Janet Sumner Johnson
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Cookies

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov

25, 2019 |

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Happy Thanksgiving to you all! The United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of the month (which means we’re never certain when it is without a calendar), which happens to fall on November 28th this year.

I’ve read a lot about the troubling past of this holiday, and I’m super looking forward to Kate Messner‘s new series History Smashers, which starts with a tale about the Mayflower.

That said, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to consider all the things we are grateful for. Gratitude is something we don’t seem to have enough of in this world, so here are my top five things I’m grateful for:

1. My family.

(These people are my rock. They are there for me in all the best and worst and mediocre-est moments of my life. I would be lost without them).

2. A book coming out next year.

(I don’t take this for granted at all. Getting a book published is tough. No matter what road you take. And heck, even writing one is a BIG DEAL! So much gratitude that I’m in a position I can both write them, and have the opportunity to have one published.)

3. My faith in God, and my beliefs.

(I don’t talk about this much here on my blog, but my beliefs are my compass. They give me direction, and I’m who I am because of them.)

4. My friends

(IRL ones, writing ones, social media ones, ALL OF YOU! Wish I had a big picture with you all in it, but I don’t. Sorry if you aren’t shown, I still love you and am grateful for you!)

5. Cookies.

(Whoever invented them, THANK YOU!)

Happy Thanksgiving! And please tell me what you are grateful for! I’d love to hear. 🙂

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Tools

Sep

16, 2013 |

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I have this cookie recipe that is just . . . Yum. So yum that people ask for the recipe all the time. Now I’m no master baker, but seriously, these cookies rock.

Which is why I was so surprised when I got some feedback that the cookies weren’t working out. Had I missed an ingredient? Forgotten to tell them something? What was the secret that I was withholding?!!

I couldn’t figure it out until I made them during a visit to my parents. The cookies weren’t the same at all! I’d used my same recipe. I’d done everything the same, so why had I failed?

And then it hit me. The pans! At home I always use a baking stone. My parents didn’t have one. And oh, what a difference it made.

So it turns out that my cookies aren’t amazing because of any special talent I have, but rather because of the tools I use.

A lesson that applies to life. When I started writing, I thought that getting published was about talent. Only those who were born with an intrinsic ability to write could attain such a lofty goal. But I’ve since learned differently. Writing (or drawing, or playing a sport, or whatever it is you love to do) isn’t about talent. It’s about tools. And getting those tools is about work.

You want to write characters who are real? Start reading about characterization. In the blogosphere alone there are countless articles on how to do this. Check out a few books on writing, then practice, practice, practice. That is how you gain the tool of creating awesome characters. And the same goes for any other aspect of writing, or really of anything.

You don’t think your talented enough? So what! Get out there and do the work. Practice, practice, practice. Because that, my friends, is where it’s at.

Have you ever gotten a “tool” through practice and hard work?

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Back-up Plans

Dec

17, 2012 |

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*So we had guests over for dinner last night. 5:00 sharp.

And unfortunately they had to run at 5:45, so it was critical we be ready on time. And yes, you can probably see where this is going.

At 4:55 we pulled the (whole) chicken out of the crockpot. I whipped up the gravy while Darling Husband cut the thing.

The door-bell rang. Our guests came in. We smiled and ushered them to the table when my husband uttered those dreaded words.

“Uh-oh.”

Yep. Bad news.

Chicken NOT cooked.

My face turned red, but I smiled graciously at our guests and apologized (which they waved away very graciously as well).

“But no worries!” I said. “We’ll just move on to our back-up plan. Which is . . . ummm . . . . which is . . .”

Uh yeah, I had nothing.

And then I remembered the frozen homemade soup. Not enough for everyone, but enough for them since they couldn’t wait.

“Soup! Our backup is soup!”

Of course everything was fine. We still had the rolls which went perfectly with the soup, and they didn’t utter a single protest as we sat there and watched them eat (in truth, we had pleasant conversation about Christmas traditions — and I didn’t have to worry about talking with my mouth full!).

So the point of all this? This is the second time a meal has gone wrong on me, and both times soup came to the rescue. So the point?

Always keep a container of frozen soup in your freezer, and everything will end well. 🙂

And maybe keep a notebook handy to record the fodder for a scene in a future book. Who knows, It just might save you one day!

P.S. I will be taking a blogging break over the Christmas holiday and will see you all back here in January. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

*Yeah, the picture has nothing to do with this post, but I liked it and wanted to use it. Isn’t it pretty? 🙂

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What’s Your Kryptonite?

Sep

22, 2011 |

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Every super hero has one. Something that trumps their amazing abilities. Because if they didn’t, the story would sure get boring fast.

Imagine if there was no such thing as kryptonite. Lex Luthor would stand no chance. Zero. And where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, I’m sure there will be people who argue with me on this, but that’s okay. Debate is good. My point in all this is to ask you:

What is your kryptonite?
Because mine . . . mine is cookies. As long as there are no nuts or fruit involved, I will fall to the power of a cookie every time. And don’t even get me started on a soft sugar cookie with just a smidgen of cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Mmmm . . .
Everything tastes better with sprinkles.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a battle to lose.

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