MISS ESTHER PRAYS
Miss Esther glanced at her reflection in the mirror and adjusted the collar of her yellow dress.
There. That was perfect.
“Yellow is such a cheerful color, Lord.” Miss Esther glanced down at her full skirt, the crisp yellow fabric was dotted all over with small blue flowers. “Would you help me to share Your joy with others today?”
Miss Esther pushed herself to her feet and set about tidying her room for the morning. The adventures of finding and taking care of her cat Carrots the day before had resulted in her room being a bit out of order. She hummed a little tune as she worked. It was so pleasant to be able to move about and set things in their places.
At last she reached for her quiet time things. In a few moments she’d settled down on her freshly made bed. The rest of the cabinet house’s multiple occupants were evidently still asleep because she couldn’t hear anyone else moving about.
Miss Esther bowed her head. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a good night’s sleep and for a new day. Would You help me to understand what I read in Your Word today? Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Miss Esther opened her journal and carefully wrote in the date. Then she looked to see what passage she was to read that day. Her journal had it written right on the page.
“John 4:39-42.” Miss Esther set aside her journal and flipped open her Bible to where her bookmark was. “Yesterday I read about how Jesus found doing God’s will more satisfying than food. I wonder if this is the rest of the story?”
Miss Esther eagerly began to read the new verses. It was indeed about what happened after Jesus’ talked with the woman by the well and with His disciples. Miss Esther read the passage through and then went back to look again at verse 39.
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (NKJV)
“The woman told others about what Jesus had told her and they believed in Jesus too.” Miss Esther rested her chin in her hand. “How could I share with others today about what Jesus has done for me?”
She thought for a few moments and then wrote down the verse in her journal. In the place for her own notes, she penned these lines:
Jesus has done so much for me. He has saved me and given me hope. May I be watchful for opportunities to tell others about Him today!
Miss Esther set aside her journal and was about to slide to her knees when she heard a scurrying sound from the books near her bed. She paused a moment.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” Miss Esther was surprised.
“Just me!” The voice sounded very much like a squeak.
“Who is me?” Miss Esther smiled even though she couldn’t see who it was.
“Um…well…you won’t scream if I tell you?” The someone sounded worried.
“I don’t think so.” Miss Esther shook her head. “Here in Small Village we’re all friends.”
“Oh!” The someone sighed with relief. “Then I’ll tell you. My name is Tiny…Tiny Mouse.”
Miss Esther smiled. She’d figured it was a mouse. She hopped off her bed and moved to stand in front of the small stand of books at the head of her bed. In a moment she’d spotted her guest.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Tiny. My name is Miss Esther.”
“Nice to meet you too.” Tiny smiled nervously.
“How long have you lived here, Tiny?”
“As long as you have.” Tiny’s eyes were wide.
“And I’m only just now meeting you? I’m sorry I haven’t noticed you before!” Miss Esther held out her hand. “So glad we’ve met at last.”
Tiny shook Miss Esther’s hand carefully. “Can I ask what you were doing? I…I…was curious…”
“Of course!” Miss Esther smiled. “I was having my quiet time.”
“What’s a quiet time?”
“A quiet time is time alone with God, reading the Bible and talking to Him in prayer.” Miss Esther motioned to where her quiet time things were. “I just finished writing in my journal.”
“Oh.” Tiny seemed surprised. “That’s nice. What’s it like to pray? I’ve heard of prayer, but never done it before.”
“It’s wonderful.” Miss Esther leaned slightly against the books. “Prayer is talking to God, just like you talk to me. I could show you how if you like.”
There was the sound of a distant squeak.
“Oh! That’s my brother Goldie.” Tiny sprang to her feet. “I’ve got to go! Maybe I could come back another time?”
“Please do.” Esther smiled warmly. “Tomorrow morning?”
Tiny nodded and then disappeared as quickly as she’d come.
“How fun to make a new friend this early in the day!” Miss Esther glanced about the room. “There are many dear ones who live in Walnut House on Woodland Street!”
Miss Esther went back towards her bed and dropped to her knees. She loved reading God’s Word, but she also loved talking to God. She reached for her quiet time journal.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this verse I read.” Miss Esther looked at her journal page. “Thank You for the woman’s example of telling others what You had done for her. Would you open my eyes to see opportunities today to share with others what You have done for me?”
Then Miss Esther reached for her prayer pocket. She had different colored cards for different aspects of prayer. She took out one card from each color and laid them on the bed in front of her.
She started with the yellow card which had something to praise the Lord for. “Lord, You are loving.”
Miss Esther smiled. Fresh in her mind was the idea of how wonderful her Savior was.
Then she focused on her next card. It was pink and had something on it to thank the Lord for.
“Thank You for my home.” Miss Esther paused a moment and ran her hand over her green quilt. “You take such good care of us, Lord.”
She looked at her white card, which was on forgiveness. “Lord, please make my heart whiter than snow.”
