The Button: A Literary Analysis of Turn Homeward Hannalee

The Button


In the book, Turn Homeward Hannalee, Patricia Beatty uses a persimmon-seed button as an important part of the plot. It is used as a symbol of several things; her promise to Momma, her home in Georgia, and most of all, a reminder to Hannalee of where her heart is.

We’ll take a look at how it is a reminder of her promise, but first let’s find out what that promise is. In the very beginning of the book when Hannalee and her brother are taken from home by the Yankees, Momma and Hannalee are saying a tearful good bye when Momma does something very strange. She takes a button from the top of her dress and gives to Hannalee, and then makes her promise something very important.

“Then she [Momma] did something mighty strange. She jerked one of the persimmon-seed buttons off the top of her dress and gave it to me. She told me softly, “They won’t shoot you and Jem. I just know they won’t. But I think they’ll take you away from here, God knows where. Wherever you go, keep this to remind yourself to come home. Turn your heart to me. Turn homeward, Hannalee! Promise me!’

‘I promise you Mama.’ I [Hannalee] took the button into my hand”

The button reminded her of that promise while she was away. There are three places we will look at. First of all, the moments when she is being taken away from her hometown in Georgia. As the soldiers are taking all the mill hands out of town Hannalee spots Momma waving and cries back: “‘Indiana, They say we’re goin’ to Indiana. I’ll be back. I’ve got the button. Watch out for yourself and the baby.’…As my soldier put his horse into a canter, I turned around to look back at Mama. She wasn’t waving. She had her hand over the top of her dress where she’d pulled off the button I had in my pocket. She was weeping and so was I.”

Second, when the mill hands are being held in Marietta until a train comes to take them to Indiana, Hannalee wants to escape right then. But her older brother’s sweetheart, Rosellen, who is a mill hand too, says no.  “But I promised Mama I’d go home” Hannalee protests. But Rosellen is resolute.

Even though she submitted and got on the train to go to Indiana, her promise was not forgotten.  “I was still set on keeping my word, though. The persimmon-seed button was deep in my apron pocket. The promise was deep in my mind.”   The button motivated her to start forming a plan of escape.  With some ingenuity and Rosellen’s help she was able to keep her little brother with her so it would be easier to escape.

When Hannalee discovers that Rosellen has changed during the time she was working in “Yankee land,” the button is a comforting reminder that didn’t change.  “A cold feeling came over me. I could see that Rosellen had changed up here in Yankee land. It wasn’t just her new clothes. She was different in ways I couldn’t put my finger on. I slid my hand into my pants pocket to take hold of Mama’s persimmon-seed button. As always, the feel of it gave me comfort. It didn’t change”

As she endeavors to find her brother and return home,  the persimmon-seed button is a  reminder of home, of Mama, and the good days before they were kidnapped.  “Touching Mama’s button in my pocket, I asked, “Miz Burton, do you think you could help Sally or Rosellen write a letter home to Georgia to let their folks know they’re all right?”

When she finds her brother and they escape towards home together she shows him her motivator.  “I want to show you somethin’ I been keepin’ secret.’ I reached into my pants pocket and brought out the persimmon-seed button. Jem knew it by sight. He cried, ‘It’s Mama’s!’ ‘Yes and I’m takin’ it home to her. She gave it to me and told me to fetch it back to her. But I’m bringin’ her more’n that. I’m fetchin’ you too. We’ll both take it back to her.”   As Jem and Hannalee walk up the road to their old home Hannalee’s thoughts wander back to the day they were taken away.  “Turn homeward,” Mama had asked me. I’d said I would, and Hannalee Reed always kept her promises.”

When they finally reach home Hannalee finds out that not only did the button motivate her to return home, it kept the ones at home hopeful too.  “Now I handed the old women the persimmon-seed button and said, “Miz Sanders, I’d thank you kindly if you’d give this to the Widow Reed. Tell her that her girl has brung somethin’ home to her again that she gave her last summer…. She [Mama] opened her hand to show me the persimmon-seed button Marilla had given her. Smiling, Mama went on, ‘I reckoned I’d see this again someday–that my pretty older daughter would be bringin’ it home to me.”

