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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)

TITLE: On My Own
By Pam Carlson-Hetland


"I can't do this on my own! How will I support us? How can I raise Missy alone? Where will we live? I can't do this, Lord!" Kim whispered so she wouldn’t awaken 8 year old Melissa in the back seat. She had never felt so alone. Exiting the freeway, Kim continued the long drive north. It was dusk when she turned into the Pine Lake Family Resort owned by Kim’s cousin.

Rita and Larry’s enthusiastic welcome warmed their hearts. They showed the new arrivals to a quaint cabin nestled among the pines. It felt like home.

“Thanks for offering me a summer job, Rita.” Kim said while making beds.

“Thank you for coming. I was desperate. Larry broke his foot. Matt works in town now. That left just me and Katie. Larry asked his brother, Tony, to help out. He just got back from Iraq...hasn’t settled down yet. But he’s a good worker.” Rita explained, “What will you do when you go back?”

“Lord willing, I’ll have a job. I’ve applied everywhere. There’s not many LPN openings right now. A girlfriend is apartment hunting for us.”

“We prayed for you all the way through the divorce, Kim.” Rita said giving her cousin a big hug. “I’m so sorry. It must be so difficult. But God is always with you. He’ll provide.”

Kim tucked sleepy Melissa into bed, opened her journal, recorded the day's events, and closed it with a weary sigh. “Thank you for family, Lord. Give me the grace to do what I need to do.”

By 7 a.m., Kim and Missy reported to the office for work. Thus began busy days. Kim cleaned guest cabins and helped in the office. She was frequently found bandaging cuts, sprained ankles, or treating poison ivy. Larry took Missy under his wing. He taught her to fish and fill guest’s bait buckets, applauded her swimming skills, and let her steer the golf cart he used to oversee the resort. They’d sneak treats out of the cooler while Rita pretended not to notice.

Campfires, S’mores and sharing stories was traditional evening entertainment. Amidst the laughter, Kim rejuvenated. Sometimes, mother and daughter walked along the lakeshore, collected shells and driftwood or just talked.

“Are you going to marry Tony?” Missy asked one evening.

“No. Why did you ask?”

“Katie says he flirts with you and makes you laugh. ”

“I’ve noticed that Tony flirts with all the women and he does tell good jokes. But, that’s not a reason to marry someone.” Kim explained. Missy seems satisfied with her mother’s answer. But it gave Kim much to think about.

With Missy snuggled in bed, Kim sat outside and drank in the peaceful silence broken only by distant loon calls. She breathed deeply of the pine-scented air and watched in awe as God painted a magnificent golden-scarlet sunset across the sky. Wounded emotions were healing. Over the weeks, Kim watched a sad, withdrawn Missy blossom into an energetic, confident child. How thankful she was! Praise filled Kim's journal.

The weather turned hot and humid–the sky an eerie yellowish gray An ominous stillness prevailed, even birds were silent. Rita and Larry kept the weather station tuned in. Others, unwilling to venture onto the lake, gathered inside. Suddenly, there it was!. A tornado touched down just 10 miles away. Pine Lake Resort was in its direct path. The outside alarm system blared and campers fled to the Lodge basement for shelter.

It sounded like a train–a deafening roar. Glass shattered and something hit the roof. Kim, huddled under a heavy table, held Missy tightly. Then it just stopped. Minutes ticked by until it felt safe to emerge from their refuge.

Damage was significant. There were broken windows, missing shingles, and uprooted trees. A large portion of the dock was missing, several boats destroyed.

The days ahead were spent in a massive repair operation. Friends from church came out to help. Soon, the resort was almost restored. But it was time to leave.

With the cabin cleaned and van packed, Kim opened her journal and read the entire summer’s entries, closing it with a smile. “Thank you, Lord! You have shown me Your guidance, Your protection, and Your love. You made provision and have given us healing and hope. Praise Your Holy name!”

In Kim’s purse was a job offer, an apartment lease, and a grant to go back to school.

“Lord, with Your help, I can do this on my own.”

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This article has been read 778 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry06/01/07
This reads like the beginning of a romance novel. I would like to see it expanded. Good job with setting the scene and the dialogue. Well done.
Jennifer Wetter06/02/07
Interesting story and detail. I would love to see your entry expanded.
Jan Ackerson 06/02/07
I really appreciated the change in Kim's spirit from the first paragraph to the last.
Jacquelyn Horne06/03/07
God knows exactly how to calm our fears. This is a good tale of emotional healing.
Joanne Sher 06/04/07
Nice story of the healing of her heart. Wonderful.
Pat Guy 06/04/07
Wow! What a journey from adversity to healing and you show how God worked all the way through. A really good Job!
Edy T Johnson 06/05/07
Such a sweet-sad adventure story, but it sounds so true to life. That "last resort" summer job sounds like a gift from God, carrying the narrator over the terrible dark chasm she is forced to endure. I like the satisfying resolution at the end, too. Hopeful is for rejoicing.
Terry R A Eissfeldt 06/06/07
I'm glad you brought us on the whole journey through the summer. It didn't seemed rushed to me. Good lessons throughout and very real. Thanks
Sara Harricharan 06/06/07
There is definitely more to this story than meets the eye, right? I loved this, very fun, I really enjoyed the bit with sneaking treats from the cooler. ^_^
Catrina Bradley 06/20/07
I really like the way you draw in the reader, only giving little bits of the MC's situation as we go along, and making us want to find out more. One minor thing I'd like to point out - "Kim sat outside and drank in the peaceful silence" could be read that she sat outside and drank (a drink) in the peaceful silence. I had to read it twice. Good job describing the coming storm and the tornado, and showing her healing over the summer. And of course I love a happy ending! [and thanks for your comments on "Gator in the 'Hooch"! :) ]
Catrina Bradley 06/20/07
I forgot - I wanted to mention how much I liked the ending prayer(I can do this with Your help) reflecting/contrasting the beginning one(I can't do this!) Cat :) :)