En Route

Where’s *your* sense of wonder…?

Darlin’ and I slept for most of the day.  I’d have posted a picture of us but… trust me – it wasn’t cute; we were out for the count!

I had a dream about an amusement park in Toronto, Ontario, where we used to take our children when they were small, and then I remembered a passage from Letters to Jenny (the sequel to the seven-novel Time & Unforeseen Occurrence series), where a ‘hot’ pitcher (Michael Richards) for the Blue Jays, his best friend and legendary All Star hitter, Mitch Warner, and their teammate and catcher, Will O’Conner took their pregnant wives and their children to Canada’s Wonderland.

‘Michael took two Extra Strength Tylenol before they left for Canada’s Wonderland on Wednesday.  Just the thought of all that rumpus gave him an anticipatory headache and he wondered why he had loved the place so much in his younger years. 

The kids all thought it was Heaven on Earth and their excitement reached critical mass when the Twister came into view, and they began squealing in anticipation, and writhing in their seat belts – even Charity, their two-year-old, was clapping her hands in delight.  Pulling up to parking lot #4, Michael paid the lady in the booth and asked if he could possibly be permitted to park close to the entrance gate, as his wife was pregnant and he didn’t want her to have to walk five miles before they entered the park.

“You’re Michael what’s-his-name from the Blue Jays, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Michael Richards, and guilty,” he grinned.  “Mitch Warner and Will O’Conner are in the two vans behind us, and their wives are pregnant too – very.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes, Ma’am, so if you could…”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Richards; I’m a big fan, but if you wanted a good parking spot you should have been here three hours ago.”

“Three hours?  It’s only 9.30, you don’t even open for half an hour yet!”

“I know, Sir, but people come early so they don’t have to… ahem… walk five miles.”

“I hope you have a six-day labor with every one of your kids,” Michael said, as she gave him a power junkie saccharin smile.

“Michael!” Keisha objected.  “That wasn’t called for.”

“Oh, no?  Fine!  I don’t want to hear a peep out of you during our five-mile hike to Hell,” he scowled, and groaning added, “So much for celebrity status.”  Following the pimple-faced parking attendant’s flags, he obediently, if begrudgingly, drove to the second last row on the lot with Mitch and Will following close behind him.

“Ain’t they never heard o’ the Blue Jays?”  Mitch said.  “I told ‘em we needed to get closer on account of the gals, but…”

“Didn’t work for you either, eh?”  Michael said, rolling his eyes.  “I’m going to get Keisha one of those rental wheelchairs they have.  The nannies can push the little ones in their strollers today.  You coming?”

“You betcha!”  Mitch said, and followed Michael.

“Hold up you guys!”  Will hollered, “I’m coming with you!”

Half an hour later the men returned with their wheelchairs, just in time to witness the mass exodus from the stationary cars in the parking lot.

“What say we let ‘em go first?” Mitch said.  “It ain’t as if we’re vyin’ fer a seat or somethin’.”

“You’d better give the kids their water bottles,” Helen said.  “We’ll be an hour before we get through those turnstiles.”

“An hour!” Michael Jr. and Chrissy whined in concert.

“Yes, an hour,” Michael said.  “Do you see those little black specs on the horizon over yonder?”

“Yeah, but…”

“Yeah, but nothing.  Those are people waiting in line for entrance into this theme park, and we aren’t going anywhere until they’ve all filed in.”

“Don’tcha wanna go to Canada’s Wonderland?” little Chad asked.

“No, Chad, I don’t.  I’d rather paint myself with barbeque sauce and walk naked through theAfrican Lion Safari than come to this place.  Look at them all!  I must be out of my mind!”

Mitch and Will, newcomers to this particular childhood ritual, eyed Michael suspiciously.

“How bad can it be?” Will asked.

Michael reached into his pocket, and pulling out his tube of Extra Strength Tylenol, he tapped out two pills into Mitch and Will’s outstretched palms.

“What’s this for?” Will asked.

“The pounding headache you’re going to get, if you don’t have one already.”

“How come you ain’t takin’ none?” Mitch asked.

“I took mine before we left home.  Amateurs!” Michael said, shaking his head, as the twenty-seven person troupe strode out into the already seventy-six-degree Ontario sunlight. 

Ten hours, 232 rides, sixty-eight hot dogs, thirty-four candy apples, and five diaper changes later, the kids began to whine.  They were tired and wanted to be carried, sit down, or catch a nap, and a couple wanted to throw up, and three of them ‘Couldn’t wait’ and had an accident while standing in line waiting to urinate in the obscenity they had the nerve to call a washroom.

