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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Extreme Make-over
By Maryolyn Payne


Extreme Makeover

“This is it, Hon. We are really here. It was a long hard trip, but we will be in our new home by tomorrow evening.”

“Oh, Bob, this is going to be so wonderful. The children will love their new home. Thank goodness it is spring break, starting tomorrow. That should give us plenty of time to settle in.”

“It will give me a little time to go down and look the bank over.”

“Have I told you that I am so-o-o proud of you? CEO for First National of Ashton. You’re the man!”

“Guess it has been about an hour. It is all sort of like a dream, huh?” he grinned.

“Please don’t tell me to wake up and find this isn’t real. Our old life was a struggle any way you look at it. Living here will be like living in a fantasy world in comparison. ”

“Oh, it’s real alright. You know, I have been thinking of the best way to get acquainted. I will meet many new people at the bank, but the kids won’t. You have such an outgoing personality I know you won’t have any problems.”

Have you come up with any solutions?”

“I have read the best ways to meet people is to attend church. We could shop around and visit all the churches. There are lots to choose from; Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Assembly of God, and others. What do you think, Andea?”

“I never thought about it since we have never attended church anywhere.”

“Well, we have plenty of time to decide. It will take some time to get the house in order. Let’s wait and see.”

The day was perfect; sunny, crisp, yet pleasant in temperature. Fragrance of Wisteria filled the air. Greenery was already clothing the trees and bushes. Little colorful wildflowers dotted the grass.

“Yes, this indeed is an extreme makeover for us. Quite a change from the drab high-rise, in New York, hmm-m-m Andea?”

“I’m dreaming …?”

“Nope. Here is your new home.”

“Correction. OUR home! Dad and the kids should be here soon. We will have a few minutes to look around.”

Three days later the main unpacking was done. “Whew, let’s grill and sit on the patio. Are you satisfied with our house, now that you have had a real taste of it?” Bob inquired.

“Couldn’t love it anymore. I’m thankful the kids have enough space to ride bikes, skateboard, and play with the dogs.”

“Yea, they seem to love it so far, but they haven’t met anyone.”

“Bob, I was thinking about what you said about shopping for a church. Tomorrow is Sunday; maybe we should go and get acquainted with new people. Let’s try to start with a church that has good activities for the kids. It looks as though Christ’s Church might be the largest. It might work for our purpose.”

“Sure, we will do just that.”

“How did you kids enjoy the church? Meet any new friends?” Bob asked.

“They were all buds with each other. No room for new comers.”

“Yea,” remarked Bonnie.

“Well, we will try another one next Sunday,” Andrea tried to reassure them.

They following Sunday they visited the next to largest church. Lots of children were chasing each other before services. It appeared to be the perfect place, but looks are deceiving sometimes. All four sat in silence on their way home.

Just as the family was about to give up on the idea of the church, they tried a smaller church, right in their neighborhood. They were skeptical to enter, but sat down on the back seat. The Pastor immediately came and introduced his wife and self. After a friendly chat, another gentleman and his wife strolled up. When Bob looked up he was startled he knew him from the bank. Standing to his feet he replied, “Mr. Bronson, I didn’t realize you go to church here. Let me introduce my better half to you, Andea.”

After that Mr. Bronson felt free to speak of the activities of church and carefully weave a net of love over the entire family. Slowly, the new family fit right into the services. Before long, they came to understand that the reason for church was not to socialize. Each of the four had an extreme make-over in their commitment to God. Their shopping paid off with a fantastic saving that would last forever.

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This article has been read 516 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilee Alvey03/10/07
You show definite promise in this piece. You have a distinct ability with description. However, I'd like to see a little more dimension with the characters so that we truly care about them, individually, and not just as a bunch of people who need to find a church home. Flesh out some personalities. You also show ability in your use of natural dialog. For the most part, it feels like everyday conversation. You do need to proofread a little more carefully: at least twice you misspelled Andrea's name. I hope you know that you have the building blocks of becoming a very good writer! Keep it up!
Phyllis Inniss03/13/07
I enjoyed your story. It certainly showed bigger is not always better. The smaller church had a more homely and welcoming atmosphere. I like the way you brought that out.
Donna Powers 03/14/07
Very nice story with a cute title. I enjoyed reading this and it was a good reminder that the biggest isn't always the best. Nice job
Deborah Porter 03/20/07
Maryolyn, I am probably going to go a little against the flow of the other commenters (we're all different - that's what makes writing such an adventure) and say that I actually felt the characters were developed well enough through the dialogue. I certainly got the point, and the "ouch" of the message. Can't help hoping (even though it's fictional) that the last little church didn't lose that relational touch when they started to grow (which often happens). Good message.

Using shopping for churches for the topic was VERY good. A clever and different angle. Well done.

Although I felt I got to know the characters through the dialogue, there is one thing that may help you when writing dialogue in future. Try to always remember to use contractions when writing modern conversation. If you were writing formal speech, that would be different, but when average families are talking to one another they don't tend to say things like "It is," or "I have not," etc. They would say "It's," or "I haven't," etc. It's a good idea to always read your dialogue out aloud, to see if it sounds like you would say it in natural conversation. If you come across something that seems a little stilted for an everyday conversation, then it may just need a contraction.

Again, thanks for that "ouch" message. A very good reminder.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator and Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine)