Archive for May, 2009

Standing Ovation

By Kathy NickersonMay 27th, 2009family, happy endings5 Comments

When our granddaughter, Claire Felicity White, was born, we stood around her little bed like this. The first night we crowded twenty-some people into the cubicle and willed our less-than-two-pound-baby to be strong. After her twin sister, Ellery Blythe, slipped through a portal to Glory, we stood around Claire and sang songs. We recited scripture and told her all the things she could be when she grew strong.

Last night we stood around Claire like this, after she strutted across the stage to receive her diploma at Kindergarten graduation. She sang songs, recited scripture, and made us cry when she read her essay about the doctor she wants to be when she grows up.

Standing Ovation, Please

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Say it Loud

By Kathy NickersonMay 25th, 2009happy endings, mercy4 Comments

I’ve always been a strong beleiver in saying things out loud to put them in perspective. This can be dangerous, of course. My husband has been known to take shelter occassionally because he fears losing a limb in the mine-field of my emotions. The thoughts swirling in my head at any given moment can lanch me to giddy heights or plunge me into dark despair. And sometimes the dark despair ones get a foothold if I’m not careful. That hasn’t happened much in the last several years, but this weekend, they got me.

Nothing terrible happened. I just let myself get a little too tired and a little too busy and a lot too negative about little details like my writing career or lack thereof. Isn’t that awful? I have the greatest life in the world. Even the things I was sad about are a zillion times better than most people’s circumstances.

But I’m never rational at a time like this. So, my wise and exceptionally brave husband waited until things got quiet in the house and then said, “Okay. Come over here and tell me what you are thinking.”

We sat on the sofa and I tried to put words around the emotions, which is never easy when one is actually in the pit of despair. He listened. And asked questions. And didn’t tell me I was being silly. And then he prayed.

This morning I woke up to dark clouds and rain outside the window. But I felt sunshine in my soul again. Somehow, speaking all my fears out loud broke their power. (plus the prayer thing). I don’t pretend to understand everything about spiritual warfare. But I know the enemy of my soul is real, and I know he works in darkness. And, I know my Redeemer lives, and He operates in Light. When I say things out loud, His light makes the darkness flee.

Thanks, Hub.

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Things I do While My Husband is Out of Town

By Kathy NickersonMay 20th, 2009Uncategorized7 Comments

I eat ice cream. As if it won’t really pack on the pounds as long as I eat it when no one is watching. I’m pretty sure this is the first sign of an addiction. 

But, then, I buy exotic vegetables like canned Squash with Vidalia Onions. Or Triple Succotash with tomatoes, corn, and butter beans. Completely weird. I think the old-fashioned mixture reminds me of eating supper at my grandmother’s house and what could be more comforting than that?
I watch chick-flicks. Although in my case the chicks are more like old hens. I prefer leading ladies who are seasoned, and I am currently enthralled with the PBS series Cranford. My poor husband only sat through Pride & Prejudice because it has that one scene with a herd of deer loping across the meadow. 
I walk the dog. Normally, I admire her from afar. She is a hunter and belongs exclusively to the master of the house. But, when the boss is gone I actually take her for walks in our neighborhood and pick up the offerings she leaves behind on the neighbors’ lawns. Our bonding is a strange thing, I suppose. But, we both miss him so much when he is away. And I’m pretty sure nobody loves him quite the way we do.

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Letting Go

By Kathy NickersonMay 19th, 2009work, writing2 Comments

I didn’t know I was a control freak. This ugly trait surfaced when I finished making summer schedules for the office. The little columns were all lined up neatly on my Google calendar, indicating where shifts overlapped and where we might have a gap. And there before my eyes was the amazing revelation. I could take my Paid Time Off.