Though the button returns to Mama unchanged no one else does. It dawns on Hannalee that everyone, including herself, had changed because of the war, but the button was an important symbol that kept her heart turned towards home.


{P.S. I’ve updated my reading list, be sure to take a look}


A Goal or an Idol? {1.4}

Her Dad nodded, looking confused, and Alyssa ran upstairs to her bed. She knelt down and asked God to help her decide what to do about this new problem. A couple of minutes later she got up and dialed Aunt Z’s number.  After some earnest conversation she picked up her birthday envelope and walked downstairs again.

“You guys, I think the Lord has already provided the money!” she said as her family looked at her.  Alyssa gave the envelope to Mr. Sunton who opened it and looked at the check inside.

“Alyssa!” he looked at her in disbelief. “Do you know how much this is?  Where did you get this?”

As the rest of the family stared at Alyssa in confusion something suddenly dawned on him.

“Did Aunt Z. give this to you as a birthday present so you could go to school?” He looked at her intently.

“It’s yours Dad, for the business.” Alyssa stammered, looking down.

“Then Aunt Z. did give it to you didn’t she?” Mrs. Sunton declared.

“Yes,” Alyssa reluctantly answered. “she did, but I want you to have it so that we can start our business. I’d love to be the secretary and I have lots of experience with cleaning houses!” she continued, looking excited to be able to help, rather than hinder, her family’s plans.

“No!” James Sunton looked determined as he handed the envelope back to his daughter. “You were given this for art school and we’ll do just fine without you. God will provide the funds, I’m sure of it.”

“But Dad, you don’t understand. I already talked to Aunt Z. and she agreed that this would be a wonderful use of the money. I’m staying here.” Alyssa pushed the envelope back at her father and sat down.  John and Carson looked at each other in amazement, this was not the sister they knew! But they sure wouldn’t mind the change! After thanking the Lord for provided the money so quickly they started planning the Sunton Family Business in earnest.

Several weeks later, school had started and their cleaning business was in full swing. Alyssa was finishing her math work by the phone so that, as the secretary, she would be able to answer any calls that came for their cleaning business. After a couple of minutes the phone did ring and Alyssa answered it confidently.

“This is the Sunton Family Cleaning Service, can I help you?” After confirming the date for some  work she hung up and recorded it on her open laptop.

“Oh Lord,” she prayed. “I love this job so much! Thank you for changing my life! I haven’t regretted my decisions once! I know for sure that following Your leading and staying home to help my family is the best thing I’ve ever done.”


A Goal or an Idol? {1.2}

That evening at supper Alyssa was bursting with excitement. She couldn’t wait to tell her family about Aunt Z.’s gift. But her dad spoke first.

“Kids, I have something really exciting to tell you. We’re going to start a family business!” He smiled as he saw the looks on his children’s faces.

“How are we going to do it Dad? I mean, school’s starting in a week and a half!” Carson looked confused.

“What are we going to sell?”

“Are we all going to work in it?” The questions flew thick and fast until Dad asked for quiet.

“We still need to decide exactly what we are going to offer. Your mother and I think it will probably be something like cleaning people’s houses and businesses. Or we might offer to do peoples taxes. We still need to decide that. All of us will be working together. I was thinking of Alyssa being the secretary, and us men doing the hard work, with the girls helping clean.”  Carson and John beamed at the word men. They knew they would like this. “You guys will be home-schooled so that we have more time to work.”

Now the kids gasped again!

“Home-schooled? That sounds fun, like we do all our work by ourselves?” asked John.

“We’ll see about that,” Dad answered, looking at the excited faces around him.”The only problem,” now he looked serious again. “is the fact that we’ll need to invest quite a bit in this, and we have no money to do it with. Your Mom and I want to avoid borrowing at all cost so we’re going to have to work hard to find enough to start our business. But we’ll pray, and I’m sure the Lord will provide. What do you think Alyssa?”

At the time, Alyssa had hundreds of things running through her head. “Dad, could I be excused for a minute, I need to call somebody really quickly.”


