Mother and the Chair

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By Nancy Ellen Hird

Writing a novel is daunting. Not the beginning. That’s all flash and magic and excitement. It’s the middles and the middles and the endings and the endings and THE endings. It’s the hundred thousand times you quit—had enough—it’s a disaster—I’m taking up kayaking. Then God breathes on you, whispers to your heart or pokes you with His staff and you pick up the writing again. (And people say they don’t believe in miracles?! Any writer who finishes a piece is chock-a-block with experiences of miracles.)

But writing the novel is only Act One. Act Two is marketing. This can be where the really big God-moments take place. And sometimes, at first, they don’t even look big. Figure that one?!

One of the ways I’ve decided that I could scatter the “seed” was to donate copies of my mystery novels for young people to thrift stores. (Publishers reading this last bit, just fell off chairs. Sorry.) However, donating books it turns out is not as easy as it sounds. Some thrift stores don’t take books. Some don’t take children’s books and I’ve heard that some stores toss Christian books. You have to research.

Now, I must digress. Last year my mother fell and broke her hip. My husband and I began making a lot of trips to her area to visit, to do chores, and to problem-solve.

Before one of these trips, I decided to research online the thrift stores in Mom’s area. I found a couple of stores that might take copies of I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue. We had to visit the stores anyway. Mom needed an older model TV. With her failing eyesight, newer TVs with their complicated programming were proving too challenging for her.

I was considering this assignment as I stood on my mother’s deck. Mom loved to sit out here. It was one of her few pleasures. But the plastic chair she sat in, I noticed, was unsteady. She could easily tip it over. And with her in it. We needed to get her a better chair. And soon. But God, I prayed, where can I find one? And for not too much money?

The charity shop gratefully accepted copies of my novels. Fantastic, I thought. Now to find . . . I looked for a TV but didn’t see one. At the pay counter I asked if they ever had used TV’s. The woman said they had just gotten one in. It was in the adjacent shop.

In that space a kind gentleman pointed us to the newly arrived TV. My husband stepped forward to examine it more closely and I stepped back to give him more room. It was only then that I noticed, just to the left of the TV, a wicker chair. It was in good condition, solid, sturdy and with a thick vinyl pad on the seat and on the back. The price was entirely reasonable. We bought the chair. And then another miracle—it fit in our car.

Mom was thrilled with the chair. All summer long and into the early days of fall she often sat in it, enjoying the birds, the squirrels, and the beauty of the outdoors. Knowing that she had this pleasure has filled me with joy.

As Christian writers, we are so very blessed. God uses our words to bless others. But He goes beyond, using the writing experience itself to enlarge our own souls. And He doesn’t stop there. He even uses our writings to fulfill other desires of our hearts. Praise Him!

God uses our lives as writers to fulfill other desires of our hearts. -Nancy Ellen Hird #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet

Children’s writer Nancy Ellen Hird loves all things Scottish—except haggis. She also loves mysteries. We All Get a Clue is the second novel in her mystery series for young people. Find out more about this series, set in Edinburgh, and Nancy at

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