Archive for the 'Marriage' Category

Best Words from a Husband

By Kathy NickersonOctober 1st, 2018family, Marriage3 Comments

 

Last week, I went shopping for a black skirt and a pair of slacks. If you know me, you are aware this is a form of self-inflicted torture. I shall admit up front that I failed. Mostly because I got lost in the Christmas aisles at Hobby Lobby and used up all my time. However, I am determined to try again this week.

I did get something of great value from the trip, however. Better than the perfect skirt or a bargain on tinsel, I got the best words from any husband ever. These would be the best words from the husband of a supermodel. They are especially best from the husband of a grandmother who is trying to age gratefully, but who is failing in a few areas.

As I pulled into the parking lot at the department store, my phone dinged, and I found this text:

While you are shopping for clothes today, keep in mind when you look in the mirror you are looking at the woman I love. That woman is the most attractive woman I know. 

Yes, I swooned.  Now you understand, Dear Reader, why I am dedicating my newest novel to Wendell:

My husband, lover, partner, and friend.

Thanks for choosing me every day since 1973.

To celebrate such love, and to set a mood for this month’s soon-coming release of The Marvel House, here is a song from the famous duo of Ryan & Charity Long.

 

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When a Critique is Better Than Flowers

By Kathy NickersonMay 14th, 2017happy endings, Marriage4 Comments

This Guy. You might think, Dear Reader, that after forty-three years, we have one another figured out. Or that our life of working together every day and then coming home together every night to a simple routine would get boring.

You. Would Be. Wrong.

Yesterday, for example, I thought I was just a few hours away from sending my next novel off to a potential agent. It had been been through all the proper readers and edits. It just needed one, final polish.

But, my husband, Wendell, hadn’t read it yet. I asked him if he would take a look at the manuscript, specifically to make sure I hadn’t made the husband look too bad in the story. I even offered to give him a synopsis and point out the passages I wanted his opinion on so he didn’t have to read the whole thing. It is women’s fiction, after all. Not his normal genre.

Instead, he devoted himself to the manuscript. I heard him belly laugh several times. I may have seen tears. And, at the end, he nodded and said, “You did it.”

We were on the way to our daughter’s house for supper when he said, “You know, I’m not sure first-time readers jumping into this third book will really get the back story of the Glory Circle Sisters. You did a great job with Elmer and Catherine. But I’m not sure they will get Bess.You might want to go back and draw the ladies out a little better. ”

“Oh, that’s a good point. I can do that.”

He drove another quarter mile and said, “And in the chapter where Jack’s assistant kind of dissapears off the scene for a while, where did she go? I kept wondering about that. I think readers will wonder. You might want to tweak that.”

For the next forty-five minutes, Wendell drove and critiqued my masterpiece while I took notes. In case you think that hurt my feelings or made me feel discouraged, you would be wrong again, Dear Reader. I loved it.

Wendell’s insight was excellent, and his questions were helpful. If he got pulled out of the story because he wondered where Paige had disappeared to in Chapter Twenty-five, so will you. I’m going to fix that before you read it.

I think this is a beautiful example of the best part of marriage. Wendell could have left it alone. He could have signed off on the good-enough version of the novel and let someone down the editorial road bring up the issues.

But, he knew I could do better, and he knew how to help me get there.

I pray you have a person like that in your life, Dear Reader. If you don’t, I pray you set out to find one. Or to become one.

Blessings on your search.

 

 

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Still Choosing

By Kathy NickersonJuly 5th, 2016happy endings, Marriage1 Comment

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Happy 65th wedding anniversary this week to my wonderful parents. Life has changed a bit for them in the past few years. The circle of their activity has become smaller, but the sphere of their influence has grown larger as their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren spread out across the country.

We stopped in to see them a few days ago. My mother had gone out to get the biscuits & gravy my dad sometimes likes for breakfast. (Right after she checked Facebook to see what the grandchildren were doing.) I congratulated my dad on the upcoming anniversary. He doesn’t hear so well anymore, and conversations are limited. “Sixty-five years,” I said. “That’s a long time.”

“Yes,” he said. “That’s a lot of nights.”

A lot of nights. Sixty-five years of choosing, every night, to stay faithful to the woman he married for as long as they both shall live. That choosing explains a lot about the contentment in their little apartment. As the circle has grown smaller, the Center has remained the same.

And, it reminded me of the beautiful song our daughter, Charity, and her husband, Ryan, wrote during a recent song-writing challenge called the 5in5. I’m posting it here in honor of my parents and their sixty-five years. And I’m posting it as a reminder to those of us who are coming behind them. Let’s keep choosing.

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It Isn’t Personal

By Kathy NickersonJune 27th, 2016happy endings, Marriage, mercy, writing4 Comments

 

My husband is a long-suffering saint when it comes to my writing career. He gave me a classy office in his clinic where I get to write between tasks at the day job.

