Archive for January, 2014

A Word About Snow

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 30th, 2014mercy10 Comments

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If you live in the Midwest, or the North, or the Northeast, or the Mountains of Anywhere, you are probably shocked by the sight of entire highway systems coming to a dead stop in Georgia over what we might call a skiff of snow.

It is almost beyond belief that dozens of children spent the night on school busses stopped in traffic. Others made it back to their schools. They spent the night with dedicated teachers who scrounged the cafeteria for food.

This is almost beyond belief for those of us who have been known to carry a shovel in the backseat so we can dig through the drifts to get home. But, it all comes down to expectations. We winter-dwellers expect to fight snow. We own boots. We buy sidewalk salt. We pay taxes for road crews with big ole’ trucks and blades.

And, we complain anyway.

After watching the news from Atlanta, I am vowing to complain less. Instead of griping about the wind-chill and the snow drift in my driveway, I’m going to be grateful for my all-wheel-drive car. And for the neighbor boys who scoop my walk. And for the workers who plow all night.

I’m going to be glad that even here in blizzard country none of my children ever failed to make it home from school. I never spent the night in my car on the Interstate.

And, most of all, I’m going to be grateful that spring always comes!

 

 

 

 

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Tribe Time

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 27th, 2014mercy4 Comments

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Last week, we held the first gathering of the As-Yet-Unnamed Heartland Writer’s Group. The group is sponsored by our local college and hosted by yours truly. When I threw out the emails, web postings, and church bulletin announcements, I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe one or two other brave souls would join me at the Solid Rock Cafe to drink Diet Coke and discuss All Things Book for an hour or two.

Instead, I found a tribe. (I stole that concept from Jeff Goins.) We don’t look much alike in this tribe. You would never pick us out of a crowd and say, “Those people belong together!” We came from three generations and a crazy number of backgrounds.

But it only took a few minutes before we discovered our common blood. Well, our most important common blood comes from Jesus. But, beyond that, it is words. We have tons of them inside, and they simply must find a way out.

Some of them will come out in novels. Others will become beautiful poems. Several thousand are sure to come out in made-up worlds of fantasy and sci-fi. And many will become blog posts, devotionals, and letters to our grandchildren.

I don’t know for sure what our words will ever accomplish. And I don’t know what will come of our little group. But I know when I came home from that first gathering I felt envisioned, encouraged, and so full of words that I spilled a few thousand of them describing it all to my patient husband.

I’m saving the rest for the next meeting of my tribe.

 

 

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The Little Things

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 23rd, 2014mercy10 Comments

red shoesAs you know if you read this blog, Serenity and I made several trips to Kansas City for her radiation treatments this month. (Pesky cancer!) The trip took about ten hours each time, so we had lots of time to talk and solve all the problems of the world. (You are welcome.)

One afternoon, we drove down 119th Street looking for our favorite lunch spot. The parking lot had been so crowded the week before that we circled it three times looking for an empty spot. Finally, we gave up and hulked like a Titanium vulture behind a car that appeared to be making exit plans. Even then, it was a cold and windy walk from our captured parking spot to the warmth of the vestibule.

On this trip, though, we pulled into the lot and drove straight into a dandy spot just across from the front door. Really, you would have thought one of us had won an Oscar we were so thrilled.

We grinned and congratulated one another, and then I shook my head. “It doesn’t take much to make us happy.”

My beautiful, brave, winning-over-cancer-one-more-time daughter smiled back and said, “Well, it’s a good thing it doesn’t!”

So, here is hoping you find that same attitude today. May you be blessed with the perfect party shoes. Or matching socks in the dryer. Or a two-year old who actually uses the potty. Whatever your little thing is today, may it bless your soul and remind you of the One who handles all things great and small.

 

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Keep the Stones

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 20th, 2014mercy2 Comments

Killing giants at the cancer center.

 

Have you ever wondered why David the shepherd boy carried five, smooth stones the day he killed Goliath? It only took one to knock the giant down. After that, David sliced off Goliath’s head and carried it all the way to Jerusalem.

But, I have an idea about the other stones.

Years later, the almost-king David and his mighty men fought a series of battles. And they killed four giants. Four of them. From Gath.

Brothers, perhaps?

I like to think so. I like to imagine that David picked up the extra stones because he intended to take on Goliath’s four brothers, or cousins, or whatever giant relatives were strutting with the army that day. It took a while for him to accomplish that goal, but he eventually did it.

And I wonder if he kept the stones. Maybe not as weapons, but just as reminders. That no matter how long it would take, no matter how many battles would be fought, eventually the giants would die.

This is total conjecture, of course. I have no idea if it is true. But, I truly hope it is. Because I know from personal experience that it sometimes takes a while to kill all the giants.

 

 

 

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Keeping it Real

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 16th, 2014mercy3 Comments

Photo on 2013-12-04 at 10.39I’ve read several articles lately on the facade of social media. Authors are complaining that tweets and posts and pins sound more like the typical Christmas newsletter than life-as-we-know-it. People post things like: Can’t decide between Cancun and Bermuda for Spring Break. Or this: My husband just brought me breakfast in bed along with a gift certificate for a massage to celebrate the fifth anniversary of our first date.

