Tag Archives: Jonas Watch

Hurley Cox

Hurley Cox. 4 years ago today. Died peacefully in Baltimore in Hospice. For hours, people came to express their love and share their stories. The garden was alive with hummingbirds that day. All singing the joy of Hurley’s arrival back home. Live a Life Worth Celebrating. My husband certainly did! (Bottom left hand corner of picture)

This is what I wrote on my Facebook status today and on the Jonas Watch Facebook status. I can’t really write about anything else today. It is here. The remembrance of the day, the man, the years I was married to him, the year he was sick with cancer, the day he died, the four years since his death.

During our 15 year marriage, we packed more life and death into 15 years, than many people experience in a lifetime. Here is a list of a few of our experiences together

1. We had a son who lived with a congenital heart defect through two open heart surgeries and died of cancer at the age of 19 months.

2. We gave life to a beautiful daughter, Hannah who, at the age of 5, nicknamed herself, “running princess who finds diamonds.”

3. We had joint custody of my amazing daughters, Mary and Liz and raised them to adulthood.

4. We moved into a house with three falling down ceilings and 27 boarded up windows and did most of the renovating ourselves.

5. We home schooled our daughters.

6. We installed an in ground pool together (amazing we stayed married during that adventure!)

7. We celebrated life with go karts in the front yard and kite flying on the beach.

8. We had a house full of animals with 2 golden retrievers and three cats and canaries hanging from the ceiling, and aquariums of exotic and every day fish and 2 leopard geckos.

9. We planted a huge garden with a 4-H club, provided space and guidance to many children through Destination Imagination and Girl Scouts and home schooling classes.

10. I recovered from a life threatening, autoimmune condition and Hurley did not recover from multiple myeloma cancer.

Today I AM:

Sad: I miss our pillow talk, late at night, early in the morning. Our best time of the day.

Happy: Thinking about his booming laughter. You could hear him wherever he was with his out-loud, booming, body shaking, head thrown back laughter.

Grateful: For all I learned about myself because we were in a relationship together.

Determined: To live a life worth celebrating with joy during ALL of the ups and downs

Awake: To everything I can see, hear, feel, taste and touch and to live in the now of life.

I AM Living a Life Worth Celebrating.

Concert 22-Pittsburgh, PA. An Epiphany

Thanks to Christine Hammond for sponsoring the blog today. (Love ya!)

For more information on sponsoring a blog, go to www.livealifeworthcelebrating.com


July 25, 2009

Concert 22-Pittsburgh, PA. An Epiphany

Hannah slept for the first two hours of the car ride. She spent the night at the DaGrava’s, our family friends. It was good for her to have time with Katie and with Karen, my friend and Katie’s Mom. But, she was tired.

I was all revved up with ideas of how to generate money to continue the journey. As Hannah slept, my mind was thinking and dreaming. I kept reminding myself that I had enough money for the next five days and to focus on that for now. Who to call, what action to take and when…lots and lots of ideas.

When Hannah woke up, I asked if she wanted to hear some of my ideas. First, I talked with her about vlogging, a video blog. When we were in Tulsa, we talked with a videographer for 90 minutes or so and it had been really fun to share some of the stories with him. We had laughed and reminisced and he had stayed with us for a lot longer than he originally thought he would.

As I discussed this with Hannah, she had a different opinion and we ended up arguing. I was so mad, I was ready to turn around and go back to Baltimore. When I look back at it with fresh eyes this morning, I feel the tension that was in the car with us yesterday. Both of us wanted to continue the journey, but we didn’t have the crystal ball that would give us the answers! Sometimes our fears are mirrors for each other.

We worked through it over the next hour and for now, we are going to move forward and each do our own vlog. Stay tuned. I have a funny store about the Honor Society, an Oprah campaign and my passionate conversation with them about this. I will record and post it in the next few days.

We arrived in Pittsburgh with no tickets and no hope of tickets initially. Concert was sold out. We hung out and waited to see if tickets would be released. I watched the BK Apple Fries employees. There is a managing staff that travels with the tour and then they have different people who work for them at each location. The guy who was working the megaphone, at this site, had no enthusiasm, no creativity. I went up to him and demonstrated. “Get your free, ice cold, apple fries. They are delicious and healthy and the Jonas Brothers Love them!” I was demonstrating and practically jumping up and down. He told me that he doesn’t like it when the girls scream and went back to talking into the megaphone like a sleep walker. Hopeless. I walked away shaking my head.

After several hours of checking for tickets at the box office, two tickets were released. We wanted to buy the cheapest seats to stretch our money, but these two seats were the most expensive. I hesitated for about an hour. Nothing else was released. Decided to go for it.

I walked over to the Marriott to use the bathroom. (Why don’t the venues have porta-potty’s outside?!? I think that East Rutherford, NJ was the only venue so far that had toilets outside for the people who were hanging out for hours! Okay, back to the story…)

I looked at the churches surrounding the Mellon Arena. You can’t miss them. They are huge and beautiful with angels and other huge statues on top of them. I saw that one of the churches was called Epiphany Catholic Church. With all of the internal thoughts all stirred up within me, I decided to walk into the church and see if I could have an epiphany myself! Epiphany=A Divine Manifestation.

There was a church service beginning. I sat down in the pew and listened to the sermon, sang Amazing Grace with the congregation, shook a few hands to “Peace be with you,” and then left feeling warm and connected. I felt the surrender in my heart. Whatever was to happen would happen. The priest even mentioned the Jonas Brothers and how they are using their gifts to create joy.

It was time to enter the venue. Hannah was already in the seat location and I thought, “well, this is pretty good. I like these seats.”

She was in a grumpy mood and I was thinking about how spoiled we have become with some of our seats and seeing so many concerts and on and on. I was judging her reaction and wondering what “wisdom” I should share with her to learn from this situation. I decided to dance and sing and talk with her later.

During the Honor Society opening performance, I kept moving to different seats to take pictures. The usher was bringing people down and I had to keep moving back to my seat. Even though we were very close to one of the stages, the camera location was blocking ¾ of the stage. Hannah and I talked during the break and she wanted to go talk to the box office and complain.

It was in this moment that I had an epiphany. I had been settling for the seats we were given and I was telling myself to be grateful for what I had. Hannah was saying, we paid top dollar for these seats and the cameraman is blocking our view! We went to the box office, explained that we had paid for the most expensive seats and that there was nothing that said that there was an obstruction. Within minutes, we were assigned new seats (even though this was a sold out arena) and the usher led us to our seats. Oh, my word! We were in the third row facing the middle of the stage and were so close that I was looking into the eyes of each of the Jonas Brothers.

Hannah and I danced and danced and sang and sang. We had one of the best nights of the whole tour. I changed my perspective about my daughter this evening. Asking for what you want is not being selfish or ungrateful. She was right. If the tickets had been discounted because of the obstruction, we would have had a great time there. But, to pay as much as a front row seat and not be able to see the stage was wrong!

When we arrived at the hotel tonight, which was free because of points I have accumulated, I checked my e-mail. I am receiving an advance in salary from a consulting job I do on the side. There is enough money to keep going for another few weeks and that gives us time to act on some other things that will take a few weeks to complete. Thanks for the prayers and support.

An Epiphany tonight indeed!


Thanks to Christine Hammond for sponsoring the blog today. (Love ya!)

For more information on sponsoring a blog, go to www.livealifeworthcelebrating.com


I went to bed last night feeling defeated. We are home in Baltimore for 24 hours. We are staying in the house that I thought would have been sold in June until the contract fell apart when the woman lost her job of 21 years.

My friend has a few nights to go home while we figure this out.

I have needed to pay the mortgage for three months longer than I had anticipated. We are living on the edge, not knowing moment to moment if we can go on financially. Several people have paid for sponsoring the blog and being a part of the adventure. I received a loan. I have sold some copies of a book I co-authored.

I have been unable to attract corporate sponsors. I know that this is a great advertising opportunity for the right company. An ad on the blog. A logo on our business cards. A logo on the car.I know there is a creative way to do this. But, last night I was discouraged and couldn’t see any open doors.

Two days ago, I connected with my sister and her family in NYC. She lives in Florida. We live in Maryland. Our summer plans created a moment for our paths to cross and have lunch at my favorite NYC restaurant-Picante’s on Broadway between W. 139th and W. 140th Street in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. Delicious Mexican food.

As my brother-in-law, Pat and my sister, Joanne asked me questions about where and when and how, I had a flashback to several other moments in my life. They were all moments when I felt I needed to move forward with something even when I didn’t have the answers, even when I didn’t know the when and how and what. We are a family of planners and I am living in the now. I only know a day or two in advance. I know where the Jonas Brothers are going for their concerts, but I do not know how I will get there.

During the conversation, I had a flashback to when I decided to home school my children in 1996, I had been seriously ill for two years. At the moment of this epiphany, I was laying in isolation in a hospital room, unable to walk. The doctors were not sure if I had a bacterial infection. I knew it was the new medication. I hadn’t felt well since I started taking it three weeks earlier. I had arrived at the hospital by ambulance due to the fact that I could not walk.

I vowed in that moment that I would get well. Every fiber of my being knew that I would love myself to wellness. I would take charge of this and I would surrender to the journey and find the answers. And then, as if a light bulb went off in my head. I decided to home school my kids.
I announced this to the nurse who was caring for me on that day. I announced it to my husband. They nodded approval and feigned interest, but their eyes said it all. They all thought I was dying and this was one last crazy idea.

I DID get well. I DID surrender and take charge and listened for the answers. And 14 years later, I am still home schooling my youngest daughter. It has been an amazing journey. My life has been full of a richness I would not have had if I had not followed my heart.

As I sat in the restaurant, two days ago, I reminded myself of this epiphany and we talked about the journey from uncertainty that led to the journey.

Last night, I read the comments on Hannah’s blog and my blog. I thought of the amazing connections we have made and I knew that we must go on! But, how…

I awoke this morning with words from one of Jordin Sparks songs when everyone says, Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump… Over and over, I heard the words playing in my head all morning.

If these were just concerts, just a frivolous summer trip, I would never have begun this. But, something is calling us to keep moving forward. You, the reader, are calling us to this journey. Hannah and I are on this journey for all of us. It is about following a dream, living in infinite possibilities, opening to inspiration and creativity. It is about meeting you and sharing the journey and finding new ways to sustain ourselves as we travel from one end of the country to the other.

With the uncertainty of where the money is going to come from, I am pushed and stretched to try new things, to ask for help, to surrender to the journey, to take action, to listen.

Hannah and I leave for Pittsburgh in the morning. We have enough money to get to Kansas City. And in the next five days we will submit a book proposal, contact the Maryland Film Institute to see if anyone wants to use our house for a film. We will talk with the realtor, consider renting rooms, call companies to find the sponsorship. We will surrender and open to the gifts of the Universe along the way.

And we will meet you along the way.

Fourth of July: Fireworks 2008

Fourth of July
July 4, 2008


Exploring the idea of where to spend the 4th of July and see fireworks, I thought the ideal situation would be a hotel in St. Louis, MO within walking distance of the Arch. Westward Expansion. What a great symbol to celebrate Independence Day and the expansion of ourselves on this Jonas Brothers concert adventure with my daughter, Hannah. Driving from East Coast to West Coast, our travel would land us in the midwest for the 4th.

But, the hotels were booked. I checked for openings every day and I thought there would be cancellations or more rooms released. I was praying for an opening and still there was nothing…

The idea of driving downtown, paying for parking and being stuck in crowds and traffic, just to see the fireworks, was not appealing to me. So, I reviewed the hotels outside of St. Louis and finally chose a spot two days before our arrival. It was close to our destination for the next day and it would have to do.

It was hard to release the ritual of going to see fireworks. Since the death of my husband four years earlier, I had organized a 4th of July firework adventure every year. When he was alive, this was “his thing” to organize and build the family excitement along with the annual carnival in town. It was something we enjoyed as a family, but he was the inspirer with childlike excitement and a willingness to find the perfect spot and drive us to and from the location. In my heart, I didn’t want to disappoint my youngest daughter. I didn’t want to let an annual tradition die with her father. I didn’t want to let her down.

I initiated several conversations with Hannah leading up to the day. She consistently told me that said she didn’t care, it didn’t matter and she didn’t want to be in the city with the crowds and traffic. Sitting with my feelings of failure and disappointment, I finally let it go. We settled into the hotel and both of us started reviewing photos on our laptops from the last few days of travel and dove deeply into our own worlds of writing blog posts for our travel blogs.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 9.54.03 AMAround 8:30pm, I heard a pounding. It sounded like someone banging on the wall in the room next to us. Finally, I opened the drapes and looked out the window. My heart skipped a beat, I was so excited. Fireworks in four different locations were visible from the window of our hotel! We saw fireworks from downtown St. Louis and Cahokia Mounds across the river and two other places I couldn’t identify. We watched them for 10 minutes together. I was feeling so much gratitude for the luck of the location I had randomly chosen. Or was it random? Maybe I was guided here by an inner inspiration and the key was releasing and listening.

Feeling so much gratitude and fulfilled from having my desire met, I walked outside to get something from the cooler in the car. In the parking lot, I stopped and gasped. There were fireworks EVERYWHERE! We were on top of a hill and as I walked around the parking lot, I saw four.. seven..twelve.. sixteen… maybe twenty different fireworks locations. Some were so close, I could hear the boom and crackle and pop. I could smell the burning of fireworks powder. We were in the middle of the most spectacular fireworks event I had ever seen.

I noticed a couple sitting in lawn chairs, the trunk of their car open with an exposed cooler of food and drinks. They told me they lived in the area and this is the best location in the St Louis area. The fireworks continued for two hours!

Maybe this is what it really means to trust, to let go and open to inspiration. Letting go brought me something I couldn’t have envisioned with my mind. I had to connect with the longing in my heart and trust. And in that letting go and trust something magical happened.

This was a 4th of July to remember! Westward Expansion. Here we are!



Andrea Hylen and her daughter Hannah traveled all over the United States and Canada over a 3-year period writing to inspire and heal their personal grief after the death of a husband and father. They traveled to 78 Jonas Brothers concerts and moved from Maryland to California. Andrea founded the organization, Heal My Voice, a non-profit organization with programs to empower women to heal and write a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership in their homes, communities and the world. When each nine month program is completed, the stories are put into books. Go to Heal My Voice for updated information: http://healmyvoice.org/

Hannah is currently attending UCLA as a communications major. In the spring of 2016, Hannah hosted a show on UCLA Radio. You can find links to the recordings of her shows at https://www.facebook.com/seasonalsoundwaves/