He even put the furniture together.

And, he keeps hoping the writing will do something besides cost him money. He remains generous, supportive, and encouraging even when that ship just keeps sailing further from shore.  One thing is bothering him about my novels, though. He mentioned it the other day.

“You are always killing off the husbands,” he said. “Should I be worried?”

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It is true that my books have a high percentage of widows among the supporting characters. Okay, and among the lead characters. But that is simply a matter of statistics. Statistically, women live longer than men, so there are more Glory Circle Sisters than brethren in most towns, real or fictional. But, I didn’t spout statistics at him. Instead, I held up my latest book and protested.

“I’m not the widow in Rose Hill Cottage,” I said, “I’m more of Flora-the-Librarian, which makes you Deke, her ever-lovin’ husband. Look, here you are on page 75 sneaking a kiss at the Fourth of July picnic.”

I’m not sure he was convinced. And, since I have at least two more books planned for the Glory Circle Series, we aren’t quite done with widows. Maybe I better take Flora’s advice and go bake my man a pie.

Or, in our case, I’d better get it from the bakery. I don’t have Flora’s skills.

 

 

at bass pro

No husbands or bears were injured in the making of this blog post.

 

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Somebody Has to Make Breakfast

By Kathy NickersonMarch 14th, 2016Marriage, mercy, writing2 Comments

breakfast

 

It is Book Release Week at our house. In my make-believe-world, that means I float about town in gracious author-mode doing only book-related things all day. In reality, I still have to do the laundry.

I sat down with my long-suffering husband a few days ago and drew his attention to the coming change in my schedule. “I’m about to publish another book,” I said. He nodded. “That means I might be distracted for several weeks and not that available for things like cooking supper and cleaning the house and stuff.” He nodded again.

That’s when I realized I wasn’t describing anything new. I’m like that when I write books, too. Or when I think about writing books. Or when I procrastinate about writing books. Or when I finish writing books. In other words, my husband knew Book Launch Week wouldn’t be any different than our normal life.

And, I made a decision that it would be, because I remembered Margaret Thatcher. Years ago, I read a story about the prime minister attending an important meeting with several people. I’m paraphrasing now:

Suddenly, Mrs. Thatcher stood up. “I”m sorry,” she said, “but look at the time. I must get to the market and buy some rashers for my husband’s breakfast.” And she left.

I remember being proud that I knew rashers were bacon, thanks to Father Mike and his Irish housekeeper. And, I remember vowing that my husband’s breakfast would always take priority over world peace or anything else in my life. Metaphorically speaking. I wanted to remember forever that no matter how important other things felt, the people closest to me would always be what really mattered most.

My point isn’t that women should stay home and cook breakfast. My husband makes a better omelet than I do, anyway. But I never want the stuff I do to become more important than the people I love.

I’m not sure what the equivalent of Book Launch Week is for you today, Dear Reader, but please don’t let it crowd out the people who share your table. While you are doing all the Big Important Stuff in life, please remember to buy the rashers.

 

 

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We Were Young Once

By Kathy NickersonFebruary 11th, 2016happy endings, Marriage, mercy1 Comment

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On our first Valentine’s Day together, my future-husband, Wendell, and I were eighteen and nineteen years old. We had been dating five months. And, we had been engaged since November. Thus, the foolish part.

I blame Viet Nam. I tell people often that in those days we were all trying to grab life before it marched off in a green uniform and possibly never came home again. If you’ve seen Hunger Games, you know how we felt the day they drew draft numbers by lottery. At my high school, the results played over the loudspeaker in the cafeteria, and news spread through hallways as the numbers were drawn one birthdate at a time.

Wendell’s number was 54. Out of 365.

But, actually, I didn’t even know him then. We didn’t meet until a year later. The draft had ended just a few months before he could have been called up. He would never have gone. So, even though I would like to blame Viet Nam or the whole crazy 1960’s. We really were just foolish.

Fortunately, God looked after us. In the forty-plus years since then, we’ve stumbled into love over and over again. It’s a choice we’ve made every day. It is also an emotion and passion we’ve experienced. Because love requires both things. Some days or weeks the choice has to carry us because the emotion is impossible to find.

This Valentine’s season, we were privileged to speak to couples in our local church at a marriage renewal evening. We hope we’ve learned a few things along the way, so we gave them our Top Ten Tips for a good marriage. One of those is a quote we recently picked up from an old rerun on PBS. We think it is a great key to letting go of those foolish days that could haunt us from the past. Even if they only happened yesterday. Here we are, having a blast:

Yesterday is another country: The borders are closed.

Happy Valentine’s Day from us!

