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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)

TITLE: Labour of Love
By Julianne Jones



“Just look at this tangle of vines! I’m going to have to chop everything down.”

Jenna raised her head from where she was carefully searching for hidden plants amidst the head-high weeds and looked to where her husband was pointing.

“Isn’t there some way we could resurrect it? It was probably beautiful at one time. I’m sure it could be again. ”

Aaron eyed the tangle. “Maybe. But I doubt it would be worth it. The structure underneath – if there is one – is probably rotted by now.”

“Couldn’t we try?”


“Well I would help but she might not like it,” and she gently rubbed the growing mound beneath her ribs.


“Or he.” She smiled mischievously.

Aaron laughed. “You know I can never say no when you look at me like that. Oh all right. But I’m telling you now: it’s a waste of time.”


Rhiannon’s Journal 1880

The house is finished and James has now turned his attention to the garden. While I pour over seed catalogues and beg cuttings from friends and neighbours, he turns his attention to plans, and tools, and the straight grain of the wood.

At times it frustrates me that he is so painstakingly exact with every detail and decision. I just want something on which to grow my vines, but he insists that nothing but perfection will suffice. And while he takes his time, my plants wither and die.


“Will you look at that!”

Jenna hurried toward the sound of her husband’s voice. With an extravagant bow and a flourish of his hand he indicated the structure now freed of its tangle of growth: the vines reduced to chest height and the prunings piled high alongside.

“It’s beautiful.” Jenna breathed in awe.

“Obviously built by someone who knew his craft. You don’t find workmanship like that these days.”

“Is it sound?”

“Could do with a coat of paint and a nail or two, but otherwise it’s like new.”

She glanced around. “I wonder what used to be here? This seems to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Apparently all this property belonged to an old homestead before it was subdivided. I’d say this was part of the original garden.”

“Where’s the house?”

“Burnt down years ago. Before the war.”

“What a shame the family didn’t rebuild.”

Aaron shrugged. “Never heard of any family. Just some old guy on his own.”

Jenna surveyed the structure. “That’s a labour of love. I can’t believe he was always alone.”


Rhiannon’s Journal 1880

I hope the cuttings I’ve brought from home will grow here. They survived the journey but this is such an inhospitable land. So dry and hot. At times I wonder why we came. I think that is why James works so hard in the garden. It is a labour of love. He feels regret for tearing me away from my family, for the child that died at sea, for everything we have left behind.

It will be beautiful. I can see it already. He will be finished soon and then it will be time to plant. Roses, wisteria, claret vine, jasmine, honeysuckle - perhaps even the exotic bougainvillea – I want them all to have a place in my garden.


Jenna walked around the arch. “What kind of vines are they, I wonder?”

“You’ll have to wait until they start flowering - not much to go by at the moment.”

“I just can’t believe how beautiful it is: the love and attention that’s gone into it.”

Aaron placed an arm around his wife. “I just wonder what kind of person would spend so much time on something that was just going to be covered up any way.”

Jenna smiled at her husband. “Someone who shows his love in practical ways. Someone like you.”

Aaron kissed the head resting on his shoulder. “Is this just another ploy to get me doing more work?”

Jenna laughed and slipped out of his embrace. “What do you think?”


Rhiannon’s Journal 1880

I have planted my cuttings and now can barely wait until spring when the garden will grow and flourish. It will be lovely.

There is another reason I am anxious for spring. I haven’t told James, but new life is growing and flourishing once more inside me. In the spring our child will be born. Someone we can pass all this on to when we are gone.

I just pray the child will be strong and healthy.


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This article has been read 1171 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Deborah Bauers11/29/05
I love the parallel lives existing in this piece. There's alot to think about here;life is growing and life is being resurrected. I'm a history buff, so this piece intrigues me. It would make a great excerpt from a whole journal!
DeAnna Brooks11/29/05
I can't tell you why, but I had goosebumps from the first word to the last. I was there ... in both seasons, connected to the love that flowed, twining vine-like from heart to heart. Beautiful, beautiful story begging to continue.
terri tiffany11/30/05
I love finding parts of history and seeing it come to life today. This was a very enjoyable read!:)
Jan Ackerson 12/01/05
Great job balancing dialog, description, and the journal entries. Very tender. I liked this a lot.
Anita Neuman12/01/05
You did a great job sucking the reader in to both worlds. Fabulous!
Karen Ward12/02/05
Beautiful. I love it when you do history linked to the future. You have a gift for finding the parallels and those things which are everpresent, like love, and husbands who show love by their workmanship. Great job! Now you are where you really belong! :) Karen
Cassie Memmer12/02/05
Very lovely story! I really enjoyed it, and I also would like to read more of their lives. Thanks!
Denise Stanford12/02/05
This is beautiful, you give us so much information in so few words. A very clever ploy combining the two time lines...and two females voices so well. Congratulations, it worked so well.
Shari Armstrong 12/02/05
This was great!! The paralells were well done.
Linda Watson Owen12/02/05
An entrancing entry for sure! A beautiful dance between the old and the new!
Laurie Glass 12/04/05
This was a heartwarming piece that left me wanting to know about about their characters and their lives. I agree that it would be great to see this expanded.
Sally Hanan12/05/05
Very nicely written, and you pulled off getting the description in between the dialogue very well.
Suzanne R12/06/05
I also really enjoyed the parallels between the further back past and the not quick so far past! Well done!
B Brenton12/06/05
Whoever said the word 'entrancing' hit the nail on the head.

It left with a cliffhanger though...

There's the two parallels and it's awesome but then it cuts off and you're like... woah!

Great fitting title as well...