No room? Emily thought so. She was the youngest of nine children in her family. When her father, George, bought a little house in 1930 in the throes of the Great Depression, his own dad commented, “You’re crazy. Nobody does that now when things are so bad.”

Most were selling or losing; he was buying. But the house was a two-bedroom, one bath, a pretty cozy squeeze for seven of his children left at home. The lines at the bathroom door were legendary. Some of the boys used the bushes in the backyard when the girls monopolized the bathroom.

Seven-year-old Emily slept with two older sisters. Two others shared a narrow bunk bed. One slept on the floor.  Two brothers had left for war; one boy slouched in sleep on the sofa.

A shoe box offered more extra space than the girls’ room.

Emily heard her sisters complain to Mom, “Emily takes up too much room!”

“She kicked me all night long!”

“She snores!”

“She wet the bed!”

But there was no more room at the inn.

Emily awoke one morning feeling sick. Over the weeks, she felt worse. Mom’s home remedies didn’t help, so Emily found herself at the doctor’s office.

“Rheumatic fever,” the doctor declared to her mom. “You’re going to need to separate Emily from the rest of the family to keep them from getting it.”

Where to put Emily?  Her mom thought long and hard. She paid a small amount for a used youth bed and set it up in the dining room.

“Wow! My own room!” Emily decided as she settled down to sleep alone in the dining room. It was quiet, uncrowded and spacious as a mansion.

The house had not grown bigger. It didn’t have any more than one bathroom for nine people big and small. But Emily felt like a queen in her castle.

Changes and challenges in our lives happen. It’s part of life.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” [Phil. 11-13] That comes from the heart of Paul inspired by God: a man, tent maker, preacher, evangelist, church starter, prisoner, martyr, author of much of the New Testament and follower of the Way and Jesus.

Tweak your attitude and the view is different. You can choose to be content because your life, your needs, and your future is in God’s hands.  Like Emily, you may then see your home as a castle, the simple food fare as a feast, and the wheels in the driveway as a limo. God is good and he loves you!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and her recent Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. She is author of several other books, including new release Bring on the Blessings of Baskets ~ Easy, Fast, Personalized and Outreach Ministry Gifts.  Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website,]



About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

Feeling Blue?

That can't last. Listen in on four talks of Jo's to banish those blues:

How Do I Count My Blessings When the Toilet is Overflowing?

The Choice We Have Between a Dead Egg and a Live Savior

Never Give Up!

Can Kermit and Miss Piggy Marry and Live Happily Ever After?