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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Sniggles
By Jan Ackerson


I knocked on the church office door, eager to meet the new pastor. A muffled voice called “Come in!” but the door was mostly blocked by half-unpacked boxes. A man sat in their midst, with an apple jammed in his mouth.

“I’m Susie Fields, the secretary,” I said, pushing a box with my foot. “Can I help, Pastor Bradford?”

He chewed vigorously. “Call me Jeff,” he sputtered, swallowing. “There’s not really much you can do, I’m notoriously disorganized. But if my wife comes by, could you show her around?”

I returned to my desk, trying to imagine our persnickety previous pastor surrounded by such disarray. Pastor Bradford—Jeff—might just be a refreshing change. I busied myself with paperwork, startled occasionally by thumps from the next office.

The next morning, I found a stack of scrap papers on my desk. I read the topmost note:

for bullitin

Grimacing at the misspelled word, I rifled through the notes in growing confusion.

holly holly
Agnes Day
not care committee
sniggles group!

I squinted at the untidy handwriting and turned the papers over. No help there—one was written on the back of a used envelope, the others on old receipts. Jeff was still thumping around, and I really hated to bother him, but his notes had bewildered me. I poked my head into his office.

He greeted me with a grin. “What d’ya think, Susie? Will you join?”

More puzzled than ever, I stammered a bit. “Join—join what?”

“The singles group! Just what we need, doncha think?”

Of course I agreed, being rather desperately single, but…I looked down at the papers in my hand. Singles group! “I…I couldn’t read your handwriting. It says ‘sniggles group’.”

“Oh gosh—sorry. Didn’t mention my dyslexia, huh? Yeah, if it wasn’t for my brother, I never woulda made it through high school, and Caroline fixed all my seminary papers. D’ya think—can you figure out my horrible spelling?”

I showed him the papers, one by one. “Holly holly? It’s only September…”

“Holy, holy. You know, by Jimmy Owens?”

He certainly knew his music. “What about Agnes Day? We don’t have anyone named Agnes.”

“No, it’s a song! You know, ‘worthy is the Lamb’…” He sang a bit of a familiar tune.

I burst out laughing. “Agnus Dei! Okay, I’m catching on, but… not care committee?”

It was Jeff’s turn to laugh. “That’s note. I thought people might like to send notes when someone misses a service…a ‘not care’ committee would be pretty awful, huh?”

Over the following weeks, I learned to interpret Jeff’s scribbles, and to appreciate the enthusiasm he and Caroline shared. My confusion abated as Jeff’s spelling quirks became more and more familiar.

plz find picture of angle…I found a majestic angel, blowing a trumpet.

you pick a him…I sighed, wishing that picking a “him” were that easy, and chose a hymn.

put fiend day on calender…Friend Day was scheduled for September 16th.

jesus lover of my sole… I double-checked this one, knowing Jeff to be an avid fisherman. But no, he had meant “soul” after all.

sweet sweet spit…That one, ironically, caused me to spray my monitor with coffee. Sweet, Sweet Spirit, I typed, chuckling.

One morning in November, I looked through Jeff’s usual pile of notes and stopped cold.

this coopon good for one free back rub wenever you want

I was baffled—it seemed horribly inappropriate. Jeff had always been friendly but professional, and Caroline and I had become great friends. I swallowed hard, deciding to confront him. His door was open, and he was leaning back, his hands laced behind his neck.

“Uh-oh, you look confused. What’s Jeff done now?”

Now I was really perplexed—why was he referring to himself in third person? I held up the handwritten coupon. “I don’t...feel comfortable with this.”

He stood up and took the note, read it with interest, and snorted. “It’s for his anniversary, I think. Look, it’s stuck to another announcement. He must’ve misplaced it.”

“For his…what?” I felt hopelessly muddled.

“You must be Susie…right?”

The light dawneth. This must be Jeff’s brother—he’d never mentioned they were twins.

