approach. (Aunt Jane’s recipe.)

3. Hang in there. Sometimes God’s favor comes when you least expect it.

Can you identify?

P.S. They’re gluten-free!


Julie and Rick




  1. Anna Haney says:

    This was well worth the wait. Interesting how this blog kind of ties into the theme of how we had to wait on your post this morning. I know that I have been to the point of just tossing my hands in the air and giving up on thing at many different points in my life. And in the instances where I stopped, took a deep breath, calmed my fears and re-did it, the results were amazing! Sometimes we all need to stop and listen.

    • I know, Anna! Couldn’t believe it! And you were so kind to hang in there with me. I still don’t think my post has been delivered to readers’ inboxes yet… hoping that happens soon.

      Amen, sister. I understand!! Been there so many times–to the point of almost giving up.


  2. But … but … pickles with no seeds or skin? And you started with the world’s hardest pickling recipe? Oh my. Yes, I can’ completely identify. I’ve learned to start at the beginning instead of the expert level, if I ever hope to try it again. 🙂 Congratulations on not giving up!

    • Oh, Flea.

      You’re absolutely right! And I had no idea this was even possible until this morning on Facebook someone pointed it out–leave the seeds in!

      And the skin too? I had no clue.

      Thank you for cheering us on!!!!


  3. You are the cutest and so is your mama! “We aren’t pickle-making people” … too cute. I’ll always remember that. I don’t think I’m a pickle-making people either … 🙂 But my grandmother was. She was a canning queen. Her and my grandfather. I have tried to make jelly once, and now I buy it from the store. 🙂

    • Shelli, you’ll never believe it, but just this morning….I started again. Making another batch of cinnamon pickles. My mother said I’m obsessed with it.

      The weird thing is, it’s good for my writing. My mind sort of goes numb, and while I’m chopping pickles, I’m plotting.

      Plottin’ and picklin’ 🙂


  4. Julie Gilleand says:

    Julie, Julie, all I could think of as I read this was that episode of Andy Griffith where Aunt Bee made pickles and although they were so awful, Andy didn’t want to hurt her feelings so he talked Opie and Barney into eating as many as they could, just to get ride of them. Only then, Aunt Bee thought they loved them so much, she’d better make another batch, lol. I’m glad yours turned out great, and just think, if you’d given up, you’d have never known that OR gotten to enjoy them! I’ve never made pickles (we’re not pickle-making people you know) before but next time I’m struggling with another project, be it cooking or writing or something at work, I’m going to remember this. I remember hearing that Thomas Edison tried 2000 times or so before he got a light bulb to finally work! When asked about all his previous failures he said he had never failed, he had merely found 2000 ways to NOT make a light bulb, lol. Enjoy your pickles and thanks for the good read this morning 🙂

    Leafy Julie

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Leafy!!!! I haven’t seen that one. I bet Rick has. Can’t wait to tel him!!!

      2,000 times?? Really?

      I can’t even imagine. And no way would I’ve hung in there for 1,999 more times!

      Hugs to you my friend. Hope little Liam is doing well!

  5. Jan says:

    They look beautiful! I’m not much of a pickle-eating person, but they look pretty!

    • Jan, that’s so kind of you to say–especially if you aren’t much of a pickle-eating person!!!

      thank you! Means so much!


  6. I can’t believe you made pickles!!! They look wonderful and I’m not surprised at all the Ricky wouldn’t give up! Great lesson in here J ox

    • Thanks, Robin.

      I just made more. Mother says I’m becoming obsessed and she’s seriously worried about me. Right now, my arms are sticky and so is my kitchen floor, but I have brand new collection of shiny red pickles on the counter. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. marci says:

    I agree with Anna, The Pickle story fit right in with getting your blog for this week. I have had a challenge seeing and commenting this time.

    It usually comes to my in box, but didn’t this time. Has not yet, and it is now after 6pm so maybe some others that depend on getting it in their in box have not gotten today’s either?

    Pickles! It takes some brave souls to take on pickles. I think that is the hardest thing to can. I started canning with my Aunt, when I was young, so at least I wasn’t having to figure it out. I haven’t made pickes in 37 yrs. I remember well the process, big tubs, and days it took. It sounds like you started with the hardest of the hard (pickling). I peeled, and sliced, and used a slicer for that. And no redhots. I bet yours taste really good.
    What a lesson though for all those challenges we go through. I like how Anna said it, about when we are ready to throw our hands up, but stop and take a breath, then begin again.
    I can think of several things where I needed this lesson. ..
    And there you are, brave soul, making more pickles! At least you know what it involves this time.

    When I canned, – I would put back some jars to have as gifts.. Bet your red-hot pickes would make a great Christmas gift, with a little circle of check cloth on top and a ribbon tie. Just a thought.

