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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beautiful (11/07/05)

TITLE: Mandy's Choice
By Shannon Redmon


“This is the fifth load of laundry I have done today. What do these kids do? Use their sleeves for napkins and change after every meal?”

I placed my son’s clothes in his drawer and pushed aside the heap of wrinkled shirts just ironed yesterday. I sighed and began to refold each one. His dirty jeans had seen too many days on the school playground and I tossed them into the trash. All appeared neat and tidy in his room, so I headed for my oldest daughter’s den. Hesitation guided my steps for I knew whatever was on the other side of her door would challenge any mother’s sanity. I pushed…pushed…pushed…

“Surely she didn’t move her dresser again?”

He-woman took over and pure muscle knocked through the barrier. Like a rock in a sling shot I landed in a pile of my dear daughter’s shoes.

Poor shoes… I thought to myself and began to kick them into her closet. The brand new boots I bought her yesterday flew through the air and left a black mark on her shelf.

“Why am I doing this?”

I ran down the stairs and into my room using my pillow as a tissue.

“I should’ve stayed at the company. I was happy there, wasn’t I? People appreciated me. I did good work…here at home no one even notices…not even a thank you.”

My crying slowed and I took a deep breath.

Don’t do it, Vicki. Don’t do it.

But it was too late. My feet sunk into the carpet as I laid my hand upon the closet door. I knew what was inside high up on a shelf in a box where no one could reach it. My answer called out to me.

It seemed like someone else opening the lid but the mirror reflected my image. I ran my fingers across the hardware…the metal felt cool to the touch. My hands picked it up.

Before long it was ready and I took one last look into the mirror.

“Here goes nothing…”

I ripped off my clothes and put on the beautiful suit. Memories of my last day at work flooded my mind. Power, strength and identity returned to me. I imagined myself entering the conference room, using my intellect and people skills to woo the customer. “Putty in my hands”, the boss used to tell me after a successful sale. What a rush…

Knock, knock, knock. I whirled around towards my closed door.

“Who is it?”

“It’s me mommy. Can I come in?”

My youngest daughter stood on the other side.

Should I let her see me like this…tear stained face, powersuit and bunny slippers?

I slumped onto my bed.
Before I could answer she opened the door and caught my act.

“What are you doing mommy? Playing dress up?”

“Well, mommy was feeling kind of sad and thought that putting on her suit might lift her spirits a little.”

My daughters face broke into a grin as she climbed on my lap. The freckles lining her nose seemed to make her blue eyes twinkle.

“Can I play too?”


Mandy crawled down and shuffled over to the closet. She pulled out my old fuzzy sweater and a pair of ripped jeans.

“Put this on.”
My head tilted in curiosity of her choice.

“Why did you choose this outfit? Don’t you like mommy’s beautiful suit?”

“It’s okay but when you wear these you can play with me outside. And the shirt is soft to lay my head on when you hold me. And when I make a mess and you get some on your pants, it’s okay because you say they’re old.”

“You know what?” I tweaked her nose.


“You’re a smart little girl and I think you’re choice is much better than mine.”

“Come on mommy, let’s go climb a tree.”

“Okay sweetie, but first…let me change…”

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This article has been read 754 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 11/14/05
I liked this. You deliver a great message.
The only thing I might change is the "Knock knock knock" part. It detracted from the POV. Other than that small thing, well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Donnah Cole11/14/05
Very good storytelling! It was so witty and at the same time sobering in that it demonstrated the struggles some women go through in identifying who they are. I'm glad she chose the beauty of her family over a suit!
Debbie OConnor11/14/05
Great work! I really identified with your character and loved the way Mandy ministered to her mother so unwittingly. Very real.
Beth Muehlhausen11/17/05
You did a good job of portraying very real inner conflict. And yet, what a happy ending! Amazing how our children are so wise sometimes.... :-)
Peter Thomas11/17/05
A touching story with a smart message. Mandy has things figured out well. We can learn from our children.
terri tiffany11/20/05
I loved the part where you made me wonder what she was reachin gfor and I laughed when she pulled out the suit!Very cute and so true for so many women..I liked her final choice too.
Sandra Petersen 11/20/05
The part that really stuck in my mind was the power suit and bunny slippers. Really good insight from a young girl. Good message!