Archive for July, 2014

Words that Work

By Kathy NickersonJuly 25th, 2014mercy9 Comments

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In my day job, I spend a lot of time chasing claims insurance companies don’t want to pay. Or soothing patients who think we’ve charged too much for our services. Or reminding people that they promised to drop off their copay after work — three weeks ago.

These are not fun parts of my job. Some days, they suck the creative juices right out of my soul, and I can’t write a word in my novel-in-progress once I get home. Other times, they are just part of the job, and I can box them up and put them away at 6:00pm.

But, today. Today! I emailed a patient to let her know her insurance company had paid more than expected. (Shocking news.) I owed her money. Since her family rarely gets sick, I offered to write her a refund check instead of letting it ride as a credit. And do you know what she said?

“Maybe you could just set that aside for the next patient who has a hard time paying.”

Oh, yes, Dear Reader. She said that. And you know what happened next, don’t you? This blog post. Because suddenly my creative juices are flowing!

(Now back to the day job.)

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How to be the World’s Best Sidekick

By Kathy NickersonJuly 21st, 2014mercy2 Comments

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All the best stories are about friends. Have you noticed that? Harry Potter made readers out of about a zillion kids who claimed to hate books. We can argue about great writing. (Her adult book didn’t do so well.) Or about the bewitchery of evil forces. (I’m not opening that wormy can today.) But the truth is, these books are about friendships. Relationships. And finding purpose together. (Again, I’m not recommending or condemning these books. I’m just saying.)

Think about your favorite book or movie. Isn’t friendship at the center of it? Does’t every story include a hero and a sidekick?

It that is true in the arts, certainly it is true in life. Surely we can all find a way to become the world’s best sidekick for someone. Maybe we can develop the faithfulness of Frodo’s friend, Sam. “‘Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t mean to.” (Lord of the Rings)

Or the kindness of Melanie Wilkes to Scartlett O’hara: “You’re so smart–so brave–always been so good to me–” (Gone With the Wind)

Or the bravery of Jonathan’s armor bearer: “Do all that is in your heart. I am with you. (The Bible, First Samuel 14)

Or the love of Mary Magdelene: “Tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (The Bible, John 20)

Maybe we were are all meant to be great sidekicks in the world. Let’s look around and find some heroes.

 

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Eating My Words

By Kathy NickersonJuly 16th, 2014mercy5 Comments

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My children will never remember me for my culinary skills. I can cook. I kept the seven of us alive even through the starving teenage years. Thank you, microwave popcorn, for calming the hungry beast of growing boys between meals. But, I don’t do it as an art form the way my friend Judy does. (Judy happens to both cook and write beautifully, but I’m not jealous.)

When I first inherited my grandmother’s hutch, I filled it with her antique bowls, platters, and cups. Sometimes I pulled them out to serve an actual sit-down meal. But, mostly, I admired them.

The hutch went to Felicity’s house when we downsized to serve as dorm parents. Now that she is downsizing for city-life, and we are living in a house, we trucked the hutch back home. I don’t have hungry teenagers to feed anymore. In fact, my long-suffering husband is happy with fruit, veggies, and a little protein here and there.

So, we moved the hutch to my office. And I filled it with books! At last, this heirloom is displaying things I actually use. I’ll tuck in a teacup or two, of course, to remind me of the women who have gone before me. The ones who really knew how to cook and who used those skills to demonstrate their love and display their art.

As for me, I’ve take a different path, but I think I can accomplish the same goal.

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 NKJV

 

 

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Why You Should Organize Your Junk Drawer

By Kathy NickersonJuly 11th, 2014mercy5 Comments

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When I wrote Thirty Days to Glory, I started thinking about the transitions ahead in my own life. And about the down-sizing that might eventually be required. I certainly hope to remain a feisty old lady living with no one except my still-handsome husband until we are about one-hundred and twenty. But, I suspect life won’t follow that outline.

In fact, my husband and I are suggesting the children start a bidding war right now to see who gets us someday. Or, perhaps, the highest bidder wins the right to ship us to a sibling. It could go either way.

We almost had it going when we suggested maybe we could help invest in a bigger home for one of them so they would have guest quarters for us. They started calling “dibs” immediately. Until they discovered we didn’t have any actual funds for the investment idea. All offers have been rescinded at this time.

Right now, I’m watching my mother begin the sorting process that precedes downsizing. It is tedious and painful, and I wish she didn’t have to do it. She has been telling us for years that she wanted us to come down and help her clean out her basement. We should have done it.

We should also learn a lesson from this. We should all start cleaning out our junk drawers now while we have good health, strength, and access to The Container Store online. I’m committing myself to it, in fact. I’m determined to travel lighter through the next couple of decades.

That should be great news for the children who will have to take us in someday. Maybe we can even sell some of our junk and put it into that housing fund. Let the bidding begin!

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Hide the Cables

By Kathy NickersonJuly 7th, 2014mercy1 Comment

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Decades ago, my husband, Wendell, and I helped start a church in our college town. We were still caught up in the anti-establishment movement of the sixties, so we frowned upon things like stained glass and tall steeples. We wanted something new, something cutting edge, something the common man would be glad to enter.

So, we bought a grocery store.

The first person who got saved there came to the alter in a Budweiser tee shirt, so I guess it worked.

We were, however, filled with more zeal than knowledge. We called work nights and had everyone from toddlers to grandparents scrubbing ceiling tile and painting walls. We sold our possessions at garage sales to earn money for carpeting. And we became a church while trying to build one.

A few months into our project, we invited a pastor from another city to come visit. We were excited about our progress, and we wanted to know what this seasoned Man of God thought about what we were doing.

After a tour of the facility, the leader stood in the new auditorium, looked around, and then nodded. We waited for him to pronounce some kind of benediction over our efforts. Some spiritual insight into what we had accomplished and the direction we were heading. “Well,” he said, “you see that column on the stage? Why don’t you run those coils of power cables down the back instead of the front so folks don’t have to stare at them while somebody preaches?”

After we slapped our collective foreheads, we realized we had just learned two important lessons.

1.)  You can’t separate the spiritual and the practical.

2.) No matter much blood, sweat, and tears you put into a project, you still need someone to come along and tell you if the cables are showing.

So, there you have it. My wisdom for the day. Free of charge. Just apply where needed.

 

 

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Christmas in July (and every other month)

By Kathy NickersonJuly 3rd, 2014mercy1 Comment

Thirty Days 3D Cover smallerYou know Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I use any excuse to celebrate it during the other months. So, this month, CrossRiver Media is celebrating Christmas in July with some special events surrounding my novel, Thirty Days to Glory. (Watch for special sales coming up this month.)

We are launching the party with a visit to Giovanni Gelati at Gelati’s Scoop. So hop on over and say hello there if you want. Despite the name, it is a BYOIC Party. (Bring Your Own Ice Cream.)

 

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