Rocking Into GRANDparenthood

baby mckinney sign

It is with GRAND excitement that I share the GRANDest news of all!

Our son, Jake, and Daughter-in-Law, Colleen are expecting a baby!

Which means hubby and I are rocking into GRANDparenthood!

rocking into grandparenthood

The GRANDest handmade GRANDparent Card – custom made by Jill

We could not be more GRANDly excited and happy!

You may remember my bestie Jill’s daughter just had a baby a month ago – the first McHendy GRANDbaby….

ben and jodi

Ben and “McHendy GRANDma” Jodi

Well – now Baby Ben is going to have a McHendy GRAND brother or sister!

And Jill made this GRAND rockin’ card, which she and Todd gave to Marty and I this weekend to go with a GRAND rocking chair for our front porch to rock our new GRANDbaby!

Marty Rocking

The Happy GRANDpap-to-be, Marty

We went out to dinner to celebrate, and they surprised us with this chair right in the restaurant parking lot!  (We sure have the GRANDest of friends!)

So if you haven’t figured out, I am GRANDly excited!

My Grandma was the greatest role model in my life, and I feel she has prepared me to be a GRAND Grandma.  If I can be only a fraction to our new GRANDbaby of what she was to me, it will be my GRANDest honor.

Cheers & Hugs,
Grandma-to-be, Jodi

 

The Rusty Old Bridge

Rusty old bridge

The Rusty Old Bridge

Your shiny metal has weathered to shades of orange and brown
like skin that has worked and played and laughed in the sun.

Your concrete pillars are beginning to crack under pressure
like wrinkles of worry from the stress of supporting such a heavy load.

You connected two sides – one with the other
as if you had open and outstretched arms.

And now,
though your original purpose is abandoned,

you still serve,
but in subtler ways.

a shady spot for respite from the heat
or a lazy day of fishing.

It’s time to rest Rusty Old Bridge.
You’ve earned this time.

Enjoy it
while I admire you.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

34 Years Ago…

34

34 years ago
on April 3, 1982,
a 19 year-old girl
said “I do”
to a 23 year-old boy.

They didn’t know
how quickly time would fly
creating a life together
experiencing love together
raising a family together
growing old together.

Today, a 53 year-old girl smiles
at a 57 year-old boy
whose eyes still twinkle
when she gives him a winkle.

 
One of aging’s most precious gifts
is our eyes growing bleary
causing us to look with our hearts
at those we love
and see the beauty
that radiates from within.

We don’t see the wrinkles.
We just see the twinkles
that can only be viewed
from the experience
of a lifelong love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Clouds: from Both Sides Now

november clouds 2

November Clouds – McKinney Home, Mars, PA

After posting my November Clouds photo and post yesterday, a very dear friend sent me this YouTube video early in the morning saying it was a “cloud song to go with my pic.”

Well, I got busy working and didn’t have a chance to listen to it until Charlie and I went for our lunch time walk.

The air was a bit cooler than it has been the past few days, but 55 degrees F is still pretty lovely for late November here in Mars.

So with my iPhone in hand and Charlie leading the way down our usual path, I hit “play.”

I then hit “play” five more times while we walked a few miles.

I had forgotten how much I love this song.

Or did I just realize how much I love this song?

Joni Mitchell wrote “Both Sides Now” in 1967 (I was only 4-5 years old), and recorded it in 1969 on her second album entitled, “Clouds.”

Needless to say, I was a bit young to truly appreciate it at that time.  It is, however, #171 in Rolling Stone’s Top 500  greatest songs of all time.

So I listened to the words yesterday – – –  over and over – – – and I found such deep meaning, such contentment, such freedom and liberation …

Next month, I will turn 53.  Still hard to believe, but I also realize I am on the “other side” of life.

I am obviously past “middle age” as I surely don’t expect to see 106!

And it has taken me a while to believe and “accept” this “stage” of life – this “over 50” stage…  But somehow, somewhere, at some point, it all became clear.  It all became fine.  It all became great!

It all became real and wonderful and the best time of life.

I’ve had my teens and twenties and thirties and every wonderful and  not-so-wonderful thing that comes with each of those stages.  When 50 came, I mourned it a bit.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when or why or how it happened, but I became content – even happy – maybe happier than ever – with this phase of life.

I’ve seen life and love and even clouds – from both sides now.

And life is clearer.

Life has more meaning.

Life is sweeter.

Clouds are “bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air.”

