Copyright © 2016 Janice Alonso
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The early morning July sun warmed Emma Grace and Ivy’s shoulders as they crunched through the gravel pathways weaving around their Aunt Kathy’s backyard. She had an area for her herbs and next to that was the section for her vegetables. Then in another area was her butterfly garden. While the nieces loved all the gardens, their favorites were her flower gardens. All was quiet and peaceful until …
“Emma Grace,” scolded Ivy glaring into her cousin’s face. “You’ve got your sunscreen smeared all over your cheeks.” She scowled and began roughly rubbing at the creamy white streaks.
“Stop!” shouted Emma Grace, “That hurts!”
“You’re supposed to rub it in all the way.” Ivy pursed her lips and shook her head, letting out a loud sigh. She touched a finger to her face. “See how I smoothed my sunscreen in.”
Emma Grace returned Ivy’s scowl with a frown and squinty eyes. “Well, you didn’t wear the right kind of a hat. You have a baseball cap and your ears are sticking out. I’m wearing a straw hat with a wide brim so my ears won’t get burned.” A smug smile tugged her lips upward.
“Girls, girls,” said Aunt Kathy in a tight voice, stepping between them. “We need to cut our flowers before it gets any hotter.” A stream of sweat rolled down her neck.
Ivy pointed to an area of purple and pink flowers. “I think I want to cut those over there.”
“Coneflowers,” said Aunt Kathy.
Emma Grace laughed. “Because they look like cones.”
Aunt Kathy nodded and used her clippers to snip a bouquet for Ivy. She handed the bunch to her niece.
“And could I have some white ones, too, please?” asked Ivy. “From that flower bed over there?”
“Of course,” Aunt Kathy. Then she looked at Emma Grace. “And which ones would you like?”
“Bright red and yellow ones!” exclaimed Emma Grace. “They’re the prettiest!”
Ivy frowned. “I think the softer colors are prettier.”
“All colors are beautiful, each in its own way.” Aunt Kathy said as the smile slid from her face. “God created many different colors because he created many different people,” she reminded gently. “Because we all have different likes and dislikes.”
After they’d collected their flowers and placed them in water, Emma Grace and Ivy went inside to work on their art project. They hunched over the table decorating vases for the flowers they’d gathered.
“Emma Grace,” said Ivy, scrunching up her face and pointing her finger toward her cousin’s vase. “You have way too much glitter. It looks all messy!”
Emma Grace turned her head from one side to the other and then shook her head no. “I have just the right amount of glitter. I LOVE lots and lots of glitter.” Then she frowned and pointed to Ivy’s vase. “I think you didn’t use enough glitter. Your vase looks way too plain.” Gazing at her creation, she added, “Mine is much better.”
The girls looked up to their aunt. “What do you think, Aunt Kathy?” they asked at the same time.
Aunt Kathy picked up each girl’s vase and considered it thoughtfully, and then she waited a moment before she spoke. “I think Emma Grace’s vase has just the right amount of glitter for her.” She looked at her other niece and said, “And, Ivy, I think your vase has just the right amount of glitter for you. Just like colors, each of you has different tastes in glitter.” Then she added, “I also think, Emma Grace, that you should take care of your vase, and Ivy, you should take care of your vase. No one likes being told what to do.”
The girls’ cheeks reddened and then they stared down at their vases.
“Dillon says I’m bossy,” whispered Ivy. “He says I’m always telling him what to do.” Ivy looked up and spoke louder. “But I told Dillon that I am NOT bossy!” she exclaimed as she wagged her finger in the air.
Emma Grace nodded in agreement. “People tell me I’m always telling them how to do things.”
Ivy’s head nodded up and down. “But I don’t think I’m bossy. I think I’m just being helpful.”
Emma Grace shouted, “Me, too!”
Aunt Kathy smiled and said, “You know, girls, Uncle Bruce sometimes calls me Miss Bossy Pants, but I think that I’m just being helpful!”
“Dillon has called me Miss Bossy Pants, too!” said Ivy.
They all laughed until their tummies hurt.
“Calling people names isn’t nice either,” said Emma Grace. “My teacher says that name calling is being a bully.”
“You and your teacher are right,” agreed Aunt Kathy. “But I guess Uncle Bruce is teasing me to remind me not to be telling him what to do.”
“I really do just want to help people,” said Ivy.
“And that’s a good thing, especially if they ask for your help. Sometimes though, people like to do things their own way. Like you, Emma Grace, prefer bright colors and lots of glitter.” Then she looked at Ivy. “And you like softer colors and a lesser amount of glitter.”
Aunt Kathy sighed. “But it isn’t easy to tell when you are being helpful and when you are …” Their aunt smiled and continued, “being a ‘Miss Bossy Pants.’”
“How can you tell whether you’re being helpful or bossy?” asked Emma Grace.
Ivy thought for a moment and then answered. “Maybe the scripture about treating others the way you want to be treated would be a good start.”
“Matthew 7:12,” said Emma Grace.
Aunt Kathy nodded. “So in everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you.”
And they all agreed that was the best way to begin.
Ivy and Emma Grace are cousins and best friends, and each thinks she knows the only way to do everything! While working on a flower project with their Aunt Kathy, the girls discover a way to decide how to tell the difference between being helpful, and well, and being a Miss Bossy Pants. The sixth book in the series Love God. Love Others. Book six focuses on Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you.” Geared for grades K-2 and to be read to the child. Great teaching aid.