Category Archives: Contest winners


December, 1917, Uncle Sam eats Cream of Wheat ~ picture by Grace Shipley

Uncle Sam eats Cream of Wheat ~ picture drawn by Grace Shipley for the contest




Grace, 1917


In December of 1917, Grace Shipley opened her art book of 10×12” drawing paper and sharpened her pencil with a pocket knife. She took out a special gum eraser she kept in the pencil box because when she corrected mistakes she didn’t want smudges.

Grace had learned of a Cream of Wheat contest for art entries that would inspire frugal good eating during WWI. According to her sister Myrtle, all their brown paper sacks become practice scraps as Grace sketched one idea after another, smiling and humming as she put pencil to paper before breakfast, in between chores, and until she went to bed at night.

She titled her picture “Preparedness,” and it was one of the winners. The prize was a year’s supply of Cream of Wheat, though no one remembers now exactly how many boxes that was. Grace was featured in the local newspaper, followed by congratulation notes from friends and strangers, and she was a guest at a women’s art luncheon. As the story goes, she used the back of her program to doodle a drawing of the speaker’s fancy hat.

What is it about putting pencil to paper, crayons to coloring books, or chalk to sidewalks that helps us hum, smile, and live outside ourselves? I never knew my grandmother, Grace Shipley Shepherd, who died of meningitis when my father was very young, but I know from others—and I’ve often felt it myself—that putting pencil to paper, to draw or to write, is a gift for and from the heart.

mind's eye & pencil

Canadian artist Robert Genn wrote that “A drawing a day keeps the cobwebs away.”   Just for fun, and to clarify your thinking and sharpen hand-eye coordination, try this exercise in “blind contour drawing.”

Place the point of your pencil on a blank paper. Look intently at some simple object beyond the paper, and without once lifting your pencil or looking down at your work, re-create the image. This will help you stay focused on the present moment, and while you discipline yourself to ignore your progress, you will also learn to release expectations . Mindfulness groups refer to this as “Zen drawing.”

Enjoy this activity.  Shake your head and loosen the cobwebs. Use a crayon or a marker if it will make you feel more like a playful child. And it’s okay if you smile and hum as you draw.

Grace (right, age 6) with her sisters.

Grace (right, age 6) with her sisters.


Grace's great-great-granddaughter at age 6, learning to play softball.  But she loves to draw, too.

Grace’s great-great-granddaughter, Grace Elizabeth, age 6, learning to play softball. But she loves to draw, too.




Filed under art, art projects, Contest winners, Dementia/Alzheimer's, experiments, lessons for great-grandchildren, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations

AND THE WINNERS ARE… (drumroll, please…)

As always, I was touched and inspired by the contest entries. For anyone interested in writing and submitting greeting card verse ideas for placement within the industry, check out the Greeting Card Association website,, for valuable tips and information. Also, the 2012 Writers Market lists nineteen card companies willing to work with freelancers and lists the websites, contact names, addresses, needs, pay rates, etc. for each company.

Special thanks go to the judges, all of whom are trusted writer friends who genuinely care about helping other writers. The judges give their time and energy to this contest for very low pay–I buy them breakfast when we meet to add up the scores–and though we have a good time arguing and even coming up with a few of our own off-the-cuff cards, I’m still very grateful. Writing is hard work. Giving up some of their own writing time to judge is a gift.

Just a note about the point system. You will see that SECOND PlACE has a three-way tie, and the JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD has a tie. I know that some contests bring in a new judge as a tiebreaker, and I also know that sometimes the decision comes down to a coin toss. Neither way is what my mother would do, and I don’t play that way, either. When there are same-point ties, both/all of the entries with that score receive the full prize. To read all the entries in the contest, return to the COMMENT boxes connected to “New Contest! Write a Greeting Card for Mother’s Day” and “One Week to Deadline”


FIRST PLACE: “Being In The Middle” by Cinamyn ($25.00)

Judge’s comment: “…it was the vividly described pictures that got to me, illustrating the authenic theme that those who think they’re average are actually very special…one in a million…and so are their mothers!”

