Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Golden Arches?????

Well, blogging has its benefits....Mom had a lot of time on her hands while in the hospital: She has mentally remodeled her entire home, yard, property, and probably her hospital room thanks to HGTV :-)
She also was able to look up different blogs concerning her inability to taste, which is a huge hindering factor in her desire to eat. Unbelievable as it is; the golden arches of McDonald's was a remedy that we tried and worked!
The fries somehow coat her mouth and block the "chemo film" enabling her to taste the fries! Which also led us to discover that the coke per mom, "woke up her taste buds a bit". Finally helping us discover that she can taste ketchup! Hallelujah she can eat!!!!!

She thought this was so funny!  (Worth every horrible calorie or whatever else may be in those fries to see that smile and hear that laughter from my Momma again)

Which also led to an approval from the Dr. to go home. Yay!

We have been doing much better at home....learning what things she can taste, using condiments to liven things up (so far it's ketchup and bbq sauce). We have put together lists of caregivers schedule, medications, phone numbers, and such. We have begun to read a book series and heard from Dad, whom is having a few traveling bumps, however should be back on track and in Belarus this evening.

We are continuing to ask that visitors hold off for now, Mom's immune system is still compromised and she is very tired.

Mozart, Bach, and a few other classical artists have been playing, the amazing wonderful pumpkin vanilla candle is lit, the lights are dim, and momma is cozy.

Please continue to pray that her stomach cramps and nausea continue to lessen and for Dad and the team in Belarus to complete the work that the Lord has sent them to do.

Thank you everyone for all of your prayers, support, and help

Blessings, Nicole  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Much Needed Rest

Doesn't she look peaceful????

As many of you may or may not be aware, Mom has been in the hospital for a quite a few days now, though very difficult for any of us to hear, she is getting the much needed attention, care, and quiet that she needs. Mom explained it as a small serene environment, where she can rest in complete quiet and focus on getting better.
When I drove into Blairsville today the only thought on my mind was, "Where is my Momma?" I could not wait to just sit with her, no need to say anything (though we Nickerson's never stop talking) I just wanted to look into her eyes. As I came out of the elevator and was looking all around for her room I looked over and spotted it and to my surprise a big note on the closed door that read "NO VISITORS". My heart jumped, then I approached a nurse and explained that this was my Mom's room and I just got in from out of town, and I saw this note?????? The nurse gave me a look of well....... let me check. She went in and asked Mom if I could come in and of course Momma said yes! Thank God :-)
I was then asked to put on gloves and a mask if I was going to get close (Um yeah I'm getting close, that's my Momma)
Entering the room and seeing her adorable little bald head and her genuine smile, that was all I needed!

I was able to stay for a little while and as I left, I was thankful for a nurse whom was not concerned with anyone but my Momma and what was best for her recovery.
With that I do want to say, we thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for the love, prayers, and concern. We are asking at this time, though it is difficult, to please not go and visit and limit the phone calls to speaking with my Dad, myself, or family for updates. Mom really needs to absolute quiet and peacefulness to continue her healing process.

We are looking forward to the next few weeks when she will begin to transform back into her full of life personality, smile full of sunshine, and healthy glow, that she is made of.

Prayer requests:
Dad leaves for Belarus on Tuesday - please lift him and the team up as they go and fulfill the Lord's work, Mom so desires for Dad to be able to have peace concerning her care and be able to focus on the mission God is sending him on.
When Mom comes home from the hospital - continued peace, quiet, and serenity for her continued healing.
Blessings, Nicole :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"He will still deliver us"

Friends have come to pray and minister and encourage. Linda just does not feel up to posting a new blog so Joyce and Mitzi are doing it for her.

The race is over. She has crossed the last hurdle of chemo and radiation. ALL DONE!!! But the side effects, the suffering are continuing for a season. Linda is still in need of prayer:
** for relief of stomach cramps and diarrhea
** for a lifting of her spirits
** for God's continual healing and comfort
** for balancing of emotions
** for relief from fatigue and ability to "get up and go" again
** for thriving and restoration of her healthy cells

As we all sat quietly, the Lord gave us II Corinthians 1:8-11:
"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia (Blairsville): that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
Yes, we had the sentence of death(cancer) in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many."
We know you have been awaiting the posting of "IT IS FINISHED" and here it is. But as Linda has been "burdened beyond measure", she now desires, above all else, to trust in Him and not herself and to never go back to a life of complacency, entitlement, and comfort.

Let's continue to pray.....................