Miss Esther then reached for her purple card. “Ah, Lord, I get to pray for my sisters today! Would You give Priscilla and Susanna wisdom as they make decisions today? And please give them strength, especially Susanna. She kept an eye on Carrots last night and I’m not sure she got much sleep.”
Miss Esther set down her purple card and looked at the orange one. “Oh how fun! I get to pray for my neighbor Sarai today. Lord, would You give Sarai a compassionate heart as she serves so many people? Please keep her safe and in good health. And thank-you for the new neighbor I met today. Please draw Tiny to Yourself. I don’t think she knows You. Please help me to be an encouragement to her.”
“And now, Lord, we’re down to me.” Miss Esther looked at her last card. It was bright green. “Please help me to have a cheerful heart, even when I’m a bit tired from all the adventures of yesterday. I’m supposed to go visit the mice for tea this afternoon, which will be lovely, but I’m afraid I might get irritated about silly things because I’m tired. Would You help me to serve no matter how I feel? Thank You.”
Miss Esther drew a deep breath. She glanced over her prayer cards. Yes, she’d prayed for all the things.
“It’s such a joy to know You, Lord.” Miss Esther bowed her head. “Thank You for the chance to live this day with You. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”
Miss Esther carefully began tucking her cards back into their little pockets. She put the ones she had used at the back of each pocket. When she next had her prayer time, she’d use the ones at the front of each pocket. It would be fun to see what new things she would get to pray about. This system kept her prayer cards in order and Miss Esther loved to be organized.
In a few moments Miss Esther had stashed her quiet time things in their place on her trunk where she could find them the next morning.
“Talking with Tiny took some extra time.” Miss Esther glanced at the clock. “I’d better hurry if I’m going to get breakfast ready for my sisters! We’ll have Scrambled Eggs this morning to make up the time.”
Then with a skip and a bounce Miss Esther raced up the stairs.
A new day was about to begin.
Miss Esther reached the top of the stairs and entered the library. It seemed very quiet and still in the early morning light.
“I love this time of day!” Miss Esther moved to turn on the lamp. “Makes me feel so calm and so energized at the same time!”
“Whoof!” Cashew heard her voice and rose sleepily from his pillow.
“Good morning, Cashew! The Lord has given us a new Tuesday!” She scratched behind his ears. “How is my world’s greatest dog?”
“Whoof!” Cashew’s eyes sparkled. “Whoof?”
“And I’m doing quite well too, thank-you!” Miss Esther guessed his thoughts. “Now let’s get you some breakfast.”
In a few moments Miss Esther had filled Cashew’s bowl. Then she began what she fondly called ‘waking up the kitchen’. She turned on the lights, tended the fire in the stove, opened the blinds, tied on her apron and watered the sprouts she was growing.
At last Miss Esther dried her hands on a towel and went to check the stove.
“Perfect! I love this Mini Mae range, Lord. It heats up so quickly!” Miss Esther pulled out her skillet and set it on the front burner. She added a little coconut oil to grease it.
She reached for her mixing bowl. “Let’s see. I’m quite sure sisters will be hungry, so I’d better do two eggs apiece.”
“Now for the toast!” Miss Esther reached for the loaf she had purchased the day before from Martha at the Bethany Bread House. They’d eaten part of it for dinner the night before, but there was still plenty left for breakfast. “This should toast beautifully.”
Miss Esther was just sliding a pan of toast into the oven when she heard footsteps on the stairs.
“Three guesses and two don’t count…it’s Priscilla?” Miss Esther looked up just in time to see her sister glide into the library.
“Correct!” Priscilla smiled and the sisters laughed.
“Seeing your smiling face is one of the greatest blessings of my morning, Priscilla.” Miss Esther gave her sister a quick hug. “Did you get some good sleep?”
“Yes. Those library accounts took so much brain energy yesterday that all I wanted to do was sleep!”
“I’m glad you were able to! Would you mind setting the table?” Miss Esther checked her toast and stirred the eggs. “Breakfast should be ready in just a few minutes.”
“Of course!” Priscilla went to the the dish dresser and lifted down a stack of blue plates.
In no time at all the eggs and toast were done. Priscilla added applesauce, jam and peanut butter to the menu and lit the candle in the center of the table.
“Have you heard Susanna yet?” Miss Esther glanced at the stairs. “I wonder if she knows what time it is?”
“Oh yes! She was up and talking to Carrots when I came down.”
Priscilla stuck the extinguished match under the faucet to be sure it was out. “We’re just early. Susanna will be down exactly at 8. She’s very good at being right on time!”
In another couple minutes Susanna swept into the room, precisely at 8:00 o’clock.
“Perfectly on time, just as I said you would be!” Priscilla smiled at her sister from her place by the table. “Eggs and toast are ready!”
“Eggs!” Susanna sounded delighted. “Perfect. My favorite breakfast is just the thing for today!”
