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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: A New Normal
By Renee Gingery


Racing out of her room and down the hall, Samantha turned the corner as her eyes came upon her destination. Looking up at her mother’s bedside, she gave her mom a gentle nudge.

“Mommy? Are you awake?”

“Huh?! What is is Sam? Is everything okay?” Tara asked trying to hide the fright in her voice.

“I just wondered what you are doing because I have a great idea for today! Let’s have a picnic and go fishing!” As Samantha’s voice began to grow with enthusiasm, her mother
slowly pushed off her covers and began to sit-up allowing her six year old's words to sink in.

“So you want to go fishing, huh? Are you sure you feel okay today? No tummy aches?

Come here and let me feel your forehead.” Trying to contain her excitement, Samantha placed her hands behind her back, stepped forward with confidence to begin her morning routine knowing that her mom just had to say yes because today was a day that Sam wanted to remember.

“Hmm. No fever. Your coloring looks good. Are you sure you feel okay?”

“Yes mom! Now, please can we go?”

“Well, tell me what exactly do you have in mind?” As Samantha explained her idea of having a picnic, and then going fishing and hiking at Pine Lake, Tara silently thanked God for her daughter’s strength and excitement. She had not seen this much energy in her daughter over the past few weeks. Ever since her last treatment, the doctors informed Tara that they would be headed down the most difficult road in Samantha’s journey of healing and recovery. If only the doctors could have detailed out the daily challenges they would go through. The loss in appetite, the constant nausea or vomiting that occurred, the sleepless nights and the constant aches and pains. Yet the one detail that no one could have ever prepared her for was when Samantha started to loose her hair. Tara could still feel the clumps of the long blonde strands lingering in her hands when washing Samantha’s hair one night. Everyone said it was just hair, but to Tara, it was the truth. Her six year old blonde hair blue eyed princess had a disease that controlled her life. At first, she did her best to not be mad at God. It wasn’t His fault that her daughter had leukemia. Yet, Tara did the one thing she promised God she would never do she guarded her heart from Him and locked her emotions deep inside where no one could get to them. But over time, she slowly gave God the key to each emotion so that he could heal her brokenness and prepare her for the trial ahead. Tara was forever grateful for the repairs that God did, and she silently reminded herself of where she would be without Him leading her through her daughter’s illness. Tara turned her thoughts back to her daughter’s plan and nodded in agreement as they both began to prepare for their outing.
Pine Lake was a quick fifteen minute jaunt across town and was always full of families during the weekends but not today. Most of the campers had already left for the week, and the park was quiet providing the perfect opportunity for making new good memories. As the two sat down on a picnic table, Samantha quickly scarfed down her sandwich anxious to hook some hungry fish, but all Tara could do was study her daughter and reflect on her courage through everything she was going through and all that was to come.
“Come on mommy. The secret fishing spot is this way.” Sam turned back towards her mom, grabbed her fishing pole, and ran down the deep slope to the embankment below.

“It looks like no one is here. We have the place all to ourselves.” Tara encouraged as she followed after Sam. It felt normal to watch her little girl fish beside her. They were adjusting to a new normal, and that is what today was finally starting to feel like. Normal.

“I got one hooked! Come and see!” Tara looked down at her blue eyed princess and joined in her daughter’s excitement. Sam had been right. Today’s picnic would become a memory they would keep forever. One that reminded Tara that God would see them through to the end of the journey, no matter what the outcome.

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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jody Day 07/12/12
Beautiful thoughts expressed about a difficult subject. Nicely done. You might want to try and have more white space. It makes it easier to read.
C D Swanson 07/13/12
A testimony of faith personified. This was a tender read that touched my heart. I felt the parent's heartfelt anxiety and concern. I also loved the ending that no matter what, that ultimately God is in control.

God bless you~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/13/12
This is a touching and heart wrenching tale. You surprised me with the open ending as I was sure little Sam knew she would die very soon and wanted to give her mom a special memory. I like your ending more as it leaves room for help.

In the beginning you did an excellent job of showing; not telling. However in the middle you went into a more telling mode. I know part of it was the word limit. You may also want to break that large paragraph into smaller ones.

This was a great read. you captured my attention immediately as I pictured a mom with dark circles under her eyes. I liked how you showed the conflict right away and it helped draw me into the story and feel like I was right there watching Mom worry and fuss. It was right on topic too. Altogether a delightful story.