Monthly Archives: July 2012

From Tears to Cheer

Richard and I are sorting and packing for our move down the road when the phone call comes. Tommy’s crying so hard I can hardly make out what he’s saying, except that his mommy threw some toys in the garbage. Finally I understand that she threw them out because the strings were tangled, and she was only able to save one.

Tommy’s really hurt. He’s made a “KEEP OUT” sign for his door so Mommy won’t go back in.

“I’m going to pray,” I tell him. “Dear God, thank You that Tommy’s mommy loves him SO much, and thank You that he has one toy left. Some boys and girls don’t have any toys, and maybe Tommy will help them when he grows up.”

“I have lots of other toys, but I just have one of those,” he interjects.

“Thank You that he has so many other toys, and maybe he’ll help the boys and girls with no toys when he grows up. Please help him to have a good sleep and feel better tomorrow.”

“I feel better already!” Tommy announces. It would be dumb to put the “KEEP OUT” sign on his bedroom door now … he certainly doesn’t want to do that any more!

So, what to do with the sign? Tommy considers changing it to “Keep off the treadmill if you’re under five years old.” Lisa thinks that’s an awesome idea.

We finish our conversation with a funny story about Lisa, age one year, scolding a pile of mashed potatoes into which Uncle Fred had arranged some peas to make a smiley face. Never had mashed potatoes suffered such a reprimand!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine . . . .” Proverbs 17:22 (King James Version)


Ambulatory Technician and Master Chef

It’s no easy task for someone who has travelled the world to adjust to life in a nursing home. But Great-grandma is working at it, and the family wants to help.

One day Tina accepts a critically important mission: walk behind Great-grandma’s walker with the wheelchair. Maria walks by Great-grandma’s side for support, and I go in front to take pictures.

Six-year-old Tina has to adjust her pace often, not going too fast or she’ll bump Great-grandma’s feet, and not going too slowly because the oxygen tank is on the wheelchair.

Caught up in the moment, I tell Tina to look at me and smile. She does—for a fraction of a second. Then she ducks her head down to check on the location of Great-grandma’s feet.

I’m impressed.

Another day we go out to the nursing home courtyard, a large grassy area with tables, chairs, bridges, flower beds … and a rabbit. Tina chases the rabbit and a skittish robin, charges through the grass on Great-grandma’s walker, and finally settles down to make dinner.

Each of us receives a leaf plate, and Tina takes our orders. Maria wants prime rib. I’d like a baked potato with the skin on, and Great-grandma wants hers without the skin. Our entrees look suspiciously similar—broken leaves—and we consume them with enthusiasm. 

Maria orders cherry pie for dessert, and Tina has a surprise for me—broccoli-stuffed cauliflower. I pick the seeds off my pine cone, complimenting the server/chef on her marvelous dessert creation.

Great-grandma basks in the beauty of nature, the love of family and the happy creativity of a little girl.

. . . teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12, King James Version

An Unusual Babysitter

“Thank you for saving Grandma’s life,” says Tina as she strokes Great-grandma’s beautiful tortoiseshell cat (please see “She Wants to Live”–A Christmas Like No Other, December 26, 2010 ).

That reminds me of a story my friend Jen shared with me one Sunday:

Her parents had a large piece of land where her dad hunted deer and moose, and raised cattle. He used dogs to herd the cattle. One of the dogs, a collie lab cross named Skippy, used to “herd” little Jen. Skippy wouldn’t let Jen go into deep water, quicksand or thick bush, but she walked the two miles to Grandpa and Grandma’s home with the little girl.

My friend remembers her city cousin’s amazement: “You can go anywhere the DOG lets you?”

When Jen was a toddler, her dad took her with him while he worked on the fence. Skippy came along to babysit. Suddenly Dad looked up to see that both Jen and her protector had left the scene. “Jen! Jen!” he called. No response.

“Skippy! Skippy!” The dog barked, but wouldn’t come. “Skippy, come here!” More barking, more refusal.

Jen’s dad kept calling and the dog kept barking till he found Jen—fast asleep, hidden in the tall grass with the noble Skippy standing guard.

Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things …. (Revelation 4:11a, English Standard Version)