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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)

TITLE: Turtles All The Way Down
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Sitting in the kitchen, Tiara shoved her workbook across the table. Plop, plop, tears fell from her face. “Math is stupid, Mrs. Stuart doesn’t answer my questions or care that it doesn’t make sense.”

Mom rubbed her daughter’s back. “You just started school; you can’t expect to know everything. Ivy is good at math; maybe with your mother and sister helping we can figure it out.”

Ivy nodded her head and picked up the workbook, “So what questions do you have?”

Using her sleeve, Tiara wiped the tears off her face. “I just asked what the highest number in the world is. Mrs. Stuart rolled her eyes and used big words that no one in the class understood.”

Ivy patted her little sister's head, “I remember having her for a teacher; she doesn’t always give the best answers. Did she tell you there isn’t a highest number and use the word infinity?”

Giggling, Tiara nodded, “Then when I asked what that meant, she told me to look it up.”

Mommy cleared her throat, “So did you get the dictionary and figure out what infinity means?”

“You’d be proud of me, Mom, I looked it up and one of the synonyms was eternal; so I looked that up, too, and it said forever. I know what that means but how does it go on forever? I understand you keep counting and when you get to 999 then it turns to 1,000 and then you count 999 more and it goes to 2,000 and so on. But eventually, someone is going to get tired of counting and even if we take turns, it can’t keep going on and on.”

Putting her fists under her chin, Ivy looked at her sister, “But you get the idea. Do you remember in Sunday School when Becky asked how long do we get to live in heaven with Jesus when we die?”

Tiara giggled, “Miss Holly gave an old Native American story.“ She looked at Mommy to make sure she was listening, “Before they learned about gravity there were two men arguing about how the world stayed up in the sky. A woman came by and told them that the earth was on the back of a giant turtle. Then one of the men wanted to know what the turtle was standing on.”

When Tiara took a breathe, Ivy finished the story. “The old lady laughed and said that he was standing a bigger turtle. Then the guy asked what the bigger turtle was on. The old wise woman said that he needn’t bother to keep asking cuz it’s turtles all the way down, Sonny.”

Both girls laughed so hard they fell off their chairs. Mom looked at them, shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t get it; eventually a turtle has to be standing on something.”

Groaning and rolling her eyes just a little bit Tiara explained, “That’s because you’re thinking like a human, God made us, the earth, and turtles so you need to have a God’s brain to understand, but we are only human. We aren’t meant to understand everything; we just have to believe.”

“Yeah, Mom, lots of people think eternity starts when we die; but it’s like the numbers, the earth, and a circle. It just keeps going on and on.“ Ivy took a quick break to drink her milk.

Looking at Tiara, she asked, “So do you understand your math now or do your need more help?”

Smiling, Tiara said, “I understand. Math is like the old legend, it’s turtles all the way down, Sonny.“ Just then, Ivy started to swallow her milk when she started laughing. Soon milk was squirting out of her nose and all over the kitchen.

Opening the back door, Daddy walked in, “What’s for dinner?”

Winking at the girls, Mommy replied, “Turtle soup!” Daddy just stood there with his mouth hanging open and watched his family roll on the floor with laughter.

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This article has been read 663 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Toll03/17/11
First of all, I identified with the mom, here. The rolling of eyes from my own children, because of my not "getting it." Also, I was again in your tale when you mention people thinking eternity was about "an end." Nice twist. The math, the Indian tale, and the turtle soup, flowed naturally so I could swallow the whole thing.
Brenda Rice 03/17/11
I never knew what the turtle stood on. You have be at the get-go and kept me to the end. Nice take on the topic and so nicely written. Expect you to do well with this.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/19/11
Cute stuff!I found myself reading a little faster to see how the story ended. Good job!

On Tiara - she seemed a little old in her thoughts and vocabulary for one just starting school.

Overall, nice writing!
Rachel Dorsey03/19/11


Liked the ending- it rounded off the story so well. And a good twist on the theme of Eternity.

I'm not sure what grade the girl was supposed to be in but she did sound a bit very aware and older. My daughter is in 3rd grade and she does sound a lot like Tiara so that kind of put me in that perspective when I read the story.

I liked how the girls bounced off each other in dialogue within their sisterly relationship.
Rachel Phelps03/19/11
Your characters are lovely and engaging. What a great story for this topic! Very original and well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/20/11
Great job on the topic. I loved the family interaction and enjoyed the story all the way through.
Michael Throne03/21/11
I enjoyed your characters and dialogue. The story flowed very smoothly and definitely held my interest throughout. Tiara could have easily been my youngest, who would sometimes blurt out the strangest questions, fully expecting answers from her hapless parents. Well done!
Jody Day 03/21/11
Very nice! This has a good flow, a definite beginning, middle and end, engaging characters and help my interest. Good job.
Edmond Ng 03/23/11
This is an excellent story that makes one ROFL! An interesting way of explaining what it means before the beginning and after the ending—something we can only understand if we have a brain like God's.
Lillian Rhoades 03/23/11
From the very beginning, you allowed me to "see" the scene and I was instantly engaged in the story. I paused a bit at what might be seen as an overuse of "ing" verb endings. Still, nice, homey approach to the topic.
Patricia Protzman03/23/11
Creative and cute story and well-written.
Leola Ogle 03/23/11
Cute story-I loved it. Well written. God bless!
Ivy Strader03/27/11
Awwww, so cute! I loved it and I'm proud to be in the story! I giggled at the "It's turtles all the way down, Sonny!" part.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, in fact, because I've been studying a lot of doctrine as I grow in my relationship with Christ. But I need to keep reminding myself when it doesn't make sense that I don't have a God brain -- I'm just a kid, after all!