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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: Loving Teacher
By Linda Oswald


The usher directed Abbie to the seat next to her mother. She slumped in her chair in an attempt to protect herself from the vulnerability of the many acquaintances sitting behind her. At the front and center of the chapel, and uncomfortably close, loomed the closed coffin; lonely, cold, morbid. In spite of the surrounding collection of elegant flower arrangements bursting with colors, Abbie trembled from the cold deep inside.

Discreetly, the teenager sneaked her cell phone from her purse. However, as soon as she turned it on she felt a disapproving nudge from her mother. Sensing her mother’s glare, she quickly returned the phone, placing her purse back at her feet. Texting was not going to save her from this gloomy affair. Feeling somewhat claustrophobic and queasy, she took a deep, slow breath. How she hated being here!

Daring to steal another glance towards the coffin, her eyes fell on the picture of her smiling Mamaw in healthier times. She was the only person whose sweetness could warm Abbie’s restless soul.

Mamaw was a funny lady with a quick wit who could make anyone smile. She was also a deeply spiritual woman who was not afraid to voice her beliefs. Mamaw was also the only person who seemed to understand Abbie better than anyone. There was always a special bond between them, something she would now miss more than anything.


“You remind me of myself, Miss Abbie,” Mamaw chuckled as they baked cookies together. This was just after Abbie had finished a bitter argument with her mother about going out with her friends that night. Mamaw was obviously attempting to restore the peace.

“When I was young, no one understood what I was going through but Jesus.” Mamaw continued.

Anger still seething inside, a sermon was the least welcomed thing for Abbie at the moment.

“There you go again, Mamaw. Getting religious on me again,” Abbie sighed.

Mamaw’s preaching could not hold Abbie’s attention for long. Abbie chalked up her old-fashioned beliefs as something that she just couldn’t relate with. However, Abbie did feel it was unfortunate for Mamaw that most of the family didn’t share her treasured beliefs.

“Okay, Mamaw, tell me what Jesus could do to make Mom and I get along,” Abbie challenged.

Mamaw smiled, her merry blue eyes sparkling at the opportunity to share her beloved faith.

“Jesus doesn’t just wave a magic wand to make everything go our way. But there are many things he taught, and promises he’s given us if we will only follow his ways”.

Mamaw reached for a box of sugar and a measuring cup.

“Jesus teaches us to not always be thinking about ourselves and what we want, and what we can have. Life is not all about us. It’s about what we can do for others. There’s a verse in the Bible I love. Luke 6:38 says, ‘Give and it will be given to you. Good measure...” she poured the sugar into the cup, filling it up to the top. “pressed down...” she kept pouring the sugar as the cup started to overflow. “shaken together, running over, shall others give to you.”

Mamaw allowed the cup to continue overflowing. Then she looked up and into Abbie’s eyes with a kind smile.

“There are those who think this only means money and material things. But those things aren’t what’s really important. You’ll soon find out, Miss Abbie, that love, goodness and kindness mean so much more.”


Abbie sneaked a glance at the gathering behind her, a crowd of both young and old. Many were members from Mamaw’s church. She had been a Sunday School teacher for over forty years, and most of the children she had taught continued to keep in touch with her years after.

Mamaw shared so much with so many, in the giving of herself. Abbie’s family were amazed that while Mamaw was ill many visited her, offering encouragement, time, and help in so many ways to Mamaw, and the family as well.

Staring down at her hands in her lap, Abbie’s eyes blurred with tears as she thought about the contrast between her own self-centered life and Mamaw’s life of sacrifice. While Mamaw was not wealthy in a monetary sense, she had been rich with the abundance of true caring, loving friends. Abbie knew that Mamaw was extremely wealthy right now in heaven with her Jesus. And Mamaw’s Jesus was someone Abbie needed to become acquainted with also.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Francie Snell 01/19/13
This is so beautifully written. You did an excellent job. It's a story worth reading over and over again.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
This is an awesome piece. You drew me in immediately by showing me the conflict right away. My heart ached as I empathized with the young girl.

The only bit of red ink I have is with the word sneaked. You used it twice (once with the word discretely which made it redundant.)In such a short piece, try not to repeat the same verbs. I probably wouldn't have noticed except, even though used correctly, sneaked doesn't sound right to my ears. So many people use snuck instead. I'm nitpicking but I think you have a great talent so wanted to share my first thoughts with you.

I think you did a great job of balancing that fine line of showing vs telling. You also totally nailed the topic. Though there have been other cooking stories this one felt fresh and creative. It was a delightful word.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Oh my goodness! This was so touching, it made me smile and gave me goosebumps. Poignant piece. God bless~