The Official Writing Challenge
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This brought tears to my eyes. I'm willing to bet just about everyone can think of a stern lady in their own church. How sad, sure it's sad for the little girl and her momma but my heart really breaks for the stern lady. What horrible things must have happened in her life to be so disagreeable and unwilling to tend to Jesus' sheep. You did an outstanding job on this one. I hope that some of the people reading this are the stern lady and see themselves through Hannah's eyes and change. Beautiful storytelling and on of my all time favorites.
Love this story. You did a great job telling it!
Every time I see a stern person, I always wonder, "what went wrong in their lives? How sad." And, this story had me saying the same about the "unhappy bully stern old lady."

I was thrilled with the outcome. Good writing and great message. Thanks.

God bless~
I agree with all that has already been said. This is such a beautiful story; may we all pray to be a little more like the pastor and a little less like the cranky lady every day. Well done.
Beautifully told in its contrasts. The family in need; a stern lady in a fowl mood and a pastor who did not chicken out when he faced the opportunity to share so naturally in Jesus' name. Great work.
This story was beyond touching and moving. I was so emotionally invested that I found myself wanting to give the "stern lady" a piece of my mind! You wrote this piece so beautifully. The message came through and the contrasts that were painted were clear yet not forced. It all felt so natural.

The character of Hannah was done very well - found myself wanting to hug here (as well as tell her not to pay attention to that mean stern lady). Awesome writing here!
Congratulations on your great writing and your EC!
Congratulations on your well-deserved placing.
Congratulations. I'm delighted this piece did so well. It really knocked me off my feet. The world needs to read this and I sincerely hope that you can find a way to get it out there. Hugs:)
I was reading this for the third or forth time when I noticed this line -- another said as her eyes raked over her mommy.
If you do try to pursue getting this published you may want to restructure that sentence because it made me think that the person who was speaking was looking at her own mother. I realized this isn't what you meant but perhaps something like -- Another lady raked her eyes over Mommy. or even more detail to show Hannah's emotion like -- Hannah shivered when another lady spoke as the stranger's eyes raked over Mommy. Another thought would be would a 5 yo know the meaning of the word rake. Perhaps now that you aren't limited by the word count, you could add more details like She looked at Mommy's face and crinkled her nose. When her eyes dropped down to Mommy's dress, the lady's eyebrow raised so high it almost disappeared in her fancy hair-do. I don't mean to be nitpicky but I so love this story and even though it will be published in the FW anthology, you may at some point want to include it in a collection of your own stories. I think it is a bit of genius the way you captured my heart and made me want to reach through the screen and hold the little ones in my arms. :)
Congrats Leola! God Bless~
Yes, these are tears in my eyes. Tears for all the little girls and mommies out there that are in this situation and guilty tears for all the times I may have been a bit stern when mercy and grace would have been a better response. This really touched my heart.