Randy and the Pinky Promise

Cindy half-walked and half-jogged beside her brother, Randy. Her legs were not long enough to match his giant strides. She wanted to make sure he would keep his promise to her. “Randy, you are really going to come to my basketball game on Friday, aren’t you? Will you pinky promise to come? I want to introduce you to coach Jaminson. He’s nice, kind of loud sometimes when he yells at us, but that’s his job.”

Randy smiled down at his, slightly out of breath, eight-year-old sister. “Are you having a hard time keeping up? I’ll slow down a bit so you can catch your breath.” Randy cut his strides in half. “Sure, I’ll be there.” He reached for Cindy’s hand and curled his pinky finger around her pinky finger. “I pinky promise I’ll be there. I wouldn’t miss it.”

At the beginning of the season, Cindy signed up for basketball. She loved playing and had put in hours and hours of practice before she could make a basket. After that she knew she could be a good player if she worked at it. Her mom was not interested in sports and her dad was usually out of town on business. Cindy had felt as if no one cared if she played basketball or not. There was no one to applaud for her when she made a basket or even care if her team won or lost. Friday night would be different, Randy would be there to see her play.

That evening Cindy practiced much longer than usual. She wanted to be in good form on the basketball court.

The next two days dragged by. Cindy could hardly wait until time for the game on Friday. Randy would be there. He had pinky promised and one must never break a pinky promise.

Friday finally arrived. Cindy couldn’t keep her mind on her schoolwork. She hardly ate any dinner that evening. She put her suit on long before her mom reminded her it was time to leave for the game.

She had hoped that Randy would drive her to the game but he was nowhere around. Her stomach began to tighten a little. She shut her eyes and whispered a prayer. “Please Lord help Randy remember he pinky promised to be at my game tonight. I want to play a good game and I want him to be there to cheer me on.”  She felt better after she prayed and even though Randy had not returned before her mom drove her to the game Cindy kept trying to convince herself that he wouldn’t forget.

Cindy’s mom dropped her off with a reminder that she would pick her up after the game. Cindy looked for Randy’s car in the parking lot but couldn’t see it. She walked into the gym and coach Jaminson walked over and greeted her.
“Hello, Cindy. How is my star player tonight? Are you ready to lead this team into victory?”

Cindy tried to smile at Coach Jaminson, but her heart was not in her answer. “Yeah, we’re sure to win.”  She waved a half-hearted hand and went to join the rest of the team.

Cindy would not look at the bleachers. She pretended she didn’t care if Randy came or not. “It’s not such a big deal,” she told herself. “No one has been here before and I did alright. I can do it again tonight too.”

She set her mind on playing her very best and keeping up her responsibility regardless if Randy couldn’t keep his promise.

About three minutes into the game, a player passed the ball to Cindy and she made a three-pointer.

Suddenly she heard her name called by a familiar voice. “Yeah! Cindy, good job Sis. She looked in the direction of the voice, and sure enough there stood Randy applauding with all his might.

Cindy hardly remembered the rest of the game, but they must have done okay since they won! She remembered a lot of applauding and “yeah team” shouted from the bleachers. Each time she made a basket Randy yelled and applauded. After the game Randy couldn’t quit talking about the game. He told Cindy how proud he was of her.

When her mom got there, Randy asked if he could take Cindy out for a treat and invited his mom to go along if she wanted to.

The three of them sat at a table and talked for a long time. Randy told his mom every play that the team made. He went over it play by play. Cindy could tell that her mom couldn’t understand what Randy was talking about. She was confused about him being so excited over a kid’s ball game.

Cindy smiled. It was alright if her mom couldn’t understand what the big deal was with basketball, as long as Randy and Cindy knew, that was okay.

“Mom, I don’t want to miss another one of her games. I plan on attending ever one of them from now on. She’s one great player. We have a potential professional player here.” He grinned at Cindy. “I’m telling you, this girl is great.”

Cindy felt great. She knew she had someone to share her love for basketball with and that made her feel great.

That night as she said her prayers she told the Lord how thankful she was that he reminded Randy about his pinky promise to be at the game.

A perfect day, a perfect big brother, a perfect game and a perfect God who made all of it come together so perfectly.

Lonnie Learns About Being Honest

Lonnie walked into the schoolroom trying to look as if everything was all right. His heart beat like a huge drum. It pounded so hard he thought it might jump out of his chest. This had to be the worst day of his life. He looked around for Bodie. He didn’t see him anywhere.

“He better get here soon,” Lonnie muttered under his breath. “He better not skip school today.”

Lonnie knew he had to see Bodie before math class started, and he hoped things could be worked out all right. He scooted into his seat just as Bodie came through the door. Bodie saw him and headed in his direction. Lonnie felt like every eye was watching him.

Bodie brushed against him and slipped him the comic book. “Don’t forget to put it back where you got it,” he whispered, grinning down at Lonnie.

Lonnie slid the book into his desk and  looked anxiously around to see if anyone had noticed. He ducked his head and pretended to be busy until Bodie sat down.

