Chris Carrera is back to tell us how his year in Costa Rica
with his family went. Not only does he share great songs that illustrate his
journey, but he shares many of the life lessons he learned along the way, which
include finding balance in all of life, always keep learning, find new
challenges, physically build something, music is the common language, practice gratitude
daily, don’t worry about the future, and what it means to him to go all in.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of his journey: 1st
song: “Calma-Remix” by Pedro Capo; 2nd song: “Istanbul Dubphonics –
Drumspyder Remix” by Shaman’s Dream; and 3rd song: “I Am” by Satsang.
Jordan Formichelli, the director, and Trevor Gatcomb, the male lead, talk about Dogfight, currently playing at the Player’s Ring in downtown Portsmouth. Dogfight is a musical with music and lyrics by Pasek & Paul, a duo responsible for Dear Evan Hansen, James and the Giant Peach, and The Greatest Showman. They discuss their reasons for doing the show, using the unique space at the Player’s Ring for this show, the beautiful music, and what it means to go all in.
three songs for the original cast production of Dogfight: 1st
song: “Prelude: Take Me Back”; 2nd song: “Pretty Funny”;
and 3rd song: “Some Kinda Time-Reprise”
Darden North is a mystery and thriller novelist, a presenter for writing conferences, chairman of the board of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Foundation, on the editorial board of the Journal of the Mississippi Medical Association, and a board-certified ob/gyn. Joining me from Jackson, Mississippi, Darden talks about his five novels, a few of which are being considered for film projects, what’s next, what it means to go all in, and one of his favorite teachers.
Recently I had an experience that was surreal in its timing and
a reminder of the cyclical nature of life. Mid to late July I was anxiously awaiting
the illustrations to be done for my book For I Am Yours and enjoying a rare
time of fulfillment and joy.
The day finally came that Lorraine Watry told me that she
was done with the illustrations. A few hours later, my brother told me that my
mother was in the emergency room. After
some brutal ER situations stemming from her Alzheimer’s, my mom was anxious and
disoriented during her health crisis, which made things so much worse for her. The
final stages of publishing the story I wrote about a mother’s love was juxtaposed
with a new story about my mother’s life in jeopardy. And my heart ached with
the thought of it.
That weekend I worked with Lorraine and the publisher to
finalize the book while also making plans to drive to New York with my daughter
Carol Linn to take care of my mother. What made my mom’s situation somewhat
bearable was that my oldest, Nicole, flew into Rochester with her husband the
very next day to take care of her Baba Ana. Carol Linn and I planned to join
her a few days later. We planned our road trip, down to the book we were going
to listen to on the 7-hour drive.
It wasn’t lost on me that I was about to spend an incredible
amount of time with the child who was the inspiration for my book. It had been
years since we had each other’s undivided attention. Once we dropped off Ian
and Chico, we put the audio book on and…two minutes later we turned it off. We
had so much we wanted to share with each other, from the inconsequential to the
deep thoughts and feelings that we haven’t had time or opportunity to share
with each other. We talked about stupid things that made us angry (and then
laughed about them) and important things that made us cry. We talked about our
roles as stepmoms and daughters, our fears and our dreams. And my heart swelled
with the joy of it.
When we arrived at my mom’s home, we weren’t prepared for
how much independence she had lost: She could no longer walk on her own or feed
herself; she was unable to carry on a conversation; she was weepy and afraid—a
dramatic difference from when I saw her just a few weeks earlier. Nicole was taking
care of her as well as the move from an upstairs room to a main-level room—this
after being in the hospital all night with my mom after the 4th ER
visit in 2-3 days. I looked at Nicole and was amazed by my child, now a woman;
I was completely blown away by her strength and diligence–whatever the job
might be, she accomplished it. And my heart swelled with the pride of it.
We helped Mom walk to her room and get her ready for bed and
then worked into the evening to finish the move. Nicole was leaving in the morning,
and Carol Linn and I were taking over. I have to admit that I was nervous. I
was an emotional wreck. Could I bind my breaking heart enough to take care of
my mother? I’m not sure I would’ve been able to without Nicole’s example.
