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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

TITLE: Paw Prints Of A Healthy Heart
By Brenda Craig


The morning of February 15th, unbeknownst to me at the time, my blender was waiting with evil intentions in mind. I was about to find out one should never, and I mean never, trust an appliance when a heart check is in order. My above mentioned household servant became the treadmill God used to stress check the spiritual fitness of my heart. Obviously, I was out of shape and in need of adjustment.

It all began on a typical morning, trying to get my husband off to work with breakfast in hand while struggling to manage my son’s determination to disturb the peaceful tranquility of our home. With increasing intensity, my nerves were stretching to the breaking point like an over extended rubber band.

Having been lazy the night before, my kitchen island had seen less crowded days to say the least. Valentines mixed with an assortment of candy were strewn everywhere. Amid much disarray and “No, Son, you can’t have taffy and Lifesavers for breakfast,” I attempted to make my husband’s drink.

One glass of chocolate milk and two scoops of protein mix went into the blender. With one flip of the switch my morning went from normal chaos to absolute mayhem. I should have been wearing my specs when I checked the settings; or did my electric servant have a mind of its own?

Bursting into the air, only to return, my husband’s intended breakfast fell to the earth like a downpour of chocolate rain. My clean pajamas, along with the island, the cabinets, the floors and every other conceivable space became drenched. A thick, runny and sure to be sticky mixture ran in rivulets everywhere.

Did I get mad? Did I laugh? Did I suck it up and act like a good sport?

Nope! I did none of the above. I succumbed to self-pity and cried, wondering who had the audacity to change the setting on my blender. Surely someone was to blame.

A flood of tears slipped uncontrollably down my face while my son began yelling, “That freaked me out!”

I began chanting under my breath, exposing the true condition of my heart, “Why me? Why me?”

Fighting back tears, I pulled my rarely used mop out of the closet, wishing my steam cleaner could do the job. I began the task of mopping up much to the dismay of my pup Ellie. There she was with her “pig tail” of a tail wagging furiously lapping at what she considered to be one delicious concoction.

I removed her with a flourish, muttering through clinched teeth “Dogs can’t have chocolate, you know.”

Three rinses later, I accomplished the first round of cleanup. Unfortunately, my feet began to stick to the floor, making suction sounds with each step. All I could say was, “UGH!”

Finally, with everyone out the door, I began round two. Out came the steam cleaner with three cleaning pads. No, not one, but three. Who knew chocolate milk had the composition of glue?

My clock seemed to mock with taunting tones while reminding me of a quickly approaching meeting with my church’s Heart to Heart Ministry. I didn’t miss the irony of it all.

Shafts of light began filtering through the windows, exposing seemingly hundreds of Ellie’s paw prints throughout the kitchen and great room. More tears gathered, falling like so many rain drops on a pile of Valentines left over from the morning antics of an eight-year old.

One resolute tear landed with what I like to believe was an intentional splash smack in the middle of these words, “MVP! Good Sportsman Award! You can’t be beat, Valentine!”

Momma’s old saying began to reverberate in my head, “Child, no need to cry over spilt milk.” With her words in mind, I chose not to lament over any circumstance nor was I going to let an out of control blender mess with my day.

Picking up the Valentine, splashed with salty tears and sweet chocolate, I decided it was time to build muscles of new perspective and right attitude.

I may not have run a record breaking mile on my treadmill, but as sure as the sun shines, my heart came to a whole new place of spiritual fitness in the blender called Life.

Even seemingly sticky messes can become delicious concoctions of instruction if only we choose to let them. And like Ellie, we will see the good and leave the sweet paw prints of a healthy heart were ever we go.

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Member Comments
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Sue Dent02/22/07
How many times a day does this happen to me? Too many. Well, maybe not exactly this but close. What a spiritual workout! I felt like I went through it myself. Sticky feet. Ugh I hate that sound!Such vivid writing!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/22/07
A fun read. Glad those kind of things happen to others, too! I liked the irony of the Heart to Heart ministry.
Dolores Stohler02/23/07
A good read. Couldn't help laughing at the mess 'cause I've been there. And, because I have, I could thoroughly sympathize with you. This piece deserves an award - the Mother's Award for Good Sportsmanship!
Allison Egley 02/24/07
Like Sue, I was cringing when I read the part about the shoes sticking.... That's one of the worst sounds in my book. Great story that kept me interested throughout.
Jacquelyn Horne02/24/07
Love the humor and satire of this piece. Most housewives have been there and can relate. Good job.
Joanne Sher 02/25/07
Love the fast pace writing of this - made it feel even more harried! Love the first paragraph too, especially.
Marilee Alvey02/25/07
This was a very good story. It was heavy in description...good description, but what saved it from being a very "sweet, simple story" was the humor throughout and the takeaway (several of them, in fact.) It's a recipe for success.....and, yes, I, too, have been there more times than I care to remember. Good job!
Joanney Uthe02/25/07
This was a great story that hit home. I like the pup getting in the way, as that adds to the frustration and also the illustration. Great job.
Jen Davis02/26/07
I liked this description: “…breakfast fell to the earth like a downpour of chocolate rain.” I enjoyed the humor throughout the story, especially the suction sounds with each step, and not missing the irony of it all. Great job of bringing the paw prints back into your story at the end and your message that we would leave sweet paw prints of a healthy heart wherever we go.