Guest blog by the late Jeane Gottsponer
[Jo’s Russell’s mother, Lance’s grandmother]

The little old pretzel bender wasn’t really very little. He was pretty tall for his age. He wasn’t really very old, either–just fourteen. Nor was this young fellow German, like most of his profession. His name was English and Scottish, but Lance was as Swiss as a yodel. And he was an avid bender of pretzels.

His very first try was the hardest and messiest knot he ever tried, a Gordian knot. Everyone knows untangling the Gordian knot was one of the labors of Hercules. Hercules managed to do it. Lance tried and tried. He couldn’t. The Gordian knot didn’t look anything like a pretzel and was hard as a dog biscuit.

There had to be a better way to bend a pretzel than a Gordian knot. Lance got out his old Boy Scout handbook and followed the directions for knot-tying. The overhand knot was easy. It looked a lot like the pretzels at Ed’s IGA. Next, he tried a knot called a figure of eight. Almost dislocated his shoulders working on that one, but it was a respectable-looking pretzel.

Then with varying degrees of success, Lance tried a slip knot, loop knot, a bowline, a square knot, a granny, a half-hitch and a prolong knot. The knots that turned out best, he sprinkled with salt. They were delicious!
He dipped the pretzels that ended up unrecognizable as knots into melted chocolate, which helped conceal slight imperfections. Since he had done a great job on the pretzel dough, all his pretzels were delicious, even if unrecognizable. Most non-Boy Scouts don’t know nuts about knots anyway.
Having tied several batches of pretzel dough into knots, Lance was ready to go one giant step further. He would make a birthday pretzel for his good friend and boss at the bicycle shop.

With a fresh batch of dough and a great deal of determination, he worked on the creation of a truly remarkable pretzel. He held his breath as the work of art tanned to perfection in the oven. At last it was ready for the world to see. The magnificent birthday pretzel.

Persistence paid off: the pretzel that filled an entire cookie sheet now spelled out his favorite brand at the two-wheel shop: SCHWINN.
[JCG 1994]


Persistence is a great quality in goals, requests, and prayer life. More than the usual three or four attempts, Lance kept pretzel-bending until he finished the special creation that wasn’t too hard or soft and tasted great!

To keep asking in prayer brings answers. Jesus used the illustration of a man coming to his neighbor’s door after everyone’s bedtime asking for bread because company showed up. The street market had been closed for hours. In those days, answering the door at midnight was more than just inconvenient and irritating. Everyone slept in the same room, so the man had to climb over his children and the rest of his family to talk to his neighbor. Jesus pointed that because of the neighbor’s persistence and boldness, the man would give him all that he asked for and needed.

Jesus himself said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Luke 11:9-10 NIV]

Pray, expect, ask again. Persistence pays off.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles buy her book from this site, Amazon and Barnes and or order from any bookseller. Keep checking her weekly blog on]

About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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The Choice We Have Between a Dead Egg and a Live Savior

Never Give Up!

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