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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: Swept off My Feet--I Don't Think So!
By Verna Cole Mitchell


First of all, he isn’t tall, he isn’t dark, and he certainly isn’t a stranger. As for sweeping me off my feet on his white horse, I doubt he knows how to ride a horse, unless it’s one on a merry-go-round. I’m talking about Jerry, the fellow who’s been my neighbor ever since I can remember. So why have thoughts of him started messing with my mind? He’s the one who pulled my pigtails till I cried, and used a magic marker to draw a mustache on my favorite doll when we were both five, the same person who threw a baseball at me and broke my glasses when we were eight.

What a torment he was when we were in junior high school! He would scare me to death if I went out in the yard at night by sneaking up on me and shouting in my ear. He pelted me with snowballs in the winter and pushed me in the lake in the summer. He hid behind the shrubbery to listen when my girlfriends and I were whispering and then told the other boys our secrets. He made fun of me when I tried to walk in my first high heels.

Later when we were in high school, and Jerry was the star quarterback on our football team, I was disgusted by the gaggle of girls who trotted after him like little geese following their mama. “Oh Lizzie,” they would sigh, “you don’t know how lucky you are to live next door and see him every day!” They acted like he was some big movie star!

We have never quite become friends, not enemies like when we were kids, but, for sure, not friends. I always laughed at the boy-next-door stories I read, where the bratty neighbor suddenly became a romantic figure.

It’s hard to imagine two people more different than we are. He is the athlete; I’m the reader who spends hours writing in my journal. He is the one with a whole tribe of friends while I have a few close ones. With a ready joke, he makes everyone laugh; I am more serious. About the only thing we have in common, besides our being neighbors, is our belief in God. We were in the same Sunday School classes and youth groups at church, where we grew stronger in our faith.

Then something funny happened last night. I came home from college for Christmas vacation, and I just happened to run into Jerry in his driveway. Now he has a toothpaste-ad smile, but all I could see was that gap-toothed grin of my former tormenter. His brown eyes twinkle with the same mischief that used to make me so mad when we were young. With him was a beautiful blond, holding onto his arm like she was afraid he’d get away. We talked for a few minutes, and he introduced me to his friend, Missy. I can tell you there were no green eyed monsters bothering me. She was welcome to him!

Later last night when I was having my devotions, I read in Jeremiah about God’s plan for His people. Since I want His plan for my life, I prayed that I’d know just what that is. Then the strangest thing happened. As I was looking at the Bible, all I could see was Jerry’s face. I shook my head to clear the image, but he kept appearing right there on that page. I thought, “Surely, this is just a trick of my mind. This couldn’t be a message from God. No way!” I closed the Bible and climbed into bed, but I couldn’t sleep. All I could see was that smile of Jerry’s and those liquid brown eyes just dancing. I finally got to sleep, but when I woke up and opened my eyes, there was that same face, imprinted on my ceiling. I told my mom about this picture I couldn’t get out of my head, and she just laughed. She said, “Your dad and I have always thought you and Jerry would make a fine couple.”

“Oh Mom!” I said, “Jerry would never think of me like that; anyway, he already has a girlfriend.”

Later this afternoon, there was a knock on the door. Jerry stood there with this odd look on his face. “Liz, can we talk? You’ll never believe the pictures in my mind that I’ve been having when I’ve tried to pray lately.”

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This article has been read 1221 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn04/26/07
This sounds like something that happened to a friend of mine - She is marrying someone who used to really irritate her! (Let's hope he still doesn't!!)So this type of thing must happen, and feelings must change!
Kathleen Morris04/26/07
Good story!
Stevie McHugh04/26/07
Charming, enjoyable story.
James Wood04/26/07
They say women marry men in hopes of changing them, and men marry women who they think accept them for who they are. I don't know if that is true or not, but it sounds true. =)

Good story, but I would preffer less words spent on spinning up the story, and more given to the conclusion to give me a broader sense of closure.
LaNaye Perkins04/27/07
What a delightful story. Isn't it just like God to work from a direction we never expect?
Pam Carlson-Hetland04/27/07
Good story, good writing. I thought you set up an appropriate amount of tension between the characters. I enjoyed it.
Rita Garcia04/28/07
Charming "boy next door story." I enjoyed the twist you gave this one. Great Job!
Sheri Gordon04/28/07
Very nice romance story. Good job of describing the characters and their interaction through the years. Bummer for the word limit -- I would like to read more about what happens next.
Cheri Hardaway 04/29/07
I loved your characters; your story brought them to life at every age. And I love your descriptions! Really a very sweet story with a nice romantic ending. Nice work. Cheri
Julie Arduini04/29/07
I enjoyed watching her feelings mature and progress. I thought the story flowed well and it was a very enjoyable read!
Jacquelyn Horne04/30/07
Romantic confirmation? Good story. Wonderful writing.
Loren T. Lowery04/30/07
I truly like your writing style, you really engage the reader. I liked your story, too, but think more conflict would have made the romantic conclusion more satisfying.
PS - great title, too. Sets up the spunk to be seen of the MC!
Catrina Bradley 04/30/07
I liked the journey through the years, and loved the ending. Well written and an entertaining read. :)
Myrna Noyes05/01/07
Very enjoyable piece with just the right touches of humor and seriousness. I think he liked Liz all along, and that's why he tormented her so when they were kids and teens! Good job! :)
Donald Ford05/01/07
Well, at first I scanned the list of possible reads here, yours got first place. Meaning the topic took me by surprise, it didn't knock me off my feet. But then I read the piece and enjoyed it all the way through. That is when the strange thing happened, you managed in the end to sweep me - yes - off my feet. Good little piece, I have to admit!
Betty Castleberry05/02/07
I loved this! It brought back memories of the kid who lived across the street from me when we were growing up. For me, the ending didn't turn out the same, but I could relate anway.
Thanks for sharing this sweet piece.
Joanne Sher 05/02/07
Enjoyed the conflict, and the gradual changing of minds. Good stuff!
Pat Guy 05/02/07
I REALLY enjoyed this! Such a natural progression written in such a natural way. Really VERY good writing. I loved it.