Archive for May, 2015

For the Sake of Love

By Kathy NickersonMay 31st, 2015happy endings2 Comments

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This week, I’ve been watching our four-year-old granddaughter carry her cross. Violet is probably too young to understand the concept, but she is doing it.

Violet and Nola have a new, baby brother, who is adorable. So, they have come to stay with us for the week. But Violet is shy. So shy I have seen her sit like a statue for twenty minutes rather than risk having to speak to someone she does not know well.

Even cousins she loves but doesn’t see often make her nervous. And in a group of people with whom she is comfortable, she still hangs at the edge.

But this week, she is facing crowds of people who are pure strangers to her. They know who she is, and they all want to talk to her, and tell her how cute she is and how sweet the pictures are of her brother on social media.

And, she is facing it. She even smiles occasionally. And, once or twice, she has given out an actual hug.

I praised her one day for “overcoming her fear for the sake of love.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I did it. But my stomach still kind of hurts.”

And, that, Dear Reader, is what it means to carry one’s cross.

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Eternity in Our Hearts

By Kathy NickersonMay 26th, 2015mercy2 Comments

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Yesterday was Decoration Day, as the oldtimers would call it. That is when we used to visit the family cemeteries to place fresh flowers.(My friend Judy describes it beautifully.)

Today, we call it Memorial Day and use it both to commemorate our fallen soldiers and to celebrate the start of summer barbecues.

Nothing could be further removed from the Twitter generation than visiting old cemeteries or laying wreaths on the graves of our ancestors. Yet, spontaneous memorials spring up on sidewalks after every neighborhood tragedy. Flowers, candles, teddy bears, hand-lettered signs.

In every generation we lean toward these expressions of love. These efforts to hold onto relationships that have been momentarily broken. We do it because eternity has been set in our hearts, as the Bible says. We know, innately, that we were not born to die but to live. That relationships were meant to be eternal.

And, thank God, they can be.

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And Then We Made a Poet

By Kathy NickersonMay 17th, 2015mercy4 Comments

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When my husband, Wendell, and I experience something wonderful, we often react differently. Take worship, for instance. During an intense moment in a great worship service, I sometimes feel like I can’t hold the emotions inside my body any longer and I have to move my feet, lift my arms, and raise the volume just a little louder.

Then, I’ll glance over and see my husband staring at the screen where the lyrics are scrolling.

He might have his arms crossed.

And, he might be frowning.

While, I’m carried away by the music and the experience. Wendell is devouring the message behind the words. He is savoring the text and exploring all the nuances of its meaning. He is worshipping through study.

In his book, Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas explores those differences and helps us see that it is okay to be different in our expressions of worship. Whew!

Is it any wonder, then, that through this marriage of emotion and examination Wendell and I have birthed a beautiful person who became a Poet? Felicity is the best of us. She takes my drama and stirs it together with her dad’s logic and arranges words on a page to take your breath away.

Last weekend, we celebrated with Felicity and her family as she earned her Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is all grown up now and has been living with her husband and four children in another state for several years. Yet, when she walked across the stage to be hooded by her professor, our poet surprised us by using the name Felicity Nickerson White.

That is when I remembered that sometimes sacred pathways intersect. Her father and I both sat very still as we watched. And, we cried.

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I Do Believe

By Kathy NickersonMay 11th, 2015mercy3 Comments

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If you want to stir a little hope in your soul this spring,  attend a middle school concert. It probably helps if one of the handsome tenors is your grandson, but honestly, I think you’ll be carried away by the promise of it all even if you don’t know anyone.

When those children started singing, “I believe in the sun even when it is not shining,” I believed. I forgot all about the twenty-four hour news cycle that screams constantly “the sky is falling!” I forgot about the bills stacked on my office desk and even about the laundry piled up at home. I just heard the music and saw those eager faces. And, I believed.

In the sun.

In the future.

In the God who holds it all.

At some point in the evening, I ended up sitting all alone when Serenity had to go fetch her third-born from ball practice and our tenor had to slip down a row to sit with friends. Serenity sent a text apologizing for leaving me in agony and offering to meet me at an exit door if  wanted to run.

But I was enthralled. With the eager trumpeter who had memorized the music and was watching the crowd reaction instead of the conductor. With the guest conductor who was somebody’s little boy experiencing his debut with a baton after years of study. With the whole pageant of people watching set to music.

A school concert might not be your first choice for a night out. But, I’m telling you it can be magical. I sometimes get a little discouraged about the state of affairs in this world.  But last week a group of junior high boys in neck ties, dress shoes, and braces reminded me that our future is in good hands. Both God’s and theirs.

They reminded me of a simple fact: I’m a believer, too.

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What You Can Learn in 14,000 Days

By Kathy NickersonMay 7th, 2015happy endings, Marriage, writing2 Comments

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Today marks 41 years of Happily Ever After at our house. Which means, of course, that we’ve both made the choice to stay in love every one of the past 14, 965 days. Okay, that number isn’t exact. You have to adjust for Leap Years. And for the days when one of us just couldn’t make it happen. But, still, that’s a lot of days.

You might expect us to have it all figured out by now, but my poor husband has simply learned that he will never figure me out. And I’ve learned the same thing. I’ll never figure me out either. So, we deal with it. And we laugh. And we forgive. And we hug in the hallways at work every chance we get. (a perk of having your husband for a boss.)

Wendell just finished reading a draft of my novel that is due to be published next summer. “You killed me off in a book again,” he said. “What is your fascination with main characters who are widows? Should I be checking my life insurance?”

“No!” I told him. “We are not the main characters in this book. We are that older couple that shows up part way through. The ones that are smooching at the Fourth of July picnic.”

“Oh,” he said. “Yeah, I get that. The ones that told the story about how long it took her to learn to cook.”

“Yes, that’s right,” I said. Then I waited for his next comment about my brilliant plot or my great character development.

“But is it fiction,” he said, “because you never actually learned to cook.”

Make that 14, 964 days.

Happy Anniversary, Babe.

 

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A Tiny Bit of Good News

By Kathy NickersonMay 3rd, 2015family, happy endings3 Comments
Every baby sister is a princess

Every baby sister is a princess

 

And now the world has a new princess. She isn’t our only princess. She shares the title with a few other ladies in the world. But she is the newest and the closest to the British throne. And, the first who can take her place on that throne without being usurped by a little brother. All-in-all, rather a big deal.

But none of that is what fascinates me. Instead, I am enthralled by that first picture of the princess in her mother’s arms as the family stood on the hospital steps. With all the ugliness on the news right now, that picture splashed beautiful.

Not because Kate looked so perfect. I’ve seen other mothers look that gorgeous after giving birth. But because they were a family. Intact, committed, and hopeful. They were overcoming some pain from the past and looking toward their future. And, they were willing to share.

I don’t pretend to think this royal couple is perfect. But I do think they are on to something. They didn’t have to come out on the hospital steps, you know. They could have snuck out the back door and ridden away in a limo. But they did it for us. So we could celebrate new life and new hope on a day when hard things were happening all over the world.

They gave us a glimpse of joy. And I, for one, am grateful.

 

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