Dear Future Me

Dear future me

Dear 73-Year Old Jodi:

I’ve written a letter to us in the past before (Dear 13-Year Old Me), but I thought it might be fun to write a letter to future us this time.

It was one thing to look back and give wisdom to young Jodi, even though we couldn’t do anything about it “then,” but what would I like to say to the future Jodi 20 years from now at 73 years old?

53 is a good age.  How is 73 treating us?

At 13, I thought 53 was ancient, but guess what?  It really doesn’t feel that way.

Nick asked me just last week, when time turned  the number up a notch to 53, how it felt to be 53 years old.  I think he expected me to complain about getting “old,” but I surprised him (and hubby, who literally laughed out loud) when I told him it felt pretty darned great!  “53!  It’s the number to be,” I said smiling and raising my arms as if I’d won an Olympic gold medal.

Do we still feel that way about being 73?  I hope so.

Right now, I know that on the inside, we are still the same person  at 53 that we were at 43 or 33 or 23 or 13 or 3.  Who cares if the skin is a bit saggier, we have more wrinkles, more gray hair, rounder bellies?!  We’ve earned it!  If we made it this far, we have had the privilege of experiencing and enjoying every other one of those numbers, so let’s not waste our life wanting to go back to them.  Let’s embrace right now and what the present offers us.  We only get one chance – 365 days – to be this age – so let’s make the best of it.  Let’s use all the experience and wisdom we gained in the last 72 years to make this the best year yet.

When you read this, dear 73-yearold Jodi, lift your arms in victory, smile, and boldly declare, “73!  It’s the number to be!”

Love,

jodi christmas eve 2015

53-year old Jodi

 

 

 

 

Have you heard of FutureMe.org?  Apparently it has been around since 2004, but I’ve just learned about it.  According to their site,  over 4 million letters have been written to the future by people just like you and me.  Wouldn’t it be fun to receive a surprise letter from the past you some day you choose in the future?

Usually it is the future that will reflect back on the present, but FutureMe.org decided to flip that around based on the principle that memories are less accurate than emails.

So why not give it a go?  Send your future self “some words of inspiration, or maybe a swift kick in the pants!”  “Share some thoughts on where you’ll be or what you’ll be up to in a year, three years.. more?”  FutureMe.org will do the travel magic and deliver the letter (via email) to you – Future YOU!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Giving Plate Gift

givingplate 1

My BFF Jill is one of the most generous and amazing gifters I know, so I could not let this week of gift sharing pass without sharing her gift to me (and many) that is also a gift I can give.

What is better than receiving a gift you can give?

The #givingplate is a plate meant to be given away.  The recipient is asked to sign the back with a gold paint marker that is included,

givingplate 5

fill the plate with goodies or a meal or any kind of gift,

givingplate 2

and give it away.

givingplate 3

The person receiving it is asked to do the same,

givingplate 4

allowing the #givingplate to “tell the story.”

The story of its travels and those that gave and received it.

Jill spent several weeks going to a ceramic shop hand painting, glazing, and getting 20 or so of these plates made to share with friends and family.

The funniest thing about this gift is that it is one I almost did myself.

One day in early December, Jill and I were browsing at Home Goods, and I was looking at plates and started telling her an idea I had for a Christmas gift that is made by painting a message on a plate for people to give away and share.  I asked her what she thought of the idea.

She said, “Don’t do it.”

At first startled, I looked at her smiling, and I knew!

She was already doing it.

Quite the sign of “soul sistas” I say, when out of all the gifts we could think to create, we both think of this!

Mine would never have been done so lovely, so I am super happy she did it, and I got it, and I get to give it away!

Who knows – it may end up in one of your hands/homes one day!

#payitforward

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

Giving Keys and Mini Beers

Our family is so fortunate to have a “best friend” family.  My BFF Jill and her family make up our extended chosen family.  Together we are the McHendy Family (a combination of McKinney and Henderson). 🙂

Our kids have grown up together.  We have spent Christmases and New Years and many other holidays and celebrations together through the years (as well as a few trying times, tragedies, changes, and everything else life throws at all of us!).

This Christmas, even though are kids are grown – – with a few married and a few moved away to other states – – we were able to all gather together the day after Christmas to celebrate our family friendship.

I like to share small, but hopefully meaningful gifts with our McHendy family.

mchendy girls giving keys bracelets

This year, I was excited to find The Giving Keys for the girls.  If you haven’t heard of it, I urge you to check out their website and their mission.  Per their website, “The Giving Keys exists to employ those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys that get sold and shared around the world. Each key is unique and carries a message like HOPE, STRENGTH, DREAM or COURAGE. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else who needs the message on the key, they give it away and then send us the story of their key being paid forward.”

