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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)

TITLE: Lemonade Side Effects
By Jody Day


Five hundred dollars for church camp is quite a sum for a single mom to produce. Karen worked overtime, scrimped and saved, but she could only manage four hundred fifty. The deadline for sign up loomed the next day. The twins’ lemonade stand cost them every penny of their allowance. They wanted nothing more than to go to camp with the other eight-year-old girls in their class.

Officer Clark pulled up and stopped. He fished around in his pocket for change. He downed his drink, never taking his eyes from Karen. She’d gone out with him a few times, and now he looked to be garnering brownie points. He bought another glass.

“You ought to do well today. The 5K run is on the next street. People park on this street and walk over. You’ll make a fortune.” He tipped his hat at Karen and the girls.

Clark was right. Streams of cars found parking places on Karen’s street, and many of the drivers bought lemonade from the girls. They began to think that they might earn their fifty dollars after all.

The sweltering afternoon blazed on as two quart jars filled to the brim with quarters. The traffic slowed and the girls stopped to count their money.

“We did it!” Mandy and Macy squealed and jumped for joy.

“Thank you, Lord.” Karen hugged her two excited daughters and joined in the jumping.

Officer Clark drove up again. He frowned, and sat in his car for a moment before approaching the girls.

“Do you girls have a permit to sell in this neighborhood, or specifically for the 5K event?” He spoke softly and looked miserable.

“What? No, it’s just a lemonade stand.” Karen squinted her eyes in the sun. Surely he must be joking.

“Then I’m afraid I’m going to have to shut you down. The official vendors for the 5K run complained that you cut into their profits and that you probably didn’t have a permit. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t believe it. If you’re not kidding then this is ridiculous. A lemonade stand? Since when?” She pressed her lips together to control any further words. This hurt.

“I’m sorry, Karen, it’s the law. I didn’t know it either. Chief Smith is new and eager to make his mark. He did say that if you give the money back, there won’t be a fine.”

“Girls, go in the house.” Karen waited until the door shut behind them. “How can they give it back? We don’t know most of the people who passed through here today. You know this is their camp money, right?”

“I’m so sorry, Karen. I risked my job arguing with him about it.”

“Here, take it.” Tears streamed down her face as she shoved the two jars at the Officer.

“This is really difficult.” He put his hand on her shoulder. “I can’t take the money. It has to go back to the people who paid you. I realize that is impossible now. I’m afraid the fine is five hundred dollars.” He wrote her a ticket and knew that a chance for any further dates with Karen probably just evaporated.

Stricken, Karen turned away from him. She wiped her tears. How could she tell the girls that there would be no camp? She’d used this whole experience to encourage them in the value of work, and the importance of faith.

“Don’t worry, Mommy, Jesus will come through,” Mandy said, with Macy nodding her head.

Karen’s heavy heart pounded in her chest on the drive to church Sunday morning. Should she go ahead and pay for camp and risk not having money to pay that outrageous fine?

Ed Clark met her at the door. “Listen, I convinced the Chief to wave the fine if you’d give the jars of quarters from the lemonade stand to charity.”

Karen breathed a sigh of relief. She carried her hard earned four hundred fifty dollars in her purse. Maybe the church would take that much and give her a little more time.

The Pastor took the podium.

“First, we’d like to encourage you single moms today, and let you know that your children’s camp fee is already paid.”

The girls gasped and hugged each other. As the offering music began, Karen placed four hundred fifty tear stained dollars in the plate, straight from the heart.

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This article has been read 483 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/01/12
Awww...What a lovely and touching story that was spot on with the topic.

I loved the ending. I was gritting my teeth praying for a "good outcome."

Nicely done. Thanks.

God Bless~
Catrina Bradley 03/02/12
Such a heart warming story! (After the shock and the anxiety of losing the lemonade money that is.) I felt you tried to fit too much story into the word count toward the end, but I LOVED the ending. Our church kids are working to raise camp money too, and some of them wouldn't be able to go with out the help of their generous church family.
Charla Diehl 03/03/12
I'm so glad this sweet story ended on a happy note. Yes, the Lord provides!

I once gave a boy $5 for a glass of lemonade just to encourage him to be willing to work for things he wants. I think I was his only customer after hours of sitting in the hot sun. He looked so discouraged when I walked by, so I just had to go back and buy a glass. You should've seen his smile! No permit required!
Tracy Nunes 03/04/12
Amanda Brogan03/05/12
Ah, yes ... God is so awesome!
This is a sweet story. Well done. :)
Donna Wilcher03/05/12
What a wonderful story of how God makes everything turn out ok, even when we don't think it will. I was especially pleased with the mothers decision to put the $450 in the offering with a thankful heart. Wonderful! Fabulous work!
Cynthia Carter03/05/12
Held me to the end. Good job!
Allen Povenmire 03/05/12
I liked the story and, having sent three kids to church camps for year, could really relate to her plight.

Probably just me, but when I read "Ed Clark" toward the end of the story, I didn't immediately think of the officer. I thought you had introduced anew character. Again, it could just be my lack of sharpness showing!
Lillian Rhoades 03/05/12
Every single Mom identifies with this story. I loved the story except for the overuse of the word "He" to introduce several sentences. Thanks for another illustration of God's promises to "supply all our needs."
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/05/12
This is a sweet story. I liked the twists and turns it took.
Rachel Phelps03/06/12
I agree that there was just a little too much story for the 750 words. In some respects, this is a good thing because the story kept me engaged, and I was sorry to see it end. I would caution you to be careful with showing versus telling, and deciding how much detail to include. I felt the story would have worked without the info about Clark and Karen, for example. There are just my own personal opinions, of course. Very creative entry!