    Also– since your garden is coming in so well, have you thought of canning soup mix? A little of this and a little of that, some tomatoes, etc canned together. Great to add to stock in the winter for a great meal. If you can do pickles, soup mix would be a……”piece of cake”..

    Thanks as always for the life lesson which I always learn something from.

    God Bless,

    • Marci’a, I have the most brilliant friends. I love your ideas!!!!! I don’t sew. Can you buy the little can toppers? Wouldn’t that be adorable? And homemade soup….

      My blog yesterday–what a mess. There was an issue with Godaddy. They’re my webserver. I wasn’t able to access my website until 11:15 yesterday. It has to be up by a certain time to get delivered. Then Godaddy said it may not be delivered at all.

      So…..I just double posted it again. You may get it twice today. I hope not!

      Letting go….again. Love your sweet thoughts and heart.

      • marci says:

        Julie, I am so glad you like my ideas. That makes me feel good. As for the little toppers, there’s no sewing needed. Just some cloth. You can make a template out of cardboard, a piece from a cereal box or whatever (you can tell I do things on the cheap), Make a circle, large enough to go over the lid, and side of the lid. cut the circle of cloth. Place on top of the lid and tie with a ribbon, yarn, or even a stip cut from the cloth alround the side of the lid, WaaLaa! done! Just a little cutting required- no sewing. It can be done in a few minutes.

        I am still smiling about the timing of this blog, about the challenges you went through- and overcoming them, changing directions when you needed to. And your challenges with the website. It does give “Being in a Pickle” a whole new meaning. 🙂

        As for you making your blog so long it would be boring, (comment below) I don’t think that is possible!
        And I think each of us can think of something we have gone through– even recently that we can use the lesson here… We have all faced Pickle situations. and sometimes had to back up and start again. Thanks for making each of us think.

        The blog showed up in the in box today- but only once and that was from your repost.

        • Oh, Oh, Oh, Marci’a. I can do this! I can make little toppers!!!

          Hahaha, “being in a pickle.” 🙂

          Thanks for the scoop on the blog delivery. Glad it made it!

          Me 🙂

  8. Patricia Martin says:

    This sure sounds like my driving! I kept thinking that I am NEVER going to drive, but God-willing I am taking my driver’s license test next week. (); Hope your daughter’s move is peaceful! (; Where your pickles as tasty as you dreamed they would be? After all that hard work I bet you enjoyed those pickles very much and maybe you will inspire your family members to try something new. (((:

    • Ohhhhhh, Patricia. They’re delish!!! Wish I could mail you some–not sure if glass with liquid can be mailed? You’d love them. And we can eat them–they’re GF!

      Let me know what time/time you’ll be taking your test. I’ll pray.

      So much love,
      Your pickle-making friend.

  9. Marie says:

    Julie, is the recipe link Aunt Jane’s recipe? I’ve never heard of red hot pickles, but it sounds delightful! I know what you mean about trying something new being intimidating–I just placed an order for a whole bunch of peaches from our co-op with the desire to make peach butter–wish me luck! I’ve never canned either. But maybe after this, we can be can-can girls!

    • Marie, the link I used at the top of the blog was the one that didn’t work. I think it’s because we used chewy Red Hots instead of regular ones.

      I didn’t type in the recipe because the post was getting so long….I was afraid I’d bore everyone.

      Would you like for me to email it to you? Aunt Jane’s is really a lot simpler than that first one. 🙂

  10. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Julie Girl….love your pickle blog! And proud of you and Rick for persevering until you got it right. Great life lesson right there! And you learned it together!

    I use a recipe similar to yours but soak in ginger instead of the red hots (was never a fan of those). Our family loves “ginger pickles” and we try to make a couple of batches each season to share during the year with our siblings and daughters. We laughingly call them a “labor of love” because of the work it takes to produce them.

    Last week a relative shared the overgrown cucumbers from his garden. (Did you know you can also use watermelon rind for the same pickle?) Hubby peeled and I quartered them, removed the seeds, and yep, cut in a gazillion pieces! Soaked ’em 24 hrs in lime, 24 hrs in alum, 6 hrs in ginger, 4 hrs in pickling spice, vinegar, and sugar then boiled until they became translucent. Yep…a true labor of love…but I’ve got 18 pints in the basement to share! They are best the longer they “age” so we are eating pickles from 2014 this year while these “mellow”. Yep…a pickle you can’t buy! We like them best in the winter with dried beans or chicken and rice. Yum!

    Yep…some things in life are definitely “worth the wait”! Thanks for reminding us….Brenda

    • Brenda, I’ve never heard of Ginger Pickles but wow–they do sound delish! Labor of love–you’re not kidding.

      But the weird thing is, once I found out we could do it, I was so fired up! Guess what? I made a second batch–this time all by myself.

      Such Joy! Such Simple Joy!

      Hugs to you, my friend.