Riiiiiiight.

I get this complaint. In fact, I played along this week with Real Simple Magazine during their Get Real on the Internet challenge. People actually posted pictures of their messy house and their failed recipes. We admitted things like bad hair days and forgetting-to-feed-the-kids-breakfast.

But, honestly, I have some complaints on this side of the balance scale, too. Nothing irritates me more than a social media sour puss. You know the one. She complains about everything. The weather. Her paycheck. The neighbors. Her job. How tired she is. Her homework load. It goes on and on. I especially dislike these posts when they come from someone who claims to be living the Life More Abundant as a follower of Jesus.

So, I’m thinking there is room in our culture for a happy balance on Social Media. Maybe we can find a way to tell the truth without being whiners. A way to share our universal trials without falling into a global funk.

What do you think?

 

 

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Something Better

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 13th, 2014mercy3 Comments

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I think my life may have changed on Saturday morning. I picked up one of my Christmas gifts – “God is Able” by Priscilla Shirer, (Thank you, Robyn!) and opened to my bookmark in chapter 4. The author has been taking apart Ephesians 3:20-21 in a smart, funny, and challenging style.

Today, she tackled the above-and-beyondness of God’s ability. Now, I have never doubted God’s ability to do anything. He named the stars. He can surely handle my monthly budget and that speck of cancer in my daughter’s lung.

But, for most of my adult life, I’ve prayed brave prayers and then tacked on the “if it is Your will” line. Theologically, that seemed correct. But, personally, it felt kind of wimpy. Like I actually doubted God’s willingness to take care of us.

But, today, Priscilla Shirer gave me a new tag line.

She describes how often God says “no” to a prayer because He has something better ahead for us. Of course! It is always His will to take care of us. But sometimes (okay, lots of times) He has a much bigger and better plan than we even know to ask.

So this is my new prayer plan. “Dear Heavenly Father, please get us out of whatever jam we are currently in by doing x, y, & z. Or… something better!!!!”

I’m never going to fully understand God. His ways are forever higher than mine. But I think this shift in perspective will change my prayer life. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but Priscilla Shirer has made me even more optimistic!

Well, done.

 

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One Word:Focus

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 9th, 2014mercy2 Comments

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I am intrigued by the One Word movement. The basic concept is this: rather than making a New Year’s resolution, choose one word to represent your goals and hopes for the year. Last year, my word was Leap. And, I did.

I leaped into marketing my first novel. I leaped into more speaking engagements.I leaped into deeper relationships with God and with people. I leaped into some business decisions at work.

Sometimes the leap felt cliff-sized. Other times it was more like puddle-jumping. But each time I leaped, I found wonderful things on the other side.

This year, I’ve chosen Focus.

My husband and I have been counting up years lately, and we realize we don’t have any extra decades to spare. At this point in life, we need to make each day and each decision really count. (I know. We all need to do that. But it gets more real when the decades add up.)

So, I’m going to focus.
On specific relationships. On targeted projects. On living life well.

Here is my plan from the various dictionary definitions of the word Focus: I’m trusting in the convergence of light and I’m looking for a distinct and clearly defined image once I concentrate.

But what I want most out of this word relates to its original meaning in Latin. Focus was a word for a hearth or a fireplace. A place where combustion occurred.

Oh, yeah. I want that!

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How to Have a Happy Life

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 6th, 2014mercy6 Comments

Photo on 2013-05-15 at 20.15After five decades, four children, one amazing husband, twelve homes, thirteen grandchildren, ten jobs, seven churches,  and more friendships than I can count… I have decided to say a few things about how to have a happy life.

This is not extensive research. It is a simple list I came up with while trying to solve all the problems of the world one afternoon on a long drive. Your list will be different. And, probably better. But why not join me in exploring mine this year? We’ll do one topic at a time in my free, monthly e-newsletter.

All you have to do is sign-up here. Then feel free to jump in with comments or critiques when the newsletter arrives in your In-Box each month. (If you’ve already signed up for my newsletter, you are along for this ride. Hope you have fun!)

Here we go…

 

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Until Next Time

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 2nd, 2014mercy4 Comments

Our house looked a little bare on the afternoon of January 1st. I had packed away the Christmas lights and all the tinsel. I’d put the nativity set back in its box. But the most astonishing change came when all the suitcases, spare socks, bulky coats, stuffed animals, and electronic gadgets followed our grandchildren out the door to go home.

Once I’d vacuumed all the crumbs and straightened all the cushions, I made an astonishing discover. Our living room looked lovely. And inviting. And peaceful.

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And new baby makes Thirteen!

I love the glitter of Christmas, but I don’t need the lights all year round to keep Christmas in my soul. And I truly, truly, truly love our grandchildren. But I don’t have to live with them to be connected. Oh, I’ll miss them like crazy, and I’ll wonder what they are doing next week and how their days are going. I’ll wish I could hear their voices and feel their hugs.

But, I’ll be happy to snuggle in with their grandfather for a bit and just be us. I’ll find time to write. And to read. And to pray. I will slip right back into the routines of life that make me able to be who I’m supposed to be in this season. And, I’ll be glad about it.

(For about three weeks. Then I’ll be planning a road trip!)

Happy New Year!

 

 

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