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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: J..O..Y..A Shine You Can See Yourself In
By Theresa Kissinger


How grown up she felt standing at the sink washing canning jars. This was the first time Mother let her help make jelly. She was told to use the new bottle brush from the Fuller Brush man, but her hand fit down inside the jars just fine. Using the new dishwashing soap was exciting, it was yellow and squirted from the top. She spelled the colorful letters on the front of the bottle, “J…O…Y…” as little sudsy hands reached for the bottle again.

Her Mother’s voice came from the pantry, “Don’t use too much of that soap.” She peeked around the corner where she could see the back of her mother, one arm raised stirring the strawberries that would go inside her clean jars.

As the ‘little helper’ stepped back into her position at the sink she reached again for the plastic bottle, tipped it and gave it a little squeeze. Turning the bottle upright allowed the escape of a few bubbles; they tickled her nose causing the little girl to giggle.

This was so much different than the bar of brown soap that sat on Grandmom’s sink which was always used for dishes. ‘This new stuff had lemons in it and a lemon smell.’ ‘A woman on television said you could see yourself in the dishes.’

She found other uses for JOY…

During the summer, a great pass time was blowing bubbles through little plastic rings. When the bottle spilled Mother refilled it with water, added a few drops of ‘Joy’ and a little sugar and like magic, more bubbles.

Sitting on the porch step blowing bubbles her Mother poured out glasses of homemade lemonade with a lemon slice on the side of the glass. A little picnic of new strawberry jam and Ritz crackers set on a plate ‘you could see yourself in.’ they giggled like best girlfriends, looking at the kaleidoscope of colors in the bouncing spheres.

When the child spilled her glass all over the porch, she nearly cried. Mother picked up the bubbles and poured it out over the spill and grabbed the broom to scrub off the mess. “This will keep away bees and ants.” Laughing, the little girl bit into her cracker and jelly just as the sweet red riches slid from the cracker to her white sundress.

“Mother, I got jelly on my dress.”

“That’s OK honey, we’ll get it out.” She did too, with Joy dishwashing soap.

Twenty five years later…

“How creative! What ever made you think of that?” She turned to see Miss Karen’s frame fill the doorway. “What is the lesson today?”

“This is a Spiritual Fruit Tree. I wanted to give the children a visual for the lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit.”

She was a little proud of the way it turned out herself, a tree as tall as she was, with the trunk shaped into a dove. Using large packing boxes she cut the outline of the dove and treetop as one, and then she used the first as a pattern for a second cutout. She split them both, one from two thirds of the top down and the other from two thirds from the trunk up and fit them together. She painted the trunk white to look like a popualar tree and hot glued green felt to the tree top.

Cutting out all sorts of fruit in flannel she wrote the fruit of the spirit on each piece, longsuffering on a banana. Goodness on a peach, love on the apple, peace on the grapes and of course joy on the lemon.

Miss Karen stayed to watch her apply the fruit to the tree. “What a new twist on flannel graph.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”

“I don’t like lemon,” called one of the little girls near the finish of the Sunday school lesson. “Anyway how can a lemon be joy, it’s too sour?”

“The lemon is just a way to help you recall joy as a Fruit of the Spirit. Joy makes you laugh and giggle. It can make you feel clean. Joy can wash away the little nagging things in our lives. Joy can make us feel spotless and even prepare us for filling.”

For He is like a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap Malachi 3:2

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 05/25/06
I love your title and how you launched your take on the theme from inside a JOY bottle. Nicely done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/26/06
Cute story! I like the creative take, using the soap brand.
Crista Darr05/27/06
Well, I think a certain dishsoap might do very well to hire you as their publicist. This is a very well-written piece, and a neat lesson!
Edy T Johnson 05/31/06
What a lively imagination! This is a very creative story well done. I enjoyed it. Thank you!