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

From Marie

Linda is now in her second round of Chemo and towards the last day of radiation.
As I visited with her on her sun deck, she looks tired.  She doesn’t feel good as the second round of chemo is in her system.

Each day is one step closer to her final treatments.   What a wonderful testimony she is to each and every one of us.  No matter how sick she feels, this blog must go on.

Today at our fellowship at Joyce Stewart’s house all eight of us women gathered together in prayer, not only for ourselves, mainly for Linda.  I hate to think of how I would react to this ailment. Her faith never wavers, her body weakens, but her spirit does not.  Her God is there by her side, caressing and calming her spirit.  “Be Still And Know That I Am God’

Where would we be if not for our God to guide and love us unconditionally?  I hate to think of that, as I know of Linda’s faith and complete dependence on Him.  I am in awe of all of it.  She is surrounded by love and angels, it is hard to see someone going through all of this and not be able to fix it.  However Joe has the right medicine. LOVE!!!!

As she goes through this last week, we sing these praises to her.  “We Praise You In The Storm”.  “I Lift My Eyes To The Hills, Where Does My Help Come From?”  Lord, it comes from you.

Marie (Mother-in-law)

Monday, September 12, 2011

He Waits For Me

It’s been more than three months now

since I first felt something amiss,

 prompting me to contact the doctor

which led me down this cancerous road.

It seems a lot longer.

I’m feeling like I am slacking on fighting the good fight of faith.

God has brought me high
 and has taken me low on this journey,

 and I fight against my flesh more than I care to admit.

I’m a little down today, which doesn’t make any good sense.

Yesterday’s 9/11 memorial service was wonderful
and I was so thankful to have felt good enough to attend.

What a blessing it was to remember and witness, in person and on screen, the faith and courage of so many people, and their testimonies, in the face of such evil.

The church choir was superb, and the speakers amazing,
(what can I say about my Joe!)
 the color guard did so well, you would never know it was their first public performance,
the presentation of hats, the bag pipes, bugle player.... 

I could go on and on.

But today, I had the dreaded chemo pump attached,
and although I should be elated that this is the final leg

...I am despondent.

A small lump has formed on the side of my groin

...I discovered it last night.

The doctor inspected it today and really thinks it’s a cystic growth,
rather than a cancerous lesion,
caused by a blocked sweat gland.

He was very reassuring, but still wants Dr. Moody to look at it
and get his opinion. 

An appointment could not be made sooner than Sept 29th.

 My Joe will be in Belarus then...and he is not happy with the timing.

So I allow this little set back to get my faith faltering

 and I lift my eyes to Him and cry, Father?

Waiting for me to call on Him I am reminded of
 ‘Your Word for Today’ that my mother-in-law, Marie
sends out faithfully each day.

“But the Lord still waits for you to come to Him
So He can show you His love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God
Blessed are those who wait for Him to help them.”

Isaiah 30:18

I am stopping now, getting my Bible and will snuggle up for some alone time with Him

...He’s been waiting for me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 Memorial

Listening to my husband go through all the final paperwork

and reviewing the ‘last call’ from Union County Fire Dept.,

making sure his uniform is in order

 and going over the protocol for tomorrow night’s 9/11 memorial service,

 I somberly remember that fateful morning 10 years ago.

I was sitting in my car at the red light waiting to turn,

on my way to work at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
when the excited radio commentator announced, in a shocked voice,

 that one of the twin towers in New York had just been hit by a plane.

I remember standing around the TV at work with other employees

just staring in horror like the rest of the nation

as the second plane plowed into the second tower...

and then we all was on purpose.

It was a day when evil had come over to our nation

and made itself known in a big way,

so that everyone in the world was at attention.

The next day we frantically gathered every spare chair

 as people flocked, came in droves, to our Wednesday night service

 in search of search of some kind of understanding search of God?

Today, I struggle with my emotions...on one hand I just want to close my eyes
 and not think about it at all,

and then I see how my husband has faithfully, every year since,
 conducted or helped to organize a memorial service
as a remembrance to those who lost their lives that horrible day.

Tomorrow night there will be a 10th year anniversary 9/11 Memorial service at
 House of Prayer at 6pm.

 Many of our family members, local emergency personnel,

friends and church members

will gather together in the Family Life Center. 

Quite a program has been painstakingly put together

and I don’t want to miss it.

My Father will escort me and I’ll be able to sit somewhere in the back next to the facilities and he’ll be able to take me home if I should start to feel bad

....but I pray I can last through the service.

As tight as I can get my eyes to close,

I cannot shut out or forget the memory of all those brave souls

who gave up their lives for others.

