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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: The Wonderful, Multi-colored Picture of... Something
By Gerald Shuler
01/19/08


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Dan Hurshing closed the drawer on his less-than-adequate miniscule desk. Another boring, wasted day was over. Maybe he should just quit and go to some other law firm that truly recognized his potential. Sure, he was young, but he had passed the bar three weeks ago. Sweeping floors and alphabetizing files was beneath his dignity, even if it was for the prestigious Winfield & Turner Law Firm.

“Hi, Daddy.” Dan’s five-year-old daughter skipped into the office with a smile that lit the room. In her hand was a folded piece of paper. “Momma’s downstairs waiting.” She jumped into her father’s lap with no warning, almost toppling him backwards in his chair.

“Goodness, girl, slow down.” He smiled broadly and gave her a kiss on her forehead. “What’s the rush?”

“I gotcha’ a present.”

She handed him the piece of paper and held her breath in eager anticipation. Dan carefully unfolded the paper, noticing how each crinkling sound intensified the brightness of Alicia’s glistening eyes. Finally unfolded, he looked carefully at the crayon drawing spread over the entire page. Alicia must have used every color of crayon in her box.

“Well, what have we got here?”

He looked at the chaotic multi-colored picture with exaggerated interest, trying to stall long enough to try to figure out what the picture was meant to be. Alicia frowned, grunted an unmistakable grunt of disapproval and turned the picture right side up. It didn’t help.

“Do you like it?” She touched the picture affectionately in the center. “This is you.”

All Dan could see was a malformed blue circle with a squiggly orange line that he could only assume was a smile. The myriad of colors on the rest of the page was a complete mystery to him but at least he was almost certain the blue circle was him smiling.

“I love it. You made me look very…” he hesitated just for a second. “…happy.” Bingo. Her grin said he had guessed correctly. What a relief.

“It’s for your desk. When I grow up I’m gonna be a famous picture drawer. But this one is for you.” The statement didn’t leave any way out. “It belongs right here.” She put the picture toward the front left side of his desk, making him promise to put it in a frame as soon as possible.

“Could I ask you a question about the picture?” She nodded assent. “Why is my face blue?”

“It’s ‘cause I heard Momma tell the preacher that you’ve been a little blue lately.” Alicia saw her daddy’s eyebrows asking questions. “When I asked, Momma said blue means sad.”

“But you drew a smile on my face…”

“That’s ‘cause the preacher said as long as Jesus is in your heart you will still be able to smile.”



Thirty-two years passed quickly. Dan Hurshing was finally ready to retire. It had been a good, prosperous career but he was ready to be a homebody. Or maybe a carefree world traveler. It didn’t matter. He was ready to retire.

The firm was throwing a farewell party for him in the conference room and, as usual, he was still at his desk taking care of last minute urgencies. He had called Alicia to see if she could come to the party but she had flown to New York to open another showing of her paintings. She had done well with her dream of being a ‘famous picture drawer.’ Collectors around the world treasured her art.

He looked at the wonderful multi-colored picture of life that sat toward the front, left side of his over-sized executive desk. It had taken years, but at last the entire picture had begun to make sense. Back then his life truly was a chaotic mess. But a five-year-old artist showed him that even in chaos Christ gives us cause to smile.

He picked up the picture, the last item to be packed in his box, and headed for the door of his office at Winfield, Turner & Hurshing Law Firm for the last time.


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This article has been read 960 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/24/08
Your title is very creative, and the rest of the piece is as well. I love the little girl saying she wanted to be a "famous picture drawer." That warmed my heart.
Debbie Wistrom01/24/08
Right on topic. Would have liked more about how Alisha got there.
Patty Wysong01/24/08
Oh, I love this! Sometimes kids can see things so clearly. This is very endearing.
Pam Richards01/25/08
Ditto to Laura's comments. Great job.
Yvonne Blake 01/26/08
Ahhhh! I liked the way you made us see the little girl's face change with her emotions, so realistic.
I'm not sure the ending was necessary. The message was obvious in the daughter's words.
Well done.
Holly Westefeld01/26/08
I enjoyed this sweet story. It was good to see how his daughter's encouragement, and fledgling artistry, factored in to his staying the course with his new firm.
Dee Yoder 01/27/08
Touching story! Love the characters and the fast forward to the future to see how it all turned out.
Jan Ackerson 01/28/08
Precious story with an awesome title!
Marita Thelander 01/28/08
Good title ; ). Red Ink: I would try to use the word "was" less frequently. There are so many other words you coud use to color it up a bit. I liked the "famous picture drawer" line!
Julie Ruspoli01/29/08
What a sweet story. Very nicely done. God is amazing to touch our lives so deeply, even from our young children.
I really enjoyed reading this.
James Dixon01/30/08
Yes. Great art can be the meaning that is put in to it rather than the skill with which it is drawn. I hope many of the other level 1's read this piece for this wonderful message of encouragement it contains.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge01/30/08
In 750 words you packed a lot of teaching and touching sentiments. Good job and great ending.
Temple Miller01/30/08
Lovely story with great characterizations. I enjoyed the dialogue, too.
Sara Harricharan 01/30/08
What a darling little girl! I love her character, she's so sweet and the childlike innocence that shows the truth is just perfect! I liked the 'famous picture drawer' that was really cute, this was a good example, and I'm glad that he stuck with his job until the end. Great stuff! ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/30/08
This is excellent. The story captures the theme perfectly, has strong characters, and teaches a spiritual lesson, too.
Beckie Stewart01/30/08
That was very touching. It actually brought tears to my eyes. So well written indeed.
Joy Faire Stewart01/30/08
I enjoyed the dad's thoughts as he looked at his little girl's picture, very endearing. Great descriptive writing on topic.
Joanne Sher 07/04/08
Oh - glad you linked to this, Jerry! Missed it the first time, but I'm so glad you pointed me in the right direction. Love the way you gave that picture such meaning. Enjoyed this.
Julie Arduini07/05/08
I could totally picture each crease of the paper intensifying her excitement. This was a sweet story, I'm glad you used it for Fiction Friday!
Patty Wysong07/06/08
If I remember right, this one choked me up the first time I read it, too. I love it, Gerald!