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The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! - Chapter Thirteen
by Tonja Taylor
2/16/2020 / Short Stories
Chapter Thirteen - Vision List
“Uncle Burt, you forgot to tell us about the surprise last night!”
Pearl stuck her fork in the pile of three delicious hot pancakes her mother had just put on her plate. “Yum, blueberry. My favorite!”
“Mine too!” Robert said, then took a big drink of milk.
Vivace, nestled at Pearl’s feet under the table, whined a little. Pearl peeped at her and whispered, “I may kinda accidentally drop part of my pancake for you, huh? You like blueberries, right?”
“Pearl, don’t make a mess on the floor,” her mother said, as she turned a pancake.
“How does she do that?” said Pearl. “She can’t even see me!”
“Surely you know mothers can see from the back of their heads, don’t you, Princess?” Burt laughed. “We know that our mama sure did, didn’t she, Charlotte?”
“No joke!” she said, turning around. “Through walls!”
“Yeah. Be sure and thank your mother, kids,” said Uncle Burt as he put some pancakes on his plate. “Our good mama taught us to say,’Thank You’ for everything anyone did for us or gave us, and it sure has come in handy. By the way,” he said, smiling at his sister, “Thank you, Charlotte. You are a good cook!”
“Well, you’ve been doing most of the cooking since we moved in, and I felt I needed to do something other than the cake you helped me with the other night,” she said. “But thank you for saying thank you.”
“Thank you, Mama!” said Robert, and turned and stuck out his tongue at his sister. “Beat ya, Pearl!”
“Stop it, Robert,” said Pearl. Then sweetly she said, “Thank you, Queen Mother. Your pancakes are the best!”
“You are welcome, sweet peas,” said their mother, as she put more batter on the griddle. “Pearl, I’m going to teach you to make these soon—at least in time for our Thanksgiving meal!”
“Great, I’ve been wanting to learn to cook!” said Pearl, then ate another bite. “Now, Uncle Burt, tell us—what is the surprise? Please, please?”
Burt smiled and held up a finger, so he could finish chewing before he spoke.
“You mean surprises.”
“Two?” Pearl was getting excited.
He smiled. “Well, sort of. You’ll see!”
“When?” Pearl said. “Give us a hint, pleeeeeeeez!”
“Bible study and breakfast first, kiddos,” he said. “Let’s focus.”
“Oops, I left mine in my room,” said Pearl. “Excuse me, I’ll be right back!” She walked past Vivace, who tried to follow her “No, Vivace, stay!” The dog whined, but sat back on her pillow. Pearl got her Adventure Bible from her night stand and took her place at the table.
Her mother handed Robert a printed sheet. “Robert, please read this. King David wrote it. Remember him? He watched the sheep and sang to the LORD and played on his harp, and he and God had a wonderful time. This is one of King David’s most famous writings—Psalm 23.”
“He was a shepherd and Jesus is our Good Shepherd,” said Pearl.
“I want a sheep,” Robert said. “Mama, will you read it to me?”
His mother smiled. “No, Sweetie. You are 8—you can read this! Just read it silently while you eat, okay? And I will read it in my Bible. Speaking of such, are you sure you haven’t found your Bible yet?” Pearl shook her head. “Maybe we’ll find it when we straighten his room today.”
“True, we hope so,” her mother said, and opened her Bible. “Rob, if we don’t find your Bible today, we will get you a new one very soon, when we shop for Pearl’s. I know you love your Jesus Book!”
“Queen Mother,” Pearl asked between bites, “was the harp King David played like the harps in the concerts?”
“Well, I’m sure it was much smaller,” said her mother, “since he had it out in the field with him, and then he also would take it and play it for King Saul, so it couldn’t have been too big. But the main thing is that he used it to bring glory to the LORD. God loves it when we worship, and He lives in our praise!”
“I thought He lives in Heaven,” said Robert. “He does, Rob, and He also lives in your heart, right?”
She looked at him. He didn’t reply, but was busy eating.
She touched his head softly and continued. “God is a Spirit, and He is everywhere at once. What I meant is that our praise and worship magnify Him—you know, like when you use a magnifying glass to look at a bug and it looks much bigger than it really is?”
