Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Higher Enlightenment

I’m traveling today on business. And while I have a lot of work I could/should be doing while flying, cramped quarters on planes don’t allow for much client confidentiality.

So, I always turn to this little guy:

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Ironically — or not — these were some of the passages that came up during my first flight. I wasn’t flipping through the book and cherry-picking chapters. Just reading in a natural sequence…

The gentleman next to me gave me a quizzical look as I took these photo grabs. Hopefully he got something out of these bits, too.

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A few pages later…

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To quote my friend Terry, “I choose joy.” And, I’m looking for ways to bring more joy and peace into my bit of the world starting with those closest to me. These are turbulent days. Remember, we’re all human and we’re all in this together.

Happy travels. ~Jacqui

 

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Everyday | 1 Comment

The Picture Anniversary

Today is October 6 — our 26th.

Fittingly, on what we’ve come to know as #TBT, it is the picture anniversary. So here’s one we stumbled upon this spring while compiling James’ grad video…

circa December 1996

circa December 1996

 

A silly, random shot. Our first house. Brandon’s 4th birthday. If memory serves, he took it. We were just kids… I love to remember that. When we started out, we truly were kids. We didn’t know much except there was something in each other that was needed to make our our lives and worlds complete. Not always perfect, but complete. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

Flash forward a few decades and yeah… things haven’t changed much. We’re still two goofy kids making a go of things in this crazy world.

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The picture anniversary also brings to mind one of my favorite Guy Clark Songs. So here is another flashback… Americana 2012.

I need to pour a certain Mister the first cup of coffee while you enjoy Guy. Love to all who love us. Love to all who love. *click*

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Everyday | Leave a comment

Travelers, Poets, Merchants and Thieves

Confession. I like to explore astrology and nature’s energy every now and then. Some of my earliest memories include scouring the daily paper, Sunday’s Parade Magazine or the back of T.V. Guide for Jean Dixon’s column. I’m not a hardcore purveyor of the mystic and metaphysical, but friends will tell you I always keep an eye on the moon. (It’s waning, by the way. New Moon next Friday!)

When I realized that Mercury was headed into Retrograde on August 30, I decided to tune into the 22-day period so many people dread with a dedicated sense of awareness. Perhaps in doing so, I wouldn’t be broadsided by the backward motion. When the crux of what you do is project manage all day, a bad run of misinterpreted emails and calls layered with scheduling mishaps is mis-er-y .

My embrace of the period included grounding myself. Kyanite helps (thank you Dennis, Rainie and Crystal Guy Gene for opening me up to this) so my dangles were as essential everyday as my toothbrush and glasses. I observed more and meditated. Being mindful in this way curbed my natural instincts to control and drive the state of things. I began to figure out how to allow situations to evolve and resolve without my overt meddling. That felt good.

Small things I treasure: Blue Kyanite from The Crystal Guy, orange Kyanite from sweet friends, Dennis and Rainie, earrings designed by Teresa Yee.

Small things I treasure: blue Kyanite from The Crystal Guy, orange Kyanite from sweet friends, Dennis and Rainie, earrings designed by Teresa Yee.

 

All in all, the period came and went without too much interference in my personal day-to-day. Sure,there were a few moments where it seemed like everything was Babylon. You didn’t have to look too far to see blatant and sad examples of miscommunication. But I think the bigger thing to take away from this is what you can do when you see all the disconnect around you: How to react, and to that, in a constructive way. How to bring comfort. How to reflect. How to stage yourself to be a positive catalyst. The god of travelers, poets, merchants and thieves will always get the itch to rule a span of our days with whimsical mischief. Its in learning how to sing and play with him that we might find great energy to do new things. ~ Jacqui

Heard the term Mercury in Retrograde but not sure what it means? This little summary from Farmer’s Almanac is a good place to start. There’s one more in 2016 — just in time for the holidays. Joy!

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Everyday | Leave a comment

Day +364: Liberation

I’ve written before about anniversaries and looking back. It’s one of the things we humans do. The completion of a revolution is a catalyst. Oh, how we can latch on to the moment, wax on and reminisce! It’s easy to get lost in our own spin.

As I sit here and write this post — which on one level seems a bit obligatory — I realize that where I thought I’d be after this whole experience is not where I currently am. It’s a tough one to reconcile.

