Father’s Day

Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads!  Here is a photo taken a couple years ago of me between two of my faves:  my Dad and Hubby.

And in honor of Father’s Day, I want to share a blog post I originally wrote and posted five years ago.  Today also happens to be my Dad’s birthday, so it is a very special day indeed!


July 17, 2014

Today is a very special Anniversary…  A day that brings back floods of memories…  floods of emotions….  reflections on time missed…  but celebration of time and love shared…  from here on…

You see – Today is a Father-Daughter Anniversary.  Today is the 4 year anniversary of my reunion with my Dad (my “birth father”).

And I  thought it deserved a special anniversary card to send to Dad to help us cherish the day.

word traveler train cherish dad anniversary 4 card

So you might think that sounds a bit odd…. Father and Daughter Anniversary???

Well – I’m going to share a kinda big chunk and pretty personal part of my heart today.  So – if you’re not into that or not interested, you may just want to skip this blog.

So here goes…

On July 17, 2010, I was reunited with my Dad (my “birth father” Dad so as not to be confused with another great man in my life that I also call Dad – I know – a bit confusing – and on top of that both of their names are John!).

It was a day neither of us will ever forget.

The reason(s) for our separation for 39 years is really not the point or purpose of this story, nor do I feel appropriate to share, but the joy in our reunion is the focus here….  And oh what JOY we have shared.

For our second Christmas together again in 2012, I presented Dad with a book I wrote for him.

dadbook

I called it, “The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl.”  The book is a celebration of our initial exchange of emails leading up to our reunion that covers the course of only a few short weeks, but close to 70 pages of exchanges.  It chronicles how we discovered each other again – an adult daughter close to 50 years old – and an even more adult father – close to 70 years old who last saw each other when the little girl was 9 years old and the Daddy was just barely past 30.

We (well mostly I) asked each other questions (sometimes difficult ones) and our exchanges evolved from closings with “John (BF)” to “Love you, Dad”s.

Let me share the “Introduction” with you here.

———-

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl.  Jodi had a Mom and a Dad and a little brother.

Life was good, until one day when Daddy left.  Then Jodi just got to visit with Daddy on the weekends, until a day came when Mom introduced Jodi and her brother to a new Dad, and told her she would not be seeing her other Daddy any more.

Jodi lived a good life.  Her new Dad and Mom took good care of her and her brother and her new baby sister, but Jodi always felt something was missing.

She thought of her first Dad throughout her life.

She dreamed of bumping into him on the street… their eyes would lock, and they would immediately recognize each other.  Dad would tell her he loved her and missed her and was so proud of the woman she had become…..

Sometimes dreams do come true…”

———-

Marty (for those new here – the hubster), was instrumental in helping me find my Dad.

It is so much more incredibly easier than imaginable with the internet and people search software these days.

Marty has known for years – probably before I even realized – that there was a part of me missing – that there were unanswered questions – that there was a dad out there that I needed – and who needed me.  He has asked me over the years about it – ever since we started dating when I was a mere 16 year old high school girl and he was a “mature” 20-year old “man.”  (That story is a whole blog post for another day).  When Marty realized my yearning had grown so strong, and my need was so great, he was the one that took the step to reach out for me, and the resulting reply is etched in my mind and on my heart forever:

“Hi Jodi – Yes. I am your “Birth Father.”  It was an answer to prayer hearing from you.  I hope that you and John are both fine.  To this day, I regret the worst decision I have ever made.  I was talked into doing something, but I had my own mind.  At the time, I thought I was doing the best thing for your two.  Can you ever forgive me?”

And so began my Journey back to Daddy’s Girl.

And now we celebrate four wonderful years of being a reunited father and daughter, which began on July 17, 2010 when my Dad showed up to my house with a huge bouquet of flowers, a face that looked exactly like mine (and resembles Tom Jones I think only to me 🙂 ), immediately telling me he loved me, and he missed me, that I was beautiful (only to him I’m sure 🙂 ),and he was so proud of me.  You see – he wanted to fulfill my dream…  He wanted our reunion to be the wonderful event I had dreamed about over the years…

We both cried – happy and sad tears.  And we have talked almost every day since then.  We’ve spent  birthdays and holidays and Father’s days together.  He was with me at our son Jake’s wedding.  He loves my family as his own.  His family has embraced me as their own.  They have always known about me, and they welcomed me with open arms.

I will never forget the first time I met my Dad’s wife, Carole (aka Mom 2).  The first thing she said to me was, “Your Dad always promised me a daughter, and now I have one.  We’ve been praying for you for a long time.”

