Archive for September, 2012

Places I Write

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 30th, 2012sliderNo Comments

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Speaker

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 29th, 2012sliderNo Comments

I love encouraging people, and a microphone is my favorite accessory. You might find me wearing one at church meetings, women’s retreats, youth gatherings, writer’s workshops, or in a classroom of future physicians.

I’d love to share a few words with your group. Just contact me here.

To contact Kathy Nickerson visit the Contact Kathy page or use the simple message form in the sidebar. We look forward to hearing from you!

Some speaking topics include:

Faith: Learning to Love the Bible, Trusting God in Hard Times, Growing with God through the Seasons of Life

Family: Making Marriage almost Happily Ever After, Stages of Parenthood, The In-law Issue

Writing: So You Want to Be a Writer, Finding Your Purpose, Practical Pointers

Tough Topics: Dealing with Addiction, Battling Depression, Cancer: the six-letter word with a four-letter attitude.

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Changing the Paint

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 27th, 2012mercy4 Comments

Have you ever painted a room and then had buyer’s remorse over the color? (I remember a patriotic phase back in the late sixties when my brother’s bedroom was bright red. I inherited the room two years later and tried for pristine white. It stayed mostly pink.)

Anyway, my good friend Jaymes has spent hours rebuilding my website. And, guess what? I decided I don’t like the color.

Poor Jaymes.

In the end, I’ve asked him for a total do-over. (You know how you buy one gorgeous throw pillow and suddenly you need a new sofa and some wall art?)

So, we are going back into construction mode. When it’s time for the big reveal, let’s make it a party, okay? I’ll keep yo posted.

And, pray for Jaymes. He is such a good sport.

 

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It Is Who You Know

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 24th, 2012mercy1 Comment

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea I’d bought into the Women’s Lib movement of the 1980’s. Before you get all hot and bothered, let me say I totally believe in liberation for all people (not just women), and I especially believe women should earn the same wage as a man if she is doing the same job. And, I pretty much believe a woman can do anything in the world she wants to do. Although I do think men are better designed for some tasks. Like war.

Anyway, the issue of identity came up. I had a sudden memory of a woman on television telling all the enslaved wives and mothers to break free. “Does your husband call you, “Mama”?” she said. “You aren’t his mama. You are a woman. You have your own name. You have your own identity. Stand up for yourself.”

I never asked my husband to stop calling me “Mama.” In fact, I’ve always loved that. But for over twenty-five years, I’ve paused every time I start to sign a love note or a card or an “I’ve run to the store, be right back” note on the fridge. I always hesitate. Should I sign it Mama or Kathy? I didn’t even think the issue through, I just paused. And then I often ended up signing it “Me.”

The pausing has gone on all these years, and I’ve never taken time to sort it all out. I didn’t even know where it came from. Then I heard a wonderful preacher say this amazing thing: “Identity is relational. Even God identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even when He told Moses that He was the “I AM” He was including Jesus and the Holy Spirit in His name. You are never just a lone individual standing up in the middle of the world with your precious identity. Your identity is tied to other people.”

Of course! Identity is relational. Being Kathy has no real meaning. There are a zillion Kathys in the world. But, being the wife of Wendell? The mother of Felicity, Serenity, Joseph, and Charity? The grandmother of a dozen little darlings? The daughter of The Nicest Woman in the World?

Those are the things that matter. Those are the people who give dimension to my identity. They give it heart, and love, and life, and laughter.

So, I have a new dilemma when I sign love notes now. Which facet of my identity should I display in this particular instance? Which title is called for in this moment? Once I decide, I sign with a flourish!

Kathy/Mama/Grandma/Me

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Gathering In

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 21st, 2012mercy2 Comments

I love fall so much that I prefer to call it Autumn with a capital “A.” The word sounds richer, and I believe it deserves the personification of a proper noun. You may disagree, but just consider these attributes: Bulky sweaters. Gorgeous leaves. Bonfires. Hot chocolate. More after-dark hours for snuggling on the sofa. Prequel to Thanksgiving and Christmas. This list goes on and on.

But I think I love Autumn most because of the spirit of ingathering. Ingathering (also known as Booths) was one of the three main feasts for the Jews in ancient times. It celebrated the gathering in of their crops and also commemorated Jews being  gathered-in from their captivity in Egypt. (Thus, booths, the temporary shelters they built and camped in for seven days to remind them of the Exodus.)

As a mother, I’ve always had a sense of gathering in at this time of year. I’m not sure if it is the shorter hours of daylight, the cooler temperatures, or just the sense that winter is coming. Something always makes me reach out (at least in my heart) and try to pull everyone in close to home.

Maybe this need for ingathering is more than a motherly instinct, though. Maybe it is part of our spiritual identity. Maybe we all innately long for a time when Jesus will return and round up His children for that one last, great ingathering of souls.

Maybe we love Autumn because we were made for such a time as this.

Maybe.