I hope to see many of you there.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 
John 15:13

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ministering Children

Is there anything more precious than little ones
 with the purest intentions of loving on you,
laughing with you, 
and ministering to you?

My nephew, Willy came by today with his Dad
to drop off some much anticipated
tapioca pudding...

homemade, the very creamiest and the very tastiest.

It's been my craving  lately and no one makes it like my sister-in-law.

It's in the refrigerator next to some delicious chicken soup
 made with loving hands by my friend, Mitzi.

We are pretty well stocked as faithful friends are always dropping by
with delicious food for us to enjoy, along with a kind word and a prayer.

Willy kept me pretty well entertained today with his continuous stories of Indiana Jones
 (which included monkey brains, cockroaches and snakes),

 his never ending love for Spiderman andVenom

and and other tall tales of his little boy adventures.

His joy and sweetness is infectious, his accent hilarious,

 (New York...and he's never even been there) 

and he calms me and takes my mind off of my stomach spasms.

When Jesus said to let the little children come to Him,

I see in there another reason

...the blessing of a relationship with them.

So precious.

Speaking of children, my son, Mike, came from Florida to see me.

He flew in this morning and Tracy drove him up.

I look forward to the weekends as family members come up to be with me,

and love on me,

bringing happiness and pleasant conversation,

with concern in their eyes

and healing in their touch.

They meet in our gathering room and their mere presence is comforting to me.

For now, I will gratefully bask in all the attention they give me as I count down the treatments.

Monday I start my Chemo (last one), a pump will be attached to me for 4 days
 and just 3 more radiation treatments....

 I'll be home free by Thursday.

The outreached healing hand of God is upon me,
and He has sent me many ministering 'angels'.

I've been experiencing His peace.

“Cause I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what’s being held out”

~ Healing Hand of God – Jeremy Camp ~

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No Garden Tender

A vision of what once was to never really did.

Our plans were for rows and rows of Roma tomatoes...
they would be plentiful and fill up our kitchen with the aroma of homemade sauce. 

We would have an endless supply in our pantry for the Italian dinners we have frequently

 when family gathers.

We also envisioned many eggplants, red potatoes and watermelons in abundance.

Starting off like gangbusters we worked feverishly in the field, in 95 degree weather

 (thanks to a rather late start in the season)

and the ‘garden’ quickly sapped our strength, our resources...

 and took its toll in the months to come.


We had no idea what we were getting into.

After the ‘diagnose’ the garden was put on the back burner

and it quickly succumbed to weeds, disgusting bugs and the like. 

We did get a few delicious watermelons, I must say, they were very sweet and shared with family.

The tomatoes ended up with ‘blossom end rot’ and a few other horrific local names

...due to neglect. was not to be this year...

there was no garden tender.

It occurred to me that the garden of my heart has been undergoing
a major overhaul. 

 Jesus had laid His foundation of fertile soil (His Holy Word)
 and beautiful things have been steadily growing. 

But with the flowers and fruited vines came the weeds,
unvalued plants with a vigorous tenacity for growth. 

Some have been seized by doctors and have been poisoned by vital pesticides causing some good vegetation loss as well in my heart.

When a tragic heartbreak, such as Cancer, comes into one’s garden

...all hands are on deck.

And all of a sudden somebody is ringing the warning bell...and it’s like....

”Oh my Gosh....There’s a SNAKE IN MY BOOT!”

Determined to have a better garden, my Jesus has been invited back
 more often

...much more my garden keeper.

He has pointed out other weeds of my own making and has shown me how to get rid of them.

 He has pruned and watered and has placed my garden back in order.

I am more attentive and aware of the importance of Him
 being my ever watchful garden tender

...guarding my heart;

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”
Proverbs 4:23

He is always showing me, in some way or another,
the importance of staying near Him
and holding on to Him
 in every aspect of my life.

I am grateful that he takes the time to show me and correct me,

however painful or humiliating the lesson can be... He loves me.

“I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known”

~ In The Garden – Charles Austin ~

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting". Psalm 139:23-24

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Drinking From My Saucer

Wednesdays are special to me in that it’s a time of refreshing with dear friends as we gather to pray for each other and study the Word of God.

No matter how I am feeling, I always try to make an effort to I can’t miss out on this time of fellowship...

I am desperate for it.

Joyce always welcomes me with a special lounge seat, blankets and cozies and the girls hug and kiss on me...

 and fill my emptying cup.

We are going through the book of Titus and my homework lay forgotten at home. Content to listen and glean from the others,

 I searched their faces and witnessed joy and passion in their expression of His love for us and what He is doing in their lives.