They have also “blocked the sun and rained and snowed on everyone.”

But – “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow it’s cloud illusions I recall.  I really don’t know clouds at all.”

And I LOVE that!

I’ve also seen love and life from “both sides now.”

From “give and take”

From “win and lose”

And maybe I don’t have all of the answers….

But I realize that even though “something’s lost…”

there is still….

“something gained in living every day.”

And I am cherishing every single one…

from this side now.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

“I have always thought of myself as a painter derailed by circumstance” – Joni Mitchell (June, 2000)

Hmmmmmm……

PS Thank you, Dick! ❤

Real can’t be ugly…

stuffed bunny watercolor card

How could I have missed this?

It is a classic novel.

It was made into a film, a musical, and a soundtrack.

It is a story that caused my heart to swell,
reminded me of the past,
gave me pause to consider the future.

It made me smile broadly.

It gave me a lump in my throat.

It caught me off guard and caused me to gasp.

Tears welled up, and then magic appeared.

The Velveteen Rabbit, illus. William Nicholson:

How could this be considered a “Children’s Novel” when it teaches such relevant adult life lessons?

“How about this old Bunny?” she asked.
“That?” said the doctor.  “Why, it’s a mass of germs!  Burn it at once.  What?  Nonsense!  Get him a new one.  He mustn’t have that any more!”
And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house.

How often does this happen in real life….
to real people….
whose hearts and souls are young,
but their bodies are aged, broken, weak, and have germs….?

How could I have missed this beautiful story that was never read to me as a child and that I never read to my children?

The Velveteen Rabbit.

Written almost 100 years ago, and I just bought my first copy this week…. via Amazon Prime….   for ages 3 – 7… and I am 52… and I LOVED it!

The life lessons are so deeply profound.
I so encourage you to read this… slowly – and at least twice:

The Gahan Girls: Thank you, Skin Horse. I couldn't have said it better myself.:

Thank you, Skin Horse, for your insightful wisdom.
I will try very hard to remember this every day.

Whether you have children or not, The Velveteen Rabbit is a MUST-READ!  It will be the best 10-15 minutes (depending on how long you linger over the beautiful illustrations) you’ve spent in a long time, and the best $7.49 you will spend this year.

A new, old, profound classic on our bookshelf!

It is waiting to be read to or by anyone who visits our home….   anyone who wants to know what it means to be REAL.

velveteen rabbit

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

P.S.  I was so amazed by this story (which I discovered after a friend posted a quote on Facebook), that I had to draw a version of a stuffed bunny (a velveteen rabbit) late one night.  It came freely.   From a Google Search of stuffed bunnies, I saw a photo similar to this one I painted.  It came quickly and easily, and I was delightfully surprised when I saw how it turn out the next morning – when the paint had dried, and my eyes were clear, and it became “Real.”  And “Real can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Seasons of Change

wilting sunflower

Fading sunflower at daybreak – Conneaut Lake, PA

Night fades to day –
the moon retreats as the bright sun rises.

Summer beckons Autumn’s reprieve –
when green becomes yellow or orange or red.

Flowers shrivel and wilt –
creating seeds of new life before they fade.

People wrinkle and shrink and age –
transforming the definition of authentic beauty.

Eyes blur and squint and fade –
erasing the wrinkles but not the sweet memories.

Seasons of renewal,
Seasons of hope,
Seasons of growth,
Seasons of age –

All of these seasons
are seasons of change.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Grandparent Shower!

grandparent shower burnt almond torte cake

One of the highlights of our weekend was attending a “Grandparent Shower” for some very dear friends.

Kathleen and Jack have waited quite a long time to become grandparents, and we are so excited and happy for them.

So a small group of very close friends got together to SURPRISE them with a Grandparent Shower to celebrate how happy we are for them.

Many in attendance are already grandparents.  Once couple even great-grandparents.  But what we all had in common was our love and joy for our friends who have been through a lot and are so excited to become grandparents.

Grandmas Survival Basket Card

I put together a little Gramma’s Survival basket for Kathleen.

Grandmas Survival Basket gift

And Hubby created the cutest ever Grampa’s Infant Assistant Kit – all on his own!  One Ziploc baggie was filled with “equipment” and “instructions for Diaper Changing…

Grandpas Infant Assistance Kit for Changing Diapers

and the other was filled with Nap Time Supplies, including a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey for “medicinal spirits” for our new Irish Grandpa.

