Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Time Well Spent

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My mom is the primary caregiver for my father. He has Parkinson’s Disease which is a result of being in contact with Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam. He also has other illnesses and diseases that have developed after Parkinson’s. Imagine you retire and you develop a disease that DRASTICALLY changes your outward appearance and your mental and emotional well being.

My dad has always been this strong guy with muscles. I remember him lifting weights and hanging from his biceps. I remember the big round weights that go on the weight bench. I remember the children in the neighborhood racing against him and they would lose. So, if it’s hard for me to see all of that, his mobility, his muscles, his strength disappear, it must be incredibly hard for him to deal with. He’s stubborn, but I think by now he realizes he needs help or assistance. Yet, he fights to keep most of his independence because he doesn’t like anyone doing anything for them. Especially, if they make it known they really mind doing it for him or that it’s a problem. I get that and the stubbornness from him. My dad has always had a sharp mind. He still has it. He is like a walking history buff and Bible. He is still pastoring and this is his last year as his health has really declined. Last week when he was in the hospital for rehab, we talked about poetry and just when I thought I knew it all about poetry he throws out poets I never heard of. He recites some lines. This is my dad.

This week my mom was out of town on church business and I was “hired” to take care of my dad. Even though my mom is the primary caregiver, all six of us children are there to do our jobs. We all chip in. Some more than others because some work full time and others have illnesses of their own (like me). We seem to take on our roles and fill in when needed of roles of the others. It just worked out that way. I took care of Dad this week and I got to see him in a different way. I got to see the struggles in a different way. I heard the yelling as he napped. It was something about war. I got to see the depression that he sometimes denies. I got to experience the moodiness and irritability that we rarely see. But, I also got to see the determination to wash his own clothes, put his dishes away, wash up, and put his clothes without my assistance a few days. I saw the sweat pouring down his face and the tiredness that followed those simple tasks.

My favorite part of the experience was getting him out of the house to sit on the porch as he likes to do and we listened to a famous sermon on YouTube by Reverend C.L. Franklin (Aretha Franklin’s father). He was unsure he could get out of the house or go anywhere with his new fancy walker (which he calls the Cadillac). I had to encourage him and he made it to the barber shop with his new walker.

Even though it was really hard work taking care of him all week from 7 am to 7 pm it was time well spent. The pain and exhaustion that I felt daily, the pain meds I had to take, the willing myself to get up, the swelling and the joint inflammation, the mental battle,  reminded me of why I had such a hard time working my last full time job.  By the time you recover, it’s time to work again and creates an endless cycle that worsens your health. However, all that I experience this week was worth the quality time spent with my dad. Care giving is a job. It’s a job for the one doing it all the time and the ones who do their parts regularly and the ones that have to fit it in. However, it’s rewarding knowing that you helping someone you love and it has it’s moments that will someday become memories.

~Nikki

Good Morning Paris

 

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Once we made it to Paris, the stress began to melt away. We put our bags down and opened up the windows to our hotel room. It was like a boutique hotel and the view of the Eiffel Tower was amazing! Also, just to be able to open up those windows and watch the every day life of Parisians spill onto the streets made me feel at home.

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Our first night we discovered that it doesn’t get dark until 10 pm!!! We had dinner reserved at an Italian restaurant one door down from our hotel. There also was a little mom and pop store in between that I went to everyday for Schweppe’s Mojito flavored ginger ale, water, and snacks. I learned to count my euros! However, I mostly used my debit/credit card which is what is suggested and accepted by most. I needed euros for some of the other places we went as tours.

I love the décor and the food was AUTHENTIC and the dessert was my favorite! So delicious. Every dessert I tried in Paris was DELICIOUS!

Photos below are from exploring our neighborhood.

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I love engraved and hand carved doors and there were plenty in Paris! 

 

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Flowers hanging from windows were the norm. 

 

 

 

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I like fast cars. A Lamborghini will do!

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~Nikki

 

 

Rooftop Views. City Life Confetti.

