I did something BRAVE today. This is the first time I’ve recorded a video. It’s of me reading Lilly’s Colorful Spots.
There are so many little things I would change. But it would take all day to get it the way I want it. And even then, knowing me, I’d find something else to change. lol Allow me to introduce Lilly and my imperfect reading of Lilly’s Colorful Spots.
Gather your kids around you and spend a moment listening to me read Lilly’s Colorful Spots. You may want to fast forward to two minutes in. the intro is a bit long for littles.
If you’d like your own copy of Lilly’s Colorful Spots, comment below. I have 30 copies. The book is $7.99 plus postage. God bless you and keep you close to HIS heart.
Climbing up the steps of the school bus, Emily’s thoughts felt heavy. She slid into the first seat by the window. Gazing outside, the vivid colors of green grass, yellow flowers, and blue skies caught her attention. “God made such a beautiful world,” she thought. Then everything blurred. The other kids laughed at each other’s stories but Emily wasn’t listening. Yes, Emily was in her own little world again.
Compassion for a Friend
Today, when Emily’s friend Bethany walked into class, her cheeks and nose were super red. Tears trickled from her eyes. Emily’s heart filled with compassion. How could she comfort her friend?
At recess, Emily determined to learn what upset Bethany. She spotted her friend sitting on their favorite rock. As she approached Bethany, she said, “Hey, Bethany, is something wrong?” Bethany looked down at her shoes and bit her lip. Emily waited while Bethany gathered her thoughts, then she reached for her friend’s hand. As she did, Bethany’s lip quivered. “Tell me what’s wrong, Bethany.” Bethany looked up at Emily, tears lay heavy on her lashes
“I don’t know what to do Emily.” Her voice trembled, so Emily reached over and hugged her friend around the neck. A giant wave of sobs came out of Bethany’s mouth. Emily could not imagine what hurt her friend. Bethany never sobbed out loud in public before.
My Mom Wants a Divorce
When Bethany’s tears slowed, she said, “My Mom and Dad had into a huge fight last night. They were shouting and my Mom said she wants a divorce. My Dad told her, ‘Go ahead, see if I care, I hope you find the life you are looking for!'” Emily crinkled her nose, she did not understand how parents could act like that. Her mama and daddy got crabby sometimes, but they had a big fight and they never talked about divorce.
Jesus Cares and He Answers Prayer
Emily sent up a prayer asking God to help her be a good friend to Bethany. “I’m sorry, Bethany, I can see this is hard for you.” Bethany shook her head, up and down. Fresh tears filled her eyes. Emmy patted her hand and looked deep into her eyes. “I will pray for you and you can pray too, Bethany. Jesus cares and he hears our prayers.”
Emily knew Bethany didn’t go to Church. In the past, when Emily mentioned Jesus, Bethany changed the subject. But today she didn’t, instead, she asked, “Emily, do you really believe that Jesus is real?” “Yes, I do, I really do. There is no one who will ever care for you more than Jesus.” Emily heard Bethany take a deep breath, she looked relieved.
Emily’s bus stop was next. After the bus pulled up to Emily’s house, she dashed to the front. The bus door opened, and Emily turned to the bus driver saying, “Thanks, Mr. Charlie, I will see you tomorrow.” Mr. Charlie smiled. Emily spotted his two front teeth that had a big space between them. She didn’t know anyone who had teeth or a smile like Mr. Charlie’s.
Walking toward the house Emily’s thoughts turned back to Bethany. She wanted to talk to Mama about her friend.
Emily Safe Place
Opening the door, Emily breathed in the smell of cookies baking. Mama called to her, “Emmy is it you?” “Yes, mama, it’s me.” Emily felt warm inside when she heard Mama’s voice. She felt safe when she was home.
Mama was taking cookies out of the oven as Emily walked into the kitchen. “Mama, I need to talk to you.” Mama looked up and noticed the worry lines on Emily’s forehead. Mama pulled her into a hug and gently kissed her on top of the head. “What is it, sweetie?” “Mama, Bethany’s parents got in a big fight last night and said awful things to each other. Her mom said she wants a divorce and her dad said, he didn’t care. Mama, poor Bethany was a mess today.”
Mama looked concerned. “What did you say to her Emily?” “I told her I would pray for her and she could pray too. I also told her Jesus cares about her more than anyone else.” Emily paused for a moment and then remembered, “Know what mama? Usually, Bethany doesn’t want to hear about Jesus, but today she asked me if I thought Jesus was real. It surprised me!”
A Heart of Compassion
Emily studied Mama’s face. Her eyes looked beyond Emily. She was thinking everything through. “Emily, God has gifted you with a heart of compassion and I am thankful for how much you care about Bethany.“
Mama continued, “Jesus used you today!” There was a twinkle in her eyes. “He used your words to cause Bethany to think about Jesus. Your friend is hurting and we both know that only Jesus can reach into Bethy’s heart and give her peace.”
“Do you know, sometimes God allows us to go through hard times to get our attention?” Emily thought about that, it was a new idea to her. Mama placed her hand on Emily’s shoulder and said, “Let’s pray that Bethany continues to ask questions about Jesus and that Jesus opens her heart to receive his gift of salvation … In the meantime, she also needs a loyal friend to walk beside her in her pain.”
Mama always knew how to help Emily work through a hard time. “Mama, it felt so heavy in my heart to think of Bethany living in a house like that. But you helped me look at it differently. Maybe God will use this hard time to get Bethany’s attention.” “Yes, honey, I believe he will. We need to pray he works not only in Bethany’s heart but with her Mom and Dad’s too.” Mama continued, “Emily, how else do you think you could encourage your friend?” Emily’s eyes rolled up and to the left, “Hmm, Maybe I’ll ask her to come to our house this Friday night. It will give her a break from the fighting and let her have some fun with our family?” Mama smiled and said, “Good idea, Emily, I like how you think!”
