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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Little Foxes
By Fiona Dorothy Stevenson



Why is it sometimes so hard to submit our emotions to the Lord? While her fingers flew, Megan pondered Pastor John’s message about the little foxes that spoil the vines. It was an ‘all church day,’ when teams from the different age groups participated, and Pastor John kept his message short, simple and very to the point. Her eyes crinkled as she thought of his little support team, Billie’s grandson William among the singers. William was an enthusiastic singer. Faces scrubbed and shining, solemnly they sang: “…envy, jealousy, malice and pride, all the little sins that in my heart abide…”

Megan bent over her work with intense concentration. Billie startled her, bending over her shoulder and asking, “Another of your do or die projects, Megan?” Megan was finishing off the threads on the back of her cross-stitch. Billie flipped it over, gave it a cursory glance and threw it back. “Hmm. Not too bad, Meggie dear. You’ll get there one day, no doubt.”

Megan flushed painfully as she watched Billie walk away. She was not “Meggie dear,” and she wished Billie wouldn’t always sneer at what she did. She straightened the fabric, completed her task of neatening the threads. She smoothed it out and examined it closely. Her work was meticulous. She was making a baby blanket in Tunisian stitch, decorated with teddy bears sitting, standing and walking around the rug. She had taken great care in choosing her picture diagram, the yarns and colors. Now she had almost completed the ribbons linking the teddies together.

Threading her needle, Megan counted the squares of the fabric to begin the last section. She was aware she had lost concentration – Billie had that effect on her – but she knew there was time to finish the embroidery before the group broke for tea prior to going home.

She glanced around the church hall at the women sitting alone or in small groups, working at various projects. She thought affectionately of the friendships she had found among them after the sudden loss of her husband; their encouragement to find other interests, do something different. Really they were a great group of gals, and she enjoyed their company and the small outings they planned from time to time.

Well, that was that! The work was done. Megan straightened her tired shoulders, spread the blanket right side up on her worktable, and stood to examine it carefully. She patted the teddies, traced the ribbon with her fingers. The colors worked well. There were no uneven spaces, no inconsistencies. It was good.

Phillippa came across. “Finished, Megan?” she asked, then turned to the others. “Come and see, ladies. Megan’s finished, and it is beautiful.” The others put their work aside and came over. There were “ooh’s” and “aah’s” and a murmur of smiles and congratulations. Megan felt shy and unworthy. Then Billie’s voice rose above the others. “My! My! Meggie dear.”

“I am not Meggie dear,” Megan interrupted gratingly. “I am not Meggie dear,” she repeated, holding Billie’s eyes with her own. Billie shrugged. She picked up Megan’s scissors, a half smile on her face. The point of the scissors dug into the blanket. She snipped. And snipped. The only sound in the hall was the sound of the scissors.

Megan didn’t look down. She didn’t move. Her voice was level. She said, “I made it for your new granddaughter, Billie.”

In the silence Megan walked out.

572 words

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This article has been read 711 times
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Shirley McClay 02/21/08
OUCH! Oh no! I wanted to stop her! How tragic. Your descriptions were good...I could just see the whole thing. You kept my attention through the story and I totally didn't expect that heartrending ending!
mick dawson02/21/08
Brilliant, you point the point over well.
Lyn Churchyard02/22/08
Oh this was good! Great descriptions. What a horrible, horrible woman, but you nailed the topic beautifully.
Seema Bagai 02/22/08
Great descriptions in this piece. One suggestion would be to put the main character's thoughts in italics or quotes. Keep writing.
Seema Bagai 02/22/08
Great descriptions in this piece. One suggestion would be to put the main character's thoughts in italics or quotes. Keep writing.
Jan Ackerson 02/22/08
Well, you certainly nailed the topic! I'll bet she's very sorry she did that.

I just have a hard time imagining that a lady in church would behave so maliciously, in the presence of other ladies. So that part just didn't ring true for me.

Good job with realistic dialogue--you can hear the sarcasm practically dripping.
Joanne Sher 02/22/08
Good descriptions. Enjoyed this piece - and a strong message.
Holly Westefeld02/22/08
What irony! Nice descriptions. What a sweet spirit Megan has to make something for the grandchild of someone who taunts her so.

I wish you had used the other 175 words to fill the reader in on what made Billie so malicious toward Megan, or toward the world in general.
Glynis Becker02/23/08
I, too, would love some background on what would cause such an act, but the descriptions were wonderful!
Joshua Janoski02/26/08
I was mad at Billie at the end. How rude and malicious she was! You really did a good job of illustrating the topic, and your writing style was easy to follow. Thank you for sharing!