The Official Writing Challenge
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The story, the build up, the ending, brought tears of wonder to my heart.

To be able to trandsend trauma, and bad times is an awesome gift through God and you reminded us of this through your great story-telling.

A blessing to start my day! Thank you!
You hit the nail on the head with this topic. Joy isn't an emotion, but a choice. Beautiful way of constructing a powerful message. One thing I didn't like was the dialogue. I found the modern dialouge "As if" (etc..) distracted from the intensity of the piece. But that's a minor detail. You'll do well with this. Congrats!
What a great message encapsulated here. My Pastor sings scripture as a Psalmist, and during the darkest times of my life, I've found those songs playing in the background when I've taken a moment to listen to what's going on inside of me. The word of Yahveh heals and delivers even when we are too weak to continue. When we can't know what we kneed, he knows. Thanks for reminding me.
Yesss! Excellent. Joy is a choice, and Yahweh had marvelous reasons for commanding this yearly celebration...for all time! (Zech. 14:16)

I would have been drawn in more easily had there been some earlier clue as to the time period/cultural context. All in all, a great lesson, well-told.
I love the fact that you focused not only the simplistic meaning of "joy" but how it truly is a choice. That fact will stick with me and prove to be an important reminder. Thanks for writing this very meaningful story. Great job again!
I just love the ending, with the hint of a smile, and the foot just barely starting to tap. Sheer perfection.
Yes, this is excellent. Very well written.
This is a brilliant story! And I enjoyed the slow revelation of the setting. Your missing italics didn't really detract from the intensity of the piece, but the POV switch at the end did. Perhaps the missing *** in between paragraphs was part of the formatting problem? Anyway, you did a GREAT job conveying a realistic widow and her grief. Wonderful work!
A masterful look at choosing joy, it is a choice!
I followed this just fine even with the missing formatting. Wonderful story! Great job. :-)
I absolutely love this story and message. I was jarred by the modern dialogue/thinking though. Anita's right about the POV switch too. It was beautiful the way you brought the sister from withdrawn, angry and hurt to the hope of joy through obedience. Just wonderful!
A nicely told story of family and traditionalism...sweet.
Beautifully written story. You conveyed the emotions, frustrations, and eventual joy so well. It took me a minute to figure out when the setting was, but even that worked. Loved it.
What a powerful lesson not only on joy but praise. When we feel least like praising God is when we need to do it the most. And when we obediently do our part and praise Him anyway, joy can't help but follow. Wonderful piece, Suz. Great job, as always! Blessings, Lynda
The formatting wasn't too much of a problem, but at first, I was distracted by modern dialog in a biblical setting. Then after I thought about it, I liked it. Kind of like a Living Translation of the Bible. It made the characters more real. Nice job Suzanne. :)
Yes, Suzanne, I'm with all the other admirers of this wonderful piece! Joy is a choice...thank you for writing a story that brings that truth to light. You've told it beautifully indeed!!