Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Hello, Sixty

By Kathy NickersonNovember 16th, 2015Uncategorized5 Comments

 

 

 

blue dining room

 

Decades are such a nice, neat measurement. I remember learning to count by tens. I can still see the worksheet with bundles of sticks tied neatly with cords. Math was such a mystery to me. I loved the sensible, clear, obvious steps of ten.

And, I remember turning ten. I got a baby brother for my birthday that year. Best. Gift. Ever.

As the decades move on, we aren’t always so happy to greet them, of course. Thirty is always a scary one for people. Such a grown-up place to go. And fifty sometimes sounds a bit decrepit. AARP starts sending out reminders. Certain eateries offer discounts. These things can be offensive to those among us who are especially sensitive.

Sixty, however, sounds marvelous to me. It sounds like the perfect combination of fully-grown yet full of opportunity. By sixty, we have pretty much made up our minds who we want to be, and we have some idea how to get there. We haven’t yet arrived, of course. We still have a long way to go. And some of us are even thinking of starting over. A second career. An artistic pursuit. Further education. Travel.

Sixty sounds like a delightful decade to me. I’m looking forward to greeting it in a few days, and I may do all the things I just described. I plan to savor this particular season of life.

And, I shall start by eating cake. Want to join me?

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A Few Thoughts on Living Light

By Kathy NickersonAugust 16th, 2015mercy, Uncategorized2 Comments

 

Blue camper

What do you think of the Tiny House movement? I must admit I’m intrigued by these ultra-small houses-on-wheels. Some of them are more luxurious than the average vacation condo. Others are a bit too rustic for my taste. They are all quite creative with space and storage.

Of course, tiny houses are nothing new. My in-laws had one back in the seventies. They called it a camper, and they lived in it nine months at a time, all over the country.

I admit tiny houses feed into my yearning for a simple life. I’m a sucker for any magazine or website that offers “creative storage solutions.” Or articles on “how to organize your life forever.” It is the same drive that leads me to the purse aisle every time I visit a store. I’m always convinced I will eventually find the perfect bag with just the right amount of pockets in exactly the right configuration to hold only the items I must have at my fingertips on any given day.

I don’t think my husband and I will be moving into a tiny house, though. We already downsized from a two-story, five-bedroom with a veranda to a two-bedroom home in a four-plex.

It took me about ten years to accept the fact that I don’t have enough space for everyone to come home for Christmas. But I do love the simplicity of living with less. And every few months I go on a purge and lessen us just a bit more. (Does that sentence even work?)

Which makes me wonder what is drawing so many of us to this lifestyle of tiny houses and limited wardrobes. I do have a theory, of course. Maybe, what we are really craving with these clean lines and clear spaces is something spiritual. Maybe, what we really want to do is unclutter our souls.

That’s a movement I could get into.

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Coming Soon to a City Near You

By Kathy NickersonJuly 16th, 2012Uncategorized4 Comments

A few of my favorite munchkins

I just watched the trailer for  Oz:The Great and Powerful, coming out next spring. It inspired my title for this post but has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m about to say. Well, except for this: there is one breathless line in the trailer that basically says, “Are you the One we’ve been waiting for?”

That line kills, doesn’t it? The universal cry for rescue. For some majestic Other who has a cosmic plan that makes sense of our world filled with flying monkeys and wicked witches.

And, here is the kicker: We know Him! The One who is greater even than Oz! Man, I wish I could somehow introduce the whole weary world to Him.

That thought does lead me into where I was heading in the first place. I’m in the process of re-designing my website. Or actually, Jaymes of Scribbles & Scribes fame is in the process. I’m just shooting him whiny emails that say things like, “I think the red is too orange. No, wait. Now it’s too pink. And can you make the straight lines rounder and take about twenty pounds off my face?”

The site may be down for a few days eventually while Jaymes does his magic. (Once he gets home from his current missions trip to Moldova). When it comes back up, be ready to sign-up for the newsletter I’ll be launching this fall. Don’t worry, it’s free. I don’t suppose I’ll manage to introduce the whole world to Jesus, but I hope to encourage a few souls along the way. So, put on your ruby red slippers or jump in your hot-air balloon, and let’s launch this new adventure together!

