Archive for April, 2018

Happy May Day this Week

By Kathy NickersonApril 29th, 2018mercy1 Comment

Surely, we are done with snow in the Midwest. May Day is upon us. You, dear reader, may wish to do your own Google search and learn all the interesting facts about this holiday which is not celebrated as it should be in my part of the country.

The leaving of May baskets, the offering of flowers, and the eating of cakes should be upheld! I’m thinking of starting a petition. We can leave off the dancing around poles (in any form), but we truly should have flowers. And cake.

Won’t you join me in this endeavor? With all the bad news in the world, let’s take a moment to raise a fork and take a bite of lemony cake in celebration of the coming of spring. You may substitute chocolate if you prefer. And, if you choose white cake, please add some sugar roses. The old-fashioned kind.

If eating sugar (or gluten) simply doesn’t work for your lifestyle, please have flowers. A tiny posey full of violets, a gigantic bouquet from your local florist, or daffodils from the garden. Let May Day burst forth in the promise that spring has come again this year, and that God is once again making all things new as a foreshadowing of the eternal renewal to come.

Happy May Day!

(And, Happy Birthday to my friend, Cheri.)

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So, You Want to be a Writer

By Kathy NickersonApril 18th, 2018work, writingNo Comments

Welcome to a new column featured on my blog. The Wednesday Writer answers some of the questions readers ask about the writing process in general and writing for publication, specifically. 

 

The first time I walked into a bookstore to buy a Writers’ Market, I hung around in the back corner for twenty minutes before I found the courage to approach the check out counter. When the clerk asked if I was a writer, I felt like an identity thief. I stammered “Yes” for the first time in my life. I’d been scribbling for more than ten years, but I hadn’t told anyone besides my mother and my husband.

“Wonderful,” she said. “Come back when you publish your first novel and we’ll hold a book signing.”

It would be another five years before I actually published anything. A fun article for Mother Earth News called, “How to Barter with Your Local Doctor.” (They never published the piece, but I got the check. And my doctor-husband kept getting zucchini and sweet corn in trade.)

My first novel came out more than thirty years later. Don’t despair! Your path may be much smoother and faster than mine. When I started writing, Inspirational Women’s Fiction didn’t even exist. We didn’t have bonnet fiction in those days. (Stories set in the Amish community, which sell in the billions now.) Christian fiction in general was a brand new genre, and few publishers accepted manuscripts. In those days, I wrote first-person essays and spiritual growth articles for magazines like Christian Herald. And, I held the other stories close to my heart, hoping for a day when the world might want to hear from Jonas ben Jesse, the shepherd boy at the stable. (That one has not been published yet, in case you wondered.)

I did go back to the original bookstore when Thirty Days to Glory came out. They had become a gift shop and didn’t do book signings anymore, according to a younger clerk. But, I haven’t given up. People sign books in all kinds of places these days, and that one is still on my list.

So, if You Want to be a Writer, this column might be a good place to start. Next week, we will talk about why we write. In the meantime, be brave. Tell somebody.

Resources: The Writers’ Market 

 

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How to Clean a Closet

By Kathy NickersonApril 16th, 2018mercyNo Comments

Step One: Take everything out and lay it on a flat surface for inspection.

Step Two: Toss obvious items such as the Welcome Kit for a medication used fifteen years ago.

Step Three: Arrange like items together and place in storage containers re-purposed from adjoining closet.

Step Four: Shove storage containers to the back corner of overhead shelves to be culled again in fifteen years.

Step Five: Take trash to the dumpster.

Step Six: Rescue eighteen-year-old roll of wallpaper from trash and shove into a different closet for possible future use.

 

***

Okay, I know this isn’t the way experts clean a closet. I just thought we should keep it real on this spring Monday that is currently just above freezing. The wallpaper in question is shown in this photo of the house where we raised our children. If you only knew how we squeezed every penny for that renovation. And, how many hours we sat around that table and enjoyed life. My faithful husband often reminds me that when we move out of a house, we always take the important stuff with us.

He means the memories.

But, I took the wallpaper.

It has been in storage a long time and might be rather brittle. But, obviously, it will be perfect for lining the inside of a bookcase someday. Or making a Pinterest-worthy bulletin board. Or, something.

Or, maybe I will actually be able to toss the wallpaper next time I clean that closet. You know, in a dozen years or so, when I’m not nostalgic because our eldest grandson is graduating from high school. And, I’m not missing my dad who always helped with our renovations. And when that particular house is not for sale again!

***

Yeah, I’m never tossing the wallpaper.

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Three Things I Don’t Do

By Kathy NickersonApril 10th, 2018mercy3 Comments

 

I don’t bake cookies. When people ask me how I have time to write blogs, newspaper columns, articles, and books while also holding together a day job, that is my answer. “I don’t bake cookies.” In fact, I sometimes don’t even cook supper, and my amazing, supportive husband gladly eats something cold from a can. (Someone may be driving to our house at this moment to revoke my Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award from 1974.)

I don’t knit. Or crochet. Or do any of the fancy stitch work my grandmothers did so beautifully. I treasure the pillowcases, afghans, and quilts they left me. But, I pray our grandchildren will be satisfied with books as a legacy. Because while other grandmothers are knitting, I’m attempting to write by whatever light is left at the end of my day.

I don’t go to baby showers. Unless the baby is directly related to me, of course. I also skip bridal showers, jewelry parties, and a wide array of social gatherings. (I’m happy to support the endeavors of my friends, and I often make a donation or send a gift. But, sometimes I have to miss stuff.)

The point of this list is simple. We cannot do all the things. Nor, should we try. You may not be writing books in the margins around your day, but I suspect you are doing something important. (Rearing small children, perhaps?) And, we will become stronger, healthier, and much happier once we stop trying to do all the other things besides the ones to which we have been assigned for this season.

Catch that? It is a season. Today, I don’t bake cookies. Someday, I might spend fewer hours at my day job. When that happens, I might actually learn to cook. (Nah. I’d probably learn to knit first. Or maybe take up the piano.)

One of the Biblical writers says we are “created for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” I try to remember that each day and simply ask, “Which good work is mine today, Lord?”

And, that’s enough.

 

 

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I Do Believe

By Kathy NickersonApril 5th, 2018mercyNo Comments

 

I’m known as an eternal optimist, but that doesn’t mean I’m always walking on sunshine, as the song says. I have my share of gloomy days and restless nights. On the dark days, I sometimes twist my hands like the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. “I do believe, I do believe, I do believe.” Occasionally, I convince myself. But, I rarely convince the flying monkeys. They swoop down, anyway.

I debuted that old classic for my grandchildren several years ago. I warned them before I hit “play” that they were about to be scared out of their chairs. They would hide under furniture before the movie ended. I knew this from years of experience.

Instead, they were slightly bored. The flying monkeys were so obviously fake. The jerky movements and the silly costumes couldn’t live up to the slick graphics these kids watched on their tablets every day. None of my grandchildren had even hit middle school yet, but experience had already taught them that a guy in a monkey suit with fake wings could not hurt them.

So, what has experience taught me? That is what I ask myself on the dark days. “This too shall pass” often helps. Or, sometimes, “He shall give His angels charge concerning thee.” Or,  “He who has promised is faithful.” And, of course, “If God be for me, who can be against me.”

The list is quite long. When I take time to remember a few of these truths, I can always find an experience somewhere in my life that matches the scripture.

And then, once again, I do believe.

 

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