Archive for June, 2009

Twenty-thousand of Our Closest Friends

By Kathy NickersonJune 29th, 2009happy endings, mercy6 Comments


We’re throwing a party in our neighborhood this weekend. Local officials estimate 20,000 people could show up over the entire two-day event. That is a pretty big deal since only about 200 of us actually live here.

Our community is famous for being strange. Fifteen years ago, our town was a cornfield. Then a local boy who had made good with his insurance company decided to use his fortune to help people get a fresh start in life. It started as a small project on his northeast Missouri farm and has now grown into a real town with a church, school, and several businesses.
The neighbors have been a little nervous about this town rising from the fields. Especially when we started importing foreigners to work here and opening up recovery centers for men, women, and children. We had the audacity to believe Jesus is the Answer to the world’s problems, and we even wrote it on our milk trucks.
They’ve been warming up to us these past few years, though, and we hope this Fourth of July picnic will help break down a few more walls. We’re giving away free food and free fun including a rodeo and a huge air show. And we’ll have lots of entertainment and games. And we’ll find time to tell a few stories of lives that have been changed and families that have been restored through the mercy of God. And, maybe, when the weekend is over a few of the 20,000 will decide we’re really not so bad after all.

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Girl Clothes

By Kathy NickersonJune 24th, 2009Uncategorized7 Comments

Last weekend I stepped way out of my comfort zone and into a moss-green bridesmaid’s dress for the sake of my sweet friend, Angela. I felt more like the Queen Mum than a princess, and I had some great trepidation about making it down the aisle and up the three steps to the platform without embarrassing myself and everyone related to me.

But, God (and Heather the Wedding-Planner-Extraordinaire) were looking out for me. My escort was a strong young man with a steady stride. He is also a son-of-my-heart from the days when we lived as house parents for our Bible college. Taking his arm put me perfectly at ease. And although I didn’t glide elegantly down the aisle like the younger bridesmaids, I did only trip on my skirt once.
I was worn to a frazzle by the time I got home. All that curling and spraying and painting and puffing was exhausting. But it was so worth it. When Angela came glowing down the aisle and dazzled her handsome groom, I wanted to shout “hallelujah” and dance a little jig. Fortunately, the corset prevented such a display.

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The Problem with Numbers

By Kathy NickersonJune 22nd, 2009family, mercy5 Comments

I once read that Albert Einstein didn’t know his own phone number. He said it was a waste to crowd his brain by memorizing information that could easily be found in a book. I’m pretty sure that is an urban rumor. But I use it a lot to cover my own ineptitude with numbers. For instance, I never remember the exact ages of our grown children. I mean, I know what year they were born (most of the time) and if I have a calculator handy, I can figure it out.

I realize some people do not suffer with this problem. My friend Barb once had the entire church phone directory memorized – home, work, and cell! Nobody bothered looking anything up; we just asked Barb. I, on the other hand, inevitably transpose two random digits in every phone number I jot down from the answering machine.
This is a great occupational hazard for the part of one’s job that entails returning phone calls.
So, after I blogged about Charity’s birthday, people kept asking me how old she was, and I’d just mutter, “twenty-something.” Finally, in the evening, I decided to figure it out. Fortunately my sister was in the room at the time, and two of her children bookend Charity in age. Unfortunately, she never remembers how old her children are either.
And that is the great thing about sisters. They can always make you believe your wackiness is actually normal. So, here’s to sisters. Mine just drove across the country for the birth of her fourth grandchild following the engagement party for her youngest son. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t remember how old anyone is today, and I doubt she even cares.

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The One Who Was Missing

By Kathy NickersonJune 18th, 2009family, happy endings5 Comments

Charity and her family at the beach this summer.

It was a crazy time to have a baby. Wendell was in his second year of medical school, and we were living on student loans that had already exceeded ten years of his previous salary. We had also exceeded the highly recommended 2.5 children by a rambunctious point five. These were the days before Jon & Kate. Large families were not considered chic. Just irresponsible.

I knew all those things. Yet the longing would not go away. Finally, I went upstairs to pray one day, determined to clear my head and focus my heart and basically get over it. I don’t remember where the other children were or how I secured my fifteen minutes of silence. But I remember exactly what happened next.
A thought as clear as a spoken word shot through my mind. You are not merely longing for another baby. You are homesick for one of your children who isn’t here yet.
And that was it. I am pretty certain the thought originated in Heaven, and my soul exploded with the news. Homesick for one of your children. That is exactly how I felt. The same way I would feel if Felicity, Serenity, or Joseph were far away in another country instead of tucked safely in our own home.
One of the really great things about my husband is that he trusts me when I tell him I’ve heard something from God. Even something that goes against all conventional wisdom (and would later get us denied a lease from at least three different landlords because we were over the limit of children allowed.)
So, on June 18, 1982, Charity Lynn was born. And it was true. Our family was immediately complete. I believe Wendell and I cooperated with God that year. And I believe we gave a great gift to the world.
Thank you cards may be sent to this blog address.

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Not Your Normal Church Service

By Kathy NickersonJune 17th, 2009Uncategorized1 Comment

Sunday night was graduation at our church. This happens about once a month. We live in an unusual community, and our congregation includes a couple hundred people who are in discipleship programs for recovery from alcohol, drugs, or some other life-controlling issue.