“I’m Jim.” He grasped my hand and shook it. “Jeff tells me you’re the best. My company sent me here for six months, and Jeff says you’ll show me around town for chocolate. What d’ya say?” He held out a Snickers, and I couldn’t help noticing that his ring finger was bare.

Somewhere in the distance, I heard the angles snig.

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This article has been read 8796 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 08/23/07
I love this — great stuff. Confusion, humor, a touch of conflict and romance too! Wonderful.
Pat Guy 08/23/07
Truly enchanting! I was carried along from beginning to end with the easy flow of all the emotions this invokes. This has everything a reader wants, leaving us with the desire to read 'more of the story!'

And I would like to read more!

Laury Hubrich 08/23/07
Very clever! Is this a true story?
Dee Yoder 08/24/07
This reads like Jan Karon's Mitford series books, and I'd love it if you wrote more, more, more about these characters. Please? With sugar on top? Very full story in such a short amount of words. I love it! The last line is perfect. :)
Joanne Sher 08/24/07
This piece is absolutely DELIGHTFUL and fun. Great characterization and description, and I laughed and laughed. Your last line, of course, was PERFECT.
Jacquelyn Horne08/24/07
This is really cute! Loved it. I really got into this story, and I loved the ending!
Leigh MacKelvey08/24/07
Amen to the above, especially about the last line! Wow ... among the very greatest endings of all times!
Lynda Lee Schab 08/24/07
I have a hard time believing that a pastor - with lots of education - could squeak through with such atrocious spelling! Yikes! But hey, it works here. Utterly charming.
Betty Castleberry08/24/07
This is fun! I loved the characters. They bring to mind some of the folks in the Miss Julia book series, if you're familiar with those. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
Jacqueline Zerres08/25/07
Loved the title - especially when translated. It's nic to get up Sat. morning and hav a chukl with my morning coffe.
Sharlyn Guthrie08/25/07
This has it all...humor, romance, and mystery. I especially love the ending. Excellent righting! hehe
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/25/07
This is one of my favorites this week. I love the humor and how you wrapped the story up with such a happy conclusion.
Laurie Walker08/26/07
HA! Even as I write this I just figured out what "Sniggles" means.

This was utterly fantastic. I dearly hope you develop this lively bunch into an award winning series!

Go on. You can do it. We're waiting....
Kristen Hester08/26/07
I love it! One of my favorites. The ending wrapped things up in a fun way. Great job.
Sheri Gordon08/26/07
This is so clever. The title pulled me in -- and then I kept chuckling throughout. Great story for the topic.
Linda Watson Owen08/27/07
Well, you've done it again!! Another absolutely delightful story that leaves me wondering, "Just HOW so you do it?!" Love your stuff LOL! This is great...such fun...so skillfully written! Thanks again, friend, for sharing your wonderful talent with us all! (And I'm not even a sniggle!)
RuthAnn Cornelson08/28/07
Really enjoyed this. I have a daughter and 2 brothers with dyslexia and it is so great that they all have a sense of humor about it. This was really fun to read.
Deborah Engle 08/28/07
This was a fun read. I think if you have to be confused, you might as well enjoy it. I enjoyed this piece!
George Parler 08/28/07
Very funny. I enjoyed reading this a lot. Good job.
Rita Garcia08/28/07
You wrapped it all up and tied it with a big bow! Terrific story! btw-loved your clue!
Jenny Fitch08/28/07
This is so cute! I really enjoyed it.
Sherrie Jackson08/28/07
This was such a delightful read. I am always in awe of your creativity. Another one of yours goes in my favorites! Good luck.
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
All-around fun and PURE entertainment! I love the ending...hilarious!! :)
Julie Ruspoli08/29/07
Oh what an amazing story. I was so engrossed in it and could just picture it in my head, I was confused at the end because I found myself sitting in front of my computer instead of in the church office. : )
The entire article was just wonderful, especially the ending, I'm a hopeless romantic. Very nicely done!
Peter Stone08/29/07
Oh dear, you had me laughing out loud with this one! Well done.
LaNaye Perkins08/29/07
I just love this piece. It was wonderful. Well done!
Brenda Welc08/29/07
Thanks, now I have raisin bran stuck in my nose! This was a great story. I loved the flow and how you strung the reader along. Great job!
Patty Wysong08/29/07
This one's my favorite!! Wonderful job! I'm still laughing. :-) Hugs!
Loren T. Lowery08/29/07
This was fun to read and gave me a needed smile. It flowed convincingly and didn't seemed contrived. The "snig" in the last paragraph was perfect. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 08/29/07
LOL! This was so fun, Susie was an absolutely 'delightful' character. I was chuckling by the time you reached the end and laughed out loud with the bit when the Angels "Snig" great job! ^_^
Rita Garcia08/30/07
Lisa Holloway08/30/07
This was really well done--humor, believable characters, an engaging storyline, and just a hint of romance. Congratulations!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/30/07
Congratulations. It really was the best!
Angela Posey-Arnold08/30/07
Oh this is so good.
I loved it and definetly see how you one--oopps won.
Loralee Scott08/30/07
Laugh out loud funny! Great writing! Thanks for the delightful characters! I think I may have worked for that pastor!
Rachel Burkum08/30/07
You made me smile. :) Congrats on your EC win!
Trevas Walker08/31/07
This was awsome, confusion with humor and romance thrown into the mix. Well done, and congragulations on your win.
Helen Paynter09/01/07
Oh, congratulations Jan! I'm delighted to see that the judges have started recognising your talent once again. You're on a roll now! (And a very well-deserved win, I should add.)
Betty Overstreet09/03/07
Dear Jan, You have certainly outdone yourself this time.