Susanna set Carrot’s basket down by the stove.
“And a good morning to you, Susanna! How is our favorite nurse?” Miss Esther reached into the icebox for the milk as she spoke.
“Very blessed.” Susanna smiled, but Miss Esther could tell her sister was weary. It had evidently been a long night.
Miss Esther poured a bowl of milk for Carrots and set it on the table.
“How are you, Carrots?” Miss Esther bent down to rub her pet’s back.
“Meow!” Carrots sounded tired too.
“It was a pretty uncomfortable night for Carrots.” Susanna gave the animal a loving smile. “But he did a good job managing the pain.”
“Carrots is a very brave cat.” Miss Esther sat down on the floor beside the basket. “Shall I help him get his breakfast?”
Miss Esther lifted Carrots out of his basket and the cat seemed genuinely delighted. He snuggled down in her arms with a happy purr.
“Would you thank the Lord for our breakfast, Susanna?” Miss Esther looked up at her sister from her seat on the floor.
“Gladly!” Susanna dropped into her chair at the table and bowed her head. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this breakfast and a new day. Please help Carrots to get some good rest today and his leg to heal well. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
“Amen!” Priscilla rose to bring the eggs to the table.
“Here, Carrots, try some milk.” Miss Esther lifted the bowl of milk to where Carrots could reach it.
Carrots drank eagerly.
Miss Esther smiled. “At least your appetite is doing well, Carrots!”
Breakfast was a lively affair, as it usually was for the sisters. Rarely ever did they run out of things to talk about. Once Carrots had finished his milk Miss Esther tucked him back into his basket and joined her sisters at the table.
All too soon breakfast was finished, the dishes done and Miss Esther waved her sister’s off to their work. She stopped to water the flowers by the front door.
“Does one good to see flowers.” Miss Esther took a careful sniff of a brilliant pink rose. “And to smell them!”
Her watering finished, Miss Esther sat down on the sidewalk and swung her legs over the side. The spring air was crisp and she watched a few birds fly across the sky.
“Come, Esther, you must think!” Miss Esther leaned back against the step and began talking to herself, which she did often. “You’re going to tea this afternoon and you need to decide what to bake.”
She folded her arms. “Cheesecake would be just the thing. Mice love cheese cake, but I’m short on cheese just now. Cherry pie would be splendid but cherries are one of the things I usually don’t buy so Less didn’t bring them up.”
Miss Esther’s brow furrowed in thought. “Lord, what should I make? I’m not sure what to do.”
And then, Miss Esther had an idea.
“My sisters and I took molasses cookies to the grand tea last month. I remember how much Martha Mouse loved them!” Miss Esther’s eyes began to sparkle. “Mel and Mellie Mouse would probably enjoy them too!”
Miss Esther’s mind mentally ran through her cupboards. “Yes…I think I have everything needed to make them, but I’ll double check to be sure.” Miss Esther smiled. “Thank You, Lord! That is the perfect idea.”
Then she took a deep breath and enjoyed the view for an extra moment.
Walnut House, where Miss Esther lived with her sisters, looked out over Bluebell Lawn. On the other side of the lawn was the golden castle where Princess Ella lived with her father, King Teddy-O-So-Grand.
The castle was a very busy place, serving the inhabitants of Small Village and the villages beyond. On many an evening the happy lights of the castle lit up the lawn and reminded one of the joy that comes from knowing the Lord.
“We are so blessed to have a king and princess that love You, Lord.” Miss Esther moved to head back into her house. “Please give them wisdom in their decisions today as they help so many. Thank You. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”
Miss Esther entered her kitchen but left the door ajar so that the fresh breezes of the spring air could come inside. She paused beside Carrot’s basket. He was dozing happily, a little bit of milk still on his whiskers.
Miss Esther smiled.
If her pet could get some solid sleep it would help him to get better. And pass the time. She was quite sure that staying in bed would not come easily to Carrots. He loved to talk to folks and walk everywhere.
“I must see what I can do to help him stay busy even when he can’t move about.” Miss Esther added another log to the stove as quietly as she could. “But for now, let’s see about those cookies.”
Miss Esther took down her cook book and flipped to the recipe she wanted. “Ah! Here it is.”
She scanned the ingredients and took a quick inventory to see if she had everything. Satisfied at last that she had what she needed, Miss Esther got to work. She mixed her wet and dry ingredients separately and then stirred them together.
“Now to chill the batter.” Miss Esther wrapped a towel over the bowl of dough and then slipped it into the icebox. “And in the meantime I can clean the library!”
Miss Esther carefully put the cooking dishes she no longer needed into the sink and wiped off the kitchen counter. Then she fetched her cleaning supplies and got to work. She put away some of the things that had been left out the day before, dusted the furniture and then prepared to mop the floor.
