Archive for October, 2009

Things You Will Never Regret

By Kathy NickersonOctober 29th, 2009Uncategorized7 Comments

– Buying new towels. Seriously, after a few years of marital sharing, treat yourself to some towels. No one is giving you a mid-life bridal shower. (Ditto on new pans for the kitchen, new sheets for the bed, and new unmentionables for the lingerie drawer.)

– Nursing a head cold. The t.v. advertisements always say, “rest in bed, drink plenty of fluids, and take Insert-Name-Brand-Cold-Remedy-Here.” But nobody does that. We all press on like good soldiers and hack and sneeze our way through another work day, spreading germs across cubicles and possibly delaying our own recovery by three or four days. A day on the sofa with hot tea and toast is worth the few hours of vacation you’ll have to subtract next summer. And your coworkers will thank you.

A few other things I know from experience you will never, ever regret:

– Reading to children.

– Writing your mother.

– Going to bed early.

– Eating cake on your birthday. (okay, you might regret that one. But it will be worth the trouble.)

– Celebrating your friends. (Please consider yourself celebrated. Add cake if you so desire)

Two friends we love to celebrate: Don & Cheri, with whom we happen to share a four grandchildren.

Two friends we love to celebrate: Don & Cheri, with whom we happen to share four grandchildren.

Read More

Significance

By Kathy NickersonOctober 28th, 2009Uncategorized1 Comment

Both Felicity and Serenity have been talking about this subject, so it is on my mind. And, I wonder if our perspective on it changes with the decades. I’m not sure the thought weighs on me very much anymore, but maybe it should.
Don’t get me wrong. I still want to DO lots of significant things in life. And I have great faith that God will enable me to accomplish all the works He has prepared beforehand for me to do.
But, today, I’m thinking of my friend, Sadie. When we first met, she was gasping for breath in my husband’s medical clinic. The ambulance was on its way, and I was standing there feeling pretty helpless. Just before the attendants wheeled her away to the hospital, I reached out and said, “Sadie, may I pray for you?”
I have no idea what I said. It was a brief moment in time not orchestrated, planned, or really even executed by me. It was just an urge, and I followed it.
Today, twenty years later, Sadie is a stalwart member of her local church. She is zealous in her ladies’ prayer group and faithful in her nearly-full-time ministry of sending cards and letters to all kinds of people (including us) on birthdays and anniversaries. And Sadie points back to that tiny prayer as the beginning of it all.
I think that is significant.

Read More

Add This to the List

By Kathy NickersonOctober 26th, 2009Uncategorized8 Comments

IMG_0145Not the Bucket List. The List of Stupid-Things-I’ve-Done-In-My-Life-Because-I-Was-Too-Proud-to-Ask-for-Help. I bought a new bed last week. It was on sale.  A great deal and super-comfy. But I paid for it before I said, “You do deliver to our neighborhood, don’t you?” Why did I say it that way? Why didn’t I just say, “Tuesday will be good for delivery.” ? The clerk might have felt sorry for me and agreed to send her crew one hour away into the middle of nowhere to deliver my clearance rack mattress and box springs. But nooooooooo. I gave her an out. And she took it.

So, after work this Saturday, I was determined to bring home my treasure. My husband had a severe migraine. Point Number One: I could have waited for a day when he was well. First, I tried to rent a small U-Haul, but the computer kept charging me 79 cents per mile instead of 7! I gave up. Point Number Two: I should have called the company back and clarified.

Instead, I went home and got our short bed pickup with an attached tool box taking up one third of said space. And off I went on a glorious fall day. The sun was shining for the first time all week, the trees were gorgeous, and I felt empowered. Then I had a long, delicious lunch with Serenity Beth and even took time to watch her boys jump in leaves and climb trees. Ahhhhhh. Eventually, I strolled to the truck and went on about my errands.

After I hit Wal-Mart and the grocery store, I pulled up to collect my bed. A boy came out to load it, assisted by his grandmother. He was skeptical of my pick-up. “This is a big bed,” he told me. Point Number Three: I should have listened.

I was only two miles out of town when the load began to shift. I was driving twenty miles an hour, and still the wind was catching the mattress and flipping it up. I pulled off on a dirt road and examined the situation. Then I did the first sensible thing I’d done all day. I called my husband. Without even seeing the situation, he understood exactly what was wrong with the load and exactly how I needed to reload it to fix the problem. He was 45 minutes away and the sunny day was beginning to threaten with clouds.

Instead of calling one of the dozen able-bodied male friends I have in town, I panicked. I called Serenity and ask her to bundle up the grandsons and come help me. She looked like the cavalry coming over that hill in her sporty car and her high heeled shoes. And we did it! We rearranged the load. W strapped it down with a dozen strong cords brilliantly supplied by my husband who believes if one if good two is better.

I still drove 40 miles an hour and didn’t make it home before dark. But I made it. And the bed is magnificent.

Point Number Four: I should have taken that bathroom break before I ran out of small towns.

