Archive for November, 2013

With Thankful Hearts

By Kathy NickersonNovember 28th, 2013mercy3 Comments

IMG_9789So, as our daughter Serenity has told her readers, she got some not-so-great news at her last cancer check-up. It will result in a PET scan followed by some kind of surgical removal of the spot. Hopefully something called a CyberKnife which does not include chest tubes and long hospital stays.

You might think we are facing a sad Thanksgiving this year. But it doesn’t feel that way. In fact, it feels more celebratory than usual. Grandchild #13 is due to be born at some point during the festivities, because Serenity and Charity have an uncanny ability to coordinate a cancer crises with a pregnancy. They’ve done it before. More than once.

Plus, all our children will be together in one place for more than twenty-four hours! We are driving to Dan & Felicity’s house to feast upon food and great conversation. We plan to solve all the problems of the world while we are together. Not the least of which will be how to face cancer. One. More. Time.

And here is how we will face it: One breath at a time, delivered straight from Heaven into our souls. And, while we are facing it, we will laugh and love and talk until we can’t find anything more to say. Which will take a long time.

Once again, we are surrounded by such a wealth of friends and family who cheer us on and pray us through. On this Thanksgiving Day, I am so thankful for each of you. Let me tell you through Serenity’s beautiful words in her book The Thank You Room:

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was overwhelmed by the people from our life who stepped from the crevices of our history to stand with us..It was beautiful and overwhelming and more than I could fit in a mansion of rooms. And the way I felt about it was way more than I could fit in a thank you card. But maybe this will do. A book about them — the people in life who make us never want to leave. I hope you have those same people around you making your life great.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from me and all of mine!

 

 

 

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By Kathy NickersonNovember 25th, 2013mercy2 Comments

IMG_2098Last weekend, we took in a couple of basketball games starring our grandsons. Other people in the stands seemed to think their children were the stars of the games. Harmless allusions. Anyway, the Saturday game was near my hometown, and so various relatives showed up to cheer on the amazing John Michael. (First grandchild on that side of the family. Now requires man-sized pajamas under the Christmas tree.)

My parents were part of the cheering section, despite the 20° weather and my father’s fragile health. They take in lots of the local ballgames, whether a great-grandson is playing or not. That is surprising since my dad’s hearing and eyesight have both failed terribly in the last few years. It is hard for him to carry on a normal conversation in a quiet room.

We know it is difficult for him to be in large groups of people and that he gets lost if we all talk at once. When that happens, he just sits quietly and smiles at the commotion. So, my older brother asked Dad one day about his interest in sports. “Can you follow what is going on in the games pretty well?”

“Oh, not usually,” my dad said. Then he grinned, “But I can usually tell who has the ball.”

And, for him, that is worth braving frigid weather and noisy gymnasiums. Not because he loves the sport so much. But because he loves the stars.

Ours, and everyone else’s.

 

 

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What We Can Do

By Kathy NickersonNovember 21st, 2013mercy6 Comments

Ask Not:KennedyThis week marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. I thought about asking you, dear Reader, to tell me where you were the day Kennedy was shot. It is a question that marked my generation. Instead, in a day when our nation faces great trouble, I thought I’d ask you a more positive question.

Taking these words from President Kennedy’s inaugural address, I wonder: What can we do for our country?

I know prayer is the obvious answer. But what else? What concrete, hands-on, local and active thing can we each one do this year for our country?

Any thoughts?

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How to Give Great Gifts

By Kathy NickersonNovember 18th, 2013mercy4 Comments

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It is birthday week for me. Wahoooooo! And since Christmas shopping season is just around the corner (or, was around the corner in July. It is now at the threshold) I thought I’d list a few of my favorite birthday presents and why they stand out. Feel free to use it as a gift-buying guide on Black Friday. Or Christmas Eve. Whatever your style.

JoJo the Monkey – A black & yellow stuffed monkey with a banana in one hand. My brilliant parents presented him on my fifth birthday. I’m pretty sure I’ve never loved a gift more. He represented exotic adventure and mother-love all in one package.

A Ring Watch encrusted with rhinestones – Straight from the giant Wish Book to my pre-teen heart! This gift stands out because it was wildly extravagant and trendy. Trendy and extravagant were not things my farming parents could afford to be, and I knew it.

A Real Diamond – On my eighteenth birthday, my handsome future husband gave me an engagement ring. Yes, we were children. Yes, we were foolish. No, we would never suggest doing things the way we did them. But the romance and the ring have lasted forty years so far. I think we are onto something.

A Condo – Okay. It was actually just a small apartment in a near-by college town where our church and my husband’s job were located. We were spending hours of our life on the road, usually in separate cars. Wendell rented the condo as college housing for our daughter and a weekend place for us. He handed me the keys on my birthday, and I cried. Because what he’d really given me was time.