The epilogue of my book closes with:

———-

And so it began …….

With a simple email …

A journey back to Daddy’s girl.

And now, two and a half years later …

… we write each other almost every day

… and talk every weekday morning at 7:05

We’ve spent Father’s days together and holidays and birthdays and are part of each other’s lives again.

Our families love each other and we love each other.

‘What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life’

Dreams do come true!

this is not THE END.”

———-

071710

Father & Daughter Reunion Day – July 17, 2010

I hope this message will encourage those adult children who were separated from birth parents – at whatever age (birth, childhood, teenager, young adult) – for whatever reason – to reach out and try if it is something that has yanked on and ached in your heart for years.

Maybe your ending will not turn out as good as mine did  (and of course there is much more to our story than I’ve shared here so far) , but can anything hurt more than the emptiness and not-knowing that you feel every day?  Could the potential rejection be any worse than what you have imagined or decided or dealt with for years in your heart?

Love is worth the risk.  It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  Closure or resolution or answers to decades of unanswered questions can let you sleep at night…  can bring you peace… can make you right with yourself!  I’m certainly not an educated or trained professional in this area, but I can only speak of my own personal experience.

I wish you joy.  I wish you peace.  I wish you resolution.  I wish you wholeness of heart – no matter the ending.  YOU are worth it.  YOU are here for a reason.  YOU are loved.

Happy 4 year “Anniversary” Dad!  I love you, and I cherish you!   (And I’ve been listening to “our song” again this week.  I’m betting you will too.)  ❤  “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life!”

Cheers and Hugs,

Jodi

Lemon Love

Lemon Love.

When life gives you lemons,
paint them!

I don’t know why lemons get such a bad wrap.
(you know – the old, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”)

I guess because they are sour,
but there is so much to LOVE about them!

This year, they are all the rage in summer decor.
I even bought a few faux lemon trees to decorate with.

And then there are ALL the wonderful
things you can bake and make with them!

Give me Lemon Crinkle Cookies
or Fresh Strawberry Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

Give me Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake
or Lemon Lavender Loaf.

I’ll take Lemon Butter Scallops
or Pan Seared Lemon and Garlic Mahi Mahi.

Give me Lemon Butter Chicken
or Lemon Garlic Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin.

I’ll take it with a crisp, lemony Chardonnay
or Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy!

But for today,
I’ll just paint lemons!

Bright, summery,
happy, sunshiny lemons!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS.  Don’t they look fun on these pillows?

And these bar stools?

And make cute cards?  🙂

(click on the photos for information on how to purchase any of these and many other fun, lemony items in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY and Society6 shop!)

The Only Way

The Only Way.

The only way to fully embrace
Your life…

The only way to move forward
and see the beauty all around You…

is to have the strength
and the courage

and the wisdom
and the love for yourself

to let go of the things
and the people

you cannot
change

even when it goes against
what you think is “right.”

Let go of the guilt.
Let go of the burden.

Own your truth.
Own your dignity.
Own your worth.

When you do,
you will find peace.

You will discover You.
It’s the only way.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Anticipation

“Anticipation” Cliffs of Moher, Ireland Watercolor Painting by Jodi McKinney 11×14

Anticipation.

As we walked the path
and climbed the hill

anticipating what might await us
from the top,

nothing could have prepared us
for the beauty.

I lagged behind a bit
letting hubby get a head start

anticipating the joy
I knew would show on his face.

I snapped a photo,


but wanted to paint the “feeling.”

I struggle with painting landscapes
so I was excited to happen upon a YouTube video by Angela Fehr

introducing an online course called,
“Heart-Led” Landscapes.

It was exactly what I was looking for,
and I love the freedom it has given me to try a new approach.

This was my first attempt at a
“Heart-Led” Landscape.

It is not meant to be an exact duplicate
of the photo.

It is meant to reveal my heart and emotions
when I look at the photo.

Not knowing where my heart would lead,
this painting speaks “Anticipation” to me.

Can’t wait to do more!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Daisies, Peace & Love

Daisies, Peace & Love.

I wanted to paint a daisy for a special reason recently.

I’ve tried before – quite a while ago – actually three years ago – and was not really happy with the result.  (Though looking back now I kinda like it…. funny how that is sometimes.)

Anyway – I went searching on Pinterest for some inspiration and happened upon an artist I fell in love with:  Alex Tolstoy.  Her style is one of my favorite ways to paint – and to look at paintings!  So this is an attempt at her daisy.

I want to do more painting like this and can’t wait to try some original pieces based on this inspiration.

Wear daisies in your hair, peace in your soul, and love in your heart!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi