November 16th I flew across the country, met a family I discovered online and found myself.
I landed in Buffalo NewYork around 8:30pm, Miss Jenna picked me up from the airport and I got my first taste of "New York" pizza. My home for the next four nights was a 500 square foot Yurt nestled a couple blocks off the Niagara River in the City of Tonawanda.
Friday morning found me driving an hour to Rochester New York to see a sweet client of mine. I started cutting her hair when she was about 18 months old, she is now a stunning 15 year old attending a prep
school for ice hockey. It is the simple things we do in others lives that make a huge impact. When I realized I would only be an hour from her I knew I had to travel to see her. I arrived at Bishop Kearney High School where Katie gave me a tour of her dormitory, workout room, meeting room and dining area. Crazy how it reminded me of a college dorm, but here it was for 14-18 year old girls. We spent the morning at a quaint eatery having breakfast and enjoying each other's company. I was so impressed by her maturity and her drive to be the best hockey player. I will never forget her sitting in my salon at a very young age saying to me, "my ultimate goal is playing in the Olympics on Team USA!" She is making that dream/goal a bit closer, see a couple weeks before I got there she verbally committed to Harvard to play collegiate ice hockey. This amazing young soul helped remind myself to set goals, be independent and strong.
I stood in the beauty of nature as I watched the rushing water glide over the cliff and crash onto the rocks below. The afternoon placed me on the edge of The Niagara Falls, witnessing this powerful creature with its overwhelming appeal and exquisite grace. I stood in awe of what my eyes were seeing and more so of what my soul was experiencing. This natural creation put a
pause in my go like crazy non stop ways. Making me realize the pure essence of what surrounds us.
My heart was touched as Friday night brought me to meet the most incredible family, Phil and Kim Vallaincourt. I was lead to this family by chance, or maybe I should say guided to this family by fate. Our local news anchor, Maggie O'Mara, shared a beautiful story on them four months after Douglas passed away. Kim was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Brain Cancer, and withheld from having treatment due to the fact she was pregnant. At the end of the article their was contact information for their spokesperson, I felt compelled to send an email. Possibly our journey could help them or their family, so I wrote an email, giving them the link to my blog and wished them well. Thinking I would NEVER hear from her (their spokesperson Jenna) they lived in New York, I'm across the country in Idaho, this story has gone nation wide... the next day there sat in my inbox a reply to my email. The next couple days Jenna and I swapped emails back and forth until I give her my cell number, where we could text faster and more often. Over the next year a true friendship is formed through emails, texts, phone calls and face timing. I became known as "Idaho"!
I sat in their living room taking photos and getting past the awkwardness of complete strangers visiting, as I could feel a pull on my heart. I knew I was suppose to be there, why I wasn't sure. Was it for them or was it for me? I stopped questioning my thoughts and focused on Kim and Phil. They took me to get an exceptional roast beef sandwich, not only was it so good but we all relaxed and became more of ourselves. Back at their home I watched as the three of them played cards, we laughed and joked and had a hard conversation about Doug and our journey. We played Clue with Kim until 1:00am! By the end of the night I come to the conclusion it was fully for me! Many trials happen to us, but through them notable things can rise. We can fade away into the depths of our misfortune or we can see even the smallest glimpse of hope that peeks through. Kim and Phil gave me a newfound strength and re-lit the passion to keep using my voice.
Saturday morning I sat around the table with Miss Jenna's lovely family enjoying a yummy breakfast. The company was divine, as I learned more about her family and life in New York. Her sweet niece thought I was quite funny and her nephew would not stop flirting with me. They absolutely melted my heart as two year olds do! Her sister gave me back my willingness to be patient, as I watched her mother her very busy two year old twins.
Saturday evening was dinner ordered in, bundled in my sweats with a cocktail in my hand laying low in the coziness of the yurt. I finally recognized I was not homesick, but extremely KID SICK! I missed my three girls and all the comfort and joy they bring me. I reflected on what I had taken for granted with each of my three adult children. The quietness of sitting in the yurt alone scared me to death at first.
Sunday morning I sat in Sophia's Restaurant in Buffalo, New York enjoying a fabulous breakfast served by Sophia herself. I recalled watching her on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. She without even knowing it gave me a new vision on owning your own restaurant.
My trip to New York came to an end on Monday as I traveled back home to Idaho. Success, Yes my trip exceeded my expectations of what I needed, what I'd find, what I'd learn and what it would give to me.
When I left Idaho I decided to disconnect from all social media, I put down my phone and picked up a crochet hook and some yarn. What I learned was so profound. I thought I had been scrolling to stay connected with family and friends, but as fast as my finger rolled up and down my phone screen it came clear the anxiety, the anger, the sadness, the heartache social media was causing me.
It was sitting in quietness, that evening in the yurt, that through the silence I finally heard my heart beating. I clearly decoded my thoughts... my thoughts... not my thoughts that had be influenced by a post I had seen or a comment I had read. Jacki was feeling and thinking and processing herself.
I truly believe we are missing so much by thinking we are gaining so much from social media. Majority of us are not allowing ourselves to just be. The moment we start to become still we grab some device to start scrolling through. Instead of focusing on my inner self, I’m going to see what everyone else’s lives are doing, in turn it caused havoc within. Let’s be real; majority of the posts you see are the right angle, photo shopped, the house cleaner just left, cute kids, weight loss, new hair, life is grand and no one is stopping me kind of posts.
Real life is all kinds of angles, raw photos, a clean and messy house, cute kids (but sometimes crying all day, spoiled teens), weight loss weight gain just be happy, messy hair (it’s my favorite), life is not always grand, and no one should ever stop you at anything!
I am now only on social media to post on my pages, I no longer allow myself to scroll! If you happen to be the first post on my feeds it is the only post I see. So if something grand is happening in your life that you want to share with me please call, text or message me. I still want to experience life with so many of you.
The yurt gave me the insight to sit more in silence, to not be afraid of what I might hear, feel and learn. It reminded me of how much I love to crochet, something my Grandma taught me.
My trip to New York helped me recognize how much I had lost internally and it gave me a new perspective on who Jacki is!
Love and Blessings to all