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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Repeat (01/24/13)

TITLE: Shiney Jo
By Cheryl Harrison
01/31/13


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Before Shiney Jo was born, the doctors warned me about impending health problems.

"Your child may die before the age of six," said one specialist.

"There is no cure," said another.

Later, I repeated the doctors' words over and over to myself, desperately trying to make sense of it all. Overwhelming feelings of fear and worry threatened to overtake me, but I fought them off. I decided to continue with my pregnancy no matter what happened.

*******

The church bells chimed nine times the moment Shiney Jo was born. I know, because I counted.

My beautiful little girl entered the world with a flourish, sporting her father's red hair and freckled face. As predicted, she was tiny but she had all her fingers and toes. My heart soared when the nurse gently placed her in my arms. I kissed her cheek and whispered, "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

"Shiney Jo?" the nurse echoed. "Now that's an interesting name. Where does it come from?"

"Shiney because she brightens my day and Jo because it was her father's name." I gazed at my daughter's beautiful face, marveling at how much she resembled her father. A bitter-sweet feeling washed over me as painful memories of my husband's death resurfaced. He died two weeks before I learned I was pregnant, but this was not the time to dwell on sad things. I settled back into my pillows and pressed Shiney Jo's cheek to mine. The bitter-sweet feeling began to fade away and joy remained in its place.

*******

The church bells chimed eight times the moment Shiney Jo's school bus arrived. I know, because I counted.

I secured her backpack and checked for her lunch.

"Repeat after me," I said. "Today is the day the Lord has made..."

Shiney Jo wrinkled her freckled nose, "Today is the day the Lord has made..."

We giggled in unison and finished the verse together, "...I will rejoice and be glad in it."

I helped her climb the steps and watched as she found a seat on the bus. She pressed her nose against the window and waved with excitement. As the bus pulled away, I wondered what the doctors would say... now that Shiney Jo was on her way to kindergarten.

*******

The church bells chimed seven times the moment Shiney Jo graduated high school. I know, because I counted.

Moments before she walked across the stage, I adjusted her cap and straightened the academic achievement sashes around her neck. I pressed my cheek against hers and swallowed back proud mama tears.

"Repeat after me," I said. "Today is the day the Lord has made..."

Shiney Jo wrapped her arms around me and whispered in my ear, "Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!" She kissed my cheek and ran off to join the other graduates.

Once again, I wondered what the doctors would say... now that Shiney Jo had graduated high school.

*******

The church bells chimed six times the moment Shiney Jo said her wedding vows. I know, because I counted.

The long awaited day ushered in the same bitter-sweet feelings I experienced when Shiney Jo was born. I often wished her father could be there to see her grow up, and on this day I especially wished he could walk her down the aisle. I fought back the emotions welling up inside of me and busied myself with mother-of-the-bride duties. I buttoned Shiney Jo's gown and fastened the handmade veil upon her head. All mothers believe their daughters to be the most beautiful bride in the world and I was no exception.

At six o'clock sharp, the happy couple exchanged their vows; their happiness evident to all. Later, as the couple prepared to leave on their honeymoon, I drew Shiney Jo close and said, "Repeat after me..."

Tears welled up in her eyes. "Mom, I love you so much!" She pressed her cheek against mine and repeated once more the scripture verse we shared every day, "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!" With that, she was gone.

As the limousine pulled away, I decided it didn't matter what the doctors would say if they knew Shiney Jo had lived longer than they expected. Because... this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!


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This article has been read 276 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD (Camille) Swanson 01/31/13
Touching story. It made my eyes glisten and pulled on my heartstrings.

A beautiful message at the closing. God bless~
Jan Christiansen01/31/13
A real tribute to what a mother's love and God's mercy can do. Thank you for sharing. And how wonderful to have a name like Shiney Jo!
Wilma Schlegel 02/01/13
I can't say it better than the two comments ahead already have said. What a wonderful, feel-good story of blessing and faith!
Allison Egley 02/02/13
Oh, this is great. I have personal experience proving doctors wrong. It's quite fun. :) Nice job with this.
Noel Mitaxa 02/03/13
Shiney Jo; shining eyes. Love the way you have structured this and built our interest and confidence in the process.
Danielle King 02/03/13
This is captivating. I love every word of it and wish there was an episode 2. It's also a good take on the topic. Well done.
Loren T. Lowery02/04/13
Absolutely perfect in everyone. I loved the story and the way you've told it. It reminds me of a favorite song: "There's a Church in the Valley." The repeated use of the bells is reminiscent of it. Simply a great piece!
Loren T. Lowery02/04/13
Oops! Of course I meant in every way! Wish we could edit our comments at times : )
Myrna Noyes02/04/13
I thought of the same song Loren did! :) I love the repeating use of the bells and the repetition of the Scripture verse! The interaction of mother and daughter was so sweet, and the mother's faith and joy in the various events of her child's life was touching! I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written story!
Alicia Renkema02/05/13
There is so much I like about this story, it is hard to know where to begin. Every paragraph makes one want to read the next. I loved the name "Shiny Jo" and the reason she was called that. Her mom repeated the Dr.'s words about what her fate supposedly would be. The chime of the bells was repeated throughout... Your whole wonderful story was told surrounding the verse "This is the day the Lord has made..." This was repeated in all the right ways and places to let the reader know how active God is in each of our lives. And then the use of the word "repeat" again to nullify the words the Dr.'s had spoken as she repeats her wedding vows. Beautifully told. I would love to read a Shiny Jo part two.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/05/13
Wow! This piece really punched me in the heart. It is a spectacular punch of course! I am having a hard time coming up the words to express my feelings. You did such a great job of hooking me in the beginning. You took me back to the birth of my third child and the bitter-sweetness of having a newborn but knowing she would never know her grandmother. This October she was married and I had those same kinds of feelings again. You did such a great job of writing a fresh and beautiful story that is still on topic. There is only one thing I would change and that would be the title. I'm not sure why but I loved this line: I know because I counted. For me, each time I read it, tears welled up in my eyes, so I would entitle it that, though Shiney Jo is great too. :)
Bea Edwards 02/05/13
Superb story of the power of hope and faith. Thank you also for the reminder of the power of God's spoken word. I was quoting that verse this very morning after a bit of a rough start:-}
Bea Edwards 02/05/13
Repeatedly by the way....hehe
Myrna Noyes02/07/13
CONGRATULATIONS on your "Highly Commended" for this wonderful story of Shiney Jo! WAY TO WRITE!! :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/07/13
Congratulations for placing 5th in level three and 26 overall!
Claudia Thomason 02/09/13
What a touching story. It brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations!
Linda Buskirk02/10/13
This had a beautiful flow, with the repeating bells and scripture. That helped pull me ahead, to see what the next situation would be. And I love the name Shiney Jo!