Everyone had something to share and something to pray for...

a feeling of intensity for each other in calling upon the Lord in each other’s behalf

 was overwhelming as we shared the daily struggles

 of life, marriage, and health.

My daughter lay on my heart as I opened up to them my
 intense love for this girl.

She has been honoring and loving us her whole life.

  I share her with her natural mother... and I will be forever grateful to be allowed in this inner circle of extreme devotion and love.

My Angela is a free-spirited thinker of sorts and has always marched to the beat of her own drum....but always...

 taking into consideration the thoughts and concerns of others. 

She doesn’t share our Christian beliefs exactly but has always listened to us

patiently and respectfully

with esteem and with honor.

Since I’ve been in this fight, my Angela has been one of my strongest supporters and encouragers and I couldn’t wait to share with the ladies this beautiful card she sent me...

which is kept close in my Bible.....

 in Isaiah.

I was unable to read it aloud as the emotion got the best of me and Joyce read it to the others

“ are such a shining light, Momma, and I love you so much.
Keep looking forward and putting your trust in God. 
 I’m touched by the perseverance you show in your blog
 and my admiration is boundless.
 You are simply my hero.”

The silence in the room was overpowering and as the tears flowed all around me I basked in the reality of His love and His promise to Joe and I and our children.

..." For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children"  
Isaiah 49:25b

Love...the very sustenance of life is the finest gift one can give and receive.

 I am reminded of that poem...

” I am drinking from my saucer, ‘cause my cup has overflowed”.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cancelled Trips

My sister-in-law has such insight when praying for me and the Lord sends her words of encouragement that help when disappointing decisions are made.

Our trip to New England has been cancelled due to the moving forward of my radiation treatments and so has consequently, Belarus
...for me.

New England would have been a respite, a time for healing before the mission trip over, but it is not to be so...

A time for vacationing in New England can be sought out another time, and I am sure we will have another chance at it someday....but Belarus

....we had wanted to serve there together.

God has made other plans and my husband has had to struggle with the ramifications of that

and with the obedience in that. 

He has been called to go...and not I right now.

That was not our plan.

Stephanie sent me an encouraging excerpt from her devotional this morning, “Streams in the Desert’,

 and it has helped me with this separation we are facing.

“I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To work where souls were sunk in sin and shame, (Belarus)
That I might win them; but the Master said,
“I have not called you; publish here My name” (thus, my blog!)

“I longed to leave the hard and difficult sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near,
But Jesus had me guard one lonely gate,
 (an encouragement for when Joe is away)
He has appointed each of your paths for this time.”

Although I am disheartened about staying behind and

 by not being able to go along with this sweet girl,

I am at peace, knowing that I am living within the will of God

and resting in His timing for everything.

Time to start up those radiation treatments again...

after today, just 6 more to go!

Soon, this will be over...and I look forward to reflecting back

 on all that He has done.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Broken Pathway

The sound of rain coming down and the scratching of branches against the window are a comforting sound as my eyes gently open from my nap...but it stirs some loneliness in my core being as well. 

The long weekend is winding down and with it goes the happy sounds of many voices of family and visitors. 

The grogginess is lifting and listening to the soft whistling wind I recall the events of the past three days...

I relapsed a bit on Saturday after a sweet visit from my nieces...

my daughter, Tracy, convinced it started by being overheated lying on my beloved patio lounger. 

Upon awakening from a short snooze in the morning, I was overcome with dizziness and nausea. She beckoned me inside to the coolness of one of the downstairs bedrooms and I ‘collapsed’ onto the bed and slept for several hours.

My brother, Chris and his family came up to visit me that afternoon and it was the aroma of his wife, Jackie’s homemade chicken soup that aroused me. 

 As I came out to greet them, I sat down next to my brother on the couch and was overcome with emotion...and laid my head on his shoulder and cried. 

He comforted me and hugged me...and just loved on me. 

It did my heart good to see them and I thanked God again

for the gift of family.

My stomach spasms have been hard to control and I suffered with them on and off for the whole weekend.

Tracy worked beside me in every effort to alleviate my pain and discomfort

but I usually ended up curled on the end of the couch with a pillow watching the activity around me

...not wanting to miss anything.

Nicole and the kids picked up Joe’s mother from California and they arrived late Saturday night. 

 Sunday was spent watching church service on TV, and observing my family come and go, cleaning, made my sick heart merry.

As busy and as painful as the weekend was...Joe and I are sorry to see it go,

 but ready to face the regiment of radiation that starts up again tomorrow, with Chemo following the next Tuesday. 

