Sunday, 13 August 2017 01:06

Making a Difference

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While I was in my twenties, I know I said on at least one occasion, “to make a difference in one person’s life.”  Well, maybe it was more like at least a dozen times.  Even back then I wanted to help in some way.  To make a difference in one person’s life would be an honor, a blessing and enough.  Then I met my wife and we had two beautiful children.  As time passed, together we made a difference in more and more lives as did our children.  What a gift to do so! 

And then tragedy struck, Quinton’s visits immediately demonstrated that there is no death and our lives took a different direction.  So did being of service and making a difference.  Whether we like it or not, we were chosen to be messengers of sort, to help heal and to make a difference at a whole new level. Doing so doesn’t happen in an empty room usually; it happens out in the world more often than not.

As part of my own healing, angels in my life directed me to, no that isn’t right – they insisted I start coaching high school football at my alma mater, Evergreen High School.  Well, I have written about this and discussed it in detail (read Quinton’s Messages), so I am not going to do so again.  But I will share that a young man gave me a letter.  I am going to tell you that I am reminded again – the why I walk this path.

He writes:

Coach Jackson,

I felt a need to say thank you.  You’ve been one of the greatest role models and idols I’ve ever had.  You’ve been through some really rough times and yet you keep a positive attitude.

My freshman year I was planning on quitting when you told me your story.  I doubt you know how much that had an impact on me.  Your story showed me that you just have to put your head down and push through.  I was the slowest, weakest and was my own worst critic.  You showed me that I have everything I need already and I have to do is work.  I remember not being able to throw the ball more than ten yards and I couldn’t pitch the ball whatsoever, but you saw something in me that I didn’t see within myself.

Sophomore year came with another challenge, a new freshman quarterback who could throw better and was faster.  I was nervous that he was gonna start over me until I remembered something that you had told me, “Get out of your head.”  I buckled down, lifted, conditioned and trained harder than I ever have.  It came down to it and I won the job.  I asked the coach why and he said it was because the team wanted to follow me.  At the time I didn’t think much of it until last week.  You pulled me aside and told me I was a great leader.  Then it clicked.

I don’t really like to talk about what motivates me, but over the summer I read your book.  That book is the reason I’ve been lifting so hard, working so much, and been trying so hard.  So, what I’m saying is, Thank You for being such an inspiration to me and keeping me playing football.

With Love,

I am moved to say the least.  What a validation that we collectively can make a difference.  Do you hear me?  Do you feel me?  Even though we have been through tough times (no need to compare and contrast our tough times), we can still make a difference.  I ask again, Is there no greater honor; Is there no greater blessing?

Go forth my brothers, sisters and friends!  Continue to heal yourselves by healing the world.

Blessings!

Ernie and Kristine

Sunday, 02 July 2017 18:38

Autumn Voldrich and Her Gift to Us

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When Quinton Stone Jackson, our son, was here in the physical realm with us, he had a friend named Autumn Voldrich, daughter of Chris Voldrich. For those of you how have read Quinton’s Messages, you have already met Chris Voldrich and her daughter Layla.  Chris has three children, each of them truly amazing in their own way.

Autumn and Quinton always played together when our daughter Cheyanne and Layla played soccer, going back to when they were two years old. The picture below is of them when they were in first grade. 

The years passed quickly and then Quinton transitioned. Four years after Q went home and began rocking our world with his visits, Autumn had a ruptured aneurism in the left hemisphere of her brain (google her).  The odds were against her and most with her type of aneurism didn’t survive, but her doctor was adamant and would say, “You are going to be my miracle.” She is indeed a miracle. 

Four years have passed and her recovery is nothing short of astonishing. She now has her driver’s license, is starting to play music and very recently has started writing.  Her perspective is a gift; this soft spoken young lady who has been forced to come to terms with her disabilities.  The anger, rage, frustration, the wondering of “why me” is replaced with her writing this, titled Reality:

Reality – Life goes by fast. It won’t stop and wait for you.  We think we’re invincible, that everything is on our side.  Then just in the nick of time it changes, and the future with it. 

Reality changed for me. I changed as a person.  My entire life changed.  I kept on trying to search for the things I lost.  Internal struggle of everyday things that once were so easy.  I thought everything would be mended, hoping a smile would get me through a day.  Believing that time would give me back what I lost. 

I’ve come to terms with my dreams that cannot be. Knowing that some dreams will not come true.  Time has taught me to let go.  To have faith that new opportunities will come my way, I plan for new dreams and a new future.

My fate has lead me where new relationships were made, from doctors to friends to teachers to everything in between. I never dreamed of counting on others.  I had so many questions for God.  I was so mad and upset at the world!  “Why would you do this to me?”  “Did I do something wrong?”