Blue Jays and Mariners July 2009 811Little girl with pop

Blue Jays and Mariners July 2009 110The Lone Tear

Helen moaned.  “I don’t want to think about the number of fatal diseases they could catch in that place.  Next time we’re bringing along a port-a-potty.”

“Next time?” Will said.  “You mean you’d do this again?”

“Not willingly, but the children seem to like it,” she said.

“I don’t get the impression Mia’s enjoying upchucking by that bush,” he said, nodding in her direction.  “I have the baby wipes but you’re the mom,” he said, handing them to her, and rubbing his temples as the effects of the Tylenol were wearing off.

“Hey, Michael,” he whispered, “got any more of those pain pills?”

“What do you think?  How many do you want?”

“Forty,” he groaned, “but with any luck two will do the job.”

Mitch said nothing but held his hand out silently.  “I’ll getcha for this, Richards,” he promised.  “Who invented this place, Hitler?  If people was meant to be spun around like this then the Good Lord would’ve made us into spinnin’ tops.  I ain’t interested in stayin’ to see no fireworks!”

“Gentlemen,” Michael gasped, and holding his arm outstretched he said, “Read the sign, it says – Canada’s Wonderland – where’s your sense of wonder?”’

Hope you enjoyed the visit!

Love and All Good Things – Jesse.

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TAUO Presentation Box halfsize

Read the first five chapters of the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series here – http://jesseleighbrackstone.com/first_five.pdf

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En Route

The Driver’s Seat….

Ice on the windows eight days in a row, frost on the grass in the mornings, and crystalline snow-white fingers stealthily inching down the mountainside – a month too early from our point of view, but as with all else in life… what can y’do but roll with it?

The heaters in Buster aren’t adequate to compete with an Alpine winter, so today Darlin’ had to rescue our sensitive electronic equipment, our clothing, and all other items that could be damaged by the cold. Heaven knows, it’s a waste of a day, as we’ll only have to reload them again – some into Buster, and some into the U-Haul truck we’ll use to transport our belongings to a temperature-controlled storage facility.  Five years is too long a time to leave them in the house unattended – been there, done that, and even with baseboard heaters on, we come back to musty, moldy clothes and bedding every time.  No thanks!  So, Darlin’ spent the day moving back in to the house what we just moved out to Buster a month ago.  It’s not supposed to be this cold yet!

It isn’t always fun being in the driver’s seat!

Poor guy, it’s not as if I can physically help him either, but did he complain?  Nope, not once!  The only quasi lamentation I heard from his lips was how much he was going to miss… home.  Sigh….  I hadn’t had time to think about the leaving yet.

It’s not that I mind going, I love what we do, going to scores of different places and seeing all those smiling faces, as we sing, play, and read to them, and… well, you know the drill.  (Or you do if you’ve been following us for any length of time.)  I’ll go anywhere the LORD leads me, but… like Darlin’, I’m going to miss this:

IMG_0006BlackTusk

 And this:

Bridge River Valley Overview

And this:

Testing  Canon S5 IS 009cropped Eagle Falls

And this:

Sunset from outside our house - Dec. 10th, 05

And him….

Testing  Canon S5 IS 128Bruno cropped

I’m going to miss our quiet conversations, he’s such a sweet and gentle soul….

Do you know that by the time I was fifty, I’d lived in sixty-four places?  Some for a few weeks or months, and some for a year or two!  I figured that out a few years back and haven’t kept count since then.

I know we’ve been a tad overwhelmed lately, and my blog posts reflect that, I’m sure, but the fault is mine, my friends, mine and Darlin’s.  In all of our planning, praying, and reaching, we forgot the most important thing of all – the Driver’s Seat is already occupied by GOD – and He doesn’t want us anywhere near it!  Phew!  I feel better already.

It’s far too easy to take back the reins when we’re tired, or on autopilot, and not connecting with God as well as we should.  Haste will do that to us – all of us, as will worry and all other futile occupations.  God is *always* in the Driver’s Seat of our lives, and if He isn’t… He should be!  (Jeremiah 10:23.)

Suddenly it all seems possible again!

 

‘May The Lord bless you

May The Lord keep you

May He lift up His face and shine His Countenance upon you

And give you peace.’

 

Love and All Good Things – Jesse.

