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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: Small Craft Advisory
By Joanne Sher


Bess rolled over, her body facing the room’s small window. The sunlight slipping through the blinds and across her face was enough to make her crack open her eyes and scrunch her face into a perturbed look. She groped toward the right side of the queen-sized bed. Finding it empty, she sighed deeply, then looked at the nightstand clock. 9:32am

“Ladies, ladies!” The chatter of the women decreased as all sat at a table and turned toward Gladys, a slight, middle-aged woman with sparkling eyes.

“We should get started. Cheryl needs to leave at 10 – that only gives us half an hour.”

Cheryl, a young blonde, nodded

“Okay, then. Let’s pray.”

The group nodded as Gladys bowed her head.

“Heavenly Father, You are gracious and loving. Thank You for being here among us, and guiding the decisions we make today. Lord, be with us as we plan this Christmas dinner. Help us to include activities that will please You, and to create a program that will put the focus on Your Son. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Gladys motioned toward Cheryl, who smiled.

“I’ll start so I can sneak out early if needed,” Cheryl said. “The tables are mostly taken care of. We can use the church’s tablecloths, and the Vines are lending us tableware from their catering business. I have a call in to Frieda’s Flowers for centerpieces. The only thing left is the small craft item we put with each table setting.”

“Have you called Bess?” a wiry, matronly woman asked.

Cheryl sighed. “I wanted to ask you all about it first.”


Bess poured hot water over the teabag she had placed in her mug. Glancing at the calendar, then the oven clock, she sighed again.

They were meeting right now. They might be calling her shortly, and she didn’t know what she would say. She wasn’t sure she had the heart for it. Bess hadn’t used her hands in that way in several weeks - since the day before Abe died.


“I know she’s been making them for years…,” Cheryl began.

“Twenty years – three times a year,” the wiry woman added. “Every Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day since 1986, when she and Abe joined.”

“I know, Margaret, but don’t you think it’s early to ask her to do this? She’s still dealing with grief.”

“Can’t hurt to ask,” Margaret blurted. “She can always say no.”

Gladys shook her head. “Bess has trouble refusing ministry opportunities. I think we need to seek God in this.”


Bess settled into her rocking chair, placed her cup on the table beside it, and bowed her head.

“Lord, You know how much I love making things with my hands. Knitting, crocheting, and beading are talents You gave me to glorify You. But my heart and hands just haven’t been into crafts since Abe passed. You know me, Lord – better than I know myself. Help me know if this is Your will. Make it clear to me, Father!”


“Ladies, let’s bow our heads.”

A hush fell over the room. After a minute, Melody spoke.

“Heavenly Father, You have promised that You are there where two or more are gathered in Your name. Be here with us now and make it clear what You want us to do. Guide us in deciding whether Your dear child, Bess, is the person for this job. We know she has the gift, Lord. Let us know if we should invite her to bless us in this way. In Your Son’s holy name I pray.”

After another pause and a glance around the room, Gladys took a deep breath.

“Lord, You know we are trying to glorify You through this special event. Help us help our dear sister, Bess. Let us know if making these crafts would be a blessing to her, or just a burden. In Your precious Son’s name I pray.”

Amens echoed throughout.

“Ladies,” Gladys murmured. “This should be Bess’ decision. She might be upset if we don’t ask, you know. We just need to be sure she knows it’s OK to refuse.”

Margaret tapped the table. “I can call her. I think she’s comfortable enough with me to say no. And, despite popular opinion, I can be tactful.”

Laughter filled the room.


Bess reached for her cup and instead found a knitting needle in her hand. She smiled.

“Lord, is this Your answer?”

The telephone’s ring interrupted her thoughts.


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This article has been read 1533 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marilee Alvey02/15/07
I really like your shift in scenes, from the group to the lone woman. How, too, like God to place a knitting needle where we thought our coffee was. March on, he says....and I say, "Write on!" Good job. (I loved the title!)
Pat Guy 02/17/07
This format was really effective and you pulled it off very well. Great job!

I love how you show (through this format) how God is working when we aren't aware if it. A great reminder to ponder. Loved it!
Jan Ackerson 02/18/07
Really clever title, and the knitting needle was a masterful touch. Great job!
Julie Arduini02/18/07
A masterpiece! The shift back and forth was so well done, and you captured the emotions well. I loved this.
Jacquelyn Horne02/18/07
What a good example of how God works when we all seek His will.
Kathie Thomas02/21/07
Well written and a great reminder of how things do happen but we only see a small part of it.
william price02/21/07
Kool, very creative and well written. What's funny is that I thought I commented on your story earlier this week. But, somebody else got the comment as I put it on the wrong one. I liked the POV experiemnt, well done, the pov shifted but the focus stayed right on point. Excellent job. God bless.
Donna Powers 02/21/07
Very nice! I really enjoyed this story and I love being able to guess what Bess will say. Thanks so much for sharing this touching story.
Tabiatha Tallent02/21/07
I also enjoyed the POV shifts. It's like we got a front row seat to see God work. Great job!
Beth Muehlhausen02/21/07
Enjoyed sitting in on the characters' thoughts and prayers - very personal. I was wondering all along what they were going to ask Bess to do...and now, being a knitter myself, I'm still wondering! (That's totally ok and doesn't deter from the point of your story....just my own musings.)

This reminds me of how God's timing is perfect. Something I needed today, so thanks!

terri tiffany02/21/07
This was a good tearjerker! I loved it! Loved seeing the prayer efforts and the ladies were so real I could see them sitting there together. You touched on so many truths - thanks!
Betty Castleberry02/21/07
I really love a writer who can take everyday events and relate them in the way you have. This is well written, and has a message, too. Very well done.
Sally Hanan02/21/07
You managed to pull this one off :) A real moment in someone's life without making it all mushy and flowery - congratulations.
Joanne Malley02/21/07
I love those moments when you know God is speaking to you. Great job weaving the importance of prayer and our reliance on the Lord for everyday needs. Enjoyable, well-crafted writing as always! Blessings, Jo
Myrna Noyes02/21/07
Well-written and heart-warming story! I loved the caring and concern expressed by the "church ladies." I also appreciated that they and Bess were praying at the same time for the same thing! No wonder the answer came so quickly and clearly! Clever title, as well! :)
Laurie Glass 02/21/07
Very nice heartwarming piece. I don't write fiction, but from a reader's perspective I'll say your POV experiment worked for me. :)
Sharlyn Guthrie02/21/07
Your organization and timing are impeccable. God's timing is, too, isn't it?! Nice job.
Sue Dent02/21/07
Good thing she realized it was a knitting needle before she put it to her ear!!! LOL Only I would think of this. What a unique way to intertwine craft into an entry and what a neat way to show how God builds faith. Great writing!
Patty Wysong02/21/07
God works out all the small details of our lives! You captured Bess well and made those POV shifts quite well. Great job!!! :-)
Crista Darr02/28/07
God is just like that!! I found the ladies' desire to honor the Son refreshing. And they honor Him by loving their neighbor instead of forcing "ministry" on her weary shoulders. Great lesson, great work! :-)