After the week delay, I’m ready to resume and get this over with.

I'll close this blog with a question...

I wonder if you have ever heard this song? 

It has spoken to me lately;

"The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that you do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to."

~ If You Want Me To – Ginny Owens ~

I am Yours, Lord....have Your way with me


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Honor your father and your mother...

I have been given the honor of blogging for my Momma tonight.
Today as we sat  in the office for "church" in front of the computer, because
Mom's immune system is still compromised and it is not wise to have her out and about...
we were taught about honor.

Ephesians 6:1-3 reads
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother,"
which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may
 live long on the earth."

It is the explanation below the Word in my bible that spoke clear to me:
There is a difference between obeying and honoring. To obey means to do as one is told; to honor means to respect and love....Children are to obey while under their parents' care, but the responsibility to honor parents is for life......Children should honor their parents even if the parents are demanding and unfair (definitely not the case for the Nickerson crew). Parents should care gently for their children, even if the children are disobedient and unpleasant (unfortunately the Nickerson crew did fall into the category of disobedient and unpleasant at times).

           Even as a small child I was able to see that my parents loved us and cared for us, they were always "there" for us and we gave them plenty of circumstances to prove that. However, now a parent myself, I am able to look unto them and honor them truly. They have been an unbelievable example of strength, courage, and love through the journey that they and we are on. They have shown us and all of the people around them how allowing God to walk you through something like cancer, is the ONLY way to get through it!

           So tonight I HONOR my father and my mother as they deserve to be honored for their unconditional love for each other, their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchild, their family, and their friends. And for the example that they set for each and every one of us.

Thank you Daddy & Momma for allowing
God to use you at a time such as this!

Prayer requests for Momma:
Please pray the she will develop more of an appetite.
Please pray for her stomach spasms to calm.
Please pray for peace for her rest and strength for her healing.

Mom should be back blogging in no time, thank you all soo much for keeping her lifted up!
Nicole :-)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Union General ER

Rita (my sister with nursing experience) took one look at me last night and said, “Oh no...we’re going to the hospital’.

 She called Joe and told him what she expected,
possible dehydration. 

Joe was at an important meeting in church with several upcoming big events to discuss. 

It saddens me to see how much he is balancing on his plate right now.

All that emergency training he was involved in for over 25 years has surely benefited us.

He agreed and told Rita to call when we arrived and that he would meet us there.

My blessings run deep...very deep.

 It just so happened (our God is so awesome) my nephew, Mike (Rita’s boy) was on duty in the ER that night. 

It wasn’t busy at all and they would be expecting me.

Just 3-4 minutes was all we waited and he came and got us, put a mask on my face,

 (the ER can be a hotbed for germs)

and escorted us back to a room at the very end of the hall...with a bathroom

 (a very critical need for my condition).

Being so weak I just laid on the bed and let my sister remove my shoes and get me a warm blanket.

Mike went into professional mode and asked many questions about what I was feeling, what meds I was taking, etc. He accessed my port and hooked me up to nutrients and pain meds...

sweet relief.

I’m getting emotional writing this even now as I remember looking at him and thinking

what a wonderful gifted man he is and how blessed I was to have him take care of me. 

My heart swelled.

Sister Rita handled all the many phone calls, my sister Sandy arrived and sat at the end of the bed and rubbed my feet,

 even Tori and Devon stopped by to check on me.

Was it the Demerol I was given or just the sheer emotion of being surrounded in love and special handling

 that caused me to be weepy through the whole experience?
 Maybe both.

Or maybe it's because when Joe arrived and bent down to hug me I lost control and just surrendered my reserve into his capable hands.

Feeling so much better, around 10:30pm,  Joe took me home via Walmart
(I stayed in the car) 

 The first thing I did.... promptly, was eat a bowl (yes...a bowl) of Cocoa Krispies.

 The most food I have had in a few I’ve only been able to swallow a few bites here and there.

Refreshed from a good nights sleep, and a hydrated body I faced the morning differently and with a different perspective. 

It can be easy to see natural occurrences and coincidences

when focused on myself

and in my pain,

 but if I place my complete dependence on Him... I see miracles and blessing all around me,

 even in dire circumstances.  (Jesus Calling - devotion)

 I will begin again today with a joyful expectation waiting to see how He will show up,

ever faithful is He.

“Joy comes in the morning”, my sweet friend Jackie reminded I spoke to her on the phone this morning.

“...weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

~ Psalm 30:5b NKJ ~