“I’m so glad Carrots is a sound sleeper.” Miss Esther chuckled as she carefully filled her mop bucket. “Or he would have a hard time sleeping just now!” Miss Esther carefully carried the bucket into the library. “We just mopped this floor yesterday, but it rained last night and now we have all kinds of dirt from our muddy shoes in here!”
First, Miss Esther swept away all the dry dirt with her broom. Then she got down on her hands and knees to scrub off the stubborn mud. Fortunately it didn’t take too long. By the time Miss Esther had rinsed out her mop bucket and put away her supplies, it was time to check the cookie dough.
Miss Esther found a spoon and dipped it into the bowl for a taste. “Mmmm…scrumptious!” She chuckled to herself. “Better make sure I don’t eat it all up before it’s baked!”
Miss Esther greased her cookie sheets and began rolling the dough into little balls. Once the two trays were full of the little balls she slid them into the oven and set her timer.
She rolled up on her toes for a moment in anticipation. The house was going to smell so good!
In another hour the kitchen counter was covered with cooling cookies. Miss Esther washed up her baking dishes and left them to dry on the dish rack.
“And now I think it’s time for a break!” Miss Esther laughed softly to herself and brushed a few strands of hair from her forehead.
She heard Carrots stir.
“Did you have a nice sleep?” Miss Esther bent down to see how her pet was.
“Meow.” Carrots sounded sleepy but he sniffed the air curiously.
“You have a good nose, Carrots. The cookies are just out of the oven!”
Carrots eyes widened and he licked his lips.
Miss Esther smiled but inside she could have sighed. She was so close to her break and now…she had the opportunity to take care of Carrots.
“Oh Lord, would You help me to be kind and serve?” Miss Esther prayed silently in her heart but knew the Lord heard every word as clearly as if she had spoken it aloud.
Miss Esther looked at her cat. “Are you hungry, Carrots?”
“Meow!” Carrots was clearly fully awake now.
Miss Esther rose and poured a little milk into a bowl. Then she put a cookie on a plate and came back to Carrots. In a few moments she had him on her lap and was busy helping him to his early lunch.
“This is what Jesus did for me.” Miss Esther’s thoughts were busy. “He could have stayed in heaven but He came down instead to serve us.” She remembered her quiet time verse. “I wonder if one way we tell others about Jesus is simply by serving like He did?”
Carrot nudged her arm. He was ready for his next bite of cookie. He was very, very fond of cookies.
In a very short space of time both the milk and the cookie had disappeared. Miss Esther tucked Carrots back into his basket and he promptly fell asleep again.
Miss Esther brushed the crumbs from her apron and rose to her feet. She put Carrot’s dishes in the sink and washed her hands.
“Okay, let’s put the rest of these cookies away and then we can rest for a few moments.” Miss Esther carefully put the tasty treats in containers to keep them fresh, saving out one for her snack. She cleared away the cooling racks and wiped the table. Then she carried her plate into the library in high glee.
She settled down into her armchair with a happy sigh. “Lord, sometimes breaks are the more lovely for being delayed! Thank You for helping me to serve Carrots and for this cookie. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Miss Esther took a bite of the spicy cookie and savored the rich flavor, topped with the hint of cinnamon.
Miss Esther smiled. “Perfect! Absolutely perfect!”
After a few more bites, Miss Esther reached to take a book she was reading off the bookshelf. It was the story of George Muller who, many years before, had cared for many orphans in England. She slowly munched her cookie as she read of the amazing ways the Lord had provided for Mr. Muller and all the children. All too soon she knew she needed to stop and prepare lunch.
Miss Esther slid the book back on the shelf and then cleaned the last crumbs off her plate as she thought about what she’d read.
“George Muller prayed and the Lord answered in small ways and big ways.” Miss Esther swallowed the last crumb. “We serve a mighty God. I’m so glad we can pray!”
Then Miss Esther rose. It was time to prepare lunch for her sisters!
She was quite sure they would enjoy the cookies too.
Miss Esther glanced up from her place at the table. She’d just finished chopping the peppers for their salad.
“Welcome!” Miss Esther set about tossing the salad with a little bit of olive oil. “Lunch is almost ready.”
“It’s a glorious day out today!” Susanna swung her straw hat by its strings. “I walked a little further to meet up with Priscilla just to enjoy the fresh air!”
“I thought you came to see me!” Priscilla threw a teasing glance at her sister as she washed her hands at the sink.
“Well, I wanted to see you too!” Susanna looked sheepish and all the sisters laughed.
“Suppose we eat our lunch on the sidewalk today?” Miss Esther glanced out the open door. “Is there much traffic?”
“Not really.” Priscilla leaned back against the sink. “It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so I think everyone is down by the shops trying to get everything done so they can stay inside tomorrow.”
Miss Esther nodded. Walnut House was at the upper end of the village and away from most of the village whirl.
“Let’s sit outside then.” Miss Esther stuck a pair of tongs into the salad bowl.
The sisters filled their plates and then moved to sit out on the sidewalk. Priscilla thanked the Lord for their food and then they all began to enjoy their lunch. It was a quick feast as every one still had much work to do.
