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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Sizzling Summer
By Marijo Phelps
07/14/09


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“Come on, let’s try it!” my sister was visiting for the summer from Minnesota and had never experienced Stockton at its hottest.

“You need to try to fry an egg on the blacktop? I just got some blisters running across it barefoot…”
The elder sister’s wisdom coming through in my voice, but the egg actually cooked. No wonder my feet had.

We shared an upstairs apartment and the window air conditioning unit had gone out. The landlord wasn’t returning our calls. I am not sure why it didn’t occur to us to withhold our rent check to see if that would prompt any action. But we were young then.

So, there we were trying to sleep on a double hide-a-way couch. Sticky hardly began to describe how we felt.

I was working to establish residence to get back to college. Nursing was my chosen major of the moment. Colette was babysitting for three kids of a friend of mine from work. They spent their days in the swimming pool at the college across the street.

The blue skies, with never a puffy white cloud and no hint of rain, were our umbrella. It was a time of innocence and adventure. We played penny ante poker with others in the apartment complex, had times of grilling together and rafting.

Still the landlord didn’t fix the air conditioner. The nights were long and hot and, well, somewhat sleepless.

It was so hot during the day that when you blew your breath out of your mouth it felt cool on your lips. 114 degrees in the shade at 4PM for 5 days in a row. We thought about melting and I was so glad I worked in air conditioning. In our part of California it didn’t rain from April through October, nary a cloud in the sky. Must be why it was known to be the fruit producer for our nation, that and irrigation changed our desert into a most productive area.

Without the irrigation, it would have been a wasteland. Neither of us knew the Lord then. Our lives were sort of a wasteland. We worked, paid our rent, played poker, ate great food and lived for the weekend parties and time off.

Colette was going back to college in the fall as sophomore music major. I was still changing majors so it was a good thing I took a year off to work and find out what that part of life was all about.

We were blind. No one that I remember even mentioned Jesus to us, well, unless you count what came out of their mouths when they lost at poker.
After the insufferably hot summer was over I discovered, quite by accident, that the window air conditioner had a fan button. We could have brought in the cool air of the evening all night long had we but pushed that little button.

Not unlike how we could have both called out to Jesus to take over our lives and save us. Save us from ourselves. Save us from making more bad choices that scarred us and our friends, save us from sinning and ruining that innocence we’d been given by our creator.

I am so thankful that both of us, years later, finally called upon His most incredible name and were set free.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 07/20/09
Neat parallel between that hot summer and your desert soul during that time. Nice descriptions.
Laura Manley07/21/09
I really enjoyed this short story. I sat here thankful that I don't live in that kind of heat. Your imagery was great. I liked the way you worked their lack of salvation into the story. Thank you for sharing this well-written story.
Jeanne E Webster 07/21/09


Sounds like a long, hot summer you two experienced! You ended your story well, and thank you, Lord, for two more souls in heaven.

The beginning and middle of the story is a bit scattered. Perhaps some editing there would make for a smoother read. Great on grammar and spelling. Keep the smiles in your writing too!
Seema Bagai 07/21/09
You have some good phrases and descriptions in this piece. It tended to ramble, though. Always read your writing aloud to hear it the way a reader would read it. Keep honing your craft. This piece has potential.
Mariane Holbrook07/22/09
I can't even imagine 114 degrees in the shade! This is such a wonderfully descriptive entry that I left it to go for a cold Pepsi. I truly did! Seriously, I like your style and I love your word choices. Big time kudos!
Sara Harricharan 07/22/09
The ending was the best part of this. The beginning made me laugh to think of frying an actual egg. Lol. Cute and nicely done.