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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)

TITLE: Take It Easy
By Hiram Claudio
07/25/12


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“Honey, why are you so frantic? Calm down.”

Tony and his wife were getting ready to host three couples for dinner. They all met at the church’s potluck fellowship meal last week and the group just seemed to hit it off quickly. Tony’s wife was now panic stricken as she raced through their home, attending to every imaginable detail, making sure every little thing was in place.

Tony tried to break the tension he felt in her. “I thought we only invited the new friends we met in church last week.”

“We did. Why do you ask?”

“Well, with the pressure you’re placing on yourself, I thought perhaps the Queen of England was stopping by as well.” Tony smiled sheepishly. He was trying to lighten the mood. It didn’t work.

“You just don’t understand. We had such a great time with everyone last week. It felt so wonderful to sit with a group like that and just share. I really feel this could be the start of something awesome. I want everything to be right and don’t want to mess this up.”

“Honey, please! I know you want everything just so. I too felt a warm connection and an ease that made everything feel so … safe. I look forward to growing with these folks as well.”

“So why aren’t you joining me in polishing a lamp or fluffing a pillow or something?”

“Sweetheart, listen to me. I want everything to look good for them too. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward. But look around you. The place already looks amazing. Relax.”

“I can’t. I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten, something they might notice and … you never know what could bug someone.”

Tony’s wife quickly ran to the closet and pulled out the vacuum. As she ran it over the living room carpet, Tony stood there looking at her. His smile was small at first then grew as their eyes met. She sighed deeply as she realized it was the fourth time she’d vacuumed in the last twenty minutes.

“Honey … you really need to take it easy. Everything will be okay. We’re going to have another wonderful and awesome evening.”

“I’m sorry Tony. I don’t know why I’m being this way. I guess I want to grow closer to this group. The time we all shared last week was special…it really ministered to me. I felt the Lord’s presence so much!”

“I did too! But do you remember what the setting was for that get together?”

“Yeah, it was a potluck dinner, so what?”

“It was a gathering where everyone just brought whatever they could. We arrived with few, if any, expectations, and just enjoyed being there. We all came to the dinner simply to enjoy. The food had no theme. The place settings were simple, the only ones the church could afford. In fact they didn’t match. It wasn’t about the pots of food everyone brought, and luck played no role in the evening either. None of that mattered. In this very informal setting, God brought the eight of us together.”

“You’re right. I’m trying to re-create a perfect atmosphere when it was the people, and His presence, that made the evening so special before.”

“Exactly! Everything will be fine. Just take a deep breath and relax. Trust me …our biggest concern tonight will be in keeping all the ladies’ names straight.”

“I know. No one could’ve imagined in this little circle that every woman’s name, but mine, is Mary.”

“Yeah, good thing they all have different middle names. Now, it’s ‘Mary Ellen, Mary Sue, and Mary Jane’ …right?”

“I believe so. Thanks for helping me gain some perspective. I’ll be alright.”

“I know you will. You’re the amazing Martha I love and cherish.”

Tony held out his arms and they embraced each other tenderly. Just then, the doorbell rang. He looked into Martha’s eyes and smirked.

“Someone’s here! Oh no! Is everything in place? Maybe I should run the vacuum one more time or polish something. What do you think?”

Martha peered at him with a half smirk, “If I didn’t have to answer the door, I’d beat you senseless … which wouldn’t require much time.”

Tony laughed. “Ah, saved by the bell once again.”


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This article has been read 185 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/26/12
This is sweet. I've read quite a few Martha and Mary stories these past few weeks but this one takes the cake! I think this is a grand story and can so relate to the MC. What an important lesson there is in this piece. You captured it masterfully.
Laury Hubrich 07/26/12
This is a sweet story. One thing to watch for though, don't retell the same things. That will use up your word count and you don't want to do that! This was my favorite paragraph:

"Tony’s wife quickly ran to the closet and pulled out the vacuum. As she ran it over the living room carpet, Tony stood there looking at her. His smile was small at first then grew as their eyes met. She sighed deeply as she realized it was the fourth time she’d vacuumed in the last twenty minutes."

Very good job:)
CD Swanson 07/26/12
I enjoyed this piece very much. It was creative and well crafted. It held my attention throughout, and I loved how patient the hubby was with the wife.

We can all relate to this story, I know I was smiling the whole time.

Great message and well written...thank you.

God Bles~
CD Swanson 07/26/12
I enjoyed this piece very much. It was creative and well crafted. It held my attention throughout, and I loved how patient the hubby was with the wife.

We can all relate to this story, I know I was smiling the whole time.

Great message and well written...thank you.

God Bles~
CD Swanson 07/26/12
I enjoyed this piece very much. It was creative and well crafted. It held my attention throughout, and I loved how patient the hubby was with the wife.

We can all relate to this story, I know I was smiling the whole time.

Great message and well written...thank you.

God Bles~
Leola Ogle 07/28/12
What a delightful story and one that so many of us can relate to! We all want to look our best and have everything immaculate, sometimes to the point we can't even enjoy our company when they arrive. Well written. Good job. God bless!
Helen Curtis07/28/12
Very nice. It's funny how we get all uppity when company is due, when really who even looks at things like the floor or whatever?! If the company is great, everything else pales into insignificance. A lovely story with a beautiful message. Well done.
Noel Mitaxa 07/29/12
Loved the interaction between the couple, and the subtle parallels with Martha and Mary.
I also enjoyed your down-to-earth distinction between simply offering hospitality and all the stress that accompanies entertaining.
lynn gipson 07/31/12
I really enjoyed this...a warm love story to warm the cockles of my heart....well written and on topic!
Loren T. Lowery07/31/12
I really liked the paragraph that states potlucks are where you bring what you can and let God take care of the rest (paraphrased of course). This is profound when you think about it as it is probably how God would have us live our everyday lives as well. This ministered to me in this way and I thank-you for sharing.
Beth LaBuff 07/31/12
I was so caught up in the story (and totally identified with the wife in wanting everything perfect). :) The Mary's and Martha was a fun touch, like icing on the cake. You made me smile.
Catrina Bradley 08/01/12
I can somewhat relate to Martha - but not to this extreme. :) I love how you made her almost a caricature of the worried hostess. It seemed to take a while for you to get in a comfortable groove - I think the writing in the second half is stronger than the first. A delightful story - good plotting and pace. I enjoyed this a lot!