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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: You don't bring me flowers...Thanks!
By Shari Armstrong


“Sarah!” I put my cell phone in my pocket. “Your mom is going to meet us here, so you can keep swimming.”

“Yeah!” She grinned and dove back under the water. I wasn’t sure if she was more excited about getting to swim more, or that her mom was meeting us at the club.

I was pretty happy about it too, since it meant I got to go home early. I got my phone back out to call home. I hit the speed dial, and waited for him to answer. “Hi Hon.”

”Hi, Sweetie. What’s up?” he asked.

”I’m getting off early, I should be home soon.” I smiled. “Do you want to go out for dinner tonight?”

”Sure.” He paused for a bit. “I have a surprise for you.”

“A surprise? Do I get a hint?”

”Nope.” I could almost see his grin through the phone.

“Ok, I’ll see you soon. I love you.”

”Love you, too,” he replied.

Sarah swam to the edge of the pool, “Can you put the noodle back for me?”

”Sure,” I walked cautiously to the edge of the pool, and took the blue worm-looking thing from her and put it with the others, making an odd bouquet of foam. I turned around and saw Deborah coming through the pool door. “Hi.”

”Hi. How did things go today?”

”Pretty good. She had a little homework that we finished before we came over. She might need to go over her spelling words a bit more though.”

”Good. Sarah, Daddy will be home later tonight.”

“Yeah” Sarah bobbed up and down in the water. “Can we eat here?”

“Sure. I’ll order it, you can swim till it’s ready.”

I grabbed my purse, “Anything else?”

“No, but Mike surprised me at work with flowers today.” She beamed. Her husband had been out of town for a trial for nearly a week.

“That’s nice. I have a surprise waiting for me at home, too, but I doubt it’s flowers.”

”Oh, why’s that?” she asked.

”My husband doesn’t believe in buying flowers, because they just die after a couple days. He thinks it’s a waste of money.”

”True, but they are still nice to get now and then. Have a good weekend.”

”Thanks, you too. Bye, Sarah. See you Monday.”

”Bye! Thanks for bringing me swimming today!” she waved.

”You’re welcome.”

The whole drive home, I tried to figure out what my surprise could be. Chocolate would be nice.

I saw my surprise almost as soon as I walked in the apartment: two kitchen cabinets with a counter top spanning them. The microwave was on it, instead of the floor! “Oh! Thank you!” My husband met me at the door and I gave him a hug and a kiss.

“The new cabinets are going to be in on Monday, so I asked if I could take these during demo. I got another piece of counter top to make into a computer desk, too.”

“Great! Now I actually have somewhere to put all the kitchen stuff that won’t fit in there. Having a counter top the size of a toaster just doesn’t cut it,” I said looking at our kitchen that was the width of the doorway and twice as long. “The cooler will fit in that open space nicely.”

”I thought you’d like it. Where do you want to eat?”

”I don’t care, as long as I don’t have to cook. Oh, Deborah got a surprise today, too.”


”Yeah, Mike sent her flowers at work, but I like my surprise better. I’ll be able to keep it a lot longer than she will the flowers. I’ll probably be throwing them out next week after they die.”

”Probably. I’m glad you like it.”

* * *

I popped the kids in the shopping cart. “Here we go.”

”What are we looking for, Mommy?”

”Remember how you helped Daddy with the new shelves for the open part of the cupboards in the kitchen?”

”Yeah. That was loud!”

“I want to make a curtain to make it look nicer, since it doesn’t have a door.” We wound our way back and forth through the bolts of fabric. I pulled out two of them to look at closer. “Here, which one do you like better?” I showed her two different patterns of blue and yellow flowers, both coordinated with the window curtains. “Which do you like best?”

”This one,” she pointed to the one I was leaning toward.

”Good choice. Let’s go.”

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This article has been read 1253 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Aubrey Hall10/10/05
I think you start off with a good story, but lose the reader at the conclusion. In other words, I was still hungry:)
Anita Neuman10/11/05
You write conversation very well - just enough beats to keep it interesting and flowing nicely. I agree that your ending leaves us hanging. Just stopping at "I'm glad you like it" would have wrapped it up quite nicely.
Jan Ackerson 10/12/05
I'd stop this story even a few sentences earlier: at "I'll be able to keep it a lot longer than she will the flowers." Then prehaps the husband could reply "Well, you'd better!" or some such. You're a gifted writer, your dialog is realistic and entertaining. I loved it when the mom thought "chocolate would be nice..." Very witty and sweet.
Jeffrey Snell10/12/05
The romantic foundation is good, and I appreciated your realistic and atypical setting of the pool. Dialogue and person were a hard to track and left me a little confused. Otherwise, a nice and funny look at married life!
Brandi Roberts10/13/05
I like this. But I agree with the rest...and obviously you agree too ;) that the transition at the end didn't work out so well...otherwise it's great! I love the dialogue and the personal touch! Thanks for "shari"ng Shari!
Garnet Miller 10/13/05
She got her flowers anyway in the end. Nice touch. Good article.
Donnah Cole10/13/05
Ohhhh! I get it now -- Garnet's comment clued me in to the fact that she finally got her flowers. Unfortunately, I didn't pick this up in reading the story. Sorry!

Your dialogue flows well and the interaction between characters is entertaining. With a little work on the ending, it would be just perfect! Overall, good job though!
Allison Egley 10/13/05
Although it's certainly not essential to the story, I found myself wondering how Sarah fit into the story. Were you her babysitter? Her swimming instructer? A lifeguard? Like I said, that's really not essential to the story, but I felt a little lost at the beginning. I love the story though. Perhaps the choice of the fabrics could have been a plain one and flowers? Then your daughter could have said "The flowers, mommy!" I don't know. Very good overall though!
Cassie Memmer10/13/05
I agree with Jan. Or, better develop the flowered material segment. Keep it up! :o)
Julianne Jones10/14/05
I enjoyed this snapshot of married life. The dialogue was realistic and the story was well-told. Perhaps the last section could have been added as a short concluding paragraph rather than as a new 'scene' that left the reader hanging. Keep writing!
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/14/05
I agree with the other comments, but I love the story! :-)
Suzanne R10/15/05
Just yesterday, I was with a group who were teasingly teaching a newly married young couple and soon to be married young couple about what sort of gifts women like from their man ... should show them this! Good job.
Val Clark10/15/05
The beginning of the story worked for me because it set up the coming surprise. As so many people missed the importance of the fabric at the end I'd work a bit more on it but not make it too obvious. However the kids came as a surprise. I’d initially assumed she had no kids because she looking after the child. Loved that she loved his surprise. Yeggy