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I got a chance to get a view from the new Hu Hotel in downtown Memphis, TN. It was a private party for a great group of women I am in. You hear many things about Memphis and most think if Elvis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and crime. However, just like other cities there are so many other wonderful things about Memphis. I won’t get into the details, but just follow my blog and you will see.

Here are some more views & the wonderful sunset that evening. All photos are property of Nicole Jackson and Confetti Photography. They may not be used, shared, or copied without consent and written permission. Thanks and enjoy!

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~Nikki

A to Z: Keep it Moving. Empowerment, My Personal Journey

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The ability to move on after a set back, after a break up or a break down, calls for courage and the building up of self esteem. Also, the ability to move on, ignore, deal with the small fires that poop up, the rude comments, the opinions and attempted sabotage on our reputations or goals is empowering. Why? Because you don’t exert energy into the small things, the minors in life. Why major in the minor annoyances of life when you can put your energy into dreams and goals or the other things that need to be done that day? Reserve your energy for what really matters.

Keep it Moving. You have things to do, places to go, and people to see.

~Nikki

Friday Jr and The WKND Weekend

 

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Well, I had such a busy weekend I am just now getting a chance to sit down and blog about it. It was Thursday, also known to many as Friday Jr. (smile), that I got up the nerve to show up at a Memphis Bloggers Exchange Happy Hour. It was sponsored by the Nashville Bloggers Exchange. The place we met up at is new to Memphis. It’s NOT a club, but a place where you come to hang out, have great drinks, great conversations, good food, relax and unwind with friends or you can fly solo. Service was top notch from our entrance to our exit.

First, let me tell you when I walked I was nervous. Why? Well, if you have followed my blog for a while you know I have been through a rough few years. I was worried about meeting new people. Something that use to not bother me as much before Rheumatoid Arthritis came out of remission and brought fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and diabetes with it. Long story short, it changed the game as far as friendships, my social life, and the how I deal with people all together. Well, after walking into therapy with anxiety on level 8, giving myself all the reasons I should not go, I left with anxiety on 2 and all of the reasons I should go. I am so glad I did! I made so many great connections and diversified connections at that. These are just a few of the bloggers, writers, vloggers and photographers that were at the event. These wonderful group of ladies and more are right here in my city and now we are connected via social media.

We were invited to not only meet up, but to take photos, blog about our experience at this new hot spot in our city. We were able to try their entire menu! And everything was delicious! The cocktails were worth the money and I say that because if you are going to pay $10-$15 or more for a cocktail, you want your money’s worth. Tiger’s Blood Cocktail is what you see pictured above. I liked it so much I had two!

We were able to explore the venue and take pictures. You can reserve the booths we are in and they have several packages to chose from. They are also now serving brunch on Sundays! I love a good brunch! The patio was my favorite. It was very chilly that night, but the fire kept us warm as many of took advantage of photo ops. We were snapping it up and especially with a photographer on hand we got some great shots of our selves!

This was definitely a busy evening. I left there and drove across town to meet another group of ladies and we had karaoke, food, and wine. You know that had to be filled with laughter and great meet and greet. It was all positive vibes.

As the weekend rolled around, Friday I was invited to a movie. Saturday I purchased a small bookshelf from Facebook Market. I drove downtown to get it. I stopped by the Mississippi River to finish up my coffee from Starbucks and then off to ACE Hardware for paint. This was going to be an easy, less than 30 minute project.

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I painted the faux cherry wood bookshelf a dark espresso color that matches my new furniture in my room. It was the perfect size.

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And for the finale, Saturday night was epic and crazy fun. I went to a tribute for Bob Marley performed by some amazing reggae, funk, soul bands from my city, Memphis. It was a friend’s birthday week and I invited her to get out and enjoy herself. We met up with two others and it was so much fun. Too much fun lol! We ended up at iHop and I haven’t been there in about 15 years. I made it home safely and Sunday I slept in. I was home all day recovering from a very long week as I was at the hospital every morning with my dad and then coming home to do my own personal business and parent. Add the weekend to that and you have a run down chic! I was feeling the pre-pain before the big earthquake that landed Monday evening. Serious pain and mental drain. I have a heel spur I think from walking the long walk daily last week to and from my dad’s hospital room and serious back and hip pain radiating to the thigh. I know for sure my back and shoulder is a fibromyalgia flare. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade that wild and crazy weekend for anything and it brings me great joy to be there in the mornings for my dad to help or keep him company until he can home.