At last recess Lonnie hid in the bathroom, waiting until the principal, Mr. Hendson, left his office. When he saw him walking toward the gym, Lonnie entered Mr. Hendson office. He quickly opened his desk drawer and slid the comic book inside. He closed the drawer and started to go, then stopped. He knew he had to face what he had done. He sat quietly and waited for Mr. Hendson to return. His hands shook and his mouth was dry. He wished Mr. Hendson would hurry and come back.

Soon the office door opened and Mr. Hendson stopped in the doorway. “What are you doing here? I hope you’re not in trouble Lonnie.”

“Yes Sir, I am.” Lonnie’s voice shook as he spoke. “I’m sorry, but I borrowed your classic comic book from your desk drawer without permission. I saw it one day when I came to see you. I wanted to look at the book, but I was afraid you wouldn’t let me take it home. I came in and took it at the last recess on Friday. When I finished with it, I loaned it to Bodie so he could look at it.”

As Lonnie spoke, Mr. Hendson walked hurriedly over and opened the desk drawer. He removed the comic book and looked at it to see if it was damaged. He lay the book on his desk and turned to Lonnie.

“Lonnie I’m surprised that you would do something like this.” Mr. Hendson’s eyebrows pulled together in a puzzled frown, Lonnie noticed a tone of sadness in his voice. “You were right in assuming I would not allow you to take the book to your home, for it is very special to me. This is a sports comic book and is a special edition. It has sentimental value because a dear friend signed it and gave it to me.”

Lonnie’s eyes filled with tears, “I’m sorry Mr. Hendson. We were careful not to tear it or get it dirty. I didn’t know it was so special to you. I shouldn’t have taken it without your permission. I promise I’ll never do anything like that again. I felt so bad about taking it I had to tell you.”

“I’m glad you did. It would have been on your mind and bothered you. You are not a thief, and it’s good that you waited here for me. I believe you when you say you’re sorry and you’ve learned a lesson from your actions. This lesson you have learned today will help you all through your life. It took courage to face me and tell me what you did. I’m proud that you were honest enough and brave enough to do that.”

“This has had an effect on Bodie though,” Mr. Hendson continued. “You’ll need to talk to him about how you feel about taking something that didn’t belong to you, without the owner’s permission.”

Mr. Hendson walked around the desk and put his hand on Lonnie’s shoulder. Lonnie stood up and they walked to the door.

“You’ll probably want to talk to the Lord about this; it’ll make you feel better.” Mr. Hendson patted Lonnie’s shoulder. “He loves you, you know? He doesn’t stop loving us when we make a mistake. Always remember that, It’s very important.”

“Thank you Sir. I’ve already talked to the Lord and asked him to forgive me. I’ll talk to Bodie too. I better go now or I’ll be late.”

Lonnie hurried down the hall toward his schoolroom. He actually looked forward to talking to Bodie about his talk with the principle. One thing for sure, he was glad he’d told Mr. Hendson about what he’d done.

Learning About Thanksgiving

Betty was frightened and lonely in the large city.  Her family came from the small, friendly town of Buckeye, Arizona.  It shocked her friends when she told them her family planned to move to San Diego, California.

The first day at the new school was a nightmare.  Kit Carson Elementary was entirely different than the small school in Arizona.  At Kit Carson, a health inspector came by each morning to check hands, nails, face and neck.  If there were dirty or snagged nails or dirty ears, then the student had to report to the school nurse.

The stress of being a new student magnified when the inspector, on the first day, gave Betty a slip and sent her to the nurse’s office because of a cold sore in the corner of her mouth. This was almost more than Betty could bear.

Betty met and made a new friend at her new school. She thought several of the other girls were nice, but she enjoyed being with Wanda Lea the most.  They both liked writing poetry and reading stories together.

Mrs. Anderson asked the class to write a poem or story about the First Thanksgiving.  Betty worked many hours on her poem until at last she had it just like she wanted. She finished four days before it was due. The next morning she told her friend the good news.

“Oh, let me read it. May I please,” Wanda Lea pleaded?

“Yes,” Betty laughed at her eagerness, “and you better tell me you like it.”

She could hardly wait until Wanda Lea finished reading.

“It’s beautiful Betty! You did a great job,” Wanda Lea said.

“Thanks,” Betty whispered.

Every day Betty looked at her poem. It’s the best I’ve ever written, she thought.  Wanda Lea assured her she would get an A+.

Betty smiled at Mrs. Anderson when she handed the assignment to her. The days seemed to drag until the morning when the teacher finally announced the assignments were graded.  Betty waited as the teacher called each one to the front and handed their graded paper to them. When all the assignments were handed out, except Betty’s and Wanda Lea’s, Mrs. Anderson looked at Betty.

“Betty, will you and Wanda Lea please see me after class?”

