Archive for May, 2013

In Praise of Steeples

By Kathy NickersonMay 26th, 2013mercyNo Comments


For one period in my adult life, I thought church steeples represented all that was wrong in organized religion. My friends and I equated steeples, pews, and stained glass with dead works and dry services. We were just a few years beyond the Jesus movement of the hippie generation, so we still had some hint of anti-establishment about us. We preferred storefronts and overhead projectors.

I first started changing my mind about this when we moved to a town with a beautiful Catholic Church. Anytime we were out of town for a day or a week, we made a game of seeing who could spot the steeple first on the way home. I didn’t realize how much of a symbol the steeple had become until years after we left that town.

One Sunday afternoon, I made a lonely, nine-hour drive home from a trip out of state. We were going through a tough time in our lives, and my spirits were low. Suddenly, I came around a curve and discovered a small town nestled in the hills. A tall steeple rose above the trees like a punctuation mark in the spirit. A reminder that the Bethel-spot of God existed even in our darkest hour.

These days, we still worship in a church without stained glass. But it is more out of practicality than principle. Someday, we may even trade our multi-purpose gymnasium for some traditional carpeting and pews. In the meantime, I still love the sight of a steeple in the distance. I never know if the congregation inside is made up of vibrant saints or empty rituals. But it doesn’t matter. ┬áThe steeple has become a homing beacon for me. Like a private message from God, reminding me He is here. And, that He always will be.



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To Market, To Market…

By Kathy NickersonMay 19th, 2013mercy10 Comments


To market to market to buy a fat pig,

Home again, home again jiggety-jig.

Mother Goose

Mark Twain used to go door-to-door selling subscriptions to his next book before he published it. Or so they say. The thought of such a famous gent stooping to the level of an encyclopedia salesman comforts me just now.

Because I am marketing a book.

I knew it would come to this. Even big-name writers must become salesmen-for-a-season in today’s publishing world. Those of us with lesser-names must hustle our little hearts out if we want to spread our word.

So, I’m compiling lists, planning campaigns, and gathering contacts for the October release of my first novel.

And here is the challenge: How to sell my work without losing my soul. Or my friends. That is where you come in, Dear Reader. Of course, I’m going to ask you to spread the word when the time comes. But even more importantly, I’m going to ask you to keep me focused.

If you find me slipping into the role of a huckster, where all I do is spout, “Buy my book. Like my page. Read my blog. Ask me to speak!” Please stop me. Just send along a gentle word and remind me the world does not revolve around book sales. It revolves around Jesus. And we revolve around Him. Together.

Will you do that for me?



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What I did for Me

By Kathy NickersonMay 16th, 2013mercy8 Comments are the gorgeous flowers I received on Mother’s Day from our daughter, Serenity, and all her men large and small. They each wrote a little card which she tied around the pot. So sweet. I’m pretty sure I’ll kill the flowers eventually. I usually do. But I’ll keep the pot. And the cards. And this picture.

(Note to Serenity’s siblings: read on before you start feeling guilty.)

I think Mother’s Day has the potential for more angst and trouble than just about any other made-up-by-Hallmark holiday. I know Valentine’s Day is a bummer for the singles in our lives. Or the widowed. Or the basically broken-hearted. But Mother’s Day has so many opportunities for epic fail for about half the population of the United States.

I see this from both perspectives: As the daughter who seriously forgot until Friday that she should have bought her mother a card. And mailled it. Also as the mother who knows her own far-away children will have suffered a similar lapse.

So, I decided long ago to do something for myself on Mother’s Day. I released expectations. For myself. For my children. For the poor man I’m married to who never knows what to do with my emotional outbursts anyway.

This year, I even went a step further. I planned my own party. On Friday (when I realized I’d forgotten cards) I told my kind husband, “I’d like to go out for lunch on Sunday instead of cooking.” He agree. “And, I want to take a drive on Saturday and see your mother, my mother, and whatever children and grandchildren we can round up in the state of Missouri.”

And so, we did. It was a delightful day for a drive. I connected with all the far-away children on Facebook, which is our favorite hang-out these days. And I hugged the necks of three generations of people I love. It was a practically perfect day, I’d say.

Next year, I’m arranging breakfast in bed.

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In Celebration of Thursdays

By Kathy NickersonMay 9th, 2013mercy2 Comments


So many things I could write about this week. We had an anniversary, so lifetime love would be a good subject. Mother’s Day is coming, and Mother-Love is a never ending source of material. Graduations are happening, so there’s the whole New Adventure theme. But when I was thinking of all those ideas, our daughter Felicity sent us a poem.

I’ve never been much of a poetry reader, but Felicity is discovering it and sharing it in forms I haven’t seen before. I’m about to become a convert. This particular poem is called Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon. It is a soothing, settling, take-a-breath kind of verse. So, I did.

And, I realized something I already knew. The big moments are not the point of life. They are great fun and provide a kind of punctuation to our lives. Exclamation points of celebration, if you will. But the real joy of life is made up of the more mundane moments. Of the Thursday evenings with no commitments. Of the two easy chairs side-by-side at the end of a long and useful day. Of holding hands. Drinking iced tea. And talking.

About lifetime love. Children and grandchildren. New adventures. And all the Thursday evenings yet to come.

Let’s celebrate that, shall we?

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The Robot Challenge

By Kathy NickersonMay 2nd, 2013mercy2 Comments


It is a sad day when inanimate objects can challenge one’s personhood. I tried to comment on a friend’s blog recently, and it popped up that little captcha phrase box that said, “Prove you aren’t a robot.”

Quite a challenge from something that, basically, is a robot!

I squinted and then typed in my interpretation of the gibberish.

Wrong! Try again.

I kept looking at the little wheelchair icon and wondering what would happen if I pushed it. Do the scribbles get bigger? Does an attendant appear on screen and enunciate the letters? Loudly?

After the third try, I gave up on that comment. What I had to say was seriously not woth this identity crises. A short time later, I tried to wash my hands in a public bathroom. That’s right. The automatic towel dispenser did not acknowledge me either. Evidently, I do not exist. Or, I’m a robot.

So, do you know what I did? I dried my hands on my blue jeans and went on about my day. Because I’ve finally learned my worth is not decided by any of this earth-stuff. Not by the number of people who visit my website. Not the number of likes on my Facebook page. Not even by how many people wave at me when I drive to the post office. (I live in the country, you know.)

My worth was decided before the foundation of the world, and so was yours. No technology tyrant or hot-wind machine can change that.

I am secure in Whose I am.


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