Home Safe


My love for our Heavenly Father began when we lived on the ranch at Kolob. I remember kneeling at Mama’s knee as she helped me with my prayers. I felt warm and secure, knowing that even in the dark Heavenly Father watched over me. This good feeling helped me to not be afraid of the shadows that moved outside the tent and to understand the noises of the night. Pine needles falling on our canvas roof had the same lightness as the scampering of squirrel feet. Even the occasional thump of a falling cone sounded friendly as it rolled off the tent to the ground.

With a goodnight kiss, Mama would leave me snug in my bed and go back into the one-room ranch house. There my sisters would be washing up the milk buckets, and Papa would be reading under the yellow lamplight.

Kolob was a land of enchantment, with meadows where we played hide-and-seek and hills that wanted to be climbed. Sometimes Mama packed a lunch and hiked with us. When she felt we knew our way, she let my sisters and me hike down the sawmill canyon alone. This was high adventure.

A blue jay went ahead, flying from one scrub oak bush to another, cocking its saucy head to chatter at us. A woodchuck, watching with curiosity, darted into its hole as we came near. Bluebells, purple daisies, and fireballs bloomed in profusion. Every turn of the trail brought new delights. We became engrossed gathering fancy-shaped rocks and wild flowers.

Time slipped away. The sun was settling into the grove to the west as we trudged through sand and sage on the last stretch home.

With our arms full of treasures, we raced to the house to show Mama. The tantalizing smell of hot cornbread greeted us, for it was suppertime. But the room was strangely empty. Mama was not there. I shot out the back door. Running to the big tent where our bunk beds were, I lifted the flap. The setting sun, filtering through canvas, filled the tent with a golden glow. There, kneeling beside her bed, was Mama. In astonished reverence, I waited.

“What were you doing?” I asked timidly as she arose.

Tenderly she kissed my cheek. “I was asking Heavenly Father to bring my little girls safely home.”

“I didn’t know you could ask Him for things in the daytime,” I marveled. I had supposed that aside from our regular family prayers, we prayed only before tumbling into our bunks.

Sitting on the edge of her bed, Mama held me close and said, “You see, Patsy, we are all our Heavenly Father’s children. Because He loves us, He will always listen to us.”

There in the mellow sunset glow, a new understanding came to me. Father in heaven really meant our Father. It was not just a name. I was really and truly His little girl! And I could talk to Him anytime.

My heart was jubilant, and so was the breeze. I heard it singing in the pine trees.

[photos] Photos by Eldon Linschoten and Royce Bair