Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: Hezekiah's Blooms
By Jan Ross


Cold winds blasted. Snow was flying. Thankfully the last of the garden was harvested.

Grandma cleared out the large room upstairs except for chairs, a cutting table, and the quilting frame. She set out thimbles, needles, thread, and scissors.

Grandma always looked forward to this time of year … the insects were gone but there was soon to be a buzz of activity in her house. For years it had been customary for women from the nearby farms to gather at the first snow.

As soon as she put her up last quart of tomatoes, she began preparing, looking for scraps of colorful fabrics with usable patterns and textures. The story that went with each scrap would be shared as the womenfolk busied themselves with quilting.

Early that first snowy morning, the upstairs room was busy with chatter. It was Allamae’s turn to decide the pattern for all quilts made this winter.

“I’ve waited for years for my turn to choose our pattern! I’ve got it, but let me tell you why I chose this particular pattern. Hezekiah came back from the field early this spring with a surprise. I knew something was up when I watched him walk from the barn. He had one of those silly grins on his face! I’ll tell you, ladies, I about fainted when he handed me a bouquet of flowers. He never did that in all our years together!”

Allamae and Hezekiah had been married 37 years. Their first years of marriage were marked with tragedy, having lost their three daughters in a dreadful fire.

Grandpa and Hezekiah were good friends, working closely together, taking turns going into town for supplies, sharing expenses for implements and machines. Grandma and Allamae were able to talk about anything … anything except Allamae’s broken heart. Since that horrifying day so many years ago, Hezekiah and Allamae struggled to understand how a loving God could take their three most precious possessions in such a tragic way.

“Ok, Allamae, what’s our pattern? Don’t keep us guessing!”

Grandma was the impatient type. She had to know everything!

“Hezekiah’s bouquets were so beautiful. And, not just once, but at least twice a week this whole summer! My living room began to look like a flower garden with fresh and blooming everywhere! I don’t know where he got them but …”


“Ok! Let’s make flower garden quilts this year!”

Allamae reached down in her bag and tenderly pulled out three tiny, carefully folded dresses as she began to share.

“This blue dress belonged to beautiful Lydia, our oldest … it brought out the blue in her beautiful eyes. She was five when …”

Everyone sat there stunned; Allamae never before spoke of her children.

“This little pink dress belonged to Natalie, our middle child … so, so precious. Her little cheeks matched the rosy pink in the flowers embroidered on the collar. She was four.”

Grandma’s eyes glistened with tears. Yes, something was different … Allamae was talking, sharing—opening up. She never heard her speak of the children in all the years of their endearing friendship.

“And, this white dress belonged to little Naomi, our youngest. She had just turned three. My mother made this little dress for her birthday just a week before...”

Choking back tears, almost unable to go on …

“… just a week before Jesus called our little ones home to Him. I never understood how He could pluck my three most prized possessions out of our lives so abruptly until Hezekiah brought that fist bouquet home to me this spring. Just as he plucked the flowers out of a beautiful garden, Jesus plucked our precious blooms from the garden of our lives.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in Grandma’s upstairs room as they listened to Allamae share about her children.

“Each time Hezekiah brought flowers, I was reminded my precious little girls were with Jesus … they were fragrant in their innocence, and they make Him smile every time He sees them. That’s why I want to make ‘flower garden’ quilts this year—a reminder that Hezekiah and I have a garden flourishing forever … precious blooms that never wilt or die.”

Allamae walked over to the table. With utmost care she began to cut her three little dresses into perfectly shaped pieces. The ladies joined her at the cutting table working out the pattern for a flower garden made with memories of the bouquet plucked from Hezekiah and Allamae’s “garden”.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 1762 times
Member Comments
Member Date
geoff anderson09/15/06
This is simply beautiful, partly because it's beautifully simple. Women need a quilt pattern; man brings picked flowers to wife; she sees Jesus picking their children like flowers and so is healed; and so the quilt pattern is to be a flower garden.
The revealing of the dresses as she reveals her feelings for the first time is very powerful, the centrepiece around which the whole story is built. And then the perfect finishing touch which brings together the quilting, the grief, the little ones and the healing, is that she is prepared to cut the dresses up to make shapes for a quilt - perhaps even to make the pattern? That is pure inspiration and lifts the story out of the ordinary in my opinion.

Quilting is a marvellous tradition and I wouldn't be surprised if 'real' cases of emotional or relationalship healing had happened in more than one session of quilting. Isn't there a book or a film with quilting as a central theme? My wife being American and her mother's ancestry being Pennsylvania Dutch, we have at home several quilts brought back from that great quilting state.
This story moved me and I thank you for it.
Rita Garcia09/15/06
Beautiful! God's healing touch does come in His way and in His timing. You have touched my heart with this wonderful story. A master piece with the touch of the Master's hand.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/15/06
A heart wrenching story, but with a wonderful attitude behind it. So nicely said, so nicely written...I enjoyed the read. Thank you.
Brenda Craig09/15/06
Absolute masterful craftsmanship. You made me smile, ponder, cry, rejoice and in the end, filled me with hope. And you did it all in 750 words. Ahh...the goodness of God and his ability to redeem any situation. Plus this is down right awesome, creative writing. WOW!

I can't leave without repeating my favorite line.

Each time Hezekiah brought flowers, I was reminded my precious little girls were with Jesus … they were fragrant in their innocence, and they make Him smile every time He sees them.

Love the fragrant in their innocence phrase. Simply beautiful.
Judy Anderson09/15/06
This is a lovely story, so beautifully written. It brought tears and smiles at the hope we all have in heaven, blooming forever. Bless you!
Debbie Sickler09/16/06
I loved the message behind the flower quilts. Such a sweet way to think about why the young are allowed to die.
This one should score well. :)
Birdie Courtright09/17/06
There are no words for this! It's simply outstanding, amazing and beautiful all at the same time.
Jan Ackerson 09/19/06
Heartwarming and extremely creative. Thanks, Jan!
Donna Powers 09/19/06
Such a touching story! It is a wonderful example of healing, and of God's comfort growing (like a garden) over the years. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Val Clark09/19/06
Beautiful story, with a message gently expressed.
Joanne Sher 09/20/06
So touching and wonderful and moving. I love the analogy - it completely surprised me and touched my heart in a very special way. I cried (and I don't do that very often when reading!!).
Ruth Neilson09/20/06
oh...wow...*finds a tissue* shouldn't there be a tissue warning on here? This is simply amazing (and I didn't even see the missing word)
Sue Dent09/20/06
I have a quilt my grandma knitted for each of her grandkids and one my Big Momma, quilited. Neither one match anything in my house . . . and I wouldn't trade them for the world!!!! So there, Wal-mart!!! Yes, quilting can be theraputic. Now where did my tissues go? Oh, next to the peanuts. Go figure!
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/20/06
A beautiful story!
Catrina Bradley 09/20/06
I actually gasped when she began to cut the fabric of those precious little dresses. How that must have hurt! Beautiful. Thank you for blessing me today.
Donna Haug09/20/06
Very powerful story!! I wonder what inspired Hezekiah to start bringing her flowers when he had never done so before? Powerful points when she took out the dresses and started talking, and again when she started cutting them up. Powerful!
Rita Garcia09/21/06
Congratulations Jan! This was my favorite this week!
william price09/21/06
Way to go Jan!!!! Congrats. I'm glad this great story was recognized. God bless.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/21/06
A lovely story, Jan. Congratulations!
Judy Burford09/25/06
What a heart-rending story, and how beautiful the message is. Congratulations on a job well done.