Of Sore Throats and Green Hearts


She’s crying. “My throat hurts.”

I feel her forehead and then go rummage in the bathroom drawer–through dumped Band-Aid boxes, ointments, alcohol wipes, the outer ring of an adhesive tape roll, a plastic medicine cup, a nasal syringe, and spilled cough drops to find the thermometer.

“Open your mouth.” I shine the flashlight into the scarlet cave. It’s not looking so good.

She tries to eat, but it’s too hard to swallow even yogurt. Her head hurts, and she can’t get warm. We try to balance enough covers to keep her comfortable against overheating with too many. I exercise my arm by placing palm to forehead. She sleeps off and on all day.

I leave two chewable Tylenol and the thermometer at her bedside. “If your head hurts or your fever is up, you can take these after 2,” I tell her.

I hear her get up about 3. Door opens, door closes, toilet flushes, water runs, door closes. Her bed creaks, and I hear her covers rustle and the headboard bang the wall as she settles in again. Then she calls over the monitor, “Nama. Nama.”

I pad down the stairs and into her room.

“Would you get me some water with ice?”

I laugh. “You got up but couldn’t get your own water?”

She just smiles, so I go to the kitchen, flip on lights, pull out the freezer drawer, scoop some ice, push the spigot on the water jar, and take the glass back to her.

“Did you check your temp?”

“I just did. It’s 101.2, and my head hurts.”

“Well, chew up these pills.”

I tuck her in, kiss her forehead, and huff upstairs to my own bed where I toss and turn for an hour and finally get up to stay.

To do battle with my own illness.

The one that makes my heart turn green.

I wish I could be baking on a Florida beach–like her.

I wish I had a new book contract–like her.

I wish I could be at that conference–like her.

I wish I could be at that retreat–like her.

I wish I was going to Tanzania–like her.

I wish my words would pour like hers. I can barely read her any more for fear I’ll try to copy her.

And He brings me words like these.

Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. ~Romans 13:8-10 (Message)

She does not go to school this morning, and I call the doctor. He swabs her throat, and I’m not surprised to learn she has strep. We pick up her antibiotic and come back home.

She curls up with her pink blanket and her Kindle Fire to read Dork Diaries.

Later she comes out to the kitchen and wraps her arms around my waist.

“Thank you for taking care of me, Nama,” she says. “I love you.”


Giving thanks today for:

Compassionate doctors.

Healing medicine and healing words.

The Word.

His perfect plan and perfect timing.

A blue jay in a tree.

Green jasmine tea.

Twistable colored pencils.

Those who embrace impoverished children.


Friends who lend a hand.

Joining Laura and Laura and Michelle and Ann in community today.

On In Around button



    • Sandra says

      She’s been here a lot lately because there’s been a mouse issue at her house, and she’s been afraid to sleep there. :)

      And her mom has been in Florida for the last week. Other than that, it depends on her mom’s class schedule. She has some night classes.

      I wonder if I’m ever going to grow up, too. Sigh…

  1. Jody Collins says

    Sandra, I get the sore throat part but was wondering what ‘green hearts’ were until I read it. I, too, have been stymied by the ‘why can’t I be like her’ thoughts. (And today we are all blessed for her, Miss Ann…)
    but I realize it just makes me stuck. Silly how we are.
    God wants all of our voices. Thanks for sharing yours.

    • Sandra says

      Exactly, Jody. It’s easy to get caught up in that without remembering that we all have our own place in the body, our own voice in the choir.

  2. Sharon O says

    My grand daughter used to call me nama when she was tiny. It was SO cute. When she would say NAMA… it just melted my heart. It’s such a gift… to be with the little ones.