Betty’s heart beat wildly.  She couldn’t think of why Mrs. Anderson wanted to see just the two of them.  She didn’t have to wait long. As soon as the other students left the room, Mrs. Anderson came right to the point.

“Didn’t you girls know I would catch you cheating? I’m surprised you did this! You both are very good at writing poetry. Why did you resort to copying? I don’t know what book you took this from, but I do know you did not write this yourselves.”

“What are you saying?” Betty’s face blanched. “Are you saying I didn’t write my poem? But I did, Mrs. Anderson. I really did.”

Betty looked at Wanda Lea as she stared blankly out of the window.  What is wrong with her, Betty wondered? Why doesn’t she say something?

“And I suppose Wanda Lea really wrote her poem also?”  Mrs. Anderson was holding the two poems in her hands. She read a few lines from Betty’s poem.

Then she read from Wanda Lea’s poem.  Betty couldn’t believe her ears. The poems were the same! Wanda Lea had taken the part that she liked best from her poem and included it in her own.

Tears were streaming down Betty’s cheeks.  She couldn’t say a word. Her head roared as if it were in a barrel.  She couldn’t look at Wanda Lea. Mrs. Anderson was still talking, but Betty didn’t hear anything she said.  She didn’t remember leaving the classroom. Neither did she remember walking down the hall, nor the bus ride home.

The next day was Friday and Betty stayed home from school.  She was sick, and she didn’t want to talk to anyone. What was she going to do?  Mrs. Anderson thought she was a cheat and a liar. She didn’t want to think about Wanda Lea, it hurt too much.

“I’ll never write poetry again,” she said.  “I don’t want to be called a cheat just because someone thinks I copy from a book.”

Monday morning was definitely the worst Betty ever remembered.  She asked Mrs. Anderson if she could move to another desk, but Mrs. Anderson refused.
Wanda Lea didn’t look at Betty when she came in.  She sat down at her desk.
Every time she moved or spoke Betty felt a surge of loneliness like a giant weight smashing the life from her body.

It’s only three more days until Thanksgiving.  What do I have to be thankful for, she thought? Tomorrow will be the last day of school before Thanksgiving vacation. I guess I can be thankful that I’ll have a week away from school.

After Betty got home from school that day, she went to her room.  There was a knock on her door and her mother walked in and said, “Betty, you and I need to talk. You have been unusually quiet lately. Has something happened that I need to know about? Something I can help you with?”

That was more than Betty could stand.  She burst into tears. “Mom, it’s just awful! My whole life has gone crazy!”  Her mother listened as she explained what had happened.

“Mom, I don’t know what to do.” Betty put her arms around her mother’s neck.

“I don’t want to go to school now.”

Her mother comforted her. “Honey, you need to talk to the Lord about the anger you are feeling. I know teachers are expected to be perfect and never make mistakes, but they are human and are capable of making mistakes the same as anyone else.  There’s one thing you need to think about, Mrs. Anderson highly complimented you without realizing it. She thought your poem was so well written that you must have copied it from a book.”

“Hey, that’s true!” Betty exclaimed. “Thanks Mom, Mrs. Anderson really did compliment me. I never thought of it like that.”

After Betty talked to the Lord that night she felt much better.

When Betty got to school on Tuesday, Wanda Lea was waiting for her by the steps. She caught Betty’s arm.

“I’ve got to talk to you, Betty. I’m sorry for what I did. I copied from your poem because I liked it so much. I never thought about it hurting you.”

“You’re my friend, I can’t believe you did that.” Betty spoke with a shaky voice. She could feel warm tears as they began to flow down her cheeks.

Wanda Lea held tightly to Betty’s arm. Her eyes were red from crying. “Betty, I have missed you so much. I couldn’t stand not telling the truth. I went to see Mrs. Anderson after school yesterday. I told her the whole truth. I don’t know if she believed me or not. I hope she did. I asked her to forgive me for cheating. I prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me, and I hope you can forgive me too.” Tears were streaming down her face.

Betty turned to her friend and wrapped her arms around her and hugged her with all her might. “Yes, I forgive you. I’ve missed you too. I felt so alone.  I’m glad we’re still friends. I’m not angry with Mrs. Anderson any more. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me not be angry. I hope she believes you, but if she doesn’t, I can live with that. As long as things are okay between you and me.”
The first bell rang and they walked toward the classroom together.  Betty thought about giving thanks and smiled. Wanda Lea noticed the smile.

“What?” She asked.

Betty glanced at her, still smiling. “Oh, I was thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for.”

“Yeah, and me too,” Wanda Lea said.  “Isn’t it nice that Thanksgiving vacation is only two days away and we’re out of school a whole week?” She smiled back at her friend.

Grandma’s Wishing Well

Tammy hurried along the grassy trail as fast as her small legs would carry her. “Wait!” She called to Julie Ann and Sarah. “Don’t go so fast, I can’t keep up.”

The two girls stopped and waited. Tammy wanted to go much slower, but as soon as she caught up with them, they started on at the same fast pace.

