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Karen NicksichAuthor | Angel Reader |Pet Communicator
My name is Karen Marie Griehs Nicksich. I was born February 19, 1957 in Rochester, New York. My mother; Shirley was a teacher for 20 years and my father; Bill was a contractor. I learned from an early age the importance of faith, hard work, independence and giving back. One of my favorite times as a child was when my mother would take my two sisters Robin, Lisa and me to the library. I loved books, especially when my mom read them to me. My favorite book as a child was “Make way for Ducklings.” My mom made every story come to life. As I got older I had the opportunity to go into my mom’s classroom and help her run off ditto’s, put up bulletin boards and helped her around the classroom. I knew at an early age I either wanted to be a nun or a teacher when I grew up.
I loved going to school. My favorite subject was Art. I was not a good math student and struggled with it. Many nights my dad would sit at the table with me trying to explain my math homework to me. I find it funny when I became a teacher I knew every trick to help children who struggled in Math. I went to Fairport High School where I excelled in sewing. I remember entering a sewing contest where I had to make a wool suit. I won. I also took ballet and piano when I grew up. One of my favorite TV show was American Bandstand and Soul Train on Saturday mornings. As a child we owned a cat named Buzzy. I remember finding her walking home from school. She was a long hair black fuzzy kitten sitting in a snowdrift. When I brought her home my mom told me we couldn’t have a cat. Buzzy ran under the refrigerator for 3 days until my mom finally said she could stay.
When I graduated from High School in 1975. I attended Adams State Normal College in Alamosa, Colorado. It was a teaching college. Now it is called Adams State University. It was a milestone in my life because this was the first time I moved away from home. My mother encouraged me to go to an out of state college because we were so close. This was a great way for me to become independent.
During my first year in college I woke up in the middle of the night. I saw my grandmother standing at the end of my bed smiling? I thought that was strange because my grandmother lived in NY. I blinked my eyes and then she was gone. Then the phone rang in my dorm room. It was my mother crying because my grandmother had just passed away. That was the beginning of my spiritual life.
1979 I graduated from college with a B.A. in Education. I graduated late because I had a double minor in Art and Reading. My first teaching job was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I taught 3rd grade at Yellowstone Elementary School. The best part about teaching at this school was the homemade lunches every day. During morning recess I could smell the bread rising. The other wonderful thing about teaching there was I met John my husband. We met by accident. We both were dragged to a party that neither one of us wanted to go to. It was instant love for me. I had many male friends in college but when I met John I knew it was love at first site. We dated long distance for 3 years. John was getting his Masters in Communication at the University of Utah while I was teaching in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I knew my mother would not give her blessing for us to get married until I had worked independently for 3 years. My mother was a wise woman with great advice. I would encourage any woman to work independently and pay her own bills for 3 years before getting married.
In 1981 I accepted a teaching job in Salt Lake City, UT and John was working at United Way. We got married the same year. One thing that John and I enjoyed doing is traveling. After we were married six years we decided to have children. William our son was born in 1987. Rachel our daughter was born in 1990.
While I was pregnant with Rachel I decided to go back and get my Gifted and Talented endorsement at Utah State University in Logan UT. After I received my endorsement I worked in the full time Gifted magnet program or top 3% of students who academically gifted. I taught second grade. All of my second graders were working on a fourth to six grade levels. It was during this time I began doing service projects.
My first service project I ever did was with 3rd graders before I received my Gifted Endorsement. My students wanted to help people who had HIV. We made a beautiful quilt of hearts during free time to give to the patients who suffered with HIV. My class also decided to do a teddy bear picnic at the park and invited patients to come and eat berries, bread with honey, read books and play games. It was totally student driven. We received permission from the school district. Any patient who was suffering from HIV was invited. Over 20 men and women showed up. It was a wonderful day filled with love, acceptance and friendship.
John was traveling a lot for his job and I needed a companion to keep me company while John traveled. John and I rescued our first Golden Retriever named Dante. He was beautiful, kind and would sit at the top of the stairs while John was traveling protecting the house. He never slept until John came home. Dante also came into my classroom on Friday’s. He would lie in the back of my room and my students could read to him during free time. They used to call him Big Red.
In 2002 John was transferred to Oklahoma for one year. I took a leave of absence from the SLC School District for one year. Dante came along with us. Every home in Oklahoma had a pool. William and Rachel spent all their free time in the pool along with Dante. I worked for the Jenks School District. I taught at what I would call a campus. Everyone who lived in Jenks went to this school. Over 50 buses would line up in the bus loop. I was one of eight-second grade teachers there. The school that I taught at backed up to a farm with cows. It was fun to look out the classroom window to see cows. Working in Oklahoma was an exciting adventure.
In 2003 we moved back to Salt Lake City. When I returned the district required all teachers to get their ESL (English as a Second Language) endorsement. I went back to Brigham Young University to receive it. During my second year of working on this endorsement my mother died. I don’t remember much about that year except working with a horse named Orinoco. I went to grief therapy with a counselor. That didn’t help. Then I wet through grief therapy with a group of people. Still didn’t help. It was Orinoco who helped me the most. He was part of a research project that the University of Utah was doing. It was called Equine Therapy. Every Sunday I would go out to the stable and have my blood pressure and heart rate taken at the beginning of the session. I brushed and combed Orinoco, cleaned his stable, fed him and then walk with him. At the end of the session the students once again took my blood pressure and heart rate. I looked forward to Sundays because I got to see Orinoco. I talked to him about my mom. Talking with a horse helped me release pain. The last day working with Orinoco was my final. I had to pull myself up on the horse with no saddle, close my eyes and hold my arms out while Orinoco walked around the arena. Both Orinoco and I had to trust each other. It was a beautiful moment where I felt my mother riding with me. After that experience I started volunteering at horse stables working with rescued Clydesdale horses. I took many photos in the stable. Every time the photos were developed there were orbs all around the horse and me. When you see an orb in a photo it means angels are around you.
I began my spiritual journey during the time. Rachel was sick. I took Reiki and became a Master Reiki practitioner. My next class was in Theta. I would go the Angel Spa in Ogden, UT and practice what I had learned along with angel readers. During my time up at the Angel Spa I felt like this was a calling for me.
I taught in Salt Lake City School District until 2008. I took time off to homeschool Rachel who was in and out of the hospital and to help William with his college courses. In 2010 John accepted a job in the Tri-Cities, WA.
The rest is history. I retired from teaching and began my dream of becoming a writer.