I ordered a key bracelet (The Never Ending Bracelet) for each of the girls and had the word “Grateful” engraved on it, because I am grateful for each one of them in my life.  After they wear it for a while, they are to pass it on and express their gratitude to someone in their life.

mchendy girls giving keys bracelets 2

For the boys, I painted “McHendy” in gold sharpie on a shot glass for each of them.

McHendy shot glasses

To try to get them all to look relatively the same, I chose a font I liked and printed the word “McHendy” out on a sheet of white paper.  I cut it out to fit into the glass and simply drew over it while it was inside the glass.

mchendy boys shots 2

Once opened, we filled each shot glass up with a “Mini Beer.”   Have you ever had one?  They actually taste more like a creamsicle than beer, but they look like a little glass of beer, so are fun to make.  (To make a Mini Beer, simply fill a shot glass 2/3 full with Licor 43 and top with a splash of heavy cream)

mchendy boys shots

Here’s a picture (sorry a bit blurry) of our McHendy “Kids” who I love so dearly (including a few new members!)

McHendy Kids at Christmas 2014

Here they were what seems like about 10 minutes ago…

jules1

Cherishing memories then and now!

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

 

 

My Revised Holiday To Do List

What are you up to this weekend?  Do you have a crazy, long, exhausting “To Do” list for getting ready for the holidays?

I recently saw a great revised list on Instagram… and it really made me think.   So I got to working on re-setting some of my own priorities.

Christmas to do list 2014

#1:  Do you have a lot of presents left to buy?  I do!  But I’m not going to worry about it.  If it gets down to the wire, I’ll just give gift cards or money.  I think my kids like that best anyway.

And when I receive a text from my cousin’s six-year old daughter like I did earlier this week that says:

I have a concert on Saturday December 13.  Can you be there?  I don’t know what time

Well – you can bet I’ll be there.  Those kind of invites are too precious to pass up!

#2:  Do you still have wrapping to do?  Remember there are always gift bags.  Instead, make sure you wrap everyone you love with lots of warm hugs.  And my little twist is to always try to be the last to let go….  You never know when you might get the chance again or how much that person needs it at that moment.

#3:  I still haven’t sent my cards out.  And you know I’m a card making fool!  Much more fun creating them than addressing and stuffing and licking envelopes, so whatever ones I do get out, I do – and it will be sent with all the love and time I put into it.  But if I don’t get them out, or even mail them after the holidays – that’s ok – right?!  No crime!  I want to make sure I’m sending love, not just a card for a card’s sake.

#4:  I’ve got lots of food shopping to do – and no worries – the stores are open 24 hours, so I will eventually get there.  What I do want to make sure we do is donate food to those in need.

#5:  I love to make cookies – and it is a rare occasion that we don’t have a homemade cookie in the house to munch on or offer a guest – but guess what?  No Christmas cookies baked yet.  I’ll get to some I’m sure.  What is more important is making time for people – like the little cutie we’re going to go listen to sing on Saturday or the chocolate-making class I went to last night with my daughter-in-law.  Sure – I could be baking, but I first want to make time for those I love.

#6:  I adore seeing all the Christmas lights, and Marty and I sure had fun at Kennywood’s Festival of Lights, but what is more important is that I make time to BE that light.

#7:  And Parties….. I kinda live for hosting parties.  We are hosting four in a row from Christmas Eve until Saturday 12/27, and then again on New Year’s Eve.  YIPPEE!  Am I stressing over it?!  NOPE!  Will I fuss?  Probably not so much.  Or maybe a little – if I have time.  But if I don’t — – not gonna worry!  As long as the people show up, we have something to eat and drink, and there is lots of love and laughing – then the party is a success!  Right?

Christmas to do list revised 2014

So check your list.  Does it need a little tweaking?  A couple of revisions?  Make sure you are cherishing each moment along the way.

Cheers and Hugs,

Jodi

The truth revealed – my imperfect life

foils

So I know I post a lot about what a great life I have…    I try to share the “good stuff” and the “happy stuff.”

But we ALL KNOW life is FAR from perfect – Right?

Mine included!

I’ve had a few people say things recently that have made me feel a bit uncomfortable – like “I’m living vicariously through you,”  “Your life is perfect,” “Do you ever sleep?”

