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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Beginnings (05/31/04)

TITLE: New Beginnings Even When Life Seems Over
By Billie Porter


No matter where we go in life it always starts with the beginning. Sometimes we think it to be the end but really it is just the beginning. Take for example the day I received news that my grandfather had passed away. He had been the pastor of a small church for 65 + years. His whole adult life was dedicated to God's work. I always knew he was special. He was the type of man that never had a harsh word to say about anyone. He enjoyed life many days he would work all day in the coal mines and stay up all night with a family that needed him. Yet he never complained about anything. He never talked about the people he helped or the lives he touched.

At his funeral to me it was the end. Driving to our small church I thought about how many times I had been here to see him preach and now it was over. I was surprise when I seen that not only had our family came to pay my last respects to my grandfather so had many others. There was no parking anywhere around the church. When we made our way through the sea of cars and trucks to the church the outside in front of the doors to the church was full too with hundreds of people. I made my way up to the doors and a man said sorry there is no more room in the church only family is being let in at this time.

I explained to the man that I was family. He apologized and offered his condolences to my family. He said your grandfather gave my family and me a new life. He began to tell me about breaking his leg and being out of work some years back. He had lost his car his home and his self worth. I was ready to end my life when I met your granddad. He had heard about my family and came over to offer us help. He helped us get a home and even gave us one of his cars to drive until I was on my feet yes he gave us a new life the man spoke in a thankful voice. I was speechless because after he told his story another man began his story of how my grandfather helped him in his time of need. Story after story came from outside this tiny church and when I did get inside there were many more. My grandfather had helped many with his faith in God he always said he was doing Godís work and through granddad he gave new beginnings to many people.

I came away that day not feeling like I had lost my grandfather anymore. I was thankful and blessed to have someone so special in my life. Even when life seems to be over our Lord gives us new beginnings. Thanks granddad for all the wonderful beginnings you gave in his name.

Member Comments
Member Date
Marcell Billinghurst06/07/04
What a lovely testimony to the life of your grandfather. To know he had such an impact on the lives of so many,is a priceless treasure.
Billie Porter06/07/04
Billie Porter06/07/04
yes he was i'm so blessed to have had such a wonderful person in my life
Dian Moore06/07/04
Your grandfather was a living testimony. Your story is very heartwarming, but there are a few mistakes. It just needs some polishing. Otherwise, the story content is very good.
I loved your story and I know I had a great grandfather to even though he came from Italy and resided in Hershey, Pa and I enjoyed the music he played and is now joined with our Lord and Savior
Keep up good work.
Linda Miller06/07/04
Hi Billie - this is a beautiful testimony of your grandfathers legacy. He truly left behind many blessings. On an editing note you might try reading the story outloud to get a sense of how it sounds. Some sentences I had to go back and re-read until I got your point. But a beautiful story - keep on writing!
Gary Sims06/07/04
Billie Ė This is a beautiful story about a beautiful man who led a beautiful life. It is obvious you are very proud of him. These are the types of stories that are most meaningful to others. Keep working on your writing of this tribute. Every few months, as you develop your writing skills, go back to this, read it anew, remember your roots, and write it again. In this way you will continue to pay tribute and homage to a man who lived a life glorifying God. - Gary
Marie B. Corso06/07/04
A lovely tribute to a man whose life obviously affected many people.
You could have made the people who told you about your grandfather into dialogue. That would have broken up the article and helped the grammar. Regardless, it was a joy to read.
Deborah Porter 06/07/04
Billie, you are a sweetie and this is such a precious testimony to the legacy your Grandfather left behind.

Your love for writing is obvious, but I read in your biography notes that you've had not formal training. That's fine, as long as you keep growing and developing your skills, including grammar and punctuation. Even just reading lots of other people's articles and looking at what does and doesn't work can be a great help.

It's little things like, "He enjoyed life many days he would work all day in the coal mines and stay up all night with a family that needed him." This needs either a full stop or hyphen after the "he enjoyed life". Either that or you have to find a word to connect the two parts.

Then there's the sentence, "I was surprise when I seen that not only had our family came to pay my last respects to my grandfather". It should be "saw", not "seen".

With the part where the gentleman said about being ready to end his life when he met your granddad. You switched to a direct quote there from the gentleman and speech at that. It needs to be in quotation marks. Otherwise it's all jumbled up for the reader. It was also very hard to pick at first where the gentleman finished his comment and you picked up the narration.

Some of the paragraphs need to be broken up a little more (particularly the third one).

Be encouraged though Billie. You have a warmth and very natural style of sharing what's on your heart. If you are willing to do the work to hone your natural talent, I believe that your writing will be able to bless even more people. With love, Deb

Linda Germain 06/07/04
Wow, Deb, I could not have said it better. I agree, Billie, you have talent here that needs to be expressed. There are lots of folks at FW with lots of experience who can guide you . Please consider this your NEW BEGINNING!
Melanie Kerr 06/08/04
It made me think about the impact I have made or not made on the community I live in.
Mary Elder-Criss06/08/04
Billie, to echo Deb's comments, you have a lot of talent that just needs to be refined. Your piece brought my grandparents back to me so vividly, even though they are gone, they live on in so many people that they touched. Thank you for the sweet memories. Keep writing. You have what it takes. Blessings! Mary
Billie Porter06/08/04
Thank you for taking the time to help a new beginner such as myself. Your comments are much wanted and welcomed. God Bless
L.M. Lee06/09/04
How very kind-hearted this piece was.

Pastoring for 65+ years...that is truly amazing!
B Price06/10/04
wow, you got me crying, this was a beautiful story. Praise GOD there are people like your granddad. Of course you know that. (smile)
what honor to write about him and to have the memories you do of HIM.
May his legend continue on as others does like wise and follow his example.

thanks for sharing a little bit of your granddad with all of us.

Patricia Ouellette06/13/04
Hi Billie, Your Grandfather was an amazing man. I know how hard it is to write about someone you love who has gone home to our Father.

I say this not just to Billie, but to all who write. When you are emotionally charged, especially with anger or sorrow, try to find someone else to edit your work for you. Someone who is not as emotional about the subject you have written. It may seem like a cheats way out, but at least your work will be solid and without mistakes. It is hard to be constructive in your editing when you are emotionally charged by the subject. Just a little advice for us all.

Blessings in His name.