Archive for September, 2014

Like Riding a Trike

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 29th, 2014mercy2 Comments

IMG_2186Some things in life are hard. Learning to ride a tricycle is one of them. All that coordination. The pedals and the steering and the watching where you are going. You push forward on the pedals with your right foot, but your left foot just naturally presses down and tries to pedal backwards. You are totally stuck until your mom comes along and gives you a little push. Then you forget about steering, and you crash into the lilac bush.

But, one day, miraculously, you catch the rhythm of the thing. Your brain simply figures out how to make everything work together at once, and you become Queen of the Sidewalk.

It really is one of the miraculous things about the way God designed us. You can’t ever explain to anyone how you learned to ride a trike. Or balance a spreadsheet. Or sync your cell phone and your tablet. Or love your husband, raise your children, call your mother, and keep your day job. But you did it. And now you rule.

So, whatever you are facing today, just remember this: It’s probably no different than learning to ride a trike. (Just watch out for the lilac bush.)


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BFF For Real

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 25th, 2014mercy5 Comments



I didn’t even realize I had this rare picture of the girls and I together. I think the last time we snapped one was when Felicity, Serenity, and I went to Omaha to support Charity during tryouts for American Idol in season seven. She made it to the second phase, which earned us tickets to a day-long event. And…drum roll, please…we were on national television for almost three full seconds!

Anyway, that was a husband and three babies ago for Charity. The rest of us have lived a bit of life, too. We have written books and poems, earned degrees, reared toddlers into teenagers, chased dreams, and defeated cancer several times.

So, when I clicked across this picture from an afternoon together last summer, I stopped and smiled. There we are, four grown-up women hanging out in the city. Happier to be together than anywhere else in the world.

Back in my sleep-deprivation days when these ladies were babies, I sometimes wondered if we’d survive to get here. But, look! We did. If you happen to be in the middle of the never-going-to-the-bathroom-alone years, maybe this picture will give you hope. What I wrote in Once Upon a Childhood really is true. Your kids can grow up to become your best friends.


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In Case You Think You Don’t Matter

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 22nd, 2014mercy1 Comment

IMG_0276 - Version 2Some of our grandchildren came for a visit this weekend (and brought their wonderful mother.) Macy wrote this poem for us during the long car trip to get here:

The sun kums up and then down

And the moon goes up then down.

Thay both go away,

But frens never go away from you.

You may see a cute little ditty here. I see theology. Last weekend, Macy’s great-grandmother died. So, this business about going away is kind of on our minds.

Grandma-Great was 94 years old. She spent most of her time in a chair in her room, reading or doing word puzzles. She still knew all the names of her forty-some great-grandchildren, but she wasn’t sure which one belonged to which grandchild anymore.

You would think a person so confined to one place, so out of touch with our daily lives, so ready for Heaven and so close to its gates wouldn’t leave much of a gap when she disappeared one day like the moon at daybreak.

But, oh, she did. I often went weeks without seeing or talking to Grandma-Great. But now, several times a day, I’m struck by the reality that she is not here anymore. And, the world feels so strange without her.

Not bad, exactly. I’m comforted by The Comforter, just as Jesus promised. And I’m glad for Grandma-Great’s reward. But I’m shocked at the empty spot her going has left in the world. I did not expect to feel it.

And, I’m encouraged at the same time. Because if the transition of one life can leave such a gap, imagine what kind of impact we must be making while we are here. Each of us with our tiny bit to offer must be making some kind of a big difference.

Of course, I know Macy’s poem ends on a true note, too. The people we love never really go away. Just like the sun at midnight, they are only hidden for a while. The Light will shine again someday, and those of us who walk with Jesus will see one another again.

In the meantime, please remember that you matter. A lot. So go right on and make a difference today by doing whatever it is that you do. We need you.




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Five Ways to Improve Your Day

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 19th, 2014mercy6 Comments
We don't actually have broccoli for breakfast.

We don’t have broccoli for breakfast.

I’m convinced it is the little things that make life beautiful or unbearable. I can rise to the challenge of a true crises. I’m good in an emergency. But a crazy morning can get me down. Here are some things that help me on the hard days:

1. Make the bed. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I walk through a clean bedroom to get dressed . And how much sweeter it feels to climb into smooth sheets at night. Making the bed signals my brain that the day has started. And it makes me feel that life is a tiny bit less messy.

2. Wash the dishes. Or at least stack them in the dishwasher. It only takes a few minutes to deal with breakfast bowls, spoons, and glasses before I leave for work. It is much easier to face supper prep later if I don’t have to scrape Cheerios off the counter first.

3. Kiss my husband. Or hug my kids. Or pat the dog. Or call my mother. Or greet my neighbor. At the very least, I smile at the guy who picks up my garbage as I pull out of the drive. Relationships make everything better, and I try not to take them for granted.

4. Pray. Sometimes I write out long prayers. Sometimes I sing them. And sometimes I can’t even put a clear thought together. On those days, I read the Psalms and let my soul pray through someone else’s words. The point is to connect to God.

5. Empty my In-box. I try to take immediate action on everything that has come in overnight so they don’t nag me all day. I respond, delete, schedule, or file. If it happens to be a picture of my grandchildren, I open repeatedly throughout the day, however.