It struck me again how unusual we are. One of the graduates made a few remarks in which he thanked several people for their support. He included his long-suffering sister. “And I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for my sister… sorry about when I stole your car that one time.”
We all chuckled, and he went right on with his great testimony. I realized such a statement might seem shocking in many settings. But it is part of the package where we live. We really are a rag-tab lot, many of whom the world was ready to throw away.
After the men left the stage, our pastor asked everyone who had graduated from one of the programs in the past to please stand. Forty people rose. They are department heads, community leaders, businessmen and women, fathers, mothers, spouses, students and ministers.
It was one of those moments that makes getting up the next day seem worthwhile. And I realized when I looked around how grateful I am to be counted in their number. I could stand on the stage, too, and say, “And I’m sorry about that time I…”

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Uighur Mania

By Kathy NickersonJune 15th, 2009Uncategorized2 Comments

At last! We have discovered a useful purpose for the paparazzi. Lots of folks have been fairly worried about the fact we moved four Chinese Muslim detainees from lock-down in Gitmo to vacation in Bermuda. No more armed guards. No razor wire or security barricades. Just a clear ocean view and a sandy beach.

Cue the cameras. These four guys are being covered Hollywood-style. Press conferences, news interviews, and constant surveillance by scores of photographers who each want to get the first shot of them swimming in the ocean or dancing on the beach. 
I don’t know whether these guys are terrorists or the innocent bystanders they claim to be. I hope somebody figures that out. In the meantime, the threat of them sneaking off to confer secretly with Mr. Bin Laden are slim. Unless they take a couple of news anchors along.
So, today’s round of applause goes to the paparazzi. May they live long and prosper in Bermuda, recording for the world exactly what the possible terrorists eat for breakfast everyday. I’m glad for the national security. Brad and Angelina are probably grateful for the distraction.

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Hats Off to the Techies

By Kathy NickersonJune 11th, 2009family, work, writing4 Comments

Sometimes I forget how spoiled I am. We live in a community blessed by tremendously talented techie guys. I lean on them daily and obviously take them for granted. This week Wendell and I went to a little gathering of friends who are leaders of several similar churches here in the Midwest. We’ve known many of these folks for decades, and we love being together. One of the key leaders among this group couldn’t come to Omaha, though, so we had the bright idea to bring him in through a video link on the computer.

Problem was, none of us really knew how to do that. We’re pretty good at Google Video Chat or Skype conference call. But stretch us to one more cable connection to get Doug on the big screen, and we were stumped. We took turns leaning over the computer screen and talking into the microphone so Doug could be in on conversations.
I was shocked. I’m so accustomed to hitting the “spark” button on my desktop and connecting with one of our guys just about any time of the day or night. Then I say something like, “Can you get my laptop to fly to the moon, bring back some stardust, and dance on my desktop before lunch time today?” And they do.
So, here’s to the techie guys. My hat is off. My hands are clapping. And my ipod is reminding me to NEVER travel without one of you!!!!

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Things That Bless a Grandmother’s Heart

By Kathy NickersonJune 4th, 2009Uncategorized4 Comments

A school that gives an end-of-the-year award for Best Story Teller to a four year old boy who would much rather be throwing rocks in the lake than sitting still in school. (Way to go, Jude)

A phone call saying, “We landed safely in New Jersey and baby Nola enjoyed her first flight.” (Especially when the news is currently full of horrific plane crash details.)
Grandsons who still hug me in public even though they are nearly as tall as me and have become official athletes on competitive teams. (Thanks guys)
A kitchen table that still swells with noise and confusion for Sunday lunch. (Although we miss those who eat lunch in distant states.)
The delicious silence when they all go home and I’m left with happy memories. (And a few dirty dishes.

)
A crowded lap.

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At My Letters

By Kathy NickersonJune 1st, 2009writing2 Comments
Time seems to become more valuable to me as I age. As if I’m finally realizing I have a limited amount of it to accomplish all the earth stuff assigned to me. So, I’m wary of the time-wasters. And, seriously, what could waste more time than a narcissistic blog? Facebook, perhaps. Or maybe Twitter, which I haven’t succumbed to yet.
But, when I read about the great men and women of the past, I find a common theme among them. Most devoted a few hours every morning to prayer and Bible reading. Then, they sat down with quill and parchment and spent another few hours “at their letters.” These folks achieved some great things in life, such as founding our nation. Yet they found time to write long, thoughtful letters to loads of people. Maybe the writing of letters actually helped formulate their thoughts on weighty matters. Certainly it helped teach them the art of writing.
I’m not sure updating my Facebook status equates. Yet, computer time seems to have become my version of being at my letters. After I’ve prayed, and read, and walked on the treadmill, I’m always ready to check my email and respond to a few electronic letters. (or maybe write a blog). This little exercise seems to help me, especially on days like this one where the to-do list spills over the edges of the day and into the evening.
So, I’ve taken a few minutes now to send out these words. It may have been an exercise in self-indulgence. But it reminds me that among my callings as wife, mother, grandmother, office manager, and mentor I am still at heart a writer.

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