“Has the mail come yet?” Priscilla glanced at the sky. “I haven’t seen Kingsley all day.”
“No.” Miss Esther shook her head. “Usually he comes at around one o’clock, but I shouldn’t be surprised if he’s a bit late this time. With spring coming there are sure to be more packages to deliver.”
Miss Esther glanced at her sister. “Are you watching for something?”
“Yes. And it’s not that important.” Priscilla chuckled slightly. “I ordered a volume of Beethoven’s Sonatas and am eager to try it out, that’s all.”
“How lovely!” Susanna shifted in her seat. “I can hardly wait to see it too! We may have to slip down to the concert hall just so we can hear you play them, Priscilla.”
Priscilla shook her head. “I haven’t practiced these yet.”
“Neither have we!” Miss Esther gave her sister an encouraging smile. “You’re very good at sight reading music anyway.”
“You know, one of these days we should get a piano.” Susanna’s face took on a dreamy look. “Just think about being able to play duets right here at home!”
“And where would we put it?” Miss Esther was slightly alarmed.
“Oh we’d find a place!” Susanna wasn’t at all dissuaded. “We should seriously think about it, girls. Especially for those rainy days when no one wants to go out if they don’t have to.”
“That would be splendid!” Priscilla’s eyes were alight. “Oh girls, we really should! I’ll do some research during my free time at the library this afternoon.”
“How much do they cost? We’d need to save up for one.” Miss Esther was thinking hard. She knew a piano would be a great blessing, but they had to be realistic.
“We need the very nicest of nice pianos!” Susanna set down her salad plate and clasped her hands over her knees. “Something that we can use for gatherings, sister afternoons and just our own enjoyment!”
“The very nice ones are about three hundred pennies.” Priscilla tipped her head.
Miss Esther whistled without thinking. “That’s an investment, but not impossible. Let’s pray about it and see what the Lord would have us do.”
Her sisters nodded and they all rose to head back into the house.
“Esther, I can take Carrots down to the hospital with me this afternoon.” Susanna began putting away the lunch dishes with a speed born of much experience. “He’ll enjoy seeing the patients and that way your hands will be free to go visit those new friends on Tea Cup Street.”
“Thank-you, Susanna. I’d be so grateful!” Miss Esther pulled out a china plate and began arranging some cookies on it. “Do you girls think I should take one or two dozen cookies to the tea party?”
“One.” Priscilla leaned around to look. “More probably won’t fit on that plate.”
“Sounds good.” Susanna shrugged her agreement.
Miss Esther wrapped the plate carefully with a cloth towel so the cookies wouldn’t slide too much when she carried them to Tea Cup Street.
“When do you take off for the lower village, Esther?” Priscilla set the last of the dishes to dry. “It’s almost twelve thirty now.”
“Not till two o’clock.” Miss Esther moved to check on Carrots. “I’ll see about writing some letters in the meantime.”
For several moments the kitchen was full of whirling skirts as the sisters prepared for the next part of their day. Miss Esther fed Carrots some milk and wiped his whiskers with a wet rag when he was finished.
Then Susanna swept up his basket. “Alright, Carrots! Let’s go! We’ve people to meet and patients to serve today.”
Carrots’ whole face took on a look of great delight.
Miss Esther smiled. “Have a wonderful afternoon, Susanna and Carrots. See you at dinner!”
“See you then!” Susanna swept out the door with Carrots and the house grew quieter.
“What do you think about the piano idea, Esther?” Priscilla was tying on her sunbonnet. “Do we dare hope?”
“I think it sounds lovely.” Miss Esther set about putting a few last kitchen details to rights. “With some careful saving I think we could do it. Why don’t you figure out what kind of piano we should purchase?”
“I will!” Priscilla’s eyes shone like stars. “I’ll bring some books home to show you.”
“Sounds great!” Miss Esther gave her sister a smile. “We’ll look forward to it!”
As soon as Priscilla had left Miss Esther settled herself down in the library. Pulling out her writing supplies, she looked over the letters she needed to reply to. As housekeeper for the sisters, she often tended to the mail as well.
For the first half hour Miss Esther busied herself about writing a few quick notes and filing some papers she’d need when balancing the budget on the following day.
Then she picked up a pink letter with a smile. “At last! The essentials are taken care of and now I can write to Cousin Flossy!”
Miss Esther drew forward a crisp sheet of paper and began to write in her clear handwriting.
Dear Cousin Flossy,
How lovely to hear from you! We read your letter with much delight last week. We think of you often and pray for you frequently. I’m so glad the work with the International Dolls Mission is doing well. We were all thrilled to hear of the opportunity you had to share the gospel with those newcomers. May the Lord water the seed a hundredfold!
Miss Esther went on to relate her adventure with Carrots and of the new friends she had made. After writing down the story she paused for a minute to collect her thoughts and then continued.
