The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Grandma’s Bleeding Heart – A Mother’s Day Flower

The Best Mother’s Day Gift.

When I was a young, extremely naive, stay-at-home mom
to two energetic and spirited little boys,

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” would have been
an hour or two of peace and quiet all to myself to do whatever I pleased.

But now that I am an older, experienced, working-outside-the-home mom
to two amazing and independent young men,

and have gained two “daughters”
and a granddaughter too…

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” has become
an hour or two of time together

to love and laugh and appreciate
the greatest gift of all…

The gift of
being a Mom!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

7 Things I Learned in 2017

  1.   I believe I married one of the smartest men in the universe.  Not only does he know everything about history and geography and science, he knows how to fix almost anything (with very few exceptions), and he innately wants to help everyone – from family and friends to strangers – by using his knowledge and skills.  We may not always agree on everything (like politics or what to watch on TV), but I think I have grown to love and admire him more this year than in all the 39 years of knowing him.
  2. Watching my oldest son become a father and watching  the love and adoration between him and his child grow is one of the most beautiful gifts a mom can receive.
  3. Watching my youngest son marry the love of his life and the joy she brings to him is all I could ever ask for.
  4. Spending time with my first daughter-in-law sharing our love of handmade crafting or our greater love of my first grandchild are some of my favorite times this year.
  5. Gaining a second daughter-in-law has expanded my heart even more than I could have imagined, and being welcomed into her family has been such an added bonus.
  6. There is no word (someone must come up with one) to express the indescribable joy felt when watching your first grandchild smile at you for the first time, reach her arms out to you when she sees you, and say “MahMaw” (Grandma) for the first time!
  7. Turning 55 (today!) isn’t so bad.   Getting to this stage of life has brought more blessings – more love – deeper relationships with family and friends –  than the disadvantages of  extra weight, extra sags, extra grays, and  extra wrinkles.

2017 was a pretty awesome year!  I encourage you to think of seven things you learned or loved in 2017.  I am sure there are many more than you realize.

Out of the 365 days…
or perhaps the 8, 760 hours….
maybe even the 525,600 minutes….
How do you measure a year?

I measure it in love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Stella Star – Remembering Grandma

This week of Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  I couldn’t share favorites without including one of my all-time favorite people …. Grandma…. my Stella Star…. in this post I wrote 3 1/2 years ago. 
This day is also a day of sad remembrance of a sweet little boy (shown below with Grandma and Grandpap and me in 1968) – my brother, Johnny, before life and alcoholism stole his life as an adult when he decided one year ago today to step in front of train and let us know there would be no “Clarence” for him….

It was also the birthday of my beautiful, sweet, loving sister-in-law, whose life was cut way too short at 50 years old several years ago to cancer.

Life brings many memories – happy and sad, good and bad.  If we didn’t love, loss wouldn’t hurt so much…..  But it’s still worth it….  And it’s ok to have sad memories as well as happy ones.  It means we loved…. and that’s what life is about.

Stella Star – remembering grandma

Grandma & Grandpap, Johnny & Jodi - 1968

Grandma & Grandpap, Johnny & Jodi – 1968

Grandma was my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E person in the whole wide world growing up.

I have so many happy memories about Grandma I could probably write an entire book.

I took a walk on my lunch break yesterday afternoon in between raindrops and thunderstorms, and for some reason, I thought about Grandma an extra lot on that walk.

I think everything about early summer – the sights, the sounds, the smells – remind me of Grandma.

Maybe it is because I spent almost EVERY SINGLE DAY of EVERY SINGLE SUMMER growing up at Grandma’s house.

Oh – it was the BEST camp ever!

I learned so much from a lady that had to quit school in 4th grade to stay home and take care of her three younger brothers after their young mother passed away. At the ripe ole’ age of about 9 or 10, Grandma became mother, housewife, laundress, seamstress, cook, repair person, gardener and lawn tenderer. Can you even imagine? And this is long before automatic washing machines and dryers and sewing machines, disposable diapers, microwaves, cell phones, Google and Youtube, even indoor bathrooms! This was hard work – all day long – every day.