(Front cover–4 sections)

I may not be the prettiest (picture of 3 girls standing, as if winning a beauty contest–our girl, the fourth, is behind them, waving from behind)

Or the best to drive a car. (our girl in a car crashed into a mailbox)

I may not be the fastest (our girl standing with her hand shielding the sun from her eyes and several runners in the distance)

Or the smartest one by far. (our girl holding up a paper marked with a B)


Being in the middle is the hardest place to be. (our girl standing in the middle of a crowd)

But you always made me feel special by saying, “You’re one in a million to me!” (our girl and mother hugging in the middle of the crowd, highlighted)

I couldn’t have asked for a better Mom. You’re one in a million!

Happy Mother’d day!


SECOND PLACE (Three-Way TIE; Each writer receives $15.00):

Judges’ comments:

-for Sarah’s “The Best Mom for my Grandson”–“I loved that this card used a different name than Grandma, yet all grandparents can relate to it…Nana’s pride and love are so obvious…”

– for Luola’s “Single Mom”–”As a single mother, I hope my son always knows how much I struggle, care, sacrifice and give…and how very much I love him. Luola’s card hit the nail on the head about what it is to be a single mom.”

– for Margaret C’s “Where Babies Come From”–”Any woman who has adopted a baby, or any child who was adopted, will cherish this brief, wise, heartfelt card. The rest of us look on, reading the message, and applauding this loving tribute.”

“The Best Mom For My Grandson” by Sarah

(Cover Art: A young lady standing alone)

Cover Message:

You told me you were pregnant!

My heart, it skipped a beat!

Then I started crying from

The joy within my heart!

(Inside Art: A young mom, a little boy, and a Nana)

Inside Message:

You are the best mom for my grandson.

I couldn’t be more proud.

I am proud to be your mom,

Proud to be his Nana.

~     ~     ~

“Single Mom” by Luola

For all your struggles & all your care

For letting me know you would always be there

For the sacrifices you made & all the sleepless nights

For the hugs & kisses to say it will be all right

You’ve given so much, what a great price to pay

So for you I will make every day Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you, Mommy!

~     ~     ~

“Where Babies Come From” by Margaret C.

(Cover art) Two Women. One is pregnant. The other wears a Big Red Heart.



(Inside message)  THANKS FOR ADOPTING ME, MOM.


JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARDS: (Tie; Each writer receives $10.00)

The Special Awards are for entries that one or more of the judges felt had an extra special quality. For Cassandra’s “Mother Mine,” two of the judges applauded the rich imagery: reading stories under a steam tent; standing in line to buy a young girl roller skates when metal was scarce during the war, etc.  For Sam’s “Mom, My Wife Thanks You,” one judge laughed out loud, saying every man would get it, and there’s a shortage of funny greeting cards for men to send to their moms at Mother’s Day.”

“Mother Mine” by Cassandra

My mother, pretty,

Vivacious, smiley, always

Steadfast in support.

She read me dog stories

Under a steam tent when the

Measles would not break out.

She stood four hours in

Line to secure roller skates

When metal was for war.

She heard hours of teen

Drama, always on my side.

She saw the humor.

She was a mirror

Guiding me to find myself.

We were so much alike.

She’s gone to a better

World now. I miss most our

Long walking talks.


“Mom, My Wife Thanks You” by Sam

(Cover Art) An odd looking couple holding out a nicely wrapped present.

(Cover Message) Mom, my wife thanks you for teaching me these

three things:

1. Never hit girls

2. Always put down the lid

3. Never forget where you came from…

(Inside Message)    Eeeeeeewwwwww.

Thanks Mom. Happy Mother’s Day


And so, dear readers of this blog, another writing contest in honor of Mary Elizabeth Shepherd’s writing talents has come to an end. I close with this Mother’s Day quote:

From the popular long-running TV sitcom, The Golden Girls, comes this sensitive, thoughtful nugget:  “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”


To paraphrase FORREST GUMP, I hope this Mother’s Day was like a box of Chocolate-covered Strawberries. Yum!

(With special thanks to Molly,Trevor,Grace and Gannon for the delicious gift!)


Filed under Contest winners, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, writing, writing contest with cash prizes