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Help from Haggai

By Kathy NickersonMay 23rd, 2012The Bible, Uncategorized5 Comments

Sometimes (Okay, lots of times) I worry that I haven’t done enough as a writer. That by this season of life I should have written several novels of enduring value. Or at least a few dozen more magazine articles. I wonder if my piddly contribution to the vast library of the world even matters.

But today I read Haggai.

He is one of the minor prophets in the Bible. The ones who are hard to find without an index. And, he only rates two chapters. If The Complete Works of Haggai the Prophet was listed on Amazon, it would only include four essays of  a few paragraphs each.

But, what a difference those words made.

After seventy years in exile, a small band of Jews had been allowed to go back to Jerusalem from Babylon. Their task was to rebuild the holy city, and they started by laying again the foundation of the magnificent Temple. But the bad guys hassled them so much they quit building. Sixteen years passed, and nobody lifted a stone.

Then, Haggai stood up and spoke. His words  ignited vision, renewed strength, and put an entire culture back on track. Today, those words are captured in two short chapters of a sixty-six book collection.

Reading Haggai today made me grateful. It also made me wonder what my few words might do in the earth.

What about yours?

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Witty Inventions

By Kathy NickersonJanuary 26th, 2012Uncategorized2 Comments

I remember when my high school friends and I heard about futuristic telephones with built-in t.v. screens. “That will never happen,” we said. “What if someone called while your hair was in rollers? Or when you were in the bathroom?!”

I also remember the first time my husband and I saw an episode of Star Trek: Next Generation where Wesley was reading his textbook on an electronic tablet. We laughed. “That will never catch on,” we said. ” It’s about as realistic as ‘beam me up, Scottie.'”

Today, life before Apps seems as archaic as using leeches to cure pneumonia.

So, here’s hoping that this time next decade, we’ll be saying, “Man, remember how we used to fight cancer by pumping toxic chemicals into people’s bodies instead of … ?(insert miracle technology here.)

Because I think that’s what technology is. Miraculous. I think all the *witty inventions that make life better here on earth are a direct result of the **speech pouring forth from Heaven day by day.

I think it all originates from God, whether we acknowledge that our not. So, let’s acknowledge it.

* Proverbs 8:12

** Psalm 19:1-3

 

 

 

 

 

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All is Bright

By Kathy NickersonDecember 21st, 2011Uncategorized2 Comments

Christmas lights are magical. They turn ordinary street corners and bare tree limbs into a dazzling display that evokes joy and wonder and wishes and hope. I think such moments are glimpses of Heaven. A preview of the new earth we’ll enjoy once Jesus comes again.

All the words in the Bible used to describe Heaven are sparkly. Pearls, jasper, gold, crystal. The writers couldn’t adequately translate what they saw in those Heavenly visions, so they used the only words they knew to express perfection. Priceless jewels.

I haven’t seen a lot of diamonds, rubies, or amethyst in my lifetime. But I’ve sat by the light of a Christmas tree many nights and felt my heart swell with the “thrill of hope” as a “weary world rejoices.”

For yonder does break a new and glorious morning. It will be here one of these days when He comes in the clouds of glory. And, we will all fall on our knees.

Can you hear the angels singing?

 

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It’s Not a Bad Word

By Kathy NickersonNovember 28th, 2011Uncategorized10 Comments

I’m irritated about “Happy Holidays,” but not in the way you might think. I’m all for keeping Christ in Christmas. If we take Him out, we just have mas. And that doesn’t mean anything at all.

But, until our politically-correct society hijacked holiday, it wasn’t a dirty word. It was a beautiful word evoking all things warm and fuzzy in my soul. I often started wishing folks “happy holidays” in mid-October. To me, the holiday season encompassed Halloween costume parties, Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas carols, and New Year’s Eve toasts. It was a full package.

Referring to Christmas as a holiday didn’t take Jesus out of the center for me. Using the word didn’t make me confuse the celebration of Christ’s birth with a day set aside to dress like a princess and demand candy from the neighbors.

