'Tough Times, Tough People'
With five boys to keep her busy, local writer Jennifer Quist, still finds time to put her thoughts to paper. Quist recently had a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People.Lacombe Globe/ HEATHER PICKETT
LACOMBE- Should she ever need to repair her fence, build an expansion on her deck or install new baseboards, Jennifer Quist has become pretty handy with a hammer and drill.
Ever since she and her husband bought their first house and decided to do renovations themselves, Quist has adopted a "do it yourself or do without motto," which also happens to be the title of her latest published piece appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People.
"The book is kind of Chicken Soup's answer to the recession," said Quist, who has been writing professionally for a number of years, having previously printed a weekly newspaper column and articles in Today's Parent and McLean's magazines.
"The stories offer advice and inspiration to help people not be devastated by the markets. We did our own renovations because of the way the economy was, and it wasn't always easy. We had to learn new skills to do it and it took a lot of work but we made it through.
"And you feel more powerful doing it yourself."
While the original plan was to hire contractors to do gradual renovations Quist said, the construction boom meant that contractors were in high demand and that costs to have projects completed were skyrocketing.
So with three university degrees and no construction experience between them, Quist and her husband set out to learn how to turn their house into the "perfect home" themselves, saving money and learning along the way.
"It's not a career direction I was ever pointed in and now I do wish someone had mentioned to me the trades that are out there," she said. "We've got the skills now to do other projects around the house, so it will be ongoing. And there will of course be more writing."
This is not the first time Quist has had her work appear in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, as the mother of five first had a story appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms.
"Writing isn't so much a passion for me as it is an outlet," said Quist. "I think moms who stay at home are marginalized and I use writing as a way to speak up. I try to keep my mom voice to a real minimum."
While her five boys keep her busy, Quist said she plans to continue writing for various projects and won't be setting aside her tools anytime soon.
"We're going to refinish some stairs in the house. I enjoy working with the tools and doing it myself."