One Tough Cookie

by Diana C. Derringer


“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”

(Philippians 4:11, NIV).


As part of a friendship family to international university students, I became the unofficial interpreter for my husband’s frequent use of slang, idioms, and other unusual expressions. When students asked “How are you,” he responded, “Hunky dory” or “Fit as a fiddle.” When they said, “Goodbye,” he replied, “Toodle-oo.” For them, he often spoke his own foreign language.

After one student’s request for a daily new slang expression, I decided to combine writing and international outreach with a hearty dose of fun. Thus began my blog, Words, Wit, and Wisdom: Life Lessons from English Expressions.

The wisdom I find in many expressions applies to the writing life. For example, my husband taught me to become a “tough cookie.”

A tough cookie often has experienced a hard life.

My husband has experienced a hard life because he has suffered:

  • A malignant brain tumor in 2004 (with a life-expectancy prognosis of three to five years)
  • A heart attack, stroke, and fall that resulted in a severe brain injury in 2009 (all three happened the same day and he was not expected to live 24 hours)

As a writer, I dread rejections (or worse, no response). However, in the grander scheme of things, those are not indicative of a hard life. I can revise and submit elsewhere.

A tough cookie is a strong person. 

My husband is a strong person because he refuses to give up. He:

  • Almost never complains
  • Rarely gets discouraged
  • Fears little
  • Refuses to accept defeat

When I grow weary, I remember God called me to write. I can do this and refuse to give up, not in my own strength but in God’s.

A tough cookie decides to make the most of life.

My husband would prefer to be healthy and able to work. However, he chooses not to worry. He enjoys what he can.

I also choose whether to make the most of each day, despite sub-optimal circumstances. God can transform my situations into opportunities I could never imagine.

A tough cookie is not perfect.

Life’s not perfect. Nor are any of us, not even my husband. Like all of us, he can either complain or do his best. He says his experiences are just the way the “cookie crumbles.”

Although I organize, set goals, and take notes, life seldom follows my well-laid plans. Yet I frequently learn more from and touch more lives with experiences challenging me most.


Father, guide our attitudes, words, and actions. Make us “Tough cookies” in your service. Amen.


Copyright © 2017 Reprint Rights (First on blog as “Tough Cookie” 9-18-17; guest post on Almost an Author 6-10-18; article in                                                                      Christian Communicator January-March 2020)




Diana Derringer, a former social worker and adjunct professor, is an award-winning writer and author of Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary: 12 Dramas for Christmas, Easter, and More! Her articles, devotions, dramas, planning guides, Bible studies, and poems appear in more than 40 publications. Her radio dramas for Christ to the World Ministries broadcast into several countries. Visit her at

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