Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

July 2

“Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life, even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand, even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.”

~A Pueblo Indian Prayer

This was the first thing I read today. It was given to me by a close friend and running partner as we were in the starting gate of our first Half Marathon in 2013. I carried these words on that slip of paper in my running belt through those miles —and have kept it on my bedside table, near some special crystals ever since.

This was the first thing I read today. Words resonating from distant lands and distant times and distant people—reaching me in a distant place. Reminders of what is truth and what is love. And what is gone when considering just the physical part of existence.

This was the first thing I read today. I’ve read it many times over since recieiving it. Each time, a different line reaches out to me and holds on to my heart while I wander.

This was the first thing I read today. And, as I try to work, I find that I am having a hard time reading anything else.

July 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


This spring, we were graced with a pair of Red Shouldered Hawks who made a nest directly outside our bedroom windows. Their babies are still in the nest, but based on what we are reading, will soon fly.


Earlier today, one of the adult Hawks perched on our neighbor’s car and looked directly into our family room window. It caught our attention. Cameras in hand, we went outside and spent a good half hour exchanging deep glances with this incredible creature. Its mate flew above. We could see the babies’ heads bob up and down from their abode high above. It was peaceful and mesmerizing.
Much has been said about the spiritual ties with Hawk and at numerous crossroads of late, I can say I’ve had a Hawk connection. In June of 2017 when I was struggling between jobs, a Red Tailed Hawk dove down right in front of me while I was driving towards my parents home. The sudden and deliberate movement brought forth a different wave of energy. My worrisome thinking took a pause. Never had I witnessed something like this, especially so close. Shortly thereafter, I had a breakthrough and a new start. At other times since, while contemplating changes, new horizons and life directions, I’ve seen a Hawk or two soaring effortlessly overhead. I sense them around me. It’s comforting, albeit strange to some.


But this latest encounter, with a roost so close and intimate, is humbling. Their cries, as they soar high above and call to each other, ground me. Their sky, an endless arc. This is a new presence in my world. These birds–the size of our cats, I might add–chose to live near us and be part of our everyday. Yes, I do believe graced is the right word to describe this current state.


Ever curious, I turned to the Internet.


A few things I read today while we examined our photos, working to identify the type of Hawk who has made a home so close to ours…


“In ancient times Hawk was associated with the soul. The Egyptians, for example, depicted the human spirit as a Hawk that flew out of the body and reincarnated as a Hawk. Notably Horus, the sky god, also held Hawk sacred. Similarly, the Greeks associated Hawk with Jupiter, the chief among all gods.”


In Native American culture, “Hawk is the Earth’s guardian. In spirit form, Hawk flies continuously, remaining ever vigilant. Iroquois stories say that Hawk bears a bow and fire arrows to help in his commission.”


Other sources state, “Hawks represent the messengers of the spirit world, so seeing them definitely means the universe wants you to learn powerful lessons or expand your knowledge and wisdom. Hawks also encourage you to use laser focus and precision to get things done, and to take the lead in life. So, if you happen to spot hawks often in your life, the universe could be trying to send you these important messages.”
Like Cardinals, who are also ever present outside our window, and, curiously, spend time looking inward at us, Hawks mate for life. Both Dave and I do not see this as a random coincidence.


Some of  you may think I’ve gone batshit crazy. Understandable. I’ve never had a deep affinity with birds in the past. I’d notice them, but never stopped to think much about them. Now, I find myself drawn to these majestic creatures and more and more, all creatures who soar. I get lost watching them. I wonder what it is like to transition from earth to sky and how it feels to be so damned free. Wind and air and flight–these things now make me pause. Breathe. Slow down. Think. Realize when I am wide open, feeling small, I am not alone.
*  *  *


As I wrapped up this post, the Hawk cried, its sound trailing away. Hearing this brought two songs to mind. Both were penned by the same artist, and both introduced to me at a pivotal time in my early teens. Given everything I’ve heard and connected with since, these songs have stayed with me. A part of life’s soundtrack, so to speak. At times, I found their presence comforting in their pure nostalgia. Other times, maddening. Most times however, I found their haphazard trigger in my temporal lobe curious. Quietly, I’d sing along and think, “Of all songs, why?” Maybe now I know. ~ Jacqui