A Goal or an Idol {1.1}

Alyssa got up quickly, opened the door and resolutely walked downstairs. After asking her family to come to the family room she said. “You guys, I need to ask you something. I’ve been very selfish and my dream of being an artist has been an idol in my life. Will you all forgive me? Mom and Dad, I’m not going to art school any more. Use the money for our mortgage and other needs till you get another job.” Tears welled up in her eyes as she gave up her lifelong dream. “Dad, this is the money I was saving up for art school, please use it, I don’t need it any more.”

Her Dad, speechless, took the check and then hugged Alyssa.

“Mom and Dad, will you please forgive me for being disrespectful, especially to you Mom, and for just caring about my own ambitions, not the needs of others?”

Mrs. Sunton, who had tears in her eyes, reached out to hug her daughter, something she hadn’t done for a very long time.

“Carson, John, will you two forgive me for being such a terrible sister? I love you guys, and I want to spend more time with you.”

They nodded and came to hug her too. After a long time of just hugging and crying together they finally broke up. Mr. Sunton went to his office to call the bank. The boys went out to play football. Mrs. Sunton and Alyssa just sat together and talked. This was the first time Alyssa had really poured her heart out to her Mom. They talked about friends, and money, and artists, grownups, and many other things that they never had seemed to feel comfortable talking about together.  That night Alyssa thanked God for forgiving her and giving her such a forgiving family.


Ten days later Alyssa turned seventeen. Aunt Z. took her out for lunch so that she could give Alyssa her birthday present. After they ate the scrumptious chicken croissants that they both loved, Aunt Z. handed Alyssa an envelope.

“Alyssa, I’m so proud of what you’re doing. You were very courageous to give up school and follow the Lord’s leading in your life. The check in this envelope should cover your tuition, board, and everything else that you need to go to art school!”

Alyssa gasped and stared speechless at her Aunt.

“Oh Aunt Z.! I’d given up art school altogether! I never thought I’d ever get the chance to go! But that’s so much money, I couldn’t possibly take it!” Though she stated that she wouldn’t take it, her face showed the delight she was experiencing inside.

Aunt Z. held up her hand and then pressed the envelope into Alyssa’s.  “I recently inherited a lot of money that I didn’t need. Some of that went towards this gift. You take it, I’m already an artist. You aren’t!” Aunt Z. smiled at the expression on her niece’s face.

Alyssa just sat there, thinking of the future she had given up that day when she asked the Lord to change her priorities and help her overcome her idol. He truly had, she had barely thought about it for almost a week. But now the Lord had provided in a way she never imagined. She was going to art school!


A Goal or an Idol {1.0}

“Why?  Why? Why? Dad must be able to earn something! They all think it’s my fault!” After about an hour of sobbing and thinking about how mean and unkind everyone was to her she finally sat up and looked around. She saw her large easel, the desk, her laptop, the purple curtains and bedspread. She sat looking at everything in her room, imagining life without them. When the drawer of her desk in which she kept her money caught her eye, she couldn’t stop staring.

What if they were right!  What if it really was her fault that they were about to lose their house! What if she really had been selfish and rude? She had always rejected these thoughts whenever they were brought up, but now she couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of her being wrong. Finally she could bear it no longer. Alyssa knelt down beside her bed and started praying.

“O Lord, it’s true! I have been selfish and rude. My dream of going to school is an idol in my life! It is my fault that we’re facing foreclosure! God, what can I do to get out of this mess? I want to be an artist, and they promised they would save the money. They promised!”  After a long time of battling her desires and bringing her doubts to the Lord she finally got up and sat down at her desk. She knew what she needed to do. After pulling out her checkbook, which was the only thing in her money drawer since she had just taken a trip to the bank, she quickly wrote something down. Getting on her knees again she put the check on the bed and said.

“Lord, this is every bit of my money, 985 dollars! I’ve worked so hard to earn this! God, I’m giving it to you, and I know what you want me to do with it. Thank you for showing me the truth.”


A Goal or an Idol {0.09}

One day, several weeks later, during breakfast Alyssa noticed something was wrong with her parents. She tried to ignore it, but finally she couldn’t bear it any longer.

“Um,” she hesitantly spoke up. “Is there something wrong? I mean, you guys aren’t acting normal.”

Her father looked at Mrs. Sunton. She quickly nodded and he asked the family to gather in the family room.

