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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Views from the Porch Swing
By Joy Faire Stewart


Catherine Marie and I sat on my old porch swing – she with a frozen grape Popsicle and I with a glass of sweet iced tea – enjoying “girl talk” from a five-year-old’s point of view.

My niece had spent part of the morning adorning herself with fine "jewels" from a box of old costume jewelry I had saved for her. The "diamonds" and rubies" kept her enchanted for several hours. She was a princess, a singing diva, a mommy, and a rock star all within the space of the front porch that humid June morning. She was still wearing the old purple pop beads she found in the bottom of the box.

Earlier, we had baked her favorite gumdrop cookies. I had purchased two bags of gumdrops to make certain there would be enough purple ones for her to use. Only purple gumdrops were special enough for the batter - they were her secret ingredient.

The phone rang as my tiny niece was asking her thirty-fourth question of the morning, “Aunt Nan, where did Miss Tommy get her kittens?”

Miss Tommy had been given to me as a kitten by my neighbor, Brenda. Not being experts in these matters, Brenda and I thought the kitten was a male and I named "him" Tommy. By the time I realized the mistake, Tommy liked her name and she became “Miss Tommy.”

“Just a minute, Princess…let me answer the phone.” I scurried into the house.

After giving Brenda my pineapple upside-down cake recipe over the phone, I returned to the porch where Catherine Marie was engrossed in watching the hummingbirds fluttering among the red candy-cane crepe myrtles. Fortunately, she had forgotten about Miss Tommy and her kittens.

"Aunt Nan, the hummingbirds look like helicopters with feathers… why do the hummingbirds like only the red flowers? “Does it make them mad because the butterflies like the same flowers?”

"Aunt Nan, did you know my daddy is sick?"

That was news to me. Usually I'm one of the first to hear when someone in the family is sick. “No, Catherine Marie, I didn’t know your dad was sick. What’s wrong with him?”

“I don’t know,” she declared, looking up at me with big blue innocent eyes. “He has a headache every Sunday morning.”

"Aunt Nan, are you going to Heaven?"

"Yes, Catherine Marie, I'm going to Heaven some day. Why do you ask?"

"Cause if you aren't there, I don't want to go."

Startled by the thoughts of my precious little niece, I told her how everyone can go to Heaven because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Taking my Bible, I read John 3:16 to her.

"Catherine Marie, you can be confident that everything in the Bible is the word of God and He will keep his promises."

"What does confident mean?” She sat with her bare feet dangling over the edge of the porch swing.

“The word ‘confident’ means you are sure about something. For instance, your mom said she will pick you up at seven o’clock this evening…we can be sure, or confident, she will be here. When you return home tonight, your purple bear will be on your bed…you can be confident he’ll be waiting for you. But most of all, you can be confident that when you ask Jesus to come into your heart, He will.”

“I like that, Aunt Nan.”

Twirling the purple pop beads with her tiny fingers, she looked up at me as an irresistible grin spread across her angelic face.

“Aunt Nan, you want to hear me count to twelve in Spanish?”

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This article has been read 1071 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 07/12/07
Sweet story. I could picture the little girl and hear her questions.
Dee Yoder 07/13/07
Absolutely adorable story! I love the part about Daddy having a headache every Sunday morning. :) The voice of your characters are so true and real; I felt I was right there on the porch with them! Very nice writing.
Brenda Welc07/14/07
So could identify here. Great story.
dub W07/16/07
Really touching and sweet. The innocent questions from youngsters often touch our heart. An extra quote mark and some convoluted structure in a couple of places, but this essay is definately worthy of notice. I loved your easy to read style. Thanks for sharing this story.
Kristen Hester07/17/07
Wonderful, wonderful writing. This is super! I enjoyed it all.

Do check rules for quotation marks. It made it a little confusing in places, but a minor problem that can be fixed easily.

Keep up the good work. You won't be in beginners very long!
Joanne Sher 07/17/07
Lovely characterization. I really enjoyed this. She is just like a 5-year-old. Wonderful.
Patty Wysong07/17/07
Adorable! You captured Catherine Marie--very good!! :D
Sharlyn Guthrie07/17/07
Delightful story! The conversation seemed, natural, not forced, as is so often the case. I love the aunt's explanation of confident...right on a child's level.
Lynda Schultz 07/17/07
I love it — this is such a wonderful, warm story — I could picture myself sitting on the porch! Good work.
Clyde Blakely07/25/07
Wow! Great story, expecially from the child's POV. Good job in defining confidence for that age level. And congratulations on your placing. God bless and keeping writing.
Rita Garcia08/10/07
Precious story and well written. Keep writing, you have a special gift with words from the heart.
Jacquelyn Horne08/15/07
What a wonderful relationship is written into this article. It borders very near a devotional with a fantastic story form.
BrendaBrenda parker08/25/07
Very sweet story. Seemed as though I was right there with you all.
On another thought, I related to part of the story in an odd sort of way. We named our middle daughter Tammy. At about age 5, when we would call her by her name, Tammy, she would tell us very bluntly, my name is not Tammy, it is Tommy, I am a boy, not a girl. I know in your story, it was a cat and your mistake, but I thought I saw something there I could relate to in an odd way also since my name is Brenda too.