Do pray for us, Flossy, that we may share Christ with them. In my quiet time this morning I read of how the testimony of the woman at the well helped others to believe in Christ. I do so want to do the same as often as the Lord gives me the opportunity.
And now the clock is getting away from me! I’m to go to Tea Cup Street for tea and it’s a bit of trip. Looking forward to getting to know these new friends better!
Love and hugs from all of us,
Miss Esther, for her sisters too :)
Esther folded the letter and slipped it into an envelope. She addressed it to her cousin and fastened on the stamp.
“There! All set!” Miss Esther began to put away her office things. “I’ll drop these letters in the post office on my way out.”
Miss Esther hurried to her room to freshen up and tie on her hat. In a few minutes she was back upstairs. She slipped her purse in her pocket, took up the plate of cookies and reached for her letters.
Once outside Miss Esther laughed to herself. “How am I supposed to shut the door if my hands are full?”
Miss Esther thought for a moment. “I know! If I set these letters down on top of the plate of cookies, I’ll have one hand free.”
So Miss Esther gently laid the letters on top of her plate of cookies and used her free hand to shut the door.
“Well, Lord, here we go!” Miss Esther glanced up at the bright blue sky. “Would You give me your words as I relate with others today? Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Miss Esther started off down the sidewalk, her yellow skirt swishing as she went. She waved to Priscilla who was working at the library, to Martha Mouse who was washing the windows of The Bethany Bread House, to Captain Parrot who was cleaning his boat and to the professor bears who were teaching a class of students at the university.
“Such a busy day!” Miss Esther descended the steps to Bluebell Lawn. “Everyone is going about the work You have given them, Lord.”
Miss Esther spied the post office box beside the gate of the upper town. In a few quick steps she was there. She lifted the lid of the box and peaked inside. It was empty.
“Kingsley the Postman must have come already!” Miss Esther tried not to be too disappointed. “Oh well! There’s no hurry. Tomorrow will be fine.”
She set her letters inside and closed the lid. “It’ll be so fun to see if Cousin Flossy writes back soon!”
Miss Esther started walking again. She still had a long ways to go. In a few moments she’d reached Robby Raccoon’s Air Basket Station.
“Good afternoon, Miss Esther!” Robby looked up from where he was working with the mechanics of the elevator. “How are you today?”
“Very well, thank-you, Robby.” Miss Esther gave her friend a smile. “How are you?”
“Fantastic. Can’t complain!” Robby brushed some dust from the mechanics with the tip of his furry tail. “How is Carrots feeling?”
“He’s pretty tired. He slept most of the morning and Susanna took him with her to the hospital this afternoon so she can keep an eye on him.”
“Good for Susanna.” Robby’s eyes sparkled. “Well, Miss Esther, how can I serve you today?”
“I’m headed to tea on Tea Cup Street.” Miss Esther glanced at the plate of cookies in her hand. “Is the Air Basket working today?”
“It sure is. Just cleaned the gears so you should have an even smoother ride than usual!”
Robby held the cookies while Miss Esther climbed into the basket and handed them to her once she was settled.
“We’ll have you down in no time, Miss Esther.” Robby went back to his rope. “Enjoy your tea party!”
“Thank-you. I will!”
Miss Esther had no time to say more for the basket swung out into the air and began to slowly descend towards the lower village. Miss Esther closed her eyes for a moment. Heights tended to give her a funny feeling in her stomach.
“Ah, Miss Esther, so good to see you!”
Miss Esther opened her eyes just as the basket settled gently onto the ground. Danny Dog gave her a warm smile.
“Good to see you too, Danny.” Miss Esther took a deep breath. “How are you?”
“I’m thankful, Miss Esther!” Danny Dog reached to help her from the basket. “I can run around on all fours today. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Miss Esther waited to reply till she and her cookies were safely on the landing. “That is wonderful, Danny! And that makes two of us. I’m thankful I can walk on two feet today.”
“Amen!” Danny Dog scratched his ear. “You going round trip today?”
“Yes.” Miss Esther reached into her pocket for her purse. “I’ll go ahead and pay now, though.” She handed him a couple pennies. “Same as usual?”
“Yes, ma’am!” Danny Dog took the coins and slid them in his cash box. “Thank-you, Miss Esther. Would you like a receipt?”
Danny Dog flipped open his receipt book and carefully wrote down the purchase. With a quick movement he pulled the receipt paper free and handed the white paper to Miss Esther.
“There you go!” He tucked the pink paper into his own file. “Always a pleasure to serve you, Miss Esther.”
“I’m so thankful you are here!” Miss Esther tucked the receipt into her purse. “It’s so nice not to have to take the hike down.”
“Robby is hoping to have monthly and yearly passes available soon.” Danny Dog leaned against the side of the basket. “We’ll be letting our customers know as soon as we have them ready.”
