Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of eighteen inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including The Good Nearby and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and


Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
1 Corinthians 7:7 (NIV)

I’m a collector from way back. As a child I collected fancy paper napkins. In high school, candles, pitchers, irises, fans. I’ve enjoyed my collections, even as I’ve abandoned one for another. Joy is in the searching, joy is in the gathering, and joy is in the sharing. And for me, the search usually starts wherever I find antiques. My favorite haunts are antique shows where dozens of dealers assemble their booths, teasing me with aisles and aisles of displays, just waiting for me to dive in—and drool.

As I enter such a show, my eyes scan the booths, skimming past the Fiestaware, the Depression glass, and the Monkees lunch boxes. Like a missile locking on to its target, I find what I am searching for: antique purses.

(the fifties . . . does this mean I’m an antique?) The purses are not in perfect condition, but because they have missing beads, torn linings, and tarnished handles only adds to their character. I make allowances.

I usually enjoy such gatherings, quite willing to drown in the smell of old wood and dust. Yet on one day, in such an antique-lover’s paradise, I had trouble concentrating. Among Chippendale chairs and tin toys, the dealers drew me rather than their deals. A lady from Texas greeted every customer with a firm handshake and a Southern drawl. A dealer from Oregon, wearing a veiled hat, charmed me with a soft voice. Another had a laugh that ricocheted off the glassware. Turns out the people were as interesting and unique as the items they sold. They were collectable.

That’s when I started collecting people—or at least their attributes Smiles, thank-yous, the twinkle in their eyes. The way they sang in their cars, kissed their babies’ noses, or offered me their places in line. The by-product of collecting strangers’ attributes was that I opened my eyes to attributes in my own backyard.

I now notice how my husband always warms my ever-cold feet when we share the couch—without my asking. I enjoy how our oldest daughter, Emily, e-mails photos of family events within a few hours of getting home (I am quite willing to relinquish the pressure of chronicling every gathering to her able hands). My heart swells

when I watch the face of our son, Carson, light up when he makes his new baby smile (wasn’t he a baby just yesterday?). And I marvel at the stories our youngest daughter, Laurel, shares (she’s a special-ed teacher) about the students that challenge her—and are changed by her.

Once I looked at the amazing qualities within my own family, it became easier to skim past the parts of their personalities I didn’t want to collect. For just like antiques, my family is not in perfect condition—and shocker—neither am I. Yet because we have missing beads, torn linings, and tarnished handles only adds to our charm, and even our value. I make allowances for them, and I appreciate their doing the same for me. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37 NIV).

Although my collections come and go, I hope I never give up collecting attributes. Joy is in the searching, joy is in the gathering, and joy is in the sharing. Good is happening all around us if only we open our eyes and see it. The special looks, idiosyncrasies, and attributes of the people in our lives make them as collectable as precious treasure. And as such, they are . . .


Nancy Moser