  11. Shelley Elaine says:

    Ooh, I haven’t thought of cinnamon pickles in yrs, but now you’ve thrown the most powerful craving on me

  12. Cathy Mayfield says:

    What fun to work together on a project like that! Way to go!

    My biggest “impossible” task has lasted for literally years! With 25+ years of homeschool supplies and portfolios and projects, 8 years of our own drama troupe and its costumes and sets/props, 40+ years of crafting supplies and unfinished projects, a virtual library of books and magazines, not to mention a LOT of writing materials from my “almost career” as a writer, our house – a trailer w/two room additions – spills chaos from every closet, hidey hole, flat surface, etc. Some stuff in boxes (at least a million) and some strewn around, waiting for a box. The shed for the craft stuff and the Christmas décor is still full of costumes and what-not, which means the other stuff is in the house. The carport hasn’t had room for a car since 1900 (okay, 2000)! It’s literally impossible!!!!!

    Every time I set a schedule, carve some time, either my back goes out or I get sick in some other way, making me unable to work on it. In all honesty, it’s been this way for at least 10 years, shoving stuff around on the table to eat, shoving stuff off the bed to sleep, shoving stuff out of the way to walk about the rooms. Maybe others can write in chaos, but I can’t. Even our wrap-around porch, complete with a swing to sit on and enjoy the creek, has so much stuff all over it, I can’t even locate the swing.

    So, let’s take a look at those three steps you mentioned. “Tune out all negative thoughts. And comments.” Awful hard to do when you finally get to the windows to open them and find wasps building between the panes, so they stay closed. “Don’t be afraid to change your approach.” I could write the book on this one! One box at a time – tried it. Do it in 15 minute segments – yep. Get help – 911 doesn’t like this sort of call. “Hang in there. Sometimes God’s favor comes when you least expect it.” Our married daughter and her husband ordered in a huge dumpster last fall, (before I went through with my idea of torching it all and starting over!) which we filled, cutting about 1% of the junk (maybe a bit more).

    At this point, I can’t see an end in sight. (Did I mention the 3 floods?)And with some current health troubles, I’m too weary most of the time. BUT, who’s complaining? Not me! I have a roof over my head (as long as I don’t stand under the leaks), clothing to wear (if I remember where the safety pins are to fix that shirt), and food to eat (if I can talk my husband into going to the grocery store – again). God has blessed me with a full life, a wonderful family, a creative mind, all of you, and soon, our first grandchild!! (Well, not till February, but close enough!) Nope, no complaints from me! 🙂

    • Cathy, I’m just smiling all over this response. Feels like we’re sitting together at either one of our houses, talking. You’re so honest. And transparent. And you see everything as a blessing. I love your spirit!!!!

      And you’re have a grandbaby on the way. Ohhhh, how wonderful!! Thrilled for you~~~~~

      Don’t you have a writer’s workshop coming up soon?


      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        The Montrose Christian Writers Conference was last week. It was incredible, as usual! Wonderful instructors and staff, for one. Gorgeous weather all week. Our grandbaby’s mama, Sarah, was able to go and had a great time, with none of the sickness she’d been having for the last two months! And we both came away with possibilities for projects to work on for future publication. Such an amazing week. 🙂 Thanks for remembering! You’re my pick for “someone you’d like to see come” on the evaluation sheet. I feel certain you would love it there. Your mother did; she and Gene fit right in and blessed all of us who came in contact with them.

        • So glad it was an amazing week, Cathy!!! Somehow, it slipped past me. I didn’t realize it had already happened. There’s just something special about a bunch of writers getting together. Kindred spirits.

          Thank you for your kindness. xoxox

  13. I kinda sorta thought you were already pickle-people! Must came with my assumptions about Georgia peaches (like you). Anyway, good for you for hanging in there (at Rick’s urging) and getting it done. I seriously would not have lasted that long for Cinnamon Red Hot Pickles (or whatever they’re called). But I love that you did it! And I love what you learned and how you shared it. That’s the best part of all.

    • Thanks, B.J. You always, always know just what to say.

      Yeah, I guess we’re pickle-people but not pickle-making people. And Mom texted me while I was at a doctor’s appt yesterday to tell me I had a typo. I’d said people-making people. Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I was lying in bed reading, and practically holding my breath! I have to say the pickles sound so delicious- my mouth waters. I’ve never heard of such a fun, but exhausting way to make pickles with a bit of pizzaz!

    I truly admire how you just kept going, despite those nudges to throw in the towel. We jut have to get out of the way of ourselves at times, right? I think you, and Rick, so beautifully demonstrated how to lean on each other! I can’t wait to share the recipe with my father-in-law! Thank you, Julie, and Rick too!

    • Thank you, Vicky!

      I can just see you laughing in bed. Made me to just thinking about it.

      They are incredible!

      Love you, my friend. So glad God connected us. xo

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