“My legs are small and I can’t walk as fast as you do.” She said, trying to explain why she had a problem keeping up.

“You’re just too little. You should have stayed at home like we wanted you to, but no, you wanted to tag along with us,” Julie Ann said. She turned and frowned at Tammy.

“I’m not too little. I wanted to go see Grandma too. I didn’t get to go the last time. If you’d slow down a little, then I could keep up.

“Oh whatever! Just try to keep up.”  Julie Ann didn’t even bother to look at Tammy as she spoke. “It’s not much farther.  We should see Grandma’s house just around the corner. We can walk slower now, and you’ll be able to keep up.” Sarah spoke in a soft voice. She gave Tammy a light pat on her shoulder.

Tammy smiled up at her older sister. She reached for Sarah’s hand and felt the gentle grip as Sarah’s fingers curled around her own. They walked along together, and soon they reached the front gate at Grandma’s house. Grandma was sitting on the front porch, and Tammy rushed ahead to give her a hug.

“Where is your wishing well, Grandma?” She asked as she hugged her.

“Oh, it’s still at the same place it was the last time you came.” Grandma laughed.

“May I go make a wish?”

“Yes, you know you may. Don’t you always make a wish when you come? Take off and make your wish. When you’re finished, I have fresh baked cookies, so hurry.” Grandma gave her an encouraging push in the direction of the wishing well.

Julie Ann and Sarah went inside with Grandma as Tammy headed off to make her wish. When she looked inside the well she was surprised to see so much money just lying there. She knew people always put money in a wishing well before making a wish, but she didn’t put money in the wishing well. Tammy’s secret was that she never made a wish at all. This was just a very special place where Tammy liked to talk to the Lord about things in her life.

Tammy closed her eyes.  She had something very important to ask the Lord today. She knew she must believe for her answer, her mother had often told her that. First she asked the Lord to give her more faith so she could believe for her answer. Then she took a deep breath and whispered. “Dear God, You know Julie Ann is unhappy because she stays angry all the time. It must be real hard to be twelve years old, so I want you to help her to be happy. She needs a kinder voice and a smile on her face. She looks ugly when she frowns. I love both of my sisters, but sometimes it’s hard to like Julie Ann. Help me, Lord to like her a lot more and could you make my legs grow so I can keep up better. I want to thank you for listening. Amen!”

She opened her eyes and as she turned to go she bumped head-on into Julie Ann. Tammy stepped back, startled. She looked at Julie Ann and saw that she was crying.

“What’s wrong, Julie Ann, did something happen?”

“It sure did,” Julie Ann smiled through the tears. “I got a good look at myself through the eyes of a little sister and I thank you for it. I didn’t know I was such an awful sister. Forgive me, I promise to do a lot better from now on. Come now, let’s go get some of those cookies”

Tammy hugged her sister. Boy, God sure answers some prayers real fast, she thought. She kept thinking about that while they ate cookies and milk in Grandma’s kitchen, and even as they walked home-at a much slower pace.

MEMORY VERSE: “Comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, . . .” 1 Thess. 5:11.

Grandfather John Tells a Story

It was hard for Peggy Sue to sit still very long at a time. There were many things to look at and lots of things she wanted to do. Peggy Sue was five years old and almost grown up, at least that’s what she thought.

When she went to the store with Mother, Peggy Sue wanted to choose the things they bought. If they were at a grocery store she wanted to buy candy, cookies, icy-pops, potato chips and cheese curls. If she didn’t get her way she would fuss and whine and sometimes she would make a bad scene and the other people would look at her with an ugly frown on their faces and shake their heads. Peggy Sue didn’t care how much she embarrassed her mother or anyone else; she wanted her way.

Soon, when her mother needed to shop she left Peggy Sue at home with her Grandfather. Mother knew Peggy Sue would cry and howl like a spoilt child, but she had to learn not to think only of herself.

One day when Peggy Sue was left with Grandfather, she got tired of pouting and crying and picked up her favorite teddy bear. She went over to her grandfather and asked, “Grandfather John, will you tell me a story?”

“I’d love to tell you a story, but there is one thing that I always ask my listeners to do when I tell stories.”

“What’s that,” she asked looking puzzled.

“They must sit still and listen to the end.  It is important for the listener to respect the storyteller and sit still and listen. If someone doesn’t hear the story all the way to the end, then it’s not the whole story and I never tell half stories.”

“I can sit still and listen all the way to the end of your story Grandfather,” Peggy Sue assured him. “I am a good listener.”

Grandfather smiled and said, “Okay, I’ll see if you’re a good listener or not.” He placed his hand on his chin and thought for a few minutes. “Ah! Yes, I know just the story. You’ll like this story because it’s about a teddy bear named Peggy Sue.”

“Yes, yes, I like that story!” Peggy Sue laughed and clapped her hands.

