Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Greatest Gift I Have Ever Received




When I was a kid, Easter meant painting eggs and finding Easter baskets. It meant sneaking a few bites of my chocolate bunny before church, then going on an Easter egg hunt afterwards.

As I grew older, though, the real meaning of Easter became more than just a Bible story I was taught year after year. Easter became more significant to me than just another commercial holiday.

As it should have. Because I soon realized that my salvation in Christ was the Greatest Gift I could have ever received.

Over time, however, I’ve forgotten that this present isn’t just to be opened once; rather, it’s never-ending. It’s the Ultimate Gift that never ends, and I get to look forward to unwrapping it every day of my life. Not just on the day that I received my salvation.

Wouldn’t it be silly if I left a present unwrapped on my birthday, simply because I received one last year? What if I treated it as if it were simply decoration, just to admire, yet never did tear off the wrapping and cherish the contents inside?

Likewise, I hear the story of Jesus’ death so often that sometimes I find myself simply admiring the story. I forget to delve deeper and actually treasure the core of the gift, which contains ... {Continue reading}

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday's Minute Challenge: Writing prompt contest for teens & up!


A quick writing challenge (and contest) to help get your creative juices flowing for the new week.


  1. The entry must be between 150 - 300 words. (In order to see how many words your entry is, write it in Microsoft Word, or you can copy and paste it here.)
  2. The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  3. The winners will receive a badge for their blog, as well as extra points (see the point system below).
  4. The winner will be chosen based on the judges's preferences, as well as the following questions: Does this entry capture my attention immediately? Does it make me want to continue reading? Is the writing clear? They will also take into consideration the writer's voice and style--not necessarily technical issues, such as grammar, punctuation, etc. 
  5. This is only for fun and to stretch your writing muscles--not necessarily to be taken too seriously. =)


Since the point system has caused a bit of confusion recently, I have decided to take a different approach.

From now on, I will host a monthly giveaway, and one winner will be announced every four weeks. 

But don't worry! You can still receive a prize from the points that you have earned up to this point. Click here for more info

Keep in mind that you are in charge of your points from now on. If you win a contest, the only way that you will receive your points is by clicking the entry below. 

Also, if you have already liked my Facebook page, followed me on Twitter, etc. then make sure to click those entries as well in order to receive your points. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Prizes:

There will be one randomly-selected winner chosen from the above raffle each month. They will have the choice of receiving one of the following prizes:

  • A critique on of one of their MMC entries
  • A blog critique
  • A 300 - 600 word critique on your novel, short story, blog post, etc
  • The opportunity to judge one of the contests
  • A free ebook of PURPLE MOON
  • A special surprise sent to your mailbox (snail mail, not email)


 



A winner has been chosen for the giveaway! This month's winner is ... Elisabeth! Congratulations! Don't forget to send me an email and let me know which MMC prize you would prefer (listed above).

The judge panel chooses these winners based on a point system (not to be confused with the point system mentioned above!).


Keep in mind that the judges are not aware of which entry belongs to which participant until after the judging is complete.

The entries that the judges thought was the most intriguing (based on rule #4) is ... 



Third place winner: 





I felt in my bag for my Polaroid camera, the hundredth time I had done so since I'd left the house. Still there. I relaxed and lowered myself to the ground, drinking the very last of my water. As I returned the bottle to my bag, something caught my eye. Picking it up, I found that it was an old hat that was dirty from being outside for so long. Tossing it back on the ground, I caught sight of something else among the pine needles. I pulled it out, realizing it was a journal page: 'It was in that moment that I realized my only option: run.' 

It startled me, and I stood up, eager to be gone from that place. I hadn't gone far when a thrashing noise sounded behind me. My legs suddenly found that they could indeed run up the steep mountainside. "Why me? I'm not bothering anybody. I just need a picture of-" I realized then that that was exactly why I was being chased. They must have needed it, too. I kept running as fast as I could, just trying to keep ahead. 

After a while, I had to stop. Hands on my knees, I looked for a place to hide, seeing what I’d been looking for all along. Encouraged, I sped up again, reaching it in no time. 

The church was empty, which was good. The framed picture was at the left of the building and I hurried over, pulled my camera out, and took a shot of the blue gem embedded in the gold frame.

