Archive for December, 2009

The Holiday Trilogy

By Kathy NickersonDecember 31st, 2009Uncategorized3 Comments

I’m quoting Glenn Beck now. Well, paraphrasing actually. He made an observation on his holiday show that struck Wendell and I as particularly profound. He said he views the holiday season as a trilogy.

It starts with Thanksgiving, when we bend our knee to God in humility and gratitude.

From that vantage point, we are better able to see Jesus lying in the manger.

And, only by truly seeing Jesus can we find the power to keep a New Year’s resolution.

Thus, the trilogy.

No matter what you think of Glenn Beck or Fox News in general, this is an amazing truth. Bow the knee, lift the eyes, find the power.

Happy New Year.

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Life in High Def

By Kathy NickersonDecember 28th, 2009Uncategorized4 Comments

This isn't JImmy Stewart's dog. But I'll use any excuse to publish a grandchild picture.

This isn't JImmy Stewart's dog. But I'll use any excuse to publish a grandchild picture.

We watched It’s a Wonderful Life this year in HD. I’ve savored this classic every Christmas season for more than twenty years. In fact, some years I have watched it more than once. But, this year I was astounded. Did you know the family dog is wagging his tail right behind Jimmy Stewart’s chair in the dining room scene? It is just before Harry’s graduation party when he badgers his mother for the good Haviland and George has to tell their father he isn’t interested in coming back to the Savings and Loan.

And there is the dog. Wagging his tail right behind the chair. I don’t suppose I would ever have seen that dog without the benefit of high definition. I know the dog doesn’t really add anything to the movie in the big scheme of things. But, it did make me wonder.
How many things am I missing because my life is too blurry? And, how do I bring my life into higher definition this year?

I know that the general answer has to to with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. But I’m asking God for some detailed specs, as well.

Any suggestions?

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And to All a Goodnight

By Kathy NickersonDecember 21st, 2009Uncategorized1 Comment

IMG_0277My mother started this tradition in our family. I’m pretty sure I was in high school before I figured out the one gift we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve would always be new pajamas. I think that is also the first year my Christmas jammies came from J.C. Penney’s instead of from my mother’s sewing machine.

I love traditions and rituals so much that sometimes I don’t even enjoy staying in a classy hotel the first night or two because it bugs me that my toothbrush is in a different place. However, I have learned that traditions can be adjusted slightly without losing any of their significance. For instance, I did not use a sewing machine to make any of the pajamas being modeled by our grandchildren and grandchildren-of-the-heart in this picture. And, these p.j.’s were actually opened a week before Christmas when we all happened to be together for a wedding.

The being together part is rare these days. And I’ve learned to handle that. On Christmas morning, Wendell and I will probably not wake up at dawn. And we won’t be knee-deep in crumpled wrapping paper before breakfast. We are forging new traditions and becoming more flexible every year to embrace the changing lives of our offspring.

This reality reminds me of the baby who burst into the world with angel songs and shepherd prayers more than 2000 years ago. He grew up and altered a few traditions, too. Those who could accept the change discovered the magnificence of a better Way.

I hope you’ve discovered it, too.

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You Should See My Toes

By Kathy NickersonDecember 8th, 2009Uncategorized8 Comments

IMG_0236As Mr. John Brooke tells his young student in Little Women, “Over the mysteries of female life there is drawn a veil, best left undisturbed.” I shall only raise the shade a fraction when I tell you I’ve just spent a holiday at the spa thanks to the kindness (and eloquence) of my friend, Anna Swartzentruber. She entered me in an “I’m Thankful For..” contest, wherein she had to write a brief essay about me and convince the staff of The Powder Room that I was the most worthy of their make-over candidates.

Now, to get the full impact of this you must understand a few things: I’ve never had a pedicure. Nor a massage. I have never, ever, ever colored my hair. And my face has never been adorned with products from any counter other than Wal-Mart. This day was a big deal.

In truth, I was a bit embarrassed about all the attention…until my friend Tina reminded me Queen Esther went to a spa. And I was totally embarrassed about my lack of experience in such things…until my new friends at The Powder Room made me feel completely at ease and at home. The day was as delicious as one might expect. If you have experienced an hour-long massage on a heated table with scented oil, you can now say, “Ahhhhhhhh. Yeeeeesssss. I know what you mean.” If you haven’t, make an appointment. Now.

I love the make-up and the hair. I especially love the nails. And, of course, I loved the elegant chicken salad on croissant for lunch. But the thing I love most of all is Anna. Because she believes so much I’m about to take another step as a writer, she gave me this gift to get me ready. That, is the most fragrant aroma of my day.

Celebrating the finished product

Celebrating the finished product

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Playing My Drum for Him

By Kathy NickersonDecember 8th, 2009Uncategorized1 Comment

IMG_0220Last night was the annual elementary Christmas program at our school. I had multiple reasons to get there early and be in the front row. Several of our grandchildren were starring in the production. And, one of the teachers responsible for the whole thing was our daughter, Felicity. (The other teacher was my good friend and former mentee, Debbie)

I didn’t expect a great deal from the event. We would all be proud if the children made it to the stage, remembered at least half of the words, and smiled for a picture now and then. I never expected to be brought to tears by “The Drummer Boy.” But something happened in the room when those children began to rum-pa-pa-pum. Their faces were so serious and sincere. As if singing the song was a real offering they had brought to the little King in the Manager. I felt tears stinging my eyes and I was challenged to think about all kinds of things in my life. As they bowed their heads before the final verse, I lifted up a silent prayer that I, too, would play my drum for Him. Because I want to see Him smile.

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Not Exactly Walden Pond

By Kathy NickersonDecember 3rd, 2009Uncategorized2 Comments

IMG_0115But close enough for me. Wendell is attending an annual Continuing Medical Education Conference at our favorite spot in the Ozark hills of Branson. Big Cedar Lodge. We’ve come here almost every December for a decade or so. He really does attend courses and usually picks up a little gem or two that benefits some of the sick folks back home. But, the schedule is light and the time to sit back and savor is plentiful.

I usually spend hours typing away on a work-in-progress while I’m here. Generally I sit right beneath the bear pictured here. Few people use this grand room, which is a waste and makes me want to transport it home where I’d serve wonderful Sunday lunches to a zillion people in it. But, I digress. I actually appreciate the neglect of the room because it gives me a perfect place to write.

This year, my two big works in progress are actually not with me. One is languishing in New York where I’m pretty sure it won’t meet the standards of the market, but I still love the poor thing and am committed to reshaping it one of these days. The other is in Austin, Texas, (or thereabouts) being examined by a literary agent I met at a recent conference. Well, at least it’s on a computer somewhere waiting its turn for examination.

I’m trying not to think of either of these projects right now. Instead, I plan to sit in front of the fire and actually read a good book this year. Then I plan to think, and pray, and cogitate, and ruminate, and figure out where to go from here in the big, wide, world of writing.

I’m sure I’ll get a plan.

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