Deborah Anderson

In 2000, Deborah Anderson left the medical field to care for her elderly mother. Soon after, she began writing. She has written for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, and FCW. Married 29 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. She also spends her time rescuing cats, reading novels, and taking nature walks. Deborah recently completed her first novel. You can contact Deborah at:

For Love or Money

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Mine started out well enough—until things in my life got perverse on me again.

A few months ago, I mentioned how one of my stories made it to the final round with a well-known publisher. At the time, I didn’t want to say which publisher in case I didn’t make it into the book. But after several months of waiting, I found out I made it into not only one book but two: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Christmas and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas. How awesome is that?

I still remember the day I received the news. I felt the Christmas spirit welling up inside of me. Ho! Ho! Ho!

When my advanced copies arrived, I picked up one of the books and held it in my hands, fingering the cover. Another wave of happiness swept over me—and then some person pooh-poohed my joy.

“You’re getting paid for this, aren’t you, Deb?”


“That’s great. I’m so happy you finally published.”

“Uh . . . this isn’t the first time. I thought I’d told you about all the other—”

“Well, it’s the first time you’ve been paid.”

“Nope. Been paid before, too.”

“Yeah, but this is Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

“Yes, it is.”

After talking with this person for two minutes, I felt as though I was going to need some soup . . . for my soul.


Oh well, there’s one in every crowd, right?

Uh, make that several.

The next individual, who seemed to be excited for me at first, said, “Deb, how awesome. I’m so proud of you.” Then she paused. “Wait. They’re paying you for this, aren’t they?”

My brain scrambled, trying to remember all the times I’d asked people if they got paid for what they did. I couldn’t think of any. Zip. Nada. Zero. “I—”

“Those people make a fortune, you know. They can afford to pay you something.”

“But I’m—”

“You shouldn’t do all that work and not get paid.”

“But they are paying me.”


As I stood there, I wanted to tell this person that the next time I performed hours of labor for her, I should receive compensation.

But I didn’t. I did those things because I loved her.

Instead, I sucked in a deep breath, thinking it was too bad there wasn’t a publisher who took submissions on how to ruin someone’s Christmas. I’d make a fortune.

Bah. Humbug.

My poor husband is the one who suffered, though. When my dumpling came home from work one day, I asked him my usual. “How was your day today, honey?”

“Not good.”

Then something sinister took over. “Oh, didn’t you get paid?”

“Deb . . .”

“Sorry.” I pulled an imaginary zipper across my lips. The man didn’t deserve this. He’d done nothing but encourage me.

A week or so later, just as I was beginning to recover from all the madness, I visited my ninety-one-year-old mother in the nursing home. I knew she wouldn’t say anything, at least not about my writing.

When I walked into the front doors of the building, I spied three stair-stepped Christmas trees tucked away in the corner of the front visitors’ room. Dots of white lights sprinkled each one. A manger scene sat on an end table nearby. It made me feel downright warm and fuzzy, I tell you.

I smiled. Ho! Ho! Ho!

As I strolled down the hall to Mom’s room, I nodded and smiled at the other residents. They grinned in return. Yes, this was going to be a good day.

Minutes later, I returned down the hall, pushing Mom in her wheelchair toward the warm and fuzzy room at the front of the building. If the scene lifted my spirits, it would do the same for her.

We strolled by the residents I’d passed moments earlier, and I smiled again—until Mom hooked her thumb over her shoulder and pointed at me. “This is my daughter,” she hollered. “She writes and she’s getting paid for it now, too.”

I won’t tell you what I wanted to do with that wheelchair. If Mom hadn’t been sitting in it, I could have easily pushed it into the wall and stomped out of the building.

Bah. Humbug.

I mean, seriously, can you imagine?

My mean side, which can take up about 90 percent of my body when I get upset, wanted to go back and taunt the people who made those comments in the first place. Okay, not my mother, because, well, she is my mother, but I couldn’t. I knew God would have me to force another imaginary zipper across my lips.

But I can talk to you, my fellow writers, because I know many of you have probably been through the same thing. You have, haven’t you?

Anyway, I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about. I mean, yes, I have donated articles, many times, but so what?

People who have lost loved ones come to mind. If I have something to say that might help those who are grieving (which I did at the time, since I’d lost numerous people in my own life), well, should I fold my arms across my chest, stick my nose in the air, and say, “Sorry, I’m not getting paid.”

Or what about those who needed a word of encouragement? If I have something to offer, which many times I do (okay, you can stop laughing now), should I ignore them because someone wasn’t giving me cold, hard cash?

And last of all (yeah, right, we all know I’m not finished yet), what about the discipline it’s brought to my own writing life? How it’s made me better at the craft? You can’t put a price tag on those kinds of things.

Anyway, I’m not going to let others make me feel like a loser because I don’t have a wad of cash falling at my feet for each article I write and or publish. That’ll come when I publish my first breakout novel. (Prophesy to those bones, girl!)

Hey, it could happen.


Chicken Soup For The Soul: The gift of Christmas
Chicken Soup For the Soul: Tales of Christmas