Kneeling, I said a quick prayer before heading out the door and back down the mountain. I went at a normal pace then; it didn't matter anymore. I had the picture. The person behind me didn't.
Congratulations, Maddie! Click here for your badgeand don't forget to claim your points here. =) 

Second place winner: 

Close by, the castle rose out of the forest, curved slender towers against the sturdy forest trees. Against this whimsical backdrop, the sky shone in soft morning light as clouds with the colors of plum and raspberry barely obscured the sun. Ahead of me, the path split, one fork up to the castle, and one away. I stood at the crossroads. 
But I'd come here on a mission, one I needed to fulfill. I moved up the path the damp, earthy scent of the forest achingly familiar. Completely normal, I thought. Normal like when I'd been here last. 

Sighing wind rattled the tree tops—somewhere just ahead of me a bird chirped in alarm at my approach. Maybe that little bird knew the unwelcomeness of my intrusion here. Even if everything went perfectly, even if they did not kill me on sight I still could never return.

Sunlight reached the forest floor in splatters through the breaks in the roof above. I could not see the sky from my place on the path, but I had walked a while. 

Then the forest abruptly stopped, breaking out into a large clearing. Straight ahead, the castle rose unobstructed by forest trees. Pangs of homesickness hit me with the force of a river. Possibly only I knew of the secret passageway at the end of the servants corridor, of the hidden window just behind the throne room that gave a stunning view of the village, and of the crown, hidden hurriedly below the floorboard of the princess's bedroom.

Lost in thought, I didn't even notice the sound of horses until too late. 
Shouts of “Get her,” rang out.
It was in that moment that I realized my only option: run. No point dieing until I'd finished my mission.
Congratulations, KairaClick here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)



First place winner: 

 “Sing me a song of a lass that is gone. Say could that lass be I…” Delicate notes fluttered on the mountain breeze through open halls of the small chapel. A figure clad in white sat reserved at the bench of a piano. “Merry of soul she sailed on a day over the sea to Skye.” Her hair gleamed like silver as slender hands caressed the song out of the instrument. A blissful moment of fantasy. Then, too soon, each note died and fell to the wooden floor echoing a deafening silence. Reality struck. 
The faded figure sat in dull grey at the bench of the piano. Her hands were in her lap. She had never dared to touch the black and white keys. A melody had never been born, and the Spirit of Song was alone. 
Her voice was empty, wishing to utter a thousand things, a thousand notes rhythms and crescendos. None could exist. Not without a player. A singer. An artist… And without their voice, the mountains were a lonely place. 
As the brilliant blue sky echoed its tone off the jagged peaks, the Song slipped away. She retreated down the hall, but not too far nor too soon to witness the miracle occurrence. Worn oaken doors opening; young weary girl entering. The visitor. The one who came. What seemed like an eternity- then notes playing.
She picked up a few crisp words:
“My own Mountain silent long, join my melody, join my song…”
The notes echoed off the mountains themselves. 
The player interrupted herself, stopping fingers from grazing over keys. “What a foolish medley. Could a mountain sing?” She asked the emptiness.
“Yes…once”
The musician turned abruptly, her eyes meeting with the brilliant blue of the Song’s
“And I believe you could make it sing again.”
 
Congratulations, Lace! Click here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

Honorable Recognitions

These winners will receive a badge, as well as 2 extra points:
  1. His Princess
  2. Mary
  3. FlyGirl

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!





  • Submit your response in the comments below, or post it on your blog via InLink (below -- you will receive 2 extra points!). 
  • Your response should range between 150 - 300 words. 
  • The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  • If you'd rather not submit your post in the comments or on your blog, you may email it to me instead.



Choose at least one:

Note: You can always combine the prompts into one entry.

(Optional) Write a passage continuing your entry from last week week (or whichever week you'd prefer). If you can, try to continue it using one of the following prompts.
  • Write a passage using these items: puppy, blanket, headphones (submitted by His Princess)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by Mary)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
    "What have I done to deserve this?" (submitted by Maddie)
*If your prompt was selected, be sure to claim your points here

Post your entry on your blog!:


If you're posting your entry on your blog (+2 points), please add your link below rather than in the comments. And don't forget to claim your points here!







Submit your prompt idea!:

The prompts that are used for Monday's Minute Challenge are submitted by the participants. Here's how this works:
  • You will be able to submit 3 prompts each week in the same format as above: three objects, one picture, and a piece of dialogue or phrase.
  • On Mondays, I will choose 3 prompts that have been submitted by 3 different people.
  • If your prompt is selected, you will receive 2 points!
  • You may submit in the comments below.

Current Judge Panel:

  • Tessa Emily Hall
  • Kate Petty
  • Caroline George
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