Turning Her Friend over to Jesus
After Emily talked to Mama, a weight felt lifted off her heart. She asked Jesus to help Bethany understand how much he loves her and wants to make her his child. She would pray for Bethy’s Mom and Dad too. She would pray that they learn to love each other. Emily was excited about all the ways God might answer her prayers.
Little Joe liked being the youngest kid in the family, well most of the time he did. For one thing, he did not have to do as many chores as Emily and Molly. He didn’t have to go to school, or do homework and he got to play most of the day. Even though he was free to explore and have fun he was also learning to be, what Mama calls, responsible.
Little Joe was learning to make his bed, pick up his toys and brush his teeth after eating. He was learning to do the dishes and mama said he was getting good at becoming responsible.
His favorite friend to play with was Timmy. Timmy was little Joe’s neighbor. Little Joe was allowed to play with Timmy after his chores were done each day.
Even though Little Joe was allowed to play with Timmy, Mama said he must stay in his yard at all times. That is one of the things, about being the youngest kid, little Joe did not like. Molly and Emily could cross the street whenever they wanted, why couldn’t he?
One day when Timmy and Little Joe were playing ball, the ball rolled across the street. Little Joe knew that he could not leave the yard but he was tempted. It would only take a split second to grab the ball and bring it back to the yard. Before he knew it his little legs were running as fast as they could. He wanted to get the ball and bring it back before anyone saw him.
Just as he was about to run into the street he heard a loud SCREECH and as he looked left he saw a big white car swerve so close to him he thought he was going to be hit.
Uncle Joe came running from behind the garage and yelled, “Little Joe, are you okay?“ But Little Joe could not speak and he could not move.
Just then Mama came out the door. Her pretty face looked terrified. “Little Joe, get out of the street, Right Now!“ she ordered.
Little Joe backed up until he felt the safety of the curb. He stepped up on the curb as his legs went weak. Suddenly he was on the ground. Little Joe pulled his legs up close to his body, dropped his head to his knees and wrapped his hands around the back of his neck. Hot tears welled up in his eyes. His legs and his whole body started shaking. He was afraid to look up. Why didn’t I call for Uncle Joe to get the ball for me?
When Little Joe looked up the man from the white car was standing next to Uncle Joe. He looked a lot like his grandpa. Little Joe thought the man should be mad, but he wasn’t. He offered Little Joe his hand and guided him to the bench at the edge of the property. “Are you okay young man?” said the grandpa. Little Joe looked at his gentle blue eyes and answered, “I think so.” “Well, okay then son, I’ll be on my way, please be careful next time, okay buddy?” said the Grandpa as he patted him on the back.
After the man in the white car drove off, Uncle Joe looked at Little Joe and spoke softly, “Little Joe, are you really okay?”
Little Joe shook his head, yes but then he began to cry loudly. “I’m so sorry Uncle Joe.” Just then Mama came walking up to Little Joe. There was fear in Mama’s eyes. Little Joe whimpered, “I almost got killed, Mama !”
Uncle Joe bent down and rubbed Little Joe’s head. “Come on Wee Man, chin up, you’re safe now.” “Why do I always disobey the rules, Uncle Joe? I know the rules but I just don’t want to obey them.” cried Little Joe.
Hard to Follow Rules
Uncle Joe’s face got serious and that far away look washed over him. “Well, Wee Man, ever since the beginning of time people have had a problem with rules. Every person wants to do things their own way, nobody really wants to obey the rules. It’s only when we understand that God gave us rules to protect us, not hurt us, that we begin to see why we must obey the rules.”
Little Joe looked up at Mama as a tear slipped from his eye. “Mama, I’m sorry I disobeyed you. Sometimes I think rules are dumb but I know that you give me rules to protect me, just like God gives me rules to protect me. Will you forgive me, Mama?”
Mama’s face softened and the corners of her mouth turned up as her eyes twinkled. “Yes, Wee man, I do forgive you.” Mama wrapped her arms around Little Joe as she picked him up and twirled him around two times. Little Joe loved his Mama and he was so sorry he disobeyed and frightened her.
Little Joe was beginning to understand why Mama and Papa said the rules in the Summerfield family must be obeyed. If a rule is broken, there is always a consequence. “Mama, what is my consequence?” asked Little Joe.
Mama held Little Joe’s hand and looked directly into his eyes, “What do you think your consequence should be?” she asked
Little Joe hung his head and thought about it. “Well Mama, I think I should go to bed without supper and I should be grounded in the house for a whole month.”
Mama patted Little Joe’s head gently as she bent down beside him. “Wee man, I think you have punished yourself pretty hard all by yourself. I believe you learned an important lesson today. I’ve decided to give you grace.”
“What do you mean Mama? What does grace mean?” said Little Joe.
Looking up into the trees, Mama took a moment to think, as if she might find the right words falling like the leaves around her. “What I mean when I say Grace is that I will not give you a consequence this time, even though you deserve one.”
“Really Mama! No Consequence!” Little Joe said as he looked at his mama in amazement.
“Really Little Joe, no consequence at all!” answered Mama
Just then Timmy, who had been watching the whole thing, ran up to Little Joe and fell into his arms. He gave his friend a full bear hug and as he tucked his face into Little Joe’s shoulder he said, “You coulda got killed, Little Joe! You coulda got killed!! I am so glad you didn’t! You are so lucky!”
Mama laughed softly as she reached out to ruffle Timmy’s hair. “Timmy, I’d say Little Joe was protected, not lucky.” Timmy’s face turned red because Mama always made his face turn red.
Little Joe gave Timmy a friendly punch on the arm, grabbed the ball, and said, “Come on Buddy let’s play ball!”