“How wonderful! I look forward to hearing more about it.” Miss Esther smiled and reached out to shake Danny’s hand. “Have a good afternoon, Danny.”
“You too!” Danny shook her hand energetically and then moved to prepare the Air Basket for his next customer.
Miss Esther started down the short road leading to Tea Cup Street. In another moment she’d be at Mel and Mellie’s.
The adventure of afternoon tea was about to begin.
“Here she comes!”
“Mommy, she’s coming!”
Miss Esther smiled at the sound of high whispers just around the corner. In another moment she’d reached the first entrance to the underground house of the mice family.
Two small white mice looked up at her with shy smiles.
“Hello girls!” Miss Esther bent down. “How are you today?”
“Good!” The mice spoke at the same time and said the same thing. The two looked at each other and laughed as they realized what they’d done.
Miss Esther laughed too. Maybe this would be easier than she’d thought!
“We were watching for you.” One of the mice clasped her hands behind her back and smiled shyly.
“Thank-you. It’s very nice to be welcomed.” Miss Esther looked from one to the other. “Now, which one of you is Milly and which one is Molly?”
“I’m Milly!” The littlest mouse jumped up and down a few times. “I have two flowers in my hair just like I have two ‘L’s in my name.” She looked at her sister. “And this is Molly. She’s the oldest and she has one flower in her hair, just like she has one ‘O’ in her name.”
“I see!” Miss Esther smiled. “That does help. Thank-you, Milly. I’m so glad to know you both.”
“Girls! Do bring Miss Esther on in!” Mellie’s voice drifted up from below.
“The ladder’s back this way!” Milly scampered around another corner.
“Can I help you with your plate?” Molly bit her lip nervously.
“Why thank-you! That would be a big help. I don’t climb ladders too often.” Miss Esther handed the plate of cookies to Molly.
Molly promptly disappeared down the hole into her home.
Miss Esther eyed the entrance with some apprehension. She wasn’t exactly small and she wasn’t sure how she was going to fit in the family’s home.
“Why didn’t I wear a different dress?” Miss Esther kept her concerned thoughts to herself. “This skirt is so full, it’ll go everywhere! Oh Lord, would You help me to handle this with grace?”
Miss Esther knelt before the hole to take stock of the situation. To her relief the inside space was much bigger than she had thought! She set aside her hat and reached for the ladder.
“Welcome, Miss Esther! We’re so glad you’ve come!” Mellie came forward eagerly, drying her hands on her apron.
“Thank-you, Mellie. It’s a joy to be here!” Miss Esther knelt easily in the small space.
The two shook hands.
“The girls have been so excited all day! They’ve been watching for you the last half hour.” Mellie smiled. “You’re our first guest in our new home.”
Miss Esther glanced around. She could hardly tell the family had only just moved in. It looked like they’d always been there. Everything was clean and cozy.
“I brought some cookies for our tea.” Miss Esther saw her plate of cookies resting on the kitchen sideboard. “I hope you like molasses!”
“We’ve never tasted it before!” Mellie’s eyes sparkled. “I’m sure we’ll love it. Do come join us at the table.”
Miss Esther saw where a place had been created for her to sit, a small rug doing duty instead of a button chair. The round kitchen table was covered in a green tablecloth and set with delicate china.
“How lovely!” Miss Esther settled into her place.
“I helped set the table!” Milly leaned a hand on Miss Esther’s knee. “Do you like pretty dishes?”
“Yes, I do.” Miss Esther met the little one’s gaze kindly. “I’ve always thought food tastes better when it’s served on something beautiful.”
“Me too!” Milly nodded energetically. “What do your dishes look like?”
For a few moments Miss Esther and Milly were deep in a discussion of dish colors and types. Molly helped her mother put the last of the tea things on the table and then she scampered out of sight. Before long she was back with her father, Mel Mouse.
Miss Esther and Mel shook hands warmly.
Soon the whole family was gathered around the table.
“We like to thank the Lord for our food at each meal.” Mel smiled from his seat at the head of the table. “You’re welcome to join us, Miss Esther, if you like.”
Mel bowed his head and everyone else did too.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this tea we are about to share and that Miss Esther is able to join us today.” Mel’s voice was deep and strong. “You are so good to us. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”
“Amen.” Miss Esther raised her head with a smile.
Four pairs of eyes looked at her.
“Do you…do you…do you know Jesus?” Milly hopped off her button chair and came to stand beside Miss Esther.
“I do, Milly. Jesus is my Savior, my Lord and my best Friend.” Miss Esther put a kind hand on the little one’s back. “Do you know Jesus?”
“We all do!” Milly was so excited she quivered. “Oh, I’m so glad you know Him too!”
“We all are.” Mellie’s eyes shone. “Come, Milly dear, sit back down. Perhaps while I pour the tea, Miss Esther can tell us how she came to know Jesus.”