Now, lest you start feeling sorry for me, I do take time off. I go with Wendell to medical conventions three or four times a year. And we usually schedule some vacation time to go see the grandkids. But this PTO is different. It is mine, as an employee. I looked at the weekly schedule and discovered we are going to be over-staffed a few hours every week for the summer. And, we are making enough money to pay everyone!
So, I juggled my own shift just a little. Since I generally stay until 6:00, I can go in at 9:00. And since I always work Saturday mornings, I can take Friday mornings off.
This is beautiful. There is only one problem. I’m not sure I can do it. Wendell is out of town for three days, and I made myself stay home each of these mornings to catch up on household tasks that have been sadly neglected. I actually watch the clock to see how soon I can go to the office.
I’m pretty sure the first morning I’m home while they are seeing patients will be agony. But, I also know my husband will be really happy if this means we consistently have clean towels and groceries. And, he will be even happier if it means I finish my current work-in-progress and quit moaning about never having time to write.
So, I’m vowing to unclench my fingers from the office key. I’m determined to take a deep breath, look away from the clock, and trust God (and Lenna, Jordan, and Jenny) to handle things just fine without me. At least for three hours.

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Comfort Zones

By Kathy NickersonMay 15th, 2009happy endings, work3 Comments

We have doubled our office staff this summer. That means four people instead of two sharing my front office space in the clinic. It is wonderful in so many ways. For one thing, we can accomplish a lot more with two more people on the nursing staff – – provided we can climb over one another to reach the patients.

We are operating in temporary quarters, so our traffic flow has never been ideal. Adding two more desks complicated things just a tad. The change has been hard for all four of us. No one has a comfy nest anymore, and none of us really know how to make it all work. And we are all making compromises like not going to the bathroom until we absolutely must so we don’t interrupt the person beside us who has to scoot in her chair and squish under her desk a little to let me pass.
So, we decided to innovate. We moved, sorted, compressed, consolidated and came up with a whole new floor plan. And the most amazing thing happened for me. My desk is in a much better position to receive patients when they walk in the door. By moving out of the comfort zone I’ve occupied for nearly four years, I found myself closer to the people and better able to serve.
I think that is pretty much the way it always goes with comfort zones. Once we leave them, we find a new and better world. (Plus, I’m right beside the bathroom now.)

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A Reminder to Stop Grumbling (to me, not my readers)

By Kathy NickersonMay 13th, 2009mercy, The Bible2 Comments

This morning I was reading about Moses going back to Egypt to tell old Pharaoh, “Let My people go!” I was struck by one sentence I had never seen before:

… when they heard that the Lord was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, they bowed low and worshiped. Exodus 4:31
I’m pretty sure that hasn’t been my response so far this week. I know God is concerned about me. So concerned He sent His Son to die for me in the really big scheme of things. And so concerned He took care of the nasty cold that was bothering me in the terribly small scheme of things.
Basically, God shows His concern for me in so many ways every, single day that it’s a wonder I can even get up off the floor to do my chores. I ought to be lying prostrate saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you” all day and all night long.
Instead, I tend to grumble. About my cough. About the weather. About the crowded conditions in my lovely and profitable office. So, when that little phrase stuck out to me this morning, I was pretty sure it was a gentle reminder from Heaven to do less grumbling and more bowing.
And, thus, I shall.

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By Kathy NickersonMay 8th, 2009Uncategorized4 Comments

Dear Claire, Ada, Macy, Elena, Adele, and Nola, and any granddaughters yet to come…

This weekend will be Mother’s Day, and I’m celebrating it by telling you about some of the wonderful mothers in your lineage. I can only tell you about the ones on this branch of the tree and only as far back as my memory goes. But that’s enough to prove you are made of good stuff. Your Grandmas Cheri, Joyce, and Nita can fill in the the branches that remain.
If you grow up to love flower gardens someday, that will be from your Granny Grubbs, and if you always make it a point to speak to every single person at church on Sunday mornings, that will be from your Great-Grandma Adair. If you love to pray for hours at a time, thank Great-Grandma Nickerson, and if you rear a fine brood of children who influence the world for the Kingdom of God, you’ll be following in the footsteps of Great-Grandma Pitts.
If you are extra-nice to everyone you meet, that will be the influence of my mother, Grandma Boo; and if you sing in the church choir more than sixty years, you will take after your grandpa’s mother, Grandma-Great. And if you love your own little granddaughters so much you think your heart might burst just thinking about them, well, that’s from me.
Gramma Kathy