Pearl could hear the respect for God in her mother’s voice. “But God is already so huge we can’t even really imagine how big He is, but our praise and worship are kind of like a magnifying glass to help us remember and rejoice at how awesome He is!”
“Wow, I bet the angels are worshiping Him, and King David is playing his harp,” said Pearl.
“Probably!” said her mother. "I know the angels are workshiping the LORD all the time."
“Hey, it would be so cool to have a harp," said Pearl. "Can I get one, Queen Mother? How much are they?”
Her mother looked surprised. “A harp? I don’t know, but why would you want a harp? Even school bands don’t use them, and they are most likely very expensive. Besides, I don’t know anyone who could teach you.”
“That would be neat, though,” Pearl said. “Maybe we can go to a museum and ask them or something.”
“Put it on your Vision List,” said her mother. “God knows all things, and with Him, anything is possible. I never thought we’d move to Arkansas and start building a house, but here we are! Ephesians 3:20!”
“What does that say?” said Pearl.
“That the LORD He does much more than we can ask or imagine, and always does us good, even if it’s something we’ve never thought of.”
“Do you have a Vision List, Queen Mother?” Pearl asked.
“No, but your dad had suggested it several times. I did help him write one for our family. I think it’s in my study Bible.”
“Charlotte, I think Pearl has a great idea,” said Burt. “Robert needs to write one too. And so do I. Why don’t we do that this weekend, like Sunday evening?”
“I just want to get our stuff in order and get back to work, and then start planning for homeschool in January,” said her mother. “Then there is Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the house plans for the spring—“
“Sis, relax,” said Burt. “It was just an idea.”
“Yeah, but remember Daddy said God told us to write stuff down clear so we can know what to do and do it? said Pearl.
“I need a list!” Robert said. “What is it?”
“You write down the stuff you want to happen, and pray about it to God, and He answers,” said Pearl. She smiled. “He’s already answered at least two of mine!”
“Great, Princess!” said her Uncle. “We’ll do that Sunday evening, after dinner. It won’t be hard, cause God will help us.” He patted his sister on the shoulder and said, “No worries, Charlotte. Relax!”
“All right, but for now, I need to be excused for a moment,” she said, and left the room.
“Your mom will feel better in a little while,” Burt said to Pearl. Then he lowered his voice to a whisper. “Just pray for peace for her—and to dream again.”
“Okay,” she said. She noticed her uncle with his Bible open. “What are you reading, Uncle Burt? And how many Bibles do you have?”
“Right now, I’m reading I Thessalonians 5,” he said.
“But I do my regular Bible study early in the mornings, about 4 a.m. None of you are up that early—not even Charlotte,” he said, and chuckled. “But God and I have some good quiet time.”
“If nobody’s talking, then how do you hear God and how does He hear you?” Robert asked.
“I’m sure your mother has told you that God often speaks in a still, small voice,” he said. “He often whispers on the inside. You usually don’t hear Him like if a person talked to you, although you might. But He is with us, in our hearts. Forever!”
Uncle Burt’s eyes looked very tender to Pearl. It seems like he’s looking way off somewhere, she thought.
“The LORD is a spirit—like your mom said,” Burt told them. “We can’t see Him or touch Him, but He is so real! He talks to our hearts. Usually the way He peaks is by giving us an idea to do something.”
“That’s right,” said their mother, coming back into the kitchen, looking much more peaceful. “Remember, Pearl? I’ve told you that, if an idea to do something comes to you several times, and it’s good and you have peace about and want to do it, it’s almost always the sweet Holy Spirit of God leading you.
She smiled. “He is very patient. Sometimes I’ve been so busy that He’s had to nudge me several times to pray, or call someone and encourage them, or even go give something to someone—and it turns out that it was exactly what they needed. He knows all things!”
She flipped the pancakes on the griddle. “The LORD is very patient, thank goodness. He loves us and knows we want to please Him! He is so good!”
“Yes He is!” said Burt. “Your daddy on earth was very kind, but the LORD is even more kind. He is Goodness. He is Mercy. He is Love.”
