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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Messes, Madness, and Motherhood
By cathy nethercutt


Minister in Music

Joanna finally sat down in the pew closest to the door, plopping an unruly toddler oh her lap. Her husband, Phillip, sat the baby down in the pew beside her, still asleep in his car seat. She breathed a silent prayer that he would sleep for a while and Phillip hurriedly made his way up to the front to select hymns for the service.

“Okay,” she said to Lisa, as she straightened her clothes in vain. “We are in church…we’re going to be quiet this time.” Joanna waited for the customary “Da!” that usually followed such a request, but the toddler was already devouring an offering envelope, and so obliged her mother’s request…for the time being.

Joanna and Phillip had married immediately after graduation from Bible college, and had been delighted to take the “Minister in Music” position within a few months. The church was rather large, but a very warm, loving congregation, and the young couple settled in comfortably to the position. When they found out just four months later that they were expecting their first child, it seemed like everything was just falling into place.

Lisa was born in March. Talk about in like a lion…they are still waiting for the lamb. Lisa was a healthy as could be, and Joanna was so grateful for that, but she was also so very, um, well, “like a lion” was an apt description for she was always, “on the prowl,” so to speak. Many of the grandmotherly ladies in the church had stepped right up to help, telling many long stories about their own hard to handle children. Lisa was such a beautiful child…dark, curly hair, creamy complexion, and a smile that could melt the hardest heart…good thing, too.

She was into everything that crossed her path, and of course, she walked early, so lots of things crossed her path. But, she was a very loving child, too. Lisa was just a little more vocal about what she wanted than most. And she seemed to have a healthy set of lungs.

Joanna was so tired during the next pregnancy, which had been so close to the first. She thought she would never make it, but the “church ladies” had been so helpful, and they always commented that the messes would clean up. No one ever made her feel bad about the “accidents” that seemed to follow Lisa everywhere.

Now that her little brother was here, Lisa seemed to have settled a little. Joanna was just glad that little Phillip seemed to enjoy his naps and quiet, when Lisa didn’t wake him. This morning had been one for the record books, though. Phillip had been trying to prepare programs for the Easter Contada, which was only two weeks away. Lisa had dropped cheerios all through the house, Phillip had been unusually fussy, but they were finally ready.

Just as Joanna fastened Lisa in her car seat, the baggie full of wayward cheerios just exploded across the car. Lisa cried, Phillip Jr. cried, Joanna cried, and Phillip muttered under his breath. Now, as Joanna was finally beginning to relax, she looked down at Lisa’s path across the pew….sticky cheerios… wet offering envelopes, “oh no! Where did that marker come from?” Sure enough, Lisa had blue marker juice dripping from her chin. As Joanna reached across with the baby’s burp cloth to wipe Lisa’s chin, the toddler’s sippy cup full of juice, unnoticed on her lap, spilled all over her lap and all the way down her leg.

Joanna just sat down, and the tears flew. And the service was beginning. Before she could get her wits about her, Mrs. Ellen had whisked the toddler up and taken her to the nursery, and Mrs. Lenora picked up the waking baby and off to her seat they went. As Joanna bent down to wipe up the juice, she saw that someone had already rescued the carpet. With a heartfelt prayer of appreciation, and a tired sigh, Joanna relaxed and enjoyed listening to the sermon that morning. “Yes,” she thought, “they’re right, the messes will clean up.”

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This article has been read 390 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shayla Cody02/14/08
Thank you for this! I thought I was the only one who felt that way, but apparently I am not alone. I could totally relate with her frustrations and thoughts, and with the moral of the story.
Laury Hubrich 02/14/08
Wow! What a neat group of ladies to help out like that! Are they for real:) Did you have 2 titles? Just wondering.... You did a nice job. Make sure you proofread, though. Keep on writing!
Nancy Quinn02/16/08
What a wonderful, supportive church! Thanks for sharing that touching story! God bless :)
Marlene Austin02/19/08
Great story and excellent writing. :)
Joshua Janoski02/20/08
My sister is going through a similar experience with my niece. I really liked how the ladies in this story pitched in and helped with the children.

The only thing that confused me was there being two Phillips. I think you may have forgot to put Phillip Jr. in a few spots, but I was able to figure it out as I kept reading. :)

Good job!
Joanne Sher 02/22/08
Congratulations, Cathy, on placing 14th in your level with this piece. Great work!