Archive for November, 2011

It’s Not a Bad Word

By Kathy NickersonNovember 28th, 2011Uncategorized10 Comments

I’m irritated about “Happy Holidays,” but not in the way you might think. I’m all for keeping Christ in Christmas. If we take Him out, we just have mas. And that doesn’t mean anything at all.

But, until our politically-correct society hijacked holiday, it wasn’t a dirty word. It was a beautiful word evoking all things warm and fuzzy in my soul. I often started wishing folks “happy holidays” in mid-October. To me, the holiday season encompassed Halloween costume parties, Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas carols, and New Year’s Eve toasts. It was a full package.

Referring to Christmas as a holiday didn’t take Jesus out of the center for me. Using the word didn’t make me confuse the celebration of Christ’s birth with a day set aside to dress like a princess and demand candy from the neighbors.

But now people use the word holiday for exactly that purpose. They use it to dilute the true Reason for the Season and turn it into something pale and pointless. The word holiday has become the antichrist of Christmas. Which really stinks.

I don’t particularly like to be controversial on this blog. But I have to tell you I’m unhappy about this. I am irritated that one segment of our society can take a perfectly good word and turn it into something I can’t say unless I want to be identified with a cause I don’t believe in. So, I can’t wish you “Happy Holidays” this year anymore than I can feel gay on a perfectly warm spring day.

See what I mean? It stinks.

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My Thank You List

By Kathy NickersonNovember 22nd, 2011happy endings, mercy6 Comments

O Lord my God, you have done many miracles for us.

Your plans for us are too numerous to list.

If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,

I would never come to the end of them. Psalms 40:5 (NLT)

Things Like This:

Curls after Chemo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandbabies #11 and #12

 

Forever Friends

 

Lifetime Love

 

 

Gapless Generations

A future so bright, we have to wear shades.

 

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His Plans

By Kathy NickersonNovember 17th, 2011happy endings, mercy1 Comment

A glimpse of glory on my way home from work

We Christians love the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We print it in gold letters on birthday cards and graduation announcements. We throw it around like fairy dust over down-sizing or downtrodding. (I don’t think that’s a word.)

But sometimes we forget where it came from. We forget it was written to a bunch of ungrateful exiles in a foreign land. They had been marched off to Babylon because they turned their backs on God. They probably expected Him to rescue them at any minute.

Instead, God told them, “Make yourselves at home. Build houses and plant vineyards. Marry and have children. Get a life. Because you are going to be in this land until your grandchildren are well-grown.”

If you think about it, we are in pretty much the same shape as these exiles. The Bible says the whole earth groans under a curse of captivity. (I’m not bitter. If Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit, I probably would have been the one to do it.) You, me, and the trees are all waiting for a day when we can live the way God really designed us to be. Free. Full. Forever.

Until then, we’re supposed to do the same thing as those exiles. Build houses. Plant fields. Marry and have children. Get a real life centered in God yet content in this world.

I can do that.

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A Lot Like Laundry

By Kathy NickersonNovember 13th, 2011writing5 Comments

Loose Change

Most of the time, I’m a reasonably sane human being. When I go to a writer’s conference, though, I am suddenly reminded of stories from the olden days. Stories about movie starlets being discovered while sipping a malt at the soda shop. I always have this absurd idea that I’ll pitch an idea to an editor and she will say, “Where have you been all my life? We want you to write a blog for our website, one feature each month for our magazine, and a series of books that will keep you busy for the next decade.”

Or something like that.

In reality, I learn a lot at these conferences. And I meet loads of great people who inspire, encourage, and challenge me. But nobody ever offers me a staring roll. Because real life doesn’t work that way.

In real life, I go home with a satchel full of writer’s guidelines, sample copies of magazines, and business cards from kind editors willing to give me a chance to prove myself.

Then, I write. I suffer. I edit. I write some more. Eventually I send off a finished piece to one of those editors. And I do it all again the next day. Writing is much less like a Hollywood wonder-story and much more like the laundry.

You just have to do it. Every day. Over and over and over. If you are really fortunate, one day an editor will write back with a positive response. Or maybe a reader will let you know something you wrote made a difference in her life.

Those moments are like finding loose change when you pull the jeans out of the dryer. And that’s enough to get you to the next day.

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Thinking About It

By Kathy NickersonNovember 10th, 2011family1 Comment

When I was ten years old, my little brother was born on November 11th. (Happy Birthday, Kenny.) It was a pretty big deal, of course. But I didn’t understand the significance of the date. I suppose I’d heard of Armistice Day, as it was known back then. I think it was a “no school” day.

To our grandfather, though, the date was important. I remember him standing in our living room, wearing his trademark, striped overalls. “You probably don’t think much about this day,” he said to us. “But you would. If your brother had been fighting in The Great War when Germany and the Allies signed a deal for peace,  you’d think about it.”

So, I do.

This year, I’ll think about it for that great-uncle I never knew. And I’ll think about it for my good friend, Lenna, who has two sons serving on foreign soil right now. Because, November 11th isn’t just another no-school day. It’s personal. Very, very personal.

And I’m thinking about it.

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Rocking my World

By Kathy NickersonNovember 7th, 2011mercy3 Comments

A couple of cousins who were baptized this summer.

We sang Amazing Grace at church last weekend, and I was so glad. Because 43 years ago this month, a tiny congregation sang that song on the banks of a pond while I was baptized. I remember it snowed that day, but I don’t remember being cold. My grandfather waded into the water before me with a sturdy walking stick and found a level place. Then he came back and led me into the water. He wore a dark suit and a tie. I wore a rainbow-striped mini-dress. (It was the sixties.)

I might not have remembered the anniversary so precisely this year if it hadn’t been for the earthquake. Some friends from my hometown posted on social media that they felt a tremor on Saturday. That’s pretty unusual here in the Midwest, though we evidently sit on a just-waiting-to-get-you-major-fault. The last time I remember an earthquake is the weekend I was baptized. At the time, I thought God was shaking the pew to get my attention.

So, this weekend I thanked God again for the earthquake and for the country church where I made my first spiritual home. For the grandfather who led me to sure-footing and the people who gave me a rich heritage. It has been a great journey so far.

And, God still rocks my world.

 

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Yes and Amen

By Kathy NickersonNovember 3rd, 2011happy endings1 Comment

My friend, Robyn, stumbled across this picture recently and brought it to me. I am thrilled, because I remember this moment. Well, probably not the exact moment. But I remember this season when our good friend thought he was going to lose his medical profession because arthritis was crippling his hands. I remember the young men of our church surrounding him and praying that God would make a way.

Those young men are now professionals themselves. They have wives and children and careers. It has been more than a decade since we prayed this prayer. Not only is our friend still working, he has become a competitive barbecue chef on the side and is training his grandchildren in the art.

Until Robyn brought this picture, I’d almost forgotten the fear and struggle of those early days. I love being reminded that God answers prayers. In fact, He answers them so perfectly that sometimes we forget we even prayed them. I’m glad I’ve been reminded.

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