“Kids,” he said seriously “I never in my whole life imagined I would ever be saying this to you guys.”

Carson and John exchanged worried looks. They’d never seen their Dad look like this, not even when he’d lost his job!

“If we don’t pay our mortgage payment within a week we’re going to have to move out. We’ve been several weeks behind paying it for some time, even before I got laid off and the bank is getting impatient.”

Alyssa started, she’d never ever imagined this happening to her family!

“You mean our house is going to be foreclosed?” she said incredulously.

“Yes, I do.” Mr. Sunton looked at each one of them in turn. “If I don’t get a job very soon, or else God provides the money for us somehow, we’re going to be homeless.”

“There is another way…” Mrs. Sunton looked at Alyssa, but Alyssa jumped up angrily.

“Why are you looking at me! We’re not poor, homeless people! There must be something you can do to earn some money!”

“Talk about earning money!” John commented angrily and Alyssa had had enough. She ran up to her room and before long was sobbing on her bed.


A Goal or an Idol {0.08}

“Like I was saying, that’s our only savings, we don’t really have anything else worth speaking of. I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but we promised her! I wish she didn’t want to become an artist! It’s been so tough to live with her ever since she got it stuck into her head that she wants to go to art school.”

“Oh, I’m sure Alyssa will grow out of the stage. Anyhow, I’ve got a good birthday present for her, maybe it will help take her mind off earning money.”

“I sure hope so! she needs to think about something else for a while!” Alyssa heard her Mom sigh deeply.

She decided to go upstairs, bang her door, and then go back downstairs so it sounded like she just came down.

“Here it is Aunt Z., I had a hard time finding it. Do you like how I shaded it?”

“It looks wonderful Alyssa!” Aunt Zera said, looking at the picture of herself.  “But you didn’t get my hair the right shade of red!” She winked and headed out the door. “I need to go now! I’ll call you sometime so we can figure out our next art class!”

That night Alyssa heard voices late into the night. Her parents were earnestly talking, but she couldn’t hear what they were saying. She tried not to care, and just go to sleep, but she couldn’t help wondering if they were discussing her future.


A Goal or an Idol {0.07}

Later that afternoon while mixing paints with  Aunt Zera, Alyssa decided not to mention her dad’s job situation, instead she complained about how long it was taking to earn enough to satisfy her parents.

“They just want me to stay home longer! I wish they were paying for more of it. Really, they’ve got a lot saved for it,” she commented. Mixing blue and red to create her favorite color.

Aunt Z. thought a moment and then replied.

“I think you should respect your parents decision, you know they’re doing this for your good!  I’m sure it is taking a long time to earn that much and I know from experience it takes a lot of work to earn $2,000 dollars!” Aunt Z. finished shading in the wall of the house she was painting and then turned to Alyssa.

“It’s 4:30 already! Why don’t you call and ask your parents if you can stay for supper. Then we can talk a little more.”

That evening Alyssa finally broke the news of her dad’s lay-off to Aunt Z.

“Oh dear. That’s terrible!” Aunt Zera said looking very concerned.

“Uh huh,” Alyssa said, finishing a bite of pasta salad. “But it won’t keep me from going to art school, they’re still going to save the money. They have to!”

Aunt Z. looked a little disappointed about Alyssa’s statement but said nothing. When they got back to the Sunton home Alyssa ran up to her room to hang up her painting and bring down another one to show Aunt Z, but as she walked down the stairs she stopped and listened for a minute.  Her mom was talking to Aunt Z. and Alyssa didn’t think they’d like the interruption.


A Goal or an Idol? {0.6}

The next day Mr. Sunton left for work at 7:30, and Susanna went out to run some errands. Alyssa took a shower and got ready for the day. Each Tuesday she cleaned an older couple’s house. When she returned home holding $30 dollars, she noticed her Mom and brothers sitting in the family room. When she reached the door she started in surprise. There was her father sitting with his head hanging.

“What happened? Why are you home so early Dad?” Alyssa questioned, looking very confused.

Her dad looked up and told her, “I was laid off today, Alyssa. They don’t need me any more.”