Really and truly – that is not my intention.  Please know my life is not perfect – not even close!  I get plenty of sleep – 6-7 hours every night (though dangit – I have tried to make due on less as I feel sleeping is SUCH a waste of time)!  And there are many other people worthy of living vicariously through than me!

I just happen to share the good times, the things that make me happy, the things I enjoy at “life in between” here with all of you.

When I originally started my blog, finding the right name was important, and LifeinBetween.me was born out of my desire to share the fun stuff, the good times, the crafts and hobbies and joys that occur in those moments “in between” doing all the things that are drudgery, the things we all have to do, the crap we all deal with.  My intention is to encourage readers to seek out these special moments that are within all of our reach if we just look for and allow them.

Behind the scenes – – – you don’t see the many burnt, under-baked, or misshaped cookie…

more flopped “gourmet” dinners than ones worthy of sharing (like a recent pork roast that had all of our mouths on fire from a teensy bit too much cayenne pepper)…

crookedly stamped or finger smudged cards tossed in the trash….

or how I have been trying for days to arm knit an infinity scarf!  (I am going to master this yet though!) 🙂

I don’t like to share photos of myself.  I have cellulite, humongous feet, chubby cheeks, a short neck, squinty eyes with droopier and droopier eye lids, crooked ears, and new wrinkles and crinkles appearing every day.  I am at that ridiculous point in life where I need reading glasses to see things up close, but then when I look across the table or room, everything is blurry, so off with the glasses, or down onto the tip of my nose like a granny, or up on top of my head completely ruining any type of hairstyle I am trying to maintain.  Then there are the hot flashes that cause my face to just glisten and glow for no good reason, and typically at the most inopportune times and ALWAYS between 7:30 – 8:00 pm EVER SINGLE evening!

Shall I go on?  There is plenty more self-deprecation I can share…

My mom is alive, but we sadly don’t have a relationship, along with some others from my family who I love, but can’t have a relationship with for my own mental health and well-being.

So don’t envy or want to emulate, but do join me in seeking out the good, the happy, the joyful, the simple pleasures, the cherished moments that make our life (in between and otherwise) good.  Because it is there – within our reach – for all of us.  And it doesn’t take much.  Like maybe a box of M&Ms with a note on to our postal carrier to thank him or her for the “Miles and Miles” they travel every day to bring us our mail (granted most is junk or bills – but remember – we are keeping positive here!) LOL!  🙂

payitforward2014 mail carrier miles and miles mandms lifeinbetween.me

Check out that mailbox we have!  Not so perfect – eh?  Quite embarrassing actually!  But I’m hoping I brought a smile to my mail carrier’s tired face today, because our mail still wasn’t in it at 4:30 pm, which means he is having a very long day!

payitforward2014 homefront hugs hero christmas wishes ornamental pine lifeinbetween.me

Or send a card to someone serving our country over the holidays (feel free to send one to Christian – our Homefront Hugs Hero for the “payitforward2014” Jingle RACK Challenge).  I crafted this card on the blank card Jill sent, and Marty is writing the note.  Plenty of bloopers on this card, but you know what we say in the stamping/cardmaking world???  A mistake is an “Opportunity for Embellishment!”

It’s all about looking on the bright side – knowing we all have dark moments, tears, loneliness, grief, heartache, imperfect families, imperfect bodies, burnt cookies, and flopped dinners.

But there are plenty of awesome things to celebrate, and I hope you will join me in seeking them and embracing them, doing your best…

at life in between…

Cheers & Imperfect (but very tight) Hugs,

Jodi

jodi mckinney lifeinbetween

Sharing & Owning Up to all the Wrinkles, Crinkles, Sags, Droops, Chubs, & Squints – Up Close & Personal

Pay it Forward Christmas Gift & Challenge

If you are looking for the ABSOLUTE MOST AMAZING Holiday Gift, look no further.  I am SO excited to share this idea!  This is a gift that is suitable for ANY and EVERYone on your Holiday / Christmas List!

My BFF, Jill, nailed it this year!  She is the most creative, generous, kind, caring, loving person ever, and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

So here is what arrived on our doorstep Friday afternoon…

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 1

a box filled with a variety of Pay it Forward Random Acts of Christmas Kindness activities – – complete with an “instruction booklet,” story about why Jill and Todd wanted to do this, and even every little gift card and item needed to fulfill each act of kindness!

Let me walk you through it page by page.  It started out with an introduction…

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 2and short story (which included us! 🙂  YAY!  Our families have been BFFs since our first babies, and our kids have grown up together like one big batch of brothers and sisters.  We LOVE it!  And we love all of them.