~Nikki

Weekend Confetti: A Farmer’s Market & Time With Mom

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Memphis has several farmer’s market during the week. I often get out on a Saturday morning, bright and early. Last Saturday I called my mom as I often do to see if she wants to go. She is a country girl by heart and loves fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the farmer as my grandfather was a farmer. He farmed right here in the city of Memphis until the day he passed a way. I remember shelling peas, picking vegetables from the garden and being afraid to go down the rows of corn. As we got older and would visit our grandparents, you were required to take something back home to your parents. Something from the garden like a watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, or some canned good. My parents told me to never say no, just take it. I do the same with them now. I just take whatever they send home with me.

On my mom’s list was fresh peas and a cabbage. I wanted whatever fancied me. I like to be surprised and try new things. I also try to visit each table and buy something from a variety of farmers. They were ready for fall and wrapping up all the of summer fruits and veggies. I will be going back this weekend to grab a few more things to chop and freeze for the winter. I love the market feel.

 

It’s also time spent with my mom and afterwards we usually make a few more stops at different grocery stores or shopping just to see what we can find.

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Fall was definitely in the air! I bought some gourds for decorations. I like the white pumpkins as well and just having the variety of pumpkins were cool.

 

Plenty of canned goods, peppers, baked pastries, natural cleaning supplies, pottery, and fresh flowers were available. Oh and I almost forgot the green apples are so good from one of the farmers. I have to go back and get those.

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~Nikki

Weekend Confetti!

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WOW! What a weekend! I met one of my favorite, most influential authors of all time and got the last book of a series signed. I met Kimberla Lawson Roby! It was her book Casting the First Stone that led me to believe it was possible to be a Christian and still write novels with a spiritual undertone. My novels may be a bit more unconventional as far as most Christians would think, but I am not really concerned about that! I have my own path to take. Anyway, I was over the moon and treasure the book and the moment. My daughter was there to help me stand in a very long line. Some day I’ll be signing books!

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I also went out for cocktails and small plates with…brace yourself, my daughter’s father mother….and his wife. Yep. You read that right. As a single parent, the road has not always been easy and neither are the relationships involved with raising my daughter. Some of our thoughts, actions, and ways are different and well that makes for conflicts of interests. It was extremely rough starting out, but we try to get along and sitting down with all of together was a miracle within itself. Conversation, cocktails, and food made it a pleasant outing.

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Oh, yeah. I got a new hairstyle! Lol! I think it may last for a few weeks. Natural hair can be a challenge. Especially, for someone like me who has Rheumatoid Disease and Fibromyalgia. Which took a toll on me by the time Sunday rolled around. I felt so bad, but I am grateful for the two days, Friday and Saturday, in which I had little discomfort. Sunday was very difficult and I am feeling better on today. I hope you enjoyed your weekend, too!

~Nikki

Smokey Row Coffee Co. Oskaloosa

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We pull into Oskaloosa, Iowa late night on a drive from Memphis, TN and suddenly I perk up as we cruise down Market Street. What’s that? A coffee house? I will be back in the morning!

We were only in Iowa overnight as I rode with my brother to pick up my nephew from William Penn. We stayed at my second family’s house which is a home away from home. I went to “my” room and once I was underneath “my quilt” I was fast asleep. After getting ready the next morning I headed to this coffee house. It is huge with plenty of room, coffee, and uniqueness. I was overwhelmed and I am sure everyone knew I was a tourist as I snapped pictures of everything. The service was fast and as friendly as one could be on a Saturday morning. The hustle hand yet to bustle but, all of that changed as it neared 9:30 a.m.

