Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Growing up in New York, I learned at an early age that chicken soup is good for what ails you.

  • Cold, wintry day? Warm up with a bowl of chicken soup.
  • Sore throat? Sooth it with a bowl of chicken soup.
  • Upset stomach? Yup…chicken soup is easy to digest.

But chicken soup isn’t only associated with the body anymore.

In 1993, the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise was born. Today, with more than 250 different books and 110 million copies sold, Chicken Soup for the Soul is a household term. It even has its own week. The 4th week in October has been designated Chicken Soup for the Soul Week.

The first time I was paid for my writing was for a Chicken Soup entry. I submitted a story to Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, published in 2003. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve now contributed to 23 Chicken Soup books, the most recent of which released last week. That first published story helped me begin thinking of myself as a real writer.

Some have questioned my association with this franchise. After all, they sometimes publish books and stories that are decidedly not Christian. But these concerns remind me of the question the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples in Matthew 9:10-12 (NIV):

As Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of ChristmasIf my stories can provide salt and light, bring encouragement or motivate introspection, then why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of the opportunity? Jesus met people where they were. Why wouldn’t I want to do the same?

Besides, I enjoy taking a fresh look at my experiences to identify life lessons and times of joy that might bless someone else.

So check out their newest release, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas. Read “The Gift of Time”—a story that reminds me of special times with special people.

Who knows? Perhaps the next story I submit will include an experience I shared with…you!

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