Archive for April, 2015

It’s Okay to Be Vanilla Bean

By Kathy NickersonApril 27th, 2015Friendship, happy endings, writing4 Comments

MyfriendAnna_www.kathynick.com

My friend, Anna, who is pictured here being swarmed by some of my grandchildren, often reminds me a writer needs new experiences to stay inspired. So last weekend we loaded up for a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska, to attend a writers conference together. (And to see some grandchildren.)

Among our new experiences was a walking tour of the lovely Dundee section of the city. Rather trendy for a couple of girls from the cornfield. We stopped in at eCreamery which is famous for appearing on Shark Tank one season. (and for flavors you can name and ship all over the country.) I was more impressed by the fact that it was the site of a young man’s famous selfie with Paul McCartney and Warren Buffet last summer. Even though it was dark outside, I insisted we pose in front of the bench where the famous Beatle once sat.

And, of course, we ate ice cream.

ice cream shopAnna ordered a scoop of mango coconut, and the girls got something pink and exotic. I struggled with all the choices and finally landed on Vanilla Bean. Which seemed appropriate for the grandmother in the crowd. But I was a little disappointed in myself. I had come on this trip for an adventure, new experiences, inspiration. I should have gotten something I’d never tasted before so that I could write about it my next novel!

Later that night, I Googled Paul McCartney, Omaha, and Ice Cream to read about that incident. When the article popped up, I saw the two famous gentlemen relaxing on the bench, and the eager youngster giving a thumbs up in front of his camera. Among the small details in  the article was this one: The flavor of ice cream Paul McCartney had just eaten at eCreamery. Yes, Dear Reader, Vanilla Bean. Sir Paul and I have shared the same experiences in Omaha, Nebraska.

I am definitely feeling inspired.

Thanks, Anna

 

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Watercolor In-Laws

By Kathy NickersonApril 20th, 2015family3 Comments
The "grandsons" at my my book launch for Thirty Days to Glory. #mybiggestfans

The “grandsons” at my my book launch for Thirty Days to Glory. #mybiggestfans

Last weekend, we enjoyed a rare visit with my husband’s big brother and his wife from Tampa, Florida. Rees has always been the family hero, which you would expect from a brother who was already driving a yellow convertible by the time you were old enough to enter first grade. And his wife, Frankie, is the life of every party, mostly because she knows the actual secret to Life, which is Jesus. She once sat on the floor of an ancient RV and sang songs to help control my panic while our mutual father-in-law coached the beast up Pike’s Peak and back down again. No wonder I love her.

We have shared lots of things in the last forty years, and some of them are children. After their son, Jared, became something of a sibling for our teenagers and moved into our house for a few years, the lines between Mom/Pop/Aunt/Uncle blurred for a little while. It has always been perfectly clear who Jared’s parents are, and they have done a remarkable job raising such a fine young man. But, we lived almost next door to him the last few years. So, when our grandchildren called us “Grandpa” and “Grandma”, Jared’s children followed the pack.

At some point in each of their little lives, it became important to the boys to differentiate this for people. “She is actually my Great-Aunt,”one of them would say, “but I call her Grandma.”

Last weekend, though, nobody paid much attention to such things. When Jude wanted someone to pass the salt, he simply said, “Hey, Grandpa,” and both men responded. Sims called Frankie and I both Grandma with confidence that we would know which one of us he was beckoning for a hug or a game or an apology when he had misbehaved. Peter, already more a young man than a boy, used the terms of endearment with an extra edge of gratitude in his voice, I thought. As if he understood what a treasure it is to live in a family with so much love it just spills over and splashes out until the definitions of relationships blend like watercolors on a wet page.

Our painting is far from perfect, of course. In fact, it is pretty messy sometimes. But I love the colors.

 

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Sometimes You Improvise

By Kathy NickersonApril 11th, 2015Friendship, happy endings, mercy, work, writing4 Comments

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The windows in my gorgeous new office space are tall. As in, high off the ground, not tall as in long and elegant. I’m not sure where we missed this in the design. I don’t remember a measurement anywhere that said, “the windowsill shall be 48″ from the floor.” But they go well with the tall ceilings. And they let in gorgeous light! And, they give lots of privacy in patient rooms.

What they don’t give, is a nice view in our offices. So, my doctor husband fixed that with a stand-up desk worthy of John Wayne. It is strong and tough and handsome, just like my husband. He is doing a standing desk more for the health benefits than for the lake view, so I decided to do the same thing. (Mostly for the view.) He does have a stool for those afternoons when one must sit for a while.

Trouble is, I have a perfectly wonderful writing desk that has never been adequately used due to space limitations. I worried over this for a while, until I came up with the brilliant idea you see pictured here.

Now, if you are like my good friend, Dave, you are probably worried that this look doesn’t fit in our elegant, new office building. But don’t worry, this is just a test pattern. Our contractor pointed out that the legs to my desk can actually be removed and replaced with tall ones!

Dave is so relieved.

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And, I care what he thinks. Dave is one of those faithful friends who is so important in life that he makes a brief appearance in all my novels. He’s a doctor in Thirty Days to Glory, which explains his deep interest in our current move. I gave him an even better career in Rose Hill Cottage. But you’ll have to wait until next summer to read about it. I’m finishing up the edits at my stand-up desk with a perfect view of the lake!

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What to Do When Systems Fail

By Kathy NickersonApril 8th, 2015Friendship, Marriage, mercy, work5 Comments

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Many motivational speakers/writers/salespeople will tell you systems are the secret to success. And, I love that. I have a system for just about everything in life including the order in which I wash my body in the shower. (Too much information?) What’s more, I learned that particular system from a novel! (Cheaper by the Dozen)

But, sometimes, systems fail us. Right now, our clinic is in the disorienting transition of a physical move. Nothing blows a system faster than realizing half your tools are in a box somewhere. The distraction that comes from this massive move – how many trash cans do we need for six exam rooms and four offices, and did I order all of them at the best price? – has rattled all my systems. Did I put on moisturizer before I brushed my teeth? Have I written my newspaper column for this week? Did anyone feed the dog?

So, what do we do when our systems fail us? We hang on, of course. To Jesus, first of all. He is still our Rock and our Peace. Stopping in the middle of the chaos to whisper a prayer or sing a bit of a song can quiet every storm.

And we hang onto one another. People are more important than any system in the world. When your system or your world fails, try these fixes: Rock a baby. Hug a friend. Kiss your husband. Call your mother.

Times like this will pass. But relationships with God and with one another are eternal. They will sustain us long after our silly little systems have crumbled into dust. I’m going to go kiss my husband now. Then I need to order more thrash cans.

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Why This Morning is Different

By Kathy NickersonApril 6th, 2015happy endings, mercy, The Bible1 Comment

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The day after Christmas is such a let-down sometimes. It is all about putting away the glitter, boxing up the sparkle, and moving the music to the bottom of the play list for another year. Baby Jesus has been born, but his parents have taken him to Egypt, and we won’t even hear from Him for twelve more years.

The day after Easter is explosive. Jesus is walking through walls, visiting friends and calling them brothers, proving over and over that He is alive and that everything has changed!

Mary is commissioned.

Peter is forgiven.

The church is born; the Kingdom comes; and the religious world wobbles as it prepares to be turned completely upside down.

I do try to keep Christmas all year in my heart like the good Mr. Scrooge said. But, sometimes it’s a struggle. I have no trouble keeping Easter. As the song says, He’s alive, and I’m forgiven, Heaven’s gates are open wide. He’s alive!

That’s at the top of my play list all year.

 

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