“Once upon a time there lived three teddy bears in a beautiful home. There was a mamma teddy bear and a papa teddy bear and a little girl teddy bear named Peggy Sue. Now Peggy Sue was loved so much that she began to think that she was the only important one in the family.  She never stopped to think about what Mama Bear or Papa Bear wanted to do or where they might want to go. She only thought about herself and what she wanted to do. If a day was planned for a family outing, Peggy Sue insisted they go to the zoo or the park. It didn’t matter what anyone else wanted to do, the little teddy fussed and whined until her family gave in to her. It was the same no matter where they went. She didn’t think of anyone but herself.

Pretty soon Mama Bear was so sick of Peggy Sue whining and crying she decided she would have to leave her at home and do the shopping alone. It was embarrassing when the little teddy bear would make a bad scene. You see, the little teddy bear was growing up and yet she still wanted to act like a baby. She cried and fussed and had a fit of temper when she didn’t get her way.  When she was a baby and everyone held her and did things for her that was normal, because she was a baby and didn’t know how to talk. She would fuss and cry to let her parents know she was uncomfortable.

But pretty soon Peggy Sue learned to talk and walk and do things for herself. I think the little teddy bear may have felt that she wasn’t getting enough attention because now she could wait on herself. She could dress herself and even tie her own shoes. She missed being held and babied and fussed over so she began to demand attention by making everyone miserable until they gave her their full attention. Pretty soon the little bear realized her plan wasn’t working. Instead of getting more attention by being bad, she was left at home.

One day while Peggy Sue was home; she began to think about the bad way she’d been acting. She wanted to tell her mother she was sorry for the things she’d done.  She waited for Mama Bear’s return home and she ran to meet her and told her she was sorry for acting the way she had and she promised to remember that others had feelings and not to think of only herself. Mama Bear gave the little bear a big bear hug and told her she was growing into a big, little bear. Then Grandfather said, “the end!”

Peggy Sue sat very still after Grandfather finished the story. She hugged her teddy bear up close to her and looked at her grandfather. ” Grandfather, there wasn’t ever a little teddy bear named Peggy Sue. That story was about me. I think that little bear was not very nice. I’m glad she decided to think of other people’s feelings. Do you think Mother would like Peggy Sue bear?  I don’t think she would. That little bear was spoiled and not grown up at all. I’m going to be grown up and not like that spoiled little bear any longer.”

Grandfather hugged Peggy Sue. “I know you’re growing up because you were a good listener. I’m sure Mother will be happy to hear that you’ve decided to be a big grown up girl and not a fussy cry baby any more.”

Just then they heard a car pull into the driveway. Peggy Sue ran to the door to meet her mother. She had something she wanted to tell her.

Eric and Terrible Tommy

As Eric walked along the sidewalk, he thought about his favorite show.  He kicked a wad of paper lying at the edge of the walk. He kicked it with all the anger he felt inside. Tears filled his blue eyes, and he rubbed at his sunburned nose.

“Why do I have to go to the store,” he grumbled.  “I don’t think it’s fair. I wanted to watch my show.  Today Terrible Tommy, the space machine will catch those two aliens from the planet Orb.  I wanted to see him capture them.”
He heard a noise and glanced up.  He realized he was near Richard’s house.  He saw Richard going inside.

Eric quickened his steps and called to Richard, “Hey Richard! Wait up.”

“Well hurry! Richard called back.  “It’s time for Terrible Tommy, the space machine, and today I think he will catch those guys from Orb.”

“I know, and I’m going to miss it!”  Eric hurried up the driveway. “Mom made me go to the store for eggs and sugar.”

“Come on in,” Richard invited.  “The show’s starting and I don’t want to miss any of it.”

“Okay, but I can’t stay.  Mom told me to hurry back.”  Eric joined Richard and the two boys walked inside.

“Wow! Did you see that?” Richard exclaimed. “Terrible Tommy is sure brae and smart too.”

“Yeah,” Eric agreed as he leaned forward in his chair, his eyes focused on the TV.  No thought of eggs and sugar entered his mind until the show ended and the announcer came on to tell about next week’s show.  Eric sprang to his feet.

“Man, I’ve got to go!  I’ll see you later. Mom’s gonna kill me.”  He dashed out the door and ran to the store for the eggs and sugar.  He hurried home and entered the kitchen through the back door. He hoped he could put the groceries on the cabinet and go back outside without anyone even knowing he was late.
His mom was taking cupcakes from the oven.  She glanced up, “I see you finally made it back,” she said.

Eric ducked his head. “I’m sorry, Mom, I stopped off at Richard’s house.  I didn’t mean to stay so long. Here’s the things you wanted.”

“You took so long I went next door and borrowed sugar and eggs from Mrs. Cox.  I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to have these cupcakes ready for the bake sale when Mrs. Hendrix comes for them.  That’s the reason I asked you to hurry. The money from the sale is for the family down the street that lost their father last week.  I didn’t realize I couldn’t depend on you to do as you’re instructed. Even an eight-year old should be able to follow instructions.  I called Richard’s mother, and she told me you were there.”