These little items of daily maintenance are the keys to keeping me sane. And optimistic, of course.

What works for you?

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Why I Stopped Sorting the Mail

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 15th, 2014mercy5 Comments



We hired a new staff member recently. We snatched her up, actually, the second we heard she was available, because she is a gem! We scooted things over to make room for her at the front desk, and together she and our current staff members started whipping the place into new shape.

One morning, I told her I was going out to get get the mail. Just a short walk across the drive. And she said, “Could I do that for you?”

“Why, yes,” I said, a bit astonished, “of course, you could.”

The other staff members just smiled.

Later she said, “And do we sort the mail for you here at the front desk?”

“Oh, no,” I said. “I always sort the mail.”

Then I trundled off to my back corner to sort mail and tackle my over-crowded to-do list. You can see where this is going, right? It took me almost 24-hours to catch on. The breakthrough finally came while I was reading an email about our granddaughter, Claire. She is in a new school this year and is being her usual “I-don’t-need-any-help” self. I don’t know where she gets that.

One of the teachers who sits at Claire’s lunch table had asked what help she would need at lunch. The teacher knew Claire’s left hand refuses to cooperate with her brain most of the time. But Claire assured the teacher she needed no help. So the teacher decided to wait and see what happened.

Sure enough, the next day at lunch, one of Claire’s little friends opened her own carton of milk and then reached over and opened Claire’s. No conversation. No big deal. Just one friend helping another.

I cried a little over that. Over such a kind soul in a new school. And over Claire not wanting to ask for help. Then, I heard my own silly response about the mail. Good grief! Why am I still sorting the mail when I have novels to write and software systems to research?

I turned over the mail the next morning, and I repented for being a control-freak. I realized my unwillingness to ask for help was more of a weakness than a strength, and I vowed to overcome it. All the staff members smiled. I felt my fists unclench a bit, and I heard things falling into place as people began to pick up the tasks they are uniquely designed to do. Far beyond the mail, of course.

I wonder what I might actually accomplish now that I’ve decided to stop sorting the mail.



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Thanks for Your Prayers

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 13th, 2014mercy2 Comments

funeral flowersI just wanted to drop in this morning and thank you for your prayers, kind thoughts,  and words of encouragement during this time of grief in our family. My mother-in-law was 94 and quite ready for her next season of life in the Heavenly realm. But, it turns out we were not ready to let her go.

We were never meant to die, you know. God created us to live forever. So this breach in our relationships tears everything up. Our hearts. Our minds. Our ability to get out of bed and go through the day like normal human beings.

I’m so grateful for friends who treat us tenderly and understand that life feels strange to us right now. It will get better. I know from experience that it does. But right now, we feel rather sore in our souls.

My daughter-in-law, Rochelle, explained it the best when she said years ago, “Death is hard on this side of the veil.”

Thank you again for bearing with us. We’ll be better soon.

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Why I Love the Internet

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 6th, 2014mercyNo Comments



I don’t love the Internet for its marketing opportunities or its social media party. I don’t love it for the wealth of information available at my fingertips and certainly not for the dancing kitten videos.

I love the Internet because tonight, when my husband and his siblings were facing what may be their mother’s final illness, Aunt Carol sent an email. Here we sat in Missouri and Florida, doing our best to be good children in a hard situation, and on a distant coast, Aunt Carol reached out to help us.

She wrote from California, where she fights her own battles with the infirmities of age. And she encouraged us. She reminded us about the rich life her sister has lived and about the glorious Life just ahead. She told us we have done well, as children, and that we will know how to walk this part of the journey, when the time comes. She told us that ninety-plus years is probably enough on this side of the veil, and that it is okay to be ready to let go.

Really, her benediction could not have meant more tonight if she’d given it in person and sealed it with a kiss. And that, Dear Reader, is why I love the Internet. Because it connects us.

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Touching the Dream

By Kathy NickersonSeptember 2nd, 2014mercy3 Comments
Today, I did some heaving cleaning and organizing at my day job. Both my brain and my body arrived home rather dusty from the ordeal. At 5:45, I threw together sandwiches for supper and started thinking about the writers’ meeting I would lead at 6:30.

When I dashed to the bedroom to change clothes, I thought, “I need to put on something that makes me feel like a writer!” Then I remembered the necklace Molly Rose gave me for Christmas one year. She created little charms out of actual words from my blog and hung them on a chain with lovely pearls.

I cried when I opened the gift, of course. The charms hold snatches of phrases and wouldn’t mean much to other people. But, I see the entire story of my baptism in the charm that captured the words snowed, grandfather, and water.

So, I wore the necklace tonight. And I made a sudden transition from office worker/cleaner-girl to creative artist/writer-person.

Why don’t you give it a try tomorrow? Maybe your dream is designing a quilt or writing a family history. Maybe you want to learn ballet or travel to Paris. Maybe you just want to organize that tote filled with old photos or redecorate your bedroom.

Whatever creative thing is stirring in your soul, give it some expression this week. Use a coffee mug in your color scheme. Put family photos on your desk. Wear ballet slippers while you sort the laundry. Find something tangible that encourages your dream.

When you touch your dream that way, you just might discover you have the energy to write 500 words or to sort one, small box of photos after supper. And eventually, those small steps will get the whole job done.

Please, send me a postcard from Paris.



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