“Speaking of love,” he said, and smiled big, “I know you kids love me and your mom so much that you’re going to clean up the kitchen for us while we do some other things we need to do around the house, right?”
There was no answer. Both Pearl and Robert stuffed their mouths with pancakes and pretended to ignore him, but their giggles gave them away.
He turned to their mother. “Hmmm, Charlotte, it seems our kids have lost their ears.”
At this, they giggled again. Pearl pointed to her ears and Robert’s, as if to say They’re still here! She and Robert looked at each other and then at the ceiling and the floor, still pretending to ignore him.
“Dear Sister!” Burt said, then threw his head back and slapped the back of his hand against his forehead in mock melodrama. “I know you’ve taught them this, but—here we go: ’Repetition is how we learn;
repetition is how we learn,’—right, kids?”
He chuckled loudly at his own joke. They groaned, both familiar with that homeschool cheer that their mother had engrained in them through the years.
Alarmed at the sound of the kids in distress, Vivace barked and jumped up from her blanket in the corner.
They all laughed. “Peace, Vivace!” said their mother. “Sit!”
“Now kids, it’s not that bad!” she said, and smiled.
“Listen to your uncle. He’s pretty wise—he’s even taught me a few things, huh Burt?”
It’s good to see Mother laugh and smile more, Pearl thought. Thank You, God! And I still want a harp, so You’ll have to talk to her about it, please.
“Sure, I taught you a few things,” he said, “like how to swim and how to read and how to drive—and how to tell whether a guy should be your boyfriend or not. But our parents taught us to love God and follow Him. I’m so glad!”
Pearl felt sad a moment. “I miss Grandpa and Grandma,” she said. “But I know they are enjoying being with Daddy!”
She felt better at the thought of them all in Heaven. “I bet they are having marvelous adventures with Jesus, and probably, Daddy’s fishing in the crystal sea or riding his motorcycle around the mountains or maybe even jumping things with it!”
She smiled at the thought.
“Yes,” her mother said, sitting down to eat. “Your dad was quite a daredevil, that’s for sure.” Her face showed a half-smile. “And he won a lot of souls for Jesus, including bikers. So not all of them are bad!”
“Really,” Burt said, “most people are not bad people, bikers or not. And bikers are just like everyone else, only they ride motorcycles and maybe wear more
He shook his head. “It’s sad, but so many people don’t know the LORD or how to find Him, so they just do whatever they think or see or hear other people doing, even if it’s bad for them. They just try to find something to do while they’re wandering around on this earth!”
He poked at the pancakes on his plate and said, “From what I’ve seen in all my years of police work, I think the main reason people get into trouble is that they are bored and don’t have any direction. Even unsaved people do much better when they have a solid purpose in life, especially if they know how to do something well, and feel they are making a difference.”
“Yeah, and Jesus is what it’s all about!” said Pearl.
“You got it,” he replied, and reached for another pancake. “And that’s why we are on the planet—to help people become His friend.”
“Where is Daddy’s motorcycle?” asked Robert. “With Daddy?” He threw down his fork and started crying. “I want Daddy! I want to ride on his motorcycle!” He looked up and said, “Jesus, send Daddy back!”
Vivace whined and put her front feet on the chair.
Pearl and her mother walked over to Robert and comforted him, and prayed over him. Pearl picked up Vivace and offered her to Robert, but he refused. His head was down on the table, and Pearl hugged him and whispered something in his ear, then rubbed his head and tickled him, trying to get him to laugh.
“Stop it, Pearl!” he said.
Pearl whispered in his ear again then pointed at Uncle Burt. Robert, tears still on his face, suddenly smiled and said, “I want to ride on your motorcycle, Uncle Burt!”
“You do, son? Hmm. Is this what Sissy said?” He pretended to be sad. “Don’t you like the horse?”
“Horses are too slow!” said Robert. “And you can’t do tricks on them like with motorcycles!”
Everyone laughed, and then Pearl said, in a very confident voice, “You can too, Roberto. Horses can do much better tricks than motorcycles!”
“Can not!” Robert frowned at her and stuck out his lower lip.