 

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Going for the Gold

By Kathy NickersonFebruary 3rd, 2016happy endings, Marriage5 Comments

Gallery display - vintage gold frames on an old timber wall and red sofa

I read recently about a famous neurologist who became fascinated by the periodic table at a young age. He started correlating his birthdays with it. At the age of eleven he could say he was sodium, and at 79 he became gold.

I love that. I’ve always believed we could find the positive aspects in aging if we look for them. Heaven knows the negative points are obvious.

I enjoyed growing up with a rich cast of real-life characters around me. Grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, church folks, and quirky neighbors. I gleaned so much from them and loved having them in my life. I think that’s why I always include older characters in my stories.

This weekend, my husband will celebrate another birthday. Our actual ages on the calendar kind of astonish me, to be honest. Because, sometimes I still think of him as the heart-throb college guy who made me swoon in high school. But, I love the handsome grandfather a zillion times more than I loved the guy in platform shoes and bell bottoms.

We have a ways to go before we reach 79. And I have no idea which elements stand between here and there on the periodic table. I’m sure some of them will be fairly unpleasant. But, I’m confident in this: Every year, we are getting a little better together at this thing called life. And we are definitely going for the gold.

Happy birthday, Love.

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Why I Love the Senior Discount

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 21st, 2016happy endings, Marriage, mercy, writing3 Comments

Movies Word On Stage Shows Cinema And Hollywood

The hubs and I went to a movie theater last night, which is rather a rare occurrence for us. As a writer, I love going to movies. I always come away feeling inspired to make art. I think story is the universal language of the soul, and a good story can move a person in the way nothing else possibly can.

We saw a good story. But that isn’t the point of this post. The point is this: We got the senior discount. This is the second time in a few months we’ve been out on the town in a distant city and have dropped in at a theater and announced, “Two seniors for the 6:30 showing.”

It gave me a thrill both times. I know it sounds weird. But it feels a bit like a teenager who just got a driver’s license. “Hey, look! We are grownups! Over sixty and out on a date. No babysitters to worry about. No curfew except the one our tired bodies impose. We could go for ice cream after the show if we want. Or shopping at the mall. We could even walk out, buy another ticket, and turn around to see a second show!” (Oh, yes. We have.)

The guy buying a ticket in front of us last night had whiter hair than ours. His face held lots more lines. The younger-looking lady with him cracked a few jokes about the fact that he might qualify for the senior discount. When he got to the window, the ticket-taker asked if he was military. He did have the look. But, no, he didn’t qualify for that discount. Student? Not that one, either? Theater rewards card? Nope. The guy pulled out his wallet and paid full price. He could not bring himself to say the words. Then he squared his shoulders and tried to walk into the theater looking as young and hip as the lady beside him. And I felt sad for him. Because he didn’t seem to be having nearly as much fun on his date as we were having on ours.

We stepped up to the counter and announced, “Two seniors, please.” I did sort of expect the lady to card us. But, when she didn’t, I just grabbed my hubby’s arm and smiled. Let the fun begin!

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To Carry A Name

By Kathy NickersonJuly 5th, 2015happy endings, Marriage, The Bible1 Comment

ByHisName_www.kathynick.comI remember when my grandmother used to take me to the grocery store with her, and she always signed her check, “Mrs. D.E. Grubbs” in long, curly script.

The signature fascinated me in so many ways. First, no one ever called my grandfather D.E. Grubbs. His full, legal name was Donald Earl, but the closest thing to an official name anyone ever used was Earl. Most folks just called him Shorty.

Second, few people referred to my grandmother as Mrs. Grubbs. She was Aunt Nellie. Or Mom, or Grandma. Or just Nellie. Or for the visiting preachers who wanted to be a bit more formal, Sister Grubbs.

But, I recognized something solemn in that signature. Something legal and binding and grander than the overalls and sunbonnets of daily life. Later on, I often heard my mother refer to herself as “Mrs. Clifford Grubbs” when she conducted business.

I, however, married in an era when women were throwing off the shackles of male-dominate society. We demanded our own identities, and some women even used their maiden names to assert their independence.

Therefore, I kept to myself the secret thrill of writing in curling script across every available surface for several months, “Mrs. Wendell Nickerson.”

Today, at church, we sang a song about wanting to carry the name of Jesus wherever we go. “I will carry His name, carry His name, carry His name,” we sang.

And I suddenly remembered how proud I am to carry my husband’s name, too. Because for me, Women’s Liberation came at the cross of Christ. Right along with Men’s Liberation. So I carry the Name of Jesus with humility and gratitude everywhere I go.

And I carry the name of Nickerson with similar feelings. Because those two relationships, the one with Jesus and the one with my husband, both set me free to be who I am meant to be. They liberate me through love, in ways I can’t even explain. And in ways a political movement never can.

So, I’ll carry His name, carry his name, carry His name. Forever. 

 

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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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