“Really? Well, I hope this doesn’t mess up my plan to go to art school. I’m sure it won’t though. You are going to keep your promise, right?” Alyssa hardly looked concerned about anything but her future as an artist.


“How could you be so uncaring Lyss?” John spoke up, “Who cares about your old art school? We have to buy food and stuff like that!”


“They promised John! I’m sure they won’t want to break their word.” She stomped up to her room to get ready for her art lesson.


A Goal or an Idol? {0.5}

When Mr. Sunton came home his wife told him about their argument that morning. Alyssa was still in her room with the door locked.

“I really don’t want a dog in my house. I don’t care if it’s a Poodle or a Great Dane!” Mrs. Sunton declared.

“I’ll go talk to her. I doubt she really has called the lady back yet. But I do think it would have been fine to let her watch the dog, as long as she kept it outside, but since she argued with you I’m not going to let her.” He walked up the stairs and knocked on Alyssa’s door.

“Alyssa? It’s Dad, I need to talk to you.”


“If it’s about the dog I’m not letting you in.”


“It is, and you need to let me in!”


After a couple of minutes the door finally opened a crack and Alyssa stuck her head out.


“Alyssa” James looked serious. “We need to talk.”


“About what?” Alyssa said, a cloud passing over her face. She had been hoping her father would let her watch the dog.

“You were very disrespectful to your Mom. What do you have to say?”


“Well, I, um, I mean, I was just, I just told her that….”


“Exactly, you told her you were going to disregard her instruction and call the lady back anyway, didn’t you?”


“Well, not exactly.”


“What did you say?”


“Um, that I was going to call her back anyway.”


“You need to ask Mom for her forgiveness, and you won’t be able to watch the dog. I think it would have been fine, but since you argued with Mom I’m going to take away that privilege.”


“I will,” said Alyssa and started to shut the door.


“Right now please, before you call the dog owner back.” James started walking down the stairs.

“All right, I will. By the way, it’s OK if I go to Aunt Z.’s house tomorrow afternoon right?”


“I think I already said it was fine, as long as it’s for an art lesson.”


“It is. She’s going to pick me up at two. We’re going to learn how to mix paints!” Alyssa ran downstairs, quickly apologized to Mrs. Sunton, and disappeared into her room again.

Mr. Sunton met his wife in the kitchen where she was preparing dinner.

“Sometimes I can’t wait till Alyssa has enough to go to that art school. Then she can forget about earning money.” Susanna told to her husband.


“Well, I do think she’s going a bit overboard, but it’s good for her to have a goal!” James replied.

“I know, it’s just, she’s so totally consumed with it!” Mrs. Sunton turned back to the stove and stirred the beans.


A Goal or an Idol? {0.4}

She spotted a family that she knew who were headed towards their car. Hurrying over she asked if they could give her a lift home.  Amazingly they did have an extra seat.

“I’ll run over and tell my Dad.  Thanks so much!” Alyssa told them. Then she started walking over to Mr. Sunton, but he saw her and waved goodbye.

On the way to her house Alyssa was asked to babysit for them again!

“Wow, I really scored on that one!” Alyssa thought as she unlocked the door. “I got a ride home and a babysitting job!”

She baked her cookies, worked on the computer, and was reading a book when her family came home much later that afternoon.

That Monday a lady who worked with her Dad called and asked if Alyssa could watch over a poodle while she was out of town.

“I’d love too, but let me check with my Mom first though. I’ll call you back, OK?” Alyssa ran to find her Mom.

“Hey Mom,” she said, finding her in the kitchen “a lady from Dad’s work asked if I could watch over her dog for the rest of the week. That’s OK, right?”


“A dog? That’s the last thing I want in my house for the rest of the week! I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to say no.” Mrs. Sunton looked upset.


“But Mom, I told her I would!” Alyssa didn’t want to say that she hadn’t confirmed it yet, and so left the rest unsaid.

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to tell her I said you can’t, I’m sure she’ll understand! That’s the end of the conversation, all right?”


“Mom! I’m telling her I will anyway!” Alyssa stomped off to stew over the argument in her room.


A Goal or an Idol? {0.3}

On the way to the picnic everyone was chattering about what they were going to do, and what their favorite thing would be. That is, everyone but Alyssa, she didn’t feel like talking about it.