    • Sandra says

      I used to be Gma. But her little sister says Nama and she picked it up and I just love it. :)

  3. says

    Oh yes…that fatal disease called envy…how it comes to rob, steal and destroys…we all struggle with it…His Love is the only medicine that can cure this disease…the more I have grown in knowing His love for me…the less envy find it way in…always a process…a life long one at that…
    great post…blessings as we allowing His healing Love to drive away those envious thoughts…
    r.elliott recently posted..Loved To a Path of Wholeness..31yrs.

    • Sandra says

      Oh, amen to that. The cure is His love–looking for His beauty and counting the gifts He gives us.

  4. Connie@raise your eyes says

    And if you were off doing other things, then who would be “Nama” and bring cool water to refresh Grace?

    Who would encourage us by revealing that you also, just like us, battle with a green heart?

    Thank you for being who GOD created you to be, lovely lady.

  5. says

    I often suffer from diseas of envy. You described it so well. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that we all have different stories and mine was written just for me. I can’t live out another’s story. Great post! Thanks for your honesty!
    Christina recently posted..Grace for Imperfect Faith

    • Sandra says

      Beautifully put, Christina. That we all have different stories makes life so much richer. I get to live your story, too, in a sense, through you.

  6. says

    I work at one of those places where you “pick up the antibiotic.”
    Been filling prescriptions for kids for 35+ years.
    Someone asked me once what I do for a living and I said, “I help get people well when they’re sick.”
    It’s a blessing to be part of that process and it’s stories like yours that add to the fulfillment of the day.
    Chip Etier recently posted..Was the greatest generation colorblind?

    • Sandra says

      Thank you for being there, Chip. I just can’t bring myself to use those mail order prescription shops. I like to talk to you personally and ask my questions. I love your perspective and would drive out of my way to have you fill my script. :)

    • Sandra says

      Oh yes. I often jump on the green house train. And the other day, on the way to teach Bible study, I found myself wishing I could teach like “her.”

      Grace is better. Thanks to a bottle of miracle pink amoxicillin. :)

  7. says

    I so get this! Some days, I write and type, thinking what in the world am I doing? Not like the world needs another voice when there are so many excellent ones already speaking (like yours, by the way). But, it is a process, a path on the way to somewhere else, one of the steps along the way. And, a big part of those steps is the sore throats, the midnight care, the doctor visits, the cups of cold water, appreciating the birds singing in the trees….and being grateful for all of it, each step on the way.
    Maureen recently posted..The Solid Rock

    • Sandra says

      You are so right, Maureen. It’s a journey, our own journey to savor. And then for those of us who write we spill those cups of cold water. Our words may be only trickles that join up with the streams that flow into bigger bodies. But each drop is important. If we could only remember that.

      And thank you for lifting me up today.

  8. says

    It is a lovely thing to find you have a kindred spirit. You wrote my heart here – word for word. And you did it so beautifully. You have a gift dear friend – a unique, beautiful gift. You have a precious heart. You serve Him well. He has a perfect plan.
    Linda recently posted..A Little Break

    • Sandra says

      Thank you. Thank you. I’m glad part of His plan I’m glad He allowed our spirits to connect FTF last year and share the same space. I cherish that time.

    • Sandra says

      Nuh-uh! I wanna be like *you.*

      You have been–are–such an inspiration, Susan. I’ve learned so much from you and your way of capturing beauty with photos and words of grace and soft humor.

    • Sandra says

      Oh, I don’t know, Darlene. I expect there are days she wishes I was like someone else’s Nama who buys every thingamabob in the store and dishes out sweets by the bushel. It’s our fatal wound, maybe, this wanting to be something or someone “better” or different. Even Adam and Eve had it all and wanted more, wanted to be like God.

      But I can’t imagine being anyone else and not having her for my grand girl! :)

  9. says

    beautiful woman… yes you are. Every time I “turn green”… it seems to paralyze the flow of what he calls me to do. Whoever first animated the devil in red, should have colored him green instead. Hope the sweet one is feeling better and that you haven’t caught it. Hugs of underrstanding.
    Patricia recently posted.."Somebody Get The Door!"