So though grandma was not formally educated, she was one of the smartest people I knew, and I learned so much from her – more than I realized at the time and even more the older I get looking back. She taught me important STUFF about real life – about cooking – about nature – about relationships – about acceptance and being the best of yourself. It was often disguised in humor or tough love or late night talks or swings on the porch or while picking blackberries. She wasn’t really trying to teach me by telling me how to be or what to say or how to act (or was she?). She lived her life in a way that demonstrated it and allowed me to experience it.

Oh she did some pretty UN-smart things too……. Like cutting off half of her middle finger on the lawn mower blade while trying to remove stuck grass without shutting off the mower…. Or cleaning some tough grime off the kitchen floor with gasoline and getting too close to the oven and catching the house on fire….

She never got her driver’s license after driving THROUGH the garage door, but she somehow managed to get around.

G3

Grandma, Jodi & Jake 1987

She couldn’t balance a checkbook, but she was the best penny pincher and gift giver ever.

She did, however, make the absolute best blackberry piecoffee soup (half coffee/half milk and lots of crumbled up saltines or chunks of toast), homemade sauerkraut and pierogies and halupkis and liver ball soup and apricot bread and nut rolls and salmon patties and dandelion salad and dumplings – oh my!

She also taught me things like how to make beautiful, colorful bouquets of Queen Ann’s Lace(many consider a weed) by putting food coloring in a mason jar vase of water so that when the flowers “drank the water,” their white petals turned pink or green or blue.

She taught me how to build a tent and a fort and how to camp out in the woods (about 500 feet from the house – but oh so far and vast when I was young). Thought I must admit I’m still not very good at that woodsy stuff…. Trying!

She could also splice electrical wires and do plumbing repairs.

She even allowed me to learn through crazy experiments like the time my friend, Janet and I decided we were going to boil worms (in her kitchen) for a science fair experiment! Or clean myself up in her bathroom with her yellow towels after experimenting with a mud mask facial – with REAL mud from the gravel road! (Oh the breakout after that escapade…)

What a sport she was – what a mentor – what a hero!

When grandma got older and became sick, it was my time to repay her. I hope I made her feel as loved as she did me.

G4

Grandma, Jodi, & Nick 1990

I’ll never forget the time when she was recovering from a surgery and stayed with Marty and me in our small home in the spare room so we could look after her closely. I was pregnant with my first son, Jake at the time, and still working full time. Grandma was having trouble sleeping at night and would get chilled and shake and couldn’t get warm. She called out in the middle of the night and Marty got her an electric blanket, but nothing worked. She kept trembling and shaking until I climbed on top of her – pregnant belly and all – wrapped my arms around her and calmed her until the shivering stopped – warmed from my body heat – and love. And we slept through the rest of the night. I know she would have done the same for me. That is the kind of love she taught me.

Her name was Stella, and I thought that was the silliest name when I was young. She loved her name, however. She would proudly tell me that Stella meant “star,” and as I look back, I realized she was – and still is – my shining star.

Do you have a Stella Star in your life?

G1

Stella Star & Her #1 Fan – 1985

I sure hope so. There’s nothing better.

Love you Grandma – then, now, and at all the stages of Life In Between…

Cheers and Hugs,
Jodi

A Merry Grinchmas Celebration

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comA Merry Grinchmas Celebration.

As I sit by the fire late Christmas evening – basking in the warmth and glow of a wonderful Christmas holiday spent over the past week or so with many of those I love most, I feel so grateful.  The house is quiet, except for the dishwasher running, the fire crackling, and a holiday movie playing in the background.

I’m feeling peaceful and content.

There is nothing like the excitement leading up to Christmas, and I loved hosting three dinner parties three days in a row (and that’s not counting one the weekend before).  But there is also something very special too about the days that follow Christmas….

The calm afterglow…  The snuggling in…  The nesting…  Looking at pictures… Smiling at the memories.

