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Rosie’s Excuses

“Rosie?” Mother’s voice floated down the hall, but Rosie hardly noticed. Her nose was in the Big Book of Baby Animals that was filled with darling kittens, foals and lambs. The cousins had lambs and soon they would have bunnies, too. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could have one for my very own? she sighed to herself.

“Rosie!” This time the book slammed shut as she jumped up. Mother stopping her sewing as Rosie skipped into the bedroom. “Rosie, please finish crocheting Emma’s doll blanket. I’ve almost got the nightgown finished, and her birthday’s next week.”

“It is?” Rosie began digging through her project box and found the ball of yarn and crochet hook at the bottom. A small strip of blue and white blanket hung like a squiggly snake. Rosie looked at it mournfully. “Maybe I’ll make her something else,” she said.

“Rosie.” This time Mother’s voice was firm. “You will not make her something else. Last month when you picked out the yarn we talked about it. What did you tell me then?”

“That I could do it,” Rosie said. “But, Mama, I didn’t know it would take so long. I don’t feel like doing it anymore.”

“You’ll never accomplish anything unless you learn to do things you don’t like.” Mother sighed and turned back to her work.

Rosie sighed, too, as she took up the hook and yarn. It had been so pretty and wonderful a month ago. As she worked the loops of yarn, she wished very hard that she could be outside playing or helping the cousins on the farm. It was tiring making a blanket.

“Oh, Mother, could I have a bunny?” she asked suddenly. “Amy’s rabbit’s going to have babies and they said I could have one.”

“What about your pigeons? You must learn faithfulness in these little things first, Rosie.”

It is because Big Blue died, Rosie thought as she picked up her hook once more. After the storm, only five of the seven pigeons had been found, anyway. The boys had been working on training them, and Rosie was glad to let them. It was so wet, and besides, the pigeons weren’t very friendly. A little rabbit would be much more fun. If I finish this blanket maybe she’ll let me, thought Rosie, and bent to her work again.

Two days later, when Amy called to tell about their four baby bunnies, Rosie pulled out the blanket again. It still looked more like a scarf than a bedcover after she added three more rows. Rosie was glad when she and Emma were called outside.

“You need to get the boxes out of the shed and smash them,” Daniel said. “We’ll unload the straw bales.” For awhile it was fun jumping on the old dusty boxes, but soon the girls got tired. Rosie poked her head in the shed to see what the boys were doing. The great blocks of golden straw were wonderful—and Chad was building a hideout in the middle!

“I need help putting the boxes in the back of the truck,” Dad called from outside. The boys brushed the straw out of their hair and headed for the door, but Rosie didn’t move. They can do it without my help. I should find a good place for my rabbit pen, anyway. She crawled into the straw stack and planned on how she could keep a rabbit. She forgot all about Emma’s blanket, or that she had chores to do. Before Rosie knew it, the supper bell was ringing.

And so the morning of Emma’s birthday arrived, and the blanket was still only half done. Rosie didn’t feel very happy when Mother called her to the bedroom. She’ll say that I haven’t been diligent enough, and now surely I can’t get a rabbit, she sighed to herself. But Mother didn’t mention the blanket at all.

“Rosie, dear,” she began with a smile, “wouldn’t you like to help make a surprise birthday cake for Emma?” When Rosie jumped up and clapped her hands, Mama said, “If you’ll clean up the bedrooms this morning and watch Kyle for me, we’ll work on it this afternoon.”

It was hard to keep quiet about the surprise, but Rosie did her best. She dusted and tidied the bedrooms as fast as she could. Kyle wanted to play outside, so she bundled him up and took him out to the straw fort. She had never made a cake before and Rosie was sure it would be great fun. She could hardly wait until naptime.

“Mama?” Rosie whispered, as soon as the house was still. “Can we do it now?”

A look of surprise crossed Mother’s face and she exclaimed, “Why dear, I’ve been so busy I completely forgot! I’m sorry, but I don’t have anything ready.”

“But can’t I help you get ready?” Rosie asked quickly.

“I’m afraid not, dear—the margarine is frozen solid and I forgot all about getting cream cheese when I went to town this morning,” Mother said, peering in the refrigerator. “I guess we’ll just have to make some cookies.”

Rosie’s lip trembled. “But you said….”

Mother pulled her into her lap and held her close. “It’s hard when someone doesn’t do what they said, isn’t it?” she whispered. Rosie burst into tears. “I let other things distract me on purpose to teach you something. Do you understand now how important it is be diligent and follow through, dear?”

Brushing her tears away, Rosie looked up into Mother’s kind face. Slowly she nodded her head and whispered, “Yes, Mama. And I’m very sorry that I—I wasn’t diligent. I don’t mean to forget, but—but I just do, lots of times.” Rosie hung her head.

“Let’s learn from this,” said Mother, cheerfully. “It is when we stick to our little responsibilities, then others can trust us for bigger things. And diligence is the only way we can live for Jesus and do what is right. It is a very good habit to set aside time to pray every day and ask God to help you be diligent.”

Rosie looked up with a smile. “Mama, I have an idea! You know the straw fort we have? Maybe I could go there every day for my own prayer time—it is so cozy and quiet.”

“Yes, that would be a fine idea. And Jesus will help you to be faithful if you ask Him.”

“I will,” said Rosie, and gave a little sigh. “Even if it is hard, I’ll finish that blanket for Emma right away.”