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

TITLE: The Prayer Garden
By Shari Armstrong


Rose yawned and stretched, enjoying the bright sunshine that poured through the gate in the brick wall. “Good morning, all.”

Several voices echoed back, “Good morning.”

Rose noticed Willow looked like she was still sleeping. She leaned her direction. ”Good morning, sleepyhead.”

“Oh, good morning, Rose. I was just thinking.”

”What about?” Lily perked up, joining in the conversation.

”Oh, just how quiet it’s been lately. The rain keeps everyone away. I miss seeing the children.”

A deep voice rumbled from the back, “Hmmph,”

“What’s wrong with you, Elmer?” Fern said, looking up at her long time friend.

“I don’t miss the kids. All they do is climb all over me. Never get a moment’s rest.”

Rose laughed, “You love the attention and you know it.”

He groaned. “I suppose it could be worse. I could get sat on like those old timers.” He looked at the stumps on the other side of the walk, and a shiver ran along his branches as the breeze blew past.

“Well, at least you get noticed, most everyone who comes to visit us barely notices me,” Ivy complained from the wall.

“Oh, look,” Holly whispered, “here comes the gardener.”

They all watched to see whom he would tend to first today. He walked right up to Rose, and pruned off some of her branches, leaving her bright blooms intact.

“These’ll do nicely.” He placed them in a sack slung over his shoulder. He whistled as he went around each of the beds, pulling the weeds. “Can’t have the prayer garden looking sloppy before the Sunrise service, now can we?” He raked up the piles of weeds and put them in the compost box, hidden behind Holly. The gardener left, closing the gate behind him.

“Did you hear?” Rose said. “They are having a Sunrise service. We know what that means…visitors!”

Elmer groaned again, “It also means that some of you will be going home with the visitors.”
”But isn’t that why we’re here?” Lily asked. “To be picked so our visitors can take us home to be reminded of He who created us? Isn’t He known as the Lily of the Valley? And the Rose of Sharon? And Holly, don’t your berries remind them of His blood, and your leaves of His crown of thorns? Fern, you remind them of the palms that He rode in on that special day.”

Willow asked, “But what of Elmer and me?”

Rose spoke up, “Willow you remind them that He wept for them. Elmer, my wise old friend, you remind them that He is the Tree of Life.

“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon 2:1

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This article has been read 1225 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 09/15/06
A delightful change of pace...light and lilting. Gave my day a lift. Thanks, enjoyed the creativity. Well written.
Brenda Craig09/15/06
This is absolutely wonderful in every way. Stories written like this can seem silly sometimes but this one is like a breath of fresh air on a hot day. So very lovely. I so enjoyed this. And great dialog. :)
Jan Ross09/16/06
Delightfully done! Very well crafted! I enjoyed this very much! :)
Donna Haug09/17/06
I liked the names of the characters reflecting who they were. Good story.
Jen Davis09/19/06
How very sweet. You did a good job of bringing your characters to life. "...a shiver ran along his branches..." I smiled at "Good morning, sleepyhead." Perhaps one suggestion would be to describe the gate. Was it wrought iron? Or did it have slats? How did the light get through? Thank you for this very enjoyable read.
Cheryl Harrison09/20/06
A rose garden come to life. How precious. Caused me to wonder what goes on in the refrigerator when I shut the door :o).
Ruth Neilson09/20/06
Beautiful...loved the 'grumpiness' of the trees to the ever peppiness (is that a word) of the roses and lillies. Thank you for sharing.
Sue Dent09/20/06
I sort of think it would make a great childrens book with beutiful pictures to go with the beutiful message!
Betty Castleberry09/20/06
I agree this would make a great children's story. I love Elmer, BTW. That was my dad's name.
Good job!
Debbie Sickler09/21/06
I liked the last paragraphs explaining the significance of each plant. Great way to tie it all together. :)
william price09/21/06
Very animated, lively and entertaining. Very nice work, as always. God bless.
Val Clark09/21/06
Creative idea and neat job of 'eavesdropping' on the plants. yeggy