“Of course! I’d love to hear your stories too.” Miss Esther spread her napkin on her lap and thought a moment. “I was born in Pennsylvania and lived there for a number of years in a big house called Maple Sugar Cottage. But it was somewhat of a lonely place as I lived there all by myself.” She tipped her head in thought. “I think a lot of people in this world are lonely.”
Mellie Mouse nodded.
“Then we moved to Ohio and I lived in a one room apartment in a high rise bookshelf. It was a fun place to live and eventually my sister Susanna came to live there too. We had quite a bit of fun together.”
“I didn’t know you had a sister!” Milly took a cookie and then passed the plate around.
“I do. Actually I have two sisters.” Miss Esther smiled. “After we lived in the bookshelf, Susanna and I moved into Beekeep Cottage. My sister Priscilla joined us while we were there. Now all three of us live at Walnut House.”
“You have moved a lot, Miss Esther.” Mel took a sip of tea.
“Yes. I love to travel and have had a great deal of fun making homes in various places. But you know, I’ve found that no amount of homemaking or traveling or friendships can make me completely happy. Those things don’t fill the aching loneliness deep inside of me.”
Mellie nodded her agreement.
“When I was young I heard about God and that He loves us.” Miss Esther set a cookie on her plate. “But I had done things God said not to do and needed to ask His forgiveness. There was a penalty for the wrong things I had done and there was no way I could pay it myself. But God loved me so much that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for my bad choices.”
Miss Esther reached into her pocket and drew out a tiny New Testament. “So if I would put my trust in Christ, I could be forgiven and have a restored relationship with God. Do you girls know John 1:12?”
“We’re going to memorize that one next week.” Molly’s voice was quiet.
“What perfect timing! Here, I’ll read you what it says.” Miss Esther looked down at her pocket Bible. “‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:’ (NKJV) So I did. I prayed and asked Christ to ‘come into my heart’. This was my way of telling Him that I believed in Him and wanted Him to be my Savior. And I became a real Christian.”
Miss Esther smiled. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Christ is the one who fills that lonely place in my heart. No matter where I live or go, I’m never completely alone because Jesus goes with me. He’s been with me in every place I’ve lived. I love telling others what Jesus has done for me. It makes such a difference to know I have eternal life and that when I die I’ll spend eternity with God.”
“What a lovely story, Miss Esther!” Mellie passed the honey down the table.
“And it’s true too.” Mel took another bite of cake. “Thank-you for sharing with us, Miss Esther.”
“Thank-you for listening! I love telling others what He’s done for me.” Miss Esther lifted her teacup. “I would love to hear your stories.”
The next hour was full of hearing how her hosts had come to know Jesus. Even little Milly had a story to tell. By the time they had finished, all the tea cake had disappeared and almost all of the cookies.
Miss Esther caught sight of the clock and realized she needed to start for home.
She leaned back against the wooden wall with a happy sigh. “This has been lovely. Thank-you so much for having me. I’m refreshed in body and soul.”
“Talking about Christ has a way of doing that.” Mel got up from his seat with a smile. “One of these days we’ll have to meet your sisters.”
“They would love to meet you as well.” Miss Esther set her dishes aside. “Perhaps your family could join us for tea next week?”
“We’d love to!” Mellie nodded.
“Can I help with the dishes?” Miss Esther pushed herself to her knees.
“Oh, the girls and I can get them!” Mellie hopped from her chair. “We enjoy washing up.”
Miss Esther shook hands all around and moved towards the ladder. The girls held it steady while she climbed. Once Miss Esther had made it safely to the floor above the whole family scurried up after her.
“Your family is good at climbing ladders!” Miss Esther tied on her bonnet and accepted the empty plate from Mellie.
“Lots of practice.” Mel dusted off his hands.
Miss Esther smiled and rose to her feet. “Thanks again.”
“Give our greetings to your sisters.” Mellie waved a paw. “We look forward to meeting them soon!”
“I can hardly wait to introduce you.” Miss Esther waved back. “See you soon!”
“Good bye!” The whole family waved as Miss Esther moved down to the street.
Miss Esther paused for a moment before turning the corner. The friends shared a final wave and then Miss Esther continued on her way.
“Lord, I thank You!” Miss Esther began to pray in her heart as she so often did. “I was so worried about having the energy to serve this afternoon and You more than answered my prayer for strength. Not only did you enable me to serve by sharing my story and listening to theirs, but You’ve refreshed my own heart. I’ve more energy now than I did this morning!” Miss Esther tipped her head back to look up with a smile. “You’re amazing, Lord!”
And then Miss Esther hurried to catch a ride home in the Air Basket. What a story she had to tell her sisters tonight!
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Story Blog Writer
Melanie has been fascinated by tiny things for years and enjoys few things so much as good story. She firmly believes that what we play – with our hands and our minds – influences who we become. Her prayer is that the stories shared here on the story blog encourage girls the world over to seek Christ first in every area of their lives.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture verses are taken from the KJV.
Scripture verses identified as NKJV are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.