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En Route

Champagne, bubble baths, and softly falling snow….

Today, we were supposed to ‘scan’ the Digital Version of the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series, due to be released on July 1st, 2015.  We’d just received the final document from the printer’s and we had to check the alignment of circa 6,000 pages.  When I read the word ‘scan,’ I foolishly thought it might take an hour or two – at most, but it didn’t, it took all day.  I do confess that we might have made it through the task a little faster, but we’ve missed our friends, and the story, and we found ourselves reading sometimes, instead of ‘scanning,’ when a particularly delicious segment caught our attention.

Tom and Jenny, the leading gentleman and lady of the story, were nibbling on strawberries, sipping on champagne, and soaking in a hot, round, fragrant bubble bath in Jenny’s photography studio, tucked away near TYAX, in Canada’s Coastal Mountains, and far away from their family home in Maui.  And winter was on the wing….

Here’s an excerpt from Book #6 in the series, entitled The Fairing Sky:

‘The lake waters thundered against the shore and the northern wind roared angrily, hungrily, as Tom and Jenny watched the first few flakes of snow fall silently and then disappear into the midst of the squalls of swirling, ill-fated leaves, stolen from the swaying trees all around them.  Soaking in the warmth of their bubble bath, grateful for the shelter, Jenny hoped that they had brought enough warm clothing for what was sure to be a bitter morning.  A large, wet, burgundy maple leaf stuck to the bathroom window, like five groping fingers hoping to hold on for the night.  As it slid slowly down the slippery glass an inch or two, Jenny noticed a black spider attached to it, furiously attempting to spin a web, an anchor to help it ride out the raging storm. 

Tom lifted his leg, and with his toes, he pulled the hot water faucet toward them, infusing the bath with fresh, steaming liquid, while Jenny poured another capful of lilac-scented bubble bath into the mix.  Tom reached over and grasped the bottle of dealcoholized champagne, filling up Jenny’s glass, and was about to fill his own when they heard a shrill scream coming from Gabriel’s room.’

Ah, the joys of parenthood, no?  We read the next few pages too… we couldn’t help it!  After spending a decade creating the Epstein family saga, we feel that they’re family to us now, and we’re officially junkies, as we seldom go for more than a day or two without visiting with them, either in the first seven books, the sequel (due out in October 2015), or in the final book, the one I’m tidying up now, but I haven’t had the time to enjoy immersing myself in the journey lately, as our upcoming tour is taking all our time.

If you’d like to read the first five chapters of the story on line, you can do it free at my Web site, with my compliments.  Here’s the link – http://jesseleighbrackstone.com/first_five.pdf .  We’d love to hear your thoughts about the story.

Oh, the featured image at the top of the page is a lake not far from the TYAX Lodge, and closer to our house, going the other way.  We think it’s beautiful, but then – we’re a little biased.

G’night, Godbless, and may you always hear the whisper of wings.

Love – Jesse.

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En Route

Sometimes life really *is* a ‘Day at the beach….’

And sometimes it just needs to be!

Darlin’ and I have pulled two thirty-six-hour shifts in the last four days, and we’re… not operating on all thrusters, to put it politely.

I knew we were in trouble when we each downed two caramel and walnut brownies, and we’re not supposed to eat those – we’re diabetic!  (But boy, were they good!) Drastic times call for drastic measures!

Renewed in strength from our sugar high (which never lasts long), Darlin’ headed out the door to fix our friend Mike’s computer, and I looked at V’ger (my research computer) with solid determination, and set about sorting out the day’s tasks when… it farkled!  V’ger, my trusted friend, who searches throughout cyberspace, where no one has gone before, for the data I need to write my novels – farkled!  I mean, I could understand Mike’s computer coughing and spluttering – I’m pretty sure Noah used it on the ark, but… V’ger?  I began to smell a conspiracy, and narrowing my eyes, I mentally ran down all the people who might want to sabotage (or delay) our tour, but… I couldn’t think of a living soul – unless we count the devil.  Well, I suppose he’s not technically a living soul, but that’s another blog post. Undecided as to whether or not I was paranoid, or merely a victim of acute sleep deprivation, I decided I’d better ‘handle with care’ what was left of my gray matter, and turned to R2, my writing and photography computer (he’s never been on line – I don’t trust cyberspace), hoping to salvage a brain cell or two of sanity, and look what I found….

It was another day like this one at first – after too much work and worry (uncharacteristic for either of us – the ‘worry’ part), and… not enough time, we hit desperate some time in mid-July.