“I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly
Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are”


The Eagle and the Hawk Songwriters John Denver / Mike Taylor
The Eagle and the Hawk lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Reservoir Media Management Inc, BMG Rights Management


“The wind is the whisper of our mother the earth
The wind is the hand of our father the sky
The wind watches over our struggles and pleasures
The wind is the goddess who first learned to fly
The wind is the bearer of bad and good tidings
The weaver of darkness, the bringer of dawn
The wind gives the rain, then builds us a rainbow
The wind is the singer when sang the first song
The wind is a twister of anger and warning
The wind brings the fragrance of freshly mown hay
The wind is a racer, a wild stallion running
The sweet taste of love on a slow summer’s day
The wind knows the songs of the cities and canyons
The thunder of mountains, the roar of the sea
The wind is the taker and giver of mornings
The wind is the symbol of all that is free”


Windsong Songwriters: John Denver / Joe Henry
Windsong lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Reservoir Media Management Inc, BMG Rights Management

May 26, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments


My sister’s most recent FB post. It ripped my heart so I sat down and wrote this…

Yesterday, February 14, was an incredibly terrifying and somber day for my sister and niece–a teacher and student respectfully at Sue V. Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuerque, NM. Most of you who are seeing this either via my blog or social media have no clue as to what transpired. It didn’t hit our local or regional news cycle because, “no one was injured or killed.”

To that I say BULLSHIT.

True. No one was physically harmed — thank God — but the emotional injury did happen as did a killing of innocence. These things are real. These things are present. I’ll come back to this in a minute.


Shortly before school began, a 16 y.o. student walked into a hallway where students were gathered at lockers and classroom doors. He pulled out a gun and fired. There was an intent to kill. And, if I can be so bold to say, there was a cry for attention. After all, it was the one year anniversary of the tragic loss of 17 students in Parkland, FL. Said shooter missed, panicked and ran. His actions caused a campus of 2,000 to put their active shooter training into swift practice. S.W.A.T. Building sweeps. Homeland Security. Local police, fire, EMT. Helicopters. The whole drill. The shooter was captured, arrested. Charges have been filed.

I received my sister’s text while I was at work: “School shooter. C and I are safe.” I read the words in a split second but my mind went into a terror, slow-mo crawl. It finally sunk in. I picked up my phone to call our parents. It happened again. And again.


A mere 161 days prior, I had sent my sister a similar text while I was sitting in that same chair in my office in downtown Cincinnati.

In less than six months, our parents had the same, very surreal conversation with each of their children. Murmured tones. What are the odds of one — let alone both of your children being within the edge of this dire, social situation?

When did all of this become commonplace, so much so that in order to be known and discussed there needs to be a certain amount of carnage to elevate the headline and work as media fuel? The realization of this happening more often than we realize is a travesty and should make us all sick. The ease at which this is enabled is a complete and utter sucker punch of the double-over and vomit variety. Yes, I am angry.


I want to go back to the concept of “injury” and more importantly, who has the right to say, “no one was injured.” BULLSHIT. Those students, teachers, administrators and parents who were there in that building, they now have scars. People are injured every time there is an active shooter situation regardless of where the bullets land. WE are all injured, reduced.

I know there was a ripple effect from yesterday. To the students who watched in horror and to the students who went to their safe zones not knowing where the shooter was. Did he walk out with them? To every survivor who has lived through it and witnessed it only to catch wind of it happening again. To every first responder who has held back tears while holding a stranger’s body or standing watch while mobile phones ring, unanswered. To every loved one who stiffens while looking at the picture of someone they loved upon the mantle. It goes on.

To all of us who can stand up for these who are injured, we cannot grow weary with this type of news. We can’t cast this aside. We have to do better.


