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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: Pass the Almonds, Please
By Joanne Malley


Pass the Almonds, Please

Henry waved. I glanced and nodded.

I’m sure my lousy mood resonated through my half-hearted response. Then, I continued pushing my junky lawnmower.


Amidst droplets of sweat that mercilessly tickled my face, the red dots of prickly heat, and my smelly pits, I was desperate to take five. I shut the lawnmower and responded to Henry’s wisecrack.

“Oh, Henry…ha-ha-he-haw…you kill me,” I retorted, as I slapped my leg and exaggerated my spastic moves and laughter.

“Your quips are sheer whoppers, but don’t quit your day job. Your jokes stink worse than my underarms. And, besides, they’re hitting a sour patch with me.”

“Sorry. I’m just trying to bring some lighthearted chuckles to your life. I know you’ve been struggling since your layoff from Cadbury Concrete.”

Henry crossed the street and joined me on the sidewalk.

“You know, Henry, I’ve been feeling like a big zero. I haven’t had a payday in nine months and have bills piling up. I was just daydreaming about how 100 grand could help me right now, I said.

“Hang in there, pal. You’ll be living in the land of good and plenty again,” Henry said. “And, Reese will have you back as her sugar daddy too.”

While he spoke, I pulled a candy bar from my pocket. It was slightly melted, but I was desperate for sweet comfort.

“What’s that, Clark?”

“It’s an Almond Joy bar. They’re Reese’s favorite. She and the kids love ‘em.”

“Yeah, me too,” said Henry.

“Not me,” I said, as I plucked the almonds from the candy and flung them into the jungle.

“You don’t eat the nuts? They complete the whole bar,” said Henry.

“Heck no. They’re dry and bland and hurt my teeth. They ruin the taste. I just toss ‘em and enjoy the good stuff.”

“You know, Clark, I think the creator of the Almond Joy bar was a genius. I found that candy to have deep spiritual meaning.”

“No way!” I said. “Don’t bore me with your ridiculous philosophy. Did your revelation come from the nerds at men’s bible study?”

“No. I simply studied the candy bar and compared it to life,” said Henry.

“Ok, let’s hear it, bible boy,” I said.

“Look at it this way. Let’s say your life is that candy bar and your days are filled with nothing but sweetness and everything’s terrific – like that sumptuous first bite of coconut. Then, down life’s path you take a bite that’s horrible and tasteless, full of bland nuts. It’s gritty, sticks in your teeth and it’s no longer a smooth sensation. Your perfect experience is ruined and you just want to spit. Unfortunately, you have a bad taste in your mouth for weeks, maybe months…kinda like you do now from your job loss and all those bills.”

“Sorry for the bluntness, but you’re an airhead, Henry!” There’s no meaning in that!” Are you saying I should be happy with the rocky road I’m traveling now?” I asked.

“Well, sort of, even though it’s tough. Those gritty nuts you hate are like overbearing pitfalls that pop up in our lives. We’re often thrown into mounds of heartache, but faith is what gets us through to the other side where we can rejoice in true joy when the struggle is over. When life’s bumps and hardships are smoothed out, it’s that much sweeter to bask in the joy. It’s then we can truly appreciate it.”

While in thought, I accidentally dropped the rest of my candy with my butterfingers as if it were a hot tamale. I was peeved.

“Do you get it now?” asked Henry.

“I suppose...even though your crazy reasoning came from far beyond the Milky Way.”

“Hey, Clark, why don’t we grab a burger at Mike & Ike’s Steak House – my treat. I’ve also got a yearning for their salad with chunky blue cheese dressing,” said Henry.

“Nah, but thanks. Have you seen my jelly belly? No more greasy burgers for me. I just ate my last candy bar for a while too. I’m resorting to plain almonds. Maybe I’ll acquire a taste for them - it seems like they’re good for the soul and the waistline. Your advice has proven to be a lifesaver.”

“Besides, it’s time I chase out the rest of the cheetahs. I wouldn’t want to hear sarcastic snickers coming from the neighbors!”

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This article has been read 1564 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/25/06
I was just eating an Almond Joy today thinking someone should have used that for the challenge! LOL Funny story.
Jessica Schmit05/25/06
Very creative, but I felt like you were preaching a little strong. That could just be me, but I kinda tuned out during the longer "object lesson" speeches. But...you are a very talented writer. You have incredible talent when it comes to dialogue and you came at this topic in a creative way. Kundos to you.
Birdie Courtright05/26/06
I heard Joel Olsteen speaking through Henry's mouth! Really, though a cute story. I enJOYed it!
Suzanne R05/27/06
While there's obviously quite a few chocolate bar names I don't know (maybe specific to your country?), I know enough to see that this is a clever take on the theme of chocolate. I wouldn't have picked the 'joy' theme were it not for the first comment here, but that's because I'm not familiar with Almond Joy bars ... they sound great though!

Clever writing.
Jan Ackerson 05/28/06
I thought this one was yours! The amazing thing is, desptie the gimmick of the candy names (very, very cute), you still managed to work in a very apt lesson, and in a delicious way. A masterpiece of wordsmanship.
Anita Neuman05/28/06
Ha ha! This was a delicious read. Good job!
Teri Wilson05/28/06
Very clever. Loved all the candy bar names. Now I'm off to read it again to see if I missed any!
T. F. Chezum05/28/06
Very good, very creative. I lost count of all the candy names.
Joanne Malley05/28/06
For those of you interested enough in my quirkiness, here they are: Clark, Dots, Take Five, Oh, Henry, Whoppers, Cadbury, Sour Patch, Chuckles, Zero, Pay Day, 100 Grand, Good & Plenty, Sugar Daddy, Almond Joy, Reese's, Nerds, Air Heads, Rocky Road, Mounds, Butterfingers, Hot Tamales, Milky Way, Chunky, Jelly Belly, Lifesavers, Snickers. My teeth hurt thinking of all those possible cavities!
Jessica Schmit05/28/06
I am sooooooooooooo blind!!! JoJo that is so creative! Maybe next time you do something that genious try to tip the readers off (dense one's like myself. I don't know how you could do that without looking obvious. Maybe something in the title. But Gosh, now that I know, that's the most creative entry I've ever seen! INcredible. Man, I wish I caught that before. Great job!
Rita Garcia05/28/06
A delightful read, only now I'm hungry! Love it!!
Debbie OConnor05/28/06
Cute...you must have really worked at getting all that candy in there. :)
Marilyn Schnepp 05/28/06
Loved the witty dialogue... sounded very real. Nice Job.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/28/06
This was really creative. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the smile on what has been a rough day.
Debra Brand05/28/06
Very clever and well written.
Pat Guy 05/29/06
Fess up girl, I bet you had to write through your own tears of laughter on this one! This has 'Mounds' and 'Mounds' of humor! (my fav by the way!) A little too subliminal for me - I'm off to get my chocolate! ;)
Lynda Lee Schab 05/29/06
Jo, you've outdone yourself! This is fantastic - very creative and clever. I put together candy bar posters for "over-the-hill" birthday parties I attend - the word-play is so fun, isn't it? :-) Loved your humor, as usual, and the story was great. Should get high marks from the judges... :-)
Debbie Sickler05/29/06
I'm glad you posted all of the candies in a comment. I only found 23 and was about to PM you to know the rest! lol (I missed Dots and we don't have Chuckles here) Great job and yummy word choices. The wife's name is a personal fav. :)