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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)

TITLE: New Beginnings
By Laura Manley


It was a cold, damp, rainy day when Brittany woke up to the wind howling which caused the damaged shutter to flap itself against the house. Bruce must fix that thing, she thought as she stretched her svelte body making her way out of bed.

Brittany had lots to do in a short time today. Her church sponsored the military ministry and the annual potluck was planned to the last detail. Just as she approached the bathroom Brittany’s cell phone rang. Now who would be calling at this early hour she thought while scurrying to her night stand where her phone lay.

On the other end of the line was one of the ladies from the church in a panic.

“Slow down, Carol. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

“Have you seen what the weather’s like? What are we going to do for today, Brittany? We’re supposed to have our annual potluck for the military out at the Base and look at it. How can we do that if it’s raining and cold and windy? This weather couldn’t have happened at a worse time? So what are we going to do, Carol? Huh, what?”

By the tone and speed Carol was talking, Brittany was worn out by the time she got a turn to speak.

“Well, I haven’t looked out, but I could hear the rain and the effects of the wind. Let me make a few calls and I’ll get back to you. It may take a little while since some of the people I need to contact may not be available yet.”

Satisfied that Brittany would handle things in her usual calm manner, Carol thanked her and hung up.

Oh, boy, what have I got myself into? Brittany thought as she hurried into the bathroom. She had left the water running in the shower while on the phone. Steam was permeating the room and it felt good to feel the warmth on such a cold, drab day.

Her shower was short and with a quick washing of her long blond-streaked hair, she grabbed the bright yellow towel on the towel bar. After her record-breaking shower, she threw the clothes on she had carefully laid out the night before. She was a planner and it especially was paying off this morning.

Now, she thought. We need some kind of covering for our potluck today, but where am I going to find it? As she was drawing on her memory bank, she made a fresh pot of coffee which quickly filled the air. Hubby would be home soon and he always appreciated a fresh cup of coffee after working the night shift.

She did kitchen putter while waiting for the coffee to brew and as she did, she remembered that one of the ladies in the church had a catering service. I wonder if June would be willing to provide some canopies. She checked her church directory and initiated the call.

June was home and fortunately up for the day. And as luck would have it, June was more than willing to help.

They both agreed that with the deployment of the troops in just two more weeks, it was vital that they be able to meet as many needs of those men and women. She thought about the ministry and how many soldiers had been led to Jesus as a result of past potlucks and other various meetings. To be able to send as many soldiers out on deployment knowing Jesus as their personal Saviour was a long-term goal of her church.

Snapped back into reality, Brittany realized she needed to contact Carol who she could visualize pacing the floor at her house.

“Okay, girl,” Brittany told Carol. “June has enough canopies to cover us for the day so no need to change any plans. Now, I need to work on the big potato salad and deviled eggs I plan to bring out today.”

Carol seemed relieved and another crisis had been avoided with just a little team work. Both ladies had worked so hard on this annual function; they couldn’t imagine it being cancelled.

As Brittany and Carol helped clean up after the potluck, the missionary of the Military ministry approached them with some very good news. Fifty-two of the precious men and women who had attended the potluck trusted Christ as their Saviour that day; the ending of a day of food, fellowship and gospel for some… the beginning of a new life for others.

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This article has been read 351 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 07/27/12
Amen! What a wonderful story, well developed and well written. Fantastic ending. Praise God.

Thanks. God Bless~
Connie K Cameron07/29/12
Nice job. I really liked the end.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/30/12
You did a nice job with this topic. Right from the beginning sentence, I could feel a conflict coming and I was eager to keep reading.

I have a bit of red ink for you that isn't a huge deal but I wanted to share it because I can see you have a lot of natural talent that just needs some polishing. Make sure when you use thoughts and say things like she thought that you either put the thoughts in italics (which if you do, then you don't need the tagline she thought because the reader will understand that it is her thoughts) or put quotations around them. Personally I prefer the italics and it's easy to do just put this before the thought and at the end this

The other thing would be to work on showing instead of telling. As much as possible try to stay away from passive verbs like was. Take this sentence -- It was a cold, damp, rainy day when Brittany woke up to the wind howling which caused the damaged shutter to flap itself against the house. and just switch it around some -- The howling wind banged the shutter against the house jolting Brittany awake with her heart hammering. It may not be a perfect example but I hope it helps show what I mean.

I really thought the purpose of the potluck dinner is a wonderful idea. I think you did a fabulous job of staying on topic but presenting the topic in a fresh way. Many of the stories have been descriptions of the food and whatnot but you took a different angle and did a fine job of telling a suspenseful story but still delivering a powerful message. It's so easy sometimes while we are safe in our house to forget about the men and women off in some distant land. What better going away gift could we give them than our love and support and the opportunity to know Jesus so during the lonely and frightening times, they can turn to him. This really tugged at my heart and gave me some good ideas for our church to look into as well.
Laury Hubrich 07/30/12
Very good story. I feel like you kind of rushed the ending. Maybe you could have made it into a dialogue? That may have helped. You did a nice job though!
Loren T. Lowery07/30/12
I do like the way you tell a story (including some great adjectives like telling the color of the towel). The only comment I have otherwise is that I think the story could have been made stronger with the use of more dialogue. This would help in not so much of telling the story but of showing it by use of your character's own words.
Catrina Bradley 07/30/12
Your story is very well constructed and flows from the stressful opening to the happy ending. And a great story it is, too! My heart was hammering, hoping the potluck for the military wouldn't be rained out. Shann pretty much summed up my own red ink, so I won't repeat it. :) I'm looking forward to following your progress up the levels.
lynn gipson 07/31/12
Very good story, and I too, liked the ending. You are a natural born story teller, and I would like to read more. Great!
Beth LaBuff 07/31/12
I was fascinated by the churches potluck ministry concerning the troops. This was an enjoyable read. Thanks!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/02/12
Congratulations for placing 6th in your level! Happy Dance!!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/02/12
oops I see my example to do italics didn't work but made it in italics. So you do it like I'm going to show but without the spaces or descriptions. At the beginning of italic part you add a < then I for italics or b for bold or u for underline then after letter another arrow > at the end of the italic part you do the same thing but add the slash before the letter like this (and if you already knew how to do it hopefully someone who didn't know sees this and is able to do it. :)
lynn gipson 08/02/12
Congratulations on your placing!...I really enjoyed this entry....write some more of these please
God Bless, Lynn