I never want to see, nor send a text like this again as I fear of what the next one may say…or the response that may never comes back  ~ Jacqui

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boxing Day Massacree

Holiday Greetings! It’s December 26–Boxing Day. I have a little story to share with you that will warm your insides. But, in order for it to make sense, I need to tell you another story first…

This past June, Dave took me to Nashville for a long weekend to celebrate my 50th birthday. We wrote about our first night here. But, what we didn’t share was the epic 24-hour period during said weekend when Dave’s sister, Kris, joined us for some fun. It was her first time to Nashville–and she wanted to know what all our fuss was about.

As soon as she met us at our East Nashville rental, we dialed up Lyft and took her down to Lower Broadway. Three guesses what came next!

“Be still, my heart. It’s those Killen kids and they brought another!” – Mama Tootsie

When in Rome…drink Corona.

Oh, Tootsie’s… and the 2 p.m. Saturday Day Drinking binge with our buddy, Jake Mauer. The ghost of Mama Tootsie and the present day Miss Julie behind the bar know us so well. Dave led us onward, Kris smushed in the middle and me sweeping up the back. We threaded our way in, barely made eye contact with Miss Julie, had beers placed in hand, and secured a spot in the back corner in less than a minute. To us, it was normal. For Kris, well, she was in that strange place between mystified and horrified. It happens when you go from bright daylight into jammed honky tonk. I told her she would be okay. “Uh-huh…”

The three of us settled into a space that was tops 24-inches square. (Well, Dave and I settled. Kris was in awe.) In typical Tootsie’s fashion, Dave and I started to chat with an affable couple who became wedged into said small space with the three of us. Turned out they were from Toronto. We quickly apologized for the state of our nation and made mental note to become friends with them. Who knows when we may need to visit, eh?

Jake kept playing and warming up the crowd…reminding us all that, “no good story every starts with a salad!” We began to explain to Kris, as well as Frank and Rochelle, the fine art getting drunk and making bad decisions at 2 p.m. on a Saturday. Frank quickly told us about the bad decision he had made moments prior to finding Tootsie’s that culminated in the fine hat upon his head. We assured him it was a good decision and continued to chat. (make friends-make-friends-make friends-tip the band-make friends)

And, in typical  Tootsie’s fashion verse two, we did become good friends. Best of friends. All five of us. Any riff between U.S. and Canada was forgiven and forgotten. Beer bottles clinked. We laughed and swapped stories. We yelled for the band to play more. And then it happened. Frank disappeared.

The Tootsie’s Summit, June 2018

Oh, but, only for a moment (don’t want anyone to worry). With a grin, and his snappy chapeaux off to the side, he came back to us, bearing gifts of gold. These. Five shots of Fireball. “Christmas in a cup,” as our friend, Andi, would say. But I digress…

Kris didn’t know what to do. Remember, this was her first time. It was probably 2:30 in the afternoon and she was starting to get the depths of the salad joke. Dave, not much for the firewater muttered, “aw prairie shit!” under his breath. Me, not wanting to upset our future Canadian sponsors, happily accepted. While our northern friends were kicking theirs back, through clinched smile, I hissed to the brother and sister duo, “drink, it…both of you. NOW!”

Kris, clutching her offering in one hand, took a timid sip, smiling over the rim. Dave, waved his shot glass up high so no one could see. I quickly said “Merry Christmas” with a gulp and then reprised the action all slight-of-hand-like two more times for Kris and Dave. Frank and Rochelle were grinning, “Good, yeah?” We smiled, nodded enthusiastically and returned to Frank three empty cups. Two Killens relieved–one, slightly aglow.

“Haller and Swaller!”

Looking back, I’d say we spent another hour or so with Frank and Rochelle. Well enough time to snap a bunch of photos and text them to each other. Yes, international numbers exchanged! But all good times do come to an end and soon, the moment came for them to move on and get ready for a night at the Opry. With hugs and high fives we bid them good-bye.

Since that day, random texts have been exchanged with our friends from the north. Fourth of July. Bastille Day. Some other random toasting event… all precious and educational. We’ve learned new customs.

