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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)

TITLE: Anika's Inspiration
By Amanda Brogan


Anika stared long and hard at the annoying white screen on her laptop, fruitlessly attempting to collect her thoughts. Just as she’d been doing for the past 20 minutes. The fluffy armchair she had chosen to curl up in offered none of its usual comfort.

She adjusted her feet to a less numbing position beneath her and grabbed a coffee mug from an end table adjacent the chair. Even the smooth, cinnamon swirl coffee failed to bring her enjoyment. Perhaps partly because it was now luke-warm.

“Anika!” she cringed upon hearing her mother call from the kitchen. “Could you give me a hand with supper please?”

She released a hard sigh and set her coffee down roughly on its coaster.

“Mom, I’m on a deadline! I’ve got to get this article written tonight or Faith Today will give my spot to someone else.”

Her mother popped her head into the living room. “Sorry honey, but I thought you had finished your story already. I figured you would have gotten it done before you came to visit.”

“The paper needed me to do a last-minute interview, so I haven’t written my magazine article yet. And plus, I’ve had the hardest time coming up with anything.” She groaned and flopped her head back against the La-Z-boy.

“Well, it sounds to me like you need a break. Why not come in here and help me whip up a batch of your favorite brownies for dessert?”

“Brownies won’t write my article.”

“Neither will staring at a blank screen. Maybe all you need is a little inspiration. Ya never know where it might come from.” Mother winked and headed back to the kitchen to resume her cooking preparations.

Feeling like a reluctant child, Anika set aside her laptop, slipped out of her soft nest, and practically stomped to the kitchen.

Her mother was already opening a box of “mega fudge” brownie mix. “I know you have writing assignments sweetheart, but it’s nice to actually spend time with you when you visit for the weekend.” She smiled. “Besides, you’ll have plenty of time to write after supper.”

“I wouldn’t count on it.” Anika grabbed a carton of eggs from the refrigerator and proceeded to crack a few into a large bowl. “I’ve had pretty much zero good ideas lately, and the articles that I do manage to squeeze out of my brain aren’t getting the usual positive feedback.” She poured a measuring of oil into the bowl. “I try so hard, but haven’t had any ‘wow’ articles in weeks.”

Her mother’s eyes bled compassion but before she could deliver a “pat-on-the-back” answer, the back door slammed and ten-year-old Braden bounded into the kitchen.

“Neeky, you’re here!”

“Hey, buddy.” Despite her mood, Anika smiled at her brother’s affectionate nickname for her.

“Oh Braden,” mother pointed to a pile of mail at the end of the counter. “Your God's Artist magazine came today.”

“Sweet,” he ravaged the pile for the glossy prize, and whipped through the pages. Arriving at the spot he was looking for, he froze and dropped his jaw. “I can’t believe it! My drawing won first place.”

Mother squealed her delight. “Honey, that’s wonderful!” she squeezed his shoulders while Anika gave him a thumbs up. “How did you manage to get it done with your camping trip and everything?”

“Well, I didn’t want to take that trip last week because I wanted to make the drawing deadline and I didn’t have anything done. But I decided to go anyway. Then the camp leader said something that made me think . . . he gave a talk on Psalms 16:8, and said that if we let God lead our path, we will know what to do. I realized that I hadn’t been seeking God about my drawing. I just wanted to win. After that talk, I prayed and asked God to give me a drawing that glorified Him.”

He held up the magazine with a grin. “And He did.”

The picture was a detailed sketch of a little boy walking down a path, holding Jesus’ hand.

Guilt and admiration sliced through Anika’s heart. When was the last time she had sought God’s will in her writing? She had gotten so caught up in being noticed that she’d forgotten to pray.

Holding back tears, she patted Braden’s back. “It’s beautiful, buddy. In fact, it may glorify God more than you know.”

She glanced up and met her mother’s eyes.

She had found her inspiration.

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This article has been read 563 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Shipman 05/23/10
This was humbling, convicting and inspiring for me personally. Great setting for the story, realistic dialogue and nice illustration for your point. Good job!
Caitlyn Meissner05/24/10
CHOCOLATE!!! Gimme, gimme, gimme. :)

What a great message this article has. You're absolutely right to say that glorifying God should be our true inspiration.

I enjoyed your characters very much. Your mom sounded like a real mom, comforting and kind, and your little brother sounded like a good role model, which happens now and then, to our surprise. ;)

Maybe since this next week is "inspiration/block" you could do a sequel and show if your MC's inspiration really did work out.

Beth LaBuff 05/25/10
I could see this transpiring (like a movie). This is rich with detail, "cinnamon swirl coffee" and "mega fudge brownie mix". (This would be dangerous to read on an empty stomach. :) ) I loved the brother's nick-name for his sister, "Neeky." :) You have a wonderful message for writers tucked inside your heart-warming story!
Terry R A Eissfeldt 05/26/10
Great story! Great message.
Ann Grover05/26/10
Excellent reminder... Well done, realistic dialogue, solid writing.

(Red ink: missing commas.)
Kate Oliver Webb 05/26/10
I enjoyed this a lot, and also got a strong nudge in the area of needing my craft to glorify God. Thanks for that. Excellent writing: dialogue was realistic, I could smell the warm hominess in that kitchen and I wanted to get a hug from the mom. Just an all-around good job!
AnneRene' Capp05/26/10
Bullseye message for all of us! You set the scene wonderfully. I instantly had a vivid image of your chair, blank screen, kitchen with mom cooking and Braden slamming that back door. Oh, and even the swirled lukewarm coffee...I could still smell it! :) Also got a good chuckle out of Anika cringing when her mother yelled her name...:) :)
Carol Penhorwood 05/27/10
Well done with a timely message for all of us!
Margaret Kearley 06/02/10
Wow! What a story and what a lesson. Wonderful - and challenging!