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Puzzle Prayer Time

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Puzzle Prayer Time

The beautiful white-haired grandma sat silently beside me as our car rolled down the Interstate. Marcia Starr Ballestero, my devoted wife of fifty years, was letting her thoughts and heart focus on the needs of a family member.

Puzzle Prayer TimeSmall talk between us had died out when she picked up her iPad. From the corner of my eye I could see that she was doing it again. She does it at home too, almost every day.

She was going through her camera roll and albums looking for a specific photo. That’s her pattern. Today she chose one of our children and their spouse. Some times she chooses a picture of just one person, other times it may be a couple or even their whole family. Once in a while she chooses a picture of us.

The selected photo is then imported into her jigsaw puzzle app. Her gentle fingers begin to move over the hundreds of pieces. She moves them here and there trying to make them fit where she thinks they should go.

Her puzzles may last an hour or two, sometimes longer. The attraction she has for puzzles isn’t so much her love for games, but it actually is part of her family prayer time.

As she moves each piece of the puzzle into place, she is praying silently. She is praying for every aspect of their life. She prays for their soul, their marriage, their health, their finances and their home.

I do my best not to interrupt her puzzle prayer time. She methodically attempts to make pieces fit in place. Often she gets it right the first time. Other times not. When it becomes a trial and error project, it is like real-life to her. Her prayer focus is on the missing pieces in that person’s picture. Loving fingers slide over the face, sometimes the heart and then lingers a moment.

  • I wonder, is she praying for their heart?
  • Is she praying for them to make right decisions?
  • Is she praying for God to keep them safe?
  • I never ask.

When she is finished, she will hold the photo up for me to see. When I compliment her on the beautiful picture, she smiles. I know that there was a lot of love and prayer put into that puzzle. How much? Only God and her know.

No one else in our family knows about this. Our children and grandchildren do not even know. But heaven knows that there is a loving Mother and Grandmother who is trying to make the pictures of her family turn out right by asking for God’s help to find the missing pieces and put them in the right place.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 12, 2015 at 10:49 am

Are You A Grandma?

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Are You A Grandma?

Grandma Ballestero

Jeron had lived in the same town as his Grandma Marcia Ballestero for all of his three, nearly four years. He loved to stay over night there and did so as much as he could. Circumstances permitted him to do so, and he enjoyed all the attention and pampering that good Grandmas are known for.

In the evening, when it got close to bedtime, Grandma would take the little man up onto her lap while she sat in her soft rocking chair and rock him. She would have his special little blanket ready to comfort him and he would fall asleep in her arms.

He actually had the run of his Grandma’s house. He had his own room; he was the object of most, if not all of her attention. He also happened to be the only Grandchild for hundreds of miles. Jeron was in hog heaven.


Then the day came when he had to move a thousand or so miles away. He was so sad to be taken away from his Grandma. It made his little heart break and real tears ran down his face. Lots of hugs and kisses were necessary to reassure him.

The first Sunday night in his new town, he went to church with his Dad and Mom. For a little kid, not quite four years old, it was almost overwhelming. The church was much bigger, the faces were all new, and he really missed his Grandma.

As the people were all setting back down after singing some choruses, Jeron slipped across the aisle to a lady he’d spotted that was about his Grandma’s age and size.

“Are you a Grandma?” He quietly asked.

“Yes I am.” Was her response.

Jeron leaned up close, and politely asked, “Can I sit on your lap?”

“You sure can,” she said as she opened her arms.

Jeron crawled up onto her lap and went soundly to sleep.

No one today knows the name of the dear lady who offered her lap to a little ‘lost’ boy. Jeron is in his middle teens now and is much too ‘mature’ to speak of such things.

In my mind today, several questions still nag at me:

What was there about her, that made Jeron choose her?

Was it her age?

Was it her resemblance to his Grandmother?

Was it her kind face?

We’ll never know, I’m afraid.

But, what about her?

Why did she willingly hold a strange little kid on her lap and let him go to sleep?

I may not have all the answers, but this I know, she was a real Grandma.

What the word “Grandma means to a little kid, is someone who is loving, affectionate and takes good care of you.

Grandmas come to your defense. Grandmas feed you good. You feel safe with Grandma. Grandmas will buy you things you always wanted, and take you places you like to go.

Grandmas are nurturing and kind. They are soft-spoken and don’t scream at you. Grandmas are very loving. Grandmas make you always feel safe. All kids know this. Grandmas give you their hearts. Grandmas love kids. Grandmas don’t have to be related.

What the world needs are more good Grandmas.

Are you a Grandma?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 22, 2010 at 12:42 am

Posted in Family, Grandma, Love