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Cloud of Mystery

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 17th, 2012mercy1 Comment

My friend, Doug Kreighbaum, talked last weekend about the ancient mystics believing in a Cloud of Mystery. When they encountered issues in life that were too hard-to-explain, they just tucked those away inside the Cloud and left them for God to sort out.

I like that. If we can send files, manuscripts, movies, and blogs out into The Cloud for storage, why not problems? Why not take the questions-too-big-to-answer and send them to the Cloud of Mystery to be solved another day. Maybe another eon, in fact.

When the Fed-Ex driver told me recently that his two-month old son had died of SIDS during his first day of daycare, I didn’t know about the cloud. But, I did know about the pain. This young dad looked at me with sad eyes and said, “People tell you God is good, but I just don’t get this.”

I kind of wanted to run screaming from this sudden, unexpected moment of vulnerability. Instead, I said, “I don’t get it, either. I didn’t get it when my baby granddaughter died. And I don’t get it now.”

We just stood in the doorway for a minute, both of us staring at the ground, and then I said, “Some things , like this loss, we will never understand on this side of eternity. And yet, God is good. I’m not sure how those two things work together. I just know they do.”

He nodded, thanked me, and climbed back into his truck. I knew I hadn’t been eloquent. I hadn’t known how to impart faith to him. Or comfort. Or hope. I hadn’t known how to explain that God really can be trusted with great mysteries and great sorrows because His ways are so much higher than our ways. I simply didn’t now what to say.

When I see him next time, though, I’m telling him about The Cloud.

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Big Dreams

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 10th, 2012mercy2 Comments

Our family has some audacious dreams. You know, things like being able to bring our children up as successful human beings. But, we also tend to dream about other things: like bagging a trophy elk, creating an amazing ballet, writing great novels of enduring-value, or changing the world from a stage, a classroom, or a ball field.

Some of the ideas we throw around the dining room table seem pretty far out there for a family who grew up in a town of 1500 people. But, we’ve always believed we can do anything God sets before us.

The root of all our dreams is the same. We want to make the world a better place. To ease suffering. To raise hope. To shine light and to scatter salt. To make sure everyone we encounter feels the breath of God that created us, rescued us, and made us victorious.

And we simply aren’t bothered by our small beginnings. We figure if we make ourselves available, God will use us with one person or a zillion. It doesn’t matter to us which He does.

One reason we believe God can do big things with small-town people is because of  King David. You know the guy. Little shepherd boy. Killed a giant. Ruled a nation.

King David is still famous 4000 years later. So famous that the secular press uses his story to describe any epic struggle. And here is the kicker. Most of King David’s exploits took place within twenty miles of his home.

So, I’m a believer in audacious dreams.

How about you?

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Singing to a City

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 6th, 2012mercy9 Comments

So, I’m headed to Omaha this weekend where our daughter, Charity Long, is doing a debut concert for her new EP, Love More Perfect. How many words in that sentence are the things dreams are made of? Charity has been singing as long as we can remember, of course. When she was four, she used to stand in a little tree in our front yard and sing original works.

She sang in school productions and traveling youth groups. She sang in church services and a festival now and then. She auditioned for American Idol, and she once sang before thousands of people with Danilo Montero in Equador.

But this. This is different.

This weekend is Charity and her husband, Ryan, taking a step of faith. They have rented a stage (an entire park, in fact) in the middle of their city. They’ve booked a band and cut the EP’s. And Friday night they will stand up together in Omaha and sing.

Who knows what God will do with that?

Who knows what He will do with any of us who take a step of faith and put ourselves out there for the world to see. I know this: it is easier to stay in the tree.

And, I’m glad she didn’t.

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Some Things We Can’t Change

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 3rd, 2012mercyNo Comments

I’m reminded this week of some some things we can’t change no matter how much we try. We can’t make it rain, for instance. Three months of no moisture has been hard on us out here in farm country. A man could break an ankle from some of the cracks in the fields. We can stretch long irrigation pipes across the corn and run them night and day. But once the lake runs dry, we can’t manufacture any more water. No matter how many brilliant minds we put on it, we’ve never been able to make rain.

But God can. And He does. In His time and in His way, he sends it on the just and the unjust. I’m not sure which we are this week, but I’m certainly grateful to be a part.

Another thing we can’t do is take away someone else’s pain. (Even though good friends always try.) Doctor’s can relieve the physical assault with things like a needle full of steroids shot directly into the face just below your eye. (She says from recent ER experience.) But no one can actually lift the pain away from the screaming nerve. They can only block it temporarily. In the same way, we can’t fully lift one another’s grief over loss, fear over cancer, or suffering from setbacks.

But God can. And He does. My friend, Dave, reminded me (from closed circuit t.v. Sunday school this morning, thank you Technology!) that there is a river that makes glad the city of God. It never runs dry. It never fails. And it carries all pain, suffering, fear, and sorrow away to the throne of God where it is washed away forever in joy unspeakable.

It comes from my favorite psalm, and if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll just go rest there a bit. Feel free to join me.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.Psalm 46:4

 

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