The next day, Carol Linn and I followed in Nicole’s
footsteps. We helped my weeping mother get out of bed, go to the bathroom,
brush her teeth, change her clothes, eat breakfast, and drink juice. We took
turns sitting with her on the couch and holding her legs in our lap; we wrapped
a blanket around her when she was cold; we held her hand and kissed her
forehead. Most of the time she barely opened her eyes, but when she did, she
was happy to see our faces, even if she couldn’t remember who we were at times.
We stayed for a few days, but then Carol Linn and I had to make
our way back to New England to our other family members who needed us as well.
Neither one of us wanted to leave her. It pained us to walk away. How could we
leave her when she needed us so badly? Who was going to take care of her? Who
was going to feed her, help her get to her room, change her clothes? Who was
going to hold her hand when she was lost and confused? Who was going to say, “I
love you” to ease her fears? And my heart broke with the thought of it.
Once home, I checked in daily with the staff on her
progress. Every phone call confirmed my worst fears: She was crying and
disoriented in bed, refusing to get up and eat. I wanted to run back and wrap
my arms around her, hold her and wipe away her tears. But as the weeks went on,
the new medication started to kick in. She wasn’t waking up weepy anymore. She
learned to use a walker and eventually didn’t need it anymore. She started
feeding herself and carried on conversations with staff and friends and family
visiting her. And my heart swelled with the relief of it.
She is not back to where she was at the end of June, but she is much better than when we left her at the end of July. I know that eventually she will return to that dependent state because of the nature of the disease, but at least now it will be a slow decline. Even if she doesn’t remember my visits, I’ll be able to return and share the new book with her. I’m excited to read the words that epitomize my love for my children and that I now realize also echo my love for my mother. While I hold her hand and tuck a blanket around her legs, I’ll be able to tell her that I love her and that I am hers and she is mine, ‘til the end of time.
Nadine Thompson has
dedicated her life as a social entrepreneur to empowering women and creating
innovative entrepreneurial opportunities for people who want to improve the
quality of their lives. Nadine has created a number of successful businesses
under her brand Soul Purpose and is now working on her latest venture CBD
Thomas Ott earned his Ph.D. in Caribbean History from the
University of Tennessee and is the author of The Haitian Revolution: 1791-1804
and Saturday and the Witch Woman. In 2010 he retired from the University of
North Alabama to write the story of Saturday, a slave on the French side of his
ancestors and a participant in the world’s greatest slave rebellion. He joins me
from North Alabama.
Kasey Bergh found new love when she sent a text and got a
wrong number. Ultimately, they met, fell in love and got married 3 years
later. Kasey and Henry’s love story has
gone viral, not only because of that serendipitous text message but also
because Henry is 29 years younger than she is. Kasey shares the circumstances
behind their first meeting and the ways they have dealt with some of their unique
struggles in order to go all in.
Mansfield joins me again to talk about her new book The Narcissist’s Wife. This is Laura’s second book. For this
episode, we found more common ground and talked about our own experiences with narcissists,
how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from becoming enmeshed with narcissists,
and that it is possible to have a fulfilling life after we remove the toxicity in
Three songs that
would be on the soundtrack of her life: 1st song: “Breathe (2
AM)” by Anna Nalick; 2nd song: “Love in the
Dark” by Adele; and 3rd song: “This Is the Sea” by The Waterboys.
Abby Rosser lives
in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and four children. She is a former
kindergarten teacher who is now an author, publishing 5 books in 6 years, and
currently working on book 6. Abby talks about her writing journey, her books,
what it means to her to go all in, and where she finds meaning in her life.
Three songs that
would be on the soundtrack of her life: 1st song: “In Your
Eyes” by Peter Gabriel; 2nd song: “Beautiful Boy” by
John Lennon; and 3rd song: “Look Up Child” by Lauren
Molly Campbell and Krista Jackman are UNH Lecturers and have
started The HUGEmanities Project, a collaboration between The New Hampshire
Humanities Collaborative, and UNH College of Liberal Arts. It is an initiative
that highlights the engaged, active thinking and digital humanities work UNH
students are doing. We discuss why the humanities are an important field of
study, define the humanities through song, and talk about going all in.
Defining the Humanities through
song: 1st song: “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday 1939; 2nd
song: “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton 1980; and 3rd song: “For What it’s
Worth” by Buffalo Springfield 1966.