I whispered a silent prayer and then one more while he stood a few feet from the machine.

Already he'd slipped two dollar bills into the slot and maneuvered that miniature crane for the allotted 20 seconds per half-dollar, and already the illusive blue teddy bear had slipped through his grasp four times.

We were on the last dollar now and the last 20 seconds. His eyes followed the motion of the mechanic luck-of-the-draw and I shut my mine--and prayed. Perhaps it was silly, but blue teddy bears mean a lot to just turned seven year old little boys and blessing him was worth a silly prayer.

She slipped then, head over heels, down the chute and from our sight. His eyes opened wide and his face suddenly buried in my coat, small arms around my waist.

"We got it!" he said.

"I know." I replied.

"This is the best birthday ever" he said.

It's funny how the best we've ever experienced yet is the best ever now, but I didn't say that.

All I said was "Thank you, Jesus." Not because the bear was so important, but because the prayer was. It wasn't silly, no matter what you think. I needed that bear. He wanted that bear, but I needed it.

I needed to know again that prayer works for the small things. That He hears me, that He listens to me, that He answers me, that I matter, and that small boys and blue bears matter.

Her name is Blueberry, "Do you like that name? Cause she's yours too, yours and mine."

I like that name fine.

Happy Seventh Birthday, Benjamin. It was the best birthday ever for me too.

February 2008