Archive for August, 2013

The Things that come After

By Kathy NickersonAugust 29th, 2013mercy1 Comment

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Today’s flash of brilliance is not my own. It comes from my wise, master-teacher sister. I think she talked about it at church months ago, but it came back to me this morning. For some reason, I was thinking about failure and how we let it define us.

Peter, for instance, is often defined as The Disciple Who Tried to Walk on Water and Sank. That is true. Peter did sink after climbing out of the boat and taking a few steps. But Martha pointed out an important truth.

The Bible says Jesus reached out a hand and rescued Peter. It doesn’t say Jesus hefted him up in a fireman’s carry and lugged him back to the boat. It doesn’t say they were miraculously transported  Star Trek-style.

Instead, maybe, Jesus and Peter walked back to the boat together. On the water.

Maybe we should start defining ourselves by those details that come after our rescue. More importantly, maybe we should start defining one another that way.

I think Jesus does.

 

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Becoming a Bestseller

By Kathy NickersonAugust 26th, 2013mercy8 Comments

I got a little stressed last week. It must have surfaced to the rest of the world during a meeting with some folks about the release of my upcoming novel. I’m not sure what I said, but suddenly, the restaurateur who is hosting my book launch bash spoke up.

He isn’t the kind of guy who gets behind a pulpit. In fact, I’m pretty sure I see the remnant of a hippie in the curly, white hair he wears kind of long and sometimes in a ponytail. He rides a motorcycle. And he calls everybody, Dude.

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But on this afternoon, he looked at me kindly and said, “I wouldn’t get too worried about this stuff. Just take it one step at a time. You’re going to keep on writing books, so don’t let this one get you all worked up. If you don’t enjoy every step of what you are doing, what’s the point?”

I sat back. “You mean I shouldn’t stress over whether or not I make the New York Times Bestseller List?”

“That’s right,” he said. “Let’s just shoot for the Shelbina Best Seller List for now.” (Shelbina: Population 1700).

I stopped hyperventilating and looked again at my friend. I had a sudden thought that if I glanced out in the parking lot, I might see a shepherd’s staff leaning against his bike.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me…

Thanks, Dude.

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Changing Scenes

By Kathy NickersonAugust 22nd, 2013mercy1 Comment

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It’s that time of year again. Facebook is filled with pictures of smiling children in stiff new clothes, strapped to bulky backpacks, waiting for rumbling buses. Nothing says Changing Seasons like the start of a new school year. Even those of us who haven’t sent a child off to school for a decade or two feel the shift in the breeze. And, mostly, we embrace it.

Not all changing seasons are pleasant, of course. For the child going off to college, the new scene is excitement, challenge, and endless possibilities. For the mother left at home, it is echoing hallways, empty bedrooms, and fewer plates on the table. (Until we manage to seize the day and turn that bedroom into an art studio or something.)

Some changes are more permanent and crushing than a simple transition, though. Death, divorce, loss of friendships. It is hard to find the possibilities in those things. My grandfather, who had tasted some bitter changes through his life, often included the following phrase in his public prayers: And, please reconcile us to the changing scenes of this life…

I’ve taken that phrase to heart. Along with my mother’s admonition that we see every stage of life as the best one ever. And the philosophy creeps into my writing. You will find it in Catherine when she tries to reconcile some changing scenes in Thirty Days to Glory. Never one to miss a shameless plug, I suggest you add the book to your Christmas wish list. Read it in the empty bedroom if you are needing some perspective.

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The Back Story

By Kathy NickersonAugust 17th, 2013mercy3 Comments

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This weekend our second daughter, Serenity, is celebrating sixteen years of marital bliss with her childhood sweetheart. Their wedding really was something of a fairytale, complete with flower petals falling from the sky when they turned to greet the crowd as man and wife.

But, in reality, those petals only fell because a wonderful friend climbed out of a tiny bedroom window onto the scalding hot roof of an August afternoon. Then he crept across the scorching shingles and dropped the petals from the sky as if by magic.

The moment when Michael and Serenity exchanged vows on our family porch was magical. The process to get there was hard work.The fairytale romance before the wedding included ten years of dying-to-self, trusting-the-grown-ups, and loving-Jesus-more-than-the-dream.

And the years that followed have not been all unicorns and fairy dust.

The reality, though, does not mar the memory. The hard work does not negate the magical moment. The day was real in a way that actually transcends the struggles. Because in the moment, we touched the perfection that is Jesus and His Kingdom. We experienced the thrill that will come at the end of the age when He comes back for His bride and flower petals will be scattered by angels.

In that moment, we knew the story we are living is true. It is real. It is filled with good guys, bad guys, scary times, and sparkling glories. And, of course, we win. Not only in the end, but lots and lots and lots of times in-between.

Happy Anniversary, Bohons.

