Monthly Archives: August 2011

House Fire? No Problem!

“Can you tell me a story?” asks four-year-old Tommy. And once again, he chooses the story about the fire at Great-grandma’s. (Please see “Arson at the Nursing Home,” July 24, 2009)

Tommy thrills to the account of the neighbors pouring out of their warm, comfortable beds in the middle of the night to evacuate the nursing home residents. “Maybe Mr. Murphy said to Mrs. Murphy, ‘I’m warm and comfortable here, but I’m NOT going to stay in bed. Those old people need help.’ ” I say. “Then Mr. Murphy grabbed a blanket and Mrs. Murphy grabbed a coat and they didn’t walk—they RAN to help the old people.”

“If you’re still living in town and there’s a fire, I’ll come and get you out,” Tommy promises.

That reminds me of my pre-kindergarten days, when I lived beside my little friend Bill. There were two big kids on our block that used to torment me. One day as we saw the bullies walking by, I got riled. Really riled! “I’m going to push the house on you!” I threatened. Blissfully unaware of their impending doom, Timmy and Linda  laughed while Bill and I tried to topple the house. I’ll never forget how hard I tried, and how that house didn’t even budge!

As Tommy’s childhood invincibility gives way to reality, I pray that he will remain a hero and a helper. Our world needs more of both.

“David picked up his shepherd’s stick. He went out to a stream and picked up five smooth rocks and put them in his leather bag. Then with his sling in his hand, he went straight toward Goliath. . . . When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him.  He put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. . . . David had killed Goliath, the battle was over . . . .”

I Samuel 17 and 18 (Contemporary English Version)


Mosquito Bite Relief for Tina

Tina’s legs and ankles are covered with bites—evidence of a camping trip, and some very happy and extremely well satisfied mosquitoes.

It’s 10:30 p.m. and sleep is not even a remote possibility for my agitated little granddaughter. Four or five applications of calamine lotion have had little effect, and I can’t find any baking soda in Maria’s cupboard. I scratch the bites for her, but stop short of drawing blood—and of giving Tina relief.

“Some people say that God helps those who help themselves,” I say. “He likes us to try. What can we do to solve our problem?”

I spy some black tea in Maria’s cupboard, and remember that tea is supposed to have healing properties. What do we have to lose? I make some strong tea and apply the warm tea bags to a couple of bites. Ah, relief! I set Tina on a bathtowel on a corner of the couch with a washcloth and tea, and she soaks her bites until the itch has calmed.

Tina beams. “God knew I’d get mosquito bites,” she says, “and He knew you’d think of the tea!”

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed . . . .” Genesis 1:11

Running Free

 “I want to see my friends,” Tina announces after we’ve dropped Maria off at work. “I’ll show you where they live.”

“Hmm,” I think. “This should be interesting.” Tina has no friends in this part of town, and at five and a half she has a way to go before she’s a professional navigator.

But we have time, and I play along. Neither of us knows where we’re going, and Tina doesn’t know enough to tell the driver which way to turn before they reach the corner. She also says “Turn right” and points left!

It’s a circuitous route. Finally we arrive at a field near a construction site almost back where we started, just west of Maria’s workplace. Tina jumps out of the car to see her friends.

A field of friends! The yellow flowers are her friends, and so are the white ones. And the little thistle–she’s careful not to step on it–and the foxtails. Tina loves the foxtails, running through them and enjoying the soft brushes of long, softly colored grass on her arms.

A car stops near mine and a man gets out and starts walking toward us. I’m a little nervous. This is a big field, and there are just the three of us, the man coming our way, Tina and me. I send up a prayer, take out my cell phone and start walking toward him–and away from Tina.

My nervousness evaporates as I see how young he is and how gentle he looks, and read “Security” on his shirt.

 “How are you today?” he asks.

“Fine,” I answer, “but I think you’re nervous about us.” I explain that this little city girl is fascinated by the flowers. He’s fine with that, but asks us to stay away from the dumpsters.

Tina delights in running along the ruts made by the heavy equipment, and leaping from rut to rut. “Follow me,” she calls, wondering why I walk rather than run.

Tina sleeps well that night after the Bible story, and I give thanks for the little girl who counts foxtails and flowers among her friends.

“Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, Who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life.”

I Timothy 6:17 (Contemporary English Version)