And now that I’ve set the stage, I can move forward with my post. The real post. This is a story about Boxing Day, right? You remember, Boxing Day…

For Christmas 2018, Dave wanted to get something special for his big sister. He had heard she was looking for a new perfume for the coming year. And, while wrapping up our shopping the other day, he disappeared. But, he quickly came back with a mysterious brown paper bag and some art supplies. Hmmm….

As our Christmas gift exchange was in full swing Monday night, the moment came. Dave let his sister know that he found just the thing for her. The thing she was pining for. The gift that celebrated her true being and inner spirit. He had to look high and low but he found it. And he hoped she would really, really like it.

Who doesn’t love a gift presentation with a story?


Fragrance evokes memory. I think the grand reveal says it all. In spite of everything that has transpired after our swirl through Music City, we had a lot of fun on Christmas Eve. We were taught to Christmas well.

“What in the world…?”

(It all comes back in a rush…)

Best. Gift. Ever.

And to our friends in Toronto, Frank and Rochelle, I wish you all the best on this Boxing Day and do hope our paths cross again for real. Thank you for the smiles and the laughter. Awesome memories, indeed, to the very last drop.





“Merry Christmas!” ~Jacqui

December 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hearts: Hinged and Holding

I had been saving a good deal of my holiday shopping in anticipation of the fair trade craft event at one of my favorite spots, Carabello Coffee. After happening upon it last year, I had a hunch that I’d discover there what I was looking for. Or, to be more accurate, what I was looking for would find me.

While admiring the wares, and more importantly, learning the stories of the people behind them, I knew I was in the right place. As I wandered to a nearby display of ornaments, I heard about these…

In India, everyone carries lanterns. They never quite know when they will be without power or propane. Both resourceful and whimsical, like anything that is constantly carried, sometimes the lanterns fall and break.

A group of village artisans figured out a beautiful way to repurpose all parts of a broken lantern, including the glass panes. On one level they are quite simple. But as I leaned in to hear more, I saw something much more complex and true. I became intrigued by the hinges in the middle.

During these days when it is dark on the outside, it’s easy to feel lost on the inside. In the hustle of trying to get it all done, it’s easy to burn out. While acquiring items to share with friends and family, it’s natural to feel a twinge of loss. We’re human. We share these things. We’re hinged the same way.

So yes–hearts: hinged and holding. Holding on and loving even when it hurts a bit to do so. Windows of color dark and shrouded. Waiting for that spark of light to ignite and glow.


xoxo to all of you throughout this season. ~ Jacqui


December 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 1

Many Christmastimes ago (15? 20?) my mother-in-law burst into our home, beaming. “Look! I’ve made you a wreath!” Her face full of merriment and pink from the cold, she thrust the wreath towards me before I could even say hello. She was so darned excited to bring this over and tell us how she had started to craft with some of her friends. This was a new thing and a different thing for her. It was a tad curious for us. What would be next?

Now, I had a very good traditional green and red wreath, but sensing her enthusiasm, I quickly swapped wreaths and moved mine to the deck. Jane’s wreath has hung on our door every December since.

A few years ago, one of the apples broke free of its dried pod of hot glue. I found it and tried to re-attach it, but for some reason, every year it would fall off. I tried several different things to keep that apple in place but truth be told, I was always in a rush, never making the time to drag out my glue gun and give it a proper fix. Like a new holiday tradition, each year I’d find something in the kitchen to hold the apple through the season. Last year I must have been really desperate as today I saw the tell-tale sign of my haste–of all things, one of those inverted sticky loops of packing tape was in the little round space where, by design, an apple had been purposely placed. I couldn’t find the apple.

Today would have been Jane’s 80th birthday. Oh, how she was looking forward to this day–to finally, and officially, claim it. The last time she was at our house in July, we had quite the talk. “Can you believe I’m going to be 80?!” she breathed, while her hands absentmindedly played with the strand of beads around her neck. We then laughed as we tried to figure out what sort of bathing suit would be “proper” for an 80-year old beachgoer as we continued to plan for the upcoming family trek to the beach…

Of course, that memory and many others flooded me today while I hung the wreath on the door. Minus the apple. But then, there was that nudge and I knew what to do.