best laugh I have had in a long time!
Betty Overstreet

Dave Wagner09/04/07
I wonder how many people didn't notice the "snig" in the last line? "Somewhere in the distance, I heard the angles snig."

That's awesome.

Terrific piece, well worth the big win.
David F. Palmieri Sr.09/18/07
I'm seeing a pattern develope here...surly you've been in communication with my wife...no other way could you know the condition of my desk that you described so acurately...another fine story. I love your humor...it's one thing I understand so well.
Marilee Alvey06/24/08
I'm just reading this. It is a masterpiece. It is how I want to write. Amazing creativity here. You inspire me! It reminds me of when I was in junior high. I asked my mother for a "him book." She thought I'd found religion, wanting a "hymn book." Of course, my adolescent heart had yearned for a special book in which to rate the boys I knew! Your story brought back that memory! Blessings on your writing! I hope you continue to set the pace here at Faithwriters. A well deserved win!
Seema Bagai 06/27/08
Congratulations on BoB! :)
Chely Roach06/27/08
Congratulations on confirming what we already knew...you are undoubtedly the best of the best:)
Sally Hanan06/28/08
Awesome win, and I'm glad I got to read this one--somehow, it missed my heady eyes. You really are a BoB all the time you know.
Dee Yoder 06/28/08
Very deserving win for this piece, Jan! Congratulations!
Sharlyn Guthrie06/28/08
Congratulations, Jan!
Patricia Turner06/28/08
Wow! Exciting! Congratulations on your BoB win! I just got to read it and it's such an entertaining as well as enlightening masterful read! I love the snig at the end. :-)
Edy T Johnson 06/28/08
Dear Jan, this is an absolutely delightful story. And I am so thrilled that you are now the reigning Best Of The Best. It couldn't happen to a more deserving writer and person. I have long been basking in the light of your stories, which move me to both sobs and hearty chuckles.

I hope you will publish an anthology of all your stories that we can clutch to our hearts for joy! In fact, that might not be a bad idea as a prize for the BOB winner each year!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/28/08
Congratulations to a true BOB!
Venice Kichura06/28/08
Delightfully clever, Jan! I can see how this took "Best of the Best!"