No matter how hard I try I will never see that old me, but I’m okay with that now. Sometimes I wonder what it would look back the old me as where I am now.  I look around and know that it could be much worse.  I tried to heal wounds, but I learned to deal with them instead.  I don’t like that fate changed my life for me, but I have learned to love myself again.  I like my new normal, my new reality.  I am so thankful for this path it lead me down.  I am so grateful that I’m allowed to write this.  That I can smell the freshness of the rain hear the sound of music.  Now I can venture into a new life, go new places, and meet new people.  I can do all of this, because I know life is way too short.  Sometimes I wonder if change is meant to shape our lives.

From the pen of a seventeen year old, miraculous survivor of a ruptured aneurism; from the pen of a young lady that had to learn to walk again, speak again and come to terms with her new reality. Such courage she lives her life with!

And this perspective applies to us as well, whether we like it or not as we live in our new reality where our beautiful children are not walking hand in hand with us, even though they send us the stunning signs of their continued existence.

Walk with courage my friends. Know that we are eternal and we remain behind for a season because we have much to do.

Blessings!

Ernie and Kristine

 

Saturday, 03 June 2017 14:35

Helping Parents Heal - 1st Annual Conference

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Helping Parents Heal 1st Annual Conference

Know There is More

Our friends and loved ones who came to us as we emerged from lives shattered by an unimaginable tragedy, know our passion.  When our son, Quinton Stone Jackson, transitioned to another realm, we were at our lowest.  Shocked, beaten and bowed.  It is here where the healing began, in those lowest moments.  We cried, but in the silence, we realized something quite magical was unfolding.  This is where our passion was born.  Quinton’s visits that began so soon after he left, changed everything.  Quinton’s spirit showed us he was not gone, he was simply in another realm.

This knowledge was all we could talk about and then it morphed into writing and publishing two books.  We had an overriding and urgent desire to share, to shout it from the mountain tops, a gift of knowing There is More; a gift born on the wings of the ultimate tragedy.  It is our belief and growing passion that this knowledge has become ever more important in a world we find increasingly divided.  The knowledge awakened within us, parents grieving the transition of their son and his visits.

We have continued to share as the opportunities presented themselves over the years, resulting with us merging our passion with a group founded by Elizabeth Boisson and Mark Ireland, called Helping Parents Heal - www.helpingparentsheal.org.  Here is the mission of this important organization:

Helping Parents Heal is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting bereaved parents, giving them support and resources to aid in the healing process.  We go a step beyond other groups by allowing the open discussion of spiritual experiences and evidence for the afterlife in a non-dogmatic way.  Affiliate groups welcome everyone regardless of religious (or non-religious) background.

It is here that Kristine and I share our journey with grief, awakening and forgiveness.  I (with Kristine’s loving support) am honored and blessed to not only be part of this organization, but on the Board of Directors.  Kristine and I are here to help in any way we can.

The 1st annual Helping Parents Heal Conference is scheduled for April 13 – 15, 2018 at the Embassy Suites Phoenix / Scottsdale location per the link below.  This conference is a must attend event whether you are bereaved parents and if you want a glimpse of a larger view of our reality.  The conference will be uplifting and inspiring and will embody the Helping Parents Heal mission statement. http://conta.cc/2m8RvG8

Along with the fellowship of being in one place at one time, in support of one another, we will have numerous speakers and presenters including, George Anderson, Suzanne Giesemann, Susanne Wilson, Gary Schwartz, Bill Guggenheim, Dr. Mark Pitstick, Mark Ireland, Roberta Grimes, Elizabeth Boisson, Mark Ireland, and even me.  Within the link above you will find the bio’s of everyone and then some.

Come join us! Have your eyes opened wide and hearts filled with Love.  Register now to take advantage of the early bird discount.  If you are traveling from out of state, plan your trips and book your flights now.  We look forward to spending time with all of you.

Blessings!

Ernie and Kristine

 

Saturday, 29 April 2017 15:05

A Generous Heart and a Kind Word

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A Generous Heart

The impact of a kind word and a generous heart can be quite incredible at times. The interesting thing is, we don’t know when either will be impactful.  Sometimes our overtures may be rejected or spurned with hostility resulting unfortunately with us sometimes  holding back.  What a tragedy that is.  Other times, it is simply amazing.

During our 25th anniversary cruise, our hospitality team member who kept our room tidy gave Kristine a $50 gift card to use toward a spa treatment.  Kristine utilized it toward a manicure and pedicure, and in doing so, she met Monique the nail tech from Jamaica.  We had ported at Ocho Rios earlier in the week, which is where Monique is from.  They had a lot to talk about since we had been literally in her neighborhood.

Both Kristine and I were smitten with the crew, typically asking questions about their families, home, contracts and time off when the opportunity presented itself. During the course of their conversation, Monique shared a touching story about going to the store in Jamaica prior to beginning her new tour (contract) on the Carnival Vista.

Monique had gone to the store to buy some groceries; at the checkout she found herself behind a mother with three small children. The mother had a cart full of groceries and her children desperately wanted some sweet treats.  Monique saw the money the woman had in her hands and knew what was about to unfold.  They didn’t have enough money to pay for everything they had, which resulted with them sorting through the items in the cart to decide what to put back and what to pay for.  For those of us who have either been in this situation or have witnessed something similar – it is gut wrenching.  Monique watched this unfold, focusing on the children and knowing they would be leaving empty handed.  She then did something incredible.