“Happy Holidays,  In the spirit of the holidays, Todd and I decided to try to engage you in a “Pay it Forward Challenge” this year.  Years ago, our best friends, the McKinney’s, asked their elf Sammy to send us our own elf for the holidays.  Sammy sent Jingle so we could share in the tradition.  Jingle spent years making sure Jackie, Jayme, Julie and Jake were behaving.  But now Jingle has a new plan…”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 3

“We are hoping that you will join Jingle in the movement and take the opportunity to participate in a few of the Pay it Forward challenges.  If possible, we would like you to document the activities with pictures, posts and hashtags.  Send pictures to [Jill’s email], upload on Instagram or post to your Facebook page and tag me.”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 4

“Every Act of Kindness Grows the Spirit and Strengthens the Soul”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 5

For the first challenge, Jill included a $2 bill, chalk, glitter, and even an itty bitty dispenser of tape!  Directions:  Tape the $2 bill to the sidewalk, sprinkle some glitter, and add a note for the unsuspecting recipient.

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 6

Next was a bright yellow tennis ball with the word “Fetch” written on it.  Directions:  Locate a dog that appears to be missing the element of fun in their life.  Throw them the fetch ball and capture the sheer joy.”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 7

Next was a bottle of Coke with a tag saying, “You are So-Da Bomb!”  Directions:  Let someone in your life know they are “DA BOMB” and important part of your life.  Cheers!”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 8

Next was a box of M&M’s with a note on it for our mail carrier saying, “Thanks for driving Miles & Miles to bring us our mail.”  Directions:  Place this package in your mailbox to let your mail carrier know that you appreciate their dedication in the rain, snow, sleet and hail!”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 9

This was followed by one that I was extremely touched by.  Jill hand addressed an envelope to her “adopted soldier,” put a stamp on it, and included a blank note card.  Directions:  Take a few moments to write Christian Granada a personal note.  He is the soldier I have adopted as my Home Front Hugs Hero.  Christian is part of Operation Enduring Freedom and involved in some dangerous work clearing roads of bombs, so support is critical.  Just mention me in your note.  This is one I’d like to ask all of my readers to participate in with us if you could.  Would you send a note or card to Christian Granada, Homefront Hugs Hero, 43d CEC / 3 CR, 00 Fenty, APO AE  09354?  Just let him know you are sending it from Jill’s Pay it Forward Challenge.”  We’d be so grateful!

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 10

The next one included a sparkly bottle of bright red nail polish.  Directions:  Find a friend or relative to pamper and pain your ‘mistle toes’ together.

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 11

Next came a bag of Mistletoe labeled, “Christmas Kiss.”  Directions:  Can you get anyone to partake in the traditional kiss under the mistletoe?”

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 12

And how sweet is this idea?  A quarter tapes to a star saying, “Have a Great Day!”  Directions:  Tape a quarter to a bubblegum machine to brighten a child’s day!

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 13

This was followed by a bag of microwave popcorn with a note saying, “Movies shouldn’t be watched without popcorn.  Enjoy this treat with your movie.”  Directions:  Find a Red Box in your neighborhood to place the popcorn on and see if anyone is brave enough to take it. 

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 14

Another great activity included a $5 Little Caesar’s gift certificate.  Directions:  Think about providing a homeless person with a pizza or take a few moments to share a pizza with a friend.

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 15

The next one included a $5 McDonald’s gift card.  Directions:  Visit a McDonald’s drive thru and tape the Arch Card to the ordering speaker to provide a surprise to one of the next cars in line.RACK Pay it Forward 2014 16

The last one contained a box of candy canes, streamers, and a sign that says, “You’ve been RACKed!”  Directions:  Pick a random location and let the candy cane bomb explode and bring minty happiness.

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 18

Now is this not the BEST gift idea ever?!!

RACK Pay it Forward 2014 17

I have Jill’s permission and blessing to share this idea with you.

She actually made and shipped 25 of these to her family and friends.  Did I not tell you she is quite amazing?!!!

Our hope and desire is that you may want to try this or create one yourself.  Let’s #PayItForward and spread some #RACK – Random Acts of Christmas Kindness!  Please feel free to reblog, tweet, post on your Facebook page, and spread the love!  🙂

Cheers & Kind Hugs,

Jodi

P.S.   Be watching for some future posts where I will be sharing some of our experiences with this Pay it Forward Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Challenge.  I hope you will share yours also!