Archive for July, 2010

Feasting with Family

By Kathy NickersonJuly 28th, 2010family1 Comment

Cousins Camp, 1960. I'm the one on the right holding the babydoll, of course.

Tonight, I cooked supper to the background music of four children playing, chatting, and coloring in my kitchen. They were not the same four children who did that routinely twenty-some years ago. But they took me back to those days. I experienced the all-is-right-with-the-world peace which comes to a mother when her chicks are tucked in for the evening. And snapshots of previous meals around our table flitted through my mind while I scrambled eggs and made oven-toast.

I think I’m feeling especially nostalgic because next week the original four (plus sixteen) will be with us under one roof for a glorious few days. We are experimenting with a family reunion/vacation in a large rental home. It has always been my dream to have a house where all the grandkids can come for Cousins Camp. Our lovely two-bedroom is perfect for Wendell and I, but it won’t accommodate a dozen cousins.

As you can see from this picture, reunions are a long tradition in our family. I vaguely remember my great-grandmother pictured here in the center. But I clearly recall the rubber doll she gave me for my fifth birthday. (I think it was my fifth) He had blonde hair and blue rompers, and I named him Butch after my great-grandmother’s dog. And when I think of that toy and of the great-aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents pictured here, I remember feeling loved. A lot.

I want our grandchildren to feel their roots sinking deeply, too. To know they are prayed for and prodded, applauded and loved by generations who have gone before them. Cousins camp is a small part of that. So, I’m thinking this rented vacation home could possibly be a dream fulfilled. Or, it might be a perfect reminder of why we each have homes of our own.

I’ll let you know.

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Today I Love My Mailbox

By Kathy NickersonJuly 21st, 2010family, writing16 Comments

This is a shameless plug. I’ve always believed if I checked the mailbox faithfully rain or shine, one day it would reward me with wonderful things. Two of those arrived this week. First: (here’s the plug) This book compiled by James Stuart Bell with a forward by Gary Chapman and (drum roll, please) a story by Kathy Nickerson! Yep. This is my very first publication credit from a royalty publisher. BethanyHouse. (I’m the last story in the book, which I like. I’m a back-page kinda girl.)

Now, I’m not actually getting royalties, mind you. But, underneath the book you can see the second thing that came in the mail: the honorarium for writing the story. I’m pretty jazzed about this whole thing. If you look for this book on Amazon.com, you can actually go inside to the table of contents and find my name. I know this because I did it.

The tricky thing is this: The book is written for married couples about being married, and my particular story is, well, very married. Tasteful, but rather personal. So I’m not really broadcasting to the world that I wrote it. Okay, I guess I am. But you guys are a very trustworthy cross-section of the world. When I first started writing it, I used a pen name so as not to embaress anyone. Specifically my husband, who plays a starring role in the story. And our children, who probably want to think they were divinely created and sent to our doorstep on the evening breeze like little Who-babies.

Eventually, I decided to go with my real name, because I am really grateful to God for our great marriage, and I do like to talk about it. (And, as the editor pointed out, our children do know where they came from.) Unfortunately, I failed to change Wendell’s name. So, if you happen to read the story someday and wonder why I was swimming with a guy named Allen. Now you know.

It’s so my husband won’t be embarrassed.

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Made in the Shade

By Kathy NickersonJuly 18th, 2010Friendship, happy endings6 Comments

This is Dan. He is one of our extraordinary son-in-laws and also a gifted musician who can play everything from the keytar to the piano flute. Dan leads a band called findingBethel, with his friends Darin and Jared. Last week they played a gig at the local county fair.

Now, it was approximately 110 degrees in the grandstand that day. The audience was melting slowly into little puddles but the band was still giving us their all. About half-way through, the sun slipped to an unfortunate position where it shot laser beams straight into Dan’s eyes through a gap in the the grandstand. I was worrying that Dan would either go blind or scramble the song because he could no longer see the keys when a shadow suddenly fell across his face.

This is Thomas. School principal, basketball coach, father of four, and all around good-guy. He was the shadow. I glanced behind me just in time to see him take a stance at the very top of the grandstand where the sun would beat down on his back, providing perfect shade for Dan’s eyes.

I’m not sure what took place during the rest of the set because I was so captured by this live-action shot of life in the Kingdom of God. And I thought to myself that’s how it should always be. We should each do our best to make sure the other guy has it made in the shade. Every day.

Thanks, Thomas.

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My Words are too Small

By Kathy NickersonJuly 13th, 2010happy endings9 Comments

Jake and his mom

Five years ago, Wendell and I sat in a tragic room with this beautiful young woman and her husband. We were joined by a  sad doctor, a silent nurse, a rare and aggressive cancer, and a positive pregnancy test. Afterward, they ushered us out a back door into the parking lot, as if the grief we were about to endure was simply too much for the public to see.

I don’t know what became of the sad doctor or the silent nurse. But the beautiful young woman became our strong and confident Serenity Beth, who has recently taken New York City by storm. The pregnancy test became four-year-old-Jake, who dazzles us with his smile and read his own name on his Easter egg this year.

And the rare and aggressive cancer? As of today, it has officially been ushered out the back door, kicked down the steps and banned from appearing again. Serenity has been pronounced cancer-free.

I wish there were words for this day.

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A Lesson from Lebron

By Kathy NickersonJuly 9th, 2010family, happy endings, Uncategorized6 Comments

John Michael with his hometown team.

On Thursday afternoon, I asked our ten-year-old grandson, John Michael, “So, where do you think Lebron James will end up after his big announcement tonight?” (In case you are sports-challenged like me, I’ll fill you in from what I learned on Fox News. This guy is earning as much as the gross national product of a small country in exchange for slamming a basketball through the hoop. Everybody wants him on their side. And on Thursday night he bought an entire hour of prime time t.v. to announce his choice. In his defense, the add sales from the show did go to charity.)

After my question, John Michael stopped eating his ice cream and studied the ceiling a minute. Then said, “Well, I don’t know for sure what he’ll do, but I kind of hope he stays in Cleveland.”

His mother asked him why, and I waited for some strategic answer about team stats and career opportunities. Instead, John Michael said. “Well, Papa doesn’t really like it when all the best players leave their home teams when they get big. And I think that, too.”

Then he went back to his ice cream.

I don’t really care one bit where Lebron James plays basketball. But I love to the zillionth degree that John Michael agrees with his Papa. In that one second answer, I saw a boy being shaped into a man of integrity, character, loyalty, and honor by a simple conversation about basketball with his father.

Go, team.

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