The Official Writing Challenge
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Oh, I really like this! Deborah's words and her vision really do go straight to the heart.

My only suggestion would be to end it sooner and to resist the temptation to summarize several years in one paragraph, which is a bit anticlimactic after the wonderful immediacy of the rest of the piece. Maybe end after "It was a beginning..."

The "frame" of Marissa looking in the mirror at the beginning and the end is very effective.
This is a very well written and poignent story. I commend you on a job well done. It would be wonderful if we could all see ourselves through the vision of others. Imagine how many things we would change if we did.
A masterful portrait of a mother's life. I can really identify with this, having raised 3 children, all so very different, amidst sickness & strife and the loss of a husband. Well done.
Isn't it amazing how God can take small, every-day moments in our lives to suddenly reveal His glory and a better way to live? This is a good story that can provide hope for a lot of people struggling in the day-to-day struggles we all face in life. (I know its rare, but it would be nice to read a story where the husband is actually helpful in these situations.)