Eric felt the tears welling up in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Mom, I really am.  I forgot about time when I went into Richard’s house. But from now on I’ll keep my mind on what I’m supposed to be doing and not on my show.”

“I know you’re sorry that you were caught disobeying, but are you sorry you disobeyed? You should think about that.  I hope that next time you’ll keep your mind on what you’re doing, but I still think you need something to help you remember.  Next week when the Terrible Tommy show comes on, you will not be allowed to watch it. Instead, you will go with me to help out at a yard sale at Mrs. Johnson.  She wants to use the money from the yard sale to buy Bibles for our Children’s Church.”

Eric knew he had upset his mother. He was relieved that he hadn’t messed up the bake sale. “I can help with the boxes and bags and stuff like that,” he said.  “I’d still like to see my show, but Richard can tell me the good stuff that happens. How many Bibles are we going to buy?”

His mom laughed.  I hope we make a lot of money so we can buy many Bibles.  If there’s too many for the Children’s Church we can always find places where Bibles are needed.

Later, Eric lay in bed thinking about helping with the yard sale. He yawned, that could be fun. You find all kinds of stuff at yard sales. He closed his eyes and fell asleep thinking about giving Bibles to kids.

MEMORY VERSE: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it,” Luke 11:28.

Decision Time for Jennie

“She thinks she’s something great,” Jennie murmured as she watched Annabel flashing her new bracelet and matching ring. Jennie’s three best friends, Lisa, Jo Nell and Susie stood in a close circle around Annabel making oh and ah sounds that she liked to hear.

That’s disgusting, Jennie turned and walked inside the schoolhouse. I wonder what marvelous thing she will have for them to ah over tomorrow.  She felt angry and hurt because her friends had acted like jerks ever since Annabel had started to school there.

Am I jealous of her? she thought. If not, then why do I feel like this? The ring and bracelet are pretty. But why does she feel she has to be the center of attention all the time? I can’t believe my friends are acting so retarded. Involved in her thoughts, Jeannie almost walked past her schoolroom.

The rest of the day went by in a slow drag. Jennie sat with Frank and Melba at lunchtime and listened to them rattle on about the football team and the game the day before. Any other time Jennie would have joined in, but not today. Today, she was far too upset to talk about anything.

At the last recess she watched the cheerleaders practice. Lisa came over and asked what was wrong. “You’ve acted so odd the past week. Are you sick or something? You never join in with the rest of us anymore. What’s the matter?”

Jennie didn’t know what to say without sounding like she was jealous or resentful. She gave Lisa a half-hearted smile and told her not to worry, that she just had some problems to work out. Lisa smiled in a sympathetic gesture and left to join the others. “I’ll see you later.” She called over her shoulder. “I’ve got to wash my hands.” She joined the others, and Jennie sat for a while longer. Tears filled her eyes. This made her angry with herself. She got up and headed inside. She barely had enough time to fix her face before the bell rang.

The bathroom was empty. Jennie washed her eyes and reached for a towel when her eye caught a shiny object lying on a washbasin nearby. Her heart almost stopped. It was Annabel’s ring. She picked it up. Her heart raced as she held the ring in the palm of her hand. What should she do? She could stick it in her pocket and no one would know she had it. What would Annabel do then? Without the ring the bracelet would not be so wonderful. Jennie clutched the ring tightly in her fist. As she walked toward her room, her mind raced ahead. She thought about tomorrow and all the other tomorrows. She knew she could not live with herself if she kept the ring. It would be like a big weight around her heart. It had already caused her enough trouble as it was. She didn’t need any more problems with it.

She reached the schoolroom and opened the door. She was late but no one noticed. Annabel was crying and talking to Mrs. Finnmore.

“I’ve got to go look for it. It isn’t mine. I borrowed it from my mother without her knowing I took it. It goes with the bracelet and is very valuable. I’ve got to find it. Please let the girls go help me look for it.”

“Annabel, you should never take something that isn’t yours without permission.” Mrs. Finnmore’s voice held the tone of irritation. “I cannot permit the other students to miss class, but perhaps after school some of them will help you look for the ring. In the meantime–” She stopped in mid-sentence, as Jennie spoke.

“Is this what you’re talking about?” She held the ring out to Annabel.       Annabel caught her breath in a sob and reached for the ring. “Oh! Yes, yes that’s it.  Where did you find it? She held the ring, looking at it for a minute, then slipped it on her finger. She brushed her tears away and regained her composure.

“Thank you very much Jennie.” She turned to Mrs. Finnmore, “I’m sorry to have disturbed your class. I shall take my seat now. She walked briskly to her desk and sat down.

As Jennie sat down at her desk she noticed the attitude of the class had changed. Several students were looking at Annabel with puzzled frowns. She heard someone whisper, “The ring and bracelet belongs to her mother.” “And she took it without asking,” another responded.

Jennie felt sorry for Annabel. I’m glad I’m not in her shoes, she thought. Everyone knows she not only took the ring and bracelet without permission, but she lied about them being hers.

