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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)

TITLE: Rhubarb Remedy
By Yvonne Blake


“Grams, I am so angry at Kim. Do you know what she did to me?”

5 cups chopped rhubarb

“Dear, you shouldn’t be so bitter toward your sister. She loves you.”

“Huh! I don’t think she loves me! She can’t stand my face, just like I can’t stand hers! What are you making, Grams?”

“I’m making rhubarb jam. Do you want to help me?”

“Sure, I love your rhubarb jam. Crunch! Pwah! Pwah! Yuck! That stuff is horrible!”

“It’s bitter, yes, just like those words you just said about your sister.”

4 cups sugar and one cup crushed pineapple

“I’m sorry, Grams, but you just don’t know--”

“Hush. Yes, I know. I was once a teenager and bitter toward someone.”

Mix well and let sit for one half hour.

“You, Grams? But you don’t know how mean Kim can be—“

“Hush. Now sit there and think about how God must feel to hear you speak that way. He hates sinful words. I’m sure it disgusts him, and He’d like to spit them out, just like you did that bitter piece of rhubarb. Now sit here until the timer goes off.”

Bring to a boil and stir for 12 minutes.


“Yes, Dear.”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said those things about Kim. I talked to God about it, and when Kim comes home tonight, I’ll talk to her, too. What’s next for the jam?”

“Now we need to add one cup of sliced fresh strawberries and stir it while it boils. It takes a long time, but it’s worth it; just like it takes a long time to make a sweet person out of a bitter one. God sometimes has to put us through some hot times to bring it out.”

“I’ll stir it for you.”

“Why, thank you! You have to be patient and steady. While you are stirring, why don’t you think of some good things to say about Kim.”

“Oh, Grams! That’s too hard! She’s so—“

“Shhh-- have you forgotten already? I remember when you two loved playing together.”

“Grams, that was a long time ago….Ouch! The jam bit me!”

“We sometimes feel like biting back when God is teaching us a lesson. Tell me some of the things you did together.”

“Well, we liked to pick berries and give them to Mom.”

“Yes, you picked some for me, too.”

“When we were little, we liked to play dolls under the apple tree. That was fun. Kim tells the funniest stories at night before we go to sleep.”

“See? You do have some good things to say about her.”

“Yeah, I guess she’s not so bad. She’s pretty. I hope I’m pretty like her when I get older. She gave me a coral necklace last week and let me borrow her blue sweater. She also told me that I was a good speller, but she’s better than I am in math. She helps me with my algebra.”

1 sm. pkg. strawberry flavored gelatin


“Now, Dear, we need mix in this gelatin.”

“Mmmm…that smells so good. I suppose you’ll say that we will smell good to God when He sweetens us?”

Pour into clean hot jars and seal.

“You’re learning! Next, we spoon it into these cute jars. Be careful! Don’t burn yourself.”

“Mmmm… when can we eat it?”

“Well, this leftover bit won’t fill a whole jar, so you can eat it right away; but the rest we’ll listen for the seals to pop. They’ll keep all winter, sweet and fresh like a summer day, just like God seals us with His Spirit, keeping us for when we’ll be in heaven with Him.”

“May I take one home—for Kim? She loves your rhubarb jam, too.”

“Yes, Dear. Here’s a stalk of rhubarb, to help you remember our talk today.”

“Oh, Grams, I love you!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 06/04/09
What a lovely message tucked within this sweet story. Well done illustration on the topic.
Laury Hubrich 06/04/09
What a great story for all of us to learn from. But rhubarb? Bluck;) lol
Joanne Sher 06/06/09
Very creative! Love the voice of the girl - very authentic.
Colin Swann06/08/09
Rhubarb jam - yummie. A very interesting story. Thanks for sharing. Colin
Jan Ackerson 06/08/09
LOL, Yvonnne, we had kinda the same idea! Now I want some rhubarb pie.

Wonderful object lesson, endearingly written.
Carol Slider 06/08/09
A beautiful lesson in kindness, nicely integrated with a cooking lesson. I've never tried rhubarb jam, but it sounds interesting! Well done.
Mona Purvis06/08/09
Pass the buttered biscuits. Nice illustration.
Genia Gilbert06/08/09
Great idea, mingling the teaching opportunity with the recipe! This is very good.
Connie Dixon06/08/09
Really loved the complexity of these two subjects side by side. What a great lesson for all of us, and a great view of God's perspective. Good job!
Tallylah Monroe06/08/09
"Crunch! Pwah! Pwah! Yuck! "

Would that really be in quotes like the person is actually saying those words? I think that is a mistake. Just wondering.

Cute story.
Karlene Jacobsen06/08/09
Terrific parallel, the rhubarb and a bitterness of the heart.
Dee Yoder 06/09/09
Rhubarb is such a bitter plant all by itself; it's amazing what a little sugar can do! Love the object lesson in this, Vonnie. Teen sisters just never seem to get on with each other during those years at home--speaking from experience here.
Bryan Ridenour06/09/09
Great take on the topic. Very well done.
Brenda Rice 06/10/09
I've never eaten rhubarb,but I really enjoyed your take this challenge. It was easy to feel like I was in the kitchen with grandma.
Marijo Phelps06/11/09
Loved this Vonnie - does the recipe really work too? My challenge to you is to submit this to Focus for their magazine for pre-teens...GRIN
Yvonne Blake 06/11/09
Yes, the recipe is correct and works. Since it uses gelatin, you need to refrigerate it. (after opening)
Beth LaBuff 06/11/09
Vonnie--wonderful story! My grandma made Rhubard Jam too (she used the candied orange slices). We loved it! Congrats on your highly commended AND your Editor's Choice!!!
LauraLee Shaw06/11/09
Congratulations, dear Vonnie! This is WONderful!!!!