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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sweet to the Taste (08/23/12)

TITLE: Sweet Stuff
By LaRue Kendrick


Sweet Stuff

Eva sat beside her father, George, on the Conestoga wagon seat. Her mind was still at home where they had driven away from just this morning. She could see the faces of her mother, brothers and younger sisters. Tears welled in Mother’s eyes as she handed Eva the bucket of food that would feed the two for a few days. Her younger sister, Evelyn, clasped Eva’s hands in hers with shining eyes that said she longed to go on this adventure too. Her two brothers kicked the ground with their boots, making dust swirl around their feet. They were to take care of the land for now. In time, Father would send for the rest of the family, and John and Earl were to escort them to the new home; a new home in Colorado, far from this one in South Dakota. Eva wondered if Abraham had felt a little like she was feeling now. There were so many unknowns.

The wagon bumped along the trail. Wild flowers bloomed in profusion. Their scent was like expensive perfume; God’s variety. Now and then Eva’s head drooped and nodded to and fro with the uneven ground they moved over. Eva’s job this trip was to cook and help her father. When they arrived in Colorado, she would care for his clothes and his every need while he got his business established and until Mother and the others arrived.

After what seemed an endless ride in the wagon, Father announced that they would soon be at their destination. Eva’s heart sang at the thought of being in just one place again. She knew much hard work lay ahead for both her and Father, but with God’s help, they would grow strong through it all in body, mind and spirit.

When at last, Father pulled the horses to a halt, saying, “Whoa there, whoa Nipper, whoa Nelly,”
Eva knew the cool shade under the elm trees was to be her new home. She stretched her legs out in front of her, wiggled her feet, and gingerly straightened as she stood and then turned to climb down from the wagon. It was even harder for Father to straighten and climb down because of his arthritis. The disease was a cross for him to bear, but he did it with dignity and determination.

The next job was to unload the boxes of sweetness out of the back of the wagon as well as their personal belongings. They would be sleeping in the wagon until Father could build a more substantial shelter for them. The boxes of sweetness would make up Father’s business here in this land, and her mouth watered to think of harvest time. This was a good place for them to be as she looked all around at the alfalfa fields in bloom. As Father tenderly uncovered each box, the hum of the bees began to fill her ears. When all of the boxes were standing uncovered and the bees swarmed around them, Father stood with his arms outstretched to let them land on him and even sting him. For some reason, the bee stings helped to relieve his arthritis pain. The look on his face was one of peace and tranquility. This new land would give many people the taste of sweetness Eva’s family was so familiar with. Pure honey; God’s own sweetener.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/31/12
Nicely done, nicely told, and so engaging. I loved this. good job. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/31/12
I really like the idea behind this story. You did a nice job of taking me back to a time that without books and TV would be almost impossible for many to imagine.

You had quite a few words leftover. The story would have popped more, if you had shown the readers instead of tell. For example instead of telling that the rest of the family would come later perhaps you could have added some dialog. Something like-- Eve turned and watched Poppa's hands expertly guide the team. "What do you think Mama is doing right now?"

Poppa flicked the reins as a small smile crept over his face. "I reckon she's packing up the young-un's clothes. Humph I bet she's telling them what we might be doing right about now."
Something like that would show the reader the closeness of the family and explain why they aren't all together.

Now don't get me wrong, you painted some beautiful pictures of the scenery. I just really liked your two characters and wanted to know more about them. I could see this as an excerpt from a novel.

The ending was magnificent. The picture of the man standing, arms outstretched while swarms of bees surround him is a fantastic picture. It speaks volumes, not only might the stings help his arthritis (which I find fascinating, but it also paints a picture of trust. Trust in God's creatures and faith in God himself. It is a bit of genius and if I could paint, I'd want to go and paint the picture you created in my mind as a reminder of the love God has for us. How sweet it is!
C D Swanson 09/09/12
Congrats. God bless~