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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)

TITLE: Mounted Message
By Ann Renae Hair


Mounted Message

Beep…beep…beep. Click. 7:00 a.m. My husband stretches his arms out from his sides and yawns, then flips back his covers and climbs out of bed. I flip back my covers and head for the kitchen.

On the way I pop into each of our kid’s rooms, “Up and at ‘em, kiddo! Daddy’s up. Let’s get some breakfast before you go!” Both respond with a little groan and grumble before remembering that today is different. All smiles, they meet me in the kitchen. After my husband lets the horses in the barn for their breakfast, he joins us.

Once everyone’s bellies are full of cereal and milk, coffee and orange juice, they pull on jeans and cowboy boots, and dress in layers on top – t-shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket – prepared for morning chill to noon-time sun. They each lead their horse to the horse trailer to load up and wave goodbye as they roll down the driveway.

Twenty minutes later, I’m snuggled up with my Bible and another cup of coffee, while they pull into the Horse Trail parking area.

With all three horses tied to the trailer, my husband, son and daughter begin the systematic process to prepare each horse to ride, enjoying the creatures God has provided as a blessing. Each work their curry comb in a firm circular pattern to loosen the dirt and shedding hair in the horse’s coat; then brush with stiff bristles to smooth down and shine the surface, revealing golden highlights in the sun; next, carefully detangle the mane and tail until it fluffs; lastly, pick out the mud caked in the sole of the hooves.

Saddle pad, saddle,
“Dad, can you help me, please?”
bit and bridle – ready to ride.

Shedding jackets to leave in the truck, they mount and turn to the trail.

Sun streaming through the tree tops, everything is quiet, except: twigs crunch under hooves, birds sing, rabbits scamper, squirrels chatter, leaves gently rustle in the breeze.

The damp earth fills their nostrils with the scent of the spring season well established.

The horses stop abruptly, nostrils flared, ears perked forward. Daddy points into the trees and they all focus on the objects of concern. Gazing intently at them is a doe and spotted fawn, intruded upon by strangers in their home. She turns, raises her white flag and bounds in the opposite direction with her young one following close behind. A squeeze of the legs and cluck of the tongues from the riders tells the horses to resume their pace forward on the path.

Sometimes quiet, sometimes chatting, always relaxed, my family takes in God’s beauty with each inhale, appreciates His creation with every exhale, experiencing through all their senses God’s presence surrounding them.

Back at the trailer, they shed sweatshirts and reverse the grooming process to prepare for the drive home. The warm horses, leather tack, and young blooms blend together a fragrance of time well spent.

“Thank you, Daddy, for bringing us.”

“Yeah, Dad, thanks.”

“You’re welcome. I enjoyed it, too! It’s nice when we’re the first riders on the trail and see so much wildlife.”

They arrive home with smiles and pleasant memories of a morning together in God’s great glory, and I think, Though not traditional, only occasional, always special.

Tradition resumes with a spaghetti lunch, ready for their return.

So if we ask, “What did you learn in Sunday school today?” what do you think they’ll say? Probably that they “didn’t go today”…but, did they?


Most Sunday mornings will find us in our regular seats preparing to sing and learn more about Jesus and the Bible in worship with several hundred other people. When our children were younger, they attended Sunday school class with their peers, simultaneous with our sermon time. Now, they sit with us in service and we have “Sunday school” together.

Neither my husband nor I grew up with the routine of attending Sunday school or church. Many friends who did, admit to a legalistic mentality that binds them. They struggle with guilt about ever missing “just because”.

Though we do believe we must obey God’s direction to “assemble ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25), there is an occasional break from good practice for my husband and our kids to enjoy the unordinary. But, are we really missing Sunday school?

The example of a man, enjoying his children, their creatures, in creation, is priceless to their understanding of the God of love…once in a while.

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This article has been read 598 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw11/01/07
Beautiful descriptive story. You give one many thoughts to ponder.
Debbie Wistrom11/01/07
A wonderful legacy for all.
Joanne Sher 11/02/07
Absolutely lovely descriptions. You put me right in the middle of your morning. Beautiful piece.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/02/07
Nicely constructed, and thoughtful.
Laury Hubrich 11/02/07
I liked this, too, but I think you made the same mistake I did on my baptism entry -- I switched POV's. I loved your descriptions. This was a very nice piece!
Jan Ackerson 11/04/07
This is truly charming, and I very much appreciate the very different approach to the topic. Super!

A personal prefernce would be to not open with the "beep"s. Since an alarm doesn't REALLY sound like that, it reads as something a younger writer would use. I'd prefer something like "The alarm sounds--too early--and my husband stretches..." But honestly, this isn't any sort of rule. Keep it, if you like it...LOL.
Betty Castleberry11/04/07
Great description of place when they were on their ride. I felt like I was riding along, too.
Unique take on the topic. Nicely done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/07/07
Your descriptions of your family's morning are very good.
Leigh MacKelvey11/07/07
This was very well written and descriptive. The descriptions were vivid and beautiful. I was going to comment on the beep ... beep...beep, but I see Jan did. It's hard to know how to write a sound, isn't it? Jan's suggestion was very good and I've found that I don't write sounds anymore, they don't ring true to the reader. Other than that, this was a super entry!
Sheri Gordon11/07/07
This is a good lesson. Sometimes we do get too caught up in the ritual or structure of "the church," that we miss the true beauty of our loving God. Nice job with the topic.