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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Susannah and the Manor House Scrappers
By Dawn Thomason
09/13/07


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Susannah gathered her scrap booking materials, depositing them in her pink paisley Vera Bradley satchel. Tuesday was her weekly visit to Manor House. How she loved listening to the stories of the nursing home residents. Valiant veterans recounting battles won during World War II. School marms beaming with pride, reflecting upon accomplishments achieved by former students.

Upon her arrival, Manor House became a happy place. Once sullen faces came alive with smiles. Arms weak with palsy, stretched forth to embrace in hugs. Susannah was uncertain who received the greater blessing from her visits, the residents or she herself. How did the families of these dear people stay away so long? Didn’t they realize what they were missing?

Recollecting her thoughts, Susannah began to assemble her materials. Today she would teach the residents how to scrapbook. Many of them carried photos of loved ones in their pockets or placed them in the front of their Bibles. The pictures were becoming tattered and worn. Susannah wanted to preserve the pictures as a way of remembrance. For many, the pictures were all they had left of their families.

Placing a pair of scissors, some brightly colored paper, and glue dots at each chair, Susannah was ready to begin her class. “Everyone, gather around. Today we are going to do something special.” The residents scurried to their seats, some being assisted by nursing staff or other residents. It was a real community at Manor House. Susannah loved the diversity. There was no prejudice here. As the children’s song proclaims, “Red and yellow, black and white”. All were precious in her sight.

Raising her paper and scissors, Susannah began to demonstrate how to cut a squiggly border. Without further instruction, the Manor House Scrappers were off and running. The room was full of energy, each resident eager to begin their project. Creativity flooded the room. Susannah circled the table, assisting with the placement of the photos onto the paper. The residents laughed joyously, as the glue dots seemed to stick to everything EXCEPT the paper. What a joy it was to simply watch the masterpieces come to life. Masterpieces. The residents of Manor House were God’s masterpieces.

It was time for the weekly sing-a-long. Cora took her place at the piano. Cecil and Teddy distributed the song sheets, though few of the residents needed them. Most of the songs had been memorized years ago. One of the favorites each week was The Old Rugged Cross. Susannah often wept as she listened to the crackling voices. Bodies weary from age and pain, still singing the praises of God. What a privilege to be among such angels.

“Sing out, Susannah!” She smiled, realizing she had been lost in her own thoughts. “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my burdens at last I lay down …” The love of God was contagious. Again, her thoughts wandered. “Is that why more people don’t come to visit? They are afraid they will “catch” something?” Ridiculous! The only thing a person might catch here is a falling person, and that would be a good thing. Of course, the love of God could rub off, a better thing by far. Many of the residents of Manor House had accepted Christ as their Savior since Susannah began her visits 10 years ago. What a joy to know that she would see these dear people again on the shores of heaven. Her heart warmed as she realized that they would not shuffle to collect their hugs, but they would come running, bodies restored and renewed.

Evening had crept up on Susannah. It was time to head home. The residents were always sad to see her leave. Yet, there was a calm assurance that she would return. They knew that she loved them and chose to come to visit. How much like Christ, coming again for His children. Willing to die on a cross out of love. We can rest in calm assurance if we know Him as our Savior. Have you accepted Christ? Don’t be SURPRISED at His coming. Susannah and the residents of Manor House represent the countless people who have called upon the name of the Lord. God’s Word promises that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9; KJV). Will Susannah and her friends from Manor House see YOU in heaven?


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Member Comments
Member Date
dub W09/13/07
This is a beautiful and warm story, I sat here with tears in my eyes reading. However, and his may be in disagreement with others here, I felt that the last paragraph, although meaningful and true to the core, simply did not fit with the rest of the story. I think the jump to directive second person is what bothered me the most; as the shift changed the story entirely. Definately, this is puppy material; but I will wait for others opinion on this.
Jan Ackerson 09/13/07
I liked this a lot--even though it was narrative in style, I could well imagine Susannah and all the old folks.

I agree with Dub--your story spoke for itself, and did not need the little "lesson" at the end. You're a good writer--trust your writing to do its job, and you don't have to "tell us what you've already told us." Then you can stop your story at the point of greatest oomph.
Nancy Jo Wilson09/16/07
I agree with the previous comments. Your story is warm. You do a good job of showing us how your character felt about the people. It bogged the story down to "tell" us in every paragraph with sentances like "all were precious in her sight."

Thanks for sharing your work.