Read More

Almost to Glory

By Kathy NickersonOctober 23rd, 2009UncategorizedNo Comments

So, I have two chapters left on the final revision of my current novel, Thirty Days to Glory. Well, really only a chapter and a half. And, I have an actual deadline. It needs to be polished and ready before a writer’s conference in November where I plan to visit with a couple of agents. This was the target week for getting ‘er done!

Then, the flu hit our town. It is “presumed to be” H1N1 or the hiney flu as my ninety-year-old mother-in-law puts it. Our office is averaging thirty or forty people a day. Not all of them have the flu, thank goodness. It is mostly small children, and so far they are recovering well.

Three of the confirmed cases are children of our office nurses, though. So in addition to being extra busy, we are short a few hands each day. I’ve been staying after hours to do the office-manager stuff I’d normally tuck into spare hours during the day.

Thus, my heroine remains 28.5 days from Glory.

In the big scheme of things, her delay is far less important than small children with 102 degree fevers. It isn’t even a contest, really. And I know she will get there. Just as I know we will get through this season and look back next winter and say, “Oh, man, remember that one time when we had so many patients we were giving shots out in the hall…?”

Some things are way better in review.

Read More

I Hope We Pass it On

By Kathy NickersonOctober 21st, 2009Uncategorized5 Comments

IMG_0134This is a picture of Nola Serenity. She is perched on a stool her great-great Aunt Lynie once purchased right out from under the small African man who had carved it from a log.

I married into the family when Aunt Lynie had already been in Africa nearly three decades. I don’t actually remember the first time we met. She had become a legend to me long before she walked through the door in real life.

For fifty years she labored in Africa, in an outpost so remote that only brave pilots in small planes could get there. She left as a young woman in her twenties and remained until illness drove her home long past retirement age. In between, she served as teacher, mentor, nurse, doctor, confidant, and friend to scores of families growing up in the jungle.

Every five years, the mission board made Aunt Lynie come home for a rest. I met her on one of those trips and found her both fascinating and a bit odd. She was always glad to see the family, but it was clear the place of her birth had become foreign soil. She was never completely comfortable here. Sometimes her visit came at Christmas time, and I think that was the hardest of all. She would sit with us while we tore open our gifts. She would nod and smile and thank us for the useless gifts we gave because we didn’t know what to buy for a lady who lived in a jungle hut. Then she would watch as we discarded our boxes and bows almost as quickly as we tired of our new toys.

All the while, Aunt Lynie would be gathering up the torn wrapping paper and smoothing it into small squares. When we made a joke of her frugality, she explained about the little children in Africa. They didn’t have pretty paper for holidays. They would treasure our scraps.

I hope we learned something of that lesson from Aunt Lynie. She would have been surprised, I think, to see another generation sitting on her African stool. I hope we remember to tell Nola and her cousins all about Aunt Lynie’s life. I hope we paint her as big and as brave as she was in our eyes. And I hope something of her passion ignites in their little souls. I hope we pass it on.

Read More

A Week of Milestones

By Kathy NickersonOctober 19th, 2009Uncategorized3 Comments

IMG_0141

Last week was big at our house. We celebrated the tenth birthday of our first grandchild and reveled in the memories of his birth and all the deliciousness he has provided for our clan since then. John Michael is the adored elder cousin for everyone else, and he handles the weight of that well.

We also celebrated the first solo visit of our tenth grandchild. Nola Serenity came to stay while her parents enjoyed an overdue anniversary trip. She was perfect and perfectly adored by all of us.

In between those two events, we were scheduled to attend Wendell’s twenty-fifth class reunion from medical school. Twenty-five years has not dimmed my memories of that day. Here are a few:

A knock at the door early in the morning. We opened it to find Wendell’s brother, Rees, had flown in from Florida to attend the ceremony.

The sight of Wendell walking across the stage to receive his diploma and his hood.

Wendell’s father getting in position for the best camera shot, and then stepping out to shake Wendell’s hand as he came off the stage.

Four-year-old Joseph following his grandfather’s example and working his way to the aisle to shake his daddy’s hand as the procession marched out.

It goes on and on. But here is the real point of this post. We skipped the reunion. Wendell was supposed to get a twenty-five year pin and various accolades at dinner that evening. But, we didn’t go. The day before we’d had a terrible tragedy in our  community that included a drowning in our lake. Wendell had worn double hats as a doctor and a deputy all night long. Then he got up the next day and took care of ailing patients from morning till night.

He was too busy doing the stuff to be rewarded for it. And so, we celebrated that milestone in our compfy house, snuggled on our sofa, grateful for every minute of our life and every person that we love.

It was great.

Read More

The Little Foxes

By Kathy NickersonOctober 14th, 2009Uncategorized2 Comments

According to King Solomon, it is the little foxes that ruin the grapevines. (Song of Solomon, 2:15). I’ve often heard this explained as the little sins we think don’t amount to anything that eventually grow up to become snarling predators that eat us alive. But this post isn’t about anything nearly that heavy. Probably.