But now people use the word holiday for exactly that purpose. They use it to dilute the true Reason for the Season and turn it into something pale and pointless. The word holiday has become the antichrist of Christmas. Which really stinks.

I don’t particularly like to be controversial on this blog. But I have to tell you I’m unhappy about this. I am irritated that one segment of our society can take a perfectly good word and turn it into something I can’t say unless I want to be identified with a cause I don’t believe in. So, I can’t wish you “Happy Holidays” this year anymore than I can feel gay on a perfectly warm spring day.

See what I mean? It stinks.

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A Better Estate

By Kathy NickersonJuly 7th, 2011happy endings, Uncategorized3 Comments

Sharing my quilt with a few grandchildren.

Wendell and I don’t own a house anymore. This still feels strange to me, even after several years. We bought our first home together before we were married, and we’ve owned six homes since then. Some of my friends still live in the homes where they reared their children. They now welcome grandchildren to yards with mature shade trees and houses with spare bedrooms. Occasionally, I envy this.

Right now, I am planning our upcoming Cousins’ Camp, wherein a dozen grandchildren and some of their parents will come stay with us for three days. I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out where to put them in our two-bedroom house with the cottage-sized living room.

Mostly, I love our snug home. It is perfect for the two of us. But during Cousins’ Camp, or Christmas, or most Sunday afternoons I briefly long for the five-bedroom house with the wrap-around porch that we left behind when we came to this little town.

I don’t linger in that frame, though. Instead, I remember that living here – in this community devoted to helping people – lets me enjoy other perks. For instance: sitting on a quilt beside a quiet lake while more than sixty people are baptized. Including two of our grandsons.

Maybe I can’t give the grandchildren a family estate. But, I can give them this.

 

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Sixty Years of Mercy

By Kathy NickersonJuly 3rd, 2011mercy, Uncategorized3 Comments

“When I thank God for His tender mercies each night, you are on the list.” That is a paraphrase from a movie line. It is also a truth in my life. Among the many tender mercies God has granted me, being born to this handsome couple probably tops them all. My parents, Clifford and Virginia Grubbs, are celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary this week.

Sixtieth. Six decades.

It is impossible to sum up their life  a few words. It includes four children, eleven grandchildren, and eighteen great-grands. So far.

It also includes countless episodes of illness, struggle, uncertainty, and fatigue balanced by seasons of joy and prosperity in every way. But, most of all, it includes my father’s quiet steadiness and my mother’s faithful optimism.

She taught us to embrace every stage of life as the best one yet. Watching her and our dad together these days, I honestly believe it is true.

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Overlooking All the J’s

By Kathy NickersonFebruary 24th, 2011Friendship, Uncategorized, writing4 Comments

We all need a little help now and then

Last week I heard from one of the editors who helped form me as a writer. It has been more than twenty years since I submitted my first article to him, and we stay in touch. The magazine he worked for no longer exists, but the lessons he taught me remain. One lesson is how to be merciful. After I’d written several articles for his regional magazine, I approached my editor about an idea for a novel. Since the publishing team was thinking of moving in that direction, they were willing to take a look.

A few weeks later, I handed over two-hundred pages of manuscript typed on a manual typewriter. As my editor placed the bundle in his car, I said, “It has a few extra “J’s”. Just watch out for those.”

He raised his eyebrows. “What?”

“Extra J’s. The J key is kind of touchy, and my index finger must have a twitch. About every sixth line, I hit a J before I started typing the next word.”

And do you know what this experienced editor did? This University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate just smiled and said, “Okay. I’ll watch out for that.”

I cringe at the memory. But he went on to edit the manuscript with great depth and sincerity. He told me which lines were good. Which ones should go. And then he asked me a series of questions to help make an actual novel out of the pathetic, skinny, worse-than-rough draft I had turned in.

I still haven’t published that book. But I work on it every few years. This week, when I hit one of my lowest spots in strength, hope, vision, and creativity my editor friend sent me a note. He told me about a writing book he’d discovered and how he thought I might like it, too. Then he told me he likes my blog.

And there it was again. Mercy. Encouragement. Affirmation. A reason to keep going as a writer even when life is full of extra “J’s”.

Thanks, Dick.

 

 

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