While I couldn’t find a Mrs. Cardinal proper, I did find something that is pretty darned close. And, perhaps by some heavenly design, she even has her own little clip. No need for hot glue, bread twist ties, packing tape or fishing line. The crafting gods knew I’d need the help.

I took a step back to study this bit of new. The bird fit perfectly and settled into her nest. She seemed at home and at peace. “I see you,” she seemed to say. “I see you, too.”

A different design, indeed. ~ Jacqui


December 1, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I love this little sign

I love this little sign…

I just got in from running pre-holiday errands. While walking down Monmouth Street on my way to grab a coffee, I spied this in a shop window. Talk about a message from the universe stopping one in her tracks…BAM!

Driving home, I kept exploring this sentiment in my mind and more importantly, why it made me stop. Because it did. And this is what bubbled up…

While I love you and see you as the individual you are (as you see me)–I also love and see the us that we’ve become and the us which we have been. I may not have always been happy or certain or good, but through that–and the curiosity those states of mind generated, as well as your acceptance and nurturing–I grew…you grew… and we grew. That said, I love the trajectory of where we are going, what we are learning, what we are trying, what we are giving and the simple fact that together we multiply. Our positive qualities continue to intertwine; our weaknesses continue to be counterbalanced. We are the energy for survival that the other so desperately needs. Together we are hope, compassion and light. Together, nothing is lost.

And, if you think I’m writing this only about Dave, don’t sell yourself short. I’m writing this about you, too. In fact, I’m writing it about all. That’s the way it works.

As we get ready to take time to sit in gratitude and share, let’s also think about how loving us works on both the micro and macro level. If we really love us–which is what we are wired to do–then let’s make sure we are loving all of us.

Pass the cranberries. XOXOXO. ~Jacqui

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Everyday | Leave a comment

I Am Woman (and Man)

Today is 11.11. A Sunday. Veteran’s Day. None of this is lost on me.

It is also the day after a tremendous weekend of story, song, discovery and reflection. And with that, in the quiet of the pre-dawn (my favorite time of day) I was inspired to pull a book off the shelf and find something I knew I had read once before, and had to read again. Within a span of several pages, it all came together and then came apart…leaving strands of stories to weave anew. I’ll get to that in a moment. First a little backstory…


As perhaps a result of life’s passages and milestones, I’ve been making some profound strides of late to get to know me. Ah, a complicated task, especially when said me is Gemini. Two sides. Too easy to get distracted when the introspection gets tough. But something that I need to do–perhaps more than ever. Knowing  this was to be the year I turned 50, I had literally danced into 2018 with the intention to “discover and journey with my authentic self” and “age gracefully.” Like a power anthem I said, “I’m gonna do this!” but yeah… before January morphed into February, I got lost in other expectations. But is anything ever really lost?

Which brings me back to trying to figure out who I am. What I am. And yes, the proverbial, what it all means.

A few weeks ago, I was once again at the church where Jane’s celebration of life took place. The Church of the Redeemer, an Episcopalian house of community, prayer and song, is a place that has become very special to my in-laws, but I never felt compelled to attend, even as I experimented with spiritual wanderings. Through their presence and participation, Bill and Jane deepened friendships with others who, as things do, became an extended part of the Killen family. So, it was no surprise that upon the passing of Red McNeill, the husband of Jane’s dear friend, Les, Dave, Kris and I joined with Bill to celebrate Red. A tangent here, but so important to the whole story, the date of Red’s service was October 6–our wedding anniversary. (Hold that thought! It will mean something in a moment.)