Beth LaBuff 06/28/08
Jan -- This is a classic! Congrats on receiving Best of the Best with this creative entry!
Lyn Churchyard06/28/08
Oh my, that was too funny. I am so glad my coffee was too hot to drink while I was reading this. You have got to write more on these characters. Just so good Jan. Congratulations on winning BOtB!
Pat Guy 06/29/08
Well deserved Jan, well deserved. Not just on this piece but you also. You are the perfect example of the Best of the Best. Enjoy my friend. Love, Pat
Catrina Bradley 06/29/08
Being a pastor's secretary, I could definitely appreciate this delightful story. Loved it - and the last line made me LOL!!! Congratulations, Jan. So glad to see you as the BoB!!!!!
Joy Faire Stewart06/30/08
Congratulations on your well deserved BoB. Love the story; very entertaining and great message. And the last line is perfect.
Dianne Janak06/30/08
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!! WHOOPEE... two out of three??? That is absolutely awesome... Go eat some chocolate... if you don't I WILL!! congrats BOB.. in more ways than just writing... Im gonna celebrate ... Texas style!
Glynis Becker07/01/08
Congratulations! A well-deserved win!
Judy Wilson07/02/08
I just stumbled across this and how delightful! I always love to smile or laugh and you made me do it with this article. Loved it!
Suzanne R07/03/08
Congratulations, Jan, on BoB. This was a fun piece, good for a sniggle, but to be honest, it doesn't have me giggling anything like your unforgettable piece a couple of years back on the topic 'space', about the cat and 'buy her ring'. It's good, and you're well deserving of the title BoB, but I still reckon that one was even better - all this time later and I still sniggle about it.
Beckie Stewart07/03/08
Congratulations on your win! This story was so fun to read. I loved it from beginning to end.
Maxx .07/04/08
Congrats Jan! What a great job! I always knew you had it in ya! Woo Hoo~! Story is fantastic, as I would expect! :-)
Shelley Snyder07/05/08
Wow, what a great story! I really enjoyed reading it!
Henrietta W. Romman07/10/08
Blessed Jan! Congratulations for the prize! You have rejoiced my heart. Glory be to God for you and for this wonderfully gracious story!
You have greatly excelled in putting true life on pen and paper. Hallelujah!
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/10/08
Ha, love it! Glad I realized I hadn't read this one and took the time. Having dyslexic tendencies and spelling problems myself, I doubly-enjoyed this. The crack about wishing "finding a him" was that easy made me laugh out loud. Liked the ending, too.
Marsha Landers07/11/08
What a great, great story! I loved it!
M. R. Davenport07/11/08
brought tears. What a fabulous story. 10 stars...if you count!
Connie Allen07/12/08
I just read your story "Sniggles" and truly enjoyed it. I, along with the others laughed and lived it all the way through. LOL
Betsy Markman07/14/08
I'm so glad that this was featured in "Best of the Best," because otherwise I might not ever have seen it. What a delight! Truly a laugh-out-loud ending, too. Fantastic!
Randy Foncree07/18/08
This is good, and funny Jan. I can see why it won first place. There one good thing about this story. At least the guy didn't ask her if she wanted to sniggle, I mean snuggle right of the bat...LOL, Randy
Amanda D'costa07/26/08
Beautiful writing. I praise God for this gift of writing that he has given you. I have always admired your work and it is no surprise that you stood out to be the best. Praise God and keep writing.
beatrice Russo07/26/08
Hello, I really loved this article :) I hope that she will marry his brother at the end ;)
Clyde Blakely07/28/08
Jane, ewe outdied urselv thus thyme. know won cane bee thought bade an style b end duh reel werld. Ice riteng.


