Recent Endeavor- Published a Book!

So about two years ago, I wrote a poem for a writing contest entitled "What Our Flag Means to Me." The contest wasn't supposed to be a poem contest, but rather a writing contest to share what you believe about the American Flag. I had been inspired and touched by a short Christmas book in poem form, and so I really wanted to write a poem for the contest.

But who writes a 500 word poem? It seemed to be a rather daunting task, and considering that I only had 2 days between when I found out about the contest, and when the entries were due, it was really looking like I wouldn't be able to participate. So, I thought about the contest, and prayed about it, and talked with my parents about it, and came to the conclusion that I should do my best and see what happened.

So for about 5 hours the night before the entries were due, I sat down and wrote, and rewrote, and remote, a 500 word poem on the history of the American Flag, and how it affects us today. My sister kindly typed it, (since I didn't do anything computer related at the time:) and we mailed it off the next morning. I actually forgot about not hearing back from the contest since we got busy preparing for our 4th of July party, and so when I received a call saying I won first place. I was overjoyed, and very surprised.

Within the week after I won the contest my Dad set it up so I could be interviewed in our local newspaper.   This was a new opportunity for me, and it was fun to be able to experience. After that, I received the plaques and prizes in the mail and thought that was the end of the poem. But God had other plans.

Over the next few weeks, my Mom showed the poem to some friends, and many people liked what they read. One friend who we didn't even know that well was so moved by the poem, that the next time we saw her, she had printed out a 3 ft copy of the poem, and gave one to us, and had one framed for her house. This was very amazing to me, and I never expected anything to come out of a simple writing contest.

After that, my Dad decided it would be neat to put the poem into a book form. Evan began drawing pictures, and after about a year, we had enough pictures to add to the poem and make a completed book. Dad graciously went through the process of selecting and editing the publishing book and we were really excited to have the completed book published in July.

It was a blessing and a tremendous example of how our simple actions can be used by God and duplicated in far more ways than we could ever imagine. I thought I was entering a simple contest that I didn't even expect to win, but God took that simple contest, and multiplied it to become a beautiful published children's book. Praise God! He is SO good!

And here is the poem in case you're interested in reading it.

What Our Flag Means to Me 

BY: Elanee Smythe 

Standing on the shore I see,
Tall sails far above the ocean waves,
As pilgrims longing to be free,
Seek a land that's home for the brave. 

Amidst their suffering and pain,
They searched bravely day & night,
Looking for that blessed plane,
Where wrong is prevailed by right. 

As land they found and home they made,
The Pilgrims became pioneers,
Building, planting, living: here they stayed,
America was young in years. 

As the colonists proclaimed our declaration,
"United States" we became,
Resolving by one great resolution,
To live and die the same. 

Through a season of conflict and of change,
America's hope and faith remained,
As battles were won and a war was waged,
A symbol was needed, our unity to maintain. 

Not just any symbol could represent our land,
America needed one that all people could really understand.
In 1777, Congress passed a combined resolution,
Declaring that stars & stripes were the solution. 

For this great symbol was not made for show,
It was created so that others might know,
That life and liberty live on still today,
In this land where happiness is pursued always. 

As we consider the red, white and blue,
We must remember the colors mean something too.
Red is for courageous and valiant men,
Who have given their lives and would give them again. 

White is for the innocent and free,
Those who love life and liberty,
Childhood and youth will quickly pass,
But freedom and purity will forever last.
Blue is for the best thing of all,
That gives us vision to rise and not fall,
It shows the American spirit of bravery,
To do our best and never retreat quickly. 

In the years that have passed,
Since the first 13 starred flag,
Our country has grown,
And much change we have known. 

Generations of men, valiant and brave,
Have given their all our country to save.
From wars and hardships both great and small,
From depressions and ruin that have threatened us all. 

Our flag itself has also grown too,
As 50 stars now almost cover the blue,
A star for each state that has joined our great nation,
A tribute to unity, our great aspiration. 

 So for over 200 years since our flag's first conception,
Old Glory has remained and so has our protection.
It has watched in majestic silence,
As we've made choices and searched for guidance. 

It has been with us as we fought against each other,
During the great "civil" war on our brothers.
It has flown in wars far across the seas,
In France, Asia and Germany. 

It was with us as we built great highways,
Established cities and flew planes far away.
It was part of our historic flight to the moon,
And there it has stayed hoping we'll come back soon. 

And it flew sadly, at half-mast, that terrible day,
When the Twin Towers fell and fear filled our ways,
But through it all our flag has remained,
Witnessing history again and again.

It has been resolved that on our hallowed plane,
These honored dead shall not have died in vain,
And when with one force Americans rally round,
Beneath our flag to say with resolute sound,
"I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God,
Indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
Our flag is honored, may it never fall. 

And so, as I stand 'neath my beloved flag today,
For the past, present and future, I proudly say,
Our flag means so much to you and me,
May it fly unendingly, from sea to shining sea.

And finally click here for a link to the published book!

 "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LordThe Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.  I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.  This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:17-24


  1. That's awesome, congrats Elanee!: )

  2. How wonderful! Congrats Elanee on the very good poem and the book!

    Somehow it seems I usually enter writing contests the same way you did--submitting my entry just a few hours before the deadline: one time I think I finished less than 2 hours before...