Can too—especially The Lipizzans!” said Pearl. “Hey Queen Mother, when can we see them? I want to take Robin and ride one! So I need to go to Spain!”
“Slow down, Pearl,” said her mother. “Spain? You mean Austria, right?”
“Well, it’s the Spanish Riding School,” said Pearl slowly, as if her mother didn’t understand.
“Yes, but the school is not in Spain, Pearl,” said her mother, smiling a bit. “It’s in a little country called Austria. Your uncle knows more about it, but only very special people who are highly trained get to ride those horses.”
“Is that where the kangaroos are?” said Pearl.
Her uncle and mother laughed. “No, Pearl,” said Burt.
“I’ve been there and there are no kangaroos. They are from Australia, a much, much bigger place for all those 'roos and their big tails to jump!”
He got up and picked up the globe from the living room and put it on the dining table. He spun it around and Robert jumped up and spun it more.
“Rob, hold it, buddy,” said Burt, pointing. “Put your finger right there.”
Rob obeyed, and said, “Whoops! I got jelly on the world! Hahaha!”
“Yes, wish it were that easy to make sweeter!” Burt joked.
Pearl cracked up. “Good one, Uncle Burt!”
“Robert, dry your hands before you touch anything else,” said their mother, then wiped the globe clean.
“Pearl, come see,” Burt said. “This big country below the equator is Australia, where the kangaroos and koala bears are—
“Oh, koalas are soooo cute!” said Pearl. “It would be neat to have one as a pet!”
“Only for a bit,” said her mother. “Mostly what they do is eat and sleep, and you’d probably get bored with them quickly.”
“Hmm,” said Pearl. “Well, how about a Lipizzan?”
Her mother looked shocked. “Pearl, those are very expensive horses,” said her mother. “Besides, your uncle has some good ones for you to ride and learn to take care of.”
“My girls are great. You’ve enjoyed riding them, haven't you?” said Burt. Now,” he continued, pointing to a small country in Europe, "this tiny country between Italy and Hungary and Germany is Austria. Lots of conflict there, and that was part of the challenge with the Lipizzans. They used to only belong to royalty—-“
“Well, I’m royalty!” said Pearl, in her best queenly voice.
“Yes, you are!” her mother said, and Burt nodded.
“Like you say, Queen Mother,” said Pearl, “with God, all things are possible!”
“Yes….” her mother turned to wipe the counter.
She doesn’t seem too excited, Pearl thought. Anyway, God, You can do it! You know it’s on my Vision List!
“Hmmm,” said Pearl’s mother. “Austria is a very long way from the United States of America.” She looked a bit sad, then said in a teasing voice, “I don’t think you’d want to swim that far, Pearl-Girl!”
“Swim? No way!” Pearl said. “I’d have to get on a plane. Wow. That would be way up high! Can I?”
“Well, Charlotte, they now have Lipizzans in the USA," said Burt. “Kiddos, why don’t we finish breakfast and chores, then see the surprises,” her uncle said, looking at her mother, who was shaking her head.
“Really?” Pearl said. “Can we go see some— Lipizzans, I mean?”
“Maybe,” said her Uncle. “We’ll look into it.”
“Yeah! Let’s see ‘em!” said Robert.
Their uncle smiled. “Later. Now it’s time for chores.”
They groaned again in unison, and again Vivace barked and jumped up, anxious to know that everything was all right with her masters.
Burt burst out laughing. “How do you do that? At least you agree on something!” He stood up and gave them both a big bear hug.
“All right,” he said, “please clean the kitchen—except I’ll get the griddle. Sweep too. After that, I want you to clean your rooms. Your mom and I are going to vacuum and mop, and then we’ll see what else is going on—like surprises, plural!”
“Pearl, remember to be sweet when you help Robert with his room, all right?” her mother said, as she left the kitchen.
“Yes ma’am!” Pearl started getting stuff off the table. God, please help me be sweet! she prayed. Help the time pass so we can see the surprises! And show me how I can get a Lipizzan, and a harp!
Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, on River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), AnchorFM, their church, the region, and beyond
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