It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

I received one of the most precious gifts yesterday from my BFF, Jill…. this darling little clutch purse for the wedding.

What is so special about it is what is on the inside.

From the outside, it is absolutely gorgeous!

But when I opened it up, I burst into tears.

The lining is made from a photo of hubby and me with our soon-to-be-groom son (taken at our oldest son’s wedding from 3 1/2 years ago!)

Isn’t this such a beautiful gift?  What a wonderful idea for brides, bridesmaids, mothers of brides and grooms!  Such a unique and personal gift.  Jill ordered it from AngeeW’s ETSY shop.

And clever, beautiful, kind Jill, wrote this beautiful note.

I don’t know how I hit the lottery on most amazing BFF and friends, but I am so grateful!  And what a wonderful reminder to all of us that it IS indeed what’s on the  inside that counts.

Especially as we grow older and all the “lovely” saggy, wrinkly, things begin to happen we need not discuss, it is especially important to remember who we are on the inside.

No matter our age, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance – we all have the ability to exude a bright, loving aura.  Have you ever noticed how a person who is maybe just average looking but has a bright, positive, happy, loving disposition seems so much more beautiful?  And sometimes people who are especially physically attractive, but not kind people can become unattractive?

I love how Jill expresses it….  she sees a person’s “aura!”

Let’s make a focused effort this week (and always) to look for a person’s aura – and remember that it is what’s on the inside that counts.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

23 Ways to Spend your Tax Return that can Make you Happy and the World a Better Place

23 Ways to Spend your Tax Return that can Make you Happy and the World a Better Place

My Money Cake was featured in a recent issue of Upworthy as one of the ways to spend your tax return that can make you happy and the world a better place.

Are you getting a refund?  Hope so!  And if you do, how do you plan on spending it?

Wouldn’t it be fun to make this money cake and give it to someone in need as a surprise?  So much more fun and creative than simply writing a check.

Check out Upworthy’s great list of ideas.  There are really some great ones that I plan to do.

How about:

  • Buy individual sets of flowers and visit a senior center to pass them out.
  • Find a cool and important project helping teachers and students on DonorsChoose.
  • Donate to a local nonprofit helping your own community.
  • Pay it forward in the drive-thru or grocery store line.
  • Buy new socks and feminine hygiene products to give to a homeless shelter.
  • Donate to Meals on Wheels, then grab a friend and volunteer.

It was such an honor to be featured in this great Upworthy article.  Thank you for reaching out Michael Calcagno.

If you haven’t heard about Upworthy, you should check it out.  Their mission is to change what the world pays attention to by featuring great stories about important issues to connect us and sometimes even change the world.  Because “we’re all part of the same story.”

Thanks for being part of my little story here at the creative life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Secret of Life

The Secret of Life.

Do you ever think….
“What’s it all about?”
Life – that is…
Why are we here?
What is our purpose?

My BFF, Jill, and I have asked each other this so many times throughout the almost 30  years of our friendship, I couldn’t even count the number.

It’s become a bit of a joke, but also a bit of a reminder too.

When we first met, we were young “stay at home moms.”  And (sadly), those ones who judged working moms as lesser than we who cared for our children and homes and served on the PTA and were the best-ever “homeroom moms” who created the field day obstacle course that all other homeroom moms envied.

Sigh….

We now mock, but also guiltily regret, our young naive selves, as we have become those crazy workaholic successful business women we once despised.  And we both have the absolutely most amazing daughters (mine is a daughter-in-law, but I love her like a daughter) who are beautiful, successful working women and amazing, loving mothers.

And you know what?  No judging…  No mocking…

Life is too short for all of that!

We all do what is right for each of us.
And our children.
And our families.
Period.

And what have I learned along the way?

The secret of life is finding the JOY in the ordinary!

There are so many moments in the ordinary days of living that bring us joy…
that bring us contentment…
that make the ordinary – well – EXTRAordinary.

Like marriage.

Hubby and I have been married for 35 years!  And you know what?  I am proud of that!

I was 19 years old and he was 23 when we married.  I had no idea what life was all about.

But that same cute Hubby was on a business trip this past week and away for three nights.

He rarely travels.

In fact, I have been the one to travel many, many more times for work than him as the years have passed.

And though I was not “afraid of the dark” and the “bogey man” like I was when I was young and he went away (and that same wonderful best friend and her hubby and family actually stayed at my house with me when same hubby went away), it just wasn’t “right” without him here.

Sometimes an evening goes by with barely 50 words spoken between us.  But we are together.  He is here, and I am here, and we are together.

And sometimes that is enough.

I now wonder why we all cannot see, and wish I could share with so many who strive for and desire so much more and cannot find it, that it is okay.  In fact… it is more than okay.  It is the secret of life….

The secret of a joy-filled life….

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the “ordinary.”  The ordinary is a blessing.

The secret of life?
Finding joy in the ordinary!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  My same sweet, wonderful daughter-in-law painted the gorgeous sign pictured here  that is available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop.  She gets it!  And I am so proud of her I could burst!  

And when Hubby came home from his business trip Friday afternoon, what did he find?

… a perfectly content wife/mom/grandma/business woman (with a nasty Spring head cold and not looking her best – to say the least) sound asleep with the most beautiful  granddaughter on her chest and a half-read book.  That is joy.  That is ordinary.  That is joy in the ordinary.

 

Just when…

Just when you think you are over
the hurt, the sadness, the loss…

something happens.

It can be something
lovely and loving and special,

but still it is a reminder.

Sometimes a loss is a choice…
a deliberate decision

that has to be made to preserve your soul.

And your soul  is worth it,
so save it

and cherish the moments you are given.

 

Hugs,
Jodi

The Best Things in Life

Abstract Gold Flower 8x10 Arches 140lb Hot Press

Abstract Gold Flower 8×10 Arches 140lb Hot Press

The Best Things in Life…
aren’t things.

The Best Things in Life are..

Hugs -real, authentic, tight bear hugs,

Family – and friends who are our chosen family,

Smiles – the kind where your eyes and cheeks and whole face smiles,

Laughter – from the belly that can’t be contained,

Happy memories – of cherished moments,

Love – the verb, the action, the undeniable, overwhelming choice and joy.

The Best Things in Life
aren’t things.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Daniel Smith Watercolors:  Quinacridone Gold, Perylene Green