Movies, books, leftovers, jammies…

Today, I want to share a fun party we had this past Saturday, the eve of Christmas eve, with our McHendy family.

My bestie, Jill and I decided we wanted to surprise our families with a theme, so we created a McHendy Grinchmas Celebration.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comA Happy Whoville feast –

complete with Roast Beast (Beef Tenderloin),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comWho Mash (Mashed Potatoes),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGrinch Greens (Sauteed Fresh Green Beans with garlic),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand Cindy Lou Who Salad (Crisp Greens, Tart Pomegranate Seeds, Crunchy Pecans, and Creamy Goat Cheese).

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThis feast was preceded by some fun appetizers earlier in the day, including Grinchy Green Deviled Eggs,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGrinch Santa Hats,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand a Tortilla Wrap Christmas Tree.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comAnd it was followed by a tiered tray of Grinchmas Cookies,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand plenty of other sweet treats.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comEach guest received a little favor bucket that included a green ornament with a tiny red heart and lime green and red candies,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comas well as a Grinch beanie hat (which we all wore for a fun family photo – with the exception of hubby who wore a full furry Grinch onesie!)

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThe games planned took a different twist than intended, but ended up being just as fun!

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThere were sleigh rides and races,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comI Spy the Who Hash,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand boxed games around the cleared dinner table.


Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGuests of honor

adorned the powder room and office doors.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comAnd as we ate and played and talked and laughed and cried, we celebrated being family in every true, authentic sense of the word.  And we reminded ourselves that “Merry Christmas doesn’t come from the store.  Maybe Christmas perhaps is a little bit more.”

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comCheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl

This week leading up to Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  This post is a special one.  It celebrates a very special event in my life.   A Journey back to Daddy’s Girl…

The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl – Happy 4th Anniversary Dad!

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

Dear Kitchen Table

This week leading up to Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  This letter to my kitchen table makes me smile.  It still remains sturdy and proud in our kitchen – though it is usually covered with a table cloth these days.  I love the memories formed around our kitchen table.

Dear Kitchen Table

kitchen table

My Dear Ole’ Kitchen Table –

I know you are growing old and tired and worn (and as I look at this photo I took of you just yesterday, I realize it even more!)  There are days I think I want to replace you – or at least refinish your surface.  Many a discussion has been had about you!

But then I remember all the things we’ve been through together… The memories you’ve been a part of…  The people that have sat around you…    the food and festivities you have held…    the activities that you supported….   the different homes you have moved to with us through the years….  and I have a hard time parting with you.

Remember all those Christmas cards we colored on you?  Hours and hours over the years of markers and ink accidentally sliding off the paper onto you, which you gracefully accepted.

Remember how many times milk was spilled on you?  It often slithered through the cracks and off the edge onto the floor, but you never complained while we all scampered to gather clothes to wipe you off and rearrange dinner.

Remember homework, filling out school papers, permission slips, sick notes….?

Remember science projects and art projects?

Remember gift wrapping sessions with paper and scissors and tape and boxes and bags and tags?

Remember daily family dinner time conversations?   Arguments?   Laughter?   Prayers?   Tears?

Remember games of Chutes and Ladders, Old Maid, Monopoly, Life, Trouble, Five Crowns, Rummy, Yahtzee, Set, Operation, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, and the hardest of all on you – Jenga!?

Remember breakfasts with friends with strips of sizzling bacon, stacks of pancakes, bowls of eggs, and cups and cups and cups of coffee?

Remember when the boys were in high school and we hosted weekly Thursday night flag football games for 5 or 10 or 15 at a time – and then served pots of spaghetti or chili or whole hams or turkeys or roasts to all for dinner – always with a cake or pie or plates of cookies for dessert for hungry growing boys (and girls!)?

Remember vacation-planning sessions discussed around you – like our trip to Hawaii with Jill & Todd – or reminiscing about favorite vacations like our Caribbean Cruise where we met our wonderful Bubby and Glenn or our ultimate excursion to Alaska with our sweet Janet?

