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TITLE: A Man Who Loves You for Who You are is Worth His Weight in Chocolate
By lauren finchum

This is for anyone who likes chick-lit, has ever made a fool of themself, or has ever choked on a chocolate bar.
I take a deep breath of the November air.
Mmm, smells like fall. Leaves, chilly nip, even going to the grocery store seems nice–which is where I’m headed know.

I get a cart and head to the produce to get some veggies and fruits. I’m checking out the apples when I see a familiar frame standing near the tomatoes.
It’s Lane McGyver, the hottie from my singles group. I’ve been drooling over him since he joined our group in September. As a matter of fact, every time I hear Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September” I get all woozy in my chest.

I stop checking out the Red Delicious and start checking out this delicious man.
He’s perfect. Husky build–like Toby Keith–blonde, messy-tossed locks; goatee, tall enough I can still get away with heels, not so tall I have to stand on tippy-toes to look into his eyes. Oh, yes his eyes–the color of London Blue Topaz! His smile will kill, too.

I stare at his thick shoulders and muse dreamily how his sweater hugs them perfectly.
“Hello, Olivia.” I her his baritone voice and snap to reality–a place I leave often.
I realize now that I’m standing here, staring, smiling like a fool, holding an apple in my hand.
I look like an ad–a desperate, “I love apples, do you?” ad on a knock-off dating website.

I quickly look around Lane’s body to pretend I’m staring at a sale on bagged salad, then look up as if I just heard him speak, “Oh, hi, Lane.” I wave manically out of nerves.
Ok, stop waving now. . .ok, that’s good. . .STOP!
My hand has a mind of its own–it's Thing!
I make my hand stop waving like a crazed nut, “How the business?” I ask casually.
“Great.” there’s his heart-stopping grin.
Oh, gosh, I just forgot what his “business” IS. I know he runs his own, but what was it? Computers. . .no. . .crud.
“I pulled an all-nighter last night, so I took the day off.” Lane looks me in my brown eyes as he speaks.
For some reason the phase “all-nighter” makes me remember he’s a producer. He owns a studio just outside Nashville.
“Good CD?” I ask like I knew his occupation the whole time.
“Yeah, a smash, I do think.” he grins a modest grin.

I decide upon sauntering over to him like in a movie to further talk, but as I glide over I feel friction under my foot disappear--do to a runaway grape, and the next think I know I’m sliding across Kroger’s cream tiled produce department, and landing smack in Lane’s barrel chest.

I knock him into the stand of tomatoes he was standing near, and we fall. . .as do the tomatoes.
Lane and I are know a tangle of arms and legs, and the red fruit is peppering the floor–smashed and oozing seeds.
Lane helps me up, “Are you ok?”
“Yeah, fine.” just my pride broken in pieces.

An employee looks at me like a pit-bull and gets a mop and starts cleaning the mess.
“I’m really sorry.” I say.
Pit-bull man snorts at me.
Lane looks at the tomato guts strewn on the floor, “Too bad we don’t have corn chips.” he jokes.
I laugh, pit-bull man looks at him with a chilly glare, and Lane and I leave the veggie section.

We part and go our separate ways at the deli.
I get some cheese and ham, and head to the cookies.
I dump every kind a goodie from Pepperidge Farm you can imagine in my cart, and head to the bathroom products.

As I scan for two-ply, I see the blonde hunk once more.
I smile, he smiles back.
Then I realize I’m standing next to him hold Charmin in my hands, “I can’t stand cheap toilet paper, drives me crazy.”
Oh, yeah, that statement made it less embarrassing!
Why did I tell him I must pamper my lower half with expensive paper?
Yes, I’m demented.
“Yeah, drives me nuts, too.” Lane chuckles as he tossed toothpaste in his arm basket.
Ok, either he’s humoring me, or I’ve found a guy as weird as me.
Once again we leave each others presents.

I stroll around Kroger’s entire store, and decide to right it off as a work-out.
Work-out over, time for a reward. I head to get some yogurt. . .and chocolate ice cream.
My shopping done, I get in a check-out line–a long one.

Half way to the counter, I notice I’m very hungry.
I see the candy bars. . .hmm. . .why wait?
I tear open the candy wrapper, and take a bite–but half the bar breaks off on my mouth.
I stare chocking, and pull the maimed candy stick out of my pie-hole.

I try to decide what to do with the wet, melting Musketeer Bar. I brake it in two, and cram it in my mouth.

Somewhere in the candy confusion, I’ve made it to the register, and now have to communicate with the women ringing up my stuff–and can’t. I smile weakly and hand her the wrapper and other half of the bar to scan.

I look up and see–you guessed it–Lane. He’s watching my like my Step-Dad watches The History Channel. He’s smiling at me. . .I hope that’s good.

Here I stand, cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk, unable to move my lips, and chocolate drool sliding down my chin. My eyes are water from the sugar that burns my throat.
I use my palm to wipe my chin, then discard said drippings on my jeans.
I swallow the half chewed candy and feel my esophagus smart.
I pay, and head to the exit, feeling like a complete and utter idiot.
Ding, ding, where’s my ticket to the looney wagon?

I rush to my SUV, and open the trunk, er, cargo space door.
I load up all my bags, and feel a presents behind me.
Ready to scream ‘help, mugger’, I turn.
It’s Lane.
“Hey.” he smiles.
“Hi.” I smile, hoping I don’t have chocolate teeth.
When he turns to load his Avalon, I check my smile in the reflection of my white vehicle. . .good, not chocolate.
Lane turns back to me, “Hey, I was wondering. . .”he pauses.
Wondering what?
What nut farm I escaped from, and why don’t they catch me?
“I’m having a fall thing at my house for friends and family. Would you like to come?”
“Sure, I’d love too.” I say and finally work my God given female charm.
Good, I haven’t lost it after all.

“Your friend Jess and her boyfriend will be there, so you’ll know some people there.” he smiles, and his blue eyes dance in the setting sun.
My stomach falls into my discount Jimmy Choos.
I shut my trunk, “See you there.” I say when he gives me directions to his house.
“I’ll be looking for you.” he says, smoothly.
Looks like I got my angel just in time for the holidays.
Hmm, I wonder if he’ll fit on my Christmas tree?

Before Lane hops into his car–which is already running, and The Eagles’ voices filter from the opened door, he hands me a bottle of un-opened Dasani, “Here, it might wash down that candy bar.” he grins wryly.
Too cute.
“Thanks.” I get in my SUV.
He’s nuts. . .just like me.
Wonders never cease to amaze!
I guess there IS a lid for every pot–to coin a cliche.
That party won’t come soon enough.

(c) 2006
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