On Saturday afternoon, I was twenty chapters into what I hoped would be the final revision of my Work In Progress when I had this thought: Maybe I should check for overused words. I had been keeping a list of such words. Words I noticed popping up more than once or twice in a chapter. And I thought it would be a simple task. The first word I searched was “little.” An inoffensive word of no consequence whatsoever. Unless one uses it thirty-two times in the first chapter.

Okay, I didn’t actually count. But it did become hilarious in an oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-I-almost-sent-this-out kind of way. The good news is that “little” shows up less and less in subsequent chapters. The bad news is, I’m not sure how many more of those words are waiting to be searched.

And, so, we are back to the little foxes from Solomon’s vineyards. How many little issues are as hidden in my life as that word was in my manuscript? I think it’s time to ask the Holy Spirit to hit the search button and see what we can find. I’m pretty sure I need some revisions.

Read More

A Legacy of Spunk

By Kathy NickersonOctober 12th, 2009Uncategorized5 Comments

We went to visit my husband’s mother this weekend. She will be ninety in a few weeks, and she is thinking of buying a laptop. Seriously. She spends the summers here in Missouri with her only daughter and then moves to Florida around Thanksgiving to spend the cold months with her oldest son. She doesn’t want to keep depending on other people for email access. We think in is a great idea, since her sisters live in California, and she has great-grandchildren in several states and more than one nation.

My own mother is keeping up with her great-grandkids on Facebook. She lives in such a rural area that she still has to use dial-up, but she perseveres. And she adds sweet comments here and there to remind the grandchildren she is interested in their lives and pulling for them in every adventure.

I’m seriously impressed. Some days I feel overwhelmed by all the widgets, gadgets, bleeps, and tweets of technology. I’m temped fairly often to list my iTouch on ebay and revert to the paper and ink pocket planner I fondly refer to as my Retroberry.

But, this legacy of spunk challenges me to press on. It challenges me to stay relevant and to stay connected. (Which I can totally do as long as my kids keep telling me how!)

Read More

Confidentially Yours

By Kathy NickersonOctober 10th, 2009Uncategorized4 Comments
Judy and I as delegates to the state Future Homemakers of America conference in 1971

Judy and I as delegates to the state Future Homemakers of America conference in 1971

I’m  not sure when we started signing our letters to one another this way. I think it was about the time we decided boys were cute. It became even more important to us when we discovered they could also break your heart. Judy and I shared all the typical things best friends share — chocolate milk with peanut butter and dark Cairo syrup for breakfast. Okay, maybe that was our own version of BFB. (Best Friend Breakfast.) And you will find us standing side by side in every photo from the time we were five years old all the way through our high school class reunions.

We shared our love for dolls and books and school with a passion. Then, we grew up. Well, sort of. We both got married and traded our dolls for real babies before we were twenty years old. We still loved books, but now we wanted to write them as much as we wanted to read them. And we still loved school, but we were too busy learning to do things like cut up a chicken and balance a checkbook to pursue higher education.

Eventually, though, my brave and beautiful friend took the most astounding step. She enrolled in college classes at a state university. Our paths had diverged by then, and though we still loved the same things, we rarely found time to share our confidential thoughts. We would go months, even years with no better communication than an exchange of cards around the time of our fall birthdays.

Yet, we could pick up in a minute when we got back in touch. When my twin granddaughters were born three months prematurely, Judy appeared at the Ronald McDonald house two hours away with food to stock the freezer and hugs to heal my soul. When my perfect marriage encountered the perfect storm, Judy listened on the other side of her computer screen while I poured out my confidential heart in the long, dark nights. The list goes on.

Today is Judy’s birthday. And I want to dedicate this blog to her because she has dedicated her friendship to me. We are both grandmothers now. We still love books (both writing and reading them) and we love the men we married even more than we loved them when they were boys.(the storms have passed, at least for now.) And school? We still love it. In fact, Judy now teaches English in the very school where we wrote the first notes signed Confidentially Yours.

I’m so proud to call her my friend. Happy Birthday.

Read More

One Generation will Tell Another

By Kathy NickersonOctober 8th, 2009Uncategorized2 Comments
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,  and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray,  do not forsake me, O God,  till I declare your power to the next generation,  your might to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-18

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-18

This is a picture of my father, who is 83, and my daughter, who is twenty-something, and my granddaughter, who is not quite one. And every time I see it I blink back tears. My father had a heart attack before any of his grandchildren were even born. Most of the men in his family died of heart disease or spent the last decades of their lives as invalids. More than thirty years later, I remember some of the prayers we prayed for him on the dark, scary night when we thought he was next in line. One of those prayers was that he would live a long, strong, active life and be able to make an impact on the Kingdom of God and all the generations to come.

And, he is.

So, when we catch an unexpected moment like this one at the Solid Rock Cafe, I just want to pause and thank God again.

And, I am.

Read More