Remember our first Christmas reunited with Dad and Carole and Aunt Gwen and Uncle Frank and John and Jeff and Dawn and Jen and the whole gang?

Remember bantering and jokes between Pap and Ron?

Remember shower and wedding planning discussions for Jake and Colleen?

Remember meeting Liz and seeing how happy she makes Nick?

You’ve cooled cookies and cakes and pies on warm summer days and cold winter evenings.

You’ve held fresh flowers and birthday cakes and candles.

Each scratch and fade and mark is a reminder of all of these times….

Thank you for being with our family and helping to keep us in touch with each other.  You were often the center of important deep and meaningful conversations.  Other times you were pounded on as we laughed until we cried…..   or cried until we laughed.

You may not be as beautiful as you were 24 years ago when we bought you from the quaint shop that sells handmade Amish-built oak furniture, but neither am I?

And I’m ok with you if you’re ok with me.

What we have together goes much deeper than superficial “looks.”

Thank you, my dear ole’ kitchen table, for all you have given to our family.

With love,

Jodi

*This post was inspired by Thursday’s Daily Prompt at The Daily Post, entitled:   Literate for a Day:   Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

The Family Bookshelf – My Memory Box

This week leading up to Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  I hope you enjoy this visit to my family bookshelf – my memory box – as much as I do revisiting it and looking at it every day.

The Family Bookshelf – My Memory Box

the family bookshelf

Do you have a favorite place or space in your home?

One of my favorite spaces in our home is the family bookshelf.

It’s kind of center stage in the great room commanding half of one wall measuring about 8 feet wide by 9 feet tall.

Hubby custom built this a few years after we built our house.

My “usual” seat on the couch directly faces this “memory box,” and sometimes I just stare at all the memories while hubby is staring at the television or the latest book he is reading in the evening.

It’s filled with so many favorite things…

There are a lot of family photos – some from a long time ago and some more recent…

Like our oldest son at 4 years old playing a toy saxophone and then a framed newspaper clipping of him playing a saxophone solo in the high school band.  There’s one of him and his beautiful wife – our beloved daughter-in-law.  There’s one of him and his Dad with a cake they made for a Cub Scouts competition and one in his “cap and gown” at his preschool graduation.

There are photos of our youngest son dressed in his favorite Halloween costume that he wore two years in a row when he was Peter Pan at 4 and 5 years old, in his football uniform for midget football, sticking his tongue out with his Dad and brother on a summer trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park, grinning at me at his preschool graduation, with me at a Kindergarten party where I was his homeroom mom, and with his sweet girlfriend now.

There is a photo of my hubby with his sister when they were young children…  a sister and aunt who we loved dearly and lost way too early from cancer.

And there is a photo of my father-in-law taken on his last day on this earth when he was blessed with a surprise visit from a favorite niece from far away who he hadn’t seen in years.  It is such a sweet memory to see him so happy just hours before he left us.  We will never be able to express enough gratitude to this sweet lady for the joy she brought him that special day.

There are photos of friends and fun times, like a trip to Hawaii with our besties and holiday celebrations with all of our kids.

There are a few books, some significant, some not…  There are high school yearbooks, photo memory books, bibles, favorite children’s books – like our very favorite bedtime read-aloud story book – “Bob and Jack – A Boy and his Yak.”  There are baby books for each of the boys and a special memory book made by my cousin Joyce and given to me at Christmas featuring my first year blogging at LifeinBetween.me.  There are books read at book club and business books and bird books and favorite fiction authors.  There is a copy of the book I wrote and had bound as a gift to my Dad for our second Christmas together after reuniting.  Our wedding photo albums sit on one of the shelves.

Then there are other sweet memorabilia, like our youngest son’s stuffed animal “Curious George” who he loved so dearly as a child and slept with every night.

There is the birthday bear my Dad sent me on my first birthday after we reunited after too many years apart with a sweet note saying, “Happy Birthday Jodi, My Little Girl.  Love you, Dad.”

It was my 48th birthday.

