Lissa Marie Niederer

Thoughts about faith, family, books, and how I'm trying to make them all fit together!


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10 Reasons I Can’t Write Right Now

  1. writers-blockThe closet at the end of my upstairs hallway is overflowing with shoes that don’t fit anybody in the house. ┬áIf I don’t purge and organize this closet right now, the world might implode.
  2. It has been four days since I baked chocolate chip cookies.
  3. It’s nice outside. I should go outside. I should probably take up gardening while I’m out there.
  4. The guinea pig cage is stinky. This chore belongs to my sons, but I can’t concentrate when the den smells like wet hay.
  5. I’m out of corn starch. There is not an immediate need for corn starch, but doesn’t that seem like one of those things you want readily available for emergencies?
  6. Gastronomic necessity requires I drive to Manchester for an apple cider doughnut.
  7. The baseboards haven’t been scrubbed in… Have I ever scrubbed my baseboards?
  8. If there were menus written out for the next couple weeks, I’d feel much more organized. Maybe I could come up with some kind of alphabetized system. A few crockpot meals wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
  9. I haven’t checked Facebook in, like, twenty minutes. Something monumental might have happened while I was procrastinating – I mean being a conscientious homemaker/writer of words.
  10. Preparation is the mother of success. I should
    • research
    • brainstorm
    • outline
    • read something
    • write some character sketches
    • make sure there’s plenty of paper in the printer
    • tidy the desk area
    • dust
    • take that weird can of compressed air to the keyboard
    • blog a list of things that might distract me from writing


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The Feast in the Famine

You know those days? Those days when you wake up and you just know things aren’t going to go as you’d hoped they would? Well, without trying to sound like too much of a Debbie Downer, I’ve had quite a few of those in a row now. Monday morning started with a missed alarm clock, a broken fruit bowl in the mad rush to catch the school bus, and some bad news from a friend. Tuesday followed, a local three-year-old girl went missing and a community went up in arms to bring her home. Our collective hearts were sick for her. Not to mention Hans’s new job hasn’t been the easiest of transitions.

Then this morning we woke up and had to make a difficult decision right off the bat, after which we decided to take Kinsey, our own sweet little girl, to our favorite spot for a walk in the woods. To relax. Unwind. Connect with nature. Well, my car wouldn’t start, which doesn’t bode well when neither of you have seen a paycheck since June, and then when we got to our favorite trail in the woods, we were met by a fleet of logging trucks. They’d already clearcut the area, and we found ourselves standing in the midst of a forest graveyard – just a ghost of an area we love very much.

Everything felt thin, and fragile. Lean. Worrying about finances and our stupid broken dining room table and the fact that we’re eating a bit more cheap spaghetti than most families would prefer – it was too much in that moment. I thought I might just sit down in the field and cry. But here’s where the story turns around. Don’t give up on me yet.

My husband, the eternal optimist, and our sweet baby girl who wore her “twirly” dress today and was ready for a walk, grabbed my hands and off we went on our walk, as planned. Over the rubble, around the diggers and dump trucks, and down a new path.

While I worked on readjusting my attitude, Kinsey set to the important task of collecting wildflowers. “Help me, Mumma,” she said. So of course, I obliged. I can’t say no when she calls me “Mumma.”

We started with one wide black-eyed Susan, and filled the collection in as we went along. Queen Anne’s lace, clover, Indian paintbrushes. When I handed her a smattering of unidentified little purple blooms, she just beamed. “This bouquet is a feast,” she said.

A feast.

Now, logically I realize that Kinsey has the vocabulary of.. well, a four year old, and probably didn’t intend to affix such a label to her wildflowers as would suggest that she consume them at any point in time. We laughed about how cute and funny it was, but as I watched her ascend the hill into the sunshine, clutching that little fistful of blossoms as if they were made of gold, I started to think perhaps it wasn’t such a misnomer after all.

Things have been rough, but our children wouldn’t know it. Our house is incredibly full of love. All of our bills are paid and we have a warm house to live in, and even if there isn’t a lot of extra cash floating around, our broken dining room table boasts as its centerpiece the most perfect little mason jar of wildflowers that I’ve ever seen.

Some days, its hard not to focus on the struggles that stretch before us. They are the famine. But amidst them nestle so many tiny miracles. Simple things. The things that we will remember when we are old. The things that matter, if we remember to look. They are the feast.

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Kinsey’s wildflower “feast”