Grandpas Infant Assistance Kit for Nap Time

We also gave them a keepsake book to work on to fill with Memories for their grandchild and a couple of books to read with their grandchild that are so adorably written and illustrated on How to Babysit a Grandma and How to Babysit a Grandpa.

grandparent shower gift books

I wrapped them up and added a little watercolor card I made.

A little birdie told me watercolor card and grandparent shower gift

Our hosts had delicious beverages…

grandparent shower sangria

and treats.

grandparent shower caprese salad

And fifty pink roses were displayed all around.  Can you guess what sex the grandchild is going to be?

grandparent shower pink roses

We started with a toast.

grandparent shower toast

And so enjoyed watching them open the few little gifts we bought for them to celebrate their joy.

grandparent shower kathleen and jack

Kathleen and Jack shared reading glasses,

grandparent shower kathleen and jack 2

and it was fun to watch Kathleen explain finger puppets to Grandpa.

grandparent shower kathleen and jack 3

Supplies for bath time at grandma and grandpa’s house included more pink…

grandparent shower kathleen and jack 4

soft and fuzzy stuff!

grandparent shower jack

And hubby enjoyed one of his first showers with two awesome hostesses!  Thanks Cindy and Sally.

grandparent shower marty and hostesses cindy and sally

And all under the pretense that Jack was bringing some of his amazing homegrown heirloom tomatoes to a picnic where Gary and Cindy needed them.

heirloom tomatoes

We love you Jack and Kathleen and can’t wait to celebrate and love your bundle of joy!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

 

 

A Pork Chop in Every Bottle of Beer

watercolor pork chop in every bottle of beer

So we have a friend…

We’ll call him “Rodney,” because – hey – his name IS Rodney.

Rodney’s 60th birthday was this past week, and he is one of our buddies at our local “Cheers” here in Mars called “John’s Bar.”

John’s Bar is hubby’s and my Thursday night date most weeks, and we have a gang of regular buddies we hang out with.

Rodney is one of them.

Rodney has a secret to maintaining his “girlish” figure – – – and I daresay he is quite a good looking boy for his ripe ole’ age of 60.

Rodney’s drink of choice is beer.  Lite Beer.  Coors Light Beer.

Sometimes beer is his dinner.

Because you see Rodney’s philosophy is “there is a pork chop in every bottle.”

rodney birthday card pork chop in every bottle of beer

So I made this silly little fun watercolor card for Rodney’s birthday.

watercolor pork chop in every bottle of beer 2

Of course this is all in jest.  Rodney usually has a nourishing meal to go with his pork chop.   

Happy Birthday Dear Rodney!  Love ya Buddy!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

 

The Little Things

sheltering tree and hello life

Isn’t it true?  It’s the “little things” that mean so much!

Next week at this time, I will be in (hopefully) sunny, warm Florida with one of my besties, Janet, celebrating “the little things” that have sustained our friendship for 40 years!  And seriouslyI’m not sure how that is possible when I am [ahem] barely past 40, but Janet is my oldest – really meaning “longest” together – friend.

I can’t wait to just spend time with my sweet friend doing the “little things” that have sustained our friendship through the ages, miles and miles, and extended periods of separation (Janet lived in Alaska for about a million years).

Janet is my sister and her family is my family. 

My hubby, Marty, gave me the BEST birthday gift this year.  He’s sending me off to spend time with someone I hold so dear.  And I can still hear the squeals when I called her on New Year’s Eve (my birthday) to tell her the good news.  And we are going to get to celebrate her birthday, which is just a few days after my visit.

We will talk, walk, laugh, likely cry, eat, drink, reminisce, reflect, discover, and just “BE.”

No matter how much time or space has separated us, we have always enjoyed “the little things” that make life and our friendship so precious.

So this card I created is dedicated to my Janet.

It is made from the Stampin Up Sheltering Tree and Hello Life Stamp Set.  It is clean and simple (CAS), because the message is so powerful:  Love the little things – for they are what make up the greatest joys in life.

Wishing you a wonderful day filled with many reasons to celebrate “the little things.”

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

The Old Porch Swing

snowy swing black and white

Oh the stories this old porch swing could tell…

Of afternoon story time with mama and sons,

and little boy shenanigans, plots, and plans.

Afternoon breaks for dad and mom,

important decisions discussed and planned.

Moonlight kisses,

and engagement photos.

Tears shed while swinging,

both happy and sad.

Deep conversations,

and happy reunions.

You have carried us through,

and will continue to do.