 

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What It’s All About

By Kathy NickersonAugust 10th, 2013mercy3 Comments

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This is David posing with my daughters. He is a man-of-God and a son-of-my-heart. On a recent trip to Omaha, he brought along a couple of honorary nephews from his church. He took them for supper at Fuddrucker’s and said to the girl behind the counter, “These are my nephews from Kansas.” (One is Hispanic and the other Italian. David likes to shake things up.) “This is their first time in your restaurant. Give them the Fuddrucker’s spiel.”

The girl just stared. Of course.

“You know,” David said, “Tell them what Fuddrucker’s is all about. What makes you special?”

“Uh, I don’t really know…”

Now, David has managed some pretty classy eateries in his day. If someone at Kona Grill had answered that way, he would have busted them back to dishwasher! And “maker of the world’s greatest hamburger” didn’t seem like a very hard thing to know about one’s employer. But, the girl might still have been hung up on the “these are my nephews from Kansas” line. Maybe she thought David was the front man for a hidden camera show. Either way, she froze. He eventually bailed her out by ordering some food.

David tried the same thing at the next place he took the boys to eat. And, he got the same response. He was aghast. How could you work for an establishment and not even know what it’s about? How could you not know the spiel?

Indeed. How can we? How many of us go through the day just earning our minimum wage, totally unaware that we are part of some greater good in the world, some bigger picture? I don’t want to be stumped like the waitress next time someone asks me, “So, what’s this all about?”

Whether it is my job at the front desk of a country clinic, (We are Here to Serve) or my calling as a writer (telling a great story that encourages folks in the faith) or my life as an ambassador of Christ, (Helping people be reconciled to God) I want to know what it’s all about.

To the best of my ability, of course. Hamburger, anyone?

 

 

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How I Wrote a Book in Twenty Minutes a Day

By Kathy NickersonAugust 3rd, 2013mercy16 Comments

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Okay. Not entirely in twenty-minutes a day. But mostly. Years ago, when we were rearing four children, serving like crazy in our church, and starting a new medial practice, I decided to be a writer. One day I heard this sage piece of advice: If you write 250 words per day, that is one page of a book. If you do that every week day for a year, you have over 200 pages, even giving yourself time off for a vacation or the flu. That is a book.

So, I started writing. 250 words per day. I usually couldn’t stop at 250, of course. So I had a rough draft of my first novel done by the end of the summer. (It is not the novel pictured here.)

I kept up that practice as the children grew, and I soon had several articles published in national magazines. I also had another novel written and revised about four times. (It is not the novel pictured here, either.)

Eventually, the children grew up, got married, and had children of their own. Just as I was about to become a full-time-writer-for-real we moved to a new town and started a new medical practice from scratch. This time, I went to work in the office as receptionist, office manager, billing coder, insurance filer, collections department, and basic go-to girl. I loved this dream come true of working full-time with my husband. But, it didn’t leave much time or energy for writing.

So, I sat down every morning before work and wrote for twenty-minutes. I didn’t edit or check Facebook, or lolligag on email. I wrote. One scene at a time, the book unfolded. On Saturday afternoons, I’d sometimes lock myself away for a few hours of block time for edits and revisions. Three times a year, when my husband had to attend continuing medical education seminars, I shut myself in our hotel room and wrote till my eyes burned.

But, mostly, I wrote this novel in twenty-minutes a day. It IS the one pictured here, and you can have your very own copy in approximately 83 days, 6 hours, and 47 seconds.

So, what dream are you going to accomplish this year in twenty-minutes a day?

 

Click to Tweet: What can you do with 20 minutes a day? @KathyNick_  says you can write  a novel http://wp.me/pDTue-Hd

 

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Embracing the Betweens

By Kathy NickersonAugust 1st, 2013mercyNo Comments

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Someone once described to me how it feels to be in-between two stages of life. He said it was like being the water as it is poured from one glass to another. In slow motion.

Some of the in-betweens of my life have been agony. Eight hours waiting to see if our tiny granddaughters would survive their premature birth. (Claire lived. Ellery slipped through a portal to Glory.)

 

Eight months, waiting for another pregnant daughter to deliver so she could get treatment for a rare, aggressive cancer. (She and baby Jake both survived and thrived.)

Other seasons have been more subtle and contemplative. More obvious in their purpose and shaping. Like the years between “I want to be a writer” and “my book is coming out in October!!”

Author Jeff Goins understands about the In-Between seasons of life. And he has written a great book telling us how we can embrace the tension between Now and the Next Big Thing.

I often buy books like this on my Kindle. They take up less shelf space that way. But I ordered this book in paper and ink. Some things should just be held in the hand and experienced with all our senses. That is how I fell about The In-Between.

I want to touch it. I want to know it. I want to get it. Deep down and forever.

How about you?

 

 

 

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