A torn jacket is soon mended, but hard words bruise the heart of a child.

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A Little Think

"Bless its Heart!"

"Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn."

This anonymous quote makes me think of the way a child becomes an adult. The child needs to be attached to "trees" that blossom early in life to be able to produce the fruits of joy, peace, accomplishment, and confidence in later years. The adult trees that nurture a child bless all of us in the process. Are you that kind of tree for the next generation and the one after that? Who helped you spring into maturity when you were a kid?

Aves did that for me. She was my dad's aunt in Peru, Indiana, on the Wabash River. Her family lived too far from us to visit much, but whenever we did it was a huge reminder that, no matter what, everything will be fine, and it was all because of Aves. Looking down at you from her five-foot, nine-inch frame, she'd gush, "Bless its heart!" If she said it once, she said it 15 times. It was an expression of endearment, spoken with a warm, affirming smile. I always felt blessed around Aves -- everyone did!

I didn't know what it meant exactly, because nobody else talked like that, but I knew how it felt. I knew I wanted more of it, too. She didn't say it just to me. She spread her blessings around. It may have just been an expression, like "Heavens to Betsy!" But I don't think it was. I think it was her way of saying, "I love it when you come over. I love to serve you. I love you because God made you. I want God to bless you, all the way from here to heaven and every place in between." So I felt blessed when I was with Aves. I never asked if she really meant it; I didn't need to. I knew she did.

Whose lives have blessed yours? Whose lives have you blessed? Think about it. As women are the primary caregivers in our culture, it's pretty natural to pass on our blessings. We can resist it, of course. God does give us free will and free won't! But it's so much better to be that strong, nurturing tree for the young ones around you. The greatest blessing of all is Christ -- ours to share. That's what Aves really meant. Her "Bless its heart!" for me became "God blesses you. Go tell everybody!" That's a tree that bears a lot of fruit!

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