A year ago was transplant day. As surreal as that experience was, it seems small when compared to so many other things in our micro and macro worlds. Through a day of transfusion in which there was a mystery cake, weird science and references to James Brown, I got my best friend back, our children regained their sense of security and the misaligned puzzle piece that represented our collective eventually settled. We resumed our roles and functions. We had a lot of fun. We slipped back into old habits. All good. Some bad. Life, right?

Hyper-reflecting on the 8,736 hours between one September 9 and the next — and isolating myself in the process — I’d like to say the witness of this experience helped develop a better ability to be present. I could then twirl, fling glitter into the air and share with everyone the joy of everything, like say, dirt. Life altering moments, including the vicarious ones, are supposed to have that sort of result. Both Hallmark and the Internet say so.

But as I honestly reflect, I see that for me it did not. Lord knows I squandered more than I should have this year, especially when reminded again that living is so very unpredictable.

What held me back? Simply put, status quo. The rush to get back to ‘normal.’ The desire to experience ‘uneventful.’ The need to uphold ‘responsibility.’ Instead of looking up and living out I retreated into the daily grind.

Damn, that’s a shame. Even the rough parts of the shared journey serve up shinny pebbles. Somehow I managed to cruise right by and miss this one. I left dare on the road and ran straight to safe.

Day +364. It is over. Dave is great, ahead of the curve in so many ways. His doctor has given him the next set of orders including, and most passionately stated, “forget you even had this transplant.” Go. Live. Be. Free.

That applies to me, too. It is time to be open and free. The memory of that day itself does not bring me joy so I am releasing it. What does bring me happiness and grounding is the result of that day and the fact that it is tangible in my here and now. Continuing to squander that would be a sin.

So, I put this out there and most appropriately feel gratitude for everything Dave and I — as a couple and as individuals — have received through this passage. It’s time to get up and dance. ~ Jacqui

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Dave, Everyday | 1 Comment

Today I Raised My Complimentary Sierra Mist… to Lori

IMG_3696Today marks one year of our friend Lori’s transition. In so many ways it seems like just yesterday. It’s one of those days that most likely will remain crystallized in my thoughts for numerous reasons.

I’ve been thinking about Lori and this day for awhile. The weight of a year and all that did — and did not — transpire. And now that it is here and coming to a close, I feel the need to once again to express gratitude for knowing her.

Larry and the boys shared some beautiful posts with pictures. Oh, that smile! Warm… a bit mischievous… so authentic. So knowing. Admit — I shed a few tears today at lunch as I took them all in.

I miss bumping into Lori on our street. Sometimes I get the sense that she’s up the way, walking the dog. But then I remember and pause. I let the myriad of feelings — including guilt and gratitude — swirl for a bit. That’s an emo cocktail I’m sure to carry for quite some time.

Lori was a selfless giver and doer of many things. As one of our neighbors — and dear friend of hers– posted:

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Perhaps it was a coincidence that I received a letter from Hoxworth the other day letting me know it had been eight weeks since my last donation. They also let me know that there was a national shortage of blood. How was I to say no?

I could have chosen any day to do this, but I wanted it to be today. Today felt right to give someone who doesn’t know me — and doesn’t need to know me — a gift. The gift of hope. The gift of life. The gift of a second (or third or fourth) chance.

I’m still in awe of the true machine that is Hoxworth Blood Center and the incredible, warm, gracious people who work there. The whirling of the platelet collection device still gives me a jolt. It reminds me how essential donations are.

Today, I thanked the Hoxworth Crew and let them know how special they are in the eyes of my family. Bill, my rocking yet gentle phlebotomist, especially appreciated hearing that. “It’s stories like yours that keep me going.”

The giving keeps giving.

Smile, Lori. Your star still shines bright.

~Jacqui

 

 

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fifteen Seconds of Peace

I wish I had more to share in this ever complex and maddening world. 

Watching the falls I was reminded that peace can be found. Sometimes you just need to dig in your heels and climb to attain it. 

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Be Like the Zebra

  
We are enjoying a quick weekend trip to Knoxville. Knocking around in some of the wonderfully quirky shops tonight, I found myself taken by this trinket. 

So I bought it. 

Dave was just checking it out. I told him it was hand carved in Kenya. 

“Wow — it is really heavy,” he commented. “What’s inside?” 

I looked him square in the eye and blurted the first thing — and only thing — that came to mind. 

“Hope.” 

~ Jacqui

July 9, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Milestones and Memories

Today is May 29, 2016.

