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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: A Day of Memories
By Dusty Fontaine


We left our perfectly flat driveway in Florida almost thirteen hours earlier. After many unplanned snack and bathroom stops along the way, we were finally winding our way up the steep incline of Route 276 to Grandpa’s house in Brevard, North Carolina. This was our first visit since grandma‘s funeral almost eight months ago.

As I stared out the window at the racing hickory trees and mountain maples, a well of sadness erupted in me. I fought hard to keep the tears from overflowing, and managed to limit them to a couple of droplets so no one else in the car would notice.

“We’re here!”

Dad’s loud announcement shocked me back into the present. We turned sharply into Grandpa’s driveway and ascended to the small gravel area on the side of the carport, where we parked. Through the windshield we could see the sun sliding down behind the mountain silhouettes in the distance. We exited the car and stood, watching in silent awe.

Beautiful wasn’t descriptive enough to describe the sunsets over the mountains of North Carolina. It seemed God painted and repainted the sky with oranges, yellows and reds, as his unseen brush anticipated the reflections of the sinking fireball.

Pops, as Grandpa likes to be called by his family, stepped out of the front door of the wooden cabin he had built so long ago, and hollered over to us:

“Enjoying the artwork, are ya? God does his best work at day’s end.”

Mom, Dad and Molly (my sister) ran to greet him as he descended the porch steps.

I remained by the car – still in awe -- remembering how Grammy would embrace me once the fireball was extinguished, and whisper to me, “God has finished His painting for today. He’ll start another tomorrow.” My eyes became moist with the memory.

Pops, seeing I was struggling with thoughts of Grammy, walked over and placed his arm around my shoulders. He shouted his love and understanding without saying a word. We both stood silently staring at the horizon.

Once the bright orb disappeared behind the granite peaks, darkness swallowed grandpa’s house. A few minutes earlier I heard a single Katydid start grinding out his high-pitched night song. Soon another answered, and then another, until now there were thousands upon thousands of these cricket-like creatures chirping from the trees in perfect harmony. Their noise surrounded us as we stood in the darkness.

My mind went back to my first memory of this house. I was six. I heard the Katydids for the first time and started sobbing in my bed. Grammy came in and pulled me into her arms and began stroking my hair.

“There, there, child. It’s only the Katydids. When God finishes His painting for the day, He likes to sit down and listen to soothing music. The Katydids are His orchestra. Try to hear what He hears.”

She kissed away my tears and laid me gently back into my pillow.

Since that night, I have heard what God hears -- a magnificent symphony to celebrate His masterpiece.

When Grandpa saw the liquid pools forming again in my eyes, he kissed my cheek and gently led me and the rest of the family into the house.

Once we finished telling Pops about our trip, we settled into our rooms, ate a light dinner and retired to the living room. Mom made some hot chocolate for each of us to enjoy in front of the fireplace. Grandpa pulled up Grammy’s rocker for me, knowing how melancholy I was feeling. As I rocked back and forth, warming my hands with the steaming mug, watching the flames flicker higher and higher in front of me, I looked over at Pops and smiled. I was thinking about the many times I had seen Grammy in this same setting, and how this was the perfect ending to a long day.


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This article has been read 395 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jody Day 01/09/14
Absolutely beautiful. Lovely, spot on descriptions. Very nice work.

I would suggest tightening a bit. The use of some unnecessary words would make it even stronger. For example:
"driveyway" rather than "perfectly flat driveway" I wasn't sure the significance of that unless you were making a comparison to the NC mountains?

That lovely fifth paragraph doesn't really need the first sentence. Rather something like "God painted and repainted the North Carolina sky with oranges, yellows and reds, as his unseen brush anticipated the reflections of the sinking fireball.

Several other places. Excellent writing. Enjoyed it very much:)
Jules St. Jermaine 01/09/14
A very sentimental journey. Thanks for writing!
Larry Whittington01/09/14
Smooth flowing descriptive story with emotional appeal.

Are you heading toward short stories?
Jan Ackerson 01/09/14
As a Level 1 writer, you might not be aware of the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons. I’d love to have your input into the conversation there!
C D Swanson 01/10/14
This was really a good story, I enjoyed it so much. I get lost in "words" and never see beyond that.

Well done.

God bless~
Amelia Brown 01/10/14
I love your entry. The story flow and culminate wonderfully. Your words drag me in the scenary & hold me there to the end. Nice. I also like that there is more than one component to your interpretation of "Days End."
Lillian Rhoades 01/10/14
I LOVED the words,"God does his best work at day’s end.” What a great line for the topic, and a sermon in the making. :-)

Your writing is on the right track. More "show" sentences like the following would help to polish this piece even more.

"It seemed God painted and repainted the sky with oranges, yellows and reds, as his unseen brush anticipated the reflections of the sinking fireball."

YOU "painted" a great picture here. Keep up the good work!
Jan Ackerson 01/11/14
Gorgeous! So full of lovely details, and your words perfectly convey your affection for your grandmother.
Toni Babcock 01/12/14
Lovely sentimental piece. Thank you for sharing it! One of the biggest challenges in writing is to show the reader instead of tell the reader what's going on. It's tricky because sometimes when we are "showing" we are still "telling". For example in the paragraph where Dad's voice breaks into the silence in the car "showing" might sound something more like this: "Dad's voice sliced into my melancholic thoughts, forcing me back into the present. I watched him steer into Grandpa's driveway and park the car. The sun outside was slipping in its crimson hues behind mountain silhouettes along the horizon. We stepped out and gathered by the car, watching in silent awe."
What I am trying to communicate here is the value of drawing the reader more into the slice of life picture you are trying to paint. Your writing has tremendous potential. I learned a lot from taking correspondence lessons from The Institute of Children's literature. There are many tremendous classes online as well. I hope you continue to hone your skills as you continue to write for God's glory!
Sheldon Bass 01/12/14
Wonderful and heart-warming piece. I'm wondering why you are in the beginners arena, because it seems you've been writing for a while. Nice descriptions.

I am very familiar with the drive from Florida to NC. Brough back some memories for me. Keep on submitting. I love your work.
Meghan Andersch 01/14/14
Very much enjoyed this piece. It flows nicely and you paint vivid word pictures. I liked your sunset description and Pops shouting his love "without saying a word".

One spot that seemed a bit awkward to me was the first sentence of the last paragraph where you write about telling Pops about the trip, having a light dinner, etc. I don't know that those details are essential. You've already established the setting with the sunset and missing Grandma. Just my opinion, though. :)

Again, great job. You captured some very difficult emotions beautifully in this uplifting story.
Wendy B McLain 01/14/14
This was very well written and very descriptive. I felt your emotion as I read through it. When I got to the end and saw that this story was fiction I thought for sure you were writing about your own life experience! Great job!
Beth LaBuff 01/15/14
The beautiful setting with the mountains, sunset, cabin, and katydids was so easily to visualize. I wanted to be in North Carolina with them. This is very good. (I don't think you'll be in the Beginner level very long). Great work!
Judith Gayle Smith01/15/14
Heart meltingly lovely . . .