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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: "Getting Hooked on Sheep"
By Loni Bowden-Horn
02/06/13


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Silvia peered cautiously at the sheep slowly and methodically grazing in the rugged land near their home. She grew tired of being teased unmercifully and singled out because she was a different color than the rest of the flock. The only one that showed any compassion or concern was the kindhearted man she had heard referred by the other sheep as a shepherd. This man carried a funny looking stick with a hook on it called a staff. He had such kind tender eyes and was always looking out on the sheep’s behalf and protected them from dangerous animals such as wolves that would eat them alive.
Silvia was always a timid and scared little creature not wanting to stray too far from home or get into mischief as some of the other sheep had done. She tried to listen to her parents when they told her not to wander off by herself but the incident that had occurred today had been the last straw. She heard the bleating and baaing about the “baa-nquet” but Silvia had not been invited as all of the rest of the sheep had been.
Silvia had done everything in her power to fit in but to no avail. It didn’t seem fair that all of her brothers and sisters had the perfect color of wool that everyone admired and wanted to buy. Her wool was a darker color that could not easily be dyed. In fact her brother Nate taunted and teased her saying, “Silvia you are the black sheep in our family.” She had tried to dye the wool herself but her wool turned into a polka doted disaster. How embarrassing was that moment for Silvia and she had to live with the humiliation of it all for several weeks to come because her wool was a blotchy mess.
Silvia finally decided to venture off by herself no matter what danger lay ahead. She could not stay in a place she was not wanted. However, nightfall came rather quickly and she did not bring much food or water with her. She usually had just blindly followed along behind rest of the herd and didn’t really pay attention to her surroundings. Silvia heard the haunting, menacing howling of the wolves that were drawing near her. She ran as fast as she could but she could barely see what was ahead of her as her eyesight was not very good. Suddenly she tripped and fell head long into a pile of brush turning her on her back. Silvia started to cry because she knew she could easily die if someone did not help her stand on her feet.
Silvia started to make a bleating noise that in the distance was perceived as a voice of an angel singing. Who would hear that lovely music now? No one knew where she had gone. After all, she did not tell a single soul where she was going. Suddenly she heard a voice calling for her in the distance, “Silvia”, “Silvia”, where are you?” Just then without warning she saw a staff rap around her tired wobbly leg and pick her up. The kind and compassionate shepherd had risked endangering his own life to save hers. He gently carried her back to the rest of the herd.
The shepherd whispered in her ear, “Silvia, I especially made you the way you are”. “I love you and have empowered you with unique talents and skills that no one else had been given”. The shepherd told her, “No one can have the power to make you feel a certain way unless you allow them to”. He said, “Silvia, you have such a soothing, melodious voice that I am going to use you to sing the sheep to sleep each night”.
The sheep began rallying around her upon her return. They realized that they had misjudged her. It began to dawn on the sheep that Silvia’s true character and strength was what was in the inside or the appearance of her heart. They were memorized by her calming and comforting voice as she lulled them to sleep each night. From that evening on the flock did not have to resort to “counting sheep” to get a peaceful well-rested sleep.
Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 and
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:14


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This article has been read 139 times
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CD (Camille) Swanson 02/08/13
Great job with this entry. I enjoyed it so much.

God bless~
Bonnie Bowden02/08/13
This would make a good children's book. Just need to leave some space between quotations and paragraphs. I loved the title.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/11/13
I think this is a delightful piece from the title to the very end. Children's stories are my favorite genre and I think with some polishing it could make a delightful children's picture book. If you would be interested in tweaking it some to make it a strong enough story to submit to a kids' magazine or perhaps to be used as A Sunday School take home sheet, feel free to PM me and I'll give you some suggestions.

One thing publishers look for in children stories is to have the MC resolve the conflict with some guidance from the adult. A way you could do that in this story would be to switch the ending up just a bit by having Slyvia think about the love in the Master's eyes. Surely if He knew she needed help, he would come rescue her so she bleated as loud and as long as she could and then sure enough the Shepherd brings her home. It's really not that different than what you said but it would teach kids to cry out to God in good times and in bad.

I really like the POV from the little sheep. Though there have been lots of stories this week about shepherds and their staffs, telling it from a different point of view made the story fresh and endearing. You seem to have a knack for storytelling and I hope you will keep writing because I suspect there are many more stories in you!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/14/13
Congratulations on ranking 6th in level one! ( you can find the top 12 in your level on the message board)