Jennie knew more than that about Annabel. She knew that Annabel didn’t have confidence that people would like her just for herself. She felt she had to have something she could show off in order for anyone to notice her.

I need to talk with her, she thought. Maybe I can help her gain self-confidence. I will show her she is important to God and she doesn’t need “things” for people to like her. I bet I can help her-I know I can help her-if she’s ready and I think she is.

Jennie felt good. I think tomorrow is going to be a good day, she thought.

MEMORY VERSE:  “And when you stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses,” Mark 11:25.

Danger At the Cove

Arnie  bounced off the school bus and vaulted over the rose bush. When a shaggy Australian shepherd came around the corner of the house,  Arnie called out, “Hey, Tiger, you silly dog.” He dropped to one knee and caught a handful of shaggy hair on each side of the dog’s face.  “How are you boy?” He nuzzled his face against Tiger’s. “Come on, let’s find some food.”

The door slammed behind them as they dashed through the house.  “I’m starved,” said Arnie, “there’s got to be some eats in the kitchen.”  He pitched his books on his bed, then slipped into some play clothes. He was heading for the kitchen when he heard his mom’s car turn into the driveway.  He grabbed a quick glass of milk and a handful of cookies.

“Mom’s home, Tiger.   We gotta hurry. She might want me to clean my room, but today’s too nice to be inside.  Let’s get going!”

The front door opened just as he and Tiger were about to make their escape out the back.

“Mom, me and Tiger are going to the creek,”  Arnie called to his mom.

“Tiger  and ‘I’ , and please be careful,” she called back.

“We will!”  He grinned at the familiar correction.

Mom’s great, he thought.   I better clean my room later or she’ll gripe me out.

He caught a hand full of hair on Tiger’s back and tugged affectionately.

What can we do at the river, he thought,  I forgot my fishing pole.

“What about it Tiger, you wanna  go swimming? Naw, we best not. Mom said not to swim unless another person is with me.”  He looked toward the cove and got another Idea.

“Hey Tiger, maybe we could find a slimy lizard for `Show and Tell’.  That’s a fantastic idea! Come on, Tigg’- er, I’ll beatcha to the cove.”

They dashed for the inlet.  Tiger won with ease. Arnie fell to the ground gasping for air.

The underbrush and leaves almost concealed the cove.  They made their way down to the water’s edge. Water skippers and dragonflies flickered about.  Tiger chased bugs and spiders, jumping here and there, having fun. Arnie looked around for just the right “show and tell” subject,  he spotted a large scaly lizard sunning himself on a rotten log. Quietly, he crept toward the log, his gaze fastened like a magnet on the lizard.

A sudden movement in the leaves, then a sharp pain in his leg caused Arnie to cry out.  With a jump, he whirled around, facing the spot where he had been. A large snake was sliding into the water.

Tiger leaped forward and grabbed the snake by the tail and slung it furiously from side to side until it was dead.  Arnie tied a shoelace around his leg above the snakebite. He knew he must get home as fast as he could without running.  His grandfather had explained to him how running increases the blood flow and moves snake poison faster through the bloodstream.

The snake lay withering on the ground.  Tiger stood over it growling angrily. Arnie picked it up by the tail and headed toward home. “We need to take this with us, Tiger.  The doctor will need to know what kind of snake it is.” His voice quivered as he spoke.

Arnie’s leg throbbed.  He knew he could die if the snake was poisonous.  He remembered his mother saying, “God will always be with you and will hear your prayers.”  Tears ran down his face. Arnie wished his mother was here now. His mouth felt dry as he quoted last Sunday’s memory verse out loud.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Then whispered, “Dear God, I’m so scared, and I don’t want to die. Please help me.”

As Arnie neared the house,  he could see his mother working in the garden.  He called as loudly as he could. She rushed to him and helped him into the car.  On the drive to the hospital she kept looking at Arnie and asking if his leg hurt much.  It did, but he no longer felt afraid.

Later, the doctor told Mrs. Kippling the snake was a type of water snake, and although it inflicted a painful bite it wasn’t poisonous.  Arnie felt much better after that.

On the way home Arnie told his mother about talking to the Lord in prayer and telling him that he didn’t want to die.

“I’m glad you  remembered to do that,” she said.  “It gives me confidence that in the future you will depend on the Lord to guide and comfort you.”

They rode in silence for a while.  Arnie was glad God had helped him. He thought about the lizard he didn’t catch.  But he did get something for ‘Show and Tell’. Arnie smiled and leaned over to look at his bandaged snake bite.
His mother’s voice broke the silence.  “You’ll still need to straighten up your room when we get home.”

Arnie grinned up at her, “Yeah, I know Mom, I will.”

MEMORY VERSE:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

One cool spring morning five-year-old Cindy asked her mother if she could go outside to play. The grass was still wet with dew from the night before. Mrs. Green told Cindy to wait for a while until the grass was dry. Cindy was very unhappy, she began to cry and make a fuss.