And there is the little trinket box he gave me that says, “Daughter – With all the Beauty on the Earth, there is nothing more Beautiful than you.”

There’s a statue of a yellow lab that was my father-in-law’s sweet memory of his beloved “Brandy.”

There’s a cruise ship trophy our oldest son won singing Karaoke on a cruise with his now wife on a family vacation he went on with her family.

There are “Friends” blocks given to me from my BFF.

There is a photo album of our Cleveland friends wearing Pittsburgh Steelers shirts and poses too explicit to share here after they lost a family bet during a rival football playoff season.

There is a gorgeous painting from a faraway friend who suffered from a life-altering traumatic brain injury that completely changed her life and turned a corporate CEO into an artistic genius and a genuinely beautiful creative inspiration.  I bought her very first piece of artwork, and I treasure it so dearly.

My heart is smiling as I type and recall these memories.

You see – a home is not brick and mortar.  It is not plaster and paint.

It is the memories.

It is the family and friends and people you share it with.

My favorite little plaque hanging on another wall in our home says it all….

“The thing I love most about my home is who I share it with.”

So that is my special home “space.”

What is yours?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

10 Months Ago Today…

10 Months Ago Today.

I crossed the railroad tracks today,
like I do so many days.

And I realized, after the fact,
that for the first time in 10 months

I didn’t get a lump in my throat…
I didn’t hold my breath…

I didn’t think of you
and the decision you made

10 months ago today.

It caught me off guard…
Made me both happy and sad.

Only 10 months ago
you were still here…

barely hanging on…
but still there was hope.

10 months later
there is no more hope

and the memory is beginning
to fade.

I want to be happy,
yet that makes me sad.

10 months ago today
you took your life away.

Rest in peace dear brother.
Rest in peace.

Love,
Jodi

Let’s be Better Fixers

The Old Farmall Tractor, Mars, PA - September, 2017

The Old Farmall Tractor, Mars, PA – September, 2017

Let’s be Better Fixers.

Grandma was a fixer….
From very early on, when she was only 9 or 10 years old,
she was the cook, laundress, housekeeper, and “mother” to her younger siblings after her young mother died.

She learned to splice electric wires and plumb a bathroom,
she could make a hearty feast from a bone,
she mended and hemmed and soaked and bleached and waxed and scrubbed.

She did this throughout her entire life.
She washed out bread bags and hung them on the line to dry to re-use.
She repaired lawn mowers and glued broken concrete bird baths back together.

When I was young, I thought it silly.
Sometimes I was even embarrassed of her patched clothes
or meager belongings and “fixed” things.

But Grandma is gone.
And the longer she is gone, the more I admire the way she lived.
She didn’t throw things away – she fixed them.

Do we too quickly throw things away these days?
Marriages?  Friendships?  Aging parents and grandparents?
Kids with bad behavior or bad grades?

We need to cherish what and who we have while we have them.
Because some things we love won’t last or be with us forever.
We should love, care for, fix when broken, and heal when sick our “broken” things.

We keep them because they are worth it.
Because we are worth it.
Let’s try to throw less away, and let’s be better “fixers!”

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad’s birthday.

I am so glad to have him in my life to celebrate.

This is one of the very few pictures I have from my early childhood.

As a child of divorce, many photos of my early life were destroyed along with the marriage that ended.  I suppose in an effort to erase the “mistake.”

But I am so grateful for this photo shared with me by my sweet aunt of a birthday celebration that was shared by my brother and cousin.

Sadly, half of the people in the photo are no longer with us…
Cancer, aging, murder, suicide… Many of us can relate to similar losses.

But I have my Dad in my life, and today is his birthday.
And I am choosing to cherish these moments!

By the way – can you tell which two we are?
I think we look so much alike!

Happy Birthday Dad!
From your only daughter.
Your first-born child.

You were my first great love.
You are the man I am still discovering.
The Daddy I am still allowing myself to remember.

Thank you for being back in my life.
Thank you for healing the wounds.

Thank you for ending the nightmares.
Thank you for fulfilling the dreams.

I love you.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi