Beautiful Day


I know I cursed God along the recovery way. I absolutely did. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is what you do to me?” But the only time I really remember asking, Why me? was after blood clots were found floating in my chest and leg.


Why me, God?


On Wednesday evening, June 1, 2022, surrounded by more people than I possibly could have imagined, we put out the balloons, served up the drinks, and officially launched Unwillable! I think it was one of the greatest parties of my life. (In full disclosure, I didn’t have a drop of alcohol that night, but I did get crazy on purple and green Bubly waters).


How could I possibly make sense of my life, as I stood with my friend and old nanny, Kadence, and my friend, and person I used to nanny for, Carla. Carla used to be the mom in the van with the three kids and me riding shotgun. Suddenly I’m the mom in the van, giving out the life’s lessons to my passengers.


When did it happen that I could just call author and satirist Tony Bender and ask him to leave his life and newspaper hours away, to drive to Bismarck, and do a Facebook Live with me about writing?


How is it that I get to call myself a writer? An author.


Who could put into words what it meant to tell the guests, “My grandma’s here.” My 89-year-old grandma was there and I proudly announced it to every single person. And like any good grandma would do, she insisted that she buy a few books from me. I signed books for my grandma, the light of my life.


Or how about the family that loves me so much that they took a whole day to help lift this party off the ground. Sean lugged around giant coolers and meat and cheese trays. And Mom bought twelve balloons that she tried to maneuver through the North Dakota gusts. Dad and I secretly laughed about the sight it was with Ma cursing those shiny purple and green flyaways.


Or what about when I saw the beautiful lady walk through the door and I smiled and waved at her, but didn’t know who she was. And then it clicked. It was Erica. A star on the high basketball team then, and a teacher now. I probably haven’t seen her since I graduated (20 years ago this May, btw, Eek!). She drove hundreds of miles to be there. When I gasped in disbelief, she smiled and said, “It seemed like a big event.”


Neighbors, teachers, lawyers, judges, colleagues, nurses, pharmacists, writers, people from the church. Friends from every walk of my life were there. And I hugged every single one of them (except Kayla – drat, Kayla). They asked for my signature. They bought my book. They laughed at my jokes. They liked my shoes. They congratulated me. They smiled.


I’m just not sure what I did in this lifetime that was so right, to have such amazing friends and family. To have so much in life.


Why, God? Why me?


Love, jackie

(aka the author of Unwillable [gotta say that a few times so it sinks in])


“It’s a beautiful day Sky falls, you feel like It’s a beautiful day Don’t let it get away” ~ Beautiful Day by U2








Photo Credit: Thanks to my dear friends Kadence and Alix Hart.


Special Thanks: To my friends Beth Nodland & John Morrison for the use of their beautiful and historic downtown building, Juniper Workantile. And to Unconventional Cookies (my cousin Wit) for the bookie cookies, sponsored by my dear friend and lawyer/author, Sarah Vogel.