“Do you think you’re being nice to act the way you’re acting?” Mrs. Green asked her.

Cindy frowned and then turned around and walked into the other room. She sat on the couch for a while and thought about going outside.

“I don’t want to wait for a while, I want to go outside now. I think the grass is dry enough,” Cindy mumbled to herself. She walked into the bedroom where her mother was hanging some dresses in the closet.

“I want to go out and check. I think it is dry enough for me to go outside,” Cindy said to her mother.

Mrs. Green looked down at Cindy. “I was just outside, the grass is still too wet for you to be out.”

“I want to check it for myself, so I can see.”

“Come here dear,” Mrs. Green took Cindy by the hand and sat down on the bed. She pulled Cindy close to her so she could look into her face.

“Don’t you know that when you feel you need to check out something for yourself, you are really thinking the other person is not telling you the truth?”

Cindy ducked her head and didn’t say anything. She knew she shouldn’t act this way. She looked up at her mother. “I’m sorry, I want to go outside to play. I really believe you. I know you wouldn’t tell me something that’s not true. I just want to play outside.”

Mrs. Green hugged her daughter. “I know you do, but don’t you realize how it sounded when you asked to check for yourself.  You can hurt other people by the things you say. You should think about that and be more careful.”

“I will, I promise I will.” Cindy hugged her mom.

Mrs. Green stood to her feet and started toward the kitchen. “Come now, we’ll go into the kitchen and see if we can find some hot chocolate and marshmallows for a nice hot drink, while we wait for the grass to dry.”

“That sounds good!” Cindy said. She took her mother’s hand as they walked into the kitchen.

Memory Verse:
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Matthew 5:9

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

Sally lived in the city with her father and mother.  She was only four years old, but she would have a birthday soon, then she would be five.  Sally was excited about her fifth birthday because her father and mother had promised she could spend a whole week with her grandpa and grandma.

Her grandparents lived in the country in a large farmhouse.  They had Sandy, the dog and two cats. The yellow cat’s name was Tiger and the gray cat was called smoky.

Sally loved to visit her grandparents. Her father and mother were always with her when she’d spent time with them before, but this time she would spend a whole week without her parents. Sally could hardly wait.

On the morning of her fifth birthday Sally woke up early and jumped out of bed. The rest of that day seemed to go at a snail’s pace until they arrived at the farm.

Grandpa and Grandma sat on the porch waiting for her.  Sally ran up the front steps and into the arms of her grandma.

“I’m five years old now,” Sally announced as she gave her grandma a big hug. “I’ll be grown up soon. I can spend a whole week with you and Grandpa without Mamma and Daddy being here”.

“Yes, that’s what I heard”.  Grandpa gave Sally a hug. “We’ll have a lot of fun”.

The next morning was the Sabbath and Sally knew they would all go to church.  She woke up to the sound of Grandpa singing outside her window. She climbed out of bed and looked outside.

“Good Morning Grandpa,” Sally called from the window.

“Good Morning Sally girl,” Grandpa said.  Are you hungry and ready to eat your breakfast now?”

“Not yet. What are you doing?”

“Me?  Oh I’m picking a bouquet for our breakfast table.  Hurry now and get dressed. Breakfast will be ready soon.”

“Ok.”  Sally hurried and dressed and went to find Grandma in the kitchen.

“Good morning dear.”  Grandma smiled as Sally entered.  Breakfast is almost ready. Are you hungry?”

“Grandma!” Sally exclaimed.  “You’re making pancakes, they’re my favorite.”

“I thought they might be.” Grandma smiled at Sally.  “Go get your grandpa and we’ll eat.”

“Be careful little eyes what you see,” Grandpa sang as he walked into the kitchen.

“What are you singing Grandpa?”  Sally asked.

“It’s a song I learned when I was about your age.”  Grandpa put the flowers in a vase and set them on the table.

“Sing it to me Grandpa, please sing it to me.”  Sally pleaded.

Grandpa laughed.  “Do we have time for a song before breakfast Grandma?”  He asked.

“We always have time for a song,” Grandma said.

When the song was finished Sally asked, “Grandpa what does it mean to watch your eyes, your ears, your mouth, your hands and feet?”

“Well, when you are a Christian all those things belong to God.” Grandpa explained.  “You are the one who uses them, so it is your responsibility to use them wisely. You must take care not to look at things with your eyes, nor listen to things with your ears, nor say things with your mouth, nor do things with your hands, nor go places with your feet that will bring dishonor and shame to God.

All those things we have given to Him and they are not ours any more to do as we wish.  We must always watch to make sure we honor the Lord in the things we use them for.”

“Thank You, Grandpa.  I will always remember that.”

“Let’s eat now, breakfast is on the table.” Grandma said. Sally listened as Grandpa gave the blessing for the food. She knew this would be a good visit with her Grandparents on the farm.  She thanked the Lord for all His blessings.

MEMORY VERSE: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things”  Matt. 12:35.