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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sweet to the Taste (08/23/12)

TITLE: Your Abilities Are Appreciated
By Wilma Schlegel


The cellophane split open easily, too easily. The small corner that ripped off in Audra’s fingers fluttered to the floor of the car, just out of reach. She’d have to get it later, when they got to Mom and Dad’s. She and her sister had just finished some Chinese ‘take-out’ before they started the three hour drive to visit their parents for the weekend.

She bit into the sweet-sticky crispness and pieces of the cookie that were left after she bit, fell out of the cellophane and landed in her lap. Such a mess, but she couldn’t resist reading the words of wisdom from the slip of paper tucked inside.

She looked at it and crumbled it up. “Mine was stupid, what did yours say?” she asked her sister Lynne who sat in the passenger seat.

Lynne had pulled her cookie’s message out just moments before. “Oh, mine was dumb, too. It said, ‘Your abilities are appreciated.’”.

“Your abilities are appreciated? Why can’t I get something like that? That would be so encouraging now while I wait for my evaluation at work.” Audra glanced at Lynne’s side of the car and laughed. “But I do appreciate your ability to eat without making a huge mess.”

“That’s right, little sister, just one of my many and don’t you forget it!” Lynne laughed with her sister then asked, “So, what did yours say, anyway? ‘You shouldn’t eat and drive’?”

Audra came to a smooth stop at the traffic signal and then glared at Lynne. “No, Smartie, my cookie said, ‘Before you can do something, you must first be something’.” She shook her head and turned her attention back to traffic.

“I guess that’s true. Kind of nebulous though,” Lynne concluded.

“How so?” Audra tried to sound disinterested.

“Everybody’s always doing something, so everybody is something,” Lynne looked mindlessly out the window.

“Yeah, but it’s like that one was meant for me. Like insinuating that I’m - not...” Audra’s voice trailed away, Then she tried to make a joke, “I guess I’m just nebulous - I’m so stressed about the evaluation.”

“You analyze too much. It was just a simple fortune cookie.” Lynne seemed to dismiss the subject.

Watching traffic, Audra thought ‘I analyze too much? Lynne just doesn’t know what it’s like to be a deep thinker. She smiled to herself. I guess that’s not one of her ‘appreciated abilities’. Audra wasn’t surprised that when Lynne spoke again she had completely changed the subject.

“Hey remember those ‘Puppy Dogs’ that Mom used to make for us?’ She licked her lips. “They were so sweet and tender! We couldn’t wait to taste them fresh out of the oven.”

“Yeah, I loved those with the cinnamon sugar topping. They were great. Are you going to ask her to make some this weekend?” Audra asked her sister.

“Maybe, but I was just trying to make a point.”

‘Really?!’ Audra thought.

“Do you know why we called them ‘Puppy Dogs’?” Lynne asked.

“I always figured it was just a cutesy little kid thing.” Audra said tilting her head in amusement.

“No. Whenever Mom made a pie she’d take the left-over crust and she’d roll it out and let me cut out shapes with my favorite cookie cutter. Then we’d put on the cinnamon sugar and bake it. The cookie cutter was a puppy.” Lynne explained.

“That’s so cute!” Audra exclaimed. “But what’s your point?”

“My point is, when she stopped using the cookie cutter (I lost it), she just rolled it out and baked it that way. But we still knew it was a ‘Puppy Dog’. That’s what it will always be to us.”

“So...?” Audra still wasn’t getting it.

“So, we wouldn’t let anyone tell us that they’re not ‘Puppy Dogs’. We know they definitely are. So, girl, don’t let those voices in your head or in silly fortune cookies tell you that you’re not something. You’re made in the image of God. Nothing can change that. You are very definitely something, something very good.

Audra pulled the car into their parents’ driveway considering her sister’s words.

Lynne patted Audra’s shoulder and moved to get out of the car. “Race you in!

“Lynne, wait.” Audra grabbed Lynne’s hand. “Thanks a lot, your words were just what I needed.... I’ll be just fine Monday. I am something, something perfect for that job! And, come to think of it, your cookie was right, too. Your abilities are appreciated!”

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This article has been read 356 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/31/12
I really liked the realistic interaction with the characters...and enjoyed the message and story.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/31/12
This was an adorable story of sisterly love, reconciling with one's true self and acceptance. I really enjoyed it.

There were points where I felt a bit lost. I'm not sure if it was me or if it was because some of it didn't feel natural. The whole bit about the cookie, took me a minute to realize it was a fortune cookie. Maybe because I always break my fortune cookie and pull the paper out. Also when you said cellophane, my mind went to the clear plastic wrap that sticks to everything but what it's supposed to which made me think she had a plate of homemade cookies on her lap. After rereading it, I realized that I read my life experiences into the story.

Now that, I've settled that the confusion was my fault, I want to stress what an important lesson this story has for me. i'm much like the MC, unsure and super critical of everything I do. I'm also a huge worrier and you reminded me that I'm special in God's eyes. He loves me faults and all and his sacrifice always gives me a chance at redemption. There's a lot of depth to this charming story and I have been blessed by your words.
Theresa Santy 09/05/12
What I loved about this piece is that you used the theme, and launched from there. The theme wasn't you're main focus, but the inspiration, which makes this piece unique for this particular challenge entry.

The message was good, but as strange as it may seem, I feel the point would have been stronger if you left off the final paragraph.

Overall, well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/12
Congratulations on your HC and for ranking 13 overall! :)
C D Swanson 09/09/12
Congrats. God bless~