As we were leaving the sanctuary, I spied a poster. It was an invitation to participate in an eight-week, exploratory series using Daring Greatly by Dr. Brené Brown as the focus. And that’s when the little nudge happened. Discovery of Brené (through a friend, always through friend, right?) helped me restore confidence in myself after a traumatic job loss in 2017. Feeling fragile and full of questions in 2018, I took this random 11″ x 18″ piece of paper with a name and book title emblazoned all over as divine intervention. Within a church. That I never really had any ties to, yet held something for me in it’s corners. Bam!

This isn’t easy work, but I’ve been open and welcome to the challenge. Through these sessions, one of the activities we’ve been working through is the exploration and identification of our own personal values. One of our goals (a.k.a. homework) is to be able to articulate these values and use them as guide posts for living a more whole-hearted life. Easier said than done. From a list of 90+ words, we were told to distill to 10…then five…then maybe three, before getting to your crux– two. Two words. That’s hard. I love words. And I’m a Gemini. Shouldn’t I get four? During my first attempt, I got the list narrowed to 36. I quickly tired to whittle it down in class in order to say I was done. However, I wasn’t really settled and after some inspirational moments this weekend, I decided to backtrack and try again. This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon:



While I played with these words, putting them in buckets and developing potential story lines, I realized there was a word missing. And, of course, it was a word I wanted. But, before committing to it, I needed to reach back to the source of where I first truly became invested and baffled by it. Enter the book and my pre-dawn reading. And then the picture that fell out from between its pages. A question and answer all in one.


So, backstory to backstory and something I’ve shared before, this book was given to me by a high-school friend, A.J., who now lives in Australia. A.J. and I didn’t really become friends until our senior year, and as life has it, we wandered in different directions, only to be reconnected through Facebook. When Dave was first diagnosed with cancer in 2010, A.J. spied one of my posts and sent this book to me, along with a copy of the Woody Allen movie, What’s Up Doc? Intrigued by the note he sent with the book, I read a few chapters while Dave was in chemo. But truth be told, by title alone, I really didn’t want the book to be seen. I was too worried it would freak Dave and the kids out. So I set it aside. When Dave was diagnosed with cancer: the sequel in 2015, I quietly pulled this book out of the closet and carried it around. I read a bit more and underlined some things. The chapter I needed today was the one that perplexed me the most and caused me to retire the book for a second time. It’s also where I randomly stashed this picture as a bookmark. Why? I have no earthly idea…

This is the only picture that I have of Dave’s grandmother, Nellie (on the left) and my grandmother, Max (on the right) together. It was taken in my parents home over 18 years ago when Grandma Max came out from California for a visit. Jane and my Mom decided to get us all together for a lovely lunch and visit. The only other time these two women were together in the same place was at our wedding a scant decade prior. Two very different women from two very different places. Similar to my Mom and Jane.

When this picture slipped out and I picked it up, I saw something in it that I had never seen before. Smack dab in-between Grammy Great and Great-Gram Max, is a picture of Brandon (our first son) on the day he was born. And with that, all of this came together. You see, the word I was wrangling with and the word I’m realizing is at the center of me is interdependence. I cannot exist without. We all are a part of everything. And, to really understand interdependence, you need to get a grasp on impermanence, which is the reason why A.J. sent me that book.

These two women, the paternal grandmothers, and their shared great-grandson were a glimmer to everything that is inside of me and everything that I will be a part of. And all of that comes to being through change. I could really thread this back far but I’ll pick it up with my parent’s decision to start a business when I was 12, which moved us to a different county, which eventually put me in a high school that didn’t always bring me joy but helped me understand that sometimes it is the people you meet on the fringe that have the most impact. Through my “tortured” high school experience (aren’t they all?), the only thing I wanted to do post-graduation was run away from anything and everything that was California…which put me on the East Coast into another campus situation that wasn’t good for me…and as what seemed like an irrational response to a face-down moment, I got the wild hair to change my perspective and transfer to a school in Boston. A twist of fate brought me to Dave’s apartment and an eventual degree led me to a laundry list of advertising agency experience that eventually kicked me in the teeth. Somewhere in there, Dave and I bought a house in Fort Thomas, which led me to friendships of my own, that threaded into other friendships and the share of a book. That book brought me to a poster in a church–that I would have never been in had I not been married on October 6–to a jumble of words on paper, to something I have always known but am just now starting to discover.