“Why are you so quiet Lyssa?” John asked


“I’m just thinking.” Alyssa told him.


“Pastor Stuart asked her to help with the kid’s games this afternoon. Isn’t that cool?” Dad joined in the conversation.


“Cool?” Carson exclaimed “why, we’ll never get to play football if Lyssa’s in charge of the games. We’ll play every other game but football! And she’ll boss us around the whole entire time! There goes any fun this afternoon!”


“Carson! I would not-” Alyssa shouted back, but Mr. Sunton intervened.


“Carson, don’t say that about your sister, I think she’ll do a fine job. I’d much rather have her do it than let you handle it. Anyway, I think Pastor Stuart’s picking out the games. He loves football.”

Just then they pulled into the parking lot and headed towards the picnic area. It turned out the boys did get to play football, and Alyssa took charge over a few simple games.  After they’d eaten lunch she went over to her Dad.

“Dad, how much longer do you plan on staying. I have some important things to get done at home.”


“Well, the rest of the family won’t want to go now, so I think we’re going to stay a awhile longer. Maybe someone else is heading out now and can take you. If you find someone just let me know.”


“Tell me when you’re ready to go.” Alyssa commented. She walked away to try to find someone who was leaving.


A Goal or an Idol? {0.2}

“I was planning on it. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  I thought you would enjoy going!” Dad answered, sounding a little disappointed. Nobody said anything else on the subject, and they quickly finished supper.

After supper Carson and John disappeared into their room, where the walls were covered with posters of football stars and the trophies they’d won. Everyone knew that the boys were going to work on the pretend game plays they loved making up. Dad went to the family room to watch TV and Mom started cleaning up from supper. Alyssa went up to her room to email Aunt Z. Her fun Aunt, who was an artist too, had red hair and an outgoing personality. Alyssa adored her and spent hours talking, emailing, and calling her. They loved to plan her future as an artist too. Her parents had told Alyssa that if she saved up half of the money she would need for her tuition, she could go to a special school that trained artists! It was Alyssa’s dream to become a world famous artist and she was earning money as fast as she could, but it still was taking a long time!

That Sunday, they went to their large church a little earlier than usual so that Mrs. Sunton would have time to get her choir music out of the rehearsal room before Sunday School started. Afterwards, during the main worship service, Alyssa tryed to keep her mind on the sermon, but kept thinking how much she could be doing right now that would be much more profitable, at least in her mind. After the service she stood in the lobby and waited for her parents to be done talking. Every so often, through the crowds of people, she caught a glimpse of her brothers laughing and talking to all their friends.

“They’re probably planning their game for the picnic,” Alyssa mused, “They have so many friends that are just their age. I wish I had some friends my age. Even Aunt Z. isn’t here today!”

Though there were many girls around her age, Alyssa didn’t feel like she fit in their group, so she kept her distance. The last time she had tried to make friends with a couple of them, the girls had gone and told every thing she told them to the rest of the group. Ever since that experience Alyssa just stood in the lobby until her family was ready to go.

As she was thinking about all this, Pastor Stuart walked up to her. At first, Alyssa didn’t think he was talking to her, but she quickly realized the fact once he said her name.

“Hi Alyssa! I had a question for you.” Pastor asked.

“For me?” Alyssa wondered what her pastor could possibly have to ask her, “Um, sure, what do you want?”

“I think you know that we’re having a picnic this afternoon, right?”

“Yeah, my Dad told me.” Alyssa answered.

“We have some games planned for the kids and I need someone to keep them organized. I thought you would be perfect for the job. Is that OK, will you be there?”

“Um, sure, I’ll help with that.” Alyssa stammered. How in the world could she have said ‘no’ to the Pastor? Now she definitely wouldn’t be baking any cookies this afternoon!

“Great! I thought you’d like to do that!” Pastor Stuart smiled and then strode away.

Alyssa’s Dad came over after he walked away.

“What were you two talking about?” he asked her, “I haven’t seen you talk to Pastor Stuart before.”

“He just had a question to ask me. He wanted to know if I could head up the kids games at the picnic this afternoon.”

“Did you agree?” Mr. Sunton questioned.