Caramel flavored coffee was my choice and what a delicious blend! The caramel was subtle and not overpowering. I like to be able to taste my coffee and flavor at the same time. Each table in the shop is different, nostalgic and coffee related. I thought that was so cute!

And the menu…Breakfast all day, Lunch, Dessert, Kids Menu, Dinner…you name it! It was better than a Starbucks (No shade! I still love you Starbucks). It wasn’t carbon copy and I love the sunlight coming through the huge windows and so many places to go within. A parlor-ish feel for a coffee place is really different. I like different. A book vault? Upstairs? A stage for lets say…a live local band? Yes. All of that and more.

Fancy that. I purchased a mint green mug and a sconce. I eyed a big hunk of tiramisu but, decided next time and by next time I mean fall. I hope to be able to linger a bit longer with laptop in tow and just enough space for lunch and a milkshake. I am sure I can walk those calories off in the square.

~Nikki

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Weekend Confetti: Muddy’s & More

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It was a great weekend for me because I was pretty much pain free and free from the responsibilities of “adulting.” So what does one do with a weekend like this, well the first thing I did was sleep in! And then I went to Muddy’s for cupcakes. It’s my birthday month and I share this month with my daughter. When you walk into the doors of Muddy’s you are always greeted with a smile. I mean, hey, they bake sweet treats and that makes the employees just as happy as the customers that walk in! They bake cookies and cakes as well.

It’s a neat small place and I always like small spaces that make you feel like you can sit a while. It’s happily decorated and as a coffee connoisseur I noticed the coffee nook first. 20180303_123145

I was craving the wedding cake cupcake and that is how I ended up here Saturday. Well, you can’t just get one. You “need” at least four! The purple is named “Called a Cab” and there is Red Velvet in the mix as well. There’s a chocolate one named “Prozac” mmm mmm delicious for chocolate addicts…uh lovers.

After getting cupcakes I was ready for lunch. I headed over to Mellow Mushroom for a calzone and white sangria.

I love the veggie calzone but, I was in the mood for something meat I asked to be seated  on the patio, feeling the cool breeze mixed with the heaters above the table is perfect combination. Clear skies, sunny, and the music made you want to dance in your seat or at least, sing out loud which some people did. I like that it’s a variety of past hits from various genres. After eating lunch, I had a little time to kill before a wine tasting so I stopped by a consignment store and found a very cute pair of heels by Ann Taylor. I got them for $10! And I used my credit from a previous sale which was $10. My next stop was a wine tasting at Kirby Wines and Liquors. It was a tasting of Stella Rose flavored wines. I was feeling a bit tired afterwards and went home to rest. Believe it or not I regained just enough energy to make it to a family event; a birthday and anniversary party combined. I had a good time overall.

It was great feeling normal again even though I am paying for it dearly today. This is what usually happens to those of us that live a life of chronic pain. When we have a “good day” we usually take advantage of it. For one moment, I almost felt a bit sad that it couldn’t be like this all the time. I miss my old life. But, I decided to just enjoy this moment and day. This was a day that the Lord had made, I rejoiced and was glad in it. When you count your blessings, you can count it all joy.

~Nikki

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Creative Confetti. Fashion Confetti. Learning At My Own Pace.

Here are a few of the things I have crocheted for the fall and winter 2017-2018. I thought I would share! I am getting better. Above is a chain scarf/necklace with a flower.

The one on the left is a shawl I made for breast cancer survivors. The one on the right I a shell stitch scarf infinity scarf for a sorority.

The peaches and cream ear warmer headbands, the beautiful brown button up cowl, and the fall green infinity scarf.

I want to do some crafts festival this year. I hope I can sell more items. I did really well for a beginner this fall and winter. My new goal is to perfect my sewing and do what I really want to do….create fashion! Practice makes perfect and as I realize I can do it, I just have to do it differently because of my ailments, I feel more confident. I haven’t decided how I feel about that or if it’s worth it. When I feel confident, I feel optimistic. So this Spring will me more of me learning to sew. I still have some learning to do with crocheting and knitting. Here a little there a little…learn.

~Nikki

Happy Saturday!