A Job – And, in that same spirit, he gave me a new job for my 50th birthday. Working for him. That may not have as much sizzle as a ring watch with rhinestones, but it was the fulfillment of a dream. On our first date as teenagers, Wendell had described the country medical practice he wanted to have someday. I signed on right there over a ham sandwich at the Pizza Hut. But it would be decades before I actually took my place.

Of course, the Dream Job is now the Day Job I keep trying to quit so I can write full time. Be prepared for that, shoppers. No matter what perfect gift you find, we are probably going to play with the box.

Happy Shopping!

 

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Through the Doorway

By Kathy NickersonNovember 14th, 2013mercy1 Comment

doorway in CreteI love all the “just in time” stories in the Bible. Not the war stories where angels swoop in and kill all the bad guys. (Or confuse them into killing one another.) Those are cool. But I’m talking about the routine moments that suddenly turn into divine appointments. Take the Shunnamite woman, for instance. (2 Kings, chapter 8)

Earlier in her life, the woman had offered hospitality to the prophet, Elisha. In gratitude, Elisha asked his servant to find out how he could pray for the woman. Turns out, she was barren. So, Elisha prayed, and a son was born the next year. As all life stories go, though, hers had some trouble. The boy died when he was just a child. The woman hurried to find Elisha. He prayed (rather dramatically) and the boy came back to life!

By this time, I think you could call Elisha and the Shunnamite woman friends. Later, Elisha warned her that God was sending a severe famine in the land. He told her to pack up her family and move out of the country. They lost everything when they left, of course. But that was better than starvation. When the famine ended after seven years, the woman decided to go to the king and beg to get her home back.

The king just happened to be visiting that day with the former servant of the prophet Elisha. “Tell me some of the great things Elisha did,” the king said. So, the servant told him about the day Elisha prayed for a dead boy and he came back to life. At that exact moment, the Shunnamite woman walked through the door. The king was so thrilled by the story and the coincidence that he said, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

I love that! It is like winning Publisher’s Clearinghouse when you didn’t even enter! And how miraculous of God to work it all out. I mean, what if the woman had been stuck in caravan traffic behind a slow camel or something and been an hour later coming in? What if Elisha’s servant had chosen the floating ax head story or the fire from Heaven display instead? What if, the woman had gone home in despair and lived like a beggar the rest of her days instead of risking an audience with the king?

True stories like this remind me that my divine moment could be just through the next door. Or the one after that. And I’m determined to keep walking through every one of them. Just in case.

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A Salute to The Greatest Generation

By Kathy NickersonNovember 11th, 2013mercy9 Comments

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When my father got his draft letter for WWII, he had rarely been further from home than the State Fair. The only islands he’d seen appeared each summer when the Chariton River got low. And Europe seemed as far away as the moon.

Even so, my dad climbed on the bus with lots of other farm boys from Macon County. Together, they left home to do their duty. Some would serve stateside, others would go overseas. Some of them would never come home, and none of them would ever be the same.

These brave young men would become known as The Greatest Generation. For their sacrifices. For their courage. And for their contributions to our world. But, in the beginning, they were just a bunch of boys a long way from home.

Their history helped form the character of Elmer Grigsby in Thirty Days to Glory. And his journey is part of my tribute to them. On this Veteran’s Day, here is a round of applause for all the boys and girls who have left home on behalf of the rest of us.

A grateful nation salutes you.

 

 

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Expensive Dreams

By Kathy NickersonNovember 7th, 2013mercy1 Comment

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Dreams are expensive.

Dancing dreams cost shoes. And bloody toes.

Painting dreams cost trips to Paris. Or at least an easel and a brush.

The dream of being a mechanic costs hours in school, and the dream of being a farmer basically costs your life.

This week I am investing time, money, and a bit of myself at a writer’s conference in Kansas City. Like all investments, this one will require some sacrifice on my part. But it will pay off in huge benefits. I never come away from this conference without being energized and inspired. And, because the conference is always filled with the power of God, I come home feeling closer to Him.

Of course, two years ago I came home from this conference with the name of a publishing house I wanted to contact. This year they published my book.

So, here is my encouragement to you, Dear Reader: Invest in your dream this year. Buy toe shoes. Splash some paint. Take a course or read a book. And, best of all, find some people who share your dream and hang out with them.

Friendship is the best dividend of all.

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It’s Your Turn

By Kathy NickersonNovember 4th, 2013mercy11 Comments

BookLaunchDSC_4095I’m having a blast being interviewed by other bloggers on my book tour. Some are people I know and love (or even gave birth to). Others are people I’ve simply met on Cyberspace. So, today it is your turn, Dear Reader. Let’s do an interview on my blog.

Warning: This will only work if you play!

Ask me any question you want about writing, publishing, book marketing, eternal optimism, my favorite color (or child), the meaning of life. Anything you want. I promise to give you an answer. It might not be the right one, but I’ll do my best to make it fun.

You can leave your question in the comment section or email it to me at kathy@kathynick.com.

I know some of my most faithful readers are shy about commenting, so here is your chance! Leap in and ask me something!

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