Kimberley Paul07/29/08
Wonderful! I did not see the ending coming and it was delightful. The story picked up speed as it went along. Thanks for causing me to laugh out loud!
Femi Onabanjo07/31/08
Great work. You really had me laughing. I was looking for something to raise my spirits and your poem did the job. The ending was so appropriate. I see why you won BOB. God bless and hope you get a real 'him' soon.
Debra Martinez08/01/08
Either there is a "real" Jeff, or you are a marvelously creative creative writer!! My interest never lagged, and the tone was ideal. I cannot think of even one thing that I would change. So satisfying! Thank you for a good read after my first day back at school. D
Peter Stone08/08/08
Well done Jan, first and third at the same time. The ending is just perfect, 'I heard the angles snig.' indeed!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/14/08
You are so clever at writing hon. You wit and tongue in cheek delivery is on the money! This was such a fun read!! Awesome hon. God bless.Hugs,Janice
Jeannette Schultz08/15/08

Very cleverly written! You had my attention all the way. You really made me chuckle. Perfect last too. You have inspired me to pick up the pen again and write something. God bless!

Jeannette Schultz
Tasmania, Australia
Dixie Phillips08/15/08
Awwww, Jan, you are such a blessing! This is a winner for sure! It's evident that the Lord has given you a gift and it's wonderful to see how you use that gift for Him. May you capture many hearts for our King with your pen. :-)
Barbara Gilmer08/16/08
what an adorable read. Kudos on your win. Well done. Barbara
Lynn Jacky 08/23/08
Hi Jan: congratulations finally read your work. - I must say you are a good story teller. I liked your characters and suprise ending easy to follow and lots of laughs - thank you.
Judith Gayle Smith08/25/08
What a delight! Better than a hut fog sundy with wippy crame! And a cheery! I must take time and read all your stuff! You make my tummy ache from laughing so hard!



ps. Congrats on your award!
Yvette Nietzen08/27/08
What a wonderful read. Enjoyed this so very much. Congratulations on your win.
Marijo Phelps08/27/08
Very endearing - did you dream this up or is it based on a real pastor?
Patricia Turner08/30/08
Jan, I keep coming back to this when I need a good laugh! Thanks for using your gift to uplift us and Him!
Rachel Rudd 09/09/08
Wow! I've been out of the loop for quite a while, but your work still impresses me so much....So sweet and so funny...so real :)
patti baumhower09/10/08
What a totally delightful story!!
Kathleen Smith09/12/08
If I can stop laughing long enough to write this I will be pleased! Oh my, this story was a tonic! Thank you for writing this.....I am a retired teacher who is taking up writing and this story of yours rates "Excellent!" Kathy Smith
Sarah Engle09/26/08
Haha! This was shear entertainment from the beginning! I loved it - packed full of whit and humor, and even a slight hint of "Is Pastor Jeff really a bad guy?" drama. Wonderfully done. No wonder it placed first! Congratulations!
Helen Woodward09/29/08
I adored this for its natural flow and easy reading, which seems ironic considering the Dyslexia issues you describe. You kept the momentum at peak throughout. I'm not sure if this is fiction, but telling it in the first pperson narrative makes it extremely believable. Nicely done and a well-deserved win...Kudos from me, LOVED IT!!!!
Anne Linington10/02/08
Congratulations on this fun piece from beginning to end; no doubt your special needs youngsters helped the process!
Diana Dart 10/09/08
Truly a clever piece. Tons of fun to read with an ending that had me laughing out loud. Loved the part about the coffee spraying on the screen! Thanks for showing your talent.
Jeanie Holzbacher10/09/08
Lucas Maselli10/10/08
I liked the very last word "snig" instead of sing. I liked this alot.
Tammy Bovee10/16/08
I especially loved your use of setting and the romantic surprise ending! It seems you could get into the suspense romance market with this one. I wish you the blest!
Jackie Simmons11/10/08
Hi Jan, I attended the Australia conference this year and loved it. Since then, in spite of good intentions, this is my first written submission to Faithwriters - my word, you should be overwhelmed! Just read Sniggles and LOVED it. Congratulations.
Jackie Simmons
Carol Davis12/04/08
I loved it! The dialogue draws you into the scene very nicely. I burst out laughing at the "Sweet, sweet spit" line. Great job!
remi oyeyemi12/12/08
this is truly awesome. totally captivating.well done!!!