My hair needed washing – a mammoth task then – before I cut 27″ off it because it was coming out in handfuls and wasn’t the thick, healthy mane I’d been used to all my life.  (Oh, it’a all right now, but I was sure I was going bald for a month or two, and I just thank God I didn’t!  Menopause – aaargh! scream)  The house needed cleaning, the dishes needed washing, and the laundry wasn’t done, but… we didn’t care.   We needed a break, and we needed it badly, so we grabbed the first items of clothing we found, dragged our weary selves into Buster, and headed for the beach, located three driving hours from our house, in Canada’s hotspot – Lillooet, and ooh, was it nice!  We parked Buster in the shade at Fraser Cove Campground and paddled, frolicked, and soaked up the sun on the shores of the mighty Fraser River.  My mind shifted into reverse… and began to drift….

Here are some of the images I coaxed out of R2 today, when he and I and Darlin’ spent a lovely day at the beach – again.

IMG00235Buster in the shade 

Buster in the shade up above the volcanic rocks on the beach.

IMG00121Darlin' paddling in the Fraser

Darlin’ paddling in the mighty Fraser River

IMG00224Jesse standing in Fraser

Me, looking like an accident, but thoroughly enjoying the 5 mins I am able to stand before I need to find my wheelchair.

IMG00377Brian stretching in Fraser

Darlin’ doing his physio exercises (he has a dicky back).  The bridge in the background is an old wooden ‘heritage’ landmark, and is, of course, unused nowadays, to preserve it.

IMG00380Brian the angel

A closer look.  Isn’t he luverly?  If I hadn’t already seen an angel, I’d think they looked like this.

IMG00448.drying off and soaking up the sun

Just drying off and soaking up the sun.  Mmm….

Darlin' putting my wheelchair into Buster

Darlin’ loading my wheelchair in to Buster.

IMG_0063_1Time to go home

Time to go home.

IMG00021Osprey heading for home

An osprey friend of ours, heading for home too.  We named him Elvis a couple of years ago – you should see this fellow dance around the rim of that nest!  It’s hilarious!

Ah… the places we can go….  I had a wonderful day, despite how it started.  If tomorrow doesn’t behave itself, I may have to revisit Maui.

Hope you had a wonderful day too!

Love and All Good Things – Jesse.

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En Route

Ooh… the pros and cons of deadlines….

Clicking on the widget (I like that word!) at the top of this page (the little square thingy with the horizontal lines on it), our countdown ‘clock’ told me that we have only sixteen days left until it’s time to tour.

Sixteen! I stared at the number and froze…. All of a sudden the 101 tasks we have to complete prior to leaving, seemed like a thousand, and sixteen days, a woefully inadequate amount of time. This deadline business does it to me every time. Can anyone out there relate?

Some people like structure, and love deadlines, and do their best work under pressure, but I’m definitely not one of those. If a deadline fan were a roaring whitewater river, I would be a gently flowing stream. I don’t like to rush through anything in life – y’miss too much that way. Now, I’ve been told that I’m a workaholic (and they say it as if it’s a bad thing) too often to wonder if I’m lazy; I know I’m not, as I frequently ‘work’ sixteen-hour days, but most of it doesn’t seem like work to me because I love what I do – all of it, and I doubt that activities that give us pleasure can count as ‘work’ in the negative sense, and I’m certain that they don’t require the ‘aholic’ addition to the word.

Anyway, as ‘frozen’ as I was, I just had to get a different perspective if I wanted to be productive today, so I uploaded the 386 images from the memory card in my trusty Canon, and peace washed over me like a river. Here’s why:

BralorneSunset

Deerpic3

DeerInMeadow1

DeerInMeadow2

Aren’t they beautiful? I have a couple of dozen gorgeous photos of the deer, and it’s so hard not to share them with you, but I don’t want to tax your bandwidth to tilting point. (Tomorrow, God Willing, I’ll post a couple of shots of Buster, our tour bus/RV.)

By this date, according to my ‘to do’ list, I was supposed to have this blog completed – y’know, with an eyecatching custom banner and all the fun-to-play-with bells and whistles that I want En Route to have, but as you can see, I haven’t managed it yet (good thing I’m not in sales). It’s more complicated, technologically speaking, than I anticpated, so I’ll have to do it in increments and hope that you don’t mind. Sigh….