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Still Climbing Mountains

By Kathy NickersonMay 7th, 2009happy endings10 Comments

Thirty-five years ago today, on a Tuesday evening at 6:30pm, Wendell A. Nickerson walked down the aisle in a dashing, white tux and agreed to take me as his — for better or worse until death do us part. My sister, Martha, was thirteen at the time. She was so shy she could barely speak to a stranger, yet she stood in front of more than 300 people and belted out, “Climb Every Mountain.”

If we had known how steep some of those mountains would be, I’m pretty sure we’d have run screaming out the door instead of smiling for the camera and saying, “I do.”

And we would have missed some of the most breathtaking moments in life.

The climb has not always been easy. Nor pleasant. But the view from the top has always been worth those moments of terror when we were pretty sure the rope was going to break and we would plumet to our deaths, crushed on the rocks below.

Instead, we tightened our grip on God, one another, and our faithful family and friends, and we kept climbing. We were determined to reach the top of every summit, as the song says, until we found our dream.
We are still dreaming together, and the whole thing has been a grand adventure so far. So, today, I raise a toast of iced tea to my hubby and say, “Thanks for being brave and strong and for never giving up even when it was hard. And thanks for not sending me back to my mother even when I was a pill.”


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Is it Working?

By Kathy NickersonMay 6th, 2009happy endings6 Comments

I bought new make-up last week. It’s specifically formulated for old-lady skin. That isn’t what it says, of course. The label refers to it as “ageless” and Ellen acts all spunky when she advertises it on t.v. But you can’t get past the point: this make-up is designed to work with wrinkles!

Skin, of course, is only one of the things that changes dramatically once we become grandmothers. I think there should be a film strip for that somewhere. The kind they screen in a darkened room after all the boys have been sent to the gym. 
In this particular cycle of life, we get little warning. And the amount of creams, potions, and extracts needed to prevent our bodies from shriveling up like an Egyptian mummy is mind-boggling. So, I bought new make-up. And hand lotion. And an extra bottle of moisturizer. And a lighted, magnified, make-up mirror.
I spent an extra half-hour putting it all on, watching to see if it really did “glide above the wrinkles” instead of sinking in as promised. I can’t really tell, because my eyes aren’t that good even with the magnified mirror. But, I don’t think any of it will make much difference. Nobody is going to be fooled into thinking I’m ageless. I am obviously seasoned. And, fortunately for me, the man I married still likes me that way.

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Next Year in Jerusalem

By Kathy NickersonMay 4th, 2009writing2 Comments

That is the working title of the novel which consumed much of my trip out of town. I actually sent off a query to an agent last week, so I wanted to get the book proposal in shape, just in case. Writing is a business for a patient person. Response time for queries of any sort range from weeks to months. So, one must develop the magical ability to forget the projects dangling out there in cyber space somewhere and move on to other things once the query (or manuscript) has been sent.

That is a little like forgetting you gave birth to a child who now lives 1000 miles away and arrests bad guys for a living. 
Forgetting may not be completely possible, but getting on with other things can be done. For instance, last weekend I outline a calendar for myself of writing projects. I have about a dozen of them crowding my brain at all times like noisy children. So, I ordered them to stand still in a straight line while I assigned each of them a little square box on my writing calendar. Now, they must each wait quietly for their turn while I give attention to the appropriate matter at hand. And, once they leave my in-box, I vow to forget about them for at least six weeks. Unless they happen to call home before then to say they arrived safely. Which would be lovely, and much appreciated.

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