Yulanda Ridge12/12/08
Wow... How do you do it?? How do you bring all the pieces together like this? Do you offer a writing course?? lol. Well done!
Troy Manning01/15/09
Nicely done & congratulations on your 1st place! As a sniggle myself, it was all the more relevant.
Pilar Fernandez02/20/09
this article's worth the win...love it! i also belong to the sniggle's group hehe
Mark Anthony Belosa03/01/09
You're my idol!
Eleanor Bailey03/09/09
I love it. I was a church secretary for many years, many different pastors. I now diagnose and tutor people with dyslexia. So from two standpoints I could really appreciate this article. You represented both areas so well, I chuckled throughout my reading of it. Eleanor Bailey
Faithful Okoye03/09/09
That is so cool! I like when you wrote at the end "I heard the angles snig". Very creative.

Wow you won. Well you deserve it. Good job. Keep writing. You're very creative.
Vicki Riggins03/18/09
This is perfect. Humor all the way through, very unusual, and I like it! Congratualations!
Melody Louise Clark Calkins03/20/09
I found the Story fun then funny. You seem to have a real gift. God Bless You.
Jan Christiansen04/14/09
Can you hear me laughing? I was the church secretary for 6 years and having spent much of that time deciphering the Pastor's handwriting and reading his mind the other half, this one hit home.

I love it!

From one Jan to another, great job!
joanna reed04/23/09
I guess it is lost in my translation. I must assume she despirately wanted a man and God sent him. Just a bit confused what was God's role? What amazing and awesome feat did He preform? Did you she pray to the Almighty, Creator of the Universe and did she display her gratitude and praise for His kindness. Besides God supplying a want, what area of faith increased in this person's life? I just dont know what God had to do with any of it considering He wasn't mentioned and only His angels sing. The work environment, although located in a church, did not emphazise the glory of God. If this had been a different work place, it would not fit at all. The church at least gives it a veil of religiousity but I still dont see faith. Thanks for writing.
Suzanne Murphy04/24/09
What a great story!
John Wacaster05/28/09
Simply delightful.
Zahiryn Velez Hernandez06/10/09
This was so great - it was funny, nice, beatiful written and lovely. The characters are ver likable, and the ending was so cute ^.^

God bless you, and your talent!
Eddie Snipes06/23/09
I love the closing line. Wonderful article.
Lisa Earnest06/27/11
Laughing Out Loud! Being married to a dyslexic myself, boy can I relate to this! So, so funny! Greatly written.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/01/13
Oh Jan, this is such brilliant writing.

I want to proclaim that you have been inspiring me for over three years. Your kind, but helpful comments, have made a difference, not only in my writing, but in my life as a whole.

This piece is an awesome example of what a challenge entry should look like. I'm sure it will galvanize newbies and old-timers alike. Thank you for acceding to God's edict.

We all say something like: God gave me the words, I just wrote them down. Sometimes, however, I think people forget why God entrusts a certain calling to a particular person.

This story answers those musings--you are the perfect person for this position. (I wanted to use an exclamation point, but could hear your words--or more accurately--see your words: Try to avoid overusing exclamation points; instead select salsa verbs.)

I, however, just can't resist. You are amazing and beloved by many!I wanted to use three exclamation points, but I did manage to stand firm. (I also used my thesaurus to compose this feedback.):)

I'm still learning,though, about parentheses, ellipses, and em dashes. Does the smiley go inside the parentheses or outside?

It's a brave new world out there! :)(Oohh exclamation point and a smiley--see how much I still need you?) FW just isn't quite the same when you are not here.

You posses amazing talent, a generous heart, and the ability to help me begin my day with a smile.
Linda Watson Owen03/01/13
Wow, Jan! This shows us all how it's done!! What a treat to read--love it!!
James Manning03/03/13
This article captured my attention from the very beginning and kept it until the end,

When I reached the end I was truly looking for more,

Thank you very much,

James R Manning
Zacharia Fox 08/06/15
Jan! You are a stellar writer! You had me from start to finish:) May I ask why you don't enter the challenge any more?