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

TITLE: Anna's Crossing
By Lynn Moses


“Goodbye, Papa.” Anna said as her father held her in his arms. She didn't want him to leave.

“Goodbye Anna, I love you. I’ll see you in a few weeks.”

James started walking toward the large herd of sheep in the nearly barren field. Jessie, the sheepdog, kept the sheep in a tight circle.

“Ease up, Jess,” James said. The dog immediately dropped to the ground panting, waiting for her next command.

James took one last look at his daughter.

“Anna, what’s wrong?”

Tears formed in her eyes. “Oh, Papa, please let me come with you. You know how good I am with the sheep. I could be a big help to you. I could cook your meals; gather firewood…”

“Anna, dear Anna.”

“Please, Papa, please.” The desperation in Anna’s voice was almost more than James could stand.

“I wish I could Anna, but your mother needs your help more than I do. It’s hard for her to do all the chores when she is that far along with child. The boys are too young to be of much help.”

“Papa, I’m not interested in woman things, I want to be a shepherd like you.”

James couldn’t contain his laughter. “Woman things, eh?” Sweet Anna, I am not sure why the Good Lord put you in a female body, but I’m sure he had an excellent reason. Someday when you’re older and have a family of your own, you’ll appreciate ‘woman things’.”

“I doubt it,” Anna mumbled, eyes downcast. Anna began walking back toward their humble home, her head slumped between her shoulders.

James opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it. There wasn't anything he could do to change what she was feeling. He whistled for Jessie to start the sheep moving again. He had a long trip ahead of him to get the sheep to higher grazing ground.

Along the way, he pondered his daughter. God had undeniably gifted that child. She had a way with animals that he hadn't seen for a long time. And she was right, he knew that she’d be helpful and he would love the company. But, he reminded himself, his wife needed her more right now.

Anna kicked a stone all the way back to the house.

Father God, it just doesn't seem fair. Why can’t I go with my father? I want to be a shepherdess. Will I ever get my chance, or will I be stuck working in the house all of my days?

She waited for an answer from God, but nothing came. Why was he being so quiet?

Anna’s mother opened the door, “Anna, please round up the ducks and chickens, feed them and collect any eggs you can find.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Elizabeth watched her daughter and her heart hurt for her. She knew how badly Anna desired to take the trip with her father. At 11, the girl certainly knew what she wanted. Elizabeth believed God had given her those desires for a special reason.

Elizabeth, ask her to gather some wood by the creek. When she comes back, you may let her go.

Elizabeth didn't understand exactly what God was speaking to her, but she knew it was his voice and she would obey.

Anna had already gathered 3 loads of wood and stacked them near the house. On her fourth trip, she heard a faint, yet familiar sound. She dropped the sticks and ran toward it.

Anna spotted the ewe and her lamb. The lamb’s back leg appeared to be stuck in some roots and sticks in the water. She struggled, but she was able to move some branches and free the lamb from his snare.

Anna led the sheep to the house. Elizabeth saw her through the window and immediately understood God’s message to her.

“You must take them to your father, Anna. If you hurry, you can reach him in a couple of hours.”

“Thank you, mother.”

Anna was ready to go, but her mother said, “Wait here a minute, there’s something else you will need for your journey.”

She came out holding a shepherd’s staff Anna had never seen before.

“This was my father’s and I was saving it for one of the boys, but I think it really belongs to you. Be careful, Anna.”

Anna took the smooth wooden staff, picked up her bag and started her journey as a shepherdess.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/08/13
Oh this was so good! I loved it...it was touching and filled with inspiration. I loved how the voice of the Lord led them all to their purpose.

Nicely done. God bless~
Bonnie Bowden 02/08/13
Beautiful heartfelt story. I am glad God gave Anna the gift of her heart.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/12/13
This is a delightful story. I really appreciate the fresh take on the topic. This is a different and interesting story.

The only red ink I have has to do with the concept POV shift. It's something I have been working on myself. When you tell a story, the reader can only know, see, hear, feel what the MC does. So we wouldn't know what James is thinking, if Anna is the MC. We could see his actions when he hears Anna's desperation. Maybe his shoulders slump, or he opens his mouth as to speak but closes it again, but we can only see it through the MC's eyes. The same thing holds true with the mom's thoughts.

I think you have a brilliant gift of storytelling. You hooked me immediately with the charm and the hurting heart of Anna. The conflict was clear and you did a nice job of building it as the story went on. I loved the ending. It was perfect in showing the love God has for us. He understands our needs and takes care of them in ways we might not ever expect. Had James given in to Anna, the baby lamb would have surely died. There is such a message in this piece. It's one of my all time favorites.
Lisa Hudson 02/14/13
I was so glad to see this entry in the top three. I wanted the story to continue on! Very enjoyable!