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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: Taught By a Nosegay
By Patty Wysong


For ten years I’ve been the chief craft-lady at my church and I’ve made the centerpieces and favors for the Ladies’ Spring Banquet, but not this year. Oh no, they went and asked some new lady that no one knew very well to do them. Secretly I was hoping the banquet would come close to a flop so they’d see they need me. But there was no such luck. Inside the Fellowship Hall, all was calm and peaceful. Most of the seats were taken, too.

“You who! Vickie, you can sit with us!”

I stifled a groan and painted on what I hoped was a pleasant smile. “Mrs. Milligan, how nice to see you tonight!” Mrs. Milligan was truly a dear soul, but she loved to talk. As I thought about it I realized that was just what I needed tonight, a chatty table so I could just sit and stew.

“Aren’t the centerpieces lovely? I was so disappointed when I heard they’d asked that new lady, Paula Whats-her-name, to do them this year. They say she’s had a hard time settling in, but that she’s doing much better now. But you’ve always done such beautiful arrangements, Dear, and it’s become a highlight of the Banquet for me! I still have my favors from past years that you made!” Mrs. Milligan may have liked to talk, but she did make me feel better. “But look at these favors, Vickie-Dear! What do you make of these?”

They were darling silk nosegays, tied with a bow so you could put them in a vase at home, but there was something glaringly wrong with them--right in the middle was the ugliest little flower. I was astounded! Was Paula out of her mind? Did she think that flower was pretty? How could she think to camouflage that with even a hundred other pretty ones?

Mrs. Milligan was interrupted by our Pastor’s wife who was opening the banquet. “Good evening, Ladies! Isn’t it wonderful to be here tonight? Now, I don’t want to keep dinner waiting, but I heard the buzz and thought I’d take care of one little thing before we go any further, since I’m sure you’ll enjoy the dinner more once it’s taken care of.”

She held up a larger version of the favors and pointed to a similarly ugly flower tucked in with all the pretty ones. “This is what’s had y’all buzzing since you came in, isn’t it?” There was a loud murmuring of ladies agreeing. “Well, do you know what this is?”

I could hear every lady screaming, “Yeah! It’s an ugly flower!” But no one said a word since Paula Whats-her-name was in the room, too.

“This is an ugly flower!” The ladies let go of the breaths they’d been holding. “Well, it is, isn’t it?”

This time there was no holding back, “Yes!”

“Can all these other pretty flowers hide this one? No! They can’t! When I look at this nosegay all I can see is this ONE UGLY FLOWER, and I know that’s all y’all see, too.” The ladies were all laughing and agreeing with her.

“We’re all like this nosegay, did you know that?” The room quieted down. “We can have all the pretty flowers in our lives, but if there’s bitterness or wrath or anger or clamor or slander or any malice in our life it can never be camouflaged, no matter how many pretty flowers we use; if we don’t get rid of the uglies that’s all that will be seen, the ugliness. So, y’all do every one a favor now, get ahold of that ugly flower in your nosegay and pluck it out. Just ease it right out and toss it away.” She pulled the ugly flower out of the large nosegay and tossed it over her shoulder. Throughout the room ladies pulled out their ugly flowers and laughingly tossed them over their shoulders, too.

“There! That’s so much better! A life without bitterness, or slander, or WHATever is a beautiful life! Now, let’s pray and ask God to do the same in our hearts and to bless this dinner!”

“Oh, Father,” I silently prayed, “forgive me for becoming bitter and angry over not making the centerpieces and favors! Please remove that bitterness and anger and make me beautiful.”

**Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 (NASB)

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This article has been read 1186 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne02/16/07
Touching story. Wonderful message and written well.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/16/07
What a great illustration. I liked your touches of humor, too.
Jan Ackerson 02/17/07
Great job! Your narrator did a great job of showing us the range of emotions whe went through on that occasion. Wonderful voice, realistic and with a well-done, conversational style.
Myrna Noyes02/21/07
Intriguing title! :) Wonderful message and good writing! Thank you for sharing this!
dub W02/21/07
I loved this story, find an editor or challenge buddy - correct the tense shifts and minor errors and this will go far.
Betty Castleberry02/21/07
Very clever. I really enjoyed this well-written piece.
Terry R A Eissfeldt 02/21/07
What a velvet hammer! Needed message in a beautiful package. The ouch wasn't so bad! Good job and thanks.
Joanne Sher 02/21/07
What a great lesson, meaningfully told! So convicting.
Kathie Thomas02/21/07
Good story but I did have to find out what a nosegay was first before I could really get into enjoying the story. Sorry if I'm showing my ignorance but I'd never heard that word before. Once I knew what it was I could get back into the story and read it through again, to enjoy it properly.

Great message.
Julie Arduini02/21/07
I liked this a lot. That first paragraph was fun, real, and the whole piece flowed well.
Sara Harricharan 02/21/07
A message creatively woven in here! I liked the MC and the dialouge at the end with 'throwing away' the 'ugly little flower'. You connected some very delicate truth and feeling in this peice. Great writing! ^_^
william price02/21/07
You might have posted just another beginners brick, but this isn't just a beginners story. Very nice job. God bless.
Laurie Glass 02/21/07
What an enjoyable read. Realistic, well written and had a great message that will stick with a person. Great job.
Esther Gellert02/22/07
Ohhh, how you do like to write things that challenge me. I really enjoyed this and now I must go and find those ugly flowers of mine so I can throw them away.
Jimmy Green02/22/07
Thanks for a new "word of the day" (and I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't know what it was!)
And this was a wonderful story that packed a powerful message! God bless!
Sara Harricharan 02/22/07
Elizabeth Bussey02/22/07
Congratulations! I agree, this could be edited for a variety of publications.
Sheri Gordon02/22/07
Really cute story, with such a great message. And I said a silent thank you to Grandma -- I knew what a nosegay was!
Myrna Noyes02/23/07
CONGRATULATIONS on a story that deserved to win, by a very talented writer! See you in Intermediate! :)