Oh well, Darlin’ and I have almost finished recording all of the twenty-six songs we’ll use in concert this time out (we perform as a duo and use computer technology to back us up, which allows us to have multiple instruments, harmonies, and a full-band sound that works amazingly well on stage), which is great, as all we need to do now is tweak (mix) it a little, and that’s always fun to do! Speaking of which, I’d better get myself back in to the studio before Darlin’ thinks I’ve left him. We pulled a thirty-six hour shift yesterday (and a little of the day before, I guess), so we’re a tad sleep deprived today, and the audible gurgle emanating from the vicinity of my stomach tells me that it’s time to eat again too. Sheesh! Who has time to dine?

My love to all of you who’re with us En Route.

Jesse.

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En Route

Hello – I’m Jesse Leigh Brackstone, and you are now En Route….

I can see your brow furrowing now, perplexed, befuddled, and nonplussed, but somewhere deep inside a little part of you wants to know. En route to where, or what, and when, and what’s it all about…?

It’s about time, as almost everything is, and every living soul on this planet is on the same journey, and toward the same place. Some of us call it Heaven, and some of us call it Home, and others among us call it Paradise. There are those who know it only as a deep-seated longing, or perhaps a dream, or simply a knowing that there is something more… out there… waiting.

Well, En Route is not about a destination, it’s the journey we’re all taking together through this wonderful experience we call life. For some of us it’s short, perhaps only minutes, and for others it spans a century or more, but it isn’t the length of time that matters, it’s what we do with it while we’re here, and what we make of the moments we are given.

With only seventeen days left until we embark on our five-year-long Global Tour, Brian and I (henceforth known as Darlin’) would like to invite you to come along with us and share in our adventures, and hopefully, you’ll honor us by letting us share in yours – we’d like that!

For those of you who don’t know me yet, you’re probably thinking:

Who in the world is Jesse Leigh Brackstone, and why would I want to go anywhere with her? A woman nutty enough to still call her husband Darlin’?

The following link list will tell you all you need to know – and more.

My public Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/jesseleigh.brackstone – don’t forget to send me a ‘friend’ request!

My professional ‘Author’ Facebook page (no ‘friend’ requests permitted there) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesse-Leigh-Brackstone/191034367638667

My personal Web site – http://www.jesseleighbrackstone.com/ – I’d love to read your review of my TIME & UNFORESEEN OCCURRENCE seven-novel series and JENNY’S SONGS UNPLUGGED! (Audio clips are on my home page.)

The first 5 chapters of TIME & UNFORESEEN OCCURRENCE can be read on my Web site gratis, at http://www.jesseleighbrackstone.com/first_five.pdf

My blog – En Route with Jesse – http://www.enroutewithjesse.com – is the central point of my social media network. Come share your thoughts and experiences as we make this wonderful journey through life together!

My You Tube Videos – interviews, songs, studio clips, and on-tour highlights… http://www.youtube.com/user/HoboMtnPublishing/videos?sort=da&view=u

My Linkedin addy – http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/jesse-leigh-brackstone/82/1a5/827

My Twitter addy – http://twitter.com/#!/JesseLeighBrack

My publisher – http://www.hobomountainpublishing.com/

My yuku profile – http://jessebelle.u.yuku.com/

Enjoy!

We give benefit concerts, write books, and songs, produce videos, albums, and tour the world in an old RV named Buster. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick and dying, and take care of widows and orphans…, and in the midst of all that, we’re privileged to see the wonders and the magnificence of God’s Creation (which we’d like to share with you), and to meet with people of every nation, tribe, and tongue, and we’d like to introduce you to them too. Some will no doubt make you laugh, and some may make you cry, but whether you shed tears of joy or sorrow, your life will be immeasurably enriched – I promise!

Why not make yourself your favorite cuppa, put your feet up for a while, and follow the links above? When you think you’ve read enough, and feel you’d like to join us on our travels, just come back here and click the ‘follow’ tab. You can follow us on your computer, your iPad, or your phone, or anything else that the techie minds come up with in the near future. (We’ve been doing this for forty years, so we’ve been here for it all!)

Post your own adventures in life – your highs and your lows – (we have millions of readers), and see how much happiness there is to be found in caring and sharing your life with others. You can join us alone or, if you like, you can make it a family affair. Children write some of the most precious posts of all. Share your photographs, your memories, your hopes, and your dreams, as we bring you those treasures from friends you haven’t met yet, but surely will encounter En Route!

Lots of Love and All Good Things,

Jesse.

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