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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: Sunday Dinner Suprise
By Amy Kuncaitis


The soggy cheerios sitting on the table, the dishes piled high in each side of the sink, papers, toys, and clutter covering every inch of the kitchen counter tops, and the trail of toys stretching from the living room all the way down the hallway weaving in and out of each bedroom told the tale of Jamie’s life.

As Jamie went to sit at the kitchen table, her bum hit the Star Wars figurine she had told the boys a million times to put away. Frustrated, she brushed the figurine off the seat and pushed the half eaten Cheerio bowl aside. Of course she slid the bowl just a little too far and onto the floor it went.

“I can’t do this anymore”.

Jamie left the spilled bowl of Cheerios and milk on the floor and buried her head in her hands just trying to catch a moment of sanity. That only lasted three seconds before little Isaiah was tugged at her leg.

“Mommy, mommy, mommy” he whined with no pause in between.

“Yes Isaiah?” Jamie peered down at her little blonde hair, blue eyed three year old whom she loved so dearly yet could so quickly get to her very last nerve.

Before Isaiah could even get to what he was in need of, the two other boys came darting up the stairs screaming.

“Brody is chasing me! Mom, make him stop!!”

“Nu-uh was not, Derek is lying again just like he always does!”

“I am not lying!”

Derek was near hysteria by this point and Brody was in tears.

Jamie threw her hands up and retreated to her bedroom to escape the mad chaos. Even if she could find a moment of peace in her bedroom, she knew the vicious cycle would once again repeat the moment she opened her bedroom door. Jamie couldn’t help but to think of the “if onlys”:

If only she would not have gotten pregnant in high school.

If only she didn’t marry Derek’s

father when she was only 16

If only her husband didn’t love another women

If only he wouldn’t have left her

If only….

Jamie felt so alone. She felt as if everyone else had it all together yet she couldn’t get it together for anything. She felt like such a failure.

The next morning Jamie struggled into church with three little ones in tow, barely dressed, hair somewhat askew, shoes untied and of course fighting as usual. Brenda, a lady Jamie knew from church, warmly greeted Jamie as she awkwardly pushed herself through the doors. Brenda took a couple of the boys by the hand and started walking with Jamie down the hall to the boy’s classes.

“Hey, Jamie would you and the boys want to come over for dinner after church? I bought a roast that was far too large for our family and I am sure your boys would love to play with mine.”

Instantly Jamie tried to come up with a reason not to go. She would rather skip the humiliation of her kids fighting or worse, ruining something. She couldn’t think fast enough.

“Ok, that would be nice.” Jamie smiled trying to be gracious.

Jamie always saw Brenda’s kids behaving so nice and she always seemed to have all her ducks in a row. Jamie knew she was just not in the same league as Brenda.

As Jamie walked into Brenda’s house she was surprised by what she saw. There were toys from one end of the house to the other, a familiar looking trail indeed. The house was loud and a bit chaotic. As the boys were running off to play, Isaiah tripped, cracking the base of a lamp.

“Oh Brenda I am so sorry.” Jamie was humiliated.

Brenda laughed lightly. “Oh Jamie, this lamp was already cracked. It is a daily occurrence at our house. With three boys, how can I possibly keep up?”

She paused then looked Jamie right in the eyes. “You know what I mean; you can relate to my life more than most anyone else. Jamie, when I look at you with three boys like me but no husband to help, I am encouraged that I can do it too.

Tears filled Jamie’s eyes and she was lost for words to say. She got up from her chair and hugged Brenda. “You couldn’t possibly know how your words just encouraged me.”

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This article has been read 512 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 11/15/07
Well-written. Good job in this piece.
Yvonne Blake 11/17/07
Good description of the frustrations of a mother.
Donna Powers 11/18/07
A good story and one that is easy to relate to. I like the way they both encouraged each other. Nice work
william price11/18/07
I really, really liked this story. Your descriptions were awesome, I could feel your MCs frustrations.
Some of your sentences might need a lil polishing, read a lil rough; only a few. Your lead sentence was over 50 words long, not against the law :) but could have been split up into some shorter ones, even though the run-on-like sentence did set the caotic mood you were hoping for.
Your ending was great, brought tears to my eyes. God is good!
God bless.
Deborah Engle 11/18/07
Well told. How encouraging to be allowed to see others' weaknesses, and yet feel their peace, love and understanding being offered to you.
Beth LaBuff 11/19/07
Clever title. Only someone who has gone through the same circumstances would understand. You've written this very well!
Paula Titus 11/19/07
I like the way you expressed the notion of people who seem "in another league" than ourselves, are so often just like us. It's truly a very encouraging revelation! Great writing :)
Joanne Sher 11/19/07
I love how they encouraged each other. Your description of the chaos encouraged ME! (you should see my house LOL)

My only suggestion is to focus on a bit less telling and more showing. For instance, you said "she was humiliated" - saying her cheeks turned red and she lowered her face give the same idea but is more descriptive. You did this in general, but there were a few places you could do it a bit more.

Enjoyed this very much!
Patty Wysong11/19/07
Hehe. You sure captured life with little guys! In my house it was legos (ouch!) and I'm happy to say that I don't miss the cheerios one bit!! LoL. Good job!!
Dee Yoder 11/20/07
Good story, good characters, and realistic dialogue! That adds up to a great read. Creative writing on this topic, too.
Janice Cartwright11/20/07
There may have been a few glitches - not many - in the mechanics of your writing but the authentic emotions expressed and human character and Christian love were so genuine I barely noticed. Wonderful job.
Sara Harricharan 11/21/07
This was so good! Very realistic and especially the spaced lines when she's thinking "IF only" wow. That carried quite an impact and your MC was great. I loved the last few lines.
LaNaye Perkins11/21/07
Your MC came to life for me. I think you did a great job telling this story. Keep Writing!