This afternoon, our son, Jameson, graduated with honors from Highlands High School.

As a mom, I’m heavy with all the nostalgia and pride that a day like this brings. Cliche as it seems, I let it all wash over me like big, sloppy, pounding waves. I felt everything there was to feel. I came up for air, only to quickly succumb to more feels. Graduation is just the beginning. This is the summer of transition and I’ve been down this road before. The smallest things can make me cry or beam with happiness. There is no reason. It’s just the way it is.

I think pictures are what get me the most and goodness knows I’ve been sorting through scads of them. I sit down to look at just a few and then realize hours have passed. My throat is scratchy, my eyes are red and my nose is stuffy. All around me, random seconds of Jameson growing up — expressing every possible emotion and pose — are frozen on paper and screen. How quickly we amass collections of “remember whens…”

And while I balanced all of the little boy/big boy memories within the context of our family life, felt the waves of feels and shredded a few Kleenex in the processes, there is one thing that nagged me leading into this day.

It was around this time last year that Dave was being diagnosed with Lymphoma, round two.

I tried very hard not to have these two events collide. I didn’t want to drag that particular memory into this milestone. But at some point I had to simply cave into it and reflect what was the past 365 days.

Cliche as it was, it all came back in a wave. A lot of things happened during this year. A lot of growing up. A lot of hanging on. A lot of letting go. A lot of compromise. A lot of holding back.  A lot of acceptance. A lot of gratitude. And in the end, triumph.

James, like his brother, had to deal with Senior Year in the shadow. Thankfully, he, too, got a graduation hug from Dad under the willow tree.

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These are some of the pictures I’m going to hold tight for quite some time. Taken just a few hours ago, they make me cry and they make me beam with happiness.

Congratulations, Bug. Happy Graduation. I love you.

 

 

 

May 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

TOWANDA!

IMG_3551I just finished watching one of my favorite movies, Fried Green Tomatoes, based on one of my favorite books by Fannie Flagg. I told Dave that I had to watch it as it was important — the absolute last thing I needed to do to get ready for tomorrow’s marathon.

He’s still trying to figure out what sweet Jessica Tandy has to do with me running my first 26.2. Bewildered, he just looks at me, wishing for some sort of sign that will decode it all. Seems like it might be a restless night for both of us, then.

Always remember… the secret’s in the sauce.

TOWANDA!

Tomorrow is going to be a big day. I best be getting some sleep…

April 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Day +170 (Well, the morning after…)

Yesterday, February 26, was Dave’s 170th day post transplant.

I could post a picture of what transplant day looked like, but I won’t. It’s more important to see what day +170 was.

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Pike 27, Woodward Theatre; Photo Credit: ORU Media

This post is about these men. And friendship. And the ways we all are connected.

The night was loud — a good, crashing loud. No one cried (thanks JN for celebrating that for us!) and without having to draw too much attention to it, the passage was felt. The fog and ice and crud on the window was swiped. Sure there was residue around the perimeter, but the center was wide open and clear. Raw and transparent. The darkness that shrouded was purposeful. It allowed for the electricity to spark and carry the room. On a cold night, people were sweaty.

These fab four re-entered a very sacred space together, connected, created and reaffirmed for all of us what it means to have each other. You can do things alone and there are times that you simply have to do just that. But when you have your brothers-in-arms at your side — not your wife, not your kids, not your parents, not your siblings —  but those people whom you and the fates allow to be a part of your life for reasons both unknown and not, you realize that there is something really incredible — and most times indescribable — about simply being alive.

On stage, they were four grown men each with their grown-up personas and lives. But they were also breathing, thriving reminders of their younger selves — zealous, open, quasi-rebellious teens taking part in the cathartic release and empowerment that is rock n’ roll. We were witness to the moment and to an extent participated. But theirs was a crucible that was magical for them.

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Dave Purcell, Pike 27; Photo Credit: ORU Media

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Sean Rhiney, Pike 27; Photo Credit: ORU Media

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Mike Fair, Pike 27; Photo Credit: ORU Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dave Killen, Pike 27; Photo Credit: ORU Media

 

I realized this morning that not one picture was taken of Dave and I together last night, and honestly, I find that incredibly fitting. This was his to have with his mates. Watching him have it was perfect. ~Jacqui

February 27, 2016 Posted by | Dave, Everyday | 1 Comment