Monique, only having limited funds herself, paid the shortfall herself. She rationalized that, her new tour was about to begin so she would be fine.  She further rationalized and understood, it would come back to her eventually in some spectacular way or another.  And it was worth it to see the family’s despair transform to joy. 

A Kind Word

The cruise ended. I was melancholy the day before.  We had so much fun, met so many wonderful people that it truly didn’t feel natural to be leaving.  We disembarked and took a taxi to a hotel that Kristine had booked.  We were tired.  While sitting in the lobby quietly, waiting for our room to be ready and just resting, we noticed another couple.  Come to find out, they had similarly just finished a cruise as well and were not have a very good morning at all.

The couple seemed familiar in a way that you may not believe or understand. The woman was trying to be upbeat and take their morning difficulties in stride (after all they did just finish a wonderful cruise) while the man was hell bent on being pissed off and upset.  He was grumbling and grunting his displease with not only their morning but I think the world in general. He was powerful in his displeasure.  They ended up sitting down with us.

I took a chance, something I sometimes do and greeted both of them with a hearty Good Morning, a smile and intentionally radiated a loving and calming energy. The woman responded in kind, I think appreciative of a kind word and a bit of good cheer.  We started talking about the cruises we were on and soon learned the source of their morning difficulties.  Almost immediately, I noticed something quite wondrous; the man’s demeanor completely change, like stopping and turning on a dime.  He turned to face Kristine and me, and joined the conversation.  It was a beautiful thing to witness. We talked for a while and eventually parted ways.  However, since we both had arrived prior to check-in and had to wait a while, we continued to notice them.  And his bad mood never did return.

Never underestimate the power of a kind word. Don’t stop being kind due to occasionally meeting a curmudgeon who might reject your kindness, because there is always somebody in the wings who will be lifted by your kindness.  Who knows – you may even make their day, or they may make yours!

Blessings!

Saturday, 29 April 2017 14:56

JUDGEMENT

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My journey in grief began with realizing that our son, Quinton Stone Jackson, really was not dead – he had only transitioned, effectively crossing a threshold. He visits and signs were so over the top, vivid and spectacular that I immediately realized there is no death.  This realization, this opening of my mind to a larger view of reality in a sense, saved my life.

My next thought after this realization was, “Why didn’t I know?” And so my journey continued. I read voraciously; reading about grief, reincarnation, life between lives, energy, The Law of Attraction, signs, etc.  I learned that coincidences really are god-incidences and to pay attention to them.  I learned that all of us are spiritual beings having a human experience and I learned that we have the power to shape our reality.  Like I said, I read voraciously and much of this genre was considered New Thought.

A dear friend of mine, Les Pendleton, and old soul, with tears in his eyes told me to read the Gospels and to start with the book of John. I had tried reading the Old Testament twice earlier in life, but had never ventured into the New Testament.  His emotional plea moved and motivated me, so I went out and purchased a NLT Study Bible. 

The red print moved me and continues to move me. I highlighted and even created a list of the passages that spoke to me; you know – the red print.  All of it is powerful, sometimes I see the power immediately and some upon reading a passage again, but there are a couple that stuck with me:  I say, you are gods!” – John 10:34 and “…anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works,…”- John 14:12. These passages, while should be taken into context of their entire passages, actually sound strikingly similar to what is considered today as New Thought.  These passages and the principles of The Secret and The Law of Attraction result in me thinking of the influence of my own thoughts.

The words and teaching of Jesus, identifiable by being in red are a roadmap of how all should be living, whether we are religious or not, and regardless what religion we are. They speak of Love, Faith, Forgiveness and not judging others.  To me, this is pretty simple and straight forward; these teachings in the gospels are crystal clear.  For example, Luke 6:37 – “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.  Forgive others and you will be forgiven.”  Straight forward, right?  There is no context to be concerned about here, is there?

This brings me to my point. As I look at the turmoil in the world, I am left to wonder how much of it we have created and how much I have created with our / my judgement and or condemnation. New Thought and the teachings of Jesus illustrate to us, that each and every one of us have a power; that our thoughts and words have power to influence our reality.  So when we stand in judgement and or condemn others in some way, how much does that focused thought or word impact those we are talking about, and how much of it comes back to impact us?  Something to ponder and in doing so, Luke 6:37 takes on a far greater significance. 

Personally, I believe that same passage applies to each of us in that, we should not judge or condemn ourselves. Again, our thoughts and words have power that many of us do not realize.  My father at times stood in judgement of me and condemned me.  My reaction was to ‘fix him’ – I took it upon myself to judge myself even more harshly than he ever could, to lessen the impact of his words.  I fixed him alright; Thank God I have made good progress in undoing that one.

In closing, understand your strength. Understand the power of your thoughts and words.  Be kind to yourself and others.  You may be very pleasantly surprised with the results. 

Blessings,

Quinton's Dad, still on a journey…