Smiles and Sego Lilies
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“Smiles and Sego Lilies,” Friend, May 2015, 28–29

Smiles & Sego Lilies

Rachel thought of the perfect surprise for Mama.

“The world wants daily little kindly deeds” (Hymns, no. 230).

Friend Magazine, 2015/05 May

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,” Mama sang to baby Charlie. The harsh wind howled and blew red dirt through the cracks of the one-room log cabin. Rachel’s whole family couldn’t fall asleep that night. The clock hands pointed straight up to midnight as Papa got up to start a fire and Mama gazed at the dark sky out the window. Rachel closed her eyes tight and tried to fall asleep. Then she heard her mother whisper to her father.

“Look at all this dirt. I miss the green grass and pretty flowers at our old home,” she said. “Remember when I used to pin flowers to my dress? I miss that.”

Rachel missed the flowers at their old house too. Their new cabin didn’t have any flowers growing nearby. In fact, Rachel had noticed only a few little white flowers in all of southern Utah! Mama said they were called sego lilies. Maybe I can find one of those little white flowers tomorrow for Mama! she thought, just before falling asleep.

When sun shone through the window near Rachel’s bed, she knew it was time to get up. She pulled on her dress and tied a ribbon in her hair. She swept the kitchen floor without being asked.

“Thank you for your help, Rachel,” Mama said. “What would I do without you?”

While she did her chores that morning, Rachel tried to think of places she could find a flower for Mama. There has to be at least one flower out here, she thought. But I may have to look everywhere to find it.

She had just finished hanging clothes on the clothesline when she saw her friend Sarah walking toward her. Rachel told Sarah about her plan. With their bonnets tied under their chins, they searched everywhere for something beautiful.

They looked under the wagon. Nothing. They searched through the sagebrush. Nothing. They looked near the edge of the stream. Still nothing.

“Maybe we can find something over there.” Rachel pointed to the field her father was plowing.

The girls walked toward the field. Rachel ran her eyes along the edge from one sagebrush bush to the next. Suddenly she spotted a small white flower. It had three white petals and a purple center. Rachel gasped. It was a sego lily! “Look, Sarah!” she said. “Isn’t that pretty?”

Rachel gently picked the little flower from the red dirt and showed it to Sarah.

“It’s perfect!” Sarah said.

“Mama!” Rachel shouted as they ran toward the cabin. “Look what we found!”

Mama looked up from washing clothes, and Rachel gave her the flower. “Now you have a beautiful flower to pin on your dress.”

“Oh, Rachel. It is beautiful!” her mother said. As she admired the delicate sego lily, tears came to her eyes. She pulled Rachel in for a tight hug. “Let’s put it in some water to keep it fresh.”

As she finished her chores, Rachel kept glancing up at the sego lily. She felt happy every time she looked at it.

In her prayer that night, Rachel thanked Heavenly Father for creating the beautiful flower to grow in the desert. She told Him how happy she was that she found it. Then she climbed into bed. When Papa kissed her goodnight, he said, “What a wonderful surprise, Rachel. You made your mother very happy.”

Then Mama smiled and kissed Rachel on the cheek. “Thank you for finding me a beautiful flower. It reminded me that you’re the most precious gift of all.”