We are but ash. Dust. Particles of all the other cosmic dust that has swirled around and will always be. I am everything and empty. I am Woman and Man and stardust, moonlight and sunshine. I am. And this is now something I can write down on my homework sheet today. ~ Jacqui


P.S.– this caught my eye as I worked through this entry…



November 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baby Thoughts

Earlier today, Dave and I had to run down to the credit union to sign some papers. While waiting in the lobby, I noticed a man in his late 20s/early 30s seated near by. I assumed that he was next in line to speak to a manager so I really didn’t think about it too much.

Moments later, a woman about his same age with a baby came out of the back area. It didn’t take but a few moments to realize this was a sweet little family and the woman actually worked at the credit union. Dad had brought their baby girl down so that mom could nurse her in the back room and spend a little of her break with their daughter.

As mom handed dad the baby and they chatted about their evening plans, dad bounced said baby, gently patting and rubbing her back in that very instinctual, “I-now-have-a-baby-in-my-arms-and-I-must-protect-sway-and-pat” sort of way. While the murmur of conversation continued, their sweet babe looked at me over her dad’s shoulder. We locked eyes and, catching my smile, she smiled back at me–fist in mouth, head to the side, cheeks gauzy, eyes big and dreamy.

She looked down, and looked up again before we both looked away. Smiling.

It was at in that second I thought of how wonderful it must be to have a total stranger look at you with admiration and joy, seeing nothing but the light inside of you.

I then thought, what if we were to have that same sort of exchange with everyone we encounter? What if we were to gaze with eyes full of humanity and acknowledgement instead of looking away or worse, not seeing at all? What if we were to take a split second to simply recognize that inside each of us there rests a potential?

As we grow, we make choices. Not all of them are good. But not all of them are bad, either. What if we were to project a bit more grace and encouragement and really hope for the best in one another, people we know and strangers in kind? What if we tried?

As I sat there in the credit union I thought, perhaps, there is something to that. ~ Jacqui

November 3, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

October 25

It’s 6:05 a.m. but I’ve been awake for hours. As I tossed and turned in bed, I realized today’s date. It’s been two months since Jane’s celebration of life and three months since those first confusing, but still hopeful, days in the hospital.

So much has happened during this phase of transformation, and I have been trying to capture and hoard all of the observations, impressions and yes, messages. My journal has entries that say, “when you have a minute, make sure to write down all the details of…” Scratch notes. Headers with nothing below. Scraps. Someday I may actually complete them but for now, just the trigger of the memory is enough. And while right now, sitting here, it seems like I have the time and space to put down what I’ve drafted in my mind dozens of times, I can’t. I’m still stunned. I try, but just one word tumbles forward: “No.”

This is missing someone. This is wanting to turn back time. This is aching for others as you catch them in that sudden moment of realization and sadness. This is wishing you could fix it. Like jerking your head back when your eyes get heavy, this is a wake up moment that is unsettling, disorienting. This is a ripping apart and bringing together. This is a crack that you are trying to fill, but with what? This is growing up on the outside while nursing a tantrum on the inside. This is realizing that it is dawn and the birds aren’t singing…where did they go? This is time constantly evolving and shaping and changing E V E R Y T H I N G. This is water that you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch…but never really hold.

The air is so clear and cold in the pre-dawn. I took a moment to step out onto the patio, barefoot, and stare at the moon. Full and bright. A warm orb in a sea of black. It was good to look up and let the hot tears cool. Thinking and remembering and feeling. And then, as words do, something came to me. Not mine, but ones I came across  last summer and recently bumped into again: “Barn’s burnt down…now I can see the moon.” — Mizuta Masahide

I don’t know what it all means. I will never know what it all means. There is disquietude as well as gratitude in this space. How is it that pain and grace can rain down together this way?

~ Jacqui


October 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment