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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: In God's Hands, There Is No Mistaking
By Mary Knoll Santos
01/20/10


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Magnificent red gum framed the French doors which divided the indoors from without. On the south was the hall of books, the Library. The eastern doors closed in the parlour. We had not sought refuge in those rooms that day in the warm spring Sunday of 1805.

Bermuda grass landscaped the courtyard. English-box and pansies hedged along the steps. Lavender, daffodils, and hyacinths scented the noonday air. At the rotunda, tulips of crimson and gold lined the stretch down the carriage port.

Leisurely lounging in the spacious granite-tiled patio; a lookout over the purplish hills in the west--consisted of our Sunday pleasure after church. Papa declared with full alacrity the familiar behest that marked his handsome face, as he often addressed his daughters, my sisters.

"My daughters, it’s my best interest to see to it that each of you marries a man of not-the- common-sort.”

I caught father’s sobriety on the matter. He creased his thick brown brows. Strength of will mandated the thin lips with superiority of fortune in his tone. He was earnest, but I mulled over about what he said. The man before me was a professing Christian, serving mammon.

"Not the common sort," he meant a handsome face, and possessed handsome
pockets, with plenty more reserves. Hardly, true love existed--with the
exemption to his rule of love in his marriage with Mother, who bore him four
daughters, and me. Had he forgotten the day’s sermon?

‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness’

At thirty, I reserved my love. What about Lenore? What would father make of her? I saw Lenore's gentle eyes in my mind from the horizon. Wisdom suppressed my lips as I caught my mother’s smiling gaze at me.

Mother knew. I had been keeping friendship with Lenore, since the last autumn. Not merely close to a year that Papa would even consider marriage as he rested himself assured. Papa made certain that beauty and wealth suited his daughters and wife best. And at thirty, I gained Papa’s faith in me for a wife from our corporate business society.

Regina spoke, “O, Papa, you’ve banked on earthly crowns, you’ve so well provided for us. You’ve made certain that we’re never in want. My sisters and I appreciate you.”

Biting her lips fearing to be disrespectful, Reg found her words, "But Papa... a man thinks in his own heart, but the Lord directs his steps.”

“Dear Papa, would you consider the Giver of all? That what we now enjoy are... only a great part of His Hand which He handed to your care?" said nineteen-year-old Anne.

"Reggie, my dear third-born-daughter,” Mr. Clair laughed. “What makes you so suddenly a sweet epitome of wisdom and knowledge? Why, you're not as half my age to be speaking such. At seventeen, and talking as such will not make you find a good husband- who will brave courtship with you- for fear of converting him to your idealism of religion."

"O,Papa, pardon me and my manners. Self-conceit is the very nature of sin, and nothing else." Regina’s resolve to believe in the Redeemer brought tears
of deep sorrow for her precious father who hung on to dear life.

"Come now, child. People from the Anabaptist church called in some time ago and spoke to your mother and me of these things. Fret not, little ones."

Mother’s careful lot to love and obey evinced in her gracious spirit. She had been careful never to oppose Papa. She often said to us, “The Creator of the universe cared for the sparrows; and He clothed the lilies of the field. The great king Solomon, even in all his splendour, was not arrayed like one of these.”

------

Unmingled with world’s wealth, Lenore never questioned her state as a farmer’s daughter. At twenty-three, she still heard her mother nurture her children at her knees on the thoughts of God. Lenore found rest in the Saviour’s mercies through her parents’ teaching.

There was no mistaking about my love. I had sought her father’s approval to marry his daughter. I waited until he let me seek Lenore’s hand to marry me.

The following Spring, I confided, “Will you be my wife?"

“I love you, Lenore. I’ve never doubted, not even for a second of breath in me
that you are God's will for me.”

Our love engraved in the Rock of Ages.

The Hand of our Heavenly Father etched my name in Lenore’s heart. There was no mistaking!


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Sara Harricharan 01/22/10
This is a little confusing to follow, because of the shift in speakers and setting. It opens quite nicely, but then I'm a little mixed up. I didn't realize it was from the son's point of view until the end where he was marrying a girl and then I puzzled that one out. I followed the girl's conversation, mostly, but then I was confused as to whether Mr. Clair was actually healthy and alive or on his deathbed. Not a bad story, but a little hard for me to follow. Otherwise, I did like the ending where the son followed his heart and married for love and not money. Thank you for sharing!
DANIEL MBAJIORGU01/23/10
Sara why don't you take a little more time to re-read this nice article which does not exalt comely grace and pelf but thematically portrays virtues. The narrator has always been Mr Clair's only son. The use of 'rested himself assured' for Mr Clair or 'found rest' for Lenore could be the writer's way of saying, 'having found peace of mind,or being confident or assured about a thing; trusting or having faith'. Except for recollections, these events took place as the Clair's were 'leisurely lounging' in a picturesque patio, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon after church service. This writer strikes me as a great poet attempting prosaic writing on a difficult topic like "Oops". The line...The man before me is a professing christian, serving mammons....is my favourite. A fine piece that could be developed into a wonderful novelette. Consider your punctuations and re-read before submissions.
Jan Ackerson 01/25/10
This story has a charming, old-fashioned feel.

I'm with Sara at feeling a bit confused at times--the quickest fix would be to establish right away that the narrator is a young man.

I've started a thread in the message boards specifically for Beginner and Intermediate writers, and I'd love to have you stop by. http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67

Nice writing--definitely keep it up!
Karen Pourbabaee 01/25/10
Interesting yet charming style. A bit hard to follow as others mentioned, perhaps let another test read before submission to clear up any confusion; a little editing in this regard and you will have a great story.