“Of course I did!” Alyssa answered, “Even though I don’t know any of them.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. It’s time to go now anyway.” Dad replied and then strode off to find the twins.

A Goal or an Idol? {o.1}

15 year old Alyssa Sunton hopped out of the car and thanked Mrs. Carson for driving her home. She walked up the cement drive to her family’s large house. As soon as she got into the front door, Alyssa ran up the stairs to her bedroom.

Painted yellow, with a large window on one side, it was very bright and cheerful. There was a large easel with a table next to it that was covered with drawing and painting supplies. The desk and dresser on the other side were light purple. Above these, covering almost the entire length of the wall, was a string with multi-colored paper clips hanging on it. Clipped to the string were pictures and paintings of every kind, all signed with the letter A in a bold purple stroke. Opposite the window was a bed that had a purple polka dot bedspread on it.

After putting her long black hair into a ponytail, Alyssa went straight to her desk and opened her laptop. Opening the document she used to keep track of her earnings she finally unfolded the bills she had been clutching the whole time. Counting them quickly she sighed a little because she had been hoping for more. She quickly entered the amount on the computer. After totaling it all up she unlocked a drawer in the desk and slipped the bills into it, re-locking it when she was done. She checked her email to see if there was anything important and then closed the computer.  After that Alyssa crossed the room and flopped down on her bed.

“I wonder if she’ll ask me to babysit again? She doesn’t pay as much as Mrs. Coleman does, but if she asks me more often that’ll make up for it! And then there is that much less that I have to earn before Mom and Dad will let me go to art school.”

Just then she heard the door open downstairs and ran down to greet her Dad who was coming home from work.

“Hi Lyssa! Did you end up going to the Carson’s house to babysit?”

“Yep, I did, for a couple of hours!” Alyssa answered.

“Great! Hi Honey,” James Sunton greeted his wife and gave her a hug. “I missed you! Hi boys, did you play any football today?”

“Yeah, and I beat John really bad!” Alyssa’s younger brother Carson answered.

“He only beat me by one point! I almost made another one, but the timer went off too quickly.” John retorted.

As twins, they were always trying to outdo each other in anything they did, but they were good friends and did almost everything together. When they turned 10 in May one of their birthday presents had been a new football and they used it almost every day.

“Supper’s almost ready,” their Mom said after every one had finished talking. “Alyssa, please help me get the table set.”

“Alright, but it’s really Carson’s turn, I did it two night’s ago.” Alyssa grumbled.

“I’ll do it tomorrow night,” Carson broke in, smiling to himself. That was the night Dad had promised to take the boys to a football game. Alyssa would be doing it after all! But he didn’t mention it out loud because Mom would tell him to do it tonight instead.

“There you go Alyssa, please set the table,” Dad stated, and that ended the discussion. Alyssa set the table and they ate a quiet supper, each thinking about a different thing until Dad told them that on Sunday there was picnic after church.

“Yay!” John exclaimed “Maybe some guys can get together and we can have a real game of football!”

“Um, are we all going?” Alyssa asked “I mean, how long is it going to be, like, all afternoon? Cause I have some things to get done in the afternoon. Mrs. Carson asked me to bake some cookies for her.”

“As a favor?” Mom asked

“Uh, no, she offered to pay me.” Alyssa looked down, embarrassed.

“Should’a known!” Carson exclaimed. “Alyssa would never do it for free!”

“She offered to, I didn’t ask,” Alyssa flung back, “Just keep out of this. Dad, are we all going? And will we be staying for a long time?”

A Polished Cornerstone #9

May 9th
In chapter 9 Wisdom (portrayed as a great lady) is calling to the simple and telling them that they can leave their simple ways and become wise. Another reminder that we have wisdom for the taking if we are in Christ. (James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”)
It says in verse 8, do not reprove a scoffer or he will hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you.    If I am reproved which way do I respond? Do I love my re-prover and thank them for showing me the truth, or do I reject the reproof and hate the re-prover.  Here is my wise dealings list:

  • Be a wise man (women) and love my re-prover and heed their reproof
  • Fear the Lord, it is the beginning of wisdom
  • If I am wise years will be added to my life
  • Folly leads to death


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